Minister vs. Preacher

From the book Twisted by the Wind by Tom Hays

I don't know where this “ministry” will eventually lead.  I only know that I have a calling, and I have to follow … wherever it leads.  Presently, I feel it is to provide enlightenment and encouragement to others around me; to somehow have a positive influence on their daily life, to open doors of understanding, and compassion.
It is not important to me what your particular religious or spiritual beliefs are, nor do I want to make you believe mine.  The important thing is we both have them, and there are probably many more similarities than differences.  I happen to feel that a superior power, known by many names, including God, resides within us and can be called upon at any time. 
To me, being a good or "Christian" person is not so much about "talking the talk" as it is about "walking the walk".  It is a way to live life, some variation of the golden rule, wherein we live in such a way that we treat others the way they would like to be treated ... and to not let them change us when they don't do the same for us.
My prayer is to be able to find ways to live a better life, with more kindness, more compassion, more understanding, more fulfillment and more smiles.  I ask the Great Spirit for those things, for me, and for you.
- Reverend Tom -

Ben Had the Music Up Loud

From an upcoming new book by Tom Hays

    Ben had been alone in a monastery for five years and back home in Oklahoma only a short while when he decided to move to Arizona.  He liked the desert.  He liked the mysticism of the people who had inhabited the place before, way before, who lived in caves and crude dwellings but had somehow figured out how to live on the harsh land and get along with the spirits and powers that inhabited the area along with them.  Thousands of years of human history laid bare, open to discovery and study.

The good vibes, given off by the rocks, the soil and the spirits of the ancients, filled the desert air.  Ben felt them calling him, and he and his soul mate settled in and started calling it home.

Home was a pueblo style, adobe house in a sparse desert suburban area.  A large area had been cleared for a patio, surrounded by a low adobe wall, high enough to perhaps keep the javelinas out but the more agile coyotes could come and go at will.  Ben had seen them walking atop six foot walls, so he knew any attempt to keep them out was futile.

Tonight was a dinner party with two other couples, good friends with an equal love for the desert, its plants and folklore.  Never mind that the days had been running 109 to 112, it was summer and expected.  Ben was in a good mood and looking forward to the get together.  He had volunteered to make the homemade Mexican vanilla ice cream, grill the pork tenderloin and prepare his famous salsa to serve over the sliced meat.  Life was good.

Ben had the music up loud, grooving on Steely Dan’s phenomenal bass licks.  Even Albert the cat was tapping his paw in time with the beat, eyes closed and laying next to the stone fireplace. There was harmony playing nearby, the sounds of the ice cream maker churning away in the background, just outside the patio door, seemed to compliment the music, as if it too was coming from the sound system.  The tenderloin had been seasoned with the rub and it was anticipating placement on the outdoor grill, and the vegetables were carefully chopped and marinating in the salsa bowl.  Ben was looking forward to a fun evening with friends, unlike the five years of silent aloneness in the monastery. Company was coming, people to talk and laugh with, everything was perfect and Ben’s mood was building higher and higher.

Suddenly, a shot! Then another--and another in quick succession!

Ben quickly turned to face the noise only to see ………. !!!

Tune in next time.

Shocked Listeners Hear Civilized Life on Planet Amphibia!

By Tom Hays

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my experiences a few years ago in a recording studio in Oklahoma, in which we were fortunate to have recorded strange signals from a distant planet.

I invited readers to visit a web page where they could hear actual samples of those recordings and, if they wished, order the complete collection of those recordings. The results have been gratifying.

As predicted, some felt compelled to question my sanity, but many were amazed (or perhaps amused) and immediately ordered the CD’s by mail or simply downloaded them in audiobook format from the internet. In my view, those who responded with an order were the smartest ones. They are already listening to every exciting episode in this historic series of recordings.

Now, it is your turn. If you have not yet listened to this series I urge you to listen and order now!

Are there really little green men from outer space? Here is where you find out.
Wak et Bong the Merciless Salamander

New Audio Books Reveal Secret Discovery of Civilized Life on Distant Planet.

Tom Hays, Writer/Producer

 It was a few years back, a time when life had a different feel to it. The air in the recording studio seemed electric … sparking … crackling with activity and creativity, spiced by the smells of stale pizza, herb and cigarette smoke, filled with the amplified sounds of voices, music and sound effects.

As my friend John and I worked into the fuzzy hours of the night building commercials for my advertising clients, we had little knowledge of just what was coming our way, courtesy of an errant sound mixing console.

My agency studio was filled with second hand equipment, mostly acquired from radio stations. That old broadcast console and the Ampex recorders had some miles on them, but I had a good consulting engineer go through the place on a regular basis who kept it right up to specs.  Maybe too good.

As I said, it was late, and we were trying to finish up, but as we were listening to a playback, we started to hear some sounds that were not coming from what we had just recorded, faint sounds as if from far, far away. We were in a soundproof studio. Nothing was on except the tape player, the console and the speakers. What was that noise? We turned off the tape playback, but the far away sound persisted. We turned the speakers all the way down, and still the strange sounds came. With our ears we followed the sound to the source, the small broadcast monitor speaker in the console. We were not a radio station. We were not “broadcasting” anything. It got weird after that.

“If we’re not broadcasting,” I said, “then we must be receiving.” John turned up the volume on the console monitor and the sound became more audible. It was like nothing we had ever heard before, like a microphone was on in a strange place and no one knew it was on, and it was being transmitted.  Somehow, my old radio broadcast console was picking up that transmission. Strange indeed, for the sounds were like an old radio serial from days gone by. “John,” I said, “we’d better get this while we can.”   John turned on one of the recorders and we started recording.

The recordings continued, night after night, and in time we came to discover that what we were hearing was some sort of transmission from a small planet named Amphibia, in a far away galaxy known as Croakatoria. All in all, we managed to piece together 40 of these recordings. Astounded as we were, but fearing how the government dealt with those people telling stories about "hearing people from outer space", we dared not release the recordings to the public. The project was code named “Star Base Toad”.

Kept secretly and securely in my vault for all these years, I have now decided to risk ridicule and share these recordings with others who may find them of interest …  people who may wish to hear about life on other planets, about alien civilizations and the distant reaches of space and time. It is important to me that the world has the opportunity, through these recordings, to study the society that exists on Amphibia so that we may try to better understand our own. There has never been a time when we needed that more than right now.

In order to share this amazing audio discovery with as many people as possible, I have transferred the 40 recorded Star Base Toad episodes to 4 audio books, which have been published and are being distributed online by They are now available at most audio book dealers including iTunes and  The four audio books are also available in CD format at
If your imagination will allow you to believe that life exists elsewhere, you can now listen and learn about the strange and exciting life on Amphibia. I urge you to listen carefully to the entire series.

Not For Babies Only...

 As I turned on the water to draw my bath, I glanced at the shelf by the tub lined with bottles of bath oils and lotions, reflecting various colors of the sky, the earth and flowering desert plants.  Many of those bottles were given to me by friends at a birthday party who said, "Be kind to yourself, take a warm, long bath, relax, luxuriate and treat yourself like a baby."  Hmmm...
 I began by dipping my elbow into the bath water to check the temperature.  As I slowly stepped into the water, the warmth of it engulfed my leg, and my foot felt the security of the smooth mat on the bottom.  I lowered myself into the tub and cradled my neck in a soft pillow and breathed in the rising steam scented by a mild eucalyptus oil.  Closing my eyes, covered by a cool eye mask, I consciously relaxed every muscle in my body.  I listened to my deliberate, steady breathing, felt my heart beat ever so slowly and I fell peacefully asleep.
 Upon awakening I ran a hot shower and washed my hair, massaging my scalp with the hardness of my fingernails and the softness of my fingertips, making thick lather.  Using one of my scented soaps and loufa, I washed my body, the roughness of the loufa scrubbing away dead skin, the faint lavender scent of the soap making me feel lusciously clean.
 Stepping out of the bath, I wrapped myself in a large, soft towel, heated by the towel warmer.  As I poured the cool moisturizing lotion into my hands to warm it and smoothed it over my body, I luxuriated in the silky feel it was giving my skin, and it reminded me of the obvious joy a baby feels when rubbed with baby lotion after a warm bath.
 Babies are touched, caressed, massaged, nurtured for a reason.  It gives them a feeling of security, love and acceptance. The human touch is so immensely important, not only to babies, but to all of us.
 Even if we don't have the time or resources to indulge in professional massages, manicures, shampoos, or aromatherapy treatments, there's nothing to keep us from pampering ourselves and recalling those same feelings a baby feels.
 As I dry my hair and dress, I think how I feel nurtured, loved, safe and relaxed, and it makes me recall those same feelings as when I was growing up.  And I'm the one who made me feel this way.  Pamper yourself -- treat yourself like a baby!

Susan Hays

Tucson Book Fetival 2012

Tom Hays welcoming visitors to his book signing at the HUGE Tucson Festival of Books.  A great spring day on the University of Arizona campus.