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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Monday, August 31, 2020

TTT 090120

Today’s topic:

Books that Make Me Hungry (They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.)


The Miracle of the Moringa Tree. Every part of this fast-growing tree is edible.

It has 7 times more Vitamin C as there are in oranges.

3 times more iron as spinach.

3 times the potassium as bananas.

4 times more Vitamin A as carrots.

4 times the calcium and twice the protein as milk.

The oil from the tree can be used for cooking, and/or fuel. Even as diesel fuel. The leaves can be eaten, put in salads and crushed into flour. The roots taste like horse radish. The seeds make a tasty snack. It is truly a miracle tree.

Take a plastic two-liter bottle, put crushed seeds in the bottom and pour water in. Leave it set in sunlight for two hours. Strain the seeds out of the bottle and you have drinkable water.

In Kenya women have taken 50-gallon drums, made a layer of seeds, then sand, another layer of seed and sand up to the top of the drum. They pour in water and drain from the bottom. They then sell the purified water. When the barrel becomes polluted, they sell what’s inside to farmers which they use it as fertilizer.

In Honduras they have small shelters filled with two-liter bottles of fresh water for use after a hurricane.

In the Philippines, because the trees grow very tall, they plant them around the edges of coffee plantations. They provide shade for the coffee trees and food for the workers.

The trees are being grown in California and Arizona. The roots have water and freeze in cold weather. They are a tropical plant, but it’s the tropics that have the greatest world hunger.

Apple of Success:

Does a young woman stay in a small town teaching 2nd graders or use her talents to make it in the big city and rise up the ladder of success. Will she find love, happiness and success. Had to sneak my book into this.

Random book titles.

This one's free with unlimited



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Human Sacrifices free e-book.


Starting tomorrow, 08/27/20 this book will be available for free at Amazon

Wednesday Challenge: 082620


Today's challenge is the strangest thing or things I've eaten.

I remember trying dirt once. I had a Bic pen in my mouth one time while thinking and the ink came up into my mouth. Made me barf.

Once my mother cooked a Sunday dinner with what we thought was a nice pot roast. She asked how we liked it and we all said it was great, then she told us it was Beef Tongue. We didn't eat a single bite afterwards.

I tied sushi once, sorry too raw for my taste.

A secret Santa gift one year was green chile and red chile jam. Not bad. A burger joint here has green chile in their tartar sauce during Lent. It's really good. A pizza parlor has green chile ranch dressing. Yum. Freddie's hamburgers has a jalapeno French fry sauce, it's got a bite.

Hank Bruce has a book about the Maringa Tree and had his wife bake Writers2writers chocolate chip cookies made with Maringa flour, they were delicious. Wal-Mart has Maringa flour in the pharmacy.

I like Calamari in tempura.

For a while my father raised rabbits and we dined on them. Their legs have a lot more meat on them than chickens, and I like drumsticks.

Had frog legs once in Juarez. Also on the other side of the border had a dish with three round browned balls. It was meat and mushrooms fried in beer foam. They were the size of small meat balls. I thought why so much for three bites. Two of them filled me up.

When I was in Junior High the school system had a scandal. It was revealed that for six months the hamburger meat they were serving was actually horse meat. I couldn't tell the difference.

 Costco sells buffalo burgers, and they're tasty, but a little too expensive.

The only way I like venison is in barbeque sauce.

Elk tastes like beef.

Never adventurous for antelope, did have a restaurant that served it. Same with bear meat.

Family member that lived in Alaska sent down some caribou meat. She said to eat it with Russian dressing. The only thing close was French dressing around here, and it was pretty good.

Monday, August 24, 2020

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This week is 10 questions you’d like to ask your favorite author or one question for 10 authors.

I don’t have any questions that I’d like to ask. Instead I want to tell ten authors how much their writing affected my life and helped me grow as a person and as a writer.

1.    Isaac Asimov: Your stories transported a 13-year-old boy living the worst year of his life (7th grade) into worlds of wonder. Your stories in Nine Tomorrows helped me escape the hell I was living. The Foundation Trilogy helped me see the world of Vietnam and the civil rights movement and that it would always be that way even in the future galactic empires. Times change, but mankind doesn’t. It was a major step to understanding history.

2.    J. R. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings helped me grow as a reader. They were the first books that not only told a story in a fantasy world with Orc and dragons, but did in not only prose, but also poetry. They make my fondest memories of the summer when I was 15.

3.     Edgar Allan Poe: He opened me up to the world of imagination with The Pit and the Pendulum. The Cask of Amontillado and The Tell Tale Heart.

4.    Mario Puzo: As a sophomore in high school I have page 28 of The Godfather forever etched into my memory. Almost all boys at that time did too. Years later your book Fools Die made an impression when you mentioned the protagonist leaving a books store with and arm full of books and his father-in-law who was helping him pay bills screams and yells at him as a dead beat. You justified this by saying that the more a writer reads the better he becomes. This was obviously autobiographical and as a struggling writer it struck a chord. I’ve never felt guilty about how many books I own or read. They are my textbooks.

5.    Mikey Spillane, Lance Horner, Harold Robbins, Anne Rice, Jackeline Suzanne, Erica Jong and others. These writers impressed on me the importance of including sexuality as part of the human condition and not to be ashamed of reading it or writing it. It is perhaps the most important part of the human condition to consider it dirty or to belittle it or leave it out demeans us all.

6.    Harlan Ellison: Of all the writers this man had the greatest impact on my life and as an author. I was in the deepest depression of my life. A wonderful lady in a books store recommended Darkbird Stories. The book starts with a caveat to not read it in one sitting as the stories a too dark and upsetting to handle all at once. The first story The Whimper of Whipped Dogs, blew me away, the second one Along the Scenic Route, spoke to my failed marriage. The other stories were dark and depressing. The more I read them a strange thing happened, my depression lifted. It worked for me I don’t recommend it as therapy to others. There was also a way that Harlan told the stories. His writing style, how he communicates the ideas, turns of phrase that makes the reader visualize the scenarios. The way he can describe people, places and feelings that grab you by the eyelids and force them open and burn the image forever in your memory. It has impacted my writing to this day.

7.    James A. Michener: The first book of his I read was The Source. I started it in 8th grade, got to the short story about the writing of the Talmud and gave up. I picked it up in college and fell in love with the best stories in the book. So much so that I scoured used bookstores for copies of the book. I wound up with ten hardbacks and around 60 paperbacks. I used them for ten years while teaching world history. When we covered pre-history, the students read The Bee Eater, and progressed through the year with a short story to help the students visualize what it was like to move from a cave into a house to a castle. When covering the different religions, the stories showed the evolution of faith. I don’t know how many times my wife threatened divorce when I came home with a sack full of the same book. Paperback fall apart after three or four classes a day are reading them.  

8.    James Clavell: He taught me that you can write historical fiction while being true to the time period and include not just the movers and shakers of the time period, but also the common people and how what was happening affected them. Shogun just blew me away. Tai Pan opened my eyes to the philosophical gulf between China and Europe. Noble House made high finance entertaining and understandable.

9.    Tom Clancy: Opened up the world of entertaining spy thrillers. I’d read a number of other writers, even Ian Fleming, but none hold a candle to Clancy.

10.                 Ray Summers: No singe book changed my life as much as Worthy is the Lamb. Until I read this book, I would have preached out of Hal Lindsay’s The Late Great Planet Earth. The only way to interpret Revelation and the end of times was Premillennialism. This book changed my entire theology from that day on. I explain this in detail in my book Human Sacrifices. I see the evangelicals that hold to Rapture Theology and are blindly following Trump down the road of death and destruction, because this will cause the second coming of Christ.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Book Review: Into the Dark


Think of Horatio Hornblower as a girl of 15. Think a sailing ship with masts, sails, roping, open gun ports, broadsides, pirates, war. Now think of it in space, and in the future.

The ships in this future have a regular propulsion system for in regular space. Distances between solar systems are too far for conventional travel so they shift into Dark Space. In Dark space the laws of physics don't apply, and they have winds and storms, hence the need for sailing ships. It's a masterful way of suspending disbelief to establish 18th century sailing vessels into space.

Alexis Carew is a 15 year old girl on a fringe planet. It's only been colonized for three generations. Her grandfather has large landholdings and mining rights to asteroids. Her parents died in an accident when she was three, and the laws won't let her inherit. Strictly male primogenitor.

She is wooed by the wealthy landholders eligible sons, and she finds them wanting nothing more but a brood mare who knows her place. The last suitor who visits gets her mad enough to douse with a pot of tea. An aside her, think original Star Trek episode Trouble With Tribbles. Kirk is trying to find out who threw the first punch in a bar room brawl. He when finds out its Scotty he tries to find out why he threw the punch. It takes some time for the punch line. The same thing happens here as Alexis's grandfather tries to find out why she upended a pot of tea on the boy's head. It's a good laugh.

Back to the story. A naval ship orbits the planet and the captain lands trying to enlist men to man the ship. The landholders naturally hide all their indentured laborers. Alexis is present when the captain comes calling on their land and she enquires if she can enlist. She's told women can enlist, but usually in core space. The fringe is a little too rough, with pirates and all. Only she has to be 16. She then asks about becoming a midshipman, they're taken on as young as 9. The captain of the ship has a talk with her grandfather, who tells him where to find other landholders men. Captain Grantham takes Alexis on as a midshipman and there the story takes off.

There's a little bit of miscommunication as she's learning the ins and outs of naval tradition and terminology. Especially as Captain Grantham is only a commander, but is referred to as captain, but that's not his rank, but then again it is.

The book is well written, entertaining and when the ship encounters pirates turns deadly serious.

 J. A. Sutherland has just become one of my favorite authors. He has many more books to keep me entertained.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

WC 081920


This week is favorite movie or book quotes.

The Lion in Winter: Geophrey to Eleanor concerning Henry. "We know. He knows. We know, he knows. He knows, we know he knows We know he knows we know. We're a knowledgeable family."

Henry to Eleanor: "You're like a democratic drawbridge. Going down for everyone."

Eleanor: "At my age there's not much traffic anymore."

Friendly Persuasion: Friend Purdy tells Jess Birdwell to pick up a gun and fight the rebels that are burning farms. Jess says he's not prepared to do that. Purdy tells Jess that war time calls for a change of thinking. Sam Jordan, who's not Quaker says: "Times may have changed Purdy, but you haven't. Last week you told my son he's going to hell for fighting. Now you're telling Jess he has to fight. Whatever's right for Purdy has to be right for everyone else."

Fifth Element: The police make a raid on an apartment complex. The police ask Corbin Dallas if he's human. He answers: "Negative. I'm a meat popsicle.

Corbin Dallas is looking on the computer in Phloston Paradise. Cornelius asks what he's doing. Corbin says he's looking for Leeloo. Cornelius asks if Leeloo is in trouble. Dallas says: "When is Leeloo not in trouble."

King Lear: The king is told his bastard son wishes to speak with him. Lear says: "Why not, there was sport in his making."

TV show Moonlighting, episode Atomic Shakespeare. Patruchio tells Katarina, "Where there's a will..."

Katarina replies: "There's a won't."

Patruchio tells Katarina she's his property. Katarina replies: "Try to ploweth this acre and thy blade might get broken."

Romeo and Juliet: Romeo: "But soft, what light through window breaks? It is the moon and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun and quench the envious moon."

Juliet: "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Citizen Kane: Mrs. Kane at the breakfast table speaking to Kane: "What you said in your editorial yesterday, what will everyone think?"

Kane: "What I tell them to!"

Gone With the Wind: Rhet Butler to Scarlet: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

Princess Bride. Wesley to Buttercup: "Life is pain. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something."

Monday, August 17, 2020

TTT 081820


Today's topic is books you'd want to see on a Netflix or movie.

Top of the list: Casca: The Eternal Mercenary.

There are now 50 books in the series started by Barry Sadler. This could keep a series going practically forever. Unlike Conan which is in the same time period and location. Casca is all over world history. From the Roman Empire to China, Middle East, Northern Europe, Russia, India, you name it Casca is there even Medieval Japan. He rides with Genghis Khan, on the Russian front in tanks, in Vietnam, at the Little Big Horn, with Napoleon in Russia... Get the idea.

Here's a great idea for a daytime drama (soap). Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome series.

It starts around 150BC with the rise of Marius, goes through the civil wars between Marius and Sulla, covers the life of Julius Caesar from birth to his death, and the rise of Octavian and deaths of Anthony and Cleopatra.

As a daily soap opera it would be a refreshing change from the ones like Days of Our Lives that my wife watches. The history channel could make a killing off of it in advertising. Each book could take years and years before getting to the next one. It doesn't have to be done as fast as I Claudius. The success of I Claudius would indicate this is entirely feasible.

Books that would make good movies:

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Book Review: Promise Me Tomorrow


Sarah H. Baker is a local author and fb friend. I'm always happy to read her books. Promise Me Tomorrow Book 1: The Prisoner, is a post apocalyptic romance. A kind of taming of a barbarian.

New Village is a struggling enclave on a plain near a forest. Kole is the protector and he's out with the children gathering fire wood when a group of outsiders come out of the forest riding Wolfhorses. A horse with a wolf face and large fangs. The first glimpse that this is an after a nuclear war world and there are mutated animals.

The village is attacked and much of their food is stolen. A number are dead and many injured. One of the raiders, a woman, was injured and left behind. The villagers want to kill her. Kole takes her to his house and has the village healer tend to her wounds, after he's tended to the villagers in need.

For most of the story Kole has to defend the woman from the villager's wrath while helping her fit into their society. He's a widower with two children and still mourning. This strange woman as she wears his dead wife's clothes brings up painful memories.

Shylah is puzzled by Kole tending to her and feeding her. She comes from a valley that is a dog eat dog society. The strong take what they want and use others to their own ends. As a woman she's been used by the strongest male, but has scars all over her body from fighting to eat. She thinks of the villagers as marks, the children as mutts, and she expects to become a slave.

She expects her people to return for her, but plans her escape.

Kole treats her with kindness and reassures her she won't be harmed. He even tells her when her wounds are healed she's free to leave. The problem is that the forest is lethal at night as wolves, wild boars, wild cats and bears feast at that time. Those who died in the raid aren't buried they were laid in the forest for the predators to consume. Kole lets her know she wouldn't survive one night.

Shylah had to learn some manners especially when eating, and it wasn't easy getting her to take a bath and put on women's clothing.

The rest of the story Kole and Shylah develop a respect and the budding of love is formed. He begins to teach her how to read and tells her of how the world used to be before "The Beginning."

 Kole takes her and a few others to visit the old city as they need more tools and weapons to defend New Village from another attack by the outsiders.

Old city turns out to be the ruins of Denver. They encounter the outsiders. Shylah is faced with the dilemma, does she go back to her old life or help Kole and New Villagers.

This is part one of a new series and it is excellently written and compelling. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

New Project

I've taken on a writing project. I kind of hit fork in the road with A Private Pain, so I'm putting it on a back burner for now. 

A friend of a friend has a couple of remembrances from an ancestor. She was the daughter of a Confederate soldier during the war. Her father was killed outside of Atlanta. The first essay was about growing up and her life before the war and how things changed when her father died and the aftermath of the war. The second essay is about her mother, brother, and sister and she leaving Mississippi for California in 1870 for California. She has a great description of what she's leaving behind, the train ride across the country and interesting people they met and what it was like trying to settle in Northern California.

The gentleman wants me to bring this woman's story to life. My mind is already thinking of numerous ways to approach this, with one small hitch. This family owned slaves. She's wrote these essays in the 1930's and I'm having trouble with her reference to the slaves as "darkies."

There's no way to tell their story from having a plantation with 50 slaves and a comfortable life to losing absolutely everything, then having to start from scratch thousands of miles away and not use the term. At the time it was the genteel way of referring to slaves, but some might take exception to it today.

This is only at the very beginning of the story and most of it is about their new life in California. 

Dear readers, any thoughts?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

WC 081220

Today's Challenge is: What I wanted to do, and what I do now.

At age 15 I surrendered to full time Christian Service. It was at a youth camp and I felt the call to be a missionary. My plans were set. I would go to a college then on to seminary. 

My senior year in high school I was state champion in the mile and it earned me a scholarship to Wayland Baptist College. I majored in History and English, but had 15 hours of religion classes. I knew I'd get most of what I needed at seminary.

My junior year at Wayland I blew my out my knee at the beginning of the track season and my scholarship was over for senior year. I was in love and at the end of the semester I married. Senior year we both worked and I had a light load to finish, she already graduated graduated as she was a year ahead of me. A fictionalized telling of my marriage and it's break up is told in this story.

After graduation we went to Fort Worth and seminary. She developed a chronic and life threatening illness and went home for medical treatment. I finished out the year, but went home to get a divorce. My dream of being a missionary was gone. The Southern Baptist Convention frowns on ministers and missionaries being divorced.

Anyone reading my erotic stories under the pen name Javan Tenebrae might be shocked at what I wanted to be.

Now for what I did. I returned home, got the divorce and found a new love. We've been married for forty-two years, have two children and three grand-children.

I attended UNM, Go Lobos, got my teaching certificate and taught for 27 years in History and English at middle school and high school.

I wrote Vander's Magic Carpet in the 80's on a 286 PC using Bankstreet Writer on 51/2 inch floppy discs. It was for a writing contest, which I didn't win. In the 90's I began writing Optimus: Praetorian Guard. It took ten years to finish. It took two years banging my head against the wall trying to find an agent and publisher. In 2006 I went with Print on Demand a sleezy company called Publish America. I did have two copies of my book within three months of contacting them, but in a few years I shelled a thousand dollars buying the books from them and selling them at book signings for a two dollar profit. After factoring in time, and rental space I was well in the hole. 

I wrote Human Sacrifices to strengthen my female characters.

At this point I retired. 

I've been retired now for 10+ years and spent six years as a legal assistant for an attorney. Actually a glorified gofer. I scanned documents, kept an eye on the office when he wasn't there, and delivered documents to the courthouses. It did give me an office and plenty of free time to write. I bought my printing rights to Optimus from PA and revived Vander's. Had to update it from the 80's and factor in the new security state since the Twin Towers fell and how hard it would be to sell a flying car today.

I turned Human Sacrifices into a novel and started publishing all my books on Smashwords and Amazon.

Once Amazon went to KDP, where you have to be exclusive I've e-published through them since 2011. The last time I checked my royalty status with them in that time I've earned $230. Most of that was before 2014. It was when everyone was buying e-readers and there weren't that many writing e-books. That changed when Amazon went with Unlimited. There's a huge glut on the market today, and it's hard for indy writers to get big time.

Recently I've been able to convert my e-books into paperbacks with Amazon. I set the price on the e-books, they set the price on the printing costs and I set the selling price with a substantial discount for the author, and free shipping. I can get five to ten copies of my books for under a hundred dollars. It's nice to have copies of my books on my shelves, but alas, Hastings has gone out of business where I did my books signings. And the places I can still have book signings are closed to the pandemic. This shall pass and I've got other books to write and revise the ones I have. It's good to be retired.

Click here to see my author's page at Amazon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

TTT 081120


Books I loved But Never Reviewed


James A. Michener:








Harlan Ellison:

Deathbird Stories

The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World.

Pain God and other stories

Dangerous Visions

Again Dangerous Visions

The Glass Teat

Science Fiction:

Nine Tomorrows

Caves of Steel

I Robot and other robot book series

Foundation Trilogy and subsequent series


The Greeks a Glorious Adventure

The Roman Republic

The Roman Empire

The Egyptians

The Near East: Ten Thousand Years of History

Harold Robbins:

The Carpetbaggers

A Stone of Danny Fisher

The Betsy

The Adventurers

Goodbye Jennette

 Anne McCaffrey:

Dragon Riders of Pern series

Harper Hall of Pern series

Crystal Line series

Ship Who Sang series

Collen McCullough:

The Thorn Birds

First Man in Rome series

Friday, August 07, 2020

All my books.

 Here are all my e-books now available on Amazon. Click here for my author's page.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

WC 080520

Today's challenge is: your favorite tropes in X genre.

My genre is science fiction.
The tropes that make Star Trek, Star Wars and other space exploration stories possible are:

Warp speed, or faster than light travel
Phaser beams, disrupters and other cool weapons
Cryogenics or stasis for long voyages without a person aging.
Different forms of alien beings
Time or travel portals: star gates
Flying cars
Force fields
Galactic empires
Advances in medicine

My book Vander's Magic Carpet is about marketing the first flying car. See review.
My current book serialized on this blog in previous posts, A Private Pain, uses stasis and light speed ships for hundred year voyages to set up a transportation portal for exploitation of solar systems by corporations.

Monday, August 03, 2020

TTT 080420

Today's topic is books with colors in the title.