Monday, July 21, 2014

Voting for all? Should we limit who votes? Maybe?

Did you know that originally only Land Owners were allowed to vote in America? I've known this for a while but here's a reference for those who need verification.

According to InfoPlease.com:

"When the Constitution was written, only white male property owners (about 10 to 16 percent of the nation's population) had the vote. Over the past two centuries, though, the term "government by the people" has become a reality. During the early 1800s, states gradually dropped property requirements for voting. Later, groups that had been excluded previously gained the right to vote. Other reforms made the process fairer and easier."

That has bugged me for a while now. Why? Well, why do you think that was how it was originally set up? There MUST have been a reason, right? Elitism? Just, elitism? The Founding Fathers were smart guys. Right? I mean, what they had set up has been doing pretty well overall and has been a shining light for equality the world over for a very long time now.

Why then, would they found a country where many were not allowed to vote? I think I have the answer and finally, closure to what has been bugging me more and more over these recent turbulent times. Obviously their justification for not allowing slaves and women to vote, and in many cases, non-land owners, made sense (to them) at the time.

Slaves either didn't understand (lack of education), would do what their owners wanted, or would challenge the concept of slavery in many ways (reasonable assumption and action on the slaves' part). Women would tend to vote their husband's vote (reasonable fear). Non land owners tended to be uneducated and without "stake" in what they would frequently be voting for. All seemed reasonable back then.

I would also argue that had they allowed voting, in time that would all have changed and voters would have become more savvy and interested over time. Especially back then.

Have you heard the nonsense that has been going on in America lately? Voters have been made to have a hard time voting, on purpose. Groups have made it difficult, mostly for certain types of voters, to vote more easily. Something I see as contrary to how it should be. Voting should be getting easier and easier, not harder and harder. Right? But then workers days and hours should also be getting lesser and lesser and they're not.

So what's up?

Have you heard some of the nonsense being touted in the media and our government, mostly from the extreme elements in politics? Why is that, you think?

It is because they want what they want and damn the constituents, what the citizens want, or what is good for the country. Because what is important is only these fringe group's desires and ideals. Mostly issues contrary to public freedoms and based upon religious purposes and agendas.

Not infrequently, ideas have been twisted and raised in such a way as to have people voting against their own best interests and desires. At times elections have been lost, when really they had been won. Gerrymandering has skewed states to one side or the other when really that state was the opposite majority for party. The whole gerrymandering thing has been going on for a very long time and it is, in some situations a good thing, but not when it is abused which it has been and we've been fighting against its misuse from the beginning.

The issue I'm seeing has to do with people realizing they can achieve their own selfish aims if they only push for things that benefit them. This is a format that has always proved to fail in the long term, even for those who push for it. Dictators usually find it doesn't work out so well for them in the end, and we're seeing more and more of that today with instant media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) because it empowers the people.

On the other hand corporate instant media (like Fox News for instance, even MSNBC in some cases and CNN has turned into a mess), has been working against the people.

Now aside from that, we are seeing more and more people having a voice in the media who should never be talking to anyone outside of their own home. There is a level of ignorance and foolishness in our population that is staggering. Do we really want people like that voting? But it's a Right, you say. How come prisoners can't vote then? Corporations are people and have a right to what, a vote? One vote? How many? Where is THAT headed?

Why aren't people making level headed decisions, casting votes for people and laws who work for them and not against them? Why would women vote for a party that only seems to have their worst interests at heart?

Why are stupid people doing stupid things so much today?

Here, let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Take a look at this article:

"This Is What Doctors Have To Deal With."

Okay now, do we really need those people voting? Hang on, hang on. Yeah, I know it's a right and all. (Again, can prisoners vote? Why not, if it's a right?)

My point here is things are really screwed up and there's a reason for it. We HAVE to ask ourselves, why? And we have to do something about it. But what?

When you have a group making decisions, and that group fails, what do you do? Change the group, get them better information, acquire subject matter experts.

Do we do that for this? No. Why? Because voting is a "Right" (in quotes because again, prisoners can't vote as well as some others; and well, there's pros and cons to it).

"In 2008 over 5.3 million people in the United States were denied the right to vote because of felony disfranchisement." - Wikipedia

So if they want to vote to make horrible conditions better, they can't. Sounds fair, right?

"Felony disfranchisement was a topic of debate during the 2012 Republican presidential primaryRick Santorum argued for the restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders." - Wikipedia

So even after you're not a prisoner you may not be allowed to vote. Quite a "Right", right?

So we already restrict people from voting. The question is, do we give them back the vote (yes) or do we eliminate others from voting (probably not, though it runs counter to my argument here, but hey, I'm not stupid). 

My point to sum up as quickly as possible is this... There are too many people who don't know what the hell they are doing who are voting for the wrong things. People are working hard to limit people voting who now have a right to vote.

I have a university degree and sometimes I can't figure out what it is I"m trying to vote for in elections because of how things are worded. Essentially, worded on purpose to make people think that voting one way for something is in reality voting the opposite of what they think they are voting. Nuts, right?

So what do I do? I read, do very little necessary research and just figure it out. 

But we obviously have some very serious problems here. 

People are voting for things and don't know what the hell they are voting for. They are being mislead. They are voting against they own best interests. They do not have a vested interest in some things they are voting for (which is why only land owners used to be allowed to vote). 

Look, I'm not asking for us to start cutting voters. But I am asking for something. Real commissions to look into things like gerrymandering and vetting that one party isn't being set up to win, with due and appropriate considerations of surrounding issues to give the nation and not just the party a fair shake. 

We need to give prisoners they vote back.If it's a right, everyone votes, right? Why is that any kind of question?

We need to make it easy for EVERYONE to vote. I haven't been to a voting booth in more years than I can remember but I vote in every election. 

We need to give serious thought to allowing people to vote who have no clue what they are voting for and we need to be sure they can even understand what voting is about and what they are doing. 

Maybe we need some kind of vetting process so that you are allowed to vote, if you at least have the fundamentals of what the hell you are doing and if not, you don't vote that year. I think it would be burdensome to test for each election. 

Testing isn't ridiculous. They test us for driver's licenses (but not for a concealed weapons permit, don't get me started on that one, but hey, it's a "Right", right?). Tell me that voting isn't as dangerous as driving a car. The danger in driving a car is just more immediate and only affects the number of people you can plow down. But voting affects every citizen and even citizens yet to be form; for the long term and sometimes it kills; sometimes, a lot of people (consider ending abortions, gun laws, etc.). 

We have a lot of stupid politics going on, polarizing politics that has frozen Washington DC politics. A republican party that is useless. A democratic party that always seems to be unsure what to do or afraid to do anything serious. Are they gun shy, or what?

These are serious issues that we need to deal with. Because the longer we put of making some hard changes, it's only going to get worse.

Vote. If you can. But know what you are really voting for. Vote those who are bad for America out of office and KNOW what is bad for America. Because that seems to be a thing too hard for many to comprehend now a days. 

To quote a Time magazine article by Reynolds Holding: 

"We should be finding ways to get more voters to the polls, not looking for excuses to keep them away. So instead of prohibiting felons from voting, let's require them to do it. That way, they will continue to repay their debt to society, long after they walk out of prison."
So, what do I really think? What could we do to fix these things?

Everyone should be allowed to vote, if they have at least at a minimum level of understanding, restricted not for who they are but what they can understand; going to jail shouldn't take away your right to vote; nor should being poor, or uneducated; everyone should be REQUIRED to vote who is allowed to vote.

Finally, it should be painlessly easy for all voters to vote.

People need to understand what the hell it means to vote. They need to understand what it means each time in casting that vote. It needs to be made clear to them, what they are voting for, not obfuscating what they are voting for. This trick of trying to confuse voting, so that vote one way is really voting against your wishes, needs to be made illegal. They should, if they have the ability to understand what they are doing, be required to vote, if they are to be an American citizen.

We need as many people as possible, voting. We need to make it cool, a mandatory thing, so that our country is governed by those who know what they are asking for, and will get what they vote for. We need those who vote, to understand what they are voting for. We need to make voting as easy as possible so they don't find it a burden to vote.

We don't need people voting who have no clue what they are doing, either because they are incapable, have no perceived, vested interest, or no resources to make clear to them what they are voting on. Sound expensive? Sound difficult? Isn't what we are seeing today difficult, and costing us massive amounts of money because of big money taking and not giving back; because of our political leaders entrenched in money problems to maintain their positions, in the back pocket of big money; because of the little guys being stepped on, feeling disenfranchised, jailed within their own lifestyles, while others globetrot on the heads of the bulk of what  and who America is?

Is it the American way to run away from a challenge? A conflict? A danger? How about when the conflict is internal, danger is at home, is our own people, our own ignorant masses? What about reasonableness, rationality, honesty, fairness, honor, clarity, education and intelligence? We need to adjust our priorities and be sure that the most sane, most comprehending, are the ones making the decisions and pushing forward our best foot for the most people and not just the privileged few who hedge their bets on the pain of the People.

We need our most educated but not if they only push agendas only for them. We need our least educated but not if they have no clue what they are doing and are acting against their own best interests, much like the poor who vote the rich elite's agendas. We can fix this.

How about we fix this? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Seeing, what is really there

This blog came up because of my trying to fathom the minds of extreme conservatives, Republicans of late, the Tea Party, Fox News, and well, that whole entire mess. In talking to conservative acquaintances, many things have come up. Not a few of which have left us both feeling in the end, frustrated.

I can't convince them to see my point of view, they can't convince me to see theirs. But, I have a few things on my side that tend to validate my views and opinions, more than theirs. That is to say, their mindset has a few downsides.

For one they watch Fox News, a notoriously questionable network due to their ridiculous concern of market share over news facts. They also don't try to verify facts very well, if at all. Instead they have a mindset that tries to verify their mindset. Not a bad thing per se, with the correct checks and balances, but they usually don't have those.

For myself, I'm not that attached to my view points. I'm attached to whatever verifiable reality actually is. Actuality over reality. I approach achieving my beliefs in a completely different manner, from what I can gather, than how they do. But enough of them and their intellectual down sides.

On my side I do have a few things going for me. Allow me to try and clarify....

When I was younger, I was very interested in the Cold War as I was on a path back then to a job within that insanity. I have now a certificate on my wall, signed by a government agency, thanking me for my efforts during that mostly behind the scenes, war of the wills, that from time to time left cold bodies along dark road sides. Sometimes bullet ridden, blown up in cars, or even as in one extreme example, poisoned by a signature plutonium micro-pellet riddled with microscopic holes delivered by the end of an umbrella device carried by a Soviet agent.

Even before that, my youth was a path straight into the field of espionage.

I had studied Martial Arts beginning in grade school. This was my primary orientation for the first part of my life. I was the one new kids got stuck with because I was a good trainer with novices and a good leader. I had to see what was, what they had, what they could handle, interpret that back to the ignorant, in a way that would move them quickly along. That laid a foundation for me throughout my life where I was a good team leader, accurate and effective. Bruce Lee, in this video (at 5:35) says that Martial Arts are a way to "express oneself honestly. Not lying to oneself...that my friend, is what you do." This was the foundation for who I was then and who I still am now.

In Junior High I was a Flight Commander in Civil Air Patrol (Wikipedia article) where we studied aerospace history as well as physically performing search and rescue missions finding downed aircraft in the Cascade mountains. I got my RadioTelegraph Operator's license, instructed cadets in my Flight in military march and drill and served (believe it or not), as a role model. I flew in small planes and landed my first plane in eighth grade at Tacoma Industrial Airport by Gig Harbor, Washington. I also took pilot ground school through our squadron. We were taught how to rely on what actually is, not what we believed in, but what we knew to be true in order to save and protect lives.

I was also on a private youth rifle team in junior high sanctioned by our local police department. I got my High School sports letter from three years on the Rifle Team. I was an illegal street racer. I got my SCUBA diving license (NAUI) in 10th grade. I took my first sky diving jump at seventeen, the only one to land on the LZ (landing zone) that day.

At eighteen I spent my first time with someone for a week, armed, acting as her bodyguard until she could leave town to avoid local organized crime related to a murder at the time and which I'm currently working on a screenplay about.

I spent the first part of my life studying, reading, watching, and talking to people about espionage, the Soviet KGB, our own CIA, and so on. Those studies included world wars, spy craft, history in general, and the rest that would entail.

At eighteen, I took Criminal Evidence for Police from a veteran cop at Tacoma Community College. For many years, that teacher had been the partner of famous retired LAPD officer turned novelist, Joeseph Wambaugh of The Blue Knight novel fame (and others), which lead to the seminal TV show. That class was the beginning of giving me a way to order up my thoughts that meshed well with how I naturally thought since I first began reading the classics, like Aristotle, in fifth grade.

None of that is bragging. I merely mention it as foundation for what I am about to say next.

I used to read only non-fiction espionage books by ex-spies and defectors, ex-spy leaders and ex-government officials from our government and others, both friend and foe. I refused to read spy books back then out of fear of it contaminating my catalog of information. A catalog that one day could save my life. I applied to the Tacoma Police Department at nineteen but they gave the available jobs to only minorities that year due to a new law that had just come into effect.

I went into the Air Force at twenty the next year as a Law Enforcement Specialist. Before I got out four years later, I applied to join the USAF Office of Special Investigations. When the OSI CO at that base asked me why I wanted to join them, I said that it was just a step in a path I was on and that all through my life, it was almost as if someone were directing me into this field (which is why I mentioned all that previously above). In the end, that Commanding Officer said that I had the highest score he had ever seen on an OSI entrance exam. Before and after the testing, I had many "interviews" with him until finally, I was accepted and given my papers.

In picking a base to be stationed to, when he asked what I wanted out of that career, I said I was hoping at some point to get into being a courier, or some other job like that which I might not at that time even know about. I said that while I am in the OSI I wanted to learn all I could about the job. So he suggested for me request being assigned to the base (now closed) in the Philippines called, Clark AFB.

That surprised me as I'd expected (hoped for) Europe or Asia, thereby closer to our primary foe, the KGB. I asked him why. He said that I if really wanted to learn all about the job, that was the place to go, because that base had the highest amount of theft of any of our air bases in the world. That was the place, he said, where I would have to fill out a lot of forms and in fact would learn all the forms in the catalog there. I just frowned.

I told him that although I appreciated that, it wasn't what I had meant. When he asked for me to clarify, I explained that I was more interested in field work than paperwork. I explained a little more and his eyes lit up with understanding.

"In that case," he said, "you'll want to go to Berlin." He said that in fact there was currently a job available there that no one seemed to want to fill, as the job has been open for a while.

I asked why. He said that the agent who had vacated the position, had been leaving work at the end of a work day, had gotten into his car, and it exploded, killing him. When I asked who did that, he just gave me an odd look. I shook my head not understanding but started to get the clue. He nodded as in, "you know". So I said, "KGB?" He tilted his head slightly, then nodded, which I took to mean that there was no knowing for sure, but that was the reasonable, accepted conclusion. So, no one wanted that job as no one wanted to get blown up.

Then he said, "If you want to learn how to deal with other agencies like that, then Berlin [in 1979], would be the number one place to go." Immediately, I said, "Sign me up." He said okay, and to come back the next day. I returned the next day and got my paperwork which I still have.

My life took a turn that winter and as it turned out, I got out instead, got divorced, and ended up going to college. Eventually, I got a degree from Western Washington University in Psychology in their Awareness and Reasoning division, and Phenomenology, with a minor in Creative Writing and script and screenwriting.

Now at this point, let me point something out.

I just said that I was initially vetted over a few months and accepted into the USAFOSI. But before that, I never did get to be a Law Enforcement Specialist. I was cut from that in Basic Training due to issues around my having flat feet.

The reason I am telling you this now is that disinformation, and misinformation, the manipulation of information without being fully untrue, is running rampant in our media and news media, our party platforms and political organizations, today. I could have told you when I mentioned my situation with USAF Law Enforcement, but in not doing so, I set that into your mind, to give myself more authority, even though I later took it back. This may sound like hogwash, but it does work when dealing with masses of people, in statistical relevance. We are being bombarded with this kind of thing, being manipulated like this, constantly.

Even though I never was a cop, an OSI agent, or a spy, up until the time (and after) that I got out of the Air Force and decided not to go into that career area, I had focused, studied and oriented my life toward that lifestyle.

Spies are scenario builders. They have to be, their lives depends on it. Even in the back of one's mind in that field, one has to consider all possible scenarios and play them out ahead of time, so that when whatever might happen, happens, you have hopefully previously considered it and have a plan of action set in mind. Sometimes what makes someone seem like a genius, is simply pre-planning or at very least, pre-consideration. That leaves you more time in not being surprised by unexpected elements and with more options available in a smaller amount of time, in a possibly deadly situation.

It was damaging for me to change my life course midway as I had. It made my life difficult for years after, but I still retained that format of analyzing information with the thought that my life may depend on my having the most accurate information at hand. I've been in many situations where I had to make a snap decision to save myself or others and well, I'm still here. And so are they.

The one thing that has been a guiding light to me in all my life has been in search and support of the Truth. My attitude generally speaking, has been mercenary. When I'm paid by someone or some group, when I decide to accept a position, I fulfill that position to the best of my ability. Who within that group I am focused on serving, is a sliding rule, because the mission and the truth, are what matter. But I don't want to explain all the ins and outs of that here and now.

In Psychology we were taught how to read and write Psychology journal articles for peer reviewed magazines. These are difficult to read (and write) and have statistics in them, which you also have to understand, as it's very easy to skew stats to one's whims. I had to take a year of Psychology Statistics for that and it was very hard and quite miserable to suffer through.

What is important to me in life, is not that I prove my case so much as to prove the right case, honing that case to what is the greatest truth that is possible to discover. I have never had a problem telling someone at work that a mistake was made and it was my fault. Other people after all, matter; I'm not all important, even if it costs me.

In the beginning when I was younger, I had no problem with doing the government's bidding; even if that meant fulfilling my orders in being directed to kill someone. I would assume there was good reason behind it. This is not an unusual mindset for any young military type.

As I got older and with all my reading and learning, I started to see that life is not like in the old film Westerns. Life is grey, many and varied shades of grey. I've grown up a lot and learned the hard way that what you think is true, may have merely been set up for you to think that way; so that it may seem like one thing, but really be another.

I also dove into and swam through the conspiracy theory thing back in my late teens. Once I first ran into that, realized it was a theory (or syndrome), I studied what it was all about, the theory behind a conspiracy theory, and the people who tend to fall for them. One needs to understand about conspiracy theories before getting involved in any one conspiracy theory. To understand that, you have to have a handle on information theory, crowd theory, a whole plethora of theories. When you understand that, you can pick apart much of the bad information we hear in the media today and more easily separate out all the better, the good information. When you understand that you can all the better also disseminate your own precisely flawed, targeted information.

That is something that the Soviets, the Russian people, were expert in. We learned much from British MI6 and their knowledgebase, which they shared with us and even more so at the end of WWII when the Germans ceased to be the problem and the Soviets rapidly became one. The Brits knew about a lot about that through the centuries as they were at odds with the Russians and various other European countries throughout history. We learned a lot from the Brits about all that, and they from the Soviets and the Russians before them.

The KGB invented disinformation. Something that our national news media and politics have been picking up on of late, esp., Fox News and the Republican and Tea Parties. Others too are picking up on it.

It's been my experience however that the shadier types usually learn this first and then the other sides pick up on it sheerly out of self-defense and eventually learn to turn it into an offense. At times our own CIA has even used it inadvertently against the American people when publishing to foreign press, but then newer news media naively filtered it back home. So it has been a hard row to hoe for the CIA over the years as they are accountable to us, even though it may not seem that way at times.

It is in having gone through all these things that I have mentioned here, as to why I have a good background for what I see and hear going on all around me in the world; and why I believe I have a good orientation and background for fathoming and sussing out what the truth is much of the time; even through our own sad news media.

However, I get it wrong at times too. One's insight is only as good as whatever information can be accessed. I try to access as much accurate and disparate info as possible, in the best journalist sense by attempting to find the greatest truths and any associated "truths".

In the 1990s I was a Senior Technical Writer. That required, especially on the high level IT teams I was assigned to, a fairly high degree of accuracy and effectiveness. Otherwise, you were out the door pretty quickly.

When I finally decided to seriously go into fiction writing I realized that all that wasted and now useless information I had assimilated on the KGB and the Cold War, wasn't actually that useless. Though the Soviet KGB is no more, it is replaced now by the Russian FSB. Maybe the data I had wasn't so useful anymore, but that style of thinking, of analysis, the scenario building, the vetting of sometimes dubious or misleading information, all port over quite well into writing fiction.

This article wasn't supposed to be about me. I'm pretty much beside the point.

I just thought I could use my outlook and background to point out how it can be different than what one might consider to be the norm. My point in talking about all this was simply to show how I see things, differently. But then I've been told that I see things differently, going back as young as I can remember. Most importantly, I just wanted to try to point out a way to look at all this. To try and explain it in another way, in the hope that it may open some people up to vet their opinions differently, to re-evaluate their assumptions; to be more careful and circumspect on their beliefs. Even their deepest held and most cherished ones.

So I put it to you that all in all, through all my education, orientation and experiences, going up against conservatives who watch Fox News, I think at least in general, I have typically have a somewhat better sense of what I'm talking about. I do try and I do frequently have a more accurate view of things than they seem to have. That's not to say they are always wrong; but not infrequently they just haven't vetted their outlook very well.

In the words of Robert Reich, "...test your assumptions, shake your assumptions."

One more little tidbit....

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Voice of JZ Murdock

I've been asked about this a few times. I've been told by some, that my written or authorial "voice" can at times be too much one of absoluteness, coming across in a somewhat arrogant fashion. Which is to imply (their implication is) that I am wrong at those times. Which is ridiculous, but would bolster their argument, whatever it was, against me.

I run into this a lot, mostly when arguing with a conservative, or conspiracy theorist. I don't mean to come off as over confident, just confident in my beliefs, because I've based my life on solid sciences and logic. I'm human, to be sure and I'm not perfect. Nor do I want to be thought of in that way. Being thought to be perfect is way more responsibility than I want.

That certainly is not my intent. To seem self-assured, yes indeed; but not perfect or arrogant, per se.

I have tried for years to cultivate an "authorial voice" for my writings. I remember when I was first told I needed to develop one. What a scary thing to consider. You are told over and over that in order to make it as a writer, you have to do that.

In my fiction writings it would seem that I have done a rather good job of it. So far. You can find out in my latest endeavor if you like, Death of Heaven. This is the ebook version, newly revised with a new cover. The new print version will also be out on Amazon, soon.

In my non-fiction writings, I have always tried to verify my comments before they become opinions. I frequently go out and verify, and re-verify my opinions on things, prior to posting them to the public. I try to find fault with them before sharing them. Sometimes I'm human and I leap before I look, but it's not that often.

Many of the people who (typically) argue with me on these things (as opposed to debating) have (again, typically) not done the same vetting of information and so have support for their opinions (from their chosen probably jaded, media outlets), or other's opinions who tend to agree with them.

With these people it is counterproductive to try and be wishy washy about your own opinion. Make a statement, stand by it, but be damn sure you are right, or at least even relatively close to right.

It always surprises me, especially with people who don't even know me, who don't know that I'm held in high esteem by those who have known me personally for decades; who know my level of integrity, the high esteem I put on Truth as best we can find it, and of having a clear understanding of things; that if you are going to spew your words into the public arena, you'd best have all your ducks in a row.

If only some of those in our media, on a daily basis, had the same concern for accuracy and held their own reputations in higher esteem; not in merely holding themselves in high esteem, which is mostly ego and an entirely different thing altogether.

It always surprises me when someone comes up to me with some new information that is a "game changer", when I then turn on a dime if it is really a new truth out there. Surely in many ways it is an old truth in reality, but to those who newly hear of it, it is a new truth to them. Many, will refuse to believe it, while I will go and try to find to the best of my ability, to prove the opposite of what I believe in, in order to sustain my own beliefs. However, if I cannot then prove my beliefs, then I will simply update them.

Because that is the mature and responsible thing to do.

I have always tried my best to see things as clearly and accurately as I can in as "enlightened" a way as possible. That sometimes means that my truth varies from your truth, because perhaps you are only looking at a specific part of an overall truth; one that most closely relates to you. But that isn't what truth is about.

That is where conservatives have their problems. Where they see "social" programs as bad, because they aren't seeing the overall truth, just the truth as it relates to them. Because why? Because they are more important than the "others". The "others" is a concept in sociology, psychology and philosophy (even physics) that is important and that many discount as unimportant because they can't see the bigger picture. Because the bigger picture isn't important to them. Or they will rationalize how it is so that to them, they are doing the brave or greater good thing, when in reality, they are just fulfilling a selfish promise to themselves.

It has been shown time and again how that bigger picture is important and not just to the bigger group. But there are sometimes where it isn't, too. It is in that dichotomy where people get lost. Because like life, it's not black and white. It's all in shades of grey and the more you look, the murkier it tends to get.

The other element in all this is greed. But let's not get into that here. Okay? Let's move on....

It always surprises me when someone claims that I'm being closed minded (because I refuse to agree to their faulty logic or their lack of information or lack of seeing the bigger picture). Then when I do change my mind on something with new or more accurate information, they are shocked that such a "closed minded" person as my esteemed self, would change my opinion. Because they see themselves in me, more than they are seeing me, in me.

Actually, I'm one of the most open minded people you could meet. I just don't prefer to suffer fools when I can avoid it and like with science, that can come off at times as aggressive or arrogant. It's not. That's just your misconception. I have been around arrogant people and I mostly dislike them, intensely.

UNLESS, they are that good or that correct. Then they have earned their perceived demeanor and others should look at that and not see arrogance, but a solid foundation. They should then question their own opinions.

But you know what? They usually don't. They complain, they make things up, they claim I'm the one who is defective. It's a tactic surely but it's still a tactic. It's not a founded opinion which is reality, accurate information and enough information to actually form a justified opinion.

It always surprises me when someone is surprised that I changed my opinion because of something they said to me. Sometimes they wonder what is wrong with me that I could so easily change my opinion. But that says more about them than me. When you enter a debate with someone, you do not take a-- "me against them", attitude. You take a-- "change my mind if it's reasonable", attitude.

So, if i come off sometimes as arrogant, or too self-assured, you are welcome to try to change my mind; but question yourself first and ask yourself, "have I vetted my own opinion"? Because if you haven't, consider that I probably have.

If you want to enter into a debate with me bring your best tools, and not just ones that make you look or feel good, or reassured in your own opinions. Don't use me to verify your opinions, use me to disprove them. Just as I will do with you, to see if you can disprove my opinions.

We're all in this together. We're all in this (like it or not) for what truly is true.

Because in the end it's not about our opinions that are the most important. It's about the Truth. Not the truth that supports our beliefs, but the Truth for the greatest actuality of what exists and for the greatest number of people. Yes sometimes, you will be on the losing end. So will I.

Deal with it.

It's what adults do.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Have a safe and happy 4th of July !!

Remember while you're partying today, just how great we have it in this country.

Consider the ways we (you?) can share that with the rest of the world. Because we're not exclusive in our desire to spread freedom, or share in our good fortune. Or that would be selfish and petty.

In the mean time... Party on!

Cheers!

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!



Monday, June 30, 2014

Conspiracy Theorists are NOT Conspiracy Realists. Uh, sorry guys. Mostly guys, right?

Conspiracy abounds now a days. It's really gotten ridiculous. It used to be just a funny quirk to point out ridiculous theories, but it's grown into a blown out cancer in America. It's become an obsessive past time for some, an addiction, for others, a money making machine for media like Fox News (seriously, check out that link to the Rolling Stone magazine).

There has always been the "Chicken Little's" of the world and there will always be those insecure few who are alarmists. Alarmism is excessive or exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threat e.g. the increases in deaths from infectious disease. The alarmist prefers intimidation and coercion to reasoned debate, and is often motivated by the desire to bring themselves to the forefront of discussion.

So you will see many of these types, on-line especially, spouting typically sloppy commentary about any who disbelieve them as being "sheeple", in trying to be badly (sadly) humorous and offhandedly offensive to any who don't follow their illogical assumptions. In reality, "sheeple" by definition are these individuals in a disingenuous to intimidate others into not disagreeing with them. They twist reality by giving themselves names like "Conspiracy Realists", "Truthers". It's like those against women's rights who call themselves "Pro Lifers", another disingenuous way to twist reality. "Birthers", who believe Pres. Obama is not an American citizen, fall into this category.

They like to give explanation to things that either have none, or put a twist on events that are found to possibly have an alternate explanation. Not infrequently, the continue to spout their alternate explanations that have repeatedly been shown to be false, disproved with science, if not the simple facts. These alarmists will refute logical counters with more conjecture, "grey" or pseudo science, or simply say they refuse to believe.

Time Magazine has a rather incomplete, "Complete List of Conspiracy Theories". These are at least a list of some of the major ones that have been going around for years. Separating Fact from Fiction:


Look, it's not like I don't want to believe in certain things, or that I'm offended by the "Truth". I don't have a problem with how science changes it's mind from time to time. As we learn more facts, we update our understanding of things. But it's based upon a foundation of fact, not conjecture and that makes a huge difference. But CTs (conspiracy theorists) point to this fundemental principle of science, to be the most correct it can be, at all times, and claim that makes it fallacious. It may not be perfect, but it's far more perfect than what the CTs do.

My life has been all about the Truth (no quotes). I'm not like many CTs who are all about the "Truth" which is tied to their ego and not infrequently, low self esteem and\or fear or a perceived lack of control over their life. 

But information has to be properly vetted. It has to be put in perspective and not just abused as it usually is by amateurs and even now a days, professionals with a bully pulpit (Fox News usually but others too). 


The kind of nonsense CTs are pushing. If you want
to be taken seriously, you have to use vetted information
A vacuum of data leads CTs to judgments. Agendas lead them to judgments. Picking on certain parties over others does the same. For instance a Repub. does something, no noise. A Democrat does the same thing next election, oh my god the sky is falling.

To turn the tables on CTs: This just in... conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job are misdirecting. They are the insiders who did the job. How else could they possibly know. Think about it....

Well, could be, right? Following CT theory anyway....


Poor Erin, but then when you're in the spotlight....
Believing in pseudo science, fads, fallacious trends, fallacious facts, it goes on and on. Twisting true data into absurd things. Taking data that can point two ways and pointing the more absurd way when human nature dictates it wouldn't happen, so much needs to be considered and even when you do find something terrible, shit happens and it frequently isn't a conspiracy just government doing it's job with no ill intent, just ill conclusions or results.
This is not to say however that most of the crazies running around
that we hear of have anything whatsoever to do with this statement
Relax. The world isn't ending. Yes bad things happen. But try putting a positive spin on things when it does more good than harm. Because then when you really DO find something juicy and it makes your mouth salivate onto your keyboard, NO ONE IS GOING TO BELIEVE YOU!

Conspiracy Theorist (from the Urban Dictionary):

1) Someone with a very open mind... it just happens that they are too open for their own good. 

2) A swell way to become an attention whore. 

3) A perfect way to waste away years of your life to find no reliable evidence what-so-ever.

Example: A classic 9/11 conspiracy-

Fold a $20 bill in half, then fold one half up perpendicular to the other half, do the same thing with the other half, *BING*
You found the Pentagon burning down!
Now flip it, you see the twin towers ablazing (which is disturbingly similar though...)
Since the $20 bill's design was conceived in 1928 (over 4 decades when the towers were built), that's nothing more but a coincidence.

>PS, Conspiracy Theorist, haha.
[end Urban Dictionary quote]




I think this is important to mention. It's not just nuts out there and having no consequences. It was sad yesterday, seeing a doctor reporting on TV about how disease rates in a certain group in America are seeing an increase in preventable diseases through vaccinations. The same group who most adamantly disbelieves and has been avoiding, vaccinations for some time now. Thanks in part to celebrities and misinformation that is going around.

The most obvious conclusion on how to fix this issue because of people believing in conspiracies about vaccinations? It may just be to let them keep going on until the disease rates hit a point that even they can't deny it any longer. It's just sad though. And, preventable.

"Conspiracy theory" from Rational Wiki:

“”Modern political religions may reject Christianity, but they cannot do without demonology. The Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Nazis all believed in vast conspiracies against them, as do radical Islamists today. It is never the flaws of human nature that stand in the way of Utopia. It is the workings of evil forces.
—John Gray, political philosopher

“”There’s a similar kind of logic behind all [conspiracy theorist] groups, I think ... They don’t undertake to prove that their view is true [so much as to] find flaws in what the other side is saying.
—Ted Goertzel, sociology professor

"A conspiracy theory originally meant the "theory" that an event or phenomenon was the result of conspiracy between interested parties; however, from the mid-1960s onward, it is often used to denote ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish or irrational theories. The problem is this results in possibly-rational conspiracy theories getting lost in the midst of the noise of newsworthy but disingenuous ideas such as New World Order or the Moon landing hoax."

Here's something interesting to consider, turning the tables on the CT's. The Soviets invented disinformation. MI6 and MI5 learned it from the KGB. We learned it from the UK through the ABC (America, Britain, Canada) coalition during WWII which was a kind of intel service intel sharing group while it was illegal to have, which could have brought America into the war too early at a time we didn't want to be in the war.

T
he Soviets tried to set up things within the US (this is true), to bring capitalism down. They were successful in some ways and some of their efforts worked.

Was it what we are now seeing in so many conspiracy theories abounding?

Are Conspiracy Theorists merely dupes and pawns of a now defunct and dead Soviet communist regime? Is it something the KGB's successors in the FSB (both something Putin grew up in) are still pushing and good God, why in the world wouldn't they be?

What's better in their twisted Soviet minds (when they still existed) than to have started a cancer in America that would survive beyond them like a cockroach of a concept that could survive even global thermo nuclear war?

Disinformation: False information that is released to the public in order to mislead people into believing things that are not true.

Think about it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Futuristics - 1981 to Today

Years ago in 1981, I took a college class at Ft. Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce College) in Washington state called, Futuristics.

I have no real commentary here on Futuristics or Futurism. I merely present this to you in the hope that it spawns curiosity and a consideration of our need to pay attention to the future. It may be more fun to live your life in a haphazard fashion of constant discovery and challenge, but in an overall consideration it is much better to more fully comprehend what we need to do before it happens.

Even for those who feel they have and do plan their lives out, they too are not doing all they easily could be. There surely are the outliers, but mostly we need to study the concept of Futurism in order to properly consider is ramifications. I've heard people before say they hate science fiction. That is typically your action adventure, robots and technology type sci fi.

I would suggest seeking out good sci fi and speculative fiction because in that we explore how the future, technology and possibilities will affect us. Typically and traditionally, games and sci fi are two of our best formats to test and experience our future possibilities. On top of what they propose, they can also use entertainment and humor, as well as fear and anxiety, properly place, to make a good and fair point of, what we should consider now, what we need to be concerned about and in some cases, what we need to concern ourselves with less.

It can also offer us alternate ways to think, as well as new perspectives, new anxieties, and new hopes.

The following is from my notes taken in that class. I offer it here not as a way to offer something new so much as to offer something that may be new to you, or may lead to further investigation if you find it interesting. Some of this information is dated now. The reference to Marilyn Ferguson's book has now had a chance for some consideration and critique.

Futuristics is 1. Systematic, 2. Imagining, creating, envisioning.

It is the study of past events and present problems to project possible, sane futures, in the most scientific and artful way possible\imaginable.

Components of Futuristics

  1. 1.       Systematic study of the future.
  2. 2.       Futurists propose a range of possible possibilities.
  3. 3.       Help groups find or create alternative futures.
  4. 4.       Determine which variables will predict future.
  5. 5.       Stimulate future creations or alternatives.
  6. 6.       Application of scientific method to understand the future.
  7. 7.       Consider Futuristics as an art rather than science.
  8. 8.       Emphasis is on managing the future and preparing for it.

Future Studies – Futuristics (or Futurology)

  •        An attempt to examine systematically the factors that can influence the future, and then project possible futures based on the interaction of the factors.
  •       Also, involves imagining and exploring desirable futures in hopes of discovering new ideas, new alternatives and new goals.

Assumptions:

  1. 1.   Future is knowable.
  2. 2.   Knowledge of the future is beneficial.
  3. 3.   Future is influenced by present conditions.
  4. 4.   Humans by nature have hope for the future.
  5. 5.   People can and should shape the future wisely.
  6. 6.  Trend is not destiny.
  7. 7.  There are many right answers.
  8. 8.  We have the most leverage (impact) in the future.
  9. 9.  The study of alternate futures is a mind flexing experience.
  10.        We can no longer afford to learn inductively from experience.
Anomie – Lack of purpose, identity or ethical values in a person or in a society; disorganization, rootlessness.

Marilyn Ferguson – “The Aquarian Conspiracy

Basically our society is shifting to whole brain thinking.
Aquarian – New beginning, mind-fresh approach. M.F. started brain\mind bulletin.
Conspiracy – To breathe together; intimate, joining.

Take scientific thought along with common experience and add (1) accelerated learning (2) expanded awareness (3) powers of visualization (4) capacity to remember memories and (5) shift from left to right brain thinking.

  1. 1.       Holistic Medicine – Biofeedback
a.       Electromyography
b.      EEG (brain waves)
c.       Fingertip skin temperature

  1. 2.       Education
a.       Use one side of brain to train the other.
b.      Learning IS a process of education.

  1. 3.       Individual transformation can be achieved by:
a.       Entry
b.      LSD
                                       i.      Possible to view things in a different way
c.       Exploration
                                      i.      Try on new paradigm
d.      Integration
                                      i.      New Paradigm taken on
e.      Conspiracy
                                      i.      Join others with similar beliefs

Willis W. Harmon (electrical engineer)

  1. 1.       Incomplete Guide to the Future

a. The Dilemmas
   i. Growth
       1. Population
       2. Economic
   ii. Work Roles
       1. Unemployment
       2. Meaningful job
   iii. Distribution
   iv. Control
       1. Technical Assessment

  1. 2.       Any solution to one problem aggravates another.

Forecasting

  1. 1.       Trend Extrapolation

a.       Study past variables to see into the future
                                                               i.      This is the main tool used

  1. 2.       Scenario Writing
a.       Used in military, government, Sci Fi, etc.

  1. 3.       Cross Impact Matrix
a.       Principle of continuity.

  1. 4.       Delphi technique
a.       Many independent experts speculate
b.      Speculations compiled

Paradigm Shift

  1. 1.       Paradigm

a.       A tentative "ideational" structure used as a testing device to interpret reality.
b.      A way of perceiving, thinking, valuing and doing associated with a particular vision of reality.
c.       Model

  1. 2.       Paradigm Shift
a.       Radical shift in the way of perceiving, thinking, valuing and doing associated with a particular vision of reality.

  1. 3.       Models
a.       Made up of concepts
b.      Concepts
                                      i.      Pattern of thoughts developed by existing norms and values and structures.

Exponential Growth

  1. 1.       Rapid acceleration of growth in a given situation.
  2. 2.       Growth that occurs at a percentage rate.

Trend Extrapolation

  1. 1.       Projecting, extending or expanding beyond what can be known.
  2. 2.       Extraction of previous figures of trend into a possible future.

Models

  1. 1.       Creation of rational thought designed as an aid in interpreting reality.

a.       To simplify and organize and categorize info.

  1. 2.       Good model will help you to predict and measure.
  2. 3.       When model is facilitated – some data is covered up.
  3. 4.       Therefore models can be “allusionating” and deceptive.
a.       You can eventually lose some objectivity.

Wuli – Patterns of organic energy

Transformation of Paradigm Shifts

  1. 1.       Thomas Kuhn
a.       Changes in science don’t occur on a gradual basis.

So, those are my notes from college, 1981.

Today

What's going on today? First you can check out Wikipedia. If you want to know, check up on some of today's Futurists like:

This is a fascinating area and like good science and speculative fiction, it helps us understand new scenarios of where we are headed. How can that ever be a bad thing. Awareness is paramount to our being prepared for our future. Even more so now a days.

Give it some thought. Check it out!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour - Part Three

You've arrived at the third round for the Writing Process Blog Tour!

Thank You to Lily for passing people along from her blog! Loved that one answer of hers... writing as, "Free Therapy". I think that's a very good reason for becoming a writer!

Welcome. I'm JZ Murdock, I'll be your host for this session....

As a blog about writing, there are really two sides to this thing. Are you a reader looking to understand a writer's perspective?

Or are you a writer (or want to be a writer), looking for a writer's perspective? I'll try to cover both, just skip what isn't intriguing you. Okay?

What am I working on?
The almost final cover version of the new release
My editor and I just finished a re-edit of my book, Death of Heaven. It had previously received good reviews before but I suspect (and hope) they will be even better now. Much thanks to my editor, Ilene Giambastiani and her husband Kurt, who is an excellent writer in his own stead. 

You'll be hearing more from him shortly.

I also write screenplays and currently have two new in process. One is a true crime story about a murder I knew of years ago when I had helped someone evade organized crime who she had said, committed the crime (news articles from that time indicate it was a random killing).

The other is a sequel to one of my current screenplays titled, Gray and Lover - The Hearth Tales Incident. It's about two Steampunk demon hunters, sent to protect a famous horror writer. The writer's friend from his military days in Afghanistan, named Saleel, is also briefly in Death of Heaven. The end of the screenplay neatly dovetails into the sequel to the book. Yes, I'm writing a sequel to an as yet unsold screenplay. But I find that writing in multiple disciplines helps each one of them in various ways.

Then there are always the inevitable short stories and mini-stories like I've started writing on Wattpad.

What is my background?

I grew up reading sci fi, horror and science fact. Before that I loved watching old sci fi films on TV and my favorite show, the original, Twilight Zone.

My first ever written short story was a sci fi story I wrote in tenth grade. My next full story came more than a decade later at university and was horror ("Andrew", is now a novella at the end of my collection of short stories, "Anthology of Evil").

My first sold short story was a piece of social horror titled, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear, also in Anthology of Evil, and that book opens with that story. We are starting the re-editing of that book with Andrewbecause it is the prequel and basis for my book, Death of Heaven.

Then I want to do, In Memory... and release it as a stand alone ebook because next year will be it's fifteenth anniversary since it was first published. Some of the other short stories in that book have already been released as short story ebooks and a few even as audiobooks.

In Memory... came to be when friends of mine challenged me when I said I could make any story workable. I was teasing them but they put me to task by saying that I couldn't write a believable story about a man who turned himself into a computer chip. In the end, I won the dare with that short story (as they had judged it) and eventually it was the first short story I ever sold.

The title of that story was an homage to Isaac Asimov (his first autobiography was, "In Memory, Yet Green". If you're a fan of traditional sci fi in its Golden Age, you really need to read that for a glimpse into the history of many of the old, great sci fi writers. In that book, Isaac had said that many of these great sci fi writers started out as Technical Writers during WWII.

Isaac thought that their need for attention to detail, working on cutting edge technologies in some cases (at the time) and all the practice they got finishing projects on deadline, as well as in needing to write and finish large projects, all made it easier for them to eventually become published as sci fi writers. 

So, I got a job as a Tech Writer too; later to become a Senior Tech Writer. I was working in Information and Internet Technologies (IT work). I finally got out of it because it just wasn't that much fun and really, I just wanted to write fiction, anyway. Besides, people found their team Tech Writer to be annoying as they were always trying to drag information out of team members who were just trying to get their work done. On Time.

I just wanted to write their work up as was a required part of the process; but I didn't want to be an annoyance to people. So eventually, I moved into other areas of IT work. I hope one day to make enough to support myself fully upon my writings. For now, I'm lucky to have the situation I do have. Lucky, though I have worked hard for years to be in a situation such as this, where I can work from home and have time to write in my off hours. You too can find your favored situation in your own life, but it takes hard work and is not without difficulties.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That's a hard thing to ask of me. I'd consider my genres to be horror and sci fi, speculative fiction in general. Though I write a lot of non-fiction, too. Mostly on my blog here, and elsewhere (Facebook, Wattpad, etc.).

I wasn't sure what to say on this so I asked my editor, Ilene what she thought:

"I think your work differs within your genre in that it is deeply psychological in it's heart.  Certainly, there is plenty of gore to go around, but the gore tends to serve the psychological suspense in the story, rather than be an end in itself. Your work is also very engaging to the reader--meaning that I get lost in it. You weave very wonderful stories, with eroticism, suspense, and just plain horror! Yay!"

Well, thanks Ilene! There's more on my page for Death of Heaven and my web site at jzmurdock.com.

According to author Michael Brooks as he puts it in having reviewed, Death of Heaven:\

"[JZ Murdock] demonstrates a lovely turn of phrase and some of the writing is almost poetic in its beauty."

High praise which I will always endeavor to live up to. Thanks Michael!
Why do I write what I write?

Again, I agree with Lily's answer, "Free Therapy." Honestly, I got my degree in Psychology for free therapy. After I got out of the military, I thought I could use some therapy and so I figured that getting a degree in Psych might just be a good way to go about it. Plus I wanted to learn true characterization, not through a literary degree. I think it worked out well on both accounts. 

I received some good ideas for stories in my university Abnormal Psych classes. Gumdrop City was one, a true crime but rather unbelievable story that I heard in class one day. Sarah is another one. One day after Abnormal Psych, a girl stopped me in the stairs on the way to my next class and told me about her grandmother's experiences with Alzheimer's. Of course, I fictionalized them both but GC is much closer to what actually happened. Sarah is more of a Twilight Zone tale.

To answer why I write what I do, it's when I have a story I inside that wants, needs to get out. It's like seeing a puzzle, one that you know you can solve and just have to work on. It's just very rewarding that I can share those with others; others who seem to enjoy reading them.

How does my writing process work?

I don't really have to brainstorm ideas. They come to me in various ways. Taking in fresh information is always helpful and sparks new ideas, constantly. I like to stay abreast of cutting edge technologies and consider where they could take us. What fresh nightmare could they visit upon us at some unforeseen time?

I get a kernel of an idea in my mind, it starts to grow and there is nothing I can do to stop it. Then I start writing it down. Write and re-write till it's polished.

There is one writing method I suspect some people don't use: Massaging your text. It's a term familiar (or should be) to all Tech Writers. In all the re-writing, sometimes things get messy. Maybe all the time. So once in a while you have to start at the top and read down to the end, correcting as you go. It's the only way to be sure you have everything connecting properly and in its right place. 

Sometimes I will have a base outline set up and stick to that, allowing changes as I go and as are necessary for the overall story. But more frequently I prefer to go on an adventure through discovery writing. I get the general idea or just a title; a place to start or sometimes, a place to finish. Then I just start writing. Frequently my beginning will turn into the middle and I will back fill. Or I will back up from the end and try to find the beginning, then flesh it all out. I try to write it all down and then edit, and re-edit, rewriting over and over until it's done.

I am constantly writing ideas down for later. Otherwise, no matter how great it is, it can vanish. Don't listen to people who say (or your mind telling you) that if it's such a great idea, you won't be able to forget it. You can forget, anything. Write it down, with as much detail as possible to spark your mind, to get you back to where you were when it seemed like a brilliant idea.

I also write down the title of the film or show I'm watching in my notes (or song, or whatever sparked the original thought), then store it on my hard drive under novels, or short stories, in a folder called Ideas, or Titles. Then later I have a lot of ideas to write out, or get more ideas from. It's been very valuable.

I never through away anything, idea-wise.

Getting a reader, someone to read my writings, to catch anything I missed, is a must. But for years I never had anyone to read it by myself. I'd put it away for a few days or a week (months or years sometimes) and then re-read it anew, as a fresh read. It can then become painfully clear where the messes are that need to be cleaned up.

As you may have noticed at the beginning, I have been creating a Universe in my writings with crisscrossing interrelated characters and timelines in my stories, novels or screenplays. Why? Because I always loved it when other author's did that. I just accidentally fell into doing it myself. But once I realized what I was doing, I kind of got into the idea and have been consciously trying to build on it.

Like one of my new short stories for an anthology of writers called, the Giant Tales series of books. For World of Pirates, I wrote a story called, Breaking on Cave Island, which became a prequel to a character I wrote in a bizarre story called, Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer to a Question He Knever Knew, contained in Anthology of Evil. That was a story actor Rutger Hauer chose as a winning story back in a 2004 contest he put on. 

To sum up, my writing process is just like that of most writers: write, finish, re-write, re-write, re-write, massage, till it feels solid and truly is finished. Then if you can, have someone read it (or put it away and read it again later). Tweak it some more and then, get it published; and that, is an entirely different blog.

What exactly is the key to my writing process and style, then? Same as yours would be. It's all about what one's "voice" is, as it has developed through the art and practice of writing. My voice comes from what I've read before and all through my life; what I've learned about the mechanics of writing and how I enjoy applying them, correctly or incorrectly; how I see the world in general and at times in specific; and in the end, how it all sounds to myself when I read back what I have written; does it then please me?

That's it, really. That and lots of practice (writing is rewriting) tied to how an audience of readers responds to my writings (or how I expect they will) along with my consideration of how I wanted them to respond and how I then react to that in my writings. Still, in the end it's really what's pleasing to me.

Hopefully something useful came out of these last few minutes. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best! May you always find new and fascinating stories to read. 

The next blogger up is for next Monday's (June 23, 2014) Writing Process Blog TourHe is author of one of my favorite stories of all time, a revisionist's history called the Fallen Cloud series, as well as other very enjoyable books and stories.

I now turn the Blog reigns over to friend and fellow author, Kurt Giambastiani,

Cheers!