Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Space Pollution: Orbital Debris

Space debris populations seen from outside geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Note the two primary debris fields, the ring of objects in GEO, and the cloud of objects in low earth orbit (LEO).
by Donald Jacques

First Published in print in ConNotations NewsZine, Issue #5 - October/November 2011

Prior to 1961 there were less than 60 manmade objects in orbit around the earth. Today there are several million floating around up there creating increasing issues for space science, astronomy, and future human missions to space.

In the same way that the collection of consumer waste and overflowing sanitation systems create threats to our health here in our cities, so the increasing numbers of dead, dying, and discarded satellites is increasing the risk to both manned and unmanned space vehicles placed in orbit to tell us more about our world. Just as human wastes play hosts to bacteria and viruses that can sicken and cause death in our cities, so too our man-made objects are colliding and breaking apart into smaller and smaller pieces that represent real threats to not only spacefaring vehicles, but on occasion fall out of the sky and injure people below.

NASA, among others continues (after 50 years) to study the problem using what else? more sattellites. But here is a curious thought; NASA tells us in this page that the LDEF was launched in '82 and retrieved in '90, yet here, NASA LDEF Data Page they say it was launched in '84 and retrieved in '90. Granted, the difference is only two years, but if they cannot keep track of the true data from one sattellite, how can we expect them to keep track of thousands of active satellites, hundres of dead ones, and the millions of pieces of deady bolts, tools, and other bits of metal threatening any new project for space.

So, ... what now? I can imagine a host of interesting sci-fi stories of the future challenges to space travel, in fact, I can remember reading at least one or two in my life already. While intriguing, we must become far more aware of our environment - the plastics we buy that do not degrade, the food wrappers, and coffee cups, and cigarettes we indiscriminately discard out of the car window must each be re-thought. We must begin holding our legislators to task for self-serving decisions that ultimately threaten all of us from both our landfills and "orbital space-dump".

Clearly NASA can no longer keep its information accurate, much less mitigate space junk, any more than a politician can tell the truth. But is it realistic to cease all future launches until the mess is cleaned up? I am not sure, but I DO believe that the time for us as individuals to reach out and pay attention to what our bureaucracies are up to, and make them accountable for the increasing number of "messes" they keep leaving us, the public, to deal with. The Whipple shield represents a single effort to protect satellites in space from this junk, but I was unable to find any references to any other tool in use. NASA is true to it's form of selecting one track and "sticking to it" no matter how limited it's application is.

I do believe that private space companies hold the cards in the opportunity they represent. It is private companies that represent (at least for now) the energy, vision, and enthusiasm we need to tackle the challenges that face us. SpaceX, Bigelow, Virgin are just a few who are exploring different ideas to further our push into space.

And just to offer my own idea ... How about a gas-charged parasol of mylar on a mile-long cable that acts like an anchor for satellites that have outlived their usefulness. Align the satellite so the parasol points to earth, fire the charge, sending the parasol deeper into the atmosphere like an air-anchor or air-brake. It could be built from inexpensive materials, mass-produced for satellites. Hey, its an idea, clearly something NASA is short of these days.

Donald Jacques is currently the Executive VP, and a past president of the Moon Society of Phoenix, and spearheading multiple projects exploring technologies for the colonization of space. Donald is owner of Wiz Kidz, International, a web design and hosting company, Weavers of Dreams dot com, an author tools website, serves as President of Az Publishing Services, a Book Publishing firm, and is the author of two current novels.


 Sponsored by Wiz Kidz International and ConNotations NewsZine.



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting some inSyte with Greg Kiser


Book Title – inSyte
by Greg Kiser
Genre – Paranormal Thriller
Format – Print & E-book
Released – May 13, 2011


inSyte is a paranormal-thriller that according to Perry Crowe of Kirkus Reviews, is equal parts Crichton, Clancy and King.

It’s Tampa Bay and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics. More than mere information – Mitch can see into men’s hearts and be all places at all times (easy in an ‘always on’ surveillance society with fourth generation tweets). Sort of like God.

If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.

But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.

At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.

Excerpts:

He watched a flock of seagulls move across the sky. A dirty gull in the lead carried some morsel in its mouth that the others wanted. They swooped and turned and pecked at his tail until he dropped the scrap. It landed in the water and was devoured from below by a school of pinfish.

He smiled at the silly selfish birds. They were like people in their behavior and conviction that the entire group should starve before merely the strong should eat. Responsibility therefore fell upon the truly bold to take what they deserved. Any real mother and, indeed, true creator would be pleased to observe the strongest of her children satisfying their appetites.

Predation, after all, is not violence. Merely the act of survival. To filter sick, weak animals from the herd is a vital part of any healthy ecosystem.


Mitch felt an impact like a stick of dynamite going off in his shirt pocket followed by somebody swinging a sledge hammer into his back. He reeled sideways and dropped. Adrenaline flooded his body like a heavy drug as his central nervous system fired out of control and the outside world was transformed into a macabre slow motion picture show. A strobe light flicked off and on like someone beating a drum in his brain.

Then the pain stopped and he lost his eyesight and his world went perfectly quiet.

The world didn’t go black, more like a white out on a winter mountain. He felt like he was sliding down a soft hill, falling to whatever awaited him at the bottom.

He saw a shape and as he began to pick up speed he knew someone somehow shared this odd journey. He was conscious of his heart the way you might be conscious of your hand if someone held it. He knew who was with him.

“I’m coming to be with you,” he said.

“Son, I’m not ready for you to come home just yet,” his mother said with a translucent smile.

“Not sure I have much choice, here,” he said.

“You always have a choice. About everything. It’s up to you if you’d rather live or die.”

“How is it up---“

“And it’s not just you, now, is it? Goodness, no. You’ve got your friend out there who can’t make it through this without you.”

It was important for him to get a point across. He knew this was fleeting and he fought an overwhelming sense of urgency. “Mom, I still have so much to learn. But I’ve learned a lot, haven’t I?”

His mother’s spirit smiled and her aged eyes looked weary. “Not enough, I’m afraid. You don’t belong here. Go back and help your friend and you’ll see. God has special plans for you, son. Special plans. You will learn so much.”
He thought about trying to slow his descent. But the temptation to close his eyes and accept the fall was overwhelming.

Why am I here?” Mitch asked again.

“You are a most impressive young man. Of course, they told me you have this ability. Somehow you know things you are not supposed to know, yes?” Cheslov’s eyes widened in reproach. He reached beneath his coat and removed a long cigar. Snipped the tip using a guillotine cutter that looked like a worn, hungry mouth. Lit it up with a battered, gunmetal Zippo. Leaned back in his chair, took a deep drag. Exhaled a thick, hot, blue stream of smoke.

“Which is why you find yourself here. In my home.” Cheslov’s face saddened. Then he continued, as if explaining to a child. “I am sorry, young friend, to have to say this to you. That this is not a place a man wishes to find himself. This is not a room from which people live to see a new day. No, my friend, this is a room in which people take their last breath, see their last light. Hear their last sound.”

Mitch remembered a long ago camping trip.

Cheslov smiled warmly down at him. “Why were you meeting the Deter bitch?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov raised the cigar cutter to his face and a raven eye peered through the opening. He smiled as he slid the blades together. “What was your intention?”

Mitch started the process of extracting himself mentally from his surroundings. He ran number patterns through his head to take his mind beyond the pain and the possibility of what the lunatic might do next. There was only one place this was heading.

Of course he wouldn’t answer any of the lunatic’s questions. The best strategy to resisting interrogation is to simply not provide any information at all.

“Where is the file?”

Once you start to give up information, even about minor unrelated topics, it’s hard to stop and easier to give up important information. The answers to the current questions didn’t matter in the least. The only thing that mattered was to protect Kate. At any cost.

“With whom have you shared it?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov walked to the head of the bed and slowly examined Mitch’s fingertips.

“You wear your micro on your index finger. Painted with green resin. Quite the fashion statement. To whom have you sent the file?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov grasped Mitch’s left hand and held it the way a man might hold the hand of his son. Mitch felt a softness to the giant’s touch.

“Why do you not answer? Are you afraid?” Cheslov gazed down at him with a not unkind expression. The giant’s thick, dark eyebrows rose as if trying to coax Mitch to speak.

Mitch said nothing.

“I’ll ask you once more,” Cheslov said and a note of sadness crept into his voice. The hesitant father who does not wish to punish but is left no choice. “You have nothing to gain by continuing your silence. And quite a bit to lose. Yes, quite a bit.”

Mitch stared at the overhead ceiling. Focused on the intricate wood carving.

Cheslov spread Mitch’s fingers.

Mitch said nothing.

“Tell me. With whom have you shared the file?”

Mitch said nothing.

“Enough of these games,” Cheslov said.


Email – gkiser@cisco.com

Purchase Links:
 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Western Romance of Gallaher's Pride by MK McClintock


Title – Gallaher's Pride
by MK McClintock
Genre – Western Romance
Format – Print & Ebook

Brenna Cameron travels from Scotland after losing someone she loves in search of family she didn't know existed. Alone now in the world, Brenna makes an arduous journey, following the trail of discovery to Briarwood, Montana. Here she meets Ethan Gallagher, and the rest of the Gallagher clan. Only with their help is she able to discover lost family, heal old wounds and embark on a treacherous confrontation with a man who destroyed her family. As head of the Gallagher clan, Ethan has more than enough to occupy his thoughts and time-he didn't need the complication of Brenna Cameron and he certainly didn't need the trouble that came with her. Ethan takes on the unwanted duty of self-appointed protector to the headstrong Scot, only to discover there is such a thing as second chances and more to life than revenge.



GUEST BLOG SPOTLIGHT ARTICLE:
A Brief History of Conrad Kohrs: Montana’s Great Cattle Baron
By: MK McClintock, author of Gallagher’s Pride


In a land of soaring mountain peaks, lush forests and abundant wildlife, prevails a history rich in trappers, miners and nomads, each with their own remarkable story. The history of cattle ranching in Montana is not as old as others, but it was a beginning for what would become a long-lasting way of life for many people choosing to carve out a life in this rugged land. What was once home to millions of bison and the native peoples, became a land taken over by ranchers and farmers.

Between 1862 and 1864, gold was discovered in several places in southwest Montana. Prospectors came in droves and mining camps sprung up everywhere. Soon, there were thousands of miners to feed. Cattle ranches sprouted up all over western Montana to supply mining camps with meat. Most of the cattle were trailed from Oregon…Conrad Kohrs started as a butcher boy in a camp called Grasshopper Creek. When the rush to Alder Gulch began, he followed and established a beef market there. Kohrs eventually controlled and supplied the beef for nearly every gold camp. In 1866 he purchased the Grant ranch near Deer Lodge. He became the largest cattle owner in Montana and the entire Northwest.2

A native of Denmark, Conrad Kohrs emigrated at the age of 151 and eventually headed west in hopes of striking it rich like so many eager young men. With only some success in Canada and California, he joined the movement into western Montana and Grasshopper Creek where he realized the opportunities for wealth were greater by feeding the miners than competing with them. It was then he established a butcher shop and traveled around the territory searching for prime beef. He had several brushes with the highwaymen who plagued the isolated roads of Montana. Determined to stop these murderous bandits, Kohrs joined a group of Virginia City vigilantes, and helped track down and hang the outlaws. By 1864, robberies in the territory had plummeted.3 Conrad was in need land to house his growing cattle herd and purchased the Grant ranch near Deer Lodge, Montana in 1866 for  $19,200 for the land, herds, buildings and equipment.4
The railroad into Montana, still a territory at this time, completed in the early 1880’s which made it possible to market the cattle and the roundups began, but not without serious challenges. Because of the challenges, Stockgrowers Associations were formed, the first in 1881. They discussed the Indians, predators, diseases, legislation and outlaws. The Indians were starving and often stole cattle; the white man had killed all their bison. Wolves were destructive predators, hunting in packs and killing cows, calves and many sheep and lambs.2
Conrad Kohrs, one of Montana's first cattle barons and greatest pioneers, passed away in Helena, Montana in 1920.

Quick Facts:

·         At age 15, he went to sea and over the next 17 years worked as a seaman, a butcher, a sausage salesman, ran log rafts down the Mississippi, and worked in a distillery.
·         Born in Holstein, he became a U.S. citizen in 1857.5
·         Sold by Kohrs grandson, The Grant-Kohrs Ranch was designated as a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960 to commemorate the Western cattle industry. The current park, created in 1972, is maintained as a working ranch by the National Park Service.4
·          The 1,500-acre park/ranch includes 90 structures, 26,000 artifacts and 100 shelved feet of business records kept since Kohrs acquired the ranch in 1866.4
·         Part of the original Grant-Kohrs Ranch, the land existing Rock Creek Cattle Company sits on was more specifically part of the Kohrs and Bielenberg Land and Livestock Company, which was sold in three large parcels after the dissolution of the Grant-Kohrs cattle empire.6
·         In 2008, Conrad Kohrs was deservedly inducted into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame.
·         Author Patricia Nell Warren is a descendent of Conrad Kohrs and lived on The Grant-Kohrs Ranch.
I can’t possibly do justice to the long history of cattle ranching in Montana or Conrad Kohrs extensive contributions to it, so I do hope that readers will take the time to learn more on their own.
Sources:
1 (http://www.nps.gov/grko/historyculture/conradkohrs.htm
2 (http://montanakids.com/agriculture_and_business/farm_animals/History_of_Cattle.htm)
3 (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/montana-rancher-conrad-kohrs-dies)
4 (http://www.montanacowboyfame.com/151001/180199.html)
5 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Kohrs)
6 (http://www.rockcreekcattlecompany.com/About_Us/History)


AUTHOR BIO:

MK McClintock was born on the west coast, but after less than eight years she left with her family to the Rocky Mountains. After more adventures around the country, business college and culinary school, McClintock found a place to call home in Montana.

"I've always loved books and spent more hours reading through school than any other activity. I wrote stories when I was younger and even tried my hand at a novel. It wasn't very good and I shelved the idea for years." She pulled the ideas off the shelf and began working on her first novel, Gallagher's Pride, the first in an historical series about a ranching family in Montana.

Over the years McClintock traveled the country and visited magnificent Scotland. She dreams of a time when life was simpler, the land rougher and the journey more rewarding. With her heart deeply rooted in the past and her mind always on adventure, McClintock still calls Montana home. McClintock is also the author of Alaina Claiborne, the first of her British Agent novels. She is currently at work on her next book.’


Purchase Links -



Excerpt One

It seemed almost impossible that Brenna was standing in the middle of a dusty street on a brisk autumn morning thousands of miles from everything she had ever known and treasured. Almost impossible, but not quite for there she was in the town of Briarwood in Montana Territory. It had been an arduous journey at best. The seemingly never ending crossing of the Atlantic, the miles of train tracks, the stink of unwashed people the farther from civilization she got, and the rattling stage ride. But this is where her grandfather lived. Or so the telegrams she received months past had indicated.
It had not taken long to discover the whereabouts of Nathan Hunter. Once Brenna had arrived on Boston’s soil, a place so foreign to the country existence she loved, she had sent telegrams to the postmarked address in Texas from where Nathan Hunter’s last letter was sent. A reply arrived less than two days later informing her that Nathan Hunter had left Texas. He had moved to the Montana Territory some years back. A dozen more telegrams and the services of a costly private detective later, and she had found him.
If Brenna’s mind had not been filled with questions and worries, perhaps she would have better appreciated the grandeur of the place she now stood. Mountains the likes of which she had never seen jutted upward from the earth. So different from home, for those in Scotland were mere hills compared to the towering peaks surrounding the valley, which seemed to stretch farther than she could see. The fresh pine scented air reminded her of the long walks she used to take with her father back home, when she would pick bundles of heather for her mother. Blue skies so vast there was no end to the journey an eagle could take. Wildness and beauty unlike anything she’d ever imagined surrounded her.

Excerpt Two

Are you out of your mind?” The words tumbled from her mouth before she could stop them, but he had gone and truly shocked her.
“No actually I’m not. It’s your safety I’m thinking of,” replied Ethan, more to himself than her. He loosened the hold on her arm.
Brenna let out an exasperated sigh, something her mother had always tried to discourage, and said, “I do appreciate your kindness, Mr. Gallagher...”
“Ethan.”
“…Ethan, but I’m certainly not the type of woman to just go home with two men whether I know them or not. It would be highly inappropriate, not to mention stupid.”
“And you’re not stupid.”
“Not as far as I can tell,” Brenna said with fire in her eyes. She rarely ever took offense at what people said, too comfortable in her own skin to care, but this man riled her and he did it effortlessly.


Excerpt Three

He was tired of waiting. Six days now he’d been camped out here and had nearly been caught by one of the Hawk’s Peak hands. He would’ve given up and ridden back to the ranch if he didn’t think his boss would take a whip to him. Why he was elected as watch when his boss found out the pair left the ranch was beyond him. He waited and waited until finally he saw two riders coming through the trees west of his hiding spot. He mounted his horse and rode just a little closer. The rider waited until he was sure it was the Scot who rode in with Gallagher. Once satisfied, he raced his mount up and over the crest and rode hard back to the ranch.
His boss was waiting for him on his front porch smoking a clean cheroot.
“Did you see them?”
“Oh yes, they just rode in, both of them.”
“From which direction?”
“North.”
“The only place north of here is Bright River.”
“Yes sir, unless you go way north and that would’ve taken them a whole lot longer.”
“Well done Bradford,” the older man said tossing the man a small pouch. The gold jingled bringing a smile to the rider’s lips. Those cold nights hadn’t been a waste after all.
“Why don’t you go and find one of the girls. Have a good night, you’ve earned it.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Oh Bradford, just be ready to ride out again.”
The rider nodded and headed to the bunk house. His thoughts turned to the pretty Scot staying over at the Gallagher’s spread. He licked his lips thinking how much fun she was going to be. He pulled the skinny pale girl with the red stringy hair out of her bunk and dragged her to his own. She was a poor substitute, but she’d have to do until he could get on top of Gallagher’s whore.

Excerpt Four

“Where did you sleep last night?”
“On my bedroll.”
Oh God, why was she not surprised he had said that.
“But there are only two and I had them both when I woke up.”
He looked at her and nodded, “True.”
She really wanted to throw that pot of coffee at him.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Which Type of Sci-fi Reader Are You?

First Published in ConNotations NewsZine, Issue #5 - October-November 2011


By Anna Questerly

Many bookstores still shelve sci-fi and fantasy together, a practice that drives most Sci-Fi readers to fume and mutter while they scan the shelves for something new to read. Who can seriously believe that the works of Tolkien and Asimov have anything in common? At Dog-Eared Pages, one of the first things I did was to separate them. However, after three years of helping readers find new authors, I believe the science fiction section could be divided even further.

I could be wrong, although I rarely am, (just don't ask my husband). There have been no studies or experiments to back up my theory, but I believe there are different reasons why people read the genre. While all sci-fi lovers share the common expectation that the advancements and achievements in technology are paramount and the science behind them better be accurate and believable, I think there are two distinct types of readers. I call them trekkies and warriors. I have successfully used this method, for the past two years, to help guide my customers in their search to find new books to enjoy.

Trekkies, of course, enjoy reading the series Star Trek. They read to learn the philosophy of the future. I have found they also savor Asimov's Foundation series, Herbert's Dune series, Orwell's 1984 and Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. It's not so much about the advanced technology, but the more subtle and profound thoughts these books force their readers to tackle. Trekkies love to read about the possible futures of mankind, both good and bad. They relish the politics, belief systems and schools of thought about the future. Trekkies often ponder and anguish over which direction we are headed for now.

Warriors, are a completely different breed. They devour the Star Wars series. They're usually drawn to authors such as Cherryh, Bova, Card and Clarke. Warriors read for adventure. Warriors want their battles complete with lasers swords swashing and titanium helms buckling. They root for the good guys and see themselves in the midst of the action. Above all, they crave a great story.

Are you a Trekkie or a Warrior? Or do you think there should be a third category? Do you believe my theory lacks substance and should be shoved into the theory disposal unit? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. I'm still considering whether to break my sci-fi section down into these two categories, and would love to hear from some hard-core sci-fi readers.

Anna Questerly, author of The Minstrel's Tale and manager of Dog-Eared Pages bookstore in North Phoenix. Anna can be reached at www.annaquesterly.com or www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com or through Facebook as either Anna Questerly or Dog-Eared Pages.

Melanie Tighe
Dog-Eared Pages, LLC
(602) 283-5423
16428 N. 32nd Street, Suite 111
Phoenix, AZ 85032
www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com

Saturday, February 25, 2012

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, artist unknown
Article first printed in ConNotations NewsZine - 
Volume 5 - October/November 2011

Written by Don Wiest


Contrary to popularly held beliefs, the account of the 4 Horsemen, visualized and subsequently penned by John the Beloved while exiled on the Isle of Patmos, is not a prediction concerning key political figures, natural disasters, super plagues, aliens from space, or catastrophic events raining down upon the earth from the heavens. John himself tells us that he had no idea of the purpose or meaning behind these mysterious yet ominously foreboding visions but he faithfully recorded what he saw.

It is important to note that this particular vision lies within the book of Revelation (Chapter 6: 1-8) which means it was specifically intended for people witnessing last day prophesies scheduled to occur prior to the return of Christ. It is also necessary to point out that the practicalities of presenting a prophetic vision of events, set to occur almost 2,000 years after the death of its author, was a considerable challenge for the heavenly messenger as well! This could only be accomplished through the use of symbolic images which might be gibberish to someone in John's time but completely understandable and meaningful to modern day readers. Christ employed this strategy very effectively in His teachings when He conveyed complex ideas through the use of timeless symbolic parables.

This particular apocalyptic vision was actually intended to herald the emergence of major geo-political institutions. Human governments have always been necessary as a means of avoiding anarchy and civil breakdown which undoubtedly occurs in their absence. Unfortunately most human governmental systems are created and deployed by its ruling class, who inevitably manage to live above the law while effectively subjugating, persecuting, or decimating its populations. If this statement seems harsh then consider the staggering death tolls represented by some of these apocalyptic institutions. It is conceivable that the true villains of humanity may not be plagues, wars, or natural disasters, but instead human governments.

The description of each horse along with its rider is significant therefore they are presented below in the order of their appearance. Each symbolic horse and rider can be categorized within two types of governing institutions. The first and last horses represent religious governments. By this we mean their primary method of control is through religious-based political intrigues to subjugate its masses. For example, "do as we say or we will punish you with excommunication, starvation, military invasion, selective execution"...and the list goes on. The second and third horses represent governments which are based on economic principles. A good analogy for these governments would be "eat what you kill," or the polar opposite which is, "we will confiscate what you kill and redistribute it as we (the government) decide".

The first vision to appear was a white horse bearing a rider with an enormous crown and holding an empty bow. We are also told that this horse rode out to win many battles and gain the victory. This was the first appearance of a major religious-based government and it was called Catholicism. In its hay-day the Catholic Church represented a very powerful ruling force throughout the known world. Its political strength was not gained through provincial commerce or the maintenance of its own standing army but through the control of secular rulers who could be threatened with excommunication, economic sanctions, or invasion by other allied countries, if they didn't obey. The political intrigues initiated by the Holy Roman Empire, against secular kingdoms, was extremely effective, empowering them to instigate numerous battles where victory for the church was assured. The fact that the church used other countries to fight their wars is represented by the empty bow. The extensive use of white within the papal diocese leaves no doubt as to the symbolism of the white horse, and the large oversized shape of the distinctive Papal Tiara explains the enormous crown worn by the symbolic rider.

Papal Tiara, Clement VII
This religious monopoly began to lose its stranglehold in 1517 when Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church over the issue of indulgences, plus other lesser offenses. The next major blow occurred approximately thirteen years later when Henry VIII declared that his right as a God ordained English king trumped the coronation of a foreign vicar located in Italy. Henry then proceeded to nationalize monasteries throughout England, which incidentally created an enormous windfall profit at the expense of the Vatican! The power of the Holy Roman Empire was finally broken by Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 1800's when he conquered the European provinces, removed incumbent cardinals, and instituted secular dictatorships.

The second vision to appear was a red horse bearing a rider holding a large broadsword and the authority to remove peace from the earth. This major government is based on economic principles and is embodied in the Utopian doctrines of Communism. Few will argue the fact that the national color representing Russia is, without a doubt red, thus validating the red color of the apocalyptic horse. The fact that the rider carries an oversized sword is also an indicator of its militant source of power. Since its revolutionary inception in the 1900's, the advance of Communism has historically been recognized by its ability to destabilize all other forms of government and thus replace peace and tranquility with conflict. The reason for this is that Communism successfully incites the masses against the ruling aristocracy via the doctrine of revolution. This, in turn, usually results in a civil bloodbath. Even in its own country, the Russian Revolution was responsible for the deaths of countless millions. The infamous Stalin purge alone murdered 35 to 50 million of its citizens, depending on which historians one chooses to read. No one really knows how many millions perished during the Chinese Civil War as a result of military clashes between Communist and Nationalist parties. At present the doctrine of Communism appears to be waning in popularity since many nations now recognize that socialistic ideals encourage laziness because the working class invariably lacks the incentive to work harder when the reward is an equally distributed portion.

The third symbol to appear was a black horse with a rider holding a pair of balance scales and chanting "a loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley for a day's pay. And don't waste the oil or wine." The balance scales, along with the chant of a proportional exchange rate, instantly gives our horse and rider away as representing the institution of Capitalism. Though the color black has historically represented death, in this example that is not the case. Economically speaking, the most lucrative shopping day of the year in the United States is the day after Thanksgiving, the day we universally refer to as "Black Friday". It is named as such because it represents the expectation of every merchandiser to balance their ledgers in the black instead of the red. The "Don't Tread on Me" black snake on a yellow background or orange snake on a black background, were the dominant battle flags used during the American Revolution.

The Declaration of Independence was a unique document that, for the first time in history, placed the power of the individual first, the power of the state second, and the power of the nation last. This revolutionary concept transformed an insignificant collection of 13 colonies into the richest and most powerful governmental institution on earth. On the other hand government intrusion through prohibitive taxation, over-regulation, and excessive entitlement programs, is an anathema to the principles of Capitalism. If allowed to flourish, it will quickly destroy this form of government.

Artist, Durer - Revelation 4 Riders
The fourth and last symbol is a pale horse bearing a hate-filled rider wielding a sword. This religious government is the last institution to rise to power and is identified as the institution of Islam. It is important to note that the word pale is actually a mistranslation which appears in most Bibles today. It was originally translated from the Greek word chloros, which literally means green. This was an unfortunate error, for if we understand that the symbolic horse was green then we can immediately identify Islam as this religious government since that is the dominant color used in the majority of its national symbols and flags. We also know this rider is filled with rage and hate because the text literally states that "Death was the name of its rider and hell followed after him." More importantly, we learn that this religious government would be given authority over twenty-five percent of the world's population to kill with the sword, famine, disease and/or by wild beasts.

Today Islamic doctrine along with its form of religious government is the fastest growing institution in the world with over 1.5 billion souls in attendance (which incidentally is approaching one quarter of the earth's population). There is no doubt that once Islam's fanatical rulers gain control over a population they routinely instigate its slaughter by starvation or by the sword if the religion of Islam is refused by its victims. If the reader doubts this then observe the current on-going destabilization efforts conducted in many African countries where an Islam-based government has infiltrated! It is by far the most ruthless and oppressive form of government ever conceived by man. It is so devastating that it is prophesied to herald the advent of global catastrophes and the subsequent appearance of the antichrist along with the final wars of annihilation. While it has not yet achieved its stated goal of taking over the world and dispatching the last infidel, it continues to use relentless subversion and terrorism in an all-out effort to achieve its mandated mission.

What all this means is that we are left with choices. If we are a Humanist, we must believe that man carries within himself the immutable hope for a future which embodies the gradual improvement of human-kind through knowledge, spirituality, technology, and social enlightenment. We must embrace the expectation that as a species we can eventually overcome this specter of corruption which seems to creep in and remind us of our human failings...yet despite these failings, we remain determined to strive towards a more peaceful, considerate, and loving world.

If we are a Believer we must accept that imperfect man, if left to his own devices, is decidedly incapable of sustaining a perfect government. We must also accept that even when humans manage to envision a perfect government, the seeds for its eventual corruption and downfall will invariably rest with evil men who will always empower themselves at the expense of others. The unshakeable hope of a Believer is the Biblical promise that human governments will end when King Jesus returns and establishes the Millennial Government...a perfect government ruled by a perfect Creator and intended for recreated humans who are made perfect through the elimination of evil.

By Don Wiest, author of The Expendable Pawn
Don is an enthusiastic student of history and archeology, especially as it relates to the Bible. As well as writing a book, he has directed and produced a number of multi-media presentations and has been the featured guest speaker at numerous churches, symposiums, and public functions.




This article brought to you by ConNotations NewsZine, Az Publishing Services, LLC and Mousetrap Publications, LLC. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This book has been SPELL CHECKED with C.G. Powell

Spell Checked 
by C.G. Powell
 
Genre:
Paranormal Romance

Broken relationships were a constant in Mae’s life, causing her to swear off men forever. Unwittingly lured to Ireland, Mae finds herself knee-deep in a hidden world she never knew existed and head over heels for the very man that tricked her to coming there. His deception is complicated by his own feelings for the one person that holds the key to merging the ancient races that once ruled the ancient word.

Mae finds herself in an underground world of witches, and vampires, which are half-breeds of aliens long gone. She learns about her own unique parentage and powers, which she must study in order to control, before they consume her.

Beck and Helen’s love for one another spans across a millennium, her human soul reincarnated to match Beck’s own immortality. This time however the body she occupies is of a being that cannot be eclipsed by her return. After waiting two hundred years, Beck finds himself tormented by Helen’s inability to return and his growing love for her new host.

Some of the underworld creatures welcome her with open arms as a savior, while others seek to destroy the abomination they believe her to be. Will the knowledge of her existence cause a race war when the true power of her blood is discovered? Or will love become her ultimate downfall?

Author Article: Making your dreams come true for 2012


I started my writing journey about a year ago.  I just woke up one morning and said “I’m going to write a book.”  No—really, I did.  Of course my husband just laughed and responded, “Yeah...right.”  I can’t say that I blame him for his lack of support.  Honestly, it is something you get used to after a while.  You eventually learn that your family and friends could care less about your next chapter or what your characters are doing.  

I didn’t give much thought about how to write.  I just opened a new word document and started typing...Not exactly the best way for a novice writer to begin their journey.   But, no one has ever accused me of doing anything with caution; I prefer to jump in feet first before testing the waters.  After a few weeks it dawned on me, I really have no idea what I’m doing.  Not that I was going to let that stop me!  It was time to do a little research.  I needed to know how other authors take their ideas and make real.  That is when I found the most important tool for success—A great supportive writing group.  I had no idea that other writers could be such a big source of knowledge, and that they were willing to share that with you.  Anytime I had a question, someone was always there with an answer.  I wish I would have started my journey here; it would have made things a lot easier.

It took 3 months for me to complete my book.  It was like a weight lifting from my shoulder...That is until I realized it was just the beginning.  I thought writing it would be the hardest part, but I was wrong.  I now entered the realm of need-to-find-an-editor, formatting-is-not-my-friend, I-hate-my-cover-but-can’t-afford-anything-else, and my favorite if-you-don’t-market-your-book-nobody-will-buy-it.
It wasn’t until latter that I learn about building a brand and networking—two things that are essential to becoming a successful writer.  But, every step of the way was made easier by those in my writing group that had been there before and was willing to share their journey.

The moral to this story—even if you don’t know where to start or what to do next, you can still accomplish your dream if you put your mind to it.  Everyone has a different journey...So, embrace your journey, join a writing group, write your little heart out and most important—never be afraid to ask.  There will always be other writers willing to lend an ear and give advice.

Current Reviews:

Beth Wright rated it
I am still dying here from laughter, love the chia pet part of the story. I must add the running through the castle halls butt naked was a laughing treat as well :D This story is packed with hiding secrets, unknown events and much more. If your into hot vampires and warlocks this is your kind of story. They have so a wonderful sense of humor and enjoy using it every chance they get. Some parts may make you tear up :( I know I did, but the story is so wonderfully put together. Get ready for unexpected events, amazing action and wild romance. Grab this one now because I can promise you there is going to be a part 2, and hun I sure hope to be one of your reviewers for that :D woot haha chia pet, haha naked and getting his ass handed to him by his sexy mate lmao. Ok, ok I'm done now, no I'm not, lmao, lmfao, omg so love it. :)
Nichole Chase rated it
I enjoyed the new take on some of the mythological creatures I find in books so often. It is quite clear that Ms. Powell has an analytical mind and it was easy to see from the get go that she had every little bit of the supernatural completely planned out and understood. She wove the mythical history that we study nowadays with her own interpretation, and created an interesting new world.

I was a little put off with Mae at times. She was hard to relate to, because I never got a good feel of her character. The supporting cast really made this book interesting, and I am hoping Mae will step up a little more once she understands herself better. I do look forward to finding out what happens in the next installment. I think it is going to be even more interesting
Rhonda rated it
Spell Checked is one of the most original Paranormal Romances that I’ve read in a long time. Forget what you ever thought about the stereotypical Immortals, this book has you seeing Vampires and Witches in a whole new light. Truly spell binding, funny and romantic. CG Powell’s characters are likable and sexy, they will leave you wanting more. It’s hard to believe this is CG’s first book, I’m anxiously awaiting book 2 to see what she has in store for us next.

Author Bio:

As a teen C.G. Powell was selected as a member of her school's newspaper staff. After her first article the editor decided the darkroom was a more suitable place for her skills…or lack of. Since then, she has traveled everywhere—thanks to her innate curiosity about the world and the Navy. In her life time, she has learned: aviation electronics, CCNA networking, Gemology and how to get bloodstains out of the carpet (you never know when you might need that). But her latest, all-consuming, endeavor is storytelling. When asked why, her response was "I live to challenge myself; I like to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and writing is one of those things that pushes my boundaries. Besides it was the only way to share all of the crap bouncing around in my head!" C.G. Powell lives in Virginia with her husband and children. When she is not writing, you might find her watching hot guys jog past her front window, ordering the cabana boy to fix her another drink or abusing the local authorities…but that’s just hearsay.

Web Links:

Purchase Links:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reflections of a Bird's Companion with Cindi Maciolek


Title – Divatiel: Reflections of a Bird's Companion
by Cindi Maciolek

Genre – Non-Fiction
Format – Ebook & Print


Can four ounces of feathers and personality change a person’s life?

She can if she’s the Divatiel!

Cindi was looking for a roommate, and finally settled on a fine-feathered friend who was a gift from a co-worker. What she got was a loving, intelligent, fun, free-spirited, demanding – Jaké.

After recovering from illness that put her near death’s door, Jaké healed and was let out of the cage so she could spread her wings. She lived her life with gusto. Jaké took risks, used her intelligence to her advantage and loved unconditionally. She took charge, not only over her surroundings but over her owner as well. Luckily, she had a cooperative Mommy in Cindi.

Not only was she demanding, Jaké did things some humans have never done. She flew on an airplane several times, went on numerous road trips and ate fresh vegetables daily.

Jaké lived a very long life and had many adventures along the way, most of which are captured in this book.

Jaké was first a gift to William, then a gift to Cindi, and now a gift to the world.

Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion will tug at your heart strings and bring a smile to any animal lover.

AUTHOR ARTICLE:


Making your dreams come true for 2012
Wow! Can you believe it’s nearly the end of February? How are you doing with your goals for the year?
It’s amazing how quickly time flies. In December, you had just finished National Novel Writers Month, with somewhere between 5,000 and 50,000 words complete. You congratulated yourself but took a break through the holidays, vowing to get back on track in the New Year. On January 1st, you were energized with the prospect of finishing your book in 2012. Then, life happens, and your goals and desires take a back seat. Now it’s nearly March, time to refocus and get to work!
Grab a cup of tea and your unfinished tome. Sit down with an open mind and read through everything you’ve written. Take notes. Recall why you love your book. Then, head directly to your computer and start tapping those keys!
It’s so easy to get sidetracked from completing your project, but keeping yourself in check and moving forward will bring you something to celebrate in a few months. Here are a few suggestions to help you create your dreams:
1.       Track your progress. Don’t focus on your daily page count. Instead, record how many words you’ve written on a weekly basis. Before you know it, your first draft will be complete!
2.       When you’re stuck, don’t fret. Take the time to look at ways to market your book. Ask friends what they would Google if they were searching for your genre of novel. It’s amazing the different ways people look at things, and the varying results you’ll get. Keep those in mind and expand your marketing search. It’s never too early to start marketing your book.
3.       Chances are, you have the title. So, get your cover designed! Blow it up nice and big and hang it in front of your computer to motivate you.
4.       Create a plan for completion and promotion of your book. I use Excel, with different worksheets for each category of the process. I include ideas, contacts, websites, blogs and so on, that I definitely want to explore as publishing nears. Then, when the book is done, I have a complete record and a great reference for my next project.
5.       Make a financial plan tied to your writing. We’re not in this just for the fun of it! Look at all the different ways you can make money, including book signings and merchandising.
6.       Reward yourself. Treat yourself to dinner every 25,000 words. Go away for a fun weekend when you finish the first draft. You’re working hard on your novel and you deserve to have some fun.

Whatever your dreams, know that with focus and effort, you truly can accomplish them. The year is still young. Dream big!

Cindi R. Maciolek is a writer and business consultant, whose published works include Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion; Java Jems: 5 Minute Inspirations for Busy People and The Basics of Buying Art. She’s also a contributing author to the books Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion and Life Choices: It’s Never Too Late. Maciolek has written numerous articles for the luxury marketplace, including the Robb Report and Luxury Las Vegas. Maciolek lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. www.cindimaciolek.com.

Excerpt

My Little Divatiel
She’s the fattest cockatiel I’ve ever seen!”
Okay, that was the fourth vet to make the same comment. The average cockatiel weighs between 90 and 110 grams, and Jaké was generally 115-125. I didn’t see what the big deal was. What’s a few grams between friends…
I don’t clip her wings,” I countered. “Those extra feathers must weigh something!”
I mean, we’re talking half an ounce here. The feathers must have accounted for a few of those extra grams.
The vet seemed unconvinced.
I allow her to fly around the house. She has great cardio,” I added in her defense.
So, now you’re telling me it’s muscle weight?” The vet nearly doubled over in laughter. “She’s fat! Get over it!”
I packed up my princess in her cage and took her back to the palace, where she could eat her healthy food (vet prescribed, by the way), have her run of the house, and nap at her desire.
Fattest cockatiel, indeed, I thought. She’s not fat. She’s just big boned.
I knew my life was in for a big change when, just three seconds after I put Jaké on my shoulder, she had unhooked my necklace.
I had heard birds were intelligent, but I really had no idea just how smart they are. Generally, when people think of talented birds, they think of the large ones – parrots, macaws, even mynahs. No one pays attention to the little ones that can infiltrate every aspect of our lives when given the opportunity.
Jaké was an absolute blessing. Sure, she had her moments, but I’m certain she felt the same way about me. I never had children, so Jaké became my child. She was spoiled as much as you could possibly spoil a fine feathered friend, and her hours of blissful companionship were my reward.
While many pet owners carry around their designer dogs in custom made totes, I’m certain they have no idea what joy a cockatiel could bring into their lives, if they only allowed it. Or, maybe I just had the perfect storm” of bird and owner and I’m very grateful for that.
Like a dog, Jaké was my faithful and loyal companion from the very first day we met. Like a dog, Jaké sat on my leg while I typed on my computer, nipping at my elbow when I moved and disturbed her naps. Like a dog, she sometimes chased her tail, particularly when a feather was ready to come out and it got stuck in an upright position, like a rudder on a plane. And, just like a dog, Jaké liked to take naps with her owner, picking the time and the place regardless of my plans for the day.
Jaké had her quirks, and just like humans, they changed over time. One that always made me laugh was how she hated to hear the sound of a utensil scraping a dish. I don’t care where she was in the house – sometimes even sleeping in the bathroom – but as soon as she heard it, she started to yell!
She also found comfort in taking naps on the rungs of my office chair. Sometimes when I’d been out for the day, I’d go into my office to find her sound asleep, waiting for me to come home. You gotta love that.
It’s been said that cockatiels have the brain power of a two-year-old child, and their behavior is not much different. If I wanted Jaké to stop doing something, I’d tell her, “No!” She’d acknowledge my request with a little chirp, but proceed on, totally ignoring me. She knew I didn’t want her to do it, but she didn’t care. Sound like a two-year-old, parents?
Like a kid, she hated the toys I bought her, preferring to rip up the boxes they came in. And, instead of sticky fingerprints on those nice greeting cards that were ready to mail, Jaké left a bite mark in every one of mine.
Since birds in the wild fly all the time, I never gave it a thought that they have to improve their cardio when the need arises, just like humans. When I moved from my tiny condo to a house with a really long hallway, Jaké would follow me to my office only to be winded for about five minutes, until she built up her stamina.
Jaké was never really like a bird; she was always more like a spoiled Diva, from the first moment I let her out of her cage and welcomed her into my household. My Divatieldiscovered a side of herself that would have remained buried if not for the freedom she was given, and the communication we developed.
Most people don’t realize just how much personality a little bundle of feathers can have, but I assure you, if you nurture the relationship, that personality will not only appear but will strengthen over time.
So few books have been written about pet birds, particularly from an owner’s perspective, that I felt it was time to change that. Here’s my account of life with the sweetest little thing to cross my path. Everything is to the best of my recollection although I’ve changed or omitted a few names. Jaké and I were together a long time, so I’m sure her version of some of the events would differ from mine, but I guess we’ll never know.
BIO:

Cindi is a writer and business consultant, helping small to mid-sized companies with everything from strategic planning to marketing activities.

Her writing focus is on books, CDs and screenplays and sharing those lessons, experiences and ideas with others.

Her recently released book, Divatiel: Reflections of a bird’s companion, is the true story of life with a diva-tastic cockatiel, a story any animal lover would enjoy.

Java Jems: 5 Minute Inspirations for Busy People, is both a book and CD, a unique combination of spoken word and original music. Her first book, The Basics of Buying Art, is sold out. There’s more to come. Stay tuned!

Cindi was also a contributing writer for The Robb Report and Luxury Las Vegas for many years and had articles published byDelta Sky Magazine.

Her travels have taken her to 23 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

Websites:

Purchase Links
www.divatiel.com/shop
www.divatiel.com/amazon-store
http://www.amazon.com/Divatiel-Reflections-birds-companion-ebook/dp/B006RDKJO6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326259724&sr=8-1