Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Emilio Corsetti III and 35 Miles From Shore

May is going to be an awesome month of guest bloggers at The Book Connection. We're going to start off with author Emilio Corsetti III, who is a professional pilot and now a debut author. Emilio's first release is a narrative non-fiction title, 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980.

His words are so powerful, that I will quietly bow out and let you read them. Then I'll be back with more information about the book and where you can find it.

The Life Vest

by Emilio Corsetti III

In December of 2000, I decided that I wanted to write a book about an aircraft accident that happened in 1970. The story was full of drama. A plane goes down in the Caribbean in terrible weather with only hours of daylight remaining. It was the Titanic and The Perfect Storm all rolled into one.

I reviewed the official accident reports and spent days reviewing newspaper accounts. I knew, though, that I was going to have to track down as many of the actual participants as possible to get their firsthand accounts. The Internet was invaluable in this process.

In May of 2001, I was ready to start interviewing. I decided to do my first interview on the thirty-first anniversary of the accident. I interviewed one of the rescue pilots. I chose Jim Rylee to interview first because his wife had confided to me that he was in poor health and didn’t have much time left.

Jim and his wife Donna insisted that I stay with them rather than spend the night in a hotel.

The next morning while I was still resting comfortably in the guest bedroom, I heard some rustling overhead. When I finally made it to breakfast, Jim said that he had a surprise for me. I had no idea what to expect. Donna disappeared and returned seconds later holding a life vest. “This is from that night,” Jim said, grinning like someone who had just revealed a long held secret. He told me that after he and his crew had dropped off the survivors in St. Croix they found several life vests inside the helicopter. They also found a few lying on the ramp. The survivors had discarded them as soon as they were safely on dry land. Jim and the other three crewmembers each took a couple life vests home as souvenirs.

Over the years the life vests from that night slowly disappeared after various moves and house cleanings. Jim, however, managed to hold on to one life vest. The rustling I had heard was Donna crawling through the attic in search of the life vest, which had been stuffed in a box that probably hadn’t been opened in twenty years. I stared at the life vest as if I were looking at a thousand-year-old relic.

Jim has since passed away. He never got a chance to read the book. I asked Donna if I could borrow the life vest for my book tour. It arrived a few weeks ago in a FedX box. If I happen to be doing a book signing in your city, stop by and have a look. It’s yellowed and has a bit of mold on it, but it has a story to tell. And so do I.

Synopsis: On May 2, 1970, a DC-9 jet with fifty-seven passengers and a crew of six departed New York’s JFK international airport en route to the tropical island of St. Maarten. The flight ended four hours and thirty-four minutes later in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean. It was at the time, and remains, the only open-water ditching of a commercial jet. The subsequent rescue of survivors took nearly three hours and involved the Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines. In this gripping account of that fateful day, author Emilio Corsetti puts the reader inside the cabin, the cockpit, and the rescue helicopters as the crews struggle against the weather and dwindling daylight to rescue the survivors who have only their life vests and a lone escape chute to keep them afloat.

Excerpt: Tobias and Margareth grabbed their life vests from under the flight attendant jump seats and took their positions in the cabin – Margareth in front and Tobias in the middle. Wilfred used the PA system in the rear of the cabin. Wilfred had had his share of non-routine flights himself. This one, however, he sensed was different. He had seen the navigator holding his life vest. He heard the tension in the voices of the crew members. Still, there was no indication that a ditching was imminent. He proceeded under the assumption that there would at least be a warning should the aircraft actually be forced to ditch. He told the passengers that the plane was running low on fuel and that the captain had requested that they prepare for a possible ditching as a “precautionary measure.” He gave the instructions in English and from memory. He instructed them to not inflate their life vests until they were in the water. There are several reasons for this: An inflated life vest is constraining and could interfere with the person’s ability to exit the aircraft. An inflated life vest is also vulnerable to puncture inside the aircraft. The most valid reason for not inflating the life vest inside the aircraft is that if the cabin were to rapidly fill up with water, the wearer might be unable to reach the exit. The passengers were also told to tighten the straps around their waists, but not too tightly. The rationale behind this policy was to prevent a feeling of constraint. But many passengers were rightfully confused by this instruction. How tight is too tight? Why wouldn’t you want the straps as tight as possible?

Nothing was said about life rafts. Wilfred also failed to mention where the life vests were located. Most passengers knew to look under their seats either from the previous briefing or from the emergency briefing cards. Those who didn’t know where to find their vests quickly observed the other passengers or were assisted by the flight attendants. There was also no attempt made to enlist the help of passengers by placing them in seats where they could help with the launching of life rafts. In Wilfred’s defense, after he made the announcement about the life vests, he was immediately preoccupied with helping passengers. He also had other duties to perform – such as positioning the forward life raft and removing the slide bars from the two front doors. He did what he thought was the most prudent thing to do with the information he had at the time, and that was to get the passengers into their vests as soon as possible.

Purchase your copy of 35 Miles From Shore at

35 MILES FROM SHORE VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on May 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Emilio's tour in progress, visit Leave a comment at any of his blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of his tour! One lucky winner will be announced on his tour page on May 30!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston--book review

Season of Sacrifice by Tristi Pinkston is a powerful story of faith rising up against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Ben Perkins wants more out of life than working in the coal mines of Wales, so when The Church begins organizing shiploads of Saints to go across to New York and then onto Utah, he decides to leave his home and journey to America. He leaves behind his sweetheart, young Mary Ann Williams, but he promises to send enough money for her passage as soon as he can.

After receiving Ben's wages, Mary Ann travels with the rest of Ben's family to America. Mary Ann and Ben are married in October 1869. The rest of Mary Ann's family, including her younger sister, Sarah, join them in Utah in 1878.

When the Perkins family is asked to join the San Juan mission to create a trail through Southern Utah, Sarah accompanies them to help care for the children.

The planned six-week journey, turns into six months of hard labor as the Saints blast through cliffs, build roads, and create dugways to make a trail to San Juan. They survive dangerous conditions, believing they cannot turn back because it is what the Lord has called them to do.

Relief comes at last when they finally settle in San Juan. But relief for Ben, Mary Ann, and Sarah is short-lived. Ben announces that he has been called to enter into a plural marriage and to take Sarah as his second wife. Can these Saints follow the Lord's commandments? Can they push aside their own feelings and practice obedience? Will their lives ever be good again?

I approached this novel with a a tiny bit of anxiety. I had only read one other book that had Mormon characters in it and they weren't the good guys. In addition, I didn't know how much polygamy was going to play a role in this novel or how it would be portrayed. The author did an amazing job with this story and I can honestly say that my anxiety was unnecessary.

Season of Sacrifice tells the story of Tristi Pinkston's great-great grandfather Ben Perkins and his family. Their devotion to their faith is inspiring. The hardships they faced--astounding. The decisions they had to make are unthinkable in this day and age. They were true pioneers in every sense of the word.

Pinkston broke the book up into four parts--each flowing nicely into the other. From the time Ben appears as a coal miner through to the birth of the first child born to Sarah and Ben Perkins, you follow him and his family through every emotion, every decision, every hardship. You journey with them in the cramped quarters onboard the ship to America. You ride the dusty trail with them. You're there as they blast through the cliff that will become known as "Hole in the Rock". You feel their relief when they finally arrive at San Juan. And mostly, you feel for both Sarah and her sister, Mary Ann, as they struggle to obey the Lord's commandments.

Pinkston provides a Cast of Characters at the beginning of the novel, which allows the reader to reference back if necessary...though I was so caught up in this fascinating story, I never needed to refer to it. In addition to the Epilogue, Pinkston provides a list of Chapter Notes, which tells the reader what is historically accurate and what is portrayed in such a way as to add to the plot of the story. She also provides a touching Afterword about polygamy, which seeks to help readers understand the origins of plural marriage and it's place in the Mormon Church, and indicates her own difficulties in writing about Sarah's marriage to Ben. Also included are some wonderful family photos to provide faces to some of the characters the reader meets along the way.

Season of Sacrifice is a gripping page-turner that will find you clinging to the very last word!

Title: Season of Sacrifice
Author: Tristi Pinkston
Publisher: Golden Wings Enterprises
ISBN: 978-0-9794340-1-3
U.S. Price: $16.95

Letter of Love from China by Bonnie Cuzzolino--book review

Letter of Love from China by Bonnie Cuzzolino has to be one of the most touching children's stories I've read in a long time.

A birth mother from China writes a letter to her daughter who has been adopted by a family from another country. This mother describes why she was forced to give her child up for adoption, tells her child all about the village she was born in, the pain this mother felt at having to let her go, and of the day her adoptive family came to China to bring her home. Lastly, it reminds this child how much she is still loved by her birth family.

I could not get through this book without crying. As the mother of three children, I know I could never stand to be parted with one of my own. The courage and the strength of this unnamed mother shines through in every word she has tenderly written to her daughter.

The illustrations by Jax Bennett are as stunningly beautiful as the prose. My favorite illustration is the cover art, which also happens to appear on the last page of the book where this mother has told her daughter to "look to the light of the moon that sets over the world in the night sky" to see her face, which is reflected in the child's beautiful face, if she ever starts wondering about her birth mother.

Letter of Love from China will touch the hearts of all adoptive families. This book is truly a must read!

Title: Love Letter from China
Author: Bonnie Cuzzolino
Publisher: Plum Blossom Books
ISBN: 1-4243-0236-6
U.S. Price: $17.95

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crash! by Mayra Calvani--Book Review

Children will love reading about Marcelo and his new puppy in Crash! by Mayra Calvani.

Marcelo's parents surprise him on his fifth birthday with a golden retriever puppy--the one thing he wanted more than anything in the world. Thrilled beyond all belief, Marcelo must now learn how to take care of his new puppy: feeding him, walking him, playing with him. But all that is easy compared to finding a name for him.

Crash! is a charming story about a boy and his dog and the special relationship that develops between a child and his pet. Author Mayra Calvani shows off her storytelling talents once again, as she did with The Magic Violin. Calvani has a way of getting right to the heart of children with her touching stories.

Kudos go out to young illustrator, Anna Pylypchuk, whose beautifully drawn illustrations bring Calvani's story to life. My children each had their favorites drawings from the story.

I can't wait to see what Mayra Calvani's next children's book is all about!

Title: Crash!
Author: Mayra Calvani
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1-933090-54-2 (Print)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933090-71-9 (eBook)
U.S. Price: $10.95 (Print)


Monday, April 21, 2008

Cinco de Mayo by Don Miles

There might be lots of children's books about Cinco De Mayo, but author Don Miles has put together the first in-depth, adult level edition on this topic in decades. Reviewers say that Cinco de Mayo: What is Everybody Celebrating? is "entertaining, understandable and reader-friendly" (Margaret Neu, On My Nightstand Blog) and that "Cinco de Mayo is an enjoyable read for history buffs, no matter what their favorite nation or time is." (Joy Calderwood, Reviewer's Choice Reviews).

I asked Don about what inspired this book and about the research he performed for Cinco de Mayo. Here's what he had to say:

My inspiration for the book came mainly from my wife, Dr. Minerva Gonzalez-Angulo Miles. Minerva grew up in the neighborhood at the base of Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City, where the Emperor Maximilian's castle still stands. She would often visit the castle and view the portrait of the emperor and empress whose story is featured in this book.

My wife & I traveled extensively throughout Mexico, and visited many libraries and bookstores there in the research for this book. We also spent many hours in the stacks at the Benson Latin American Library at The University of Texas at Austin, which is widely recognized as the premier source for information on this topic. We paid several visits to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to photocopy various U.S. government documents pertaining to the Mexican situation during the 1860's.

There are many Strange Truths that Don uncovered during his research. I asked him to share some of those with us today.

* As the French soldiers looked up at the convent, something appeared in the window that they never expected. They were being "mooned"!

* It was a windy evening as the women lighted their cooking fires at a Mexican army camp. A few sparks flew into the barn where 32 tons of explosives were stored. Fifteen hundred lives were lost but the French had not yet fired a shot.

* A signed treaty that would guarantee Mexico a U.S. bailout loan and send three invading armies back to Europe was on its way to Washington. It looked as though the mule carrying it was about to roll over in the stream. Learn what happened to the document on its way to the U.S. Senate.

* A nationally famous ballet company from Paris was stopped along the highway. To save their lives and continue to Mexico City--said the bandidos--they would have to give a nude performance.

* Just as the French navy was unloading 700 horses at the Port of Veracruz, a type of hurricane known in those parts as a "norte" struck. What happened next is legendary.

* The French Foreign Legion vowed never to surrender. Sixty-four of them were surrounded by twelve hundred Mexicans. It was a hot day, and their canteens had been filled with wine, not water. It's still the worst defeat in Legion history.

* Three dancing girls at Manuel Gonzalez Wine Bar in Veracruz were tired of being groped by drunken French soldiers. They decided to poison the wine one night, and the overwhelmed commander ordered enemas for the whole company as the troops returned to camp.

* A thousand Confederate soldiers--out of work as the American Civil War ended--buried their flag in the Rio Grande and headed into Mexico to offer their services. Before they reached the border, they got into a shoot-out with a gang that was trying to rob the Texas State Treasury in Austin.

* Should he abdicate or shouldn't he? The French were withdrawing their troops, and Emperor Maximilian was troubled over whether to give up the throne of Mexico. He gathered his advisers and put the question to them: they would decide while he took the day off to go butterfly hunting!

* A Vermont farm girl ran away to become a bareback rider in the circus. Watching a recruiting parade in Washington, she met and married a prince from Westphalia who had become an officer in the Union army. This same "princess" and her husband later wound up in Mexico--fighting for Emperor Maximilian--and she found herself on her knees with her arms wrapped around the legs of Mexico's president, pleading for the emperor's life and that of her husband. Brief appearances on Pages 18, 73, 107, 137, 149 and 174, with her "grand finale" in Chapter 34 on Pages 227 through 235.

You'll find more Strange Truths at Don's website. You'll also be able to read about why Cinco de Mayo has evolved into such a popular holiday in the United States that it draws larger crowds here than in Mexico.

Cinco de Mayo: What is Everyone Celebrating? is available in paperback and hardcover through iUniverse.

This virtual book tour is brought to you by:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joey Gonzalez, Great American by Tony Robles--Book Review

Joey Gonzalez is excited to start the third grade. He's going to study hard and become a great American. But when Joey and his friends meet their new teacher, Mrs. Glass, Joey finds out he's not an American at all; he's a minority and they learn differently. Mrs. Glass assures Joey that he'll be all right, because Affirmative Action will help him. When Joey returns to school the next day, it's Mrs. Glass who gets a lesson about Affirmative Action.

Joey Gonzalez, Great American by Tony Robles, is a beautifully illustrated, well-written story of a child standing up for what he believes is right and true. The reader is almost as saddened as Joey when he is treated so cruelly by his teacher, but rejoices when Joey speaks the truth that he holds inside.

Written in English and Spanish, this book is an excellent way to teach young people of all ethnic backgrounds that what makes them who they are cannot be helped or improved by any government policy. As Joey and his friends stand up to Mrs. Glass, the reader will be inspired to achieve his dreams because he knows that hard work and determination will make all the difference.

As a lover of history, I enjoyed Robles sharing how the Spaniards and Africans came to America. And it was wonderful to see the strength and bravery of slaves and the Buffalo Soliders highlighted. says this is targeted for ages 4 - 8, but my children (6 and 4) had a hard time grasping the concept of Affirmative Action, and trying to explain a "race card" to them was almost impossible.

Joey Gonzalez, Great American is a powerful story that sheds light on the challenges of living with a controversial American government policy.

Title: Joey Gonzalez, Great American
Author: Tony Robles
Publisher: World Ahead Media
ISBN: 9780976726937
U.S. Price: $15.95

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gabriella Goddard and Gulp!

On tap today is author Gabriella Goddard. Gabriella is a leading Success Coach, speaker and the author of Gulp!: The 7 Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challenge. Her clients include senior executives, career professionals, entrepreneurs and TV personalities. To find out more about “Gulp!”, watch the book trailer, read the blog and sign up for the free One Big Gulp! eKit at .


What’s your dream? Your yearning? Your calling?

When Gabriella found a lump in her breast it was a real wake up call. Faced with her own mortality, she was forced to take a good hard look at her life. And that’s when she reconnected to her childhood dream of being a writer. She asked herself, “If not now…then when?”

Gulp! is the realization of that dream and Gabriella’s message is clear; Give Up Living Passively! Drawing on cutting-edge coaching techniques and blending together Eastern and Western philosophies, she has created a 7 day crash course that offers a new way for people make powerful changes that really matter in their life – without waiting for the wake up call!

So, if you want to change your job, then start now. If you dream of setting up your own business, then start now. If you’ve always yearned of climbing Machu Pichu, then start now. If it’s time to leave a dysfunctional relationship, then start now. If you've dreamed of writing a children's book, then start now. Or if it’s time to deal with a health crisis, then start now.Here is a sample of the secrets you’ll find in Gulp!:- How to recognize your “pivot point” and say yes to change – effortlessly.- The Fear Cycle - and how you can break it in an instant.- Five powerful ways to cultivate inner calm – so you stay strong even in the midst of chaos.- Eight “sparks” to ignite your imagination – and do things you never thought possible. - The five step plan that beats procrastination – and actually turns your idea into action.- How to hone your intuition and instinct – and why it's your secret weapon.- Four easy techniques to stay focused – without losing momentum. Gulp! is a practical, effective everyday guide designed to inspire real people to make real changes. So whether you want to achieve results in seven days or take your time and do it over several months Gulp! will inspire you to kick start your change and help keep you on track to see it through to the end.

I asked Gabriella to give me an idea of how she deals with skeptical people during her speaking engagements. Here's what she had to say:

A few weeks ago I found myself standing on the stage at an amazing theatre normally graced by gallant Shakespearean actors wearing olive green tights. I’d been invited to speak at a major literary festival and was feeling rather over-awed as I looked out to the audience with what felt like a zillion spotlights on me.

“Any questions?” asked the speaker chairman. There was a deafening silence. Slowly a man sitting in the front row raised his hand. I literally beamed at him, my smile showing the gratitude I was feeling inside.

And then came the question.

“I’ve seen so much of this personal development stuff before and to be perfectly frank I think it’s all about authors wanting to make a quick buck. And how do you know it works anyway?”

“Oh, beam me up Scottie,” was my first thought. And then I took a deep breath, gulped and launched into my answer.

“I’ve been on a personal growth journey for over ten years and in that time, like you, I’ve been exposed to a wide range of theories and approaches. So when I suffered from my breast cancer scare I was incredibly grateful that I could draw on this knowledge and awareness to help me cope with my situation and get through it. As it transpired, it was this experience that later formed the basis of the “Gulp!” seven day program – and I am the living testament that it can work.

Gulp! speaks to the soul. It’s ideal for someone who deep down knows they need to change but doesn’t know where to start, or someone who wants to give up living passively and needs a nudge. The value or “gems” that each person gains from reading Gulp! will be different. For some, it might be the story about Anita ditching her day job and fulfilling her dream of running her own home accessories business. For others, it might be Sue’s story about how she defied her public speaking demons by presenting at a major conference. Or it could be a simple question I ask like, “If not now…when?” that causes a light bulb moment or one of the practical techniques I cover on how to short circuit fear. Or maybe it even comes from working through one of the practical action plans or reflection exercises.

Whatever your situation, there will be something that makes you stop and think, something that expands your awareness. And then just like a doorway opening, you’ll have access to a completely new perspective. It’s in this moment that Gulp! becomes an important catalyst that sparks a change in your life.

As I discovered myself, there is no one magical answer to facing life’s challenges. You have to find your own way. And my wish for Gulp! is that it provides people with a valuable roadmap, the mindset and the practical tools they need in order to make important changes in their life – calmly and gracefully.

And as for making a “quick buck”, unfortunately there’s nothing quick at all about sitting down and writing a 320 page book!”

“Ah…thank you,” he replied.

“Any more questions?” asked the speaker chairman. This time, thankfully, there was no deafening silence.

You can purchase GULP! at, Barnes and and at other fine booksellers.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Birthing the Elephant by Karin Abarbanel & Bruce Freeman

I am giving up the floor today to bring you a guest post from Karin Abarbanel, the co-author of Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's go-for-it! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business.

Karin Abarbanel is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and expert on start-up strategies for women. In addition to her new book, Birthing the Elephant, she is the author of How to Succeed on Your Own and 3 other how-to guides. She served as the spokesperson for Avon’s “Corporation to Cottage” initiative.

A frequent guest on broadcast/cable TV and radio, Karin has appeared on ABC TV’s “Good Morning America,” CNBC, and WCBS, among others. She has been a featured speaker at a wide range of organizations and universities. She received her MA from Columbia University and her BA from Middlebury College.

She lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband, son, and her dog, Dr. Watson, who holds a PhD in Snackology.


Every day, More than 7,000 women put their dreams on the line by launching new ventures – that’s 200,000 women a month and more than 2.5 million a year. Surviving the ups and downs of entrepreneurship isn’t easy! While other guides focus on the 3Ms – money, marketing, and management, only Birthing the Elephant focuses on the 4th M: motivation, which lies at the heart of small-business success.

Birthing the Elephant helps women master the “small-business mind game” – and mobilize the emotional resilience to reshape their identities and overcome obstacles on the path to success. Step by step, it gives women a road map to the first 22 months of their venture, showing them how to:

• make the shift from employee to entrepreneur
• anticipate problems and overcome obstacles
• manage the 4 stages of the launch cycle
• avoid 10 costly mistakes that many women make

Birthing the Elephant is the What to Expect When You’re Expecting for aspiring women entrepreneurs. It acts as an emotional GPS for their start-ups, helping them stay
motivated, focused, and on track during their launch stage.

Packed with inspirational frontline advice from cosmetics company founder Bobbi Brown, maternity-wear pioneer Liz Lange and 20+ other entrepreneurs and experts -- Birthing the Elephant also offers quick tips, checklists, action steps, and a helpful resource guide. This inspiring action guides gives women the support they need to deliver on their dreams.

Birthing the Elephant’s target audiences range from younger women who are opting out of corporate life early in their careers to mothers seeking more flexibility to midlife career changers who are reinventing themselves by launching new businesses.

I asked Karin how women are different from men when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Great question! In writing Birthing the Elephant, we found a number of important ways in which women differ from men in their entrepreneurial approach.

First, men tend to define themselves narrowly by their occupation and as providers. Women have a broader, more balanced view: they tend to be more comfortable in assuming many roles in their lives. This kind of flexibility and willingness to wear a number of hats is crucial to success as an entrepreneur.

Second, women are more willing to talk about their emotions; men, even today, still tend to see this as a weakness. As a result, women recognize and readily accept the impact of the emotional barriers to success – like fear, image anxiety, and financial stress – and are willing to reach out for advice to overcome them. That’s a big plus! Birthing the Elephant focuses on motivation and shows women how to navigate the rocky emotional terrain they’ll encounter during the first 22 months of a start-up. Women totally “get” how important building emotional resiliency is to their launch success.

Third, women tend to be under funded compared to men when launching their start-ups. Ironically, in our book we found that this can be an asset instead of a liability because women, by necessity, excel at a critical start-up skill: substituting brains for bucks. Their businesses often grow slowly but steadily – and they run lean operations.

And finally, for women, valuing customers, employees, and exceptional service is central to their business model. Because they put their customers and employees first, they often outperform their male competitors.

I went on to ask Karin how women can position themselves better for entrepreneurial success. This is what she had to say:

Mind your motivation: First, don’t neglect the importance of emotional stamina and resiliency: Staying motivated and rebounding from setbacks are at the heart of small-business survival. Don’t underestimate the effects of the emotional roller coaster you’ll be riding during your launch. Acknowledge the influence of emotional stressors like fear, image anxiety, and financial worries – and have a game plan for managing them.

Build a support system for success: Get your family and friends on board – and prepare them for the enormous amounts of time you’ll be spending on your start-up. Find other new business owners you can talk with and get together on a regular basis so you can boost each other up and brainstorm. Launching can be lonely; don’t isolate yourself – stay connected with people and the world beyond the four walls of your home office. Have a “brain trust” on tap that you can turn to quickly for advice when you really hit a major obstacle.

Understand the launch cycle and how it unfolds: In Birthing the Elephant, we explore in depth the four stages of the launch cycle: starting your start-up, running your own show, shifting from breakdown to break through; and finding your business rhythm. In each of these stages, there are predictable problems and emotional obstacles that you’ll need to handle. Understanding that these problems and challenges are a natural outgrowth of the stage you’re in is very helpful.

Avoid burn out: A relaxed mind is a creative mind. Positive emotions boost your problem-solving abilities. So it’s vital to build stress-relieving activities into your daily work plan. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are especially important. Guided meditations are also great: take 10 minutes each morning or during your work day to close your eyes and go to your favorite beach or mountain. Visualize yourself running your business easily, happily – and abundantly.

Don’t let fear stop you! Fear is inevitable when you’re taking the leap and launching a business. To succeed, you’re going to have to let go of self-imposed limits and take on tasks that are unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. But don’t let this stop you. There’s an old Estonian proverb that says: The work itself will teach you. So dive in, make mistakes, adjust your strategy, and just keep moving forward, day by day. Good luck!

For more information, visit:

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Behold Your Mother by Heidi Hess Saxton--Book Review

Full of stories that reach the heart of motherhood and the relationship all people can have with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert by Heidi Hess Saxton will draw you closer to Mary, and therefore, her Son, Jesus.

As a former Catholic, I know the significant role that Mary plays in the Church. It is a part of that faith that used to mystify me; and my husband, who was brought up Greek Orthodox, after nearly 10 years of marriage still asks me what's up with the whole "Mary" thing.

But as I grew into adulthood and became a mother, I gave Mary more thought and realized what an inspiration and source of strength Mary can be to every one of God's children. This is exactly what Saxton has captured with Behold Your Mother.

In the first story, Saxton discusses her own hesitation in praying to Jesus' mother after converting to Catholicism. There are also two other stories that show how Saxton draws strength and receives protection from Mary. The remainder of the book serves as a devotional. Snippets of Scripture are brought together with thought-provoking meditations about Mary and the role she plays in all our lives. Each meditation ends with a short prayer.

After reading Behold Your Mother, I am more convinced than ever that people can reach out to Mary and gain a closer relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ. In a world of uncertainty, Mary can give us the strength to move forward and she protects us as we reach out to her and seek her intercession.

Behold Your Mother by Heidi Hess Saxton is certain to bring people of all faiths closer to Mary and God. It will also make an excellent Mother's Day gift or alternative to a Mother's Day Card.

You'll find this book at If you order the book through Heidi's website you can receive an autographed copy of Behold Your Mother along with a sample of Heidi's favorite tea (Higgins & Burke Blackcurrant Cassis) in a rose-kissed envelope.

Title: Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert
Author: Heidi Hess Saxton
Publisher: Bezalel Books
ISBN: 978-0-9800483-0-8
U.S. Price: $9.99

Monday, April 14, 2008

Honor Due by D.H. Brown

In HONOR DUE, the Major is an ex-Special Forces 'Nam Vet who worked covertly until by the 90's, diabetic and bone-tired of the life, knowing his handlers weren't taking terrorism seriously, he walked away into the Pacific Northwest and lost himself.

As a young SpecOps shark puts him in the crosshairs, the Major is forced to resume hunting in the old way. Then he finds his old Montagnard War Brother, tortured and killed, and his friend's daughter hiding in his forest. The Major's new mission is to unearth what happened 35 years ago, as South Vietnam was falling, that has triggered the current pursuit, and take the vengeance owed his fallen brother and family. Along the way, healing comes, romance blooms and the old warrior finds life is still worth living.

HONOR DUE speaks for the soul of our citizen warriors, appealing to readers of both genders interested in the way soldiers view the world. Without glamorizing violence, HONOR DUE offers insights into the warrior's code, and the necessity of keeping fang and claw sharp.


Chapter 1

2230 hours — Saturday

It was a typical Saturday night at the Spring Tavern. Lots of locals playing pool, dancing to the jukebox, smoking and drinking beer. Jimmy poured a lot of it on weekends, and little during the week. Men who use axes and chainsaws don't do much drinking on work nights. Most of them start in the woods before 0400, so early to bed is the norm.

Except for a knot of local Indians at one of the pool tables, it was a pretty white crowd. There were four fresh Coasties from the Coast Guard station up at Neah Bay, and other than that, I knew or had seen everyone else before. That's why the little wannabe shark slipping into my small pool stood out. When the door swung open and the kid sidled through, I knew I was going to have to kill him. How did I know? Why? Instinct and almost forty years experience. The why? He might look like a minnow now, but little fish grow up fast and are harder to swallow when they're full grown and think they're Great Whites.

This was my isolated pond he'd swum into and I didn't intend to become the main course at anyone's table. Since I'm a carnivore, I tend to eat first and ask questions later. I may not have a high school diploma, but I've earned several doctorates in the killing arts. I prefer to be the predator than the prey.

The kid was around twenty-five, six feet plus a bit, and maybe a slim 180, in a worked-out kind of way. His dark hair hadn't grown out enough to hide what had been a military buzz. He wore a supple, thigh-length black leather coat, unbuttoned, and by the way it was cut, I figured he was packing. Probably a large auto-loader of some type with a suppressor in a custom rig in the left armpit. He didn't look exactly comfortable wearing civvies.

The way he moved told me this was someone who didn't feel threatened, and thought he could eat anyone in this puddle. I've been around somewhat longer and knew there were several in this crowd I wouldn't want to tangle with, on my best day. Guys who work with axes and chainsaws in the deep woods are very tough nuts, and will break your teeth if you bite on 'em wrong.

I watched the kid's eyes travel slowly around the room and pass me by without a flicker of recognition. There was no reason he should know me on sight, although for him to be here, I knew an advance team had swept the area and put together a package on the lay of the land. That's the way it worked, so now I had to figure out if he was solo, or had backup out in the dark.

He was giving off a nervous kind of energy. Not fear. Just a twitchiness. The way he put money on the bar and kept kind of shrugging his shoulders. Frustrated would be one way of putting it. Maybe a bit worried. I wondered what might cause a reaction like that from someone who probably wouldn't duck when the lead was flying. Interesting.

I watched Jimmy behind the bar, wiping glasses. He wasn't acting any different. He was, however, two feet closer to the register than where the glasses were racked. That meant he was standing directly in front of the Government model .45 Auto he kept cocked and locked under the bar. Jimmy, I'd learned, knew when trouble walked into his place of business.

I also knew I'd be taking my dinner out, as I never eat where I'm known. And know me, everyone there did. Not by name maybe, but by the way the herd recognizes a predator. They keep their distance.

Back to the big question: How did I know someone was hunting me, you ask? Part of my protective cover here is the smallness of the community. I know, at least by sight, most all of the local color. Even the tourists have certain vibes they give off. Dress and mannerisms. In like manner all predators do the same, and in humans those in tune with those vibes know when something wants you for lunch. All that and those little tingles of fear spiking along my nerves, bringing me to an alertness I hadn't felt in a long time.

I'd faced no real threats to my safety in twelve years. You see, fear is what keeps your soul in the body you're born in. No fear, no caution. No caution, no survival. I'm all about survival. That's why I'm still alive after nearly twenty-five years in the killing fields. I didn't intend to cut that short by being over confident. No, this hunter was young and full of all kinds of piss and vinegar. Old bulls get to be old by never underestimating young bulls. I would be taking no chances when it came time to put him down.

When the youngster had settled himself at the bar with a long-neck brew and was checking out the other side of the room, I stubbed out my smoke and slipped out of my corner booth behind the pool table. The back door, down the hall from the little boys' room, was always propped open on late autumn nights like this for the folks who like to sneak out back and smoke a little homegrown weed. It's also a shortcut to the parking lot on the west side of the building. I figured it would take him a while to work the room, matching faces and maybe a description, to the crowd. That would let me take a look-see at the cars in the lot. If he wasn't wound too tight, then any partner he might have, would probably feel the same.

The Spring Tavern sits right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a little out from Clallam Bay, west along state Highway 112. At 2330 there wasn't much traffic in either direction. The parking lot was quiet as most people by now were either home or settled into where they would drink. Parking was a single line of cars, mostly nose in, along the front of the building, except to the west where latecomers have to find a place to double-up without blocking anyone. That's where he'd have had to park. Bessy, my old rusted beater of a '73 GMC pickup was backed in very close to the rear door.

Once clear of the indirect light spilling from the doorway, I stopped to get a feel for the night. After a few moments of hearing nothing except the soft swish of the distant surf against the shore to my right, I moved on. Keeping to the edge of the brush and trees growing above the shoreline, I slowly made my way around the parking lot and stopped again. Jimmy had long since quit trying to keep the back lit during business hours as he didn't want prying eyes watching the rear area too closely.

Waiting for my eyes to acquire some night vision and get used to the occasional car going by, I reconnoitered the vehicles under the trees, letting myself settle deeper into the grooves of my past life. Nothing moved. It used to be watching for the smoke of a stakeout was a sure sign. In these oh-so-correct PC days of fitness, it wasn't something I could rely on. The fall nights were getting decidedly chillier, and a heavy fog was moving in off the Strait, so a heater would be nice for someone waiting. Nothing. A slight onshore breeze brought the kiss of marine mist to my right cheek. All the twenty or so vehicles in sight were showing the glitter of moisture in the reflected light from the bar.

I slowly moved around the verge of the parking area to the first of the last three cars. I recognized Jimmy's old '72 El Dorado Caddie and Tammy's almost new VW Bug, both pulled in head first, and I knew the kid was trained enough not to make that mistake. It had to be the new-looking dark blue Ford Explorer closest to the highway, facing east, nose out, a little away from the rest. Just enough to stick out to the trained eye. I waited. From the lights of the intermittent passing cars I could see no one inside.

Moving slowly, I quietly stepped up to within a few feet of its left rear and waited again. Nothing. Keeping an eye on the front door of Jimmy's, and a watch on my back trail, I moved alongside and peered into the back then the driver's window. Empty. Good. Squatting, I duck walked forward, reached in over the left front tire and checked the inside of the fender well. Sure enough, still warm to the touch.

Now, all I had to do was separate the baby bull from the herd and see what came of it. I quickly eased back into the bar, and my booth. The kid was leaning forward, trying to engage Jimmy. I could imagine how that was going. He finally gave up and turned toward the east side of the room. Jimmy's eyes flicked in my direction, and went back to the beer he was drawing.

I'm particular about my friends, and Jimmy's one I'd helped out in the past. He was solid. An old 'Nam Vet who wasn't particularly enamored with anything government. His mouth didn't flap. No problem there.

D. H. BROWN has worked as a Logistics and Weapons Specialist in Vietnam; day laborer; Director of Security; Armored Car Driver; Police Officer; Professional Hunting Guide; Trapper; Dog Sledder; Homesteader; Truck Driver; General Contractor; Minister; Editor; Writer; Speaker; Restaurateur; Movie Producer; Antique Restoration Specialist; Personal Care Worker; PC Repair Specialist; Computer Instructor; Book Reviewer; Webmaster and Web Designer. He writes about what he knows. He lives deep in the Pacific Northwest rainforest with his wife, author and editor R. J. Brown and Buddy Dog, working on his next book.

You can visit his website at

HONOR DUE can be purchased at

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The Ultimate Passage by Jean Hackensmith & Kathe Birch--Book Review

In the year 2320, Darius Calhoun is President of the United States. The men of his family have been appointed as presidents for generations; ever since Michael Calhoun solved the world's problems. Due to fatal diseases caused by pollution, in addition to, overpopulation and sexually transmitted diseases, the citizens of Earth now live in domed cities where sex has been outlawed and no one experiences emotion of any kind...except the rebels who live outside the domes who prefer to act more like humans than mind-numbed robots.

But the cost is high--they die at alarming rates from cancer and a new strain of AIDS that kills within months; not to mention that they have to grow their food in greenhouses because the soil is contaminated.

Darius is horrified when he is suddenly plucked out of his own time period and dropped into 14th century Scotland. Not only are the conditions unsanitary, he's expected to advise Robert the Bruce, the self-proclaimed King of Scotland, on war tactics, even though war hasn't existed in his time for over two hundred years.

Lara Macgregor, the oldest daughter of the lord of the castle, is a big help to Darius and they quickly become friends. But Lara wants more than friendship--she wants a mate. Darius knows that means having sex and he sure isn't about to do something that he's been brought up to believe is wrong. Funny thing is his body and mind have begun to change since Darius arrived and for the first time in his life he begins to feel and to want things he never did before.

When six other time travelers appear in 14th century Scotland they know it must be for a reason--especially when many of them knew each other at some period in time. As the war for independence in Scotland gains momentum, Darius and the other time travelers are thrust into the tumultous events that unfold and try to uncover why they are all there in the first place. When one of the lord's most trusted knights becomes an enemy, everyone at Castle Macgregor is put in grave danger...particularly Darius, who this knight sees as a rival for beautiful, spunky Lara's affections.

I can honestly say that I have never read a book like The Ultimate Passage ever before, but after reading it I am determined to read the rest of the books in this saga.

Since I hadn't read the first three books--Charmed Passage, Destined Passage and Doomed Passage--I couldn't possibly have known all that transpired between the six time travelers that dropped into 14th century Scotland. Hackensmith provided just enough detail so that I could piece together their pasts, but left out plenty that would keep readers of the past three books from getting bored learning what they already knew.

Each character is so well-developed that I swear in a different place and time I could have known him and her. To watch Darius put in a position where he was forced to call into question all that he had been taught made him a sympathetic character, but the reader also encourages him to reach out for Lara's love and all it entails.

A perfect mix of historical events and people tossed together with several lively fictional characters makes The Ultimate Passage a must read. A complex and riveting plot is expertly delivered by Hackensmith. And Birch must be commended for her thorough research that places the reader into 14th century Scotland and the time of knights and chivalry.

My only disappointment is in knowing that this is the end of The Passage Saga.

Action, adventure, and most of all romance make this a book you won't be able to put down. The Ultimate Passage by Jean Hackensmith and Kathe Birch is every romance lover's dream.

Title: The Ultimate Passage (Book 4 of The Passage Saga)
Authors: Jean Hackensmith and Kathe Birch
Publisher: Port Town Publishing
ISBN-10: 1-59466-101-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-59466-101-3
U.S Price: $22.95

Find out more about The Passage Saga here. And look for Jean Hackensmith's new romantic thriller Checkmate, which is due to be released in May 2008.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Writing Memorable Characters by Michael Ehart

To correspond with the promotion of the fantasy anthology, Return of the Sword, one of the book's authors is providing today's guest post.

Writing Memorable Characters

By Michael Ehart

“He was born with the gift of laughter and the sense that the world was mad, and that was the sum of his patrimony.” The first line from Raphael Sabatini’s classic Scaramouche is not just a powerful narrative hook, but nearly all that is needed to introduce one of the greatest characters in literature. One of the essential skills any writer must have is to create and develop characters that matter to the reader, who engage the emotions and expectations so that the story comes to life. It doesn’t matter how good a writer is at plotting and world-building, if she can’t make her characters come to life her stories will just droop across the page, at best dull and at worst unreadable.

Most new writers understand this, but many make the mistake of confusing a character with a bunch of character traits. Deciding that your detective walks with a limp, has a deep southern accent, has a peculiar scar on his forehead and drives a 1957 Vovlo sedan does not make him real to the reader. That might be a start, but unless there are real reasons for each of these things, they will remain what they are; a bunch of random things decided at a whim.

Real characters must have real histories. It is not enough that your mighty-thewed swordsman is a Barbarian. For one thing, people are universally ethno-centric, which means to him the ways he was taught at his grandfather’s knee are the way things are, and these soft-bellied silk-clad decadent city-dwellers are to be pitied, if not outright scorned. For another, unless your story has him springing whole from the forehead of a goddess he will have had a childhood, and parents, and a culture most likely as rich and fulfilling and deep as that of the weak-kneed cosmopolitans he looks down on, with myths and legends, just-so stories and survival tales, and complex social patterns and taboos. All of these things can be spun into creating a hero who strides across the pages and into the memory of your readers.

Minor characters must have real reasons for both being in your story and for the actions they take. It is important to remember that each person is the hero of their own tale. You don’t need to info-dump a six line character sketch for every evil minion, but if you don’t know at least something about why and how your characters got there and act the way they do, they will be flat and uninteresting.

Next chance you get, take a look at the classic film Casablanca. Besides some of the best lines ever written, there is a brilliance of character that is easy to overlook. Every sleazy deal-maker and shady character is presented with a depth and an almost visible history. Their disreputable pasts are mostly implied and entirely real to the viewer. Give your characters that kind of life. Make them not minor players, but simply all too brief glimpses of interesting and vital people, threads in the vast human tapestry.

To purchase Return of the Sword visit

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The Return of The Sword - Fantasy Anthology

Return of the Sword is a brand new anthology of blood-pounding, spine-tingling stories by some of fantasy's most critically acclaimed Sword and Sorcery authors.

Stacey Berg, Bill Ward, Phil Emery, Jeff Draper, Nicholas Ian Hawkins, David Pitchford, Ty Johnston, Jeff Stewart, Angeline Hawkes, Robert Rhodes, E.E. Knight, James Enge, Michael Ehart, Thomas M. MacKay, Christopher Heath, Nathan Meyer, S.C. Bryce, Allen B. Lloyd, William Clunie, Steve Goble, Bruce Durham, and Harold Lamb present you with enough fast paced adventure to keep you reading for hours.

A hand painted, wrap around cover by fantasy artist Johnney Perkins ensures that Return of the Sword will not only be enjoyable to read, but also look good on your coffee table or bookshelf.

Too long have the halls of fantasy been dominated by packs of weak-kneed elves hunting goblins and doughty dwarves mining for gold. Return now to the days of true adventure. Unsheath your sword and enter if you dare!

For purchase info click here:

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Fireborn Chronicles: Fireborn Found by Mary Andrews--Book Review

Science fiction fans, if you're looking for a book to take you into another world, then you must read The Fireborn Chronicles: Fireborn Found by Mary Andrews.

The Universal Government seems to have all the answers. It allows each planet to decide who its undesirables are and these people are transferred and employed on the Hive Planet. To keep these workers in line, they are provided with an addictive drug that can only be earned by working, thus making these undesirables into the ultimate interplanetary temp service.

Rael Pointe--a newborn implanted with compu-link interface temple plates--had escaped the Hive Planet and was never introduced to the drug. Now, he leads a Dark Ops unit for The Gov and is on a mission to uncover a psionic ring of criminals who have taken control of an important Government Ambassador.

As time goes on, Rael finds out that nothing is as it seems and he and his friends are drawn into a circle of lies and revenge that leads all the way back to Rael's escape from the Hive Planet.

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of science fiction novels. I enjoy many of the Star Trek series and movies, Battlestar Galactica, and Buck Rogers in the 25th century, but to sit down and read a book about this stuff doesn't often cross my mind. So, I had a few reservations when the author asked me to review this novel, especially when she told me it was psionic sci-fi. I was like psionic what? But I like to expand my horizons as a writer and a reader, so I agreed.

Now, I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

Mary Andrews is a master storyteller who weaves science fiction elements, well drawn characters, and an outstanding plot into an exciting and suspense-filled story that will completely draw the reader into Rael's world. Just when I thought I knew what was going on, the plot thickened, and new twists and turns led me to new conclusions. And the unexpected and amazing way to conclude the first book in this series and set up Book II, which is due to be released by Swimming Kangaroo Books in September 2008.

I did something I don't usually do and went to Andrews' website and checked out some of the other reviews posted there. Many reviewers discussed the introduction of the main characters in this novel--which we get in the first three parts--as short stories that helped to develop the characters. The opinions were mixed as if that was a good way to start off the novel. This format actually reminded a bit of The Stand by Stephen King, where the reader is introduced to several different characters and their lives before they all become acquainted with each other.

Overall, I felt this was an excellent way for the reader to get to know each character individually before they became part of the team. The Fireborn Chronicles: Fireborn Found has a tremendous amount happening within its 270 pages, so for someone like me who doesn't read a great deal of science fiction, this format served as a way for me to get a handle on who these people were and what attributes and skills they brought to the team. And for a regular science fiction reader, this format helps to set up the plot that really takes off in Part 4.

I also extend huge kudos to the cover artist. This is one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen. The jpg I have posted doesn't do it justice. I couldn't believe how stunning the cover was when I received the book.

Mystery, suspense, and action fill the pages of The Fireborn Chronicles: Fireborn Found. If Andrews' debut novel is this amazing, I can't wait to see what she delivers next!

Title: The Fireborn Chronicles: Fireborn Found
Author: Mary Andrews
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books
ISBN: 978-1-934041-50-5
U.S. Price: $14.99

You can check out my october 2007 interview with Mary Andrews here.

Astro Socks by Leigh M. Le Creux

If your child is looking for a fun, imaginative and inspiring read, then he doesn't have to look any further than Astro Socks by Leigh M. Le Creux.

Young Christopher wants to figure out a solution to a problem: how can he keep his baby sister Rachel's socks from falling off? He thinks about these socks, he draws pictures about these socks, he cuts them up to figure out what they're made of and how they compare to his socks. Maybe ribbons will work, or velcro, or buttons. But each idea ends in failure. A thrown pen and an email to a company in Florida turns Chris into a young inventor and he gets to live his dream and achieve what he thought was impossible.

I loved this book because it's really a fun and ingenious way to teach young people to reach for their dreams. The reader gets to experience Chris's adventures, his analytical nature, his frustrations, and his excitement while gently being encouraged to make their dreams come true.

The book could have used another set of editorial eyes, as there were a few missing words and some typographical errors. During one email exchange, the wrong last name was used when addressing the main character. But I doubt many young people will notice these things.

Astro Socks is sure to be a hit with your child. I look forward to the next book by Leigh M. Le Creux.

Title: Astro Socks
Author: Leigh M. Le Creux
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-595-46375-6
U.S. Price $9.95

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quo Vadis (Where Are You Going), Israel? by Peter Nennhaus

Quo Vadis, Israel?

by H. Peter Nennhaus

Should you look at my latest book, Quo Vadis, Israel?, which expounds on the idea of “moving the State of Israel to greener acres”, you are likely to ask, ‘Is Peter Nennhaus a crackpot or, worse yet, an anti-Semite?’ Let me assure you, I’m neither. Instead, I made a serendipitous discovery, which, if we send a few prayers to heaven, may hold immense benefit for the Israelis and many others as well.

In a nutshell, the book tells you that there will never be peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not in fifty years and not in a century, and that there are obvious reasons for this. It further says, peace or no peace, the demographic time bomb will go off perhaps in three or four generations, whereupon the Israeli Jews will be a minority and exposed to the vengeance of the angry Arabs. Consequently, Israel resembles a patient who suffers from a disease that’s not only chronic and incurable but ultimately fatal. I know, that prognosis is one for the books but it is essential for understanding Quo Vadis, for if you believe it might be true, you will be intrigued by what my book is about. On the other hand, if you believe my deadly prognosis is nothing but poppycock you should not waste your time on it.

Let me tell you how this came about. I grew up in Germany and still have relatives there. It started innocently enough with a nasty joke about President G.W. Bush, which I e-mailed to my cousin. In his reply he attached a travel journal about a trip to the so-called Kaliningrad Territory. This is the northern part of what used to be the German province of East Prussia on the southern shores of the Baltic Sea. Upon Germany’s defeat in 1945, Stalin annexed it and gave the southern part of the province to Poland. I had known all along about the ill reputation of the Kaliningrad area, but my cousin’s report was nothing less than appalling. The Russians have made a mess of it. It is a failed state. It is the site of indigence, Stalinist bureaucracy, endemic corruption and alcoholism, drug abuse and drug trade, illicit arms trade, crime and the strong arm of the Russian Mafia. The Europeans call it the Devil’s Kitchen and The Black Hole. More importantly, for reasons explained in the book, no help is in sight as there is a standoff between Moscow and the European Union about how to correct the problem.

Reading about this, a fleeting thought passed through my mind. How prosperous and healthy would this land be, I thought, had in 1948 the State of Israel been created here instead of in Palestine. Neither of the neighbors, Lithuania and Poland, have a claim to the land, so there would be nobody in the world to accuse the Jews of having stolen the land. The next day the thought came back. Could one transfer the State of Israel up to the Baltic now? It was an absurd idea as well and I dismissed it. Unsolicited but intriguing, the idea turned up day after day, although being ignored every time. After perhaps ten days, I gave in and, enjoying intelligent hobbies, decided to carry out a little research, which would prove the foolishness and absurdity of the concept once and for all. That’s what I did, yet to my utter surprise, after many months, my investigations proved the exact opposite.

Many questions had to be answered. What was the background and justification of Zionism? What has happened to its goodwill and idealism? Why hasn’t peace been achieved in sixty years? How do the Arabs look at Israel and the West? What would have to happen to appease their animosity? What are the chances that peace and harmony are ever to come about in the Middle East? Is Israel’s permanence endangered by the higher birthrate of the Israeli Arabs? If so, how long will it be until they outnumber Israeli Jews? What are the history, climate, fertility and economic viability of the Kaliningrad Territory? Why would Russia sell the land to the Israelis? What are the chances that the Israelis agree to this plan? Who is going to pay for it and is it affordable? What benefits would be accruing to the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Russians presently living in Kaliningrad, the Middle East, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the world at large?

Instead of finding the catch hiding in the project, the reason for its failure, after months of study everything kept falling neatly into place. The benefits were immense. Israel would be saved from an incurable and fatal disease by a well-planned surgical operation. It was an operation that was safe, predictably successful, and affordable. Equally promising were the benefits accruing to the Palestinians, the Middle East in general, and all the other parties involved. It would be a legitimate business transaction assured of worldwide approval and it would end a painful tragedy.

It was to be expected that this concept would encounter disbelief and rejection because of its novelty and extraordinariness. It might also evoke spurious fears of violating our pro-Israeli attitude and loyalty although the reverse is true. I also remembered rational policies being rejected for no other reason than that they were out of fashion or disapproved by ideology. But, I felt, before we discard this concept out of hand, it should first be put up for discussion and so I decided to publish it.

That was easier said than done. No publisher and no agent was willing to accept the challenge or to venture out into such unexplored territory. In the end, I availed myself of the friendly services of Outskirts Press, a demand self-publisher.

It is a brief text. I hope you will read it and do so with goodwill in your heart and an open mind. That is the spirit in which it was written.

Author’s Bio: H. Peter Nennhaus, a retired surgeon and Illinois resident, was raised in Berlin and became a U.S. citizen in 1961. He is the author of Boyhood, the 1930s and World War II, Memories, Comments and Views from the Other Side. Among his various interests, the study of the history of the 20th century, the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism has been a persistent focus.

To order Quo Vadis, Israel? go to or

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Interview with Sallie Rodman for Chicken Soup now online

My latest interview with a contributor to Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul is now available at American Chronicle. Come read all about writer Sallie Rodman, her daughter Jennifer, who inspired the story that was published in this Chicken Soup book, find out about her love of American Idol, and read what she's up to next when you go to American Chronicle today!

And don't forget to check out my interview with Debra Poneman, who is credited as the writer of Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul. That is at American Chronicle too.

Monday, April 7, 2008

From Blank Page to Book Shelves

I am giving up the floor today to Theresa Chaze, author of From Blank Page to Book Shelves. She'll talk about local book marketing and promotions.

Theresa Chaze is a publishing consultant and publicist who helps authors successful publish and market their own work. Here's what she has to say:

Many authors are so focused on the Internet and the big picture that they frequently overlook local marketing opportunities. Regional promotion needs to be the starting point for every author. It is the place to get experience answering questions and chatting up the reading public. The more comfortable you are talking about your work and the industry, the more creditable you will be to your readership.

Book marketing and promotion opportunities don't have to cost more than your time and enthusiasm. By having faith in yourself and a little courage you can create openings to talk about your work without having to spend money for advertising.

* Write articles for the local paper or magazines on topic will give the author credibility and is a positive marketing tool. However, the articles don't specifically need to be about your work, but should include any topic that you have knowledge or interest in.

* Give away promotional book markers or postcards to people you meet and send them in books of the same genre that are on bookstore shelves. This doesn't mean blanket the shelves, just occasionally add one to a book that is similar to your own to tap into their readership.

* Arrange to do a combination reading and book signing at a local store. Most book signings are just show and tell for later sales. However, if you combine it with a reading of the book, you will gather more curiosity about the rest of it.

* Give lectures in the community. If you are passionate about an issue or about a cause get involved. Not all of promotion has to be directly related to your work. Half the battle is getting name recognition and creating a brand name for yourself. By making yourself more identifiable and interesting, you create a wider market for your work.

* Write press releases emphasizing that you are a local writer. Many newspapers and TV stations do human interests stories. Just because the show is local doesn't mean that the information stops at the county line. Families and friends are spread out across the country; if you can impress one, you have access to them all.

* Burn CD's with excerpts and your bio that bookstores could give away. Blank CD's and cases are relatively inexpensive marketing tools, especially if you have more than one book. Not only are you able to put book trailers but also short excerpts to create an interest in your work.

* Talk about you books. When you are waiting in line at the check out, start a conversation with the people around you. It will make the wait easier while promoting your book.

The key is to never pass up an opportunity to let others know about your book. Whether standing in a check out lane or paying bills, you can turn nearly every experience into a promotional prospect. Not only will these impromptu opportunities help others learn about your work, but they will also prepare you for the questions asked during professional interviews and cold calls to bookstores.

You can purchase your copy of From Blank Page to Book Shelves at

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Earl Hutchinson and The Ethnic Presidency--Blog Blitz

I am taking part in the Ethnic Presidency Blog Blitz. The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House is the latest book from sydicated columnist and political analyst Earl Hutchinson. Earl has been a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows. He was a regular commentator on CNBC’s The Dennis Miller Show.

Earl has been a guest on the Today Show, Dateline, The Lehrer Hour, and BET News, America’s Black Forum. He is a frequent commentator for the American Urban Broadcast Network and Ed Gordon’s News and Notes on NPR. He is also a featured columnist for,, and

Earl is associate editor of New America Media. His op-ed columns appear in the Baltimore Sun,L.A. Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers.

The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House is an explosive look at how racial and ethnic conflict has openly and covertly played a crucial role the past three decades in influencing, shaping and ultimately deciding who bags the world’s biggest political prize, the White House. It tells how racial politics will play an even bigger role in the 2008 presidential election and future elections.

It examines Obamamania, the Hillary and Bill factor, the soaring Latino vote, the silent but potent Asian-American vote, the immigration wars, the GOP’s love-hate relationship with Black and Latino America, and Bush’s effort to recast the GOP from a clubby, ole white guys party to a party of racial diversity.

The following are three separate excerpts from Chapter 6 - Reagan, Race, and His Imitators:


Ronald Reagan could have been standing at the podium of his own library in Simi Valley, California during the first GOP presidential contender’s debate in May 2007 plugging himself as the best GOP candidate to capture the White House in 2008. The ten presidential candidates bellowed out his name nineteen times. They elbowed each other aside to smother themselves in his mantle. Their Reagan love fest was not solely a calculated political ploy to play on the name of the man millions still hold in reverential awe. It was a matter of practical politics.

Reaganism is still very much alive and kicking in American politics. The then top GOP contenders Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, as well as the other six who stood on the podium at the Reagan library that May evening, owed their political life to him. The same could be said for later entrant Fred Thompson who wasn’t at the debate. He announced his candidacy months after the debate.

The Reagan revolution didn’t merely return America to a world in which God, patriotism, rugged individualism, militant anti-communism, and family values ruled supreme. Reagan, far more adroitly, than former President Richard Nixon a decade before him parlayed the forgotten American sentiment and a sanitized image of the past into a powerful conservative ideological movement. Race was a never-far-from-the-surface subtext to that movement.


In the immediate decade after the collapse of the 1960s civil rights movement and Nixon’s White House ascension which further fueled racial anger and accelerated the shift, white Southerners had joined with blue-collar ethnics who were fed up with bussing, affirmative action, and crime to desert the Democratic Party in even bigger numbers than during Nixon’s campaigns.

Reagan rode the crest of his Neshoba speech and in his early years in the White House appealed to their fear that society was spinning out of control and that the Democrats did not have the answers. He stoked their fervent hope that a telegenic, conservative Republican could fulfill Nixon and Goldwater’s promise to restore law and order, clamp down on permissiveness and restore prosperity.

Reagan upped Goldwater and Nixon’s ante. His first task was to eliminate the remnants of the Great Society programs rejected by many whites as government handouts to blacks. He didn't totally succeed. But he further eroded public enthusiasm for massive spending on social and education programs. During Reagan's first four years federal expenditures on education and training, social services, public works, civilian research and development dropped.

Reagan fixated Middle Americans on the government as pro-higher taxes, pro-bureaucracy, pro-immigrant and especially pro-welfare and pro-rights of criminals. He painted government as a destructive, bloated, inefficient white elephant, weighting down the backs of Americans. He claimed that government entitlement programs that benefited the poor were a crushing drain on the budget. The Reagan imitators played hard on these themes and vowed to cut taxes and tighten the reins even more on federal spending in their debates in 2007.

Even though the Reagan revolution masked its racial appeals in code words, and subtle messages, race continued to lurk close to the surface, and from time to time it exploded to the surface.


Reagan’s frontal attack on big government, social programs and civil rights further insured Republican wins in national elections and tightened the Republican Party’s cast iron-grip on the South. Bush in 2000 and again in 2004 benefited mightily from Reagan’s Southern and forgotten man strategy. In both presidential elections, he hauled in the electoral votes of the Old Confederate states, and the Border States with the exception of Maryland and its disproportionate number of black voters, and secured the granite like backing of America’s heartland.

Civil rights, civil liberties, women’s groups, and liberal Democrats still regard the Reagan years as the most disastrous in modern times for civil rights and social programs and that didn't change even as the nation lionized Reagan after his death in June 2004. GOP conservatives revel in the era and aura of their beloved icon. They should. His Southern Strategy, forgotten man pitch, and happy style of politics, put Republican presidents squarely in the national driver’s seat.

John McCain’s stay the course talk on Iraq, terrorism, taxes and curbing federal spending were pages straight from Reagan’s playbook aimed at shoring up any wavering GOP backing in the white South. They invoked Reagan’s patented God, country, and patriotic themes in debates through 2007. The Reagan imitators hoped that Reagan’s legacy will do the same for them.

For much more information about Earl Ofari Hutchinson and The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Affects the Race to the White House, visit his blog blitz homepage at To order your copy of The Ethnic Presidency, visit or