Shifts of consciousness: The FRAMESHIFTS Series

If I were asked to give a mission statement for FRAMESHIFTS, it would be this: 

     I believe that we learn our way out of our dilemmas. Messy decisions, heart-stopping grief, ridiculously selfish leaders—all take our attention from what most concerns us: our next breath.

Breathless, anxious, and hurried, we find our ways when we turn obstacles into challenges, our wreck-sites into studios—all by a shift of mind, a frameshift.

That’s what the Frameshifts series is about. Transforming consciousness like the Shift Network of Stephen Dinan? Yes, but not the way you may think. No sermon, screed, tract, self-help book, or manual of arms for the new millennium, Frameshifts are stories—a history and a vision, but also stories:

Stories about a quiet deal made by a city councilman unaware of the lethal consequences; about a young Air Force officer’s choice between career and corruption; about how the suicide of a young gay teacher draws friends and enemies into a tangle of betrayals; about the slander, Joe-job and murder of an activist, and stories about a strange theocratic community, its technology, and its Supreme Prophet.

    Left with the debts of a husband who invested in start-ups as if he were ordering pizza toppings, June Brightman could only stare at the wreckage of her life until she met Harry Pettiford. That’s when her perspective began to shift.

Everyday shifts of view, slight changes of routine, learning something new, taking on a new duty or responsibility, small acts of resistance to authority—frameshifts.

If consciousness evolves, it is because we pay attention to the resistances in our lives—and to our dreams. Learning occurs at the friction points—or pressure points.

Caught between his wife’s need for 24-7 nursing care and his disappearing retirement income, Harry Pettiford leaves Roanoke to live with his aged aunt near Alexandria so that he can do public relations for a politician struggling to retain his seat on the city council. When the councilman is murdered, the pressure on Harry closes like a vise.

Like all good survivors, the characters in the Frameshifts learn to work with what they have—a bit of science, a potted plant, a poem, a math theorem, a few pieces of gravel from the malpais lands of New Mexico. They put their imaginations to work. For readers, each story is a different kind of discovery, each a different genre, each a different journey, each with a slightly different cast of characters. But there’s more.

The stories add up to something—a larger story that had been going on all along in the background. This is the story that the eccentric Hank Randall discovers at the end of his own rope, or, as he puts it, “at the other end of my arm.” But the full story doesn’t become clear until Hank begins living in a different scale of reference, like what Charles Yu describes as living in a “science fictional universe.”

The stories of FRAMESHIFTS are for readers open to a path that twists through mysteries, suspense, philosophy, poetry, history, military escapades, dramatic dialogues, letters, lectures, adventure, fictional memoirs, science fiction, dystopia, and political intrigue. Whether you want a whodunit, a lost missile launch code, the sinister results of the petty politics of town councils and school boards, genetic engineering gone awry, or a utopian reform of agriculture and society that seems almost too perfect, then these stories are for you.

Check out the first e-book, Death Wears A Tricorn (for 99 cents) to begin the journey, or purchase FRAMESHIFTS, Part 1 and Parts 2-3the novel in two volumes comprising eight linked stories, from Amazon (hardcopy or ebook) or from your bookseller by order from Ingram or Baker & Taylor. My plan is to serialize the novel in six e-books, to be published by Telemachus press. Another book featuring Harry Pettiford is currently in progress.


We pass through the world, our daily lives, or we read it.

No other choice.

We pass through it deaf and blind or we give a reading.

We pass unconsciously through experiences or we frame and sample them,

Or we throw off the old frameworks and examples and shift to new readings.

Learning our way, we pass through the world or we read it.

Teachers—I was one—try to convince us to read the world:

Read it as geometry. Read it as landforms. Read it as politics and government.
Read it as chemistry. Read it as operations and formulas. Read it as a story—our first frame of reference. Read it as facts and dates. Read it as a poem.

Others—persuaders of all kinds—are all too ready to impose their readings:

Ready-made concepts, no preparation required: deodorant, nation, surround sound, race, write-offs, duty, a break you deserve, tax cuts, The People, and Those People. Lose weight, lose fear, lose your mind. Urgent. READ THIS NOW!
Your attention required.

But a good read is not always predictable. Take the FRAMESHIFTS series of ebooks, for example.

We pick up a mystery to escape from the airport, the humdrum, or the memory of the cubicle where we just spent 13 hours.

But what if the mystery turns into a portal into a different world, as if before one had set sail one had plotted a course in error. A few degrees off at the beginning of your trip leaves you far off course, putting you in a strange world, your frame of reference shifted.

As the mystery develops, another story emerges—a larger narrative in the background.

This background narrative becomes clearer as one reads. Several readers have compared the Northern Virginia world of FRAMESHIFTS to Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County because of its focus on the localities of Wando, Holburn, Fairall, and other imaginary areas of the Northern Region.

One reader, after finishing the first mystery, was shocked to find the second book was not a mystery. It was completely different—a strange military adventure—not in the Tom Clancy mode, but involving some of the characters from the first story. And the third story, about how the suicide of a young gay teacher leaves friends and enemies in a tangle of betrayals, also involved some of the same characters in a novella.

Each story is framed differently. The genre shifts from story to story. At this point, the reader told me, she knew that the book was giving her a problem to work out.

“Work?” I said. I was alarmed. Does the reader who goes to a book for escape want to work? “Why did you keep reading?” I asked.

Because that’s what readers do,” she replied. “They want to work out where the author is going.”

Exactly. Those are the readers I want to find:

Readers who enjoy being lost in a strange new territory. Readers who are open to a path that twists from mysteries to philosophy, suspense, poetry, history, adventure, military escapades, dramatic dialogues, letters, lectures, fictional memoirs, science fiction, dystopia, and political intrigue.

Tired of reading the same formulas? Try an ebook in the FRAMESHIFTS series by Richard L. Rose, a series written for readers who like to be lost in a strange new territory. Once inside the world of FRAMESHIFTS, you will begin to sense the larger story and vision of the series. AND EACH EBOOK ONLY COSTS 99 CENTS.

FRAMESHIFTS is about people who learn their way out of their dilemmas.

The first e-book in the series, soon to be released by Telemachus Press, is Death Wears A Tricorn. A city councilman in the Northern Virginia community of Holburn makes a quiet deal with unsuspected lethal consequences. Retired journalist Harry Pettiford, forced back into the workforce because of his wife’s high medical bills, manages the councilman’s successful campaign only to find his boss murdered in campaign headquarters. As Harry’s investigation makes him another target for the murderer, the perceptive reader discovers that another story has emerged, a story of a strange theocratic community withdrawing from the frenzied political scene of the D.C. region to await the floods of the Last Days in a guarded compound in rural Virginia. Harry, who is only trying to care for his wife, searches for an easy exit but, as if in a dream, only becomes more involved with politicians, terrorists, and reporter June Brightman, who has a dream of her own.

Like daily life, it’s a strange territory—if you only know how to read it.