A Peculiar Form of Light

Survivors of a prehistoric planetary catastrophe, still living under the Pacific seafloor, make their presence known to thirteen-year-old Aubrey Butterworth in  “A Peculiar Form of Light,” contemporary fantasy for young adults.

The forecast said a sunny afternoon, but dark clouds suddenly appeared, and the sea turned fierce, and Aubrey’s rowboat sank. He should have died that day.  He and his sister should have drowned three miles out at sea in that freak storm.  What was the luminous thing that hurtled them back to the beach?  A rocket-like wave oscillating with the moon’s reflection? Or something else? Aubrey is determined to find out.

See more at http://www.kauaivideoproductions.com/carter-benwall.html

 

 

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The Genesis Engine

The Genesis Engine is the 2nd volume of “The Other World” a YA trilogy that unfolds on two worlds, present day Earth and a planet known as M, as seventeen-year-old Jack Paige from Los Angeles California learns that he’s really Samdan, born on M, and destined to save both world from the grips of a sinister corporation.

While the first and third volume take place almost entirely on Earth in the very near future, “The Genesis Engine” is set on the planet M.

 

 

Movie review – “Room”

What do they say, better late than never? In the following case, maybe. I just watched the movie “Room” -2015 – starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, a film that has won numerous awards including an Oscar for Brie Larson. I now see why there are so many average and even negative reviews. But first,  “Room” is an extremely well crafted movie. The subject matter is disturbing and unfolds deliberately, even slowly, as the two lead actors pull you into their bleak world. Larson plays Joy, an abducted woman—taken seven years prior, at seventeen. Now with a five-year old son named Jack, fathered by her abductor who still repeatedly rapes her, Joy and her son are imprisoned in one room, that houses a tub, toilet, stove, an old TV, and rodents on the floor. I’m not going into  elaborate story details here, as there are so many existing reviews that have covered this ad infinitum.  “Room” is structured as most feature films are, in three parts, however they are strangely time-alloted. The first parts deals with Joy and Jack living in squalor, and it’s very detailed. The second part deals with escape; and it provides the only nail-biting tense moments of the entire film.  But the movie then morphs into a drama of trashed lives, focusing heavily on guilt and shame. And oh boy, some of this stuff is really top-heavy. It’s one thing when your father can’t even glance at his grandson because he’s what, un-kosher, fathered by a rapist, a symbol of pain, or whatever, but when the mother/grandmother can’t hold her lip and engages in a vituperative row with her daughter —for God’s sake the poor girl’s only just got home— and then moments later a TV show host (think Diane Sawyer) interviews Joy and asks the most insensitive series of questions: “didn’t you think of giving up Jack when he was born?” the question’s purpose designed to promote Joy’s feelings of guilt, I just about couldn’t take any more. Come on, film makers, get real. The monster rapist would have just flushed the newborn down the lavatory.  These in-your- face contrivances consume the latter part of “Room.”  So on the whole, while there are excellent performances, phenomenal confinement scenes, and the last scene is poignant, what I just watched is a flawed film that was almost a masterpiece.

The Genesis Engine

The Genesis Engine

Book 2 of “Samdan of Two Worlds”

by Difraser.

January 6th 2016 – Having stroked the outline and storyboard for the last 3 months, this is the day to begin drafting.

End of April: estimated completion first draft.

For those interested I write 5 days a week. My workday starts at 8 AM. I usually write for 3 -4 hours, then I break for 3 hours, then go back for another 2-3 hours, finishing no later than 6PM.

Update: January 7th: 2 days at it…doing okay, have 2700 words. Took off early today because I needed to think. Dreadful thing this thinking, but someone’s got to do it.

Update: January 8th -10th –   Saturday 8th I spent an hour, mostly thinking about the new characters, doing notes. Sunday I reviewed what I’d done  and made a few changes. Bear in mind, it’s all very loose at this juncture. It’s like a pencil drawing, occasionally coloring a small section, but mostly keeping it stark, for now.

Update Monday 11th.  It’s 9pm. Today was big, because I made some major changes.  Already! Just as well I’m keeping the writing loose. I’ve broken my rule about writing late. But of course rules are for breaking. My word count tonight is 4300, which is close to my target  for the 4th day.  If you’re wondering, about 1200 words per day is my goal.

Update: January 14th – This is officially my 6th day. Okay, I admit It’s going slower than I’d hoped. I am advancing. I’m more concerned with structural integrity these early days than finesse, although some of the scenes are beginning to take real shape.  Word count so far: 6500. Not so far off target.

Update: January 18th –   I’m unlikely to maintain these regular updates. Today, officially my 9th day of writing, I’m at 33 pages, just under 9000 words. Some of it is rough, some pretty good for a first draft, I think. Let’s leave it at that—I think.  Revisiting after weeks or months will probably be a decent test. Anyway, I’m hopeful that at some date in April I’ll have a first draft,somewhere between 80,000 and 110,000 words.

Update: Feb 3rd — While my aim with the first book in this series “Earth Falls” was to create a blisteringly paced sci-fi thriller, and I hope I’ve succeeded, this 2nd book is turning out to be more mysterious, with lots of clues, red herrings, setbacks, double-crosses all unwinding at a deliberate, mindful pace.  After writing for almost a month the going is slow but I think, and I hope, that the material is strong. Naturally I won’t know that as an absolute until I’ve finished the draft and get some feedback.  For other authors interested in knowing, here’s my word count at this juncture: 18000. My original goal has gone by the wayside. I’m now anticipating a full first draft by June 1st.

Update: Feb 19th — Woah! Not much has changed since my last update. My schedule is all over the place, which is not good. Sometimes I write in the morning, other days only in the evening. The only constant is that I’m still advancing. I’m now at 22,500 words.  All I can say is that this is a far more complex tale than I had originally envisioned. I spend much more time thinking of the puzzle than getting it down on paper.

Muslim Hero in a film?

I just read a published open letter by a Muslim asking film director/ producer  J.J. Abrams to create a Muslim hero in one of his films.

Of late there’s been many articles supportive of Muslims, written to temper the wave of anti-Islamic sentiment sweeping the nation. So I ask this question. Are American Muslims and Christians the same?  For me, intrinsically, yes.  Ostensibly, no.

I’ll explain slowly. But here are some clues.  Yin and Yang, Republicans and Democrats, love and hate. I agree, I disagree.  Choose almost anything, any subject, you’ll find two sides, two contrasting opinions. More often than not the numbers on the one side versus the other are pretty identical, roughly 50% give or take.

It is these numbers that have me worried. Far too many American Muslims, even moderates, do not decry all terrorist organizations. A huge percentage, more than fifty percent of Muslim University students do not believe that Israel has the right to exist, they do not feel the need to condemn terrorists such as Hamas who strike against Israel, or strike against supporters of Israel.  The last time I looked America is a supporter of Israel. To me this anti-israel sentiment is a cancer that helps to breathe life not only into Hamas but all jihadist groups including ISIL.

If Muslim leaders in America and around the world really want to stop the anti-Islamic wave, they’re going to have to confront the cancer in their own ranks.  Educate, teach your Muslim students the real history of Palestine—named by (and meaning the invaded lands) by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Read the history as documented over 2000 years by scholars of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Tell them about the Philistines from Crete. Tell them about the first mosque in Jerusalem and of Saladin. Tell them about the British accord in 1936 to portion the land into two: the Jewish Palestine and the Arab Palestine.  And above all, teach your students peace and love as Mohammad did.

I realize that to some this article is going to come off as anti-Islamic, which is a shame, because I am not.  I am adamantly against Trump’s Muslim border initiative. I am for admitting refugee Muslims into America.  I’m for all peace-loving folk, regardless of color, religion or race.

Here’s what I think of J.J. Abrams creating a cinematic Muslim hero. If he is driven or impulsed to, it’s his  choice, his free will, and I wouldn’t judge him for it. But I hope he wouldn’t dream of doing so out of guilt, or because he feels pressured—even though there are real life Muslim heroes in the world, as there are Christian and Jewish and Hindu heroes.

Global Warming hardly ever mentioned anymore

Front page news of the world’s troubled economy, gas and oil wars, middle east tensions, have all usurped our planet’s condition in terms of global importance. Some will argue that the global warming press coverage commonplace just five years ago wasn’t justified, that it was media hoopla. To believe that is akin to burying your head in the sand.  Global warming isn’t better than it was in 2007. It’s worse!  According to the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists, in 2010 global emissions of carbon dioxide jumped by the largest amount on record. Yet for the most part, in 2012, global warming warnings continue to be tempered, distorted, and ignored. While the preponderance of the world’s scientific leaders believe that global warming threatens the existence of all life forms on this planet, skeptics continue to voice loud contrary opinions. Disproportionately, a large number of these skeptics are from the governing institutions of of the United States who continually ridicule international efforts to curb global warming.

Five years ago I posted an article relating to the contentions of global warming. I wrote the article after I had eavesdropped on a conversation at a coffee shop between two 20-somethings. The peak line for me went something like this.  “Global warming, yeah, yeah, global warming, keep it coming, it keeps me warm in Boston. I need it.”  For most of America, global warming is esoteric, overblown, false, no big deal, or catastrophic. If the conversation is serious, two core questions arise: Is it man made? Does it threaten our existence? The problem for the green movement is that science cannot completely agree, and thus the mission for a cleaner planet gets murky. The mission itself gets polluted.  If you’d like to read the article, it’s right here:

 God-given Commonsense view on Global Warming

David Marsh, April 6, 2007

LOS ANGELES, California – The deadly cyclone that tore through the island of Madagascar last month affecting more than 130,000 people was caused by global warming, claims a local scientist —

The BBC’s green bashing documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” which aired last month in Great Britain is now causing a flash storm in the United States —

The divisive debate on global warming is one of the most puzzling and mind boggling I’ve experienced. Temperature anomalies aside, from my eyes, our world does not look even remotely as clean and lovely as it did 30 years ago. I remember swimming in the glorious French Mediterranean when I was a kid, and the sea looked and felt nothing like it does today, oily and green. As a kid, the night skies were alive with millions of bright twinkling stars, the air in the city still smelled of trees and flowers, not nausea inducing gas fumes, and the Antarctic was a continent of ice. So I know first hand that the planet has changed significantly over these years. It’s been polluted, and the polluting continues. You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that our planet is reacting to pollution, you just need to use your God-given commonsense.

Most of us pick up our news intake in mini bytes, a few minutes at the computer, another few flipping TV channels, a conversation at the water cooler. Not surprisingly, when we hear a seemingly sensible argument debunking the entire global warming theory, it tends to muddle our thinking. Point in case: myself. After watching Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” I pretty much thought to myself, well, that’s it, game over. Then I started hearing the other side, scathing counters by the likes of CNN’s Glenn Beck and journalist Robert Tracinski who wrote a post “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” in which he slams certain media outlets for calling carbon dioxide a pollutant, and my thinking of doom and gloom began to soften, which arguably might be a good thing.

The problem is the debunkers tend to do more harm than the alarmists. The debunkers tend to make people forget commonsense, so much so that when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their latest findings on Global warming, almost every person I spoke to about the report, and it wasn’t a few, laughed it off. These people, it seems, would rather drown in their polluted cities or maybe die of thirst in the same places rather than entertain the notion that our planet is conveying some sort of message.

Let’s play the devil’s advocate for a moment. Let’s say the IPCC has it all wrong, and that the changes in our climate are temporary and very normal, a view akin to the stance of the recent BBC documentary. Governments will spend fortunes needlessly implementing environmental changes, many industries will be forced to conform to the new paradigm or fold, people will have to curb their environmental onslaught, new clean power inventions will overtake the old systems, the skies and oceans will take on a cleaner look and feel, and smog and fuel stinking streets will become memories of the past. What a terrible thought, huh?

Though technically correct with his commentary on what carbon dioxide is, right wing journalist Robert Tracinski and others of like mind who decry global warming activism, are guilty of making millions of Americans lethargically indifferent to environmental pollution, which, rightly or wrongly, is locked hand in hand with global warming. Keeping the status quo is not a good thing. Debunking the hundreds of climatology scientists who are 90% certain that human produced carbon gases are contributing to global climatic changes is not a good thing. Even if the less than 100% degree of certainty in a court of law would result in a verdict of reasonable doubt, does the world really want to let global warming go free, which means letting polluters go free? Can humanity afford to guess with our future? Surely it makes more sense to err on the side of caution, even if the climate concerns are overstated.

What really amazes me is why there are so many outspoken voices against global warming awareness from individuals without any vested interest in the automotive industry or the oil industry, in fact from any major pollution causing industry. To the millions of plain, hardworking people in America who believe wholeheartedly that global warming is hyped, not so bad, a hoax, a liberal minded ploy, all I can say is this: Are you ready to bet your life on it, and the lives of your children and grandchildren? How sure are you that we are not on the verge of massive species extinction and what makes you think man is exempt?

While some scientific/media reports paint an alarming picture of our future on this planet, and others make light of the subject, and while the political posts use each viewpoint at whim, bending and distorting the facts, you would be hard pressed to find a practicing, employed scientist who rejects the notion of man’s involvement in global warming. Even Dr. John Christy, one of the leading climatologists in America, most notably recognized for his outspoken contrary opinions on some global warming issues, has publicly stated that “It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the atmosphere and sending quantities of greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate change hasn’t been increased in the past century.”

As the climate debate rages on, as fierce as the weather in the southern hemisphere this year, we seem to lose perspective of one of the core values of the green movement: loving the earth. Even if carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming, the pollution from industry, from cars and boats and planes definitely affects all living things on our planet, and not in a positive way. So the bottom line is this: If commonsense tells you global warming awareness will lead to planetary respect, then maybe you’d like to pass on this message of hope and change. If on the other you don’t feel we should err on the side of caution, feel free to e-mail me why we should carry on as normal, and by all means pick up my novel “Into the Abyss” not so much about global warming as global respect.

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