Christmas is Practically Here – eBooks are Greatest Last Minute Gift Bargains #ebook #book #giftideas

Join a near-future colony on Mars - AMazon and all major online storesTwas the night before Christmas –
Thought my shopping was done,
Till I sprang from the couch.
I’d forgotten someone!

No worries. Send an ebook at the speed of light – an affordable last minute gift.
Glory on Mars, Colonization Book 1: Emma wants to explore and build a new home, but something is terribly wrong on Mars. At Amazon or your favorite store. Read a preview on Amazon.

Someday soon you’ll be reading real-live tales of a colony on Mars. Until then, travel with science fiction. Each book in my On Mars series is a stand-alone story, so start anywhere. Hours of reading fun for teens and adults.

A book’s faster than eagles
On its internet flight.
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a good night.

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Happy Christmas #merrychristmas #happyholidays #xmas #hannukah #HappyHannukah #Kwanzaa #HappyKwanzaa

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Favorite ornaments

The holiday season is in full flower. Solstice is behind us and I enjoyed walking a friend’s labyrinth at her party. It’s Christmas Eve, Hanukkah starts tonight, Kwanzaa in two days, and  other winter festivals you might enjoy: Saint Nicholas Day (Christian), Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican), St. Lucia Day (Swedish), Hanukkah (Jewish), Christmas Day (Christian), Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian), Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish), Omisoka (Japanese), Yule (Pagan), Saturnalia (Pagan). I wonder which holidays will follow colonists into space?

Personally, I’m a totally lapsed Catholic who still enjoys the traditions of my youth – I have one live Xmas tree and two artificial trees in my home. The cats are finally old enough (mature enough?) to refrain from knocking them over. 🙂

My best wishes to you and yours for the holidays and the New Year.

Happy Solstice – Winter in North, Summer in South, #holiday on Earth #solstice #Merrychristmas

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Walking the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral

Thanks to the tilt of Earth’s axis, we’re about to mark the Perihelion Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, or longest day and shortest night in the southern.

Earth will be closest to the Sun, at its orbital perihelion, about two weeks after the December Solstice. The close timing is a coincidence, an artifact of our eccentric orbit.

In 1246, the December Solstice was on the same day as the Earth reached its Perihelion. Since then, the Perihelion and Aphelion dates have drifted by a day every 58 years. In the short-term, the dates can vary up to 2 days from one year to another.

Mathematicians and astronomers estimate that in the year 6430, over 4000 years from now, the timing of the Perihelion and the March Equinox will coincide. timeanddate.com

Our ancestors have studied the annual cycle of the Sun since Neolithic times. Stonehenge may be the most famous instrument to monitor the seasons, but there are many others across the world. We still celebrate the solstice, whether by that name or subsumed into other holidays. Our tribe still gathers to feast, defying the darkness with promises of future prosperity.

From the traditions of northern Europe we get Christmas trees, wreathes, and Yule logs – and celebrate by exchanging gifts. These traditions were even carried to the southern hemisphere, where a snow-bound Xmas is just a story.

In Iran, families gather together to eat – with nuts, pomegranates and watermelons favored – and read poetry.

In China, expect to see pink and white rice-flour dumplings in sweet broth, symbolizing unity and prosperity.

I’ll be attending a friend’s party and walking her candle-lit labyrinth.

I’m no Persian poet, but here’s my ode to the shifting North Star.

mars-ad-solstice-400x304What holidays will travel with us to Mars? I speculate that the orbital points of equinoxes and solstices will be observed, and perhaps anniversaries of mission landings. Mark your holidays with gifts of books – science fiction and poetry.

All my books, including science fiction and science-rr-3-coversinspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Merry #Xmas :) Keep an eye out for Santa

is that you santaHarvey – cover model for Glory on Mars – watches for Santa – or, at least, for reindeer

The Face of Jesus #MerryChristmas #ChristmasEve

face-of-jesus-01-0312-mdnThis has always fascinated me – I’m familiar with medieval artistic traditions portraying Jesus of Nazareth as a tall, slender figure with flowing hair, light colored eyes, and a decidedly European appearance. But the Gospel of Matthew says, when the Romans arrested Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas had to show the soldiers which one was Jesus because they couldn’t tell him apart from his disciples. So Jesus was a man who looked like other men of his time and place. What did he really look like? Popular Mechanics produced an answer in 2002 (reposted in 2015) using forensic anthropology, and it’s still my favorite. Happy Xmas.