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My New Book

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Jamey Jones is a slightly mischievous, highly intelligent thirteen-year old colonist of De Novo, a colony on the planet Kepler-438b. Since their arrival just over a year ago, the colonists of De Novo have been living under blackout conditions, with no electricity and no communication with the people back on Earth. While the colony is thriving, the adults haven’t come any closer to solving the mystery of The Blackout.

With the help of his friends, Heather Worthington and Sebastian (Bas) Trader, Jamey sets out to investigate that mystery without permission. They learn that Jamey’s father James Jones, the Governor of De Novo, is involved in covering up the biggest news in human history. The conclusions they reach may alter the direction of the colony and that of humanity forever.

Please check it out and let me know what you think.

Available in paperback as well as on Kindle here:

Link: http://a.co/gOn6gEq

Do you Want to Build a Tesseract?

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You Wanna Build a Tesseract? is a line taken from the dialogue of a twelve-year old in my  latest short story, Finding Kayla Claire, which is one of several stories included within the pages of my new book.

Finding Kayla Claire description – 

Marshall Preston and Kayla Claire are fifth graders from different backgrounds who meet in late winter/early spring and bond over the loss of a parent. The have a teacher who takes an interest in them and becomes a surrogate father to Marshall.

Marshall and Kayla take a cue from Kayla’s favorite book A Wrinkle in Time, and the two decide to try to build a time machine together in the woods beside Marshall’s house. The two hold out hope that they can use it to go visit their dads one last time before they die. Follow these two as they work to turn back the hands of time, and in the process, forge bonds that will never be broken.

Also included is my full-length novella, the popular Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah.

Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah description – 

Jamey Jones is a slightly mischievous, highly intelligent thirteen-year old colonist of De Novo, a colony on the planet Kepler-438b. Since their arrival just over a year ago, the colonists of De Novo have been living under blackout conditions, with no electricity and no communication with the people back on Earth. While the colony is thriving, the adults haven’t come any closer to solving the mystery of The Blackout. With the help of his friends, Heather Worthington and Sebastian (Bas) Trader, Jamey sets out to investigate that mystery without permission. They learn that Jamey’s father James Jones, the Governor of De Novo, is involved in covering up the biggest news in human history. The conclusions they reach may alter the direction of the colony and that of humanity forever.

Also included is a host of other short stories including Traveler One, one of my favorites. 

Description of Traveler One – 

Follow Captain Michelle Tyson as she makes history piloting the Traveler One at faster-than-light speed. In this throwback science fiction short story, humans over a century in our future attempt to send a person through time. But after the historic experiment, will there be anyone left to remember it?

There’s even some fun flash fiction in the back. 

The book is 114 pages, so a relatively short read. I’m very proud of this work, which is basically my life from March to November of 2016.

I’d love it if you checked it out and dropped a review!

Link: http://a.co/8rNYcJH

Finding Kayla Claire: A Short Story

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Marshall Preston and Kayla Claire are fifth graders from very different backgrounds who have each lost a loved one over the last year. The two meet in school when Kayla moves from Brooklyn to live with her aunt and uncle in Johnson City, Tennessee.
When a substitute teacher named Coach Murphy takes an interest in them both and encourages their friendship, the two go on to become friends and bond over the loss of their dads.
Marshall and Kayla take a cue from Kayla’s favorite book, “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the two decide to try to build a time machine together in the woods beside Marshall’s house. The pair hold out hope that they can use it to go back in time and visit their dads one last time before they die. Follow these two as they work to turn back the hands of time, and in the process, forge bonds that will never be broken.

Link: http://a.co/gUHw0e7

Here is a wonderful review by ninety-three year old author, Mario V. Farina. I appreciate his input very much!

I’ve just finished reading Finding Kayla and enjoyed it very much. You are a talented writer!

Having spent 30 years with a classroom being part of my life in two “careers,” I noted that you and the classroom are one. You know it intimately and understand its students. You understand people and their emotions and can explain them.

You story kept me with it for the entire sitting. You built the characters superbly. And the tesseract that the couple worked on was a master touch. I didn’t know what kudzu was but learned something by looking it up. I had known about tesseracts but did not recall what they looked like. I looked that up also. The one the students made had imaginative features!

I put in a review for your book, but knew it wasn’t adequate; hence this e-mail, which even now, doesn’t say enough. Thanks much.

Ninety-Three Year Old Author Mario V. Farina

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Over the past six months or so, I have become increasingly aware of an author named Mario V. Farina via Smashwords, reading several dozen of his published works. His bio states that he is ninety-three years old. He writes short stories of fiction, science fiction and more. He writes poetry and non-fiction works and even essay pieces.

To my knowledge, you’re probably not going to find his books in your local bookstore or at the brick-and-mortar Barnes and Noble downtown. You’re going to find his works in ebook format at Amazon and Smashwords. I don’t think he charges a penny at Smashwords for all of the work that he puts into writing, and seemingly he’s cranking out five-hundred to twenty-five hundred words a day. He doesn’t appear to be using some fancy New York editor, either.

I’m glad I found Mr. Farina’s work several months ago because there are over seven billion people on Earth, and if I limit my reading to only those hundred or so chosen by the publishing houses for their ability to write exactly the same type of thing everybody else is writing, I miss an opportunity to learn from a guy like Mr. Farina, who lived through the Depression and fought in World War II.

Some of his short stories read like they were plucked out of a time-capsule from the fifties (in the best way possible). The first time I read one, I kept waiting for the protagonist to do something morally ambiguous. When I realized it wasn’t coming, I thought, “Wow, a surprise ending! Brilliant!” Seriously, that’s how hardwired I am to expect the same kind of story from everybody who writes stories.

In the essay pictured above (and linked below), At Ninety-Three Can I Tell You Something?, Mr. Farina writes about something that I think a lot about. I think so much about it that I quit my job when I was thirty-four years old to go back to school and become a teacher. In the essay, he urges you to consider what your legacy will be, without using that specific word. What type of impact will you have? Will you fail to become the next Stephen King, quit writing, and start selling time-shares? Or will you write and write and write, believing in the value of your writing so much that you make sure as many human beings as possible will read it? Will you spend your life working a job that sucks? Or will you do something that matters? For myself, as I said before, I decided to quit my job and teach Elementary School, for the exact reasons Mr. Farina writes about. I get to work with the next generation of kids, and have some small impact on the lives of hundreds, and maybe (if I live long enough) thousands of kids.

Maybe I will have the pleasure of teaching English to the next Stephen King? Or the next Mario V. Farina?

So… What is your legacy going to be?

Here’s the link to the short essay pictured at the top of he page. While you’re there, click on his author page and check out some of his stories.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/657902

Traveler One – A Short Story

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Follow Captain Michelle Tyson as she makes history piloting the Traveler-One at faster-than-light speed. In this throwback science fiction short story, humans over a century in our future attempt to send a person through time. But after the historic experiment, will there be anyone left to remember it?

*****

Amazon Kindle  – http://a.co/0j4mALp

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/682182

*****

I think it’s one of my favorite things I’ve written. Let me know what you think.

Update on Sequel to First Book and a First Look!

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My first book, Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah, came to me like it was on fire and I just had to get it out of me. The whole thing was out of my brain and onto a Word Document with surprising speed. That was in March of this year.

I’ve had some great ideas for sequels and prequels, and I’ve outlined several different ideas that I like. It’s just that type of book. It exists in a world that lends itself to lots of different stories to be told. But for some reason, I couldn’t get my mind moving at the right speed on any of those ideas out to the extent that they were measurable.

Finally I seem to have made a breakthrough! I have an outline that I really like and I have about 3,200 words. So that’s not a lot, but it’s definitely a start. And now that I have it started, I’m hoping to ride the momentum and get this one out of me too!

Here’s a very short first look at the title and the concept –

Jamey Jones and the Battle for Kepler-438b

Jamey Jones is your standard fourteen-year old kid next door… As long as you’re living in a house made out of a human transport ship next door to a wunderkind on planet Kepler-438b. In this sequel to Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah, along with his friends Heather Worthington and Sebastian “Bas” Trader, Jamey proves he’s too smart for his own good once again. This time, there’s tension brewing between the two human cities on Kepler. There’s De Novo, the original human colony, and then there’s Res Novae, the city that split off under former De Novo Councilman Don Megalo. Will the kids’ shenanigans help to soften tensions between the two cities, or will they only serve to speed an inevitable showdown between the two biggest kids on the block?

photo credit ESO/L. Calçada/wikimedia commons cc 4.0

Why We Need the Electoral College More Than We Ever Did!

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Photo via Associated Press

After Donald Trump’s victory Tuesday, with Hillary Clinton seemingly winning the popular vote, I’m seeing some calls to bring an end to the Electoral College. I remember writing a paper for an American History class after the 2000 election making the very same argument that I see disgruntled Americans making today. I have a very different understanding of things today though than I did 16 years ago. So before you join the crowd and blame the Electoral College for your woes, let me point out a few things.

The Electoral College is one of the critical fail-safes written into the Constitution to prevent the “tyranny of the majority,” majority rule, mob rule, pure democracy, or whatever you want to call it. The Founding Fathers took the lessons they learned from Aristotle and the Greeks with respect to Democracy. A pure Democracy is a complete failure because a mob is very fickle. We may vote to ban pit bulls on a Monday and then bring them back on Tuesday, but instead of pit bulls, we ban Boxers. Then on Thursday we might vote to put everybody in jail who voted to ban pit bulls. You get the idea.

Also, more importantly in my opinion, the Founding Fathers didn’t want so much power to be held by such a small geographic area. Have you looked at the electoral map recently? It’s kind of like a massive landmass of red, from sea to shining sea. Then there is a couple of blue blots in New York and in California. They wanted to make sure that those population centers didn’t hold such a political advantage over the other forty-eight states.

In my opinion, asking to abolish the Electoral College is a bit like asking to abolish the Senate. Why should each state have two Senators when New York has 8 million people and Alaska less than 1 million? No really, have you asked yourself why? Well for the same reasons I stated above. There’s something fundamentally wrong about the people in some far away city 2,500 miles away calling all the shots when they wouldn’t come visit your state for all the money in the world and don’t know a thing about it. It’s too much like a far-off country (like England) imposing their will on us from across the ocean.

So no, we do not need to abolish the Electoral College. It’s one of the fail-safes that is preventing you from becoming a citizen of District 12 in Panem. And fankly, people can sign all the petitions they want but the electoral process is clearly outlined in the Constitution and it isn’t going anywhere.

 

Don’t Throw in the Towel on America Just Yet Democrats

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I see some of my friends flabbergasted by the election of Donald J. Trump. But please consider a few things before you drive your car off of a bridge on your way home from work this afternoon.

First, we have the longest standing Constitution in the world. And there isn’t really a close second. As a matter of fact, the average Constitution that is created as a government backbone averages well under ten years. This can be no accident. The document is battle tested by history and has sustained us with its strength.

In two-hundred forty years, America’s freedoms have withstood a variety of beatings from a variety of sources. For example, there have been beatings from the likes of Andrew Jackson who ignored the authority of the Supreme Court (among other illegal acts he performed as President).

Yet we are still here.

Here’s one that will get the other guys mad, but there was the Bush administration’s Patriot Act. We later found out that this was being used against American citizens and CLEARLY violated every freedom we are guaranteed. Freedom of Speech and freedom against illegal search and seizure are at the very bedrock of our freedoms.

Yet we are still here.

The is no question that the Obama administration and the House of Representatives violated the Constitution in the formation of the Affordable Care Act. The only thing you need to know is that it is not Constitutional to force any American to buy anything. Period. The only way they were able to get away with it was that they President sent his lawyers to the Supreme Court to argue that the AFA was a tax. I bet you didn’t know that, did you? Your President had to admit that these high insurance premiums you have to pay under Obamacare are just a new Federal tax.

Yet we are still here.

I guess emotional responses to a political election are to be expected. I was as surprised as anybody when Donald J. Trump started pulling ahead in battleground states last night. But if you’re so flabbergasted that you’re talking about leaving the country or your state seceding, let me repeat the immortal words of Curly Bill Brocious in Tombstone, “Well, Bye!” Not really. I’m just messing with you because I know you’re not really going anywhere, you’re just venting.

And yet we are still here.

And we’re not just here, hanging on for dear life like the Romans when they became soft and started being picked apart from the outside. We’re still here for a reason. We have the single strongest backbone on planet earth, the United States Constitution. Here’s the cool thing about that. That Constitution makes Donald J. Trump about as powerful as the Senate Majority leader, the Speaker of the House or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He’s only one guy, not some king who just gets to do whatever he wants, even when he has a majority. He is still compelled by us. He’s still going to want to be re-elected. Furthermore, it just won’t have that much to do with your daily life, unless you have a problem with getting a couple percent extra of your tax dollars back every April.

So don’t throw in the towel liberals. It is definitely a sad day for people who live and die by their Democratic party, for sure. I’m not taking away from that.

But it is still a great day in America, where we are still here, the most powerful country on earth, where we have free and fair elections, and the transfer of power is humble and clean.  We have survived the likes of Presidents Buchanan, Jackson, Nixon, Bush, Obama, Governor Wallace, Senator McCarthy, 9/11, the Vietnam and Civil Wars, and two World Wars.

And we will be here long after Donald J. Trump.