Friday, January 13, 2017

Operation Scorpion

What if? That is one of the questions writers of all genres must ask themselves before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards).

What if? That's a good start...
 It's true that there are not always answers to every question one can come up with but with the premise of looking - delving into such a question as 'what if' gives the researcher more than ample ammunition in doing a good deal of looking for evidence.

A person can not write without wondering what they are writing about. Sounds confusing but in reality it is not. If we all knew the answers to everything then there wouldn't be anything to write or read. It is the job of researching to see if knowledge can be gained to satisfy the quest. Some of the answers are welcomed and some are not - but that is life.

That insatiable appetite for wanting more is what makes a writer, researcher, explorer and reader continue on their quest. To learn what they may not have known before.

What would be the reason for libraries or museums if that were not true?

As is the case of John's 3rd  novel, Operation Scorpion, being released by Black Opal Books on January 14th, 2017.

Operation Scorpion has been a long project that took years to research and write - each of John's works entails traveling to the locations written about and deep searching. As with our blogs we want our readers to understand that we, as the writers, are trying to deliver the best research and exploration we can - albeit with some humor and silliness occasionally. But it is important to us and hopefully to you also.

Author busy researching his next work!

Though Operation Scorpion is a work of fiction it still depicts a sense of reality and what if questions. Would a rogue military officer truly hide nuclear waste under the very noses of his commanders? Would that same officer consider selling the waste material to terrorist groups planning harm to the United Stated? Would an ex-cop turned private detective accidentally stumble onto this evil mission and dissolve it while all the time being a patsy for a federal officer under ground?

These are the questions J asked himself while writing his newest novel. Hopefully the work will suffice in answering those same questions for the readers.

That is his hope.

Hunted - 2013 Black Opal Books
Soft Target - 2014 Black Opal Books
Operation Scorpion  - 2017 Black Opal Books

Thanks for reading - we truly appreciate it. J and L

P.S.: You can also see John's latest short story being released later this month at

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Along the road less taken
We had planned a easy, relaxing first day of the new year with friends near the water. We'd stayed up late the night before to ring in the new year -- something we actually rarely do, being early birds rather than night owls -- and thought we'd spend our day walking, talking, and taking it easy. Uncharacteristic. So, we should have known something would happen to alter these best laid plans...

John's Polar Plunge Victory Pose

First, John felt the need for a Polar Plunge wake-up. Exhilarating in 49 degree water temperatures. It seemed like a great idea until the fears of hypothermia started to set in. Well, at least John and his buddies were awake.

Next, as Laureen began to make preparations for our New Year feast, our buddy decided he wanted to go for a hike. Not relaxing, but a healthy way to start the year, so we were game. We even met some friends along the way -- not real talkative, but quite friendly.

A right down friendly gent

It wasn't any time at all before we had worked up an appetite for that feast we'd been dreaming about and as usual, no one was disappointed.

Walking off dinner, we were struck by a most beautiful sunset. There had been a brief rain earlier in the day, unusual in this part of the country, and the residual cloud coverage had made for a remarkable coloring in the sky. 

Watching the sunset, we noticed a "star" near the moon and the raucous debate began. Was it Mars? Venus? A satellite? The Russians? Laughter.

Hesperos and Eosphoros
Unable to leave well-enough alone: the research began -- we are J and L RESEARCH and Exploration, after all, are we not?

So here it is: Eosphoros is Greek for dawn-bringer. As Astra Planeta, gods of the stars or planets, Eosphoros and his half-brother, Hesperos were paired with the planet the Greeks called Aphrodite.

Enter the Romans. Aphrodite becomes Venus. Hesperos becomes Vesper. You remember your vespers -- saying your evening prayers as Vesper (Venus), so close to the moon, is the evening star. But as times and tides shift, and the moon rises and sets with Venus in a different Earthly perspective, Venus becomes a sign of dawn and morning, rising with the moon. And Eosphoros becomes Lucifer. Yes, the dawn-bringer is the Morningstar. 

Lucifer Morningstar - actor portrayal 
The Latin word lucifer means brilliant, bright or shining one, hence morning star or day star, even shining star through modern translations, rather than a reference to Satan. Even in the book of Revelation 22:16, Jesus is referred to as the morning star.

Appearing as a morning star, Venus, whose orbit lies between the Earth and the Sun, can be seen in the eastern morning sky for about an hour or so before the Sun rises and dims it. As an evening star, it appears in the western evening sky for about an hour or so after the sun sets before Venus itself, sets. At that point, it is the brightest object in the sky, after the sun and moon, outshining the giants Jupiter and Saturn. And herein enters the mythology once again. While Jupiter and Saturn rise high in sky, Venus never does. It shines so very brightly, striving for the highest place among the gods,but has been cast down?

Lucifer is the light-bearer, the light-bringer. How appropriate then that on the first day of the new year we were fortunate enough to capture with our eyes, this fallen star shining brightly, a reminder that we, too, though fallen, burdened by guilt, politics, debt, depression, whatever has ailed us in the past, may rise up in the new year and begin anew. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Reason for the New Year's Celebration

At the stroke of Midnight on January 1st, the great twinkling globe drops in New York City. The iconic symbol in Times Square is seen around the world as that moment when yesterday is truly past and the brightness of the future is just a moment away.

New York's Time Square at the big moment each year!

Fireworks which started in China thousands of years ago were the product of the attempt to scare away the evil spirits which had inhabited the previous year. To this day hundreds of countries shoot those starry eruptions into the night sky as a celebration for a new year in the hopes of having a better future for the next 365 days. Bad spirits blasted away and the desire for a clean slate a must. Sounds pretty good.

Beijing celebrates
This special day - this January 1st is also attempt at reconciling hurt feelings among friends and family. It's a time to start over. A date when the past should be forgotten and a new day dawning with promises of nothing but happiness and success.

Various cultures have very different rituals which they conduct on this first day of the new year to make sure the coming year is a happy and successful one.

The ancient Babylonians would return borrowed items on this day to ensure they were not considered thieves. The Scots went "first footing," going from neighbor to neighbor wishing them well and praying for a prosperous new year. The Dutch believed the circle represents a symbol of success so they would eat donuts on New Years Day. The Greeks would bake a special cake called a Vassilopitta with a coin inside giving whoever got that slice the idea the new year would be prosperous if not one filled with a broken molar. The Japanese hold the Bonenkai, or 'forget-the-year-parties,' to say goodbye to the problems and negative issues which may have caused grief to individuals. Certain cultures clean their houses on the first day of the new year as a way to cleanse themselves and their surroundings indicating the year will be free of clutter and waste. Left overs in the fridge are tossed in the trash to make sure only good healthy food is present at the beginning of the new year.

Traditions are as varied as the people who stick to them each and every year and for good reason, according Psychology Today. In an article entitled 'Why We Really Celebrate New Year's Day' the ideas are expressed as a way for humans to look forward to the new year as an opportunity to cleanse themselves from possible digressions of the past.

The new year is a time to look into our very souls and understand that a new time is upon us and perhaps we should do a better job in the next twelve months than we may have done in the previous twelve. Be forgiving family members, be better friends, be nicer to strangers and those in need. To treat each person as a brother or sister instead of as an enemy. It is survival that most humans want and that means to tolerate if not openly accept each other as an individual and to put aside the differences we see in each other and just accept that we are unique.

In the New Testament perhaps there is a verse that everyone on this planet should take to heart - Christian or not:

Luke 6:31 'Do to others as you would have them do to you.'

In this coming New Year - toast as the glittery ball falls in New York City and make resolutions but remember the Golden Rule - then and maybe then the wonders of a new beginning may actually take place.

From J and L - to all our friends and family