Well… nevermind, then

Tonight I recorded a story. I formatted it. I uploaded it.

Oh. That didn’t work. Let’s try that again.

No, still not uploading. Why not?

Oh. I need to pay to upload MP3’s, apparently.

Which means… I’m looking for a different outlet. So, keep tuned. We’ll try something different soon, I hope!

It’s a little dusty in this here blog…

It’s just that musty blog smell…

Greetings, gentle listeners!

It’s time for yet another phase of Seeking the New Earth! Last time we initiated the site, we checked out books that no one should write. It was fun! And then… life.

My father-in-law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, causing me to, well, focus on family matters. And then the holidays hit, and well, since I’m a pastor, I got to be rather busy. And in January, I went and wrote a rough draft of a novel. That left little time for posting anything here!

But… an author needs a public platform, and I’ve decided to stake that claim here. And that platform needs content!

And thusly… I’m back for another stab! Continue reading

The Kid’s Guide to Hitchhiking (Stephanie’s Version)

“Extend your right pollux.” The little thumb uncurled away from the palm. “Good. Excellent progress.

You may relax.” The scientist rocked back in his chair, a pleased smile on his face. He pushed his thick-rimmed glasses to the bridge of his nose. “It’s nearly time for you to give it a try.”

“Doctor,” the patient said, rocking from side to side, “when will I be grown up?”

The doctor smiled. “Soon. Your range of movement is coming along well. We just need to replace yourvoice box and upgrade your skin.”

The little automaton clacked its metal teeth together. “This is good news.”

The doctor frowned. “Let’s upgrade that voice box first. Yours still has the whiny tone of a human.” Hegestured to the small automaton’s pivoting cranial device. “Release.”

The little automaton raised its phalanges to the flap securing the cover to the voice box. It peeled thecover away, and exposed the flashing little device that allowed communication. The doctor reachedin—“This will only take a second,”—and removed it. He replaced it with a much thicker device. “Now,recite the Allegiance Pledge.”

“I pledge allegiance,” the now-deeper voice recited haltingly, “to the Power which gives life to all Cybers. And to the Dictator, who wields the Power and has commanded the Transformation, I give my body, my mind, my life.”

“Well done. On to Skin Replacement, then the World.”

The little automaton hurried over to Skin Replacement, clacking its teeth as it ran on its new steel joints instead of the cumbersome bone and ligaments. Hours later, it emerged free of human skin. It touched its latex covering. The covering sprang back and settled into a smooth surface. “Efficient,” the tinny voice said. It followed the path laid out by its internal GPS which flashed signals to it thorough its ocular devices.

Once outside, it snapped the pupils nearly closed against the 120,000-lux light source. After the software could compensate against the light, it walked to the side of the long paved road. It extended its pollux as far as it could and waited. It was small for an automaton, but its programming told it that humans preferred to pick up smaller automatons.

So it thrust the right pollux out toward the road. Cars began coming. One, two, then a large group.

One slowed and the humans examined it with a cold eye. With a shake of their heads, they kept going.

It stayed still, adjusting only to tilt its head slightly. This time, a car slowed and stopped. The human lowered the window. “Are you claimed?”


The man who had spoken to him made his lips go up at the ends. “At our house, we say no. Can you learn?”

The automaton searched his database for words that matched the term ‘no.’ “Yes.”

“You were very young when you were turned.” The mouth was now turned down.

“I am the newest Cyber.”

“Poor kid. Bet you didn’t even get a chance to play with toys or suck on a bottle.” He sighed and pushed a button. The rear door opened. “I claim you.”

The automaton entered the vehicle. “How may I address you?”

“You’re too young to call me by my first name. Let’s give ‘Dad’ a try.”

“Very well, Dad.”

“What do I call you?”

“I am Cyber 249-30.”

The man’s lips curled down more. “You don’t have a name?”

“You may give me a new moniker.”

“Then I will call you Child until I find a name that suits you.” The man revved the motor, and the two sped away to the Dictator’s city.

Child. The database told him the most common synonym was a word pronounced “kid.” “I would prefer the synonym of ‘Kid.’”

Dad nodded as he showed his identification at the city gate. “Kid. Fair enough.” As the gate opened, Dad glanced at Kid. “Kid, do me a favor.”

“Yes, Dad?”

The man’s mouth turned up again. “No more hitchhiking.”

This story shouldn’t have been written… but I wrote it anyway. 

This story was written by Stephanie Moran, a friend of the site. 

The Kid’s Guide to Hitchhiking (Brandon’s version)

What follows is a description of pertinent information catalogued in this packet. For further details, see copies of documents and photos included in the packet.



Name: Jason Stephenson

Alias/Street name/Nickname: Jase

Race: Caucasian

Age: 15

Date of birth: 4/26/1999

Last Seen By: Samantha Stephenson, mother

Last Seen Date: Friday, 8/1/2014

Last Seen Time: Approx. 8:30 a.m.

Missing Person Reported by: Samantha Stephenson

<additional biographical data listed on actual report, attached>

REPORTING PERSON’S NARRATIVE (Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the missing person report): Jason was reported missing by his mother, Mrs. Samantha Stephenson. Mrs. Stephenson reports that Jason has been acting withdrawn and secretive for some time. When confronted, Jason either becomes belligerent and shuts himself up in his room, or laughs and passes it off as being preoccupied with school matters. On the day of his disappearance Jase was leaving late for school and was scolded by his mother. He never reported to class.

Jason disappeared between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. central standard time on August 1 and has been missing for approximately two days. Jase is described as a Caucasian male with shaggy, wavy brown hair that covers his ears. He is approximately five-foot and eleven inches in height and has green eyes. He was last seen wearing a green shirt depicting the “Legend of Zelda” video game logo, khaki cargo shorts, and flip-flops.

Jase does not appear to have any scars, tattoos, or noticeable birth marks. He was last seen carrying an army fatigue patterned backpack on his shoulder, and a surgical mask and a bag of raw asparagus in his hands.



From: Det. John Farraday

To: Cap. Michael Swan

Sent: Tuesday, August 5

Message: Hey Mike. I’m going over this missing person’s report for the Stephenson kid when wouldn’t you know it, I see Boltman come walking in with a camo backpack just like the one described in the report. They found it stashed by the creek near his house, so I figure it must be his. All it had in it was a notebook with just a few pages of writing. I had Boltman take some pictures and he should be bringing them over to you now. Weird stuff. Are all the kids into this crap these days?

Regards, John.



Alright, kid, here’s the deal: no matter what your parents or your teacher or that professor who talked on the documentary have to say about it, there is such a thing as time travel. And yes, it is possible for even a kid like you to hitchhike his way across the Stream. But if you’re going to do so, you have to know the rules.

1 – The consequences of your actions are yours to live with. This is the most important thing for you to get your head around if you’re going to hitchhike through time. There’s no guy in a phone booth who’s going to show up and fix your problems, nor some crazy haired scientist in a fancy car. It’s you. And call it karma, call it cause and effect, call it God, call it what you like, but whenever you mess around in the timestream, it has a way of coming back to you. So make sure you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it before you do it.

2 – Bring your own food. Seriously. You do not want to know what happens when you eat food from a time period your system can’t handle.

3 – Bring a mask. A standard hospital mask is okay. Actually, people will stare at you far less than you think. Or you can head to any time after 2267 when everyone started wearing the invisible body shields (but don’t look for them after 2584, they became unnecessary). Similar to rule 2, you don’t want to pick up the Spanish Flu or the plague or something. Watch what you touch, too.

4 – Don’t take rides from people who don’t look human. Chances are they come from after 3176 when major body modification became standard. It isn’t just the human appearance that went out of style, if you know what I mean.

5 – Always eat asparagus before you go. Maybe mix it up a little and eat some even when you’re not going, though, or else your parents might get suspicious. Unless they’re in on it, then it’s no big deal. Either way, you’ll need the sulfur for the jumps, so eat it, and bring some with you. Don’t worry about the smell when you go to the bathroom, that’s normal.

6 – Don’t sweat causality. Whatever you’ve read, there’s no such thing as a paradox that destroys the universe. Or at least, the universe is still kickin’ and I’ve done plenty to mess it up. And as far as I can tell, I’ve never prevented my own existence. Just don’t treat the world like a playground, alright? We all have to live here too.

7 – Don’t kill famous people. See rule 6 above. The world isn’t your playground. And it’s easy to get lost if you make big changes.

8 – Clean up after yourself. It’s pretty normal for there to be anomalies here and there; people who remember things that didn’t happen (I laughed so hard when I first heard “Mandela Effect”), anachronous artifacts (ever hear of the antikythera mechanism?) and so on. Just try not to leave a trail of mysteries in your wake. It’s not the problem the theorists of the 21st century or those Synchronism activists of the 31st century make it out to be, but it’s a little like leaving trash on the trail of Mount Everest. It just makes it worse for the rest of us.

9 – Don’t tell other people about your jump spot. It’s no big deal, I just think people should have to discover them for themselves. Kinda like solving a mystery book, you know?

10 – Never talk to a guy named Michael Swan. Never. Ever.

11 – Always remember the exact time, date, and weather when you left. All else fails, you get yourself a Stream Almanac, you look it up and show it to whoever you’re riding with. 99 times out of 100 they’ll get you home.

12 – Have fun. It’s supposed to be an adventure, right? So live it. Chase your dreams, kid.

13 – Almost forgot: Don’t ask anyone to take you back more than ten thousand years or so. No one will, and they’ll probably get mad at you. And if they’re willing, they probably aren’t trustworthy. Or they’re crazy. Probably from going back too far. Stick to know history, is all I’m saying.

14 – Came back to add this, hope you see it: Don’t lose this notebook.



From: Det. John Farrady

To: Cap. Michael Swan

Sent: Wednesday, August 6

Message: Did you pull that backpack out of evidence? I wanted to look at it again and when I went down there Bronte said she couldn’t find it. No signature from anyone pulling it. What gives?



Description: A man, approximately six feet tall, with shaggy, wavy brown hair, wearing a surgical mask and a green t-shirt, walking in a downtown area. The two towers of the World Trade Center pre-9/11 can be seen in the background.



From: Det. John Farrady

To: Cap. Michael Swan

Sent: Monday, August 11

Message: Hi Mike. I’m not sure if this is just someone’s idea of a joke, or what I’m supposed to think here. I opened an envelope and out came this picture. That’s it. No note. Made a couple copies, went down to evidence to turn it in. Asked Bronte about the backpack, and she had no idea what I was talking about. Didn’t remember us looking for it last week, but there it was in the lockup. I had her pull it out for me and it was just like I remember it, except for this: the last time I looked at that flipping notebook there were only thirteen of those “rules” written in it, but now there are fourteen. Last one reads: “Came back to add this, hope you see it: Don’t lose this notebook.” Can you look in your photos just to see if that’s in there? I feel like I’m losing my mind here.

Regards, John.



From: Det. John Farrady

To: Cap. Michael Swan

Sent: Tuesday, August 12

Message: This has to all be one big stupid joke, Mike. I hope you’re not in on it, like it’s revenge for that time I put your car on the roof. I just talked with the Stephenson lady. She claims she doesn’t have a son, and never filed a report. Also, the backpack is gone. Again.



From: Det. John Farrady

To: Cap. Michael Swan

Sent: Tuesday, August 12

Message: Captain, I am sorry to trouble you, but there seems to be some kind of paperwork confusion here, or perhaps someone is playing a practical joke. I have here on my desk a missing person’s report with a variety of evidence, most of which is signed by myself. However, I did not file this report, nor am I familiar with this evidence. As far as I can tell, the people mentioned in the report don’t exist, or at least, they don’t live in the Denver area. When you get a chance, please stop by my desk and we can sort this out.

Sincerely, Det. Farrady



Begin Recording: This is Captain Michael Swan of the Denver Police Department, and I am submitting this packet to… whoever you people are, and I hope you’ll take it away from me and never let me see it again. This packet was left sitting on an empty desk in our department yesterday, with no indication who prepared it. All I know is that we have never, to my knowledge, had a “Detective John Farrady” working for our department, nor has my car ever been put on the roof. None of the evidence listed in the reports is in our lockup. As far as I’m concerned, this is either a practical joke or some government business that I want nothing to do with. The only reason I’m bothering is because a guy who identified himself as Jason Stephenson over the phone gave me your address, told me to record this message, and to mail it all to you. So here you go. Enjoy. (END RECORDING)


This story shouldn’t have been written… but I wrote it anyway.

The Kid’s Guide to Hitchhiking (Jon’s Version)

  1. Do not tell mom you plan to hitchhike to go to Drake’s.
  2. After she spanks you, make sure to sulk in your room for a while.
  3. While you’re sulking, double-check your map and your backpack. Make sure you have a tissue box, a flashlight, three Tootsie Rolls, and Bavary. (Or whatever dumb thing you named your bear. If you don’t have a bear, make sure you bring an animal just as ferocious. If you’ve grown up too much to have a stuffed animal, bring your imaginary friend. Or your girlfriend, since those are just as scary. If you don’t have any of those things, you’re a loser.) Bring the extra keys, the really rusty ones.
  4. Sneak out the window when the sun is just over the top of the tree, the one with no leaves on the first few branches. The one that looks like it’s faking being alive.
  5. Walk to the corner. Don’t run. Remember how the neighbors called your parents when they saw you try last time?
  6. When the moon is just over the hill, three black cars will drive by. Don’t look at the drivers. After each one drives by, eat one Tootsie Roll.
  7. An old red truck will go by. Hold out your hand with your thumb up, like you saw in that movie. When the truck stops and you see the driver is crying, offer the box of tissues. If her teeth are made of peas, don’t get in the car. If her eyes are made of marbles, you should be ok.
  8. She’ll ask where you’re going. Tell her you’re going to Drake’s. When she offers to take you anywhere else, show her Bavary. He’ll protect you. She’ll laugh, but she’ll drive you. Adults are silly like that.
  9. After a while, she will try to hug you. Throw Bavary at her. When he is attacking her, jump out of the car. Don’t worry; it’s safe. Mostly.
  10. It’s dark. Turn on the flashlight, stupid.
  11. Hide in the ditch until the cops come, and the tow truck takes the lady’s car away. Don’t worry; the ambulance won’t stick around long.
  12. After everyone’s gone, it’ll be really late. Soon a chariot will come by. A man with a really big nose will tell you that you will come with if you answer his riddle. Give him the keys, and he’ll shut up.
  13. Ask to ride the horse on the right. The one on the left stinks like your mom’s cabbage soup.
  14. You will fall asleep. When you wake up, the birds will be singing one of those dumb Broadway songs your dad always sings in the car on long trips. The chariot will be gone, and you’ll wake up in a faerie circle. Don’t touch the mushrooms.
  15. Drake will be waiting on the log over the stream like always. He’ll ask for the cookies, but you forgot them. Maybe you should have put them on your list. Don’t look at me. I didn’t know either.
  16. His tail will start twitching. That’s the signal to run.
  17. Make sure to avoid the fire he breathes at you. Remember the burns from last time?
  18. When you make it to the road, take the first car you see, unless it’s one of the black ones from last night. Remember, don’t look at the driver if it’s one of those black ones.
  19. Ask to go home.
  20. Your mom will be the driver. She’ll hug you. Be thankful. Mom’s hugs protect from dragon’s fire.
  21. Next time, remember to bring cookies.

This story shouldn’t have been written…but I wrote it anyway.

Orphan’s Song – A Review

Orphan’s Song

Imagine there is a song that embodies the power of the world. Imagine that to sing that song is to touch the power of creation and change the nature of things around you – to heal the broken, to prevent harm to others, to affect the actions of others and sense when people are near. Imagine that you alone can hear the song, and your voice alone can sing it.

This is the life of the orphan Birdie, the main character of Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams, first book in the Songkeeper Chronicles. Birdie has lived her twelve years with the mystery of the song that only she can hear, the ward of a less-than-kind innkeeper. Her only friend is an itinerant peddler, who holds his own secrets, who becomes her protector when soldiers of the evil ruler, the Takhran, come seeking Birdie.

If this sounds like your classic coming of age fantasy story aimed at adolescents, I can’t argue with you. The recipe is adapted a little, but it’s still the same cake we’ve eaten before. There’s a gryphon (or is it a hippogryph?), a magic sword, a streetwise urchin, and a stirring rebellion; in short, many of the classic elements of a good ol’ fantasy adventure story.

Continue reading

Hammers, Screwdrivers, and Scissors: An I-Can-Do-It Book (Helen’s Version)

He sat among them, surrounding himself in their company. A neat stack near his right elbow, waiting.  The rest spread out all around, overlapping here and there as thoughts from one source seemed to flow into the next. Stories, myth and legend, fantasy….evidence.

“Still here?! The supplies are packed!  We should be gone already!” the voice echoed too loudly across the library. “We decided this weeks ago, and you lost.”

A set of heavy steps and a set of lighter, quicker ones behind those approached the desk.

“You decided you won,” Filvarel observed without looking up from his study.

“There is no proof. No solid evidence. Nothing. End of story. Book closed. Let’s go.” Dhuggoc scooped up the books and papers and heaped them onto a return cart. Salser jumped at the noise, landing between Dhuggoc and Filvarel.

“The proof is all around you,” Filvarel plucked a volume back from the cart.

“Proof of what? That fairies exist or that they don’t?” Salser prodded.

“I’m not starting this again. Time to go,” Dhuggoc insisted.

“They are as real as any of us. Fairy tales are everywhere. Every culture, every generation. It is based on some truth.” Filvarel marked a passage of his book for further study.

“What is truth? Your truth or mine? Truth can be tricky, like me,” Salser chuckled, hopping from one foot to the other.

“You will shut up,” Dhuggoc warned. “You’re distracting him.” He grabbed the remaining books and papers from Filvarel’s hands and dumped them on a poor, unsuspecting librarian as she passed. “Unless you hand me a fairy, a real live fairy, they don’t exist. No such creature, no such magic. And no more delay!” He turned on his heel and tromped out. It seemed dwarves did not belong in libraries.

Filvarel sighed and gathered up his things. Between Salser’s antics and Dhuggoc’s rough demeanor, his companions were leaving quite a wake in the normally peaceful library. Filvarel whispered an apology to the book-keeper at the center of the library as he passed. And, running his hand along the shelves with a promise to return soon, he slipped between the rows and out into the tree-lined street.

“What if he handed you a dead fairy? Do dead fairies count?” Salser goaded.

“A dead fairy would only prove that they once existed. My point is that they are still with us today.” Filvarel unrolled a small sketch, still unfinished.

“I see no one with us except this trickster. And I’m done with this argument. Nothing has changed. You still have no proof,” Dhuggoc didn’t look back.

“What is your proof? How do you prove they don’t exist? Hand him a not-fairy?” Salser was enjoying this a bit too much. Duggoc glared at him.

“You cannot see the air. Nor can you see loyalty,” Filvarel commented.

“Why must you complicate matters?” Dhuggoc was getting agitated now. “And put away your silly drawing, elf. That is a child’s work.”

“I am merely trying to cut through the flaws in your logic,” Filvarel replied evenly.

“Stop it. I hate that. My mind is set,” Dhuggoc asserted.

“Yes, you do keep repeating your point,” Filvarel left it at that. He rolled his parchment up again, content to work on it later.

“And you said things that are repeated are based on some truth,” Salser triumphed. The little gnome looked like he might break into a jig.

“Just as you said that you can be tricky,” Filvarel countered. “You twist my words.”

Salser laughed gleefully and ran ahead counting himself the winner this round. Dhuggoc shook his head and strode on, eager to continue their journey. Filvarel, however, paused a moment and glanced into the branches of a nearby oak.  “Why can they not see the fairies?” he asked.

“Seeing is not believing,” the winged creature replied lightly. “You have to believe it; you have to know it to be true. Then look closely and see. Fae magic holds this world together. But once dried….”

“Glue is invisible.” Filvarel supplied.

This story shouldn’t have been written…but I wrote it anyway.