Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My novels now available in Print edition

I've now had my three self published novels released in paperback at

In my previous experiences with POD print editions, I've had two problems: I usually can't use the cover design of my own design, and the price tends to be expensive per copy. With, I've got around both problems. The covers are of my own work, both front and back, and the prices are fairly reasonable. Eetoo is US$12.60; Catrick is US$9.00; and The Zondon is US$13.83. The difference in cost reflects the size. They're all still US$1.99 at and Amazon Kindle Store.

Anyway, mosey on over and have a look...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Author's own review of Eetoo

About ten years ago, I decided that my writing style and subject matter was too off beat for the mainline Christian audience. Either it was too heavy on the demands of discipleship, or it made Christianity look too Jewish, or it found other ways to bypass the more popular trappings of Christendom. I started to write for the general secular audience -- bigger market share, anyway.

However, if you read any of my novels cover to cover, you will recognise kingdom principals woven throughout -- no, not a "sinner's prayer" tagged at the end, but themes that should help people understand the Kingdom of God without feeling like they're being preached to.

And, yes, some of it will preach to Christians as well. Pepe is a parable of the Kingdom that shows why the Church has operated with more power at some times than at others. The Story of Saint Catrick is about ethnic reconciliation, and The Zondon has the same sort of mix you'll find in C. S. Lewis' Paralandra series. So does Eetoo.

Actually, with Eetoo, I've come full circle. Before you reach the end, you'll realise that it is a blatantly Christian novel. I just hope that atheists and new-agers won't feel betrayed by the sudden appearance of Jesus in the last section.

But it's the "Jesus of History", which again, might be too Jewish for some, the man they called "Yeshua". But I believe I've effectively portrayed the "Jesus of History" as the one that fits with the scripture accounts, and as the One to have faith in.

So, where does it suddenly turn blatantly Christian?

Part three, in a sequence of events that might recall Ben Hur, the characters in the story arrive in Jerusalem in time to occupy a front row seat for passion week. Woven in with their other adventures, are some of the key events of Yeshua's last week, climaxing with His trial, His execution and then, His resurrected presence. In those key events are the answers that the main character, Eetoo, has come looking for. The climax of Yesuha's life thus becomes the climax of the narrative of Eetoo.

But unlike Ben Hur, Eetoo comes from outer space. No, he's not Dr. Who, nor someone who fell of the Enterprise or Voyager (Star Trek). He doesn't barge into first century society with brash 21st century ideas, leaving half baked quasi-enlightenment in his wake. And it's definitely not Alternative History. Eetoo, himself, is from a primitive tribe, and it's already taken him a while to become accustom to cosmopolitan interstellar society with a human presence that dates back to pre-Egyptian times. He's the right person to intrude.

And he does have questions to be answered. The universe is populated by various intelligent species. Some of them, including an old wizened Utz named Neuryzh, are benevolent towards humanity. They understand that humans, though in many ways inferior to the other species, have a unique quality about them that was designed by the Creator, which, if humans would only realise their potential, would make them superior to all other species.

Others, notably the Groki, have had a bad experience with humanity in the past, particularly during the height of Nephteshi empire. The Nephteshis were as imperialistic and exploitative as any human empire ever was, but that's in the distant past by the time our narrative begins. However, it left proof of one thing: humanity is bad.

One Groki, an acquaintance of Eetoo named Blazz, makes a pointed remark:

'Good fine humans. Yes, I know. I've seen some seemingly peace-loving human communities in my time. The problem is, they invariably give birth to a generation of bad ones. A happy stable community now; in one short celestial age what have you? The happier they are, the more spoiled their brats, who will grow into the monsters of tomorrow. '

Of course, Grokis and other intelligent species live long enough to be able to make such observations. Also, their brain capacity is many times more than that of a human, so Blazz also makes the following comment:

'...But you know, it's a fact: Wherever humans have gone, rats, cockroaches and other vermin have always followed. Those three species seem to be adaptable to every sort of climate and condition... Moreover, it's a known fact that cockroaches are as much lower in intelligence than rats as rats are to humans and humans are to Groki and Sozks.'

But Eetoo also has supporters:

Fra speaks up: 'And so, Mr. Blazz, where exactly do you draw the line between what's an intelligent creature, and what's vermin -- if in fact there is to be a line drawn?'

'I should think that would be obvious!'

'Perhaps, to someone as much more intelligent than the Groki as the Groki is to the human, the answer might not be so obvious, Mr. Blazz.'

'Thus spoken by the administrator of the planet! Mr. Fra, I've heard of some of your problems resulting from the human infestation...'

Humans, rats, cockroaches... Eetoo is reminded of the comparison over and over as he encounters the degradation and squalor of various human communities he comes across in his travels, usually due to actions of other humans. The most striking example is Jerusalem and its environs, the city to which Eetoo has gone to seek answers, only to find more questions.

The following excerpt says it best:

One of the religious looking blokes glares at him and spits as he passes. The man just smirks back.

'Probably a tax collector,' says Alexander.

The man and his bodyguards turn into one of the nicer houses.

'Everyone hates them,' says Alexander. 'They work for the Romans, and get filthy rich off it. You'll never see them without their personal bodyguards, or if you do, you'll find them dead next time you turn around.'

'For good reason too!' says a man walking near us. 'You see all the beggars? You know why the countryside's so full of robbers?' He's obviously very religious, the way he's dressed.

'The Imperial taxes, I suppose,' says Nicanor.

'Yes, and if that weren't enough to break one, these traitors collect double their share of it.'

'I've heard that too,' says Alexander.

'And if that weren't enough, there's one more thing.'

'Which is...?'

He gets close to us and says in a whisper, 'Our own Temple tax! Those pagans that run our Temple send their men to collect our tithes, our first fruits -- fruit or no fruit -- redemption of our first-born -- every bit as vicious as the Romans, they are! If people can't pay up, they lose their land. Then, they have no choice but to beg. By the time they realise there isn't enough charity to support a population of beggars, (if they aren't already dying from malnutrition) they do the only sensible thing: join the robber gangs.'

Now, we're about to enter the synagogue, so we quiet down.

At this point, I should acknowledge Shalom Ache's The Nazarine, a very long but informative novel written by a Jewish author. Not only does he set Yeshua's life and ministry firmly in a Jewish setting, but he seems to know his stuff. It's good reading, but I never got through the whole thing -- only enough to populate my description of the life and topography of Jerusalem, the High Priestly family and other aspects of first century Jewish life. I've also learned a lot from my readings of scholars such as E.P. Sanders, David Flusser and other sources related to what's now called "Jesus Studies", including information on the Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinical literature, Pseudographical literature, etc. I even attended the synagogue for a period (I was tempted to apply for the post of shavos goy), and read bits of the Talmud and Midrashim in their library. I'm fairly confident that if a rabbi or any scholar of first century history would read it, they'll find Eetoo satisfactory as to the technical details. Eetoo also contains a glossary at the back that gives information on some of the details.

In spite of being informative and historically accurate (when it comes to actual known history), it's still got suspense and intrigue.

One of the laws of the universe (in our narrative) is that every intelligent species has the right to live, so long at the planet of their birth is still habitable. Earth, the planet of humanity's birth may be destroyed by fire, unless the Supreme One extends the covenant. (Here, I expanded on an obscure rabbinical tradition that the Earth would have been destroyed a thousand years earlier had Israel not accepted the covenant at Mt. Sinai). If Earth is destroyed, humanity has no right to exist, and the galactic Groki community intends to be their executioner. No one knows the actual location of the planet, so the burden of proof that it hasn't been destroyed, rests on humanity. This is a part of Eetoo's mission.

Eetoo is, in fact, the one prophesied to find the secret door to Earth (a teleportation device, a bit like Stargate), to go to obtain the golden tablets that Noah had given to Shem, that would complete human understanding of things. On finding them, Eetoo finds they refer to events currently taking place in Jerusalem. However, things don't seem to go as they're supposed to. In fact, events take a horrible turn as the key person, who is supposed to redeem the planet, instead gets himself crucified. All is lost ...

Well ...

I also have some ideas for sequels and prequels. The next one would start at the very beginning with Adam and Eve. In our series, we call them Father Red Earth and Mother Life. My working title is The Language. Here's the prologue to the first chapter:

In the beginning was the language, and the language was one. The one language encompassed all of existence. There was nothing, no aspect of anything, nor any description, nor feeling that could not be fully communicated by means of that language.

It was the language used to create. The words, 'Let there be light', included every property of the light that was to be created. The word 'earth' contained the blueprint for earth. The word, 'oxygen', described the subatomic structure of the oxygen atom. The word 'sheep' had within it, the DNA of the sheep. This was the language of Divinity.

The language of humanity was a subset of that. In the same way that the original Language could create matter out of nothing, the language of humanity could create virtual worlds. -- from The Book of Methushalech

Suffice it to say that early humanity was more high-tech than we give them credit for. But that ended at the Tower of Babel, where they lost the Language.

In another sequel: The fiery chariot that took Elijah up was, in fact, a space ship. He became a character in my first attempt at science fiction, an unmarketable novel I entitled Space Brothers, which I may rewrite for this series.

Anyway, you can find Eetoo here...

Friday, September 10, 2010

John C. Wright's Gospel of the End Times

When I read Orphans of Chaos, by John C. Wright, my first impression was that the author must be some sort of Gnostic pagan, as that sort of philosophy seemed to shine through the narrative. However, when I did my research (okay -- Google) it turned out that at the time he wrote that piece of fantasy fiction, he was an atheist, and the Gnosticism was no more than a backdrop for that particular series of novels. However, since that time, he had converted to Christianity, influenced in a large part by the writings of C.S.Lewis. He's still a fan of C.S.Lewis, and also of G.K.Chesterton. In fact, John C. Wright is now a Roman Catholic (like Chesterton was).

It's rather ironic, in one sense. C.S.Lewis, a Protestant, was converted from atheism through the influence of J.R.R.Tolkien, a Catholic. John C. Wright, a Catholic, was converted from atheism through the influence of C.S.Lewis, a Protestant. I said, ironic, but it's also intensely beautiful in another.

Lest any of my Protestant friends are of the opinion that Catholics are so tradition bound as to obscure any hope of them finding saving faith within their walls, here's a blog post by John C. Wright that will dispel that illusion. He paints his scenario through the medium of Noah, preparing for the destruction of the world. His eschatology is right on, the message is cross centred, and he even acknowledges some of the mistakes made by the Mother Church during the middle ages, insinuating that the church, under persecution, has faired better. Here's a couple of quotes:

The Orthodox Church, the Nestorians, the Copts, the Syrians, and all the Indians instructed by St. Thomas have been ground under the bootheels of pagan kings and paynim sultans for over a thousand years: they have more martyrs to their glory and more saints than earned the palm in the West. When the Church was burdened with worldly power, one thing she ended up doing was corrupting herself, and shattering via Reformation and Counter-Reformation, wars, tumults, and persecutions, into fragments large and small. It was not until the Enlightenment that the keys to the liquor cabinet where the wine of worldly power is stored were locked away from our poor, drink-besotted Mother Church.
And another one:

... So, no, Christians do not need to be in the shoes of Caesar or Pontius Pilot to save the world. That salvation was done by one whose feet were pierced by nails: as far as the world could see, a crackpot agitator who died a traitor’s grisly death. This is because the world sees things backward. The cross the world sees as an instrument of torture, humiliation, and death we Christians see as exalted, and we take it as our labarum of comfort, glory, and victory.

How's that for a Catholic? Read it yourself...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fundamentalists vs anti-Fundamentalists

Scott McKnight, at Jesus Creed, is changing his blogging platform. Right now, he has posts up at both his old site and his new one (different posts). I'm not sure how it happened, but one of the posts, prominently visible, as though it was posted in the last few days, is this one, dated 17 Dec., 2008. Maybe the dating thing on the blogging environment isn't working properly, or what? Anyway it's a good blog post about fundamentalists, and how people who have switched to newer ideas can be just as opinionated and hard shelled about their new position as they were about their fundamentalist ideas. Anyway, go there for a good read, and while you're there, take not of their new URL.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

...and now, Islamophobia

I just now posted a blog about homophobia, and I read one by Brian Mclaren about Islamophobia.

Apparently, last year, he observed the fast of Ramudan. Before you quibble, what does the Bible actually say about Ramudan? Where is the command to stay away from it?

In much the same spirit, here's couple of blog posts I did a few years back: Letter to a Moslem and The Blessings of Ishmael (the latter was posted just a few days after 9-11)

There's a lot of debate, both in Christian circles and Moslem, as to what extent does the Koran support terrorism. A lot has to do with the definition of jihad. To some, it means all out war against infidels -- thus, a mandate to plant bombs on aeroplanes. To others, it simply means the struggle against sin and injustice, whether it be an inner struggle or outward activism. Since I'm not an authority on Islamic theology, I'll leave it to the experts, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Two more sticking points would be that Islam doesn't believe that Yeshua died on the cross and rose again. They believe he came from God, and is something far beyond any other human prophet. They even call Him the Word. However, the issue of Messiah's death is a major stumbling block (as the cross often is).

The other point is that they don't believe it proper to call Yesua the son of G-d, as Allah doesn't have children. On that point, I wonder if that wasn't a reaction to some Christians during Mohamed's day treating the issue as though G-d had given birth to Yeshua like a human father, through Mary. I could see their point. However, that isn't such a major hurdle, as they still refer to Yeshua as The Word of Allah. In Christian theology, the Word is really what we mean by "begotten of the Father", so in a dialogue with Moslems, we can easily refrain from saying "Son of G-d" and use "Word of G-d" instead.

So, we're left with the stumbling block of the cross, which I'm willing to bare.

Apart from that, there are a number of things that Moslems do better than most Christians, and one of them is fasting, which is what Brian Mclaren did last Ramudan.

Good Samaritan -- retold

I believe there is a difference between homophobia and simply believing that homosexuality isn't G-d's intention for human sexuality. Homophobia affects who we make friends with, how we do politics, and generally gets us tied up in knots.

I don't consider myself homophobic, but I believe that, according to the Bible, homosexuality isn't the right choice. I also don't believe being an alcoholic is the right way, nor sex outside of marriage, nor experimenting with potentially harmful drugs. In the various jobs I've held, I've been good personal friends with people in probably all these categories. I still keep in touch with some of them via Facebook and Skype. None of them calls me alcoholo-phobic, sexo-phobic or drugo-phobic. I just don't indulge in those lifestyles, myself, and my belief in Yeshua keeps me away from it. I also don't believe in bowing down to idols, but I have no trouble at all living in Thailand, where most people do -- including good friends.

I actually don't know anyone whom I'm certain is gay, but I hope they differentiate between homophobia and simply believing it's not G-d's way. However, I have heard rhetoric from that general direction that seems to leave out that option. I'd gladly discuss the subject with them over a pint down at the pub. Just one pint, mind you -- more than that, I start feeling it in the head -- but make it the pub of your choice.

Now, on the other side, here's a news story that makes me think. If Yeshua were telling his parables today, would he have told his story of the Good Samaritan in this context? This was brought to my attention by Tony Jones on Twitter (@jonestony) and it points to a blog post entitled A Modern Good Samaritan Story: Gay Couple Saves Life of Homophobic Neighbor. It's an interesting story that makes one think.

Now, the original story of the Good Samaritan: Yeshua seemed to have a lot of good things to say about individual Samaritans. However, he also agreed with the concusses of Orthodox Judaism that Samaritanism wasn't the right way (John 4:22). They only believed in the Torah, and rejected the Prophets. They refused to worship in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and didn't believe in the Davidic lineage -- which hit at the very basis for Yeshua's claim as Messiah. But it was the Samaritan, in the story, who obeyed the great commandment.

I'm sure many would believe that Yesuah would, without any reservation, have used a Palistinian instead of a Samaritan, or had a Catholic saving a Prod near the peace line in Belfast (or vice versa), or a black saving a Ku Klux Klaner... would he have used the example as recorded in the news story?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Review of Gerald Seymour's Harry's Game

Any book Gerald Seymour writes about the troubles in Northern Ireland is probably worth the read. He was one of ITN's top reporters covering the situation between 1969 and 1976. His novel, Harry's Game, has the copyright date of 1975, so that puts the timing of the narrative, probably after Bloody Sunday, but well before the Hunger Strikes.

It was made into a miniseries in 1982. So, ask me, why am I reviewing a book written so long ago, that's already made it as a miniseries?

Because it's still a good read, and I missed the miniseries (and it's not like I care how old a book is or how much footage it inspired; I may review Little Dorret next).

Because it's a good education for anyone wanting to know the background of the troubles.

Because I recently moved to an area right within walking distance of most of the action in the narrative.

We are a bit new to the area. When people comment on my accent, I tell them, "We're Irish. We've just been away too long" (but people outside Ireland think I sound Irish). My dad was an East Belfast man. My cousins on his side of the family still live there. My Uncle Bob (my namesake) passed away during the general period covered in the book.

We recently moved from Thailand back to NI, and found a nice house in North Belfast. Belfast isn't a major metropolis, but my East Belfast cousins hardly knew the lay of the streets before they came to look us up. Our area, and nearby West Belfast are the areas known for the Troubles (with a capital "T"), whereas East Belfast has always been relatively peaceful. Relocating from East Belfast to West is almost tantamount to emigration -- let alone moving from Thailand.

The other day, I decided to walk, rather than take the bus, from my home to the city centre. I took a short cut down the footpath behind the Ballysillan Leisure Centre, which ran into the top end of Ardoyne Road, the very neighbourhood where Billy Downs lived (the assassin in the story). A lot of development has taken place since those days, but one section of it, closer to Crumlin Road, looked like it was still run down with lots of Nationalist graffiti. However, some of the more prominent murals look like an attempt to put the Troubles behind them. One prominent sign, facing the roads leading in from Shankill says, "Please respect our community."

I walked straight from there into the Shankill area, which I probably couldn't have have done in the early days of the troubles, because Shankill is as hard core Prod as Ardoyne is Catholic.

While parts of Harry's Game may read like a tour guide to those who have spent time in the area, Gerald Seymour is equally knowledgeable about the people themselves, their culture, their fears, the hatred and whatever else makes them tic.

Harry, the leading character, was actually from Portadown (a town an hour's drive South of Belfast), who spent most of his life in the army away from Northern Ireland. When British Intelligence asks him to go under-cover to Belfast to seek out the assassin of a cabinet minister, he has to learn how to speak in a West Belfast accent. He has only two weeks to prepare. He also learns the style of the Falls Road residents, that bred by suspicion and fear of outsiders, and a fear of saying too much.

Within the two weeks he has to prepare, he cultures an accent that pleases his superiors, but we find that not everyone in West Belfast is fooled. His land lady wonders that he sounds authentically West Belfast for a few words, and then suddenly other sounds creep in. It doesn't seem natural. She mentions it to a neighbour over the back fence. Tight knit community that it is, word gets to the local IRA lookout who reports the fact to the Brigade intelligence officer. They decide to keep an eye on the stranger.

This isn't adventure hero fiction. Harry isn't James Bond -- nor even "Dirty Harry". This is true to life fiction. Things happen like they would in real life. People bungle, especially the Secret Service network giving support to Harry. First, they direct him to the wrong type of guest-house. He realises that and finds a more appropriate one himself, up Falls Road, the more likely place to find an IRA assassin. Because they don't know where he is, Harry's boss is dependent on the occasional phone call he makes from the city centre. This is highly unusual for an intelligence operation. Other parties, like the police and the army, have their opinion about this.

It would never happen to James Bond, but, as we said...

By a miracle, Harry happens to make friends with the right girl. Parental warning here: read it yourself first, before passing it on to your teenager. After an intimate scene, the girlfriend Josephine, lets out some information that might be a lead. Harry passes this on to his boss, and he, to the Army people in Belfast. They pick up a girl, Theresa, who happened to get intimate with the assassin Harry is looking for.

Theresa lets out only enough information to confirm that it was the the man they were looking for, no name, no description, then she kills herself.

While the powers-that-be agree that Harry did his job well, things are a mess. Riots ensue. The hit man, Billy Downs, is assigned a revenge attack on the RUC chief of interrogation, whom the IRA holds responsible for the death of the girl.

As for Harry, he's run out of leads. He gets a job in a scrap yard, and digs in for the long haul. Where James Bond would always have a card up his sleeve and keep the movie audience on the edge of their seats, our real-world spy has run out of tricks.

But don't worry. There's enough happening on the other fronts to keep the story moving. All the while, we see the way things are done behind closed doors; how more assassinations are being planned; how important people are known on a need-to-know basis; guns and other weapons are used and immediately removed so that no one actually has a gun when the army is doing a routine search; how doors are left open so that snipers flee the scene by entering by the front door, while the family is having their supper, and out the back. We find out what Mrs. Down's really thinks about her husband being an assassin -- once she guesses the truth.

Finally, Harry's girlfriend puts two and two together: her mentioning it to Harry was what led to the poor girl, Theresa, being rounded up and killing herself. Then, Harry makes a slip of the tongue that confirms that he isn't who he's saying he is. Josephine grills him, but because she isn't a die-hard fanatic for the Republican cause, she lets it go. In the process, she lets slip another small detail that leads to Billy Down's identification.

Then, things begin to build up to a climax. The IRA people are about to catch Harry. The tables turn, but not in a James Bond sort of way, and Harry is after his man. The ending is climactic, but it's the type of thing that could happen in real life -- a lesson to be learned.

It's not a story about heroes versus villains, only the people on both sides. In the end, you'll find you've not really identified 100% with either side. It will help you appreciate the facts on the ground.

I do have one word of advice. If you plan to read it, don't read the Wikipedia article first -- too many spoilers there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Israel, What Are Christians to Think?

Some good sound opinions at Derek Leman's website on the current uproar regarding Israel. On one side are the Christian Zionists, who would shout "Yeah Israel" no matter what they did, for good or for bad; on the other, those who won't ever give Israel the benefit of the doubt about anything, and even begrudge them the right to exist as a state.

Here's what Derek has to say:

Let me suggest a Jewish view, a biblical view of the situation:

1. Israel is the people elected freely and irrevocably by God, whose destiny and purpose serve as the forefront of God’s plan of world redemption.
2. Israel’s relationship with God is one of unconditional love and favor, but its temporal fortunes are tied to the covenant relationship through Torah.
3. The state of Israel is a secular government with little regard for Torah, which is obligated to follow the divine commandments and is not, and which is not guaranteed peace or success in any generation until there is renewal.

Read here for more...

Friday, June 18, 2010

William Gibson, on the "future" of Science Fiction

To some, "future" is what science fiction is all about. William Gibson begs to differ. His last few books have been set in the present (as for myself, at least one of my SF books is set in the distant past, during Earth's recorded history).

The blog post I'm highlighting here is that of William Gibson, himself, and it's a transcription of a luncheon talk on the release of his latest novel, Zero History. He starts by giving some current events which, I must admit, do sound like SF:

Say it’s midway through the final year of the first decade of the 21st Century. Say that, last week, two things happened: scientists in China announced successful quantum teleportation over a distance of ten miles, while other scientists, in Maryland, announced the creation of an artificial, self-replicating genome. In this particular version of the 21st Century, which happens to be the one you’re living in, neither of these stories attracted a very great deal of attention.
It's a great talk for anyone interested in the genre of science fiction. Read the rest here...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

twinkle twinkle giant star...

sung to the tune of a familiar nursery rhyme:

twinkle twinkle giant star
now i understand what you are
many light-years up so high
nuclear furnace in the sky ...

do you wish upon that star?
please, oh please, stay where you are!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Jewish Prophecy

For the last six or seven years, I've been on the list of a Yahoo Group called . I'm not sure how I got the invitation to join, but I got it and I did. Many on the list appear to be Zionist radicals of the non Messianic sort -- a few of them, militant. Now and then I've found a gem. I believe I've found one just now. It would be easy, of course, to take the following the wrong way, but I believe there's something there.

This is not the usual sort of thing that a nice Christian boy like me would post on a blog, but here goes:


Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Many Jews talk about the need to make Israel an authentic Jewish state, and of course they know what is an authentic Jewish state. It's a state based on the Torah, on the Sinai Covenant. It's a state whose ultimate purpose is to sanctify the Name of God by revealing His infinite Wisdom, Power and Graciousness in every domain of existence.

But if we understand what an authentic Jewish state is, why don’t we have a road map to such state? The basic reason is because we have focused our attention and energies on the “Arab problem,” more precisely the “Palestinian problem.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not only is entire world is focused on the Palestinian problem, but Israel's Government is committed to the establishment of an Arab-Islamic state on Israel's own territory! Let's try to get to the bottom of this bizarre situation.

(1) Israeli governments have focused the world’s attention on the Palestinian problem because these foolish governments have failed to address Israel's most fundamental problem the Jewish problem!

(2) Stated another way, every Israeli government has been focused on the territorial-
cum-security issue. So lo and behold, Israel is losing territory and has never been more insecure!

Want more? Okay.

(3) Israel’s (paranoid) prime ministers are always preoccupied with Israel’s image in the media or among the nations. This is precisely why Israel has never had a more horrible image among the nations.

Are you getting the message? You all know that the Zionist enterprise had two basic goals: to provide for the security and restore the dignity of the Jewish people by establishing a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. Right?

But where was God in this scenario? Do you find God mentioned in Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State—Herzl, the only name mentioned in the document now called Israel’s Declaration of Independence?

So, instead of God, what does Israel look up to—because if a people have nothing to look up to, it’s on the way to looking down on its feet. Instead of looking up to God it will look up to man. It’s called "humanism." But inasmuch as biologists such as Richard Dawkins have shown that man is descended from the apes, an awful lot of Israelis have discovered that Israel has no statesman at the helm—just apes!

Let me put it another way. What do Israel’s decision-makers and opinion-makers exalt? But of course—DEMOCRACY! Everyone knows this. Everyone knows that the paramount concern of Israel’s ruling elites—politicians and judges, academics and journalists—is to secure Israel’s reputation as a Democracy. This is what gives Israel's government Legitimacy and Israel's elites with Respectability. Right? But notice that the nations are now seeking to delegitimize Israel despite its vaunted democracy! Sort of ironic, no?

But where is the Torah in this Israeli scenario? Wasn’t it the Torah that preserved the Jewish people and endowed them with personal and national dignity?

Will someone tell me what would have happened to the Jewish people after the destruction of the Second Temple without the Torah? Why they would have become as extinct as the dodo. Which means that had Israel been led by the likes of Yitzhak Rabin (read Shimon Peres), Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Binyamin Netanyahu—and let's add that "everything-is-justiciable" jurisprudent Aharon Barak—the Jews would have suffered the fate of the Neanderthals.

Poor Israel! Having abandoned the God of Israel and the Torah, various leaders of the so-called Jewish state are so desperate that they solicit the political support of Christians! Christians may think this is the fulfillment of prophecy.

But the Jewish sages knew that in the end of days, Israel would be ruled by paltry governments. That's where Israel is today. Like the foolish governments of Europe and the United States, they are succumbing to Allah and the Quran—to barbarians. But don't despair. The Jewish sages saw the current state of affairs as a preliminary to a renaissance of Hebraic civilization.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Jesus Manifesto: The Interview with the Authors at Next Wave

With all the perceptions of what "Emerging Church" stands for (ie: neo-liberal, social gospel, etc), I find this a breath of fresh air. It's written from what I would broadly refer to as Emerging Church, and it brings an emphasis that many see as lacking, namely, the centrality of Yeshua -- thus, the title Jesus Manifesto. Here are some quotes from the interview that stood out to me:

Frank: We believe that the Jesus disclosed to us in the New Testament is the same Christ whom the Holy Spirit reveals today. He is the Christ of the cosmos, the Christ of Eternity, the Alpha and the Omega, as well as the Christ who lived on this earth as the quintessential human – the second Adam, or more accurately, the Last Adam – who then died, rose again, was glorified, ascended, enthroned, and now lives in His people...

...Scholars have spent a lot trying to figure out the exact nature of the erroneous teaching that captured the minds and hearts of the Colossian believers.

One of the reasons why there is so much debate over it is because Paul never directly addresses the problem. Paul’s primary way of dealing with church problems is to give God’s people a stunning unveiling of Jesus Christ. (Therein lies a valuable lesson for all church leaders.)...

...One side argues for the Jesus of justice – who is largely derived from the Gospel accounts. The other side argues for the Jesus of justification – who is largely drawn from some of Paul’s statements in Galatians and Romans.

While Len and I embrace the Jesus of justice and the Jesus of justification, our book attempts to present a Christ who is far greater, far more glorious, and far richer than simply being the Justice-Giver or the Justifier.

We feel that this third vision of Jesus is sorely neglected in our time. It’s possible to put justice and justification on the throne, and leave the living Christ out in the cold....

...With respect to your last question, I am of the opinion that the driving force of much of the house church, organic church, simple church, and missional church movements is not Jesus Christ. And so I’d like to see this changed. Hopefully, God will use the book toward that end...

Read the whole interview here...

Friday, May 14, 2010

From New York Times: The deminishing stigma of being self published

Times are changing, as this article from New York Times suggests -- entitled The Rise of Self-Publishing:

In this time of Twitter feeds and self-designed Snapfish albums and personal YouTube channels, it’s hard to remember the stigma that once attached to self-publishing. But it was very real. By contrast, to have a book legitimately produced by a publishing house in the 20th century was not just to have copies of your work bound between smart-looking covers. It was also metaphysical: you had been chosen, made intelligible and harmonious by editors and finally rendered eligible, thanks to the magic that turns a manuscript into a book, for canonization and immortality. You were no longer a kid with a spiral notebook and a sonnet cycle about Sixth Avenue; you were an author, and even if you never saw a dime in royalties, no one could ever dismiss you again as an oddball.

But times have changed...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hypnotist turned best selling novelist

Here's an excerpt of a really great novel written by a hypnotist who made a career change to writing novels:

You are enjoying yourself. You can't stop reading. You will keep reading this all the way to the last page, stopping only to go to the toilet, or eat, or other urgent business, but you will go right back to reading this. You can't put it down. When you reach the end of this book, you feel like you've had the most wonderful reading experience you've ever had. You will tell your friends. You will look for other books written by me, and buy them immediately.
You are enjoying yourself. You can't stop reading. You will keep reading this all the way to the last page, stopping only to go to the toilet, or eat, or other urgent business, but you will go right back to reading this. You can't put it down. When you reach the end of this book, you feel like you've had the most wonderful reading experience you've ever had. You will tell your friends. You will look for other books written by me, and buy them immediately.
You are enjoying yourself. You can't stop reading. You will keep reading this all the way to the last page, stopping only to go to the toilet, or eat, or other urgent business, but you will go right back to reading this. You can't put it down. When you reach the end of this book, you feel like you've had the most wonderful reading experience you've ever had. You will tell your friends. You will look for other books written by me, and buy them immediately.

LOL !!!!!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

My books in the Amazon Kindle Store

My three self published novels are now available on in their Kindle Store. Look at them right here.

The price might be confusing, depending on what part of the world you're viewing them from. They should be available for $1.99 USD each. However, when I log in from N. Ireland, they show $4.69 USD. I think there might be a difference in what part of the world you're buying from.

If you're outside of U.S.A., you can still buy them for $1.99 USD at It's also available in a format your Kindle can read, as well as iPad, and numerous other formats.

Monday, April 26, 2010

That Makes Two (self published authors making a living)

Two interviews within days of each other of authors who have succeeded in making a living off their self published e-book sales: J. A. Konrath, and Karen McQuestion (click and read their stories).

For some of us (authors) that's good new.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Understanding Current Thai Politics

Thai society could be roughly divided between two groups:

Group # 1, a.k.a. the Yellow Shirts: The educated urbanites (though not all living in the cities) who are knowledgeable and supportive of the democratic process. They are the ones responsible for making Bangkok into a modern high-tech metropolis, to match modern high-tech metropolises world over. They are the group that most Westerners would identify with, as they know how to make the system work without breaking all the rules. That's not to say they don't break the rules often enough -- that's called corruption, of which Thailand has its fair share -- both sides.

Group # 2, a.k.a. the Red Shirts: The rural peasantry (though not all living in the rural areas) who have largely been left out of the process, and have been waiting a very long time to see any of the wealth generated by Group # 1 trickle down to them. They are not so well informed of the ways of democracy. However, without them, Thailand would not be a net exporter of rice and other foods, and without their cheap labour, Bangkok wouldn't enjoy the impressive skyline that it has. For that matter, perhaps, some of the wealth has trickled down, at least to those that provide the cheap labour, but they're also the first to suffer when an econimic crises hits.

Enter: Thaksin Shinawatra, a wealthy businessman cum politician, who made what Group # 1 considers to be overly rash campaign promises. He became the prime-minister with a land slide vote, and proceeded to keep, at least most, of his campaign promises (or enough of them to impress those of Group # 2). For the first time the members of Group # 2 were happy that someone at the top seemed to be aware that they exist. For the first time, real benefits began trickling down to them.

As far as Group # 1 is concerned, Thaksin Shinawatra was breaking all the rules. His war on drugs involved allowing the police to shoot to kill whenever they see a known drug dealer or drug lord. He bypassed all departments and bureaucracy to get benefits to the people. In fact, he was quite autocratic.

If you were to ask me, I'm reminded of the fact that, had Adolf Hitler died in 1939, he would have gone down as one of the greatest heads of state the world has ever known, for taking Germany out of the ashes and bring prosperity to the common people. It wasn't nice and smooth as the normal democratic process ought to be, but the common people agreed that his actions were timely and effective. Only later did he began to show his colours as the villain that he was. By then, he had Germany's working class and peasantry solidly behind him.

While the principals of democracy may be second nature to you and I, and to those of Group # 1, as far as Group # 2 is concerned, it's all a load of Western gibberish that hasn't done them any good. All they see is, Thaksin brought results, where normal democracy didn't. Personally, I'd agree that Thaksin Shinawatra's policies needed taming down, but if I put myself in the shoes of the typical North-Eastern farmer, or semi-employed construction worker, or Bangkok taxi driver, the answer isn't so easy.

For right now, there are no easy answers for Thai politics.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An author who earns a living off e-books

This is good news -- for me, anyway:

So much media attention has been given to the iPad and to eBooks lately that it made GalleyCat wonder aloud: Is it possible for an author to make a living from selling eBooks?

Author, J.A. Konrath of the Jack Daniels series says, "Yes." He has successfully built a career and a living wage doing exactly that. In our interview with him, he tells us exactly how he did it, what the advantages and disadvantages are of publishing traditionally and why he says his books are outselling even bestselling authors such as James Patterson.

Read on for the interview:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is "Full Time Ministry?"

A great post by Charlie Wear on what it means to be in full time ministry:

Over the years I have heard numbers of people say, “I wish I could be in full-time ministry.” What they are saying is, “I wish I could stop working as a ___________ (you fill in the blank) and work full-time as a pastor, or missionary, or nonprofit leader of some kind.” It is only in the last few months that I have figured out that Jesus wants me to be in full-time ministry and he has wanted that to be my condition from the day he called me to follow him.

In the last few months I have had a shift in my worldview, especially concerning my business as a lawyer. I have begun to see my law practice as my “flock,” the people God has sent to me for ministry. Since that shift I have begun to see my clients through Jesus’ eyes and my daily life as one divine appointment after another. The results have been mind-blowing! I have seen Jesus enter the courtroom with me and set a captive free. I have been given the opportunity to share the good news about Christ with others. I have prayed for physical healing and seen instantaneous results. I have comforted the bereaved and the hopeless. It has been an amazing time.

Read the whole thing...

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Revamped Home Page

I've just revamped the hub page for my website. It's now a show case for all my novels and other creations. Take a look...

There's a shortened URL for it:

All the usual free stuff as well as my published novels are there.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My novella, The Wrong Time, has been reviewed at Readers Favorite

One of my novellas, which are free downloads from Smashwords, has been reviewed at Readers Favorite. The novella is entitled The Wrong Time. Below is a description of the story, followed by an excerpt of the review at Readers Favorite:

I thought all this stuff about time warps and things was silly scifi stuff. I'm not a fan of Star Trek or any of these other things -- which I thought was for people who couldn't get a life, who sit in their parents basement with their chemistry sets and oscilloscopes. I thought I was a level headed, successful, morally responsible member of society. Until one day I stepped into ... THE WRONG TIME

Now, here's an excerpt from the review:

Sean is transported to a parallel universe. He meets people, and goes here and there,trying to find his way back home to his wife, Erin.

In some universes, he is married to Mimi; he doesn’t like it, so he looks for a universe where he was happy with Erin. It isn’t easy, but after many attempts, he gets the hang of it. Sean travels to multiple universes and enjoys the freedom it gives him; he becomes a time traveler. In one universe, he is a bestselling author, while in his real world, he is not. ...

... With every visit he has changed something and created another alternative universe. Shortly, Sean, the author, gets tired of the reckless nature of his traveling self and conceives a plan to keep him on his home world.

This is a refreshing, engaging read. Sci-Fi and time travel aficionados will appreciate it. I recommend it to adults and teens.

Read the whole thing at Readers Favorite...


Here are some gems of wisdom from the Chabad website's "Ask The Rabbi", Tzvi Freeman. Read the whole article and you'll gain a better understanding of Jewish reasons for Torah Observance, as well as some insight into aspects of sociology. This is a must-read for missiologists, emergents, anyone who wonders about the importance of culture ...

Here is but a small quote...

Sociology became a science with the publication Emile Durkheim's monograph on suicide in 1897. Durkheim was a nice Jewish boy who had studied in yeshiva to become a rabbi, as his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, but then left to think for himself and challenge his teachers at the Sorbonne. In his paper, Durkheim blamed most of society's woes (especially suicide) on the abandonment of tribalism. He coined the term anomie, which means a state of society where nobody knows who they are, what they have to do with one another or what on earth they're doing here. Durkheim demonstrated, through the first methodological, scientific study of a social phenomenon, that in turn-of-the-century France, suicide was the realm of the tribeless—meaning the Protestant and the agnostic. Catholics and Jews rarely committed suicide. Because they felt no anomie.

What this runaway-yeshiva boy ironically demonstrated, and others after him confirmed is that a human being without a tribe is like a polar bear without ice—he can survive, but he'll be awfully confused. It's through his relationship with the tribe that a human being knows that the earth beneath his feet is solid ground, that tomorrow is a day like today, that he is who he is and it's okay to be that way. Take the tribe away and none of that remains necessarily true.

There's a lot more. Read it for yourself...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

It's Read an E-Book Week

E-book information and free e-books define Read an E-Book Week. From March 7-13th major e-book retailers and authors offer free, or deeply discounted e-books for the event. These e-books will be available in the E-Book Store. Many of our participants have free, or discounted e-books throughout the year, so please return often to see what is available.

Some of my ebooks, free during E-book Week are:
To take advantage of the offers, go to the links, and find a coupon code on the right hand column to include in your order so as to activate the offer.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Catrick has been reviewed at Readers Favourites

The Story of Saint Catrick has been reviewed at Readers Favourite:

In this fantasy, the animal kingdom was at war. The Cats felt superior to all other species. The Rodents battled for their freedom from the Cats' rule and the Cats battle to escape the Dogs' rule. There was one lone voice of reason in the midst of war. Catrick was inducted into the service and went off to war, just a tiny kitten. He was injured and nursed back to health by a family of mice. He became a professor at the university and he related his story to the kittens. The kittens revolted against their own species. Catrick`s message,live together in harmony, was spread throughout the land. Catrick and his followers faced riots, political adversity and prejudice from their own families.

There is a strong message behind this story. The author clearly defines his point. The plot is well developed, quite interesting and very deep. Robby Charters is very talented and creative.

read it...

Pepe has been reviewed at Readers Favourites

Here's the latest review of Pepe, at Readers Favourite:

Pepe and Po live on the streets after a fire destroys their apartment building. They find shelter in an abandoned building along with other street kids. Jose is a drug addict. Raquel and her twin brothers also live there. They make friends with Raul, a rich kid and computer whiz. He realizes Pepe is in grave danger and tries to help him.

Danger lies ahead for Pepe when he faces corrupt government, killer robots and his true identity. This is a futurist book. It is action packed and held my attention to the last page. The characters interact well with each other. Fans of science fiction will enjoy Pepe.

read it...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Global Warming -- or not Global Warming?

An interesting article was re-tweeted by Bob Hyatt, entitled The great global warming collapse, by columnist Margaret Wente.

My own thoughts -- So, some of the air has been let out of the global warming bubble but I'm afraid of air being blown into the consumerist bubble.

Now that we realise that some data on the far left of the centre was politically tainted, are we now going to rush to the opposite extreme, and give corporations (and our greed) unbridled freedom to pollute the environment as they wish?

I'm wondering if there's any room for the opinion that maybe it's not as bad as we previously thought -- sigh of relief -- but realise there is still some substance to the warnings? I'm afraid that, because of so much extreme politics on either end of the spectrum, the sound and level headed warnings may be buried. It's too hard to judge what it is 100% truth, and what is political tainted. Is that good new?

Monday, February 01, 2010

My Very Long Bio

In case anyone wants to know my life story -- here it is...

Short Story: The Film-maker and the Sceptre

I've just completed a short story that has been buzzing around in my head for the last few months. It's got two main characters: a knight who's off to retrieve a sceptre that was stolen by the evil dark lord of Weswold; and the film-maker who's creating the story about him, using futuristic digital animation techniques that have made today's cinema industry obsolete. Here's the blurb:

Mark Snobbel, using twenty-second digital film-making technology, is testing a new medium that renders things in greater than 100% reality 3D. He and the support team don't realise what they're in for...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Review of Claralice Wolf's Prynne's Island

It's an experiment. Can a family, or a group of people set up a society based on love and mutual respect, in which all are treated justly as equals? Can such a society carry on with its original vision for generation after generation?

It’s worth a try, anyway. Claralice Wolf has written her heart out with this one. The story begins with a bazaar character, "the Red Prophet", who comes into the town of Verden. He's actually a clown, something of a pied piper. Once he has everyone's attention, he begins his prophecy, saying things one wishes would be proclaimed in any centre of power today.

Then, he gives Adam Prynne, a mere boy, his mandate.

Adam doesn't think like everyone else. He asks all the wrong questions. He says things people don't want mentioned. He rocks the boat. It's with a sigh of relief that they see him depart for an island far far away, over the mountains. The island was given to him by the king in return for befriending his sickly son. The prince fit in the same groove as Adam, so much so, one wishes he could have survived to become king -- but that would have been too good to be true.

The island is a very special one. Adam, his wife Zoe, and their two sons begin their new life. They are joined by other like thinking individuals, begin the struggle to make their paradise come true.

The human factor is authentic. Things don't happen automatically. Relationships take work from beginning to end. Adam and Zoe learn much, sometimes the hard way, but they make a solid beginning. The vision, the prophecy of the Red Prophet, important events, subsequent prophesies and light from above, are all written in a special Book.

Though the story lasts for seven generations, Claralice has skilfully woven all the lives into a common thread. We see each stage of the island's history through those lives, as the community grows from an extended family into a large town. The Red Prophet's words echo throughout the narrative, as various ones recall them. They are a warning, sometimes unheeded by those who most need to listen, and sometimes an encouragement. The unicorns also speak, but only certain people have the ability to hear them.

As the story comes to a climax, we see who are the true successors of Adam Prynne, and who only think they are. How does the vision survive? Does it end in a tragedy? For some, perhaps, but for others, it's a new beginning. Though it's a fantasy, it's a very true to life picture of the war between divine light and human nature.

Check out some more about the book, and about the author at

Friday, January 15, 2010

Review of Pepe at

Pepe has been reviewed at They gave it a good rating!

Speaking of reviews, my aunt's book Prynne's Island, has been released at Writers Exchange E-Publishing. I've bought a copy, downloaded it, and I hope to post a review here soon.