All posts by fantasyandrealityblog

Through your journey with me you shall discover what's real and what is fantasy.

King of the Mardi Gras

edenfreed.com

Eden Freed is working on a few exciting projects.  In the mean time she has some Short Stories From Eden’s Garden, just to hold you over, till then.

Just a quick taste or a tease if you would, her short stories debut with:

The King of the Mardi Gras, now available on Kindle.

Excerpt:

“Phillip!” she screamed for the stagehand as I walked in wearing my best wool suit and closed the door behind myself. Lydia Thompson faced her fair share of gentleman callers since her Burlesque troupe, the British Blonds, arrived in the United States but I was decidedly different. I was greedier than most and she looked at me with uneasy eyes.

“Cher, don’t be frightened. I am here to make a business proposition. We would love to feature you and your troupe in New Orleans.”

Lydia relaxed a little and laughed, “Then, you, sir, are wasting…

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Feeding a cheeseburger to a Jew: the issue of moral primacy.

Thank you all for joining me here. For those who followed me from the FB comment section, I hope you enjoy a bit of friendly bickering and as always you are most welcome to leave a comment below. For those who come directly into this blog from your email, I will first explain what spurred this post:

A Facebook friend of mine re-posted from Memes Republic something about feeding a Vegan a real hamburger without telling them. This caused a storm of righteous indignation in general, but when I commented: “…. As far as religious reasons and other personal convictions: I find myself allergic to ideology pushers.” It focused the main thrust of the storm on me. I am glad, because this gave me a reason to explain and expand more on the issue.

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We all make choices in every walk of life, and we have or should have the right to make most of those choices. The problem arises when different choices are guided by different moral values. Basically when one moral issue is pinned against another, and the choice becomes, which one do we assign a higher moral value.

Lets focus on dietary choices, because this post originated from that issue. Again I want to stress that allergies, of which I might not be aware of and some might pose a serious health risk are not what I am talking about. I want to talk about personal choices, be it being vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, or simply watching you calories, sugar or salt intake. You should be informed of what you are about to consume. Imagine if I just wanted to avoid GMO foods, I can look at the label when I am buying it and…. Oh wait, I might need a QR reader for that, that’s if the rule ever gets implemented here in the U.S. in the first place! That’s just goes to show you that government and big corporations can hide the truth, lie to you and mislead you and we will still run to them like chickens to a feed. But I am beginning to digress.

If you choose not to eat meat, or even just a specific dish it is your choice, you do have the right to do so. After all you should be able to control what goes into your body. The problem is what happens when someone else violates your choice?

The range of emotions can vary from laughing it off to hurt and anger, possibly even hate. We even see extreme cases such as the case of Asia Bibi who is on death row in Pakistan resulting from an argument spurred by her drinking water from the same utensil as her Muslim neighbors. This is an extremist take on a simple issue.

If your friend pulls a joke on you and gives you a piece of bacon to eat, and you are a practicing orthodox Jew or a Muslim, should you jump over the table and rip their heart out? This behavior illustrates a clash between different moral choices. My moral choice between doing what I think is a harmless joke vs my moral obligation to respect his/her wishes, Also a person’s own moral choice not to eat pork vs. their moral choice not to kill.

We make choices, to which we have the right to, but should those choices be final and ultimate?

I was born and raised in a religious tradition that kept strictly to Lent. No parties (not even birthdays), no meat on Fridays and total fasting on Fridays during Lent. I was horrified at seeing people from my religious tradition in other countries, ignoring the rule. I was shocked at the younger generation blowing off this sacred and eternal law! Then I looked closer at the instructions from the church leaders and …. Boy was I shocked! I learned that the tradition is just that, nothing else. It is my personal choice and not a law. That I should follow it if I am able to, but if not, not worry, try next time. It opened my eyes that I, and only I am responsible for the choices. If I choose to be Vegan, not for any health reasons, I should let others know. If they do not respect my choice, I should let them know how important this choice is to me. I should not go ripping their heart out, but communicate in a positive and constructive way. After all, friend will make jokes at your expense occasionally, and if each time you walk away from them, you’ll end up with no friends, while they will just do it to someone else. Staying friends with them, albeit challenging, gives you the opportunity to sway them to your way of thinking. After all you choices should remain fluid and adoptable to situations. You should redirect other to see your way softly but persistently, rather than push and shove, which will result in making enemies for no reason.

As I mentioned, letting others know about your choices is solely your responsibility especially if you have restrictions for health reason. If you have peanut allergies you should let those who serve you food know. If they intentionally violate your restriction, then that’s comparable to an attempt at poisoning, but when you just tell them you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you imply a personal choice that does not reflect a potential health risk. Expect them forgetting it sometimes testing your resolve. Your friends are not perfect.

I am fat, and I am constantly trying to diet. So far of all the diets I tried, a strange one seemed to have the best effect (for as long as I stuck to it). It was suggested to me by my Muslim cardiologist. Why am I mentioning his religion? Because the diet boiled down to following Ramadan style dietary practice. No Food from dawn to dusk, and then one simple meal. Simple but effective. It worked, then I stopped.

My co-worker keeps on bringing delicious foods for the office. Cookies, donuts, cakes, chips and salsa etc.   Funny that he himself is diabetic and does not eat that stuff. The temptation was too much for me to resist and I quit the diet. I thought I should go talk to him about this, but then I realized that my diet was my choice and my responsibility, not his. He could not eat this stuff but it gave him pleasure to share with his co-workers. Why should my choice, affect him and all others who benefit from it. So I decided to gain more resolve and try the diet again, knowing I will have to face this challenge by myself.

Now let me look at this issue from another perspective. People make dietary choices, what they eat and what they don’t. People choose whether to take medication or not, whether to get vaccinated or not. All the choices we make have moral implications that may or may not conflict with others, so we must always be educated. An uneducated veganism can lead to poor nutrition. I have seen that first hand with a woman juicing wheat grass and giving it to her five years old child. She has never given the kid milk, nor formula, and breast feeding was out of the question (it would flatten her boobs). The kid was at the developmental level of a eighteen month old, but she refused to see diet choice as the culprit. If we are educated about nutritional needs and fulfill them through a vegan diet, then that’s OK, but what happens when it becomes obvious that the diet choice we made is not healthy for us. Let me mention here the famous Atkins diet. It is controversial in the sense that people consume high levels of saturated fats that can lead to heart problems. The diet is their choice, but is it right for their health?

What about bulimics and anorexics? Their eating habits are their own personal choice as well, yet are classified as eating disorders. No one is crying when an anorexic is institutionalized and ‘forced’ to regain some weight. This is because some people value the life of the anorexic higher, than the anorexic values their own.

Is it morally wrong for a doctor to save a life by giving a transfusion to someone who refuses it for religious reasons? On this one I stand with the doctor.

When you contend that your choice must always and everywhere be respected, then you automatically are on a collision course with choices of others. What if I suddenly choose that my wife must always cover her body in a Burka, never speak to another male, and lower her eyes when speaking to me? After all, by some religious traditions she is my property and therefore it is my choice what I do with her and to her. Lucky, my own wife is part Puerto-Rican and if I even proposed that idea, I would face her wrath.  I would suffer serious injury or at least I would find myself sleeping with the dog in the rain outside. Correction, she would let the dog in.

There are many evils in the world. Child abuse, rape, sex trafficking, incest, poverty and lack of education, to name a few. Those are the issues worth fighting for. Those are situations when someone’s heart should be ripped out of their chest. Those are some of the issues where I could see getting violent in moral defense. A personal choice made for self-improvement or a religious reason, in my humble view takes second place to these. So if I chose to feed a cheeseburger to a Jew, and to initiate a conflict of moral primacy, it should not result in my demise. My poor moral choice is not his justification to kill me.

Will his reaction be an escalation of conflict or de-escalation through constructive dialogue? That choice will be his.

We are brothers aren’t we?

Few days ago my child asked me about why do the Jews and the Arabs hate each other.

Well…. I am not going to venture into the reasons that caused the child to notice it, nor for that matter, will I dispute whether such hate actually exists. I will tackle only my responsibility as a parent to explain what my child observed. Here I must clarify also that by “Jews” was meant practitioners of Judaism and not anyone of Jewish origin, and by Arabs what the child really meant was practitioners of Islam. The reason I am making this clarification is because I myself was wondering if I am observing some germinating seed of racial prejudice or a generalized observation of behavior among people who self-identify to belong to one of these particular groups. So in the end the question boils down to why practitioners of Judaism and Islam harbor ill will towards each other.

At first, I decided to best my grandmother (bless her soul) who, when faced with a difficult question, would simply respond: ‘God only knows.’ But after ranting and explaining to my kid long enough that his eyes begun to glisten and a yawn pierced his fading attention span, I realized that I was saying the same thing my grandmother used to, just with many, many more words.

So without any further ado, allow me put you to sleep with the journey of discovering the brotherly relation between the Muslims and the Jews.

As you might recall, it all goes back to the Old Testament, the book of Genesis and the birth of Ishmael. Chapter 16,17, 21 and 25 to be exact, deal with this interesting story which can be abbreviated so: Abraham was promised by God, that his seed will be as numerous as dust of the Earth, so Abraham decided to help God a bit. The good book does place the blame on Sarai, who originally came up with this idea, but if Sarai suggestion is allowed to be so powerful, then men have no actual authority, and we are just blameless sheep led to slaughter by these superior females. Although I am positive that such an outlook would be welcomed by some women activists, I am quite of the opinion that this ‘blame’ was written in just to exonerate the ‘wonderful’ father of the Hebrew nation.

At that point lets indulge ourselves in the intricate setup to help God, as devised by Abraham and Sarai. Genesis 16: 3-4 (KJV)

And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Ok, before we go any further with that:   notice that Sarai gave her (Hagar) to be his (Abraham’s) wife. So the initial intent by the writer seems bearable: Hagar becomes Abraham’s second wife, which in those times and in that culture was considered acceptable. Then why do we have Hagar despising Sarai, once she became pregnant? The writer turns the table and makes Sarai the victim here when she says: And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee. But anyone can see, that the slave girl was simply given up for rape. She was never married to Abraham, or at least no one mentions it, and later she is treated and sent away like a dog.

If you know anything about rape victims, especially about victims of repeated sexual abuse, you will realize that a Stockholm syndrome is very likely and therefore the victim will find enmity with the situation, circumstance or person who perpetuates such situation, rather than the perpetrator himself.   Also in cases where Stockholm syndrome did not take root, the victim will rationalize that the perpetrator is not the only culprit, but those who aid and abet him are as responsible as the perpetrator.

So there should be no wonder that Hagar would despise Sarai, the problem here is that Sarai knowing that Hagar is pregnant, fears that her own status might suffer, so she begins the process of removing Hagar from her path.

At first, Abraham gives the fate of Hagar to Sarai. If she were one of his wives, he would have not done so, but once again his actions shine light on this situation. Hagar is just a slave and has no status. Sarai deals harshly with the girl and Hagar flees. (Gen 16:6) but then a messenger from God pops in and tells Hagar to return and be meek: Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands (Gen 16:9). In exchange he promises to make her descendants countless. She returned and gave birth to a son: Ishmael.

Years later when Ishmael was thirteen, Sarah gave birth to a son named Isaac. Again Sarah started concocting against Hagar and her son and eventually demanded that Abraham send them away. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac (Gen 21:10). Here the good book mentions that Ishmael was mocking, but does not go into details. Guess mocking was a terrible and unforgivable crime that deserved a great punishment.

Here Abraham has a second though, he got used to Ishmael as his son, but God intervenes and says it’s OK to chase the boy and his mother away into wilderness. Abraham was such a wonderful man, that he trusted that God will take care of them. Strangely he did not trust God that much before he slept with Hagar, or when he mocked God for promising him a son when he was about a hundred years old. Please notice that Abraham mocking God was not punishable in any specific way while Ishmael mocking someone that was not even mentioned, got him kicked out from his home.

Hagar giving Ishmael water from the Miraculous Well in the Desert. Charles Paul Landon (1760-1826). Oil on canvas, 75 x 103cm.

 

Again an interesting piece comes mentioned: God tells Abraham to listen to Sarah’s advice (Gen 21:12) to chase the boy away. This is the second time Abraham is exonerated of making a bad decision, and a woman steps in his place, this time backed by God. So there should be no qualms that the writer of this text made sure Men are not to be blamed for any bad decisions.

What strikes me in this story is what follows in Genesis 22. Here Abraham is tested for his faithfulness and ordered to sacrifice, Isaac. When he complies, God intervenes and stops the sacrificial murder.

The reason this is so striking, is because I have not mentioned God’s responsibility in this whole fiasco. It is easy to blame Sarah while trying to exonerate Abraham, but what did God do or did not do to make things happen. First, God communicated with Abraham and gave him his covenant, he made his promises (of multiple progeny) and he promised him a land. He intervened when Hagar escaped from Sarah, the first time and the spoke with Abraham taking Sarah’s side to kick Hagar out. God also intervened to save Hagar and Ishmael in the desert and to stop Abraham from killing Ishmael. But somehow, somewhere God was absent when Sarah gave Hagar to be raped by Abraham.

When Sarah mocked God’s messenger and his promise of a child, He heard it and reprimanded her. But When Sarah concocted her plan on Hagar, no one stopped her.

The author of this text was so concerned with explaining enmity between the two groups, while keeping his people blameless that he missed implicating his own God as a culprit. And since according to the book, God was a culprit in this situation, therefore it is correct to state that: only God knows why.

Cover Reveal for Caridad Pineiro and One Summer Night

Fantasy and Reality Blog is proud to host NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Caridad Pineiro with over a million books sold worldwide in her cover reveal. Read and enjoy.

Blurb:

Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business. Her options are dwindling, and she needs someone who can turn things around—fast. Problem is, the only person who can help her is trouble with a capital T. The Sinclair and Pierce families have been feuding for nearly 30 years, but that hasn’t stopped Jax Pierce from noticing Maggie. And he likes what he sees—a lot. But getting involved would mean risking his family, his inheritance, and above all, his heart. Can Maggie and Jax keep their simmering attraction at bay—or will mixing business and pleasure bring nothing but heartache?

Excerpt:

With keen interest, Owen Pierce took note of the three women as they hurried away from the dais and into the Sinclair mansion.

“Put your eyes back in your head, Bro. She’s nothing but trouble,” Jon warned in low tones.

Owen bit back the retort that if anyone knew about trouble, it was his brother. Jonathan had always marched to a different drummer and had set out on his own as a teenager to explore what he wanted out of life. Now a successful entrepreneur, he had captured the media’s attention with his innovative designs and daring adventures. That left Owen to shoulder most of the burden of the family’s real estate business, as well as deal with his father’s anger over Jonathan’s latest newsworthy escapade.

He envied his brother’s carefree spirit and determination, especially as Maggie Sinclair marched back onto the patio with her friends, an angry bride, and an obviously inebriated groom. Both the bride and groom looked far from happy as they approached the elaborate multi-tiered wedding cake that had been wheeled out to the middle of the makeshift dance floor.

He worried the bride might plunge the long knife she held into her new husband, but luckily for the newlyweds, Maggie directed the blade toward the cake.

Jon playfully elbowed him. “Seriously, Owen. She’s not for you. Father declared the Sinclairs off-limits ages ago. He would have a stroke if he thought the two of you were involved.”

Involved with Maggie Sinclair, Owen thought and sighed with regret.

In a way, he’d been involved with her forever. He’d like to chalk it all up to a sloppy, hurried, and stolen kiss at eighteen and the allure of forbidden fruit. But since that kiss, he’d watched her mature into a smart, beautiful woman. One who was willing to work hard for the town and business she cared about as well as friends and family. With every encounter, he’d grown more intrigued with the person Maggie had become.

But his father had come down hard on them about mingling with the Sinclairs right after Maggie’s mother’s death. For years, they’d been unable to come to their Sea Kiss home, and even when they’d returned, they’d done so without their father, who refused to be so close to the family he thought had wronged him.

Not that Owen expected that Jon would kowtow to such rules, since his brother was the kind of man who didn’t hesitate to take what he wanted.

He arched a brow and met his brother’s blue-eyed gaze, which glittered with a mix of undisguised challenge and amusement. “Do you think you’re the only one entitled to a little adventure in your life?” he said.

Jon chuckled. “My kind of adventure is way safer than what you may be considering.”

“Why’s that, Li’l Bro?” he asked, appreciating the sight of Maggie in a dusty-rose gown that hugged dangerous curves. Her chestnut-brown hair fell to her shoulders in soft waves and framed ice-blue eyes and a sassy, sexy face that snared his attention every time he saw her.

Jonathan took a last sip of his champagne and barely stifled another laugh. With a shake of his head, he replied, “Because all I risk is an occasional broken bone, but that…”  He jerked his head in Maggie’s direction as she stepped back beside Connie and Emma.  “That will break your heart.”

Behind the Scenes Tidbits for the At the Shore Series: Click Here

Purchase Links:

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Paperback
B&N
iBooks
Kobo: Coming Soon!

Caridad Bio:

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shore, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million books sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country. You can connect with Caridad at www.caridad.com. You can also find Caridad on:

Twitter ,  FacebookPinterest and on Goodreads !

Want to receive Caridad’s newsletter with exclusive content just for subscribers and special giveaways? Just visit http://bit.ly/2cbxlYw to sign up. Caridad values your privacy and will not share your e-mail or personal information.

In the Garden of Eden

By Phanuel

  • I woke in the Garden of Eden
  • Found flowers around, straight from heaven
  • The choice was mine, which one to take
  • To cherish and love, for my own sake.
  • I looked around this dazzling patch,
  • The one I pick shall be my match.
  • The colorful play of charming petals,
  • Shining and sparkling like precious metals.
  • The shimmer of leafs and diamond glow
  • Soft and tender like flakes of snow
  • I finally picked one, a true work of art
  • Lifted it gently into my heart.
  • The one I took was a white rose.
  • My mind rejoiced for what I chose
  • I cuddled it gently in palm of my hand
  • Knowing my love will last till the end.
  • But as I walked with my loving flower
  • My eyes got struck by red gleaming shower
  • I looked that way, for I was puzzled,
  • And saw the source of that dazzle.
  • It was the one I did not see!
  • It made my soul cry inside of me.
  • A wonderful rose, its color red
  • It shattered my heart, and then it bled.
  • Its beauty was grand, simply divine,
  • Yet I could not take it, it wouldn’t be mine.
  • For choice I made, was done and sealed
  • The garden had ruled: one flower to yield.
  • I cried at my loss, angry with fate
  • Turning on White Rose all of my hate.
  • In anger and loath I trampled my flower
  • And stomped away feeling all sour
  • I left the Garden and its beauty behind
  • Then realized I was stupid and blind
  • It our fault we don’t rejoice
  • When exercising the freedom of choice

Fantasy is so Tiresome

By Phanuel

 

I stretch my hand, and almost can touch you

Yet, I miss you

Each day I behold the face that is you

Yet, I miss you

I hear your voice, and can speak to you

Yet, I miss you

 

julietzWhen your laughter fills my ears

It brings me to tears

When you speak of your troubles and your fears

It brings me to tears

When I think that I have known you for years

It brings me to tears

 

You confide your joys and heartbreaks

While my soul weeps and quakes

You speak of achievements and mistakes

While my soul weeps and quakes

Sometimes you’re true, sometimes you’re fake

No matter which, it still makes my soul quake.

 

So close to you, yet so far indeed

I’m lost in my anguish, my heart starts to bleed

Each moment that passes, I can’t move either way

I fear what you think, or what you may say

 

I stand proud, with smile on my face

Yet I’d rather be in another place.

I joke and laugh, appear to be at ease

While my heart sinks to its knees.

I listen to all you have to say

But in truth, I’m trying to run away.

 

I have become an empty vase

How much more will I debase

How long will I persist in my lies

While all around me withers and dies.

 

I am burned out from passions fire

Dead and cold to my desire.

Would you ever wonder why?

That’s because deep inside, I know: you’ll  never be mine.

Cover Reveal for Jenn Nixon’s Mind: The Reckoning

Baldwin Bates has only wanted one thing since joining MIND, to take care of his friends and keep them all safe. While the MIND team is busy dealing with an emergence of psychic MindTheReckoningand alien activity, Bates takes his first solo assignment searching for a woman who claims to see the future, only to botch it up and let her get away.

After helping to destroy an alien device called the Transcender, Lexa Quinn wakes from a two-week coma a very different person than she was before. While her abilities grow stronger, her feelings for Bates begin to interfere with the MIND team’s mission putting everyone at risk. Secrets from her past threaten the present and future, forcing Lexa to decide who she is and where she belongs.

When a powerful, ancient enemy lays claim to the Earth and brings his judgment upon the population, Bates, Lexa, and the entire MIND team must do whatever it takes to save the human race before the reckoning is complete.

#SciFi #Romance #Series

Release Date: October 2016

Need to catch up? Books 1 & 2 are only $2.99!

MIND: The Beginning (Bk1) 

MIND: The Emergence (Bk2)

 

BIO: Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

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