Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Giant and the Origins of Egypt Rising

I’m amazed how many people have never heard of Edgar Cayce. story reads like something out of a science fiction novel, yet many reputable people including scientists have verified his amazing feats. Cayce grew up in Kentucky, never really received much education, yet he advised some of the most important people in the world.

Cayce would put himself into a dream-like state. While he snoozed, he would reveal amazing historical facts going back to the days of Atlantis. He also was able to cure people simply by laying his hands on them. Sound amazing? Many of his predictions have come true.

Cayce stands at the very center of my new novel, Egypt Rising. Cayce fans will recognize the prophet’s description of a Hall of Records hidden under the Sphinx. They also will recognize the laying of hands technique that the teen hero of the novel uses to save two people who are gravely wounded.

Cayce fans will not be surprised by the resistance of the Egyptian bureaucrats in the novel to any digging around the Sphinx and their ridiculing of scientists who believe in Cayce’s theories. One of Cayce’s revelations was that refugees from Atlantis fled to Egypt where they helped that fledgling civilization grow by using their advanced technology and knowledge that now remain hidden.

While I have explored the idea of reincarnation in other novels, Egypt Rising focuses on Cayce’s theories regarding Egypt. I even managed to work in the fabled Emerald Tablets. For those of you who think Cacye was crazy, ask yourself how Egypt progressed so quickly and seemed to suddenly develop a sophisticated writing system. Ask yourself also why Egyptian pyramids became less sophisticated over time, as if the Egyptians lost some of their knowledge of sophisticated building techniques. Also, as the book suggests, ask yourself why the Sphinx, an object most scientists admit is far older than the pyramids, has water damage when the area hasn’t been underwater since BEFORE Egyptians appeared.

I’ve worked Cayce’s ideas into the novel, but it remains a novel and not a polemic. In other words, I want the book to be an enjoyable novel. Those of you who become interested in learning more about Cayce will find many books in your local libraries that document his life.

If you are a Cayce fan, consider reading Egypt Rising. Written as a young adult novel, adults should find enough material there to enjoy the experience as well.

Egypt Rising Coming Out Next Week!

The excitement is certainly building around here because Eternal Press will be publishing Egypt Rising next week. I’m very pleased with the editing job the book received. Editing is not my favorite part of the writing process. I’ve been through the book a dozen times, and yet the editor found a number of ways to make the book better.

I’m reminded of the time a number of years ago when I received a paper manuscript from my publisher with hundreds of yellow sticky notes with edit requests and comments. I had already moved on to my next writing project and writing deadline, so my wife and co-author was stuck with having to address all those sticky notes.

My wife swore never to write another book with me since then, and she’s kept her word. Still, the advance we received was enough for our family to take its first trip to Europe and visit London and Paris. The physical manual involved in addressing all those sticky notes by hand is still very much a fresh memory for my wife.

Microsoft Word has taken a lot of the drudgery out of writers responding to editors’ comments and edits; still, you do have to let go as a writer and realize that editors are just plain better when it comes to doing what they do. In this case, the result is a much better book.

Inter-Specie Sex: Could You Run That Sex Play Again?

I’m in the midst of writing a science fiction novel that features a lot of inter-specie sex. There, I’ve said it. What strikes me as I try to block out one particular sex scene is just how difficult the process is. Single cell organisms split and form new cells and that’s it. You can imagine a reporter describing the process: “It looks like the cell is about to reproduce. There it is!”

I’m reminded of when I programmed a football game years ago.  It was complex enough. I had to make allowances for both the offense and defense to run plays simultaneously and then determine based on their decisions, whether a pass would be successful or a runner would gain or lose yards. Still, that’s nothing compared to trying to figure out all the things that go on during sex.

There’s the female alien’s body, just filled with sensual areas. There’s the man, of course. There’s also the question of what’s going on in their heads. After all, the head plays as major a role as the lower part of the body. I haven’t even touched the other senses. What about smell? What about taste? When you’re different species, everything is new, and some of it isn’t that appealing.

My point is that sometimes dance partners preparing for contests spend months blocking out every move. It’s even more complex for a writer trying to capture every nuance of inter-specie sex. As the announcer used to say at the beginning of Star Trek, we’re going places where man has never gone before.

The novel is entitled TIL DEATH DO US PART. Look for it next year.

Helicopter Parents & Self-Published eBooks: A Nation of Authors and Not Readers

Time magazine frequently describes the phenomenon of a  generation of helicopter parents and the impact they are having on their “children.” You’ve read the stories. These children, now in their 20s, have been told that whatever they do is terrific. They’re received awards for participation throughout their childhood no matter how pathetic their performance. Many of this generation are described as self-absorbed. After all, their parents have always told them that they are so terrific that EVERYTHING they do is wonderful and memorable.

That generation has started to write and self-publish their thoughts. After all, it’s just a logical extension of stretching out a series of tweets to book length. I’m a member of a number of author group websites, and I can’t tell you how many authors in their 20s chat about the S&M “romances” they write. I’m sure their parents think these books are terrific. How many good ideas could there be out there for new ways to write about zombies or women who like men with whips and handcuffs?

A world where people tweet their every thought and then self-publish eBooks for less than the cost of purchasing a single hardbound book is a world where everyone is writing and fewer and fewer people are reading. If you’re self-absorbed, why read other people’s books? One young woman in her 20s has already published six eBook romance novels. She’s much too busy writing to be reading anyone else’s works.

Because Amazon has killed just about all the major bookstores except Barnes & Noble, authors are told that they have to become social media magpies in order to publicize their books. I receive dozens of tweets a day from self-published or indie published authors who are “appearing” virtually on various book blogs to promote their books. I think of the song from the movie, Midnight Cowboy that begins “Everyone’s talking at me. I don’t hear the words they’re saying. Only the echoes of my mind.”

Volume has become as important as quality for some of these new eBook authors. They are told by eBook “coaches” that they need to give away some of their older books to attract readers who then will pay for their later books. They’re told to write several books in a series before publishing them so the later books in a series can benefit from readers who clamor to know what happens next.

There’s also another self-absorbed part of this writing food chain. Take Young Adult (YA) book blogs, for example, One website lists close to 1500 book bloggers who specialize in writing about the YA books they read. Go to any of these websites and you’ll read about these bloggers. Many complain about being overwhelmed by review requests from desperate self-published and indie published authors. So, they set down their review policies as well as their criteria. One blogger only likes books that have happy endings. Another only reads books about red-headed protagonists. A third gives bad reviews if she’s in a bad mood because of one of her high school tests. Yes, you guessed it, some of these reviewers who help decide the fate of a self-published author are not old enough to drive.

These bloggers think they’re important and doing important things, and they’re right. The refusal of most traditional outlets for review to review self-published and indie books means that these authors have only two choices: submit a book for review to a book blogger and hope she’s happy because Mr. Right just asked her to the Senior Prom or pay several hundred dollars to places like the Kirkus Review that now will only review self-published and indie authors for a fee. It places these reviews in a separate supplement that I doubt librarians spend much time scanning.

I said we’re moving to a world where everyone is writing and no one’s reading. What about the book bloggers? Incredibly, some list the hundreds of books they read and review in a single year despite working or raising a family. Some of these bloggers are very good at what they do and should be commended for their hard work. Others, though, provide little more than a plot summary and a few random thoughts. They probably spend almost as much time maintaining their blog as they do reading books.

The big publishers have created this mess by focusing their energies on just a few blockbuster books by major authors who are almost guaranteed to sell thousands of copies. They have little interest in new novelists. A couple of major publishers  have even set up a division that offers authors the chance to self-publish with them. The problem is that the terms are far worse than these authors would have if they self-published on Amazon AND these publishers don’t really spend any money on marketing except for maybe placing a book cover on their website.

Project out what’s happening a couple of decades from now. Self-published books will be rolling off the assembly line so fast that no one can keep up when it comes to reading these books. Book bloggers will probably give up manually reading the books and rely on artificial intelligence programs that will digest the gist of a book and then create a review much the way that teachers now can purchase report card software that prints out comments that can be crafted to fit a student.

Amazon reviews are highly prized by self-published and indie authors because many people buy books based on the reviews they read online. Recently I published a novel set in the world of Minecraft. The book is selling very well, and had all five star reviews, until someone  young enough to use a crayon because students don’t use pencils until third grade wrote a review filled with spelling errors urging readers not to buy the book because he didn’t agree with the way some item was crafted. So, now authors don’t just have to worry about high school book bloggers, they have to deal with self-absorbed seven-year olds who can determine the success or failure of a book.

In the not too distant future I can imagine a teacher assigning James Joyce’s Dubliners only to have students respond that they would rather write about what they did at Disneyland on their vacation than write about people they don’t care about living in Ireland that long ago. They might add that they KNOW that their parents would love to read about their summer vacation. Why wouldn’t the teacher? Besides, it’s easier to write than to have to plow through a book. In fact, their parents suggest they collect a few of their essays and self-publish them. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to do so and there’s a world of readers out there just waiting to read their every thought.

 

 

 

What Writers Could Learn from Tribes

My wife and I saw the play, Tribes yesterday. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a dysfunctional family with a deaf son. One of the major themes is the difficulty people have communicating with each other. Another key theme is that people divide themselves and are divided into groups or tribes. So, for example, the deaf community divides into those who sign and those who don’t.

What I found particularly interesting in the play is the way the playwright uses dialog. It’s clear to me that what the characters don’t say is just as important as what they do say. The play reminded me of some of Pinter’s plays in that respect.

I’m in the process of outlining and planning a new novel, and some reviewers of my earlier works pointed out that I spent too much time telling rather than showing. It’s a difficult problem to overcome, but I’m working on it. What struck me is that one of the keys to overcoming this problem is to put more emphasis on the nuances of dialog including body language.

So, my new protagonist has PTSD. Rather than telling the reader this, I’m working on showing symptoms and letting readers draw their own conclusions. We’ll see how that goes.

Egypt Uprising Reflects My Novel, Egypt Rising

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. I wrote my novel, Egypt Rising, several months ago. The novel covers the turbulent 2011 period in Egypt when citizens overthrew their government. It pointed to the political power of the Muslim Brotherhood and its very strong bias towards imposing an Islamic state.

Egypt Rising, available later this year from Eternal Press, Amazon, and your favorite bookstore, shows the impact of rising Islamic sentiment in Egypt on an American teenaged girl. Suddenly she has to worry about whether or not her appearance meets the approval of men whose religion encourages them to look at women as objects to be controlled by the men in their families.

The novel contrasts Olivia with her best friend, a teenaged Egyptian girl whose parents practices traditional but not radical Islamic practices while her brother has been seduced into supporting a very radical group loosely affiliated with a pan Arab Islamic movement.

Today’s news (see the link below) described how thousands of citizens gathered in Cairo’s major square to stage their demonstration that resulted in the country’s military acting. In Egypt Rising, I describe how every revolution in modern Egyptian times has been born that very same way in that very same place.

So, be sure to note even more similarities between fiction and reality when Egypt Rising is released. In the meantime, take a look at what is happening today in the streets of Cairo:

http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-army-ousts-morsi-decries-coup-201718347.html