Early Review of The Simulacrum!

The SimulacrumBrad submitted The Simulacrum for review and just got it back yesterday:

A fast-paced thriller with an intriguing scientific mystery.

Mary Dillard is an ambitious Washington, D.C., woman on the cusp of attaining her dream job, Director of Development at the National Academy of Sciences, when her uncle Dr. Wayne Oakford is murdered at his home. The police call it an open-and-shut case of a burglary gone wrong, but Mary and the reader know a larger conspiracy led to the crime.

The second chapter reveals the killer’s identity, so the real mystery that drives Seggie and Yezak’s book centers on Oakford’s controversial scientific findings. Both the killer and the higher-ups in the science community wanted Oakford out of the way after he found “Paluxy Man,” a fossilized human skeleton that may have lived alongside the dinosaurs, providing strong evidence against evolution.

Mary has only days to discover whether her uncle truly falsified his findings and why someone wanted him dead. She enlists the help of Gunnar Schofield, who doesn’t “do” cellphones. He rides a Harley instead of taking planes and is still recovering from his wife’s death. The pairing of Mary and Gunnar is almost as far-fetched as Oakford’s research.

Readers paying attention will see plenty of similarities to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, that blockbuster page-turner. This book moves at a similarly brisk pace, with short chapters, snappy dialogue and great chemistry between the two leads as they jet from one destination to another, one revelation to the next, one precarious bit of danger after the other.

Fans of hard science might be irritated with the book’s central concept, but this thriller still delivers.

I love that last line–yes, fans of hard science won’t like having their logic used against them, won’t enjoy seeing evolutionary “facts” explode, won’t appreciate seeing alternatives to the theory of evolution introduced so convincingly. That was the point.

 

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The Facts Behind the Fiction

trexLast week and the week before, Brad Seggie and I blogged about our new book and about the dangers of falling indiscriminately for anything scientists tell us. The thing is, we have no way of knowing the facts about anything in a science that holds its agenda higher than truth. Atheists or agnostic scientists regard the theory of evolution as indisputable fact because the primary alternative theory available is intelligent design–God created.

Scientists and other intellectuals view God as a mythical being that conveniently provides an answer for the unexplained. The more the scientists learn secrets and explain the unexplainable, the less the existence of a god is necessary. It’s the most bizarre thing ever: the more God reveals Himself through science, the quicker scientists claim He doesn’t exist. Scientists discover that certain Biblical miracles could actually be explained by Nature, and all of a sudden, it isn’t a miracle anymore, just ignorant people ascribing to God an explanation for what they don’t understand. The fact that the God of nature would use the nature He created doesn’t enter their minds.

When scientists discover something that disputes their long-held beliefs, they attack it, and the one who discovered that “something” becomes discredited in the scientific community, which ultimately is what The Simulacrum is about.

But just because the book is fiction doesn’t mean the concept it’s based upon is. There must be a million examples proving exactly what I’m saying, that scientists destroy inconvenient truths, but the most recent I found was published July 24, 2014 in Christian News Network. 

This article discusses Mark Armitage, a scientist at California State University–Northridge (CSUN), and his discovery of scientific evidence that contradicts evolution. He was fired because he discovered soft tissue on a Triceratops fossil, which was supposed to be “tens of millions of years old.” The discovery of soft tissue would indicate at the very least that the dating technique used by evolutionists is flawed.

According to the article:

Even though Armitage’s findings were published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the university decided to fire him, saying his findings were unacceptable. According to Armitage, his supervisor entered the lab and declared, “We will not tolerate your religion in this department!”

“It is frustrating because I made no conclusions in the paper, I just presented the factual data,” [Armitage] said. “The only conclusions I drew were that ‘This needs to be investigated further. We have a lot of work to do.’ And that was it.”

Armitage believes he lost his job because evolutionists in the department were unwilling to consider the implications of his discovery.

Can you imagine losing your job for simply discovering something contradictory to what your boss holds true?

In The Simulacrum, the scientist lost more than his job–he lost his life.

Due out August 15th:

The Simulacrum

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Know What You Write

Once again, today’s post is compliments of my writing partner Brad Seggie. Brad did all the research for The Simulacrum, much of it amazingly detailed and intense. He developed an exciting plot from his research, and the resulting book was a blast to write.

~~~~~
nas2Details help to bring a reader into a story. A little bit of local color can go a long way toward bringing your readers into the story. The flip side is that some of the readers know a thing or two about the subjects and places that you are describing. If your details are inaccurate, it will cause readers to lose faith in your writing and give up on your novel. In order to ensure accuracy, you will need to research.

The first place to go is the internet. An internet browser and a search engine is the quickest way to find information that you need. When it comes to describing the locations in your novel, you’ll probably find that there are plenty of photos and videos of the place you want to write about. When I was researching a scene involving the National Academy of Sciences building, I was able to find lots of pictures that helped me to describe the pagan imagery that adorns the building. And the same applies to technical, medical and scientific issues. When I was researching arguments concerning creation and evolution, I was able to read a large number of creationist sites and a large number of Darwinist sites. All in all, I found the Darwinist sites to be the most helpful. By reading both sides, I was able to identify the strongest arguments to present to the reader.

royal societyAnother way to research is to hit the books.  Although we like to believe that everything is available on the web, there is still some information available in book form that isn’t available on web pages. In researching The Simulacrum, I purchased a number of books about the Royal Society and the issue of creation and evolution. It’s probably a lot cheaper, though, to visit your library.

You can also travel to the locations described in your novel. As it so happened, I had visited Washington, DC in the recent past, so I had some idea of the layout of the city and the location of the bedroom communities.  Although I have lived in Texas, I have never visited Paluxy, the site of the so-called “man tracks” and the location of the novel’s key fossil find. Some of the action takes place in the Nashville area and I had the opportunity to visit Nashville for the first time this month – just a month before the novel is set for release. Although I didn’t see anything that would require us to change what we wrote, I was happy to see another location of some of the key scenes in the novel.

Finally, you can talk with people who know about your subject. In The Simulacrum, there is a scene involving a plane flight. I was lucky to have a friend who is a commercial pilot and who has substantial experience flying smaller planes as well. We sat down and discussed the appropriate terminology. I asked him how a pilot would react to certain difficulties happening while he’s flying the plane, and how the plane itself would react. I shared the details with my co-author and it gave us a certain degree of confidence in writing the scene.

We’ve all heard the old saying, “write what you know.” I believe you should write what you want to write, but “know what you write.” If you do your research, you will earn your readers’ trust and you have the opportunity to draw them into the story.

~~~~~

It’s coming August 15th!

The Simulacrum

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Nefarious Secrets

[I'm with Mom this week, so Brad's filling in for me. Have fun!]

Secret SocietiesWe’ve all heard about secret societies. Skull & Bones. The Freemasons. The Templar Knights. The Bilderberg Group. Some people deny that these organizations even exist. A much larger group acknowledge their current or former existence but deny that they could ever accomplish anything secretly. Still others believe that secret societies are behind the most important actions in the world.

In the history of science, there was at least one secret society, known as the Invisible College. Many today believe that it was a predecessor to the Royal Society of London and that the Invisible College is no longer in existence.

But that was the 1600s. What about today? Is it possible for a small group of scientists to falsify their scientific findings and keep it a secret, intentionally misinforming the world about their scientific discipline? Would scientists lie to us, to world leaders, to us and our children in order to enrich themselves? Would a large number of scientists work together and fake the scientific evidence in order to serve a political purpose? If scientists “know” that something is true but cannot prove it, would they lie to use and tell us that it is proven in order to end the debate and change public policy?

Some would say the answer is a resounding yes! I’m referring to the issue of climate change, also known as global warming. According to John Costella, PhD, “[t]his is not ‘climate science,’ it is climate ideology; it is the Church of Climatology.”

I would urge you to read John Costella’s annotated collection of the Climategate emails. The emails by these “scientists” are positively chilling and a damning indictment of the ethics of all scientists. It is a must read, but don’t trust my word on this. Spend the time to read every word and every page. It’s an eye-opener.

We all like to believe that people in power, especially scientists, are honest and trustworthy. The Climategate emails are disturbing and raise serious questions about the character and ethics of those who call themselves “scientists.” Even worse than Climategate was the reaction of the mainstream media, which acted as if nothing was happening and did everything in its power to keep the public from becoming aware of the scandal. Worse still was the reaction by scientists and academics who were tasked to investigate and respond to the Climategate revelations but who didn’t even attempt to get to the truth or respond to the specific allegations.

Again, I would urge you to open the above link and read the Climategate emails, as well as John Costella’s comments. Then ask yourself this question: if scientists would lie to you about climate science, why wouldn’t they lie to you about evolution?

There are few scientists who have ever seen a human fossil. Most of them are stored in secure locations. The vast majority of scientists are only able to access plaster casts that do not perfectly represent that actual fossils, and the disparities between the two are significant. The reality is that you have a very large pool of scientists who are relying on information provided by a very small pool. Again, I ask you: if scientists would lie to you about climate science, why wouldn’t they lie to you about evolution?

~~~~

Brad’s research into this is the foundation for our book, The Simulacrum. His passion for the topic–and for the truth–is evident in the novel. It’s a novel you won’t want to miss!

The Simulacrum

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SALE!

high resolutionI just found out from my publisher that the electronic version of The Cat Lady’s Secret is $1.00 from Christian Book Distributors

Today Only!
You can SAVE $3.99. That’s 80%!

And it’s available for purchase worldwide!

We’ll get back to The Simulacrum tomorrow, but I thought I’d let you in on this special price!

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Meet My Co-author!

The SimulacrumBrad Seggie and I met through the ACFW website several years ago. We were both looking for critique partners–fresh eyes to go over our works. The novel he was working on then fascinated me. Brad’s got a great mind for thrillers, but the first book apparently landed in a drawer somewhere, to my disappointment. So when he asked me to cowrite The Simulacrum (releasing next month!)I jumped at the chance.

I figure it’s time for you to meet him, if you didn’t already at the 2013 ACFW conference.

In this interview, he talks more about the book and his ideas for it:

Linda:  Where’d you get your idea for this book?

Brad: I came up with the idea during the 2004-2005 timeframe. At that time, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was a huge hit. I reverse-engineered what Brown did and came up with what I call “The Da Vinci Code formula.” There are plenty of thrillers that share some surface similarities to The Da Vinci Code (including quite a few by Dan Brown himself), but to the best of my knowledge this is the only other novel that uses the crucial formula. One element of the formula is that when you get beyond the characters and the plot, the story is really about a complex issue that is of critical importance to readers. Evolution is both important and complex. Also, the Kitzmiller creationism case was happening at that time [2005], so it was on my mind.

Linda: How’d you come up with the title?

Brad: Have you ever stood at the bottom of a skyscraper and looked upward? Although it has the same dimensions all the way up, the building appears to get smaller as it gets higher. Some of the ancient Greeks solved this problem by making their statues larger on top so, when viewed from below, they appear to be in proportion. This kind of statue is called a simulacrum. I think it’s symbolic of the intentional distortion being perpetrated on issues ranging from evolution to climate change.

Additionally, the lead character in the novel, Mary Dillard, is also a kind of simulacrum; she has crafted an image of herself as someone who cares about truth, when in fact she cares about doing what’s popular. In the course of the novel, she changes.

Linda:  What are your goals for The Simulacrum?

Brad: The issue of creationism versus evolution is hotly debated within the scientific community, but the larger world is largely unaware of the specifics of the debate. To a significant degree, scientists are mentally trapped inside the Darwinian box. I want to bring some of those issues to the forefront and see if we can help move the debate forward – and, in the process, move science forward.

As an example, one issue that’s often raised within the scientific community is the lack of transitional fossils. One defense of evolution is to say that evolution happened just as Darwin stated, but we just haven’t found all of the transitional fossils yet – and we are lucky to have found any! A very different explanation, offered by Stephen Jay Gould, is “punctuated equilibrium.” The idea is that a species stays in one form for a long period of time (equilibrium). Those periods of transition are “punctuated” by short periods of time where it changes into a new species. Then the species again is at equilibrium. This theory was created to explain the lack of transitional fossils, and its great selling point is that it reflects the fossil record better than traditional Darwinism.

Imagine if two men who own your local convenience store claimed that $10,000 was stolen from their cash register yesterday at noon. They accuse your friend John of the crime. He claims he did nothing wrong; all he did was buy a soda. Luckily, the store owners have an overhead camera and they have video footage of the entire day! You go with John to watch the footage. All it shows is John walking into the store, buying a soda and leaving. The first owner says the footage proves nothing — it’s clear that there must be missing video footage. After a careful examination, it’s learned that all the footage is there. Then the second owner steps forward and says that he’s solved the mystery! John, you see, was moving at normal human speed during most of the time. Then, for a brief moment, he moved faster than the speed of light, ran around the counter and robbed the register, then ran back to precisely where he was before. Finally, John returned to normal speed. The reason there’s no footage, he asserts smugly, is that he was moving too fast for the camera to pick it up! What would your opinion be of the owners’ intellectual honesty? Should you defer to their judgment on this matter? On any matter?

Linda: You chose to have your characters be either agnostic or not active in their faith. Why?

Brad: I didn’t want the characters to disbelieve evolution for religious reasons. I wanted them to resist the information they were learning, but ultimately to have to accept the truth. I think that’s more powerful. Additionally, I believe it’s better to have flawed characters. They’re more interesting and it provides room for growth.

Linda: What are your writing goals?

Brad: Honestly, my only goal right now is to get this novel out to the people. What I do from here will be determined by the readers. If the sales don’t move the needle, there won’t be a sequel. If the sales are strong, there will be. For the record, I believe there will be a sequel.

~~~

Linda: Personally, I’m rooting for a sequel. Brad presented all the facts, but I’m afraid I fell in love with the two main characters, Mary Dillard and Gunnar Schofield. The Simulacrum ends with a hook for a sequel, so I’m seriously hoping there will be one. I don’t have Brad’s mind for this kind of novel, so I can’t do it without him. Which is sad, because I want to see what happens. :D

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The Secret Revealed!

I’ve been hinting about this day for two weeks. I mentioned “my August release” when I talked about tags and brands last Wednesday, and again in the very cryptic line “no matter what the genre” in my bio post last Friday.

Hermes was a hint.

The short essay about the simulacrum was a hint. And if you get my newsletter, Coffee with Linda, you know that was the biggest hint of all.

So here’s the big reveal.

My cowriter, Brad Seggie, and I would like to announce the release of our new conspiracy thriller:

The Simulacrum

In a dig in Paluxy, Texas, Dr. Wayne Oakford and crew found a fossilized human skeleton and a dinosaur skeleton together. The results of carbon testing had Oakford claiming the two beings coexisted–an impossibility according to mainstream evolutionary science. And a claim for which, a year later, he was murdered.

His niece, Mary Dillard, and her hired investigator, Gunnar Schofield, hunt for the killer from Texas to Virginia, only to discover that they too are being hunted. The chase is on, the danger mounts, and a variety of secrets are revealed, secrets worth killing for.

In an action-packed story written reminiscent of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, The Simulacrum tweaks the noses of evolutionists, using their own logic against them, and reveals scientific evidence in favor of Intelligent Design. Sure to rattle or confirm your belief system . . .

Releases August 15.

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Advanced Art, a Lesson–Sorta

definitive simulacrumSimulacrum: it’s an insubstantial form or semblance of something (MerriamWebster). In other words, it’s something that isn’t quite something else.

A reality, distorted and hidden in a lie.

The artists reject the notion that an image must be iconic–must accurately mimic its model–to be called art, preferring instead to create and offer their own interpretation of reality.

According to the late art historian, Michael Camille, “the term [simulacrum] was almost always used negatively, to define things that were deemed false or untrue.”

An image without a model, lacking that crucial dependence upon resemblance or similitude, the simulacrum is a false claimant to being which calls into question the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is represented.

The simulacrum also disturbs the order of priority: that the image must be secondary to, or come after, its model.

(“Simulacrum,” in: Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff. University of Chicago Press, 1996. pp. 31 – 44)

In other words, that which is created carries more importance, more weight, more value, than its inspiration.

I like this line: “the simulacrum . . . calls into question the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is represented.”

Can you imagine what an author could do with this symbolism–coupled with the symbolism of Hermes?

 

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Hermes–Not the Bag

HermesHermes, aka Mercury, aka Wodan, aka Thoth, aka the dude who’ll get your flowers to you on time because he’s known for being fleet-footed (hence the wings). Major god of innovation and science (hence the caduceus).

He’s also known for being clever, a trickster, and a thief. After all, moments after he was born, he stole Apollo’s cattle and returned to him a lyre, the strings of which he’d made from calf guts.

Though I’m not quite sure how he gained it–perhaps simply by virtue of being a god–Hermes was known for his wisdom, if we can believe it, having written “an astonishing 36,525 volumes of magic and wisdom, and Egyptian history. He taught the art of persuasion to Pandora, the art of prophecy to a few female inhabitants of the Mount of Parnassus, and music to Zeus’s stepbrother. To top it off, he also guided souls to the underworld. He knew his way around.

Wow. With this jack of all trades, why would anyone need the rest of the pantheon?

So here’s what interests me: We have this clever god, well-known for his trickery, who has a heart for music, a golden tongue for persuasion, and a brain full of the knowledge of magic and science. Makes me curious whether the point of this guy is to trick us into believing things that simply aren’t true. Interesting that he also leads souls to the underworld.

But why am I writing about this?

Stay tuned . . .

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Sunday Shorts–Devos for Authors

 photo acb702c5-3fc9-40c8-a33a-c0de11230fa6_zpsa680fdcf.jpg
Did you play dress-up as a kid? Pretend you were the mommy and your dolls were your children? Were you a fashion model? A nurse? Or maybe you wanted to be GI Joe or Superman or the Lone Ranger (really showing my age there).

I always played teacher in a multi-storied school house otherwise known as the backyard oak tree. I would sit on a branch and pretend to teach the things I’d learned during the day to my “kids.” I’d come up with great scenarios of this one being naughty or that one earning every possible gold star.

As authors, we do the same thing. In a way, we are pretending to be God. We create our story worlds and all the characters to populate it. We know the hearts of all our characters because we created them. We know how each character will react to the other based on the backstories we wrote for them, the psychological make-up we endowed them with, the situations we put them in. Knowing what we know about character A, and knowing what we know about character B, we can see their future together and know precisely how they will respond to each other. Or at least, that’s the general idea.

Every author I know loves the characters they bring to life. Even the bad guys. We pour our blood and sweat into these beings, so it’s hard not to love them. We want to spend time with them. We think of them virtually every waking moment–and our goal is for our readers to react the same way.

But we’re smart enough to know we aren’t God. What we do on a small scale, with all our errors, miscalculations, and misunderstandings of the human psyche, God does in massive, scaleless proportion, error-free, calculated to perfection, and in total understanding of those He created. He knows the DNA of every single living thing. He knows the history, thought, and emotion of every single person for generations back. Given that information and more, He knows exactly what will happen when person A meets person B.

That people don’t realize this always saddens me. They close the covers on God as if He doesn’t exist outside of His book. Or they see Him as some tiny being they can put inside a box and clamp a lid over it while they go on with their lives. If He’s in a box, He can’t see, right? Or they compartmentalize their lives–Sunday is for God, and when that day passes, He disappears and isn’t aware of their actions until the following Sunday. Then He patiently waits for them to decide whether they have anything to confess to Him. Because, after all, He doesn’t know what’s going on if no one tells Him, right?

They have no concept of how huge God is.

It’s hard to know how large the forest is when you’re in the middle of it. Hard to have an idea how large the universe is when you can’t see beyond the moon. And hard to conceive how immense God is when you can’t imagine that in Him we live and move and have our very being–He’s so immense, we can’t see Him. So much easier for some to be content with their own tree, their own Earth, and their own ego-centric selves.

Fortunately for us, our conception doesn’t change who He is. He is our creator, larger than we can imagine, with thoughts higher than we’re capable of perceiving. He not only sees our actions, He sees our hearts. There are no secrets from Him.

He searches our hearts. He knows our hearts, just like we know what’s at the heart of the characters we create. And He wants to spend time with us, just as we enjoy spending time with our characters.

He knows our hearts, every shadow, every sin, every evil intent, yet still He wants a relationship with us. He knows our hearts, yet still He wants fellowship with us.

He knows our hearts, yet still He loves us.

 

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