Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Samhain ~ All Hallows Eve

Happy Halloween

by Robbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire
(Modern English)

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassillis Downans dance,
Or over the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly horses prance;
Or for Colean the route is taken,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up on the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams 
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where the river Doon runs clear,
Where Bruce once ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nuts, and pile their shocks of wheat,
And have their Halloween
Full of fun that night.

The lasses feet, and cleanly neat,
More strong than when they're fine;
Their faces happy, full sweetly show,
Hearts faithful, warm, and kind'
The lads say true, with love knots,
Well knotted on their garters,
Some surprisingly shy, and some with chatter,
Cause the girls' hearts to get startin'
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the cabbage,
Their stocks of wheat are sought at once;
They touch their own, and grasp and choose,
For very strong and straight ones.
Poor fellow Will fell off the drift,
And wander'd through the cabbage,
And pulled, for want o' better shift,
A cabbage like a pigs-tail,
So bent that night.

Then, straight or crooked, earth or none,
They roar and cry all throughout there;
The very little children, toddling, run,
With stocks out over their shoulders;
And if the custard's sweet or sour.

With pocketknives they taste them;
Thereafter cozily, about the door,
With clever care, they've placed them,
To lie that night.

The girls steal away from among them all
To pull their stalks of corn:
But Rab slips out, and plays about,
Behind the very large thorn:
He grabbed onto Nelly hard and fast;
Loud screamed all the other girls;
But the grain at the top of her stalk was lost,
With him that night.

The old guidwife's well-hoarded nuts,
Are round and round divided,
And many lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindly cosily, side by side,
And burn together trimly;
Some start away, with saucy pride,
And jumpout over the chimney
Full high that night.

Jean slips in between with careful eye;
What it was she wouldn't tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to herself:
He drunk over her, and she over him,
As they would never more part;
Till, puff! he started up the hide and seek,
And jean had a sore heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willkie, with his little cabbage,
Was stuck with prudish Mallie;
And Mallie, no doubt, thought it rude,
To be thought a match for Willie;
Mall's nut leaped out with prideful fling,
And her own fit it, inpertinent;
While Willie laughed, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the haystacks in her mind,
She puts herself and Rob in;
In loving bliss they sweetly join,
Till white in ashes they're sobbing;
Nell's heart was dancing at the view,
She whispere'd Rob to look for it:
Rob, stealthily, aprised her bonny mouth,
Full cosy in the nook for it,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behind their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She leaves them chattering at their tales,
And slips out by herself:
She throught the yeard the nearest takes,
And to the fire goes then,
And in the darak grabbed for the box,
And in the blue-spell throws then,
Right afraid that night.

And yes she won it, and yes she swore,
It was what she made no joking,
Till something held within the pot,
Good Lord! but she was quaking!
But whether it was the devil himself,
Or whether it was a shadow,
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She did not wait on talking 
To ask that night.

Small Jennie to her grannie says,
"Will ye go with me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass
I'll get free of Uncle Johnnie."
She puffed her pipe with such a column of smoke,
In anger she was so vapouring,
She noticed it not, an cinder burned
Her fine new worsted apron
Out through that night.

"You little scolding woman's face!
I dare you try such sporting,
As seek the foul thief any place,
For him to spy your fortune.
No doubt but you may get a sight!

Great cause you have to fear it;
For many a one has gotten a fright,
And lived and died delirious
On such a night.

"One harvest before the Sherramoor, --
I remember it as well as last night,
I was a young girl then, I'm sure
I was not past fifteen;
The summer had been cold and wet,
And stuff was very green;
And yes a merry harvest home we got,
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our chief reaper was Rob McGreen,
A clever sturdy fellow;
His son got Eppie Sim with child,
That lived in Achmacalla:
 He got hemp-seed, I remember it well,
And he made little fuss of it;
But many a day was by himself,
He was so sorely frighted
That very night."

Then up got fetchin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience,
That he culd sow hemp-seed a peck;
For it was all but nonsense.
The old guidman reached down the bag,
And out a handful gave him;
Then asked him slip from among the folk,
Some time when no one would see him,
And try it that night.

He marches through among the stacks,
Though he was something frightened;
The dung fork he for a weapon takes.
And hurls it at the buttocks of his horse;
And every now and thee he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee, 
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night."

He whistled up the Lord Lennox's march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to stand on end,
He was so scared and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grown and grunting;
He over his shoulder gave a peek,
And tumbled with a stagger
Out of that night.

He roared a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadful desperation!
And young and old came running out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore it was hobbled Jean McCraw
Or hunchedbacked Merran Humphie,
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And what was it but a pig
A'stir that night!

Meg gladly would to the barn have fone,
To win three measures of nothing;
But for to meet the devil her alone,
She put but little faitht in:
She gives the herdboy a little nuts,
And two red-cheeked apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That very night.

She turns the key with quiet twist,
And ovre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sandy gives a call
The boldly in she enters:
A ratt rattled up the wall,
And she cried, Lord, preserve her!
And ran through gutter at the bottom of the dung hole,
And prayed with zeal and fervour,
Full fast that night;

They hoisted out Will with strong advice,
They promised him some fine handsome one;
It chanced the stack he fathomed three times
Was timber-propped for twisiting;
He takes a twisted, old moss-oak,

For some black grusome witch;
And let a curse, and drew a stroke,
Till skin in shreds came trailing
Off his fists that night.

A wanton window Lizzie was,
As cheerful as a kitten;
But, oh! that night among the woods,
She got a fearful settling!
She through the furz, and by the grave,
And over the hill goes careening,
Where three lords' lands met at a rivulet
To dip her left shirt-sleev e in,
Was bent that night.

While ovre a waterfall the river plays,
As through the glen it meandered;
While round a jutting rock it strays;
While in an eddy it dimpled;
While glittered to the nightly rays,
With bickering, dancing dazzle;
While hidden underneath the slope of a hill,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the slope,
Between her and the moon,
The devil, or else an unhoused cow,
Got up and gave a moo!
Poor Lizzie's heart most leap out of her chest!
Near lark-height she jumped;
But mussed a foot, and in the pool
Out-over the ears she falls in,
With a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stone,
The porrigers three are ranged,
And every time great care is taken,
To see them duly changed:
Old Uncle Johm, wanted wedlock joys
Since Mar's year (1715) did desire,
Because he got the empty dish three times,
He heaved them on the first fire
In anger that night.

With merry songs, and friendly tales,
I know they didn't weary;
And many tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Set all their mouths a'stirring;
Then, with a social glass of liquor,
They parted off careening
Full happy that night. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Beta Earth Chronicles~Dr. Wesley Britton

The Beta Earth Chronicles

The Blind Alien is a story with a highly original concept, fascinating characters, and not-too-subtle but truthful allegories.  Don’t let the sci-fi label or alternate Earth setting fool you--this is a compelling and contemporarily relevant story about race, sex, and social classes.”

--Raymond Benson, Former James Bond novelist and author of the Black Stiletto books

Besides his 33 years in the classroom, Dr. Wesley Britton considers his Beta-Earth Chronicles the most important work he’s ever done. “I suppose an author profile is intended to be a good little biography,” Britton says, “but the best way to know who I am is to read my novels.”

Still, a few things you might like to know about Wes include the fact he’s the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in the media, most notably The Encyclopedia of TV Spies (2009). Beginning in 1983, he was a widely published poet, article writer for a number of encyclopedias, and was a noted scholar of American literature. Since those days, for sites like BlogCritics.org and BookPleasures.com, Britton wrote over 500 music, book, and movie reviews. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio's Dave White Presents for which he contributed celebrity interviews with musicians, authors, actors, and entertainment insiders.

Starting in fall 2015, his science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted with The Blind Alien. Throughout 2016, four sequels followed including The Blood of Balnakin, When War Returns, A Throne for an Alien, and The Third Earth. Return to Alpha will be the sixth volume of this multi-planetary epic.

Britton earned his doctorate in American Literature at the University of North Texas in 1990. He taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College until his retirement in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania. He lives with his one and only wife, Betty, in Harrisburg, PA.

Book One, The Blind Alien, came out in Sept 2015 – Book Six is due for release before Christmas 2017.

The epic opens when Malcolm Renbourn, a young history teacher, walks into an ordinary bank on an ordinary day. Suddenly, he feels excruciating pain. Unexpectedly, he loses his sight and discovers he has been drawn against his will across the multi-verse to a slave-holding country on a parallel earth. He doesn’t understand a single word he hears, but he soon comprehends that he is the focal point in the quest to end a plague that kills three out of four male babies their first year on Beta-Earth.
Branded state property, he must escape, but where can a blind man in a strange world dominated by desperate scientists run? And on a world where polygamy is the norm, how can Malcolm Renbourn adapt into becoming the husband of five independent wives who never expected to be the mothers of a generation a planet hopes will carry the genes that will change everything. And that’s just part of the story.

Much of Malcolm's background was drawn from my own life, especially his blindness and the treatment he endures because of it. Some of his more bizarre encounters actually happened to me, many of them quite comical. People have asked Malcolm and me all sorts of strange questions over the years—Do blind people sleep with their eyes open or closed? How does a blind man aim properly in toilets? Did I know I had a beard?

Of course, most of the book is pure imagination, as in the ghastly plague that kills three out of four male babies their first year, resulting in Beta-Earth's culture of polygamy. Hence, Malcolm's growing tribe of wives and children.

Blind Alien

Reviews for Blind Alien, which is priced at only $0.99.

“An excellent work of new SF that hearkens back to the classics of Asimov and Heinlein. Told from the viewpoint of the different characters, it is a tale of a man from our earth (Alpha) being unwittingly transferred to a parallel earth (Beta) where he must learn to adapt to new cultures, attitudes, languages at the same time as coming to grips with the loss of his sight. Each of the characters are fully developed and well defined and being able to hear their thoughts about each encounter brings a richness to the narratives. Politics, religion, social mores and relationships are all examined from both without and within.”—Dave Massengale, Amazon review

“Spymaster and imaginative author, Dr. Wesley Britton has another big hit! His book takes the reader on a compelling journey of an Alpha earthling who has been spirited to planet Beta. Science-fiction, yes, but much more. The book explores science, medicine, commerce, education, spiritual life, family life and sex on an alternative planet which at times is insightful and hilarious in its comparison to our own Earth. In an ingenious way, Dr. Britton has created a new grammar and vocabulary to continually intrigue the reader. A true winner!” –Bobbi Chertok, Amazon Reviewer

Follow Wesley Britton at:


Series Book Trailer


Explore Beta-Earth with Tribe Renbourn as the “Alpha Man” and his wives face irresistible prophecies, island tyrants, the curse of the “Plague-With-No-Name,” and a horrifying death-trade.

Just when Tribe Renbourn is certain they’ve found sanctuary in the country of Alma, they must battle a mutant girl from the aristocracy, a lecherous prince, a theocratic church, and take sides in a world-shaking civil war. 

After leading a fleet of exiles from the Alman civil war, Tribe Renbourn becomes embroiled with a duplicitous island royal family, the fight to end the “Plague-With-No-Name,” the invasion of a deadly foe, and the demanding will of the harsh goddess of Beta, Olos.

Forced to leave Beta-Earth behind, six members of Tribe Renbourn are forever transformed when they travel across the multi-verse to be captives of a very different kind of humanity of pairs and must lead the rebellion of the single-bodied “nams.”


Forty years after Malcolm Renbourn was drug across the multi-verse, two of his children from Beta-Earth, and two from Cerapin-Earth travel to our planet where they encounter a world suffering from biological war, climate change, religious zealotry, and fear of what these aliens might bring to a suffering humanity.

Find out more about this exciting series The Beta Earth Chronicles at:

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