A Hawk Waits

The patience of The Wild always impresses me.

Especially when waiting for a meal.

I’ve seen creatures from the very small to the very large become quiet, become so still they are whispers against the wind…

then move with a ferocity and tenacity which is terrifying.

One of my proudest (read “most vain”) moments was realizing I could move faster than a wild animal could follow.

Part of which came from realizing what types of motion their eyes were designed to capture, something which goes back to my studies of Jerome Lettvin’s Frog’s Eye Concept, a fascinating discovery probably lost in time (MIT 1959 What the Frog’s Eyes Tells the Frog’s Brain).

Basically, we see what we’re trained to see.

In some ways, this is obvious. A trained surgeon sees disease where untrained people don’t, a trained plumber sees a leak in the making where the untrained see a sweating pipe.

Take this a step further and we learn our training affects our decision making; the brain changes incoming sensory data to fit expectations, likewise, our expectations cause us to only perceive certain data.

Adds a whole new level to Believing is Seeing, doesn’t it?

I make use of Dr. Lettvin’s Frog’s Eye Concept in The Inheritors

The Librarian closed the hatch. She reached over and opened it again. “Bertrand?”
The Librarian’s pale, hairless, babe-like head and pulsing eyes poked up through again. “Yes, Resa?”
“You can see after images, can’t you, when something’s hot enough?”
“Yes, Resa.”
“Can you see anything here?”
“No, Resa.”
“Are you sure? I think…I thought…someone was here, something which produced enough heat to keep me warm in the night.”
“No, Resa. Who do you think it was?”
She hesitated. “I thought it was the Christian Devil.”
“I would not be able to see it, real or not, Resa.”
Resa focused on Bertrand’s eyes, looking to see if the Librarian joked or not. “What do you mean, you wouldn’t be able to see him, real or not?”
“That creature’s origins are from a belief system different than our own. It cannot exist for us because we have no reason for it to exist.”
She nodded. “Yes, of course. You wouldn’t react to him. You have different mythical systems and no meme to contain it. The Frog’s Eye Concept.”
“Dr. Jerome Lettvin. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1959. “What the Frog’s Eye Tells the Frog’s Brain.”

As noted earlier, Believing is Seeing.


Terry Lohrbeer Interviews Me on Kickass Boomers!

Yes, I’m a Boomer.

I’d like to think of myself as more of a Budda-Boom than a straight Boom and, at my age, I’ll take what I can get.

In any case, Terry and I had a great time and covered lots of my history, writing, creating, and letting people know life begins when you want it to, not because somebody tells you it should.

Listen on Terry’s Kickass Boomers site.


Busy Days in Raccoon Town

We are known by the Old Ones.

In our backyard, they gather for their feasts.

Being known by the ancients can be wonderful.

And wonderfully terrifying.

As I noted in The Shaman

I drive back from the Y, late Fall, late morning, and come around a curve as a frog hops into the road.
I swerve, drive on, complete the curve, pull over, stop.
The frog continues its journey into the road.
Others will not care if this one completes its journey or not. Some might see its movements against the wet tar of the road.
Two cars come around the curve in my rearview mirror.
I get out of my car, trot back up the road, find the frog dead, crushed and flattened, three-quarters of the way across.
I grieve. I should have acted sooner. I know what is important and what is not.
I cry, ask Frog’s forgiveness for not taking care of its shadow.
Sunlight comes over the hillock blinding the curve, shines on the grasses opposite me, steaming where the frog might have been.
A mist rises.
Coming forward.
Old Ones.
The First Ones.
The Ancients.
The True Ones of which all else is Shadow and Myth, a harmony of human and animal energies so I can understand.
A’blig’moodj, The Frog Prince, the one of whom one of my teachers is a shadow, walks forward, holds its hand up to me.
Behind him, beside him, Wolf, Bear, Stag, Eagle, Lion, Hawk, Moose, Whale, Dolphin, Salmon, Oak, Ash, Thorn, and more lost further back in the mist.
A Council of All Beings.
A Council of All First Ones.
A’blig’moodj’s mist forms around me. It takes my hand. I hear it inside me. “Do not grieve, Gio. This one was old and could not survive another winter. It is good he comes Home now.”
I fall to the pavement, shaking, terrified. To be in the presence of such energies. My bodies can not stand.
A’blig’moodj lifts me, holds me, stands me beside him. “You are known to us, and we thank you.”
It returns to The Ancients.
I crawl to my car, unable to drive, barely able to breathe.
To be known by The Ancients.
And live.


My “The Bone and The Bear” now on Tall Tale TV

I love it when a favorite piece gets published.

The Bone and The Bear took a while to find a home, and find a home it did.

Note to authors and writers – to all creatives for matter – keep at it. Sometimes it’s exhausting finding the right one – in love, in life, in publication – and there’s always one out there.

You can hear The Bone and The Bear on any of YouTube, Facebook, on the Tall Tale TV website, and as an MP3 podcast.

Chris Herron, publisher of Tall Tale TV, thinks so highly of my work he even created a YouTube playlist of my stories he’s published.

Nice to be honored like that, isn’t it?

You can also listen to it here (again thanks to Chris Herron):


A Tale of Six Publishers – Part 1

Never do business with someone who threatens you

My novel publishing journey began in 2016. I’d had stories and articles published before then, almost all of which were business or neuroscience oriented. A few fiction pieces here and there, and only enough to keep me in the game, so to speak.

Prior that that, my publishing experience came from back in the days of Print (note the capital “P” Print). The late 1980s-early 1990s were my heyday, and specifically for trade-technicals (it was the height of the PC boom. Technical publishers offered book deals to anybody who knew how to program and could put two words together) and science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories and novellas.

My strengths were a powerful, engaging, authoritative voice, and a deep knowledge of my subject material.

These two things carried over into my fiction writing. I’m repeatedly told I have a unique, engaging, authorial voice and a deep knowledge of what my characters are experiencing (when the PC book market collapsed, I studied a variety of things. At one point people referenced me as a world-class neuroscientist, mathematician, … I heartily denied then and deny still all such appellations. What is does mean, though, is when my characters talk neuroscience, it’s real neuroscience, when a scene involves AI, it’s real AI, when my characters do anthropological excavations, it’s based on real anthropological excavations, …).

What all this comes down to is I had some expectations about the publishing industry. Said expectations focused on three critical issues I learned from my previous publishing experience:

  1. Marketing – how would the publisher get word of my book out to potential readers?
  2. Distribution – how would the publisher get my book into potential readers’ hands?
  3. Career Development – what would the publisher do to help me become a better author?

What I share now is how deeply erroneous those expectations were (although each was firmly rooted in my previous publishing experience), and why.

I’ll be covering five publishers who failed (and not due to unfulfilled expectations, due purely to a lack of business expertise, management skills, and, in two cases, downright deceit) and one who succeeded unexpectedly. I’ll post one per week starting today.
Continue reading “A Tale of Six Publishers – Part 1”