Tuesday, April 14, 2020

You could win Amazon cash!


Happy April, fellow quarantiners! I hope you and all your acquaintances are healthy and going to remain that way for a long, long time.
 
But are you bored? Finished binging Picard and The Great British Baking Show? Garden is fully planted, nothing to do now but wait for things to grow? How about trying out some new books, all at a low, low price?
 
I’ve reduced the price of ALL my Kindle books to 99¢ for the duration. Around June 1, or whenever we come out of this, they’ll go back up to normal. I’m hoping this makes them look a little more inviting than usual.
 
Check them out at https://smile.amazon.com/Carol-A-Strickland/e/B0036UZYYI?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_7&qid=1586283963&sr=8-7 . That’s on Amazon Smile, which I like to use instead of regular Amazon because a few pennies of everything one buys goes to a charity that you designate.
 
There’s superhero romance adventure, soft science fiction with a dash of humor, and one sweet historical romance. (A word of warning: Nothing to Lose is also priced at 99¢, but that’s usual for it as it’s a short story. One of these days I’m going to expand it to novel-length…)

How do you like the new cover to Applesauce and Moonbeams? I got artist Chris Jay to do the adorable illustration of Jonathan, the spoiled moon cat. 

But wait! You could win $100 in Amazon cash!

You thought I forgot about that, didn't you? Through April 19, enter at http://ow.ly/Gc7C50zc8P4 as part of the weekly Kindle Review Giveaway. They have a nice selection of low-priced books there – one of which is MY Applesauce! – and you'll find a button to enter their contest. This is a great way to check out new authors and build your e-library!

Hope you enjoy whatever you’re reading, watching or doing! Remember: leaving an honest review is sheer gold-plated latinum for us authors. It can be short: “Loved it!” “I enjoyed the characters,” “Interesting plot,” etc. Still gold.
 
Enjoy spring. It’s still happening out there, despite quarantine. Stay healthy!
 
Carol Strick

Friday, January 10, 2020

Graphic novel review: WARBRINGER


Just finished reading the new graphic novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. It's a dreary, slow tale that needed focus, sharper editing, and explanation as to the main (historical) dilemma that sets up everything. As it is it's all over the place, very little characterization for anyone. When I get a longer work, I expect to wallow in WADS of characterization because there's room for this most important of elements.
Here we have a Diana made of clay (yay!), but one with Silver Platter powers, gifted and not earned. (A plot twist gives some of her powers to someone else, who instantly also has the SKILLS to go with them, as if working for something isn't important or necessary.) Queen Hip is a brunette here, but is fairly estranged from her daughter, who longs for love and acceptance. (WHY do so many of the newer tales do this?) Diana doesn't get it from unkind Amazons (and her mother, who condones the treatment). (Amazons are NEVER unkind! They are the very foundation upon which Diana was built.)
But the worst offender by far is the art. It is literally colorless, or monochrome, with a few bits of red here and there to show violence. And sometimes not; it's inconsistent. It's fairly lifeless, when a story with so little movement to it needs active art. Even the action scenes are not very. During a number of crisis points I could not tell what the heck was going on.
A couple of times it's mentioned how provocatively Diana is dressed though she's covered from chin to toes, with only a small section of belly bare. Giving her a tee shirt is supposed to make her less exposed. ???
I want to introduce the artist (who teaches comics) to the works of Will Eisner, Amanda Conner, Sergio Aragon├ęs, and Alex Toth. I'm not saying she should display their genius. I just think there's a LOT more she could have done. Here almost all panels are medium long shots, and all figures except (a little) for the chubby chick look and pose alike. They stand around. Facial expressions are minimal; body language is missing. There is no drama in composition or action!
Why wouldn't an editor point this out and advise a different approach? If this is the artist's normal style, why was she hired in the first place for such a project?
The panel sequences are sometimes quite choppy in narrative. Typographic sound effects are wan; easily missed. I was surprised to discover that Diana and the girl victim agree that a female loses her personhood when she gets married -- but this is what the story teaches. When a boy touches Diana's chest, she discusses the problem instead of slapping his hand away and THEN discussing it.
Perhaps I read the story wrong, but what I came away with was: These Warbringers are females who pop up now and then, inheriting a curse from a female ancestor. Just by their very existence they bring about war when they hit the age of 17. There's a male in the story who also inherits, but from MEN, not females. Males can work with the curse to make themselves powerful. The girls just sit around while armageddon hits. Hm.
You'd think a concept like classic Diana (not modern one) would have a high time dealing with this, perhaps teaching Our Victim how to control her curse to bring peace to the world. She might reform the bad male in the story as well.
I know Ms. Simonson can do better; I've heartily enjoyed some rip-roaring tales (and entire series) from her. Here she's adapting a novel and likely ran into all kinds of editorial restrictions because of that. But still... I'm willing to say she had a bad few weeks but that's no reason why such should get past an editor without corrections.
There are problems when one adapts a story from another medium. Gone With the Wind (the movie) did away with most of Scarlett's kids, but kept the dialogue as well as the basic plot points. The Steve Martin Cheaper By the Dozen kept the dozen kids from the brilliant book (read it!) and discarded EVERYTHING else. I wince every time I see that ghastly thing being aired. Check out the current Little Women and contrast and compare to the book. Interesting, interesting stuff going on in the translation. (I still haven't figured out if the end is "real" or not.) Feminist themes have been expanded upon. A definite modern attitude has been applied that fits comfortably with the subject matter. Characters' definitions have been embroidered upon. Wonderful stuff! (Bring your hankies!)
In Warbringer there's a fat friend who is not Etta but seems to be cloned from her. (She's even a seamstress, like that one fairly recent WW series set in WWII had.) She and Our Victim have been put down all their lives for being People of Color. You feel sorry for them... until we see that Our Victim and her brother are richer than rich, part of the 1%. Difficult to pity people who in truth likely had zero social problems growing up because of their financial circumstances.
There was no joy in the story. No happiness. No celebration of the female principle. No amazement from Diana as she experienced the Outer World for the first time. Heck, it seemed as if both worlds were well-known to both sides of characters. Where's the SensaWonder I want in a fantasy story? Why is everything reduced to violence being solved with more violence? (How very patriarchal.) Why is death being treated so cavalierly? (Especially in a YA novel.) WAR HURTS. We didn't see that here, just colorful violence and an easy, video game reset mentality. War ain't like that.
As a whole I found the book to be disjointed, poorly illustrated and, well, boring. I can't recommend it. HEY, DC, GIVE US A GREAT WONDER WOMAN GRAPHIC NOVEL! Just once. Would it kill you?



Another graphic WW story came out this week: 
Diana, Princess of the Amazons. It's geared toward a much younger crowd than Warbringer. It's vastly entertaining! A great read for kids. It's (mostly) post-Crisis continuity, though Queen Hip is a blonde. They even got in Gen. Phil being her lover; cool! And it is QUITE FIRMLY based on Diana having been made from clay. Yay!

In it Diana has some problems (that poor mother relationship unfortunately comes up again, but is presented from a kid's point of view, so is likely a temporary anomaly), TAKES ACTION to find a friend, and then discovers some Lessons of Life. Recommended!

What are your thoughts about these two books?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Timeshares are Money

Ah, vacation! And how lovely it is to return to Gatlinburg, TN, where I have a timeshare at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa.

When I first visited, I was required to spend 3 hours being subjected to a hard-core sales pitch. Now that I'd bought I wouldn't have to go through that again, would I?

Guess again. I had to attend a breakfast (at 10:30 AM! Wouldn't that be better called a "second breakfast"?) with my "concierge," the fast-talking man who sold me my unit three years ago.

I was disappointed that instead of the modern unit with the breathtaking vista I had originally stayed in, that I'd been given one of the run-down units at the bottom of the mountain. Oh well, I was here to write and look at instructional videos I'd been putting off viewing for one reason or another. You know, getting away from the long "to-do" list that's at home.

So I was picked up by my concierge at 9:30 AM to view what's new at the resort. Practically everything is, as practically everything burned down a few months after I'd bought in. Unfortunately, the run-down units at the bottom of the mountain were spared from Nature's Wrath. (No one was hurt at the resort, btw.)

We went to the building I'd stayed in last time, which is now a new building, and I oohed and ahhed at the sleek model unit there with the lovely view of the valleys and surrounding mountains. They gave me a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie and tried to foist several more on me, but I held firm. Just one.

Then it was down to the Lodge for a rather dismal, incomplete breakfast. At least this one had proteins in it, unlike the one I'd briefly visited in Kissimmee last February, which was ALL carbs. Concierge... May I call him Bart? Not his real name... Bart and I shared small talk. He does like to drop the name Jesus a lot; he does evangelical lectures. He hugs without asking permission, and keeps saying "You're so funny" to everyone but especially (it seemed) to me. Bart also likes to let you know that he's extremely rich, though he doesn't say that directly. He just shows you pictures of his mansion, his acreage, his vintage cars (did he say he had 20 or 40?), and all his fancy motorcycles. Got it, Bart.

He did say that next time I come I should arrange to hold some art classes. The resort would love me to do that! I just might look into it, after I've had some practice back home.

Anyway, he starts talking up the resort and how he's bought so much of it and how people who've also bought are making big bucks by renting out their weeks. (I have had zero luck renting out my place, but he says to call him and he'll help me do it.) Westgate Smoky Mountains is the #2 timeshare in the US, on track to become #1 in five years. And of course (like they told me last time) the prices on the units are about to jump up, so NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY! Or upgrade. I could be living in that pretty unit way up on the mountain, looking out over that vista.

I make it crystal clear to Bart that I'm not buying anything, thank you. He keeps telling me how I need to buy a $250,000 8-bedroom unit so I can rent it out and make sixteen times my maintenance fee each year. He tells me that he's making six figures a year off his units. I laugh at him. He's so funny.

Then -- surprise -- Bart calls over his supervisor. I'm getting all this deja vu from our talk, because it's precisely the thing that had happened when I bought. And when I wanted to buy some new floors for my house. And when I bought new windows. These sales guys must all go to the same school, no? It's so clear they're operating from a literal script.

We don't get the supervisor but rather an understudy as the supervisor's busy. Let's call him Jim. He's under 30YO, and makes now what I'll make total in my lifetime. His breath could fell an elephant. He's amazed that an anomaly has shown up on my record. Give him a minute and he'll look into it. (Deja vu.) Comes back, and it turns out that my unit is actually a re-sold unit and that technically according to their records I've had it since 2005, when it was built, instead of for the actual 3 years I've owned it. That puts me in a Very Special Owner category. Imho, that puts them in Fantasy Land.

He tells me about those 8-bedroom units that can be split up into 8 units for rental purposes. All I have to do is upgrade. I give Bart the Evil Eye and Bart tells me to let him do the talking, to get me the best deal.

He then explains that I'm not interested in the 8-BR property, or even the 4BR one. I just want the 2BR one (which can be rented as 2 separate units or traded for stays at other resorts for something like 4 weeks of vacation stays), which comes as news to me. When had I told him this? I checked my memory. Nope, never gave him a clue in that direction. "Not buying anything" had been my instructions.

Bart and Jim argue vehemently with each other. In a burst of overacting Bart snatches an official letter with an offer on it from Jim's hands, holds it above his head, and rips it in half. Then he puts the pieces together and rips them again so the letter and offer are now strips. People at neighboring tables stare at him as he shouts. Bravo! They have this down to an art form. I applaud them. No, really, I did. It was lovely theater, and I told them so.

This did not faze them. I doubt if they were listening to me, a mere woman. Jim goes off and "figures out" a deal for me as I repeat to Bart that no way am I buying anything today. If a few bucks will upgrade me to a nicer unit, I might listen to that. Otherwise, nope.

Jim comes back. More outraged arguing! More deja vu! Bret asserts his machismo, cowing his "supervisor," who slinks off again after I've given them another round of applause. Really, local theater is hardly ever this good.

Jim returns with yet another deal. I can trade in my unit for a posh 2BR unit high up on the mountain in their second-best (non-Presidential) complex. It will only take $28,000 more of my money. Bart argues him down, then down again. They wind up at $15,000 plus trade-in. I will be a Rich Woman renting out my unit every year.

I check my watch. It is now 12:30. "I've been here 3 hours," I announce. Last time it took 6 hours, and I'd already told Bart that I wasn't playing that game this time. "I want to go shopping. I've really enjoyed this. Thanks a lot."

And I get up and leave.

Sure, if I had the money I'd likely invest in a 2BR unit, and for all I know, I might even make money on it. But these next two years will be concerned with paying everything off so I can retire in the black. If the lottery comes through, or my books hit the Best Seller list, I'll think about it. I never did sign that odd, convenient paper (another case of deja vu) they wanted me to sign in order to sever some kind of "easy way up" on upgrading in the future.

Fine theater!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll start setting up the fire under the run-down units. That's one way to get an upgrade. (You didn't read that, you hear?)

NOTE: Apparently the value of my unit has doubled from what I paid for it. Bart says it should at least double again in the next five years. The fire has sent property values on area rentals through the roof. He warned me not to try to sell it for those five years. If I sell it on my own, the resort has to approve the buyer, AND they'll have to pay $500 a year in addition to maintenance fees. OR I can wrangle a direct deal to sell the property back to Westgate, which is what I'd always thought I'd do anyway, if that option were available. Likely I won't get anywhere near full value, but if the property has quadrupled in value by then, I won't complain. I got rid of my first timeshare (ugh!) this past spring, after 18 months in the courts. That cost me money to do; I won't have to do that with Westgate.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Secrets of Pre-Life Hypnotherapy

"Higher Self" 20x20" oil on stretched canvas.
This isn't what she actually looks like, but is something akin to
an image of herself that we agreed was something I could paint at this time.
She doesn't really have a human face, but she does have lovely eyes and smile, and that crown!

I’m a fan of the late Dr. Michael Newton’s books in which he categorizes hundreds of people’s past-life experiences, particularly the between-lives bits. His Newton Institute trains hypnotherapists. I had wondered if any lived near me, and was delighted to find several, including one who was a half-hour from my office. I set up an appointment with Nora Young, regression hypnotherapist. She has specialized hour-long appointments but I chose the “Go for it!” 4-5 hour megapaloosa that would cover just about everything.

She had me make a list of questions I wanted answered, and gave herself a day to check them over. Then I arrived.

She explained how the session would proceed and answered questions I had about it. This was not my first past-life regression; I even took a workshop once on how to do them. I lay all the way back in a gigantic recliner as New Age music softly played. She set spiritual golden light around me as a shield and asked higher beings to watch over me. All the memories I came up with would be to help me in my current lifetime, she instructed.

We went through relaxation and breathing techniques for a little over a half hour. Then in my imagination I stood at the top of a beautiful 63-step (I’m 63 YO) staircase and began making my way down it, one step at a time. After a few steps I began to glide down, past the decades until I was about 12, when I found myself on a family vacation in Arkansas. It wasn’t that great a memory, and perhaps I should have warned her that I don’t have that many happy memories of my childhood.

The next step down that staircase I think I went farther than she’d expected, and “landed” when I was a baby sitting on the floor in my grandmother’s house, really excited over the colors and textures of a bunch of balloons and their ties. The ties were ribbed under my fingernails; the colors vivid. I could see the old wood floors that weren’t in great condition, as well as the rug, which had tassels along its edge.

At around the one-hour mark I moved backward in time into the womb. I was surprised; I was rotating so my head was in a “down” position. It was almost time to be born. I knew my mother was not pleased to be pregnant. Her life was not going the way she wanted; all this was more trouble for her.

Nora took me back to a six-month fetus. I wasn’t quite in the body yet (the vast majority of souls don’t enter the body until the last trimester), but she took me to the moment I connected fully. It was like a snapping sensation on my upper left head.

I knew I was fat already. My mother was depressed, and the womb was full of brown depression/world-is-unsafe energy from her clogging me. I also got the impression she was constantly worried about money. My dad had a make-do job back then, between stints in the Air Force.

Nora helped me set up a white-gold shield that pushed back that brown energy from Mom. I added breath work to blow it out of my space. I also blew out my father’s secondhand smoke as well as Willie’s (see below), and its anger. My weight is primarily protection against the world and such energies. I could feel myself lightening as the bad energy cleared out. Three guardian spirits helped with the energies; they have always watched over me. As a fetus, I began to laugh in delight.

Why am I here? Nora asked. I answered: to learn to control my power. I’m clearing out past life crap as well, an action that is really manifesting in present day as I also clear out my house, etc. This is the lifetime I’m straightening up my soul! I was told to meditate regularly and cast off more bits of sour energy as I can.

An hour and a half into it, we moved back to the life just before this one. I’d met Willie (Knoble? He made a big deal/joke about the silent “k.”) before. He wasn’t that bright, was skinny with a bad overbite, and had stringy blond hair. He was from Illinois. Though he’d begun happy enough as a child he’d grown into a sullen, chain-smoking teenager. He was tired of being stuck on the dull old farm and took his first chance to see the world: he joined the Navy. It was 1941.

They stuck him in a submarine where he couldn’t see anything. Though he had friends in the crew, all they could do was work (he mopped decks), drink, play cards, and smoke. Yes, in a sub. They’d also whisper about the Japanese, and how they tortured and starved prisoners. Several of the crew, including Willie, were terrorized by the idea.

So it came as no surprise that when the sub was taken by the Japanese in the Pacific, Willie and some of the crew chose to jump overboard rather than be taken as prisoners. Surprisingly with calm detachment (better this than the alternative) I saw the light filter through the water above me. Then I was traveling up.

My sullen soul had six or eight spirits around it. As we kept rising they pulled at the dark, twisted, concentrated, rod-like energy core I was (picture a dog’s rawhide chew bone) and began to gently free parts of me. I unfolded like a flower. Each energy being let the delicate petals fill like a sail or a sheet fresh from the dryer, but like petals also, until I was surrounded by them. Then there was another row of petals emerging above that, and another. The outlines of the petals were dots of light with connecting lines of energy, and the petals themselves were formed of pulsing networks of energy. There was no substance; only beautiful energy. I was light; I was fluttering free.

Okay, this is supposed to be a flower, blossoming out. And there were
six or eight spirits around me.


I don’t know if this was before the petals or after (Nora didn’t want to hear about the shower at the time the image first came to me), but I was showered with drops of light blue water that remained droplets as they passed through primarily my left side. A golden light shone down on my right. Both cleansed me.

My main guide, the blue Michael, thinks I’m silly as I flutter. “A delightful child,” he calls me, because I have a lot of growing to do. Eventually I go to a classroom. There’s about eight or ten or so others there and an instructor (Gabriel; a female) at a blackboard in front. (Nora said, "Ah, she's female. Gabrielle." But no, she was "Gabriel." I have no idea if she was the archangel, but if Michael can hang around me, then I'm also pleased that THE Gabriel was there as a teacher. Even if she's not The Big Guy, I'm glad to have her as a teacher.) Everything is transparent. I can look out and see roadways with streams of spirit people living their lives, strolling where they want/need to go. They don’t distract me from my lessons. (How I love to learn!) Neither am I distracted by the small balls of energy that scamper through the room in bounds now and then. “Puppiiies!” I squeal. I looked for kittens but didn’t see any.

Gabriel teaches us about imagination and visualization. It’s all interesting and not at all confusing. One of my fellow students is a Michael that I’ll refer to as My Michael, to differentiate him from Archangel Michael, who’s one of my main guides and always around me. (He’s a great, funny guy.) Anyway, My Michael is one of my soul pod, the group of souls that were born at the same time. According to theory, we’ll spend the majority of eternity together in some way; we’re close spirit family. But My Michael has another track to take now and I don’t see him outside the class. “See you soon,” he says as he leaves. (I do think I’ll meet him at some future point in this lifetime. We’re not ready for each other yet.)

Nora moves me to another location and this time I see a large banquet table, loaded with all kinds of food. In hindsight I don’t think there were any meat products. It’s like a cocktail party, quite a few souls gathered around the table, enjoying things.

“Life is a banquet,” I’m told, and try not to finish Mame’s statement on the matter because that would be rude. We consciously pick and choose what we’re going to find in life. We enjoy it. We leave some of the good stuff for others to enjoy and we disregard the stuff that doesn’t benefit us. It’s okay to be selfish and choose what we want as long as we keep things in balance, because I’m a great being and so are we all. We all have different tastes, different directions to travel. We reach out and take what helps us achieve the direction we want. We glory in it. Yahoo! Thank you, Universe! And the best part:

THERE’S PLENTY FOR EVERYONE!

After a bathroom break I went into what seemed like the USS Enterprise’s conference room. The outer doors even swished to open and close! Here I met with a Council to plan my coming (present) lifetime.


There’s a large, oval table whose edge frames a screen across most of its top. Elders are seated across from me. The central one has a horned headpiece that looks ceremonial. When I once saw my Higher Self, she wore such a headpiece, but this guy isn’t her and he’s a he. He has four people to either side, with a couple behind them.

Their job is to keep everyone, everything in mind, interconnecting things in just the right way. There are almost? infinite possibilities on the table. If we do this, what will happen? If we do that, what will happen? What would be best?

They ask me what I would like to do and bring me closer so I can look down and see the screen clearly. The left side is rather dark, with a few energy trails running across it. The right holds circles and floods of bright color. I know what it all means, more or less. I can see how the energies are influencing each other in the possible lives to come.

I know the Council wants what’s best for me, but they aren’t going to control me. They are there to guide and advise. There are souls out there who do have to be controlled because they don’t know what’s going on, but I’m beyond that point.

They tell me that Earth is going through a big change. In addition to what I need to learn and do in my life, I ask that I have a life where I can help the Earth. They point to North America. “I’ve been there,” I say. “I like it.” They also point out that my life after this one will be in Canada, which I’ve already seen in another regression.

We choose this timeslot because the Sixties were great and you have the moon landing, society changing, and computers, technology, ecology, crazy crazy crazy and I will learn to be calm. We must learn this or we won’t survive. We need a calm focus and to know that we are safe.

We souls set goals for happiness, for all and for ourselves. We take the right road. Things change depending on attitude. Others can find themselves in other dimensions where things go wrong, but you don’t have to do that. Keep good intentions, happy, fulfilling goals.

The right side of the screen is brighter by far. I like one of the paths there. I’ll be an outsider of society, which allows me a different, more intellectual viewpoint than most people have. Cool. I’ll see a world that’s very interesting.

As long as I’m with the Council, Nora has me ask the questions on my list. We’re at the two-hour mark in the session.

The first you might find interesting. I asked how I can have a worry-free retirement, and was told that to have one of those, just don’t worry. Nora and I laughed heartily at that. Do things I enjoy. Be the banquet. Relax and savor life. “You’ll do fine,” the Council assures me.

They go into more at length with other questions. I ask about my books and they tell me that if I enjoy writing, I should certainly keep it up, which doesn’t sound like I’ll make a bestseller list, but… What the heck. I enjoy writing. They counsel me about art, which looks like an Important Thing coming up. I should work in series; I should paint every day to improve.

We talk about me doing psychic work, and they reiterate that I should step forward in life using baby steps, baby steps, which work best to overcome procrastination. I should also work in time chunks, scheduling my work and following that schedule. Be organized! Be diligent in keeping to that schedule!

They chant “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” because they’re energized when they tell me I should be getting up off my butt and going out into the world, going to interesting places that I can paint or just visit. It will also help me lose weight. They aren’t into diets, just eating reasonable serving sizes, and say that getting out into the world will be what does it for me. Savor life, not just food. Natural and organic foods are best. Processed foods are okay in moderation.

I should meditate every day. Twenty minutes is about the optimum, and I can build up to that. No, I shouldn’t be a monk who meditates all day long.

At each stage Nora asks the Council and/or guides if they can do anything to help. Almost always I find myself bathed in various colored lights. Sometimes the guides filter out negative energy from my field. I feel a lot better. Lighter. Clearer.

The guides remind me that I can revisit them any time I want. Plus I shouldn’t forget to express gratitude to the Universe.

I got a kick out of one question about my books. The entire Council swung in their chairs to reveal that they were reading them! Avidly!

When I asked if I should take the Big Step and build an art studio, they practically jumped out of their chairs to shout, “YES!!!” Wow! This is a HUGE step I’m to take! They’re even going to send me a chunk of money to help pay for it!

They counsel me on where I should move, and I’m surprised that Delaware comes up. An astrologer had once suggested that, but Delaware has no mountains. The guides said I should check out the place anyway, though they nixed Rocky Mount, VA, which the astrologer had also said held excellent vibes for me. The Northwest… I’ve never been, but I think that’s what I want with the mountains and ocean, but it’s so expensive. Nora asked the guides if they could deal with some of my prosperity issues. This was a lot of negative Mom-related energy coming through, but I got a healing for it and am to use various workshops and books I have at home dealing with the problem to work on myself.

They recommended places for me to travel. Again for some reason (this has been happening lately) Norway came up, though other places that have been on my Bucket List for some time were also mentioned.

Above all, the guides repeat that I should relax and enjoy life. Every now and then I should stop, take a breath, and notice the world.

At almost three hours in we got to my questions about past lives. I was a female during the reign of Hatshepsut of Egypt. I was a textile artist, and amazed that women could be as strong as was the queen. This woman was very nice, with a good sense of humor, and she lived somewhere around Luxor. She issued an invitation to visit; I will!

In Santorini I was a large, strong man who worked with stone. I think he chopped it up, made mosaics. He had a family and wore a fancy B-movie-type Hollywood headdress. He made a good living at mosaics, and was quite confident. Maybe I’ll see some of his work when I tour Greece.

I visited that poor Irish girl who died at 4 years old in the Irish Potato Famine. Her family just left her behind to die and for the life of her, she couldn’t understand. There was really nothing they could do. I think they were going to America. The mother there was my mother now. I think the girl’s name was Sarah O’Roarke, and she cried, “I’m a good Catholic girl!” Things like this weren’t supposed to happen to good Catholic girls. She felt betrayed, confused, so very hurt. Couldn’t her family have handled it some other way?

I went back to hug her and tell her how much she’s loved. I’ve done it before; I’ve done it since (with Willy in tow; he says his anger came from her fear). She perked up and filled out a bit. She’s cute as a button, but skinny. We’ll all go traveling together and hug a lot.

Then she began dancing. In wooden shoes. “I think she’s pointing me to another life,” I said, and sure enough, there I was in full female Dutch costume, dancing somewhere in Holland, in one of the larger cities, I think. I wonder if this ties into the spirit that hung over my shoulder when I attended a "Rembrandt and His Studio" show in Raleigh a few years ago? I was admiring a particularly striking painting and then some ghost guy was at my shoulder, proudly telling me, “I painted that.” Did I know him in that lifetime?

My Michael might have been in my life in Brazil; we may have been brothers in China. He was definitely in the Flower Lady’s life. She lived in Ohio territory, back in pre-Civil War days. I always see her standing in a field of flowers, troubled by something and looking off into the distance. She was married to My Michael and they had two sons, one of which was also a member of our soul pod. The family was a loving one, and that’s what I need to hold on to, that wonderful energy. For the first time I saw all four of them in their cabin.

I’d asked on my sheet if Atlantis were real, but couldn’t see anything in the Mediterranean or Atlantic Ocean. If it did exist, I wasn’t involved. I did see an ancient civilization in the Pacific, around Thailand, and of course really ancient ones in India.

“I am a traveler from deep space,” I say without thinking. I first came to Earth about 12,000 BC, right in Africa of course, where I lived quite a few lives. I’ve had 36 important lifetimes on Earth. Quite a few, maybe hundreds, of unimportant ones. There are lifetimes where spirits are kind of “cannon fodder,” I once tried to explain to someone. Filler population. Vague people. Maybe this is just a sign of an extremely young soul who’s not quite “awake” yet?

Important lives are where you start making decisions for yourself. The Council advises me: Follow the life you WANT to lead. Choose what you WANT and follow it. Make it your conscious choice. Be deliberate but be open. (I think this is like some people say that when you set your goals, you should always add, “or better” to the request. The Universe does not work its best when it’s hamstrung.)

My guides gave me more blessings and reassured me that I was performing on an A-plus level. I was so optimistic and energized after meeting them! Good folks. Great folks!

The last bit was looking at Earth. It’s not just humans affecting Earth; the conscious planet is going through its own changes. It’s all part of The Plan. Earth is growing as well. Maybe this crisis is to force us to grow up? My next life will be helping with that. My current life is helping to raise the vibration of humanity so we can evolve healthily.

After that Nora brought me back to the Real World. Whew! What a trip! My guides had told me I’d be meeting them again, and I certainly shall do this many more times, in both professional and personal settings.

I went home, fed my fish, and hit the sack though it was early evening and I’d been so energized just two hours before. I was bushed!

If you’re interested, here’s the page to locate the nearest Newton Institute hypnotherapist: https://www.newtoninstitute.org/locate-a-therapist/Or check New Age types in your area. People don’t have to be trained by the NI to do this kind of thing. My acupuncturist works with a lady who does this as well as reiki.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

She's a legitimate Wonder!


I'm working hard on my nonfiction Wonder Woman book, and have just spent over three weeks sweating my way through a chapter about Donna Troy. You know: Wonder Woman's younger sister, Wonder Girl, Troia, Troy, whoever. The journey has left me a half-bottle of aspirin shier than before.

What's the prob, you might ask, you non-Donna fan, you. Well, Donna -- who didn't have a civilian name back then and just went by "Wonder Girl" -- first appeared in an era that held Impossible Stories. These began when Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta, had some free time and spliced together home movies of her only daughter at different ages: adult, teen, and kindergarten-aged. We got a couple adventures of these "Impossible Tales" before the staff became lazy about labelling them as such. This might possibly have tied into the fact that they seemed to be popular, appearing more and more often until they were the norm. The majority had zero mention of "Impossible" whatever. Some had a line here and there. Some had that line completely contradicted, as when Diana would introduce a story about herself as a teenager, but that story included both her adult self and the teenaged Wonder Girl at the same time.

Perhaps some of the staff were on overprescribed meds.

By WW issue #123 Wonder Girl was consistently (or as consistent as it got during Wondie's Silver Age) treated as a separate person from Diana. She had glorious adventures and stupid adventures. It was the Silver Age! Wonder Girl became such a reader favorite that she took over two covers of the magazine so it was now "Wonder Woman presents WONDER GIRL."

I hopped onto the Wondie wagon during this era, not knowing anything that had come before, other than that WW was a member of the Justice League. Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were her sisters; these stories said so.

In 1965, issue #158, editor/writer Kanigher (whose dislike for Wondie was well known) broke the fourth wall and announced that all having to do with the Wonder Family was being shelved, except that he was keeping Queen Hippolyta, Diana, and Steve Trevor (i.e., sales were falling and there had to be a concept change to attract new readers, just as the Wonder Family had been).

Apparently he didn't realize that Brave and Bold #60, which had appeared earlier that year, starred Wonder Girl as part of DC's Fab Four, the Teen Titans. WG would continue with them from then on.

Most comic book historians say (without solid explanation) that B&B #60 was WG's first appearance, and credit the character to that issue's Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. But this character had been lifted whole -- 100% -- from the Wonder Woman book. Saying that WG was a creation of Haney & Premiani would be like saying the original Captain Marvel was created by O'Neil and Beck instead of Parker and Beck at Fawcett because they had produced the first DC book with Cap. It was the same name, but the character was 100% lifted from the Fawcett run and plunked into DC. O'Neil had no hand in creating Captain Marvel.

Thus we CANNOT say that B&B was Donna's first appearance. The character was created by Kanigher, Andru & Esposito. If you claim that WG was, up to that point, an illegitimate, "Impossible" character, then so was the one who appeared in the early Titans stories. SHE WAS THE SAME CHARACTER. We must cast all those funky TT tales as illegitimate because of her presence.

Then when WAS Donna's first appearance? Was it Teen Titans #22 at the dawn of the Bronze Age when we got another (yes, there was one before this, but it is forgettable) origin for her and she received a civilian name? This story told us that of everyone on Earth, Donna was the ONLY person Amazon Training had never worked on (AT works on everyone!) and that she received her powers via a science fiction ("legitimate") device, the Purple Ray. Years later would come a story in which Donna was saved because her power came not from some sci fi device, but from Amazon Training. Which was correct? Which character was legitimate?

The next origin assured us that it was DIANA who was Donna's guardian, not the queen. Thus Donna was no longer Diana's sister, though stories forgot that a lot. We got a garbled, overwrought story that piled up parent after parent in Donna's past until everything was confused. Was this Donna's first appearance?

The next origin invoked the Titan-gods and made Donna a "Titan seed," or adoptive child who would be one of the next generation of gods. Was this the true Donna's first appearance? Must we throw out all Titan adventures before this because their Donna was an "illegitimate" character? Must we toss the concept of Donna and Diana being, at some point, sisters?

The two didn't become sisters again until the John Byrne origin in 1998, in which Donna became just a magical clone of Diana and subjected to the tortures Byrne loved to perpetrate on his female characters. This Donna was Diana's twin, but she was never Hippolyta's daughter, as they kept Donna's true nature secret from the queen.

So fans foolishly seeking absolute consistency (ha!) with Donna cite B&B #60. Some think so just because someone else assured them this was true. By this time there are enough internet citations stating this starting point as fact, though I haven't seen a good explanation how the chroniclers have arrived at this conclusion.

For others, I suspect it's because the B&B comic also held male comics characters not associated with Wonder Woman. The other Titans were male, and so often that quality is required for some people to deem something, well, legitimate. That's my theory about why military hero Steve Trevor played an important role in early WW stories: to supply legitimacy to the female lead so that young boys would feel they could read the book without getting cooties. In this Wonder Girl case Wonder Woman and her family's adventures were given short shrift because... girls. Fluff. They were unimportant without some male imbuing his seal of patriarchal approval to things. Enter the male Titans; legitimate!

If fans respect the Wondie mythos, they also respect the value of good and even great stories within that mythos. The Wonder Family had some of those, and many starred Wonder Girl. The "Impossible Tale" label was put on only a few of these stories, and other one-line explanations that appeared here and there almost never made sense. What made sense was that this was the legitimate, mid-Silver Age Wonder mythos: a family composed of mother and three daughters.

You may toss lettercol and "Who's Who" explanations in the mix, but these occur OUTSIDE the mythos. Intention doesn't matter; it's what appears on the actual comics page that counts.

Wonder Woman #123 (July 1961) is the first appearance of Wonder Girl, aka Donna Troy. Her creators were Robert Kanigher and the art team of Andru & Esposito.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Transmogrified!

Another excerpt! This one's from Applesauce and Moonbeams, a book that takes place at a time when the moon is slowly getting settled by humankind. Our Hero, David, is a telepathic psychiatrist who is on the run after he's taken on a mob boss. A telepathic hit man has attacked David just as Our Hero gets onto a lunar shuttle about to take off.

Slowly the world swirled around David, as if he were still in his strange dream. A faraway scream echoed through the haze. He felt dislocated, out of touch with himself. Alien.
He clamped his eyes shut and smacked his lips, trying to make the funny taste go away. Furry. Must have been asleep for a month. Had he had a chance to brush his teeth this morning? What was that smell? His nose wouldn’t wrinkle as much as he wanted. Stiff. Instead he opened his mouth slightly and inhaled to let the odor rise to the top of his palate. Smelled like... like musk, with a touch of urine attached. Not entirely unpleasant.
He stretched only to find his hands and back were butting up against something solid. Oh right—he’d jumped into that capsule. A woman was already in it.
He’d been hiding from something. Someone. Someone had been chasing him.
His breath caught as full consciousness crashed upon him. Kane—that telepath—had tried to take over his mind!
The memories of battle returned to him. He hadn’t really expected to wake up, but here he was again. I think; therefore, I am.
I’m alive. I did it!
But something was wrong. He felt all wrong. Had he given himself a stroke? Surely someone would come along and take him to the hospital. Even with a major stroke he could be himself again in a week or two.
That faraway sound of screaming came again. His right ear swiveled to seek the source.
More movement, somewhere outside wherever he was. Now it was his left ear that twitched and rotated.
He dared open his eyes. This didn’t look like what he’d pictured the inside of a sleep chamber. He hadn’t noticed the rows of eye-big circles cut into it, revealing bright light and shadows in the room beyond.
Whatever it was, that terrible Kane presence wasn’t near. These people had different vibes.
“Hey,” he wanted to say, but his voice was a dry croak, a tenor “Eh.”
He tried clearing his throat. He gave his head a shake. There was something furry in here with him. When he reached out to touch it, it moved.
Wait a minute.
He stretched his hand out, flexing his fingers. In front of his eyes, an orangey-yellow paw fitted with a medical tube stretched and flexed. Claws extended slightly, then retracted back.
Oh.
My.
God.
“meeOOOWWWWW!” he cried. “Yoww! Yioww! Mioww! Yoww! Moww!”
“Looks like someone’s awake here too,” a female voice from outside said. A large eye peered in through one of the holes. “Hello there, boy. Welcome to Luna. Bet you’re hungry.”
“Moww! Moww! Moww!”
“A real talker. My granny has a talker. Siamese, I think. Is this a Siamese, Pete?”
“You don’t know nothing about cats. That’s a plain ginger cat in there.”
David might have heard the reply if he weren’t heaving against his restraints, shouting as loudly as he could.
“Whups. Kitty doesn’t like his cage. Why can’t they learn to trank these animals enough? What do we got on hand?”
“Oh, just let him have his fit. He’ll calm down eventu—”
“This is the Applegate cat, Pete. Even you’ve heard of Evie Applegate.”
“Whoa. Okay, lemme see what I can find.” “I’m a man! I don’t belong in a cage!” David yelled, but all that came out was cat yowling.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Diets are a scam!

Quite a while ago I wrote a short story... or is it a novella?... called "Nothing to Lose." I put it on Amazon for 99¢ and pretty much forgot about it. Lately people have been asking me about it, asking to expand it. After I get through this glut of book-revamping, plus the new book, I just might do that. (Plus I'd correct the crazy formatting! Eek!)

It's the story about a group of ladies, one in particular, who have weighty issues. Let's join them at a gym that looks a lot like Curves...
------



Pat’s lower lip had begun to protrude farther and farther and I didn’t think it was because we were approaching the leg press again. Her chin wrinkled along with her nose as she thought. We looked at her. Was this a botox moment? She slammed her fists down on the handles of the glute machine and declared, “It’s not us!” She looked hard at each of us in turn. “It’s a curse. A real curse. Magic!”

I laughed. Who wouldn’t?

She pointed at me. “You said it yourself. The physics doesn’t make sense. That’s science, right? If it’s not scientific, it’s not true. OR it’s magic.”

LaDawn tapped her chin thoughtfully instead of doing the required climbing motions for her board. “I never thought of it that way before. Could be.”

“Magic,” I scoffed. “If it were just that, some wizard would be making a fortune curing people.”

“Maybe someone is,” LaDawn said. “Maybe they’re keeping it on the downlow.”

 “Why? So they don’t have to become a multi-millionaire?”

Pat poked the air in front of her as if it were someone’s chest. “It’s so they’re not overrun by people, tearing down their front doors. Begging them to do the job.”

“I know a wizard in Atlanta and she keeps busy. Very busy,” Charlotte said. “Her whole family has been well off for generations. She can afford to turn down business if she wants. I decorated her main parlor,” she confided. “She gave me an unlimited budget. Oh, my.” A wistful smile lit her face.

“Look,” I tried to reason, “if being fat was something magic there’d be a rumor about it at least. I’ve never heard anyone claim this was a curse. You know me; I’m always on the Internet looking for new diets. I tell you, I’d know.”

“Do any of those diets of yours work?”

“Ah...” It took me a while to go through the long list in my head. “That Adkins thing worked for a month or six weeks.”

Charlotte waved her perfectly-manicured nails at me. “Well, I do not want something that only lasts six weeks. I want forever.”

“And I wouldn’t mind it being easy, either,” LaDawn put in. “Diets are too hard. They make me crazy when I’m on them. Give me some magic with some chocolate and maybe a little scotch every day, and I’ll be happy.”

You couldn’t argue with that. Could you?

---

If I'm going to be expanding this, I need to hear funny stories about how people have tried to lose weight. Did it work? Did it not? What was your (or a friend's) experience?