Author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson takes a no-political holds barred look at President Barack Obama’s first year in office. He answers one compelling question: Did he fulfill the massive and sweeping promise he made to restore hope and effect change in America?
This promise energized millions, reshaped the nation’s political tapestry, and propelled the first African-American into the White House. Hutchinson examines where and how Obama kept his promise, and where and how he failed to keep it. He examines in laser detail the attacks and counterattacks from the GOP and the Democrats. He delineates the differences and similarities between Obama and Bush in waging the war on terrorism. He assesses the towering battles over health care, the economy, racial attacks, the GOP counterinsurgency, Afghanistan, and the Henry Louis Gates flap. He provides readers with a guide as to how Obama will continue to govern.
Author Says Obama Faces New Crisis with Election Loss of Top Democrats
The announcement that Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd and other leading Democrats won’t run for re-election puts poses a new crisis President Obama. In his new book How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge, author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson predicted that there would be major losses among Democrats in 2010. He noted that some of those losses would be among top Democrats.
Hutchinson notes that this could cripple Obama’s efforts to get his agenda on immigration, cap and trade, implementing health care reforms, and his judicial appointments through Congress. It will also mortally wound Obama’s efforts to make bi-partisanship the watchword of his administration.
“The loss, defection, and potential defeat of top Democrats in 2010 will stiffen the GOP in its opposition to much of Obama’s agenda,” says Hutchinson, “It will also put Democrats on the political defensive. This will present yet another major challenge to Obama’s administration to stem the tide of political reverses.”
In How Obama Won, Hutchinson gives a no holds barred assessment of the make and break issues that confront Obama in 2010. These are the issues that will determine whether Obama can really deliver on his lofty promise of hope and change.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a nationally acclaimed author and political analyst. Hutchinson is the author of ten books on race and politics in America. His three most recent books are: How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge, How Obama Won, and The Ethnic Presidency: How Race decides the Race to the White House
His featured interviews and comments on race and politics have appeared in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, and ABC’s World News Tonight.
He has been a guest analyst on the Fox News John Gibson Show, the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, the Glenn Beck Show, PBS Lehrer Report, NPR’s Talk of the Nation and various CNN News shows.
Hutchinson is the National Political Writer for New America Media and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.
Jeff Barkil, Kelly, Louis Alverez, Donald Morgan, William Conley, John Bradley, and Jimmy Hairston are back in this sequel to Halo that takes place five years later.
Jeff and the team are sent in to terminate two drug lords that are scheduled to attend a meeting across the Burmese border in China.
After an early river crossing destroys their radio and cuts them off from the outside world, the team is forced to fight its way through the jungles of Laos and North Vietnam to complete the mission. Then they must rely solely on their small arms and combat expertise to fight their way home in a land where the line between friend and foe is continually blurred.
They can't be captured. They won't surrender. And there will be no rescue operation.
In this fast-paced military action story, the reader picks up with Kelly, Jeff Barkil, and the team they last met in Halo, where the men survived multiple harrowing missions in Southeast Asia.
Five years later, Barkil's service is just about up, and the others have all moved on to other roles in the United States Military. When Kelly approaches Jeff about this new mission, Barkil reaches out to reassemble the surviving members of his old team. After weeks of training, the men are ready for another dangerous and potentially fatal mission.
Stephens puts his former military service to good use in Tarnished Halo. He creates a realistic and suspenseful story filled with rich descriptions and military jargon. Anyone who reads this genre on a regular basis will easily be able to keep pace; but what I like most about how Stephens put this together is that he footnotes the terms he uses for the average reader so she won't get lost.
This reader became totally immersed in the story of these men and their determination to complete their mission and return home safely. And even when objectives change, the strong bond among these men will captivate you.
The author put several twists and turns in this one, which made the read that more enjoyable. I hope this isn't the last we hear from Jeff Barkil or D.J. Stephens.
Author and speaker Susie Larson calls readers to look beyond their self-focused lives and embrace their freedom in Christ so that they may bring that same freedom to those who need it. Journey with Susie as she shares her own challenges in seeking justice and finding the deeper rewards that await those who "take hold of God's promises and reach out in Jesus' name".
In this empowering book, Susie shares stories of women, who with help from the International Justice Mission, have embraced their freedom and become champions for others in need. Readers will be called to no longer be held captive by their pasts and to seek the freedom and justice only God can give.
In some ways, Embracing Your Freedom reminds me of another book by my favorite Christian author, Kathi Macias. Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World also called on readers to be true disciples of Christ. Larson's call is stronger and bolder, but still manageable.
While reading this book, I felt Larson was speaking directly to me, encouraging me to let go of the things that have held my heart captive, so that I may become the person He created me to be.
You will be forever touched and forever changed by Embracing Your Freedom!
Today we welcome back Sherry James, the talented author behind the Studs for Hire series. In addition to this funny, sexy series, Sherry is also the author of Cowboy Fling, and her short story “Eight Seconds” appears in the Flavors of Ecstasy, Volume 3 anthology from Ellora’s Cave. We’re going to talk to Sherry about her cowboy books, her love of horses, and the writing projects she’s working on now.
Welcome back, Sherry! It’s wonderful to have you with us again. How about giving our readers a little refresher on who you are and what you write?
It’s great to be back! Thanks for having me. Right now I write romance novels for two publishers, Black Velvet Seductions and Ellora’s Cave. To date I have four books published and will, hopefully, have many more to come! I’m married, have two kids, and muck stalls for my other kids (horses!) on a daily basis. I’m a true country girl and can’t imagine, (well yes I can imagine, but wouldn’t want to) living any other kind of life.
I had such a great time reading your Studs for Hire books and can’t wait to read Cowboy Fling and “Eight Seconds”. What are the challenges of writing for slightly different markets and how do you overcome them?*
Thanks, Cheryl! I appreciate your kind comments! Well, writing for two different markets can be a bit of a challenge, but once you (as a writer) understand what makes them different, it can be fun and refreshing to write for more than one avenue. For Ellora’s Cave my books need to be much hotter and more explicit in not only descriptions, but language as well. For Black Velvet Seductions I’m free to tone down the heat quite a bit. My BVS books are still very sensual, but they aren’t as explicit, and they are humorous. Usually, by the time I’m done with one type of book, I’m ready for something a little different. That’s what makes writing for more than one publisher really nice. Helps in the cash flow department, too!
How has your love for horses inspired your work?
I grew up on the back of a horse, barrel raced and showed, so writing about horses and cowboys is a natural fit. In my younger days, when I didn’t have all the responsibilities of life ;-), I used to hop on my horse and ride all the back roads near my family’s farm. It was great. I’d be gone for hours and I’d use that time to connect with my horse and the surrounding countryside. There’s nothing quite like watching a breathtaking sunset from the back of a good horse! But during those long rides I also made up a lot of stories in my head. I’ve always been a romantic so, naturally those stories featured handsome cowboys and fast horses. At that point I had no clue I’d one day be a writer, but it sure was great training ground for my imagination.
Tell us about Cowboy Fling.
Cowboy Fling is a fun story about twin sisters, Paige and Dorie Holister, who make a bet that if they aren’t both married by their thirtieth birthday, they’ll each set out to experience three of their wildest sexual fantasies in 72 hours. Cowboy Fling is Paige’s story. To fulfill her fantasies, she heads to Wyoming and accidentally lands in the middle of a fight between two cowboys. After the dust settles, she puts her nursing skills to work by patching up handsome cowboy Lane Hart. Paige quickly discovers Lane is the answer to her betting woes and forces herself to step out of her comfort zone by propositioning him. Lane is happy to oblige and the two set out for a weekend of making Paige’s fantasies, and a few of Lane’s, too, come true. But when those 72 hours are up, can they both walk away like they said they would?
What was the most fun part of writing this one?
For me, the fun part about writing any book is creating the sexual tension between my hero and heroine. When I talk about sexual tension, I’m not talking about the sex. I’m talking about the G-rated stuff that leads to the sizzling stuff. Sexual tension is the awareness the characters develop for each other—-noticing the little things, the anticipation, the excitement of the first kiss, the whole falling in love process. As for other fun stuff specific to Cowboy Fling, that was coming up with each sister’s three sexual fantasies. It was also fun to use Cheyenne Frontier Days as a backdrop. And, writing about sexy cowboys is always fun! Have I mentioned I love cowboys?
Cowboy Fling is only available in electronic format. Has that hampered sales any?
No siree! I’ve been very pleased with the sales of Cowboy Fling. I kind of think of that book as the Energizer Bunny. It just keeps selling, and selling, and selling! E-books have been around for quite a few years now, but it hasn’t been until the last five to seven years that they’ve really started to garner a large audience. Ellora’s Cave, I think, deserves a lot of credit for really cracking open the e-market. They were trailblazers in my opinion.
And the advancement of technology in recent years has been amazing. Now that there are some really great electronic reading devices out on the market, like the Amazon Kindle and the Sony e-reader for examples, digital book sales are growing even more, and in my opinion, are going to continue to grow. We definitely live in a technological age. And because of digital, the face of publishing is seeing some major changes right now. It’s an interesting and exciting time.
Let’s move on to the Flavors of Ecstasy, Volume 3 anthology from Ellora’s Cave that features your short story, “Eight Seconds”. What is this story about?
Well, Taylor Westfall is a cowgirl who runs the family ranch. She also happens to moonlight as an erotic romance writer to help keep the ranch in the black. But with no man currently in her life, she’s in need of some inspiration to help her write on the erotic side of romance. Her answer? Her sexy neighbor and Pro Bull Rider, Devlin McCord! When she hears Devlin is coming home for the holidays after winning another PBR Championship, she schemes a plan to convince him to help her out in that inspiration department. To her surprise, no convincing is needed! And trust me, these two quickly forget about the cold, snowy weather raging outside. I hope readers will forget about the recent frigid temperatures, too, as they read "Eight Seconds". I have a feeling you drew on some personal experiences for this one. Care to share some of your time as a rodeo queen?
Sure. But first, let me say "Eight Seconds" is smokin’ hot! The “sizzling” stuff that goes on between Taylor and Devlin is based on ideas I get from picking up an occasional copy of COSMO! All for research purposes, of course. ;-) Trust me, I don’t have the kind of love life my characters do, nothing against my sweet hubby, of course, but I’m pretty laid back. But as for the horse/ranch/rodeo knowledge, yes, I definitely draw upon my personal experiences for my books.
And I loved being a rodeo queen. It was so much fun. I got to travel, meet so many great people, quite a few famous ones, too, and of course, represent Pro Rodeo and my state. And getting to hang around all those sexy cowboys wasn’t so bad, either! What a perk! It took a lot of hard work and dedication to win that title, but so worth it. It was an exciting year and one I will never forget.
When I stopped by your blog recently, it mentioned you had several writing projects in this works. Can you tell us about some of them?
About two months ago I finished a historical novella, The Cowboy and the Hellcat, which I’m hoping will sell soon. Yes, I said historical! I love historicals. In fact, when I first discovered the romance genre when I was a junior in high school, I started out reading historicals. It wasn’t until I started seeing cowboys in contemporary romances that I began reading in that direction as well. But the first book I ever wrote was a historical.
As of this interview, I’m working on revisions for another contemporary cowboy romance which I wrote a while back and my editor at Black Velvet Seductions is waiting to see. Lassoed Heart is written more in the voice of my Studs for Hire books since there is a lot of humor in the book. It’s been great to revisit my characters, Rich and Lynda, and experience all over again their quirky travels down the rodeo road.
Once I’m done with Lassoed Heart, I have to get back to work on the sequel to Cowboy Fling. Yes, Virginia, there is a sequel! I can’t leave readers wondering how Paige’s sister, Dorie, fairs on her side of the sexual fantasy bet, now can I? Believe me. Dorie meets her match in stubborn, hunky cowboy Vin Sheridan. Hopefully, with a little luck, Country Fling will be released some time in 2010.
Where can readers purchase copies of your books?
The Studs for Hire series can be purchased directly through the Black Velvet Seductions web site, www.blackvelvetseductions.com, ordered through your local bookstore, or if you’re an Amazon shopper they are available there in both print and Kindle editions. Cowboy Fling & the Flavors of Ecstasy Vol. III anthology can be purchased through Ellora’s Cave at www.jasmine-jade.com, and Cowboy Fling is now also available at Amazon in a Kindle edition. I’m hoping that you’ll be able to find my EC books at some other online sources as well very soon.
Where can readers find you online if they would like to find out more about you and your work?
I’d like to let my readers know how much I appreciate them. I know that they are investing not only their time, but often their money, when they select one of my books. I hope that the stories I create live up to their expectations and make them laugh, sigh, or drool, and leave them with the feeling that they’d like to visit my characters again!
Thanks for dropping in today, Sherry. We wish you continued success and we hope to see you again soon.
Thanks so much for having me, Cheryl Have a great 2010!
* Since this interview was given, I have reviewed both Cowboy Fling and "Eight Seconds". You can find those reviews here and here.
A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story – Second Edition, is a heartfelt memoir about Bunkie, the yellow Labrador Retriever Wonder dog. The memoir contains highlights of a 14-year chronological voyage through Bunkie’s and the author's life.
It won’t take you 14 years to read it; but it’s got 14 years worth of love, laughs and tears buried within. The memoir is primarily a humor piece, but has some serious components as well, and deals with the positive aspects of pet ownership as well as the grief associated with losing a loved pet and family member.
"The man gazes at the Boston Terrier puppy in the crook of his arm. The puppy is lying on his back and stares adoringly into the man's eyes. The man has seen that look before and once again, falls in love with a pup. He knows that loving look is a con and loves the pup all the more for it. Wishful thinking perhaps, but the man feels that his departed Lab is looking back at him from those deep brown eyes. The eyes are a window into the soul and the man likes what he sees within. He looks at the lady who has brought the puppy to him and nods acceptance. Transaction complete, the man places the pup on a camouflage jacket in the cab of his truck that lies next to him; that jacket has a history and scent from the man's beloved Lab. The puppy is instantly comforted and settles into slumber cuddled up next to the man. For the first time in a long time the man's soul is at rest."
I’ve always had a love for dogs.
When I was a kid I would always pester my Dad for a dog. Dad loved dogs too. In fact, Pop loved all animals.
We also loved to hunt, Dad and me. My Dad taught me to respect all life and to never take another life lightly. That meant that you eat what you kill, fish or fowl or furry critter, with the exception of killing varmints that were damaging your other animals or property.
I learned early on that my pets had a shorter life expectancy than me. I don’t care who you are, that’s a tough truth to deal with as a youngster and even as an adult.
It doesn’t matter how much you love your critter, that will not make them live any longer than what they are supposed to live. That’s a tough reality.
I describe the realization that you will have to deal with the death of your loved pet as a Sweet Pain. The sweetness comes from the unconditional love that you receive from your critter and the love that you deal back to your buddy. We all know where the pain comes from.
But you know what? It’s worth it.
All you have to know is that it’s not your fault that your buddy passes on; they were going to go anyway. You also have to know that when your buddy is/was with you that they lived a privileged life; that you loved them and made their existence on this world a good one. You can be proud of that and happy that you were able to make your friend happy when he/she was with you.
That is a GOOD thing. It is a SWEET PAIN.
I know that it hurts to put your friend out of his misery when the time comes. You must know that it is an act of love; nothing else. Do not second-guess yourself as to whether you did it too soon; in your heart you must know that it was the right time. You know that it was time, so do not beat yourself up over the inevitable. You had the courage to do what was right; never denigrate yourself over doing the humane thing for your loved ones, whether human or critter.
You love; therefore you hurt. The greater the love; the greater the hurt. What better testament can there be?
I may be naïve, but I also believe that if there is a final reward after this life we live, and I do, that our critter buddies will be there to greet and guide us into that life. In my heart I feel this.
I guess my message to you is this: don’t let the fear of loss keep you from taking another critter buddy into your home, arms and bed. It is a sweet pain that gives more than it takes.
My Dad taught me this and I believe it. You should too.
Charles Franklin Emery III was born in Los Angeles, California in 1956. He joined the US Navy Submarine force in 1977 and spent the following six years on Fast Attack and Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines as a Sonar Technician and Sonar Supervisor. He forged a career in commercial Nuclear Power and is now a Consulting Engineer to various electric utilities. He is an avid fisherman and hunter, enjoys working on his 1964 Plymouth Savoy and collecting colonial American coins. Drag Racing is also a passion and his 1964 Plymouth Savoy Nostalgia Super Stocker provides the needed outlet. He now resides with a Boston Terrier horde and his wife Sherry in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
Charles’s early influences are Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes mysteries). Sprinkle in a liberal dose of Sports Afield, Popular Hot Rodding and Saltwater Fisherman magazines and that about wraps it up. Charles always had an interest in dogs, as his father and he were avid hunters and nature lovers. Charles spent a large amount of his youth hunting and fishing the Coachella Valley in the Southern California desert. There he chased quail, dove and rabbits and fished the Salton Sea for Corvina, Sargo and Croakers.
Charles developed a love for muscle cars. He grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs in Bellflower surrounded by the raucous exhaust tones of the high horsepower years that defined the muscle car era. He is passionate about Mopars and thus his present ownership and obsession with his 1964 Plymouth Savoy.
Charles is also a mentor to various nuclear industry entities and enjoys teaching the next generation electrical power theory and relay testing techniques and regimen. Charles owns and operates his own publishing imprint, Bunkiedog Press. The website address for Bunkiedog Press is http://www.bunkiedog.com.
Bunkiedog Press has published “Dad, Dog and Fish” & “A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story” and “A Man and His Maniac: The Bunkie Story” – Second Edition”. He is currently working on the memoirs “Moondoggie and the Boston Terrier Horde”, “Gearhead” and “Bubblehead”.
One man’s story of what it takes to run a strip club empire –the dangers, secrets, pitfalls, surprises – and rewards –and the business lessons learned.
What is it really like to open and run a successful string of strip clubs?
“It’s not what you think it is,” reveals Alan Markovitz, author of a new book and owner of the nation’s leading gentlemen’s club.
Topless Prophet: The True Story of America's Most Successful Gentleman's Club Entrepreneur offers a rare glimpse into the world of gentlemen’s clubs, taking us behind the scenes of the operations of one of the nation’s most successful club owners. Where other books provide insight on the scandalous side of strippers, escorts, and x-rated entertainment, Topless Prophet is as much a business book and autobiography of an ingenious entrepreneur as it is an exploration of what goes into staying on top of an industry filled with cut-throat competition, corruption, celebrities, and beautiful women who make a living dancing.
In this moving memoir of Alan Markovitz, who owns several Penthouse Gentlemen’s Clubs and the country’s No. 1 ranked adult entertainment club (The Ultimate Strip Club List (http://www.tuscl.net/), The Flight Club, we are treated to a first-hand account of a Detroit businessman who has helped change and grow an industry while overcoming many challenges, some life-threatening, some business-endangering. He has spent nearly the past three decades reformulating the ultimate fantasy setting for men.
“The business of entertainment has a lot of glamour and glitz – and beautiful women for sure — but it’s filled with many forces that can challenge and chew you up in no time,” says Markovitz. “The key is to think ahead, exceed expectations, be ready for a fight, and be wise enough to know when to walk away.”
Not Taught in Business School
For the entrepreneur, it can be an extremely risky venture with a steep, sharp learning curve. They just don’t teach you in business school what it takes to get an adult club off the ground without immediately crashing and burning. You pretty much have to learn the business hands on, so to speak, or from the bottom up, like I did when I went to work at La Chambre. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get ripped off by thieving parasites of all varieties and, for those of you who believe that topless entertainment is the abject exploitation of women, all I have to say is this: you try managing 50 or 100 competitive and strong-willed ladies who are more often than not drinking copious amounts of alcohol on the job. If you let them they will walk all over you in their stiletto-heeled dancer platforms until you are no longer breathing…I kid you not. They can and will whine, wheedle, demand, manipulate and fight – literally tooth and nail – with all their feminine wiles as well as tricks they have picked up from traveling kung fu masters to get what they want. Mind you, I am not saying that there are not honest, kind, decent, hardworking and responsible women working as topless entertainers. There are. But trying to separate out the different personalities that often inhabit each individual dancer is work for a dozen clones of Sigmund Freud.
Read What Reviewers are Saying!
Bold business moves are needed in any field of commerce — even in the adult entertainment industry. “Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur” tells the story of Markovitz and his realization of his goal to becoming one of the most powerful adult entertainment entrepreneurs in America. Starting with a small bar in Michigan, he’s created his own empire of topless bars. “Topless Prophet” is an intriguing memoir combining fascinating business sense with the curiosity of erotic dancing. –Midwest Book Review
Markovitz’s story begins with humble roots growing up in the Jewish middle class neighborhood of Oak Park, Michigan, the son of a television repair shop owner. We come to learn of the vision, grit and gumption that he possesses – and is very much needed – to succeed in business.
He starts out as a kid in a candy store, working the bar for the neighborhood strip club as a teenager. Markovitz befriends the owner and seeks him out as a business partner when he ventures out to buy his first club at age 22. From there on we see him come back stronger from every challenge, crisis, or adversity along the way to establishing himself at the top of the topless business.
Markovitz overcame many unique circumstances, including when he
■Had to testify against the Mafia that threatened him.
■Saw his club raided by the police as part of a smear campaign by a competing Eight Mile club owner – and spent the weekend in jail.
■Was shot by one of his own dancers after he fired her.
■Saw his dancers try to unionize to block a new compensation system.
■Had one of his clubs tank after the local city (Ft. Lauderdale) changed the laws about alcohol being served in strip clubs.
■Was blocked by political cronyism when he tried to open in Las Vegas.
■Got sued for trademark infringement by Boeing.
■Was accidentally shot by a drunken patron, an off-duty police officer.
■Had his father, a Holocaust survivor who became his business partner, negotiate with a menacing biker gang that threatened his first club.
■Manages over 300 dancers at each club.
■Attempted to bring the strip club setting to airplanes and golf courses.
■Got swindled out of a million dollars when trying to buy a club.
■Views expansion, upgrades, location, quality of service, the competition, pricing, and knowing when to wage a legal fight.
“The formula for success is fleeting,” says Markovitz. “Just when you think you know what it is, it changes. You can’t be complacent in this business.” Markovitz certainly knows what it takes to make millions and have fun doing it.
Today's guest blogger is Dot Ryan, author of the Civil War historical novel,Corrigans' Pool--which we reviewed here. Today, this talented author will discuss the historical setting of her debut release.
"Civil War History in Corrigans’ Pool" by Dot Ryan
I am often asked why I decided on the setting of Savannah, Georgia for my Civil War era novel, Corrigans’ Pool. “After all,” someone said, “after Sherman burned a sixty mile wide path from Atlanta to the coast where Savannah lay, he pretty much left the city intact.” True. And he did so to the surprise and relief of Savannah’s terrified and near starving citizens—who afterward were highly insulted when he settled into one of Savannah’s most luxurious homes and penned a letter to President Lincoln, offering up Savannah as a Christmas present. There are several theories as to why he did not raze the city exactly as he had done other towns and plantations on his merciless march to the sea. Perhaps after months of making a smoldering mess of the rest of the state, he wanted an unscathed spot to rest his bones before moving on to other battles.
The likely reason for General William Tecumseh Sherman’s odd benevolence is that Confederate Lieutenant-General William Joseph Hardee’s mere ten thousand Confederate troops encamped in and around the city, had very cleverly escaped across the Savannah River to South Carolina in short advance of Sherman’s overwhelming army of over sixty thousand. With no one to fight other than women, children, old men, and wounded or dying Confederate soldiers in the hospitals, he likely decided that the unnecessary destruction of a helpless Savannah would not bode well in history. Then again, he could have been awed by Savannah’s elegance.
This brings me back to the reason I chose Savannah for the setting of Corrigans’ Pool. Years ago, I was in a library thumbing through a book about historical Southern towns. I don’t recall the name of the book, but I was struck by the beauty of Savannah and its handsome town squares. I began to read about the history of that fair city and knew right away that Corrigans’ Pool’s characters, already prowling around in my head at that time, would take up residence there. On page eighty-three in Corrigans’ Pool, I wrote the following line about 19th century Savannah: "Compared with other Georgia cities, Savannah was the uppity rich relative—elegantly attired, richly endowed, and keenly aware of her unrivaled excellence."
In Corrigans’ Pool, the Civil War battles being fought in battlefields across the nation are revealed only through the eyes of the novel’s Savannah characters, mostly through the eyes of Beatrice Corrigan, the wise and dictatorial grandmother of the central character, Ella Corrigan.
In my research, I kept coming across mention of how Hardee’s Confederates evacuated across a series of makeshift pontoon bridges that spanned the Savannah River to South Carolina, thereby escaping certain death or capture by Sherman’s overwhelming hordes. Most statements I ran across about the makeshift bridges were short and explained very little of the process, but I couldn’t help but think that this must have been a dangerous and exciting undertaking for the townspeople and the Confederates alike, wanting, as they did, to avoid Sherman’s encroaching army. Who built these bridges? How long did it take? Did they use slave labor or were only citizens and soldiers involved? While searching though old newspaper records in libraries, I wrote the evacuation scene into Corrigans’ Pool as chaotic as I imagined it would be, and continued to look for more information.
In surfing the net one day, I ran across a book titled Civil War Savannah written by Derek Smith. I immediately ordered a copy in hopes it would give me more info about the evacuation or at least substantiate my feeling that the life or death escape across the river to South Carolina fit well as a climactic scene in my book. At that point I was contemplating whether to leave the scene or take it out. Derek Smith’s superb book provided just the inspiration and information that helped me make up my mind to leave the scene intact. I wrote to Derek and told him how glad I was that he had written Civil War Savannah and how his excellent work had helped me with my novel. With his permission, I sent a few chapters, which he promptly read—even took the time to make a correction for me—then returned the pages, wishing me the best of luck. That is the wonderful thing about authors like Derek Smith who have had success; the bigger they are the more helpful they are to other writers.
I am also asked what was hardest about writing Corrigans’ Pool. I suppose, at times, the long hours of research and double checking facts were the most difficult and tedious. Secondly, there was the emotion involved in writing scenes in which a character or characters committed especially cruel acts. After such scenes, I often stopped writing for a few hours.
Fortunately, no matter how frustrating research and creative writing can be at times, the satisfaction of trying over and over again to find the right bit of history or finally turning the perfect phrase, is exhilarating—worth every hour of stress and swollen feet from sitting too long in one position while perusing library books or sitting at the computer too long. I wouldn’t be happy with any other way of life.
Dot Ryan, author of the historical novel, Corrigans’ Pool, lives in Corpus Christi, Texas with her husband, Sam, and in close vicinity to their sons and daughters and grandchildren. She is busy writing her second, third, and fourth works of historical fiction, one of which is the upcoming sequel to Corrigans’ Pool. To learn more about Dot and where to buy Corrigans’ Pool, and also to read the unedited Part One of the upcoming sequel, please visit her website http://www.dotryanbooks.com/
In this entertaining and life-changing book, best-selling nutritionist Jonny Bowden, PhD explains how all diseases of aging really come down to four basic processes which he calls “The Four Horsemen of Aging”—Inflammation, Glycation, Oxidation and Stress. You’ll learn exactly how they age you and just what to do to prevent them.
You’ll learn how aging affects five major components of the body - the brain, the heart, the hormone system, the immune system and the bones and muscles; and how to prevent or slow aging in all these areas.
Finally, you’ll learn the secrets of the “Blue Zones”- those areas around the globe where people routinely live healthy and productive lives into their late 90’s and beyond. You’ll learn the surprising truth about what to eat, what exercises to do, and what simple lifestyle changes you can make to support a ten-decade life of autonomy, health, joy and productivity
"A great nutrient for the heart!" by Dr. Jonny Bowden
Here’s a story I’ll never forget.
My mother was admitted to the hospital in the last week of her 87-year life. The doctors diagnosed her with congestive heart failure.
I immediately asked that, in addition to whatever treatment the doctors prescribed, she be put on a high dose of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). The first doctor told me he didn’t know what that was. The second doctor said he had heard of it but it couldn’t do any good and wasn’t on their hospital pharmacy list. And the head nurse said, “Oh, that’s some kind of enzyme that the heart makes when it’s in trouble, right?”
I knew right there we were in for trouble.
It didn’t matter that I faxed them fifty pages of peer-reviewed literature from the National Institute of Medicine. They wouldn’t budge.
Let me be blunt: The doctors who told me that they didn’t know what CoQ10 was or that it couldn’t possibly help were pompous idiots.
“Although coenzyme Q10 represents one of the greatest breakthroughs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease as well as for other diseases, the resistance of the medical profession to using this essential nutrient represents one of the greatest potential tragedies in medicine,” says my friend, board-certified cardiologist, nutritionist, and noted author Stephen Sinatra, M.D. “If there is just one thing you do to help maintain your heart’s health,” says Sinatra, “make sure you’re taking CoQ10 daily.”
The combination of CoQ-10 and carnitine is even better.
L-carnitine’s job is to escort fatty acids into the cells where they can be “burned” for energy. Because the heart gets 60 percent of its energy from fat, it’s critically important that the body have enough L-carnitine to “shuttle” the fatty acids into the muscle cells of the heart. Nutritionists have long used the combination of L-carnitine and CoQ10 as an “energy” cocktail for just this reason. Though it doesn’t necessarily make you feel more “get up and go” (although for many people it does just that!), it definitely helps give your heart muscle the tools it needs to function optimally.
People who take L-carnitine supplements soon after suffering a heart attack may be less likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, die of heart disease, experience chest pain and abnormal heart rhythms, or develop congestive heart failure (a condition in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively). A well-designed study of seventy heart-failure patients found that three-year survival was significantly higher in the group receiving 2 g a day of L-carnitine compared to the group receiving a placebo.
If you think of your body as an automobile, then L-carnitine and CoQ10 can be thought of as agents (like spark plugs) that help turn the gas in the tank into energy to make the car go.
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, a board-certified nutrition specialist with a master’s degree in psychology, is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. A popular speaker and a former personal trainer with six national certifications in exercise, he was the acclaimed “Weight Loss Coach” on iVillage for twelve years, and is now a regular contributor to AOL, a columnist for Better Nutrition and Clean Eating magazines and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Men’s Health. He’s also the nutritionist for the popular website, www.eatdrinkordie.com, where his entertaining videos on food and nutrition can be seen daily.
His books have been acclaimed by a virtual who’s who in the field of nutritional medicine, garnering endorsements by Christiane Northrup, MD, Mehmet Oz, MD, Barry Sears, PhD. (who calls him “one of the best”), Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD (who calls him “the personal health coach I would want in my corner no matter what”), and many others. His book, Living Low Carb: Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss has more than 100,000 copies in print. He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising Truth About What to Eat as well as The Healthiest Meals on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth and The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy.
He has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Time, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Oxygen, Remedy, Family Circle, Self, Fitness, Allure, Essence, Men’s Health, Pilates Style, Prevention, Woman’s World, In Style, Fitness, Natural Health and Shape and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS as an expert on nutrition, weight loss, and health.
Dr. Bowden is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American College of Nutrition and is adjunct faculty for Clayton College of Natural Health. He lives in the Topanga Canyon area of Southern California with his three dogs, Woodstock, Emily and Lucy.
His DVD “The Truth About Weight Loss” as well as his popular motivational CDs, programs and free newsletter can be found at www.jonnybowden.com.
I saw this quote today and fell in love with it immediately because it ties nicely into what I've always said about self-doubt and fear of failure.
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe." - Anatole France
It's not enough to write, you have to dream of being a published author. You can make your plans and set goals to achieve them, but if you don't believe in yourself and your abilities as a writer, you won't have the persistence and motivation to stay the course when you meet with rejection.
I can't tell you how many writers I know who put themselves down, who question their abilites, some even after they've been published. Live in the here and now, but dream of bigger and better things. Put your plans in place and have the confidence to keep moving forward, despite rejection, despite the days when you're unsure and think your work stinks, and despite what anyone else says.
You have the power to make your dreams come true. Use it!
Today's guest blogger is author Kay Marshall Strom. Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don't Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills, and Resources to Change the World. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word. To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at http://www.kaystrom.com/.
"When the Ordinary Become Extra-ordinary" by Kay Marshall Strom
So, what kind of people seek out a Second-Half Adventure? Who decides simple retirement isn’t for them? That they would rather use their lifetime of accumulated skills and resources to change the world?
Well, lots of ordinary people. And some pretty extra-ordinary ones, too.
You would probably consider Charlie extraordinary—unless you also grew up in a mafia family. Charlie knew two things: power and money. He learned early how to get what he wanted, often through intimidation. As an adult, he started a financial planning business which was hugely profitable. Charlie was tough, he had money, he had power. True, at forty-three his third marriage was about to end, but he would see that it ended on his terms. Then a strange thing happened. Charlie’s wife started going to church. He mocked and ridiculed her, but she went anyway. Nothing he did stopped her. Grudgingly, he finally agreed to attend with her on Easter Sunday, and—miracle of miracles—Charlie encountered God.
Charlie soon discovered that Christians have the same money problems as everyone else. He offered his financial services, which were eagerly accepted, and he also began to teach classes on financial responsibility. “Most people are surprised to learn there is more in the Bible about money than any other subject,” Charlie says.
But Charlie did more than just teach; he lived his lessons. Within two years, he and his wife were debt-free. He sold his business and committed to work full time with Crown Financial Ministries—an interdenominational organization dedicated to teaching biblical financial principles and helping people apply them.
“Christians should model good financial stewardship,” Charlie insists. “Imagine if we pointed the way in these hard financial times by living without debt!”
Okay, so Charlie isn’t ordinary. But Kathy would describe herself that way. When her engineer husband, Clint, was tapped to go with a group from their Oregon church to Venezuela and make a business presentation to university students, Kathy decided to tag along. At the last minute, she put together packets of a quilt block she had developed and stuck them in her suitcase. Fifty of them.
Her husband never got to give his presentation. But to everyone’s amazement, an entourage met the team at the airport. It was there to meet Kathy. “We heard about the quilt and we’ve got a lot of women interested,” they said. “We hope you have enough supplies for ninety women.”
She didn’t. But Clint put away his presentation notes, picked up a pair of scissors, and got busy helping Kathy cut out the twenty-five piece sets—each piece represented an element of Jesus’ story of the Woman at the Well.
On second thought, Kathy and Clint aren’t so ordinary either. Kathy’s self-assurance and Clint’s gentle refusal to insist but-I’m-the-one-with-the-valuable-skills! are rare traits.
Now, John, though—he insists no one is as ordinary as he.
John spent his entire life as a bread delivery truck driver whose day started at four a.m. He retired two years ago, but a lifetime routine of getting up so early isn’t easily changed. John is still out of bed at four, but now he sits down immediately at his computer and logs in to his personal site at GMO, an organization that uses cutting-edge technologies to respond to spiritual questions from people around the world. “I’m never lonely,” John says of his early morning sessions. “Somewhere in the world, someone with a pressing question is always up at that hour.” And, thanks to the training GMO gave him, John feels comfortable offering answers. Even to people in Ghana… or Ethiopia… or India…
Come to think of it, second half adventurers are ordinary people who become extra-ordinary because of the way they choose to define retirement.
About The Second-Half Adventure
Whoever you are, whatever your skills and experiences, you can use what you have gained in life to help change the world. In connection with The Finishers Project, The Second-Half Adventure will enable you to analyze where you have been, where you want to go in the second-half of your life, and how to start preparing today.
Through the stories of individuals and couples who have found meaningful involvements—from business people to housewives, from engineers to artists—this book will help you infuse your special God-given years with purpose and eternal significance. The best adventure is yet to come!
Jackie Griffey, author of the cozy mystery, The Devil in Merrivale is here interviewing one of the characters from the book. We'll slip quietly out of the way and let Jackie do her stuff.
"A KILLER INTERVIEW" performed by Jackie Griffey
My footsteps slowed as I entered the high school. I was aware of it; nervous; out of my element; and didn't like my assignment. That didn't change a thing. I was here and the principal's secretary was smiling at me since I'd asked to speak to her boss.
I pulled out my press card and she took it with her into his office. She soon came out smiling as if trying to put me at ease. John Squires was right behind her and stood in the door wearing a smile that would even have put a teenager at ease with his hand extended.
I took the hand already feeling better and was ushered to a chair as he closed the office door.
"I'm sorry to bother you, sir," I began. He listened patiently. "I tried to get an appointment with Judge Troy Spruce but I couldn't get in touch with him. I've been assigned what's gleefully called the police beat at the paper 'and other related things' as it says on my job description.'" This was accompanied by a hopeful smile. "I just couldn't seem to get past the office help at the Judge's office."
John Squires grinned as if this didn't surprise him. He was smart enough not to say so. Instead he asked, "I'm not sure I can tell you anything either. How can I help you?"
"I'd like to interview Darrell Spruce and it looks like this is the only way I can get to him. If he's not taking a test or something, may I talk to him for a few minutes?"
John Squires thought a few seconds then got up. "I'll see what I can do."
He left the office closing the door behind him. I shook like a leaf not knowing if I might be breaking any laws or not. No one had actually told me I couldn't talk to the people involved in this murder investigation. I'd been turned down before and it hadn't killed me. I was just giving some thought to my last will and testimony when Squires came back looking pleasant enough to raise my hopes.
"He'll be with you shortly. You can talk in here." He hesitated. "He asked for permission to call his father so if I were you, I'd ask my most important questions first." He left on a deep sigh that was as good a warning as what he said. Then I saw the secretary ushering in a big, mad looking kid I'd never seen before except on the football field. I steeled myself and pointed to a chair as the secretary closed the door. I gave him a quick glance at my press card which he ignored.
"I'm hoping to get your insight in this crime investigation and I understand Denise Davis was a classmate of yours—"
Darrell shook his head looking grim. I was glad we weren't in a dark alley and help was at hand.
"No. Not classmates, she was a sophomore and I am a senior. I hardly knew her." He looked like he couldn't care less about the less important students. Or me either.
"But she, Denise Davis, was your father's secretary's daughter?"
After a brief hesitation the answer was, "Yes." Nothing further was offered.
"I understand that Sheriff Larkin has spoken to you— "
"He's talked to everyone here. This a waste of time." He took a deep breath, frowning at me. "I don't know anything about what happened to Denise." He deigned to look me in the eye. "My father has retained Attorney Laurence Fields to represent me."
"The Sheriff has you in his sights then?" The moment it was out I regretted that. He gave me a look, eyes boring into mine like he was planning on having me for lunch.
“That's exactly right. He had no one else and he just went for me." The eyes bored into mine again.
"But he doesn't know what he's getting into." It was a threat and he looked like he could back it up.
I fished for another question, one that wouldn't get me sued, jailed, or bitten by this mean and probably unbalanced bully.
"I've heard you may have psyhic powers, just a rumor I heard. Is that true?"
Darrell actually looked pleased. I could hardly believe I'd hit paydirt with that one.
"I come from a long line of people with—certain powers."
"Certain powers," I thought that over. "I suppose you want this interview off the record?" I probed.
"No! I mean, I'm not ashamed of it. You can print whatever you want to." He paused. "I guess you have quite a large circulation?"
"Yes. Here and in the state capital and of course things of particular interest are always picked up by the larger newspapers." I had got lucky talking about the boy's favorite subject, himself. "I know you're on the football team and are active in a lot of school activities—" he looked away, I'd lost him.
"None of that is important." I could see his muscles tighten up and his hands made fists. "And I don't have to answer your questions about Denise or what happened to her. You can call my father or my attorney. I don't have to talk to you."
Before I could flatter any more information out of Darrell we heard loud voices outside the office. Darrell and I both stared at the door.
The door was flung wide, Janice, the secretary was standing ineffectively near, unable to stop the man who stepped inside.
No spoken words were necessary when father looked at son as if looking for bruises or other forms of ill treatment. The only thing I saw that marred Darrell's looks was the smart-ass expression when he got up to join his father.
"I've put in a call to the paper and I'll have your job for this." The judge's statement was accompanied by one of those looks I know the condemned must have got before his gavel fell. I had sense enough not to answer and was already planning on interviewing some of Darrell's friends and fellow students while I was there. Looking the opposition in the face brought out all my reporter instincts and I was no longer scared silly. If I lost my job, by George, I'd not be the only loser. This was just the first round. I made myself quit biting my lip and stood straighter.
Judge Troy Spruce put his arm around his son's shoulders and slammed out of the office.
The door and I shuddered.
Jackie Griffey likes to read as well as write cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. She and her family, two cats, a Chihuahua, and a couple of wild bunnies live in Arkansas where she is working on another cozy mystery. You can visit her website at www.jackiegriffey.com. About The Devil in Merrivale
Murder isn’t the usual order of business in the little town of Merrivale, Tennessee, so the brutal stabbing death of popular high school student Denise Davis sends a shock through the community. Sheriff Cas Larkin is determined to find the killer, and the last thing he needs is distractions like the increasing reports of missing cattle and other livestock.
But as he digs deeper, Cas uncovers another mystery–a strange “club” the members are afraid to talk about, and for good reason. One of the recruits is brutally beaten when he refuses to take the club’s activities seriously. He also refuses to talk about those activities–until they turn turn deadly.
There’s something dark and sinister going on in Merrivale, and if Cas can’t figure out what it is and put a stop to it, there’ll be the devil to pay.
"Once again, I ventured back in time, to the 1920's, when the land was vast and untamed, and life seemed full of promise and possibility. It was also the time of the Indian legend of the Bear Lake Monster."
Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the exhilarating and confusing time of the “counterculture” in the early 1970’s.
Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture.
Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story also moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca.
A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, culminating in an unexpected resolution
"Thirty Year Old Historical Fiction" by Linda Dahl
I love good historical fiction. I once wrote a book set in New Orleans spanning the l800’s up to the l960’s. The research for the book was immense. There was a scene where the main character was cooking – good thing I did my homework, because the kitchen those days was a shed out back! But I never imagined when I dusted off the 30-year-old manuscript of Gringa in a Strange Land a few years ago that it, too, had become historical fiction. Erica Mason, the twenty-something American woman who hits the road and ends up living in Mexico, has no idea of this, of course, but I did. Above all, it has to do with technology. In the l970’s in Mexico, there were few telephones – no cell phones, of course – there was no internet, and a slow, inefficient mail service. In a foreign country, without recourse to the immediate, constant flow of communication, Erica becomes isolated in a way that is simply unimaginable today. (When I went to Africa a few years ago to Malawi, one of the least developed countries on earth, even there were cell phones and internet service at the hotels.
The huge challenge of coming to terms with the world is heightened for Erica in Gringa by the period in which she lives. If the book had been published when it was written, in the late 70’s, the isolation she experienced living in a “strange” land would have been considered normal. Then, when I rewrote the book many years later, I saw that Erica had acquired an old-fashioned, even somewhat exotic quality in terms of the technology boom that had followed in the late 20th century. And this must be especially so for any reader younger than my generation, the “baby boomers.” Meeting very few fellow Americans, thrown almost completely on her own resources, Erica in Mexico in l973 and ’74 has to learn to negotiate a foreign language and foreign attitudes to a degree that is no longer the case. Erica’s isolation both dramatically heightens her conflicts and it also, I think, compels her to move beyond her darkness itoward the light.
Linda Dahl has written extensively about Latin America, women in jazz, New Orleans and other topics that interest her over a thirty-year career as a published author. She has lived in Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil and New York and currently lives in an old farmhouse with lots of flowers and pets. A widow, she has a daughter and a stepson. Her website is www.lindadahl.com and blog about her new book at http://gringainastrangeland.blogspot.com.
While our culture places great emphasis on comfort, security, control, and success, there are deeper rewards for those who take hold of God’s promises and reach out in the Name of Christ. Adventure, faith, miracles, and a deep knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is what Susie calls her readers to realize.
Many women feel stuck in their faith. They are bored living in a Christian bubble and long for the greater adventure of significance God designed for them! But just how do we move past our fears and the lies that keep us bound to our past? And are we really called to change the world? Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience of God's Heart for Justice will give you a deeper understanding of your freedom in Christ and a bigger view of God's heart for the world.
“As you become more aware of God's heart for freedom, your heart will burn for it as well. If you will dare to put your foot down on the promises of God and refuse to relent until freedom becomes your reality, your appetite for the freedoms of others will increase as well. Take seriously what God has offered you here, because as a Believer living in this day, you are in a powerful position of influence." --Embracing Your Freedom
"'Embracing Your Freedom' was written for you--a woman who desires to live in personal freedom and is willing to help the helpless become free. Prepare to be challenged and emboldened. Prepare to change and become more like Jesus!"- Kendra Smiley, conference speaker, and author of Be the Parent, Journey of a Strong-willed Child, and Do Your Kids a Favor...Love Your Spouse
"In this important book, Susie invites women into life that really is life by naming them, naming us, as agents to extend God's justice to those who are bound. Women today are hungry for this kind of holy congruity. Thank you, Susie!"-Margot Starbuck, author of The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail
Ask Susie about her conviction for women, and she'll tell you, "The two pillars in my ministry, the two things I care most about are for women to be drawn into a 'deeper life in Christ' that they might live more 'powerful lives on earth.' When we pursue a thriving, personal, intimate walk of faith, we can't help but be compelled to make a difference in our world." With enthusiasm, humor, and conviction, author/speaker Susie Larson has spoken to thousands of women locally, nationally, and internationally. She is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Women in Christian Media, and has served on the board of directors for the Christian Authors Network. Susie also regularly fills in as guest host for Along the Way - a two-hour talk radio show (AM Faith 900). Susie worked as a freelance writer for Focus on the Family, and published over fifty articles with them. She has been featured on radio and TV programs across the country, including Moody Midday Connection, Family Life Today, Chris Fabry Live!, The Harvest Show, and the LIFE Today Show with James and Betty Robison.
While in Washington D.C., Susie and her husband Kevin, along with Troy and Sara Groves, represented International Justice Mission's*concerns in meetings with Congress as part of their efforts to abolish and prevent human trafficking and slavery. The four of them serve as co-chairs for the IJM benefit banquet in Minnesota. Susie and her husband Kevin have been married since 1985 and have three wonderful, grown sons. Susie comes with a passion to share the love of a Savior who will never let us go. Susie's messages will help you to:
Cultivate a more personal and thriving relationship with Jesus
Understand God's promises and be more bold in your faith
Understand your value and the important call on your life
Comprehend God's heart for the least-of-these.