The Truth Beyond the Sky is OUT: A Modern Myth of Galactic Proportions

The adventure changes today. For the better.

In his famous work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell wrote that when stories are shortened to “bites,” all of the most profound symbolism (and therefore the deeper meanings and nourishments) are left out. And this is pretty sad, to be honest.

“A superficial story,” he writes, “colludes in supporting a mad culture that insists that human beings remain frazzled, ever on the run, rather than inviting them, by the telling of a compelling story at some length, to slow down, to know that it is alright to sit down now, that it is good to take rest, and to listen with one’s inner hearing to something that is energizing, engaging, instructive, and nourishing in one way or another.”

You see, over the last four years I have been keeping a secret from you: I have been hard at work on such a story, a story that would energize, instruct, enthrall, and hopefully even nourish you. Over the past year, I have realized that, at my core, I am not a “writer” in the traditional sense as much as I am a storyteller. And because of its unique qualities, I believe this story has the potential to expand the conversation around modern myths. At least, if we’re lucky.

A Modern Myth of Galactic Proportions

The Truth Beyond the Sky front coverThe practical upshot of all of this is that I have indeed written an SF novel, the completion of which is the culmination of years of research, plot refinement, writing, and revision. And revision. And more revision… until I felt it was right.

But perhaps even more important than its science fiction elements is the fact that it is an adventure story about loss and hope, courage and fear (and yes, even purpose), which is why as a reader of this site, I know you’ll LOVE it.

And on 12/12/12, I formally released it on the Amazon Kindle store. It’s called “The Truth Beyond the Sky,” and the 310-page paperback edition is pictured here.

Later, I found out that a happy accident had occurred, and that its particular shade of blue seems to magically change depending on the surrounding environment.

But let’s get to the gift I have for you, as a reader of this site.

My Gift to YOU

The Secret Beneath the Ice front coverIf you’ve been following along over at the Aravinda Publishing blog, you already know this, but in case not, I’ll bring you up to speed.

Throughout autumn, I had wanted to write a short story to give you a free taste of this incredible world, and now that it’s out (and getting 5 star reviews on Amazon), I feel really good that I was able to create a short story that not only provides a great jumping-off point into the book, but that is being called a great story in its own right.

That short story is called “The Secret Beneath the Ice,” and I’m releasing it for free over at Smashwords in ALL of the popular formats, as well as the Kindle store.

I know Amazon gives you the ability to read the first 5 or so chapters of the novel, but I feel that giving you a complete story with a clear beginning, middle, and end, gives you a better feel for my storytelling style. So feel free to grab the short story over at Smashwords. Or over at the Amazon Kindle store.

And if you enjoy it, I know you’ll love “The Truth Beyond the Sky.”

UPDATE: Amazon has finally price-matched the short story to FREE on the Kindle store, so anyone with a Kindle or a device with the Kindle app can easily download the short story directly to their device, completely free! Get it on Amazon here!

A Taste of What People Think

The story within this book has been fermenting within my soul for a long time, and I’m incredibly excited to finally share it. I’ve also decided to price the ebook of the novel very aggressively at $2.99 to reach as many people as possible. So if you have a Kindle or have an Amazon account (their Cloud reader works on almost anything with a web connection) and you like SF or Adventure stories, I suspect you’ll enjoy the ride.

After all, I’m already getting incredible reviews on Amazon. This reviewer, for example, really seemed to get it:

5 starsAwesome, an Epic Adventure! — 2012.12.16
What a great read! This has everything I could ask for in a space adventure.

The story begins with a young astronomer named Zahn on the planet Avani, who lost his mother years earlier when she mysteriously disappeared. Struggling with the loss, he manages to hold out hope that she is still alive somewhere. One day, an envoy named Oonak from the Confederation of Unity crash lands on Avani and, through an act of fate, crosses paths with Zahn. Oonak asks Zahn for assistance with an urgent mission, and that launches Zahn’s grand adventure through space and time, toward the truth of what happened to his mother, and into confrontation with a terrible galactic menace.

Without giving too much away, the plot only becomes more epic from that point forward. Story elements include jump gates, travel outside spacetime, explorations of alien worlds, Cthonic evil, high-tech gadgets, intelligent ships, a mythical device reminiscent of the Holy Grail, plenty of action and space battles, and some intriguing interpersonal dynamics between the four protagonists.

There are some strong spiritual overtones as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the underlying philosophy of the book, the mythos, shares much in common with the best of metaphysical literature. Readers of the Law of One books may find familiar the philosophical thread woven throughout “The Truth Beyond the Sky.” In my view, that makes this book a rare gem in the genre.

Overall, I found it an entertaining read with enjoyable characters and a colorful plot. The ending was satisfying, and turned out to only be the beginning, so I eagerly look forward to Crusoe’s upcoming sequels. Highly recommended.
~ T. Cox

It feels amazing to finally be sharing this story with the world. I know that much is uncertain in this strange times, but one thing is certain: everything is going to change now. I can feel it.

Get the short story for Free on Amazon →
Or go straight to “The Truth Beyond the Sky” →

(Pretty eventful article for being article #250, wasn’t it? Funny coincidence.)

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How to Shine Your Light to Change the Planet

“What will I be remembered for?”

You may have heard it before, but have you ever posed this question to yourself? When was the last time you sat down to create something you really felt strongly about?

A couple weeks ago, I awoke to a quiet and sunny morning. I sat in the silence, and I wondered. I wondered what, of that which I’ve created, will live beyond me. I wondered what my lasting impact would be on the Earth.

As I sat there contemplating this, I realized that much of what anyone does will be forgotten in time. The meals they made, the possessions they owned, the places they lived in. None of these things would be relevant in even a hundred years time. I continued contemplating, and I asked myself, “What does the world need, right now? Where does it stand, and how can I help it?”

Have you ever asked yourself such questions?

In contemplating what the world needs, I thought about the different theories regarding climate change, impending prophecies, and the rapidly changing times that we are now all living through.

I realized that my actions already showed part of my answer to that question. I believe people need to continually push themselves into new experiences and stretch their boundaries, travel being one of the best examples of this.

I soon came to the conclusion that there was no way to be sure of what my final impact might be on a larger scale. No way at all, really. And I realized that this fact is one of the mysterious aspects to being a creator: you never know precisely what you’ll be remembered for. Do you think Benjamin Franklin would have chosen to be remembered primarily for his kite-flying lightning experiment? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly he had far more influential enterprises in his life. But of those other pursuits, none had the iconic imagery that the key on the kite provides us, so that is what he is most remembered for.

How are you serving your era?

If I had to say right now, I’d guess that perhaps three bits of my work will be remembered: a piece of travel poetry, a destination-focused article, and one or two of photographs in the Byteful Gallery. And if they are, it’ll most likely be because they’ll have documented a moment in the early twenty-first century that is interesting or important to future historians. Then again, I could also be dead wrong.

But how’s that for a thought? Every time you take a photo and put it on the web, it has the potential to be part of a historical archive, perhaps well into the twenty-second century. Since, year after year, storage space continues to increase in dramatic leaps and bounds, I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire web as it exists today (in 2011) will be someday preserved on a crystal that you could hold in the palm of your hand. (And hopefully by then we’ll have decent 3D interfaces so we can more efficiently sift through these vast archives of history.) In fact, it’s pretty likely that something you do today will be accessible for generations to come.

The Currency of Expertise

The point is, you never know what bits of your work are going to be relevant in the future until the future arrives. But even if something you’ve made is preserved… will it be remembered? Will it be notable? Will you have had a true impact? In order to do that, you have to create something of value in the first place.

Are you?

In my experience, the greatest value we ever create is when we work towards something we actually care about. You can tell when someone’s heart and soul has gone into their work, can’t you? I know I can. Think about the affect that kind of work can have on people. Don’t you want to have the same affect? Sure, the first time you try to do something, it will probably suck, but it’s the trying that makes you better. The number of mistakes made is all that separates a classical pianist from someone who stopped after learning a few chords. The price you pay for expertise is experience. Or, put another way, Experience is the currency of expertise.

The Highest Expression of Who You Are

When was the last time you sat down to create something you really felt strongly about? If it’s been more than 3 months, then what are you waiting for?

Too often, when I talk to people, they tell me how busy their lives are and that they see themselves not having the time to create anything. Perhaps they’re exhausted after a long day at their job, or perhaps they already have too many other commitments. But what if they’d made an even higher commitment than a job contract? What if they committed to become the highest expression of who they could be? How do you think their life might change when they whole-heartedly followed that commitment?

Apply it to yourself. What if you made a commitment to be the highest expression of your true self, and followed it wholeheartedly? How would your life change?

Now, I completely understand that when you’re starting out, things can be on a bumpy road for a while. But what if you’re in your 30s or 40s (or beyond) and you still haven’t made anything you’re proud of? How do you feel about that?

Let’s get to the Nutshell

Let’s get to the nut of the nut. At what point is going to a job, cranking the crank, coming home, watching TV, and hitting “repeat”, not enough?

If you need a reason to do more than the 4 things I listed above, consider this: Your fellow humans need you. Only you are able to create what only you are able to create. You have a unique light, and no one is going to shine it for you. You’ve probably heard this before, but did you really internalize it? Remember, everyone has unique gifts, abilities, and propensities that they were born with. And they exist of a reason.

Even if you’re not entirely sure what your unique gifts are yet, that doesn’t mean they’re not there. If you keep trying different things, you will discover one of your gifts. In my case, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I was in college, but somewhere along the way, I realized my love for travel, writing, and design, among other things. Some take longer than others to discover their passions, but all can (and do) in time.

And when you use these gifts, you shine your light. And this is very powerful.

But this can only come out of making a conscious choice. That can be a daily choice of deciding to create just one thing or to do “your thing”, whatever it may be, on a regular basis. Whether it be through photography, dance, song, poetry, prose, drawing, or anything — express yourself. Perhaps 10 minutes a day, or even one hour a week. Whatever works best for you. Just remember, you won’t feel fully alive until you do.

So, what will You be remembered for?

When was the last time you asked yourself, “What will I be remembered for?”

If you skip the opportunity to create your life, you slip into the habit of simply watching life go by. And, what’s worse, you deprive us of your voice and do the entire world a huge disservice.

Yet if you have the courage to create from the deepest places in your heart (and have the courage to share) the world will respond to it like a birdsong on the wind. And in time, it will enchant us and make the world seem that much more alive. Why?

Because you gave yourself fully to it.

In that moment, you will learn more about yourself and feel more connected to the planet than you ever have before.

And there are few things more beautiful than that.

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