Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. This holiday is dedicated to service men and women who gave their lives for freedom and country. The roots of Memorial Day observance, goes back to 1865 and the end of the Civil War. In 1971, Congress changed the celebration date to the last Monday, in order to afford a three day holiday weekend. Regardless of the date, we encourage you follow Memorial Day tradition: attend a parade, and visit a cemetery to honor and remember our serviceman. Take time to remember lost loved ones in whatever way you feel appropriate.
Did you Know? Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day. It was changed to Memorial Day in 1882. Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the gardening and summer seasons, even though summer will not occur until a few weeks later. This day usually includes the first family picnic of the year. (from Holiday calendar notation)
Everyone loves a Holiday. The Ancient Egyptians were no exception. In the Children of Stone series, I mention holidays as markers in the year as well as times to party in the honor of the gods.Here are a few taken from the site: https://www.ancient.eu/article/1032/festivals-in-ancient-egypt/
Wepet-Renpet Festival: The Opening of the Year - This was the New Year's Day celebration in ancient Egypt.
Feasting and drinking were a part of this festival, as they were for most, and the celebration would last for days; the length varied depending on the time period.
Participants would lessen their inhibitions and preconceptions through alcohol and experience the goddess intimately upon waking to the sacred drums.
Wag Festival: Dedicated to the death of Osiris and honoring the souls of the deceased on their journey in the afterlife. This festival followed the Wepet-Renpet,
During this festival, people would make small boats out of paper and set them toward the west on graves to indicate Osiris' death and people would float shrines of paper on the waters of the Nile for the same reason.
Tekh Festival: The Feast of Drunkenness: This festival was dedicated to Hathor ('The Lady of Drunkenness') and commemorated the time when humanity was saved from destruction by beer.
Hathor Festival: Held annually at Dendera, the main site of Hathor's cult, this festival celebrated the birth of the goddess and her many blessings. As with the Tekh Festival, participants were encouraged to over-indulge in alcohol while engaging in singing and dancing in honor of the goddess.
Sokar Festival/Festival of Khoiak: Sokar was an agricultural god in the Early Dynastic Period in Egypt (c. 3150 - c. 2613 BCE) whose characteristics were later taken on by Osiris.
Wadi Festival/The Beautiful Feast of the Valley: Similar in many ways to the Qingming Festival in China and the Day of the Dead in Mexico and elsewhere, the Beautiful Feast of the Valley honored the souls of the deceased and allowed for the living and dead to celebrate together while.
People visited with their departed loved ones at their tombs and brought bouquets of flowers and food and drink offerings.
These are only a very few of the holidays that were celebrated throughout the year!
today, we celebrate our Holidays with friends and family and often drinks and food the way ancestors of all lands did before us! It's a time-honored tradition!
Last week S. I. Isaac wrote of her writing adventures and this week she presents her character Annaliese.
Annaliese of Hearth (Enchantress’ Tale)
1. 1.Go ahead and introduce yourself.
My name is Annaliese of Hearth. I was conceived out of infidelity and born in secrecy.
2. Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born in Hearth.
3. How would you describe yourself?
Look wise, most would describe me as fair-blue skinned, dark vibrant haired, petite built woman of magic.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in the shadows of the Kingdom of Hearth.
5. How old are you?
I am twenty years old.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
A happy childhood? No.
Bits and pieces of my childhood were happy but being kept in the shadows and hidden from the general public led me to live a very secluded childhood.
One where I had no other children to play with. I couldn’t run about the castle freely. I was a caged bird with a sheet drawn over the cage.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I’ve never had a romantic relationship.
I’ve always admired Elder Li and his good looks. Being unable to show my face to him or talk to him, I’ve been stuck watching him from afar. Even without a single word, he makes my heart race and butterflies flutter in the pit of my stomach.
He is all I can think about these days.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
Honesty. I value being honest with oneself and ones loved ones.
Without honesty, there is no trust. My father taught me that.
9. What are you obsessed with?
I wouldn’t call it an obsession, but I do rather enjoy getting on my father’s nerves, every chance I get.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
My beliefs are fairly simple. I believe in honesty and loyalty. With those I care about, I will always be honest with them and I will remain loyal to them until trust is broken or my last breath has been taken.
11. Biggest fear?
Biggest fear is losing control of my powers and turning into the monster that my father sees me as.
12. What line will you never cross?
I will never sacrifice the life of an innocent for my own gain.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
Crossing paths with Li is the best thing to ever have happened to me.
The worst thing is having been born into a world where I am not welcomed and must be kept a secret.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Luckily, being kept hidden has its perks…can’t be embarrassed if no one is ever around you.
15. Biggest secret?
My feelings towards Elder Li is my biggest secret.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
Keeping my emotions at bay will forever be my goal. My emotions are what controls my powers. Therefore, my controlled emotions is my goal.
Next up? D. Greg Scott! Welcome!
What made you want to be a writer?
My upbringing was unique and in the summer of 2013, I decided to write about it. That project grew and then I figured I could turn it into a book and publish it. Everyone would love my great story about growing up and overcoming hardship because, well, it’s a great story and I wrote it.
I brought my 35K word, partial sort-of manuscript to a small fee-for-service publisher and sat in on an informational meeting of aspiring authors. When the presenter asked each of us what genre we wrote, I didn’t know what a genre was. That’s where I started.
Turned out, my brilliant, partial sort-of manuscript wasn’t so brilliant after all, and the publisher suggested I go away and take some courses in writing and editing stories. She also gave me a book list.
I couldn’t afford the courses, but I read her entire book list because I had stories in my head that needed to get out and I wanted to do it right. Who knew there was so much to this craft called writing?
I’m an IT and cybersecurity professional, and about that same time, headlines about data breaches saturated the news. But nobody talked about the failures that allowed attackers to steal from all these companies. When somebody breaks into a building and steals money, it’s all over the news. But when somebody breaks in over the internet and steals information, nobody covers it. That bothers me.
I know my way around cybersecurity and I decided to do something about it. Since I was learning all this new stuff about stories,
I put a story together about how Russian mobsters stole 40 million customer credit card numbers from fictional retailer, Bullseye Stores. That was Bullseye Breach: Anatomy of an Electronic Break-In, and I published it in 2015.
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.
Paperbacks for book #2, Virus Bomb, released on May 14, 2019. Virus Bomb is an independent story, but in the same world as Bullseye Breach and with the same main character and many of the same supporting characters. Plus a few new ones. They’re both cyber thrillers, although I would classify book #1, Bullseye Breach as an educational business novel. But there’s no such genre as educational business novel, and so the next-best classification is cyber thriller.
Jerry Barkley doesn’t know anything about international espionage. He never worked for the government. He’s a fiercely independent, bald IT contractor from Minnesota trying to build a business and earn a living for his family. But when he finds an anomaly at a customer site in Virus Bomb, he can’t let it go.
Somebody is planning a series of bombings as a diversion to set up a biological attack that could kill thousands and plunge the United States into war with the wrong enemy. But nobody listens to Jerry’s warnings, and then it gets worse when the FBI thinks he’s the perpetrator. If Jerry doesn’t act, who will?
Real superheroes don’t have superpowers. Real superheroes are ordinary people who step up when called.
How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?
I’ve been a reading fiend since I first learned to read and I find it’s even more important now for me to read books. Now that I know a whole bunch more about this writing craft than I did in 2013, I can read others with a more critical eye and learn about better ways to present scenes. And I still find myself getting lost in the best stories.
Do you remember the first book you read?
Dick and Jane in first grade. True story – I asked to bring the book home because I wanted to find out what happened with Spot. And the teacher said yes. I might be the only first-grader who wanted to bring home “Dick and Jane” to read it on my own. I was disappointed because the book only said, “Spot runs. See Spot run.” But it never told me where Spot ran or why.
What book are you reading now?
The Peace Maker by Michele Chynoweth.
How did you come up with the idea for the book or series, especially the title?
My original title for Bullseye Breach was Making Lemonade because one of the characters has a pet saying about making lemonade from lemons and she helps find a way to do that with this huge cyberattack. But a bazillion books have that title, and they’re mostly self-help books about emotional well-being. I concluded Making Lemonade is a lousy title for a technology story. And, so I came up with Bullesye Breach after a bunch of brainstorming ideas. I think it’s a great title.
My oldest grandson gave Virus Bomb its title. I had just written a scene where attackers blow up the Mall of America hotels and he asked me about the title. I told him I hadn’t titled it yet and he said, “well, it has real viruses and computer viruses and bombs, right? Why not name it, Virus Bomb?” Lots of adults tried to come up with something better, but Elijah nailed it and we used his title.
Which character do you identify with most in your novel?
Jerry Barkley. He’s a lot like me. He is skeptical of all authority; he doesn’t like bureaucracy. He’s way smarter than me.
How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
It’s all realistic. Many of the characters and situations are composites of real people. But not everything comes from personal experience. I’ve never confronted an elite foreign agent or witnessed massive destruction in real-life. And I hope I’m never involved in a shoot-out.
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I did most of my traveling over the internet. Except for a reconnaissance trip to the Mall of America and the Anoka County Airport, both in the same metro area where I live. Those trips were super helpful. But next time I tell somebody I’m going to blow up their parking ramp, I need to remember to finish the sentence and say it’s in a novel. The lady who asked if I needed any help in that parking ramp was not amused. She didn’t want to ride back up to ground level on the elevator with me. I don’t blame her.
Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.
Quiet is good, but as a grandfather with a daughter and two grandsons living with my wife and me, I don’t always have that luxury. I write when and where I’m able. Sometimes I’m in my own little world and don’t know about the chaos around me. Until somebody yells at me to handle whatever situation I’m not handling because I’m absorbed in writing.
What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?
Which part of the publishing process do you detest most?
Querying and Twitter contests. I tried to persuade 110 potential agents to look at Virus Bomb. About half said no, the other half didn’t bother to respond at all.
A couple responded with reasons why no publisher anywhere would take on my story because it has a Middle-Eastern antagonist. Everything I sent in to any Twitter contests disappeared.
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.
Rejection from everyone everywhere was a biggie. As much as I like to put on a brave front, I fight self-doubt all the time. I knew I could always self-publish book #2, and this time I could produce a book for considerably less cost than with book #1, but Virus Bomb deserves better than that. Book #1 taught me that publishing should be a milestone, not a goal, and one problem with self-publishing is, every detail of everything is on me.
By 2017, I knew the steps to producing a book, but I didn’t know anything about marketing and sales. And I knew that trying to market this book on my own would only end up in disappointment. And, so I spent more than a year editing, learning, editing some more, and looking for a publishing and marketing partner.
When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?
I turn inward. How badly do I want this? Do I want it badly enough to keep going, even when it seems like everyone wants to ridicule, ignore, and marginalize my stuff? If yes, then keep at it. If not, then give up and find something else to do.
How do you market your book?
I’m trying a tactic I learned recently called a sales funnel. The idea is, I write articles or do social media posts and drive people to a landing page on my website. That landing page has a free offer. Opt in and I’ll send you a series of PDFs, each with a class of internet cybersafety tips.
I poured lots of effort into those PDFs to make sure they have a few personal anecdotes, lots of good advice, all written in plain English. After setting it up, the whole system is automated and I don’t have to pay anything for the automation until I get to 2500 contacts. I do technology for a living and I’m still amazed at what’s available.
I also have lots of content on my website around cybersecurity and a few stories about good guys, bad guys, and victims in my fictional world. I was even able to obtain detailed notes from a high-level cabinet meeting, where high level government officials from a hostile nation discussed the Virus Bomb attack against the United States.
Hopefully, with the sales funnel, lots of content, and this time with Morgan James sales reps helping to create demand at book stores, Virus Bomb will find lots of readers.
Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.
One time, a Computer Science professor from a New York university called and wanted to use Bullseye Breach for his students. He told me the attack I set up was great for teaching how this stuff works in the real-world.
Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?
Other writers in my writers’ group.
Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.
After publishing Bullseye Breach, I spent almost a year convincing a bookstore in St. Paul to let me in and do a presentation. We set a date in June and I came in with a case of books and a great presentation. Three people showed up. Two were high school students who wanted me to show them how to hack their school server. The third was a guy off the street who wanted air conditioning at the end of a hot day. Nobody wanted to buy any books.
I pitched events at other venues, but nobody was interested. My neighborhood Barnes and Noble store turned me down because the manager didn’t want to order books.
When I pitched doing an event at the Mall of America Barnes and Noble, the store employee tossed his hair like a Hollywood diva and walked away.
Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?
Yes. Identity theft and cyberattacks are a scourge of 21st century life and we need to wake up and stop allowing attackers to plunder us at will over the internet. Hiding behind “I don’t know anything about technology” only leads to trouble.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
A 1980s Robert Duval maybe? Or maybe John Malkovich? The part needs a middle-aged bald guy who can project an irreverent attitude.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Benjamin Franklin. He was a publishing pioneer and if he were alive today, he would be an internet technology innovator.
I’d also like to meet Alfred Charles Hobbs. He was a master locksmith in the 1850s and helped write a book on how locks worked. That book was controversial because the public didn’t know how locks worked and many opinion leaders thought the public should stay ignorant. Hobbs pointed out that bad guys already knew how locks worked; it was only good guys who didn’t know, and so his book leveled the playing field. His language was different, but that was his message. Hobbs would say the same thing today about cybersecurity.
Do you have any hobbies?
I used to. But between parenting, grandparenting, a full-time job, and writing, hobbies take a back seat.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Apollo 13 is one of my favorites. Star Trek: TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager are still favorites. The Hunt for Red October was a great movie. I also like news shows. I try to balance the conservative and liberal stations to hear what both camps have to say.
Raw beef, 7-Up with pretzels, barbecued pork chops, salad, mashed potatoes. But real mashed potatoes, not the stuff out of a box. Spicy for me means it has salt. Oh – and raw cookie dough. One time, a family friend gave me a hunk of raw cookie dough for a birthday present. That almost brought me to tears because it was a uniquely personal gift.
What’s your sign, lucky number.
My birthday is in August and apparently that makes me a Leo. But I don’t pay attention to astrology signs and lucky numbers. We make our own luck. If God wants it to happen, it will happen
What’s your favorite color.
I don’t know. I saw a deep blue Toyota today that looked nice. But my Mom had a yellow 1969 MGB 3-seater and that looked nice too. I guess I like any bright color. Except on a computer monitor, where it makes me see spots.
What music do you hear in your latest book.
I don’t hear any. I could make the case for 50’s rock ‘n roll or maybe some cryin’ in yer beer country, or maybe something from Weird Al Yankovic, but that’s only because that’s the music Jerry Barkley and I like.
Do you have hobbies other than writing?
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Now that I started down this writing road, I’m not sure such a future exists. I’d probably get bored, my mind would atrophy, and then I’d eventually die. I don’t like that future. Let’s create a better one.
You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Realistically – probably in a hospital bed hooked up to machines. I’m not much for hypotheticals. If I knew that proverbial truck was going to hit me tomorrow, I guess I’d try to avoid roads for a day.
What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a head stone. When I die, dispose of my body in whatever manner makes sense. I won’t need it anymore. And when Jesus comes back, I’ll get a new and improved body anyway. No sense wasting the land with a headstone for me.
But if the rule states I must have a headstone, put this on it. Greg Scott failed at nearly everything he tried. But he gave life his best and he never quit.
Are there any mistakes you made with your first book?
I made lots of mistakes with my first book. See the question below about how to buy book copies for a biggie. All those mistakes were learning experiences and hopefully I’ll make different and fewer mistakes with book #2.
What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring authors?
Don’t fritter away most of your life thinking about it like I did. Start writing. Now. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing yet. Study like mad about the craft of writing, about marketing, about presenting, and about communicating in general. This stuff is not easy. Do it right now.
Why are you still reading this? Go write something and then come back and read some more.
When in doubt, who do you trust to help you out?
My wife. But some things need specialized expertise, and so I find the smartest person I can with the expertise I need to help make a decision.
Tell us how we may get a copy of your book. (Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, paperback etc.)
Everywhere books are sold. See http://dgregscott.com/books for links to both ebooks and paperbacks. Buy Virus Bomb from any retailer or direct from me if we do a live event. Bullseye Breach is also available from retailers everywhere, but do me a favor and buy Bullseye Breach direct from the fulfillment site in Minneapolis. The link is on my website.
Distributors and retailers order Bullseye Breach from the same fulfillment center at a 55 percent discount and I pay for shipping to distributors and stores. When retailers sell a book, the distributor eventually pays me 45 cents on the dollar, net 90, or whenever they get around to it. Which means, I front the money for shipping but don’t see revenue for at least three months. I also pay money every month for a pallet full of books to sit in that warehouse.
My distribution strategy for Bullseye Breach is the gift that keeps on taking. Help me move all those books and I’ll do a second edition with a different distribution strategy.
Social media links and websites?
My website is http://dgregscott.com.
Here is a link to my About page with a short bio and decent head shot. http://dgregscott.com/about/.
You can also find me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dgregscott/
And on Twitter at @dgregscott.
If you love Arthurian Legends or Medieval English fantasy you'll love The Priestess of Camelot! by Jacqueline Church Simonds. This story is told from a female perspective and is the story of a foreign-born priestess of "the goddess" Anya. She finds herself abducted and then rescued by Morgaine, who tells her of her enemy Merlin. Sent on a mission to gather information she meets Merlin but discovers that he is far nicer than described. Later she meets Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and becomes part of "the untold story". The rest? Read it for yourself.
The bringing of Christianity to the British Isles and it's subsequent blending with Pre-Christian and Druid worship is an under-theme to this prequel to later works by Ms. Simonds such as The Midsummer Wife.
I really liked the story enough to give it 5 stars, even though the end was a bit "story-tellish" as I call it, rather than related through action. The characters and world-building was even throughout. It's well worth it to read this story, and a great set-up for Ms. Simonds later works.