Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Facing The New Year Without Fear

At the end of every year, we naturally reflect on everything that has happened and make resolutions for life improvements going forward. We mourn the loss of people who have passed during the year. We rejoice over accomplishments and victories. We make note of all the important events and wonder where the time has gone. It seems the year just began and now it is at an end. Did we do everything we set out to do during the year, or did we let our goals fall by the wayside? Was it a good year? Or did our luck take a turn for the worse?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yuletide Blessings!

Celebrate the return of the sun, the gradual lengthening of days. Enjoy the stillness of a light snow falling, the flakes dancing through the air with grace. Breathe in the scent of Yule logs burning in the crisp winter air that caresses your face. Embrace this slumbering time of renewal as it readies us for the coming of spring.

Niagara Winter Sunrise – Photo by Doug Hagadorn
Used with permission via creative commons

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Who Built The Pyramids?

Through evolution we have become the most advanced humans to inhabit planet Earth. We crawled from the primordial goo and learned to walk upright, we went from finding shelter in caves to living in modern homes in the suburbs, we developed language and art and medicine and technology. We are the dominant species. We’ve come a long way since the time of our ancestors who were primitive, barbaric, and stupid compared to us. Right?

Now I’ll paint you a different picture, taking into account what’s called the myth of progress: “Human beings today are in all ways superior to human beings that came before us.”

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Paying It Forward

For most of my adult life, there have been people around to catch me when I fell. I wouldn’t be where I am now without their help. Some I’ve lost touch with and others are still here, but my heart is filled with gratitude for each one. Even though I may never be able to repay them all, their names remain fixed in my mind like words permanently etched on a stone tablet – they will never be forgotten.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Networking: Then and Now

Social media and technology are reshaping our language as well as our culture. We’re creating words to keep up with the various new gadgets, apps, and trends. Words like: selfie, meme, tweet, and binge watching. And lest we forget the ever popular acronyms like LOL, LMAO, OMG, and BFF. When I was a young whipper-snapper, the only acronyms I recall hearing often were ASAP, BYOB, and TGIF.

We abbreviate everything to reduce keystrokes and to fit a message into a limited field. “You” is now the letter U and “are” is now just the letter R. Why, kids today couldn’t spell out a whole sentence if they ate a dictionary and pooped out the words. This is where I shake my fist at the youngsters while gripping my walker with the other, and I yell at them to get off my lawn.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our Last Day on Earth

If you knew that today was going to be your last day on Earth, how would you spend it? What would you do? Who would you most want to be with? Many of us go about our day, not giving much thought to the end of our existence. It’s usually not until we experience something tragic that we think about those last moments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Doctors, Magic, and Monkeys

Sticking with the theme of dreams that my posts have been taking this month, I feel compelled to share one of the more comical dreams I’ve had. Feel free to roll your eyes or shake your head at me, but I think you might get a laugh or two out of this one.

Angels, Dreams, and Déjà vu

Do you remember your dreams? Have you ever experienced a prophetic dream, received messages from other people, or had angels communicate something to you? Dreams are usually either abstract or unremarkable, but sometimes they can be scary and full of disturbing images or actions. Such a dream can cause us to wake up experiencing residual fear or panic. Imagine how you might react if one night your dreams foretold of someone’s death. Fearful? Panicked? Thankfully, this type of dream is more the exception than the rule.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Portals and the Dreaming World

Many people try to interpret dreams using one of many lists that explain the symbolic meanings behind ordinary objects that appear in our nighttime realities. Whether or not you believe that dreams contain hidden messages, some explanations can be insightful, especially if you’re having a recurring theme in your dreaming world.

Time Travel

“If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler?” That’s a question pondered by many people who discuss the concept of time travel. But is it even possible to journey through time?

Most scientists would probably tell us that time travel is nonsense, an impossible fantasy. Then there are those who believe that it might be possible, but using the required worm hole to arrive at our destination would kill us. Hollywood has given us movies where devices were created to take us on that journey instead. However, there are a few films that suggest it’s possible through other means.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Akashic Records, Dreams, and DNA

Why do birds know to fly south for the winter? How do they know where to migrate? We all learn this in grade school: birds instinctively know that they have to fly south to a warmer climate in order to survive the winter. But how do they know that? What exactly is instinct?

Cosmic Dreams

Have you ever experienced a dream that was so powerful, it has haunted you for years? What if in that dream, you were given potentially significant information, yet the details of it remain elusive? Several years ago, I had just such a dream.

Men In Kilts

The internet is up while I’m diligently working on my book, just in case I need to research something, of course. Then I hear it… Facebook’s magical ping that tells me I have a notification. I try hard to ignore it, but the temptation is too great. Eventually, my curiosity gets the better of me and I can’t help but check it out.

While I’m there, I scroll through my news feed to see what’s going on in the world. What’s the harm in that, right? Should only take a few minutes, then I’ll get right back to my writing. A “few” minutes longer than a few minutes later, I look up and I notice on my email tab that I have three new messages. Okay, maybe I’ll just I check those out quickly, then…

Friday, November 21, 2014

Indie Authors

“Hello. My name is J.D. Hanning and I’m an indie author.”

Sounds like an introduction one might make at a support group meeting, doesn’t it? Support groups for writers. Now there’s a novel idea (pun intended).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Journaling and Journeying

The Shopkeeper and the Traveler, was born as the result of a dream journal that I started keeping after experiencing several vivid and bizarre dreams, as well as some rather interesting guided meditations. Keeping a record of these imaginings was my way to attempt an interpretation of what my subconscious surely must have been hiding. I felt certain that there had to be some irrational, Freudian explanation for the content of my dreams but soon concluded that my subconscious was just trying to tell me that my life was boring and I needed to have a little fun. After reading through my journal one day, I toyed with the idea of taking some of the entries and turning them into short stories. Then I put the journal away and didn’t think much of it again for a few years.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Torn Between Worlds

Thanksgiving 2005: The weekend my series of novels was born. Two months later, the first draft of the first book was completed. What an exhilarating sense of accomplishment!

After the first book was initially published in late 2006, I began working on the second book in the series. This one took more time to write; it was longer and the plot was darker. I’ve always heard that you should write what you know, so I did – painfully at times. Certain parts were especially difficult because I drew from personal experiences, which brought up a lot of emotional muck from my childhood. What I didn’t know, I researched – which turned out to be just as fun much as writing the story. Despite some challenges in putting parts of the second book together, I was excited about the whole project. I already had an plan for the third book and an idea for the fourth, yet the second hadn’t even been completed.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Shopkeeper and The Traveler

The Shopkeeper and The Traveler is now available in ebook format and has been accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which means it will be automatically distributed to major online retailers around the world. Excerpts from the book are available to download on those websites, but I want to make the first chapter available here on my blog as well. Enjoy. You can also go to my website to learn more about my books.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Living a Mortal Life

Remember that feeling of optimism when you were a kid, of being able to look forward and speculate about all the wonderful things you were going to do with your life? Then the years went by and you started looking back, wondering why you didn’t do all those wonderful things. You vowed to start making every day count, but more years went by and the next time you looked back at your life it seemed that still nothing much had changed.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Moments of Awe and Wonder

There are moments in all our lives that we will never forget – events, feelings, music, sounds, scents, places, people – the moments we like to share with others and the ones we keep in a special place all to ourselves. Whenever we focus our energy on unpleasant memories and regrets, we give them power and they can block out the good thoughts. Then all we see is the darkness. By focusing instead upon those wonderful memories that evoke positive emotions – like happiness, satisfaction, and love – your darker thoughts and memories have less control over your mood and how you react in certain situations.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Where Have I Been All This Time?

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. When I was in college, I dreamed of having a fast-track career and living a Bohemian lifestyle in a loft apartment in some trendy Seattle neighborhood. I was going to participate in all the cultural activities and walk everywhere whenever possible. While that never fully came to fruition, I did finally move to the Seattle area in 1996. I worked in the high tech industry for almost 17 years and ventured into Seattle from the outlying cities on occasion. I eventually moved across the water to the Olympic Peninsula and did the ferry commute into Seattle for a while. I couldn’t imagine living anyplace other than the Puget Sound area, but after losing my job and being officially unemployed for over three years, I did the unthinkable and moved to Colorado.

I probably would have never moved to Durango if I hadn’t known someone there, but after two years in the high desert of southwest Colorado, I started to question what I was doing there. I had found work and it wasn’t just a job, either. I felt like I was making a difference, making a real contribution. I had joined a writers group and began working on my books again with a passion that had eluded me for quite a while. Even though it wasn’t a place where I pictured living out the rest of my life, I probably would have stayed in Durango if things hadn’t started going very, very wrong . . . which is part of the reason I haven’t posted anything since last September.