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Friday, October 20, 2017

Say Bradbury Writing

Zen in The Art of WritingZen in The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ray Bradbury is on of the foremost American writers in America, who better to help the writer learn his craft then one of the masters. I could say that it all happened when he was a small boy collecting Buck Rogers’s comics and then to be considered normal he ripped them u and threw them away. This was a sin against his soul, something he deeply regretted. So the young boy rebought the comics and decided to stay true to himself. Smart decision.
The true writer must stay true to himself and find his own voice. The writer must live life to the fullest. For the writer cannot be a good writer if he or she does not live life to the fullest. He or she must have gusto and zest and it will infect his or her writing. Or should I say it will infuse his or her writing.

The writer by requirement to survive must write every day. Some writers will write a whole story in one day. Other writers will do only a few pages. The main thing is to write. Like any other art and in this I do consider sports and dance art forms, it must be practiced every day. Writing everyday does not only make the writer better at his or her craft but rather writing cleanses the writers mind.
Along the way through these easy to read and equally entertaining chapters, Ray Bradbury will tell you about his writing experiences and over several good tidbits on how to boost creativity. One thing a writer must realize is that short stories or poems can become novels. Novels can turn into screenplays. Just because your work is rejected by one publisher does not mean it will not be accepted by another publisher. Remember you are not a failure at writing until you stop writing. Ray suggest writing every day even if you end up trashing 4/5 of what you write that one fifth is what will make it.

A couple of techniques that the beginning or struggling author might find useful are word lists and realizing that your characters are really alive. The word list is nothing more than a word association. You write down a word on a piece of paper and after you get enough of them start writing your own story. Don’t worry the subconscious will feed the rest . It is good to remember that when writing you should immediately write down your story. Just spit it out. Do not worry about editing or correcting the words just get the story out . Another technique is to create or discover the character and let the character run. Your character will run forward and write the story for you. All the aspiring author has to do is just narrate what was seen in the minds eye.

Poetry and screen writing have a lot in common. Whereas the novelist strive to write the word but ow sot need to condense words or turn a paragraph into a picture. As writer he was frustrated when he had to condense his writing by to thirds but it was done and it was a success. Poetry is a picture contained in a stanza or paragraph.

Writing is Zen. The author must find their voice and not be an imitation of others. There is only one you just like there is only Shakespeare. Do not write for money but rather work , don’t think and relax.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

It Could be True

The White Man's Burden: Of Lies and DeceitThe White Man's Burden: Of Lies and Deceit by Isaiah Israel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The prevalent myth is that white Europe is the apex of human development and culture and that modern white society brought modernity to the third world. History has proven this notion quite false. Many of the concepts that are thought to be white or European were actually thought of by people of color. The pillars of our society originate in Africa and the Middle East. Many good books have been written about this subject that document where everything came from.

I am on the fence about this one. They make several claims that yes are believable yet so far out of the box that I want more substantial proof. Would be nice if what they were saying was footnoted and lead back to a credible source. The book is filled with lots of pictures and I mean lots of them. Some are repeated multiple times. You there are put up with intent that certain personages were black. Some of the pictures are believable and others do not cut the ice. The book is done in an inte view dialogue style which is fine and may make for easier reading, yet it lacks the scholarly punch. It is obvious that some serious research went into this book so why not write it scholarly style. Through out the book white people are insulted much the same way that African Americans are by white supremacists. Calling white people people sub human, disease ridden knuckle draggers is not a way to reach an educated audience. While yeah sure I get the resentment but that is not going to reach out and touch an educated someone.

Most of us got it, mankind came out of Africa and we got most of our civilization from people of color. History is coming out with how people of color or mixed race people made incredible contribution to society but that contribution was white washed. Now this book does make a lot of radical assumptions. First off it says that the first people everywhere were black and that these blacks people were the ones who started all the societies. Once again believable but I want footnotes to the source. This means that the first native Americans were black. Those who started European civilization were black. Later on in northern India or Central Asia there were mutations, they were called Albino Dravidians. They multiplied and stayed to themselves but were so hounded and torn by Turks and other Asians that they fled to Europe where they were given protection by black Europeans. The black Europeans then brutally enslaved these white peoples even going so far as to take their skin and use it for book binding. The black kingdoms would later fight each other thus giving the white peopleca chance to over throw them. This culminated in 1492 with expulsion of the last moorish kingdom. The black nobility would be complete over thrown by like 1848. Quite a wild claim one that is not mentioned in History books. When talking about it I would like to know the source. There are several things you will,learn about like the sickness that white people are at risk for and how white peoples are dying off. You will also learn that the United States is still owned by Britain. It could b true.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pantheism 101

One Heart, Many Gods: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Devotional PolytheismOne Heart, Many Gods: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Devotional Polytheism by Lucy Valunos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This tiny booklet is designed for the new devotionalist to polytheism or the worship of many gods. The author fortunate to say is not dogmatic about her approach but rather she gives suggestions that are up to you as to whether to follow or not. The author has benefited from having learned from such other spiritual tradition such as Catholicism, Hoodoo, Wicca and Norse paganism.
Now this maybe a small book but I learned a good many practical things from it. Things that I would like to remember. One of the most important things is setting up a time both during the morning and during the evening. The morning is not as complex as the evening prayers. The morning prayers are usually briefer and done with a divination of sorts. The evening prayers are much longer and usually have meditation involved. The when and where you have your devotion is not set in stone. The gods are understanding and you can work devotional times around your schedule. Let us not, as the author reminds that we can devote many different times to our gods if that is where we are at. Devotions can be done at any time and simple hard work can be a devotion enough for a deity.
Offering are a big part of polytheism. There is much talk on what to offer deities. The bottom line is that it is the thought that counts not how expensive is the gift you give to the deities. Besides, food, drink, incense and candle there are other ways we can give to the gods. Sometimes we can help out by giving charity or helping a certain group that is important to the deity. Offering can be charity or acts of kindness.
Candle are a big offering item to the author. White candle tend to be all purpose. When devoting a candle to a deity you will want to be careful or at least mindful as to which color you get. There is also a recommended process of cleansing a candle and charging it and I find it very comprehensible. The author advises the reader to use 7 day candles with the wick in the center. First you clean the glass down with water or a cleaner of sorts. Then over incense you cleanse the candle of any negative energy. Next you use a marker or paint an you write the deities name on the candle. Then you dress the candle with oils and herbs scared to the gods. Barring that, if you cannot get the candle out of the glass you can carve the deities name on the top and bore a certain amount of holes into the candle top side to be filled with herbs and oils. Finally you can charge the candle with visualization or say a prayer of intent as to why you are giving it.
The author goes on to distinguish between altar and shrines. The altar is your working space either for devotion or magic. The altar is the deities’ home. Regardless of what you are working with always remember to keep it clean and tidy. Keeping it clean is a gift unto the gods themselves. I wish I had rea this book earlier as it makes forming your spiritual practice a whole lot easier. Very valuable.




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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pazuzus Child part III

Wise words of Nabu The bald prophet bedecked in white robes graced across the stone floor of the temple. His hands were folded behind his back with eyes looking heavenward he silently mused the information he received from the priestess. "An anzu with a severed paw? " he questioned allowed. The priestess nodded her head in confirmation. " you know " he said while continuing to pace the floor " that is quite a difficult task" Nabu paused to let the information sink in. " I do not believe that any creature or animal from this planet could perform such a feat" "Are you implying what I think you might be implying?" Asked the worried priestess. "My jinn informants have told me that walk ins to our world have increased" Nabu said matter of factly. "I know better priestess than to doubt your dreams and if it be vivid then it shall happen soon or it already has happened" "No human is capable of severing the paw of those ferocious beast" she stated adamantly. "Trajans have been coming through the portals and--" "Pah " interrupted the priestess. "They are dangerous to humans but to an anzu they are mere pests" "Some humans come through and they come armed with weapons I have not yet seem" stated Nabu. "Their planet is a twin of ours " the priestess said "if my dreams carry portent something grave is about to begin" ----------------------------------- The Wounded Anzu Nabu could not have been more wrong the priestess thought to herself many strangle monsters and creatures had been coming through the portals. That was not forgetting the demons and angels who could traverse worlds at will. The priestess thought it over as she made her way back to the temple. Angels could care less what happened in the worlds but demons were always up to some mischief. Weapons from the other world, the twin world. She had seen their weapons. Knives, swords , axes and spears, humans across the different worlds has those. Then there were those iron fire sticks they spewed hot burning metal. Iron fire sticks did not sever paws. In front of Inanna's a crowd of people had been gathering. What are these simple people gawking at she asked herself. The throng of people created a blanket line thick barrier between her and spectacle. "Make way " commanded the priestess. People began parting and moving to the side as she marched her way through . The first sight of blood caused her heart to plummet down to the pit of her stomach. Crimson red puddle glistening in the sun right next to the pawless hand of the flying leopard. Suddenly she grasped trying to catch her breath. People turned and stared in surprise. " What's wrong with priestess " they would with fear and concern oozing from their voice. The priestess bolted from the group and closed the temple doors behind her. Suiting down she struggled to catch her breath. With heavy grasp she recovered her breath and coming to grips with the concrete reality of her dream. It had been morning when she visited Nabu. It would take till late afternoon until she recovered from her shock. Her evening ritual had commenced with the setting of the sun. A pinkish glow of clouds and sun was splayed across the sky. Inside the temple the Priestss had lit up the coals and she cast her herbs on the coal and a cloud of smoke rose into the air. Drowsiness crept into her bones and her almond eyes became heavier and lidded. The image appeared above the burning coals. "Isharra you have summoned." StAted the voice from the emerging form of smoke. "Inanna divine goddess of love and war I have been given a dream and its contents be true" said the priestess summoning the goddess as she materialized in the smoke . As the beautiful lady emerged from the smoke the priestess described her dream. The beautiful form listened, she was lithe, tan, clad in only loin cloth and a covering over her chest. "Isharra my child," the goddess cooed "your land has been plundered and pillaged by the blue eyed invaders from the North. They take our maidens and enslave the youth. The folk are oppressed " isharra listened intently " salvation has arrived in the form of a great warrior who comes through the vortex from the original home planet. Their blood he shares yet he is watched by the Jinn." "Why would the Jinn have interest in a northern warrior from the vortex?" Questioned Isharra. "The Jinn have their machinations and scheme just like mankind and the Gods" the goddess gently explained. " "I have seen the men from the original world they are not strong of spirit or body but they have dangerous weapons" Isharra commented scepticly. "Northerners have the Warriors fury" smiled the goddess "this warrior will be Uruks salvation." The goddess paused while the priestess meditated. " you shall travel to Abzu and meet him in Enki's realm'" _____________________________________ Journey to the Abzu Cages filled with young women were trundling by western gate as Nabu bade Isharra farewell . The fear was palpable in their eyes. Legend of the harsh cold north abounded in Uruk. The poor treatment of nubile slaves was well noted. Young men would be conscripted into labor battalion of war battalions. Oppression weighed down heavily on residents of Uruk. "The dealers are dangerous, priestess" warned the scribe.. "we are well prepared Nabu believe me" she chided back at her friend with a smile. The priestess sucked in a deep breath through her nose and then smiled again. Nabu looked at her quizzically. "Change is in the air I can feel it " she said confidently. In the distance a group of slave traders appeared as if my by magic from the hot shimmering sands of the desert. Nabu looked at the priestess again. "Are you prepared to deal with this mirage that is popping out of the desert?" Nabu questioned the priestess. "Oh king of scribes do you not realized by now that as much as I am a servant of the goddess I am also her warrior" she smiled and then bade for her friend to continue. So they continued their march toward the realm of Enki. The four or five fur clad barbarians temained behind them in the distance. After a few hours they came upon the Euphrates river. Village people or Fellahin as they were called had set up a nameless town. A desert town by the edge of a fast moving somewhat muddy river. The fellahin would set out to the river and bring on fish. The fish not only provided food for families but could be traded for other goods. Straw boat of the fellahin could easily traverse a river, provided the weather was good. Families built mud and straw huts. Tent like eateries were set up by the rivers edge offering cooked fish, fruits and clean water for drinking. Isharra had been this way before. The cooked fish could be rather nauseating. Dates , figs and water would be sufficient. Sweat dripped down her body. Her clothes drenched with sweat as though she had cooled herself off in the river. Nabu noticed his friends condition and made comment. "This desert is hot but should you enter a vortex that takes you to the planet of the scribes you feel the real meaning of heat" "The planet Nabu is next to the real Of Utu" she shot back"a planet next to a star is a fiery death for anyone who crosses the wrong vortex." Her friend looked out to the river, with a glance of disdain he considered the straw boats of the fellahin. The Phoenicians Nabu thought to himself were the real boatmen around here. Having to flee their city states from the onslaught of the Northern invasion. Merchants and ship builders, that is what the Phoenicians were. Fleeing to safety and hiding at the first sign of fighting . Later they would reemerge, sometimes rebuilding somewhere else. With their superior ships they soon over took the boat trade especially to the sea. Of course the northern barbarians had ships as well but they were vicious and violent, in a battle the Phoenicians were no match for the Northern barbarians. As regrettable as the violence had been the Phoenicians added grandeur of sorts to the Euphrates. They stood grand in their majestic ships. Their beards well groomed and clean with curly hair going down the sides and the back. The merchant kings as some people called them looked regal in their white and purple wardrobe. To travel this hot desert was pointless. Nabu and the priestess needed a sea worthy ship that would take them to Dilmun, the island paradise and gateway to Enki's realm. The dinging ring of the town bells aroused Nabu from His reverie. The fellahin dashed this way and that way like rats scurrying in panic. Any who attempted to resist was most brutally cut down. The wooden cages were being filled with people they had captured. Two of the raiders suddenly eyed Nabu and Isharra. The prophet stood suddenly and uttered something in a language Isharra did not understand. From out of the desert skies a wind storm erupted with sudden and violent ferocity. The raiders rushed forward only to be pushed back by the winds excessive force. Sand got in their eyes leaving them blind. Isharra took advantage by unsheathing her dagger and thrusting it into any raiders unfortunate to cross her path. Down they fell into earn pools of their sticky red blood. Some would fall grasping while trying to hold their innards from spilling out recklessly. Isharra had effectively dispatched 3 of the raiders. Seven more still remained the warrior priestess was ready. It was something like a mirage or illusion. A shimmering filled a small place of air. The air had become a somewhat deadly still. The raiders, Nabu and the priestess stood and stared as what appeared to be a large eye has materialized and then began to open. Isharra turned to look at Nabu. He gave her back the knowing stare. Someone had opened a portal or a vortex. The two figures walked through the portal. One a definite stranger to these parts with fiery red hair, beat up looking blue pants and an animal Hyde coat of the likes she has never seen before. The other figure a man also came through. A dark man of African complexion dressed in a cloth hat, a light blue shirt and strange blue pants that were quite alien to her. The tendrils of heat were coming off his body as though they were water vapors forced into evaporation in the desert heat. He was jinn she thought to herself that much was obvious. They were masters at portal traveling. The raiders looked at the strangers in awe. A jinn set in battle mode could be quite the dangerous thing. Yet, the jinn did not attack rather he seemed to whispering something into the other stranger's ear. As if the strange red hair and bizarre clothing were not enough, the man with strange clothes lunged toward the attacking raiders. His greenish hazel eyes flared as though pit with an angry fire that lit up from his eyes. One of the raiders swung a broad sword at the foreigners head but he ducked it rather skillfully and then landed a strong right punch into the raiders rib cage. The raider bent forward just in order to receive a left hook to his jaw. He went down unconscious. Another warrior rushed forward using the exact same maneuver that the previous raider had used. The foreigner or Darren as is his name ducked the blow and picked up a dead fighters sword. Darren slashed the attackers legs knocking him down on his back. As the raider struggled to get off his back Darren jammed the sword into the raiders chest. He died gurgling in his own blood. Another attacker tried to grab him from behind. Darren effortlessly slipped under his arm and jammed the attacker in his ribs and as his head bent down Darren grabbed him by the hair and flipped onto the sand. The body hit the desert floor with a giant thud. The raider made an attempt to get up and continue his assault but Darren drive his foot down into his assailant throat. Another attacker was sent hurtling toward a wooden cage filled with female captives. They grabbed their oppressor and held him by his arms and hair. Darren finished him Off with a lunging kick to the chest. The other two attackers fled. One of the looked back and yelled "Traitorious Khazars, I know you sword of God and for your treachery you shall pay." _____________________________________ Enki's Realm The Phoenician boat docked upon the shore upon seeing that the fighting was over. "hail and come aboard" the Phoenician bellowed out with a smile that showed his pearly white teeth. Nabu smiled and waved back at his friend. Isharra glanced back at the Jinn and Darren and cast them s serious look. It made Darren feel quite unwelcome. " I think now is the time to bring out the paw" the jinn said quietly in Darren's ear. Isharra walked over quietly and cautiously. The look of confusion written on her face plain to see. Darren pulled out a sack covered with dried blood and showed them the paw of the wounded leopard with wings. "so is it this walk in that shall be our savior?" She questioned the jinn with what sounded to Darren to be laced with an element of scorn. "he could be" Murad answered back non chalantly. "He did cut the paw off a raging Anzu that was about to rip out heads off for dinner. So yeah he might be." "A walk in" replied the priestess with scorn. "well Isharra " he said with a smile " You might not like walk ins but just remember you people originated from his world so in a way you are also walk ins" Isharra snorted angrily and then turned to her friend Nabu. The bald scribe beckoned them aboard the ship. The priestess turned back to Murad and Darren. "Jinn we are traversing over water to Enki's realm" she said in a serious tone. "Oh I know " he chuckled. "you should have made the walk in go back to his own realm " she sniffed and then turned toward the ship beckoning Darren to follow. By the island of Dilmun, perhaps a few feet or yards from the shore , a giant hole emerged that lead to some where beneath the ground. Hiram the burly bearded Phoenician pointed it out to Darren. "That hole in the sea will take you to Enki's realm, he is the good lord of the deep." "lord of the underworld?" Darren questioned. Isharra scowled while Nabu seemed to remain indifferent. "By Ilu's beard no, his realm is a large sea beneath the surface of the land. It is his kingdom and most beautiful it is " "An underwater sea? " Darren shot back incredulously. "A sea of sweet water that will quench any thirst you may have " Hiram belly laughed holding his gut and showing his teeth. "Is this entrance and sea also on my planet?" Darren asked this time with a tone of curiously. "the sea is there but not the entrance, I do not think Enki wants your earthlings wandering into his realm" the Phoenician replied. " your people have damaged the planet enough."

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hunt for the Red Scorpion: Yesterday's War on Terror

From the Tower of DarknessFrom the Tower of Darkness by Carroll Runyon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The war on terror is not a new thing. Ever since the Europeans took control of the Middle East after World War I they have been wrestling with the aspect of terror. This is an adventure packed novel taking place during that time period, written by a master occultist. There is not too much occult stuff thrown in except that the main bad guy from Corsica, Scorpio La Rouge uses astrology to plan his operations.
Alan Vaughn is a British agent assigned as an intelligence officer of sorts in Egypt. He has learned the ways of the Near East and can blend in quite effectively. The novel starts off with a show down with Echmet Yosef in the African desert. Alan’s Objective is to break into break into Scorpio La Rouge’s safe and steal some precious documents and a Seal of Solomon. The documents implicate some dirty secrets about some big wig French people that could bring them down. La Rouge is also running guns for the French so they can arm the Mahdist movement in Sudan and weaken the British sphere of influence. Another thing is Princess Shebaba and illegitimate heir to the throne of Ethipoia. She is a dancer for La Rouge and a lover of Alan Vaughn. Together they work on a plot to crack the safe and get the goods. Alan hires some thugs and the princess has Zagussi, her body guard helping her. Things go awry during the break in . They are captured on board a ship here even more adventures ensue until they finely land on the base of operations in Africa.

For those who like high adventure novel this one is for you. There is plenty of intrigue to go around. I liked it because it is about the Middle East.


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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

African American Medicine of the Gullah.

Hoodoo MedicineHoodoo Medicine by Faith Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a shot little book that I wish was quite a bit longer. Faith Mitchell generated this book by traveling to the Sea Side Islands off the coast of the Carolina’s these islands were home to a large African American community back during the colonial period. Back in those times it was all African American with the exception of a few white people who were plantation owner and over seers. The language they spoke was gulla. Even up to the 1930’s the area was rather neglected. As the population grew people began moving out. Mostly it is the older generation of people at that know about the herbal cures.

In Africa the elders knew what each of the herbs and plants could heal. When they came to the new land they had to make substitutions. Some of this was based on their own knowledge, other of it came from the Europeans and the Native Americans. The Native American knew about the plant lore and taught a lot of that lore to the Africans. Most Hoodoo medicines are a one single plant or two to three at the most. For the Hoodoo practioners sicknesses came in the guise of three things . The first was regular illness, the second was sickness sent by someone with occult powers and finally the third illness was because of sin.

In the beginning many people would consult Native American Healers and African American Healers. But as time progressed it was illegal to consult anyone but a white European doctor. Thus the only people to be treated would be other slaves if even that.

The second part of the book talks about herbs and what they were used to cure. There is an extensive bibliography in the back. The herb section tells the name of the herb the first part renders a description. Next it tells you which part of the plant to use. Finally what it is used for.
Some example
White Root: usd for colds an drunbk as a tea. Swamp Grass has the leaves used for sprains. It also tells how the European used the herbs as well.


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Snow White Retold

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Irina was an eldest daughter of the king of Morcant and she had been scorned but she nestled her hatred in her heart an on day she would have vengeance. Her younger sister had gotten married first to King Arlen of Ravenspire. From that union came Prices Lorleigh and Prince Leo. Irina gets her vengeance when her younger sister dies under mysterious circumstances. Upon marrying King Arlen she immediately set upon takin control of the kingdom with poisonous apples that have a black gooey texture. People are like Zombies with almost no will of their own. Both Irina and Lora leigh are Mardushkas or sorceresses. Irina takes it upon herself to train the young princess to be powerful Mardushka like herself. When Loraleigh sees the evil Irina’s impact on the kingdom she goes against her mentor and tries to take her down and at first she fails, with nothing to show for her efforts save for a dead father and she and her brother made fugitive.
Wandering her kingdom like a fugitive hiding herself and her magic from Irina, Loraleigh plots her revenge and the plot to restore her kingdom. Doing her best to help the starving people under Irina’s reign. She goes about fomenting resistance with the help of Leo and a loyal guard named Gibril. The plot takes a turn with the entrance of the King of Eldr, his name is kol. The draconi of Eldr can shape shift into dragons and have two hearts. One heart is human and the other is dragon. Seeking Irina’s help to rid his kingdom of an ogre invasion the newly crowned king finds himself trapped and transformed into a terrible predator. Loraleigh must battle the evil queen and her formidable ally to both rescue her kingdom and stay alive.
This story in a new entry into the realm of retelling faerie tales albeit with a twist. In this tale Snow White is a sorceress powerful enough to challenge a wicked queen who has stolen her father’s throne. The huntsman is a prince who can shape shift and not some lackluster bounty hunter. He is a good guy but forced to do an evil queen bidding. For those who like the retelling genre you are sure to like this. I just cannot convince myself to believe that people can shapeshift into dragons.


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Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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