This week I was excited to find out that “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is a finalist in another award contest!
So why is that a problem?
I’m running out of space on the cover to add another badge! Then I have to upload new covers to the many places where the book is sold.
I know, “Boo hoo.”
Like I said, a good problem to have.
Getting a little crowded there….
You can read the excerpt I submitted for the contest here. Feel free to leave a comment!
And I have more good news! I’m on the home stretch editing the sequel, “Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits.” If you’d like a sneak peak at that, you can find one on the series website here.
I ran into a major problem that required a lot of rewriting when a friend pointed out that one of my major plot elements was not only inaccurate but not feasible, at least in the known universe. It was a lot of work to fix but I learned an important lesson: No matter how much research you do, the are often elusive details that you’ll miss that will bite you if someone knowledgeable in that discipline reads it, at which time your credibility implodes.
I have always been quite critical of movies that are scientifically incorrect, but now I get it. I LIKED my old, implausible plot and how its many tentacles wove through the story. A few readers would have had some rolling on the floor (yes, it was that bad), but it hurt to trash it. Which made me understand why movie producers may let those inaccuracies pass, even though anyone who knows better will forever remember the movie for being woefully inaccurate versus it’s story or entertainment value. (For me, one of those movies is “Armageddon.” If you’re interested, you can read my opinion here.)
I suppose you’re wondering what that goof was. Sorry, it’s too embarrassing. I take pride in the accuracy of my stories and I’ll be forever grateful to the person who gave me the information I needed to recognize it had to go.
And the good news is that the rewrite is actually a lot more suspenseful as well as credible! Stay tuned for a release date.
JRD’s stories are crisp, fast-moving, and loaded with action. This one is no exception. Of course I’m partial to this one because of the title. 🙂
You may even know the protagonist from his previous novel “Destroyer.” Richard McCain is a genuine bad-ass and on my list of book boyfriends. In this story you get to know more about him and see him in some serious action. Here’s the blurb:
1969, South Vietnam. Richard McCain is a Special Forces operative station at the Dong Ha Combat Base.
Located at the DMZ bordering North Vietnam, the camp is under constant attack by the Viet Cong, the North Vietnamese Army, assorted rebel groups and smuggling gangs. The culture clash with indigenous tribes amidst mountainous terrain cloaked by feral jungles creates a high-tension atmosphere, where only the strong survive.
Soon, the brutal military conflict mixes with drug-fueled episodes, supernatural events and powers beyond human comprehensions, as the tale of McCain and the Green Berets takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of epic proportions.
Audiobooks for the entire Star Trails Tetralogy are now available!
“Refractions of Frozen Time” was released today, completing the audiobooks in the Star Trails Tetralogy! This is a HUGE milestone and a fabulous credit to narrator, T.W. Ashworth, who’s the official “Voice of Star Trails!”
This final volume includes a variety of special effects to enhance the listening experience. These were designed to reflect the variety of space alien characters and other unique features found in the printed version. This took a lot of work and creativity on T.W.’s part and he did a fabulous job!
If you’re planning a family road trip, this is the perfect travel companion. The entire series will make the miles fly by for 53 hours and 18 minutes.
Wow! That’s a whole lot of driving!
If you’re new to the series, you can get started listening for free! If you’re kind enough to leave a review, I’ll provide a promo code so you can get the next one free–and so on and so forth, for the entire series. If you’re already a fan, I’ll provide a promo code for the next one on your list in exchange for a review and provide the same deal for subsequent volumes in the series. Email email@example.com for details.
All Star Trails Audiobooks are available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. Print and ebooks at most online retailers as shown here.
If there’s one thing most of us need it’s an occasional sign that we’re heading in the right direction. One thing indigenous people have that most others don’t is a deep connection with nature, which talks to them on a regular basis.
Yes, I’m talking about spirit animals and receiving messages from them.
This morning when I went outside to feed my feral cats this beautiful spider web caught my eye. The fact it was on my deck furniture was slightly less than enchanting, but the perfection of the spider’s handiwork got my attention, especially the way it glistened in the rising sun.
In many cases, if you’re paying attention, you can figure out such a message yourself by considering the animal and its characteristics. At other times, it might be more subtle. In that case, you need a reference of some description to help you figure out what the world is trying to tell you.
Fortunately, I have such a reference, the book “Animal Messengers: An A – Z Guide to Signs and Omens in the Natural World.”
Here’s an excerpt from what it says about spiders: “The spider symbolizes infinite possibilities. With its eight legs it is anchored in every direction, and it weaves together the powers of the elements and their expression into a unified whole. The spider weaves webs of fate, in which we can get caught, and it encourages us to keep searching for new possibilities and explore the endless steps of our journey of learning. If your attention is drawn to a spider it wants to remind you that you are constantly building new webs with your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and visions that contain tasks you must solve and subjects you must deal with.”
As is always the case with such an encounter, this had a very personal meaning to me.
If you’re not listening to what nature is telling you, you’re missing out. If you need a little help discerning what an animal is trying to say, I highly recommend this book by Regula Meyer. Note that it does not contain exotic animals you might see in a zoo, but concentrates on those you’re likely to see in the wild including mammals, birds, invertebrates, and insects, for a total of 145 different animals. It was originally written in German, so some birds common to the United States such as cardinals are not included, either, but overall it’s very insightful.
This book is a masterful work of art in addition to containing a collection of personal experiences from members of several different tribes. These include Navajo, Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, Seneca, Cherokee, Tarahumara, Maya, Olmec, Yaqui, Creek, and Choctaw.
Though testimonials about UFO encounters are included, the majority of the book is on a more spiritual level, dealing with other types of connections with the Star People. These include the importance of ceremony, previous lost civilizations from millennia ago, high technology in the distant past, the origin of indigenous people, and prophecies of the future, which is upon us now.
The book has been around a while, the original copyright in 2000, then renewed in 2012. In today’s world that’s a long time and many things prophesied that may not yet have occurred by either of those dates have by now.
I think my favorite section was “We Wander This World with a Purpose” by Mali Keating. She spoke of the Hopi, where they came from, and their numerous prophecies. Here’s an excerpt of one section that explained so much about our modern world.
“The Anasazi were a people left over from the migration. The people were told they must never stop and build cities, but of course some did…. Cities make people crazy, as we all know. People become greedy and lose the ability to work together.”
Here’s another, that may not have been as apparent when this book was first released as it is now:
“The Hopi said that they would know that the end is coming when roads crisscrossed this continent like the web of a spider–those are the vapor trails of airplanes. You can see vapor trails like the webs of spiders in the sky.”
Actually, roads on which we drive crisscross the continent, too. Those trails in the sky, however, are not vapor trails, they are called chemtrails. Vapor trails are condensation from normal airplanes whereas chemtrails are chemicals such as barium and aluminum being deliberately sprayed in the atmosphere to supposedly combat climate change. This, like so much else out there today, is a lie. If anything, they are causing the climate to go crazy by facilitating weather manipulation.
There are numerous photos of indigenous art and the layout of the book itself is genius, between Nancy Red Star’s commentaries before each entry to her free verse poetry at the conclusion. Reading these stories is not just informative, it’s an experience of another realm beyond what meets the eyes.
A realm that Native Americans and all indigenous people understand.
May we all learn from their ancient wisdom before it’s too late.
Before I retired from NASA I planned for what I wanted to do when I had more time on my hands. One of those things was to pursue my interest in astrology. Of course as a physicist, that’s pretty weird, but I’ve always been pretty hard to pigeon-hole. At any rate, I enrolled in the International Academy of Astrology, pursued a rigorous course of learning that was the equivalent of a bachelors degree, and graduated from their Professional Training Module in 2012. I taught for them for a while and have always remained friends with many of the wonderful people I met there, in particular its president and founder, Ena Stanley.
I sent Ena a copy of my latest book, “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” and she liked it so much she suggested that their media specialist do an interview with me as one of the school’s many alumni. You can view the video below and learn a little about me, how astrology came into my life, and how writing has been a driving force since I was a child and the astrological reason that’s the case.
Back in 2017 as I watched the Sun disappear behind the moon from Swan Valley, Idaho, I could fully understand why such events freaked out those who didn’t understand the phenomenon. It was cool, but it was creepy. My impression was that of God hiding his light.
And here’s the interesting part.
Eclipses can have rather ominous astrological implications. The one in 2017 had a path of visibility that crossed the USA. This is NOT a good omen. It signifies a divided country. It doesn’t take a genius to see how that has turned out.
And guess what?
In 2024 there’s another one that likewise crosses the country.
The paths of the 2017 and 2024 eclipse paths cross in the southern part of Illinois, right over Carbondale. Considering that’s right in the heart of the New Madrid fault, plus the fracking they’re doing in the area, doesn’t sound like a good place to be.
Right after the 2017 eclipse there was an earthquake in Idaho. Tidal forces of the moon plus the sun when the two are aligned is pretty strong. I’m not saying something bad will happen, but it’s something to think about.
There’s another one coming in 2023 that’s annular as opposed to total, so it gets less publicity. Its path crosses Texas and is joined by that of the total eclipse in 2024 to form an “X” across Texas.
What does crossing something out signify to you? If you believe in “signs in the heavens and on the earth beneath” this should be rather alarming.
As an astrologer as well as a Christian, I don’t like the looks of this at all. The “X” on Texas is becoming too apparent. Pardon me while I depart from my usual “neutral stance” for a moment. Texas a “Red” state in the crosshairs of the liberals, who spent a lot of money trying to flip Texas “Blue” the last election. They failed at that, so now we’re being hit with a massive influx of illegal aliens and HR1, which will allow them to vote. If that’s not a massive effort to divide the Lone Star State, I don’t know what is.
So enough of the doom and gloom. If you want to see the next one, here are a few tips.
PLAN NOW TO VIEW THE NEXT ECLIPSE
The April 8, 2024 total eclipse is literally going to pass right over where I live in Central Texas. The good news is that I don’t have to go anywhere to see it! I’ve been thinking I should write a small book about eclipses, both from an astronomical and astrological angle, to sell, since the area will be deluged with people looking for souvenirs. If I get this accomplished as planned, I’ll let you know here sometime before the big event.
One matter of concern is that especially at that time of year it could be cloudy! I know any number of people who drove miles to see the last one only for it to be cloudy or rainy. Huge disappointment, to be sure. Thus, if you’re deciding to go view one, consider weather patterns for optimal chances of clear skies.
Another consideration is to head to a remote area. That way you avoid huge traffic jams on the Interstate or other major highways. If you’re planning to go see the next one, bear that in mind. That is unless you enjoy massive crowds and gridlocked freeways. Don’t underestimate how many people have the same idea.
I learned that lesson when I lived in Houston where a coworker told me how he and his family spent a hurricane in their car on the freeway. They waited too long to leave during the evacuation and got stuck on I-45 in the mass exodus. Everyone assumes the freeway is the quickest route, but that’s not the case when everyone has the same idea. In such situations, back roads and your GPS app are your best friend. Make your reservations for accommodations as far in advance as possible, too.
The website greatamericaneclipse.com is an excellent resource for detailed maps of the path as well as safety viewing equipment and other paraphernalia. Remember, the only time it’s safe to view an eclipse without protective eye gear is the few moments of totality!
Regardless of their symbolism, eclipses are rare and worth seeing in person. People often react to in an unexpected way. Be sure to take a few moments to consider what it’s saying to you.
This entire situation in Texas smelled funny from the start. Here’s something every Texan and American needs to consider.
(The following information was provided by a TGP reader.) On Joe Biden’s first day in office, he signed an Executive Order (EO) that led to Texans literally freezing to death this past week. Biden claimed his actions were to protect the climate but they helped China and made America less secure. On his first day…
Dot #12 Barack Hussein Obama is elected, promising “Change you can believe in.” After taking office in January, Obama sends Hillary Clinton on a critical mission to China and helps write H.R. 45 — a complete grab of America’s guns ala Adolph Hitler. State leaders who understand what Clinton and Obama agenda with China is about, are seeking legal “Sovereignty” to prevent the loss of property to a foreign power. Dot #13 China agrees to continue investing in U.S. Treasury Bills only after securing the right of “eminent domain” to physically repossess foreclosed American PRIVATE PROPERTY. This move is the equivalent of an unconditional surrender following a bloody war. This also gives the Chinese military the LEGAL RIGHT to use biological weaponry to “Clean up America all at once”. It gives them the legal right to use deadly force in removing trespassing Americans from occupying Chinese real estate. Connect these 13 evil dots, and this is what you get:
FEDS GRANT EMINENT DOMAIN AS COLLATERAL TO CHINA FOR U.S. DEBTS BEIJING, China — Sources at the United States Embassy in Beijing China have just CONFIRMED that the United States of America has tendered to China a written agreement which grants to the People’s Republic of China, an option to exercise Eminent Domain within the USA, as collateral for China’s continued purchase of US Treasury Notes and existing US Currency reserves. The written agreement was brought to Beijing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and was formalized and agreed-to during her recent trip to China.
This means that in the event the US Government defaults on its financial obligations to China, the Communist Government of China would be permitted to physically take — inside the USA — land, buildings, factories, perhaps even entire cities – to satisfy the financial obligations of the US government. Put simply, the feds have now actually mortgaged the physical land and property of all citizens and businesses in the United States. They have given to a foreign power, their Constitutional power to “take” all of our property, as actual collateral for continued Chinese funding of US deficit spending and the continued carrying of US national debt. This is an unimaginable betrayal of every man, woman and child in the USA. An outrage worthy of violent overthrow.
————– UPDATE 1:40 pm EST Eminent Domain is the power of government to TAKE private property for public use without the consent of the property owner. Under our Constitution, the government can only “take” when providing “just compensation” for what they’ve taken. Who decides what constitutes “just compensation?” The government! Homeowners who felt the government was not paying them enough for property in past “takings” have filed lawsuits. In absolutely every such case, the value placed upon the property by the government was upheld by the courts.
Our federal government has now granted to China, this power to “take”our homes and businesses in the event the US Gov’t defaults on its debts. Let’s play this out as a worst case scenario. . . . The US Gov’t goes belly-up and China comes in and says, “they owed us $2 Trillion in Treasury Notes and another $2 Trillion in actual cash money which is now worthless. We are taking the entire state of Hawaii and the entire state of California in lieu of this bad debt. ” With the stroke of a Chinese chop stick, Hawaii and California — all the land and buildings in those states — are now owned by China. The “taking” would be a “valid public use” because it was “taken” in payment of the public debt!!!! China could then turn around and declare the value of all that land to be worth. . . . . I dunno, ten cents on a dollar? For your $200,000 house, you get a Chinese check for $20,000.
Needless to say, the property owners would go ballistic and demand “just compensation” for what was taken. Who gets to decide what is “just?” China! Don’t think you got a fair price for what they took? No problem, sue China. You’ll lose. People who live in those states and own their land outright, might be able to negotiate with China to “rent” back their own property, as long as the property owner continued to pay all his taxes; but the land and buildings would belong to China. This is what our own Government has just done to us and it is the single most vile act of betrayal in the history of human existence.
————- SECOND UPDATE 3:48 PM In early February nine U.S. States began the process of re- asserting their Sovereignty pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the US Constitution; declaring null and void any actions by Congress that violated the Constitution. The states took action to make certain the feds couldn’t give away cities or the states themselves! This situation is going to get VERY ugly, VERY fast as one sovereign power (the feds) try to literally give away the land of other sovereign powers, (the states). This is the type of thing that starts Civil War. Our present federal government makes the treachery and betrayal of Benedict Arnold look like child’s play.
Furthermore, a DOE document you can find here explains the restrictions placed upon Texas from meeting power needs during this weather emergency.
This book won a Pulitzer Prize and I can understand why. It was a massive work of over 600 pages that literally took me months to read. The research is amazing and so is the theme. Most themes involve man versus something: man vs. man; man vs. himself; man vs. nature, etc. In this case it’s man siding with nature and trying to save the environment from exploitation.
I heard years ago that a moral dilemma always makes a gripping story. If nothing else, they’re thought provoking. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Is there really a difference? Or are both wrong in some way?
This story features a handful of unique individuals from diverse backgrounds whose experiences drive them to try and save the trees. Not just any trees, but primarily those massive giants like the redwoods which have stood their ground longer than civilization itself. Science has learned that trees, even those in the typical forest, communicate with each other. Some of us talk to our plants. I have five live oaks in my yard that I named. I had a bald cypress when I lived in Houston that I also named. I wrote a science fiction story about a telepathic walking plant, so I guess I fall out on the side of the people in the book. Of course their protests were directed toward big lumber companies and the like. To date, I have not gone that far.
Another character in the book was an individual who’d become crippled when he fell from a tree. His response was to become an IT guru creating gaming software that ultimately covered the earth, kind of like the old game SimCity on steroids. In other words, creating worlds while ignoring the one they live in.
The dilemma lies in the question how can our supposed civilization expand and prosper without exploiting the environment? Indigenous people are the only ones who “get it.” They understand that they’re an integral part of nature and honor it, giving thanks for those things they need to survive. Their attitude is more like being partners with the Earth as opposed to its conquerors.
More irony lies in the concept of using “renewable” resources. A tree that is a thousand years old is not exactly “renewable,” at least in our lifetime. They are no more “renewable” than fossil fuel and actually provide far more benefits, such as cleansing the air and providing oxygen. Have you ever seen one of these giants, or even a mighty oak, and wondered what it might say if it could talk?
This book is worth reading as it takes you into a world you have most likely never seen before. Sometimes it gets off in that realm where your unconscious probably understands it while your conscious mind doesn’t. It would have been helpful to me if the author had included a dramatis personae, since there were so many characters. There were only about three I could keep straight, while the other ones tended to blend together, especially the way the author skipped around. The ending almost felt as if Powers simply quit without really tying it all together. Yet that was probably deliberate to let each reader draw their own conclusions. I suppose I should issue a spoiler alert when I state the conclusion wasn’t in the “happily ever after” category. Frankly, if I were the story’s editor, there’s quite a bit I would have cut out.
All that aside, it’s an amazing work that will allow you to see the world around you through different eyes. You’ll probably appreciate nature a lot more, maybe even start talking to your plants. But it’s unlikely you’ll have any answers, either.
I am fortunate to live in a rural area where night skies aren’t sullied by city lights. I’ve always loved astronomy and found stargazing inspiring. This crazy, obnoxious year has been stressful for everyone, myself included, though I have to admit I’ve been far less affected than others. Nonetheless, the background noise of a upended world has once again motivated me to spend some time with the night sky.
Of course when we see something inspiring, we want to preserve it. I quickly found my cell
phone couldn’t capture what I was seeing in the sky, at least a closer view. So I decided to buy an actual camera. It’s been great fun, especially taking pictures of the Moon, like the one above.
I was somewhat disappointed in the pictures I attempted of the planets, which came out looking like a powder puff as opposed to the familiar pictures we have courtesy of passing space missions. For example, the above picture is Mars. At least you can tell it’s a planet, not a star, and it’s the right color, but other than that, not too impressive.
Here’s Mars again, this time with the Moon. The halo reveals that there was a lot of humidity that night.
On December 21 Jupiter and Saturn will be in a very tight conjunction, tighter than they’ve been in 800 years! There are some speculations that such a conjunction was what comprised the Star of Bethlehem and guided the Wise Men to the Christ Child.
Unless you know a little about astronomy or astrology, you may wonder why this is the case. After all, it takes Jupiter about 12 years to orbit the Sun and Saturn about 29, so Jupiter will pass Saturn at least every 12 years or so, right? The plane of their respective orbits, however, is not the same, so while they may appear in the same latitude, their declination is seldom close enough for them to appear as one bright celestial object. How fascinating that in this rather unpleasant year of 2020 we can see this unusual treat in the night sky.
Here’s a picture of the Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon.
Attempting a closer view of Saturn and Jupiter as they converge has resulted in another powder puff, but of a slightly different hue than Mars, with Saturn nearly invisible. Clearly to get the photos I really want is going to require a telescope. I was pretty proud of those Moon shots and checked out some of the astro-photography Facebook groups. Talk about humbling! Some of the pix out there look as good as what we’ve seen from the Hubble! A telescope has been on my bucket list for a while and even more-so now.
This picture of the Halloween Full Moon is one of my favorites.
And here’s a comparison of how much the Full Moon changes in one day.
I was blessed this autumn with a beautiful color display from my crepe myrtle, which is especially appreciated here in Central Texas where autumn tends to be shades of green and brown as opposed to the spectacular fall colors found in more temperate zones.
I know this post isn’t particularly profound. What I’ve derived from these photos defies words, which for an author of 6 novels and an book on astrology says something in itself.
Perhaps the message I’m trying to convey is that even in a year that gave us a glimpse of the Underworld, there is beauty to be found in both the heavens and here upon our own planetary home. We can always hope that the Star of Bethlehem replay on 21 December is telling us there are better times ahead.