Like most people, I’m intrigued with the dream world, and occasionally, when a personal mind warp warrants further analysis, I’ll post the gist of it on this blog.
With this dream, I was more of an observer than a participant, a rarity for me, but certainly not a rare concept. I’ve spoken with many who’ve had this type of dream. Most often this type of mind-wandering unfolds for the dreamer as if they were watching a movie. With this dream, which I call the Elvis Dream, my role was more like the old Fly on the Wall routine.
In the dream, I become aware of a room, which serves as both a living and dining area, in a small house. The house belongs to a middle aged woman who is hiding in the bedroom, attempting to set up a type of sting operation with the aide of two police officers. Suddenly the front door opens and Elvis Presley walks in, not the often imitated, gracefully aging Elvis in sequined, white jump suit, but the younger, dynamic, rock and roller.
Elvis, who I intuit has been invited, immediately suspects that something is up. He sees a row of shoes along the wall near the dining table; a black pair, a red pair, and some house shoes. “Looks like a set up,” Elvis says. He then sits in one of the dining chairs where he takes off his shoes and puts on the house shoes. Elvis then gets up and walks into the kitchen where he sees a young girl, about three years old, sleeping on the floor beside the refrigerator. A large rattlesnake is slithering across the girl’s body.
At this point, the police officers come out of the bedroom, guns drawn and approaching Elvis cautiously, as if to make an arrest.
Elvis, appearing calm, even stoic kneels beside the young girl. He begins to pet the reptile, muttering, more to himself than anyone else, “I love snakes.”
I fear that Elvis will allow the snake to bite the young girl, but instead, like an expert snake-handler he grabs the rattler, one hand grasping just beneath the snake’s head while the other holds the tail. Elvis stands up, holding the snake outstretched over his head, and walks toward the front door.
At this point, I wake up.
Anyone care to venture an explanation of this dream?
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Never let my son, David, look at your car tires.
Seriously. At first I thought he just had a sharp eye for details, being able to spot the head of a nail on the surface of the rubber at a glance. However, through the years the number of such occurrences has proven too much for coincidence. Most of my relatives and some of my friends are aware of it and they take pains to avoid his casting a fatal glance at their tires. I’ve even wondered if David has developed some rare form of subconscious telekinesis, unaware of his causing the destructive spikes of metal to materialize, embedded in the helpless treads of rubber.
Out of necessity, I’ve learned to keep my son occupied with conversation whenever we stop and get out of the car, distracting him with eye contact to keep his dangerous gaze from falling where it shouldn’t. However, a few days ago I must have let my defenses down. It was Monday night and after an enjoyable though exhausting day, as I snuggled beneath the covers I heard a soft knock at my bedroom door. It was David. “What is it?” I ask.
“Mom’s car is sitting crooked,” he said. “I think I saw something in one of the tires.”
Begrudgingly, I got out of bed and tiptoed in my PJ’s into the garage. Sure enough Kathi’s car was leaning hard to the left. I walked around the car and found the rear tire on the passenger side half flat. Deciding I was just too tired, mentally and physically to change the tire, I thanked my son for his diligent observation and headed back to bed, telling him and my wife that I would deal with it in the morning. If the tire was flat, I would change it. However, if it still had air in it, I would drive it to QT, put some air in it and deal with it during lunch break at work. The latter proved to be the case.
Due to the sharing of duties in taking my son to work and picking him up, Tuesday through Thursday I get up at the inhuman hour of 5:30 AM in order to get to work at 6:30. That morning, with Kathi’s car still drivable, I headed for the nearest QT to air up the tire. Finding the air machine I pulled up next to it, got out of the car, tripped over my own feet a few times, but managed to find and push the red button, which starts the machine. It’s quite dark at that time of the morning in October but I soon determined that there was no hose attached to the contraption. Compressed air hissed noisily though uselessly into the atmosphere. Rattled but determined, I climbed back into the partially crippled car and drove to the next nearest free air depot. Upon finding the next epitome of commercial convenience, I located the air device. Not wanting to waste my time, infringing upon being late for work, I looked first for a hose. Seeing that the machine did indeed have the proper fittings, I sprang from the car, hit the red button, grabbed the hose, and, feeling a twinge of pain fitted the air hose onto the air stem of the tire. With air now going into the tire, I pulled my hand back a bit to inspect the source of my pain. The metal sheathing around the end of the hose had become frayed, and now red, since I was bleeding upon it. Fighting through the pain, I finished airing the tire and sped off to work.
At 11:30 AM, I met Kathi – we work for the same company – at the car. With the establishment where we’d purchased the tires being a few miles away, we decided to use our lunch hour to remedy the situation. We’d drive over, get the tire repaired and that would be that.
The tire personnel were friendly enough, though so caught up in their work that it was quite difficult to get their attention. With the keys handed over, Kathi and I risked our lives crossing a wide and busy street and later dined on Mexican cuisine while our car was being expertly cared for.
After lunch and back at the shop, Kathi and I reclined with magazines in the waiting area. Two magazines later, exchanging an understanding glance, Kathi and I called our work to report that we might be a few minutes late. If only that would have been the case, my few degrees of lost sanity might still be intact. About an hour later, the shop worker who’d checked us in appeared in the waiting area. “I’ve got bad news,” he said. “We can’t fix the flat. In fact both of the rear tires on your car are shot.”
I wanted to ask him why it had taken him an hour and a half to come to that conclusion, but being the congenial guy that I am I said. “How much will that cost me?”
He quoted me a price that might take a few pumpkin pies off the table. “Go ahead and replace all four,” I said.
Another hour later, the man again returns to the waiting room. I jump up, quite relieved that it’s finally over.
He shakes his head. “We’ve just now put your car on the alignment rack. I see now why the back tires were so bad. The cars seriously out of whack.”
“What does that mean exactly?” I ask. He starts talking about toe-ins and cantors. Apparently my wife’s car is pigeon toed. To make matters worse, the car was manufactured without an adjustment device for the rear of the car. He’d have to order aftermarket parts, specifically designed to compensate for the manufacturer’s lack of foresight. “Just put it back together the way it is,” I said. “We need to get back to work.”
At that point, with Kathi and I being the only people left in the waiting area, Hotel California began playing over the intercom. There had been no music before. With increased trepidation, I paid special attention to the song lyrics: You can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave.
I ended up having to take one half day of vacation. I barely made it in time to pick up my son, David, from work, arriving a little after 4:00 PM. “Did you get mom’s car fixed?” He asked.
I muttered a soft, “Yes.”
“How about the tire?”
“We got new ones,” I whispered. In a louder voice I added, “Hey, I know you’ve been looking forward to decorating the house for Halloween. How about you and I get started on that when we get home?”
A few months ago, listening to a Christian radio station as I drove to work, I heard a broadcast that sent a chill through me. The basis of the sermon was that God had turned away from his people once, and He could do it again.
The concept of such a thing stayed with me throughout the day, and the more I thought about it the more frightening it seemed. It occurred to me, as I contemplated a world without God, just how horrible such an existence would be. I cannot think of anything worse. Indeed, being separated from God might just be the true definition of hell.
If you’ve ever experienced God’s love on a personal level, you’re probably shaking your head, yes, right about now. If you have not, or if you’re just not sure, please read on. Perhaps we can change that.
I often hear comments like: “You so called Christians, act like you’re perfect, and then you do this, and that.”
Or a modified version of the above that goes something like: “I could never be a Christian. I’m just not good enough.”
I’m not amazed at this because I used to be right there with you. Here’s some breaking news: Christians aren’t perfect. Nobody is. What’s more, you’re not expected to be.
Another common misconception is in believing that if you’re a good person, God will see that the good things you’ve done outweigh the bad.
In this case, I do want to be the bearer of what some might consider bad news, and explain that it just doesn’t work that way. It’s not a balancing act. No one is good enough to earn salvation based on their own merit. We are all sinners who have fallen short of God’s glory.
I believe that many of the misunderstandings and misconceptions concerning Christianity actually stem from reading the Bible. The problem arises in reading only pieces of God’s holy word. To understand the Bible, you have to read it in its entirety. I’ll offer some advice that a good pastor once gave me. Start with the New Testament. Read it several times until you begin to understand what the text is saying. The Old Testament deals with harsh times and harsh subjects, and having a reasonable grasp of the New Testament will make it understandable. If you will do this, I believe you will begin to see a pattern. Everything in the Old Testament points to the message of the New Testament: That Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior.
There’s another attitude I’d like to address. It’s the old sticking your head in the sand routine. Many people believe that if they just don’t think about it, everything will work out. In light of that, let me offer this. One’s belief or non-belief in God has no bearing upon His existence. With the giving up of Christianity for another religion, or relinquishing belief in anything spiritual altogether, you might experience a false sensation of liberation, but the freedom exits only in your own mind. You are still responsible for your actions and accountable for your sins.
However, I did not create this blog post to be downbeat. There is a path to salvation. I believe in the Trinity, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, and yet are all able to act independently. God realized our imperfections, and in His love and His grace he created for us a way to salvation. God sent his son Jesus into the world. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. In this way, Jesus experienced all that we experience. He experienced birth as we do. He lived life on earth, along with all of the emotions and problems that we face, except He did it without sin. And He experienced death, but He defeated it through His resurrection.
If you believe in God, creator of Heaven and earth, and in His only son, Jesus who came into this world so that we might have salvation, you are a Christian and you are saved. But you have to be sincere in your belief, and in your faith.
I offer you a challenge, if you’re brave enough to accept. Ask Jesus to come into your life and see what happens.
Brother Bob’s 3rd Quarter 2013, Newsletter
We all experience uncomfortable situations now and then. It keeps life interesting. However, there are times when we should listen to that little voice inside our heads.
During the month of May, I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference. I’d met with my good friends, Chuck Sasser and Dan Case, and we’d picked some sessions to attend. Chuck had chosen one, dealing with the writing of romance. Dan and I, though harboring dubious doubts, went along with it.
As one might expect, the romance genre encompasses various levels of graphic exposition, ranging from prosaic to poetic, depending upon one’s preference of prose, when reading about virtual human encounters. To say that Chuck’s choice turned out to be of the more explicit nature is putting it mildly.
Now Chuck admits to the encroachment of a certain amount of hearing impairment. With us sitting in the back of the room, I suppose it’s possible a good portion of the speaker’s oration hadn’t made it through. Anyway, Chuck sat there with a big smile on his face while Dan and I shifted uncomfortably in our seats. Being the only males in the room didn’t help matters. I realized having to hold my wife’s purse in the lingerie department wasn’t the most embarrassing experience of my life after all.
Available options raced through my head. I didn’t want to be rude, get up and walk out, but I had to do something. That’s when it happened. During a rather climactic moment of the program, while mesmerized participants eagerly waited to hear the next vivid words, the sound of my cell phone, which replicates a Harley Davidson with remarkable clarity blasted through the room. I usually turn it off during the sessions but I’d miraculously forgotten, leaving the device fully functional. Most of you are familiar with the movie scene where the girl whips her head around, her hair following in sensuous slow motion. Well, multiply that by fifty or sixty and add piercing, angry eyes and you’ll have a decent image of my becoming the focus of attention. Grabbing the opportunity, I jumped up and bolted from the room.
I brought the phone to my ear.
“This is Tom Harrison,” the voice on the other end said.
I tried to rid my thoughts of sexual images planted there during the session. Even though I had not initiated attending the class, had not known the extreme nature of its content, I felt like a teenager, who’d been caught looking at dirty pictures. “Pastor, Tom, what a pleasant surprise.”
I belong to a large congregation and having the head pastor call is out of the ordinary, to say the least.
“Is David around?” The pastor asked. “I want to wish him a happy birthday.”
I explained to the pastor that he’d reached my cell phone, and that I was not at home, but was attending a writer’s conference in Norman, Oklahoma. I finished my conversation with Pastor Tom then thanked him for calling. He’ll never know how his impeccable timing rescued me that day.
Thanks, Chuck. Payback is coming.
What is Christianity?
What does it mean to be a Christian?
Most people, including many who claim to be Christian, simply do not understand the answer to this question. I’ve stated this before but it bears repeating: I’m not new to believing in God, but I am relatively new – within the last four years – to actually getting it, and asking Jesus to come into my life.
But I haven’t really answered the question, have I? Let’s go back a couple thousand years. The book of Acts explains the Apostles actions after the departure of Jesus. At this point, His followers were little more than an unorganized and frightened group of people. However, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Jesus had promised, they understood completely the importance of who they were and what they stood for. They were no longer Jewish, in a religious sense, but were followers of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. It was during this time that the Christian Church began to form. Realizing the need for a cohesive and comprehensive statement of who they were and what they stood for, the early followers created a creed. The Apostles Creed, which dates back to a time period shortly after the ascension of Jesus, explains Christianity in perfect detail. It reads as follows:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
The affirmation of one holy Catholic Church declares belief in only one true church. The word catholic comes from a Biblical Greek term, katholikos, which means universal.
That’s it. That’s what it’s all about.
At this juncture, I’d like to make an important point – real Christians are not self-righteous, holier-than-thou individuals. On the contrary, we battle with sin and our sinful nature on a daily basis. Accepting Jesus into our lives does indeed change us, but it does not take us out of the world. We are still very much in the game, susceptible to the same weaknesses, fears, and desires as everyone else. The only real difference is that we have realized this and have asked Jesus for his help.
So, what do you think? Did I answer the question?
It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve completed an installment of the newsletter. I am still doing a newsletter, aren’t I? The plan was to send them out quarterly… more or less.
In the spirit of Monty Python, here’s something completely different:
Do you feel as if you’re always in a rush lately? I certainly do. Caught up in this last month, I drove home from work on the 3rd Tuesday, which, as everyone knows, is the time of month when the now infamous Tulsa NightWriters gather together to socialize and disseminate knowledge. My sweet wife, Kathi, had something going as well so I was alone. I worked briefly on the 4th Detective Elliot novel, threw some clothes in the washer, loaded the dishwasher, and stuck a frozen pizza – a concoction called Marinara Meatball – in the oven. To this point everything was going smoothly. When the oven timer dinged, I pulled out the pizza, sliced it up, wrapped a couple of pieces in a paper towel, left the rest for Kathi and David, and headed out the door for the meeting. With my stomach screaming for sustenance, I maneuvered the sometimes dangerous streets of Tulsa, grabbing a bite of pizza whenever possible when the unthinkable happened. One of the marinara meatballs – and quite delicious I might add – rolled off the pizza and fell between my legs on the car seat. I know most of you have experienced this. Perhaps not with a marinara meatball, but you get the idea. The more you try to retrieve the fallen object – due to the slant of the car seat and the gravitational pull of the planet – the deeper it slides beneath you. And I was wearing Kaki, colored pants, except for the red stripe.
Is it just me, or does it seem a tad too commercial that the Gambling Hot Line has three sevens in the number?
And now for a word from our sponsor:
I’ve received enough feedback, or even worse the lack thereof – you know the feeling when you hand someone something you’ve worked on and their face loses expression and they just sort of nod but don’t say anything – on Footprints of a Dancer to feel the need to talk about it. Footprints of a Dancer, the 3rd book in the Detective Elliot series, definitely differs from Twisted and Buried. Fortunately, or not, that was by design. With the book, I wanted to do something I had not done before. The plan was to incorporate my Christian faith and my love for the paranormal while still retaining the flavor of the Elliot books. I don’t think I succeeded in doing that, at least not completely. That is to say it has picked up some great reviews, but it’s gathered some bad ones too. The other books have done this as well but not to the same extent. With Footprints, it seems the reader either loves it – gets it – or they don’t. Once a story takes hold of me, the characters and the situations just sort of pull me along, and into the realm of Elliot’s tortured mind is where they took me. I would try to further explain, but in the writing business if you have to explain what you’ve written then you have failed to properly communicate your ideas. However, losing faith at this point is not recommended. With the first three books old Elliot has conquered most of the ghosts from his checkered but interesting past, and he promises to be back soon with a completely different and more down to earth – though not completely – adventurous story.
Okay, you talked me into it. For fiction to work properly, various backstage functions need to be there and working properly. An important aspect of this would be opposition for the protagonist. The hero of the story must have someone or something opposing him, or her. Sort of like a plus needs a minus, a ying a yang, or something like that. With Footprints I struggled with this until I realized who the enemy, or opposition really was. Unlike the first two books in the series, Footprints of a Dancer is a Paranormal mystery written from a Christian world view.
When you read Footprints of a Dancer, this will become clear to you. Or perhaps when you re-read it.
Will God give us anything we ask for?
The sheer number of denominations, from Catholic to Evangelical, gives testament to differing points of view within the Christian community. However, with respect to prayers being answered, the concept seems to be divided into two schools of thought:
While I’m not new to believing in God, and believing in Jesus, I am relatively new to actually getting it, putting it altogether and understanding the true significance of Christ Jesus. In the past couple of years, I’ve read various books on the subject of Christianity, and listened to numerous Christian radio broadcasts. I’m often amazed at what I read and hear. One radio evangelist claimed he’d not only healed a multitude of believers but that he’d actually raised over thirty people from the dead.
I’m not saying God cannot do these things. God can do anything He wants. The key word is want, and what you want might not be in alignment with what God wants for you. I tend to lean toward the second category listed above, though it’s not difficult to understand where believing in prayer concept number one comes from. In the words of Jesus: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:13, 14. However, in John 4:14, Jesus says: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Was Jesus actually telling the Samaritan woman she would never have to drink water again, or was He speaking in Spiritual terms? Throughout the New Testament, Jesus speaks in Spiritual terms, and I believe the logic should be applied to the verses in John 14: 13, 14 and others in like manner. To put it in perspective, are cars, money, and big houses important to God? I hope that’s a rhetorical question. For a list of what is important to God, read Philippians 4: 8, and 2 Peter 1: 5-7.
With all that being said, do I believe that God answers prayers? Yes, I do. He has answered plenty of mine. But I’ve also had some that seemed to go unanswered.
In summary, I believe that God answers prayers and that faith is certainly involved. However, I think the prayer request must be for something that God deems good for you, and for those around you.
What about you? Do you believe that God will give you anything you ask for?
Have you ever given thought to causal relationships, the trillions of actions and corresponding reactions that continually go on around you?
This seemingly perpetual stream of events is the fabric of fiction. But allow me to illustrate a real-life example. A friend of mine, we’ll call him Mr. C, having decided to walk his Labrador Retriever, stood on the sidewalk outside his house where he saw something rather odd: A deer slowly walking down the middle of the street.
Perceiving that the presence of the wild animal had yet to come to the attention of the dog, Mr. C quickly steered his version of man’s best back toward the house to go inside and wait out the ordeal. However, before Mr. C could accomplish his plan of limiting collateral damage, his pickup driving neighbor returned from a jaunt outside the sub.
The deer bolted away from the oncoming vehicle but slowed her rate of escape when she saw Mr. C and the Lab blocking her path.
The previously nonchalant Lab ripped free of Mr. C’s leash-grip, barked at full capacity, gallantly took up the challenge of protecting his property, and charged the renegade deer.
Most of us have been in situations where it seems there’s no easy way out. We are, in fact, defined by our responses to such dilemmas. At that moment, though, I don’t think the deer was overly concerned about character. She did a 180 and ran from the dog.
Alerting people for miles around, the Lab continued in hot pursuit of the delusional doe, chasing the frightened animal back onto the street.
The driver of the pickup, perhaps caught up in a high-decibel rendition of Stairway to Heaven, was completely oblivious to the goings on. He steered the truck into his driveway and hit the garage door opener.
With highly tuned, wild senses alerting the deer to a possible hidey-hole, the animal executed a move that would draw envy from the likes of Adrian Peterson and followed the pickup into the garage.
At the same time, the oblivious driver hopped out of his ride.
Not having time to put on the brakes, the terrified deer knocked the truck driver to the floor, trampled him with her hooves, and ran into the wall of the house, knocking a sizeable hole in the sheetrock.
But it wasn’t over. The deer scrambled wildly to gain its footing on the slick floor of the garage, keeping its flanks just inches away from the jaws of the barking Lab while Mr. C frantically chased both of the animals around the fallen truck driver.
Now there’s a scene.
I've been asked by several readers as to what happened next, so here's The Rest of the Story:
Mr. C mangaged to corral the Lab, the deer ran out of the garage and disappeared, and the truck-driving neighbor was okay, just shaken up a bit.
To start off this blog roll, blog hop, blog whatever-it-is, I want to thank Patricia Browning – I think – for including me in this spirited – I do tend to exaggerate – online adventure. With her debut mystery, Absinthe of Malice, A Penny Mackenzie Mystery, Browning explored quirky relationships and interesting secrets of Pearl, a fictional, small town in California. Be sure to check it out. Here’s the link:
So much for the Hop, now for the Blog:
I’ve never interviewed myself before. So, Bob:
What is the working title of your book?
It has to do with identity, what’s inside as opposed to what we project. However, since Footprints of a Dancer, the third book in the Detective Elliot Series just escaped my fingers in time to have been published October 2012, I haven’t actually begun writing the fourth book, and the title is a bit proprietary.
Where did the idea come from for the WIP?
I hope it is a WIP and not a RIP. The possibilities for and the boundaries of anonymity within our society have always intrigued me. The book will be an exploration of this concept.
What genre does your book come under?
I like to call it Paranormal Mystery. My book, Footprints truly is a mystery with my publisher, who can’t seem to understand that I’ve stretched my wings a bit. The term Hard-boiled no longer fits, not that it ever did really. The first two books, Twisted Perception, and Beneath a Buried House slightly hinted at paranormal themes. However, Footprints of a Dancer dives right into the thick of it.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m not sure. I don’t really watch many movies, and the actors that I could identify – no pun intended -- with the younger people wouldn’t know. Elliot, the protagonist of the series, might be difficult to cast effectively. He’s sort of a mixture of James Dean, Nick Nolte, and Jeff Bridges.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I haven’t gotten that far. I don’t work like other authors. My work generally starts as an unmanageable amalgamation of plot, character, and setting. I then set out to manage it. I’m not always successful.
Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Actually a WIP probably wouldn’t be any of these things yet. However, my first three books were published by an independent publisher.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of you manuscript?
I don’t know. I haven’t written it yet. And if the first three are of any indication as to that time, I’m a bit frightened even to think about it.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
These questions are getting way too difficult.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Please see question number two.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
I put my heart into my books while writing them, living with my characters as I take them through the emotions of getting from here to there. I’ve been told they are worth reading.
Listed below are the authors who will post their answers to the questions posed above.
Subterranea: Nine Tales of Dread and Wonder. Mike Duran. Blue Crescent Press, 2012. 186 pp.
I’ve been reading Author, Mike Duran’s blog for several months. When I saw one of his books offered as a free Kindle download, I have to admit to jumping on the freebie bandwagon to get a copy.
Subterranea is a collection of short stories that I found somewhat reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes. I found the stories to be well written and entertaining. What more could you ask?
– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer
Walking with Bilbo: A devotional adventure through The Hobbit. Sarah Arthur. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 2005. 194pp.
All fiction parallels life. That’s why we read it. However, certain books and stories resonate with us on a deeper level. Sarah Arthur’s, Walking with Bilbo, revolves around J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, and the book’s ability to grab the reader on a spiritual level due to the story’s fundamental themes being primarily Christian. Tolkien, though he was quick to point out that he had not set out to write an allegory, affirmed his awareness of these thematic issues.
Throughout, Walking with Bilbo, Sarah Arthur takes scenes from The Hobbit and compares the hardships the character Bilbo faces and the choices he must make with those of Christians as they embark on an adventure of faith. At the end of each chapter, Arthur poses questions to the reader concerning these comparisons and suggests the reading of certain Bible passages that illustrate the Christian themes.
I enjoyed reading Walking with Bilbo. I found the straight-forward prose refreshing and many of the comparisons enlightening. I have my doubts that non-Christian Tolkien aficionados would enjoy the book. However, I would recommend it to Christians who harbor a sometimes secret love of fantasy.
For purposes of this review, I was supplied by the publisher, Tyndale House, with a copy of Walking with Bilbo.
– Bob Avey, author of Footprints of a Dancer
During the promotion, Footprints of a Dancer busted into the top 10 best sellers list on Amazon, reaching spot number 6. It's back to 2.99 now, but that's still a bargain.
Not to be outdone by the big box stores, Bob Avey has put together an amazing Christmas deal.
For two days, Footprints of a Dancer, the latest book in the Detective Elliot series will be Free for a Kindle download. If you do not have a Kindle, you can download a Free Kindle app from Amazon for your pc, smart phone, tablet, or ipad.
What are the days?
Sunday, December 23, and Monday, December 24.
Here's what people are saying about Footprints of a Dancer:
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it very much!! November 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I have read all the Detective Elliot mysteries because I really like the characters.NOTE: If you love intense murder mysteries that are fast paced this series might not be for you. There is also a lot of relationship stuff going on as well. This particular book in the series had a little bit more of a paranormal aspect to it but at the same time some Christian stuff as well. It was not overboard but it was there.Kenny Elliot is an "odd" character but very likeable. The author shows glimpses of why Kenny is like he is. The books are a little slow overall but are interesting and keep your attention. I would probably not read them if I was on a serious intense murder mystery kick though. There are times though when I like this style but they have to have interesting characters & an interesting mystery as well. Good thing this series has both those elements.I look forward to reading more in the series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good one November 27, 2012
Det Elliot definetly grows on you. Quite a guy and one heck of a Det. He seems to see things other don't.This one almost gets him killed yet he manages to solve the darned thing.His past always seems to find him. Heck even the good parts of his past are always there.Loads of dead bodies and some really unbalanced folks in this one. Of course Kenny figures it out and manages to beat the odds one more time.Good read and I highly recommend this one to anyone who likes the offbeat and creepy. Loads of same in this book. Good well written and solid. Another good one by Avery.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the series November 1, 2012
Here is the link:
Abraham, Article IV
Birth to age Forty Eight
Can you imagine living in a cave?
Being dark, cold, and damp, the caves I’ve visited would pass for last-ditch efforts to avoid the elements, but not as good places in which to take up habitation. However, Abram was hidden in a cave at birth, and he and his mother, Amathlai, lived there for ten years.
The caves around Mesopotamia were probably warmer and drier than those of my experience, but living there would not have been the life of luxury. And yet, even in such an environment, Abram grew in wisdom, which included a concept of God. At the age of three, he began to come out of the cave and experience the outside world. Abram’s mother and father were idol worshipers and followers of false gods, but upon seeing the sun for the first time, Abram thought it was God. Later, when the sun set and the moon rose in the sky, he wondered if the moon were God. However, as Abram continued to watch the cycles of night and day, he decided that there must be one true God who ruled over the sun, the moon, and the rest of the world; a sophisticated concept for someone so young and in the midst of contrary influences.
Amathlai must have understood on some level the importance of her son’s ancestry. It doesn’t seem feasible, under the circumstances, that the boy would have had contact with anyone other than his mother and Terah, his father. It’s doubtful that Terah would have further jeopardized his position in the kingdom of Nimrod by encouraging his son to explore his heritage. The evidence indicates Abram’s mother told him about the Flood, and explained to him his relation to Noah.
Driven in all likelihood by the information his mother had given him, Abram left the cave at the age of ten and journeyed to the area where Noah, and Noah’s son Shem, lived in the mountainous region of Ararat. At the time, Noah was 892, and Shem was 390 years old. Welcomed by his relatives, Abram lived with Noah for thirty nine years, learning about God and the Flood from the men who built the Ark.
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Beneath a Buried House has recently won an Indie Book Award from IBD Awards. Beneath a Buried House was selected as the Indie Book of the Day Award winner for 27th of October, 2012.As a result, the book is currently featured on our homepage for the entire day today until 7-9 am US CDT the next day. The book has also been added to our winners database (http://indiebookoftheday.com/past-winners/) and a 'for life' feature post has been created, which can be viewed here: http://indiebookoftheday.com/beneath-a-buried-house-by-bob-avey/
Footprints of a Dancer is now available
The third book in the Detective Elliot series, Footprints of a Dancer is quite possibly the best Elliot novel yet. With its familiar characters and narrative taking the reader into unfamiliar territory, the book comfortably slips out of the envelope, tiptoeing into a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, normal blurs with the paranormal, and snippets of Oklahoma history find their way into the present. Footprints promises to be a read you won’t soon forget.In celebration of the novel's release, Deadly Niche Press has enacted a special offer. For a limited time, the price of the first two books, Twisted Perception and Beneath a Buried House, will be lowered to 99 cents for Kindle and Nook downloads. With Footprints debuting at $2.99, all three books can be yours for less than $5.00, less than a trip to a popular coffee shop. Just follow the links below:
Not to be overshadowed by the electronic world, the books are available in paperback too. For those of you who prefer to hold a real book in your hands, Footprints of a Dancer will debut with a price of $12.95.
Not your typical mystery.
Footprints of a Dancer, the third book in the Detective Elliot series was released for publication October 11, 2012. That's 10/11/12, a special date for a special book. The book is now available for the kindle version. The paperback and other e-book versions, such as Nook will follow soon.
To celebrate the book's launch, I will be posting some specials very soon, but I just wanted to let everyone know. I've posted the the link below. Please let me know what you think. If you would be interested in getting a free copy just for posting a review on Amazon, please let me know.
Here's a description of the book:
Most of us come into this world with an inborn need for religion, a higher power to believe in. However, when fear and misunderstanding are the driving forces behind that desire, the result is rarely a good thing.
Eight years ago, Laura Bradford mysteriously disappeared off campus, causing quite a disturbance in the lives of Kenny Elliot and Gerald Reynolds, a journalism student with a fascination for Mesoamerican artifacts. When Gerald calls unexpectedly to tell Elliot he's recently seen Laura then sets up a meeting only to be a no-show, Elliot tracks him down to get some answers. Instead he finds his old friend murdered in ritualistic fashion.
Elliot takes a leave of absence from his job as a Tulsa police detective and launches an unofficial investigation, which leads him into the world of an Aztec diety with an appetite for blood.
With 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life, author, Tommy Newberry draws on the principles set forth in the Bible verse Philippians 4:8. The book builds on the prevalent themes of Mr. Newberry’s first book, The 4:8 Principle – the power of positive thinking –; however, 40 Days puts forth a more intensified, hands-on approach.
40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life is well worth the reading, make that studying. Mr. Newberry’s knowledge of human nature and his down-to-earth handling of the subject, lends the book to practical application for both the secular and Christian markets. I would recommend the book to anyone who has reached a level of maturity, which allows them to understand the subject matter.
For purposes of this review, the publisher, Tyndale House supplied me with a copy of the book.
– Bob Avey, author of Beneath a Buried House
Who Was Abraham
Love is a powerful thing, and there is no earthly love stronger than that of a parent for their child.
Even though Abram’s father, Terah, had sworn his life and allegiance to King Nimrod, he formulated a plan to protect his newborn son, Abram, from the king. Nimrod, the powerful ruler of Babylon was the son of Kush, who was the son of Ham. Ham’s rebellion against God and his disrespect for his father, Noah, landed him in the position of being the least favored of Noah’s sons. Because of this, Nimrod suspected that his power-grab and declaration of kingship might one day be threatened by a descendant of Shem, one of Noah’s other sons. Whether or not Shem was the firstborn is debatable. It appears, however, that he was the favored son.
Nimrod’s priests warned him of the possibility of such an heir arriving on the scene, their prophecies precipitated, most likely, by their knowledge of Abram’s father, Terah, being a descendant of Shem. Should Terah have a son, his firstborn might well turn out to be such a threat. When Nimrod’s astrologers noticed a new and bright star rising in the east, they took that as a sign that a descendant of Shem had indeed been born.
In response to his priest’s warnings, Nimrod decided that all newborn boys would have to be put to death.
With a bit of bad timing, after years of trying, Terah, at the age of seventy, had recently become a potential father. His wife, Amathlai, was pregnant and about to give birth, a fact that she and Terah had managed to hide from the king. When Amathlai gave birth to Abram, Terah secreted his new son out of town and hid him in a cave. As it turned out, one of Terah’s servants also gave birth to a boy that night. Grasping the dark opportunity, Terah took the servant child and when the king’s messengers arrived, he passed the baby off as his own and turned the boy over to the king.
Abram lived in the cave until he was ten years old. What happened after that?
More to come in the next post.
As always, feel free to comment or offer additional information.
Abram, or Abraham as young Adult
Abraham Article II
Who exactly was Nimrod?
When the flood waters receded to an acceptable level, Noah and his wife, Emzara disembarked from the Ark along with their sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their respective wives.
The descendants of Shem became the Shemites, or Semites (Semitic line of descent); the descendants of Japheth, the Indo-European nations, also known as the Gentiles; and the descendants of Ham, the Canaanites, Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Philistines.
Since we’re exploring Nimrod, it should be noted that the story of Ham, observing and taking delight in seeing his father, Noah, naked, is a metaphor for Ham’s rebellion against God. In light of this, it is understandable that Ham’s son, Cush, and his grandson, Nimrod, might also be rebellious against God. Nimrod proved to be that and more. In fact, it might be said that it became his life’s work, his passion to persuade people away from God. His reputation of being a mighty hunter might come more from his capturing of men than from hunting down wild game.
As Nimrod’s influence grew, he established the Cities of Erech, Nineveh, Babel, and Akkad among others, which would become the land of Shinar, or Sumer, the beginning of the kingdom of Babylonia.
It has been suggested that Nimrod and Ninus (In Greek mythology, King of Assyria and founder of the city of Nineveh) was the same person. Even more interesting, theories have emerged, which indicate that Nimrod might have actually been Gilgamesh, the hero of a Babylonian epic, inscribed on ancient clay tablets, that parallels the Biblical story of Noah and the flood. According to the tablets, Gilgamesh was from Erech, a city attributed to Nimrod. Genesis 10:8-11, states that Nimrod established a kingdom. Since the Babylonian kingdom seems to be one of the earliest, if not the first kingdom on earth, it stands to reason that such an event would be recorded in extra-Biblical literature. And it was. Not only was the epic of Gilgamesh recorded on Sumerian tablets, but similar tales are found among the Assyrian and Hittite cultures as well.
Scholars and translators of the cuneiform tablets that contain the Gilgamesh Epic agree that the text was composed around 2000 BC while the material written about, the numerous episodes of adventure, relate to a much earlier time period, probably not long after the flood. There are many similarities between Nimrod and Gilgamesh. Both were known as great builders and might warriors, they were from the same area, and arguably lived around the same time period. Nimrod seemed to be obsessed with the occurrence of a second flood. He built the tower of Babel, which was most likely a Mesopotamian Ziggurat, a pyramid shaped structure with staircases and ramps that led to a shrine on top, with the hope of constructing it high enough to escape the flood waters.
Nimrod was also obsessed with something else. Being a descendant of Ham, he feared that a descendant of Shem would someday show up and challenge his authority. That descendant would be Abram, later known as Abraham. I’ll cover more of this in the next post.
Clay Tablet of Cuneiform Script, which contains part of Gilgamesh Epic
The ruins of a Ziggurat at UR of the Chaldees. This is probably what the Tower of Babel resembled
Rainbows appeared and disappeared in the mist thrown up by the Sea Screamer, the water stinging my eyes and leaving the taste of salt in my mouth as the captain of the 70' boat piloted the craft through various turns in the bay area off Panama City Beach. The first mate entertained the guests by firing a signal-cannon at unsuspecting beach goers, and later diving for sand dollars. Seeming to understand the driving force behind the economy of places like Panama City, dolphins surfed the wake of the boat, breaking the surface of the water on occasion to perform aquatic tricks for the tourists. It was magical.
If you're looking for a great vacation spot, I recommend Panama City Beach, Florida. We had a great time there. And if you want to see dolphins and get a great tour of the bay, I recommend The Sea Screamer.
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