Friday, January 21, 2022

#BookReview - The Saint Next Door


The Saint Next Door
By: Dan Jason
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: November 2021
ISBN: 978-1639880959
Reviewed by: Dianne Woodman
Review Date: January 20, 2022
The Saint Next Door by Dan Jason is geared toward followers of Jesus Christ who are interested in Sainthood. The book is split into twenty chapters. At the end of each chapter, the author offers challenges for readers to undertake that will allow them to grow deeper in their relationship with God. The book provides a great deal of Jason's insight into the steps required for individuals to achieve Sainthood. The author also reiterates throughout the book how life on Earth is preparation for spending eternity with God in Heaven, the benefits of always being tuned into God, and the responsibility to others as an ambassador of Christ.
The author talks about a number of influential and well-known saints. He points out how saints are ordinary people who face challenges in their journeys of serving the Lord. The saints spoken of in the book include Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the reason she has been given a unique position among the saints. The book focuses on the accessibility of Sainthood, and how all individuals who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are called to be saints. The author explains why the journey toward Sainthood is not easy and does not happen overnight, but how it is an achievable mission for anyone willing to soldier on in tough times.
In the book, Jason emphasizes issues that he deems vital for those individuals navigating the road to Sainthood. He talks about the significance of communicating with God on a regular basis, reaching out to individuals in need regardless of their status in life, supporting and encouraging fellow believers, and showing unconditional love to others. The author also calls attention to his belief that anyone who wants to cultivate a deeper relationship with God needs to allow Jesus Christ to take the helm in their lives and lean on him for weathering the storms that crop up in life.
Every topic covered in The Saint Next Door is supported by the author's personal experiences and anecdotes of individuals who rely on God. Excerpts and verses from the Bible beautifully tie into the text. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote. The book includes a foreword and introduction written by Bishop Scharfenberger. At the end is a closing prayer, a list of references, and a personal narrative written by the author.
The Saint Next Door is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn about how to live a saintly life on Earth and gain a saint's reward in Heaven.
Quill says: A thoughtful and inspirational book about the process individuals must go through to become a saint.
For more information on The Saint Next Door, please visit the website: www.ef3life.com

#AuthorInterview with Iain Stewart, author of Knights of the Air, Book 1: Rage!


Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Iain Stewart, author of Knights of the Air, Book 1: Rage!
FQ: Have you traveled to or maintained any ties to East Africa; if so, has that affected this work?
STEWART: I have visited from time to time, but I don’t think those visits affected this book. The Africa I knew as a child was very different to the Africa of today, and in turn my Africa was even more different from that in 1914. But one thing is consistent—the rugged independence, and somewhat emotionally repressed characters [certainly compared to modern America.] It was a hard land and the old timers I knew in Kenya had a whiff of the Old Testament prophets about them. So, I don’t think recent visits contributed, but my upbringing there definitely did. It was, and is, a rugged and beautiful land with tough characters.
FQ: How much of Lance Fitch is really Iain Stewart?
STEWART: Very little. He is much tougher than me. I grew up surrounded by firearms and hunting but although I loved shooting at targets, I hated killing game. I did my hunting with cameras. I played rugby and adored the physicality so thought I was tough. But when I went on a British Army Camp, I realized I was out of my league when a soldier dropped a light artillery gun carriage on his finger and had a nail half ripped off, but casually ripped the rest of it off with his teeth and carried on wading through mud while holding onto more than a hundred pounds of slippery gun barrel. I would have been calling for the nearest nurse. I am not sure many people appreciate how seriously tough warriors are compared to us mortals. They are a breed apart.
But in one aspect Lance was like me, when I was a teenager and saw the world in simple black and white. It took me many years to learn nuance and empathy, and to feel comfortable that life is often shades of grey. That is very much the character arc Lance will go through over the four books.
One character role model I used for Lance was Denys Finch Hatton, a well-known name in Kenya. Finch Hatton is today best known for being Karen Blixen's lover in her autobiographical book and movie, Out of Africa. In the movie, he is played by Robert Redford. Blixen, whose portrait of him is regarded in Kenya as overly sentimental, but he is an admirable type not uncommon among frontier settlers; literary, thoughtful, idealistic and fiercely independent. For this reason, I named my hero Fitch, close but not identical to Finch.
As an aside Finch Hatton was a hobbyist pilot, who crashed and killed himself in 1931. He was a notoriously bad pilot unlike my hero. As another aside, he was also the lover of Beryl Markham, who he invited to join him on the fateful flight. She declined, and became one of the great pilots, making the first solo flight across the Atlantic from UK to America [much longer than the other way]. She was another example of the interesting people who littered Kenya, and she wrote what I consider one of the very best books about Africa and flying, the lyrical West with the Night. Hemingway said that it was a "bloody wonderful book."
The other clues to Lance's character come from the Arthurian Lancelot, the warrior knight who aspires to ideals and berates himself constantly when he inevitably falls short. Just like Lance.
The idea of a white hunter having the ideal background for a fighter pilot [called scout pilots in those days, but I use fighter pilot in the book to make it clearer for the modern reader], is based on two things. Firstly, Manfred Richthofen was obsessed with hunting long before he became an ace, and the hunting mindset served him well. He was only hunting non dangerous game, so potentially lethal African wildlife demanded a much keener study if you wanted to live. Secondly, John Buchan [of The Thirty-Nine Steps fame], has a minor character, Pieter Pienaar, who was an accomplished hunter and becomes an ace. He is only mentioned in passing in several books, but the idea took root.
FQ: Have you ever experienced the kind or degree of PTSD that Fitch goes through?
STEWART: Never, thank goodness.
Researching this area was difficult, in that during WW1 it was not understood at all; indeed it was thought cowardly to discuss or admit such things. If you even mentioned you suffered from nerves, people would look askance at you. Most of the WW1 flying autobiographies talk about things as a great game, although the more honest ones admit the strains later in the war.
I think today we understand that PTSD can come about from many sources. One is the repeated concussive effects of high explosion on the brain, which Lance suffers from his time in the infantry while under artillery fire. In WW1 that was called shellshock and was fairly common, if misunderstood. A second source is repeated exposure to hideous sights, sometimes caused by one's own deeds. I found good material on these stresses in two main areas.
The first was Heart of a Soldier by James B Stewart, a biography of Rick Rescorla. Rick was a Brit who fought in Vietnam in the American army. He loved fighting and was such a warrior that his men called him "Hard core." Lieutenant Hal Moore, the famed commander of the 7th Calvary Regiment during the Battle of La Drang, and author of We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, said Rick was the best platoon commander he ever saw. But later in life, Rick suffered heavily from nightmares and flashbacks of events that had not seemed to affect him at the time. It didn’t stop him being a hero. On Sept 11 he was head of security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower. When the planes hit, he got out all his 2700 people. Worried by the thought that there might still be stragglers in the building, he went back in minutes before the Tower collapsed...and never emerged.
The second source was from medical research on the traumas suffered by aircraft crash rescuers. Such men saw often the human body torn apart in the most brutal fashion, literally dripping guts and eyeballs on trees, and later they would find themselves reliving the hideous sights like a film on a loop. In their breakdown descriptions, they emphasized they did not just see the events, they viscerally relived them.
I used these reports to describe the effects of shellfire on the human body, as well as the mental effects. Another source on shellfire horrors was Erich Maria Remarque's remarkable book, All Quiet on the Western Front, probably the most heralded book about the realities of an infantry soldier in WW1.
Some readers have found the graphic descriptions uncomfortable. It is meant to be. I did not want the books to glorify war. I want to honour the human spirit and the acts of friendship, sacrifice and nobility that occur in war, but not war itself. Also, I needed gruesome stuff to explain how even the strongest of warriors can break down from such events, especially if repeated constantly.
FQ: Does positing and writing about an oppressive regime such as Nazi Germany and the ways it might be overthrown give you a sense of hope for current international relations?
STEWART: I do think having a sense of history helps put things in perspective. It seems to me the world heads in broadly the right direction over a prolonged period, albeit there are three steps forward and two steps back.
I was writing about WW1 and Junkerism rather than Nazis but there was a similar brutality in their approaches to realpolitik. Two things show that beyond doubt. The fact that Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler both restored and praised the disgraced 'Hangman' Peters for his brutal killings of Africans, as described in my postscript for RAGE! In later books in my series, you will come across a real-life character called Herman Goering, who commanded JG Richthofen in 1918, and later became de facto No2 to Adolf Hitler in WW2. Goering's father was Imperial Commissioner of Germany's Southwest Africa colony in the late 1800s and was implicated in the genocide in that colony.
But Junkerism and Prussian militarism arose for a reason. It was a reaction to history rather than something buried in the German psyche. Before Frederick the Great of Prussia in the middle 1770s, the major European powers of the time, such as France and Austria, routinely marched through Prussia raping and pillaging, as was the practice among armies of the time. Stuck in the middle of the European landmass, as one of many not-so-strong German-speaking states, every army crossing Europe trampled through Prussia, often on their way to somewhere else. Not that the peasantry [the bulk of the population] noticed the distinction.
Frederick and his successors were dedicated to making sure the people of Prussia were better protected. Of course, that required a martial nationalism that culminated, a hundred years later, in a single powerful German state under the Prussian, Otto Bismarck. You can argue that the other European powers sowed what they reaped with Prussia's and Germany's rise under the Junkers. Beware of forcing your will on others, you may inspire a strong counter reaction. Politicians of today on all sides please note.
Yet now Germany is a democratic stalwart. Japan has been through a similar arc.
That is what I mean by perspective. I can't remember who said something along the lines that "evil never wins long term, it just doesn’t go away even when it is defeated." A bit like COVID really!
FQ: Do you have a favorite historical (real-life) character among the ones you depict here?
STEWART: Erwin Bohme, the man who rescued Lance from Kapitan Peters in my book. How many young men would decide to go to darkest Africa [which was still pretty dark around 1908] and walk from Switzerland to Genoa to catch a ship, casually solo climbing the Jungfrau and Matterhorn on the way? Of course, he later became one of Germany's top fliers and one of Manfred Richthofen's closest friends.
He will re-appear in the later books of the series.
FQ: Could you envision a feature-length film made from Knights of War?
STEWART: It's my hope! Sir Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings series, is a WW1 flying devotee and owns a large collection of the aircraft described in my book. He also owns a film studio in New Zealand with the expertise to digitally create the flying scenes. When the book is safely launched, I will try to persuade him...
There is a real paucity of good movies about WW1 flying. Most of them are poor, either because the technology wasn’t good enough to project the realities of war flying or because the planes used were not historically accurate. Digital technology now means the flying scenes can be shown accurately, but it needs a director who doesn’t massacre historical accuracy for a cheap Hollywood plot. By far the best WW1 movie in my opinion is The Blue Max. If you want cinematic realism in your flying scenes, it sits alone.
FQ: What historical materials were especially useful in depicting the position and role of the pilot and gunner in the planes (both German and English) of which you seem to have so much knowledge?
STEWART: WWI flying is brilliantly served in literature and art. The internet is rife with technical details for all the planes. But I wanted to show how it felt to fly and fight in these planes, and so relied more on firsthand experiences.
Take for example, the FE2b in which Lance served with Arthur as his gunner. Fredrick Libby, the American who served in the Royal Flying Corps as a volunteer before America entered the war, was one of the most successful FE2b gunners. In my book he is Rod Andrew's gunner in a Bristol Fighter, a little artistic license by me. Libby wrote a wonderful book of his wartime flying called They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?. I relied on him for much of the description of the role of an FE2b gunner.
But that generation were so determined not to appear to be bullshit-artists that they were very matter of fact in their writing. I had to use my imagination a lot to provide more vivid descriptions. I am lucky in that I have flown open cockpit biplanes but for those who have not, try sticking your head and arm out of the car window while doing 100 mph [when you can safely and legally do so!] and imagine what it is like to be standing in that gale, in a plane made of wood and fabric, thousands of feet high, protected from the blast of wind only by a knee high wooden frame and a strip of canvas as your safety harness. It would make your pulse race, I guarantee.
Remember also that our generation is used to flying at high altitudes and high speeds, but back in 1916 very, very few people had ever experienced anything remotely close to 100 mph or being higher than a two-story house. What was it like for them?
Where, for certain aircraft, I could not find a first-hand WWI source, I relied on first-hand accounts of pilots that had flown restored planes or replicas. The most entertaining of these is Flying the Old Planes by Frank Tallman. Apart from being the so-called "King of the stunt pilots" in the 1970s, Frank possibly flew more hours in WW1 planes, both German and Allied, than any other active pilot of his time. He was also gifted with a wonderful turn of phrase, describing one plane as flying "like a nervous hummingbird," and another as being "as pleasurable to fly as sitting in a bathtub full of bees while dressed in a bathing suit."
FQ: What writer(s) most influenced your composition of Lance’s story?
STEWART: In terms of using history and fictional characters and events closely melded together, my main inspirations were George Macdonald Fraser in his Flashman series—the adventures of a Victorian rogue, and Bernard Cornwell in his Sharpe Series, mainly about a rugged, reluctant hero during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s.
Their stories are creatively imagined, their action exciting, their prose true to period and sometimes lyrical, and their history impeccable. Military historical fiction doesn’t get any better in my opinion.
FQ: Would you give our readers a sneak book into book 2 of your series?
STEWART: Here Is an excerpt from Knights of the Air, Book 2: Fire!
Lance could not, would not, allow Pa to die alone.
He thrust open the throttle before he could change his mind. The engine bellowed and the plane rolled forward, reluctant through the weight of the wet grass. A dim figure ran from Arthur's office, arms waving in the signal to cut the engine. Yellow light from the windows glistened off the puddles. Lance ignored the running man. Arthur had never specifically banned flying this morning, just assumed that no-one would be mad enough.
The SE5 accelerated. Buildings blurred beyond the fire of his exhausts. His goggles streaked with water. He pulled them up and squinted as shotgun pellets of rain stung his exposed cheeks.
The poplar trees raced towards him, towering taller with every second. The tailskid lifted. A gentle pullback of the stick to lift off. Nothing. The SE5 roared onwards, refusing to unstick as the sodden grass sucked at the tyres. A puff of the cheeks, a deep breath, and a prayer, and he eased back harder on the stick. The wheels unstuck. Thank you, God!
Lance held her nose down, gathering speed to clear the trees. His belly sucked in as he gauged pace and distance in the gloom. His nerve cracked and he yanked back on the controls. Branches reached for him, thrusting their black claws against the bruised sky. A gust flung him upwards and the plane rocketed over the trees into the wild squalls.
His heart hammered, but the hardest part was still to come.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

#BookReview - Motherhood by Siam Vakili


Motherhood
By: Siamak Vakili
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: February 25, 2022
ISBN: 978-1639881895
Reviewed by Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 19, 2022
Siamak Vakili delivers his take on the topic of ‘motherhood’ in his debut novel titled Motherhood.
Dr. Mitra Shahverdi is a young physician living in the southwest city of Shiraz, Iran. On the eve of the new year, she is having a fitful night. She had been tossing and turning and losing the battle with sleep. Fortunately, if sleep would not happen, she had the next seven days as holiday in connection with the new year; plenty of time to catch up on sleep.
Finally, just as Mitra is about to drift off, there is a sudden noise. Whatever fell in her apartment caused a noticeable shake and the notion of sleep was gone for good. Mitra decides to investigate. What she discovers is beyond comprehension as to what she is supposed to do with her discovery.
Mitra was not prepared to find a young boy crouched and cowering naked and in the corner of her bathtub. He was five or six years old and Mitra could not grasp the concept of how he even got into her home; let alone her bathtub. She contacted the authorities, and a lieutenant was dispatched to her home. Mitra’s frustrations began to rise when it was abundantly clear the lieutenant didn’t assume the same sense of urgency as she did. His attitude was she would need to care for the young boy until after Nowruz (The Persian New Year) and perhaps then, a solution would present itself as far as next steps. The one elephant in the room that seemed to persist, but was not getting any attention, however, was Mitra didn’t have children...didn’t want children...and wasn’t sure why the lieutenant simply couldn’t remove this child from her home at once. As time unfolds, it is interesting to experience the emotions and challenges both navigate to arrive at their respective end destinations.
This was an interesting read in that Mr. Vakili sets a tone from the onset of how adamant his character, Dr. Shahverdi, is against the responsibility of motherhood. There is a mysterious and sublime way Mr. Vakili lays the plot to keep his audience engaged from the onset in that one isn’t certain if this is a fantasy or a reality. This is a very quick read, and the author does an admirable job of keeping the mystery alive as to what the outcome will be. One word of caution I would suggest to the author, however, is to be sure to edit thoroughly before delivering the final copy. In fairness, I was given an advance copy to read, but did notice quite a few errors, including on more than a few occasions the author refers to Dr. Shahverdi as ‘he’ versus ‘she.’
Quill says: Motherhood is a great depiction of how things may not be what they seem, and it truly is difficult to escape from who we truly are.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

#AuthorInterview with Gabriel F.W. Koch, author of Paradox Effect


Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kimberly Trix Lee is talking with Gabriel F.W. Koch, author of Paradox Effect: Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence.
FQ: Time travel novels are a popular, but difficult, topic to attempt. What drew you to the genre?
KOCH: History is human activity indelibly etched into time. The only way to alter the result would be to travel back in time. It is a rather thrilling idea, tinkering with ancient lives. And the multiple paradox possibilities are both breathtaking and staggering. The smallest change might have the largest effect on the future.
FQ: The story switches from 1954, to 2254 and 2755. How/why did you choose these three times?
KOCH: Post World War II in America was a celebration of an incredible victory and ripe with limitless opportunities. Industries created and recreated by the war thrived and expanded rapidly. For the first time in history advertising, through radio and the newly available TV strode into every life except the most rural areas. Sales of what before the war was unnecessary, skyrocketed.
Then more than ever before human activity began to seriously damage the environment.
People moved around so much after the war, and as a direct result of the war that no one was disturbed by the sudden appearance of new people.
It is actually a fascinating decade. I don’t think any before or since compare. So I anchored the plot there.
As for 2254 and 2755...well first I believe time travel is possible but the science complex and elusive. Because of that I decided we might need centuries before time travel would happen. In 2254 time travel is a well-regulated means of attempting minor alterations of the past to heal the future. Three hundred years later, the effects of what I think of as the human self-destruct gene has driven the numbers of natural born humans to around five thousand.
FQ: At the end of the story, Dannia was given a choice. I know it was intentionally left open but, without any spoilers, what can you tell us regarding what she chose to do in the end?
KOCH: The choices were return to the distant future or live in the past with her new family. The future became a serious unknown due to the paradox. The past challenging, but hopeful.
FQ: Are the Blaylocks genetically engineered humans from an even further timeline beyond 2755?
KOCH: Yes. They were engineered in a special laboratory designed by a woman named Blaylock, no first name. The Blaylock sisters run the time travel program enacted in the twenty-seventh century. There are males, brothers whose assignments are more like messengers to the past. They cannot alter anything.
The sisters have the power and knowledge to manipulate their Gate system even to the point of creating locality Gates to move instantly from place to place in a given time without leaving that time. The do not share this knowledge.
Author Gabriel F.W. Koch
FQ: When the first wave of consequences of Dannia's pregnancy occurred in 2254, we learn that there were thousands of people missing and that new people appeared out of nowhere. Can you explain this?
KOCH: When Dannia’s paradox awakened with the birth of her son consequences unanticipated occurred. New science is not exact so those who sent her back gambled honestly. They believed her mission would succeed, but what they attempted had never been tried before to any degree.
As the paradox slowly traveled up (to the future) the timeline beginning in 1954 collateral damage was worse than predicted in Buckwalder’s time 2254.
The Blaylock sisters, engineered without the emotions that would cause you or me to be aghast, stunned, horrified strove only to save future humanity. Their comp systems predicted it. In a way they gambled too but with a level of foreknowledge only possible for them.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, new children were born from new relationships. When a person disappears the knowledge of their previous existence does too. It may be a tricky balance but I believe it would work that way.
For the first few decades, change would be barely noticed. Then it would accelerate as the paradox progressed.
FQ: I’m so curious...who was the other lady in the photo that Dannia saw from that file that 989-9 intentionally left for her to see?
Author Gabriel F.W. Koch

KOCH: The photo from the file left by 989-9 for Dannia to find was of Dannia’s mentor. The woman, who encouraged and finally convinced Dannia to join the Blaylock team.
FQ: The story was written from an omniscient narrator point of view. Would you tell our readers why this was your chosen POV?
KOCH: I chose omniscient POV because to do otherwise would’ve had me, and readers juggling POVs. Likely too much to keep track of and therefore either slow the reader and or create some frustration. (Anne Mc Caffery, author of Dragonriders of Pern and more, recommended that writers should write in a way that readers do not need to pause to understand something so the storyline flows smoothly. No distractions.)
It also gives a writer a bit more freedom to keep the storyline flowing without hesitation. There are writers, some quite famous, who switch POVs in a paragraph. I find that when they do I pause to switch characters.
FQ: I see that your most recent novel, No Escaping the Storm, has time travel elements too. Would you tell us a bit about this novel, as well as your military experience and how that helped you bring believability to the story?
KOCH: No Escaping the Storm gave me the opportunity to play with the idea of genetic manipulation through combining alien DNA with human DNA. In this story aliens from the future, their planet dying, travel to earth and using an aerial spray dumped over the nation with the largest and best equipped military begin conquering earth.
Only by accident did the CDC stumble upon a virus that counteracted and killed the invaders surrogates.
Not all humans with affected DNA die, which left a small number of super humans. They gathered together a new army and navy and attempted to invade the Norwest Territory.
My combat experience taught me about what I was willing to do to survive and accomplish my mission. It also showed me that I was willing, albeit without forethought, to put myself in harms way to help us succeed.
And of course, defined my limitations on how much collateral damage I was willing to accept. Not much.
With Harold and Willy, I was able to show the aftereffects of severe combat. PTSD can devastate and drive some vets into seclusion like Harold in the wilderness of the Norwest Territory, or Willy into the wilderness of a damage psyche.
FQ: Are you currently working on your next book? If so, would you give our readers a peek into the story?
KOCH: Currently I am writing a sequel to Paradox Effect tentatively tilted Paradox Helix. The following is an excerpt.
2264CE
Chapter One
James Vandeventer adjusted the uncomfortable three button grey single-breasted suit he knew would help him blend in once he arrived. His era shoes were 3D fabricated French Shriner black wingtips. He wore a narrow red tie and white shirt. All of what he had on would help him step into life in 1964.
At least he hoped it would. His accent and grammar usage might be problem since he could not locate an accurate rendition in any of the recorded files from that time-period.
He had spent days searching through implant protocols as carefully as possible. He did not want his activities discovered by the frequent system wide scans run through the electronic network where return travelers downloaded from their implants and stored the data collected on from their travels.
Which included details not even the traveler was aware of while living in the part of ancient history their assignment sent them to.
He had chosen April 21st, a Tuesday. For him that day and month everything ended. For others it was the month everything began anew. The end of the horrors of past humanity’s misdeeds and misadventures.
April was the month that triggered the paradox that eliminated his entire family. Killed his wife, two sons, and three daughters. Before then he’d been one of the fortunate.
The clouds of pollution had not sterilized him or his wife. The clouds of red-orange sterilizing the unfortunate caught in its noxious rain, fallout sifting the atmosphere as it cycled the globe.
Of course many people were born without the ability to procreate due to contamination to their forebears. Birth defects were rampant and often deadly.
Before the change time began no one including the best-trained science and tech teams could prevent the steady demise of humanity for the past ten generations. In his time the group known as the five thousand could conceive healthy offspring. His wife Rachel a beautiful woman with blonde hair and vivid hazel eyes was able to conceive.
They’d been praised for the number of children they had. He knew given a few more years they would help rescue their dying species. His five children were tested. The results showed the three girls and two boys were healthy in every way. That alone was considered a miracle.
Then the woman Dannia Weston assigned to make a simple tech alteration to lessen air pollution in 1954 became pregnant. The infant’s father was natural born in the mid-twentieth century.
When her child was born the birth created, for James, a devastating paradox. He felt that it might wipe out humanity given enough time. It definitely obliterated his family life.
His wife and children disappeared as if they never existed while they prepared the evening meal.
The kids were doing educational assignments. All was normal one minute then the scene around him quaver. Everything except he began blinking and then suddenly he stood alone in the middle of a field of wildflowers. His family, his life was gone. His home and possessions were gone too.
He admitted thinking back that the flowers were unexpectedly beautiful, smelled amazing, but that was not enough for him.
What he never understood was why he remembered his wife and children and the place they lived, their shared history. A psych-bot informed him that the memories if real, were stored in his neuro-net, which he was given as a traveler. And that given enough time, they would fade and he would forget that past.

But James did not want to forget. So he recorded and stored on his personal cloud every memory, every detail about his family and their lives, their wonderful lives. That way he could always recall their love, joy, and lives in detail.
As the memories did start to fade his fear and frustration grew exponentially. He then created a plan to stop Dannia Foxlena Weston’s success.
The radical part of his plan included killing her and the boy outright. And to do it before the strength of the paradox they created took hold of the entire future. Therefore, he chose 1964 as the best year to end it all.
At the time Dannia gave birth, Vandeventer had felt outraged that General Buckwalder did nothing to stop it. Allowing the child to be born violated several laws of time travel written to protect the future from just such a paradox.
And if the general hadn’t acted no one else in authority had the power to override him.
Now James stood a meter from the solidifying time portal. He watched it connect his time and world to a place called New York City in the year 1964. Ten years to the day after Dannia Weston’s paradox killed his entire family.
He checked the medium size packet he carried in a leather briefcase, his fingers searching for and then brushing the items inside. This will end the boy’s life. That will trigger the paradox to reverse. My life will return to normal, my wife and children will again live with me.
He actually regretted the need, but could no longer stand the acute draining pain of loss.
The time portal connected. As he stepped forward to enter, he heard noise behind him. People shouting for him to stop, someone threatened to stun him.
He heard them getting closer, heard the sound of a laser pistol charging and dove head first into the glowing circle. A laser beam followed him, but was above him. He heard its hissing, singe the air and knew he’d survive.
Seconds later, he dropped two meters onto a wet grassy field in a place named Central Park, rolling down a slight decline. The laser beam hit the side of a statue of an ancient and long forgotten solider riding, he knew from his detailed research, a horse. An animal trained to carry people, an animal extinct for more than a century in his time.
The portal closed with a sound like a hawk’s cry. He knew the identity of the bird. Taught him in a class he attended years earlier. While he was young and restless and believed he’d be an affective traveler. There was the expected flash of blue light and he knew he was through and safe.

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott is talking with Glenn Reschke, author of Something Went Cold.
FQ: What single piece of advice would you give to a person preparing to read your work regarding your unusual take on the afterlife?
RESCHKE: An interesting question. I would say, “Enjoy the ride.” 😊 My faith and its tenets obviously influence my writing of the story, The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler. However, I have read a few books that detail after-death experiences including Life Everlasting and Dr. George G. Ritchie’s book, Return from Tomorrow. In Ritchie’s book, he chronicled where he “died” and was given a tour of the afterlife by what a voice told him was “The Son of God.” Some of the things he experienced, I incorporated into the story. The same with people’s accounts as chronicled in Life Everlasting. I’m not obliquely or overtly evangelizing my worldview, philosophy, and/or religion. I was simply seeking to write an engaging, unique story that went beyond the normal day-to-day experiences. As Shakespeare wrote, “The story’s the thing...” I believe he was right.
FQ: Do you have a favorite historical character, either positive or negative, among the ones you depict here?
RESCHKE: I’m a baseball fan and as such, it was fun writing about a fictional universe where a cryogenically frozen Ted Williams is brought back to life. It was cathartic in a way to write about his second chance at life so that he could undo mistakes and correct some character flaws. I think that attitude is something we all think about from time to time.
I enjoyed writing the Hitler story, too. However, for absolute clarity, I loathe Hitler and the things he did. I’m not a Nazi sympathizer. I simply thought it would be a fun story to write. And I thought it would be very unique as well. I like watching documentaries and after watching one on Hitler that ended with his death, it occurred to me that the story is really just beginning for him – that his mortal death was not the end. Obviously, an afterlife is not something many believe in. I get it – and I respect people’s differing opinions. But in a world of fiction, anything goes, so I explored that to my heart’s content. But, again, I was simply seeking to write a story that was unique, engaging, and thought-provoking – but most of all enjoyable to read. I believe I succeeded judging from some of the feedback, both personal and professional, that I’ve received.
FQ: Does positing and writing about oppression and revenge give you a sense of inner satisfaction that you wish to impart to your readers?


Author Glenn Reschke

RESCHKE: No. Fundamentally, I wasn’t trying to grind an axe regarding thoughts on oppression and revenge. I just wanted to tell a compelling story that jolted the reader. Writers should seek to write unique stories, shouldn’t they? There’s no fun in writing stories that have been told repeatedly. One of the best short stories I’ve ever read was Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. It’s short, impactful, and leaves the reader with a jolt, a shock. It’s also a revenge story. Those are the kind of stories I like – not revenge stories per se – but stories that give the reader an experience out of the ordinary. Each of my stories was meant to be a The Twilight Zone type of story in that each story is unique and has its own plot, characters, theme, and eventual payoff. That was my goal and hope when I wrote the stories contained within Something Went Cold.
FQ: Do you anticipate writing becoming your primary profession?
RESCHKE: No, I don’t. Not that it wouldn’t be great if that happened. I do believe I have as much talent as other published writers I’ve read – and certainly Hollywood writers. I’m not trying to be vain or arrogant here; I’m honestly trying to be objective. Most writers don’t write something that’s truly compelling, where the reader becomes invested emotionally. Very few movies and television shows meet that criterion. And that explains why Hollywood steals ideas, options books, and rehashes old stories. There is a dearth of compelling stories that move the watcher or reader. It may be prideful, but I feel like I can identify and write a good, compelling story. Still, as it’s so competitive out there, I doubt I’d ever have writing become my primary profession. I’m simply being realistic.
FQ: Your stories, focusing on a world in which science and religion are both visible, but through an etheric screen, express essential hope. Is that part of your wider understanding/belief system?
RESCHKE: Yes. There’s an old Arabian proverb about hope: “He who has health has hope. And he who has hope has everything.” I do believe in the eventual exaltation of man, but it will probably only come after a lot of suffering. I believe in both science and spirituality. And I believe in the potential of humankind. So, yes, I do have an undercurrent of hope that threads its way through, in particular, the stories “The Afterlife of Adolf Hitler” and “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.”
FQ: What writer or creative exemplar influenced you most in the composition of this series?
RESCHKE: My book, Something Went Cold, was never meant to be a series but a collection of unique short stories.
To directly answer the question, honestly...no one. I didn’t try to emulate anyone. I do admire great writers, but there’s a difference between trying to model or imitate a writer and admiring them. I’m trying to have my own voice. Among my favorite writers are Truman Capote, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and Isaac Asimov. That said, and again, though, I don’t try to imitate anyone.
I wrote stories that I thought I’d like reading. I didn’t worry about length either. I wanted stories that were full figured without worrying about an arbitrary word limit. I wanted the story to carry the day and take its own course, if you will. As mentioned, stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado are what I like: stories that are written well, have a main character that has a clear motivation, and an emotional payoff of some kind that gets the reader thinking. I think people enjoy those kinds of stories. Asimov’s The Bicentennial Man is another such story.
FQ: You must surely have a favorite character in Something Went Cold, someone you identify closely with – who would that be?
RESCHKE: Actor Spencer Tracy once said he put Spencer Tracy into every acting role he ever had. There is something of me in every character I wrote in Something Went Cold – with the exception of Hitler. He was a monster, a murderer, and a deceiver. I’m none of those things. I wrote that story because I thought it would be a compelling and jolting ride.
I was bullied in school but not to the extent the character King Billy was. So, yes, I can identify with the despair and pain that character felt. I can also identify with the frustration the character Burke Norman felt, too. And the unresolved pain and disappointment that Ted Williams felt – yeah, I can identify with that too.
The young girl in “#MeToo” is someone I closely identify with maybe more than any other character in the book. I let my imagination run wild with that story but to be absolutely clear, she is a fictional character from bow to stern. It’s a figment of my imagination from beginning to end. The grief, pain, and wounds that character felt I could definitely identify with as I had lousy biological parents, too. I deliberately left her unnamed so people could identify with her. In our culture it’s come out as to how predatory many Hollywood powerbrokers are not to mention scores of politicians. The #MeToo movement was long overdue and I tried to tap into that zeitgeist deliberately by crafting a unique story where, perhaps for once, a woman gets some revenge.
I will say this: I can most definitely identify with the vengeful feelings the girl had. (Not that I’ve ever done anything remotely like what I have her doing in the story.) The deceased management consultant Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “Unexpressed feelings never die, they’re simply buried alive.” I was trying to tap into that kind of emotional thread with the #MeToo story as many feel a desire for justice upon those who hurt them so gratuitously. The truth is, in this world, many wicked people get away with their crimes ALL...THE...TIME. So, in the story, I wanted that to not be the case, and I thought that would make for some compelling drama.
FQ: Do you have plans for more writing of a similar nature?
RESCHKE: Yes and no. I have lots of ideas for short stories and a goodly number of ideas for novels. Currently I’m starting work on my first novel and I’ve just finished my first non-fiction book. So, I have plenty of ideas to keep me busy for the next 20-30 years.
As mentioned earlier, my fundamental linchpin or touchstone that I start from is to write unique stories that are fun to read, that are an experience.