Thursday, December 13, 2012

Safe to Say

Authored by James Ward

Packed with humor and insight, Safe to Say explores the gut wrenching absurdities of life in corporate America. Set in the 1980's amidst the decline of an iconic company, the story centers on the eventful careers of two characters - Harmon Wolcott and Riley O'Brian. Harmon, a young man raised in the farm country of upstate New York, joins the company to fulfill his father's great wish; Riley, a young woman raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, is intent on fulfilling her own high expectations, instilled by her strong-willed Dominican mother. Despite their differences in background, Harmon and Riley share the traits of intelligence, ambition and an aching desire for approval. Their paths converge and the stakes are raised when both are assigned to a select group charged with pleasing upper management. The story of their accomplishments, disillusionment and ultimate chance at salvation reads like a cross between Catch 22 and The Firm. If you have ever had the corporate experience, or just wondered about it, you will find Safe to Say smart, touching and funny.

About the author:
James Ward's award winning short stories have appeared in literary journals throughout the United States, in Canada, and most recently China and Africa. Safe to Say is his first novel. After a long and varied career in corporate America, he is delighted to be writing full time. He lives in New Jersey with his wife Barbara.

Monday, December 10, 2012

For The Love Of God

Authored by Meghan K. Barnes

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD tells the true story of a young girl struggling to find her identity during the confusion and deaths that followed the sudden boom of legalized gambling. She witnesses the city crumble as it is swept away by the growing casino industry of Atlantic City. An accidental fire burns down a neighbor's house, leaving nothing but their new-found gambling and alcohol addictions behind. Many are fired from their jobs and forced to leave the area, and are replaced by cheaper workers living in the newly built slum housing in the once-safe neighborhoods and parks of her childhood. Her close relationship with family and friends who also struggle with the same issues of redefining what home means to them are explored throughout this thought-provoking story.

 About the author:
Meghan K. Barnes is an English & Creative Writing instructor who holds an MFA in nonfiction from The University of North Carolina Wilmington, AWP's 2nd ranked nonfiction program in the country. She is the three-time winner of Creative Nonfiction Magazine's tiny truths contest and her work has been featured multiple literary magazines such as The Beat, Del Sol, Charlotte Viewpoint & WB Magazine as well as six anthologies: So Long, Writers Block, Yes I Can, Christmas, Christmas, Real & Thoreau's Rooster. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in both nonfiction and fiction, and has sat on panels for both the American Writers and Poets Convention & The Southern Women's Writers Convention. She currently resides in coastal North Carolina with her Rottweiler, Zen.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bebe & Friends: Tails of Rescue

NEW RELEASE! Meet the formerly unwanted, abandoned, and abused who, through the miracle of human love, found their forever homes. Jean Rodenbough, retired Presbyterian minister, former English and ethics teacher, poet and critically acclaimed author ~ and confirmed lover of animals of all kinds ~ presents a collection of "tails" that are poignant, inspiring, smile-provoking, and, in some cases, tearful; but they all carry the message: "All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man ... all things are bound together. All things connect." (Chief Seattle, chief of the Suquamis) About the Author Jean Rodenbough grew up loving animals of all kinds. Later, she wrote stories about animals and people, poems about everything, and trained for several different careers. She is a retired Presbyterian minister, serving mostly as a chaplain with hospice and with hospitals. She also has taught both English and ethics in secondary school and college. She earned several degrees in the process: BA, MA, M.Div., and D.Min, but her focus now is on her writing of both poetry and prose. This book is her second with All Things That Matter, the first one Rachel’s Children: Surviving the Second World War. She and her husband Charles live in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


REVIEW-I stumbled across this review and thought I would share with our readers. COLLECTED MESSAGES II: GUIDES FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION (All Things That Matter Press) is a compilation of interviews conducted by author Philip Harris in his exploration of spiritually based themes and controversies facing today’s society. Harris, a noted authority in the areas of secret societies and religious mysticism, has created an introductory body of work that explores personal transformation, healing and the law of attraction. The casual format of his interviews reveals each guru’s message of hope and healing for a world struggling to cope with the spiritual evolution of man. Harris delivers a rich discussion exploring the current grassroots movements of mystics and healers who are actively delivering their messages of hope and pleas for healing a society in the throes of transformation. COLLECTED MESSAGES II: GUIDES FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION is the second in a series on religion, spirituality, and offers much insight into the state of humanity. Interviews range from authors, publishers, and academics recognized in the field of spiritual evolution and provide insight issues facing today’s society. COLLECTED MESSAGES II: GUIDES FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION contains a powerful message about our culture and our society’s current evolution. Harris’ latest work is not just an expose on that is wrong in our society, rather it is creates a thought provoking dialogue on how we can make it “right” again. COLLECTED MESSAGES II: GUIDES FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION is not about saving mankind rather it is about revealing the negative influences on our personal lives that keep our culture mired in ignorance. German poet and natural philosopher Johann Goethe wrote, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Harris’s work is such a breath of fresh air in the genre of empowerment and spiritual exploration. He provides a thorough, specifically focused examination of how each of us has the ability to impact the world around us if we only search within ourselves. In his book,COLLECTED MESSAGES II: GUIDES FOR PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION, Harris points his reader to the realization that everything one needs to find Truth is found within each of us. One need not travel far, seeking out gurus, ashrams, and special retreat centers. How refreshing to know that the heart of the transformational journey is found inside ourselves. As seekers of the truth, we can only reach an understanding of our own inner self through silence, solitude, and reflection. Harris’s work makes the reader sit up, take notice, and seek to live with a soulful purpose that guides each of us to live in ways that bring fulfillment and happiness. AMAZON LINK:

Sunday, November 18, 2012


NEW RELEASE! Authored by Dave Hoing Inside this book is a collection of very different stories, ranging in length from flash fiction to novella, in genres from mystery, fantasy, alternate history, experiments, and others, set in time from the distant past to the present ... and a little bit beyond. What are contained in these tales? Tornadoes pop up here and there. Jack the Ripper stops by a couple of times, sort of, along with other persons of ill or odd repute. There's a pet cockroach; healing in the silence of a muskrat; a farmer who finds meaning in fireflies and rain. Then there's the escaped slave who meets his former master, the Civil War prisoner who just wants to go home, and the doctor's wife who shows the power of a small act of kindness. These are stories of odd connections: A winter storm conjures up images of the past and future; a drainage tunnel reveals the truth of domestic abuse and, ultimately, death. A chicken, a cannon, Christianity and Native American religion. Old Norse mythology and Christianity. A diary from the future, found in the past. An assassination that unites a divided country. And the last story ... who in this world can know what connections are happening there? About the author: Dave Hoing is the co-author, with Roger Hileman, of the historical novel Hammon Falls and short story collection Voices of Arra. He is also a composer, artist, and collector of antiquarian books. He loves to travel, but when he must be home, he lives in Waterloo, Iowa, with his wife Joni, as well as a dog and cat with names they don't answer to unless food is involved. Dave is in the middle of his fourth decade of employment at the University of Northern Iowa Library. He has won more money, more often, in the lottery than most people ever will, but somehow it still hasn't been enough to end the situation described in the previous sentence.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Religion Vs. Science –The Debate is Over

Guest post!


Large swaths of Americans seem to have drastically different views of how humans came to be, according to a June 2012 Gallup poll.
Nearly half of America – 46 percent – agrees with the creationist view that humans are purely the product of God, absent of evolution, within the last 10,000 years. Fifteen percent believe humans evolved independent of God, while the rest believe humans evolved with god guiding the process (

These millions of Americans are pitted on two sides of a conflict which has a solution, as described in my new book The Genesis One Code. As an engineering physicist, CEO of the aerospace company known for building the space station’s robotic arm and student of religion I looked for a precise, unequivocal answer. Not good just arguments which hard to prove, but mathematical precision.
The creation-evolution conflict is a recurring point of contention in the United States, from the presidential election to what should be taught in schools.

I show that the religious and scientific wisdoms are two sides of the same coin and can enlighten each other. The reason the debate developed in the first place is because the discoveries of modern science of an old Earth seemed to conflict with descriptions in the Bible of a universe created in 6 days, only thousands of years ago.

The reality is that the Bible and science agree on the timeline for the development of the universe and life on Earth. The Bible is a blue print for the creation. I found the “scale used in the blue print” within the texts, the factor that converts “Creation time” to years as we know them, as measured by scientists. When applied to calculating the age of the universe and life on Earth, the Bible consistently matches scientific estimates derived from the study of fossil timelines, the solar system and the cosmos.

What’s the scale factor?  One creation day is — 1,000 X 365 X 7,000 – years! When those numbers are multiplied, each creation day is an epoch of 2.56 billion years, Using the formula, the biblical age of the universe is 13.74 billion years. Scientific estimates put the universe’s age at 13.75 billion, plus or minus 0.13 billion. Another 18 events described in Genesis, from the age of the sun to when first life appeared, match the scientific dates precisely!

If the Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened, do we really have a conflict? It is time to reexamine and bury the conflict between science and religion. In fact, the book shows that Genesis has answers to science’s three biggest unanswered questions.
By continuing this false dichotomy of religion vs. science, we are severely limiting progress and our potential as humans.

Most of us have pondered our origins at some point in our lives. I am no different, except perhaps that I have both a strong scientific and a religious background.  Thus, when I ponder our origins I not only have to contend with two seemingly very different accounts of our universe; but with the knowledge that both are accurate, at least in terms of what happened and when it happened.  Christians are invited to see science as something that complements ones faith, not to see it as something that contradicts it.  Many Christians affirm God as the Creator and at the same time support the scientific study of creation. They recognize science as a legitimate interpretation of God’s natural world and affirm the validity of the claims of science in describing the natural world and in determining what is scientific. However they preclude science from making authoritative claims about theological issues.

I began my quest with knowledge gained from a basic religious upbringing and a high school science education. Both bodies of knowledge were fascinating, yet appeared incompatible. As I proceeded to obtain a scientific education, I initially came to think that science books answered everything. Yet, by my fourth year at university, some fundamental questions concerning our origins began to re-appear. In science texts, some answers were not available, some answers were strange, and some answers were so metaphysical they looked like religious answers. So, I went back to study religion to find deeper inner meaning. Answers began to appear.

So what did I find?  The Bible and science agree on what happened and when it happened with respect to the development of the universe and the appearance of life on earth.  Not just roughly but precisely.  That’s right! Very old religious documents contain what science has discovered in the past 50 years!

This was so exciting I decided to share my findings in a book,  The Genesis One Code was borne Canada’s leading newspaper describes the book as follows:

The book is engrossing. In it, Friedmann … is persuasive and devoid of insistence. In essence, he argues that, just as a blueprint provides a scale reference to the finished building, there is a mathematical scale that reconciles the events of Genesis to the findings of science.

About Daniel Friedmann

Daniel Friedmann is a student of the origin of the universe and life on earth both from the scientific and biblical perspectives. He is also a longtime student of religion and for the past 14 years has attended the Vancouver Kollel center for learning.  He is passionate about helping young adults put science and the Bible in correct context.Daniel Friedmann is currently CEO of Canada’s leading aerospace company which built the Canadarms, and is involved in space exploration and the Hubble telescope. He is a professional engineer and holds a master’s degree in engineering physics.The Genesis One Code is currently available on “> and at

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Barbara Lucerne Woolley

All the stories in this soul-centered book are the truth as truth has unfolded during Barbara’s unflinchingly unstoppable soul and spiritual awakening.  Below are two stories from this revelatory first book in a trilogy that literally spans worlds.  Mother Mary first makes her presence known to the author in a dramatic physical manner as told in the story, CURE FOR SMOKING.  Her healing presence sets the stage for layered in deep healing of the fractured relationship between the author and her biological mother.  One year later, the author, during a profound transcendent moment, is taught a different meaning for the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.   
Guillermo the curandero had wanted to give me a Mother Mary prayer.  I grew up in the Methodist Church, not the Catholic Church.  Mary was Catholic.  Protestant church brings Mary out for Christmas and again at Easter.  The rest of the year, it is as though she does not exist.  Consequently, I did not know to call upon her for healing. For many years, I had unsuccessfully tried to stop smoking.  There were long periods of abstinence but no permanent extinction of the habit.  Suddenly, in 1993, each time I lit up I’d feel immobilized, dizzy, nauseated to the extreme, and then would have to put the cigarette out.  I couldn’t have smoked.  It was impossible.  Somehow, I just knew that Mother Mary was present to help me.  I did not see her.  I did not hear her.  I had no known prior experience with her yet I just knew she was there and that she was helping me.  The cure, a form of inter-dimensional aversion therapy, has been lasting.  Mother Mary literally reached through the veils to help me.  My mother died in 1987 from metastatic lung cancer caused by a lifetime of heavy smoking.  I believe that Mary saved me from a similar fate.

Despite the 1985 heart-healing experience with my mother and Mother Mary’s cure of my smoking addiction in 1993, I apparently needed further healing.  Call it thought field transfer, call it environmental modeling, call it what you like, the reason I even smoked in the first place remained unanswered.  Full understanding came during two days of training in a psychotherapeutic method called EMDR, the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing.  This is a powerful healing modality developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., for her work with Vietnam veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Deep reaching, this total sensory/cognitive method unlocked the secret behind the addictive behavior even though I had chosen a seemingly unrelated incident from kindergarten to work on, one that had repeatedly come into my consciousness since childhood for no apparent reason.  I had no intent going into the session to receive more healing related to my mother and our addiction to cigarettes.

Five years old, I was just back to Kindergarten after having had my tonsils and adenoids removed.  Full of the surgical experience, I returned to school with the puppet the hospital staff gave me.  Eager to tell all after a week of painful post-surgical silence, I was so chatty that the teacher separated me from the rest of the class.  She put me in a punishment chair away from my classmates.  The EMDR kicked in at this point, showed me how traumatic to my innately effervescent innocent self the separation from my classmates was.  I saw that after this event I began to shut down.  I lost self-confidence.  Eventually, one event piled on top of the other and I avoided speaking at all in the classroom.  I did not conquer this fear of speaking until my second year of graduate school—twenty-three years later.  I loved my Kindergarten teacher.  I do not think she intended to wound my spirit.  The session really helped make sense of a critical childhood event that had been perplexing in its periodic tweaking of my memory, no explanation given.  How very tender is the heart of the child.

The EMDR next propelled me straight out of the Kindergarten classroom into a state of co-conscious awareness of my self, as spirit, watching my mother smoke during her pregnancy with me.  I observed from outside the physical body that I was to merge with at birth.  I saw and smelled my mother smoking.  Spirit me interpreted that she did not care enough to stop smoking to take proper care of the little body growing inside her.  Next came a moment of epiphany.  In a flash of insight, I understood why I’d begun to smoke when I became a teenager: it was my attempt to understand why my mother smoked.  During the EMDR session, I complained to the team that was working with me about smelling cigarette smoke in the room.  Irritated, I asked why the workshop leaders would ever permit anyone to smoke in the conference room.  The next day, when my session was completed, the team said that no one had been smoking in the training room.  Only I smelled cigarette smoke.  The smell of smoke was in my memory. 
EMDR and other psychotherapeutic modalities that have emerged over the past twenty years have proven to be excellent vehicles to get at what’s really cooking below the surface.  My experience demonstrated the phenomenon called chaining: certain events connecting together like links of chain.  In that instance, the entry point of the hurt caused by the kindergarten teacher/mother figure helped me to access the original pre-natal hurt by my birth mother.  Deep lasting healing requires getting to the original injury and, as in good wound care, cleaning the pus out from the point of origin.  The rebirth experience triggered during Dr. Whitfield’s workshop had gifted me threefold.  I learned about the consciousness of the spirit that was about to be born, that what is experienced during this gestational time is recorded and has lasting impact throughout one’s life.  The rift between my mother and me from lack of birth bonding acknowledged and partially healed, Mother Mary’s divine intervention cured me of the physical smoking addiction.  The waving red flag school memory guided me to complete this particular body of work.

My soul was driving this process.  All that was required was that I follow the clues.  I had not consciously called any of the healing experiences forward.  The healings with my mother and then with my father flowed seamlessly into the development of a surprising relationship with Mother Mary.  The Great Mother, Queen of Heaven, Mother to All, Supreme Goddess, Mother of Many Names stepped forward to help me heal my wounded soul.  Her intervention was proof of her availability to every one of us, regardless of our religious or spiritual affiliation.  Grateful, I gave my heart to Mary and vowed to serve The Mother from that time forward.
In July 1994, I drove through upstate New York, once again on my way to grown-up camp in northern Ontario, Canada, this time to co-lead a seven-day women’s wilderness canoe trip.  My snazzy tan and white Chevy Blazer and I headed towards yet another great adventure.  I sang “Silent Night” in sync with a favorite Christmas carol tape after having listened to Deepak Chopra’s excellent audiocassette, Magical Mind, Magical Body.  Dr. Chopra’s discussion about quantum physics in relation to health was intriguing.  I had not previously considered the idea that the body is not the solid mass that we believe it to be, that there is actually space between the cells.  Through the process of cellular shedding and the creation of new cells, our bodies are continually renewed.  This same shedding process offers opportunities to effect changes in the body.

Deep in contemplation, I was excited to learn about the potential for physical renewal through the purposeful shifting of thought.  In this place of delicious consideration, something happened.  The quantum physics of my mind shifted to allow a startling idea to enter.  In a moment of transcendence, I understood in my bones the true meaning of the Immaculate Conception.  The insight simply dropped in and settled itself within me.  With unprecedented clarity, without prior deliberation, I just absolutely understood that every single one of us is the Immaculate Conception.  We are pure spirit, innocent gifts from God who come down to enter into the physical body created by our parents to hold us.  Awestruck by this revelation, I saw the whole process.  We spiral down from Godhead to enter into the container called body.  We are anchored in the body by the soul that is created at the moment of birth.  We remain in the physical body until the physical life is complete and then we lift up and out of the physical body at the moment of death.  We are spirit that comes and goes.  We are not the body.  The body is the sacred temple that holds us while we are here.  I was stunned.  This idea made more sense than did anything I ever heard in church.  The concept of original sin dissolved.  We are not bad.  We are not born automatically tainted.  We are beautiful emanations come down from God.

Just in case I had any doubt about what happened during that car ride, and I did not, Mother Mary sent a gift through a friend who had spent her summer in Greece.  When I returned home from the wilderness adventure, my friend presented me with a beautiful icon of Mary holding baby Jesus.

You need to understand that I did not have any conceptual framework for these experiences.  Discussions about the Immaculate Conception, the world of saints and of Mary apparitions were just not part of my religious upbringing.  Previously I had known and felt the presence of God only while singing hymns.  I had despaired of finding what I intuitively knew existed.  I could not find “it” with any consistency in church.  There were not even words to describe what I was looking for.  I just knew there was more than what was taught in Sunday school or from the pulpit.

Over the next few years, I would better understand the dance between spirit, soul, and body.  Our spirit hovers close to the body until the time of actual birth.  Then, the soul manifests instantaneously to anchor our spirit in the physical body.  We live our lives.  When we have completed the reasons for incarnating, the body dies.  As soul and spirit, we cross back over into the spiritual realms at the time of death for more healing and learning.  When it is time for another round of Earth School, the soul and spirit return together.  The returning soul does not come back identical to how it was when it left the body at the end of the prior incarnation.  This is because of the healing and teachings it has received during the out-of-body time.  Each re-entry into the physical body produces another layer of soul around our spirit.  The soul carries the load of the karmic, unfinished business from each time of embodiment.  When all debts—unfinished business—are satisfactorily concluded, the spirit is set free from the wheel of karma.  Further need for incarnation becomes unnecessary and the housing called soul dissolves.  The spirit then has the choice to continue to serve humanity as bodhisattva, like White Waters, or to move on.

Many authors have written on matters pertaining to soul.  I especially appreciate the books authored by Brazil’s most famous and highly respected medium, Francisco Candido Xavier.  Nicknamed Chico, his life was devoted to bringing through messages about life in the spiritual realms.  A good place to begin is with the book, Nosso Lar, which is the first in a collection of teachings told in story form by the spirit named Andre Luis.  The material in Xavier’s books has consistently corroborated and expanded what I have been learning through experience.  Chico Xavier’s books are excellent in helping people to understand the interface between the physical and spiritual realms, what happens when we “die,” where we go and what we do when we are on the other side.

Author web site:

Sunday, November 4, 2012




Authored by Philip F. Harris, Brian L. Doe 

Discover what you need to know to get through the Earth Changes leading up to and beyond December 21, 2012!

The Waking God Trilogy is not about the doom and gloom that organized religions would have you believe. It is not about an Armageddon style 'end times' that pits good against evil in some final battle where religious dogma is triumphant. Yes, there is a final battle of sorts, but as Mantrella says, "It is not about saving humanity, it never has been." While the Trilogy comes down hard on organized religion and its 'worn out dogma,' it is not atheistic. Instead, it totally rejects the idea of some schizophrenic super-being that loves to punish and reward its servants, and recognizes a Universal consciousness of which we are all a part. It acknowledges that within each of us there is a 'god seed' that is waiting to experience an awakening brought on, as in any major evolution, by not only environmental, but also social, economic, and political stress that will help to create a spontaneous evolution in humanity. Or, if allowed to remain dormant, this same seed will be our undoing. The prophecies all speak of a choice. Nostradamus, the Hopi, the Mayans, the I Ching, the Riddles of DaVinci, and the Tarot speak to a time of choosing. Hidden codices, books of revelation, and ancient sacred texts also speak of this time of choosing. That time is upon us. The elements are all there. From bursts of energy from the center of our galaxy to the scientific discoveries about the true nature of our reality, the puzzle nears its completion.

Andrew, the young comparative religions professor, knows what he needs to do. He needs to give the still sleeping Adam flesh, by mating with a young and mysterious Middle Eastern woman known as Mara. The time is right at last, so what can possibly stop Andrew and Mara from coming together in fulfillment of prophecy? Well, for one thing, there's Michael. And then there are those who follow Michael, the great archangel who's made it his mission to keep humanity in its current ignorant and deluded state. Ranged on the looming battle's other side are Mantrella, Bringer of Light, and those who follow him. Meanwhile, Earth itself convulses as its inhabitants endure the plagues of Revelation. Will those who can stop Michael act in time? And even if they do, will they prevail?

Focusing on 'worn out religious dogma' as one of the leading causes of human strife, the Trilogy turns the mythical world of good vs. evil on its head. Mantrella, a.k.a. Lucifer, is the champion of humanity, while the Archangel Michael fights to suppress human evolution by preventing the physical birth of the biblical Adam. Human destiny is placed squarely on the shoulders of where it belongs: choice; our thoughts create our reality.

The Battle of Armageddon has already begun, but not the one religion portrays as the End Times. Can Michael stop the physical birth of Adam? Do the forces of good and evil battle it out for humanity's soul? Is Lucifer really the 'great deceiver' or is he humanity's guardian? Who can truly save humanity, if indeed it needs saving? All that is hidden is revealed between the lines and beyond the words. Will the 'dreamer' awaken? You must decide! In these times of economic, political, social and religious upheaval, the TRILOGY is required reading, now more than ever!

"...make the Da Vinci Code look like a church hymn.... It should make you think. Calling it provocative is an understatement. ...groundbreaking and revolutionary ideas .... Epic in scope ...."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Out of Dark Places CHAPTER ONE


Out of Dark Places
CHAPTER ONE (Author’s commentary is included in blue.)
It’s 4:56 in the rain.
Any other day, any other kind of weather, and it’s just a few minutes before five. Almost happy hour. But 4:56 in the rain is different. Nothing good happens in the rain.
As this story is told from Lukas Willow’s perspective, this is our first glimpse into his immensely dark mindset. But this is more than Seasonal Affective Disorder—as readers will find out later, a tragedy in Lukas’s past happened on a day it was raining, suggesting he’s now unable to disconnect rainy weather in his mind from tragedy and depressing thoughts.
Perhaps she’s not coming, Lukas thinks to himself. Staring through the thick windowpane as the rain cascades over it in billowy sheets is like watching the world from behind a waterfall. Not as magical, but just as isolating.
As the novel unfolds, readers get a very clear picture of just how isolated from society Lukas has become, all of it the result of deliberate actions on his part.
Lukas’s eyes drift toward a particular patch of soggy grass close to the house in the backyard. The waterfall effect makes it difficult to judge distance, but Lukas knows the spot well. He wonders if archaeologists a few generations from now will dig up that spot and unearth tiny pieces of antiquated stereo components, put them on display in a museum somewhere, and marvel at the primitive way in which twentieth century humans lived their trifling lives.
This is foreshadowing, and is not meant to be fully understood at this time.
Lukas Willow’s footsteps, ordinarily loud against the ancient oak hardwood floor, have trouble competing against the nearby sound of water raging through the tin gutters as he makes his way across the unlit parlor. The furnishings are sparse. A coffee table with a deep brown finish centers the symmetrical layout of the room, and it matches the end tables on either side of a dilapidated maroon sofa. All three surfaces are barren, covered only by faint stains which have alternately darkened and lightened scores of small circles and half-circles onto the wooden surfaces. The room smells as quiet as it looks. Cold, like the rest of the house. Lukas sets a wet glass down on the left end table and creates another dark circle. He grabs the Glenfiddich and drains the last drops of liquid from the bottle into his glass. Placing the empty bottle gingerly into a wastebasket near his feet, he stoops to look for ice cubes in the adjacent mini freezer. This freezer should sit higher, on top of something, he thinks. Knees don’t bend like they used to.
The early portions of this book attempt to establish not only the brooding mindset of Lukas, but also his detachment from reality as you and I know it. The mismatching of sensory details (“The room smells as quiet as it looks”) suggests someone without full control of his faculties, whose grasp on reality is tenuous
at best. Lukas is a man plagued by extra-sensory abilities, and his tendency to confuse his visions with his waking life is a recurring problem for him throughout the book.

A sudden tapping rattles the glass part of the front door. Lukas is undeterred by the interruption; his ice cubes are frozen together into one misshapen conglomeration. Scanning his dusty surroundings, he retrieves a brass letter opener from a nearby countertop and chips off a few chunks of ice.
Again the knocking, louder this time, almost urgent. He scoops the ice gently into his glass, making sure not to spill, and uses the letter opener to stir. Wearily, he straightens his legs and ambles toward the front door.
Katherine Reiker looks older than twenty-one. Her hair, when not soaked and matted to her head, is probably the same dark brown color as her upturned eyebrows. Her narrow, wiry shoulders are shivering. “Mr. Willow?” she asks, but Lukas has already turned and started walking back inside. She follows. “I’m Katie,” she says, pausing just inside the door to shake off some of the excess wetness. “I’m sorry I’m so late.”
Even drenched, she’s pretty. It’s so easy for twenty-one-year-old girls to be pretty. Late Katie. “I have a doorbell,” Lukas says.
Because of his inclination to live in complete solitude, much of Lukas’s interaction with the world is entirely internal, as opposed to the balance of internal with external that you and I utilize in our daily lives. The dialogue he maintains with himself—such as the opinions shared here, as well as the ‘late Katie’ nickname—is presented more prominently in this book than perhaps in other 3rd person P.O.V. stories, in order to reflect this extreme and somewhat unhealthy imbalance.
“I’m sorry,” she says. And it sounds like she really is. Lukas feels a stab of uneasiness. That didn’t come out right.
Of course not—he’s entirely out of practice when it comes to interacting with other people, and some of the subtle nuances of verbal communication are lost to him.
“I have somewhere to be, but you can take a quick look to get an idea of the place if you’d like,” Lukas says, still listening to the rain. This isn’t the sort of rain that just happens to fall; it is hurtling toward the earth, determined, as if each drop has its own vital mission to accomplish upon landing. If nothing else, he likes the sound of serious rain; it goes well with Scotch.
Even with another human being in his presence, Lukas is unable to exist in the moment. Rather, his attention remains riveted on his internal thoughts.
“That’d be great,” Katie says, and a lopsided smile stretches across her face that almost mutes the rain.
The relationship that develops between Katie and Lukas is one of the main plot points of the book. Readers are kept wondering just what the nature of their evolving relationship will turn out to be. This sentence, while vaguely suggesting that Lukas feels an attraction towards Katie, at the very least clearly
indicates that she’s able to “get to him”—that her smile, in this case, snatches him out of his internal quicksand for a moment and forces him to exist in the present.

Lukas turns and crosses the stone floor of the alcove toward the staircase, passing by a two-level bookshelf built into the wall that displays only two identical layers of dust. Although the uneven wooden stairs look like relics, they register barely an audible creak as Katie follows him up. The clacking of her clogs against the rigid wood, however, is deafening. At the top of the stairs, Lukas pauses outside the door, motioning for Katie to go inside. The walk up the stairs has left him lightheaded. Too many drinks, possibly. Too few trips to this part of the house, probably. Not enough drinks…definitely.
This is our first clue that this second floor is somehow connected to Lukas’s dark past.
The girl steps lightly into the old apartment-style room and looks around, as if silently assessing its livability. The doorframe is low, and Lukas would have to slouch his lanky frame to pass under it, but he stays just outside, on the landing. He has no interest in the old room; he knows it well. It hasn’t changed much since he’d rented it as a student, long before he bought the house. Not much has been added. A few items have been removed. But everything has changed.
“I was excited to see your ad,” Katie says, her slender fingers delicately examining a discolored pine desk in the corner. The room is a humble space, with a slanted ceiling and a lone window shrouded by a dusty film that suggests it hasn’t been disturbed in years. A twin-sized bed, lumpy and thin, sits on cinderblock supports across from the desk, and has been covered by boxes and warped stacks of papers, bundled with roughly tied twine. Lukas had mentioned over the phone that he had been using the room primarily for storage, and had promised to clean it out, but he hadn’t yet gotten around to it. Standing in the doorway, Katie shrugs awkwardly, and Lukas has no idea how to interpret the gesture. She scans the room again, smiles, and says, “I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a place this close to the start of the semester.”
The room’s physical description resembles a room I rented while attending college—right down to the slanted ceiling and the pitiful bed, cinder blocks and all.
“You got good and soaked out there,” Lukas notes. He feels old. Particularly in a college town, particularly beside Katie. So young, soaked and she doesn’t even care; she’ll bounce back. “Umbrellas aren’t as popular as they used to be, I s’pose.”
“Actually, I have one, but I was running late and forgot it.” Katie turns to meet his gaze, then quickly turns away. She stares pointedly at the old piano bench, inconspicuous upon first glance from its neglected spot beneath three boxes of yellowed paperback books.
This is significant, because we learn later in the story about Lukas’s musical past, and how it parallels Katie’s own life as a troubled pianist.
“Then I forgot to bring the address with me and went to the wrong house at first.” Forgetful Katie. Free-spirited maybe. Still young enough to get away with it. She runs her fingers through the
wet, shoulder-length strands of her hair, and paces around the room, scanning each direction as if looking for something in particular. “God, I must look ridiculous,” she says with a sheepish grin. Lukas catches himself on the verge of smiling. Somehow, her remark didn’t sound as phony as it should have. Funny how a pretty girl’s self-consciousness somehow makes her even prettier. She stops and faces him. “Aren’t there any mirrors in this place?”
The question catches Lukas off guard. He gulps down the last watered-down sip of Scotch and shakes his head. He doesn’t need to run a mental inventory of the house’s supplies. “No,” is all he replies.
Lukas’s ability to quickly put his defensive walls back into place is evident here. The idea with this question and its response was to make the reader wonder about the significance of Lukas having no mirrors in his home. Obviously, it’s not a coincidence. Does it have something to do with Lukas’s past, or with his clairvoyant abilities? You’ll have to read the rest to find out!