Wolf attacks at Israeli campsites result from humans feeding them

Writing the Werewolves in the Renaissance series has included researching wolf history and behavior. This information guides the portrayal of my werewolf hero Thal. Because wolves have been cultural bad guys for centuries, I investigated just how dangerous wolves are to people. Recorded events showed that on rare occasions wolves target poorly attended children. Essentially, they don’t hunt us unless vulnerable young stray from safety or a parent, like Red Riding Hood’s mother, sends a girl alone into the woods with a basket of food.

The news below details the recent rash of wolf attacks against children at campgrounds in Israel. Although the headline raises the usual alarm about the big bad wolf, the article eventually reveals that people had been feeding wolves, which allowed them to lose their historic fear of interacting with humans. Now that they felt comfortable entering campgrounds, stray juicy children proved to be tempting targets. Fortunately, the families successfully defended their children from the wolf attacks.

Wolves in Israel are raiding campsites to try to snatch children, experts warn

There have been ten attacks by wolves on humans in the past four months in Israel, and in most cases the animals were trying to make off with infants or babies, the Haaretz daily reported on Tuesday. In what is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon, wolves are approaching campsites to try and snatch what they can… Continue reading

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Women driving in Saudi Arabia could let Genie out of the bottle

I was very happy to see the news that Saudi Arabia has ended its ban on women driving cars. I hope it is a tiny step forward for women in that country that will lead to additional destruction of the tyranny that imprisons them. The unreasonably strict patriarchy of that kingdom essentially makes all women criminals, subject to perpetual house arrest. My readings about the abuses suffered by women in that country have been a source of inspiration in my writings. As a fantasy writer, the civilizations I create are pre-industrial and modeled on patriarchy, which imposes tyranny on all people, men and women, so that a few can hold great power. The tyranny of the home upholds the tyranny of the state.

Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive

In a reversal of a longstanding rule, Saudi Arabia has announced that it will now allow women to drive. In a royal decree signed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the order said it will be effective immediately but the rollout will take months, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday. A high level committee of ministers has… Continue reading

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Linda Hamilton to appear in 6th Terminator Film

If there’s one famous science fiction heroine that women like, even those who don’t call themselves sci fi fans, it’s Sarah Connor from The Terminator. I’m pleased to see in the news below that Linda Hamilton has joined the cast for the next Terminator movie, the 6th in the franchise. Her performance in the first movie, The Terminator, released in 1984, was crucial to the movie’s success.

She was just a young woman, living the life of most young women. A job. A roommate. A little freedom.

She wasn’t some corseted female trained to kill by the CIA that Hollywood loves to fling upon audiences. Her natural tenacity to survive and willingness to fight embodied the ancient ferocity of womanhood. Her upcoming appearance in the new film will round out her development of the character beautifully. In The Terminator, she was the maiden. In T2, the matron, and I’m sure that her next performance as the crone will be inspiring as well.

Linda Hamilton is back: Actress joins Schwarzenegger, Cameron on ‘Terminator’ franchise

Actress Linda Hamilton is ready to once again save the world as Sarah Connor. Science fiction fans have wondered whether producer James Cameron and star Arnold Schwarzenegger could convince the iconic female lead in the franchise’s first two films – 1984’s “The Terminator” and 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” – to join them for the franchise’s… Continue reading

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Eastern Coyotes in the news stalking dog walker in New Jersey

Eastern coyotes, also known as coy-wolves, have become prevalent in the Eastern United States. They live near me in Michigan, and I have both heard them and seen them. They creep into my neighborhood in mid to late summer to hunt juvenile geese before they can fly away.

Although pet owners need to take precautions against their animals getting eaten by these wily animals, it does comfort me to know that the wild world persists. Coy-wolves have adapted to our urban and suburban environments. They appear to be thriving even though they can be hunted at will, at least in my area. To learn more about this species that emerged from matings of wolves and coyotes, I recommend the documentary Meet the Coy-wolf.

Band of aggressive coyotes surrounds dog-walker in Saddle River

SADDLE RIVER– Police issued an alert after approximately five coyotes circled a person out walking a dog Thursday. The incident occurred on Oak Road, where the band came within six feet of the person and tried to snatch the dog, police said. A passing motorist honked and then left the vehicle to help scare the animals… Continue reading

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20 Quotes About the Love of Books and Reading

I found this collection of quotes extolling books at the International Business Times. Books offer a unique form of entertainment and education that engages the mind in an active give and take. Books make us feel and think, which are two tremendous achievements because many people seem capable of neither. My favorite quote on the list comes from Julian Barnes about how books offer explanations and life tends not to.

National Book Lovers Day 2017 Quotes

Aug. 9 marks the National Book Lovers Day. It is unclear how this day was first marked, however, many celebrate it by picking up their favorite book and settling down in a nice reading spot. On National Book Lovers Day, you can visit one of the 120,000 libraries in the U.S. and grab your favorite book.… Continue reading

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Medieval History supports killing many noble characters in fantasy fiction

A PhD student from the University of Oslo took the time to examine the validity of the number of characters that George R. R. Martin likes to kill in his Song of Ice and Fire Series. The author is famous for the mortality rate among his characters, and the student’s analysis of historical data from the War of the Roses confirmed that Medieval warfare took a high toll on people, including important people.

During this English civil war from the Middle Ages, people who started wars actually had to pay for the consequences of their actions with their lives. Looks like important people have solved that problem in modern times and just leave the dying to the peasants.

The kill rate in Game of Thrones is actually quite realistic, a new study reveals

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die,” Queen Cersei said. Apparently, she was right. Sorry, Jon. Your world is just as brutal as the real one was in Medieval times. George R. R. Martin started writing the first Game of Thrones (GoT) novel in 1996. That’s right kids, A Song of… Continue reading

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I’m a tiny atom bonding with readers

reaction of joined imaginations

I think I can speak on behalf of most indie authors by saying that it’s frustrating to be a quantum particle in a vast universe of reading choices. Visibility is the number one barrier to authors finding readers, and it’s a small atomic miracle that a few people every month stumble across my fiction and make purchases. I’m grateful to at least be swirling in a cosmos of infinite choice and making some connections. Independent digital publishing gave me this gift.

An article published at Which-50, a digital intelligence company based in Australia, sums up the altered landscape of book publishing, particularly ebook publishing. The author described the new growth within the industry as “explosive, but invisible.” Independent publishing by thousands of authors and small digital publishing houses and their attendant publishing-as-a-service companies are growing the industry as the large publishing houses, known as the Big 5, stick to big-name famous authors with a focus on the print market.

The author cited Data Guy at Authorearnings.com who has calculated that indie authors hold 30 to 40 percent of the global ebook market. Also quoted is a former Big Five publisher who has turned independent. He said that “atomisation rather than destruction” will be the force at play in the future.

He explained that large publishing companies will claim the big fiction brands while indies and small presses command the genre markets. This will result in a huge but spread out market.

This is where I fall. I’m an atom that bonds with a few readers at a time. Individual readers come across my work, and we bond for a while before we part ways, and my fiction goes on to seek another reader with which to build a magic molecule of the imagination.

Although my success has been modest due to having visibility in the marketplace that approaches zero, the market forces at play are very validating for me. They show that millions of paying readers find genre books that they enjoy that were indie published. The great gatekeepers at mega corporations had nothing to do with their publication, which in this day and age very likely means that the content was not selected to promote a narrow worldview that supports the status quo. Big Publishing is part of the media business, and that business is meant to set messaging agendas that steer society.

My artistic goals guide my fiction instead of editorial formulas that satisfy marketing departments.

My stories focus on outsiders and rebels who play by their own rules and sometimes overthrow powerful empires and religions or at least defy them and survive.

UoR-cover-300

Union of Renegades: The Rys Chronicles Book I

Free Ebook available at:

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rys-rising-300

Rys Rising: Book I

Free Ebook available at:

Brave Luck Books

Smashwords

Google Play

Kindle (confirm price. Amazon only prices matches competitors and might try to charge you 99 cents.)

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

Overdrive (Ask your library to get a copy for its digital collection. )

Werelord-Thal-300

Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale

Free Ebook available at:

Brave Luck Books

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Google Play

Kindle (confirm price. Amazon only prices matches competitors and might try to charge you 99 cents.)

Nook

iBooks

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Overdrive (Ask your library to get a copy for its digital collection. )

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Nature and magic fuel fantasy fiction settings and plots

epic landscape

Epic adventure requires an epic setting. Read on and consider how fantasy novels blend magic with the grandeur of Nature to create powerful entertainment.

Two of the most common elements in fantasy novels are Nature and magic. They are linked to each other and exulted as ideals in fantasy worlds. This creates much of what fantasy readers find appealing in fantasy fiction because the glorification of Nature and magic is a pleasing opponent to the concrete, steel, and technology that overwhelms modern life.

Characters in fantasy novels often must cross hostile wastes, brave cold mountain passes, and lose their way in dark primeval forests. In fact, readers of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” would agree that most of the story takes place outdoors. And in Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” trilogy, the hero Eragon and his dragon Saphira spend long stretches of the story in deserts, forests, and mountains.

Escape into Nature

The emphasis on Nature within the fantasy genre adds to its ability to entertain with escapism. Nature is lacking from much of modern life, and imagining adventure and freedom upon the open land is a relief and a pleasure. Often while reading fantasy fiction, you can recall the security that your ancestors took from the bright crackle of a fire while camping upon a hostile plain. Or, you can summon up that natural fear of being alone among the trees when you feel that something is hunting you.

And the partner of Nature in the fantasy genre is magic. It acts as the fulcrum of the struggles in the story. Plots are often driven by rivalries between magic users, or the forces of good battle with the aid of magic against evil enemies. In fantasy settings, magic is what confers power whether it is on individuals or ruling elites as opposed to technology that empowers the real world.

In fantasy fiction, the supernatural is valid and science is little used. Exploring the wonders of a world run by magic engages readers because it brings them closer to the mysteries of Nature. Magic comes from the natural world, and depending on the story, sometimes the Gods, and fantasy enthusiasts are comfortable with magic as a source of power.

Magic acts as a nice foil to the technology that is omnipresent in modern life for most people. Technology is powerful and amazing and seems quite magical, but deep down everyone knows that it can be explained. That it is all wires and chips and circuits and software and that many people know how to make it and manipulate it. Factories spit out millions of awesome gadgets, televisions, and computer mother boards. Technology simply lacks that special exclusivity that magic has in a fantasy novel. Not everyone in a fantasy story has magical powers, and powerful items aren’t as easy to come by as a cell phone.

A Pre-Industrial Literature

The foundation of Nature and magic that holds up many fantasy settings appeals to fantasy readers because people often have a longing for a simpler world un-blighted by highways and exhaust fumes. Within Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” there are undertones in this epic that suggest a wistful regret for the loss of Nature to the rise of industry. For example, the place Isengard is described as once being green and having “groves of fruitful trees” but the corrupt Saruman spoiled the land to build an army. “Iron wheels revolved there endlessly, and hammers thudded.” Tolkien wrote.

Many authors give much effort to describing Nature’s beauty and awesome power. That which destroys Nature is portrayed as evil and rightly so. And magic is often portrayed as superior to technology because it is akin to Nature. A nice example of this is presented in Paolini’s second novel “Eldest” in which he writes how the elves sing plants and trees into accommodating shapes and shelters.

Technology is not absent from fantasy literature, but it has a lesser presence in society. Fantasy settings are typically cast in pre-industrial agricultural and merchant societies. Technology is limited to trades and crafts, which are much more pleasing and benign than real world factories and nuclear power plants.

The natural world is one of my primary inspirations. I can look at the Pacific Ocean and hear it tell me a thousand stories all at once with lapping waves and the tireless roar of the powerful water.

To dive into my imagined worlds and adventures, select a free ebook.

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Get ready for some epic summer reading

SAVE 30%Where I live, Memorial Day weekend marks the opening of the summer tourist season. Michigan is a summer tourist destination because our normally dour and hostile climate gives way to lush growth and moderate temperatures amid thousands of lakes and beaches, which makes up somewhat for the dismal Rust Belt horror show that blights many areas.

The season brings the hope for some that they can put their feet up and escape into some reading. Students weary of their studies can turn to adventure, retirees can indulge in the magical, and the rest of the underappreciated masses can dream of changing the world, if only alongside imaginary friends and foes.

Right now, if you’d like to continue reading one of my series, you can save 30% on ebooks or audiobooks downloaded from this website through May 31st.

To get the discount, type or paste the word goodread into the discount code box on the checkout form.

So, if you’ve read one of my free ebooks and want to keep going, this is an opportunity to save a little money on a lot of entertainment.

The coupon code will apply to the ebook bundles at this site as well for extra savings. Or you can browse for individual titles by scrolling down the series pages for:

Werewolves in the Renaissance

Rys Rising

The Rys Chronicles

Thank you for your support!

P.S.

If you happen across this page after the sale ends on May 31, 2017, contact me and ask for a discount. I’ll send a fresh code.

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Making progress on my new novel

runebones

Chapter by chapter, I’m approaching the completion of my next novel, Werewolf Castle. It will be the third part in the Werewolves in the Renaissance series.

From some of the reviews left online by readers of the earlier werewolf novels, I’ve gathered that people are quite interested in Thal’s father, Sarputeen. We get to know more about him in the second book, Journey of the Hunted, but in the third installment, Sarputeen will be playing a large role.

Although he’s a werelord like Thal, meaning that he has full control over his shifting with a magic fur and spoken spell, he’s a sorcerer as well. In the excerpt from Chapter 19 of the work in progress that I’m sharing below, you’ll see that Sarputeen understands magic that goes far back into prehistory. When he’s developing a strategy for his war against Tekax, he decides to consult the rune bones.

Excerpt from Werewolf Castle work in progress

Sarputeen opened a drawer and removed a leather bag. Simple stone beads strung on strips of leather adorned the bottom of the bag. Objects inside the pouch clicked quietly against each other. “I will cast the rune bones,” he said.

Mileko perked up with interest. He had never witnessed his master perform this magic or known that he could do it. He had heard old stories that told of such things, but such divining was an art from antiquity.

Thal knew nothing of such things, and he leaned over the desk as his father poured out the nine pale discs. Lines carved into the yellowish bone-like material divided the circular faces into three sections. Each section held a symbol.

“May I?” Thal asked reaching for one. His father nodded and he picked one up. One crude design looked like a vulture or maybe a hawk. The simple skull next to it was less ambiguous, but he did not know what the third symbol could be.

He flipped the disc over and studied the symbols on that side. Within the etched lines he thought he saw a rain or tear drop, wavy lines, and a flower. Baffled by the symbols, he considered the material. Age had worn it smooth, but it looked to have tight rings like a tree.

“Is this bone?” Thal asked.

“It is cut from the tusks of a great beast from a past age,” Sarputeen said.

Thal looked up, astounded by the possibility. “This is far more than some boar’s tusk,” he said.

“I wouldn’t presume that this came from a boar. The mentor who taught me in the casting of rune bones told me that he took them from a shaman’s tomb hidden under a hill. They are old beyond our ability to reckon it,” Sarputeen explained.

Thal passed the disc to Mileko, who accepted it reverently, and picked up another one. “How does this work, Father?”

“Essentially, you pose your question and then select three rune bones from the bag without looking at them and cast them and then interpret the combinations of symbols. That will be the answer from the spirit realm,” Sarputeen explained.

“How do you know what the symbols mean?”

“I can explain what each rune signifies, but understanding their messages is an art that takes much time to teach, and you will only learn it if your heart is open to knowing.”

“And you believe in these runes?” Thal asked.

“I did not say believe. I said know,” his father corrected. “If you listen to the spirit realm, knowledge can be received, and then you know. Others might believe what you know.”

As I work on the conclusion of this trilogy, you can start the series for free by downloading the ebook Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale.

If you’ve already read my werewolf novels and are waiting for Werewolf Castle, I’ll continue to apply myself to its creation. Perhaps you’d like to read one of my other series The Rys Chronicles or Rys Rising in the mean time. You can start those series with free ebooks as well.

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