Desperate to Survive

Available now, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure (And the link to the webpage for this book: (http://www.fdbrant.com/page21.html), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, (And the link to the webpage for this book: http://www.fdbrant.com/page20.html) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page19.html) is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/article02.html)  Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/desperatetosurvive.html) Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page18.html) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/article01.html). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

As happened with the Discovery trilogy, book one didn’t complete the story, requiring a second novel to wrap it up, and making this one the fourth novel I tackled. The problem I faced with this one lay in the fact that I felt that there wouldn’t be enough material left to create that second novel and bring everything to a final conclusion. Yet at the same time, there was too much material remaining to put into the first novel, Time of Isolation, and end it there. So what to do . . . what to do?

If you missed last week’s post then here’s a bit of information for you: The novels in this trilogy originated from a recurring dream, as did the novels in the Discovery trilogy. In both series I wrote the first two novels, then went on to other projects before returning and writing the third. And, as stated, both series are open for additional novels later.

So as I wrapped up Time of Isolation, I immediately began the process of writing Desperate to Survive. Again a little fact here; for me as I write I keep the facts locked in my head, (no outlining). And for me I can usually see the beginning, and most of the time the end, and with this the title will come along for the ride. At this point with all three of these factors I pretty much have the story locked and am ready to proceed. In all cases I see any and all of this as images in my mind leaving me to have to translate those images into words on the page.

Anyway, so here I was at the beginning of this new novel knowing that the distance between the beginning and the remaining portion of the story, which had too little substance or material, and the end was great. In a sense the beginning was easy. With the end of the previous novel the scout team was involved in solving a series of mysteries. And with only one of the major ones solved, it was easy to pick up the story at this very point and begin by following the other part of the team as they worked out the solutions to their own mystery.

Still if you picked up the novel you’d find that the story doesn’t start with the scout team at all. Instead it begins with a prologue where we are finally introduced to the major players from the primitives. For the first time we are introduced to the leader of the alliance and we begin to see how these primitives think and act.

If we are to look to history we’ll find that clashes between advanced and primitive societies have happened for as long as history has been written. And while one would naturally think that the ones with the advanced weaponry and such would have an advantage, and many times yes they do, there are a number of incidents where those advancements meant nothing and in the end the primitives won over that technology.

Up to this point in the story the primitives were more of a backdrop, something that was there, with them being the antagonists, but other than that we really know very little about them. So as I thought about this, and history, the continuing story began to fall into place. The answer had been there all the time. It was time to get up close and personal with those primitives. It was time to learn of their culture, and the whys for the destruction they were bringing down upon these hidden advanced people who had done no harm. In fact up to the time of discovery these people were unknown to the primitives.

It also led to thoughts about captives, and how and what would their roles be. Here, once again, looking to history,  the conquering armies, and the resulting destruction, refugees, and captives, resulting in assimilation into those conquering societies, brought more into this story.

And then, like the other novels, up to this time, the whole of the story was there before me. Plus, if one had read this first novel there were questions unanswered that were then addressed in the second novel, bringing answers and closure to those questions. An example, (spoiler alert) is; what happened to the three that remained in the winter quarters – that cave that existed on those volcanic peaks.

So, in this second novel from the Survival trilogy we begin to see both sides of this undeclared war or conflict. We suffer with those captives. And whether we like them, hate them, or see their side of this conflict, we begin to understand the primitives and their existing societies. What they are doing isn’t necessarily right, yet at the same time when we view things from our own point, which is based upon our own societies, and life experiences, are we correct in our assumptions and conclusions?

So, in a sense, this story, this second novel deals with a clash of cultures, leading to suspicion, mistrust, and war. And this isn’t something seen from afar. No, it’s up close and personal. You feel the destruction. You live the lives of the captives as they become part of the herds, and are now slaves. And you learn how it all began, how the hidden cities were discovered, and the beginnings of what took place in the first novel.

And you continue to follow the scout unit as they  learn about their own past, and what may be concluded from what they’ve learned. And now, because they’ve contacted the remaining cities, they’ve been tasked with ending this war. Still how can ten individuals end this war with a primitive army possibly numbering in the thousands? And this is the dilemma they face. And if they fail, then there’s a great chance that all of them will be no more.

And I do believe in the end that my word count was higher than the first novel. Where at the beginning I saw none of this and was at a loss as to how I was to get another complete novel from what I felt was left of the story that still had to be told. Leading to a longer deeper novel finally bringing closure to the story. And before getting into the blurb or back page for this novel I’d like to state that if you are interested in reading this novel get the 2nd edition as I’ve completely reworked the novel. And now what’s stated on the back cover:

With the Time of Isolation behind them . . . the remnant of the Scout Team has been tasked with the ending of the undeclared war between the Cities and the Primitives.

At the time of discovering the Alpha and learning of the true past, they are at loss as to what the ten survivors from their City can do. Ten against what appears to be thousands of primitive warriors bent on just one thing. And that one this is the destruction of all the hidden Cities deep inside the desolation.

Still from the view of K’jor, the leader of the primitives, he sees the Cities as lairs of magicians and sorcerers, an abomination to their way of life. After all, it must be so since none can live in the desolation. It is a land of spirits, a place where the dead dwell, a land overseen by their gods.

And thusly the conflict is set as the Cities learn of their true past, and the fact they may be the last of their kind. And as the conflict and undeclared war rise to new heights both sides are desperate to survive.

And just a statement here about novels in general. Judging a book will always be subjective. I’ve seen this with these two books. I’ve had one rated over the other, only to have it reversed when others had read and then commented on the novels. So hate them or love them, it will always be different for all of us when we read. And the interesting thing, if a novel turns into a favorite and we re-read it at a future time, then what we get out of it that next read will be different. And the reason is simple. It’s because we’ve changed.

Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com?)

 

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Published in: on October 21, 2017 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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Discovery

Available now, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure (And the link to the webpage for this book: (http://www.fdbrant.com/page21.html), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, (And the link to the webpage for this book: http://www.fdbrant.com/page20.html) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page19.html) is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/article02.html)  Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage:http://www.fdbrant.com/desperatetosurvive.html) Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/page18.html) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: http://www.fdbrant.com/article01.html). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

If you caught last week’s post you know that I’m presenting the novels I’ve written in the order I’ve written them. And this one is book two in the Discovery Trilogy. Restating what I said last week, and since this is the second, I had just come back to writing. And until I wrote The Ones Before, I had never tackled a full length novel. Looking back it had been years, and I mean years since I had tried my hand at writing, and I found that almost the whole industry had changed.

There was much that I got wrong, and as in anything worth pursuing, I continue to learn and improve. And while this novel is over one hundred sixty five thousand words, (approximately 500 pages) making it long for what publishers want, it continues to tell the story of a future world thousands of years after an apocalyptic event. And what this novel did and it’s the only time I’ve faced this, is to force me to go back to book one, The Ones Before, and rewrite portions of it – again. This had to happen to make the two novels consistent and work together since it obviously deals with the same story.

To be truthful, this second novel was a much better written first draft than the first one. Still I’ve had to do heavy editing and revisions to it also. Originally the story was to be a single novel, but, as in my other trilogy, it became two, and then eventually three. And where book one was originally to end, this happened instead in book two – Not that book one doesn’t reach closure because it does.

All three novels take place in a post apocalyptic world where only the “when” is different. Books one and two take place thousands of years after the event while book three is approximately two hundred years or three generations since the destruction. In many ways book three shows the beginnings of trends and traditions that are part of the societies and the world of the first two books. And book three presents the remnant of the ones who became known as The Ones Before.

Once again this story is a result of a recurring dream, one that left me with images that I wanted to bring to life. And this story, these novels began it all for me. Because once these first two were complete, (not necessarily ready for primetime) I found I had a desire to continue. As I stated last week, I set a goal, at the time of writing these novels, of writing eight. Was it realistic? I didn’t know, but knew, after checking those milestones, I could always adjust that figure if it became necessary. So I pushed off into the unknown.

This journey began at the end of 2006, and I consider 2007 to be the actual time of writing that first novel. And here we are ten years later. So the obvious question is did I make that goal, or did I have to adjust it? And the truth here is yes, (yes what?) I had to adjust it. I had to adjust it higher and changed the goal to ten, which I’ll make and surpass also. And as I stated last week, I found that it takes me a year to produce a novel. This includes the writing, editing, revisions, and rewrites. Yet even then they aren’t necessarily ready for publication as there’s many additional steps that must be taken before any of them will see the light of day and are available.

So book one, within the storyline, ends with success. Yet the ones we are following have a second destination, a second site, and have plans to head there once they wrap up the project where they presently are located – which happens to be the desert. Now I stated that with this series if one wanted they could follow every character and the lands where they live, travel, and work, as I used real lands. No none of the cities, towns, and such exist in the story, but every piece of land is there.

In this novel we continue to follow the six protagonists and their lives. They are a brother and sister, a scout, a cartographer, the Head Keeper of the past, and his wife. And there is a point in the story where all of them finally come together and meet for the first time. Until then they remain separate. Well generally, as obviously the brother and sister are together as well as the Head Keeper of the Past and his wife. And the scout and the cartographer are friends. Still it is an accidental discovery that makes the wheels begin to turn that will bring all of them together and in the end lead to these important discoveries, and the influences these discoveries will make on their known world.

And with Discovery the story actually wraps up. So at the completion of this one they, the novels, went to the shelves where they have remained these past ten years. Again, at the time of writing I didn’t think anything about editing, or the whole process necessary to make the novels and stories work. I thought, wrongly, when one writes nothing else needs to be done.  In fact I felt so strongly and positively about this one that I submitted it to a contest. Of course it failed miserably – no editing and such, no story.

Still, in the end, I love my characters, their lives, and the world where they live. And we really do get up close and personal with these characters, and everything about them. And speaking of their world I think that most of us would find it difficult to live in that world. We love our modern conveniences, our medical advancements, transportation, and such. In this world none of that exists. The world would be closer to the early to middle 1800’s, than the world of the 21st century. Populations are small, as we continue to recover from the event that almost wiped the human race off the planet. And nothing, absolutely nothing from our time seems to have survived. We have started over.

Have a great week, and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

 

 

Sixty Years On

Now available in July, two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel. Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. Release date was yesterday, July 14, 2017. Blurb and information can be found on my website (found at the bottom of this page).

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition. Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

I picked this title from the title of a song by Elton John that he sang back in the seventies. I have to admit that I always liked it. Still in many ways what it reflects is a view of when one reaches those older years. And in my case I definitely qualify. If any of you out there haven’t heard the song here’s the link to one of the versions from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEcafVVUxqk

In a sense what one takes away from this song will be as a result of who and where you are personally. For me it has to do with the title referring to sixty years plus, which is where I am, since I’ll turn sixty eight this year. Others may think about the fact that it seems that every generation have their wars to fight, others who want to see guns disappear will see a possible future where they don’t exist. And still others might focus on the religious aspect, and because of this none of us would agree what this song is about – and that’s what keeps life interesting.

What I am writing here will be through my eyes as I’ve viewed events, and marked time. And if we truly think about it for all of us it is this way. What is being witnessed throughout our lives will always be colored by who we are, what our experiences have been, our heredity, the influences that are around us, and where we are in our own timeline. Nothing we see is what it truly is. It cannot be any other way since we view all things from our inner selves, and our personal senses.

For example, in my case I’m partially colorblind. That means that certain colors do not exist for me and when you remove those colors what I see instead is the color that would be created if that missing color didn’t exist. To explain what I mean, here is what would happen. If you remove red from purple the color you would end up with is blue. And we can say the same thing with brown. Since red is the most common colorblind color then if we remove red from brown we get green. So this would mean that to any of us with that particular color blindness trait those other colors wouldn’t exist, i.e. brown and purple.

By the way, back when you were a kid, and for me that’s a long time ago, did you ever try to mix all the colors with your crayons or colored pencils to get white? Logically you’d think it would work since sunlight is white and we were shown and told that it is created from all the colors.  And by using a prism they prove it. Yet when we mix those colors on a sheet of paper we end up with black – one of those mysteries of life I guess.

Memory or memories can be tricky things. It has been shown that what we remember isn’t necessarily what really happened. Time and distance has changed those memories into something different, yet we believe what we see in our minds is correct. There have been a number of experiments done over the years that prove that memories can be implanted and have no basis in reality. So when I look back on my memories I find that with some there are warm nostalgic feelings that can lead me to smile, while others I’d sooner forget. Are they accurate, I believe so, but there’s no way for me to prove them to be so. If we think about this too hard it can leave us on shaky ground with nothing firm to stand upon. It comes down to do we trust or not trust our personal memories. Personally I’d rather trust them until they are proven to be wrong.

So what’s your earliest memory? Mine, and I’d guess I had to be around three at the time, has to do with a family outing to an observatory, standing on the steps leading up to the entrance. That’s it, nothing about going inside, or about the trip to and from, or any other aspect. There must have been something about that one location that created this permanent memory.

Other memories? Well, there’s the one where we went out to look at property when I was six. We turned a corner and everything to the west fell away and suddenly it was like I could see forever. As a boy scout taking that ninety mile hike we did as a troop, graduating from high school, (fifty years ago) the night I left home on the way to a war zone as a soldier, wild fires, where eventually one did destroy our homes, marrying the woman I love, who brought two daughters into my life and our family, being there for the birth of our sons, and now after all these years going to their weddings. As you can see most of these memories are ordinary and as such could belong to anyone. Yet, each and every one makes me who I am, as the ones you have make you who you are.

Local and beyond memories? The Kennedy assassination when I was in high school, the space race and landing on the moon, an airliner crash that almost hit an elementary school, and further back and personal, a military fighter crashing on the property and almost hitting our home, 9-11-2001, and the resulting wars that we still face today, terrorism and the many tragic losses from these extremists, and I guess I can throw in the mine rescue. In this mix I can add the resignation of a president and vice-president, and the first time we had a president who came to office unelected. And all of these form the backdrop of my and our lives influencing how we see and view our world.

The common factor in all of this is time. And for all of us time is the limiting factor. We are only given so much of it before we die. And it’s surprising how fast that time approaches. It seems like yesterday when I graduated from school and while I was in school it seemed like it was forever. Now fifty years later I’m returning from that reunion celebrating a half century since graduating. Yeah this means I’ve been out of school much longer than I was in, and that time between has more than flown – leaving me to wonder what happened

It is here at this time in one’s life that they realize that much of their lives are over, and whatever dreams and goals one had are no longer obtainable. It is sobering when one realizes that all the chances are pretty much used up, and are part of your past. Still I can say that once I retired that it allowed me one more chance at one of those life goals, and here it is right before you. I always had a desire to write, and in truth I never knew if I could be successful or not. I guess, in the end, I can say yes. When I seriously began to write, (after retiring) I set goals, whether I’d ever reach them I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t know if I could write a book or novel and finish it. Yet, in the end, I did reach those goals, surpassed them, reset those goals and will reach and possibly surpass those new ones.

Still, time is piling up, burying me under that weight, telling me that soon those creative juices will probably dry up. So next year as I work on two new novels,  they may be my last. Still I’m happy with the results of my writing. In the end I’ll have written twelve novels, plus one of short stories that I’ve presented over the years on this blog. And when I do look back on my life I see many twists and turns, dead ends, failures, and a few successes now and then. Still overall I have my health – more or less – and a loving family. I believe in God and would love to see a peaceful world. Still, I’m realistic enough to know that this will probably never happen. It still doesn’t mean that I hope to be wrong. We are still a world of tribes and have that tribe mentality. And until that changes nothing ever will.

In conclusion, all I can say is to keep reaching. Keep yourself active mentally and physically. Set those goals, and reach for them. If you don’t make them, at least you tried, and in a sense that’s the bottom line isn’t it. It has been said many many times, it’s the journey, the road you travel. Even though that road will have many unexpected turns, dead ends, and branches that will completely change your life and direction, you only fail when you give up. And unlike the games we play we cannot go back and start a level again. In life we get one chance, and it matters not whether you have the experience to make an educated decision, we must decide and then live by where that decision sends us.Whether my novels become more than a hobby only time will tell. Still I’m happy to have traveled down those many roads, and I love following my fictitious characters through their lives, and must admit that I’ve enjoyed their life stories and journeys as they unfolded. And if I want to admit to it I think I would like to meet many of them personally. Of course this is impossible since they’ve never lived except in my mind and on the pages of those books – still, they are real to me. Remember –

Don’t be afraid to reach high and to seek the impossible. Who knows, you may be the one who makes the impossible possible. God Bless! Have a great week, and learn from all the mistakes we all have a tendency to make. It is only then that we grow. (http://www.fdbrant.com)

 

Time of Isolation, Chapter 11, Part 9

Coming in July – two new novels: Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel. Both will be available as paperback and in the EBook format.

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1) and Desperate to Survive: Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8) Kindle (ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4) and Epub (ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1) are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition. Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback (ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6) Kindle (ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3) and Epub (978-1-946179-05-0).

* * *

Before getting to this week’s post I’d like to mention that here in the USA we will be celebrating Memorial Day this Monday after my Saturday post. A time of remembrance for all those who have sacrificed all to protect their family, strangers they’ve never met, and the nation where they were citizens. Being a veteran myself I understand why. Still any of us who have served in the foreign fields and wars always hope to come home to the ones we love and respect, but it isn’t something that is guaranteed. And many who expected to come home to those happy reunions, come home to be laid to rest never seeing their children, or family again – leaving an emptiness, and a sadness that will never go away.  Within this national celebration are the many personal stories, and tragedies that we never hear or will feel. So let’s honor our war dead and thank God for what we have.

* * *

Last week we left the teams involved in doing a detailed search of the Alpha, and we specifically followed Stone and Sorrel as they worked their way through the gloom that is the cave where they first entered into the facility in the past. From what Stone can determine the vast cavern has the appearance of being worked sometime in the deep past. This leads to the conclusion that there has to be lighting here, but as of yet they haven’t found any switches. Of course in the gloom visibility is minimal. Eventually they discover what he considers to be either a steam vent or a lava tube, and again it has the appearance of being worked. As they work their way down this feature Sorrel accidently brushes a light panel turning night into to day and temporarily blinding them. Ahead they spy a doorway which is closed. And as they prepare to enter we close out last week’s post.

And as we have been doing in the last couple of weeks, this week we follow another couple of teams while getting up, close and personal, as they work their assignments. As is usually the case when people work together small talk between the members keeps things as normal as it can be. All are trying to answer the many questions, and to really learn the whys and wherefores of this facility. And with this onto part 9:

“You know Seirra, I can’t get used to this feeling that I’m falling every time we adjust our views from wherever these things are located. It almost makes me ill with; I guess you could call it motion sickness. And I swear whatever this is, that it is falling out of the sky – yet . . . We’ve done this a lot and they’re still there. So logically I know that they remain wherever they are. And this still makes me wonder what happened in the cities so that they forgot about this. I mean we all have seen the records here and now know the truth. But it has been so skewed in the cities and the way it is taught in the learning centers, that none of the truth is known.” Saar complained.

Smiling at him for his minor complaints, she really couldn’t blame him for his thoughts. And she had to agree that when they used these small sticks to adjust their view, it really did feel like she was falling. But what a tool, what a view, and it really showed her the beauty that this world had, albeit somewhere above this world. She’d been dazzled by the shear variety that she’d been shown. And also the shear size of their world – well not their world even though they had lived here for a few generations – really was a surprise. It was not surprising then that they had yet to find out where the alliance was headquartered. She felt that they could probably be here for days upon days and do nothing but search and barely touch all that was being revealed to them. “Well Saar, I know what you mean. It does take some getting used to that’s for sure. Hey, it surely is a great view. This world is just gorgeous, I never realized that at all, and so large. I haven’t even begun to recognize everything we’ve spotted so far. There has to be a better way of doing this. Not that I’m complaining, but we cannot even be sure at this point where we are looking. And I am worried about our people who still are living in whatever cities that haven’t been located by the primitives, and of course for the ones who have been captured, and probably been made slaves or worse.”

“Yeah, I know, but there’s really little we can do. After all, considering what this alliance has accomplished so far, well whoever is in charge has successfully gathered many of the tribes and so far has been able to hold them together, has accomplished. We, who now know, what’s going on, well, you can count on the fingers of your two hands of those who know, and we are supposed to defeat that? I think the odds here are a little one sided, don’t you think?”

Looking down at the floor and then at him Seirra said. “Yeah, I know all of that. But what can we do? I mean, somewhere here we have to find an answer. We don’t know what happened to our own people. I am meaning the ones from our own home world, and it they were annihilated, wiped out, then, as far as we know, we are all that’s left. So somehow we’ve got to find a way to break this alliance, and finding it is the first step. So I guess instead of talking about it we should be a little more diligent and at least locate the area they are working from. Then we can decide what to do from there. I wonder if any of the other teams have found anything as of yet?” She glanced once again at the screen that was in front of her and noticed the small letters and numbers that were displayed at the bottom of the screen. “Saar?”

“Yes Seirra, what is it?” He asked quietly as he studied the images on his screen. He had to admit that she had been right. This world was much larger and varied than he ever imagined. When this search had started he thought it would be a simple thing. Since they could see from the sky it should be a snap to just see the gathered tribes. But he had been proven wrong. And all of them had been going over and over the images produced so far with no apparent success.

“Has anyone figured out what these letters and numbers mean yet?” She asked.

“Not that I have heard of. In fact someone guessed that it might just be a way to tell you, you were looking at a different image from wherever they are coming from – in space I guess. Why? Is there something about them that seems important? Or are they in your way, because if they are, I’ve been shown a way that you can remove them, or make them larger or smaller.”

Shaking her head she said. “No, no that’s not it. They are not causing me any issue at all. It’s just that there has to be a reason that our ancestors put them here, and I feel it’s not something to do with which view we are seeing. Look, if I shift the view to a different portion of this world from the area I am looking, then numbers change. So it has to be something more than just a way to identify the view we are seeing.”

“Ah, I see what you mean. But what it means I really have no idea. Maybe it’s something you can bring up tonight when we get together. It could be that one of the others has some idea, and right now I think I’m going to get us something to eat. Be right back, we can eat here while we continue our search.” He then pushed back his chair got up and headed out the door. On his way out he asked. “Is there anything special you would like me to bring back?”

Without turning around and continuing her search she said absently. “No, no not really . . . surprise me.”

* * *

Sabryn and Star, because of their children, worked the facility around the areas of family living and schooling, while Staven and Seve concentrated on the areas that dealt with maintenance, and operation. Not that there would be a true chance of finding the area where the pack animals were kept, but there could easily be a reference to, or an alternate way, that could be located somewhere within the facility. Part of the reason for the search in these areas was to be able to say that they would have searched everything and covered every corner once they finished. And if in the end they came up empty, then there was a good chance that this idea of an alternate entrance was incorrect. “Whew! I think you just loaded your pants little one.” Star stated. “I guess we need to take a break here and change your pants.” Fortunately at the time they were close to what they had determined was the daycare area, and immediately headed that way. While there, Sabryn decided she would check her daughter’s diaper also. It probably would be a good time to feed them and put both down for a nap anyway. One of them would remain with the children and the other would move over to the terminals in the schoolroom and at least continue to search the files. “So Star, is everything going okay with you and Staven?”

“Yeah, no complaints. He helps where he can, but is a bit clumsy around the baby. But he’ll get better. Like all things it just takes practice – After all these things do not come with instructions. So it’s an on-the-job training type of thing. And as you know if you get it wrong, the boss here will let you know in no uncertain terms.”

Laughing she had to agree. If her child did not like what was going on she would let them know her displeasure immediately. “It’s funny how that works. You would think that because we are the parents that we would be the ones in charge. And that’s so far from the truth. Okay that’s done. I guess I’ll feed her now and then put her down, stay long enough to see her asleep, and then go do the searching – actually if both of them go to sleep, then we could prop this door open and both of us could work. How does that sound?”

“Like a good idea to me. But we’ll see if he will go down. At times it just seems like all he wants to do is go.” Starr responded, “But it doesn’t allow me to do much when he’s like that.”

* * *

It appears that Saar and Seirra have the security duty, and while there are searching the images created by the cameras that seem to be above this world, Seirra notices that there appears to be a series of numbers and letters associated with the images and asks if Saar knows what they are and what they mean. He doesn’t, and states he can remove them from the screen if they are distracting. Meanwhile Starr and Sabryn are looking into the archives specifically the ones for the educational section. It makes it easier to take care of their children. And as is usually the case when women get together their children and mates do come up in the conversation. Have a great week and God Bless! (http://www.fdbrant.com/)

A Celebration of Life

At the beginning of February we joined family and friends in the celebration of life for one who has passed away. It is during such celebrations that one learns, from the many who knew them, who and what this person represented to each individually, and how many lives she touched. (And one thing that became clear is that she really loved people.) For us as we go through our lives this is something we really don’t think much about. Here I mean the influences we may have left on individuals be it positive or negative. And here in such a setting we begin to see just who the one who passed away was and the many she did touch. If we think about it we play many roles during our lives. First off it is as a child having to deal with our parents and siblings – let alone that bully down the street. Then from that time on these roles grow to cover the many different aspects that is us. And many times at such ceremonies we learn about a different side or aspect of the one who has moved on that we were never aware of, and can be surprised by what is revealed. It is important to remember that for most of us those influences we leave behind are generally unknown to us, and sometimes these influences are seen from afar leaving us with no idea that we’ve left this legacy behind.

I believe that a little background is necessary, especially from one who came into this family from the outside. In other words I married into this family, as my wife married into mine. Still with her family, whenever family gatherings were held it would be at her brother’s home. And his wife Pam would be gracious, always smiling as the hoards would descend upon her home and chaos would reign supreme. So it became a tradition, and they had a pool, so the children loved to go there since they could swim to their heart’s content. Pam would interact with all of us, with that infectious smile of hers, and she always seemed to have a good word for any and all who would invade her home – in a good way of course. So we would always have fond memories of our time spent there.

What is it that makes a person this way? In many ways to find the answer is beyond me. If we had more like this woman, then there would be less strife, less commotion, less ill feelings, probably less demands, and maybe in the end a better world because of it. She, like the untold millions, will never be remembered beyond her family and friends, leaves a legacy that will be hard to follow or to live up to. No she’s not an angel or is she a perfect individual. Still what she had would give any of us a lofty goal to attain.

While this isn’t true of all men, most of us want to protect our women, and strive to do so. If we honestly think about it, because of the demands of the modern world, this protection is more of an illusion than fact. Because it requires both individuals in a relationship to work, it means a good portion of any day we are separated from our mates and then they are beyond that protection we want to provide. Still as the years pass by us, much too fast to be honest, we reach a point in our lives that we know that one of us will pass on before the other.

And if anything, the statistics show that it is the fact that women generally outlive men. So we, as men, try to make sure that if we are the first to pass on we leave our spouses in such a way that they won’t have to depend on others to make it through the day-to-day routine, and much of what is required will be taken care of and provided. And because her husband Dan, my brother-in-law, had almost died from the very same cancer years earlier, he felt – no, he knew he’d pass before she did. Only to learn, after doing everything necessary to make her time alone after he passed on, easy, it was not to be. It was discovered that she had a GBM, and it was already stage four. And two months later it took her life.

What can one say? What can one do? When all you have planned for, with the reality that you face knowing that it is you who will leave first only to learn you are completely wrong. Now it is he who is sitting in that lonely home after more than half a century of being together. How does one reconcile such a loss? At least for Dan, he has a loving family, and a rather large group of friends, who will continue to check in on him and assist him in his needs. And at times his home will be filled with the joy and laughter of his grandchildren – a blessing in itself. Yet on the other side of all of this will be the times when he will be alone, which are the toughest of all.

You see, when he learned of his cancer, none of his sons were married and if things held true he would not live to see any of his future grandchildren. And then within ten months all three were married, and as is the norm each added to the extended family, and he was able to enjoy those grandchildren. He was given the gift of seeing the future of his family, and the daughters-in-laws who joined his loving family. Since the cancer he has usually means that within two months he would succumb to the disease, in truth it is a miracle he’s still with us. In fact during the time of discovering the GBM he “flat-lined”. Yet here he is over six years later. Yes, all of us know that in the end it will take him for it is the nature of a GBM. It can only be suppressed and will return to finish what it started. There is no cure.

This leads one to think about the home they were living in as a loving couple and a family for all those wonderful years together. Any of us can relate to the fact that when we enter into someone’s home we can immediately sense the influences of the ones living there. Some homes invite you in making you immediately comfortable, and others leave you with the impression that the sooner one can leave the better. Theirs definitely is the former.

In the past I wrote a post dealing with a home, and how it goes through stages until sometime in its future it is replaced with something else. I looked at this from the point of view that when someone lives in that home it becomes a personal representation of them. And when you come to visit their history is there for you to see. And you know the warmth, the friendliness, and the love that is there. And I can say it is definitely here in their home. Still, sometime in the near future it will become empty as his time comes to an end as all of ours will someday.

Then, as family descends upon that home, with so many good and happy memories, slowly, as it is emptied of those keepsakes from the past, it will transform from a home to just a house, becoming vacant with nothing to remind any of all that has happened within its walls. Nothing to talk to any of the love, and joy that was there. No history of the past. At this point it becomes a blank slate waiting for a new family, and new memories to created. We all know it as the circle of life.

So what can really be said here other than the fact that we will see this happening right here in their loving home. When we are in the present, and we all live in the present, even with our ability to remember our past and attempt to see our future, this is something that is furthest from our minds. We love the time together as a loving couple, as a family and with friends. And at those special times we let the future become what it may. And then suddenly that future is the reality we are facing, and you see your loved one pass on ahead of you. And in most cases it is much too soon. Yet, in the end, all of us are only given so much time here. And the lesson we should take away from all of this is the fact that the most precious commodity we have, and we seem to do a great job of wasting it, is time. From what little I knew of her, Pam, like the rest of us, probably did waste a lot of time, but in the end before her time ended, she saw her children grow into responsible loving adults, and she absolutely loved her extended family and the growing family filling her home with the laughter of her grandchildren. And from her interaction, with that infectious smile, she held every one of these young lives in her loving arms. What will those same grandchildren’s memories of her be, well only they can say. Still from the images left for the future generations I’m sure it will be fond loving memories of their grandmother.

In this we cannot forget the adding of three women to the family, which had to be a nice addition for Pam since she had been surrounded by four males making her the minority. So to finally balance it out had to be wonderful for her. To have other women who became family must have filled her heart with joy. And for her the transition seemed effortless. Still, from what I can determine even towards the end you could see the love she had for her family.

And in the end we, in our time, will follow a similar path leaving memories of us with our family and friends. I guess the obvious question here is this: What will those memories of any of us be when it is our time? It is said that we die twice. The first time is our physical passing, and the second is when all who knew and loved us have joined us. At that point there is no one to remember or to know who we were. May it be for Pam, and Dan – when his time comes – that this second one will be a long time in the future. They truly deserve these loving memories. God Bless!

Published in: on March 25, 2017 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Big Brother is Alive and Well

The Harsh Lands is available as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5), for Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW), or in the EPub format (ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9). This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Personal thoughts and opinions:

First, let me state that this is my “between chapters” post before moving on to chapter ten from the novel Time of Isolation. This term “Big Brother”, became known and popular from the novel “1984” by George Orwell. It projected a future where the government controlled all including everything in one’s personal life. And any of the news organizations, and such were also controlled by the same – sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it. In a sense this Orwellian society exists today in many of the communist nations. It began to rear its ugly head here in the  USA as the government placed the Constitution in the “unimportant and useless” category and decided that they knew better. Thusly burying their citizens in an unimaginable quagmire of new laws and regulations, to include the monitoring of the internet, phones, and any other electronic device to further control and restrict what the average citizen could do.

Now this sounds like I’m heading into this direction and will continue to talk about the government, but this isn’t true. This is about what Big Brother is and how it applies to today. And in reality to make such work it must be sold to the citizens as something positive – something they can’t live without. And here I saw this very thing happening as corporations pushed a product in such a way that I’m sure they sold millions of them. To the ones who purchased these coveted products I’m sure they never realized the can of worms or Pandora’s box, that they just opened.

Okay, what does Big Brother do? In the book he exists in every home, in every apartment, in other words everywhere,  and can never be shut down, or can one ever escape his watchful eye, making the secret police, the KGB, or any other state police system seem like a child’s game. In the book it meant there was no way to escape his watchful eyes or ears. And one never knew if they were under some investigation, or being watched. In many ways the movie Minority Report, shows the same dystopian society where every part of your life is tracked and recorded. And with the technology of today this is something that is easy to do. So this leads to the question: Have you helped make it easier to keep track of you and your family? If you have a smart phone, and most do now days, then the answer is yes. All smart phones have GPS which means the phone must know where it is otherwise it is useless – other than as a phone. And if this is the case, your location is known at any time.

Then this holiday season I began to see items advertised that moved all of this one step closer to “Big Brother”. So how many of you purchased these devices? You know, the ones that sit unobtrusively on a table and simply listens, then answers your questions?  Just an idle question you ask? Think about it. You’ve just let large corporations into your private home. And as the little device sits there innocently taking up space, it listens to everything that is said in your household. And for most of us it’s something we wouldn’t even consider. So in a positive light and with your eyes wide open you purchased “Big Brother”, and enthusiastically brought him into your home.

It is already known that without our knowledge that webcams can be remotely operated giving no sign that they are even on or being used. And because so much now goes through the internet, our computers, phones, and devices are always connected. Meaning that at any time any of these large corporations, and the government to be truthful, want to spy on you and what you are doing, our modern world makes it easy.

While much of what is available helps us in our daily busy lives, it’s the unintended consequences of all of this “help” or assistance that we need to be aware of. Like those viruses, and spyware that we have software to protect us from, we need to be more aware of the consequences of all of these convenient devices and the negative effects they can produce. Think, Enemy of the State, where technology is used against a citizen, (Yes it’s a little over the top).

Remember that we don’t lose our freedoms or privacy in large chunks. It’s always small bits and pieces until we look back and realize that it’s all gone, and there’s no way of going back. Because, in this world, what we lose is never returned. While this is just one person’s opinion, I hope that if nothing else, it makes you think. God Bless, and have a great week! (www.fdbrant.com)

The Ornament

Again I’m announcing the release of the novel, The Harsh Lands – The Complete Survival Trilogy. Available as either a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5) or an EBook for the Kindle (ASIN: B01N69YCCW).

It is Christmas Eve day, and I am opening this post with two links. This first link is for a simple Christmas wish and a link to a YouTube video which represents the season, and one that I personally believe does a wonderful job.  https://windmillsmetaphor4writing.wordpress.com/2014/12/25/a-christmas-wish/

This second link refers back to the Christmas short story I wrote for 2014. And if this is the first time to this blog I need to warn you that these look more in the direction of the way others might experience this time of year. After all, not everybody is as blessed as we. So this story and the links I’ve provided to my past Christmas short stories all reflect this other side. Think of a recently released Disney animated short titled, The Match Girl, (And this short story that’s linked here is actually my personal favorite).

https://windmillsmetaphor4writing.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/and-it-came-to-pass/

This year my Christmas story is a bit different. Actually the subject was suggested by my wife, and I thought it was a great idea. Still if I was to go back many years to the small church we were members of, (long before I met my wife) for one Christmas we, (my family and I) wrote a play that would be presented to the congregation. The simple premise of the play had to deal with the idea of, What if someone never heard of Christmas, and why it is important. Now I could go into how we did this, but that’s unimportant. Because if we think about it, with the way the world presently is, the Christmas story would be known to most. And let’s just say that the play was well received and enjoyed. And before you ask, no we have no copies as they were lost along with everything to the wildfires of 2003.

So when I began this story it has much of the same ideas and direction. Now if we want to be honest, we have a tendency to attach personalities to inanimate objects all the time. And even, at times, have imaginary conversations with these things. So with the above thoughts, and our tendencies, I decided to write this from the perspective of an ornament. And through the eyes of this inanimate object we become privy to one family, and learn the true meaning of Christmas. And with this introduction, I present this year’s Christmas story, The Ornament:

She came running up to the display where I sat. And I could see the sparkle in her eyes, and a soul full of merriment and excitement for the time of year. She can’t be more than five, I thought, and probably a bit younger. In the distance I could see the one who had to be her father coming to collect her. It became obvious to me that somehow in the hustle and bustle that she had escaped his watchful eye. In the distance I could see the one who must have been her mother as she stayed with the shopping cart. In that cart sat an infant, plus one more that had to between this one standing before me and that baby in age.

If I could smile, I probably would have. But, I am of glass, made to look like a shining silver star with a slight gold tint. Like the one that could have been the one announcing the arrival of another child over two thousand years ago. With the bright lights I shown brightly, reflecting that light from the many facets that is a part of me . . . Just the thing to catch a child’s eyes, but much too delicate for them to handle. I heard him, the one who had to be her father, say, “Come on honey, mama’s waiting for the two of us and we still have much to do. Plus, you know, if we have time, we need to go over and see your grandmother today.”

She answered excitedly, “But daddy . . . look! Isn’t it pretty?”

He took a quick look that said to me that he really hadn’t, and nodded to her. “Yes, yes it is. Now please come back. There are lots of strangers in the store, and it would be easy for you to get lost.” With that he grabbed her hand and pulled her gently in the direction where the rest of the family awaited.

I could see that she resisted, reluctant to leave, but it was also obvious that she really wouldn’t disobey and with her head down, said quietly, “Yes daddy.” She quickly looked up at him and back at the display where I was and she said with hope, “Can we get one of the stars? Please?”

I could tell from his reaction that this wasn’t the first thing she had asked for in the shopping center, and it was also obvious that with the crowds that his nerves were on edge. He simply said, “Look, as I said, we have a lot more to do here today. And if we still have time, and you’re not tired, we can come back, okay?”

She stopped for a moment, and then looked back to me with a big smile and said, “We will be back, and then I can take you home with me and put you on our Christmas tree.”

I thought that it would be something which wouldn’t happen. With so many bright and shiny things to draw the attention of one so young, she would forget and it would simply be a brief memory for me . . . but I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, with as many who had looked and with the crowds there was a great possibility that some other person or child would pick me and I’d become part of their personal family and history. Yet, as the day moved on, and many of my brothers were chosen, I remained. Why, who knows, I surely didn’t. Still it must have been providence, or whatever word you like, for me to remain.

With the time of year all the stores remained open late, but even so eventually they would close down for the day. After all, the ones who worked here had families of their own, and they deserved to return to them at the day’s end. It was close to closing, and the crowds in the stores had thinned when suddenly in the distance I saw them. To be surprised was an understatement. I could see the weariness in the parents. I mean think about it. Running all day through the many stores with young children who would become overly tired and cranky as it is called, besides all the crowds. Well, I’d give it to them. I really felt they’d have gone home a long time ago, probably stopping off and picking up something to eat so nothing had to be prepared once they got home. And I honestly suspect the children – all three of them – would be fast asleep from that ride home.

With that big smile on her face she pulled a reluctant father back over to the display where I remained. I could see by his reaction that he was surprised that I was still here, and I suspect that he had promised his daughter that if I was still available that yes, they would buy it for her. So with care he lifted her up and she carefully picked me up and gently carried me back to their shopping cart where I became part of the many items. I guess I was to be a part of this family and only this family and thusly why I hadn’t been picked earlier in this day. As we wheeled out into the parking lot I could feel the fresh cold air as all the numerous bags of treasure were placed into the trunk of their car. But, she wanted to hold me and so her father carefully dug me out and had her sit in the car, followed by safely being strapped in before he handed me to her.

I looked up and saw the excitement in her eyes, but she yawned so I suspected she’d be asleep soon. Still before we really got on the road to where they lived they pulled into a drive-thru and ordered their dinner. She carefully placed me on the seat between her and the baby. She quietly admonished the baby to “not touch”, and happily grabbed the burger, fries, and drink, and began to eat them telling me all about her day. And as we headed down the road I could see that she was trying hard to stay awake. But the food, the excitement of the day, plus the quiet droning of the car was winning, and as hard as she tried, she lost the battle and soon was sound asleep as were her siblings. I saw the mother look back and smile a loving smile and say something to her husband, where he whispered something back. And by the lateness of the hour I felt they would be heading home instead of going over “to grandmother”.

I really couldn’t see out from where I sat but I could see that the side windows were frosted telling me it wasn’t warm and soon I heard a change as we pulled off the interstate and onto the side roads. I could hear the windshield wipers rhythmically slapping the car as they cycled trying to keep the windshield clean and clear. Eventually the car slowed even more and then pulled into a driveway where it stopped. They left the car running with the heater on and one of the parents left and I guess unlocked their door to the home where they lived. Then one by one they took the children inside. Yet before they could take the little girl she awakened slightly reached down and picked me up hugging me to her breast and then her father carried her inside with the mother locking up the car and following behind.

They took her to her room, got her into her night clothes – you know those pajamas with the footsies – had her take care of the bathroom routine and tucked her in her bed. Looking up she reached out and hugged her father saying, “I love you daddy.” For which he smiled a tired smile saying, “And I love you too sweetheart.” At this point he handed me to her since it was obvious she wasn’t going to let me go. At this point she snuggled down deeper under her covers, sighed a contented sigh, and was almost instantly asleep. I could see from where I was that he smiled a loving smile, making sure she was tucked in, and quietly left the room, turning out the light and closing the door. Still there was a nightlight so the room wasn’t dark. I knew they – the parents – still had to unload the car, plus all the other responsibilities they had to do before they would retire. I thought about this sleeping child where I remained. Yes to be young and innocent, to not understand what the world really is, to think what little I see and understand to be the real world, and feel safe knowing I’m loved, such a wonderful thing.

I knew as he put her daughter down for the night that she, her mother would be doing the same thing for the middle child and I suspect that together they’d get the baby to bed before heading out and finishing the night. Yet, for me it simply is a guess since here I am in this bedroom with the one who’d chosen me.

* * *

It was the next day and for a while I remained in her bedroom. It seemed she had much to do and at this time it didn’t involve me. I guess it is the standard stuff, but you must remember I hadn’t been around such before. I learned she had to go to the bathroom, take a quick bath after getting out of her pajamas, and from the laughter and splashing I could tell she, and later I learned her younger brother had a good time playing in the water. From where I was I heard screams of laughter as the sounds got closer to her bedroom and she ran into her room with her mom close on her heals. She jumped on the bed naked as a jay bird, as the saying goes, throwing the towel she had with her on the floor. I could see her mother shaking her head, even though she had a smile on her face. “Okay, little one, it’s time for you to get dressed and then we need to go downstairs and have breakfast.” It was quiet for a moment as the mother appeared to be listening and whatever she heard caused her to shake her head again.

At this point she turned around and went to the door and yelled down the hallway. “I have this one, you take care of your son, and then we can all head downstairs and get some food.” Whatever the answer brought laughter to the lips of the mother. She turned around and her daughter was still on the bed daring her to make her get dressed, but in a fun way as there was a sparkle and challenge in those eyes. I could see that this was a familiar game the two played and with much tickling of the daughter and laughter from both of them the mother finally got the girl dressed, had her sit on the bed as she brushed her damp hair, and again it was obvious this young one didn’t really like having her hair brushed.

Soon they disappeared downstairs and for the longest time I knew nothing and could hear nothing. Then she ran back into her room came over to where I was and carefully picked me up and said, “It’s time. I get to put you on our Christmas tree!” When we left her room I could hear, in the distance, what sounded like music – Christmas songs and such. And as we reached the stairs where I could look down I found a room transformed from what I remembered from the previous night. There was garland interwoven in the railing of the stairs, and a big green tree in the middle of what they call the living room. And it was obvious that much time and care had been given to decorating this Christmas tree with lights, bobbles, globes and so much more. But at this moment there wasn’t anything placed on the top, the place of honor.

It was at that moment I realized that this was to be my place. To be the one on top of the tree and to look down on all that existed here. If I were a living thing I probably would have glowed and been filled with pride for such an honored place. I watched as she handed me to her father who then carefully unpacked me from the packing that protected me from being broken. I could see the impatience on her face as he took his time. Looking up I could almost see a hidden smile saying to me that he was deliberately being slow, while watching her and her impatience. Finally when he could tell that she had almost reached her end he handed me over. She reverently took me in her two small hands as her father lifted her up and with care she placed me in this place of honor. She studied me for a few moments, made a slight adjustment and then told her daddy she was done. He carefully set her down and tickled her a little bit getting the expected giggle.

He looked down and asked. “So what do you think?”

“Oh I think the star is won-der-ful, and just right!”

I could tell that the big word was something she said with some difficulty, but I could also see that she was proud that she could say it. I watched from my high perch and he looked up and appeared to be studying me and where I was, paused, looked down, and I could see that she was waiting for his approval. At this point he crouched down so he could be eye to eye with her. He simply said, “Yes, I agree.” At this point they turned on the lights and the Christmas tree shown in its own splendor.

* * *

The days flew by and I could see, as the days passed, the children, at the least the two older ones, were becoming more and more excited. As to the whys I really didn’t understand then. Still there was a routine to what happened in the house, and I fell into this feeling comfortable with the love I felt here. Then one night they left – all of them – and this was different. Yet it had become obvious that something important was about to happen. I heard something about going over to the children’s grandparents as it was a tradition they did every Christmas Eve.

Now I knew that I had been created for this time of the season, but really didn’t understand the significance of what it represented. In fact it took a few seasons for me to put it all together, and then it all made sense. It represented a time of giving. And while it appeared to be a magical time for the children, it really was much more serious than it appeared. It was a couple of conversations the parents had that finally put it all in perspective. This time of the year represented the ultimate gift – God bringing man back to Him through the gift of His Son. This led to the understanding of the gifts magically appearing under that tree. That same tree where I sat on top, but I’m getting ahead of myself since this is the first year or season I became a part of their tradition.

The house was quiet and seemed empty while all of them were gone. And while the lights that lit the tree were normally on at this time, they weren’t at this moment, and a soft glow from the hallway light was all that could be seen. It was hours later when I heard the car park in the driveway and the key open the lock. This was followed by the daughter being carried in by her father sort of half asleep. She looked over at the tree and me, and I could make out that huge smile of hers as I could see she was anticipating something. Again what this was all about I hadn’t a clue. Her father carried her up the stairs and I suspected to her room, then returned and with a practiced routine returned with the son with the mother carrying the baby.

The next hour or so seemed to be involved in getting the three to bed and tucked in for the night. Then they came downstairs and went into the kitchen where they turned on the light, made some coffee, and sat quietly and talked. It seemed, to me, that all was right with the world at this moment. I heard the chairs scrape the floor as they were pushed back and I watched the parents head upstairs. I thought they would go to bed also, but I was oh so wrong. I heard them whisper something and then, as if by magic, many wonderfully wrapped gifts appeared under the tree. I noticed, for the first time that a plate had been left out and there appeared to be some cookies on it with some kind of note propped up. And like the gifts appearing, the cookies magically disappeared, and a new note replaced the one that had been left. Then it was quiet, quiet until just before dawn.

I thought I heard a creaking of the floor, and I saw her quietly come down the stairs wide-eyed and full of wonder. She carefully looked at all that was there – all the brightly wrapped gifts and presents. She tentatively picked up a couple. If it had been lighter in that room I probably would have seen that huge smile, and probably impatience. I suspected that she had to wait until everybody was up, and right at this moment she knew she was the only one. So she went over and sat in one of the big chairs and tried to wait. Again, it was obvious she was too excited to be able to sit still. So she headed into the kitchen, and kind of walked around trying to make that old clock go faster, but nothing seemed to work.

I could see that she thought, a couple of times, that she heard someone moving upstairs, but each time it turned out to be nothing. Eventually, and it was still before dawn, she saw her brother at the top of the stairs rubbing his eyes and looking like he had just awakened. She looked up at him and whispered he needed to be quiet, and come down and see what Santa had left them. So, with care, taking one step at a time, he came down, and I saw that incredulous look that said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Now taking on the role of her mom she told him he could look but that’s all, until momma and daddy came down to join them. Now I had two impatient kids waiting and it was obvious it seemed to be killing them.

Eventually I heard the coffee machine begin its daily ritual of making coffee. This only heightened the anticipation for the children as they knew their parents would put in an appearance shortly and then they could find out what awaited them behind all that beautiful wrapping paper. Yet, as I learned this day, they had a family tradition where fresh cinnamon rolls would be baked, and with coffee for the parents and milk for the children, they would gobble the food down before the father would become the official gift giver as he would look to each package, read the name on it and hand it to the new owner. And they had to wait until all of those wonderful gifts were piled in front of them. Then they’d each open one and show all what they got, and continue until all of them were open.

I could see from the squeals of excitement, and the joy that these items they received were loved things, and soon with Christmas music playing in the background, each child began playing with their new treasures, and quietly, since there had been gifts exchanged between the parents, it was time to clean up all the torn and beautiful wrapping paper, plus all the boxes these gifts came in. And as the morning progressed I began to see yawns on the young ones, and with urging from mom and dad, they took their gifts to their bedrooms and soon it was quiet. I saw the mother and father look at each other and smile. For a while it would be quiet and they could relax before working to put together that final Christmas meal that they all would share later that evening.

And then, it was over. As a new year dawned everything got packed away including me. So until it became that time of year once again, I would know nothing of what happened with the family. Again that is the way it should be since I am to shine during that special time of year. Still this isn’t the end of the story. I guess we could say so but that leaves so much out, and so much that is important. Still I have to admit that very first Christmas that I participated and remembered will always be special to me. But I digress and it’s time to continue . . .

Now I feel that it’s important that I cover that first Christmas season in much detail, but to continue to do so really would make no sense. Yet I remained an important part of the family for years to come. I watched the change in the little girl as she grew. And each year she became less and less of a child, until she became what her parents called a pre-teen. I began to notice a change and while she still placed me in the position of honor on the top of the tree, it seemed to be more of a chore instead of a privilege. Still all things change, and believe it or not even me. I now had a few scratches, nicks, and such even with the careful handling. Still I could feel the love in this house and the care they gave to everyone and everything.

Then one year a few after this one she was gone, and only her brothers were home. I found that the mother and father now placed me on top of the tree, and the two boys helped with the rest of the tree. Yet, once again, I could feel the changes that were in the air. I didn’t know what to attribute these changes to, but realized it had to be because the young ones were no longer young. And then all the children were gone and it was only the two. And while I could feel the love, it seemed the magic was gone.

It was during this time that the children would show up for an evening – not all, all of the time – before returning to wherever they lived. I realized that the ones who lived here, well, their hair had turned gray, and they seemed to move a bit slower. It surprised me that so much time had passed. Then in the middle of one of those years, where I normally remained packed safely away, a new change happened. Suddenly I, with everything in this house, was packed away and this house with so many happy memories became empty. The mom and dad moved away from this home and into something much smaller. I guess it made sense because they really had no need of all that space.

It felt strange that first Christmas in this new place. I knew nothing about or of it. It was then I realized that when the children came to visit, that they had children of their own, and of course soul mates – all beginning a new tradition for each new family. And it was then I found that I was removed from the tree top and given to the daughter, the one who originally spied and wanted me so long in the past. So I left this home and went to a new place. I saw, as I was carefully packed into the car that she rode while her husband drove. I heard the sounds of a baby, and knew I would be seeing another family grow.

* * *

And yes I did. I watched as the magic returned and her four children grow, and like when she left I saw her family leave. And on a sad note I also knew that her parents had passed making her the matriarch of her family, as well as her younger brother who became the patriarch. And, for whatever the reason, it seemed that none of her children were interested in me – those two girls, and two boys. Yet, as I had seen it happen to her parents, I saw the gray beginning, and suddenly she was alone as she lost her soul mate. It had been just before Christmas, and while I ended up on her small tree, I could tell it was a sad time for her.

* * *

And yes, life goes on, and I got to see it renewed as her children found loved ones and had children of their own. It meant that most likely that I would see an end to my beginning, to see the one who had chosen me so long ago join her parents, and her husband, but again that is life. Yet, before I witnessed any of this, one of her granddaughters fell in love with me, and I could see, while the one who had chosen me so long ago was reluctant, she passed me on to her granddaughter. Where I became special and once again held the place of honor . . .

Yes, I wondered what happened to my brothers who had become part of other families, but this is something I will never know. Still, I consider myself blessed with all I’ve seen in those snapshots each and every Christmas. I learned of love, and what it meant, and what it does. I learned the importance of family and the ties that keep them together. And I learned of the true reason for this time of year. So as an ornament what more could I ask, other than to continue being a part of something so great. God Bless, and Merry Christmas!

 

The Harsh Lands, Available in November

theharshlandsWith chapter eight “in the books” so to speak and with chapter nine beginning next week, it’s time to present the “between chapters” post. And here I thought I’d talk about the next novel I’m releasing. The title of this novel is, The Harsh Lands. This novel is actually a trilogy all in one book. The name of the trilogy is Survival and consists of the three books I’ve been listing, and for which these posts have been originating from. In other words this first novel, Time of Isolation, is the novel the chapters I’ve been presenting here are coming from, and is the first in this trilogy. And no there are no plans of presenting the other two novels here at this time.

For this release I’ve gone completely through all three novels. I’ve updated and revised all of them. Originally books one and two were released back in 2012, with the third in 2014. In the past all my releases were exclusively EBooks, but not everyone prefers their reading materials this way, and I can understand that. I prefer hardcopy, (in reality paperback is my preferred choice) myself. Still when one is on vacation where reading may be one of the planned activities E-Readers allow you to pack as many as you like and only require that one small device. So there are advantages to both. And with future releases I’ll be including paperbacks with those EBooks, other than this one as the page count is too high to allow using POD (Print on Demand). And when I have the release date I’ll be posting it here on this blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and my webpage, http://www.fdbrant.com.

I’m a self-publisher, so all the costs, all the aspects of producing the final copy falls to me. There are obvious advantages, and disadvantages to doing it this way. First off, by being an indie author I don’t have the sources, or resources to run a full advertising campaign, or even the expertise to be honest. And I must incur all the costs, planning, and releases myself. And with the amount of new material being published every year to even become known is next to impossible. It has been stated that there are over a million new publications added each and every year. That’s a lot. So this means that with this amount of new material out there for someone like me to even be seen or become known is next to impossible (Not that this prevents me from trying).

Yes, there are many (probably too many) sources out on the net, and in the world to assist one in reaching their goals (for a price of course). And one of the things that is finite for most of us, and more so for an indie author, unless he or she has been one of the lucky few who happened to hit the right trend and their works were discovered, is finances. Money is pretty much nonexistent. And what you have you must be so careful as to where and how you spend it. For example my costs at this point for this release, and I’m far from done with these costs, is around $1000. And I don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around and spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

This is why I use as many free services as I can, such as this blog on the Wordpress side that costs me nothing. In truth I probably  wouldn’t be here, or on Facebook, or have a Twitter account, other than the fact that these are the only real avenues and sources I have to present to the world what I have available, and is out there. Yes, I maintain a webpage, and this isn’t free. I pay for the use of the server that my  site is on, and like on your home computer must maintain antivirus software which has an additional cost. Still I am responsible for the creation, and maintenance of that webpage. Again I cannot afford to pay a webpage designer to create and maintain my  site. This makes me, as the old phrase goes,” head cook and bottle washer”. It means that I must be, “A jack of all trades”.

As I have said in the past my writing style is, “meanwhile back at the ranch”, and according to the story the novels can be chapter, as this one, timeline, as in The Woman in the Snow, or episodic, as in the yet to be released, Unexpected, Unplanned, and into the Unknown. With, The Harsh Lands, my plan was to have it released by the end of October, but due to some minor technical issues it has been delayed. And for whatever the reason, many of my novels seem to end up being released in November, and with the delays I’ve faced with this one, it will be same.

Okay, enough on this. Since this worked out as I hoped, I’m including the cover image with this post so you will know what to look for. If Time of Isolation has been something you’ve enjoyed so far, then the complete trilogy is for you. Yes, I know, I’m a bit prejudicious since I wrote the trilogy, but I feel the story gets better as you continue through the series. In fact in the second novel you get up close and personal with the primitives. You learn of their world, their beliefs, their society, and actually the reason for their attacking the hidden cities. And yes we continue to follow all of the people from the first novel as they continue to face all those impossible odds, problems, and the truths they’ve learned.

Oh, I guess I should say that the overall length of this novel, the combined Survival Trilogy, is over 1150 pages, if it is a paperback. For whatever the reason an EBook has a smaller page count. Enough to cover a long weekend where one wants to read a good book. And again, personally, I think it is! And I’ll close this out with the back cover blurb. Still if you’ve been reading the story as it has been presented here in this blog, you already know what it states:

Their history spoke of a great war where their ancestors had left their lands, and created their hidden cities, deep inside the desolation. A place where no one could live let alone the tribes or clans. This great war returned the survivors outside the desolation to a primitive state. The primitives to this day continue to fight among themselves, with no apparent knowledge of their true advanced past. And because of the harsh lands where the cities dwell, they felt safe with their advances and their illusions. The cities knew they’d remain untouched, unknown, and undiscovered. Yet, something has changed and cities have gone silent. No warning, no sense of impending doom or disaster. Is it a natural catastrophe? Or is it something more . . .

And with this above stated blurb, this post, the presentation of Time of Isolation, within this blog, and the cover, this is the introduction to this release in the genre of science fiction adventure – the complete Survial trilogy that actually covers over a millennia of time. The Harsh Lands, a story of survival and triumph over overwhelming odds. A story where the unknown past becomes known. And with this revelation it changes all their lives forever. Have a great week, and God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

Published in: on November 12, 2016 at 7:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Time of Change

Personal opinion:

At least that’s what is supposed to happen every four years in the USA. A time when a new president is voted into office and one-third of the senate rolls over. It is also a time where many local issues find their way onto the ballots, including such things as tax increases that must be put before the people before such can be implemented. Unfortunately the political machine in this country has become so huge, and has been on “the take” for so long that what we see is cronyism in the Nth degree. So whoever ends up in the presidency or has ended their time there it is “no change and business as usual”. And with corruption running rampant in Washington D. C. it is of no surprise that the laws of the land are ignored – namely the U S Constitution.

I doubt that one could find too many politicians anywhere, (here and in the world) who could be considered honest, and aren’t “on the take”, lining their own pockets at the cost of their citizens. We see nonexistent borders, (here in the USA) that are more porous than a sieve. And a government that makes sure these illegal immigrants have all the rights of citizens including the right to vote. They support them with welfare, SSI, Social Security, and cater to their wants and needs over the rights of their citizens. In fact it has been shown that if you add up all the freebies these illegals receive they’d have a salary of over $30 an hour, while most Americans struggle to pay their monthly bills.

We see laws passed that are completely against the Constitution. Such things as Obama Care – A Ponzi scheme so huge that it is killing this country. A President, who is more of a dictator, who has far exceeded the limitations of his office, changing laws and bills when they come to his desk, because they weren’t the way he wanted them to be. Where, and by the Constitution, he must either sign the bill into law or reject and send it back. We have seen the office of the presidency used to illegally sell weapons to the Mexican cartels, with this attempt to undermine the second amendment, and so many other illegal activities and dealings that are far too numerous to list here. Enough that if the congress did what they were supposed to do, in other words their job, then he would be impeached and in jail for his crimes. This president’s actions make Watergate look like a walk in the park on a quiet Sunday afternoon in comparison. And with the Watergate scandal the president resigned! If we were to compare what we are seeing to any of the communist countries existing now or in the past we would truly see very little difference, as regulations and restrictions continue to rise.

Of course I cannot leave the media out of this since they have more power to influence the outcome of any of these elections, and they take special care to ensure their chosen candidate is the one who is elected. Since most major news services are owned by large corporations or international conglomerates, they have a desire to have candidates and elected officials who are favorable to their way of thinking in office. It only makes sense, to them, to be sure that what is presented to the public favors their choice, and defames the challenger, so they can keep the status quo. What ever happened to reporting the news and facts honestly? Whatever happened to answering the basic questions to get to those facts? You know “who, what, where, when, why”, things like that. Now it’s, “Let’s see how we can spin this so that we can get the maximum benefit out of this and to hell with the truth.” Pravda is probably more honest.

You know, I wonder what the different governments, (city, county, state, and federal) do with those taxes they ask for every time there’s an election? There’s always a demand for the educational system, for some special project, or because they need to cover this or that special program or debt. All of us must live within our means, within the monies we have available, or face bankruptcy. Yet our government, whether it is local, county, state or federal, cannot seem to do this. It is time we, as citizens, reject any and all tax increases. I truthfully haven’t seen a raise in my personal income, and must live on what I bring home even though prices continue to rise, causing the “belt” to be tightened. Our numerous governments must do the same and quit asking or demanding more. Soon it will simply be this: “How much do you earn? Send it!”

The two candidates, this time around, have widened the gulf and division among the citizens, (Not that the existing president hasn’t done the same, because he has) as we look at a non-politician on one side, and a die-hard politician on the other. And while I could give my opinion and the reasons why, I’m not here to start a wildfire, which would be the result. I can only  say this: If the election goes one way we, as a people, as a nation, will have lost, and this nation will be on its way to obscurity, suppression, and the unavailability of goods and services. Our individual freedoms will become no more than tendrils of smoke vanishing into thin air of a cold December morning. Suppression will be on the rise, and that Constitution will be no more than pieces of paper with some words on them with no meaning.   We will lose everything our forefathers fought and died for. I believe that we are down to our final opportunity or chance of saving this republic and the U S Constitution. If it goes one way all our chances will have been used up and the existing corruption will rise to unprecedented levels and what this country was will be a distant and past memory where the ones living in this country will be saying, “Oh yeah, I remember when . . . when we had a chance, but we ignored it, and now there’s never going be a way of going back – ever.”

The sad thing is that this country, this nation, is the last one to embrace the principles of citizen rights, and at this time we are on a slippery slope that has predators at the bottom just waiting for the moment to take us down. I’ve heard, in the past, a statement that said that one can equate or compare life, and the world, to the game of football. In the game the object simply is to get the ball across the goal line, and because of this whoever has the ball becomes the target. And so it is in life. If you have that ball, everyone is after you. And this applies to nations also. And when you look at recent history it has been this country carrying the ball, and the way things have gone is the result of the rest wanting to bring us down, and become the ball carriers. And there are many within this nation whose only interest is to destroy what we have, and many of them are our elected officials. And while history may show that nations have been destroyed by forces outside, many times, before this happened, it was what preceded this destruction, a weakening within that led to the nation becoming vulnerable, and as a result became an easy target for invasion and being conquered. We are so very close to this time here.

So all of us in this country – this nation be careful. Be so very careful. Because it will be this time when future generations will look back and either say, “What were they thinking? They had a chance to save and keep their country, keep their nation great, but gave it away.” Or will they say. “Look it really was a close thing. It could have gone either way, but they stepped up to the challenge and saved their nation.” So which will it be? Will we lose it all, or will we wake up in time to save our nation from the fall that is closer than you think. And hold the vote counters accountable for it has been shown that corruption is high here. Let alone software that has been available for a long time that can go in and change the votes that have been cast to whatever the politicians want. (And if you think this last point is fictitious I can provide a link of  testimony before congress giving these facts before a congressional committee.) All of this is in yours and my hands. Do we go status quo and lose this nation, or do we find the courage to bring this nation back to its roots? God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

 

Time of Isolation, End of Chapter 2

Once again before I begin this week’s post I’d like to state that this is the last chance to view, and if you like, to nominate the novel, Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown. The Kindle Scout campaign is now at its end. Please follow the link and check it out. Again, I thank all who have read the excerpt, and those who plan to.  https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/QINQQURWHJS3

Last week I stated that it can be scary looking back are one’s earlier writings, and this is quite true. Yet, at the same time it can be satisfying when I read it once again now years later. Personally (no surprise here), even after all this time I find it to be a good story that doesn’t sit still but continues to move at a good pace.  There are a number of characters introduced and you simply learn who they are by what they do. No going into; well this is what she or he does. It’s kind of like when we go into an office and can tell the position of somebody by where they are. When you do this there is no knowledge beforehand, only what you learn on the fly, and that’s life. And it should be reflected in novels since they do have a tendency to mirror life.

Between the end of last week’s post dealing with the first half of chapter two, to this week’s post presenting the last half of the chapter (again the early chapters are short in comparison to how I write now, and later in this same book) there is a natural break which isn’t reflected here but is in the actual novel. So if the shift seems abrupt it’s simply because that break isn’t obvious here. I use the standard three stars to show this kind of break. There are instances where there’s an additional space added to show a simple time break.

So last week we find the secretary to the council leader finding himself completely out of his element. First off once he’s entered this new area (to him) he finds he’s uncomfortable. From here it goes from bad to worse as he leaves the city behind and enters this simulated wilderness, and with it being night making the area appear to be more ominous. Then he’s abandoned by the one who brought him into the living area. This is bad enough, at least he feels that way until he meets the leader, and finds he’s an open book to this one who then throws him further off-balance. His natural reaction (besides being defensive) is to get away from here as quickly as manners will allow. Yet he has a job to do, but isn’t sure he can succeed. Almost giving up he finally is able to give the leader what he needs to return with him. And it is here where we left off. So with this brief introduction, (Brief? Really?), is the end to Chapter Two:

Back at his cabin now after being with the head council member all night, he remembered that as he had begun his walk to the council chambers if the quoting of such a high emergency color had been appropriate. After all, there was only one color higher and that was black. Between blue and yellow there were also two others with green being the one just above blue, and brown just below yellow. White was all clear, and red the first towards emergencies. So the order began with white, then red, blue, green, brown, yellow, and finally black. When Sione brought him up to date as to what had been happening he knew that it could have been very easy for this Sione to have used the final emergency color, yet, by not doing so showed him that maybe this councilperson might actually have some common smarts. Something that appeared to be lacking in most politicians and one of the many reasons he normally tried to avoid them.

Four cities gone! What had happened? At least this Sione knew who to turn to, to find out. He and his teams were the only ones equipped to live outside the cities, and having heard that his teams were the last to exist in any of the cities left him sad. Had the cities progressed so far in both their ego and ignorance to think that something like this could never happen? The answer was obvious to him, yes. Now it would fall on him and his teams to try and find out what was going on, and who was responsible. He suspected by the way they disappeared that it had something to do with the primitive tribes. Somehow through a failure or something similar one of the cities became known, and once known was then destroyed. And if some of the tribes had united, these combined tribes would be a force to reckon with. Since they had to survive in the wilderness, and the many skirmishes that happened continually between them, they were a strong wily enemy, while the cities would be a weak easy target. Once a tribe got beyond the outer defenses then the rest would fall quick with barely a whimper. This enemy would barely raise a sweat. Then by seeing how the cities were hidden, these primitives would seek out other such areas. And each time one was found they would learn more and it would become easier. In truth the facts supported this. There had been a large amount of time between the disappearance of the first city and the second. But then the times became shorter and shorter as the third and fourth city vanished.

It was time to bring in his second and then get some sleep. He knew with the information that he had that there were to be many sleepless nights ahead of them. Time was short, and the longer it took to find out what was going on, the more chances other cities would fall. So heading back out to the middle of the compound he rang the bell with three short rings signaling assembly and waited. Within a few breaths the compound filled with the students and teachers of the wilderness. He waited until the restlessness left the crowd and silence followed. Looking around at his teams he felt proud to be a part of them. Now they would be tested to the fullest. Had there been enough done? Or would he find, like the cities disappearing, that they were lacking. Looking around at the gathering crowd he said. “After generations of work here where everything was just simulation and scouting, we now are to face a real test.” He could see the smiles on their faces as they anticipated actually doing something. “I would like the leaders and trainers to remain here. The rest of you are dismissed, and shortly after I talk with this group they will pass on to you what we have discussed. Be prepared, our time is short, and our very existence may come down to what we learn and do. Other than that, it is all I can relay to you at this moment. This will involve everybody, so there is no need to fear that any of you will be left behind. Thank you.” He turned and headed for the common eating area where the teams would meet as a group. As he left he saw that the trainers and leaders were following him and the rest heading back to whatever assignment they had before the call to assemble.

* * *

A call to action. As is in most places a certain number of rings, or other such signal lets all who are there know what action to perform. I don’t know about you, but being up all night isn’t something I enjoy. Yes, like most of us I’ve had to do such for the job I worked at the time, with my longest shift being thirty-six hours, followed by a four-hour break then back for another twelve. What kind of job requires this, you ask. At this time in my life I was a wildland firefighter, and was part of the initial attack team. The first unit on the scene, which was only minutes away, reported the wildfire at two to four acres and running. The unit I was a part of sat completely on the opposite side of the district and was part of the second dispatch. When we arrived “on scene” the wildfire was already hundreds of acres in size. Three days later it was in the thousands of acres.

Of course the issue with this much time between rest periods is how it affects your ability to think and to recognize developing situations around you. In a sense Shayne knows this and this is part of the reason for calling the assembly. And as we wrap up chapter two we see the ones who lead heading for the meeting area with no knowledge of how desperate their situation truly might be. Next week is the beginning of chapter three with more information becoming available. Have a great week, and God Bless! (www.fdbrant.com)

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