Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Lunacy and the Challenge to "Act Now"!

This Funerary Model of a Woman from the MIddle...Image by mharrsch via Flickr
This time of year consumers are overwhelmed with appeals to buy this, buy that. During a period of financial instability in the West, it may often seem like civic duty to spend-spend-spend so that the economy will improve for all. So we are often asked to "act now!"

In Gettysburg Passage, an Amazon.com action-fantasy novel by John Callahan, the main character, Rick Reynolds, is given a strange artifact from the ancient past. This relic, found on the streets of Washington, D.C., appears to have possibly supernatural powers and may have been an important icon or symbol for past Patriarchs. The artifact appears to have will of its own. It's influence seems to be driving him to "act now!" and to disrupt his modern, daily, comfortable routine.

Should Rick and his friends heed this "call to action"? Can something we do today really change the world, the past or the future? Would it be wrong to change the past, or to at least shape it in a certain direction? Go to Amazon and check out the many reader reviews for yourself. Gettysburg Passage, only $2.99. As for "act now," that's your call! ;-)

Key related terms: Civil War, Ur, Indo-European, Washington, D.C., religious patriarchs
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Friday, December 3, 2010

World History Can Turn in a Footstep, Or With an Assassin's Bullet

Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives the &qu...Image via Wikipedia
In 1931 Winston Churchill was hit by a car in New York and nearly killed. Fast forward to early May, 1940. Facing the German military machine, the UK Prime Minister is set to quit. Now suppose Churchill is dead, killed in the accident nine years before. There is no politician of any stature left who can stand up to the Germans. In less than two weeks, British, French and Belgian forces would be defeated and fleeing to certain destruction at Dunkirk. In London, there is talk of conditional surrender to the Germans...

In 1791 Robert Carter of Virginia in his will freed nearly 500 slaves. Many Revolutionary War veterans were becoming uncomfortable with bondage and struggled to reconcile the practice with the principles of Liberty that they fought for. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were disillusioned with slavery. In addition, with a shift in American agriculture methods, slavery was losing its economic attractiveness. What if, in the 1790s, those trends had accelerated, and slavery became insignificant to the U.S. economy?

In 1963, President Kennedy drove past a building that offered a clear sniper's view to a loser named Oswald, who had once tried to kill himself because the Soviet Union didn't want him as an American defector. Oswald was revived in a Russian hospital and would later return to the U.S., where he would later take out his frustrations on a passing political motorcade...

Strong currents of world history often turn on the step of man into the path of a passing car, the swirls of revolutionary politics and economics or the fateful path of a Dallas motorcade. So it can also be said of friends happily living their lives near Washington in my contemporary fantasy novel, Gettysburg Passage, available from Amazon.

In the book, the life of Rick Reynolds and his friends turns on a chance discovery of a mysterious ancient artifact found in downtown Washington. The artifact soon influences their lives in ways that are disruptive, interesting, dangerous -- and seemingly impossible. And ultimately leads them to a burning cave near the Gettysburg battlefield, where soldiers from 150 years ago gather to fight in one of history's most decisive battles. At this cave decisions must be made that could effect modern history -- and civilization's development 10,000 years ago.

To learn more go to Amazon.com where many readers have positively reviewed this literate, action novel. Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan. Just $2.99.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Photo of Postage stamp, 1963 issue, commemorat...Image via Wikipedia
Isn't that how life is?

Did the world expect our eye-watering, global financial panic? Did people in South Korea expect to have a village attacked, houses bombed and burned, residents killed? Did the president of the U.S.expect to experience a huge electoral rout just two years after winning?

The unexpected happens. Freakish weather, deadly mudslides, powerful earthquakes.

On a personal level, the unexpected may seem impossible. Have you ever experienced a doppleganger, a ghostly double, often viewed just at the edge of peripheral vision? Obviously, most people never will. But many serious, sober and famous figures in history have -- including Abraham Lincoln. Told of the vision, his wife predicted that it meant he would not survive a second term.

While most scientists believe doppelganger is simply an out-of-body sensation created within the brain, others have speculated it is a brief glimpse of an alternative universe. Whatever it is, it is, of course, a frequent plot device used in fantasy and adventure fiction.

In Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan, available from Amazon.com for $2.99, the issue of what is "normal reality" in today's world comes up quickly. A mysterious and ancient artifact turns up nearly simultaneously in Syria and in Washington, D.C. The main characters begin experiencing people and events associated with the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg which occurred approximately 150 years before. A threatening man appears demanding to see the artifact because it's his. The chase is on. Could it lead, from 2011 right back to the battle of Gettysburg? Or perhaps still further, thousands of years into the past? A maybe to another reality or universe mirroring our own?

Please consider visiting Amazon.com and downloading a sample chapter or buy the book today!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome to your altered, alternative or parallel universe

Wormhole corresponding to the maximal analytic...Image via Wikipedia
Travel back into the past, there is a good chance you will at least slightly alter existence. Everything experienced going forward will be in an altered universe. On the other hand, entering an alternative universe, through some kind of tear in the fabric of space and time, means living in a completely new reality without impacting the old existence. And a parellel universe is a part of the theoretical muliverse, where each decision point in a life spins out mulitple, new with the various possibilities spun out like the perspective of the wrap around mirror in a department store's clothing department. An alternative or parallel universe could be the same, depending on how you got there. All of these concepts are frequently used in fiction.

Much of the story conflict in Gettysburg Passage, a thought-provoking action-adventure fantasy novel from Amazon.com, centers around the possibility of how the characters, living in the modern world, uncover an opportunity to travel in time. The remnants of a beleaguered civilization, over-run by violent, barbaric invaders, face total annihilation if they don't get assistance. But if they go back, our contemporary characters may alter today's world. Should they go?

Read a sample chapter today! Go to Amazon.com and search under books. That's Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan, now just $2.99. It's a fast-paced story that reviewers are saying kept them guessing right up until the final pages.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Just a foot beneath the soil, clear evidence of ancient civilization

Alternative version of image:Wooden hourglass ...Image via Wikipedia
I strive in my writing to present a lively world of contemporary fantasy that is intelligent, fast-paced, seasoned by historical references and plot points and thought provoking about issues involving religion and society. Except for the occasional wormhole or reference to time travel, the stories are realistic and plausible.

That's why I find it thrilling that nearly every week we see in the news features about discoveries about past civilizations discovered right below our feet. The BBC carries a story about the remains of a Roman village, the main Roman road out of Londinium and still earlier Neolithic artifacts being unearthed as crews prepared ground for a new luxury hotel in west London near Syon Park.  Here is the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11773202

We call the fiction genre "fantasy" and "science fiction" and "speculative fiction" but the news shows us each day that the world beneath our feet is often richer and more interesting than many of our fantasies.

If you like to sample a chapter or two of my newest action-adventure-fantasy novel, Gettysburg Passage, simple go to Amazon.com and search by book title. There you will find the book, $2.99, reviews, my blog, a biography, and sample chapters of Gettysburg Passage. Enjoy!
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Discovered Ancient Relic Tied to American Mystery Near Historic Gettysburg

Entrance to the main suq (view from the citadel)Image via Wikipedia
People are asking how the discovery of an ancient mace in one of the world's oldest cities -- Aleppo, on the Syrian-Turkey border -- could be related to one of the strangest geological mysteries on the American East Coast. First, as reported in a recent global newswire article:

"Syrian authorities are moving to limit tourist visas related to visits to the ancient town of Aleppo, known in Arabic as Halab, after growing throngs of pilgrims, surging approximately six months ago, began to swell and eventually overwhelm that nation’s second largest city. Believers representing the three Abrahamic religions, and others including Buddhists and Hindus, have visited and adopted an ancient ceremonial mace as a sacred relic capable of curing disease and cleansing sin."

Closer to home, an abandoned mine near the historic Gettysburg battlefield is burning deep underground and the fire can't be extinguished. While on its own, a mine fire in a rural area should not cause great concern, this particular geologic phenomenon has caught the attention of several people in the Washington area who have been experiencing a recurring dream that involves a mysterious mine fire. It seems that one of them recently stumbled on a strange object, possibly a replica of an ancient ceremonial mace that was in the international news. Since the artifact was discovered, several members of the group have been threatened.....

Does this sound like the plot of an action-adventure novel, or maybe some kind of fantasy involving a threatened lost civilization? Or maybe a fictional page-turner that includes a bit of Civil War history, a touch of romance and a high-speed chase through the rural roads of western Maryland? Perhaps all of these things could be true. But to find out, please go to Amazon.com and look up Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan, a new novel getting rave reviews and priced at $2.99.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Lubricated Civilization's Rise

Edited copy of Image:The Brewer designed and e...Image via Wikipedia
There is news out that archaeologists are increasingly thinking that brewing beer was an important step in the rise of civilization.


For more than 6,000 years, beer has been an essential part of feasting and of gatherings where friendships and alliances are forged. To brew beer, as in making of bread, meant a community needed access to plentiful grain, had more grain than it needed for food purposes, and had the social organization, know how and time to make and enjoy it. Some think brewing goes all the way back to the beginnings of agriculture in the Neolithic Period. And it is well known that ancient Sumerians, Egyptians and Hobbits all loved a tall, cool brew at the end of a hard day.

Which just goes to show that many elements included in Gettysburg Passage, a fantasy action-adventure novel from Amazon, $2.99, are based on historical fact. What makes Gettysburg Passage a fantasy, however, is that its plot is based on the possibility that civilization is based more on beer feasting! What if the spark for our civilization was kept alive at its darkest, most vulnerable moments, by a person or persons who were sent back to save it?

Who went back, who sent them and what did they go to do?  And who would do anything to stop civilization from being saved? The answers are in the novel, said by Amazon reviewers to be creative, action-packed and surprising right up to the end. Click here to buy or to find out more: Gettysburg Passage.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

3 Critical Elements of Superior Fantasy, Scifi and Action-Adventure Stories

Character Rick Deckard has a hard time resisti...Image via Wikipedia
Consider of the best fantasy/adventure/scifi stories
 that you've most enjoyed. Many share key elements:

1) Immediate deadly peril  (Lord of Rings,  the Matrix series, Blade Runner, Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, the Terminator series, the Jason Bourne series.
2) Disbelief and conflict about what is happening, why is there danger, this can't be happening to me? (Die Hard, Nothing Lasts Forever, The Bourne Identity, Gladiator)
3) Journey into certain danger (The Hobbit, Unforgiven, Jurassic Park)

The fantasy, action-adventure novel, Gettysburg Passage, uses all of these elements to tell the story of a group of friends who stumble on a mysterious archaeological find from Washington, D.C. They fall into almost immediate deadly peril (though they don't recognize it). A state of disbelief is present through most of the story. They have to decide if a journey will be made into certain peril.

Of course, all of modern civilization depends on a positive outcome!

Gettysburg Passage, a novel by John Callahan, now available from Amazon.com for $2.99.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hail Sacred Eliki, Jewel of Aegean, Forever Lost Beneath the Waves of Time

The Aegean Sea - satellite imageImage via Wikipedia
Eliki, also known as Dodekapolis, was a holy city famous throughout the classical world as the center of worship of the god Poseiden. The prestige of the city was second only to Delphi and its temple center dedicated to the Helikonian Poseidon drew faithful from Achaea and far-flung colonies around the Aegean. Such was the fame of this city state that it was even mentioned in The Illiad of Homer as contributing men to the seige of Troy. Its temples, its monumental buildings, its statues were of such renown that centuries later famous Roman statesmen, generals and philosophers would journey by boat to float over the ruins, admiring what could still be seen deep beneath the waves. It is even speculated that Plato may have had Eliki in mind when he wrote of lost Atlantis, sunk beneath the sea during a sudden cataclysm. My point is if Eliki, of such renown, could disappear without a trace, then other lost civilizations could also have flourished, providing the ethical, philosophical and technical foundations of our recognized "founding civilizations" - such as Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, Egypt - that we so admire today. My new book, Gettysburg Passage, is a modern novel that mixes fantasy, a little science fiction, lots of history, and plenty of adventure, and explores how such a lost civilization still reaches out to us today. Will the characters in Gettysburg Passage heed the call from desperate people in this lost civilization? In racing to help those in need from the past, perhaps they may save this modern world we today call our own ;-)

Gettysburg Passage, by John Callahan, available from Amazon.com, $2.99.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Character matters in a fantasy and adventure novel

LogoparanobeImage via Wikipedia
Today is voting day in the U.S. But every day is voting day when you decide to read fiction such as fantasy, mystery, science fiction or action & adventure. May I suggest that when considering these categories, that you vote for fictional characters who do the right thing even though they may never be rewarded or never become famous. Their actions are so important that one or two of them might actually save the world. But they need to risk their lives knowing that even if they succeed, no one may even learn their name. They act because it is the right thing to do -- and fun to read!

Gettysburg Passage by John Callahan, now available from Amazon.com for $2.99.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge

"The Garden of Eden" by Thomas Cole ...Image via Wikipedia
Those raised in the culture of the three great Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are familiar from the Genesis Creation Narrative with references to Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. These concepts refer back to time in the dim past when Paradise reigned on earth.

We know from ancient narrative traditions that man sampled fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and was cast out paradise, destined to use his intellect and emotional strength to succeed or fail in the world. While the search for knowledge was not always prized, since the the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, at least some had the freedom to research and ask questions.

One of the key questions has concerned immortality, expressed through stories like the Tree of Life and even Neolithic burial practices. In the modern world, particularly in advanced consumer-oriented cultures, the search for immortality includes medical research and life-prolonging lifestyles, including diet and exercise strategies.

But what if a tree of life or  knowledge surfaced in the modern world? Would people use the fruit simply to prolong life? Or would they use the discovery as an opportunity to ask and perhaps answer key questions that have vexed mankind for tens of thousands of years?

In the action fantasy novel Gettysburg Passage, a man does stumble on a modern-day orchard in an Eden-like setting in the mountains of western Maryland. This man, maybe unwillingly, is being called on to help rescue an ancient civilization. Find out what happens when he tastes the "forbidden fruit" and how people -- even today -- might misuse a chance to sample from the tree of life.

Gettysburg Passage, a novel by John Callahan, $2.99 available from Amazon.com.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

A Fictional Race to the Finish

The Searchers (film)Image via Wikipedia
Fiction often involves a journey or the "race against the clock". As the story opens, a challenge is revealed and a dramatic need must be resolved by accomplishing a task, making a journey or beating the clock. Examples include "The Fugitive," "48 Hours", "The Searchers," and "Saving Private Ryan" in movies and "The Name of the Rose," "The Lord of the Rings," and the "Bourne series" in literature/cinema.

The fictional challenge can be "find the killers" (The Fugitive), "save the child" (The Searchers), "solve the mystery" (The Name of the Rose) and "save the world" (The Lord of the Rings).

In the book, Gettysburg Passage, available from Amazon.com, the fictional challenge is a blend of solve the mystery and save the world!!

Everyday people working in high tech around Washington, D.C. have their very normal lives disrupted by a series of challenges: a mysterious ancient artifact is discovered, famous historical personalities briefly appear, a threatening man begins shadowing them. It slowly emerges that the characters seem to be pushed by some external force to visit a mysterious cave situated near the legendary Gettysburg battlefield north of Washington.

Ordinary people are asked to play a key role in extraordinary events - perhaps even help save modern civilization. Do they step up to the challenge or do they avert their eyes and go on with their normal lives?

Find out by visiting Amazon.com today. The novel is receiving enthusiastic reviews! Gettysburg Passage is available for $2.99.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Bronze Age Stonehenge Found in Russia

Stonehenge Stonehenge, Wiltshire. Stonehenge i...Image via Wikipedia
Archaeologists have found remains of an advanced community, from about 4,000 years ago, that was of similar size to a vibrant city state in Mycenaean Greece. The civilization was located near today's Siberian-Kazahk border in southern Russia. Some 200 settlements within the community have been uncovered. The latest discovery is in the area of the North Caucasus mountains and includes a monumental ring of large stones that is probably related to keeping a calendar and spiritual activities. It reminds researchers of Stonhenge in the U.K.

This is the area, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, that I consider "ground zero" for the development of advanced, ancient civilizations. If you scan down to my earlier posts, you will see many points concerning the migrations of ancient Indo-European peoples who eventually formed advanced civilizations in Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece and beyond.

This area is the mother-lode. Here is a link to the story:
My book, Gettysburg Passage, available for $2.99 from Amazon, deals with modern people who uncover mysterious clues from a civilization that may have originated in this area. The central question of this first book is, would people of today stop their busy lives to engage with and possibly be enriched by such an ancient civilization? Or would they just move on with the busy, materialistic lives, giving barely a thought of who they are and how they go here?
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Powered by 550 Horses, a Modern Mad Dash from Washington to Gettysburg

NEW YORK - APRIL 28:  Plaza Hotel employees To...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The famous American Civil War battle of Gettysburg took place over three days in the beginning of July in 1863. Readers don't often realize that the battle was really a part of a larger military campaign, an invasion of the north by Confederate rebel infantry and cavalry, and the campaign took place over a month, from early June to early July.

The modern adventure novel, Gettysburg Passage, can also be thought of as a brief "campaign" - or maybe better as a mad dash! Several characters, lead by Rick Reynolds, a high tech sales rep living near Washington, are forced to deal with shocking discovery, emerging danger and harrowing pursuit that relentlessly pushes them mysteriously towards Gettysburg. The novel covers a few action-packed days in the lives of Rick and his friends.

The Gettysburg battlefield is very close to America's capital - less than an hour if traffic's light. Nearly 150 years ago, the trip north took rebel forces weeks. But the men and women in Gettysburg Passage need only a few days to cover the very same ground - if they can keep from getting killed!

For several people in the novel, being able to jump into a 2011 Ford Shelby Cobra Mustang GT500, the offspring of a famous racer, might make the trip a little more brief. You see, the sleek, powerful muscle car is powered by 550 horses and doesn't stop for water, or to graze! But life can be perilous at 120 miles per hour and faster, especially when the bad guys are chasing you in a spectacularly fast Dodge Challenger.

To learn more about how some everyday people get sucked into trying to save modern civilization, while dodging a few bullets related to the Gettysburg Campaign, check out Gettysburg Passage by John Callahan, available from Amazon.com for $2.99.

Action, adventure, history, fantasy and a touch of science fiction, all in a fast-paced contemporary novel.
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did Professors Make Up Ancient Greece, Or Was It A Novelist?

Foundry PainterImage via Wikipedia
The satirical publication The Onion recently reported that a team of professors working in the 1970s completely made up the idea of ancient Greece, an important contributor to the formation of Western Civilization, to fill in a missing section of the pre-Christian historical record.  According to them, Greece didn't amount to much and the historians created it all up in a flurry of hard work. Here is the link: http://onion.com/aOUqJD.

A pretty funny and original idea, huh?

But what if a new novel, a modern action & adventure story, with a touch of history, some fantasy and a small dash of science fiction, offered a slightly different take? What if Gettysburg Passage suggests that Western Civilization is in fact in real danger of dying at birth? What if some of the earliest, prehistorical influencers to Western Civilization, facing total defeat, need to be organized, nurtured and protected by people who are actually living today in the U.S.?

How would that be possible? I guess that's where a bit of the fantasy and scifi comes in. If The Onion can suggest that Greece can be made up, I can top them by having some normal people living right now be given the chance to "ride to the rescue" of an embryonic culture more than 5,000 years ago. And you thought the editors of The Onion were cheeky....

To learn more, go to Amazon.com and check out Gettysburg Passage, a fast paced adventure by John Callahan. Now available for $2.99.

some clever tags: Indo-European, Greek sculpture, Mesopotamia, Egypt
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Can You House Train a Wormhole?

The "Star Gate" sequence, one of man...Image via Wikipedia
Wormholes are theoretical.  Physicists describe wormholes as shortcuts in spacetime, a virtual tunnel that connects today to some point in the past or future.

Wormholes are deeply ingrained in popular culture (think Stargate SGI and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and even a new TV series on the Discovery Channel starring Morgan Freeman. Stephen Hawking loves wormholes.

Wormholes can be scary, like that visual sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The question is, can they be house trained? That is, can a wormhole be trained to work for you? If it won't listen to your suggestions, can you at least trust it before you jump down the galactic-firehose- quantum-water-slide?

That is the essential question in Gettysburg Passage, my novel, the first of a trilogy.

This modern adventure story involves a mysterious ancient artifact, people living today around Washington, D.C., some famous dead Americans, a homeless shelter, a historic American battlefield named Gettysburg and mildly philosophical questions relating to the current lust for a materialist at-all-costs consumption culture, an open yearning for contemporary immortality and the optimal speeds for street-legal muscle cars.

At about 90,000 words it is a fast read and available now for $2.99 at Amazon.com.

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