Friday, January 31, 2014

Go ahead. Look for the moon. By Contributing Astronomy Editor, Prof. Dan Matlaga

You could have stayed up from sunset to sunrise but you would not have seen it on January 30.  The moon was close to being right between the earth and sun.  The sunlight side of the moon always faces the sun, not the earth.  The dark, unilluminated side of the moon was facing the earth that night.

Try looking for the moon at sunset on January 31st.  If you are an avid amateur astronomer with correct optics you might be able to find the moon following the sun just after sunset.  The 0.2% illuminated moon sets 70 minutes after the sun.  Technically you may catch a glimpse of the moon "with considerable difficulty," as they used to say in the mid 1950's science magazines.

Sunset on the first day of February will display a 7% illuminated moon.  The very thin crescent will be visible for almost two hours after sunset.  This is the crescent everyone can see from a typical suburban backyard.  It should appear above the sun set point.

It is historically interesting to begin a month on the first day of that month with the appearance of the crescent moon.  If we trace the origin of the word "moon”, we find it means "to measure.”  What does the moon measure?  It measures time.  The word "month" comes from the word "moon."

If you lived in Rome more than two thousand years ago, you would not be surprised seeing the first day of the month coincident with a crescent moon because that was the traditional start of the month, with the first appearance of the crescent moon in the evening sky.  An official would go about town, stand on their version of a soapbox to announce how many days to the first evening crescent.  He would "call out" the number of days to the first quarter moon, then the number of days to full moon.  The Latin which means "to call”, is the word "calend”, from which we get the word "calendar”.
The word "week" comes from the word "wik.”  Wik can be defined to mean "to change, a bend.”  We not only get the word week from wik, but also wicker.  Watch the moon from one night to the next and observe how the terminator, that part of the moon where it's light side meets the unilluminated side, will change from a steep curve, the crescent moon, to seven evenings later it will look like a straight line, the first quarter moon.

Our calendar is made of months which correspond to the time it takes the moon to go around the earth once.  Four weeks corresponds to the four distinct phases of the moon.  New moon to first quarter is seven days, first quarter to full moon takes seven days, full moon to last quarter another seven days and finally last quarter to new moon our final seven days.

Then why aren't all the months 28 days (7x4) long?  If we count the number of days from one phase of the moon to the corresponding phase a month later, we would count 29.3 days.  This measurement is called the synodic period of the moon.  If we use 29.3 days divided by the number of days in the year, we arrive at 12.3 months in the year.  When we try to couple the moon month to a solar year, there is a third of a month too many days.  Days must be added to the moon month to make a lunar and solar calendar balance.  This juggling of the two calendars into one calendar is quite a complicated affair.

If we note when the moon appears close to a star, then count the number of days for the moon to return to that same star we would have counted 27.3 days.  The measurement of the moon with respect to background stars is called the siderial period of the moon, 27.3 days.  Divide the siderial period into the number of days in the year we find not 12 months in the year but 13.  Note the siderial period of the moon is almost 28 days. 

Can you think of a cycle which takes 28 days?

It is the menstrual cycle.  Words associated with the menstrual cycle reflect the connection.  Menos is one of the many Egyptian and Sythian goddesses of the moon, pause means to stop.  Menopause means quite literally "to stop the moon."  A Latin word for "moon" is "mensis”, Old Church Slavonic is "meseci," Greek is "mene" and Lithuanian is "menesis."

Can there be any wonder a connection between the moon and female is strong in cultures around the world?  Goddess centered celebrants would go into the forests and woodlands to honor what the full moon represents.  Often patriarchal societies would frown on such lunar activities, interpreting the full moon as a symbol of evil and fright.  


Friday, January 17, 2014

Welcome Guest Author, Daniel Danser and "The God Particle"!

 Today we are pleased to welcome Author Daniel Danser and learn all about his new novel, The God Particle.  

We will have a good chat with Daniel, but first, here is a synopsis of The God Particle followed by the video trailer.


CERN’s Hadron Collider is the world’s most powerful machine; its sole purpose is to prove the existence of the mysterious God Particles – the essential building blocks of the universe. But after a series of global catastrophes, suspicion arises as to whether they are occurring naturally or are somehow connected to the collider’s experiments.

After the sudden death of the project’s director general, professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tom Halligan, is headhunted by CERN’s governing council to continue the search for the elusive particles.

He is soon embroiled in a titanic struggle against sinister forces that are intent on creating a chain of events, the outcome of which will determine the fate of mankind.

The battle to save the planet from annihilation is being fought by the most unlikely of heroes.


 And here is some info. on the Author, Daniel Danser.


Born in Yorkshire, England in 1961, Daniel spent his formative years with his head buried squarely in a book. His appetite for literature was insatiable; by the time he was a teenager he had read an entire library of books, from ‘the classics’ to popular fiction, but his preferred genre was action and adventure, citing Frederick Forsyth, Ian Fleming and Robert Ludlum amongst his favourite authors.

It was inevitable that he would take his passion into adulthood and, in 1979, went to Manchester University, graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature. After a short spell as a journalist at the Manchester Evening News, he recognized the commercial potential of the newly emerging computer industry and joined IBM, where, his forward-thinking creativity was put to good use, developing some of the computer platforms that are still recognized as the industry standard, today.

Daniel left IBM in 1995 to set up his own company. Carving a career as an internet entrepreneur left little time for him to pursue his dream of writing his own novel, although, his passion for reading never waned and he was rarely seen without the latest best-selling novel in his hand.

Daniel now works as a freelance writer and, with the encouragement of his family, has finally found the time to put pen to paper. His first novel, inspired by a business trip to Geneva, where he overheard two technicians from the nearby CERN institute discussing the Hadron Collider, delves into a sinister world where humanity has reached a tipping point of developing technology so profound, that it can destroy the human race.

So...WELCOME Daniel!  Thank you so much for joining us today.  I'd like to start off by asking you a few questions about The God Particle.

Who is your favorite character in The God Particle

It has to be the lead character – Tom Halligan. He’s not your archetypal hero but he has some very good qualities which seem to help him achieve what he has to do.

If you could spend a day with one of your characters, which one would it be and why?  

There’s a young Indian character in the book called Anjit. He hasn't had the best of upbringings, due to his father and mother being killed at an early age, but his heart’s in the right place. I’d like to spend the day getting to know him a bit better and maybe pass on some fatherly advice.

Have you written any other books? 

No this is my first novel.

Well it sounds great and right in line with The Kabrini Message.  I think our fans will love it!  Do you have any plans for a sequel? 

Yes, the epilogue lends itself to a sequel and I can’t wait to get started.

Please promise to keep us updated on the sequel as you progress!

As someone in the process of turning a book into a screenplay, I often ask the question:  Which of your works would you most like to see as a movie?  As The God Particle is your first novel, what are your thoughts of its film potential?

The God Particle started off as a great idea for a movie which I wanted to pitch to the main studios but as I did my research I found out that it wasn't that easy – there’s no protection. They could take your idea, mine it for the stuff they wanted and discard the rest. That way they don’t have to pay you a cent. So by publishing a book you are at least copyright protected.

That's very interesting.  I'd never thought of that.  I'm not sure how it works in England, but here (in the U.S.), you can register your screenplay with the Writer's Guild of America and protect it before you send it to agents and producers.

But back to your movie...Who would you cast as the lead characters? 

I would cast Matt Damon as the lead character, Tom Halligan with Gal Gadot (an Israeli actress) as his leading lady.

Now for a few questions on your writing style...

How do you balance your “real life” with writing? 

It took a long time to get into a position where I could write full time. You have to be relatively financially secure especially if it’s your first novel. Without the support of a partner or family, I don’t know how it’s possible. I was lucky; my wife encouraged me from the very beginning and still supports me now. I’m hoping to return the favor if my book’s successful, she wants to write a novel too!

"When" not "if"!  You are very lucky and I'm sure she feels the same way.  BTW, please extend an invitation to your wife to visit us here and tell us about her book as soon as she writes it - we'd love to be the first to know all about it!

So what sort of writing routine and methods do you typically use? 

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which isn't necessarily a good thing when it comes to creative writing. I’m not one of those authors that can pour the words down on paper and then go back and make it grammatically correct. I have a systematic approach – I would set myself a target of 1,500 words a day. It doesn't sound a lot, especially when you think that the average novel is 90,000 words, but I would know that the passage I’d written wouldn't need any further work and I could continue the story the next day where I left off.

You sound very much like me!

Who or what is the epitome of a hero to you? 

I would like to say something clever like Gandhi or Mandela, but the truth is I’m in awe of action heroes in films, whether it’s Arnie in Terminator, Harrison Ford in Star Wars or even Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. You've got to tip your hat to them; I wouldn't be able to save the world like they did!

What is your favorite part of writing? 

I love it when the story comes together. Probably like most writers you set off on a journey not knowing where it’s going to take you. You probably have the final destination in sight but you rarely know what the route is to get there. Sometimes you have to start at the beginning again to complete the journey, as I did. Towards the end of the book I realized that it wasn't going to work unless I had a prologue to bring it all together.

What is your least favorite part of writing

I have to say, unfortunately for me, it’s the marketing. I would like to use the time spent promoting my book, writing a sequel. But I know it’s all part of the process of getting a successful novel, unless you’re Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling of course!

I couldn't agree more!  Marketing is a huge part of it (too huge!) and it is extremely time consuming.

Does your wife comment or critique your work? 

My muse and my biggest critic is my wife, Paula. I love reading my work out to her to gauge her reaction – it’s not always positive but it is definitely constructive.

That's the best kind and Paula sounds like a gem!

Lastly, please tell us about your experience with the road to publication; I know everyone's is different and it's something I always find interesting.

I managed to get an Indie Publisher who released my book as an eBook. I knew I had to be different when trying to attract publishers so I wrote to nearly two hundred of them and sent them all the  first four chapters published as full book (the rest of the pages I left blank) along with a metallic silver oven glove. At the end of the letter to them I said that they were probably wondering what the oven glove was for - because the novel is hot stuff of course! Corny, I know but you’d be surprised the reaction I got!

 I think that is very clever - I love it!  

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us today and all the very best of luck on The God Particle, the sequel AND the movie!  Please come back again soon and update us on your progress and remember to ask Paula to visit us with her new novel (as soon as she writes it!), too!And now for the all important info. as to where can we buy The God Particle and how can we follow Daniel:


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Author Demelza's Carlton's "Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer"

We are so pleased to be a part of, Author Demelza Carlton's Blog Tour for her novel, Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer.

Before we delve into an excerpt of Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer, here is a brief Author Bio on Demelza Carlton:  

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.
She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy.

And now for an Excerpt From Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer:

"You're mad," my sister told me, handing me the bag of clothes I'd asked for. "You find some random girl left for dead on a beach, promise you'll protect her from someone who hurt her who's already dead, only to find out he has mates, so you're going to stick around to protect her from all of them, too? It could be years before the police put them away – if they ever find them! What are you going to do, stay with her for the rest of her life? Marry her?" She snorted with laughter.
I shook my head, rubbing at my bleary eyes in the hope that it would wake me up. Caitlin had woken me with her screaming more than once last night. "I promised I'd be here when she wakes up. She's been out for longer than I expected, is all. She's been through more than anyone should ever have to and I'm not going to do that to her – just go home and let her wake up alone."
Chris was quick to notice the gaps in my explanation. "How do you know what she's been through? She's barely been conscious since you found her!"
"I don't," I admitted. "But... she has nightmares... even with the drugs they're giving her, and they sound pretty bad. And... I saw what she looked like when I found her. It wasn't pretty." I suppressed a shudder, but she noticed anyway.
"How bad is it? Can I see her?"
We were in the lounge at the end of the ward. It was only a short walk back to Caitlin's room, but still I hesitated. "Don't touch her," I warned. If she touched her, she'd scream again and I couldn't handle it. I just couldn't.
"Wh..." She started to ask a question, but she looked like she was having trouble deciding which to ask first. Why she'd want to touch her, why she couldn't, or even what in hell I was thinking. Instead, she shrugged and followed me back to the hospital room.
She thought I was crazy. She could be right.
The guard outside the door looked askance at Chris. I nodded to him and he let her pass unchallenged. Chris didn't acknowledge the police officer at all.
She stopped just inside the door and stared, looking puzzled.
I looked closely at Caitlin, trying to work out precisely what Chris was staring at.
It couldn't be the bruises on Caitlin's pale face. They'd faded to faint shadows now. She looked as beautiful as the first day I'd seen her.
Caitlin's hands rested by her face on the pillow, each finger individually bandaged and splinted, an IV line slipped between the gauze. The bandages extended down her wrists, like long, white gloves. She wore a hospital-issue nightgown and she'd managed to kick the bedclothes off in her struggle against her nightmares, so everything the scanty nightgown didn't cover was on show. White dressings were stuck to her back, with more on her legs, particularly her ankles and her thighs. Bruises covered her exposed skin in a disturbing rainbow of dark colours.
Before I could stop her, Chris crossed the room and grabbed Caitlin's sheet. She yanked it up to Caitlin's chin, covering her up almost completely. Her eyes turned to me. "You need to take your own advice."
I was annoyed at my sister. "It's not like that. Have you ever known me to take advantage of a girl, without her permission?"
Chris frowned deeply, her eyebrows almost meeting. "She's not like any of the girls you usually bring home. She's younger, more fragile..." She stopped, looking lost for words, before her tone changed abruptly. "How in hell did this little girl survive all that?" She waved a hand over Caitlin's body, encompassing everything now covered by the sheet.
"No one knows," I told her shortly, sitting heavily on the visitor's chair by Caitlin's bed. "But when she wakes up, it's one of the first things I'll ask her."
Ah, who was I kidding? It was a bloody nightmare.

I'm intrigued and can't wait to read more (which is the point of a good excerpt, right?)!  Here's how to do just that:  Buy Now On!

Also, you can check out the video trailer here.

Contact Links:
Demelza's Website

Monday, January 13, 2014

Welcome Guest Author Perrin Pring and "An Appointment at the Edge of Forever"!

Welcome Perrin and congratulations on An Appointment at the Edge of Forever!  I LOVE the cover, BTW.  But before we delve into the book, please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi. My name is Perrin Pring. I’ll give you some fun facts about me:

Since 2008 I've lived in Boston, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington state, Maui, Montana, and California.

I’I've held a variety of jobs and volunteer positions, some of which are: ski patroller, dish washer, whitewater kayak/canoe coach, wilderness therapy field instructor, raptor rehabilitation aide, river ranger, park ranger, promotional blog writer, substitute teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, butterfly garden attendant, and river guide.

I like animals, a lot.

I can bake.

I love cold weather, as in below zero temperatures.

Coffee is an imperative part of my morning, but it’s a fine balance. It turns out that too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.

What genres do you write?

I write science fiction and/or fantasy, depending on what definition you want to use. My most recent work, An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, Book One of the Ryo Myths, takes place in space, but has fantastical elements to it. I’m also working on a dystopian story.

Please tell us about your newest release and what inspired you to write it.

My newest book is An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, Book One of the Ryo Myths. It’s the first book of a trilogy, and it’s a combination of science fiction and fantasy. I had been reading fantasy and watching science fiction, and I wanted to combine the two genres. In my mind, fantasy works with magic, and science fiction works by logic (there are many definitions out there though). As I considered how both logic/science and magic could co-exist together, I came up with beginnings of the Ryo Myths trilogy. I created a universe where a normal person might believe in magic, but a person capable of magic simply had a total grasp of the rules of the universe (science) and could therefore do seemingly ‘magical’ things. This principle is the foundation of the Ryo Myths. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your main characters?

A lot of places. Sometimes it’s from books or shows I’m watching. When I wrote An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, I was reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series and watching Firefly, Stargate and Farscape. I've always been interested in groups of characters who wouldn't normally work together, but are somehow forced to, i.e. because they are stuck together on a spaceship.

I also spend a lot of time outside, both working and traveling. This enables me to meet a lot of people, as well as see some pretty incredible things. I will often take bits of people’s personalities, as well as experiences I've had, or experiences others have told me about, and blend them to make a unique character. I incorporate places I've lived or traveled into my writing as well, even though I often write about other worlds.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Red. I’m sure there are many readers out there who will immediately recognize where I got my inspiration for Red, but Red is much more than a simple character. I've worked A LOT of jobs where I was one of, if not the only, female on the crew, and Red is the ultimate compilation of some of the more outstanding, ridiculous, well meaning, sexist, loyal and dangerous men I've ever met. Red’s the kind of person who would be entertaining to be at a dinner party with, unless you were the host or his date. He makes messes, starts fights, but in the end, is super loyal. Unfortunately, he doesn't always make the best decisions, which is why he’s the most fun to write. I can always count on Red to screw up a scene that’s just going a little too well or ruin a particularly touching moment.

Is there anything else you would like to share about the book?

I've had multiple people come up to me and tell me how sucked into my book they got. They often say that they aren't ‘into’ science fiction, but once they started the book, they just kept reading. This is a huge compliment, and I think it says something about what kind of read An Appointment at the Edge of Forever is. It isn't ‘gritty’ science fiction. You can enjoy it if you don’t understand how gravity works or how a black hole works. An Appointment at the Edge of Forever is about characters and possibilities. I explore the ‘what ifs?’ that make science fiction great, but I also delve into how people interact with each other. So, if you like science fiction, you’ll probably like An Appointment at the Edge of Forever, but if you have never thought of yourself as a science fiction reader, but you do like stories, you should give An Appointment at the Edge of Forever a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 
I know exactly what you mean!  That's just how I feel about The Kabrini Message.  That's why I'm sure our readers will thoroughly enjoy An Appointment at the Edge of Forever - I think the two books share a common fan base.

OK, next question:  What sort of writing routine/methods do you use?

This is an interesting question. I live in Montana, and when I tell people I’m a writer, 9 times out of 10, people say:

                “Oh that’s cool. So you just ski a lot then?”

I don’t think people who don’t write, and I mean, seriously write, get just how much work it takes to be a writer. For me, my alarm is set for 7:30 five days a week. I get up, eat, check my email, then go to a coffee shop where I spend the next three to five hours writing, editing or working on marketing, depending on the day. I often go home for lunch then maybe go to another coffee shop in the afternoon, or just work from home doing the same things I did in the morning. I’m usually done working on my stuff between 4 and 5. I’ll then read someone else’s work or workout. I read all sorts of genres - sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, non-fiction, basically anything. I’ll spend evenings with friends and family, and on slow nights, I’ll watch Netflix (because it is really nice to listen to other people talk after spending 8 hours writing my own thoughts).

                I've read and been told a lot of things about the ‘writing process’. What I've discovered works for me is contrary to some of the MUST DO advice from other writers. Some writers say that you MUST write first thing in the morning. Others say that you CANNOT have any distractions. (I will agree the Internet is terrible for productivity, but who would have thought there were so many cute cat videos?) What I've learned is that for me, I MUST have some sort of routine, and I would recommend that every writer have some kind of routine, even if it changes regularly. If you don’t have a schedule, you end up skiing all winter and as fun as that is, it doesn't often result in a finished manuscript. 

                Another thing I take really seriously is the editing process. Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book called Timequake, and as discombobulated as it is, he makes the distinction between Swoopers and Bashers. Vonnegut writes, through his re-occurring character Kilgore Trout, that women writers tend to be Swoopers and men writers tend to be Bashers. A Swooper is a person who can write lots of pages in a day but needs to spend lots of time editing said pages. A Basher is someone who can spend 8 hours writing 4 sentences but, the world be damned, those sentences are as close to perfection as it’s going to get, so editing is a pretty easy process.

                As much as I hate to conform to gender norms, I am most certainly a Swooper. I can write ten pages in 8 hours, but it’ll take me 8 hours to edit three. I also listen to my work out loud, both by having the computer read it back to me and by my own voice. This is imperative to my process. If you want to figure out if your writing is good, enable the Speech tool on Microsoft Word (it comes with the standard word application). While the computer will sound like a robot, you’ll learn very quickly if you’re writing is fit for sharing. The computer will clue you into words you forgot to type, words you overused (Did I really use the word brick five times in two sentences?) and give you a feeling for the overall structure of your prose. I started by reading my stuff back to myself, but I found myself just saying what I thought I had written. I couldn't catch typos, and I couldn't hear my writing get bad. With the Speech tool, I can fix all that.

As I said though, I also read my stuff out loud because it can be hard, particularly with dialogue, for the speech tool to get the cadence right. If I were to give one other piece of advice, it would be to use the speech tool and listen to your ENTIRE novel. This takes a long time, I know, but it’s worth it. I’ll give you a way to test my theory. Go to your library, rent an audio copy of the Da Vinci Code and the print copy. Listen to the first half of the Da Vinci Code and then read the second half. I promise, you’ll want to throw the Da Vinci code CD’s out the window before you get halfway through the book. Brown repeats himself, he uses ridiculous metaphors; it’s awful. When you read the last half though, you’ll realize how easy it is to skim over that stuff and get on with the plot. If Brown had had a good editor (or had known how to edit), that book would have been ten times shorter and way easier to read. Then again, Brown sold like a bajillion copies of The Da Vinci Code, so maybe good writing isn't the key to selling a book, but I fear, for most of us, it is.

 I have NEVER before heard that tip about the Speech tool in Microsoft Word - excellent advice, thanks so much. 

In closing, thank you, too for joining us today - please come back again soon!  In the meantime, we definitely want to follow you - what's the best way to stay in touch?

My website is

People can also find me on: 
@Perrinpring on Twitter
On Instagram at Perrin Pring
and on Goodreads

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