Fear Naught Tales: Spooky Stories to Read and Tell is live and available to purchase, as of Friday, April 13! The book features 13 original spooky stories — with illustrations — perfect for middle grade readers. Each story has a “Tell Time” and a “Scare Rating” to guide readers to pick the best story for every creepy moment! The bonus chapter offers “13 Tips for Telling Fear Naught Tales.”
Today I got to unbox proof copies of the paperback version of “Fear Naught Tales: Spooky Stories to Read and Tell” — watch the video and share in the excitement! Then plan to get your own copy in either eBook or paperback when it launches Friday, April 13!
Help me choose my author photo! “Fear Naught Tales” has 13 all-new spooky stories to read and tell … which pic best reps the guy who wrote them?
Visit facebook.com/randomhandyman to vote and track the results!
(Credit to Chris Bishop for the fantastic studio photography!)
I wrote the following article for The Airscoop, the official installation newspaper of Vance Air Force Base, in February 1998, when I was stationed there as a public affairs journeyman.
VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – For the superstitious, 1998 could be a very unlucky year, as Feb. 13 is the first of three Friday the 13ths in 1998.
Many of the superstitions modern western people hold dear – including the beliefs that 13 is an unlucky number, our human fates are tied to the patterns of the stars and black cats are evil – originated more than 5,000 years ago in the Middle East, specifically, in Mesopotamia, according to Dr. Michael Seth, professor of history at Phillips University in Enid, Okla.
“The fact that everything is sevens, 12s and 40s in the Old Testament, of course, is because those were considered good or lucky numbers in Mesopotamia,” Seth said, “and so you see them over and over and over in the Bible.”
Because 13 came after lucky number 12, it was associated with evil. “There are a lot of legends going on about the twelve apostles of Christ, and that the 13th member at the last supper was bad,” Seth said, “but these would be much later ideas, after the number 13 was already established as bad.”
In addition to continuing the belief that 13 is unlucky, Seth pointed out that people still believe in “lucky number seven,” especially in games of chance.
“Although these are really ancient Middle Eastern superstitions and beliefs, we still kind of like them,” he said.
According to Capt. Wendi L. Betz, behavioral health chief here, superstitions are formed when people erroneously draw connections between neutral phenomena and good or bad events in their lives that immediately follow those phenomena.
“Who knows how our superstitions got started in the beginning, but maybe somebody had a black cat cross their path, and then something bad happened to them, so they connected the two,” she said.
For the most part, Betz said, superstitions are a normal response to our often-random world. She added that even animals have been shown to display superstitious learning, citing pigeons that developed elaborate “rituals” designed to elicit a food reward during a controlled experiment.
Betz said humans invent their own rituals to create a desired result or to stave off an undesired result.
“I’ve seen some guys on the softball team that have a certain warm-up routine they do every time, or there are the people who play bingo, who bring all their lucky dolls and stuff with them,” Betz said.
Superstitions in a culture’s collective consciousness can be self-perpetuating, because people look for anything that can support their belief in the superstition, she added.
“If you have a superstition about Friday the 13th, you’re going to look for something bad to happen to you that day, and you’re going to pay attention to it (if it does occur),” Betz said. “Bad things can happen on other days than Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t count, because it doesn’t reinforce any belief,” Betz said.
“Then again, maybe black cats and Friday the 13th are bad, and they’re actually causing bad things to happen to people,” Betz added.
“But I have my doubts.”
Enter the frightful world of Fear Naught Tales … if you dare! The first book in a planned 13-volume series launches Friday, April 13, 2018! On these pages, find terrifying tales of horror and suspense for middle grade (8-12) readers. Witches, vampires, ghosts, and zombies await, ready to show you around their dark and richly illustrated world. Like an ancient oracle, the Tell Time and Scare Rating features will guide you to the just-right story to read. Crack open Fear Naught Tales … for spooky stories to read and tell!
You’ve heard it said that you are to “love the sinner but hate the sin.” This common Christianese phrase has a basis in Biblical truth, and is recited by church people as though it was red-letter text. But there are some problems with its use:
1) First, it’s decidedly NOT Biblical. Similarly worded, but decidedly different in meaning — and in bona fide red letters to boot — is the following: “You have heard that it was said, “love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” — from Matthew 5:43-44.
2) It’s hypocritical. ” … He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” — John 8:7. ‘Nuff said.
3) It’s divisive and judgmental. Yes, there will be an accounting for all shortcomings … I will spend a lot of time recounting my own personal sins (ugh!) … As fallen humans, we ARE our sin, so when we condemn sin, we condemn the lost we are trying to reach with God’s message of grace and mercy. That turns people off, frankly. It turns God off, too — in Proverbs 6:16, when the Bible describes seven things the Lord hates, “haughty eyes,” and “a person who stirs up conflict in the community,” are prime among them. So until His return, we of the church need to try harder to be about His love and forgiveness.
And of course, like most Christianese, using the phrase usually displays a lack of critical thought, and instead is simply something that we’ve heard and parrot to others.
The Faith Deconstructed category offers an occasionally thoughtful, sometimes glib, always faithful look at today’s Christianity, from the perspective of a reformed skeptic.
Christianese describes the jargon used by church people; those who’ve spent a lot of time in and around churches and seminaries and religious academia. The postings in this category constitute a “Saint’s Dictionary;” the collection seeks to define and deconstruct, with humor, the “foreign language” of these so-called church words.