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June 26th, 2018

11:36 pm: Of Mice and Men Without Chests

I am posting here an article from another site that is on a common theme with my article The Goals of the Superversive

Of Mice and Men Without Chests


At first glance one might surmise that the title of this article alludes to the characters in John Steinbeck’s classic. Truthfully, while reading Of Mice and Men I grew to like the characters and found myself empathizing with some of their hardships. A good author is able to pull his readers into the world of his characters. While C.S. Lewis’s metaphor “men without chests” could be ascribed to the characters in Of Mice and Men, a more critical concern at hand is the impression the novel has made on young readers for more than a half-century. What has been their take-away? How has this short, yet harrowing, novella affected the hearts and minds of readers and our overall culture? Why does it continue to be one of the most popular required reading selections in middle schools and high schools across America?

In case you are not familiar with Of Mice and Men the story concludes with an act that has been described as “mercy killing.” One of the main characters, Lennie, a mentally disabled man who is like a big, clumsy, guileless teddy bear unaware of his own physical strength, accidentally breaks the neck of a young woman—who happens to be his boss’s daughter-in-law—on the ranch where he is living and working. George, Lennie’s closest friend and caretaker, finds the body and after some deliberation with his friend Candy, decides to shoot Lennie in the back of the head since the deceased woman’s husband and other men were coming to kill him. What’s also implied is that George wished to spare him from what he feared would be either a brutal death or a life of imprisonment and suffering.

I do not wish to presume Mr. Steinbeck’s intentions when he penned Of Mice and Men. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the author or characters in his novel per se, but on the culture we have created, which has ensued, in large part, from what we put into our minds.

St. John Paul II’s 1995 Encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) warns of an emerging culture “actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents which encourage an idea of society excessively concerned with efficiency.” He alerts us further to “a culture which denies solidarity and in many cases takes the form of a veritable ‘culture of death.’” In Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate (Rejoice and be glad) he expresses grave concern for “the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia” and “the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.”

Presently, 68 percent of Americans believe in physician-assisted suicide (up 10 percentage points from last year), now legal in seven states. The Down Syndrome abortion rate has increased to over 90 percent in Iceland, Denmark, and Australia, prompting Special Olympian Frank Stephens to speak out in defense of his life. Interesting that the character Lennie in Of Mice and Men was mentally and physically challenged.

Recently little Alfie Evans lost the battle for his life since the British High Court ruled he should be taken off life support. Despite the fact that he was granted Italian citizenship and offered treatment at Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital, the judge ruled, “this would not be in his best interest.”

Perhaps some responsibility for our culture of death lies not only in our selection of literature but also in how less-than-ideal literature (or what many consider to be less-than-ideal) is taught. A book that appears to oppose meritorious ideals can also be used to champion them. There is a flip side to every story. For example, a teacher could pose the following questions to her students:

  • What would be your ideal ending to Of Mice and Men?
  • Do you think George did the right thing? Why or why not?
  • What if the authorities saw that Lennie had a mental illness and they understood he was not entirely at fault?
  • What if George was able to defend Lennie and got him the help he needed?

When you take someone’s fate into your own hands you are haunted by the “what ifs” for the rest of your life. It’s doubtful that the modern day teacher would be so inclined to seize such an ideal opportunity to open up a discussion on morality. Her potential loss of a job in this politically correct climate in our schools precludes her from doing so. Nevertheless, questions should be presented to encourage students to think outside the box of secular relativism and venture into the infinite beyond.

Read more…


Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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May 22nd, 2018

08:56 am: Twilight Giveaway

Hello all,

I ams participating in a mailing list builder with the excellent small press, Silver Empire. This includes a giveaway package of cool Twilight bling for one lucky winner. 

Win! $200.00 in Twilight goodies!


One Lucky Winner!

Prizes include:

Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga [Blu-ray + Digital], The Twilight Saga White Collection, TEAM EDWARD Except when Jacob is Shirtless on Adult & Youth Cotton T-Shirt , The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, Twilight "Eclipse" Bellas Engagement Ring Prop Replica, CafePress – Mrs. Cullen Mug – Unique Coffee Mug, Coffee Cup, New Moon: The Graphic Novel, Vol. 1 (The Twilight Saga), Twilight: The Graphic Novel Collector's Edition (The Twilight Saga), Twilight Movie Poster w/Bella & Edward 24 X 36 Poster Print, Barbie Collector The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II Bella Doll

(Editions may not be the exact ones pictured.)

Prizes awarded: May 31, 2018 12:00 a.m. CDT

How do I participate?

It's simple. Sign up for our mailing lists.

Click the link:  https://silverempire.org/giveaways/twilight/

We don´t sell/share your data. You can unsubscribe to the individual lists as soon as the giveaway is over, but we hope you will stick around.


#Win the Ultimate
#Twilight Prize Pack!



Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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April 24th, 2018


It occurs to me that not everyone here automatically visits Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them. This might be of interest to some:

How Roanoke came to be – the long version

Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts


Many years ago, a couple of yeas after graduating from college, I was working at a Walden Books in a mall. In college, John and I had done a lot of roleplaying. Now we were a couple and living in New York, north of the city, but now, it was hard for us to find people to play with. So I did what any sensible person would do.

I kept an eagle eye on the D&D shelf in the bookstore.

A brief aside: Wizards of the Coast, the company that owned D&D, had sent the store a bookshelf to hold their books—not those silly cardboard things you see in stores nowadays. This thing was solid. I still have it. The bookstore let me take it home as a wedding present. I still have it today. It is in the boys room. But I digress.

Whenever anyone came to look at the D&D books, I would go introduce myself and see if they were interested in getting together for a game. One of the people I spoke to thus was a teenage boy, about 13 or 14. We got to talking and eventually, John and I got together with him and one of his friends to play a roleplaying game. The young man liked the game, but his friend became absolutely obsessed with it. (I was obsessed with it, too. It was that kind of game.)

That friend was a young man named Mark Whipple.

Now Mark did not read well.  He had read very few books in his life. But when he caught on that if he read the books John was stealing stuff from for his game, he would do better in the game, he started reading! He read Roger Zelazny’s entire Amber series. At that point, he was hooked on reading, and he started reading all sorts of stuff.

At some point, John said to this young man that if he went to St. John’s, the college John and I had attended, we would visit every other weekend and run a game.

Mark did. This young man who had not been a reader attended a school that was 95% reading, and we visited almost every weekend while he was there. (We still have a number of good friends, including our kids’ godfather whom we met during that period.)

The game John was running was not an easy game. If roleplaying games had settings like video games, this one was set on hard. It was not a rules bound game, like D&D. You had free reign of action, and the ability to try to do anything you wished—but so did your adversaries. And, with John running the game, the adversaries were clever and vivid. It was like living in your favorite novel! John made Mark really work for his successes. But Mark refused to be daunted

Now, you are probably wondering what does this story have to do with Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts?

The answer is: nearly everything.

Read the rest…



Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

April 16th, 2018

08:30 pm: Appearing at Ravencon –April 20th and 21st

Hey all, 

John and I will be at Ravencon on Friday and Saturday, April 20th and 21st.

Con info available at the Ravencon website.






Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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April 2nd, 2018

06:01 pm: A Light in the Darkness — New Christian Fantasy/SF newsletter

Hey Folks, Jagi here again!

Just wanted to let everyone know that Superversive Press now has a Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction Newsletter called: A Light in the Darkness.

This newsletter offers book news, freebies–ebooklets and wallpaper graphics–plus news of new releases, sales, and other intriguing topics.

Everyone who subscribes will get access to Sloth by our own Frank Luke (who often comments here) a Twilight Zone like story from his new book: Lou's Bar and Grill: Seven Deadly Tales — a book of faith and Faustian bargains– as well as access to a short ebook of a few of my most popular articles from the original Superversive blog.

Subscribe to:
A Light in the Darkness





Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)


March 29th, 2018

11:26 pm: Happy Birthday, Rachel and Sigfried!

Birthdays are a time of celebrations
Even the birthdays of imaginary characters. In the Books of Unexpected Enlightenment, Rachel Griffin's birthday is March 30st, and Sigfried Smith's birthday is April 1st (falls on Easter this year.) The closeness of their birthdays allows them both to be the same age for two days every year!In honor of Rachel and Sigfried's birthday, three of their books are going to be on sale from March 29th to April 2nd.
        The Raven, The Elf, and Rachel  FREE (March 31 to April 2)
                Rachel and the Many-Spendered Dreamland — on sale for $1.99
 The Awful Truth About Forgetting — on sale for $2.99
And the fourth will be FREE for March 30th only:
Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

February 26th, 2018

12:39 am: Defending the Wood Perilous — Part Three: The Wood That Is Perilous

Part One   Part Two

When I was in high school, we had something modern schools don’t seem to have called study hall. During study hall, you were free to do choose what to do. You could study, do homework, sometimes even talk quietly. Me? I chose study hall in the library, where I could wander through the stacks, reading titles and book blurbs, looking for the next thing to read.

Our school library was a place of magic. It had high dark shelves filled with books on all sorts of topics. I would wander among them, lost in daydreams, wishing that I had a magic power that would lead me right to a book I would enjoy reading. I read all sorts of books during study hall: historicals, romances, mysteries, the occasional fantasy, but my favorite books were the fairy tales.

High up on a shelf were a series of books, each of a single color: red, blue, pink, gray—Andrew Lang’s Red Book of Fairy tales, etc..  

We did not have them all, and I don’t think I ever finished reading all that we did have, but I read a number of them cover to cover. I also discovered and read a wonderful book of Nordic fairy tales that included a number of stories of Cinder Peter* and what might be my favorite fairy tale of all, East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

 * It was here that I learned that the familiar character Cinderella was really Cinder Ella—Ella who spends time in the cinders.

One thing I loved was reading fairy tales from around the world and seeing how much they had in common. For instance:

There is a Celtic tale of a man who came upon a beautiful woman bathing. Lying beside her was a cloak of brown fur. The woman was a selkie, a seal who had taken off her fur to enjoy the sun. The man grabbed the cloak and hid it. He took the woman home and made her his wife. She was a good wife and mother, but one day, while cleaning, she found her lost cloak, hidden in a box under some blankets. When the man came home, he found his children crying and his wife gone. She had fled, returning to the sea.

This tale is also told in the Scandinavian countries, only it is a swan cloak the man steals, rather than that of a seal. In Italy, she was a dove. In Africa, she was a buffalo maiden. In Japan, it’s a crane cloak; in the Americas, a bear cloak.

The story is told all over the world, always the details are the same, always as simple, only the animal changes.

This simplicity, which makes it so that I can tell almost the entire story in one paragraph, is one of the joys and mysteries of fairy tales. We go out of our way nowadays to write long descriptions, to make our writing “fresh”, to “show not tell”. And yet, fairy tales are almost entirely telling. They are age-old, and they stay exactly the same.

And yet, they are just as enjoyable now as they were three or five hundred years ago.

They are almost entirely pure story.

Read more…

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)


February 14th, 2018

01:02 pm: Venus is here!

In honor of St. Valentine's Day, here is Planetary: Venus   — the anthology edited by A. M. Freeman and myself. This volume also contains a short story written by me that takes place in the Prospero's Children background and features Miranda and Astreus on their Honeymoon!

Venus, the second planet from the sun, a world of sulfurous gas and tremendous temperatures where the landscape features—mountains and valleys—are all named for love goddesses. Venus herself is the goddess most known for allure and romance. 

Here are twenty stories featuring Venus, the planet, the goddess, or just plain love—both romantic and otherwise. Planetary Fiction explores the themes associated with these heavenly bodies as well as their astronomical, mythological, and in some cases even alchemical significance.

Just Look, I’ll Be There, by A. M. Freeman —A Gypsy boy leaves Venus for the stars, but his beloved’s eyes shine brightest of all.

Morning And Evening Star, by David Hallquist — A honeymoon among the sulfurous fumes of Venus takes an unexpected turn.

90 Seconds, by Bokerah Brumley — Online video blogger heads to Venus for the ultimate extreme sports, and jumps into something more than just the sky.

The Wrong Venus, by Lou Antonelli — The worst criminals are sent to a high security prison on Venus, but an intrepid criminal might get himself sent to a different Venus.

Enemy Beloved, by Monalisa Foster —  Love is blind. But what will happen when the blindness ends and the terrible truth is reveled?

Texente Tela Veneris, by Edward Willett — If you could change the history of your love life, would you? That is the question a pair of tourists on a remote Grecian island must answer.

Happiest Place On Earth, by Misha Burnett — A story of pure love in an unexpected place.

Love Boat To Venus, by Declan Finn — On a tour around the solar system, elite fighters pause to give marital advice, until they are interrupted.

Venus Times Three, by Vanessa L Landry — Two lawyers travel to Mars to settle a will that, inexplicably, involves Venus. Will they be able to untangle this complicated web?

Avalon, by Dawn Witzke – A new school on Venus brings new opportunities for a young man to escape the shadow of his childhood friend.

The Rituals Of Venus, by Joshua M. Young — A hero fights cultists among the jungles of Venus for the sake of his love. Can he save her?

First Cat In Space, by  Dana Bell — Some cat has to be lucky enough to be the first cat in space.

Venus Felix, by W. J. Hayes — A routine day at the bar turns into anything but for this gumshoe, when robots begin shooting at a newcomer.

The Rocket Raising, by Frederic Himebaugh — A young girl must choose between marrying her love and venturing to a new world for the sake of her people.

Star-Crossed, by Julie Frost — A werewolf detective helps an unlikely client in her revenge after her lover is murdered, but old memories aren’t the only thing that comes back.

Honeymoon In Fairland, by L. Jagi Lamplighter   — Can love and trust be rekindled between a betrayed husband and his wife? Even when they are as powerful as Gods? 

37 Shades of Yellow, by J.D. Beckwith — The new Venus base is up and running, but what does it take to live there when your wife is homesick for Earth?

The Fox’s Fire, by Danielle Ackley-McPhail — A spirited fox spirit seeks love in ancient America.

Smiley The Robot, by Amy Sterling Casil — An old woman living alone on Venus finds herself falling for Smiley, the police robot.

Stones In High Places, by Jane Lebak — A dying world watches with anguish as a young one awaits its demise, until one man conceives of a way to save them, but it will take an act of unprecedented love.

See on Amazon


Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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February 13th, 2018

11:04 pm: Now Available to Members of The Roanoke Glass Newsletter

This short ebook, beautifully typeset by my excellent typesetter, Joel C. Salome, is now available to anyone who joins The Roanoke Glass newsletter.  

The link to download it comes in the third newsletter. There is also an oportunity to download a short fiction work in the second newsletter. The first four newsletters, with freebies, etc., come one week apart. After that, the newsletter is an occasional affair.

Subscribe to The Roanoke Glass!






Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)


February 11th, 2018

01:16 am: He Anointeth Our Heads with Oil

I am always amazed at the things God asks us to do. Wrote this a few years ago.

In late August of 2006, I was driving to help my mother-in-law. The price of gas was over three dollars a gallon. As I drove along, it suddenly struck wrong to me that people should be having to pay so much for gas. Oil prices affected everything: gas, airfare, heating, shipping, food that needs to be shipped. It came to me quite strongly to pray about this.

My first thought was: prayer can’t change gas prices! But the quiet message seemed clear, so I prayed.

I started with the thought that oil was an idea and that all people had equal access to God’s ideas. I worked with Mrs. Eddy’s definition of oil: “Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.” (S&H 592:25) Consecration and heavenly inspiration were hardly the kinds of things that a person could own, fight over, or limit.

As I drove, the price of gas began to go down.  It was $3.07 where I started, but each gas station I passed had posted a price that was a few sense less than the one before it. At the end of my hour trip, I filled my tank for $2.64 a gallon. The experience was awe-inspiring.

Once I got home, I pulled out my Bible. I found that we can a lot about oil in the Bible, especially about its abundance. Elijah asks a widow woman to made a little cake. When she explains that she has only enough oil for one cake left, he tells her to make one first for him and then for herself and her son. She does this, and the meager oil in her jar did not fail until the rain came again, and there was more food.

Elisha meets a widow who cannot pay her husband’s debts. She fears that her two sons will be made into slaves. He tells her to borrow vessels from her neighbors and filled them from her pot of oil. She does this and that one pot pours out enough to fill all the vessels. The widow sells this extra oil and is able to pay all her debts and keep her children.

While it does not appear in my version of the Bible, I also reviewed the story of the Maccabees, in which lamp oil enough for one day burns for eight days until a runner is able to return with more. This event is commemorated each year by the holiday known as Chanukah.

Obviously, petroleum is not the kind of oil used in Biblical times. Yet, I still found it interesting that in those times, like now, oil was used for so many things: eating, cooking, cleaning (instead of soap, one oiled one’s body and then scraped the oil off with a special scraper), as medicine (the good Samaritan puts oil on the injured man’s wounds,) and for lighting lamps.

The fact that in each of these stories more oil appeared, right where there seemed to be a shortage was quite eye opening to me! Inspired by these Bible stories, I prayed to understand that the earth was not a limited material object but a spiritual idea. Therefore, our access to the idea ‘oil’ could not be limited to a set number of pre-existent oil reserves but must be as dynamic as Mind itself.

A few days later, I happened to be flipping radio stations and caught a commercial for the Washington Post. It was a two line ad for an article announcing the finding of one of the biggest domestic oil deposits in years! I later looked this up on the Internet and found, yes, such a deposit had been found in the Gulf of Mexico. The New York Times called it “potentially the largest American oil find in a generation.” (New York Times: “Big Oil Find Is Reported Deep in Gulf,” Sept. 6, 2006) I felt that this was a reminder that there is no limit to ideas.

I continued to pray in this fashion. I even shared these ideas with some friends. When I had returned home from my mother-in-law’s, the price where I had started that first day had only gone down a penny or two from the original three dollar price. Over the next month, however, each day, when I went out it had gone down a little more. By the end of September, I bought gas in a nearby town for $1.98 a gallon. The price then stabilized at about $2.19 and remained in that vicinity for quite some time.

Has not God promised to: “anointest my head with oil?” (Psalm 23:5) When we turn to God in all things, we can be certain that, like the widow who consulted Elisha, our pot of oil shall “runneth over.” 




Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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