Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Heart of the Castle Launch Party

Welcome, friends! Welcome to my launch party!

Here's the last puzzle piece. Link back on the facebook Party page or copy and paste it into a post.

If you're just visiting, and it's still December 23rd, come visit!

One point for everyone you invite who attends the party and posts your name on the party page. Everyone attending will receive a door prize, and the author will be there to chat and answer questions.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I got my book proof!

I got my book proof! I'm giggling as I do a happy-dance around the house. In the dark, and tripping over my cat. Instead of writing on my new story I've been gloating over the one I just published.

The Heart of the Castle is currently available in e-book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as Smashwords. Probably other retailers, but I haven't gone to check yet.

I got my book proof! In a few weeks (or less, if I can manage it) it'll be available as a paperback as well.

Happy sigh or happy dance, take your pick. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Heart of the Castle

I promised The Heart of the Castle would be out on December 1st, and December 1st it was.


Doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) and trying to launch a book at the same time (as well as writers group stuff and critiquing stuff and looking for a job and illnesses and Thanksgiving and my winter garden...well, you get the picture) was insane.

Next year I need to add a 13th month that has NOTHING planned. I'll use that month for book launches. Suuuurrre. :)

So I finished 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo on November 28th. 27th? Whatever. I finished NaNoWriMo and got my book all ready to go, and submitted it (the process actually went better than I expected) and waited. And waited. The book is up on Amazon, and on Smashwords as of this morning, but it hasn't been approved for their premium catalog which means it hasn't been sent to BN or Kobo or any of the other vendors that Smashwords submits to. I'm going back to check the status about every three minutes (a slight exaggeration) hoping it will be sent this morning. Then it takes a while for some of the vendors to process...

I decided with earlier books that I didn't want to submit in January, April, or July. Now November. I really don't think there's a good month for a book launch.

On the other hand, Heart of the Castle will be available in a hard copy! It's over 70,000 words, so it's a relatively standard sized novel. It'll be large--Createspace judges the cost by the number of pages so it's cheaper for me to make it 6x9 and fewer pages than to make it 5x7 and more pages.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaNoWriMo update

Sometimes I feel like a kid playing "Marco Polo." Don't know how many of you ever played that as a kid. One child is blindfolded and wanders around trying to catch the others. The child calls out "Marco" and the others respond "Polo" so s/he can locate them. It was rather fun.

So at the moment I'm running around blindfolded shouting "NaNo!" "Wri-mo!" "NaNo!"

I have so much fun with this it's indecent.

I hit 33,000 words last night and I'm beginning to suspect that the story (called "Infanta") will be longer than the 50k. Last year I topped out at 41k and had to start editing (i.e., writing new scenes) in order to reach the goal. I did reach it, though. That book is currently over 70k and will be coming out in December.

The main character in Infanta is Iat (the name will probably change). She is technically human, or at least she's descended from humans. I won't go into the history (the story doesn't) but her ancestors were deliberately changed as opposed to being changed by the mutagenic power of the Demons Bay. She has eight limbs (two legs, two hands, and two sets that can be either) and big blue white-less eyes. If you know about my primary world, you know that means she's descended from the Blod, the aristocrats of the world. She is also descended from the Soldier Clan, which causes some interesting tensions. Her skin is true black, iridescent. Others of her family have skin that ranges from white (for infants) to blue or green or black and in all shades of those colors.

She is the Infanta (or princess) of their race, and believes that this is only a matter of descent--she is the oldest child of the oldest child all the way back to the First-parents. Actually it's a great deal more. As she will soon learn.

For more information about the world this book is based in, use the tabs at the top of the page. Sample pages for other books are listed on the tab "In Other Worlds."

Friday, August 29, 2014

Title Contest

I'm currently writing a book tentatively titled Let Go. Which used to be Let It Go, but now every time I hear that title I hear the Disney song. Bleh.

Let's have a contest for a new title. Let Go is a contemporary suspense, a sort-of prequel to Without A Voice. If you haven't read Without A Voice and would like to, let me know or go to your favorite retailer. Without A Voice is the story of Mae, a young woman running away from a crazy ex boyfriend. It takes place when she's in her mid twenties and is technically religious suspense. Let Go is the story of her mother, and starts when Mae runs away at the age of 14.

I know, it's not fantasy, but I felt strongly that I had to write these.

You can give me your title suggestions here, or on Facebook. I'll post the top five choices and let anyone who wants to put in their two bits.

The person who submits the winning title will get an e-copy of both books, Without A Voice immediately and the other once (eventual title here :) comes out. If you know other people who might be interested in playing, share the post or point them in this direction.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Welcome the Cranky Old Man!

Do you remember when you were growing up, the old man who always yelled at everybody to stay off his lawn? He appeared for maybe thirty seconds, threatened to call the police, and disappeared again.

Welcome him to the HalfWorld, please! The old cranky man as you’ve never seen him before!

*Wild applause*

Chinish peered through the crack in the curtains, waiting. The animals were playing in the street, kicking their ridiculous toys around. A little further. Just a little further. One darted after the ball, trying to catch it before it flipped past the end of the wall and into his yard.

The ball rebounded from the curb and skittered along the low wall to where his property dipped down below street level.

He sucked in a breath in anticipation of the feast.

The ball bounded through the gap. The animal hesitated, looking back at its companions, then gingerly made its way down into the yard. Chinish struck as soon as the child was within range, an arrow into the soul that sucked, sucked, sucked, pulling all that energetic power. This one had more power than most, and a new thought occurred to Chinish. His eyes widened.

The child started, turned toward the house instinctively for a moment, its eyes frozen wide. When no one appeared in the doorway it worked its way through weeds to where the ball had come to rest and Chinish threw the door open. “Get out of my yard, you filthy animal!”

The child was close now, close enough to see the patterns in the wide eyes. So close that the flow between them was visible.

The child’s fear was sweet, increasing the flow of power. Chinish sucked it all down, careful not to reach too far or take too much. Oh, sweet. Like a draught of cold spring water after a long walk in the desert. It filled him, chilling him from the inside out until he thought he might shatter.

The child stood, terrified, then grabbed its ball and scurried through the weeds to the street.

Chinish kept the contact, let the power soak into him. He felt the child’s exhaustion, heard through the link the complaint of a headache. I’m going home.

Chinish smiled and kept the contact. Tonight, after all memory of the incident had passed, the child would die peacefully in his sleep. Chinish had never emptied one completely before, fearing repercussions from those who might be able to sense his interference on this plane. But maybe, just perhaps the surge of power as the soul left the body would be enough to open the portal again, to send him home.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Princess and the Dragon (A homegrown fairy tale)

This is one of the stories in my fairy tale compilation, The Storyteller. Hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time and a very long time ago, in a Kingdom just around the corner, there lived a very little princess in a very BIG palace. She lived there with her mom and dad, who were the King and Queen of the Kingdom just around the corner.

The palace was very big, and right at the center was a really big room. Her father the King told her that one of their Kingdom’s greatest friends lived there – a dragon!

The little princess didn’t like dragons. Her nurse had told her all about them. They were big, they were mean, and they had loud hissy voices that you couldn’t really understand.

The little princess had never seen the dragon who lived in the palace, but it scared her.

The princess played all over the palace, but she never went into the dragon’s big room.

One of her favorite games was one she called “hop,” because she had to hop all the way across a big room and only land on one color of tiles. It was hard sometimes, because the tiles were all different colors and the tiles of the same color might be far apart.

She didn’t play “hop” very often because the room with the tiles was right outside the big room where the dragon lived.

As she hopped she sang a little song to herself, and stopped, standing on one foot, when she heard someone giggle.

She looked all around. There was no one in the room. She hopped forward to the next green square but it was just a little too far so only the tips of her toes landed on it. That’s OK, she decided, and stepped onto the green tile.

“You cheated,” said a tiny voice, and again the princess looked around. “I did not cheat,” she said to the invisible voice. “If I’m the only one playing, I can make up my own rules.”

“Hm,” said the tiny voice, and it sounded grumpy. “Maybe.”

The princess hopped again, and the voice said, “Can I play?”

The princess stood on one foot, and thought about that. “Can I still make up the rules?” she asked, and the voice said, “How about we both make up the rules?”

The princess put her other foot down. “Who are you?” she asked.

“Do you promise you won’t scream and run away?” asked the little voice, and the princess promised.

Down out of the shadows on the high ceiling came something that she first thought was a small bird. It fell straight down, and she was afraid it might crash into the floor, but then its bright wings opened and it stopped. Its little wings hummed. It glittered in the light, all the colors of the tiles on the floor. But its eyes were the prettiest, all blue and green and gold and shining in the light.

“Hello,” it said.

“Hello,” said the little princess, and looked away because she knew it was rude to stare. “I’ve never seen anyone like you.”

“I haven’t either,” the flying thing said with a giggle. “Can I play?”

The princess wrinkled up her nose. “You can’t use your wings,” she said, and the flying thing nodded with a loud hiss.

“That’s OK,” it said. “I’m a good hopper.”

“And my feet are bigger than yours,” the princess said, “so I can land partially off a square.”

“Only if it’s a little square,” the flying thing giggled.

“All right.”

As they hurried back to the other end of the room after the first game, the little princess asked, “What are you?”

“I’m a dragon.”

The dragon and the princess became best friends. She showed him her games all over the palace, and her favorite places to hide and watch everything that went on.

She couldn’t play many of the dragon’s games, because most of them involved flying from high places, and she learned quickly that even with bedsheets for wings she couldn’t fly like he could. She liked to watch him, though, and often wondered what it must be like to fly.

There were lots of people who lived in the palace, but most of them were human people instead of dragon people.

The princess and the dragon often giggled together at the strange things the human people did. With the dragon’s help she found other hiding places, and the two of them found more to giggle over.

But sometimes they saw people doing things that weren’t good. They watched from their hiding place as someone crept toward the back door of the castle – the door that was supposed to be a secret – and very quietly started to push it open.

The princess stomped up to him, glaring with her angry eyes. “You’re not supposed to be doing that!” she snapped, and the person opening the door spun, staring down at her.

He started to smile, and it wasn’t a nice smile. “Well, Princess, we’ll see about that.” He grabbed for her, but the dragon dived at him from the ceiling. His claws were too soft to do more than scratch, but he startled the man and the princess was able to run.

The little dragon flew ahead, and even though she wasn’t sure where they were going through the dark halls the princess followed the bright flash of his wings.

She recognized the place where they stopped – the big room where they had once played “hop,” and where she had learned not to be afraid of dragons.

The little dragon stopped there, and hovered in the air in front of her. “Promise you won’t be scared,” he hissed, and the princess blinked.

“Why would I be scared?” She looked at the dark entrance to the dragon’s big room. “There’s nothing to be scared of.” She knew all about dragons now, and she wasn’t scared any more.

The little dragon hissed again. “I’m just a little dragon,” he said. “My mom’s a lot bigger.”

The little princess stared at him. “I didn’t know you had a Mom,” she said finally. “I thought you were the dragon at the center of the palace.”

The little dragon giggled. “Nope. Promise you won’t be scared. We need to tell someone that the back door was opened.”

The little princess followed him.

The Mom dragon was very big. The princess stared up at her, but she was all the same colors as the princess’ best friend – just like the tiles outside the big room – and her eyes glowed just like his.

She looked nice, even if she was very big. Her voice was big too, but instead of talking she listened as the children told her what had happened. She hissed, and a servant appeared. She told him everything, and then a bell sounded all through the halls of the palace, warning of an attack – warning that the hidden door had been opened by their enemies.

“You have been very brave,” the dragon said softly, and lifted her wings so that the children – human and dragon – could run underneath.

The little princess felt comforted and safe, just as if her own mother’s arms were around her.

“Your father asked me,” said the big hissing voice out of the darkness, “to get you to safety if the castle was ever attacked. Climb up on my shoulders, both of you.”

The two children obeyed, and the princess found that the hollow at the base of the dragon’s throat was just the right size. By holding onto the scales on either side, she was as secure as if she were riding behind her father on his big horse.

“Hold on, children!”

The big dragon’s wings thundered, and she threw herself into the air.

The princess never knew how they got out of the castle. Suddenly they were in the open air, and the dragon turned, gliding down across the wide valley where the palace rested. The army filled the valley. There were many fires, far more than the little princess could count, and around each fire were soldiers.

The princess felt the wind sweep past her, felt the sudden drop in her stomach when the dragon spun on a wingtip to avoid a fireball that the enemy had flung at her. The little princess laughed and the baby dragon giggled at the glorious flight.

“Hold on, children!” the mother dragon called again, and the little princess clutched the scales, the baby dragon’s claws clinging tightly to her dress.

The dragon flew out over the valley, and perched finally on the edge of a high cliff. “Climb down, now,” she said, as softly as something her size could speak. “Wait here. I’ll be back.” When the princess climbed down, the tiny dragon still clinging to her dress, the dragon looked down at them sternly.

“Do not follow me.”

The baby dragon huffed, as if it wanted to argue, but the princess wrapped her arms around her friend and they both sat back to wait--and watch.

Now the princess learned why the dragon was their Kingdom’s greatest friend.

The dragon flew out over the valley, and each time she dropped down fire streamed out of her mouth. Soon the enemy camp was burning, and the soldiers running into the darkness. By the time she finished, the sun was coming up. The children had fallen asleep on their ledge.

They never woke when they were gathered up in gentle arms and lifted onto the dragon’s back for the journey back to the palace. The princess dreamed about flying.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Writing Music :)

I've found my writing music.

Never thought I'd say that, really. I have a problem with music when I'm writing and I usually don't bother. I prefer silence. But a friend gave me a CD from Cosmo Frequency and I listened to it all the way through--more, I was able to write and the music helped.

Weird, but true.

Cosmo Frequency, Soundtrack to Life.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Transformation--A compilation of Flash Fiction

I have something for you today.

Myself and a couple of my writer friends, including best selling author Wendy Knight, have done a book of short stories--very short.

It's called Flash Fiction. Some people set the boundary as low as 200 words (since a story of 100 words is a Drabble, I suppose they don't want to get things mixed up) but we set the boundary at 1000 words.

Every story in Transformation is under 1000 words.

From fantasy to contemporary, from tragedy to comedy, there's something for everyone here.

And it's free!

Find it at BN
Find it at Smashwords
Find it at Scribd

Smashwords also has Kindle (mobi) available, as well as other formats.

When you've downloaded your copy, come visit us.

Wendy Knight
Laura Bastian
Rebecca Blevins
Lauren Ritz

Laura has recently published her first novel, Eye on Orion.

Wendy's next book, Warrior Everlasting, will be coming out on May 6th.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spark of a Feudling, by Wendy Knight

In November of 2012, my friend Wendy was stressing over her first book--Feudlings. It almost immediately hit the top of the Amazon charts, and I got to watch (and laugh) as she stressed over that as well, watching her baby climb through the lists.

She proceeded to write two more Fate on Fire novels and a bunch of novellas/short stories about this same group of characters, and I love every one of them!

Now she's stressing over her newest book in the Fate on Fire series, Spark of a Feudling, which comes out today. So I get to laugh some more. This one is about Ada, the ancestor who started the three hundred year feud that Ari ended.

Hate can start a war, but a shattered heart can fuel it for centuries.

Everything Ada does is wrong. She’s the daughter of a Duke but she isn’t proper or formal. She prefers the company of her servants—particularly Christian, the boy she’s loved since she was six years old, and his sister, Charity, Ada’s very best friend in the entire world.

Ada isn’t just the daughter of a Duke. No, she’s the daughter of one of the most powerful Edren sorcerers alive, and no matter how strong she is, it isn’t strong enough. Ada will give up almost everything to earn her father’s pride.

Christian has loved Ada since the day his mother became her governess. But two societies are determined to keep them apart—the aristocracy who say a groom will never be good enough for a Duke’s beautiful daughter, and the sorcerers who say a Carules and an Edren can never be together. Christian will do anything to make Ada his—even drive himself to madness.

When Ada suspects her father of hurting Charity and Christian in his quest for knowledge, she is torn between loyalty to him, and a fierce determination to protect them. The division tears her soul and breaks her heart.

The pieces of her broken heart will start a war that can only be stopped by the death of the most powerful warrior alive by the hand of the boy who loves her.

Spark of a Feudling includes a bonus story, Feudlings in Peace. Join Ari, Shane, Ada, Christian and everyone they love as they chase their happily ever after.


Excerpt of Spark of a Feudling:

He sprinted down the path, into the forest, leaping over huge rocks and tree roots and through streams he couldn’t see but his magic told him were there. He had no idea where he was going, but there seemed to be a tether from his heart to hers — he always knew where Ada was. He ran straight to them, nearly colliding with her father’s guards as he raced through the thick trees.

“What happened to her?” he bellowed, jerking Ada out of Davis’s bloodstained arms.

“She was hit, saving me,” Harrison answered. “Can you help her?”

If there had been time, any time at all, Christian would have paused at that. How exactly had his tiny little Ada saved the giant Harrison? But there wasn’t time. He laid her on the thick grass, searching for the wound. But there was so much blood.

“There!” Davis snapped, jabbing the air above her stomach.

Flames roiled across Christian’s hands and he held them above her, letting the flames soothe the skin before he tried to touch it. They swirled through the air, seeping and mending the broken, charred skin.

“Does she breathe?” Harrison asked, crouching close to put his face next to her mouth.

Christian ignored him. He didn’t care if she breathed or not.

She would breathe, or he would die with her.

“She does.” Harrison sat back, relieved.

“Can you not heal at all? Stop the blood flow from her shoulder!” Christian snapped.

Harrison gaped at him. “We’re Edren. We don’t heal.”

“I’m Carules and I can throw a lirik if need be,” Christian muttered under his breath, but he couldn’t argue with them now.

She moaned.

They all froze in shock, and then redoubled their efforts. Davis jerked his shirt off and held it to her shoulder while Christian’s blue flames leaped and danced from his hands, fighting the poison eating through her body.

“Christian. I knew—” she whispered as her skin healed, leaving only pink burns behind.

“Shhh. Don’t speak. You’re still very weak.” He moved from her stomach to her shoulder, pushing Davis’ shirt out of the way. It was stiff with dried blood and she shrieked when he ripped it from the wound. “Forgive me, dear one,” he whispered, his mouth near her temple, kissing the pain away. “Forgive me.”

“I knew… you would come. I knew you… could heal me.” Her eyes fluttered open, dazed with pain, dark orbs barely reflecting the moonlight.

“Always, Ada. Forever.”

Wendy Knight is the bestselling author of the young adult series' Fate on Fire and Riders of Paradesos. She was born and raised in Utah by a wonderful family who spoiled her rotten because she was the baby. Now she spends her time driving her husband crazy with her many eccentricities (no water after five, terror when faced with a live phone call, no touching the knives…you get the idea). She also enjoys chasing her three adorable kids, playing tennis, watching football, reading, and hiking. Camping is also big—her family is slowly working toward a goal of seeing all the National Parks in the U.S.

You can usually find her with at least one Pepsi nearby, wearing ridiculously high heels for whatever the occasion. And if everything works out just right, she will also be writing.

Social Media Links:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cold feet

Spring is sprung! The grass is riz! what is bloomin? The flowers is!

Well, not quite yet. And I just threw away a pair of socks (holey socks!) so my feet are cold. Hence the title.

At the moment I'm feeling a little lazy. My cat is demanding my attention but I'm sitting here staring out the window.

And of course, there are stories running through my head. I worked on Fairy Ring yesterday and it turned in a surprising direction. Two of the other books in the series are out, but I need to work on a new cover for the first before making it perma-free. The cover for the third book is in transition.

So at the moment I am actively writing Fairy Ring and Let It Go, re-vamping DemonBorn, editing Guardian and Heart of the Castle and trying to figure out the marketing thing. I have Axon, Seshallass and Glory Road that I'm thinking about when there's nothing else running through my head and a dozen others that try to squeeze in at odd moments, screaming to get my attention and demanding I work on them next.

An author's life, I guess.

Excerpt from BayStorm, a novella set in the Demons Bay world. This is the same world as the DemonBorn series, Heart of the Castle, and Guardian. Heart of the Castle should be the next book out.

She should have been terrified. Instead she stared up into the dark pit of the vortex, wondering what it would be like to die.

With a growling surge the thunder wrapped around her. Mutters and screams in the thunder were certainly only her imagination. If she died she would no longer be a threat. The curse would die with her.

She raised her hands, stared into the black maw surrounded by rainbow lightning, and begged it to take her.

For a moment the winds died. The air tightened around her, making her breath come short. The air around her heated, and darkened until she seemed to be staring up a narrow tunnel toward a black sun.

Abruptly the funnel reversed itself, darting down toward the ground faster than she could follow. Darkness followed the lightning, dragging it back toward the funnel, and the wind returned to yank her off her feet.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

DemonBorn Update

A few years ago (for NaNo, of course) I wrote DemonBorn. I was so excited about it that I started writing the sequel (UnderHill) in December (*wince*) and finished the third in the series about mid-year. I'm now working on number five, and the middle three are pretty good. Not perfect yet, but getting there.

The problem is that the first book is a disaster. When I wrote it I thought it was great, I was excited about the characters (who show up in later books) but there was just something...wrong. Three years later I'm still working on book one and it's not there yet.

There were originally three main storylines, and eight POV characters in a book that's less than 70k. When I started this most recent rewrite I knew I had to make some hard decisions. The problem is, I love these characters and I don't want to eliminate any of them. Also, one major storyline starts twenty years or so before the story begins (which might end up being another novel later on, but I can't think about that right now). I've already cut out three unnecessary POV's (although not the characters) and two sub-plots that just made a hash of the whole thing.

OK, so here I am with a gordian plot, and I'm afraid that the only way to unravel it is to take a sword to it. I hope not, but if that's necessary it will be better for the operation.

I'm excited to find out what it looks like when it's done.


If you caught the historical/mythological reference, let me know in the comments or on my Facebook author page (LaurenRitzTheWriter) for a chance to win either a novel critique or a copy of one of my books.

Excerpt from DemonBorn:

Shadyel turned her head to let one of her side-set eyes focus on a space in the circle her team had formed around her, the place of least prestige immediately opposite from where she floated in the shifting water of the lake. Her hands moved in the familiar ameso sign language, larger than normal because she was angry. Where is Tiyet?

The others' hands fluttered without meaning. Sunlight sprayed in curious ripples from the surface of the lake above them, obscuring some motions and accentuating others. Trees wavered beyond, two moons almost indistinguishable from the clouds.
Not able to get away, Giyac reported after a short pause, his hand-signs very small as if he wanted to avoid Shadyel's notice. The identifying pattern of scars along his arms in ameso form almost made him seem to fade into the water behind him.

Shadyel indicated her contempt for the absent ameso woman, fingers almost shouting the words. No excuse.

She turned her head, looking to her second, but Oyai was staring up through the water. All gazes followed, to see the faint outline of a human standing on the dock.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Economic Stimulus (A short story)

"Jerry, you get back here!" Liza sighed, stopped the loaded cart with some difficulty. The front wheel tended to turn at the exact wrong moment, and sure enough when she pulled back on the shopping cart handle it swerved into a display of kitchen utensils.

"Jerry! Do I have to put the leash back on you?"

He was too old for the leash. It was currently being used to tether his four year old brother to the shopping cart handle.

PB (Short for Peanut Butter, since that’s all he would eat at the moment) stood there sucking on his finger and staring down at the mess.

Jerry wandered back over.

"Jerry, help me with this." Making sure that the baby was secured (she had three escape artists on her hands, and she was NOT going to be saddled with another one. Maybe) she bent and started restacking the display, rather haphazardly, just piling the stuff back into the spaces with no concern for where things were supposed to go.

Nearly finished, she looked up, alarmed at the silence.


To her surprise, he was just at the end of the aisle. She got the cart started again and moved in that direction. He turned as she approached, pointing. "What’s that, Mom?"

Liza sighed. "I’m going to need another cart." She looked around, rather vaguely, and stuck the binky back in the baby’s mouth.

"But what is it?"

"The president says it’s going to help the economy."

Jerry looked at the big blank box labeled “Economic Stimulus.” Small print on one corner of the box stated Some Assembly Required.

"But what is it?"

"I don’t know, Jerry. The president said we all need to buy one to help the economy. Go get another cart, will you?"

With another sigh, she stared at the display next to it, clearly labeled "Health Care."

"Buy, buy, buy," she muttered. "Sight unseen, doesn’t matter, we’ll find out what’s in it later. Doesn’t matter that I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford to buy a pig in a poke."

She smiled as Jerry pushed another cart down the aisle. She smiled at him as she piled one of each into the cart. "Doesn’t matter that no one else is buying it. Come on. Let’s get home and put this thing together. Let’s find out what we bought."

* * *

Jerry darted into his bedroom, and she let PB off his leash. With a squeal, he ran after his brother.

Liza sighed and carted in the groceries, and then the two big, anonymous boxes. Suspecting she’d need it she got out the tool box. "Jerry!" she shouted across the house. "Where’s the Allen wrench?"

No answer. Not that it mattered at the moment. She might not need it. The president had promised it would be simple. The radio droned in the background, just noise.

She opened the first box, peered in, and almost panicked. She fished through anonymous pieces thrown randomly in the box, and finally looked around at an acre of plastic and metal on her living room floor. She winced as she realized that one piece was leaking oil. "No instructions?"

The radio static finally penetrated, the chirpy voice of the announcer finishing up today’s spiel. "And today, the President has announced another Economic Stimulus package. It will be on shelves in one week, and everyone needs to buy one."

Liza wanted to shoot the radio, but she settled for turning it off.

The president could spit in his own eye, and stimulate the economy himself as well. She didn’t have the money for it, or the patience. Well, at least the president was doing something. When dealing with politicians or children, silence meant they were up to mischief.

"Jerry?" Silence.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


In the time of Galileo, many people believed strongly that the Earth was the center of the Universe.

By observation they had determined that the sun went around the Earth--it rose every morning, rolled across the sky and sank every night. Irrefutable evidence. In watching the stars they realized that the planets made odd patterns, not perfect circles around the Earth, and they made up elaborate explanations for why this was so.

Their beliefs were supported by evidence as they knew it.

Galileo blew all of that out of the water, and was killed for it. Not because he spoke truth, not because he spoke lies, but because he spoke truth that those in power did not want to acknowledge.

When Columbus spoke of "sailing west to get to the east," he was also laughed at. Sailors knew the world was round, but the scientific coterie (which was mostly landed aristocrats, since they were the only people who could waste valuable time on experimentation) insisted it was flat. Again, they came up with convoluted explanations that supported their understanding of the world.

We think science has advanced since then. We see ourselves sitting at the peak of a mountain range of scientific knowledge, the masters of all we survey. What we're really doing is squatting at the base of the foothills marveling at an anthill.

Unfortunately, I see a scientific organization that doesn't want to acknowledge that they don't already know it all. New ideas are discouraged. Anything that refutes the currently accepted knowledge is ruthlessly squashed without attempting to prove or disprove because everyone (i.e., all those who matter) already knows that it's nonsense.

People will come up with all kinds of reasons, but it boils down to a few points:

A The discoverer didn't have the right credentials
B The information wasn't published in a "refereed" journal, which it couldn't be anyway because
C The information directly contradicted something that was commonly believed

Anyone who supports or attempts to work with these "discoveries" is suppressed as well, and with the same logic. Discoverers are ignored, supporters discredited and ideas that might have advanced science disappear into the cracks of society. I might go so far as to say that they are martyred in the name of science.

Still, there are a few who walk against the tide, working on their own ideas in basements and garages, unacknowledged. Like Galileo, they pave the way for man to look up rather than down, forward rather than back. As at every other point in history it will be these adventurers who allow us to advance, if advancement is possible.

I hope they continue, because when they are all silenced the dark ages will return.