Well, the Omnibus that is. I have released the first three books of The Senses Novels in a single volume, “The Senses Novels Omnibus: Volume I.” If you haven’t started reading this series yet, here is your chance to grab half the series at an incredible price. So, go ahead and ‘take the bus!’
Saturday, August 24, 2019
I believe, as a Christian author, it is my responsibility to turn things inside out once in a while. As Robert A. Heinlein (definitely NOT a Christian,) once said, “It lets in air and light.” First, let me state that I do firmly believe that the Bible is the inspired and literal Word of God. That being said, it is also written through and interpreted by humans.
Human beings are fallible. This is seen almost from the beginning when we fell from grace in the Garden. Yes, it’s true that ‘the snake’ was there tempting Eve to the fall, but she had a choice, and she went down the wrong path. Or did she?
God is omniscient as well as omnipotent. This means He had to know we would fall. There is a critical key point here. Even knowing that He could have stopped the actions that were happening, God did not, why? The answer is simply free choice. From the very beginning, He wasn’t looking for robots that would simply obey, God desired us to choose His ways and follow willingly. So, He made a long-term plan that would eventually lead us back to Him. Again, why?
One of the differences between humans and all other living things is the very breath of God is in us. The spark of the divine was imparted to mankind and no other creature. All creatures have a spirit, a driving force that lives beyond the body, but only man has a soul and the ability to commune directly with our Creator. What if God wanted us to learn, through experience, what it means to be His people? It sounds like something a good Father would do.
Let’s get back to the Bible. The first five books of the Bible; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, were all written by Moses. The first couple of books are history, the next few are rules to live by. I want to go back to the history a bit, specifically Exodus.
Starting in Exodus 1:15, the groundwork for the story of Moses is being set.
15Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16“When you help the Hebrew women give birth, observe them as they deliver. If the child is a son, kill him; but if it is a daughter, let her live.”…
The midwives secretly refused to do this, and God blessed them for it, Pharaoh, however, wasn’t done.
22Then Pharaoh commanded all his people: “Every son born to the Hebrews you must throw into the Nile, but every daughter you may allow to live.”
I’m sure you know the rest. A Hebrew baby is born and instead of being killed, is placed in a tiny papyrus boat and set adrift on the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter pulls him out, names him Moses and makes him her son. Now, let’s think about this for a moment.
If you are grandpa Pharaoh and your daughter suddenly shows up with a baby in her arms, what would your first reaction be? She is living in Pharaoh’s house, so he would obviously know if she had been pregnant. There must of have been some fast shuffling on the part of Pharaoh’s daughter to get this one through. That, and daddy must have been very indulgent of his daughter.
I’m not trying to be irreverent here. I’m trying to get you to think this through. It cannot be every day that a princess of Egypt has a baby. I have to wonder how common adoption was in those days, especially into the Royal House. There are only a couple of factors that I can think of that would have prevented the infant Moses from being killed out-of-hand.
It is likely that the line of succession had already been established. In other words, Pharaoh probably had at least one son that would replace him. This would remove Moses from any direct line unless both Pharaoh and his son(s) died or were killed. So, where did that leave Moses, adopted grandson of Pharaoh?
The two great powers in those days were the Royal House and the Priesthood. The Royal House commanded the army. The Priesthood held sway over the ‘gods.’ There were times when both would merge and then split apart again, but for the most part, this was the order in ancient Egypt.
Here I can only speculate without anything at all to back me up except knowledge of human motivations. I would think, rather than surrender power completely, Pharaoh’s daughter would put her son into the Priesthood, or at least have him trained by them. Why do I think that? It has to do with the plagues.
The priests of Egypt were able to duplicate, at least on a small scale, many of the ten plagues God visited on them. This means that they were familiar with these particular ailments, to begin with. It also explains why God would choose them. He wanted to show the Egyptians that what He did was bigger and more devastating than anything they could do. The knowledge that Moses had or was trained in would be the start; the priests would laugh and help to harden Pharaoh’s heart against Moses’ plea because, they would say, “He just learned those tricks from us.” The fact God made the plagues a thousand times worse than anything the priests could do, was shrugged off (none of the priests could turn every water source of the Egyptians to blood.)
I have no doubt that you have read the Bible or watched a dramatization of the rest of the story. Do I believe that the miracles of the parting of the Red Sea and Manna from Heaven happened? Absolutely, I believe in them. Miracles happen all the time, I’ve seen and even been involved in several myself. Some people who call themselves scientists keep trying to find what some like to call ‘rational’ explanations for them. What they mean is, they are afraid if the laws of nature can be suspended. These are the same people who are willing to accept ‘theory’ as fact rather than adhere to the scientific method.
For those who might be wondering, book six is still in editing. Please hang on; we want it to be right for you.
I am praying that you all have a wonderful weekend.
Friday, August 9, 2019
I fully expect this to be my last trip to China. The reasons are complex but have nothing to do with the country itself. These are just some random thoughts I have on this, my final excursion here.
I like China, mainly for its people. The average Chinese that I have met here is courteous and respectful with two exceptions; entering and exiting elevators and driving. It’s pretty much every man for himself on the elevator thing, and I wouldn’t last ten seconds driving in China.
The people that I have the honor of working with in China are smart and capable. It takes a Westerner a little while, but eventually, you begin to understand and appreciate their sense of humor. They also have a depth of feeling that you only discover if they let you in.
During a discussion with some of my friends, I learned why they and almost all the Chinese that I deal with have taken to me. I was told that ‘I speak from the heart’ and this is something that they can immediately see. To me, I am just telling them the truth when I talk and therein lay another cultural difference.
The people reading this blog need to remember that the Chinese do not and never have had the Judeo/Christo ethic. This is something so ingrained in Western culture that even atheists follow the basic rules set by it, though it is unlikely they would call it that. There are many Buddhists in China, but the ‘rules’ in Buddhism are radically different and have more to do with Karma, the sum of a person’s actions affect on their next life than the immediate right and wrong.
Add to that, many of the Chinese people have no religion or belief in God at all. They follow the laws established by the government. So, truth in China becomes ‘flexible.’ If it cannot be seen to cause some type of harm and benefits the individual, lies are the same as truth. This is also seen in the way that bribery is an accepted practice throughout many of the Chinese institutions. It actually confuses many of the people I work with in China when I refuse to allow them to give cash ‘gifts’ to a customer. They really do not understand what is wrong with it.
While my title is Quality and Regulatory oriented, I often have to go well outside those duties and help in other areas. Since my education, training, and experience includes multiple disciplines besides the ones in my title, I usually have no issue doing this. I have found I am accepted by the people in whatever role I need to play in China because I am trusted. This trust isn’t something that they give easily.
Trust comes from following through on what you say. It also comes from jumping in to help when you can tell someone is struggling. I have several people who work for me in China, and they all know that I jealously protect them. As they say to me, “I know you have my back.”
Relationships are essential to the Chinese. I make it a point to talk to all of my people when I am there. I don’t care if you are a line-worker or Senior Manager if you work for me, even indirectly, I will seek you out and have a moment with you. People are not assets; they are people, and they need to be treated with respect. They all know me by now, and they all smile and talk with me when I stop by.
I don’t care about the politics between our two countries. The Chinese people I know are good, hard-working people with families that they love as much as any American. Isn’t that what really matters?
I have sent a letter to the Chinese government thanking them for allowing me to spend time in their beautiful country, to meet the wonderful people, and to experience a culture that predates ours by thousands of years. It’s only right, as a guest, for me to thank my hosts.
If you get the chance to visit China, try to get to know the people instead of just looking at ancient architecture. You will go home with a better heart instead of just a camera full of pictures.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
As a self-published author, there are some realities that I am forced to deal with every day. While all I want to do is write, I cannot, I have to also be my own publicist and promoter. Yes, I can spend money on having my books promoted by others, but if you look at the statistics, the payoff is less than the cost in almost every case.
It honestly doesn’t matter how good the book is or how great the cover, the vast majority of authors don’t come close to breaking even. That is a sad fact. So, why keep at it? Many don’t, they give up and let that creative portion of themselves wither and die. Others have to write, it’s simply something that they need to do. The question then becomes, why bother promoting your books at all, why not just write and publish?
This is the point I am currently at. The amount of money that I have spent in trying to promote my books for the return the I have received is pathetic. There are only two promoters that I know of that gives any sort of guarantee, one gives ‘store credit,’ and the other does offer a refund. Still, what good does getting your money back do other than allow you to go and waste it on another method of promotion that won’t work?
So, why isn’t promoting working? Saturation is one factor. There are between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books being published every year. The competition has become insane and, unless you are a large publishing house with massive resources, most authors get lost in the sea of written words.
Book blog tours, podcasts, social media, etc., etc., etc. are all being tried by these authors in an attempt to get you to at least look at their books. I have seen television ads for books, most of which are pretty bad and don’t entice me for a second. So, what does it take? There is no easy answer, no magic formula.
In my own case, I will continue to write as long as I have the enthusiasm to do so. I cannot, however, afford to continue to pay out large sums of money to advertise my books. Announcements for my books will be made here, on my Facebook pages, and Twitter. If you, as a loyal reader, want to spread the word, I am grateful. Other than that, I hope you will continue to enjoy what I write.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Sunday, July 21, 2019
I’ve always wanted to say that. In this particular case, I am referring to the end of the Senses Novels Series. The final book has been sent to my excellent editor.
It will still take a little while for book #6 to be on sale, but at least you know that it is written. What I don’t want you to worry about is that this is the last you’ve heard from me. I am an author and am determined to continue writing novels. Some may even be in the Senses Novels world, but not right away.
There are other novels in my mind that I want to get onto the page. I think you will enjoy the next one even though it is quite different from the SF/Fantasy that I usually write.
When I am ready to publish the final volume in the Senses Novels Series, I will probably run a couple of ‘specials’ on Amazon. My own little ‘Prime Day.’
For those of you who have been on this journey with me from the start, I thank you. Get ready, it’s coming.
Friday, July 12, 2019
Please forgive me; I'm currently being besieged with the whole 'Christmas in July' nonsense, so I just had to use that title for this post. Some of you have been waiting for the latest addition to the Senses Novels series to come out in audiobook format. While it may be a couple of months yet, I wanted you to know that I have selected a narrator and work has begun. This volume, 7EVENTH SENSE, is more challenging than the others as anyone who has read the book should know.
I also wanted to update you on my progress with book six in the series. It looks like I am about least 3/4 of the way through the first draft. You may all soon be getting a nice 'Christmas present' depending on how long the editing will take.
I ho-ho-hope you are all having a great week. Try to stay dry this weekend!