Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twisted Perception -- Serialized Post # 10

Chapter Three

            Elliot grabbed a cup of coffee and a bagel from the break room then went to his desk. Beaumont still worried him. He couldn’t figure the captain’s fondness for Beaumont. Beaumont was sharp on theory, but he was no good in the field. He’d gotten them into trouble a few weeks back. He and Elliot had tracked down a meth lab operator who’d decided to take out the competition, his brother. When the suspect reached for his weapon, Beaumont hesitated just long enough for three of the guy’s associates to come rushing out of a back bedroom. Elliot had been forced to act, killing one of the suspects and dropping another. He wound up with a short hospital stay and a reprimand for using excessive force. He didn’t mention Beaumont’s error in the report.

            Tossing the bagel, Elliot picked up the coffee and leaned back in his chair. He sat in a cubicle that served as an office in the bull pen that played host to the homicide squad. To Elliot’s left was a computer monitor, and in front of him one of the half walls lined with notes he’d stuck there. There was a five-drawer filing cabinet on his right that served not only as a storage area, but a barrier as well. When he leaned back, the action left him exposed, outside the protective mass of the filing cabinet. Beaumont sat across the aisle in an identical, mirror-imaged cubicle. He glanced over only to see Beaumont leaning back as well, staring at him with a blank look on his face.

            Elliot sipped his coffee. Within a few blocks of the department, a victim of murder had been left in the street, but Elliot’s thoughts were elsewhere. The small town of Porter was in another lifetime, but from that murky past a cold finger had reached out and touched him. He closed his eyes, conjuring images of Carmen Garcia. The sight of her in that pale yellow dress with her dark eyes sparkling had nearly taken his breath away.

            My parents are gone, Kenny. Stay with me tonight.

            Nerves crawled in Elliot’s gut at the memory. He drained his coffee and crushed the cup. He looked up to see Captain William Dombrowski leaning against the filing cabinet, staring at him. “You got a minute?”

            Elliot followed Dombrowski into his office, stopping behind the chairs in front of the desk. Dombrowski gestured for Elliot to sit while he studied him with intense gray eyes.

“What’s on your mind, Captain?”

            Dombrowski lit a cigar then watched a stream of smoke curl toward the ceiling. “I hear you were pretty shaken up this morning.”

            “Who told you that?”

            “It doesn’t matter. I need my cops sharp, impartial. If you’ve got a problem, I need to know about it.”

            Elliot didn’t like what he was hearing. Dombrowski’s concern seemed way out of proportion. “I don’t have a problem. Maybe someone else does.”

            “This isn’t the first time I’ve had complaints about your behavior, and they’ve all been recent. This isn’t like you. What’s going on?”

            “There’s nothing going on.”

            Dombrowski pushed back from his desk, his chair protesting from the burden of his weight. “Come on, kid. It’s me you’re talking to.”

            Elliot rubbed his temples. He and Dombrowski had worked a couple of cases together when they were both detectives. Dombrowski had been captain for less than six months and he was probably just as uncomfortable as Elliot was. Elliot glanced at a bookcase by the wall. Alongside an array of law books sat a hand painted ceramic mug and a plaster imprint of a small hand, things Dombrowski’s kid had made him. “I haven’t been sleeping well,” he said. “Nightmares, that sort of thing.”

            “Work related?”

            Stay with me tonight, Kenny.

            “I’m not sure. Probably not.”

            “Well, I’m a little more inclined to think that it is. You had a close call last month.”

            “It wasn’t that bad.”

            “Jeez, Elliot. You were shot. There’s no shame in being shaken up over that. Maybe you should take some time off.”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

God and Science - Part II

God and Science - Part II

As indicated in God and Science – Part I, the code embedded within DNA is an actual language, containing billions of genetic letters.
When you turn on your computer, it brings up programs that, hopefully, do what you instruct them to do. However, if you were to observe the actual language or code behind the operating system that allows the computer to work, you would see a logical arrangement of 1’s and 0’s, the binary code, which computer languages are based on.

On a much more intricate level, DNA stores information, such as instructions for building proteins, using a four character digital code. For a code to be considered a language, it must have an alphabet or coding system, and a proper way of sequencing those symbols to create and convey logical meaning. The genetic code definitely meets those qualifications.

The only codes, other than the genetic code, that have been proven to be true languages, are all of human origin, that being human languages and artificial computer languages. Computer guru, Bill Gates, put it like this: “DNA is like a software program, only much more complex than anything we’ve ever devised.”
Are we to believe that a system more sophisticated than the latest computer programs came about by accident, through mutation and natural selection?

I don’t think so. It simply is not logistically feasible. Even one of the discoverers of the genetic code, the agnostic, Francis Crick, after years of studying the subject stated that, “an honest man, armed with all the knowledge now available, could only state that in some sense the origin of life appears to be a miracle, so many are the conditions, which would have had to been satisfied to get it going.”

Evolutionists believe that through chance mutation and natural selection living things evolve, but they are at a loss to explain how information, such as the genetic code, got into our biological systems. In fact, most information theorems predict that such a thing might never be possible.

Simply put, science cannot explain the origins of our complex biological systems, even on the molecular level. Patterns, like snowflakes and sand dunes might occur naturally, but complex codes and languages only happen by design.

I’ll continue the discussion in my next post. Until then, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God and Science - Part I

God and Science
A few days ago, something unusual happened. My wife and son were out running errands together, which left me home alone – sounds like a good title for a movie – to fend for myself. This does not happen very often and I must to admit to, with a slight bit of guilt, looking forward to the prospect of getting some work done.
After a conference call with my web person, JP at, I posted to my new blog – actually it’s the same blog, but now it’s on my website – then crunched in a bit of editing on my long overdue third novel, Footprints of a Dancer. I certainly hope to have the book finished soon.
A few hours later, I turned off the computer and switched on the television, reveling in the idea of watching whatever I wanted. I was not to be disappointed. I stumbled across a program, on the History channel, which grabbed my attention. It was already in progress, but the gist of the piece was whether or not, through mathematical calculations and other applied sciences, God could be proven to exist. The short answer, in my humble opinion, is no. If God wanted everyone to know, without a doubt, of his existence then it would be that way. However, that would negate the need for faith, a crucial element of Christianity. Bearing that in mind, I still enjoyed the program, which had been constructed using several parallel storylines that the narrator would weave in and out of – a study, which explored the possibility that the belief in God, or some form of deity, is coded or hardwired into our DNA; a search to identify an element of matter, a crucial component of the “Standard Model” of physics, which explains how the cosmos works, known as the Higgs boson, or God particle; an expedition to locate and prove the existence of the Ark of the Covenant; and – get ready for this one  -- a study comparing the similarities of brainwave functions between subjects given hallucinogenic drugs and those involved in intense prayer sessions.   
Let’s expand on the above topics beginning with DNA. All civilizations and cultures have exhibited a belief in God, gods, or some form of religion. The idea that people are predisposed to believe in a higher power comes as no revelation to Christians. However, the indication that this tendency might actually be hardwired into our makeup is intriguing.
The study began 59 years ago when, in 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the existence of a structure within the nucleus of human cells, a genetic material known as deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly known as DNA. Scientists studying DNA probably suspected early on that the double-helix structure contained some type of genetic data. However, recent discoveries indicate the material is embedded with a complex code capable of storing incredible amounts of information. In an article titled, DNA: The Tiny Code That’s Toppling Evolution, published in Good News Magazine, author, Mario Seiglie, explains it like this: “A molecule two millionths of a millimeter thick contains enough information to fill 12 sets of encyclopedias. A teaspoon full of DNA, according to molecular biologist, Michael Denton, could contain all of the information needed to build the proteins for all the species of organisms that have ever lived on the earth and still have room for all of the information contained in every book ever written.”
For me, that classifies as a Wow, Shazam.
I’ll continue the discussion in my next post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think about the subject. Please leave a comment.
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

What happened to Christmas

I don't usually repost the same content on various sites -- okay maybe I do at times -- but I like this one:

Dreaming of a White Christmas

A few days ago, on the way home from work, I was coerced into shopping. My wife, Kathi, had been scouring the town, looking for something to wear to our company Christmas party, (They now call it a Holiday party) and she wanted to check a certain discount store. Knowing that if given a choice between the two, I’d choose to suffer through reruns of I Love Lucy, Kathi had called her sister to share in the experience. However, since dear sister was unavailable, I was called to task.

I entered the domain of doom, clutching a copy of Writer’s Digest, hoping to sit with the magazine in the waiting area and pull myself into its pages. At best, it was an ill-fated attempt. As writers, we observe our surroundings, but for some of us, once the switch is thrown it’s difficult to turn off. I glanced at the smartphone in my hand and I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with a dear friend, Valerie Gawthrop. “So much has changed since I first began writing,” she’d said. Her elegant use of understatement overwhelmed me, and I removed my attention from the pages of the magazine.

Something in a language I could not understand, which, to me, more resembled chanting than music, played through the intercom system, echoing through the rows of shabby clothing, where shoppers, some with desperation in their faces, some with anger, and still others with indifference, searched through the rubble, hoping to find that rare gem, a blouse with its buttons intact, a dress with no missing sequins. An elderly lady scooted past with her shopping cart and smiled. It was all I could do to keep from crying.

Things have changed all right, Val. Who among us veterans of the pen would have ever, in our most outlandish imaginations, dreamed that in our country someone’s grandmother would be reduced to this, or that a store would be worried about or afraid to play the music of Christmas?

Merry Christmas everyone, and may God bless.

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It's the same address, but I've had it revamped. I think it looks pretty good. What do you think?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twisted Perception - 9th Seralized Post

“Why do you suppose seeing you would bother him?”

            “Well for heavens sake, hon, I don’t know. But I can tell you this, when he started toward me, I near lost myself. He scared the wits out of me. I don’t know why I showed him my cell phone. I guess I was trying to let him know that I could call for help if I needed to. But that didn’t scare him. It seemed to be what he wanted. He started nodding his head and yelling through the glass that someone was inside that car, he thought she might be dead, and would I mind calling the police. Well, let me tell you, I was more than happy to do just that.”

            “Do you remember what time you made the call?”

            “It was before six. That’s about the time I usually get here, and I was running a little early.”

            Elliot closed his notepad and tucked it inside his jacket pocket. “Thank you, Mrs. Smith. That’ll be all for now.” He stood on the sidewalk for a moment then walked over to the Mercedes, where Beaumont was standing. “You about through here?”

            “It’s all yours,” Beaumont said. Then he surprised Elliot. He put a hand on his shoulder, and with an expression that looked almost personable he said, “You look a little rough around the edges, Elliot. What’s bothering you?”

            As if on cue, a wind kicked up, a cool and swirling breeze that carried the faint smell of pear blossoms coming from some of the few blooms that had managed to survive the up-and-down temperatures. “It’s nothing,” Elliot said, “Just a bad case of déjà vu.”

            Beaumont raised an eyebrow and cocked his head, putting his hands on his hips, an imitation John Wayne in a Park Avenue suit. “Probably not the words you were looking for, but I think I know what you’re getting at. The Stillwater murders right? The victims had their throats cut, and as I recall, at least one of them was found like this, in the passenger seat of her car.” He paused and rubbed his chin. “That was before your time, too. I must say I’m impressed, old boy.”

            Elliot wondered how Beaumont knew so much. The Stillwater murders had happened a long time ago, seven years at least, and with no apparent connection to Tulsa. It was a stretch even for a fanatic like Beaumont. Yet he’d brought it up immediately. But Elliot’s knowledge of the events hadn’t been acquired by studying old case files, as he suspected Beaumont’s had. He’d been a little closer to the source, attending classes at Oklahoma State during the murders and reading about them in the Stillwater Gazette. “Before your time, as well,” he added.

            “That it was. Seems there was more to it though, some sort of messages. ”

            “Written in blood,” Elliot said. “And the slitting of the throats wasn’t like this, a simple cut. They had a pattern, a definite design.” Elliot’s own words sent a chill through him, but he said nothing more. How could he tell Beaumont the memory that had nearly brought him to his knees hadn’t come from Stillwater, but from a time period when he was a high school senior in Porter, Oklahoma?

“Morning, gentlemen.”

A team from the medical examiner’s office had arrived, and one of them, Donald Carter, had made his way over to them. “Hey, Donnie,” Elliot said.

            Beaumont gave a curt nod.

            Donald Carter slipped on a pair of half-moon glasses and said, “Some crazy weather we’re having, huh?”

            Elliot smiled and started walking toward the Mercedes while Donald Carter and Detective Beaumont followed. Less than a week ago temperatures had hovered around the high eighties, spawning a tornado that had ripped through the outskirts of town. This morning most thermometers would have to struggle to get above forty: Springtime in Oklahoma. Elliot stopped beside the open passenger door of the vehicle. “How long would you say she’s been dead?”

            Donnie stepped forward and ducked his head inside the car, for a closer look. He already had his gloves on. He pushed the skin with his finger, observing its elasticity then lifted one of her arms “Several hours. Seven or eight, if I had to guess.” He pulled his head back and stood straight. “Looks like she was killed in the driver’s seat then somehow maneuvered over to this side.”

            Elliot nodded. “A hurried attempt to throw us off. The victim was dragged over the console. I think she was killed somewhere else and brought here.” He paused, intending to stop there, but before he knew it he was verbalizing his thoughts. “I’ve got a tip-of-the-iceberg feeling about all this.”

            The look on Donald Carter’s face said he was interested, but one of his team members had called out to him. He turned and walked away.

Beaumont muttered something that Elliot couldn’t quite make out, and then he said, “You might be onto something. There are a lot of similarities here, perhaps a little too many. You don’t suppose we have a copycat on our hands, do you?”

            “Maybe,” Elliot said. And again, what he’d only intended to think came out. “Worse yet, maybe not.”

            Beaumont arched an eyebrow. “Surely you don’t think…” He shook his head. “Christ, Elliot, some psycho could’ve run across it in an old newspaper or something.”

            Don’t do this, Kenny. We can work it out.

            “Yeah,” Elliot said. “You’re probably right.” He got some plastic bags from his car and went back to the Mercedes, where he picked up the cell phone and gathered some fibers that looked to be from duct tape. In the glove compartment, he found a book of matches from some bar. For the first time, he hoped Beaumont was right. However, when he slid the necklace off the mirror and dropped it into the bag, he again thought of Marcia Barnes, her blonde hair caked with blood, her petite body riddled with stab wounds.

            “You going to be all right?” Beaumont asked.

            “Why wouldn’t I be?”

             Beaumont shrugged. “What’s up with that fellow Sergeant Conley took in?”

 “His name’s Bill Morton. He found the body.”

            “You think he had something to do with it?”

            “I don’t know. He’s got a record, everything from petty burglary to exposing himself to the sisters at the cathedral over on Boulder, but nothing like this.”

            “The real cream of society,” Beaumont remarked.

            Elliot watched the medical examiner’s people remove the body.

            “How’s Molly?” Beaumont asked.

            Elliot found that curious as well. Molly worked at the district attorney’s office and she and Elliot had been dating, but he hadn’t been aware that Beaumont knew that. “She’s doing better.”

            Beaumont nodded. “I know what she’s going through. It’s tough to lose someone, especially when they’re family.”

            “Not much more we can do here,” Elliot said.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to comment or email me at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Review -- Abundant Life - Day Book

With, Abundant Life, Day Book, Nancy Guthrie creates scripture based blessings for each day of the year. A prayer, drawn from the content and nature of the blessing, accompanies each entry, offering praise to God for his gifts and favor.

I admit to a lack of confidence with this review. Prior to reading Abundant Life, my experience rested exclusively upon fiction. However, I enjoyed reading the book. The structure, with the narrative being framed by scripture and prayer, proved quite effective, and I found the content both informative and inspiring.

I would recommend, Abundant Life, Day Book, to Christian adults and teens, especially those who, through a busy schedule of work or school, interact heavily with the secular world. The little book has a way of reminding us that we are all God’s people.

For purposes of this review, I received a complimentary copy of Abundant Life from the publisher, Tyndale House

                                                                                 – Bob Avey, author of Beneath a Buried House

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Moving is for the Birds

Hello, everyone. For the past several weeks, I’ve been in the process of moving. After 12 years in the house I’d worked like crazy to pay off, my wife decided she wanted a new house. We sold our house in 8 days, had to move 41 years of married life in 2 days, then, after renting for six months, we had to do it again. Now we’re in the new house, which looks like a furniture-and-other-items bomb just went off. Needless to say, for the past few weeks my life has been thrown into total chaos. Anyway, I promise to be back soon with more exciting posts. I’m also working on the third book in the Detective Elliot series. I’m way behind. It’s taken me a little over two years to complete it. Well, it’s almost complete.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Twisted Perception -- 8th Serialized Post

The nervous man, who looked about forty, had long, graying hair pulled back in a ponytail. A tattoo of a snake ran up his left arm. The lady reminded Elliot of his second grade school teacher. “I apologize for the wait,” he said. “My name’s Detective Elliot. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

            Conley introduced Bill Morton as the man who discovered the body and Ella Mae Smith as the woman who had called the police. Elliot pulled the man aside first, and after a few steps, he flipped open his notepad. “Mr. Morton, how did you happen to discover the deceased?”

            Morton gestured toward the scene. “I was coming up through here, going to the park. The Mercedes was sitting by the dumpster, all crooked-like, so I noticed it right off. When I went past, I saw someone was in the car. She didn’t look right, wasn’t moving or anything, so I thought I’d better have a look.” Morton paused and cleared his throat. “Knew she was dead when I saw all the blood.”

            Elliot made a notation. “Do you recall what time that was?”

            “I don’t know, about five thirty, I guess.”

            “Do you work around here, Mr. Morton?”

            “Nah, nothing like that, I was just out getting a little exercise.”

            Elliot tapped his notepad. Morton was wearing athletic shoes, but the rest of his attire, blue denim jeans and a western shirt, didn’t seem to confirm his explanation. “Did you see anyone else nearby?”

            “No, but I wasn’t really looking.”

            “Any other cars in the area?”

            “Not that I noticed. Except for Mrs. Smith. She pulled in across the way and stopped. She used her phone to call you guys, after I asked her to.”

            “Why do you suppose she stopped?”

            Morton shrugged and reached into his shirt pocket for a pack of cigarettes. He lit up then tossed the match onto the tarmac. “I don’t know, Mr. Elliot. Maybe she saw something she didn’t like.”

            Elliot weighed the response. Morton wasn’t dressed for a night on the town any more than he was for jogging, but his clothes were free of bloodstains and had no rips or tears. He had no weapons on him, and none were found at the crime scene. It would be nearly impossible to inflict that kind of wound on someone without getting dirty. Of course he could have gotten rid of the weapon, but if he were the killer, why would he leave to ditch the weapon and change clothes, only to return to the scene and call the cops? It didn’t seem likely, but Elliot still got the impression Morton wasn’t being entirely truthful. “I’d like to ask you to come down to the station with us, Mr. Morton. You’re not under arrest. We just want to ask you a few more questions.”

            A streetwise look of understanding crossed Morton’s face. Elliot had seen the look before; Morton had a bit of experience with the police, knew something about their procedures. The last thing he wanted was to go downtown with a bunch of cops, but he figured he had no choice. If he refused it would indicate guilt. If he tried to turn and run, that would be probable cause. He took a draw on his cigarette. “This is exactly why people don’t want to get involved. I try to do a good deed and the first thing you know, I’m a suspect.”

            “Everyone’s a suspect, Mr. Morton.”

            “Yeah? Well, I bet you don’t take Mrs. Prissy over there.”

            “Don’t bet on it,” Elliot said. “I’d haul the Pope in if I thought he was connected to the case.”

            Morton shook his head. “You probably would, at that. Yeah, sure, I’ll go answer your questions. Not like I got much choice anyway.”

            After thanking Mr. Morton, Elliot went to the other witness. “Would you mind telling me why you were in the area this morning, Mrs. Smith?”

            Ella Mae Smith smiled, and began to speak. “It’s Monday. I come down on Mondays and Wednesdays to look after Edna Jones. She gets up with the chickens, if you know what I mean. We’re both members of the Presbyterian Church. I’ve been looking in on older folks who need it for ten years now, not that I wouldn’t mind taking a break from it for awhile…taking care of this and worrying about that…but just try and get someone else to do it. Everyone wants to help, so long as they don’t have to take responsibility for it. If you want to quiet down a congregation, just ask for volunteers. And Pastor Schaffer can be quite demanding.” She paused and shook her head, then continued, “It’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Patricia Letterman, God rest her soul, tried to warn me. She did it for years, you know, until her health started to fail.”

             “I see,” Elliot said. “Could you tell me what caused you to pull up here?”

            “Well, it was that car.”

            “The Mercedes?”

            “Yes, sir. Pastor Schaffer has one just like it. Not that he’d park it there. I guess that’s what caught my attention. And that strange man lurking about, glancing up and down the sidewalk, all nervous and jittery, like a cat in a room full of dogs.”

            “You mean Mr. Morton?”

            “Yes, sir. I would’ve just driven on, because I’d figured out by then that it wasn’t Pastor Schaffer’s car. And that Morton man looked like he was about to leave, too. But then he stopped and pressed his face against the window of that car, like he was trying to get a better look at what was inside. Well, that didn’t last long. He backed away from there like he’d touched a hot stove, and I just figured he was going to take off running cause that’s what it looked like he wanted to do, but then he saw me.”
Please let me know your thoughts about Twisted Perception by leaving a comment.
Twisted Perception: a Detective Elliot Mystery

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Alchemy of Potter -- Part III

The Alchemy of Potter – Part III

Flamel’s Transmutation

After arranging for and overseeing the burial of Maestro Canches, Nicolas Flamel returned to his home in Paris where he resumed his work as a scribe and a seller of books. However, as you might have suspected, the story does not end there.

According to Flamel, during his brief association with Canches, he’d gained enough knowledge from the Maestro to allow him to interpret the mysterious book he’d come into the possession of. As a result of his study, he achieved, approximately three years later, the holy grail of alchemy, the art of transmutation. If Flamel is to be believed, he successfully created the substance, in the form of a dry powder, which is known as the philosopher’s stone, and used it to change one half pound of mercury into pure gold.

It’s important to note here that some claim the stone is actually a metaphor for an inner potential of the spirit to evolve from a lower state of imperfection and vice, symbolized by the base metals, to a higher state of enlightenment and perfection, symbolized by gold. In Flamel’s words, due to his understanding of the book of Abraham the Jew, he had risen above the satisfaction of the senses and the turmoil of passions. It’s also important to remember that Nicolas Flamel was a Christian, who devoted much of his life to working out his personal salvation. In addition, Flamel was informed in a dream, by an angel of the Lord, that he would be receiving the book of Abraham the Jew.

As to what, exactly, Nicolas Flamel actually created or achieved is open to speculation. However, historical records bear testimony to some remarkable things he accomplished after having interpreted the book of Abraham the Jew. Flamel, and his wife Pernelle, continued to live a modest life. However, during this period of their lives, they began to act as wealthy benefactors. They established low-income housing for the poor, founded free hospitals, donated heavily to area churches, repaired cemeteries, and endowed the Quinze-Vingts, an institution for the blind. No small feat for a seller of books.

Flamel’s gifts were so generous that they aroused curiosity and even jealousy among his peers, enough so that King Charles VI eventually heard of it and ordered an investigation of the matter. Due to Flamel’s prudence and reticence, though, nothing much came of it.

Nicolas Flamel reached the age of eighty before he passed away. With his wife, Pernelle, having preceded him in death, Flamel carefully settled his affairs and planned how he was to be buried at the end of the nave of Saint-Jacques Boucherie. His gravesite, at the Musee de Cluny in Paris, can still be visited. As might be expected, though, his death was as circumspect as his life. Flamel was not long buried when news of his death and, due to his alchemical prowess, suspicions of enormous quantities of gold concealed within his property, spread throughout the area. Would be Alchemists and fortune hunters came in droves to search for his treasures. Sculptures and inscribed stones at Saint-Jacques Boucherie, and the Cemetery of the Innocents were broken and carried away under the cover of darkness. Flamel’s houses were ransacked and nearly destroyed. However, other than alleged reports of a few vials containing a reddish powder, nothing was ever found.

What happened to the book of Abraham the Jew?

Nicolas Flamel bequeathed his papers and library to a nephew named Perrier, who was also interested in alchemy. For two centuries, the book was handed down from father to son without much being heard of it. During the reign of King Louis XIII, news of the book resurfaced. A descendant of Flamel, named Dubois, who supposedly had a supply of the reddish powder, ignored the wise reserve of his ancestors and used the powder to gain attention. Reportedly, in the presence of the King, he changed lead balls into gold. It is known that during this time Dubois had many interviews with Cardinal de Richelieu, who no doubt wished to learn the secret. Not long after the interviews, Dubois was imprisoned at Vincennes where he was later condemned to death. It is believed that Cardinal de Richelieu took possession of the book of Abraham the Jew. He built a laboratory at the Chateau of Rueil, which he often visited to study the manuscript. With the death of the cardinal, all traces of the original book disappeared.

What about Nicolas Flamel?

When news of the book of Abraham the Jew resurfaced during Dubois’ incarceration, robbers made their way during the night to the church of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie where they lifted Flamel’s tombstone and broke into his coffin. After this, rumors quickly spread that the coffin had been found empty, and that it had never contained the body of Flamel, who was believed to still be alive. If that were true, since Louis XIII reigned from 1610-1643, and Flamel was born somewhere around 1330, that would have put Flamel around 300 years old at the time.

Is it possible that a 680 year old alchemist still roams the streets of Paris? Perhaps we should ask Harry Potter.
If you like this post, or if you have any information you would like to add, please let me know, or leave a comment.

 Beneath a Buried House: A Detective Elliot Mystery (Detective Elliot Mysteries)

Friday, September 30, 2011

7th Serialized post -- Twisted Perception

Elliot turned back to Sergeant Conley. “Yeah,” Elliot said. “I’m fine.”

Conley’s expression said he wasn’t buying it and Elliot wasn’t surprised. He was sure he looked as pale and lifeless as the corpse sitting in the car. He backed off a bit then began working his way around the scene, taking pictures to review later. When he came to the passenger side of the car, he lowered the camera and worked his hand into a latex glove, wincing as he opened the door, causing the air inside the car, thick with the scents of urine and blood, to flood his senses.

The victim, a female that Elliot guessed to be about thirty years of age, was in the passenger seat with her head tilted back and her hands in her lap. The deep gash across her throat still looked fresh. The expensive necklace had been removed to keep it from being damaged. Everything about her said money, but through the lens of the camera, the massive diamond on her left hand looked as cold and detached as a severed limb. The necklace that dangled from the rearview mirror matched her earrings.

Johnnie Boy was here.

“Sure is dressed nice,” Conley said.

Elliot nodded, noting that her handbag lay undisturbed on the seat beside her, near a smear of blood where it looked like the killer had wiped the knife clean. On the floorboard beneath the brake pedal was a cell phone. Elliot picked it up. It was still on, so he hit redial. The display showed the last call was to the Tulsa Police Department. He started to comment when the sound of an approaching car caught his attention. He knew it would be Beaumont, but he confirmed it, watching the detective pull up. How anyone could keep a car as clean as Beaumont did was a mystery to Elliot. Then again, he suspected that, much like its owner, the car’s highly maintained exterior merely masked an embarrassing need for dirty lubricants.

Beaumont climbed out of his car and started toward them, habitually straightening his already perfect tie while he walked around the Mercedes, surveying the scene before he joined Elliot and Conley. “I hope you haven’t touched anything,” he said.

Elliot shook his head.

He glanced at Conley.

“Not me,” Conley said.

Beaumont looked Elliot over, a thin smile crossing his lips.

“What do you think?” He asked. “Do we have a homicide?”

“Looks like it.”

Beaumont moved closer to the vehicle, observing the victim. “Looks pretty affluent. By the way, Elliot, where were you last night?”

A wave of regret went through Elliot. He was to have met Beaumont for a beer after work and he’d completely forgotten about it. “Sorry, I guess I fell asleep.”

“You must have been dead to the world. I called your house, but you didn’t answer.”

Conley had walked back to his squad car, where he held the door open, the radio microphone in his hand. When Elliot came over, he tilted his head toward the scene and lowered the mike. “Why’d the captain have to send that jerk?”

Elliot tried to hide his smile. Beaumont, who was already busy dusting for prints, wasn’t exactly popular with the patrol officers. He was sharp—real sharp—and he had an impressive way of remembering case details, but he didn’t mind letting you know it. “He’s pretty good at what he does,” Elliot said. “Got an ID on the victim yet?”

            Conley nodded. “Name’s Lagayle Zimmerman.”

            Elliot ran the name through his memory, but it didn’t register. As he scanned the crime scene, the sounds of traffic on Peoria Avenue wafting through his senses, he noticed two people standing beside another uniformed officer. To Conley, he said, “Any of these people see anything?”

            “None that will admit to it,” Conley said.

            “You question everybody?”

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Who found the body?”

            “Some wino,” Conley said. “Hang on. I’ll get him for you.” He signaled for the officer to bring the witnesses over.

More to come. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the book.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review -- Courageous, by Randy Alcorn

In Courageous, a novel which appears to be a police procedural becomes much more as the story follows the lives of four police officers who struggle to reconcile their profession with their private lives. The heroes, Adam Mitchell and Nathan Hayes, deal with personal loss as well as drugs and gang members, which, and perhaps for the first time, have leaked from their cop worlds to infiltrate their personal lives.
The strong and vivid characters carried the book for me. I also found it refreshing – perhaps my being new to Christian fiction was a factor – to read a novel where the good guys with good values win out in the end. However, I found parts of the story unrealistic, with characters acting out of character. While the characters hold the story together, the constant and often abrupt point of view changes worked to disconnect the reader. Deeper into the story, this happened less often and at that point the book became a better read.
All things considered, I enjoyed the book. I would recommend Courageous, by Randy Alcorn to Christian adults, at which the book seems to be aimed.
For purposes of this review, I received a complimentary copy of Courageous from the publisher, Tyndale House.
        Bob Avey, author of Beneath a Buried House

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Alchemy of Potter II

Flamel’s Journey

It is written that Nicolas Flamel spent some twenty plus years trying to interpret the manuscript of Abraham the Jew, and thus unlock the secrets that he had become certain were contained within its pages. With much of the text being written in ancient Hebrew, Flamel realized he needed the help of someone who could read the text. Knowing that some of the people of Jewish faith, having been driven out of France, had settled in Spain, he decided to travel there. Flamel made a vow to St James of Compostela, the patron saint of his parish, to make a pilgrimage to the area where the Jews had settled.

According to Flamel, he first fulfilled his vow to St James then travelled about Spain in search of someone with the knowledge to help him interpret the manuscript of Abraham the Jew. However, and quite understandably, he found the Jewish people suspicious of him and therefore uncooperative, since he was French and his countrymen had expelled the Jews from their country.

It’s not certain how much time Flamel spent in Spain, but eventually he gave up and began his journey home. However, fate again caught up with him at an inn, located in the town of Leon, when he stopped for the night. There he met a French merchant, travelling on business. As the Frenchmen dined together, the conversation eventually turned to part of the reason Flamel was there – to find a Jewish scholar. As it turned out, the merchant was friends with, or at least knew of such a man, who happened to live in Leon. Flamel convinced the merchant to take him to the home of Maestro Canches, and introduce him to the Jewish scholar.

It is here, at the home of Maestro Canches, where everything starts to fall into place for Flamel. Being a wise man, and not wanting to lose his life, his money or the precious manuscript, he had traveled to Spain as a pilgrim, dressed in simple attire, with just enough money to make the trip, and bringing only a few pages of the manuscript, even those being only copies. After the merchant had made the introductions and left Flamel and Canches alone, Flamel pulls the hidden manuscript pages from his cloak and shows them to the scholar. One can only imagine what must have gone through Canches mind when he saw those pages. Not only did Maestro Canches know of Abraham the Jew, a great master of the wandering race, a sage who had studied the mysteries of the Cabala, but he had spent his life searching for the manuscript Abraham had written. He told Flamel that it was said that the book still existed and that it had passed through the years from person to person, always reaching the one whose destiny it was to receive it. Canches translated the pages, which were written in Hebrew from the time of Moses. He interpreted symbols that had originated in ancient Chaldea. The pages were enough for Canches to recognize them as authentic, but not enough to reveal the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone.

At some point, Canches must have asked Flamel how he had obtained the pages, and Flamel eventually told Canches that he was indeed in possession of the original manuscript. When this meeting occurred, Maestro Canches was an old man, which would make traveling difficult, but he asked Flamel to allow him to accompany Flamel on his journey back to Paris. In addition, since Jews were not allowed in France, Canches went so far as to convert to Christianity in order to make the trip to see the manuscript of Abraham the Jew.

Flamel agreed and the two men began their journey to Paris. They made it as far as Orleans, but it was there that Maestro Canches passed away. Being that Canches had converted to Christianity, Flamel had him piously buried in the church of Sante-Croix.

I'd love to know what you think about the post, or if you have any information to add. Please leave a comment.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Twisted Perception

Sixth Serialized Blog Post -- Twisted Perception -- Chapter Two

Blood-smeared words flashed through his memory.

Johnnie Boy was here.

Johnnie Alexander and Marcia Barnes were inside the car, both covered in blood, both dead. Then he saw the class ring. The one he’d given to Marcia. She’d worn it suspended from a gold chain around her neck, though it now hung from the rearview mirror of Johnnie’s Mustang, where it twisted mockingly in the darkness, catching the light of the moon and sparkling like some distant star.

“Pretty fancy jewelry, huh, Elliot? Hey, man, you okay?”

Snapping back to the present, Elliot looked across the top of the Mercedes to see Sergeant Conley, his forehead wrinkled with concern. Elliot surveyed the condominiums. Several blocks of houses had been torn down to accommodate the construction of the two-story brick villas designed with wrought-iron railings and small balconies to emulate something from the New Orleans French Quarter. To the north was a park. A sign proclaimed it to be Centennial Park, though it was still thought of as Central Park by those who knew the place. It’d been nice once, playing host to family barbecues and games of badminton on the grass, but the area had deteriorated over the years and had fallen into disrepair, eventually being frequented by those who hid in its uncut bushes and eased their pain with wine and drugs. Recently, for the benefit of the condominiums, the bushes had been trimmed and the grass mowed. They even renamed it. But the shadowy homeless people could still be seen there, sitting in groups around picnic tables, clutching bottles of wine wrapped in brown paper bags.
A small crowd of neighbors had gathered to gawk at the taped-off crime scene. For the homeless

it was more of a curiosity, another constant reminder of their own mortality; but for those

unaccustomed to such things, like the fresh residents of the newly constructed condos, it was more

like a chapter torn from the pages of a horror novel.Twisted Perception $2.99 on Kindle

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Alchemy of Harry Potter

As mentioned in my last blog post, the story behind J.K. Rowling’s first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, (also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) was based, in part, on the life of a real person.

In the fictional world of the Harry Potter stories, Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, gained much of his wizardly knowledge through his association with his partner, Nicolas Flamel. Most of the official documents relating to the life of Nicolas Flamel have been found – His marriage license, his deeds of gift, and even his will. Flamel’s history rests solidly on substantial material proofs. Unlike his fictional counterparts in the Potter books, Flamel was a real person. What then, other than being Dumbledore’s buddy, does Flamel have to do with Harry Potter? Let me explain.

 Nicolas Flamel was born in France in, or around 1330, which would have made him about 665 years old at the time The Philosopher’s Stone was published.  Not much is known about Flamel’s early life, but during his adult life he was engaged in business, operating a small shop in Paris, where he sold books. He married a woman named Perenelle and together they led a quiet and modest life.

However, Flamel’s life changed when an unknown man walked into his shop, carrying a manuscript that he wanted to sell. Flamel might have dismissed the man, had he not recognized the manuscript as being identical to one given to him in a dream.

In the dream, an angel had stood before Flamel, holding a book with bindings of copper engraved with strange diagrams and symbols. The angel gave the book to Flamel and said, “At first you will understand nothing, but one day you will see and understand that which no other man will be able to.”

Not surprisingly, Flamel paid the man his asking price without bargaining. The first page of the manuscript declared the author to be: Abraham the Jew, prince, priest, Levite, astrologer, and philosopher, sprung from the root of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Flamel, being a scribe and seller of books, was well-read and had acquired knowledge of alchemy, an art which aims to discover a magical substance, sometimes referred to as the Philosopher’s Stone, which could turn ordinary metals into gold, but more importantly could perfect any situation.  The theory being that anyone, having reached such a high level of learning, would attain immortality through the victory of spirit over matter. However, Flamel’s extensive knowledge was not enough to help him understand the strange book he’d come into the possession of. He spent years trying to decipher the book without success. He did not give up. Since much of the text was written in ancient Hebrew, he realized that he needed the help of a well-read Jewish person. Unfortunately, the people of Jewish faith had been driven out of France. Flamel knew that some of these people had migrated to Spain. He decided to journey there in search of someone to help him with the book.

I’ll continue the story of Flamel in the next post.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Christian Fiction and Twisted Perception

I’ve read several interesting and well thought posts, concerning the boundaries and purposes of Christian fiction. The posts and comments that follow invariably divide, for the most part, into two schools of thought on the subject:  1) those who believe Christian fiction should follow strict guidelines and be very family oriented and safe, and 2) those who feel the parameters should be relaxed to include stories written from a Christian point of view that might expand the envelope by delving into areas of fantasy.

As a relatively recent born-again Christian, and, therefore, a new arrival in the Christian fiction market, I’ve found myself a bit confused by it all. I empathize with the reasoning behind both points of view. However, I must confess to leaning more toward the expanded envelope crowd. I’ve been a published author in the secular market since 2006, and I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to switch over to Christian fiction. I’ve always felt that I should use my skills, such as they are, in a positive way, but after my awakening the urge to take the writing further toward this goal increased dramatically. I’ve spent numerous hours praying about it. The message I keep receiving is that I should try to reach people, including those who have lost their faith, or never had it to begin with, and, the way I see it, in order to do that I would have to write outside the currently defined Christian market.

With this discussion, names such as C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L ‘ Engle, and J.R.R. Tolkien often come up as writers who are considered by some as Christian authors whose work falls outside the current guidelines of the genre, if that term can be appropriately applied here. I love Tolkien’s work, but I must admit it’s a stretch for me to think of it as Christian fiction. In his writing, good does triumph over evil. However, the same could be said about J.K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series, which leads to some interesting things I’ve run across.

Rowling’s first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was based in part on the life of a real person.

More on this in the next post.  

Twisted Perception Blog Post number 5

Chapter Two

As soon as Detective Kenny Elliot stepped out of his car, he knew he’d slowed, stumbled somewhere along the way, for it had finally caught up with him, and like a twenty-nine-year-old boxer who grows old in the third round of a title fight, he would never be the same. It was what he saw in the vehicle, a late model Mercedes left beside a trash dumpster. It was in the parking lot of the Village at Central Park, a bunch of upscale, newly constructed condominiums just off Peoria Avenue.
Elliot silently cursed Captain Dombrowski for dragging him into this on his day off. It’d been 6:00 a.m. when the phone rang, and Elliot had come out of his sleep in a fit, fighting to rid himself of the bed sheets that trapped his legs and torso like some kind of malignant ivy. He hadn’t been sleeping well. It was the dreams; they’d started again. They’d become intense, occurring more frequently and leaving in their wake unsettling thoughts that rambled through his head—burdensome notions that something wasn’t quite right in his world, a problem just below the surface that he couldn’t quite drag into consciousness.
Elliot had a pretty good idea why Dombrowski had called. Cunningham was on vacation somewhere in Montana and Mendez was out with the flu, but there were other detectives. Obviously, Dombrowski knew there would be more to it than a simple homicide, if “simple” can be used when talking about deliberate death. An informal understanding had begun to develop inside the department. Dombrowski had an instinct about unusual cases, knowing which ones would deviate from the norm, and Elliot had a knack for solving them.
Elliot approached the Mercedes, a knot forming in his gut, his usual calm behavior displaced by his progress like the smooth surface of a pond disrupted by gas bubbles escaping from something vile hidden beneath its depths. An image of Carmen Garcia blossomed in his mind.
Don’t do this, Kenny. We can work it out.
He thought about the report. He couldn’t write it up indicating the suspect was a ghost, an unseen demon, but as he approached the Mercedes that thought vibrated through his head. Then, as he drew near and confirmed that it was indeed a necklace dangling from the inside mirror, his legs nearly gave way and for a moment his thoughts were in another time and place.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exciting Book Review for Twisted Perception

I just got a great review for Twisted Perception, the book I've been posting here on the blog, that I wanted to share.

Hello Bob.....I'm now an avid fan of Detective Kenny Elliot. Thoroughly enjoyed both of your books! Here's my review for Twisted Perception, Thanks for the chance to read your brilliant stories, Annie.

Review for Twisted Perception by Bob Avey.

Anyone who loves a good detective story with plenty twists and turns needs to buy a copy of Twisted Perception. Bob Avey grips you from the start. Main man Detective Kenny Elliot is called in to investigate the brutal murder of an upper-crust woman. (all isn't as it seems) Gut instincts lead him on a journey back in time that he isn't comfortable with for a number of reason (have to read it to find out!) More murders come and deepen the investigation that Elliot can't seem to leave to another. Not only is this story a great murder/mystery it is also one that will broaden your mind and open you up to Twisted Perception......

Annie Frame. Author of Imprint and TQR.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Vivid Dreams and Twisted Perception

In this post, I’ll relate an unusual dreams, and include another installment of Twisted Perception. I believe the dreams that linger beyond our sleep are more than just a release of emotions or feelings. I call this one, The Devastated Conference.

I’m in a large hotel, attending a writers’ conference, and several of my friends and I have gathered in an atrium-like area near the lobby where a canopy of windows arches out from the main building. We are sitting in wicker chairs, watching the sky, which is becoming turbulent due to a thunderstorm, and the others are commenting on this, but laughing and having a good time. I seem to be the only one who is worried about the storm and my concern increases as I notice rotation of the clouds. I suspect the storm has escalated into a tornado, which will hit the hotel, so I stand and tell everyone that we should move away from the windows and go to the center of the lobby.

As soon as we reconvene in the lobby, the doors and windows of the hotel begin to shake and chaos breaks loose, with people screaming and running for their rooms. I see a brick alcove near the restaurant kitchen and, figuring this to be a place that would offer protection from falling debris, I take cover there.

A few minutes later, the winds calm and I step out of the alcove to find the hotel in utter devastation. All of the windows and doors have been blown away and large portions of the roof ripped off. Rain is pouring into the lobby. As I try to make my way to my room, I’m forced to climb over tree limbs and debris that block the stairway. At this point, I wake up.

Twisted Perception – Chapter One – Fourth serialized post

Michelle Baker felt the man’s warm breath fall across her face, and she thought it like the stale air that might be in a dark room where an electric chair was kept. He was going to kill her. She knew that. But it was not the details of her death that went through her head. She thought of her son, Michael. She could see him in the dirty little yard where he played, and she wondered if his diaper had been changed, and if he was hungry. She was not a good mother. She closed her eyes and prayed for God to forgive her for that, something she did quite often, though it did not show in her life. She regretted that now.

I realize this is a short post for the novel, but it’s the end of Chapter One. Next time I will begin with Chapter Two.

Thanks for reading. If you like my blog, please join as a follower. If you have any dreams, or anything else you’d like to talk about, send me an email at

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Book Review for Beneath a Buried House

Beneath a Buried House, my second novel, received a great review and I just had to share it with you.

Hello Bob, just to congratulate you on your fantastic book. Thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Here's your review, will put it on Amazon and goodreads and any other sights I'm on. Please feel free to share it whenever you feel it might help boost sales. (Ready to start on Twisted Perception). Annie.

Beneath a Buried House is a read you will not put down, in fact it's one that will keep you turning page after page until the end. Bob Avery hooks you from the start with characters that can only grow in your mind, he wastes no time in weaving a tale of murder mystery and suspense. Main man Elliot is determined to crack a case even though it looks impossible to others. His gut instincts serve him well as he finds himself up against some strange folk in weird situations. Can't spoil it for anyone out there, and can only advise them to grab a copy, stick their nose in it and get lost in the read.

Annie Frame. Author of Imprint and TQR.