Trigger Warning: Yes, the picture accompanying the interview shows my actual work space. Folks used to tidy offices may be offended, even shocked. It’s chaotic, but I manage to write there. Somehow.
Now here’s a great Christmas gift idea from The Novel Fox:
Try ebooks this year as a gift for travelers, commuters, book club members, coworkers, teachers . . . or any book lover!
Many e-bookstores allow you to gift an ebook. It’s easy to make the ebook a more tangible gift by printing the book cover on card stock or photo paper and including the details on how to redeem it. An ebook is perfect for a stocking stuffer or a little something extra to go in a card, along with a baked good or small gift. Ebooks are an inexpensive, easy, and thoughtful gift for all occasions!
Click to enlarge
By M.C. Tuggle
When drug cartels begin vandalizing ancient Aztec sites throughout Mexico in search of the sacred obsidian knife of Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl, the Mexican government reaches out to the U.S. State Department for assistance. Dr. Jon Barrett, an archaeologist and pre-Columbian weapons expert, then journeys to Cuernavaca with his wife Susanna at the request of Eric Winwood, a high-ranking State Department official, to find and rescue the knife before the cartels can claim it. Locating the knife proves more challenging and dangerous than Dr. Barrett anticipated, and he and Susanna soon find themselves at the center of the cartels’ search. For Dr. Barrett and his wife to survive, he will be forced to apply his knowledge of ancient weapons in the face of an ancient power he never imagined.
“This fast-paced novella amps up the suspense with well-crafted dialogue and a Mexican drug cartel subplot. . . . M. C. Tuggle’s meticulous creation of a suspenseful, driving thriller makes Aztec Midnight very engaging.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews
“It zips right along from twist to twist, eventually arriving at a bloody finale.” – Kirkus Reviews
Good news ! After a long and productive editorial review process, the manuscript for my ebook Aztec Midnight is now complete. The advance review copies are ready to go out to the reviewers.
Comes now the time of fitful waiting.
The central theme in my writing is the struggle to live an authentically human life in a world that is globalized, homogenized, and ground down to airy abstractions. There is no doubt in my mind that the proliferation of modern afflictions, from depression to diabetes, is the result of an artificial lifestyle that disdains the physical and idolizes the abstract.
We are told to dedicate our lives to economic success and despise non-material fulfillment. Homo economicus wanders the earth in a body that is little more than the minds’s chassis.
So I was pleased to see this recent article in the Johns Hopkins Newsletter discussing the expanding chasm between human needs and the ill-fitting lifestyle we have allowed to overwhelm and warp our lives:
Almost all aspects of our modern lives that wouldn’t be included under the “Paleolithic” lifestyle are inherently bad for us. Studies have shown that even artificial lights interfere with melatonin production and alter our circadian rhythms. Our sedentary lifestyles present some grave health complications for bodies sculpted by millions of years of evolution to be able to handle insane amounts of physical exertion. For most of human history, sitting in a chair for nine hours a day and surviving would have been mutually exclusive concepts. We just haven’t been built to do it. We are completely out of our element in this world of sensory excess. And it’s not looking like we’ll ever adapt to it while modern medicine and societal norms effectively prevent the barbaric natural selection process from occuring. So because we will not adapt to these new conditions, the only thing we can do is adapt our individual lifestyles.
How can we salvage our humanity in such a world? The author suggests what I believe is a pretty good start:
I suggest that we should all let out our inner Homo erectus as much as possible. In an ideal world this means coming downstairs and spending time talking with your housemates or roommates instead of watching Netflix in your room. This means eating more nutrient-rich food that hasn’t been designed in a lab. This means cutting Internet porn out of your life. This means reading more books in print. This means taking on that huge project. This means getting sweaty on a regular basis. This means living life in the manner that millions of years of natural selection designed you to. You just might find that if you’re cognizant of the needs and health of your inner paleolithic cave-dwelling hominid, he or she will fight tooth and nail to get you ahead in life.
Yes. Not a bad start.
Jonathan Barrett, the protagonist of my novella Aztec Midnight, is passionate about many things, including his wife, Aztec history, the memory of his father, and the lore of ancient weapons he learned from Robert Horse, the elderly Mescalero Apache who befriended the young Barrett in his native Texas. Barrett is what the ancient Romans venerated, a man who has achieved mens sana in corpore sano — a sound mind in a healthy body.
Yukio Mishima relates his journey toward achieving that ideal in his highly readable Sun and Steel, which you can read at Google docs.
And for a glimpse of what could happen if society staggers too far down the road of a globalized, abstracted world, you can read my flash fiction piece Snake Heart.