The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards. VOTE NOW for your 2017 favourite.

Here’s a chance to vote for some great books!

Rosie Amber

The Rosie’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) awards are back! 

Now in their third year, I’m delighted to open the public vote.  The books were chosen from the hundreds submitted to our team for review in 2017.   My team of reviewers were asked to nominate their favourites; here are those that made the final cut.

You may vote for one book in each category.  Please only vote for books that you honestly feel deserve an award, in accordance with the authenticity of my team’s reviews.

Voting closes on December 15th and the results will be announced  on Tuesday December 19th.

Meanwhile, huge congratulations to all the finalists!

Fantasy /Scifi

General Contemporary Fiction

Historical

Mystery / Thriller

Non-Fiction

Romance

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5-Stars for “Finding Billy Battles – Book II” by Ronald E. Yates

billybattlescover

I learned so much from this well-written and meticulously researched book. I’m not usually that much of a fan of historical fiction, but in this case it was a welcome educational experience. As Billy’s journeys take him to Saigon, the Philippines, and even turn-of-the-20th-century Germany, this story is richly imbued with cultural and historical facts I previously did not know. This included something as simple as where white pepper comes from, but most especially the dark history of colonialism. I had heard of the Spanish-American War, but had no idea it was fought in the Philippines, much less why.

I have grown up simply accepting the fact that the British, French, and Spanish did a considerable amount of exploring, which also constituted conquests for more land and resources. This is apparent by the languages spoken in diverse parts of the world, far from where they originated. Getting a glimpse into the climate and attitudes of the 19th century, especially how indigenous people were trampled and exploited, brought up multiple considerations that had previously been entirely off my radar.

While colonialism’s defenders note that it brings a higher standard of living to these areas, it is also at a high price to the cultural norms and freedom of those unfortunate enough to live in such a place. Insights into Saigon in the late 1800s provided a new understanding into the Vietnam War and guerilla warfare. While in some cases, America has helped defend these countries, in others it has been just as guilty as the European conquests. Ironically, American is the prime example of a country that rebelled successfully against colonialism, yet then went on to force it on others, for example Native Americans. We are no better than anyone else and it’s easy for me to understand why other countries hate us.

The best part of this story is that all these fascinating details were woven into the plot of a story with believable characters caught up in this historical drama, from the Old West, to pre-WWI Europe, and overseas in the Far East.  I recommend it highly to anyone who enjoys a meaty, well-researched read that serves up more than an interesting story. History buffs will love it. While it is the second book in a trilogy, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no trouble following it without the benefit of reading the first.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

Join RRBC’s Book Trailer Block Party!

videotourdec2017

Whether you’re looking for your next great read or ideas for clever, effective book trailer videos, you’ll enjoy this great “Block Party”! One video is featured each day, so it will only take you a few minutes to take a break and feed your creativity! Here’s the link.

The Block Party has been running for a few days, so be sure to go back and watch the three that are already out there, then bookmark the page to go back each day for the entire month. Be sure to “Like” each one on YouTube and leave a comment so you’ll have a chance at winning each day’s giveaway!  Enjoy!

Houston, we have a problem. It’s named Harvey.

Harvey became a named tropical storm on 17 August, then regressed to a tropical depression for a few days. With Mercury retrograde, it doesn’t surprise me that he regained sufficient energy to resume tropical storm status on 23 August, two days after a total solar eclipse slashed its way across the USA. A day later Harvey’s wind speeds reached hurricane range. He made landfall on the coast of Texas as a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds at around 10:00 pm on 25 August 2017.

Harvey was no ordinary storm. His slow movement resulted in all-time record setting rainfall that inundated a zone covering 3,643 square miles (larger than the state of Delaware) with at least 40 inches of rain. This constituted over a trillion gallon of water for Harris County in the Houston metropolitan area, the resulting flood making news around the world.

I lived in the Houston area for over 21 years and saw a few hurricanes myself, but nothing like this. I’m beyond grateful that various family members, who are still in the area, were spared, their homes dry, even though their neighborhoods were virtual islands. Unfortunately, some of my friends from my NASA days weren’t so lucky.

In a previous blog back in April 2016 I discussed the astrology of another Houston flood. That one wasn’t even a named storm. Interestingly enough, it also followed an eclipse.

I explained Houston’s horoscope a.k.a. natal chart at that time, but will reiterate some of the basics again. These charts look daunting to the uninitiated, but reading one is just a matter of understanding all the symbolism involved.

houstonnatal

Many folks are not aware that even as a person’s natal chart has a strong bearing on their personality, so it follows for a city. Neptune, ruler of all liquids, is prominent in Houston’s chart. This not only relates to rain, but also oil and being a port city. Neptune’s position in the 2nd house makes it an important driver for the area’s economy; the second house typically has a bearing on income, material possessions, needs, pleasures, and what is valued.  If you’re wondering what the “POS” represents in the 2nd house, that’s the asteroid, Poseidon. Having him as the same house as Neptune speaks for itself. Asteroids, like the planets, bring the same energy as their namesake’s mythological archetype.

However, there are other factors that make Neptune’s placement problematic. For one thing, he’s in Aquarius, an Air Sign, which brings to mind the fact that air and water are both major constituents of a hurricane or tropical storm. Of course that placement alone won’t do it–Neptune is also being slammed by negative energy from five other planets. Therein lies the problem.

The red triangle is an aspect pattern known as a T-square. Neptune is on one corner with Jupiter opposing him while Saturn squares the god of the deep. Jupiter tends to exaggerate anything he touches and Saturn is largely considered unfriendly, albeit the orchestrator of hard lessons and lord of karma. However, Saturn is also part of a more favorable aspect pattern known as a Grand Water Trine. With Saturn about building, structure, and discipline, this suggests how Houston continues to rebuild regardless of what catastrophes befall it.

The Grand Water Trine comprises three planets placed in Water signs (Mars in Cancer; Saturn in Scorpio; and Uranus in Pisces). This trio, however, comprises planets with a bad reputation. Mars is know for aggression and in emotionally driven Cancer often function like a temper tantrum. Uranus is full of surprises, disruptions, rebellion, explosions, disturbances, and the unexpected. Thus, in a nutshell, the combination can result in surprises of a violent nature that affects the status quo.

The city’s Sun connects with each of those planets as well, which makes their effects personal and further associated with the city itself. Since they’re all connected, when one of them is activated, they all resonate to create a large influx of energy. What activates them, you ask? That would be what astrologers call “transits”, which is the current location of the planets and how they connect with the ones in the natal chart.

As if that’s not enough, more aspect pattern on Houston’s chart has strong implications. It’s called a yod or finger of God. It looks like a blue arrow which is pointing toward Neptune. Yods tend to have a fated nature about them, indicating what might be important to the person or location with such an indicator on their horoscope.

Generally speaking, Houston’s natal chart is an accident waiting to happen. It has all the right (or perhaps wrong) characteristics to be very vulnerable.  This was further exacerbated by the August Lunar and Solar eclipses, which brought a blast of ominous, Plutonian energy to bear on Houston with implications that it was going to bring considerable public attention.

Next, let’s look at Harvey. The following chart represents when Harvey was declared a hurricane.

harveyhurricane

The sextile pattern, shown as a green triangle, shows a great deal of cooperation between violent Mars, Ominous Saturn, and Jupiter, increasing this malefic energy. The square between Jupiter and Pluto increases the death and destruction while the square between Uranus and Venus, where Uranus represents surprises and Venus material comforts, shows a definite conflict there. Neptune and the asteroid, Poseidon (POS on the chart) shows conflict between those two cosmic entities, perhaps in a battle to prove which is superior. The ascendant in Scorpio, the sign that rules death, implies the storm’s lethality, while Mercury, the Sun, and Mars in the 10th house, which represents reputation, status, and what you’ll be remembered for, indicate his energy, public recognition, and even hint as his slow movement and repeated landfalls, which numbered at least three.

The relationship between two people, or in this case a storm and a location, is shown by how their natal charts interact. The following chart is known as a biwheel and shows Houston’s chart in the middle and Harvey’s around the outside, indicating how the two would interact.

hou-harveybiwheel

The first thing that jumped out at me with this chart was that Harvey became a hurricane on Houston’s “birthday”, indicated by the fact the Sun for both charts is in the same degree of the zodiac, i.e. the first degree of the sign Virgo.  The technical term for when the Sun returns to the position it was in when a person, thing, or city, was born is “solar return”, which is typically a prognosticator for the year ahead.  What this Sun – Sun conjunction energy blast effectively did was wake up that Grand Water Trine and all those other water-related aspects in Houston’s natal chart. The accident waiting to happen just did.

Transiting Pluto is trining the chart’s Midheaven, which represents its status, reputation, and public image, suggests a major transformation as well as death and material destruction. The square from Mercury retrograde to the chart’s ascendant hints at bad news. Mercury retrograde tends to slow things down, which certainly happened when the storm’s movement stalled. That is what facilitated the incredible quantity of rain. The semi-sextile from Mercury to Houston’s Jupiter in the 8th house of transformations and death, further exaggerated this effect. On the positive side, the sextile from the transiting Sun to Houston’s Saturn implies help and assistance from afar in rebuilding. This is further reinforced by Venus, transiting the 8th house.

These very basic aspects shown here are only a few and represent the more common ones. There are several others known as minor aspects or harmonics which seldom have a minor effect, especially those associated with intense energy and power. Others relate to physical and spiritual extremes.  There were at least nine of these aspects involved, which certainly did their part to make this a record breaking storm that left unprecedented devastation behind.

As I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t make this stuff up.

Hurricane Information Sources: The Weather Channel & NOAA National Hurricane Center Advisories

 

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 26

RWISA TOUR (1)Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

STEPHANIE COLLINS

Stephanie Collins

You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

Uh…no!”

Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Stephanie Collins’s RWISA Author Page

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 23

RWISA TOUR (1)

DETOUR CUBA

PART I

Once the port-of-call jewel for Magnus Wealthy, Cuba has been a country lost in time for the last half century, plus some.

Never been to Cuba? I recommend it. But do it before it returns to the playground of the filthy rich and the Hemingway admirers.

Yes, I’ve been there twice. But not as Magnus Wealthy. Think short-term mission trip. Door-to-door evangelism. Knock, knock. “May we come in.” (Of course, my interpreter said it the proper way: “¿Podemos entrar?”)

Michael Hicks Thompson

Michael Hicks Thompson

An interpreter is essential if you can’t speak the language.

But here’s the beautiful thing. Most Cubans are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They love to meet and greet Americans. We’re a mystery to them. It’s amazing. And understandable. Most have never tasted freedom.

Castro usurped the country in the biggest land swindle ever. Now, the elderly Cubans alive today are happy with a single, pathetic gift from Papa Castro’s government.

“He give me this cooking pot,” the appreciative, sun-wrinkled, Spanish speaking octogenarian said.

Never mind that his midget refrigerator will take him a lifetime to pay off.

PART II

We flew into Havana, via Mexico, spent the night and flew on to Holguin (hole-Keen) early the next morning. It’s a four-hour flight. Cuba is the size of California.

The ‘hotel’ in Holguin was once a grand one—now, dilapidated. Papa not only didn’t let the government keep hotels up to standard, he took the toilet seats away. From personal experience, I can assure you he did it to humiliate the eleven-and-a-half-million souls into submission.

Ask any American what Cubans look like and they’ll include “dark-skinned” as an answer. However, you’d be surprised to see nearly as many red-headed and blue-eyed Cubans as dark-skinned islanders. The Spanish influence is apparent. Fifty-one percent of Cubans are Mulatto, thirty-seven percent, White, and eleven percent, Black.

All Cubans are proud. And friendly. Why shouldn’t they be? They’ve not had the outside world of communications and world events for three generations. They’ve simply missed the rise in socio-economic gain around the world. They’ve been isolated. They don’t know any other life. They’ve lived on Cuban baseball and communism since 1959.

And they’ve avoided all the gun-shot TV news and television episodes of Law & Order. God blessed them.

Or, did He?

When I think of Cuba, I think of Maria. She’s the Lady who led our group through Cuba. Maria was born and raised in Havana, in a prominent family.

Shortly after Castro took over, her father gathered his wife and children and fled to America.

Maria has such a huge heart for her native land. She’ll always love her people and her land.

Many wealthy families left their homes and their businesses behind; to start over. But the ones not able to afford travel remained behind. They faced the dark days of seclusion.

Catholicism gradually faded away. To be replaced by many false religions—Santería being the most prominent. It’s a singing religion based on the old songs of slavery. So, most Santeríans are descendants of African slaves.

PART III

Every morning ten of us would have breakfast, pray, and pile into vans with our interpreters for an hour or two ride to a small village, usually to the south, near Guantanamo. A different village each morning. That way, we could avoid the immigration officials who’d heard we were proselytizing in their country. Only once did we hear our leader yell out, “Everybody in the vans. We have to leave. Now!”

We would meet at a local house church and greet the pastor. Some would have no more than ten church members; some as many as thirty. We snuck in bibles, clothes, hygiene products, and boatloads of gum.

Each church provided a local member to escort us, individually with our interpreter, to un-churched homes in the village. The patriarch or matriarch always welcomed us. Some even asked us to hold off any discussion so they could gather their family. Even neighbors. All ages would gather around in a small living room, many sitting on the floor, while we introduced them to original sin, Jesus, the Gospel, and a merciful God.

The interpreter kept track of those who repeated the prayer of salvation (asking Jesus to come into their hearts and save them from eternal damnation). More than a few grown men cried on my shoulder after accepting Jesus into their hearts.

Naturally, there were plenty who preferred to worship their idols. Ceramic statues, sometimes made of wood or plastic.

If the idol worshiper wasn’t getting what they wanted from their man-made God, they’d place them face down in their underwear drawer, to punish them. Strange stuff. And sad.

At the end of the week, our leader would give us the number. “Four-hundred-fifty-two made a profession of faith this week. You’ve not only sowed the seeds of the Gospel, you’ve been a part of the harvest.”

That made me feel pretty good, but we all knew Holy Spirit had been working in those hearts long before we arrived. Only God can change the heart of man. But, what really made me warm and fuzzy, was the sight of my sons who’d been able to join us on the mission field. They had been part of the harvest. And it would have a lasting, lifetime effect on their lives. They talk about it to this day.

And so do I.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH RWISAWRITE Showcase Tour today!  We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan.  WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs.  Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent!  Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Michael Hicks Thompson’s RWISA Author Page

“Watch RWISA Write Showcase Tour” — Day 21

RWISA TOUR (1)

[NOTE:–OMG, it’s my turn in the Blog Tour! My offering is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Dark Circles, a slightly dark, hard sci-fi love story. No release date has been set. You know how I am with release dates. LOL! Those of you who have read “A Dark of Endless Days” may recognize what is going on in this scene. As an author, I have a really hard time letting good characters ride off into the sunset (or fly off into the stars, as the case may be). This novel will wrap it all up and tie everything together.]

Your Wildest Dreams

by Marcha Fox

I inhaled sharply when I recognized the introductory riff wafting from my favorite 80s station as Your Wildest Dreams by the Moody Blues. Even though I had the original 45 RPM record, the album on cassette tape, and more recently, the CD, I kept them safely locked away so I wouldn’t binge on it. Nonetheless, when KPLV, 93.1 FM in Vegas, got around to playing it every few weeks or so, I’d indulge in a break, a delicious reminder of why I was here.

Consumed by ethereal and intimately familiar sound waves, I got up, closed the blinds, and even though it was unlikely the song’s strains would penetrate my office’s cinder block walls, plugged in my headset so I could crank it up—I mean really up. I melted back into my chair, eyes closed, with what was probably an idiotic smile on my face, savoring each note as the song segued into its lively, 142 BPM tempo. The next three minutes and forty-one seconds, I’d be in heaven.

Even though this song came out eight years after she left, the first time I heard it, back when I was still in college in ’86, I knew two things: One, it would always be “our song”; and Two, I had to find her.

My heart leapt with visions of galaxies beyond, of what might be out there, where she might be. I plunged headlong through space and time, besieged by memories burned into my heart as permanently and painfully as branding was to a newborn calf. Did she remember? Feel the same thing I did? Sense the enchantment of fate-entangled lives?

I memorize pretty easily, which comes in handy, especially with things like the Periodic Table or Maxwell’s equations. And of course, favorite songs. These particular lyrics struck me, hard and personal, from day one, certain it’d been written exclusively for me.

As my eyes teared up, logic intervened and yanked me back to planet Earth.

Grow up, Benson! What are you, a total schmaltz or what?

We were kids, for heaven sakes. A teenage crush. I should’ve gotten over it, but never did. No wonder. Girls like her are rare. One of a kind. She’d already experienced things I never would. Things that were part of my wildest dreams.

The admonition failed, pushed aside by that part of me that felt alive again, jammin’ like a total jerk, mouthing the words as I sang along in my head. It’s not like I’m a teenager anymore, though at the moment I felt like one. No, memories of the heart never die—can’t die, evereven if you try to kill them.

I’d give anything to talk to her. Which of course I have, numerous times over the years, if only in my head. Okay, aloud more often than I care to admit. I could swear it even felt as if she answered a time or two. I suppose that’s how it is with your first love. Or your first kiss, even if it was only a peck on the cheek. It penetrates your soul and stays there forever.

That mid-summer day in ’78 hauling hay was as vivid as yesterday in my mind’s eye. The cloudless sky, sun hot on my neck, the aroma of first-crop alfalfa sweetening the mountain air. I scratched my shoulder, a reflex memory of itchy, stray leaves sticking through my T-shirt. My chest ached as I remembered tear tracks streaking her dust-covered face at something I’d said. Then, days later, that withering look when we lied about her ship.

The one we still have. What’s left of it quietly abandoned beneath a tarp in Building 15, here at Area 51.

How she knew we weren’t telling the truth, I’ll never know. Pretty funny it’s still sitting there. And I’m sure she’d think so, too. I can just hear her saying, “Stupid snurks, I knew they’d never figure it out.” Though actually they did, just didn’t find technology worth pursuing. Even contractors didn’t want it.

I had to admit it was pretty crazy, but she was my motivation to get where I was today: just short of a decade of college linked with serendipity that put me in the right place at the right time, hoping someday I’d find her. My life had changed a lot since then. How much had hers changed? Did she make it home? Was she still alive? With the effects of relativistic travel, which I understood only too well, she could still be a teenager, while I was easing into the infamous dirty thirties.

Not good. If I ever did find her, she’d probably think I was some lecherous old fart. Either that, or, with my luck, she’d be married with a bunch of kids. I winced with the thought.

My sentimental reverie vanished when my office door slammed open and Hector Buckhorn rolled in. Literally. Hec’s been stuck in a wheelchair ever since he crashed his hang glider into a New Mexico mountainside during spring break his last semester of college. He ridge soared a lot, particularly around Dulce, over restricted areas where he wasn’t supposed to be. Got caught a couple times, but being Native American, never got in trouble, even though it wasn’t his home reservation. He’s amazingly good at playing dumb, in spite of—or possibly because of—his 150ish IQ. He never talked about his accident, said he couldn’t remember. Makes sense, actually, given he suffered a massive concussion. The only time I ever saw him pissed him off was when he woke up in the hospital and discovered they’d shaved off his hair, since grown back beyond shoulder length.

I dropped the headset around my neck and faked a frown. “Don’t you ever knock, butthead?”

“Hey, man, wazzup?” he said, giving me a funny look. “You okay?”

I laughed. “Of course. Just thinking. Remembering. You know.”

Ahhh. They played that song again, didn’t they?”

“Can’t hide anything from you, can I, Chief?”

“Nope. I figured you were up to somethin’ with your blinds closed.”

He wheeled over to the grey metal, government-issue table on the other side of the room and helped himself to a handful of peanut M&Ms. Once I’d realized during my PhD days at Cal Tech that, in a pinch, they made a pretty decent meal, I’d kept that old, wide-mouth canning jar full. He dumped them in his mouth, perusing me with knowing, dark eyes.

“You were sure enjoyin’ that song of yours,” he said, not even trying to stifle his crooked grin as he munched away.

“Yeah,” I replied, uncomfortable with the conversation’s direction.

“We’ve known each other a long time, Allen,” he said. “Don’t you think it’s time you told me about her?”

“Not much to tell.”

He let fly with a popular expletive related to bovine excrement. “C’mon! What’s her name?” he persisted.

I blew out my cheeks and sighed, knowing resistance was futile. “Creena,” I answered, surprising myself when, again, I got a little choked up. I avoided his eyes by likewise heading for the M&Ms.

“So find her,” he said.

“It’s not that simple,” I replied, pouring myself a handful. “I don’t know where she is.” A statement that was truer than he could possibly imagine.

“I have some resources who could help,” he offered with a conspiratorial wink.

I shook my head, then stalled by popping a few colorful orbs in my mouth.

“Why not? If she’s anywhere on this planet, these guys’ll find her.”

I swallowed hard and paused; met his gaze. “She’s not.”

He scowled, making him look a lot like those old pictures of Cochise. “Say again?”

“She’s. Not.”

“Oh! I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “I assumed she’s dead. She must’ve been quite a girl.”

“She was. Is. She’s not dead. At least as far as I know.”

His jaw dropped, shocked expression broadcasting the fact he’d caught the implications. “You’re not kidding, are you?”

“Nope.”

“Abductee?” he whispered.

“Nope,” I answered, raiding the candy jar again. “Immigrant.”

His eyes widened as he spewed an expletive that elevated excrement to sanctified status. “Don’t tell me she’s an EBE!”

I nearly spewed partially chewed M&Ms across the room. Extraterrestrial biological entity, indeed! Yet by definition, actually, she was.

I chuckled at his expression and shook my head. “No. Quite human. At least as far as I know.”

“Are you?” he added, chocolate-colored irises rimmed with white. His reaction surprised me—UFOs, even aliens, were no big deal in his culture, just business as usual with the Star People.

“C’mon, Chief! You’ve known me since tenth grade, running high school track!”

He leaned back, searching my face with more solemnity than I’d seen since I told him how Dad died. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do, bro,” he said finally, shaking his head.

“You have no idea,” I said, throat constricting as scratchy lyrics from the headset, audible only to me, issued another reminder of why I was here.

* * *

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Review of “Unacknowledged: An Expose of the World’s Greatest Secret” by Dr. Steven M. Greer”

unacknowledgedcover

If you’re a follower of UFO lore, you’ve probably already heard much of what this fascinating book contains, given it mostly comprises eyewitness accounts of encounters with UFOs. However, what you may have heard on the numerous TV shows on the subject is but a very mild prelude to what is clearly “the rest of the story.” It takes quite a bit to surprise me, but I was definitely taken aback by much of what came out. For example, there’s a whole lot more to the Rendelsham Forest incident that has been covered in multiple documentaries. There is quite a bit of more information regarding good ol’ Roswell, as well as a considerable amount of information related to government involvement and the inevitable massive cover-ups.

Apparently, some of the UFOs seen are ETVs, i.e., extraterrestrial vehicles, while others are ARVs, alien reproduction vehicles, or those that have been built on Earth, based on back-engineering captured craft. ETVs have numerous capabilities our replicas lack, because some technologies have not yet been cracked sufficiently for us earthlings to duplicate. For example, the technology required to access other dimensions apparently still eludes us, in spite of all the mathematical antics of our best theoretical physicists. Then again, knowing something is there is a long ways from knowing how to access, much less use it, the job of which lies with engineers. That said, there is still a considerable amount of evidence that we are technologically far more advanced and our space exploration activities much more extensive than we’ve been led to believe.

Of course, this is where the conspiracy side of this subject comes to bear. In many respects, the alleged truth is so far-fetched, it’s no wonder numerous people refuse to believe such things exist. However, the fact remains that the number of credible witnesses coupled with the number of key people who have gone public on such things, including those who have mysteriously disappeared or turned up dead of suspicious causes, speaks volumes.

The real question unbelievers must ask themselves is why would anyone lie about such matters, knowing it could put their life at stake?

As a science fiction author I was quite astounded by the fact that much of the technology in my novels already exists. If you’ve ever heard the rumor that some of Steven Spielberg’s movies such as “ET: The Extraterrestrial” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” were planned leaks, this book seems to confirm that, as well as various other movies. Brace yourself, but I got the impression that just about anything I thought was too far out to be true, actually exists. Whoa!

The sad part is why this suppression has occurred. As you can probably guess, it’s all about money. If some of these technologies came out, such as those that can provide free energy, to say nothing of anti-gravity devices, some industries which defend their financial interests with a heavy albeit deadly hand would be forced out of business, such as power companies, the petrochemical and automobile industries, and most likely pharmaceutical manufacturers as well.

It’s indeed sad to think that there are people so full of greed that they think nothing of polluting our planet and forcing the populace as a whole to a lower standard of living than would be possible if these marvels were revealed. The corruption at governmental and corporate levels that sustain this travesty is so deep that eliminating it is next to impossible. With all due respect, such upsets in these industries would definitely impact the economy. There are enough people out of work as it is, much less if these disappeared. It’s these very tentacles that keeps these industries alive, beyond sheer greed.

However, I must say that I have my suspicions regarding Elon Musk, who seems to be walking the interface between them. Ever wonder exactly who he is and where he gets the money for his endeavors? Hmmmm….

What Greer suggests, and has founded an organization to support such an action, is for all those who have witnessed these things, at whatever level, from simply seeing a UFO to building an ARV, to come forward. This has happened to a small degree in the past, where former government officials, mostly from Canada and the United Kingdom, have admitted to this cover-up. Greer is proposing something much larger and more pervasive, a massive movement by the people to object and resist this heinous deception.

Perhaps, one of the most incredible things Greer suggests is that extraterrestrials, in addition to being among us in numbers which we can’t even conceive, are on our side and want to help us rid our planet of this despicable situation. Clearly, off-world civilizations with the engineering knowledge to build ETVs could surely annihilate us if they chose to do so. In fact, their concern is that we will ultimately destroy ourselves.

It’s more than interesting that the Roswell incident, that brought this situation out and remains its cornerstone, occurred in that location because that is where the USA began conducting nuclear testing back in the 40s. Assuming those on other planets had been observing these self-destructive antics on Earth, it’s no wonder they showed up here to warn us in no uncertain terms to quit this insanity, back during the Cold War days between Russia and NATO.

This begs the question of where are these concerned ETs now, and why aren’t they giving similar lectures and warnings to North Korea and the various other insane nations who are saber-rattling at this time? Or have they abandoned us to determine our own fate?

This book is but the tip of the iceberg of what is going on out there behind the scenes, entirely off the radar of the average person. We will be allowed to destroy ourselves and our planet if we so choose, but what kind of idiots would do such a thing? The answer to that lies on the news, fake and otherwise, where humanity has certainly demonstrated what a bloodthirsty and ruthless lot some of us are.

Whether or not you believe in UFOs, extraterrestrials, other dimensions or whatever, this book contains a boat load of information people need to have. Even if you read it with a grain of salt the size of Gibralter, and believe only a small fraction of what it contains, there is plenty to be concerned about. The future of the human race could easily depend on resistance from everyday individuals who have had enough. If nothing else, again ask yourself why anyone would lie about such things? Attention, fame, or fortune are out of the question.

There’s a lot of disturbing information in this book. It has all sorts of implications, some of which will definitely bother those with strong religious convictions. All I can say to that is that God works in mysterious ways. Maybe the beings reported as angels in holy writ were indeed extraterrestrials. When you think about it, God, by definition, is an extraterrestrial. At this point in time, considering the condition of life on Earth coupled with prophecy, maybe it’s time to pay attention. Maybe some of what Greer talks about has a bearing you wouldn’t expect from a secular source.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and this book definitely treads in that territory. Don’t miss it. If you do, you might miss your ride off this demented planet when the time comes to get out of Dodge. For the depth of research and sometimes unfathomable content I haven’t seen previously, I give it 5-stars.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here. Yes, the truth IS out there.