Books

Where are our Sages?

Being a “mentor” or “life coach” appears to be a popular career choice. I don’t know if it’s a generational trend, or a sign of some underlying needs.  I tend to think it’s the latter, but I do know that our fiction is full of these mentors, or Sages, that seek to pass on their guidance. The role of the Sage is not a new one, it’s part of the ancient tradition of one generation passing on to the next their wisdom.

Perhaps a lack of that transfer of wisdom is the cause of the growing trends. Fiction, though, has been reminding us all along of this lost responsibility of each generation. John Eldredge, on writing on the stages of a man’s life in The Way of the Wild Heart, explores the Sages of fiction:

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The Untamed Find Their Story

Jason Clark writes in his book Surrendered and Untamed:

When I was a kid it was possible for boys to kill evil giants and men to walk on water. When I was a kid it was possible to live inside a whale, a raging fire and a lions den. When I was a kid it was possible to pray for the sick and watch them recover. Shadows could heal, and the dead could be raised. When I was a kid I believed that with God, all impossibilities were possible.

But now Clark, as an adult, finds that this wonder has been turned into “tamed three point sermons.”

Even if one isn’t theistic in their beliefs, most will understand what Clark is writing about. No, it’s more than understanding. They feel it burning within them. We grow up searching for purpose, our story. Grand plans are made and lofty thoughts pondered. Nothing is impossible. The wonder of life and creation is still with us. Then, one day, we wake up in a land that looks nothing like what we imagined.

Reality, some people call it. Life.

These are excuses. And not very good ones.

Sometimes it takes time to find our part in the Story. Everything conspires to put a stop to uncovering what we were meant to be or do. Forces in the world want us to give up, throw in the towel. Every once in awhile there are glimpses of where we should be.

Memories. The sunset. The stars. Children who have yet been trained to give up, forget and not see.

Here’s to never giving up. Being revolutionary. Standing up to the status quo and those who say you cannot or should not, or won’t ever be.

Find your story. Don’t stop until you do. Not ever.

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Imagination and the Doorway to Reality

Writers often draw us into the worlds and characters that burst from their imaginations.  These “made-up” worlds are reason for some to shun this or that genre because they are imaginary. The truth, though, is that authors aren’t writing imaginary stories. Alister McGrath, in his biography of C.S. Lewis, explains:

Narnia is imaginative, not an imaginary, world. Lewis was quite clear that a distinction had to be drawn between those ideas. The “imaginary” is something that has been falsely imagined, having no counterpart in reality. Lewis regards such an invented reality as opening the way to delusion. The “imaginative” is something produced by the human mind as it tries to respond to something greater than itself…to “communicate more Reality to us.”

Lewis would use his imaginative world to explore serious themes like “origins of evil, nature of faith, and the human desire for God” — not unlike most writers have grand ideas of deep thoughts woven through their narrative.

Quite often their starting point to accomplish this is surprisingly very simple. Narnia started with “an image of a faun carrying an umbrella and parcels through a snowy wood.” Tolkien scrawled on a paper, “In a hole in he ground there lived a hobbit,” after the idea popped in his head and he “did not know why” it had. From these humble origins, grand tales came to life.

What lives in your imagination, ready to inspire, entertain and challenge?

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Listen, then Read

Here’s our first installment of Podcast Roundup with selection of fascinating  interviews with authors that will teach you and most likely have you ordering their books:

Daniel Mendelsohn, author of, An Odyssey: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, tells us how ancient works like the The Odyssey “…always somehow feel present and real…[the] kinds of experiences they describe, are the kinds of experiences, in many cases, we have.” In particular, he looks at the father-son relationship in The Odyssey and how we look at — and if we really know — our parents and family members.

Tristan Gooley is the author of several books on the lost art of reading nature. Listen how you can can be more observant in our world, and relearn the skills that will allow you to travel and explore anywhere — no gadgets required.

Self-defense expert Tim Larkin, author of When Violence is the Answer, wants us to know that “sometimes violence is the answer, and that when it is, it’s the only answer.” Unfortunately, not everyone knows the difference between “antisocial aggression and asocial violence” and how to respond to each. A very important message for our time.

 

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Where are the Smartest Kids in the World?

We all agree education is important; that our kids deserve the best learning; that our teachers should be the best at their job — then we have this tendency to walk away and let our government take the reigns. They roll out one “education program” after another — effectively experimenting on our children every few years — while spending loads of money.

Then we all get angry, argue and complain when we find out our children aren’t measuring up to other nations or aren’t prepared for life.

Amanda Ripley takes on this “Twenty-first Century mystery” of why, in a country that spends untold millions on education, still falls short.  In her essential book, The Smartest Kids in the World (and how they got that way), she dives deep into American education as she follows three students as they attend schools overseas. What is one major difference Ripley finds?

Teaching is treated as a top-tier profession. Teachers are educated and expected to perform accordingly.
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When Fiction Becomes Fact

In Among the Shadows, many of the characters have learned to use the energy that burns inside them — for good and evil. There are those that can see into the minds of others, cross the barriers raised by time or manipulate matter. Fiction right?

Or is it?

Annie Jacobsen‘s latest book in her fascinating series on Cold War black projects, Phenomena, will make all but the most hardened skeptics think twice.

For decades, the U.S. Government spent millions in researching the practicality of using people who could remote view distant places or influence people with their mind. Note that I didn’t write that they were just determining if these things could be done — they employed people who proved they had unique abilities.

This isn’t a new revelation, but Jacobsen has interviewed dozens of those involved and uncovered newly declassified documentation. Thousands of papers still remain off-limits, so she’s probably only scratched the surface here. However, as with her previous books — Area 51, Operation Paperclip, and The Pentagon’s Brain — Jacobsen has weaved together another masterful narrative history of black box projects. These topics are often the favorite target of conspiratorial and fringe researchers, but this is the real deal.

Or, as a skeptic might ask, is this some elaborate psyop perpetuated by the government against its enemies? If it is, this is the most convincing one ever and the skeptics haven’t shown they are correct.

It’s easy to wave one’s hands and say, “It’s all a fraud!” Annie Jacobsen has laid out the detailed case of why this is all something very different from fakery. She isn’t taking sides, but is surprised at what she finds, and writes, “There is no question that man is extraordinary, each of us a phenomenon.”

Indeed, fact may very well trump fiction.

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Are You Ready to Choose a Side?

The War Among the Shadows has begun. Are you ready to enter the fray? Will you stand with the Watchers against the Darkness? Six will face the creatures lost to myth and legend. Will you join them? Among the Shadows Kindle edition is now $2.99 for a limited time. Step through the veil before it’s too late!

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Find Life Before it’s Lost Forever

This extended excerpt from Among the Shadows is from a chapter that serves as an interlude in the story. In the midst of the dire situation Milena found herself in, this was an opportunity to see more into her mind and her husband’s, and explore deeper themes relevant to all of us. Enjoy…

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When Fiction Warns Us

A human darkness with a vast appetite for chaos and violence.

That is what simmers in the background, waiting to be released, which is exactly what unfolds in Steven Konkoly‘s The Perseid Collapse and William R. Forstchen‘s One Second After.

Unfortunately, what they write about in fiction is all too real a threat.

A Dangerous Situation

An aged power grid is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks or natural or man-made EMPs. This really isn’t a secret to the powers that be. In fact, if they truly cared about people, they would have taken measures to shore up the grid years ago. They’re too busy figuring out how to buy votes and bail out their buddies. If this is all new to you, check out the latest threats to the grid here. A decade or so ago, the United States finally began deploying a missile defense system to protect us from human causes. Again, politics continues to threaten expansion and upgrades.

National Geographic aired the docudrama American Blackout which showed what could happen with the grid down for a few days. What would happen if this lasted weeks or months? Many people think (or hope) disasters like these won’t or cannot happen. Ask people who have lived through hurricanes and tornadoes or earthquakes. Fiction can remind us what is really important in life. It tells us action is better than hoping for the best.

Should protecting the country from nuclear holocaust or complete collapse really be a political issue? I’m thinking most would rather not be vaporized or watch their cities self-destruct. Sooner or later, disasters will come, whether natural or man-made.

Ignoring this is beneath human intelligence. Let’s do something about it.

EMP Missile Defense

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Join the War, Choose a Side on Facebook

I have relaunched my author page on Facebook. Originally, I had it set up under my book series name, but it makes more sense to be under my name as the series grows (which is how most authors set up their author FB — today’s free social media tip). You’ll see some shared posts from this site, but new content as well. More coming soon, so be sure to join the War Among the Shadows on Facebook right now. Are you ready?

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