Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Dream So Real

Most of us dream, and when we wake up, we know we've been dreaming.  Nothing about dreams, most dreams, could ever be mistaken for anything else.  We know they aren't real.

Yet, the mind is very inventive.  For a moment, even a long moment, a dream can seem perfectly believable  as it performs miracles: bringing those from our past into the present; delivering the dead from their graves to talk and laugh as if they'd never left.  In one dream alone, we can be at home, on  a mountaintop, in the middle of the ocean, all in the span of seconds.  We can play any instrument, speak any language, push the boundaries of personal safety.  A dream can be deeply pleasurable or coldly terrifying.   

Dreaming, we are told, is important.  It is the mind's way of handling stress, of putting to rest the anxieties and fears of life's challenges.  Moreover, some transpersonal psychologists believe that dreams can be a window into new paranormal and transformational experiences, that they can bring cosmic awareness.  This branch of psychology grew out of the 1960s and 1970s when patients reported experiences that traditional theory couldn't explain.  At the time, there was a lot of experimentation with psychedelic drugs, which ended up skewing some patient symptoms.  Therapists had to learn to differentiate between a normal person's mystical experiences and that of a psychotic's delusional behavior.  Transpersonal psychology gave therapists  a new perspective and new language to explain specific symptoms.

Various schools of psychology have offered theories about the meaning of dreams.  Freud argued that all dream content centered on conscious wish fulfillment, whereas Jung thought dreams reflected both conscious and subconscious influences.  Parapsychology, called pseudoscience by some, investigates ostensible paranormal phenomena, like telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance and telekinesis.  Dreams figure into some of these fringe studies, including out-of-body (OBE) experiences, episodes which suggest that the mind floats apart from the body allowing the dreamer to see themselves in their physical state.  Some people have described very lucid moments of such "travel" beyond their bodies.  Acutely ill patients have also related near-death experiences where they are convinced they have left the physical plain for a metaphysical state called the astral plain, referred to as astral projection or soul travel. 

Although some parapsychologists treat OBEs as evidence that a soul or spirit can detach itself from the body to visit distant locations, traditional science remains deeply skeptical.  OBEs are considered rooted in nothing more esoteric than hallucinations which stem from various psychological or neurological factors. The empirical mindset will not acknowledge evidence that cannot be proved.  And yet, the physical world is filled with the unexplained.  There are many instances of phenomena that have confounded the scientific community.  Guy Lyon Playfair in his book, The Indefinite Boundary, speaks to this conundrum and offers the following observation:  "Science and the occult have always had a certain amount in common.  Each has tended in the past to assume that things exist because they must, and not because anybody has actually proved they do." In other words, proving it's not may be as difficult as proving it is.

So, are dreams simply the result of chemical reactions in the brain, or do they come from something less organically based?  Some of us are convinced we know the truth.  Others are not so sure. 

In my new book, DREAM TRAVELER, teenage protagonist, Jeff Hayden, who is physically challenged and confined to a wheelchair, discovers a psychic energy stream called The Realm, where the physical world is superceded and often diminished by a superior mental plain of existence.  Jeff's mother is dead, and his father has mysteriously disappeared.  The boy's uncle believes his father is dead, but Jeff doesn't, and experiences very realistic dreams of being with his dad in an undisclosed location.

DREAM TRAVELER now available at Amazon's Kindle Book store:






Monday, September 17, 2012



A taut, riveting, deeply moving thriller...

"...Like Paul Gallico's brilliant novel, THE BOY WHO INVENTED THE BUBBLE GUN, this fine novel has as its protagonist a young boy who seemingly comes of age during a single bus ride.  The author somehow manages to bridge the gap between Europe in World War II and the American South during the civil rights upheaval of the 1950s.  And the formula works splendidly.  From the get-go the author has a difficult task: keeping a whirlwind plot moving while providing background information on the many disparate characters involved in the race to reach Atlanta.  In the hands of this talented author it not only works, but it is a novel that kept me reading at the edge of my seat right until the very end.  NOTE: as well as being a terrific thriller, this is a terrific novel for young adult readers to learn a few things about America's past during the civil rights era and before..."

- T. Bundrick

My First Review

"...The opening chapter hooked me immediately and held my attention all the way to the end.  The characters that populate the story are people you really care about, don't trust, dislike, understand, despise and root for.  The main theme of the story is justice, long overdue, but that makes it all the more compelling.  A secondary theme is Jim Crow and ethnic prejudice: in this book the victims are blacks and Jews.  It is the summer of 1956, when America was just beginning to hear about a man named Martin Luther King, Jr., well before the civil rights movement got moving, and some ten years after the Holocaust.  These two historical events merge in a bus ride from Little Rock to Atlanta, covering a three day period, and bring out the worst and best in humanity."

- Larry S. Miller

A Messenger of Faith

"People who take on a dangerous but worthwhile challenge are called courageous.  But a child who does so is extraordinary.  This is the stroy of one such child, a twelve-year old African-American boy living in the South of 1956.  As the story unfolds, the reader feels the heat of summer and the prejudice through the backdrop of a long Greyhound bus ride to Atlanta.  As the central character, the boy is asked by an old man he has just met on the bus to help deliver something important to a woman in Atlanta.  The boy struggles with his fears as a racial minority, and must choose between the safety of inaction and the principles of his strong religious upbringing.  This is a layered story, weaving a message of moral courage into a fast-paced plot that drips with suspense and intrigue..."

- William J.

Very well-written, reads like a masterpiece!

This is a story every American should read.  The author does a superb job of describing the prejudice and discrimination imposed upon innocent victims by our justice system and our society in the aftermath of World War II.  The reader relives the invasion of privacy of suspected Communists and daily degradation of minorities that hindered our country's progress during the mid-twentieth century.

Twelve year old Lincoln South boards a bus traveling from Little Rock, Arkansas to Atlanta, Georgia in 1956.  Lincoln takes one of the seats reserved for African-Americans in the back of the bus.  Lincoln is a sharp lad with keen intuition, whose mother has instilled a strong sense of right and wrong.  Two key players in the story join Lincoln in the back rows.  One is an arrogant, flashy young man running from the law and looking for trouble.  The other is a quiet, reserved foreigner on a mission to right a wrong administered by the Nazi Party during the war.  The foreign stranger attempts to return stolen goods to the rightful owner and realizes that he is being followed by a hired killer.  Both men trust Lincoln, befriend, and involve him in their problems.  Lincoln's involvement with these men makes him the messenger that will change future generations.

This is a very well-written story that reads like a masterpiece.  It is an informative look at life in America during the mid-1950s.

- Alle Wells


Monday, September 10, 2012

More Excerpts from DREAM TRAVELER

On October 5, my new e-book, DREAM TRAVELER, will be launched on Amazon's Kindle book site.  DREAM TRAVELER is a Young Adult, Paranormal Thriller centering on a physically challenged teenager named Jeff Hayden with  psychic-travel  and telekinetic abilities.  Each time he leaves his body, he enters a psychic energy network called The Realm, a place of mystery and abstraction, where the unknown is a constant challenge to survival.

Following are excerpts from the book:

            Later when they were driving home in the van, Jeff could tell Dwight was still troubled by the explanation he’d given him about the attack on Quint.  After all, it was a lot to swallow, even for a fantasy gamer like Dwight.  And maybe the more he thought about it, the more he realized how outrageous it sounded.  Why should anyone believe such crap?  How could anyone believe it?  There were irrefutable laws of physics, and what Jeff claimed to do had violated all of them. 

            Jeff suddenly hated what was happening to his life.  He was changing, becoming more serious and reserved.  And it wasn’t just because of his paralysis.  It was because of his mom’s death, his Uncle Hank and the traveling dreams - everything.  It was all making him more internal, more secretive.  He wasn’t the same boy he was when he and Dwight first met as freshmen.  Now he was different, very different, and he wouldn’t blame his friend if he decided to cut him loose.  After all, who would want to put up with such drama.  If their roles were reversed, he wasn’t sure he would.  

            So far, neither boy had talked on the ride home, then suddenly Dwight said, “How come you didn’t tell Klein what you told me?”

            Jeff shrugged, watching the road ahead.  “I didn’t think it was the time.”

            “But you told me.”

            “Yeah - I did.“  He thought a moment, then said, “You’re my best friend.  I needed to confide in someone.  I figured you wouldn’t automatically tell me I’m crazy - at least not at first.”  He turned to Dwight, trying to read his face.  “I don’t expect you to buy into it completely.  I know I’ve got to prove it some way…and I will.  Just give me a chance.”

            Dwight began shaking his head

            “Dude - you’re kinda weirding me out,” he admitted.  “It’s creepy.  I mean, how can you leave…how can you be…outside of yourself?  And don’t say it’s like Dream Masters.  You ain’t no video game.”

            Jeff sighed.  Nothing he said would make any sense, and he knew it.
            Hank sat down at the kitchen table.  He looked tense.

            He said, “This thing that happened - it’s going to change everything.”

            Jeff didn’t reply, and slowly wheeled himself to the table.  Hank took another pull from his water, studying the boy.

            “Since your dad disappeared, I’ve worked hard to make sure you were protected,” he went on.  “But an incident like the one on Saturday can make that harder.  There are people who are…well, you have to be careful, Jeff.  You understand that, don’t you?”

            Jeff didn’t reply at first.  After what happened outside Reese Perry’s trailer, he and his uncle had spent a quiet day on Sunday mostly avoiding each other.  They didn’t say much of anything.  It was as though they knew they needed time to think.  Something new had come crashing into their lives, and there was a lot to absorb.  Everything was different.  Even things that always seemed normal looked skewed somehow.   

            Now Hank seemed ready to talk.  Jeff wondered if he had made some decision, and what it would be.  He knew what he thought should be the next step, but he wasn’t sure his uncle would agree.  

            Finally, he said, “Uncle Hank, my dad is alive.  I’m sure of it.  I need to try to reach him, to let him know we want to help him.” 

            The big man stared at his water bottle, looking troubled.

            “How can you be sure of what you’ve seen?  That it’s really him being held somewhere, and not just a dream?”

            The boy shook his head.  “I wasn’t sure before.  I admit it.  But now, knowing what you told me about mom, and knowing what happened on Saturday…it just has to be dad.  I can feel it.  I know I was there…with him…in that room.”

            Hank closed his eyes and sighed deeply.

            “Even if that’s true, what do you expect to do?  James could be anywhere.  It’ll be impossible to find him.” 

            “But I need to try,” Jeff argued.  “I need to get back there somehow - to be where he is - and listen to conversations, maybe look for something that can tell me his location, a landmark or something.”

            Hank took another swallow of water, then screwed the cap back on the bottle.  Jeff felt himself grow anxious, and wondered if his uncle really understood how important his dad was to him.  He saw his face settle in thought, hoping it was a sign of agreement.

            Jeff said, “He’s alive, Uncle Hank.  And you know that.  I can tell.”

            Hank looked at him soberly.

            “I want to believe it - yes.”  He stood and carried the water back to the refrigerator, then turned back to his nephew.  “But what does it matter, Jeff?  What you’ve experienced so far has been…random.  You admit yourself you have no control.  How do you expect to target the next event?  In order to find your dad, you have to be able to…navigate some way.  You’ve never done that before.”

            Jeff thought about this, and realized his uncle was right.  There was no way to know when he would travel next, or where it would take him.  The dreams he thought he was having of his father weren’t planned.  They just happened.  But why?  What had caused them in the first place?  And the incident at Reese Perry’s house.  Why had that happened?  Was it the sight of his friends being beaten?  Was it his own rage that had triggered something?  How had that worked?  And how could he ever plan such an event in the future? 

            He felt defeated, thoroughly frustrated, and it must have shown on his face.  The next thing he knew Hank had pulled up a chair next to him, and had a hand on his arm.

            “Jeff, you need to take a step back.  Maybe it’s best to take things slow, see what happens from here on - not get too far ahead of yourself.”

            Yes, of course, thought Jeff.  It was the same old advice.  The same old Uncle Hank telling him to be cautious, to resist temptation.  The man with the one-track mind.  Be careful.  Be safe.  Think before acting.  All the bullshit stuff.  What was his problem?  Hadn’t he ever been young?  Hadn’t he ever been impulsive, or passionate about anything?  Couldn’t he understand what Jeff felt? 

            “Look,” the big man went on.  “I know of a woman - a professor at Ridgemont University - not far from here.  She knew your mom and dad.  I’ve spoken with her a few times since James disappeared - and once since…since the accident.  I think she might be able to help.  If you let her, maybe she can give you some answers - open some doors.”

            Jeff realized he was gripping his chair so tightly his fingers had gone numb.  What did he say?  Had he heard his uncle right?  He looked over at him, his stomach churning with anticipation.

            “What - ?  Who is she?” he asked.

            “Her name is Dr. Sharon Xavier,” Hank answered.  “She’s a clinical psychologist.  She’s familiar with your dad’s research - with CIEP.”  He hesitated before going on.  “If we meet with her and you tell her about your dreams - the  traveling - she might have some insights that can help you.”

            “You’ve known about her all this time?”

            Hank sighed.  “Yes.  But I wasn’t sure - it wasn’t until recently that I felt I should call on her to help.  She’s a busy lady.  She has her classes and her research.  I’m not sure how much time we can get with her.  But I think it might be worth it.”

DREAM TRAVELER, coming October 5, 2012
An Amazon e-book.            

Available now at Amazon:        

Monday, September 3, 2012

DREAM TRAVELER - The Power of Mind

On October 5, 2012, I will be launching my latest novel, DREAM TRAVELER. 

This book is a departure for me, a Young Adult, Paranormal story about a physically challenged teenager named Jeff Hayden.  Jeff has troubled dreams of his missing scientist father, very powerful and very realistic dreams.  After experiencing them a number of times, he realizes he is actually seeing his father, and learns he is alive and being held prisoner in a secret location.  He also learns that his "dreams" have nothing to do with sleep.  They are in fact trips through a psychic energy network called The Realm, a place of abstraction and mystery used by other travelers like himself.  This out-of-body experience allows Jeff to move from one location to another, and as such, it alters his life dramatically by freeing him from the confines of his wheelchair.  Although liberating, traveling presents challenges Jeff doesn't foresee.  The Realm, it turns out, holds secrets, and offers an environment as harsh and unforgiving as any in the physical world.

Following is an excerpt from DREAM TRAVELER.  Seeing his friends being assaulted outside his specially modified van, Jeff is frustrated by his inability to help them.  It is at this point that something happens, and he realizes fully his extraordinary gift of psychic travel:

            Inside the van, Jeff was enraged by what he saw.  His physical limitation only added to his anger.  He groped for the latches securing his chair to the floor.  If he could get free, get himself out of the van, he might be able to do something.  Dwight and Klein couldn’t do it alone.  He had to help them, somehow.   He had to get out there. 

            He heard the smacks of fist against bone.  The thuds of a boot against back and side.  Both boys were taking a cruel beating.  Both could end up in the hospital…or worse.  Reese kept trying to intervene, but was batted away.  It was too much.  He couldn’t stand it, couldn’t sit there useless, doing nothing, letting his friends pay for his stupid idea to drive over there.  It was his fault.  They should never have come.  He should have known better.  And for what?  To satisfy his curiosity?  To see how Reese lived?  Why?  What was it about Reese Perry?  Why should he care?  Because of him, Dwight and Klein were getting stomped on.  Because of him….

            And then quite unexpectedly, something shifted his perspective.  Everything looked different.  Energy surged through him.  Compulsion gripped him.  A need so strong, so overwhelming, he knew there would be nothing to stop it.  It possessed him, something he felt had been there all along, uncovered, exposed, a veil lifting from a secret strength that lay hidden inside.  There was a sensation of release, of buoyancy… an exhilaration…and then he saw himself in the chair, his face a mask of anger and indignation, a boy not yet a man, trying to be more than he could physically be.  He felt rage, frustration…and then it was gone, left behind with the boy in the chair.  The van was below him now, and he knew he was floating, a consciousness apart from who he was in the wheelchair.  He was…in two places at once…and now he saw his friends on the ground, writhing under the blows of their attackers - bloodied, bruised, faces twisted in pain.  Jeff watched…composed…still angry, but now resolved.  Something in him made him realize this couldn’t continue. 

            It happened fast - so fast Jeff was hardly aware of it.  And no one saw it coming.  Not Reese, and certainly not the boys or their attackers.  There was no warning, no sign that anything was about to change.  And all anyone knew was that Quint was suddenly on the ground, unable to move, shock on his face, groaning in pain and fear.  The pirate rushed to help, and went down too.  They both lay prostrate, calling for help, looking around in panic for whatever it was that pinned them down.  One minute they were dominating forces; the next, useless heaps on the ground.     

            Dwight and Klein took advantage of the situation, and hobbled back to the van.  Dwight cranked-up the engine, backed up quickly and turned around.  In five minutes they were racing down the narrow road for the main highway. 
DREAM TRAVELER - Coming October 5, 2012 
An Amazon ebook

Available now on Amazon: