Monday, March 29, 2010

Smashwords will Distribute ebooks for Apple's iPad iBookstore

Mark Coker of just released this great news; “We’ve signed a distribution agreement that will make qualifying Smashwords books available on the iPad.  We’re notifying you of this exciting development in advance because we want your books in the catalog.  You must take steps now to ensure your books make it in time for inclusion in the Apple iPad’s iBookstore’s big launch April 3.”
This has been in the works since the iPad was announced.  It just makes sense because Smashwords is the only ebook distributor that freely helps authors to converts documents into every e-reading format, including epub which has become an industry standard and is what the iPad uses.
There are a few basics for interested authors to qualify:
  • Their ebook must be accepted into the Premium Catalog by March 31.  More on that at
  • Must be available in the EPUB format. Why any author wouldn’t include this as an option is beyond me and could only be attributed to a gross oversight after several Long Island Ice-Teas.
  • Cover images must have a minimum height of 600 pixels. You can simply check this with a right click and Properties check. Most images are fine, especially ones that are taller than they are wide, like a common book cover.
  • Authors must “opt-in” to the Apple channel by clicking “opt-in” on their Dashboard. (This should be available in the next day or two.)
  • Ebooks must have a unique ISBN assigned to it.  Smashwords has recently created an ISBN Manager - Authors can either have a free one assigned to them, which makes Smashwords the publisher, or they can go out and purchase their own, or for $9.95 they can buy one from Smashwords which allows the author to be the publisher (that’s the choice I made.)
  • All ebooks in the Apple iBookstore have prices that end in .99, like $.99, $1.99, $9.99, etc. So either change the price or Smashwords will for you. Your ebook must also be priced lower than any print counterpart.
Like all Smashwords services, it’s free.  Authors will be paid 60% royalties of the list price for any sales.
Note; Smashwords expects glitches to start and asks for your understanding with any time period for bugs to be discovered. To keep up to date with info visit -

Friday, March 19, 2010

2Epub Conversion Tool to change Word Doc to Epub, Mobi, Lrf and more

2epub logo
This conversion tool is awesome. I use it to turn my Word .doc into .epub, .mobi and even .lrf formats to be read on those wonderful devices that are taking over the reading world. There’s no download required and it’s quick, giving you the files right at the site with no need for submitting an email address and waiting for the conversion to arrive. Here’s the link for 2epub - Just another handy tip you’ll find in How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks – All for Free.
Click here for the home page of Jason Matthews, spiritual fiction author.

add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chapters 9, 10 of The Little Universe by Jason Matthews

 Click here to read chapters 1 &2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8

The Bet

Rose attended her father’s weekly sermon as a married woman, alone. It bothered her immensely that Adams refused to go. As time went on, she made repeated efforts to get him to open his mind to the divine nature within all life.
“How do you prove anything?” a pregnant Rose asked him. They were sharing a picnic lunch by the campus pond. “How do you prove that you even exist?”
“That’s simple,” Adams answered. “Because I am here, and I can make a recording of myself, and I can taste this sandwich.”
“How do you know it’s not just a figment of a wild dream?”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” he chided, lying back and closing his eyes as he chewed on the lunch.
“Maybe you’re not giving the idea a chance. Let me ask you this. Do you believe that life is completely random, or could you be persuaded that there might be some meaning behind it?”
“Like a plan?” he asked.
“Yes. Like a beautiful, choreographed plan.”
“Are you implying that my life has already been planned out? What would be the point of living if there was no free will?”
“I didn’t say that,” Rose replied. “So, you really think life is completely random?”
“Yes,” Adams said frankly, through a mouthful of food.
“Then why are we together? Don’t you think we were meant to be together?”
“I doubt there’s another person on this planet for me,” he said, placing his palm on her swollen belly and coaxing half a smile from her.
“Regardless of how well-suited we are, the one thing I would change about you is your stubbornness on this subject.”
“And I you, my dear.”
“Then it’s settled,” she said, standing up and tossing a stone into the pond. Splash.
“What’s settled?” he asked, squinting through the glare of the sun behind her.
“We’ll have a bet.”
“On what?”
“I will bet you,” Rose began, “that somehow, someway, I will convince you that life has a plan that is absolutely beyond the realm of random chance. I will convince you that God must exist.”
“How will you ever be able to prove that?”
“I don’t know, but I will.”
“Fine,” he said, almost dismissing the subject. “What shall we bet?”
“If I convince you...” She thought about it.
“Please don’t ask me to go to church with you.”
“Afraid of losing the bet?” she asked.
“Are you kidding? It’s a bet,” Adams agreed, convinced there was no way he could lose such a wager.


One night after work, we stopped at the Star Bar, and I introduced Adams to Sam. I ordered a beer for myself. When I saw Adams pondering his choices, I ordered one for him too. He sipped his while I downed mine quickly and ordered another.
“So you’re the scientist?” Sam asked him, placing another beer in front of me. “What’s it like working with all that high-tech stuff?”
“Sometimes, great fun. Other times, frustration to no end.”
Sam asked questions about the project, though it was clear she really wanted to know more about him. Adams tried to explain it in terms she could understand. Customers down the bar gave him funny looks as he spoke of subatomic particles and molecular alterations, but Sam hung on every word. She must have thought Adams wouldn’t be interested in a local barmaid, but she liked the attention of an educated man explaining the mysteries of the cosmos. He waved his arms like spinning galaxies as he attempted to explain the time leaps. Adams smiled and laughed more that night than I had ever seen. The project was going very well, and I knew he was thinking about how proud Rose would have been.
When we drove back to his place, an unfamiliar car was parked in the driveway.
“Wonderful,” Adams said, pulling up next to it. “Whitney’s home.”
“Your daughter?”
Whitney opened the front door as we got out of the truck. She jogged over to Adams, threw her arms around him, and held him for nearly a minute. She looked even better in person than in the photo, like a younger version of Rose with glasses. She had the same auburn hair and natural smile of her mother, and a slender, fit body. I had wanted to meet Whitney for weeks, but it was a surprise to be doing so without notice. I was embarrassed for having a buzz from the bar.
Adams introduced us. “Whitney, Jon Gruber. Jon, Whitney.”
Whitney shook my hand while keeping an arm around Adams.
I glanced at her hand and spotted a ring. Wondering if women were involved upon meeting them was becoming a bad habit.
“Whitney has just graduated from university,” Adams said proudly.“With honors, I might add.”
Whitney rolled her eyes as he boasted of her studies and grades. She finally interrupted him. “Dad, you’re embarrassing me. Is this the man who made the alterations upstairs?”
I beamed with pride. “I am he.”
“You do excellent work.”
“Thank you.”
“Can you join us for dinner, Jon?”
I couldn’t refuse. She was gorgeous even with no makeup, wearing a blue cotton sweater and faded jeans. She had shoulder-length auburn hair, big green eyes, a small nose and full lips.
We set the table together. I smelled a hint of vanilla on her, and I found it to be an unusual and pleasant choice of perfume. Whitney told stories about her dad performing experiments in the past and nearly blowing up the house. He asked about her old classes and professors, but she was more interested in finding out from me and Adams what was new with our work. Adams made little effort to answer most of her questions, making himself busy or seemed like he didn’t hear her.
A bowl of salad was passed around. Adams dug into it and asked, “How are your headaches, Whit?”
“They’re still happening. Not as frequently.”
I noticed she had put her hand to her temples a few times during the meal. “You get migraines?” I asked.
“Since my mom passed away.” I felt sorry for her, wishing there was something to say.
Whitney served us each slices of roast, then served herself. She offered us fresh, warm rolls that smelled delicious.
She looked at Adams inquisitively. “I feel like you have something to tell me. You’re being especially aloof tonight.”
“You’ve always had that,” Adams admitted.
She smiled and asked, “What are you really up to, besides celebrating at the bar?”
Adams waited until he finished chewing. I realized he hadn’t spoken of the project with her.
“You remember your mom’s idea?”
“Of course. The Universe Generator. Her passion.”
“We’ve done it,” Adams proudly announced.
“You’ve done what?”
“We’ve got it up and running.”
Whitney paused for a moment as if she couldn’t believe what she had just heard. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she said finally, glaring at him. Adams put his hand on her arm. “I didn’t want to tell you until I knew it worked.”
“Are you kidding me? It actually works?!”
“It works beautifully,” he said. Whitney looked over at me.
“It’s really incredible,” I added.
“I can’t believe it! I need to see it!”

The following morning, Whitney arrived at the lab shortly after we did. We gave her the complete tour of the building and the lab. Adams described every aspect of the equipment, and I nodded along.
Right from the start, Whitney loved Jim. She quizzed him from mathematics to chemistry. He seemed to melt under her attention. His green light glowed when she was around, even when nothing was being said, perhaps because she was the first woman he had met. Adams had Jim put together a display on the monitors that took the viewer flying through the universe, stopping at breath taking vistas, from the colorful nebula clusters down to majestic, snow-capped mountains on certain planets. It seemed like Jim did everything a notch better than normal, as if he was showing off for Whitney.
“This is incredible,” she said over and over, amazed by the beauty of the celestial objects. I had almost forgotten how miraculous it was.
I sat in a chair next to her and shared the feeling of wonder and excitement that she was experiencing. After the demonstration, she turned to me with interest.
“And you’re a carpenter?”
“That’s right.”
“What did you study in school? Computers? Engineering?”
“Astrophysics?” she asked with an impressive tone.
“Never went. Your dad needed an assistant, and he knew me from working on his house.”
“Whoa, I figured you must be a real brain to be working with my dad.” Whitney sensed her words sounded insulting. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It’s okay. I know what you meant.”
Adams sat nearby and listened as Whitney tried to make sense of our pairing.
“But I don’t understand how...”
“Your dad tells me what to do, and I do it. Simple. He and Jim do all the tough stuff. I thought I’d be in way over my head when I first started...”
“You were,” Jim interrupted me.
I put my hand over Jim’s main speaker. “Don’t interrupt when people are talking, Jim.”
A muffled and sarcastic “Sorry” came through my hand.
“Doesn’t it amaze you?” Whitney spun slowly in the swivel chair, taking in views from dozens of monitors, each one focused on a galaxy, or a planet, or primitive life forms.
“Every day. I never imagined this when I first started.”
I couldn’t decide what was more interesting, the project or Whitney.
I found myself staring at her, trying not to get caught. Being near her reminded me that I hadn’t been on a date for a long time. The problem was, she was the daughter of my boss, who by that time, was also my close friend. I was still aware of the ring on her finger. I reminded myself of those red flags. I didn’t want to cause any waves with Adams, but here was this incredible person sitting next to me. My life was entering a period of transition, and I had no idea where that change might lead.
In the days that followed, Whitney came to work with us. She said it would be impossible to stay at home working on a post-graduate thesis while she knew what was happening in the lab. I thought it was a dream come true. I began wearing clean shirts every day.
“It’s a perfect fit,” she told me. “My thesis was going to be on the extinction of species. Now I’m thinking it can be on evolution.”
“Like turning a negative into a positive,” I said.
A third person made the data collection go much faster. Whitney immediately demonstrated abilities beyond mine. She could take one look at a planet and identify what stage of life it was in. She could say, “That one is in a Triassic period,” or “This has just entered a Permian period.” I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded impressive.
She also explained to me the concept of “ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny.”
“What the heck does that mean?” I asked.
She looked at the expression on my face and burst out laughing. “Do you remember the term, from high school science?”
“Honestly? No.”
She stood behind my chair and put her hands on my shoulders. I melted as we studied the monitor, focused on a group of slimy, brown slugs eating the algae at the edge of a pond.
“Ontogeny is the development of an organism from egg to adult,” she explained. “Phylogeny is the entire history of a species. So as the embryo grows, it passes stages that look like adult versions of more primitive species.”
“Very interesting,” Jim said.
“Come again?” I asked.
“Before you were a baby, you were an embryo. At that point, you looked like an adult tadpole, for example. And when these slugs were younger, they probably looked like that too.”
A light went on in my head. “So maybe tadpoles or slugs were our ancestors way back in time?”
“Perhaps, way back,” Whitney said, still touching my shoulders.
“I’m not saying I buy it, but okay.”
Whitney helped me as I struggled with the difficult concepts. She enjoyed teaching me and Jim, probably because she had been the student her entire life. The project took off to a new level once Whitney arrived. Jim and I had a new pride about our work.
Every night as we slept, Jim scoured the universe for new planets. Within a few weeks, he had discovered hundreds of planets, many having primordial soup or basic life forms evolving. Over the course of several million standard orbits, these planets produced many interesting species of life.
We found electric beings in the Kappa galaxy, on planet 4 of the dz332 sun. They looked like blobs and lines of colored light. The atmosphere of Kappa 4, as we called the planet, was charged with radioactivity. Lightning flared through the sky, and thick clouds served as a canopy to the awesome display. The surface was hardened lava and water. The animals moved in spurts, not running or flying, but in electric jolts from spot to spot. They had photoelectric cells across their bodies, making them glow in fantastic colors. The smallest beings had vivid purples and blues. They moved like supercharged hummingbirds. The largest beings had a dull, red hue and moved slower, though they were still fast by our standards.
On another planet, Rho 6 of a double star yn662, the animals resembled plants that could slither around. Their skin was scaled in shades of green and yellow. Some grew to be enormous. We watched them inch from warm rocks down to shallow wading pools in the heat of the day, to cool off and soak up some water. They had no heads or mouth s.
“No heads since they don’t need to see, hear or eat to live,” Whitney reasoned. “No natural predators. They don’t need to kill or defend, so they’re also without defensive qualities.”
Adams agreed. “Their massive bodies and hot stars take care of their needs.”
They were host organisms for a number of small creatures that clung on to the lumbering animals. Rho 6 had many insects and small reptilians, though the mobile plants were the most intriguing beings.
Whitney found them amazing. “Imagine if we could adapt their cell structure,” she said. “We could get food directly from sunlight. World hunger would be a thing of the past.”
“Yeah, but what would happen to our stomachs?”
“Another useless organ, just like your appendix.”
I was more than happy to study other planets. On Sigma 2-c454, bubble creatures floated around in helium skies of orange, moving like hot air balloons. They traveled in schools like a pack of blimps. They glided gracefully, occasionally touching down on the surface and bounding back up high into the skies, opening their huge mouth s.
Whitney speculated, “They’re catching tiny bacteria in the atmosphere.”
I wasn’t so sure. “How could a creature that large live on bacteria that we can’t even see?”
“Same as whales,” Adams noted, jotting it down in his brown booklet.
The more we saw, the more bizarre we knew evolution to be. A few planets were composed of nothing but gases with no liquid water, yet spawned life anyway - creatures made of gas and electric charges. Life on some planets was so bizarre, we didn’t know how to categorize it.
And on other planets, like Alpha 17, we found forms of life that were surprisingly familiar.

Alpha 17 of the star hh987, was the seventeenth planet in the orbit of a blue-white star in the Alpha galaxy. It was the first planet we found that had complex levels of life in the oceans, on land and in the sky.
Its air contained large amounts of nitrogen and oxygen. Its landmasses contained silicon, iron and aluminum. It had a moon roughly one-tenth its size, which created high and low tides. The distance to its small, hot star provided temperate zones, with ice caps on the poles and more tropical areas in between. It had an orbit around its sun that was faster than standard, yet it maintained a degree of rotation and gravity that was close to standard.
“All of these factors increase the chances for complex life to evolve,” Adams said. “The more pleasant a planet’s atmosphere, the more likely life will flourish.”
The life forms reflected the cool and dim atmosphere. Plants were tough and sharp. Animals had long hair, big eyes and coatings of blubber.
The continents on Alpha 17 contained vegetation zones beneath windswept hills of ice and rock. The mountains appeared like the spines of a herd of beasts running west to east. Exposed rock and snow along the ridges suggested long-term wind and glacial patterns. In the lower elevations and around the coastlines, vegetation and animal life were abundant. Exotic and common-looking birds filled the skies, and the seas were full of fish and amphibians.
Alpha 17 was the first planet we found that had mammals. After several time leaps of about a hundred million orbits, a variety of mammals had evolved. Large rodents lived in burrows on the shoreline and ate fish. Others reminded us of boars. One of the most common species on the planet looked like giant pigs. We found them by the millions, filling the lowlands and feeding on grass and reeds. The giant pigs were the food source for a number of predators, who looked like bears and felines.
“Mammals stand apart,” Whitney said, admiring a family of felines on Monitor One. “They give birth to live young. The parents care for the offspring together. The young ones like to play.”
“Is that what they’re doing?” Jim asked, commenting on the rough and tumble antics of the small cats.
“They’re learning survival skills that they’ll use later when hunting,” Whitney told him.
“Because it looks like they’re hurting one another.”
“They’re not,” Whitney reassured him. “They’re learning. Community rules exist with mammals more so than other beings.”
“Community rules?” I asked.
“The head male is in charge. The females raise the young. Hunting is a group effort. They work as a team in everything they do.”
We watched the big cats execute a planned attack on a herd of giant pigs, which was wallowing in the marsh. The cats made a charge and isolated a young and helpless victim. We marveled at the carnivores’ teamwork as they carried out the strike, though Whitney empathized with the victim of the attack.
We also documented groups of primates, the smaller ones living in the trees and the larger ones on the ground. Adams and Whitney were ecstatic after finding primates on Alpha 17, almost speechless. It took a couple of days for the effect to really hit me. I went into a numb stage without realizing it. I lost my interest in other life forms and just wanted to observe them.
Though they were as primitive as monkeys and apes, they were quickly developing into intelligent beings. Females managed the family while males fed and fought for breeding rights. The little ones played acrobatic games of tag in the trees. They roughhoused in the mornings and later groomed each other for ticks. The larger ones peeled and ate the green off the reeds, sharing with the smaller ones. I saw intrigue in their eyes as they witnessed the world around them. I felt the bond between parent and child as the elders nursed, comforted, and taught their offspring what they needed to know.
“Do you realize what we’re watching here?” Adams asked me.
“The evolution of intelligent beings.”
Whitney brought in pictures of artists’ renditions of our possible ancestors. We noted similarities between them and our subjects from Alpha 17. The main differences were slightly more hair and bigger eyes, but otherwise they were very similar.
That was our routine for the first month of Whitney’s arrival.
We scoured the universe for planets with life, then we identified and categorized it. Once that was done, we did time leaps of anywhere from several thousand to a few million orbits and went through the same routine, with Jim constantly finding new planets to add to our collection. Adams was right. The universe was teeming with life because the building blocks for it were everywhere, two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. With so many planets out there, the only trick was to keep looking. Since Jim took care of that, there really was no trick at all.

“So pleased Whit is here to see this. Her birthright, I suppose. Alpha 17 actually has primates, and I pinch myself as I write that. Been lagging with the rest of our logs, but who can blame us?”
- From p. 55 of Webster’s journal.

 Click here to read chapters 1 &2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Inserting Sample Chapters Links on Blogger for Newbies

 Here's the example blog on inserting sample chapters on blogger for newbies from my ebook, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks - All for Free.

Unfortunately, adding sample chapters (like as a pdf file) on blogger is a bit more complex than on Wordpress. Since there's no way to directly upload a pdf file into blogger, I needed to embed one by creating either an embedded HTML or a URL page of the pdf file. I went to this website - and signed up for the free account. Then I was able to upload my sample chapter file there, follow their prompts and eventually insert it into my blog post.

The URL link works great. Here it is -

The embedded version below also works well, just a bit trickier. I had to make the width dimensions smaller so it would fit in the page, though any reader can click on the Full Screen option if they want to read it without a magnifying glass. Actually, it works pretty good. Here it is -
Sample Chapter 1, The Little Universe
Click here for the home page of author Jason Matthews.

add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Chapters 7, 8 of The Little Universe by Jason Matthews

Dr. Adams thought little of religion. He had no experience with it while growing up. Neither of his parents had strong opinions on the subject, but the astronomer in Webster took umbrage with the idea that religion had anything to do with the universe. Theories of evolution made infinitely more sense to him. On several occasions, even at cocktail parties, he argued evolution with people who supported creation.
“Religion is a mythical history used by primitive people to explain the world and heavens,” Dr. Adams said as he mingled at a fundraiser. “People couldn’t admit that they didn’t know how it all began, so they came up with the notion of God. Easy enough.”
A minister approached Adams and began arguing with him. This particular argument went on and on, with Adams insulting religion and anyone who supported it. His comments went over so well that they ended with a fist to his face and Webster falling to the floor.
After throwing the punch, the minister was horribly embarrassed. He left the party while his daughter stayed, tending to Webster’s bleeding nose. Rose administered ice as Adams lay on the floor.
“Care for some free advice?” Rose asked him as she knelt down and dabbed his cut lip with her handkerchief. “When presenting your opinions in mixed company, try not to insult people just because you disagree with them.”
Adams looked up and saw a woman of intelligence and sincerity, a woman who appeared to him to be angelic. “Good advice.”
She helped him to his feet and added, “You know what they say... you attract a lot more flies with sugar.”
They talked for the rest of the party. He had never met a woman like Rose—attractive, well-dressed, and able to lecture him. Before the guests had left, he sincerely apologized to everyone for his behavior. He apologized later to her father.
Rose was familiar with Webster’s way of thinking long before meeting him. As a girl who studied the sciences, she was often surrounded by people of a solid-proof mind-set, those who didn’t believe anything they couldn’t measure.
This was in contrast to her upbringing. As the daughter of a minister, Rose never had the option of dismissing religion or arguing about it. If she did, she would have disrespected her parents. They never forced any way of thinking upon her. Rose was allowed to pursue both science and religion. They taught her to follow her heart and to seek out answers of any nature.

Rose began working for Maxwell Enterprises. She was in a different department than Adams, on a team studying molecular biology. While she was discovering the wonders of subatomic particles, she was also thinking about the dynamics of life. She wondered if there was any end to the existence of smaller and smaller particles.
A year after the party, Rose ran into Adams at a company function. They spoke about their work. She explained how each month brought new discoveries.
“The atom is not nearly the smallest unit of measure,” Rose told Adams over a drink. “There are bosons, leptons, even things we haven’t yet named, but we know they must exist. The deeper we look, the more we find.”
“My years in astronomy were exactly the same,” he remarked. “The further out in space I looked, the more I saw.”
They talked for hours, finding it incredible that they had not bumped into each other at work.
Adams and Rose began getting together for lunch on the campus that adjoined Maxwell Enterprises. Sometimes they went to the deli, at other times one of them would pack a lunch to share. Some days they sat by the campus pond, and on others they went for walks around the lecture halls and ate nutrition bars. Each looked forward to the lunch hour conversations as the highlight of the day.
They had many similarities and interests, but they also had their differences. These usually involved the subject of religion. Rose could not understand why Adams would proclaim himself an atheist.
“How can you not believe in God, in some form?” she asked him as they strolled on the path around the campus pond.
“I can’t believe in anything without proof,” he stated, biting into a piece of fruit.
“That’s why they call it faith,” she replied. “Because it can’t be proven in a scientific manner.”
“How can an intelligent person believe in something so nonevidential, like an invisible force that runs our universe?”
“I see it differently,” Rose told him. “I find evidence everywhere I look.”
Adams found Rose immensely attractive, even when she disagreed with him. Her auburn hair fell gracefully over lean shoulders, and her green eyes contained a hint of smile even as they argued. The only thing in the world they were at odds about was religion. He couldn’t prove her wrong, nor could she convince him. They cared too much about each other to try to change the other’s mind.
They married, regardless of the difference, under the roof of her father’s church.


In the early universe, matter floated through areas of space near the center of the egg-shaped cavity. Each element of matter was like a snowflake, similar to others in the brewing aftermath, yet unique. The cameras presented detailed images of these tiny objects. The stars could have fit on my fingernail, but in their own space, they were massive.
On the monitors, they appeared as gigantic balls of hot gas moving gracefully through the cosmos. I sat back and watched the chemistry unfold before my eyes, chemistry that turned into astronomy.
We witnessed the birth of stars. They began as hydrogen balls of different sizes and intensities. After forming, stars moved down the spiral arms of the emerging galaxy and clustered themselves into groups. Galaxies took on many shapes—mostly spiral and elliptical, but they all revolved with the same physics.
Jim recorded everything. We replayed the beginning moments of this little universe again and again. As I watched, I realized the collisions of chunks of gas were actually collisions of entire galaxies, each one made up of billions of stars. The early universe was like a basket of fireworks.
It was explosive, with tremendous amounts of white light, radiation and colorful accents on the fringes. It was a beautiful chaos.
Hydrogen masses became large and small suns. Sometimes they collided with others, creating debris that would become planets and asteroids. Over time, Jim detected the presence of new elements forming around the stars and planets.
“Molecules have a way of changing,” Adams explained, “from the simplest ones like hydrogen, to more complicated ones.”
“How?” I asked.
“Intense heat. It makes the hydrogen atoms merge to form helium atoms.”
“Hydrogen becomes helium?”
“And more. The star’s interior is under pressure, which compounds the hydrogen into heavier elements, like carbon and oxygen.”
Jim’s sensing devices confirmed his description. We focused on a large white star, a mass of burning hydrogen. Jim detected helium on the surface of the glowing orb, an effect seen in a change of hue to a yellow light. Occasionally the star emitted matter from an internal explosion. The matter cooled as it sped off in space, and a tail formed with new elements. Jim identified carbon, nitrogen and silicon in the tails of several comets.
One night on our way home in the truck, under a clear and dark sky, he pulled over to the side of the road.
“What are you doing?”
“Get out,” he said.
“Why?” I asked, getting out. I thought, what had I done? Adams turned off the truck lights and got out as well. He walked in front of the vehicle, looking directly upwards and motioning for me to follow.
“See that?” he said, pointing to the brightest star in the sky. I could see it easily over the others.
“Very pretty,” I said.
“That’s the closest star beyond our sun. Do you know how far away it is?”
“It’s two and a half light years from here.” I must not have looked impressed. Adams changed his tone to convey amazement. “That means it takes two and a half years for that light to make it here!”
“Long way, huh?” I appreciated the star more.
He pointed to the light and shook his head. “That star isn’t there. It’s somewhere else.”
“What do you mean?”
“It was there, in that exact spot, two and a half years ago. We’re looking at the light waves it emitted when it was there.”
“That’s how long it takes light to travel that kind of distance.”
We drove back to his house in silence. I looked out the window at all the different stars, wondering how many light years away they were and how far they had moved from the spots that I could see.

Adams often adjusted the rate of flow for the simulation. The more hydrogen molecules Jim introduced to the reactor, the faster time passed within the project. For his study time, Adams ran the reactor at a crawl or on minimal hydrogen release, as slowly as Jim could allow it. Crawl speed was the only time we could conduct studies. While the stars and planets on the monitors seemed to be standing still, they were experiencing time similar to us. Jim’s reactor could go much, much faster than crawl speed, which we did when Adams wanted to see the progression of a star or planet.
“Release hydrogen,” Adams instructed Jim, during a typical, early universe time leap.
A humming sound emerged. The lights on the monitors began to move. Stars turned into blurs of colors, and galaxies spun slowly. Millions upon millions of years passed, and we witnessed a fantastic light show of galactic movement.
“How fast can it go?” I asked.
“Not sure,” Adams admitted. “Top speed is a guess. There’s no sense running like that, but it could probably run at trillions of times the rate of crawl speed.”
That meant time passing at trillions of times the rate of normal. Evolution was already happening. Adams knew it all along, and I was starting to get the picture.
I loved the time leaps and hummed along with the sound they produced. It was the only moment where the universe moved visibly as a whole, after which we recorded the process of a star changing or even collapsing into a black hole. We executed the time leaps often, allowing the primitive universe to settle into its ways.
“How old is this universe?” I asked Adams.
“There’s no real way to define time other than standard orbits.”
“What’s a standard orbit?”
Adams explained that all of the planets revolved around their home star at a certain rate. The length of an average revolution established itself as a standard solar orbit, or standard year. Many planets had revolution periods that were close to the average measure, but there really was no exact planet or way to define time. Adams said the universe was roughly one or two billion standard units, though that didn’t make sense, because for a period of time, planets hadn’t even formed and established orbits.
“Okay, that’s enough. My brain is waving white flags,” I said. The concept was extremely difficult. Defining time had never occurred to me to be impossible, but it totally baffled me. To think that the swirling bits of hot gas had taken hundreds of millions of years to settle, that was another difficult concept.
“You see that star on Monitor One?” Adams asked, pointing to a hot blue sun.
“It’s not there,” Adams said, reminding me of the other night on the side of the road.
“That’s just its light we’re seeing, right?”
“Very good, Jon. That’s right. It takes time for the light waves to make it to our cameras in this project, the same as in our night sky.”
Jim chimed in, “That’s why I have to adjust two or more cameras exactly the same distance from any object, if we want a cross reference of two shots.”
“Otherwise we’d be seeing light from the same object at different times, and we wouldn’t be able to combine the images.”
If we wanted three-dimensional images, we had to use more than one camera so that Jim’s hardware could interpret the data.
The chamber walls for our little universe also affected the question of age. Unfortunately, our experiment had a limited lifetime. The walls of the egg-shaped cavity held a constant attraction force on the galaxies.
At creation, the attraction was almost undetectable, but as the galaxies moved, they pulled away from the center at an accelerating rate. Over time, over trillions of standard orbits, the matter in the universe would reach the outer walls and self-destruct.
“How long from now?” I asked.
“What’s your estimate on that, Jim?”
“About three trillion standard orbits,” Jim said. “Maybe four.”
“A long time, way more time than I intend to go through,” Adams said, jotting the note in his brown booklet.
“If the outer walls are attracting the matter,” I asked, “then is the matter speeding up toward them?”
“Yes,” Adams said. “That’s what I meant when I said the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.”
I tried to understand. We kept headache tablets in the bathroom cabinet, and I found them quite useful when dealing with new ideas.
The stars in our simulation were very similar to the ones in our night sky. Both were slowly changing, burning their hydrogen fuel at all times.
Depending on burn rates and size, a star went through many phases of existence. Some raged in spurts of radioactivity, like pulsars. Others expanded outward, like red giants. Some had lots of planets orbiting them, others had none. They came in a variety of colors. Blue stars were the hottest and red ones the coolest. Some contracted in time, and some even exploded. Supernovas were explosions the size of millions of suns. They sent matter scattering across the universe. Change was happening every minute. The universe was growing exponentially.
As I rode my bicycle home from Webster’s house after work, I realized what a different person I had become. Months earlier, I would never have thought about the beginning of the universe or the nature of the cosmos. Lately, it was all I could think of. Certain things in life deserved serious attention, and I had the good fortune to be involved in something like that.
I pulled over to the side of the road to appreciate my own star, that orange sun, as it glowed red and set on the horizon. It hung so gracefully in the sky, casting warm rays through the trees, the houses, and onto my face. I appreciated it more than ever, knowing how close it was compared to other stars in my galaxy. Bathed in its hazy glow, I pushed my bike up the last hill to my apartment, thanking heaven that it wasn’t a red giant.
Red giants intrigued me. Their impressive size and red hues made them stand out dramatically against the darkness of space. Curiously, red giants were in a state of massive growth. They even engulfed planets in orbits close to them. Red giants were dangerous, I thought. When we looked through our project for stars, Adams preferred that we searched for yellow, white and orange stars like our own. He believed they were the most stable and more likely to have planets orbiting them that were safe from harm.

My life had changed. Finally, I had a good-paying job that required sitting down for most of the day. This in itself was a huge success. I had always wondered if my days of labor would be cut short by a fall from a ladder or the slip of a saw blade. No one had ever paid me to sit on my ass and chat with a computer. I had to pinch myself for my turn of fortune.
What we did at first was data entry, lots and lots of data entry.
“Pick a galaxy, Jim, any galaxy,” I said at the start of one day, leaning back into my chair and biting into a pastry.
Jim set Monitor One on a galaxy and zoomed in until it showed a field of stars.
“Okay, Jim, now pick a star, any star.”
The monitor honed in ever closer until just one star filled the screen.
“Perfect, now get its coordinates and give me a readout, please.”
Jim obliged. “Here we have an orange dwarf sun made of ninety-six percent hydrogen and three percent helium gases, with traces of methane and argon. I’m detecting some planets in its orbit. Would you like to hear their composition and location?”
“Sure,” I said, enjoying the ease from effort that Jim provided.
All I did was change and label Jim’s recording disks once they were full. I was having the time of my life, making good money for hanging out and talking with a computer about stars and planets and their chemical makeup. We studied moons, asteroids, comets, gas, anything that we could see floating in space. Sometimes I worked a twelve to fourteen-hour shift just logging data.
“Jim,” I said, “don’t you just love how majestic some of these planets are?” Monitor One was focused on a world of molten lava, a fiery landscape that created dark rain clouds pierced by lightning bolts.
“I guess,” Jim said. “I don’t have anything to compare it to.”
“Well, it’s not something you see just by walking outside and looking up.”
“That actually sounds pretty good to me,” Jim said. “I’d like to walk outside and look up.”
“Believe me. This is better,” I said.
Adams made a note.
All planets had the ingredients for making water - two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. On almost a third of the planets, we found water in various forms: vapor, ice, snow and liquid. Water was beautiful and contrasting against stark landscapes. On some planets, large amounts of water vapor produced. It eventually formed lakes, rivers and oceans. It also took the form of humidity and mixed with other gases to form early atmospheres.
Primitive worlds were raw and violent, as their inner cores released heat and radiation. Lightning charged the skies on some planets, while lava flowed on the surface. It amazed me that all this was happening day after day without any life on the planets.
Adams theorized how life might begin. “Simple molecular things,” he observed, “should respond to the highs and lows of radiation.” He pointed to a shoreline on a calm planet that was displayed on Monitor One.
“Why should they?” I asked.
“Simple matter has changed into macro-molecules. These ever bigger clumps have been receiving doses of radiation and occasional bolts of electricity.”
“Molecules are getting more complex. They’re adapting to an ever-changing environment.” The beach scene on the monitor was not one I would have described as ever-changing.
“Until what?” Jim asked.
“Life has a way of popping up,” Adams said. “Perhaps molecules will use radiation for energy. Maybe they are learning how to store heat for the night periods.”
“Isn’t that cute,” I joked with Jim. “Molecules get cold at night.”
“Cute or not,” Adams said, “that may be when life starts, when molecules really start to mutate.”
“Into what?” Jim asked.
“Into more complicated versions of themselves. Into molecules that can move, or eat, or reproduce. Life can branch off very quickly once it starts.”
We theorized on the beginnings of life. Did life precede consciousness, or did consciousness precede life? At the moment when a molecule used solar radiation for energy, was that molecule alive?
Was it aware? We debated these things as we watched our experiment evolve. Our cameras could identify shorelines made of water, rock and sand, but they could not see the particles that made up those objects.
“Am I alive?” Jim asked to my surprise. How simply honest he was.
His green light pulsed mildly. I looked to Adams for an answer.
“You are,” Adams said with conviction. “You can think and function, therefore you are alive.”
The answer seemed to satisfy Jim, and his light dimmed down to its normal level. I wondered if Adams was as sure as his answer implied.
Soon afterwards, we found “primordial soup,” as Adams called it. Visible life began in the wading pools and looked like sludge or slime. It was simple organisms and the forerunner to primitive algae. Once life started, it quickly spread. Over time, the algae and fungi mutated into heartier algae and into things that could eat the algae, like simple marine invertebrates.
For around a billion standard orbits, life lived as basic organisms - fungi, tiny marine animals, and green plants. Hardened lava became landmasses. Again, I couldn’t believe it took hundreds of millions of years for fungus to evolve. Thank God for the time leaps. Eventually, we identified plants, fish, amphibians and insects.
I eagerly awaited the time leaps to see what changes would occur. Some of the planets showed amazing amounts of growth. As we revisited a planet over the course of a few time leaps, we could see it evolve from a lifeless, inhospitable world to a maturing, stable home with an atmosphere, plants, reptiles and even primitive birds. Adams was ecstatic about the changes.

“Evolution happens before my eyes. Algae have grown into plants, insects to birds. It is all exactly as we expected, exactly as the evidence suggested it would.”
- From p. 38 of Webster’s journal.
Chapters 9 and 10 will be posted Thursday, March 11th

Monday, March 01, 2010

Interview with Jessica Eleven, Tarot Reader and Divine Lady

I've had the recent pleasure of getting to know a phenomenal person, Jessica Eleven. She embodies so many of the characteristics I admire and enjoy. She's spiritual while staying grounded, intelligent yet quirky, fun loving and purpose-driven. I was also fortunate and wise enough to take her up on her Free Tarot Fridays offer, an offer that I believe is still happening but maybe not for long. The results of Jessica's Tarot reading struck something within me. I've printed it up and keep it on my desk as a reminder of the tremendously insightful things she told me, some to watch out for and others to focus on. The past few months have been much better because of her advice, and because of that I also became more interested in how she does what she does.
In Jessica's words; I wear many, many hats. I am an Intuitive Wellbeing Counselor. In other words an empath (sensitive). I feel people’s emotions, physical pains and sensations and usually thoughts, sometimes as if they were my own. My sister and I have always had a strong telepathic communication and as I’ve gotten older I’ve found the same bond with my lover, close friends, family and even strangers. I was aware at a very early age that I just ‘knew’ things — from guessing what Valentine’s candies my friend had in her bag to talking with my own Guides and Angels. However, I am not ALL knowing and do not claim prophecy, but I am very accurate in my readings and enjoy working with people who wish to Evolve.
How does Tarot work? The Tarot is a form of divination that depicts a probable future based on the current circumstances that have lead to the present moment. Tarot can be looked at from several aspects (i.e. past, present, higher self, short term outcomes, long range outcomes, obstacles, etc) each painting an accurate picture. Futures are probably because nothing is set in stone and what you do in the present will surely effect/ alter the any future. Tarot works best when accompanied with intuition instead of just looking 'blindly' or vaguely at the cards. There are usually 78 cards in a deck and each illustrates common archetypes in the human experience.
How and when did you get involved with reading Tarot? I've been drawn to the Tarot since junior high. I would read occult books out of deep interest but practiced in solitude or with one close friend from school because my family wasn't open to such lifestyles. I bought my first Tarot deck almost 6 years ago at this wonderful small bookstore in St. Louis. I self-taught based on the authors instructions and only did readings on myself for many years. It wasn't until a wonderful teacher named Poornata came into my life and really taught me how to use more of my intuition with the cards.
What's the training process like? And how has it evolved over time? The training process varies depending on the 'school of thought'. I prefer to work with spiritual teachers more so than programs. Our 'training' process consisted of her teaching me how to charge and cleanse my deck, she then helped further my knowledge on doing readings for others while she did readings on me. She would then interpret the cards based on her own intuition and I would record the readings and re-evaluate them using my own insight. I am a very quick learner especially when it comes to spiritual aspects and found the Tarot incredibly easy to grasp. The best training is to practice and I would read almost everyday for myself and several times a month for her.
What are some of the more remarkable things that have come from your Tarot readings? Personally, Tarot has allowed me to refrain from making potentially unfavorable decisions. In readings for others, I've known people to do everything from seek further counseling to better their relationships to setting solid business goals in order to achieve success.  It's inspiring to know that you can have a positive affect on people.
How often do people come back for more? Repeat reading requests are quite normal but usually every two months depending on their own spiritual level of growth.
Do you have a favorite card in the deck? It would have to be The Empress. The first time I ever had a reading done on myself by my Tarot 'mentor' she pulled a Significator card (or Higher Self). It was The Empress. Prior to that I never pulled significator cards for myself -- an ego thing I think.
The Empress is the epitome of Female wisdom, in my opinion. She is part of the Major Arcana of any Tarot deck so she's kinda a big deal LOL. The Empress is creativity, sexuality and sensuality, fertility, nurturing, fulfiller of ideas, mother nature, abundance. Out of all the cards in a 78 deck and I get The Empress, it's quite a humbling experience. 
Do you ever see something that you don't want to disclose, like accidents or death? Tarot doesn't depict ill will (unless your Diviner is more of the negative type), contrary to popular belief, so no, I don't see things like death in the cards. If I do see something that's unfavorable I do disclose the information whole-heartedly. Recently I had a reading where the person wanted to see where their new relationship was headed; I didn't see it being long-term so I notified them of this but explained why and what they could do instead of dwelling. I enjoy providing 'counseling' with readings because to me this isn't about flipping cards onto a table and finding things about oneself that they wish they wouldn't have asked in the first place. To me this is a service that is meant to open eyes and deliver one from their perpetual uncertainty - it's not a crutch either.
Does it matter if someone is physically with you or experiences Tarot from long distance? That's a very popular question and it tickles me. I feel that peoples’ misconceptions of Tarot have been colored by media that they are unaware that energy is universal and travels through space and time with no qualms. In other words, if an intention is set, it resonates throughout the Universe, undoubtedly. Therefore, the information or at least the energetic aspect of the inquiry/ want/ desire can be accessed ANYWHERE -- much like when you think of your lover and they call you that instant. It's about being intuned and picking up signals, signs, scents, and the whole nine. So no -- people don't have to be in the same room with me, they don't even have to be in the same galaxy for that matter!
What is the significance of the number 11? The number 11 is near and dear to me for many reasons that you can check out on my site ( In general the number 11 is considered a 'master' number in astrology. It's a gateway, a portal, an activation number. It's elevation, ascension, and complete chaos if you misuse it. Eleven is many of things and nothing at the same time. I think it has to resonate with the individual in order to have any significance.
What other methods do you utilize for well-being? I have a very vivid imagination and enjoy incorporating visualizations into my work. That is actually one of the things I'm going to start focusing on with Tarot phone sessions instead of email. Visualization is such a powerful tool because if you can imagine it, it will come into fruition. I work with the Law of Attraction and Thought Vibration Healing a lot. I coined the term Thought Vibration Healing because I believe in the power of positive thought, which vibrates into the Universe (hence the reason why Tarot can be done anywhere). If one can see the effects of transforming negative thought, they will begin to see how they can transform their life, completely. Thought Vibration Healing and the LoA work hand in hand because it's about harnessing the divine energy within and without/ around you and making it work for you.
What can we expect to see from Consciously Birthing in 2010 and beyond? I've always been a dreamer and one thing I'm working on diligently is making dreams complete reality. Consciously Birthing's original blueprint from back in 2005 was to be a learning center based on teaching people everything from healthy living to psychic re-activation. I have tons of notes and scribbles from years ago with ideas that I thought were too big but I knew which direction I wanted to go. I finally see that Consciously Birthing is taking the steps in that predestined footprint. I'm anticipating to be a certified Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator in the fall and will surely be incorporating more of the Birthing Arts into Consciously Birthing. Within the next year I would hope to have a steady Divining practice, offering counseling Tarot readings by phone to all who seek to take the next step on their spiritual journey. I want people to feel the difference between your typical $3.99/minute phone psychic to the genuine insight of intuitive Jessica Eleven. This is about elevating individuals on their paths, not standing in their way and grabbing their dollars.
Thank you, Jessica. I find everything you say fascinating, and I hope this blog gets read and shared by many others who can benefit from a little time with you, as I have.
For more information about Jessica and Conscious Birthing, please visit her website:
Consciously Birthing
Intuitive Well-being from Higher Self 

Share your thoughts or comments.