Friday, April 21, 2017

Who Are Daniel and Ariel?

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Daniel and Ariel are fabled twins of Elven prophesy, the children of Soraya and Lukus, destined to bring down the terrible witches who wield the Heart and Staff to rule the world... if you hold with Elven lore.
Stone_Heart_Cover_for_KindleThe witches certainly do. Empress Spitemorta so fears the very possibility of any Elf ever having children by a human that she has decreed that every living Elf shall be found and slain. And indeed the twins have the lineage, with Soraya an Elven princess and Lukus the descendant of the great First Wizard. Spitemorta's grandmother Demonica destroys the Elven Castle at Oilean Gairdin, sending the Elves fleeing into the wilderness with Soraya and Lukus and the twins for years to come.
DoomIn the midst of their exodus, Ariel forms a heart bond with Abaddon, Spitemorta's very son. Will the Prophesy not come to pass?





Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Chokewoods and the Peppermint Forest are not the Same

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Lukus heaved a large peppermint limb into the fire. "If Ugleeuh doesn't find us right soon," he said, "I'll go back into the woods and see if I can find some nuts and berries for 
supper. I saw some when I was gathering wood."
"Well why didn't you just gather them in the first place? You just made more work for yourself."
"Yea? Maybe, but the last time I ate berries in this forest I nearly strangled to death, so RowanI had to think about it."
"You tried to eat a choke oak fruit? What kind of crazy are you? Doesn't matter, though. Things like that don't grow here anymore. This is the Peppermint Forest and it's different than the Chokewood Forest, or haven't you noticed?"
"I could see that at once. But just what's what, I need some time to sort out. So tell me, did Ugleeuh actually create all of this?" He gave a wide wave.
"She didn't create it so much as change it, though perhaps whether she did or not Scan10067depends on just what a person considers creation to be. But, you're right if you think that all this forest was once identical to the Chokewoods. When Ugleeuh and I first arrived here it was really awful. We battled with the smallies and dorchadas and other awful things almost every day before she was through with all of her wonderful transformations of the 
place."
"Rose and I had the idea that she made this place out of part of the Chokewoods, but I'm surprised to hear about the dorchadas actually attacking you. Rose and I saw the chief 
of the dorchadas and his heathens trembling with fear in front of her."
"You have utterly no clue at all about the kind of sadistic wrath that Ugleeuh is capable of," Scan30001said Hubba Hubba, breaking into his first laughter of the outing. "The smallies are so terrified of her now that they'll tramp each other to death, trying to hide if they see her. Same thing with the dorchadas. Hoo-wee! She taught them. Nasty, nasty old lady!"
"So, why were you so worried that the smallies might get you, if I left you to go for help?"
"Do I really look like Ugleeuh to you? Had she ever worked you over once, you'd never confuse us. Besides, if the smallies got me, there'd be no trace. No feathers. No nothing. They'd have a free bit of revenge on her and she wouldn't be able to prove it at all."
"You got that right, Birdo. Rose and I saw them take down a deer. It just vanished before our eyes. It gave out a good dying snort, and the next moment it was gone without any sign that it had ever been."
"Yes, yes. I've seen it. It's been years, but I've seen it." he said with a shudder. "Let's build up the fire some more, Lukus, just to be sure Ugleeuh doesn't miss it. Let me come with8138228_7122_1024x2000 you for the wood. I hope that hearing the mint owl doesn't mean that the smallies are in this neighborhood."
"Yea," said Lukus, glancing about. "I think it might be good to stoke the fire a bit, at that, but I'll hunt for fuel where you can see me from here. You stay off that foot unless we have no other choice but to move on." And with that, he went to picking up sticks.
Hubba Hubba's head spun as he trembled and inched closer to the fire, hoping that whatever might be in the forest would fear the crackling flames.
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Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, April 17, 2017

Big Bang Fantasy

Big Bang Cosmos Explosion

Albert Einstein's mathematics profoundly changed physics. No one questions this. He is universally recognized as a mathematical titan, and though he might well have been an epochal physicist, it might be a mistake to call him a scientist.
Science is a body of knowledge acquired through observation. Einstein used his math to express his profound imagination, but instead of setting up experiments in order to observe his discoveries at work in the real world as would an empirical scientist, he chose instead to test his ideas with his well documented "thought experiments." The reason no one noticed this is probably the day and time that it was. Great minds in physics were all a-fever, trying to pry open the atom. What was inside? Waves? Particles?
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In 1927, Niels Bohr came up with an "uncertainty principle" which said that the infinitesimally teensy atom was fundamentally unknowable from observation and could only be understood in terms of mathematics. Perhaps. Maybe this is the best we can ever do inside the atom, but what is derailed here is the observing of the need for palpable evidence in order to establish scientific discoveries. Meanwhile, since everything is made up of atoms, people found it easy to accept math in place of verifiable observations for a growing range of things needing an explanation.
So nobody questioned Einstein until NASA found his math to be worthless for sending instrument packages to the moon and to Mars and had to fall back on the four hundred year old math of Isaac Newton to get them there. And Newton was an actual scientist who went to observe the real world for verification. Remember the apple that thumped him on the head?
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The Big Bang is not only the profound math which it happens to be, it is also magic. There may well be a whole football field's space surrounding the golf ball which represents the nucleus of a hydrogen atom, but the entire universe was never the size of the head of a pin. There never was a Big Bang and the universe is not expanding.
In all the years since Einstein's math created it, the only substantial evidence for an expanding universe is the red shift in the spectrum of light, the supposed Doppler effect from everything in the universe speeding away from us. Yeap. Red shift in all directions, which puts us in the exact center of the universe, for one thing, which is most suspicious in a universe so endlessly vast as ours. The other problem is that the Doppler effect is not the only possible way for light from the furthest reaches of space to arrive here, redder than it should be.
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When light passes through anything such as glass, higher frequency shorter wavelengths get converted into longer wavelengths from collisions with atoms, causing a shift to the red end of the spectrum. Ultraviolet light coming into a greenhouse becomes heat. So, what do you suppose happens to light passing through all those zillions of miles of space from the most distant objects which we are able to see? Space is full of dust and stray atoms for light to collide with over its vast distances. Light will arrive redder than it started out, simply because of all the distance that it had to travel, without any need for everything we see in the heavens to be racing away from us.
So the Big Bang is nothing but Einstein's magic, is all I'm saying. And I ought to know, because Carol and I write about magic all the time.Magician wand

Tom Phipps

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: A MOTHER'S HEART by Eichin Chang-Lim

A Mother’s Heart
By
Eichin Chang-Lim

Much has been said and written about motherhood, but not nearly so much about a mother’s heartbreak when she learns that her perfect child is not so perfect after all. Mother’s Heart by Eichin Chang-Lim, is the true story of how one courageous woman copes with such a revelation when her first-born is pronounced profoundly deaf, due to a genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome.
This book was written to help others who are facing life with a genetically disabled child to understand and deal with what lies ahead for them, and to let them know that they are not alone. But, this story is one of hope and triumph, not defeat. The author shares her own experience from the birth of her special needs child, through his childhood and up to the present where he has become a young adult out on his own.
A Mother’s Heart is written in an honest, straight-forward manner, and the author is completely open about the ups and downs, anguish and joy, the guilt, the anger, and all the other emotions and roadblocks associated with raising a special needs child. Her tale is often heart-wrenching, but more often it is uplifting.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has or knows a special needs child, or simply is curious to know what it is really like to have and raise such a child.
My Review

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

As if You can Hear the Trees Scream

They arrived at the edge of Chokewoods just after sunset, feeling relief and dread at the sight of the looming trees. Everyone hesitated, not wanting to enter. Lukus slid off Spark, grabbing his head with a grimace when he lit. Rose dismounted and stood by his side, Sinornithosaurus_magsaying nothing. Lukus turned wide eyes to meet Rose's barely perceptible nod. This was like it was the first time they arrived, in spite of it being a different part of the woods and a different time of day. "Well," she said, jostling everyone by speaking. "Let's get on with it, shall we?" She gave Lukus an abrupt shove and followed him through an opening in the tangle of brush and matted vines. Fuzz, Spark, and Lipperella came immediately behind.
In they went, straining from side to side in hopes of spying some sort of clearing or cave for a place to camp. "If you listen, it's almost as if you can hear the trees scream," said 
Lipperella, in a whisper tinged with awe.
"We thought so the first time," said Lukus. "It's so eerie."
images 2"Indeed," said Fuzz, "But the trees are in fact not screaming, and when their trunks look so grotesque, one's imagination would understandably be thrall to suggestibility."
"So you don't hear anything then?" said Spark.
"I didn't say that, "said Fuzz. "It sounds like far away moans and murmurs in some giant hall, but that must be the wind 'way up in the trees, rather than the trees themselves."2004_1024chapel0005
"Are you sure?" said Spark. "I'm not."
"Well no, but it's the simplest explanation, isn't it?"
"Perhaps, but 'simple' doesn't take Razzorbauch's perversion of the place into account."
"Good point," said Fuzz, as everyone fell into a nervous silence.
"Hey," said Lipperella. "Look up ahead. That could be a clearing." It was. They made a hasty camp by doing little more than spreading out their blankets and deciding how 
they would keep watch. Rose heard no owls at all, only the ghostly murmur and sighs 
echoing from unimaginable reaches off in the timber.
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Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lukus Strangles on a Choke Oak Fruit Part Three

Rowan
Lukus bounced in his saddle and renewed his interest in their surroundings. There were ironwood and gnarled muscled hornbeam trees all over the flat of the creek bottom near 2004_1024chapel0005the banks, but as he looked, he saw that there imagesbwasn’t a single tree of any kind, not even a sapling, that was not bent and twisted into some horribly unnatural pose. "I'll declare," he thought. "How could trees give me the creeps?" He kept seeing ordinary looking leaves on the ground, much like the white oak leaves in Niarg. When he looked overhead to find where they came from, he saw that they weren't sorbus-decora-fruitoaks at all, but bore brilliantly colored succulent fruits in bunches, each bunch a different bright color. "Fresh fruit and lots of it, just hanging there for the taking. And I think I will," he said as he steeredSORBUSJOSEPHROCKv2 Starfire toward the nearest tree. Directly he had a handful of the irresistible smelling treats. “Hey Rose!” he hollered. “Come back here and try some of this fruit! They’re better than your old figs! And they're all different colors!”
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Rose turned Mystique about at the word fruit and came galloping back for his first bite.
sorbus-maderensis-fruit"Wow Rose! This is good," he said, champing away. "Strange, but real good. It's got milky white juice which is real bitter but really, really sweet at the same time." He popped11684990965_4bd7dfdd98_b another one into his mouth and savored his prize. Suddenly his eyes bulged open with strained urgency. He turned frighteningly red as his veins stood out. He wheezed in a gasping panic as though he might explode. And now he was gagging convulsively.
Rose fought down her horror. She sprang from Mystique and mounted Starfire behind TR0000004742_card_lgLukus, who by this time was bent over, turning purple and nearly unconscious. She wrapped her arms around him, mxsa7ep4GuMMZ6APQ6Beb-Agrabbed her fist and yanked, making him cough out chewed fruit all down his front. He slid to the ground and sat there gasping and coughing as tears streamed down his face. Rose knelt beside him, and saw that the inside of his mouth and throat were still swelling. Once she had rinsed out his mouth, he croaked a hoarse thanks for saving him.
1279287337-53793900“Needles! It felt like needles," he said as he mounted Starfire. "I don't understand what happened. Those berries weren’t even big enough to get stuck in my throat like that, not to mention fill up my mouth the way they did. My throat hurts."
“Lukus,” said Rose, “I just remembered something that Grandfather once told me. Sorry I didn't think of this before now, but I reckon I'd no reason to. He said the berries here were all the different colors of the rainbow. I think the pits can be roasted, but anyone who eats the fruit strangles to death while his windpipe swellsThe_Collector_Witch_Cover_for_Kindle shut. That's why they're called chokeberries and this place is called the Chokewood Forest. Those trees are called choke trees or choke oaks, though they aren't true oaks at all. I guess they grow all over here."

Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Friday, April 7, 2017

Meri Greenwood Catches Wizard Razzmorten

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It sounded as though the leaves had crunched just a heartbeat after his final footfall, but Razzmorten shook his head and went on.

"Good wizard...!" said a man with green hair, alabaster skin and pointed ears as he stepped directly into his path with a knapsack covered with leaves.
"Hoy!" cried Razzmorten, freezing in his tracks at once. "Meri Greenwood?" He steadied himself against a tree.

"By your aura I have you finally caught," said Greenwood with a flicker of fury in his emerald eyes. "You know that you can not hide that from me. Now tell me at last, wizard, where have you my lover Celeste done hid? Where did you put the Guardians of the Woods?"
????????????????"You've given me a terrible start, but aren't you indeed Meri Greenwood, Dyn Gwyrdd, as we once knew you?"
"As if you did not know..."
"Well I should of course, but I'd expect you to know me every bit as well..."
"And what deceit would you be now a-trying?"
"Well if you once knew me, I doubt that you'd think I had put the Guardians any place at all. I daresay that like most mortals, I've never so much as had the chance to meet them. Would this have something to do with my twin, Razzorbauch?"
Meri took a step forward in the leaves and looked closely at Razzmorten's eyes. He took a step back and chewed for a moment. "Now, you are Razzmorten, ain't ye?" he said, turning aside for a spit.
"Yes..."
"And you can certainly mark ye my word to be Meri Greenwood. And so you are here for to covet your brother's handiwork?"
"Do you actually mean this woods? This was the Forest Primeval? Razzorbauch didn't have nearly enough power to make such a change, the last I knew."
"Then as hit thinks me, sitting over here you will need to be before to you the rest of hit I can for to tell," said Meri as he sat on a nearby fallen tree and gave the trunk beside him a pat.
"Well these blue and yellow creatures," said Razzmorten, taking his seat, "they shot me with a dart and brought me in here unconscious, or I wouldn't be here at all..."
"Dorchadas, my good man, one of your dear brother's enchantments they be, along with smallies and other such things."
"Dorchadas? Are they indeed what they look like? Could they possibly be the giant lyoths from the Dark Continent?
"All but the great daggers for fangs they did have as cats."
"Razzorbauch never had this kind of power. Are you sure Demonica had nothing to do with this?"
"Oh, but the power he now does have," said Meri, "particularly since he not only to get his hands on the First Wizard's Great Staff was able, but indeed on the very crystalimages (1)x Heart of the Great Stone Tree, which the First Wizard with the Staff did use."
"So that's where the Heart came from," said Razzmorten as he stroked his beard. "And in the process, he's kidnapped the Guardians?"
"Nacea, Alvita and Celeste, who was my very lover," said Meri, looking very haunted.
"So you think he's brought them here into the part of the woods which he's changed?"
"I am sorry, but you do not quite see. Hit not just be this part of the woods. He has the whole Forest a-changed. And I must my lover for to find."
"Oh my!" said Razzmorten. A breeze chased through the leaves up in the canopy, though not a breath stirred down where they were sitting. A great grey owl wailed, far, far away through the trees, though this time, he was not entirely convinced that it was an owl at all. “I swear I'd help you if I could," but I'm in a desperate struggle to come up with a cure for the plague which is loose in Niarg and Far.”
“Alack!” said Meri.
oregano"I was cutting Elven hyssop by the southernmost part of the Gulf of Orrin when I was taken by the Dorchadas. Do you know where that would be from here?"
"I do," said Meri, springing to his feet, "and I would delighted to see ye there be, if you do not mind me for to have along."
"Why, I'd be honored," said Razzmorten as he rose and followed him at a brisk pace through the musty leaves. "Now, you've mentioned Celeste, Alvita and Nacea. Wasn't there also supposed to be a Rodon amongst the Guardians?"
"Their brother..."
"Wasn't he one of the Guardians?"
Scan30001
"Yep, save there be a good chance the smallies got him..."
"Smallies?"
"Oh yea. Of them I did mention. More of your brother's work. Bright red nightmares that in the woods in swarms do run..."
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Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Razzorbauch Shows Ugleeuh his New Plantation in the Chokewoods

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Ugleeuh looked down at her ash blackened shoes and at the greyed skirts of her black silk kirtle. Ash and the smell of fire were everywhere, particularly with it having not rained since Razzorbauch set fire to the forest on his plantation land. "I should have worn a wimple," she thought as she held her hair away from her face in the breeze. "I hate wimples. The Dead_deer,_Glenarm_forest_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1546832only one I have goes with that awful dress back at Peach Knob." She gazed 
out at the burnt off land, rolling away in gentle swags and swells, practically as far as the 
eye could see in all directions. There were no insects, frogs nor birds to be heard at all 
except for some ravens in the air, a good distance off, croaking before circling down to a 
charred and bloated deer.
"So Leeuh," said Razzorbauch as he took in a grand breath of air. "What do you think of our little venture, so far?"
"It's so vast," she said, turning to him with a bounce. "Thousands upon thousands of acres, hidden entirely in these forbidding woods."
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"Yes. I've put out quite a bit of effort on the forbidding part. I want this plantation to be protected. The most common tree here now has an irresistibly attractive fruit that should cause certain death. And I've transformed the great indigo lyoth of the jungles of the Dark Continent into a tribe of beings who hunt people. In time, no one will ever blunder onto our land. But my dear, what do you make of the project?"
"Well...if there's really a market, how would we not make a fortune?"
"You have doubts about a market?"
"Arguments rage in Niarg, Uncle Razzorbauch. Some amongst the young and well to do think it's marvelous, but there are a lot who call it the sweet of the very Pitmaster himself. I'm not sure that merchants there will even consider buying it."
220px-John_Dee_Ashmolean"Fools. Honey trader lies. They call sukere a swindle in place of honey because it threatens their trade. They tell everyone that those eating it become obsessed with the 
Pitmaster's wiles because they fear for their purses."
"It causes no obsessions, then? Those who eat it don't become thralls?"
"There's not a shred of proof that it's harmful in any way, dear. In fact, sukere gives one a sense of well-being. The more you use, the better you feel. Why, you've only to stop eating it to be reminded of how unhealthy you must have been before you first used it."
"More of Father's being an old fool. I've never tasted it."
"Oh, but you have. Remember the cherry tarts at supper?"
"They were wonderful, Uncle Razzorbauch. It sounds like people need to give sukere a fair trial before making up their minds."
"Absolutely, dear."
"Well why couldn't you, or we, just give them some to try? Just at first, don't you know."Ugleeuh_rub_880683_c_medieval_scarlett_red_hooded_dress_costume_adult_a
Razzorbauch went wide eyed. "My dear, you're a thundering prodigy. I believe you've just launched our little business venture. I knew having you along was going to work well."
"Thank you, Uncle Razzorbauch," she said with another bounce.
It's wonderful having someone who actually likes my ideas for once."
"I know what you mean, dear. I've always been the bane of the family, just as you seem to be, don't you know."
"We do have that in common, don't we?"
"Without a doubt, dear," said Razzorbauch, suddenly looking about. "But just now, if you don't mind, we need to return to my keep so that I can be off for a spell to attend to a thing or two."imagese
"I don't mind," she said. "In fact, I usually don't get up so early in the mornings and I'd like to catch a nap."
Razzorbauch already had out his scrying ball.
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Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps