An insightful and well written review. I appreciate the insight here 🙂
H.A.L.F by Natalie Wright tells the story of H.A.L.F 9, a Human-Alien Life Form that escapes from the military facility where he was created. During the course of his escape, H.A.L.F 9 meets teenagers, Erika, Jack and Ian, with whom he strikes up a friendship. Among other abilities, H.A.L.F 9 has extreme telekinetic and telepathic powers which make him a valuable asset to the government and one that they are not willing to lose. The government, claiming ownership of H.A.L.F 9’s life, sets out to retrieve him. Having no human technology that can match H.A.L.F 9’s power, they have to enlist a force stronger and more cunning than even H.A.L.F 9 is prepared to face.
Right from the start of the book the characters are likable and relatable. Even though the first couple of chapters were a bit confusing, each one was intriguing enough to make me want to keep…
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Blog tour is almost over. Only one more day to enter the big giveaway!
Roswell. Area 51. The X-Files.
You’ve seen the aliens known as “the Greys” in movies and on T.V. But what if everything you think you know about them is wrong?
And what if the Greys are only the beginning?
Erika Holt dodged death and departed Earth in an alien ship. It wasn’t how she’d planned to spend her senior year. Is Erika on her way to paradise? Or to a hell worse than the underground lab she escaped?
The greys rescued Tex from the underground lab and promised him a life he could never have imagined. But what will he have to give up to become one with The Conexus?
Jack Wilson is still Commander Sturgis’ prisoner, but a promise of freedom comes from an unlikely source. Will his liberation cost more than he’s willing to pay?
On a nondescript planet on the far side of the galaxy, the…
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One of my all-time favorite books is 1984 (Signet Classics) by George Orwell. You like dystopian? Now that’s dystopian! 1984 may not be a horror story per se, but to me it is may be the scariest story ever written.
Scary because it feels plausible. And scary because for a person such as myself who values the freedom of thought and speech above all else, there is nothing more frightening than losing both.
1984 was published in 1948 as the super powers entered the cold war. Orwell may have been reacting to the events in pre-war Germany and Italy or perhaps looking east toward Russia and China.
But a recent news article brought Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece to mind. Have you heard about the brave students, educators and parents in Jefferson County, Colorado that are fighting back against an all right-wing school board?
I found this story via the LA Times. Apparently the recently-elected school board decided that it did not like the AP History curriculum. Here is a quote from the board calling for instruction in which “theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.”
Okay, we’ll stop it right there for a moment. Read the words of the school board closely. “Promote citizenship, patriotism …” Sound familiar? Does it not sound like the “Ministry of Truth” from 1984, the organization responsible for propaganda and historical revision? After all, Winston Smith’s job in 1984 was to rewrite past newspaper articles so that they always reflected the current party line. This is exactly what the Jefferson County school board is attempting to do.
The school board also said: “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard for the law.”
I suppose, then, that the board proposes that students not learn about the Civil Rights movement, Women’s Suffrage movement, and other events in which citizens used their rights of Free Speech (yes, you know that thing guaranteed by the First Amendment, i.e. the law) to attempt to change to system and obtain freedom for all people, not just the white male people.
In fact, the board’s plan to revise the history books was “drafted in response to a new set of history standards adopted by the College Board, which gives more attention to minorities, Native Americans and pre-Columbus early American history.” (Source, Portland Press Herald.) (As an aside, the Herald also reports that the school board blames the student protest on “dissident teachers”, a phrase which also sounds a lot like it came from a spin-doctor handbook. If someone points out the problems with your agenda or policy, then call them “dissident” or “crazy” to discredit them.)
There was a well-written opinion piece on the Huffington Post blog yesterday written by Joseph Palermo. Mr. Palermo, speaking about Gretchen Carlson and Ken Witt, said: “And I doubt if Carlson and Witt ever heard of George Orwell who wrote: ‘Who controls the past controls the future. And who controls the present controls the past.'”
What Ms. Carlson or Mr. Witt know (or think) is probably irrelevant. They are mere pawns belching out the party line. You can be very sure that the right wing politicos behind this move in Colorado, even if they have never heard of George Orwell, absolutely know how to gain power through control of history. And make no mistake that their agenda is to control propaganda so that they can increase their own power.
That’s what totalitarian regimes do. And that’s what we’re talking about here.
Totalitarian is a system of government with only one party (or leader) having complete control and power over the people.
And what is the antonym for totalitarian?
And what is the foundation of democracy?
Freedom of speech.
Unfortunately, the freedom of speech in our country mainly serves the purpose these days of delivering free porn to every smart phone, tablet and computer in America. As I write this, more people right now are viewing porn than are engaging in political debate. Many, many, many more people.
That’s okay with the Koch brothers and their ilk. Because if you are sidetracked by porn and cat videos and such, then you’re not paying attention to what they’re doing to consolidate their power. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
Kudos to the students, teachers and parents in Jefferson County who saw the move by their school board for what it is: an attempt to white wash history in furtherance of their own political agenda. Kudos for exercising their First Amendment rights. It takes courage to speak out against the actions of institutions and people in power. But now, perhaps more than ever, we all must be vigilant about our freedom and muster the courage we may not believe that we have to preserve our freedom. This is our right – and responsibility – in a free society. I for one feel a surge of hope today as I witness young people pushing back against what is most assuredly a threat to their freedom of thought.
It’s hard to imagine fingerprint dusting in the 22nd century. Instead, crime investigations may be “dusting” for DNA. And forget about a mere iris scanner to gain entry to that above top-secret lab. Instead you may have to pass the sniff test.
Good luck trying to fake someone else’s scent.
Here are three super cool, super futuristic identification technologies that I read about recently on LiveScience and provide some cool inspiration for futuristic sci-fi stories:
1. BODY ODOR
But don’t worry about having a computer sniff you yet. Although researchers have attained a recognition rate of better than 85%, the technology is still in the research stages.
2. HEART BEATS
While I can see the “sniff test” being used at border crossings and airports, this one seems more like the kind of thing we’ll use every day. A Toronto company called Bionym is developing a bracelet called Nymi that uses your heartbeat for digital identification. Each of us has a unique pattern of electrical activity in our heart. Who knew? The bracelet reads ECG (electrocardiogram) waveforms to identify the wearer.
But here’s where this one gets super spiffy. The Nymi bracelet can them communicate via Bluetooth to our devices. It seems that the possibilities there are endless. No need for a password or even a finger scan to log in to your computer. Just wear the bracelet and it could seamlessly connect the wearer to their devices. But why stop there? How about your car? A hotel room? Bank deposit box?
So let me know which is best for you – #1, #2 or #3 – and why 🙂 Thanks!
We had a talk about what it meant to do the “hard stuff”. Auditioning for All-State band, especially as a freshman, was hard. He didn’t have to do it. He CHOSE to do it. And choosing to do the “hard stuff” is how we improve, how we grow, and how we eventually “get there”. There’s such value in doing the hard stuff. When we stretch ourselves past what is comfortable or easy, that’s where we find who we truly are. Where, after several tries, we find success.
I told him it was sort of like writing a book. Writing a book is not easy, as all authors know. It’s difficult, toiling, gut-wrenching work. It takes a long time and can drain you mentally and emotionally. But authors choose to do it, because we know that by “doing the hard stuff” and stretching ourselves beyond where we’re comfortable, a book eventually comes to fruition. And with each “stretch” and each “completed product”, we grow and improve.
This idea is true no matter what area you pursue. So… dream big… run, don’t walk toward the things you want most out of life… even if it means you have to do the hard stuff. It’s always worth it in the end!
I agree with what Amy says in her post. It’s all too easy to slip into a comfort zone, doing the same thing day-after-day more because it’s comfortable than because it’s the best thing for us. I retired from the practice of law last year and threw myself off of a proverbial cliff to pursue a writing career. And boy, is it a hard thing! A full year later, I still feel like I’m trying to figure out my day, my routine and truly own my choice. But I can absolutely agree with Amy that doing the “hard stuff” is worth it.
Back to Asher’s Mark, Amy’s newest release:
|Asher’s Mark by Amy Durham|
in love with Asher Howell for a long time. When she was sixteen, he became her
hero, and she fell head over heels for the boy with a ring through his eyebrow,
a big heart, and an unending sense of justice. But two years ago he left for
college without a backward glance, leaving Grace to wonder if she’d imagined
for Asher to return, Grace moved on, and Asher’s brother, Adam, stepped in to
help her pick up the pieces. But Asher never left her thoughts … or her heart.
tragedy brings Asher home and back into Grace’s life. The boy who left her
behind is now very much a man – a licensed tattoo artist, much to his parents’
dismay, and still carrying a major torch for Grace. But two years apart has
changed them both, and the things that happened during their separation may
create a divide that can’t be crossed.
Grace’s heart. Will Asher’s be able to stand the test of time?
**This New Adult romance features characters 18 years and older. However, this title does not carry a content warning, indicating readers should be over the age of 17.
I’m kissing Grace. Finally. Every molecule in my body screams with the rightness of it. How had I ever thought I could stay away from her? How could I
fuses to mine, and I never want to let her go.
her first! Two years of wanting her, loving her, have finally exploded between us. She’s in my arms. In my lap. Under my skin. In my heart.
She is everywhere and everything.
are glassy and gorgeous, hazy with the desire we just stirred up. Strands of her auburn hair have escaped her ponytail and now hang wistfully around her
face. She’s so beautiful it makes me ache.
correctly, but I’m glad to know I was right.
breath and speak.
wrapped around her. If I don’t go now, I might not ever.
face her. Our hands find their way to each other, fingers lacing together as we walk toward the door.
there the night before? I think back and realize it wasn’t. It must’ve been covered up by the big picture of Grace and Adam.
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Ashers-Adult-Contemporary-Romance-Resolution-ebook/dp/B00MQA63VC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1408057876
|Author Amy Durham|
teens, then going home to three boys of her own, two of whom fall into the
tween/teen category, you’d think that Amy Durham might like to leave the world
of teens and young adults behind. Not so!
waiting twenty minutes for her oldest kiddo to get out of band practice – with
her laptop and a multitude of teenage characters trying to navigate their way
through the twisted, difficult road of adolescence.
because it’s what she knows. As a teacher and a parent, Amy is around teens and
young adults on an almost constant basis. And while it’s true they can be – ahem
– challenging, they are also full of life, vision, and dreams. And that’s a
really cool place to be.
to find hope for the situations they find themselves in, find determination to
keep on going, and courage to pursue their dreams. It also allows adult readers
the chance to revisit the exuberance of youth, remember the joy and poignancy
of first love, and recall how it felt to dream with abandon.
Natalie Wright, P.C.
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Durham is a wife and mother, an author, a teacher, an avid reader, and a
musician. If she weren’t writing books, she’d be a celebrity chef!
Natalie Wright, P.C.
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Instagram – @authoramydurham