General blog

April 2017 news/New Books!

Better Them1


Morrison in front of his HQ, Passchendaele 1917

I have two exciting books coming out this year; with Heritage House – An Artillery Commander in the Great War: Major-General Sir Edward Morrison 1914 – 1919 and Hell Burned Through: Dave Mould – The Illustrated Tales of a Lancaster Rear Gunner for the Bomber Command Museum of Canada. An Artillery Commander is set to launch at Beechwood Military Cemetery in Ottawa, along with the unveiling of Morrison’s restored grave marker on 5 November 2017, the centenary date of the Passchendaele Battle. Hell Burned Through will launch this summer, date to be announced.

I’m now offering a proofreading service too, specializing in history manuscripts generally, and military history specifically.

Bonfire by Penny

Bonfire news!

I’m just about to launch a Bonfire e-book which will be available everywhere and will play on most e-readers. Will also be launching a Bonfire paperback which will be available internationally. Both should be ready for the 100th anniversary of In Flanders Fields, 3 May, 2015. On that day I will be standing on the dyke beside the Yser Canal in approximately the area in which the poem was written, 100 years hence.

I invite anyone travelling to Flanders for any of the 100th anniversary events to join me there!

Veterans retreat with Soldier’s Heart

I’m off to Los Pinos in the Los Padres mountains north of LA. Will be a support person for a veterans retreat as the Canadian representative of Soldier’s Heart. I haven’t been to one of these since 2010. It will be interesting as there will be lots of young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also be the first one I’ve been to without Soldier’s Heart directors Ed Tick and Kate Dahlstedt. I know everyone will be in good hands with retreat facilitators, John Becknell and Miguel Rivera, both of whom have been doing great service as healers in various ways for years. I will be blogging from the retreat and will be careful not to name names or reveal any identifying personal details of the participants.

What I will be doing is documenting the steps of the healing model and how it is being experienced generally, by the veterans and their family members. Stay tuned.

News from Greece!

It has been an unacceptably long time since I have blogged, and it’s not that I haven’t had anything to say! I’ve been moving house, travelling and busy with book things, among other diversions. Right now I’m sitting in my room in Heraklion on the north coast of the isle of Crete as we come to the end of a 2 1/2 week pilgrimage. We have been travelling with psychologist and writer Ed Tick, and his wife and fellow psychologist, Kate Dahlstedt. My last roommate, Barbara – a professional astrologer, just left this morning for her home near Boston.

Sailing into Heraklion port at 6:00 a.m.

Sailing into Heraklion port at 6:00 a.m.

My friend from LA, Grace will be moving in with me for one night and then I head for Athens by ferry and the flight back to Calgary. What a trip this has been. Ed Tick leads healing/educational trips to both Viet Nam and Greece. We knew that “A” Greek trip was coming up for the last two years but didn’t know where we would be going. In the meantime I dreamt I was in ancient Greece and with two other people, all teenagers at the time; we were lovingly washing and grooming a black bull with gold balls on the ends of his horns. A few weeks after that, Ed announced that our next trip would be Crete, for whom the bull is a symbol! This is the bull I dreamed, without the gold balls on the ends of his horns.

Minoan Bull in the museum in Heraklion

Minoan Bull in the museum in Heraklion

This was just one of many magical things that have happened before, and during the trip. I think everyone experienced at least some degree of healing, catharsis, new insight, and/or transformation. The spine of the trip was to visit a couple of Asclepion healing sanctuaries and then follow near the end of our journey with a night of “dream healing.” Dreams have been considered of importance in many healing traditions, including conventional psychiatry, ie. Jungian and Freudian practices. The healer Asclepios was a powerful figure of ancient Greece who actually lived, according to Homer. His daughters were Hygiea – from which we get the word, hygiene and Panacea, who name is self-explanatory.

There are Asclepion ruins all over Greece, Turkey and even some Italy. The Asclepion in Epidavros is being restored as close to the original as possible. There are literally thousands of testimonials recorded of healings including some very specific notes from Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius – the Romans adopted the practice from the Greeks. Hippocrates was an apprentice to, and eventually a priest of Asclepios. The snake on the staff in medicine comes from Asclepios, not Hippocrates.

Asclepios and me from an earlier trip, in Epidavros.

Asclepios and me from an earlier trip, in Epidavros.

Symbols of Poseidon and Asclepios in the Asclepion in Lendas on Crete

Symbols of Poseidon and Asclepios in the Asclepion in Lendas on Crete

Enough history. Whether it is symbolic or real makes no difference. When pilgrims travel together with a powerful intention for knowledge and healing, remarkable things happen. During the dream incubation, several people shared common elements in their dreams without knowing it until we shared our experiences at the end. A sceptical, atheist (kick-ass) trial lawyer from Detroit had a couple of mystical things happen that really made her question her beliefs, in a good way. She was excited and inspired by what she discovered. A wounded young veteran was transformed by this trip and will probably end up being a speaker for Soldier’s Heart, ( Ed and Kate’s charity for healing combat trauma. My friend Grace, who is a practising psychiatrist also has healing dreams for her patients and friends.

Outside of that, we all loved Crete. Wonderful, warm people, fantastic food and the best tasting honey in the world – you can taste the flowers in it! In the photo below, there were Minoan ruins here, a carpet of wildflowers and you could hear nothing but the buzzing of happy bees. Just beautiful.

Minoan ruins were nearby

Millions of wildflowers and bees.

One little story from WWII; a group of British soldiers were bivouacked in Epidavros at the end of the war. The Sergeant Major told his CO that they needed to move because the place was haunted. ALL the men had had the same dream – of a large bearded man in a robe with a staff that had a snake wrapped around it! They were describing Asclepios.

That’s enough for now. Please note: I’m in the process of moving everything to a new site – It is under construction and once I get moved, I will get that up and running.