Monday, December 23, 2013

KANDY KAY SCARAMUZZO and Pie an Old Brown Horse


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Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo is a seventh generation Texan with her own brick at the Cowgirl Museum. She has taught in alternative education for over twenty years. Ms. Scaramuzzo is a member of Strathmore's 2012 Whos's Who. She has a BA in Criminology and a MAedCT. She works in horse, cat, dog, and snake rescues. Ms. Scaramuzzo was a tester/observer for  Therapy dogs for nine years. She ran a therapy horse riding program for autistic and special needs children for five years. She has been a recognized animal behaviorist for over twenty years. She has written her first book about an exceptional horse. She feels it is important to give back to maintain the balance of a civilized society.

Press Release: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-texan-authors-fable-to-be-featured-at-book-expo-america-and-american-library-association-annual-2013-04-26

Contact at:  Pieanoldbrownhorse@yahoo.com  You will have to copy and paste this address. My mail client is not working.

Color pictures of all the horses in the book are posted on
http://pinterest.com/pieanoldbrown/

Listen to my radio interview  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fishn4souls/2013/04/25/road-less-published 
www.activeserchresults.com 


To keep up with Pie's latest antics see http://www.facebook.com/#!/kandykay.scaramuzzo
  He has demanded his own page!    https://www.facebook.com/PieAnOldBrownHorse/posts/569153009794746?comment_id=5746502&offset=0&total_comments=1&notif_t=share_comment
And.... website!  www.ahorsestoryallaboutpieanoldbrownhorse.com                                                         

Featured in January Magazine  http://www.januarymagazine.blogspot.com

Press Release in the Wall Street Journal  online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130426-910705.html

See Pie's 5 Star Review from Readers'  Favorite  that earned him the silver seal on his cover!
http://readersfavorite.com/book-review/11172  
Featured in Focus on The Family
Highlight http://booksbyshawnieclark.webs.com/meet-the-author 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

ETERNAL CURSE and TOI THOMAS


-- Eternal Curse sprung from a dream how, have dreams influenced you in your life?
I haven’t had a lot of experience with dream involvement in my life. Before experiencing the reoccurring dream that inspired me to write Eternal Curse, I didn’t remember most of my dreams. For the most part I could always tell whether I was having good or bad dreams, and few nightmares have crept through my consciousness and stuck with me.

-- Have you ever had a dream of premonition?
I’ve never experienced a clear full on premonition, especially not in my sleep, but daydreaming is a little different. There have been a few times when I thought I had imagined something and it turned out to be real, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these premonitions. Sometimes we are influenced by things around us without realizing it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in such things. People often go on about whether such things are heaven sent or of the devil; I think it depends on the person and the circumstances.

Having said that, I do find that I have a habit of bringing up subjects that seem rare, odd, or out of place, only to have them become quite relevant soon after. I’ll spark up a conversation about someone who was famous years ago only to find out a few days later, they have just passed away.  

-- How much of the characters stems from your dreams and how much stems from your creativity?
This is a difficult question to answer quickly. The only two characters to appear in my dream were the gray man and the old man. They are, in the book, about 75% of what they were in my dream. I only changed them a little and added to them. All the other characters I made up.
I guess the question would be how much of these stem from creativity or familiar relations. While I did consciously craft each of the other characters in this story, about half of them are based on people I know in some small form or other and all the characters seems to share some kind of similarity with me. I’m over this book, even though I tried really hard not to be.

-- Do you try to dream in a special way? I have personally read books that train you to have lucid dreams. And I wonder as you had a dream that impacted you to write a book, if you have made the effort to dream up another book?
Whoa there, that quite a few questions.

1st- I don’t try to dream in a special way unless I’ve just seen something disturbing. Then I curl up with a teddy bear, squeeze my husband, and try to think happy thoughts. I think it works. Like I said, most of the time I don’t remember my dreams.

2nd- It’s funny that you ask about training myself to have lucid dreams. I bought a book on that years ago for my husband because he was having some strange dreams. He used the book and it helped a little so he simply added it to the bookshelf. After I wrote the second draft of Eternal Curse, I thought maybe I should look into that book and see what it says about dreams. I read one or two page, but never applied anything I read and became distracted, never returning to finish the book.

3rd- I haven’t been losing sleep just waiting to dream up my next book. After writing Eternal Curse I think my overall creativity was sparked and ideas began to flow through my mind constantly. I don’t pursue every idea right away, but I do write every idea down and add as much detail as I can. If ever I am without ideas, I have plenty to go back to and explore.

With that being said, I did have another short dream series that has inspired me to write another book, but unfortunately it didn’t last as long as the first, so I am having to create most of the story from scratch. The one thing that stands out from the dream is a magical sword and a royal bloodline. I can’t wait to see where this will take me.

-- Do you encounter your characters whilst day dreaming?
During the time in which I was writing my story, my characters followed me around everywhere; now, not so much. I do however find myself talking to Mira sometimes. I think because she’s a combination of many women in my life including myself, she feels like an old girlfriend who’s with me whenever I need her.

-- What is your system when writing? Are you a meticulous outline planner or a pantser?
I am definitely an outline planner. I outline everything. If my I know how I want my story to end, I outline the whole story from beginning to end. Then I outline individual chapters before moving on to outline the lives and details of my characters. I also make lots of lists. I write down idea I may or may not use and keep track of what is in progress and what is done. My book 40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse give a clear picture of just how much work and effort I put into my writing, especially how much went into writing Eternal Curse.

-- What is easier for you, story line (plot) or setting?
Plot is by far the easiest thing for me, everything else is a struggle. I love writing and will always do it, but that doesn’t mean every aspect of writing comes to me naturally. Coming up with ideas, themes, transitions, twists, catalysts, and climaxes are the easy part. Going back to build worlds and add in all the details is where I seek, greatly and humbly, advice from others.

-- Do you see spin offs or a series stemming from secondary characters?
Absolutely! The primary series is already in effect. The Second book is finished and awaiting editing and the third is very much a reality.
As far as spin offs go, there is so much going on with the characters and the world of Eternal Curse that it would be impossible to tell the whole story in 3 to 4 short books. I think there will definitely be spin offs down the read and perhaps I’ll even do some collaborations with some other authors.

-- And for fun....Favorite food? Favorite drink? And I must know WHY BATMAN?
Favorite food: It changes, but I do really enjoy rice dishes.

Favorite drink: Apple Juice; what can I say, I’m a big kid and I need my vitamins.

Why Batman? Why not? I appreciate his background story. Aside from him being filthy rich, he is essentially an orphan and orphans hold a special place in my heart, which is evident in my writing. Many hero and villain stories begin with what happen in the early years. After Bruce Wayne watched his parents get killed in front of him, he could have easily been turned into a villain, but he chose to be a hero. He doesn’t have any special powers and he is really smart. He defeats most of his opponents simply by using his mind; he out thinks them. Aside from the fact that he’s the only comic book hero with a cape that I like (not big on capes) and he has a similar attitude to mine, I like Batman because from childhood to adulthood the fact remains that someone like him could exist, even if he doesn’t. There are real people in this world, without special powers, willing to fight to save others and that’s Batman represents to me. 

           
               Toi Thomas
Author of the Eternal Curse Series
    Website: etoithomas.com
         #thetoiboxofwords
 
 
 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE CRIMSON and THE FROST a FANTASY NOVEL by John Williams and James Colletti

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID EVANS THE ARKANSAS CONNECTION


·         What is your book about?

At its core, Arkansas Connection is about the lunacy and the often mad cast of characters that make up the behind-the-scenes teams of major league baseball. More than being a 'sports' novel, it's a character study; I'm actually not a huge baseball fan, but I've always been fascinated by antics of managers, coaches, and the like—on the field and off!

·         Describe your writing in three words.

Quirky. Insightful. Creative.

·         Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Not so much the characters, but there's a medical element to the book that's very much drawn from my own experiences. I've been a physician for many years, and a lot of what I've seen and heard would really fall into the category of "stranger than fiction." So I amalgamated many of them to add an interesting additional dimension to the story. Anyone who works in the medical profession never has a lack of insane stories to share!

·         What authors inspire or influence your work?

All authors. I think one of the most important things for writers to do is to READ. It's the only way to become a better writer. I'm shocked sometimes that I encounter writers who really don't read themselves—either contemporary or classic literature. You just can't improve as a writer if you're not surrounding yourself with the music of words in all its forms. Even reading a bad book can teach you a lot about writing. So I would say I am the sum of all the writers I've read over the years.

·         Do you need visual media to describe people or places?

In a sense—I often use real life people to inspire my characters. I really do believe that a writer's best tool is their ability to people-watch. Spending an afternoon sitting on a park bench, or in a coffee shop observing passersby and interactions will give you some of the most valuable insight in to creating characters. Not only does it open up a wealth of options in terms of physical description, but what you'll learn about human interaction and relationships will be invaluable! I think that's probably one of the reasons that whole cliché about writers working in coffee shops developed—They're like character development smorgasbords!

·         Is the Thesaurus one of your best writing friends?

Yes and no. The thesaurus can be your best friend when there's a word on the tip of your tongue that you just can't quite remember, or you're just looking for a particular turn of phrase. But I also think there's a danger to overusing it—and I think sometimes it becomes a crutch for writers. If you're going back to your thesaurus again and again and again, you probably need to be doing something different in terms of your writing. Just because you're using a synonym to describe something, doesn't mean you're not being redundant or repetitive. So use it sparingly!

·         Who gets to read your drafts before they're published?

Several parties. I had some of my friends read it over for structure and pure enjoyment, but then I handed it over to an editor. The latter is so, so important. When it comes to technical editing, you MUST have an external editor, especially if you're self-published. And this doesn't mean getting your friend or family member to read it over (unless they're a professional editor), it means giving it to someone who really knows what they're doing. It may cost you a bit, but in the long-run it's worth it to have a professional product!

·         Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers? ENJOY!!

·         Where can readers find you and your book(s) online? 

Arkansas Connection is available as an ebook through Amazon And Kobo books
 
 

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VBTC The Arkansas Connection by David Evans

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Title: The Arkansas Connection

Author Name: David Evans

 

david-evans-199x300Author Bio:

  David Evans is a Toronto-based pain consultant with an interest in all types of chronic, intractable non–cancer pain. An avid fly fisherman, crossword and Sudoko aficianado and global traveler, The Arkansas Connection is David’s first novel but he is hard at work on a second one!  

Author Links -

www.thearkansasconnection.com https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18334552-the-arkansas-connection?from_search=true http://www.amazon.com/The-Arkansas-Connection-David-Evans-ebook/dp/B00BJCFNKA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384466022&sr=8-1&keywords=%22the+arkansas+connection%22    

About The Book

 
Book Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Jemsdale Publishing
Release Date: February 21, 2013
Buy Link: Amazon



ArkansasConnection_cover  Book Description:   Frank Munro, manager of the New York Mets, leads a turbulent life trying to win with a team of dysfunctional underachievers. Soon after the Mets lose the final game of the season, Frank finds out his mother has died, and he must return to his hometown of Catsville, Arkansas, to arrange her funeral. His attempt to give her remains a grand send-off results in mayhem, and out of pity his mother’s friend Alice invites him to a "tea party” with three other ladies, where the tea is actually moonshine. Frank gives them a play-by-play of that final game, and manages to survive the evening. He returns to New York to find the Mets’ owner has decided to give him one more chance.  Meanwhile, Bobby Sherward, a doctor-turned-right fielder who sustained a concussion from the fly ball and lost the Mets' final season game, decides that his future is in medicine, not baseball. He takes a position at a veteran’s hospital in Arkansas. Upon arrival, he is amazed to find it's within spitting distance of Frank's hometown.  That’s not the only unsettling coincidence Bobby must contend with, for it soon becomes apparent that Broken Arrow Memorial is the medical equivalent of the Mets. Run by a psychotic medical director, the hospital is the home of indifferent or incompetent doctors, electro-convulsed patients, and assorted weird experiments. Bobby soon has enough, but before he leaves town he encounters a remarkable sandlot baseball player named Jonathon Brown. Besides being a phenomenal player, Jonathon is also a mathematical genius who runs a highly successful investment group in the back room of a local diner.  Bobby manages to convince Jonathon to try out for the Mets, and his incredible skills both on the field and in finance bring him and the team fame and prosperity. But Jonathon also raises the ire of the brokerage firm losing customers to his sound investment advice. As a result, the company's CEO makes plans to “eliminate” the new competition. Will Jonathon survive his trip to the big league, and complete the Arkansas Connection?

PLEASE NOTE: There are some suggestive scenes and swearing in the book- so it’s not for children.      


The Arkansas Connection

by David Evans


Excerpt 2

Bobby did return the next week to watch the Tigers play against a team that apparently had no trouble with their septic tanks, the Brownwood Dodgers. The teams were made up mostly of young enthusiastic guys in their thirties trying to escape from their wives and kids for a night out with the boys. There were also some veterans, a few who had played in semi-pro leagues. Jonathon Brown stood out, both physically and athletically. He was twenty-two years of age, about six feet four inches tall with long, blond hair. Most women, Bobby thought, would consider him extremely handsome. He had the upper body of a heavyweight boxer and the legs of an Olympic sprinter, and seemed to glide over the field, defying gravity.
He played right field, and propelled the first ground ball that came to him like a radar-guided rocket to first base, to get the runner before he was halfway there. He moved effortlessly to the right or left, making impossible-looking catches and gathering up ground balls that were drawn to him like magnets to a refrigerator door. He was also impressive at the plate. He hit three monster homers and drove in eight runs. Bobby had to keep telling himself that this was a primitive team in a primitive league. In this company, even he might look like Willie Mays. Yet he had the feeling that Jonathon would look good in any league, including the Majors.
Bobby returned a number of times, and was never disappointed. The boy was good. Good enough that he was determined to call Frank Munro and try to get him to give Jonathon a trial. Of course, he had to talk to Jonathon first. For all Bobby knew, the guy might already have been scouted and have an agent. He knew that that even in a population of three hundred million, it was rare for someone with Jonathon’s talent to go unnoticed.
He was determined to do this after his next visit. As it turned out, he made a mistake reading the schedule and he didn’t watch Jonathon the jock perform but Jonathon the investment counselor. Having found the field bereft of baseball players, Bobby asked a gas station attendant where he might find Jonathon.
Monday nights you’ll find him in the back room at Betty’s Diner,” the attendant told him. “He runs some sort of club for people who want to get into the stock market. Can’t understand why anyone would want to chuck their money away like that. The bank was good enough for my grandfather and my father, and it’s good enough for me. Mind you, by the look of the cars they’re driving, they must by doing pretty good.”
Betty’s was about a mile out of town, an oasis in a wide expanse of cow pasture. There were about ten cars parked in front, and Bobby couldn’t help noticing that besides half a dozen of the ubiquitous half-ton pickup trucks, there were also a couple of fancy looking sport utilities, and even a Corvette and a Porsche. Betty was standing behind the counter reading the latest line on the nags running at Pimlico. There were no customers in the diner.
“I’m looking for Jonathon Brown,” Bobby said. “The guy at the gas station thought he might be here.”
“Yep,” she said, pointing a greasy finger to a door at the rear of the diner. “He’s got his meeting in the back room. Every month. Investments and things. Danged if I understand it, but some of those guys are now gentlemen farmers....Well, I dunno about gentlemen, but they’ve certainly given up shoveling shit for a living.”
“Do you think they’d mind if I went in?”
“Nah, I don’t think so. It ain’t exclusive or nothin’ like that.”
Bobby invested in a Coke and a multi-layered burger and fries, and quietly slipped into the back room. Jonathon was explaining the finer points of a graph thrown onto a screen by an overhead projector. He was dressed in black pants, a pure white shirt and a red tie. He was also wearing suspenders. There were about ten people in the audience taking notes.
Jonathon paused and acknowledged the presence of the stranger. “Can’t say I recognize you,” he said. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
“No,” Bobby agreed. “I came to see you play baseball, but got the days mixed up. I wanted to talk to you. Would you mind if I sat in until you’re finished? If not, I’d be quite happy to sit in the diner…. ”
“No, no,” Jonathon insisted, “stick around, by all means. We’re talking stocks and stuff, so it may be a bit boring. Baseball it ain’t.”
Bobby sat down and listened for two hours, fascinated by a discussion surrounding the stock market potential of about twenty small to medium-sized companies. All were listed on various stock exchanges around the country. As far as Bobby could tell they were mostly computer companies, but there were also a couple of banks and oil and gas companies.
Each member of the club apparently had the responsibility of assessing at least one stock. This assessment meant reading annual reports, scanning the major business papers for articles or mere mentions. Specific trade journals would be scanned. Especially important was the strength of management, earning potential, product uniqueness and market share. Often a member would actually go to the town where his company was located. He would look at the plant and watch for activity. If possible, he would inveigle his way into the plant and observe production lines. He might also pick up some local gossip as to how the company was doing. All this information was given to Jonathon. He would then plug that information plus some of his own ideas into a computerized model that he himself had developed, to give a bottom line: Buy or Sell.  



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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE EAGLE'S LAST FLIGHT by Ron Standerfer

Ron-Standerfer-Long

The Eagle's Last Flight

REVIEW

 
5.0 out of 5 stars Training for flight in life and as a pilot, November 2, 2013
By 
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This review is from: The Eagle's Last Flight: Book One (The Cold War, The Making of a Fighter Pilot) (Kindle Edition)
BOOK I The Eagle's Last Flight: Book One (The Cold War, The Making of a Fighter Pilot)

Training for flight in life and as a pilot *****

I highly recommend the first volume of three in The Eagle's Last Flight series. Here Skip O'Neill takes the reader on the journey of training for flight in life, love, commitment and of course airplanes.
The book has a retrospective point of view as Skip O'Neill lies dying of Leukemia in a New York Hospital. His struggles with takeoffs and landings help the reader understand the perseverance and endurance of his character. He falls in love with Christy and conquers her heart while striving to conquer control of the cockpit.
I particularly enjoyed the balance between Skip O'Neill's private life and his military aspirations. The scenes where he accomplishes so much by flying F-100s juxtaposed with the daily routine in a life placed me right there, with the exciting and the mundane.
As a pacifist I veer towards books where the hero opposes war, and this very human portrait of a hero who accepts a social responsibility in an era when such was unpopular was a departure that as a reader helped me grow.
The knowledge that the author is himself a decorated retired Air Force Coronel makes for a most realistic read. A well-deserved five stars indeed.

BOOK II The Eagle's Last Flight: Book Two (Vietnam Tested in Combat)
Moral struggles for pilot and wife *****

In Volume two of the series The Eagles Last Flight Skip O'Neill and his wife experience the hardship and sacrifice of Military life in Misawa Air Base in Japan. There is a vacuous moral existence that surrounds them and eventually influences them as the military life is so filled with abuse of pills, alcohol and sexual adventures.
Here the characters manage to be more than most who surrounds them but not without a few stumbles of their own. Skip has a huge experience in which he must eject from his airplane which sets up the scene beautifully for abuse of pain killers.
The story offers the reader a perspective that is sure to make all cheer for the couple to succeed. The relationship struggles in work as well as in private felt very real. Another five star and I am ready for volume three.

BOOK III The Eagle's Last Flight: Book Three (The Final Challenge)
Fantastic finale with twist and turns I did not expect

In Volume three Skip O'Neill struggles with his own feelings and commitment to a war that by now is completely unpopular. At the same time in order to prove himself he takes on the most dangerous missions as if willing to lose it all.
The author here takes us through the perils of war in its full form as well as tragedy and loss where we least expect it. There is a very believable balance between success and failure, joy and hardship in the life of Skip O'Neill.
In such a detailed life of much hardship it is surprising and refreshing that the author finds a way to end on a high flying note. This series should appeal to all audiences, but the subject matter is adult enough that it should be read by 17 and older.
 
 
by Ron Standerfer

Ron Standerfer was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois, a town across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri. While attending the University of Illinois he took his first airplane ride in a World War II-Vintage B-25 bomber assigned to the local ROTC detachment. It was a defining moment in his life. Weeks later, he left college to enlist in the Air Force's aviation cadet program. He graduated from flight training at the age of twenty and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Another defining moment occurred early in his career. In August 1957, he participated in an atomic test at Yucca Flat, Nevada. Standing on an observation platform eight miles from ground zero, he watched the detonation of an atomic bomb code named Smoky. The test yielded an unexpected 44 kilotons---more than twice the size of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. He never forgot Smoky, and the memory of that experience weighed heavily on his mind when he wrote The Eagle's Last Flight, a semi-autobiographical novel about his life as an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War. Ron's twenty seven-year Air Force career spanned the Cold War years between 1954 and 1981. During that time, he flew a variety of high performance fighters including the F-100, F-102, F-105, F-4 and A-7. He flew over 200 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict and was awarded two Silver Stars, thirteen Air Medals and the Purple Heart. The latter was received after he was shot down over Tchepone, Laos in 1969. He retired from the Air Force just as the Cold War ended as a full Colonel after tours in the Pentagon and Tactical Air Command headquarters in Virginia. He continued to pursue his passion for aviation after retiring. He was a marketing director for Falcon Jet Corporation, a subsidiary of the French aerospace manufacturer Dassault Aviation. In that capacity, he was responsible for launching the marketing campaign for the Falcon 900, a long-range business jet. Later, he was an owner of an aircraft charter and management company in Elmira, NY and also a marketing consultant. Ron is a prolific writer and journalist. He appeared on WOR TV in New York City during the first days of the Persian Gulf War, providing real time analysis of the air war as it progressed. His book reviews and syndicated news articles are published regularly in the online and print news media, as well as in military journals. These days Ron and his wife Marzenna, the daughter of a distinguished theatrical family in Poland, spend their time in their homes in Gulf Stream, Florida and Warsaw.  

Author Links

About The Book

Book Genre: Fiction, Military History/Aviation
Publisher:The Pelican Communications Group (A proud Indie publisher)
Release Date: September 9, 2013
Buy Link(s):



Book Description:

Skip O’Neill lies dying of leukemia in a New York hospital, determined to live until the new millennium. His wasted body shows scant evidence of the man he once was—an Air Force fighter pilot and decorated combat veteran.  O’Neill’s first assignment as a young lieutenant places him among hard drinking World War II—and Korean War—era fighter pilots who quickly teach him their ways. He almost washes out of pilot training but is persistent and manages to graduate. In Vietnam, he proves to be a skillful and courageous pilot who faces dangers of all kinds with equanimity. But the greatest—and most deadly danger—materializes years after O’Neill volunteers to be an observer at an atomic test site. In the end, O’Neill decides that when his time comes, he will dash at it fearlessly. He anticipates being greeted by departed friends—but what awaits him is something totally unexpected.  

Excerpt:

Skip never forgot his experience at Camp Desert Rock. Years later, he ran into
a Marine at the officers club who had participated in one of the tests and the two of them compared notes about what they had experienced.
‘‘It was the damnedest thing,’’ the Marine said, ‘‘There we were, almost at ground zero. I mean we were sitting in trenches, three miles away. Three miles! Not on some piddley-assed platform eight miles away, like those Air Force and Navy pussies.’’
Skip let that comment pass, based on his longstanding belief that arguing with a Marine who has been drinking, was not a smart thing to do.
‘‘And get this…right after the blast we were supposed to leap out of the trenches so we could be moved up to a point three hundred yards away.’’
‘‘Three hundred yards?’’ Skip exclaimed. ‘‘Why so close, for God’s sake?’’ ‘‘Why? To set up a mock defensive perimeter against anyone who theoretically
might have survived the attack.’’
‘‘Yeah right…like anybody would.’’
‘‘Exactly. When we moved into position, there was nothing to see, much less to defend against. I mean nothing, just a few piles of molten metal here and there. And, oh yeah, the charred flesh of sheep that were used in the test.’’
‘‘Sheep?’’
‘‘Yeah, sheep. There I was with my men, tromping around in this fallout shit…you know…that white ash that crunches under your feet?’’
‘‘Fallout at three hundred yards, that stuff had to be big time radioactive.’’ ‘‘Right, but of course I wasn’t afraid, because afterwards we were gonna get
brushed off with brooms and hosed down. I mean, brooms, man. How dumb could we have been?’’
‘‘Anyway,’’ he continued, ‘‘about the same time, this guy shows up over the top of the hill, all dressed out in some kind of shiny, silver, protective suit with a ventilator and face mask. When he sees us, he comes roaring over, like someone lit a rocket in his ass. What are you guys doing here? Where is your protective gear? He yelled. All the time he’s talking, he’s pointing this Geiger counter thing at us, which is going click, click, click.
I yelled back, we’re just doing some reconnoitering, getting ready to kick some ass.
Well, you guys shouldn’t be here, he replied. Are you crazy?
Well, yeah. I told him. We are crazy. I mean…we’re Marines, which is basi- cally the same thing…right?
It turns out this dude was some kind of technician from the Atomic Energy Commission. They were the guys who were supposed to be running the tests. And, get this…he didn’t even know the military was operating that close to ground zero!’’
‘‘No way,’’ Skip said.
‘‘Yep, and when I got him settled down, I found out that he wasn’t pissed at all. He was just scared…for us. That should have been my first clue.’’
‘‘Don’t take this the wrong way,’’ Skip said, ‘‘but it sounds to me like the gov- ernment was using you guys as guinea pigs.’’
‘‘Guinea pigs?’’ The Marine snorted derisively. ‘‘We should have been so lucky. The laboratory animals they used in those tests were washed down with soap and water afterwards, and their health was carefully monitored. It’s been fif- teen years since that test and nobody has asked me shit about my health. It’s like it never happened!’’
‘‘Or like you guys were expendable, so it didn’t matter,’’ Skip offered
‘‘We were all expendable. You, me, and the 250,000 or so troops who partici- pated in all those years of testing. And that, my friend, is the way it is.




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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tattle Tale: The Crimson and the Frost debut!!!!

Tattle Tale: The Crimson and the Frost debut!!!!: The Crimson and the Frost A fantasy novel by John Williams and James Colletti cover artwork by Kip Ayers click on the pic to ...

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THE EAGLE'S LAST FLIGHT Books I,II,III REVIEW



5.0 out of 5 stars Training for flight in life and as a pilot,      
By 
Maria Catalina Egan "M.C.V. Egan" (Delray Beach, Florida USA) 
 
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Eagle's Last Flight: Book One (The Cold War, The Making of a Fighter Pilot) (Kindle Edition)
BOOK I The Eagle's Last Flight: Book One (The Cold War, The Making of a Fighter Pilot)

Training for flight in life and as a pilot *****

I highly recommend the first volume of three in The Eagle's Last Flight series. Here Skip O'Neill takes the reader on the journey of training for flight in life, love, commitment and of course airplanes.
The book has a retrospective point of view as Skip O'Neill lies dying of Leukemia in a New York Hospital. His struggles with takeoffs and landings help the reader understand the perseverance and endurance of his character. He falls in love with Christy and conquers her heart while striving to conquer control of the cockpit.
I particularly enjoyed the balance between Skip O'Neill's private life and his military aspirations. The scenes where he accomplishes so much by flying F-100s juxtaposed with the daily routine in a life placed me right there, with the exciting and the mundane.
As a pacifist I veer towards books where the hero opposes war, and this very human portrait of a hero who accepts a social responsibility in an era when such was unpopular was a departure that as a reader helped me grow.
The knowledge that the author is himself a decorated retired Air Force Coronel makes for a most realistic read. A well-deserved five stars indeed.

BOOK II The Eagle's Last Flight: Book Two (Vietnam Tested in Combat)
Moral struggles for pilot and wife *****
In Volume two of the series The Eagles Last Flight Skip O'Neill and his wife experience the hardship and sacrifice of Military life in Misawa Air Base in Japan. There is a vacuous moral existence that surrounds them and eventually influences them as the military life is so filled with abuse of pills, alcohol and sexual adventures.
Here the characters manage to be more than most who surrounds them but not without a few stumbles of their own. Skip has a huge experience in which he must eject from his airplane which sets up the scene beautifully for abuse of pain killers.
The story offers the reader a perspective that is sure to make all cheer for the couple to succeed. The relationship struggles in work as well as in private felt very real. Another five star and I am ready for volume three.

BOOK III The Eagle's Last Flight: Book Three (The Final Challenge)
Fantastic finale with twist and turns I did not expect
In Volume three Skip O'Neill struggles with his own feelings and commitment to a war that by now is completely unpopular. At the same time in order to prove himself he takes on the most dangerous missions as if willing to lose it all.
The author here takes us through the perils of war in its full form as well as tragedy and loss where we least expect it. There is a very believable balance between success and failure, joy and hardship in the life of Skip O'Neill.
In such a detailed life of much hardship it is surprising and refreshing that the author finds a way to end on a high flying note. This series should appeal to all audiences, but the subject matter is adult enough that it should be read by 17 and older.
Ron-Standerfer-Long

The Eagle's Last Flight

by Ron Standerfer

Ron Standerfer was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois, a town across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri. While attending the University of Illinois he took his first airplane ride in a World War II-Vintage B-25 bomber assigned to the local ROTC detachment. It was a defining moment in his life. Weeks later, he left college to enlist in the Air Force's aviation cadet program. He graduated from flight training at the age of twenty and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Another defining moment occurred early in his career. In August 1957, he participated in an atomic test at Yucca Flat, Nevada. Standing on an observation platform eight miles from ground zero, he watched the detonation of an atomic bomb code named Smoky. The test yielded an unexpected 44 kilotons---more than twice the size of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. He never forgot Smoky, and the memory of that experience weighed heavily on his mind when he wrote The Eagle's Last Flight, a semi-autobiographical novel about his life as an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War. Ron's twenty seven-year Air Force career spanned the Cold War years between 1954 and 1981. During that time, he flew a variety of high performance fighters including the F-100, F-102, F-105, F-4 and A-7. He flew over 200 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict and was awarded two Silver Stars, thirteen Air Medals and the Purple Heart. The latter was received after he was shot down over Tchepone, Laos in 1969. He retired from the Air Force just as the Cold War ended as a full Colonel after tours in the Pentagon and Tactical Air Command headquarters in Virginia. He continued to pursue his passion for aviation after retiring. He was a marketing director for Falcon Jet Corporation, a subsidiary of the French aerospace manufacturer Dassault Aviation. In that capacity, he was responsible for launching the marketing campaign for the Falcon 900, a long-range business jet. Later, he was an owner of an aircraft charter and management company in Elmira, NY and also a marketing consultant. Ron is a prolific writer and journalist. He appeared on WOR TV in New York City during the first days of the Persian Gulf War, providing real time analysis of the air war as it progressed. His book reviews and syndicated news articles are published regularly in the online and print news media, as well as in military journals. These days Ron and his wife Marzenna, the daughter of a distinguished theatrical family in Poland, spend their time in their homes in Gulf Stream, Florida and Warsaw.  

Author Links

Monday, December 16, 2013

ETERNAL CURSE and TOI THOMAS

-- Eternal Curse sprung from a dream how, have dreams influenced you in your life?
I haven’t had a lot of experience with dream involvement in my life. Before experiencing the reoccurring dream that inspired me to write Eternal Curse, I didn’t remember most of my dreams. For the most part I could always tell whether I was having good or bad dreams, and few nightmares have crept through my consciousness and stuck with me.

-- Have you ever had a dream of premonition?
I’ve never experienced a clear full on premonition, especially not in my sleep, but daydreaming is a little different. There have been a few times when I thought I had imagined something and it turned out to be real, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these premonitions. Sometimes we are influenced by things around us without realizing it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in such things. People often go on about whether such things are heaven sent or of the devil; I think it depends on the person and the circumstances.

Having said that, I do find that I have a habit of bringing up subjects that seem rare, odd, or out of place, only to have them become quite relevant soon after. I’ll spark up a conversation about someone who was famous years ago only to find out a few days later, they have just passed away.  

-- How much of the characters stems from your dreams and how much stems from your creativity?
This is a difficult question to answer quickly. The only two characters to appear in my dream were the gray man and the old man. They are, in the book, about 75% of what they were in my dream. I only changed them a little and added to them. All the other characters I made up.
I guess the question would be how much of these stem from creativity or familiar relations. While I did consciously craft each of the other characters in this story, about half of them are based on people I know in some small form or other and all the characters seems to share some kind of similarity with me. I’m over this book, even though I tried really hard not to be.

-- Do you try to dream in a special way? I have personally read books that train you to have lucid dreams. And I wonder as you had a dream that impacted you to write a book, if you have made the effort to dream up another book?
Whoa there, that quite a few questions.

1st- I don’t try to dream in a special way unless I’ve just seen something disturbing. Then I curl up with a teddy bear, squeeze my husband, and try to think happy thoughts. I think it works. Like I said, most of the time I don’t remember my dreams.

2nd- It’s funny that you ask about training myself to have lucid dreams. I bought a book on that years ago for my husband because he was having some strange dreams. He used the book and it helped a little so he simply added it to the bookshelf. After I wrote the second draft of Eternal Curse, I thought maybe I should look into that book and see what it says about dreams. I read one or two page, but never applied anything I read and became distracted, never returning to finish the book.

3rd- I haven’t been losing sleep just waiting to dream up my next book. After writing Eternal Curse I think my overall creativity was sparked and ideas began to flow through my mind constantly. I don’t pursue every idea right away, but I do write every idea down and add as much detail as I can. If ever I am without ideas, I have plenty to go back to and explore.

With that being said, I did have another short dream series that has inspired me to write another book, but unfortunately it didn’t last as long as the first, so I am having to create most of the story from scratch. The one thing that stands out from the dream is a magical sword and a royal bloodline. I can’t wait to see where this will take me.

-- Do you encounter your characters whilst day dreaming?
During the time in which I was writing my story, my characters followed me around everywhere; now, not so much. I do however find myself talking to Mira sometimes. I think because she’s a combination of many women in my life including myself, she feels like an old girlfriend who’s with me whenever I need her.

-- What is your system when writing? Are you a meticulous outline planner or a pantser?
I am definitely an outline planner. I outline everything. If my I know how I want my story to end, I outline the whole story from beginning to end. Then I outline individual chapters before moving on to outline the lives and details of my characters. I also make lots of lists. I write down idea I may or may not use and keep track of what is in progress and what is done. My book 40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse give a clear picture of just how much work and effort I put into my writing, especially how much went into writing Eternal Curse.

-- What is easier for you, story line (plot) or setting?
Plot is by far the easiest thing for me, everything else is a struggle. I love writing and will always do it, but that doesn’t mean every aspect of writing comes to me naturally. Coming up with ideas, themes, transitions, twists, catalysts, and climaxes are the easy part. Going back to build worlds and add in all the details is where I seek, greatly and humbly, advice from others.

-- Do you see spin offs or a series stemming from secondary characters?
Absolutely! The primary series is already in effect. The Second book is finished and awaiting editing and the third is very much a reality.
As far as spin offs go, there is so much going on with the characters and the world of Eternal Curse that it would be impossible to tell the whole story in 3 to 4 short books. I think there will definitely be spin offs down the read and perhaps I’ll even do some collaborations with some other authors.

-- And for fun....Favorite food? Favorite drink? And I must know WHY BATMAN?
Favorite food: It changes, but I do really enjoy rice dishes.

Favorite drink: Apple Juice; what can I say, I’m a big kid and I need my vitamins.

Why Batman? Why not? I appreciate his background story. Aside from him being filthy rich, he is essentially an orphan and orphans hold a special place in my heart, which is evident in my writing. Many hero and villain stories begin with what happen in the early years. After Bruce Wayne watched his parents get killed in front of him, he could have easily been turned into a villain, but he chose to be a hero. He doesn’t have any special powers and he is really smart. He defeats most of his opponents simply by using his mind; he out thinks them. Aside from the fact that he’s the only comic book hero with a cape that I like (not big on capes) and he has a similar attitude to mine, I like Batman because from childhood to adulthood the fact remains that someone like him could exist, even if he doesn’t. There are real people in this world, without special powers, willing to fight to save others and that’s Batman represents to me. 

           
               Toi Thomas
Author of the Eternal Curse Series
    Website: etoithomas.com
         #thetoiboxofwords

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Black Hours by Alison Williams


‘Look upon this wretch, all of you!  Look upon her and thank God for his love and his mercy.  Thank God that he has sent me to rid the world of such filth as this.’

1647 and England is in the grip of civil war. In the ensuing chaos, fear and suspicion are rife and anyone on the fringes of society can find themselves under suspicion. Matthew Hopkins, self -styled Witchfinder General, scours the countryside, seeking out those he believes to be in league with the Devil. In the small village of Coggeshall, 17–year-old Alice Pendle finds herself at the centre of gossip and speculation. Will she survive when the Witchfinder himself is summoned?
A tale of persecution, superstition, religious fundamentalism, hate and love, ‘The Black Hours’ mixes fact with fiction in a gripping fast-paced drama that follows the story of Alice as she is thrown into a world of fear and confusion, and of Matthew, a man driven by his beliefs to commit dreadful acts in the name of religion.
5 ***** Amazon reviews:

"The Black Hours" is an enthralling book, well researched, and beautifully written.

 I was disappointed when I reached the last page - didn't want it to be over!

(Alison’s) quality of writing is tremendous, her ability to take the reader back in time outstanding, and her talent for making history engaging is enviable.

What inspired you to write this particular story (and/or series)?

I feel very strongly that the victims of Matthew Hopkins have largely been forgotten – all too often they are just names on a list in a book or in a museum. We tend to forget that they were real people, with real lives, families, dreams, hopes and fears. What they suffered was dreadful and I felt compelled to give them a voice. Although ‘The Black Hours’ is fiction and Alice never existed, the methods Matthew Hopkins uses in the novel are all methods actually used on real victims. I hope, in some small way, the novel pays tribute to those real victims.

 

Was there any research involved in your work?

Lots and lots! As a writer of historical fiction I have to be so thorough about the smallest detail, down to the level of making sure that certain words were actually used at the time in which the book is set. I did an enormous amount of background reading, including the infamous ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ or ‘Hammer of the Witches’ - a 1486 treatise on the prosecution of witches which was a thoroughly unpleasant read! I also spent a lot of time visiting the villages and towns in Essex in which the book is set and also visited the cells of Colchester Castle, where Hopkins interrogated suspects.

What authors inspire or influence your work?

I adore Hilary Mantel – her writing is absolutely amazing and inspiring. I think she has brought the historical fiction genre to a whole new level; absolutely meticulously researched, intelligent, thought-provoking and entertaining! I also love Karen Maitland and Elizabeth Kostova – both write beautifully. Their work has a wonderful atmosphere about it; you become so immersed in the worlds they create.

 

 

Favorite snack when writing.

I go one of two ways when I’m engrossed in writing – I either forget to eat at all or I eat without thinking about it. I’m a vegetarian but that doesn’t mean that I always eat healthily. I have a bit of a crisp addiction – particularly salt and vinegar Pringles. I also eat a lot of toast (quick and easy). And endless cups of tea of course.

 

Who gets to read your drafts before they're published?

I have a group of friends that I met (online) while completing my Masters in Creative Writing. I know that they are totally honest and I completely respect their opinions. Aside from that my husband (he’s an ex-journalist and is great at proof-reading!) and my 17-year-old son Scott – it’s not always true that family will tell you what you want to hear.  Scott is actually my harshest critic. He certainly doesn’t believe in sugar-coating criticism and he can be relied on to tell me the truth.

 

Share with us your biggest hurdles in the writing process?

Time! Juggling work commitments, family and everything else is a real challenge. I have two children and, despite the fact that they are teenagers, they still take up a huge amount of time - driving them around, clearing up after them (I know, I know!), washing, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog etc! I’m lucky enough to be able to write practically full-time (I also do the admin for my husband’s company and write articles for websites) but there are so many distractions – people tend to think that if you’re working from home you can drop everything to meet up for a coffee or have long telephone conversations– it’s really not that easy!

 

Where can readers find you and your book(s) online? 
                                                  www.amazon.co.uk~The-Black-Hours~

 




 
Alison Williams has been writing ever since she can remember – scribbling down and (badly) illustrating stories in exercise books whenever she wasn’t actually reading (which was most of the time when she was awake). After getting married and having two children, Alison worked in education until deciding to bite the bullet and do what she had always wanted to do which is to write full-time – it only took her until her forties! Alison now works as a freelance writer with articles published on line and in magazines. From 2011-2012 she studied for a Masters in Creative Writing with the University of Glasgow. As part of her studies, Alison wrote my first novel ‘The Black Hours’ – available now on Amazon.
Alison is fascinated by history – but not so much the kings and queens, the emperors, the military heroes or the great leaders. More the ordinary people whose lives were touched by the decisions, the beliefs and the whims of those who had power over them and who now fill our history books.  When Alison was about ten years old she went with her family to visit Winchester Cathedral.  As she wandered through this magnificent building with its arches, its pillars, its carvings and beautiful windows, her mother was looking less than impressed. Wasn’t she inspired? Awed? No, not at all – ‘All I can think of’ she said ‘is the poor buggers who had to build it.’ And that remark has stayed with Alison since. She wonders just what was it like to be one of those ‘poor buggers’ toiling to create the soaring gothic arches of Winchester cathedral? Or a 17th century mother living in London, scared to death as the plague took hold? How did it feel to a woman in Berwick-Upon-Tweed on The Scottish border in 1296 watching the English troops storming through the town? And what about all of those accused, tortured and horribly murdered in the witch trials that swept through Europe? How did it feel to be one of those women, terrified and desperate? It is this that Alison finds fascinating – how it was for the ordinary people, caught up in events they couldn’t control. It is their stories that she wants to tell.