Each year on August 27th it is National Just Because Day.
Feel free to celebrate this day any way you choose. Just because!
Every day we all do things that are expected or required of us or because we have to. Well, on National Just Because Day, that does not apply. This day is a chance to do something without rhyme or reason.
It could be that there is an outfit at the mall that you are admiring; buy it…just because. Maybe you want to use a vacation day just to go fishing; do it…just because. Perhaps you would like to pay the tab for the table next to you at your favorite restaurant; do it…just because. Possibly you want to sing really loud while you’re in your car, by yourself, with your windows rolled down; do it…just because. Surprise someone with flowers…just because! Make something up…just because! Or maybe, just maybe, do something just because Mom said so.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Do something just because.
Use #NationalJustBecauseDay to post on social media.
Our research indicates that National Just Because Day was created by Joseph J. Goodwin of Los Gatos, CA, in the late 1950s. It began as a family holiday and has grown into an annual celebration across the United States.
If you've followed me on social media, you know that I have lived in Euclid, Ohio since August 1983 so that's 35 years or half my life. I'm still reluctant to say I'm "from Euclid" because I was never part of the Slovenian or Irish culture here.
Euclid was a beach community up through the 1950's where people who lived in Cleveland could spend leisure time on the shores of Lake Erie.
Another thing it was famous for was Polka and Softball. As I was writing about Just Because Day I was reminded of the very famous Just Because Polka by the Polka King Frankie Yancovic. He's immortalized along with his music and instruments in Euclid at the Polka Hall of Fame. Read about his interesting life and copy this URL for a lively dance around the floor with your favorite partner (Kids love polka) to the strains of Just Because Polka
Well, well, well, Just because you think you're so pretty, And just because your momma thinks you're hot, Well, just because you think you've got something That no other girl has got, You've caused me to spend all my money. You laughed and called me old Santa Claus. Well, I'm telling you, Baby, I'm through with you. Because, well well, just because.
Well, well, well, There'll come a time when you'll be lonesome And there'll come a time when you'll be blue. Well, there'll come a time when old Santa He won't pay your bills for you.
You've caused me to lose all my women And now, now you say we are through. Well, I'm telling you Baby, I was through with you A long long time ago.
Well, just because you think you're so pretty And just because your mama thinks you're the hottest thing in town Well, just because you think you've got something That nobody else has got, You've caused me to spend all of my money. Honey, you laughed and called me your old Santa Claus. Well, I'm telling you I'm through with you Because, well well, just because.
Bill Nash talked to us last week and this week he present's Jack Slater!
Jack Slater has chased UFOs his entire life—and now, he’s found one! It’s real, it’s abandoned in an alien hangar—and it’s in perfect condition. As the director of a governmental agency that studies aerial phenomena (OSAP), he knows he’s just discovered the find of a lifetime…and he wastes no time learning to fly it.
But as Jack and his OSAP colleagues explore the saucer’s secrets, the world watches as a deadly meteor plummets to earth, leaving a devastating path of destruction in its wake—including two important space stations. Too late, it becomes apparent the meteor is a missile, apparently fired by the Russian Federation. Detonating, it releases a terrible bioweapon, seemingly beyond the capabilities of Russia’s current weapons technology
The alien technology Jack has discovered is the only hope of survival for the United States. But that technology has appeared at a suspiciously convenient time, in Jack’s opinion. What are they dealing with? Is humanity truly at war with itself, or is an alien external force playing a deadly game determined to see the USA: ELIMINATED!
Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Jack Slater, director of the Organization for the Study of Aerial Phenomena.
Tell us where and when were you born. September 28, 2035 in Dallas, Texas.
How would you describe yourself?
Athletic scientific nerd interested in UFO since Jr. High. I am slender, but not skinny, with broad shoulders. I have red hair (which means I’m fair skin with good relationship with my dermatologist) and hazel eyes. Most people look up to me since I’m 6’-2”.
Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in Duncanville, Texas.
How old are you?
Thirty-six years old.
Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
Pretty much. Picked on a lot in high school because of my belief in flying saucers. But I think that made me stronger. Parents were divorced, but friendly.
Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
Nothing too serious. I had a secret crush back in high school, but that didn’t go anywhere. Ran across her the other day. She interviewed me for an article and that’s when I learned she had a crush on me as well back then. Turns out our feelings were still there. We’ve had a couple of dates since then and, well, let’s say I’m happy. More than I’ve ever been in a relationship.
What do you value above all else in life?
What are you obsessed with?
To prove flying saucers are visiting Earth with occupants from several different worlds.
How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
Since the United Nations began backing OSAP financially, our research department have developed new technology for UFO research, as well as developing commercial products. For instance, we’ve came up with a technic to create large amount of pollution-free energy from water. Another item is the PADD, the Personal Analytical Display Device.
A disaster happens before I can find proof.
What line will you never cross?
To take another human life.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Well, there’s two things, and they both happened on the same day. I had a close encounter of the second kind with a UFO, very close. And I found Amber O’Neil after all these years (and we had a close encounter of the great kind).
Losing my father during the Terrorist War in 2047. My father was in the Marines, stationed in Iraq. The brass set his team on a search and rescue mission when the enemy ambushed them. The never found his body.
Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
On my high school graduation day. When I walked across to receive my diploma, all my classmates started ‘beeping’ out loud in front of everyone in the auditorium. Couldn’t do anything but walk across that stage, shake hands, take the diploma, and leave quietly off stage.
(Vampires gives hickies.) Actually, I’m an open book.
What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
What is your current goal?
The United Nations assigned OSAP to discover the secrets of UFOs after the Spaceplane Aurora incident. I hope we will be able to determine their mission on Earth and, hopefully, establish contact.
Want to know more?
Two blogs I have going it at www.facebook.com/thejupiterfactor and
I just now received a link to a new author’s page, http://prairierosepublications.com/authors_2/william-d-nash/ .
Next up is author Eric Johanssen of
The Gods We Make and Ji-Min
The Gods We Make is a fast-paced, near-future adventure pitting the United States against China in a race to recover an alien artifact from deep space that may redefine life on Earth. Both sides use advanced AI to speed their progress, AI that begins to become self-aware as the objective draws near...
***** Just around the corner
Although it is identified as being a science fiction novel, ‘The Gods We Make’ by Eric Johannsen is set in the year 2045. In terms of time, this is just down the road, perhaps not even over the horizon, and yet the author gives us a world to wonder at, where social and scientific advances are taking humanity expertly and confidently into interplanetary space. He shows us only the first steps, but his reason for taking them, why some of his characters find themselves travelling to Jupiter are the same reasons which have dominated human affairs for the last few thousand years – the conflict between humans for power and position. Mr Johannsen’s projections belong on the “hard” side of science fiction. He is very knowledgeable about space science and because his writing style is strong and lucid, the reader learns a great deal about developments in space construction and movement, and can only feel glad about the incredibly useful 3-D printer. At times, the narrative becomes slightly bogged in prolific detail, and perhaps the reader who tends more to the space opera side of science fiction may find themselves skipping over pages where technical operations are perhaps too meticulously described. It is all in the service of the very authentic and convincing narrative, fast-paced and colourful, demonstrating the author’s highly-developed writing skills and his extremely effective ability to create a very complex structure, which involves not only a James Bond style encounter in a playground for Asian high rollers but also the taking over of an alien starship. On the whole, the characters are thoroughly developed and well rounded, although the high-achieving, glass-ceiling-breaking female lead is perhaps not as satisfying as the experienced astronaut/rancher who delivers the goods, even if he does have to do something almost unthinkable on the way. However, there is much more to the novel than conflict, espionage and possible space-based aggression between two world super-powers. Running through the thrilling and adventurous storyline is a strong thread to which the fundamental questions of human ethics are attached. The narrative constantly refers to how humans do, and should, relate to each other on a general level, irrespective of national and personal interests. There is no doubt at all that Mr Johannsen is a writer of great ability, and in ‘The Gods We Make’ he has created a very fine book which is highly recommended to readers in a range of genres.
Ji-min: A TGWM Origin Story
Ji-min is the daughter of peasant farmers in near-future North Korea. She was born with enormous potential in a bleak world unable to nurture her dormant strength. When American-led sanctions crush the hermit kingdom's economy, she is thrown into conflict with the nation's elite. Powerless, her life collapses into unthinkable hardship. How can she survive if even good-hearted people have nothing to share?
A mysterious stranger who wields unearthly talents senses the spark smoldering in Ji-min. The stranger's effort to foster that latent potential is threatened when fate offers Ji-min a chance at revenge, an opportunity that could ruin her.
***** Compelling Read
I loved reading this novella and very much look forward to the other books that Ji-Min will be in! It is filled with realistic snapshots of what life is like in North Korea. But it is also filled with a compassionate, very strong theme that love conquers all. The extra-normal gifts possessed by Ji-Min make it even more compelling. Eric's writing style is outstanding in its descriptive qualities, and I greatly appreciated the way he is able to integrate full understanding and description without over examining any particular event in the book. It lent to a very fast, yet thorough read. (I read it all in one setting because I didn't want to stop). I would highly recommend this book and look forward to the coming ones!
Want to know more about this author? Read this!
What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve been a storyteller as long as I can recall. When I was twelve, a friend introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. Playing was fun and all, but I always opted to be the dungeon master. My career carried me in a different direction, working with software and most recently AI. I came to realize how significantly AI will change our future, and a story started brewing in the back of my mind... a story demanding to be told.
When is the release of your next novel? Name genre or if it’s part of a series. If your book is part of a series tell the readers about the others that are out for sale.
My work-in-progress is The Gods We Seek, second of four novels in a series that tells the story of how artificial intelligence may actually change humanity, and explores what it means to be human when our machines are smarter than us.
The first book, The Gods We Make, is available now. Not to get all George RR Martin on you, but the book will be out when it’s ready. My goal is the end of summer/early fall.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
I read books because I love to discover characters and worlds that other authors create. The more I read, the more conscious I am of subconscious imitation. Read, read, and read some more, but be sure to develop your own style rather than emulate successful authors. Find your own, fresh voice.
Do you remember the first book you read?
I’m pretty sure it had the words, “See spot run” in it. The first book that made an impression on me was The Hobbit. My third grade teacher read it to the class, a few pages at a time, during recess. I couldn’t wait for him to finish so got my own copy and finished in what seemed like a few days.
What book are you reading now?
I picked up Oathbringer. I’m a sucker for Brandon Sanderson’s epic world building. On the non-fiction side, I just finished Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis, a fascinating read about how the exponential growth of technology may lead to an amazing near-future for humanity.
How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?
My work with AI lead me to seriously consider where AI and other technologies may lead humanity in the very near future, certainly within our lifetime. The precise reason behind the title won’t be revealed until the fourth book, but consider Arthur C. Clarke’s law, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (or god-like power).
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
Chad Tanner, CEO of Applied Nanomaterials, isn’t too different from me. He’s driven by a thirst for knowledge and to understand the universe. If I was going to go out for a beer with one of the characters, though, Dylan. Definitely Dylan. Easy-going cowboy personality combined with grit, determination, and conviction.
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Look at how much technology changed over time. The Stone Age lasted around 3.4 million years. The Bronze Age started around 3,000 BC and lasted around 2,500 years. The Iron Age only lasted around 500 years. Look at how much technology changed in the entire 19th century. The entire 20th century. The last ten years. Technology is growing at an exponential rate. It’s transformed humanity just in our lifetimes, and most of us will live to see it further transformed in unrecognizable ways. The near-future world The Gods is set in is a careful extrapolation of where technology will likely take us. After finishing The Gods We Make, I wrote a novella Ji-min to explore a character introduced in The Gods We Seek. Ji-min is set in (very) near future North Korea and captures the essence of being a peasant
in that country (spoiler alert: it’s a harsh existence).
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
The Internet is such a wonderful thing. It lets me explore the world in ways impossible a few decades ago. The NSA may wonder about my fascination with North Korea, the effects of electro-magnetic pulses on the US power grid, or, well, specifics of the NSA itself. They’ll just have to keep wondering. Or read my books. Having said that, I’ve been fortunate enough to live abroad and travel widely. When writing about a place I haven’t visited (North Korea comes to mind), I do make a point to chat with people who have been there.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
I’m pretty good at tuning out ambient noise and focusing on the fascinating pictures in my head. I have ten-year-old triplets, so if they’re running around when I’m trying to finish a scene, nice headsets with classical music keep me on track. I do try to do most of my writing at night, after they’re in bed. What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing? Coffee. Lots of coffee.
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
The part between “final manuscript” and “operation heaps and piles of money, complete.” I’m kidding. Sort of. Actually, I find the self-publishing process both fascinating and frustrating. I don’t detest it, don’t even really mind it that much, but would rather spend time writing than marketing.
What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.
There weren’t any bad things, but there was a strange thing after publishing my first novel... referring to myself as an author. I’ve been lots of things in my life... programmer, soldier, pilot, educator, dad. All of those things felt natural as they came my way. There was something special about referring to myself as an author.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
My wife is a natural source of encouragement. Like, “You’ve spent all that time writing when the *#$@ is it going to be published?”
How do you market your book?
Badly. More precisely, not very much. I spent a fair amount of time researching book marketing but want to finish the second book before committing significant resources (time and money) to marketing.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
Yes! I encourage reader feedback at the end of each book and on my website. Feedback is either from hard sci-fi minded fans who enjoy the realistic tech aspects with questions and/or opinions about the technology in my world, or by people sharing their impressions of the characters.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
I have quite a few beta readers. Some are experts in subject matter covered in the book, some are avid sci-fi readers. The readers are incredibly helpful and always shape the book’s final form. If you like my writing and want to be a beta reader for my work in progress, contact me!
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
It was San Diego Comic-Con 2017. I had a small table on one side of a 20’x20’ booth. People wandered by from early to late, and many stopped to talk about my book and thankfully, many also purchased a copy.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Technology will change the world so fast many of us won’t see it coming. I want to encourage people to think about those changes before they’re upon us.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Daisy Ridley would be perfect for Sara, but she’s about fifteen years too young. Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long! Connor Trinneer would be an interesting choice for Dylan.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Elon Musk. He’s the Chad Tanner of our time.
Do you have any hobbies?
I have a commercial pilot’s license and used to love flying, but then I had triplets. I used to SCUBA dive, but then I had triplets. These days, it’s Little League (coaching/umpiring), volunteering as an aquarium educator with one of my daughters, and generally being a dad.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We’ve already binge watched everything. When Game of Thrones comes out, that, and we catch Billions every Sunday.
You can’t go wrong with Mexican food.
What’s your sign, lucky number.
I’m a Virgo.
What’s your favorite color.
When I was young, I liked blue. You can blend in that way. With age comes confidence and I like bolder colors. Orange is the new blue.
What music do you hear in your latest book.
The 1812 overture. Literally. Sara blasts the halls of the NSA with it, quite by accident.
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d spend it with my kids, letting them know they’ll be OK, how much I love them, and writing down lessons for them to open as they reach milestones in life.
What do you want written on your head stone?
Don’t live your life to other’s expectations.
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
Are there any mistakes I didn’t make with my first book? Becoming a great writer is a process. Write, analyze, learn, repeat. I’m proud of The Gods We Make, but also carried many lessons from it into the writing of Ji-min and on to my current work-in-progress The Gods We Seek.
What kind of advice can you give to other either aspiring authors?
Doubt yourself but don’t doubt your ability to become a great author. The first part instills the self-criticism needed to constantly improve, the second part the knowledge that you will succeed.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
My beta readers and fellow authors on Facebook (shout out to SciFi Roundtable).
Tell us how we may get a copy of your book.
(Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)https://www.amazon.com/Gods-
You can explore the world and characters of The Gods We Make at http://thegodswemake.com/
Follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thegodswemake) or
There’s also a trailer on YouTube
One of the worst parts of publishing late in life, is that you and your work make it to the press after many influencers have left this world. I'd like to think of an astral writer's circle where my friends and fans who have passed on can still hear and enjoy the words I wrote...see any successes and console any failures. It's a pale attempt, but what I've done is dedicate various books to them.
Gone but not forgotten:
Clarence Hilton (Buddy, Lord Llewellyn) Bell was my on and off boyfriend from 1970 till 1982 or early 1983. We were strange birds together, but not ready to settle down. He traveled the dream paths and explored the other realities and possible former lives with me. Eventually we drifted apart found others we would happily marry, had families. I remember discussing Aquaman with him and dolphin riders or dolphin/human hybrids and Atlantis. (I think he would have approved of Jason Momoa's reboot of the character)
Through him I developed the idea of the soul blade that shows up in Children of Stone and in spinoffs with other writers in The Black Rose Guild. We always rode into Society for Creative Anachronism events as Lord Llewellyn and Mistress Yar with "Ride of the Valkyrie" blasting on the 8 track. We discussed history and the presence of shifters and spirits among us. Some very distant part of his compassionate soul may have inspired Marai even though he never became a separate character in any of my books. His poor health ended him early in 2016. His wife followed him a few months later. Book 3 Opener of the Sky is dedicated to him.
Another soul was John Michael (Mike, Lord Ganelon) Harper. I always thought of him as a young and damaged man with two souls - one shiftless and one good. He considered himself part thief and part merchant, a user but a kindly creature. He suffered from crippling depression and lack of self-worth, always looking for a woman to fill that hole, but in his dreams he was a ferocious pirate and yet a successful businessman. He wrote stories and memorized vintage Bogie movies word for word, often retreating into those worlds. Mike never wanted to read my stories because he said "I'd just steal them and take the credit." In my writing, he became the basis for two characters: N'ahab-atall the hapless leader of a den of thieves who had an obscene knife (same as the soul blade) and Etum-Addi the Sanghir merchant who made a brief success but then lost all. Sadly, he began to have heart trouble and mini-strokes when he was in his 50's and died virtually penniless at his computer, watching movies during a July heatwave in an non-air-conditioned apartment; his last Facebook post: "It's so hot here maybe I can rest soon"...or something like that. That's the best way for a die-hard sci-fi/fantasy fanboy to go! I'm glad I got to see him the year before he passed, unchanged except for having a lot less hair and not wearing bell-bottomed pants...sporting a cane with a silver skull on it. Hot mess as always! I told him things would get better and that he would beat this shadow that followed him. Maybe it's just the spirit in the end that gets free of these things. I miss him too! Heart of the Lotus is dedicated to him.
You never thought I'd do it, but here it is!
To introduce you or your friends to my series Children of Stone so that you can start reading the books here's a "Can't Miss" special. From September 1-15 only Book 1, Voices in Crystal will cost only $.99.
Read and review it and I'll cut you a deal on the next book! Watch for announcements everywhere and drop a buck in my direction. You're going to see what everyone is talking about.
Already have a copy? Tell your friends that September 1-15 is the time to take the plunge! Gift them through Amazon if they are US residents. Then watch for the Kindle Countdowns on Book 2 - Going Forth By Day and Book 3 - Opener of the Sky And by the way, there's a pre-order for Book 4 Heart of the Lotus. It releases September 9. Here's that link: