Aviad Cohen

I have been a fan of Aviad Cohen’s music for over a decade — and recently started listening to his last album ScriptureSonics nightly. I find his presentation of the Scriptures really helps them to resonate with my heart. I know that it has been many years since he has passed away — but I know the Christian music community lost one of its better musicians, and the community lost a man who had a passion for Jesus.

Aviad in many ways acted like a modern prophet, and that also resulted in a lot of negative things happening that was typical of the prophets of old when people didn’t hear platitudes and simple affirmations of their conduct. Some of the claims about his death (like he committed suicide, he was unhinged) were informed by a reaction to him speaking out. As I understand it (and IIRC), he actually had died from a side-effect of the bipolar medication he was taking — something like a brain aneurism. In any case I do believe that he made music that was genuine worship music (as opposed to something mass produced) and I am sure that he is still making such music in heaven.

If you get a chance — go to messianicradio.com and give his albums a listen.

  1. Scripturesonics Vol. 1
  2. Hooked on the Truth
  3. Firestarter
  4. Good News to Mission Control

If you want to learn a little more about Aviad Cohen, Chavah Messianic Radio gave some details in their announcement of his death in 2017.

Epik Rocks

About a year back, I transferred my decade-plus old account from Webfaction to Epik. The reason for doing this had nothing to do with quality of service, rather it was because Webfaction, owned by GoDaddy, engaged in a de-platforming of Gab.com. This was distasteful to me because Gab.com supported the First Amendment, and their rules were that any speech protected by the First Amendment was allowed on their site. They complied with law enforcement when the occasion arose, but they allowed speech that some people wished to silence. This got them black-listed by Silicon Valley.

Epik decided that they were willing to host Gab.com because they opposed de-platforming (see https://www.epik.com/blog/why-epik-welcomed-gab-com.html). Because they were willing to take a stand for the rights of others, I thought they were worth my fiscal support.

Since that point, I’ve setup and transferred sites with Epik, and when I’ve run into issues on my own — I have been able to rely on their staff to bail me out. Kudos to them for standing up for the rights of others AND providing a quality service. If you are looking for a hosting provider or to register a Domain on the internet, please consider them.

Scriptural References in the Scourge of Torial Serial

Each story is laced with scriptural references, and while no story is overtly a “gospel presentation”, they do contain scriptural truths.

In Episode 1 – The Tears of the Tuon, the references include Genesis 15, Genesis 19, and 2 Sam 24.

In Episode 2 – The Shadow of Ikral, the allusions include Judges 6, Hosea 2, and Num 25.

In the unpublished Episode 3 – The Mission to Muze there is a scene that is largely derived from 1 Sam 21.

Reading and Writing

I have two goals when writing my stories:

  1. To write an entertaining story
  2. To write an edifying story

I was rereading my first two episodes and pleased to find that I was both entertained and edified by them.  It had been a long enough period from when I had read them last that the experience was somewhat novel.

Episode III has been sent to an editor

The first draft of Episode III of Scourge of Torial, called Mission to Muse has been sent to an editor.  I’ll make changes per her feedback, and then work through one or two more revisions.  I also will need to contact Ke about artwork for the book.  If all goes well, Episode III should be live mid-July.

Happy New Years!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Years!

Hopefully, I’ll wrap up episode III (and more) in the first half of 2018.

Names in Elthgar

I thought there might be some interest in how some of the names came to be.  Some are pretty much just made upon with no underlying thought to them (Daalus being the most clear cut, and Elthgar a close second).

  1. Delev is a tweaked anagram of Devil.
  2. Barel was a name that took the Greek word for son (“Bar”) and merged it with a Hebrew word for God (or gods: “El”).  To my embarrassment this was before I realized the underlying languages were different.  This ultimately is a reference to higher level angels that are referred to at various points in the Bible (Genesis 6 and Job 1-2 are the chief examples).
  3. Poleysez was originally an alien race that could shapeshift in a sci-fi series I had started writing in High School, and their native form was bird-like.  The name always makes me think of a parrot saying “Poly says, I want a cracker” or some similar nonsense.
  4. Tuon is the name an indigenuous tribe gave to a missionary that meant big nose.  Being bear-like the Tuons are definitely big nosed.  One note: For most of the draft period, I had the plural of Tuon as Tuon — just like Deer and Sheep.  I changed it to Tuons for clarity sake, but it sneaks in at places (like the first episode title which had already been produced).  In terms of language inspiration, I can’t help but picture the Tuons as like the vikings, so a simplified phonetic spelling of Swedish is sometimes used.
  5. Maeuw were originally Petalir which was definitely a nonsense name.  I was encouraged by a few people to make it something more cat-like, hence a reference to a cat meowing.
  6. God is referred to by many names throughout the Bible, but for simplicity sake I use 2 names exclusively, and they highlight different parts of God’s character: Yah Elyon is used when God’s strength, power, and sovereignty are being referenced, and El Roi is used when God’s all-seeing, all-knowing attributes are being used (Hagar’s story from Genesis 16 is what inspired this primary usage).
  7. Torial was originally Toreal and of course inspired by Israel.  The name changed when feedback I got at a writers workshop was that Toreal was actually a reference to it not being real (To Real) and that thought had never occurred to me.  I changed it to clear up any potential confusion.
  8. Senas is an anagram for Seans (ie, lots of the author).
  9. Nanae was an attempt to make a race name that something sheep-like would make.

A short update

Since it has been a while since I last made a post on the site, I wanted to mention that the writing has taken a back seat (but not done) to other more urgent issues of life.  My employment has changed twice in the last 18 months, and I had a stint of unemployment, as well as my youngest’s onset of diabetes.

I currently have a first draft of episode 3 about 80% done, and I have numerous later episodes (maybe 3 or 4) at about 80% of a second draft.  The urgency for finishing hasn’t seemed great, and each episode costs me a bit to produce, which I have not been able to afford of late.  I will pick it up again soon.

Hindsight : A look into the onset of Diabetes in a child

Recently, my youngest son had serious health issues — probably near death by the time we got him to the ER.  He was in such bad shape the ER just focused on stabilizing him so he could be life-flighted to a children’s hospital (about an hour away by helicopter).  The ER staff were great, and the children’s hospital staff were great — they determined that our son (at 8 years old) had Diabetic Ketoacidosis that accompanied the onset of type 1 diabetes.  There is no one in our families with either type 1 or type 2 forms — but it turns out to be an autoimmune issue, and so the other autoimmune issues in our families were pertinent.

Starting to Think It Over

Over the last week or so, I’ve been thinking back about all the symptoms we rationalized away.  Diabetes wasn’t even on our radar.. and even when we were taking him into the ER we were thinking more benign things like mono, heat exhaustion, walking pneumonia or the flu.

Also over the last week or so, I’ve been thinking about the frustration with the current state of pediatrics.  Our son had just had a well child checkup 10 days earlier, and a simple test that costs less than $5 would have alerted the doctors to look deeper into his health and prevented a near-death experience.  It turns out that many people in the diabetes community we’ve already hooked up with had experiences where doctors were oblivious to the condition — despite the fact that 1% of Americans have it. I know this is frustration speaking, but it seems the American Academy of Pediatrics is more focused on guns than on actually helping kids who have health issues.  Why they aren’t advocating for better practices for something that is easily preventable (at least preventing near-death events) is beyond me.

So, I’ve had it on my heart to write this post — in the hopes that it finds someone with a child (it can happen to infants, so don’t use age as a way to filter out your concern!) that needs some help, and isn’t getting it.  If you would like  a more personal account, I suggest you read my wife’s account of the events.

Diabetes Symptoms that were Manifest

I’m going to list the different symptoms our youngest son had over the last 6 months or so, and in parenthesis what we used to explain them away:

  1. Sunken eyes/shiners ( allergies run in our family, so maybe allergies, or maybe not enough sleep)
  2. Trouble sleeping (this was especially in the last month or so — we just figured he was troubled emotionally about something)
  3. Cold, but no fever (we thought this was part of heat exhaustion since he’d been outside in the heat a lot the week prior)
  4. Not as engaging, more distance (we thought that was part of adolescence)
  5. Food not tasting good – even food he usually liked (we thought that was pickiness and being stuck in a rut).
  6. Lots of urination (we thought this was only when he was bored — since he could play computer games and forget to go)
  7. Funny smell on his breath (something he ate)
  8. Less energy, and more tired (allergies or sickness)
  9. Slow healing — scratches would take weeks to heal.
  10. In the last week before coming down with DKA:
    1. One occurrence of rapid breathing and vomiting in the middle of the night (we thought it was being sick and would get better — in hindsight this breathing was a very strong predictor)
    2. Light and sound sensitivity (this is something we have in our family, and especially when sick).

Understanding the Symptoms of Diabetes (a lay person’s view)

Sometimes our minds are our enemies — we rationalize warning signs away because most of the time they aren’t that critical and life-threatening.  But I want to encourage you, if you are wondering about a slew of symptoms with your child, look into it. Here’s how the DKA / Diabetes worked in our child — where type 1 diabetes is where the body stops making insulin which is the transport mechanism of sugar from the blood stream to the inside of the cells:

  1. Sunken eyes and trouble sleeping are common symptoms associated with diabetes (not sure why off the top of my head)
  2. Being cold (without fever) also now makes sense — his cells weren’t getting enough energy, so he couldn’t produce enough heat.  And 6 months ago, it was common for us to joke of him as our family furnace — now that he’s on insulin, he’s back to being the furnace.
  3. Being more distant and light/sound sensitivity are because the nervous system runs on carbs (according to the nutrionist that we talked to at the children’s hospital), and his body is consuming fat/protein to provide him with energy.
  4. The funny smell on his breath and food not tasting good are associated — a diabetic without treatment will have a fruity smell which is because in order to get energy, fat is burned with saturates the body with ketones and the breath develops an acetone-like smell.  Which also messes with the taste of food – everything tastes off for the young patient.  (On insulin, our youngest loves eating again, everything tastes much better).
  5. Frequent urination is explained by the fact that the ketones are acidic in nature, and the body is trying to get rid of the acid in the blood stream.
  6. Less energy and slow healing have to do with not having easily usable energy (carbs/sugars) available to the cells, and only able to rely on energy from fats and proteins.
  7. The rapid breathing and vomiting are the critical state — if you’ve reached this state with the child, this is very dangerous — take your child to the ER immediately (and don’t waste time at an Urgent Care like we did).  The DKA breathing is the body’s attempt to breath out CO2 (which is acidic), and the gasping is not something the child has much control over.  The throwing up is also the body’s futile attempt at getting rid of acid.

Take Charge of Your Child’s Health

Here’s an easy way to gauge the risk of diabetes with your child.  This is useful because checking for diabetes is not part of most well child checkups:

  1. For about $10, you can buy a batch of ketone strips (if bought at the local pharmacy, but if you are willing to buy a larger quantity, Amazon may make sense).
  2. About once a month, have your child pee into a cup.
  3. Use the ketone strip according to instructions (for example the one I liked to above: dip the strip in the urine, quickly remove, wait 15 seconds, then compare to the chart).
  4. If the ketones are more than minimal on the scale, then you should take your child the pediatrician and mention that ketones are present.  Unless your child is in a low-carb diet, ketones really shouldn’t be present.

My hope is writing this will help at least one person catch the onset of diabetes before an ER visit is needed.  If you are that person — please let me know!

Tears of the Tuon is now on Kobo!

The novella can be found at the following location: Kobo version

Worship of Ikral is more real than I’d like

When I made up the worship of Ikral, modeled in parts by Chemosh and the Phoenician gods, I had viewed the sacrifice of children (aside from the evil “Planned Parenthood” which was painted as something else) as an artifact of cultures long since dead.  Unfortunately, this is the second occurrence in the last few months showing me I was wrong: Child Sacrifice for Power

Coming Soon: The Shadow of Ikral

All art for the episode is done.  I am currently applying edits, and final feedback from a writers group.  Once all changes are done, I will begin the process of manuscript formatting for ebook, and later for print.

Recommended: Somewhither

I just finished reading the excellent work by John C. Wright called “Somewhither”.  If you want an edifying (but not trite) fantasy novel, this in the one to try.  It is about 900+ pages, and for only $4.99, that is a pretty good deal (especially compared to traditional publishers’ ebook prices).

From 2K to 10K

I just completed the short book “From 2K to 10K” and would recommend it.  Excellent advice, logically presented in a manner that will help most writers.  In addition to covering the process of writing, Rachel Aaron discusses editing strategies to improve the overall quality of your work.  For $0.99, this little book is a great value:

Chapter Art for Episode II is Here!

The most excellent Ke Wang has completed the chapter art for episode II. I hope to order a map for the land of Torial from him next.

I’m also half way thbook2_drawing2_finalrough the first rounds of edits from my editor. I expect two more rounds of editing before episode II is ready for release.


Editor Feedback

Already getting some good and helpful feedback from my editor. Will begin applying changes per feedback later this week. May have to go and back edit some conventions per feedback, like using capitalization for race names (including humansHumans).

Human Sacrifice

Man beheaded by occultists to summon rain.

This news story caught my eye because I had recently completed a draft chapter with human sacrifice in it for my second episode. The god Ikral is loosely based on Baal, Molech, and Chemosh — and human sacrifice being the notable characteristic of followers of the latter two gods.


It is here! Episode 1

Now on Amazon: Tears of the Tuon: Episode I of the Scourge of Torial

Coming Soon: Tears of the Tuon

Stolen! Cubs of the bear-like tuon people have been abducted while their parents were finaltuonworshiping at the temple of Yah Elyon. Gratta, one of the tuon chiefs, must ensure the cubs’ safe return home.

The maeuw, a cat-like race and ancient enemies of the ton, have taken these cubs of the tuon priests to Thas, a heavily fortified city, by the order of Namal.  He intends them as slaves and will not return them except at great cost to the Tuon Tribes.

To defeat Namal and rescue the cubs, Chief Gratta must ally himself with the cunning human nation of Torial.  If the rescue attempt fails, the cubs will surely die in the ensuing war between the tuon and maeuw peoples.

TEARS OF THE TUON starts out the religious epic fantasy serial THE SCOURGE OF TORIAL.

New Entry: 2015 Hugos

I have added a page for my 2015 Hugo Reviews as I complete them.