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

Posted in Guest Posts, Misc., Promotion/Publicity/Marketing, The Simulacrum | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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!

Posted in Writing | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Writing | 4 Comments

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.

Posted in Misc., Promotion/Publicity/Marketing, The Simulacrum | 12 Comments

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 . . .

Posted in Misc., Promotion/Publicity/Marketing, The Simulacrum | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

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.

 

Posted in Sunday Shorts | 6 Comments

From “Tag!” to “It!”

wanaWednesday, I came up with “tags” that fit most of my  novels and manuscripts–Texas, animals, romance, forgiveness, second chances–and developed a “brand” line from them, which doesn’t really cover everything, but I kind of like it: Courier of New Beginnings.

According to Kristen Lamb, in her super-informative book We Are Not Alone, these tags should be in our bios too. And if we develop a catchy enough bio from the tags, we can become “It!”–the one person readers turn to when they have a hankering for the books we have to offer, because search engines use the tags, the tags are in our bios, and our bios are brought up by the search engines. Get it? Yeah, I think I do, too, but I admit, a lot of this is over my head. I’m not quite a cyberidiot anymore, because I’m learning. Maybe I can call myself a cybertoddler.

Even if you don’t use tags to attract search engines, it’s still a great idea to use them in your long and short bios for the very reason we set out to write them to begin with–they describe your work, or at least elements of it.

I reread my biography here on my blog, and figured it needed some help. Yes, it’s cute and it’s in my voice, but it doesn’t really tell about what I write, only that I do. It does give personal info, which I believe readers enjoy, but very little of it pertains to why I write the things I do. And there really is a reason the tags–the elements found in all my stories–fit me. I should put them in my bio.

So, here’s a short bio, using all my tags. Let’s see if it works:

Texas, animals, romance, forgiveness, second chances

Author Linda W. Yezak’s love for animals is evident in her two cats, who generously donate fur to her keyboard in order to cushion each tap. After a decade of life as a “single-again,” Linda rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. No matter what the genre, Linda’s books are couriers of new beginnings.

I love the word “couriers” there. A “courier” is both the conveyance used by a courier, in this case, my books, or the courier (messenger) herself–me.

Still, I’m not sure about this bio. I’ve put my love of animals up front, which is great if animals were the primary characters in my books. I wonder what would happen if I took that out.

After a decade of life as a “single-again,” author Linda Yezak rediscovered God’s love and forgiveness when He allowed her a second chance at marital happiness. She is now living her greatest romance with her husband and cats in a forest in East Texas. After such an amazing blessing, she chooses to trumpet God’s gift of second chances in the books she writes. No matter what the genre, Linda’s books are couriers of new beginnings.

What do you think? Better?

Does this give you ideas for your own tags and bio?

Posted in Personal, Promotion/Publicity/Marketing | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

Tags, Brands, and Other Pies in the Sky

Cloud sittingI’ve been putting some serious thoughts into tags and brands lately. They’re important. Every marketing expert will tell you so. And you need a quick tagline that will identify you, bring you to mind immediately. “The cheese that goes crunch.” “Munch a bunch.” “Good to the last drop.” I’ll bet you can name the product that goes with each of these, even though they aren’t the companies’ active lines anymore.

When people think of me, apparently the first thing that comes to mind is coffee, so I went with it when I designed my new business card:

Linda W. Yezak
Author/Editor/Speaker
Fiction Crafter
Hopeless Coffeeholic

That’ll do for now, since I needed the cards recently, and will again soon, but the next time I design a one, I want something that says more about what kind of fiction I craft.

In other words–what do I write? What is the common thread throughout all my manuscripts, finished and unfinished?

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ll recognize this dilemma. I’ve been battling with it for quite some time. I have different genres I want to explore before I lock into one–if I have to–for marketing purposes with the major publishing companies. (Yes, I recently admitted self-publishers had a point, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my dream of being recognized by the big boys).

So, I thought about it and realized the common threads include Texas, animals, romance, forgiveness, and second chances. Even my newest novel coming out in August has some of these elements–although it may be a stretch to tag it with “forgiveness” and “second chances” (on the other hand, they would fit the subplot–just realized that), and the only animal involved that I can remember is an armadillo that escaped the tires of the heroine’s rental.  But these fit most of my other manuscript ideas perfectly. Well, except for the Biblical Historical series I have in mind. I could probably tweak them a bit to make some of the tags fit, but “Texas” ain’t gonna happen:

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the rednecks, ranchers, and other saintly folks down thar in Texas, grace to you, and peace…

Maybe I should eliminate Texas from the list, but my home state is where much of the action occurs, even though it’s not the primary setting in the upcoming release. I could limit the list to romance, forgiveness, and second chances, but how would I fit that into a brand?

Linda W. Yezak, author of romance, forgiveness, and second chances.

Yeah. That’s catchy.

Linda W. Yezak, purveyor of love, forgiveness, and second chances.

Uh . . . no.

Brandilyn Collins has a perfect brand: Seatbelt Suspense. Two words. Doesn’t that beat all? Of course, that’s all she writes, as far as I know. Contemporary suspense. With the exception of the historicals, all my manuscripts are contemporary too. How I’d love to have a short snappy brand.

How about this?

Linda W. Yezak, author with a heart for new beginnings

Or, a pen for new beginnings or a love for new beginnings?

Hmmmm. I may be on to something. It fits both my published novels. A thread of “new beginnings” runs through my August release, too. And it would fit the historicals. Everyone who gets saved gets a new beginning, right?

What do you think?

 

 

 

Posted in Misc., Promotion/Publicity/Marketing | 27 Comments

The Monday After

The Monday AfterJuly 4th is the holiday when everyone comes to our house. At one time, all the sisters-in-law picked their holidays, and since MSB is a barbecuing genius, the holiday that centers around this art belongs to him. Our smallest group was–what? Eight, I think. Our largest hit around forty. This year was an even dozen.

I love having everyone here. In-laws, nieces, nephews, kids, and grandkids: generations of the family coming together under one roof–the same space that had to be cleaned stem to stern before they showed up. This one time during the year, cleaning can’t be helter-skelter like it usually is. The entire house has to be clean all at the same time for that first family to show up and track in dirt from outside. From there on, house appearance doesn’t matter as long as the bathrooms are decent and the kitchen smells like cooking. After my illness hit with such force in 2012, I learned the value of covered-dishing, but I still do a lot of the cooking.

Speaking of my illness: I wonder if the anesthesia from so many surgeries truly has worn off. Saturday, I told my niece that I’d cheated while making my apple crumble. Instead of using fresh apples, I used onion pie filling. That is not a typo, nor is it what I used, but it plopped out of my mouth like it was a truth from God. I can’t remember some of the other word fumbles from over the weekend–there were quite a few–but that one will make the giggle rounds for a while.

Even though I have the best family ever–the kind of family who clean up after the party and insist I sit and rest (God love ‘em!)–there was still a lot for us to do yesterday. Leftovers had to be rewrapped for the freezer, items used only for this annual occasion had to be returned to their hidey-holes, card tables folded and put away. But once we got it all done, we got to rest some.

Still, the Monday morning after a big weekend leaves me wishing for one more holiday of rest. Once again, I’ve started my day late, which means I’ve already started in a state of panic. Mondays are always busy and, often, timing is everything. Or so I think. The truth about Monday is that things will get done, or they won’t. The most important stuff will get done, the rest can wait. The rest can always wait. I used to be the type who believed the old addage, “Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today,” but as I age, I’ve learned that Scarlett O’Hara had a point: “Tomorrow is another day!”

So, yes, my blog post is two hours late, but it’s done. The fact that it’s up at 7:00 central time rather than 5 makes very little difference to my readers on the west coast. I’m supposed to be finished rolling through my inbox by now, but I barely touched it through the weekend. Those who have waited for my response since Thursday night can stand to wait a few hours more.

It’s the Monday after a holiday filled with family, food, and fun. I’m still working my way through a pot of coffee and wondering if I should freeze the “onion” crumble. My mind will shift over to ad campaigns, clients, and manuscripts as the day goes on. Or not. If it doesn’t, well, there’s always tomorrow. It’s only a day away.

Posted in Personal | 6 Comments