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Lyrics, when properly fit to a harmony, moves music from something melodic to something affecting. In my estimation something lyrical possesses a certain beauty, perhaps a subtle poetry about it. But I can’t say I considered my writing “lyrical” in nature, although I have aspired to it.

April Schiff Pohren, at Cafe of Dreams, wrote a review which speaks to the kinds of things one hopes for when you set your words upon the public stage. Something I thought was unique was her inclusion of a couple of favorite passages from the story. She backs up her declarations of “lyrical prose” and “a story knitted together with thick strands of inspiration.”

Take a quick look if you would!

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“Two-fers” should be on Tuesdays, I know, but mine came today. I could have gone with “A Writer’s Winter Wednesday” but it implies two things: a status as a professional writer—which I am not, I don’t get paid for doing what I do; that “winter,” in the classic sense, had arrived in Arizona. It is cooling down, yes, but “winter”?

Really I wanted to share two quick links with you. The first is another (only my second!) review for The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose by Ms. Cheryl Malandrinos at The Book Connection. She called it “powerful, eloquently written . . .” and “a thought-provoking literary work.” Yeah, I’m still trying to absorb such words.

Speaking of words (<– I rather like that) I have another guest post at Miki's Hope.com, The Many Essences of Christmas. Do you remember those fat Christmas tree lights, not like the dinky ones today? How about all the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials? Have a quick look at my guest post to see what else you may remember!

Have a great evening, everyone, and a better tomorrow.

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Yeah, that’s right . . . three of the most enigmatic people I know. I’m still trying to suss out bits of information from them.

Today, however, you, the reader get to have a look at an interview I did with myself. I know, it sounds a bit kooky, but it was kinda fun . . . once I knew what the questions were.

Have a look here at the blog of Broken Teepee.

Have a good weekend everyone and hopefully you’ll join me again next week for the lasst week of my tour.

J.W. Nicklaus

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Girl writing letter to SantaThe Roose’s only child, Alina, received the opportunity to write a letter to Santa. She may be a big girl now and on her own but her circumstances have pressed upon her a need to revisit the smallest glowing ember in her heart, that speck of Christmas magic that seems to stay with us for life.

Alina has no children so you may wonder what she wants from the right jolly old elf. Stop by Literarily Speaking and have a quick look. And if you’re moved to do so, come back here and leave a comment for her.

And my thanks to all of you who have been ‘liking’ my posts or following my blog. Know that I am very aware of your visits and hope to get around to visiting some of you soon!

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When putting your words, thoughts, and ideas out for public consumption you hope people enjoy it, perhaps even reflect upon it a bit. With so much competing for our ever-shortening attention spans having someone read your work is an accomplishment in itself. 

Having achieved such a benchmark one must also accept that their thoughts of your work are equally as valuable as you feel your work is—good or bad, a review is important.

But good ones feel so much better .. . .

So it is that I am much pleased that my first review, by Sharon Chance at Sharon’s Garden of Books was positive. Have a look for yourself!

Thank you to Sharon and to all those who take a few moments to check out her thoughts.

Tomorrow, Hagren’s daughter, Alina, gets her Dear Santa letter published. Hope you check back for that!

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Cover for The Apocalypse of Hagren RooseThe holiday season can be a tough time for everybody, what with all the demands of work, getherings, kids’ school stuff, and the added duty of gift shopping. It can be difficult to find time for reading a blog or two, much less write posts or spend much time online at all.

It is with that understanding in mind that I bring to you the quick 2-week jaunt of my novella, The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose, around the blogosphere. If you follow my blog or Facebook page (where I am not too likely to be found!) then checking out my tour will be easy. I will post the links to the tour pages and it shouldn’t take but a few minutes to see each stop along the way. Next thing you know we’ll be halfway to Christmas!

And Hagren’s story is certainly pertinent to the holidays, not a Christmas story by itself but the underlying message applies to the season. So join in, would you?

I have a number of guest posts which will be showing up on other blogs, there will be a couple reviews of the novella, and a couple of interviews which may prove interesting.

• Tomorrow we start off with a post I wrote for A Year of Jubilee Reviews.

• Tuesday comes my first review for The Apocalypse of Hagren Roose at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews. Those who join me in visiting and reading Sharon’s review will be seeing it for the first time with me.

• Wednesday will bring a letter to Santa written by one of the characters in the story, Hagren’s daughter Alina. Her letter will appear at Literarily Speaking.

Please do make a few moments to check out the stops and leave a comment if you’d like. I will be checking in at each stop and interacting with those who come by.

If you’d like to see the tour schedule it’s here.

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The Sun's Heartbeat book coverRhythm; it moves our feet, affects our sleep patterns, provides the very current of life. Every living thing taps into it, must participate in it, to survive. The Sun’s Heartbeat is Bob Berman’s passionate appeal that our Sun not only governs life on Earth but has a rhythm all its own.

Books covering scientific topics can often be heavy slogs, but Berman takes every long-forgotten notion we thought we understood about the Sun and serves it up fresh and accessible without sacrificing the least element of giddy fascination. The élan present in his words borders on the romantic lending a palpable air of almost sublime adoration of his subject.

A dry statistical analysis this is not. While not bereft of solid science to support his work his approach to the material soars well beyond the arid scope of textbooks and drops anchor in the pleasant and playful manner of one who chases his obsession like a dog chases its tail. The Sun’s Heartbeat is the book to bring us all up to speed on the one true celebrity in our solar system; those here on Earth are mere pretenders by comparison.

Tweet-sized factoids are rarely as much fun and thought provoking as those peppered amidst the pages:
• The sun’s core is 320,000 miles below its surface; that’s forty Earth widths.
• In Earth’s youth, the sun was 30% dimmer. In 1.1 billion years it will give off just 10% more energy, enough to boil away the oceans and sterilize the entire planet.
• Every second the Sun loses four million tons of its weight.

To an extent, therein lies the subtle irony—Twitter is a very self-centered media by which its users can declare “here’s what I’m all about at this moment, world!” Berman leaves little doubt that our only star is, at least in the astrophysical sense, the prime presence in our lives, that it, above everything else we rely upon for survival, is supreme. If we think we are the center of the universe then a simple glance skyward should be all that’s required to set the record straight.

Berman’s approach exceeds the bounds of “lively,” at once bristling and compelling in its meld of science with the satisfying ability to repeatedly draw the jaw down and up again. Without exception each chapter leads to a new discovery, and ultimately a renewed respect for the one celestial body we perhaps take the most for granted.

The author’s many years at Discover magazine serve to bring a complex subject to a level of layman understanding. His method of informing draws upon our innate sense of wonder without resorting to the drool inducing dullness of the overly academic. Principles we learned long ago in the classroom are given a fresh update and pigtailed upon the latest solar research, yet as boring as that may sound Berman makes it obvious that he’s not just passing along the latest bits, he wants us to take it all in, to marvel and appreciate (as well we should) everything—quite literally—under the sun.

Knowing more about ones surroundings is always good, even knowing more about the larger universe around us. But the most basic of questions begs—is it useful or practical?

Is knowing that light travels in differing wavelengths useful? If you want to understand the benefits and dangers of ultra-violet radiation it is; it could literally save your skin, if not your life.

Consider the very air we breathe, the atmosphere above our heads. Did you know it absorbs all but about one percent of the sun’s UV radiation? Not amazing enough for you? Even at a paltry 1% a sunbather is bombarded with a million trillion DNA altering protons per second. Useful information, indeed.

Here’s a fun fact: Because the moon has no atmosphere to block radiation exposed flesh would receive a painful sunburn after a mere 90 seconds. Not only is the air we breathe free, but it’s working hard to protect us too.

What about sunspots and their correspondingly media-rich phases solar minimum and solar maximum? They are as essential a part of the Sun’s rhythm as our own need for respiration, or our very heartbeats. They also affect our global climate, provide stunning atmospheric light shows, and have the potential to reduce our technological goose-step to a toddler’s crawl. “Useful” doesn’t aptly describe how important that is to us three planets away.

It is perhaps folly to think of humankind’s perpetuity, the conceit that we will eventually undergo a species diaspora and spread to far reaches of our galaxy and beyond. Berman points out that our bodies are not designed to handle the staggering volume of cosmic radiation awaiting us on the other side of our atmosphere. Moreover, although our sun is breathtakingly huge, by galactic measure it’s mediocre. Let that sink in for a moment.

Indeed, useful and practical are removed from the theater of conceptual notions and made fundamentally necessary verbs.

The Sun’s Heartbeat beams with enjoyment—authoritative in scope and informing in a page-turning, captivating way. Give a copy to young readers you know, give one to anybody you know who delights in the wonders of science and nature. Pick up a few copies of this paperback book for members of your reading group (don’t miss the reading group guide in the back!). Share Berman’s awe and respect for the star that not only powers our solar system but helped make it all happen.


Once again, my thanks to Rhonda Sturtz at New York Journal of Books for procuring my review copy of this book, and to Little, Brown and Company for graciously providing said book.

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