Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Resolution

               A midnight kiss draws near and with every passing second the smell of alcohol assaults your senses while the person standing several millimeters in front of you puckers. Instead maybe you are the person sitting on a cushioned wooden bench with head bowed and hands clasped tightly together. Different cultures share one thing in common when it comes to the New Year, which is a time for celebration and for customs to ensure good luck in the coming year. In this post I would like to take a closer look at the New Year’s Resolutions phenomenon and celebrations that come with the passing of a year.

The definition of the word ‘Resolution’ according to the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc. This is the right definition to encompass what our New Year’s Resolution is…, but wait, what exactly is this thing called a New Year’s Resolution and where did it come from. According to, a New Year’s Resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults made New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40% did. Now why is that? Why such a large jump in participation? Let us go back to the origins for a moment.

               January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced Roman god who could look back on the previous year and past events as well as forward to the future and the New Year. Janus was also the patron and protector of arches, gates, doors, doorways, bridges, endings and beginnings. When the Roman Empire took Christianity as its official state religion in the 4th century, they no longer made resolutions that worshiped and gave offerings to Janus. Instead, they were replaced with resolutions that strived to be good to your fellow man and by praying and fasting. Christians were reluctant to participate in some of the New Year practices affiliated with the idolization and worship of the pagan god Janus. In contrast, the Puritans urged their children to skip the revelry and instead spend their time reflecting on the year past and contemplating the year to come. In this way they adopted again the old custom of making resolutions. 

               Now in today’s world of the fast paced, all digital 21st century, how did the New Year’s Resolution become wrapped up into drunken debauchery when the clock strikes midnight. I cannot in good conscience sit here and try to act ‘holier-than-thou’ because I have, in the past, participated in unsavory activities as the year began anew then woken up with a headache for the ages. But that still begs the question, where do we draw the line. Moderation is easier said than done. How do we celebrate the past and also give thanks for the future? How do we strive to be better human beings and help our fellow man yet also rejoice in the moment?
               It is a fine tight-rope that we must walk as human beings. If we stray too far to the left or right then we face ridicule and annihilation. If we live our lives according to our own moral compass then we run the risk of falling over the edge of the map and into the abyss.

               *** Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. ~ Mathew 7:14 ***

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


It seems like this topic is on everyone’s mind as 12/21/2012 approaches. As this infamous date draws near, we are inundated with television programs and other writings that state this date will be the beginning of the end. I believe that this is all a result of mass media, mass hysteria and a misinterpretation of ancient prophetic texts. People routinely point to the fact that several cultures separated by miles and centuries have similar world ending catastrophes.

Personally I believe that the earth will keep on spinning, on 12/22 just the same as before. Also, being as that I am a Christian, the Mayan prophecy is intriguing but at the same time the bible states that no man will know the time and date.

However there are a lot of once in a lifetime celestial events occurring in the year 2012 and with mass media it seems like more natural and un-natural disasters are happening more frequently. We are living in a golden age of information. Never before on earth has information traveled from remote locations in other continents and spread to the masses.

The focus on 2012 has given humanity the opportunity to re-examine itself. With the birth of the industrial age, the human population has exploded like never before and we have tipped the scale in our favor. With that being said, what happens to the other side of the scale? We have entered the realm of the Gods with the ability to alter life and potentially create artificial life and human clones. We are in uncharted territory and with the human exploration space age approaching, I think it is time for humanity to seriously consider leaving our home world if we truly want to survive. Threats from asteroids, comets, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even killer planets could destroy everything that the human race has built.

Therefore, in the face of annihilation, can the human race truly come together and cooperate to save ourselves. Can we put aside or differences, whether they be religious, territorial, racial, etc in order to build a better life for future generations in the stars?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guest Author Feature - Gwen Perkins - The Jealousy Glass


"We came to stop a war before it came to Cercia.  And it seems the war has come to us."

Responsibility and patriotism spur Cercia's new leader, Quentin, to protect his beloved country at all costs and he assigns Asahel and Felix to serve as ambassadors and secret agents to Anjdur. Their journey quickly turns awry and Asahel and Felix barely escape a devastating shipwreck, walk a tightrope of political tension, and rescue an empress before they learn they must face an enemy closer to them than they thought.

Will they be able to uncover an assassin's plot before it's too late? Will Asahel be able to unearth a secret that is vital to their mission? Will Cercia survive its own revolution? In The Jealousy Glass, Perkins boldly continues a series of unforgettable characters and events that will leave you begging for more.

From Chapter 1

The white monster swooped down.
All that Asahel could see was a cloud of pale feathers as the Rukh lashed out at the cannon that had fired.  Screams throbbed around him as the Rukh lifted, golden talons now rusted with blood.  Broken bodies lay on the wood, ribs smashed by the weight of unearthly claws.  The men were too distant for Asahel to put faces to as he fell to the deck, heart pounding at the sound of the wings beating once more.
The Rukh dove again, its beak rending the ship's prow.  The heavy timbers cracked like bones against the pressure.  A slow tearing sound cut through the haze of chaos settling over the ship as panic took hold.  Spice spilled out of the hold the beast had torn open.  Pungent scents of oil and cedar clouded the air as chests smashed against the bow, breaking apart into the water below.
Asahel crawled on his knees toward the heart of the battle, his eyes stinging red from the spices in the air.  The Rukh thrashed as another cannon fired its shot, black powder belching into the fading light.  Angry cries from the monster above filled his ears as it lurched down, plucking a sailor off the deck and squeezing its talons tightly around the man's midsection.  Another series of screams began as the ship's port side blazed into flames, but he kept moving toward starboard, trying to reach the first cannon that had been fired.
"Zuane!"  He called, hoping that the captain was near.  When that failed, Asahel shouted out for others.  "Felix!  Nicolas!"  His knee edged forward as he crawled, the coarse wool of his trousers suddenly damp.  He looked down to see the blood of the fallen pooling in the cracks of the boards.
He was near the side of the Serenissma.  Asahel stood, crouching each time the Rukh let out another shriek.  Black smoke surrounded him, choking his lungs as he turned.  The white beast had grown dim as the wall of fire leapt up, flames feeding on the ship's planking.
Asahel turned but did not see who could have called him.
"Where are you?"  He whispered, afraid to raise his voice.  He saw a pair of hands gripping the railing.  He reached out, his own strong fingers clutching them and pulling the man toward the deck.  He could feel Felix shudder as he came up over the rail, his thin body battered.  The older man began to cough almost immediately as Asahel helped him back to the deck.  They stared through the flames at the carnage.
The Serenissma wrenched sharply to the right.  The Rukh cawed as it rose, white wings blotting out what was left of the sun.  Water splashed across the wood, shooting up from the hold as the lower decks flooded.
"We've got to get out of here," Asahel said.
"There's no rafts." Felix coughed and leaned back against the rail.  His eyes were bright with a fear the other man had never seen. 
"Aye."  The fire was close enough to warm them both.  Which will it be?  Asahel thought.  Burning or drowning?
"I can't swim."
"Sure, and now you tell me."  Asahel steadied his expression for Felix's sake, more nervous than he let on.  The Soames family had been merchants and traders for generations.  Unlike Felix, Asahel had been raised at water's edge.
"I never expected it to come up."  Felix grimaced.  "I know.  We're on a boat.  Clearly, I was being an optimist."
"Ship," Asahel corrected gently, looking over his shoulder at the waves.
"Grave—if we don't do something shortly."  Felix inhaled, his body clenched as he turned his back on the flames.  The Serenissma was moving downwards rapidly.  The remaining sailors leapt from the deck, disappearing into the churning tides as they plummeted through the darkness.  He looked at Asahel, his mouth twisting into a crooked grin.  "No time like the present."
Felix climbed back up on the railing, sweat trickling down his forehead, his skin mottled with bruise and shadow.  Asahel followed, his own ungainly body slower to take action.  The two men looked at one another a last time, then back at the burning ship.
With one breath, they jumped.

*  *  * 


The Jealousy Glass:


In conjunction with the release of The Jealousy Glass, Gwen is running a giveaway for an autographed, first edition paperback of The Universal Mirror through Goodreads at:


Gwen Perkins is a museum curator with a MA in Military History from Norwich University. She has written for a number of magazines, exhibitions and nonfiction publications. Her interest in history fueled the creation of the world of The Universal Mirror, inspired in part by people and events of the medieval and Renaissance periods. 

Twitter: @helleder