Monday, September 11, 2017

RISEN Review by Tara Forst

Today is a professional review of RISEN from Tara Forst.


I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up Risen, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. I found both the writing style and the content intriguing and unique. Initially I was a bit confused by the chapters going back and forth between past and present, but once I understood what was happening I was enthralled by the strange, sad tale told by Eric Trant.

I found the characters interesting and realistic and felt a deep sympathy for them. Alberto and his brother Paolo face horror after horror and beat the odds despite Alberto’s small stature and Paolo’s infirmities. Alberto and Paolo create a perfect team with Paolo’s physical strength and Alberto’s strength of character. Alberto defends and cares for his brother and Lena while their fathers rage and campaign against their neighbors.

I found the settings to be quite authentic and frightening as well. You could practically feel the heat from the “Porta dell’Inferno.” I never knew what to expect next. Risen kept me engaged with each new chapter. Though it was a fairly easy read, I found myself taking more time and care to read as the timeframes jumped around with each chapter.

One of my favorite chapters is chapter 12 (Bestie). So much happens in this chapter! Lena is introduced and is described in all her beauty from Alberto’s point of view. Alberto and Lena have an amusing encounter, and Alberto’s father is killed. If there was one point that I couldn’t put this book down it was after this chapter!

After reading Risen, I can’t wait to pick up another Eric Trant book soon!

Tara Forst

Thank you, Tara, for the kind review!




About today’s guest reviewer: Tara Forst lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their young son. Tara owns her own business Worn Forever - dedicated to helping mamas with babywearing and attachment parenting.










See some of our next stops on the blog tour here:


Monday September 4th (today) @ WOW! Women on Writing
Interview & Giveaway

Tuesday, September 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Eric Trant writes today's guest post at Choice "Is a Career in the Arts (writing) Realistic?". Readers can find out more about Trant and his latest book RISEN.

Wednesday, September 6th @ Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now
"Say YES: Why Taking Chances is Imperative" is today's topic at Mari McCarthy's Create Write Now. Hear from author Eric Trant as he examines this important topic and shares more about his latest novel RISEN.

Thursday, September 7th @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
Eric Trant pens today's guest post at Writer's Pay It Forward. Today's post is titled: "Breaking In vs. Breaking Out: The Writer's Career Arc". Readers and Writers alike won't want to miss this opportunity to hear from Trant as well as finding out more about his latest novel RISEN.

Friday, September 8th @ BookWorm
Hear from Anjanette Potter of BookWorm as she reviews Eric Trant's latest novel RISEN- this historical supernatural work of fiction is sure to please readers!

Friday, September 8th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Eric Trant about his latest novel RISEN. You'll want to learn more about this supernatural tale of fiction as well as the mastermind behind the dynamic writing.

Friday, September 8th @ Hott Books
"Life Gets Better: An Angel Dad Reports Five Years Later" is today's post title at Hott Books. This touching true life tale is told by guest blogger Eric Trant as part of his WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour of his latest thriller RISEN.

Monday, September 11th @ Tara Forst at Digging with the Worms
Crunchy Wisconsin Mama and Entrepreneur Tara Forst reviews RISEN by Eric Trant. Don't miss this review and giveaway of Trant's latest thriller!

Tuesday, September 12th @ Bring on Lemons with Tess Fallier
Tess Fallier is today's guest blogger with a review and her thoughts on Eric Trant's RISEN. Don't miss this blog stop!

Wednesday, September 13th @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto
Reader and book blogger Crystal Otto reviews Eric Trant's RISEN and shares her thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe.

Thursday, September 14th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Eric Trant visits Memoir Writer's Journey and shares his thoughts with readers of Kathleen Pooler's engaging blog. Today's post title is: "Setting: Its Role in Storytelling". Don't miss this chance to hear from the talented Eric Trant and find out more about his latest book RISEN.

Friday, September 29th @ Coming Down the Mountain
Eric Trant is today's guest author at Karen Jones Gowen's blog Coming Down the Mountain. Read Eric's guest post titled "Luck: Its Role in Success" and find out more about his latest thriller RISEN.


Wednesday, October 18 @ Shannon Muir
Don't miss today's author interview at the blog of Author Shannon Muir. Shannon will be interviewing Eric Trant about his latest thriller RISEN.



Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels WINKSTEPS and RISEN from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **














Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine. Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father's mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell'Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.












Sunday, September 3, 2017

RISEN Blog Tour 2017 from WoW

Special thanks to Crystal J. Otto over at Bring on Lemons & WoW (Women on Writing) for organizing yet another wonderful blog tour for my latest release, RISEN, from WiDo Publishing.

Another huge thanks for everyone willing to participate, and especially to those offering professional reads and reviews of RISEN.

Below are the blog stops for the hop. I'll be cross-posting each day and stopping in, so take a look at some of the topics, then drop by and join us.



Monday September 4th (today) @ WOW! Women on Writing
Interview & Giveaway

Tuesday, September 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Eric Trant writes today's guest post at Choice "Is a Career in the Arts (writing) Realistic?". Readers can find out more about Trant and his latest book RISEN.

Wednesday, September 6th @ Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now
"Say YES: Why Taking Chances is Imperative" is today's topic at Mari McCarthy's Create Write Now. Hear from author Eric Trant as he examines this important topic and shares more about his latest novel RISEN.


Thursday, September 7th @ Writer’s Pay it Forward
Eric Trant pens today's guest post at Writer's Pay It Forward. Today's post is titled: "Breaking In vs. Breaking Out: The Writer's Career Arc". Readers and Writers alike won't want to miss this opportunity to hear from Trant as well as finding out more about his latest novel RISEN.

Friday, September 8th @ BookWorm
Hear from Anjanette Potter of BookWorm as she reviews Eric Trant's latest novel RISEN- this historical supernatural work of fiction is sure to please readers!

Friday, September 8th @ Lisa Haselton
Lisa Haselton interviews Eric Trant about his latest novel RISEN. You'll want to learn more about this supernatural tale of fiction as well as the mastermind behind the dynamic writing.

Friday, September 8th @ Hott Books
"Life Gets Better: An Angel Dad Reports Five Years Later" is today's post title at Hott Books. This touching true life tale is told by guest blogger Eric Trant as part of his WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour of his latest thriller RISEN.

Monday, September 11th @ Tara Forst at Digging with the Worms
Crunchy Wisconsin Mama and Entrepreneur Tara Forst reviews RISEN by Eric Trant. Don't miss this review and giveaway of Trant's latest thriller!

Tuesday, September 12th @ Bring on Lemons with Tess Fallier
Tess Fallier is today's guest blogger with a review and her thoughts on Eric Trant's RISEN. Don't miss this blog stop!

Wednesday, September 13th @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto
Reader and book blogger Crystal Otto reviews Eric Trant's RISEN and shares her thoughts with readers at Book Santa Fe.

Thursday, September 14th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Eric Trant visits Memoir Writer's Journey and shares his thoughts with readers of Kathleen Pooler's engaging blog. Today's post title is: "Setting: Its Role in Storytelling". Don't miss this chance to hear from the talented Eric Trant and find out more about his latest book RISEN.


Friday, September 15th @ Building Bookshelves
Eric Trant interviews the 5 Ws at Building Bookshelves, promoting his new supernatural, historical thriller RISEN.


Friday, September 29th @ Coming Down the Mountain
Eric Trant is today's guest author at Karen Jones Gowen's blog Coming Down the Mountain. Read Eric's guest post titled "Luck: Its Role in Success" and find out more about his latest thriller RISEN.



Wednesday, October 18 @ Shannon Muir
Don't miss today's author interview at the blog of Author Shannon Muir. Shannon will be interviewing Eric Trant about his latest thriller RISEN.





Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels WINKSTEPS and RISEN from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **














Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine. Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father's mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell'Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.













Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: The Digital Rabbit Hole by Larry Kilham






So I read The Digital Rabbit Hole by Mr. Larry Kilham regarding our future as it applies to technology, and I don't write many reviews (check my blog if you disbelieve me), but I wanted to write one for this book.

Because it deserves a review. And I kinda actually dug on the book.

See, Rabbit Hole is atypically interesting. He frames the yawnish topic of modern techno-consumerism into a Wonderland of truthful lies and fictional fact, a place where everyone is mad and rabbits dash down holes chasing useless misinformation, skittering in haste over tufts of trampled truth in search of whatever Google's sponsors insist we chase and consume.

All hail Google!

Anyway, Mr. Kilham stirs the balderdash hash of the modern world into his hookah, puffs a wise cloud and describes how we can spur intellectual growth in this mockery of ad-driven insanity, rather than simply melt down our life candle with blinking lights and calloused thumbs.

Because technology is a Wonderland of Wonders -- but only if we ~think~ about it.

He's sort of an authority on the topic of technology. I won't go into details, because you can figure it out if you read his profile, but I will say it is refreshing to discover an authoritative opinion on what the future might hold, embedded in a well-written, novelesque and easy-to-chow book.


"You should always think critically and search for the truth."


That's a quote from his book. It is a sky-is-blue obvious statement, but this is an ongoing theme throughout his work. That's why I bring up that he is genuinely an authority on the topic. His expertise shines in the details as he addresses such concerns as immediate gratification and our endless appetite for the next useless gadget. We sell our souls for shiny beads, but the silver lining is that there is a silver lining.

See, the techno-flood plains are littered with golden nuggets, if you are patient enough to pan out the mud and pebbles, and the intellectual plate is piled high with whole-grain goodness, if you are wise enough to winnow out the chaff.

He mentions a lot of interesting topics, such as fear of loss, why we socialize online, how virtual lifestyles affect us and our children, and he dubs the Internet of Things The Knowosphere and so on. I won't steal his thunder, but he will leave you with a wizened vocabulary of interesting catch phrases, and a slick sideways manner of debating the present-future world in which we exist through avatars and an impatient cursor.

I enjoyed the book and its take on technology, but I did find one question begging as I read. So I asked his publisher if she would mind asking him if I could beg him a question, and she asked, and he said he would answer, and so here it goes.

My begging question for Mr. Kilham

You nailed the useful-less-ness of the Knowosphere, as you describe it, pointing out the dichotomy of fact and fiction and suggesting how the thinking class might expand (or is it expound?) their knowledge, while still allowing the consumer class to enjoy what has become our most precious distraction this side of television and booze.

But I was hoping you would explore a point you touched on in this quote:

As Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee point out in Race Against the Machine, “How can so much value creation and so much economic misfortune coexist? How can technologies accelerate while incomes stagnate? These apparent paradoxes can be resolved by combining some well-understood economic principles with the observation that there is a growing mismatch between rapidly advancing digital technologies and slow-changing humans.”

While we will continue to witness a flurry of interesting technological advances, I wonder at what point the economy of technology will balance out the replacement of humans by machines, and I wonder if it already began, perhaps with the bust in the early 2000s and China's usurpation of American labor.

So I ask: What is the tipping point of too many economic dead-ends before the remaining workers can no longer sustain the consumerism that companies require to spawn new tech?


Mr. Kilham's Outstanding Response

I don’t know when your tipping point will happen although it probably happens in phases, creeping up almost unnoticed.

Partially reacting to the economic dead-ends you refer to, the Millennials are increasingly convinced that cheaper, simpler, eco-friendly living is the way to go. Tiny houses are no longer a novelty. Automobile ownership is no longer taken for granted. Now it’s okay to wear second-hand clothes and to buy rebuilt appliances.

The capital required to invest in new tech is not scarce, at least not by large, inventive companies. Apple and Google have more cash than they know what to do with. What they seem to lack are significant new product ideas. For small companies, access to venture capital probably has never been easier.

A new economic system catching attention is the move away from consumerism and towards economic subsistence for the less fortunate. This is called Universal Basic Income. It is being promoted by such apparently conservative visionaries as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. The economic support for such a program would, of course, come from taxes. Economists calculate that taxes can provide enough funding. It is being tried now experimentally in Finland and in Ontario, Canada.

I discuss these concepts in detail in my book, Winter of the Genomes. It is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.  http://amzn.to/2cGsPjF






Will digital media sweep us into a new era of prosperity? What new advances in entertainment, culture, education, and knowledge can we expect? Will we get stuck in Cyberland only to be saved by digital detox?

The Digital Rabbit Hole reveals that we are becoming captive in the digital universe. The portals are smartphones and the world is the Internet. We immerse ourselves in social media; we learn through packaged feel-good information; and we will leave the hard work to robots and AI. The book details digital media and discusses smartphone addiction problems. It proposes solutions to stimulate creativity and education and to recapture our humanity.

Paperback: 144 Pages
Genre: Social Science/Non Fiction
Publisher: FutureBooks.info; 1 edition (January 1, 2016)
ASIN: B01A3MTVBS

The Digital Rabbit Hole is available in print on Amazon
.

About the Author:

Larry Kilham has traveled extensively overseas for over twenty years. He worked in several large international companies and started and sold two high-tech ventures. He received a B.S. in engineering from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in management from MIT. Larry has written books about creativity and invention, artificial intelligence and digital media, travel overseas, and three novels with an AI theme. Currently, he is writing a novel about free will.


Larry can be found online at:

Website: 
www.larrykilham.net 
Amazon: 
https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Kilham/e/B003UPNVNK/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Goodreads: 
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4352387.Larry_Kilham




 - Eric



Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **













Haunted by visions of a demonic angel and sold into servitude by his father, young Alberto battles to survive the horrors of a nineteenth century Sicilian sulfur mine. Suffering merciless brutality, Alberto must save not only himself but his deformed older brother, both pawns in their father's mad plan to overthrow a group of wealthy landowners.Bound by a death-debt to his hunchback master, Alberto discovers a door the miners call Porta dell'Inferno, the Door to Hell, deep within the sulfur mines. When he learns the demon-angel of his dreams stalks the caverns beyond the door, Alberto realizes a strange fate has lured him and his brother to the gates leading to the underworld.Now Alberto must face the creature from his visions and rise to become the man his father demands him to be, or remain forever trapped in a hellish world where none escape.

















Sunday, June 4, 2017

Is ~LOGAN~ the best-written Marvel movie yet?

So we watched Logan this past weekend, and it was not at all what I expected. I'm not sure what I expected, because I didn't get amped to see it in the theaters, and I wasn't all that anxious to see it when it hit video.

But I kept seeing ads for it -- nicely done, marketeers! -- and I watched the trailer again and this time decided to go ahead and rent it. I read somewhere it was unexpectedly dramatic, and that did it for me.

So we rented it.

My wife watched it with me and my young son. I know, say what you will, but my boy liked it. He is still going on about the "movie with the claws." Then he growls at me. He's three.

I realized it must be a good movie when my wife put down her phone. That right there, folks, is the sign of a good movie in this house!

She cried at the end. My daughter watched it later with a friend of hers. They both cried at the end.

Now, how many Marvel movies have made you cry? Not many, if any. Heck, I don't recall any superhero movie bringing out that much emotion in me. Let me think, hold on and let the worms dig a little... nope I don't recall any superhero movie, at least not a blockbuster sort of movie.

Anyway, Logan stuck with me, and I got to thinking that this might be the best Marvel movie yet. I've watched some of the Netflix Marvels, and although those try to do the same thing as Logan, they fail to reach the same level of depth.

And what was it that Logan did so differently, anyway?

I'll tell you, since you asked.

It depicted very ~HUMAN~ characters. Full of flaws. Full of frustrations. A life of mistakes, but you didn't mean to make those mistakes, they just happened as mistakes tend to happen.

It depicted love on a level that most of us hope to never experience. By that, I mean hard-love. If you've ever had to hard-love someone, you know that's not an enviable thing.

It depicted redemption. It depicted fall and rise. It did all those things it should do if you want to create a touching, moving story that will draw in your audience, regardless of the genre.

I wasn't expecting so much drama from a Marvel installation. Usually these are cheeky and fun, focused on senseless violence and some mind-numbing twists that do not often make sense. I'm looking at you, Guardians 2!

But in any case, Logan was a pleasant surprise. I will probably buy the movie since I would like to watch it a few more times.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that. If you want to see a fine depiction of how a drama-thriller-action-superhero movie is written, watch Logan.


 - Eric



Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **






















Monday, December 19, 2016

All I Want for Christmas...

Periodically I write little comments on my wife's bathroom mirror. Goofy stuff like, Beauty begins here, or, My heart is here, and then I add arrows pointing to where her face will be when she looks into the mirror. Stuff like that.

This week, it being near Christmas, I wrote, All I want for Christmas... and added those arrows pointing to where my wife's face will be. She wrote on my mirror, Is you! She drew a happy face.

And it is true. All I want for Christmas is my wife, and I tell her every year she is all I want, and I mean it. I don't think she believes me, so I decided to write it down. For some reason, writing things down adds a veracity and absolution to events that cannot be duplicated verbally.

So here it goes, My Love! I am making a list of the gifts you have given me over the years, ones you may not even realize you delivered, but which have been received and noted all the same. This is why you are my most treasured gift, and why you truly, truly are all I want for Christmas.


Christmas, 2005: Beauty

I simultaneously finalized my divorce with my oldest son's mother and met an amazing woman named Amanda. It was almost as if I had jumped overboard expecting to land in the ocean, only to find myself laid out on the deck of a passing ship. I had recently written a story about a man in such a situation who met a woman named Amanda, and I let her read the story, and I may post it later because it is short and sweet. She was beautiful. She still is, and perhaps I had not landed on another ship when I abandoned the old one. Perhaps I had washed onto the shores of a wonderful oasis, and she was cold water on burnt lips.

Oh, she was amazing. She still is, and I loved her from the moment we met. No awkward silences. No shy discomfort. I took her hand. I asked her to dance. She said, No, but she danced with me anyway and never let go of my hand. I taught her to two-step. She reminded me how beautiful life could be. One touch, one playful flirt, keep my hands to myself and no kissing on the first date, and is this our first date?

We spun that night, and somehow we were already an old couple. Neither of us felt those pangs and worries you feel when you first meet someone and sort of wonder if this is going to work out. There was none of that. It was absolute in that moment as when you hold a newborn child.

I loved this woman. There were no conditions on that statement, nothing she had to do to earn my affection. This love simply was.

She is a book I must have read in another life, because I already knew her, and she knew me, and with such primal knowledge there was no need for pretense or doubt or insecurity.

And that year, in 2005, the woman who would become my wife and bear me two sons showed me a beauty I had long, long forgotten.


Christmas, 2006: Passion

What else could follow such a beginning but passion? We were in love, and we danced, and we celebrated life and youth and freedom. We lit a gasoline bonfire, and that outburst from the darkness blinded us, seared our cheeks, and we reveled until the flames began to settle, and the light came back to our eyes. We found ourselves hovered together over a glowing warmth neither of us had ever experienced or expected.

Honestly, it scared the ever-living shit out of me.


Christmas, 2007: Patience

Oh, Lord did it scare me. I was terrified, and I had for so long allowed dark angels to perch on my shoulder and whisper in my ear that I followed their advice and ripped the petals off this incredible flower. I threw it in the fire, stomped the ashes and ran. I dove in the ocean and slapped the waves, and I left this beautiful, beautiful woman alone to stoke the embers.

Is patience even the right word for this year? Perhaps it should be tolerance, or faith, or something more befitting and specific, but I do believe patience encompasses these things. An underlying faith exists that things will turn out all right. There is a tolerance for the wait, and what happens while you watch the clock tock. She showed faith. She showed tolerance. She showed patience.

It was not a pretty year, and I did not swim very far from shore before I missed her warmth. My heart beat too heavy, and I sank. There really was no other choice but to turn back, wade ashore, sling off the muck and hope to receive what so few people are capable of giving.

I asked, and in 2008, this woman granted me the gift God himself believes is holy enough to sacrifice his own son.


Christmas, 2008: Forgiveness

She granted me forgiveness. I asked. She forgave. It was that easy, and here is that beauty I have seen since our first dance.

She even shares some of the guilt for my behavior, though she was not to blame. Fault lies entirely on me, and reading this she will likely sway her head, and if I were behind her she would turn and say, No, I did this and that, remember?

No you did not, Love. What you did was suffer, and then forgive without condition. That would be my answer to her, and she still would shake her head and insist on dividing my sins between us. She would probably tell me to go in the other room, now, and quit pestering her so she can read.

Not only did she forgive, but she asked for nothing in return and demanded no punitive damages. We simply sat down at our fire, uncovered the coals because they never died, not really, and began collecting sticks to rebuild something we both knew could be beautiful again.


Christmas, 2009: Determination

We rebuilt. We rekindled. We stacked logs on one another and I shrugged away those dark angels clinging to my shoulder. They fluttered over us, though, waiting, because they never go away, not really. They only shy from the light and crouch in the shadows. So we built up the fire. We surrounded ourselves with friends and family who believed in the light we could envision so vividly, and we bent our backs and poured the foundation of our home together.

Truly, this year my future wife kicked in the door to my heart. She dragged in her furniture and clothes and ensconced herself deep in my core and refused to budge, nor would I ever want her to leave. She is right where I want her, and there is a certain warmth to knowing someone will fight to keep you, or slug through dark waters to find you. I would have my own chance to test my patience and determination later, but first... we had to celebrate!


Christmas, 2010: Joy

Oh, the light began to shine. A boy was born. He cemented two older siblings who shared no blood. He joined a man and woman who both thought they might be too broken to find happiness. This year was pure joy, and this amazing woman spun in the center of it all, and here she would stop me and say, No, I didn't. It was all of us.

To which I would respond, Yes, you did. This was all you, and without your determination and will and grace, none of this would have happened.


Christmas, 2011: Bliss

What is bliss, really? It is living within the light such that you can see none of the dark. That is bliss. We lived in the light, and the dark angels flew far above. We embraced friends and family who would walk with us, and we lived what might have been the happiest year of either of our lives thus far.

Wanna get married? I was not very formal.

Neither was she. Sure, she said. How about Saint Patty's Day.

Perfect, I said.

And here is that old couple so comfortable with one another, married for lifetimes and many more to come. Neither of us felt any compulsion to pretend to be someone we were not. It was bliss. It was heaven. It was a wonderful, wonderful life, and she spun and I twirled her and our children danced around us, and the dark angels circled just beyond where we could see.

We made plans. She bought a dress, and that Christmas we shared a pleasant bliss that the light would forever burn around us.


Christmas, 2012: Strength

We married. Our two oldest children, bound now by one little boy dressed as a Leprechaun, red-headed, blue eyed, fair cheeked and protective of his gold-wrapped chocolates as the fairy creature he was, witnessed this woman give me her hand as she had on the first night we met. This time when I asked, she said, Yes, and we danced, and we celebrated, and the dark angels fell from the sky on a clear summer evening.

They took the little boy and flew him away. The joke was on them, because the boy left his heart with us, inside a little girl, but they knocked down this beautiful woman with their wing beats, stomped our fire and heaped sand on the ashes. They knocked us all down, and in some ways they still haunt our yard and peek through the windows, and we have to chase them away with a torch and a rock.

But here my wife made her own dash into the ocean, and she slapped the water and she screamed, and the dark angels shouted around her and there was nothing I could do but watch.

So I sat at our fire. I found a few embers, and I stoked them, and I waited. See, this woman about to drown herself had taught me patience, and when she waded ashore and slung off the muck and asked for that gift so few people are capable of giving, I said, Sit down, it was my fault, too. She had taught me grace and forgiveness as well.

And we sat for a while. We gathered wood, because she had taught me that steel-willed determination can lift mountains. We watched the flames begin to catch, and those friends and family who had seen the light with us huddled around us and provided warmth while the fire began to grow and a new light shone from the flames.

This new light was strength. These are blue flames, if you wonder, the color of dusk and dawn, and they are closest to the burn and sometimes not visible. They are the hottest flames. They may not chase away the dark angels with their light, but they will turn them to ashes if you can put their feathers to the test.

She and I burned blue that year, as did our two older children, as did our friends and family who could see the blue flame growing within my wife. The darkness shied away from us, but there was work to do and work that remains, because these creatures do not die easily.


Christmas, 2013: Encouragement

This Christmas my wife gave me endless encouragement. We decided to have another child, and at the same time I started a company and abandoned a flailing career. It was hard work and a headlong charge into the unknown. There was doubt. There was uncertainty. The dark angels whispered to us that we would fail, that we were weak, that we were misguided fools owing to the loss of our child and should do as we were told and douse our fire and quit.

My wife met this with the same determination she always meets challenges. She bent her head and got to work. She encouraged me. She supported me. She walked with me and I walked with her, sometimes leading, sometimes following, but always together in lock-step lock-arm, into the unknown, swatting away the doubters and waving our flames to snuff out the shadows. This was a Christmas of healing, still sore but not so wounded, and one in which we looked forward to the next year and the year after that.


Christmas, 2014: Hope

In 2014, for Christmas my wife bagged and tagged a bountiful bouquet of hope for me and our children. Another boy was born. His brother had ushered in joy. This one ushered in hope.

Life had swerved us down a back road that led to a destination unknown. There was only hope that we would find more light, faith that we had the strength and determination to get there. But we had been prepared for this journey, and my wife inspired hope in us all that we would find light amidst whatever the dark angels could drop from the sky.

As always, she was right. I believe she will agree heartily when I say she is always right.


Christmas, 2015: Optimism

In 2015, again the angels swarmed us, but they are no match for the blue flame and we know that, now. My wife casually fought them. It was like watching an ape fight a kitten, almost cruel how easily she dismissed the darkness of a failing business and the flap of wings as the whispers and threats began to surface from mouths we thought we had seared shut.

It was too easy for her. She is that strong. Our friends huddled around us. We stoked our fire. We cleaned our home and honed our strength against the stone of this new challenge. We employed all these skills my wife has inspired in me and our children, and showed the heart she inspires in everyone she meets.

She granted me optimism for Christmas in 2015. She reminded me of the hope she had given me the year before, and regifted her encouragement from 2013 with an extra box of strength she had saved up all year to purchase.

And there again is that beauty. Truly her beauty is the gift that keeps on giving.

She really is that strong, and her youthful, blissful, beautiful, magical optimism is another blue flame. She displays this optimism in everything she does, and she has all along, and I finally put my finger on the source of her strength.

It is an undying optimism that the future will always be a pleasant place to live, and that we should live there together for as long as we can.


Christmas, 2016: Wisdom

This year, I already figured out what she got me for Christmas. She is getting me wisdom. I think by now that should be pretty obvious.


 - Eric



Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Recipe: How to Make a Fear Sandwich

A Fear Sandwich is my favorite recipe. I eat it daily, and have found it keeps me healthy and spry. Your body might give out, maybe even your mind, but your will and faith should always remain as young and strong and fearless as a toddler's.

Ingredients

1 cup Fear
1/2 cup Doubt
1/2 cup Insecurity
2 tbsp Luck (more if you think it will help)
1 lb of Fresh Faith
2 pieces of Hard-Baked Determination


First, mix the Fear and Doubt thoroughly. I find beating them with a whisk not only creates the best mixture, but also makes me feel better. Beat the hell out of these two.

Once mixed, add half the Insecurity. Do not add it all. We'll add more later. Beat thoroughly.

Sprinkle in your Luck and let it settle for no less than five minutes. The Luck takes time, so be patient. I find setting a clock works the best, and if you let it settle for longer than five minutes, it will only thicken the mixture. You can add more Luck if you like, but a little Luck goes a long way.

By the way, I've found my best Luck at a store called Grindnose, on the corner of Workhard and Sweat, here in Dallas. You probably have something similar in your town.

Once the mixture has thickened, add the rest of your Insecurity. Beat it into a well-destroyed, unrecognizable mixture, with the consistency and color of creamy peanut butter.

Spread to 1/4" thickness on a covered baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. You must bake at an excessive temperature in order to leach out the Bitterness and firm up the Luck.

Once baked, place on cooling rack for ten minutes. While cooling, grate your Faith into a cup, and sprinkle over the Fear-patty to melt. Your Faith may seem to dissolve, but this is how it clings to the Fear. The Faith will spread and cover the entire Fear-patty if you lay it out properly. Ensure there are no gaps or holes where the Fear can seep through.

Flip the patty and cover the underbelly. Do not forget this, as the underbelly of Fear can be the most tasteless part of this recipe.

If you need more Faith, add it. This is one ingredient you cannot overuse.

Now, you can buy your Hard-Baked Determination at Grindnose, or you can bake your own. Either way, slice two pieces of Determination to fit your Fear. Cut to length and width. Make sure the Determination hangs beyond the edges of your Fear, as you do not want even small pieces of Fear protruding beyond your Determination. A bite of pure Fear, without a mouthful of Determination and Faith, ranks as one of the most repulsive flavors you can create.

You can then season to flavor by adding such ingredients as Joy, Celebration, and Ecstasy (not the drug). I like to sprinkle a bit of Gloat over the top, since that helps subdue the Fear, but this is a personal preference. Too much Gloat can be spicy, and can cause unseemly side-effects, so use this with caution.

Whatever your taste, enjoy your Fear Sandwich!

What about youDo you have a favorite recipe you would like to share?



Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **















Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Do That Which You Fear the Most

So I'm walking home from dropping off my son this morning. His mom works at an in-home daycare in the neighborhood, and I work from home, and on kind-weathered mornings I put him into the backpack (he's a little over 18mos) and haul him down there on foot.

And I'm walking back thinking about fear.

I think about fear from time to time, because it is one of the greatest measures of a man. (I mean human and include women, don't get your panties in a knot. Geez. Is it that time of the month already? People are so easily offended these days which is way more fun, isn't it!)

You can tell a human's (better?) demeanor by how they react to fear.

Some run and hide. These we call either cowards or survivors depending on whether you are looking out of or into the hiding den.

Some charge at their fears like dumb salmon up the stream into that goddamned bear's mouth. All that work to get your fat ripped out by some grizzly cub. Nice one, karma, very nice, but the next joke's on you, ya bitch.

These second types we call either fools or, well, something else. Usually we call them fools.

See how they failed? we say. See! See what happens when you swim upstream, ya dumb fish! See!

Well, not all of us say that. Some of us stand back and call them heroes. We mourn their passing and admire their bravado. We swim with them next time and face our fears, knowing full well we could at anytime be chomped, flayed, spread on the bank and our heart swallowed beating.

Me? I admire these guys. Sure, I fail. I have lots of failures to report. Heck, I'm in the oil field. I quit my job in semiconductors in 2013 to get into the oil field. Do the math, folks. It's not good math. I missed med-school by half a point of GPA. I'm divorced. I'm short and have small hands. So yeah, I've failed.

I also made it upstream a few times. Missing med school, I created a great career in semiconductors. I remarried a beautiful woman and had two children with her. I published a few novels and shorts, two from a decent publisher, even. I earned respect as an author from friends, family, and enough strangers to measure on both hands and half of one foot. I created a business and established myself in a niche market as a genuine player, albeit a very quiet player as oil prices refuse to rise up (stupid bears!).

The point is this: Do that which you fear the most.

If you fear heights, climb up there and look down. Afraid to try something new for fear of failure, ridicule, mockery or debauchery? Do it anyway. Try it. Fail. Fail often. Fail happy or die dreaming.

Chase out your fears and leave them on the bank with the other dead fish. Swim hard. Slap those bear-cheeks with your fins, and don't forget your teeth. Fight hard, die hard, live hard.

Anyway. Jump in and swim.

How about you? Are you afraid to swim through the bear's mouth? At least I made you a salmon and not a chicken.

 - Eric





Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Wink and Steps from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

** BE A SUPER-HERO! BE AN ORGAN DONOR! **