Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Since I've been doing things and discussing ways to gain visibiity on the Internet, I wanted to share that I received an email invitation to provide an interview at WHOHUB!

Here is the blurb about them...directly from their site!


Whohub's goal is to create a social network for creative professionals based on their capacity for self-expression and collaboration.

Note that you must be invited to be interviewed, based upon your "visibility" and "being seen" online...

You can check out my interview by clicking the title of this article...or with this link: should be there...

If you haven't yet been invited, plan now to expand your visibility on the internet!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Have you seen my work blog? If not, click on the title of this article!

By the way, did you know that you can do that? By merely clicking on the title, you can automatically see what the link is for the article! How cool is that?!

Anyway, once I started to work online with authors, mostly as they requested a book review, I also was asked to do other "assignments." I do a lot of proofreading--I've been told I have the "eye" and so that's what I named that blog and those activities. Please note that the clients I refer to by full name have given me permission to do is also exposure for them!

Your Third Eye! Now there's a little story behind that, so read about VistaPrint on that blog to see how that "official" name evolved!

I'm a any work I've been assigned to do, I try to do it as professionally and efficiently and as effectively as possible. If at all possible I will strive to respond to a request, within my abilities at any given time regarding the use of the Internet. I'm NOT a nerd, techie, or whatever you want to call a computer expert. However, since I've been working with computers, both mainframe and person for well over 20 years, I have picked up a thing or two about the "possibilities."

What I have found so cool is that, more and more, site owners are making it more and more easy to do the things you want to do. Still, for many who had NO background in using the Internet, it is often mind-boggling. Soooooo, that is how I've come to get lots of "assignments."

Yes, I've also edited and acted as a book doctor, I've also submitted books, acting as an agent (or representative as I chose to call myself since I've always acted as an independent professional within the publishing world.)

I decided to use a blog to help me manage my workload. But rather than keep it as a personal document, I chose to make it a public blog so that, whenever I can, I can share those "little tidbits" of knowledge that I've gained...or, better yet, stir your own creativity to see how I handle an assignment to see if you can use it for your own book activities!

The only thing I request is that, if you would, ask anything about what I'm doing as a comment to this that others may see YOUR comment and then my response. And, if I don't know...I'll tell you immediately...maybe somebody else will be able to respond, via your posting your comment! And I'll learn also... That's what I do myself!

By the way, I'm an Amazon Associate...I became an associate so that I could learn how to become an Associate for my earlier assignment to create a book blog. My goal in being an Associate is not to make money...I haven't yet, by the way, lol.

I happen to think Amazon has the best site for authors. Others are beginning to improve (I know that because all of my older book reviews on Barnes and Noble, for instance, were lost--did you know that?)So....I'm learning alot about widgets, book linking and other important things that authors can do there to highlight their books!

I learned a new one this to create a carousel of books chosen by the creator! Check out that you will see I was able to choose client books to place on my carousel...Wow, I love it!

Anyway, I think you get the idea...or I hope you do. PLEASE, I'm having fun with my working don't expect it to be anything in particular...I've "also" been ranting recently about computer servers!

I also created a cool article for a client, who needed to include pictures, etc. You'll see it there in my blog as I proposed it. The client will then decide whether he wants to change, revise, or begin to share it across the internet.

As a famous television doctor often says, "It wouldn't be fun then..." Well, if you want to have fun while talking about books, gimmicks, widgets, publishing processes, cats (I always stick that in, just in case), come visit and bookmark me...follow me...subscribe to me! Or alllllll three!

Monday, December 29, 2008

True Story of Child Abuse Compelling Read!

What Happened to Suzy
By Carol Denise Mitchell
Strategic Book Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60693-352-7 /
SKU 1-60693-352-3
252 Pages

When I first heard the title, What Happened to Suzy, by Carol Denise Mitchell, I immediately thought it was a mystery. In many ways, it is!

The mystery is how Suzy is alive today! What Happened to Suzy is one of the most amazing books I’ve had the honor to read. Fiction, based upon a true story, it is published as fiction only because names, places and dates had to be changed to protect those involved. For the majority of this book, you will not be able to believe it is true—in fact many will pray that it is not!

Suzy’s real name is Carol Denise Brown. Her mother started calling her Suzy and many worse names when she was very small. Carol was one of sixteen children, but for some unknown reason, it was very clear that her mother’s animosity and anger against Suzy was beyond any for her other children. It was only from her grandmother, Mamus that Carol was able to find love and learn about God. But Mamus died when Carol was just 10 years old and Mamus had earlier only helped the children on the weekends. She and her siblings were physically, mentally, and emotionally abused their entire young lives.

With a father who was abusive and absent except coming home occasionally to create another baby, Suzy’s mother in many ways was a strong woman who kept her family from the ghetto, worked long and hard to provide a decent place to live and was devastated her entire life because one of her husbands had stolen two of her children. At the same time, it is clear that she was psychologically unable to deal with the pressures placed upon her. She presented a Jekyll/Hyde personality—and only her children saw Mr. Hyde!

Once each child reached an age of being able to handle household responsibilities, that individual was forced into “hard labor.” Her oldest son, however, was the love of her life and was given the responsibility to care for the other children and supported him when he ordered all the younger children to the boys’ room. What happened in that room can only be read to begin to understand—and none of the children knew to call it what it really was¾child abuse.

The physical abuse Suzy endured resulted in much evidence. When she started to school, most of her hair was gone and there were scabs and sores everywhere. All of the children, except one young boy, called her The Blob. Dan was his name and Suzy and Dan realized a mutual friendship, however, Suzy knew that Dan would also be ostracized if he befriended Suzy...and she understood that and lived on the memory of her first boy friend.

Once Suzy thought she had a new girlfriend; she was betrayed and was almost burned alive! Unbelievably Suzy’s intelligence was above average and her grades fluctuated greatly, only going down during periods of abusive behavior at both home and school.

The first amazing event occurred when, at 17, Suzy had been able to maintain and develop sufficient self-esteem to enter a local beauty contest, be selected as a finalist, and win the Miss Congeniality Award! She had won the college scholarship for which she had entered the contest. Her mother’s response was somewhat positive—so much so that Suzy could not believe that her mother still followed through with an earlier threat and she was forced to leave home by her 18th birthday!

It was not surprising what happened to Suzy when she was cast out on the streets with little money. The amazing thing was that she fought her away through it and never actually entered the life toward which she had been lured!

But the final amazing event was when her childhood sweetheart, Dan, one day saw her on the street—and stopped!

What Happened to Suzy is written in somewhat of a diary style and is very fast-paced. Readers will be caught up in the sorrow of the children’s abuse, and then thrill to the realization that Suzy fought her way through the pain and suffering to enter a contest that could provide her a coveted scholarship. Suzy’s time on the streets is very realistically written, so much so that you realize how different her life could have been¾and yet was it? This story will speak to teenagers and adults alike. There is a bright light shining throughout Carol’s story as she is led through traumatic experience after experience that many of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Where is Suzy? She’s Gone!

I applaud the author for the courage she displays in first living and then sharing her story! Teens! Read this book and you will find Hope! Adults—if you care about children, this is a must-read! We must care and do more for the children of our country!

G. A. Bixler
For Independent Professional Book Reviewers

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Show No Fear - A Legal Thriller

Show No Fear:
A Nina Reilly Novel
By Perri O’Shaughnessy
Pocket Books
ISBN: 9781416544393
339 Pages
Advance Reader’s Edition

Nina Reilly’s mother had never shown fear—at least to her daughter. But when she grew older and her mother became very ill, Nina had her own issues about showing fear. It wasn’t easy not to be afraid! When you read Show No Fear by Perri O’Shaughnessy, you’ll know why!

Nina was working her way through law school as a paralegal at Pohlmann, McIntyre, Sorensen and Frost. As she worked on various activities, she was also evaluating and considering what branch of law she should choose. If she had known what was going to happen, she would have immediately chosen criminal law, like Jack McIntyre handled!

Nina had a crush on Jack but he was crazy about Remy. She couldn’t really blame him, given that she admired the sophisticated, beautiful lawyer at the firm, who had, in many ways, become her mentor. Besides, she already had a wonderful love in her life—her son Bob. Nina had once thought she was in love with Richard Filsen, a lawyer in another firm. That relationship had ended through intrusion by her mother, unknown to Nina. And now, when her mother was so ill, Richard had decided to try to gain parental rights to meet and visit with his son. One of the lawyers at her firm was helping with the legal issues she faced with Richard.

Then Nina sought Remy’s help for her mother, since, in her concerns for her children, Ginny had started to think about her upcoming death and wanting to leave them money. She wanted to sue an acupuncturist who had placed long needles in her hand and then left town, which resulted in the loss of a hand.

There was much that needed to be done and considered for both of the issues Nina was facing, so it was natural that the firm used her efforts to research the background and people involved. But the more research she did, the more Nina was receiving statements that sometimes didn’t make sense, including that the acupuncturist claimed that he had never had her mother as a patient!

And then two individuals most involved are murdered!

Fortunately, Paul van Wagoner does not suspect Nina for their deaths! But there are indeed a number of suspects, given the lies and false statements being given to Paul, the homicide investigator. In fact, the police seemed to view one death as an accident so Nina started investigating herself¾with the guilty watching every move she made!

Aside from the legal actions, there are some interesting relationship gambits, especially when Remy announced she was being considered for a federal judgeship and she began to pull away from Jack.

This whodunit provides a lot of background describing the different scenarios that twist and turn in the beginning of the novel. In fact it is so paced and full of detailed legalese that, if you are like me, you completely miss the “possibility” of who committed the crimes. But when things start happening, you’ll be caught up into the action quickly and thrill to the climax as Nina fights for her life!

Readers who enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty of the eternal “he says-she says” drama of those in law and order will find Nina Reilly a warm, comforting, and honest presence in that constant turmoil. Look for Nina Reilly Novels by Perri O’Shaughnessy— she’ll become an even stronger female character after she passes the bar and begins handling her own cases!

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Q&A by Irving A. Greenfield

Q & A

I want to know why I do it?
What drives my need to write?
Neither is in striking distance of my pen
any longer, or if they ever were I blindly passed them by,
or they passed me by for reasons of their own.
No use to rail at La Fortuna.
I wrote and still write without knowing why.
But with each finished piece, like a craftsman, I step back
and take pleasure in what I’ve crafted.
It’s mine,
has my hallmark written into it;
within its scope, it’s my world,
a creation like no other,
a love like no other,
a marriage like no other,
and often enough a misery like no other.
Yet with all of this, I still lack the answer;
but the question no longer matters.
I do it.
Irving Greenfield has written over 300 books and I now have the pleasure of working with him on a new poetry book! Cool!
Book Reader's Heaven Follower Contest
What thriller novel by Irving Greenfield was made into a movie?
Winner must be a follower of this blog...
Winner will receive a free book selected by the blog owner...
Leave answer as a comment on or after January 1st and I will add a comment when the correct answer has been given...

A different type of Christmas Card! Beautiful!

This came to me through an email with the following notation:
Jesus Laughing: When friends went to a seminary in Florida last March, they saw an artist paint huge works in 30-45 minutes. The artist prefers anonymity and says he wants the works to speaks for themselves. Look carefully and see the drawings were signed "Jesus Painter."
A beautiful pencil drawing!
What better way to say Merry Christmas!
Watch for another pic soon!

Former Star Trek Character Dies...


Good to hear from you again. just wanted to share that a friend of mine from Star Trek passed away this week...a lady I loved sharing "booksigning" chats with as I traveled about the US to promote my Star Trek reference books. That kind soul is Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Christine Chapel on the original Star Trek series). She was the wife of the creator of Star Trek.

This picture is one such get-together of Tribute to "Scotty"(James Doohan) book had just been signed by the entire living Trek actors--that's what I'm holding in my hand. Majel will be greatly missed.

I still continue to write for Roddenberry Productions and will pass along to the Roddenberry family all well wishes sent my way.

Hope you enjoy the holidays and have a nice break from work for a time.

I will be working on More Than Angels: Once Upon a Dream (book 3).

Your friend,

Ruby Moon-Houldson

Author of "More Than Angels"--Oprah's Book Club nominated and National Excellence Award winner for Best Fiction.
Ruby knows I'm a Trekkie, so I was sad to hear that another of the original cast had died. It took awhile to look at her picture as an older "Christine" but I could then picture her as she appeared on that early show. Beautiful woman, wasn't she?
Note that Ruby has written books on quite a number of the original Star Trek cast, as shown in her picture above.
When I was asked to review Ruby's first Angel book, I went ahead and submitted my review to her, but then I gathered up my courage to state that I felt that several of her characters sounded a lot like those in Star Trek! Of course she realized me for the Trekkie I am and we started to develop our friendship at that point... How cool is that!?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Consider Use of Words Rather Than Ratings

Where does it say that book reviews have to be “rated”? We live in such a competitive world—is it fair to rate a single book using a 1-5 point system, with that point system not being consistently applied based upon some set of specific criteria?

With television, if we don’t like a television program, we simply go to another channel. Obviously, if something is on television, especially as a series, there have been a number of people who decided that this program met at least minimal requirements. Still, not everybody is going to like that program! I prefer drama as opposed to sitcom. But when I select to watch a sitcom, I normally enjoy it. What that means to me is that if I rated drama programs as a 5 out of 5, while I only rated a sitcom 3 out of 5...the rating means absolutely nothing! It merely shows my personal preference for drama!

Taking it a step further, if I compared CSI, versus CSI NY versus CSI Miami, all of which I enjoy...I would rate them all a 5. If I rated CSI(anything) versus Bones...I’d still rate them all 5’s! So...a 5 is a 5 is a 5! I may like a particular program better one night but I still always enjoy each program!

What I have found is that I enjoy sharing my reviews on sites that don’t require me to rate them...

On sites on which I am requested to rate them, I rarely give less than a 5...

Some people may think I too consistently rate high. But...Let me share my thoughts a little more. Many people may ask you, “What is your favorite book?” Now, for me, that just is an impossible question to answer! So, my answer is, “Whatever book I am now reading!”

Don’t get me wrong; some books are not of interest to me. Some books do not “hook” me immediately as I like to be hooked! Some books may be offensive to me personally—what that means is that, if I had a choice whether to buy it or not, I would not buy it. Does that mean I automatically should give it a low rating? I think not!

I can list on my fingers of one hand the few books that I have rated less than 5.

Once, a publisher sent a book for review. Another reviewer from my site had already read it and really thought it was bad, so bad, that she was surprised it had been published and sent for a review by the publisher! I read it and said I would write the review. I gave it a “1” and returned my review to the publisher. We felt we should review the book since the publisher had sent it. If the author had submitted the book directly to us, we would have refused to review the book. We do refuse to review certain books and those guidelines are clearly published on our site.

The other book included a section that I considered offensive to all women. However, it was such a small part of the book that I felt I should do the review. The book was exceptionally well written...the author was able to use some excerpts for his marketing purposes.

Fun Versus Professional Reading

Many will have learned that I divide my daytime hours into fun versus professional reading. Some books that I review fit in any hour! I thoroughly enjoy that, because I normally keep reading that one book until I’ve finished it, some in a day or two. As you may have guessed from my comments on television programs, my fun time is normally dedicated to reading books of drama, mystery, suspense, forensics, etc.

When I’m reviewing a book to give a professional review, I set aside my personal preferences. I read that book, looking to identify and intuit the reason the book was written. Based upon author feedback, I believe I am normally successful in that endeavor.

If an author has written a book that has not been rejected based upon our guidelines, then it is rare that I rate it below a “5.” What that means to you, readers, is that I have read the book, considered that book from cover to cover, looked at the books layout, writing and editing...

And, in addition, formed an opinion on whether that individual has succeeded in writing what is a responsive document as defined by genre, specialization (for nonfiction), etc.

Please... That “5” does not mean that I personally and wholeheartedly “loved” that book and couldn’t put it down! In my opinion, those books, really, are very rare...I enjoy eating, sleeping and the rest of my life!

My goal is to help an author market that particular book. It is also to provide an overall review of the book itself and let readers know that, if they are considering a purchase, then this book has effectively and efficiently covered the topic intended.

Ok, I do gush over some books, I do get personally involved with my clients and want to help them...and I do sometimes personalize my reviews. I do not, however, rate high just because they are my clients.

When I have problems with a book(s), I contact the individual who wrote the book and/or the individual who has requested my review. Sometimes the author decides to withdraw the book for review at that time. Sometimes I proceed with the review, which may be a critical review as requested by the author. I use “critical review” to explain my concerns and/or to highlight issues that may need attention. It is not a critique; it is normally the same length as my reviews—one to two pages. The author may or may not then come back to me with a revised book to obtain a review to use in marketing the book.

From a rating standpoint, therefore, those books which I would normally rate “1 through 3” professionally will rarely be reviewed and/or posted.

Professional Versus New Authors

Do I think the writing and storyline of all books are equal? No, I don’t. But just like the old saying—you’re either pregnant or you’re not—a book is either good or bad. Good books are normally published; bad books aren’t. Some writing and or storyline may be better than another, but, to me, that doesn’t mean that both are not good books. If you really want to know about how I feel about a book, read my reviews, don’t just look at my rating because what you will see is that, say, books by J. D. Robb and Ruby Moon-Houldson are both rated “5.” Everybody knows J. D. Robb...but I review books for Ruby, so you may get to know her too!

Readers, if you enjoy giving feedback to writers and/or other readers, my suggestion is that you spend time writing your review and telling others what you liked or didn’t like about the book. But, please, think about the book as a single book, not in comparison with the many others you may read and whether you liked or disliked it. In my opinion, book reviewing is not a popularity contest; it is a statement you share, giving what the book is about and specific ways that particular book met your expectations.

Think carefully when you give a low rating just because you didn’t “like” the story. If the book wasn’t good, why did you spend your time reading it? Any writer values constructive good and bad feedback about specifics in a book.

Consider the use of words rather than ratings to share your views with others...

Bone to Bone A Great Whodunit!

Bone to Bone
By Carol O’Connell
Penguin Group
340 Pages

When I selected Bone to Bone by Carol O’Connell, I was expecting a forensics-based mystery. But I’d just read The Family Bones by Kimberly Raiser and was surprised by its storyline; so I was not ”too” surprised when O’Connell’s book turned out to be a “whodunit.” A fantastic one, to say the least!

O’Connell has so many relevant clues thrown into the story that you just begin to think you know who did the deed...and then she proceeds to build up the case for another character and you change your mind again! Although I was not totally surprised to discover in the last chapter who had actually committed the murder, I must say that I enjoyed the suspense much more than actually learning who it was!

What murder? Ahhhh, let me tell you how this story begins! A human lower jawbone is thrown onto the porch of retired Judge Henry Hobbs. The bone was found by Oren Hobbs, the judge’s son, who he had not seen for close to 20 years, since his father had sent him away.

Hannah, who was the housekeeper and the only mother he had known since his own had died, had summoned Oren home, implying that the Judge was very ill. Oren soon found that the jawbone was just the latest bone that had been left...there had been many others and the Judge had begun to sleepwalk due to his worry. But Hannah had not told Oren the truth. Instead, once Oren was home, she purposely did not give the Judge his medication and she arranged it so that they sat watching as Henry went through the house and then tried to get out and tried to drive his car, all prevented by locks and hidden keys.

Now Oren faced the reason he had been sent away. Many years ago, he and his brother Josh had gone into the woods together. Josh had never come back!

While away from his family, Oren had joined the army and had become a crime investigation specialist. There was no way that he was not going to investigate the bones, verify whose they were and finally find what had happened to Josh. When the bones had started to be left on the porch, the Judge had purchased a coffin and placed it in Josh’s old bedroom. There he had arranged each bone, assuming they were the bones of his youngest son. But Oren quickly saw the truth—there were bones from more than one body!

There in the small town of Coventry, where a witchboard was used weekly to have Josh speak to town members on behalf of the dead, and where the town library was never used because the librarian had murdered her husband and never been convicted of it¾there Oren worked with the law and outside of the law to try to put the pieces together as to what happened to Josh!

This is the best whodunit I’ve ever read! The novel reads like a literary documentary, sharing each bit of news happening in Coventry and then considering which of its many strange and troubled inhabitants may be the murderer...this time...

Readers, if this sounds like your kind of book, believe me, you’ll love it!

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon Vine

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are you in Need of Publicity?

As you can see the Publicity Hound suggested that his subscribers (if interested, it's free) regift his "free gift" so if you are interested...all you need to do it go to the website listed and get a 61-page copy!!!!

My "regift" to you!

1. My Gift to You================================

This is the time of year when smart Publicity Hounds are creating"Best of 2008" lists to squeeze a few more publicity hits into2008.

As for me, it's time for my annual "Best of the Publicity Hound'sTips of the Week" ebook, my gift to you at Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's. The ebook includes the best 24 tips from this past year, or tips that generated a lot of response from readers.

I encourage you to regift it to your own blog readers, newsletter subscribers, clients, customers, Twitter followers, and MySpaceand Facebook friends.

This year's book includes tips on:

--A fast, inexpensive way to catch the attention of journalistsin your community.
--A clever way to get onto the morning TV talk shows bysuggesting something out-of-the-ordinary.
--A place where you can connect daily with journalists who arelooking for sources. And it won't cost you a penny.
--What to do when you're tempted to strangle a reporter forwasting your time interviewing you, and then leaving your nameout of the story.
--A news story that appears several times a year in almost everycommunity and is PERFECT for piggybacking onto.
--9 ways to use video to pull more traffic to your website, sellmore products, generate publicity, and build the buzz about yourproduct, service, cause or issue.
--11 ways to use a paid or unpaid assistant to help withpublicity-related tasks.--How to make your local Chamber of Commerce one of your biggestpromoters.
--A f~ree tool that tell you whether your press release gets apassing grade or falls flat on its face.
--How to use a popular social networking site to snoop on yourcompetitors--What writers can learn from a beloved dog's obit.
--How to claim the Number 1 spot on Google.
--A publicity mistake that most companies make, and it killstheir chances of ever getting covered

You can get the ebook here, save it to your hard drive and thenshare it on the social networking sites:

If you'd like to excerpt content from the ebook and then link tothe book, let me know and I'll send you the item as a Word document so you can cut and paste. Thanks to all of you for being loyal readers and to many of you for being active participants in this newsletter. Each week, I receive dozens of emails from Hounds who share publicity successstories, contrarian viewpoints, helpful publicity tips, time-saving tools and shortcuts and, of course, Hound jokes, quotes and hysterical videos. Thanks, too, for correcting me when I goof. I'm grateful thatyou're part of my community, and it's because of you that I have the best job in the world.

P.S. Regifting this ebook is entirely appropriate. Share this link:


Have you seen it?

It's the home of the Great American Book Giveaway!

And lots of other good stuff!

What To Do When You Get a Negative Review

The following article is reprinted with permission:

Suck it up.

Alright, it’s not that easy, but the basic point is, if you’re going to put your book out there, you have to be able to take whatever comes back. This means the good AND the bad.That doesn’t mean you have to like a negative review, but you can’t last in this kind of business without developing a thick skin.

It’s not easy for us, either, because we love our authors and their books. The times we’ve had negative reviews arrive I can recall that sinking heart feeling - I know physically that’s impossible but it sure feels like something is sinking - as I read a review that doesn’t love the author’s book the way we do.

But that’s life, not everyone is going to “get” your book, or agree with the way you’ve chosen to present the topic. After my heart stops pounding, I’ll take a deep breath and re-read the review to determine what the reviewer didn’t like and what message I’ll want our author to take from it. That message varies; sometimes, if we have an author who’s chosen to take a risk with a book, we’ll note that this reviewer didn’t get it, or simply didn’t agree with the way the author told the story.

As the author, there are choices you’ll make about how to tell the story, how much you’ll tell, how long you’ll make the book, the character’s idiosyncracies and so much more - and they are all areas in which reviewers may disagree with your choices. If you’re at peace with your book and your choices - which were hopefully guided by a good editor (and maybe even a book shepherd) - then you have to accept that others may not agree. What matters is that the review in question is professional; that the reviewer offers his or her opinion on what worked or didn’t in a factual, not personal, way.

Unless you see an error in the review, it’s best to simply accept the criticism, decide if any of it has merit, and move on. If there is an error, contact the reviewer with the correction and stick to the point. Reviewers take pride in being factual and will be happy to make the correction. If you did not like the review, it’s still good form to thank the reviewer for his or her time and leave it at that.

You most certainly do not want to spend time sparring with a reviewer. For one, it makes you look unprofessional and also ensures this reviewer will never review anything you write again. Given how difficult it can be to obtain reviews, the last thing you want to do is alienate anyone who could potentially review your books. Also, the online book community is a friendly place where book lovers network, and if you make a fool of yourself, a good portion of the book blogosphere is going to know about it.

There is a recent situation that illustrates this example, but given how hostile and unreasonable the author has become, I do not want to give that person any further attention. Suffice to say, this author’s spat with one respected reviewer has been duly noted and commented on by dozens of other well-known online reviewers, and this author is now persona non grata. Don’t let that be you.

One reason authors fear bad reviews is they feel it will hurt sales. However, there is no data to document this phenomenon. In addition, read through any book blog following a negative review and you’re likely to see commentary from others who find the very things the reviewer disliked are things that make them want to read the book. Finally, if every review of your book is positive, it may not appear balanced to people who find your book and they may wonder if your mom, dad and other beloved friends and relatives have been recruited to gin things up. Author Brenda Coulter has a blog I enjoy reading, and a while back she addressed the issue of bad reviews on Amazon. I think she sums up the issue quite nicely, so I encourage you to check out her post: Why Bad Amazon reviews aren’t worth crying over.

Posted by Paula Krapf of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

Watch for my response soon...

Sudden Threat - Announcing New Book!

Note also that Rogue Threat is going to be look forward to it!

Hi Glenda,

Thanks for the note and I always enjoy your reviews.

I would ask everyone to please check out the novel Sudden Threat written by A.J. Tata, (former pseudonym Aiden Rocke).

Tony is a general in the army and has been picked up by a traditional publishing house for the entire Threat series. He donates 100% of his royalties from Sudden Threat to the USO Wounded Warrior fund in the DC Metro area (Walter Reed and Bethesda).

The publisher decided to start with Sudden Threat, the first in the series and then will re-release an updated Rogue Threat, which you reviewed, this fall. Hidden Threat and Dark Threat are done and just waiting their turn.

Thanks so much for your support.


Choosing To Be - Best Self-Help Book for Depression!

Choosing to be:
Lessons in Living From a
Feline Zen Master
By Kat Tansey
IUniverse Star
164 Pages

What a Beautiful Book! Patricia Heller, in the Foreword, notes that she thought it was odd that the book was classified as fiction. I wholeheartedly agree! Choosing to be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master by Kat Tansey just may be the self-help book you are looking for!

It is clear that the book was written based upon the personal experience of the author. That she chose to use her cats as characters in telling her story does not detract, but rather enhances its effect, in my opinion. Admittedly, most people know that I love cats; however, the storyline itself is what I related to and learned from most. The cat tales, dialogue, and pictures were fun additions! And cat lovers will enjoy it just for the joy of reading about these two Maine Coons!

Let me first point out that, while the author is presenting information regarding Buddhism, she in no way is suggesting that readers must follow these principles to benefit from her story. What I found interesting was that I personally can attest to much she writes about. Her diagnosis was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ own diagnosis was Job Burnout/Depression. Both of us faced exhaustion on the job; both of us found it necessary to give up our former professional careers. While I never reached the point where I considered suicide, I did sit, many days, thinking that it would be all right if I just died... Given the high numbers of individuals in the United States now taking medications for clinical depression, as the author says in her free must be the time for this book to be published!

Believe me, there is much to learn from her book, with or without the meditation activity being a part of your process. She does use the philosophical teachings she learned from her trainers; what readers will see is that there are few new words and the words used are important words to be considered “in living.”

I found my Catzenbear about a month ago. She was one of two litters that had arrived at my niece’s home when I was there for Thanksgiving. I picked up a little kitten about eight weeks old; she was shivering and I pulled her close to me, holding her in one arm, while I covered her with my hand. She immediately began to purr...and she never stopped, even while she was in the car with me, coming home. I could tell she was different (I have 15 outside cats and 3 inside cats) and even commented on it to my niece. I called her Cali, but you can read about her in this book, with the unique Catzenbear name!

“The Mind is much like a flea, hopping to and fro from one thought to the next, rarely pausing to reflect and learn from its wanderings.” (quoted by author on p. 1) Kat Tansey knew exactly what this meant—her mind was constantly moving from one subject to another. Some things caused her pain, others anger, others fear—but they always resulted in exhaustion. Kat’s choice was to start to study and practice meditation. Meditation is not easy; you can tell that by the frustration that Kat went through! But in each case, she explains the problem she was having and then how the problem was solved. The very first thing that will hit home for many people was that Kat “was brought up to feel a lull in the conversation embarrassing and silence unproductive.” As with the flea, Americans are extremely busy people and they jump from activity to activity...finding it also embarrassing not to. In her confusion, she was now told—“Good, confusion is an excellent place to begin...”

Consider the words: clinging, anger, sleepiness, restlessness, and doubt. Recognize them? I’m sure you do because we all share them to one extent or another. Five Hindrances is how they are discussed in this book. The exploration of each or all of these may be helpful to readers. For myself, I knew them all well!

Here’s a small example of how the author brings in her cats: Poohbear had developed an extreme liking for tuna. So Kat gave him nothing but tuna (feeding Pooh’s craving). It resulted in Pooh becoming allergic and his hair started to fall out. Moving from this illustration, Kat then proceeds to discuss how she was treating herself in the same manner!

Fortunately, for me, this book came as an affirmation for many of the things I had done to get through a similar experience. If you are there, then you will enjoy the book and may use it as closure to some extent. If you are not there, then this book may be your first step. I highly recommend this book to those who will know they need to begin living again.... As soon as I finished reading the book, I ordered a copy to be sent to my best friend!

And no, Virginia, this is NOT fiction...

G. A. Bixler
IP Book Reviews

Author Radio Interview Tomorrow!

Check out this month's review on Family Bones! Then...hear author's radio interview!

Hey everyone!!!

I'll be doing my first radio interview December 20th at 10:30 am eastern time. Here is the link. The show is called "The American Perspective". It's an internet radio show, just click on the link below. You should see all the celebrities that have been on the show!!!

Kimberly Raiser
Author of "The Family Bones" (A Sci-Fi Thriller)
and "Stranded"
Now available through amazon!!
Purchase your discounted copy through Kim's Books

Click on link above to purchase your copy now!!! Updates on convention appearances too!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Unseen - Weirdly Wonderful!

The Unseen
By T. L. Hines
Thomas Nelson
386 Pages

The Unseen – Eerily Weird! Strangely compulsive! No matter how you describe T. L. Hines’ latest book to other readers, you’re going to fumble on adjectives. It’s not the typical horror, nor is it suspenseful or a good mystery. It has great action and keeps you turning the pages and in many ways it’s fascinating! But it is definitely—weird!

Lucas is a great main character, though he doesn’t have a last name, since he grew up in an orphanage. We meet him as he hangs in a hammock-sort of bed as he’s looking down on a lovely woman who is working at her desk. Lucas doesn’t have a steady job, he doesn’t have a home and he usually steals his meals out of break-room refrigerators. Right now he’s working temporarily as a dishwasher—he doesn’t need much money of course, so he stashes his pay in various abandoned buildings, where he’s found a cubbyhole that is safe. Right now, Lucas is living in a place near Howard University. He spends most days watching... After the offices close, he leaves his watching space to rummage in the refrigerator for dinner and he steals a picture of the young woman, with her two beautiful kids. The picture will become a symbol of family for him—a totem that he can look at, remember and with it be happy.

Lucas has no friends, except Sarea, who works at the same restaurant where he washes dishes. At the end of the day, they share a cigarette before leaving and going to their respective homes. This is the extent of the relationship.

Readers will compulsively become involved in Lucas’ life!

Deep in the middle of one night, Lucas awakes to a scraping sound! Someone has invaded his place—he is currently staying inside one of the underground tunnels attached to the university’s steam plant. Seeing a light, he moves to find the infiltrator. He realizes right away that the individual is a creeper. “A creeper is someone who loved to explore the hidden spaces” in buildings.

And that’s when he met Donovan...

A member of the Creep Club...

The Creep Club infiltrates private homes as well as public buildings. They tape occupants. And if they happen to see domestic violence happening, they hope the get to tape a murder...

As you can imagine the characters in the creep club...are creepy...

But so are the “good guys!” In fact, Lucas has a hard time deciding who the good guys are! Especially when he meets two that have his face! Or the ghost that is singing to him from the grave! Readers will be caught in the same guessing game, trying hard to keep up with what is going to happen next, especially when Lucas has a bomb attached to his leg, which is set to go off at a certain time unless it is reset!

I admit it...I thoroughly enjoyed reading this weirdly wonderful book! Somehow all of these strange characters are molded together, resulting in a unique story that is captivating! In many ways, it is a “good over evil” kind of book, but no matter’s still weird!

If you liked my review...I highly recommend you get the book! You’ll be glad you did!

G. A. Bixler
A Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Books - Cats...A Love Affair!

What can I say? I am involved with this love affair!

My best friend bought me my favorite sweatshirt (which is also my favorite saying now!)




Paula Krapf of Author Marketing Experts, shared, this site in her newsletter and added her own thoughts:

We’re shameless, we admit it; with all the not-so-inspiring news out there, we’ll opt for some cuteness, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times. Books and cats: a love affair in photos should have you purring in no time! Cats and books most definitely go together - there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book and a cat (or in our home, two cats). And our cat Foo has a special love of the printed word; if we’re not careful, a line of his teeth marks appear on any printed material he can find: books, magazines, newspapers, school homework, etc. We’ve had to race him to the printer more than once if we need a clean copy of a printed page. He did manage to make his mark on one book manuscript, though, but carefully limited the puncture marks to one side of the margin. Cute and considerate!
Posted by Paula Krapf of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. a Mind Blower!

By Ted Dekker
& Erin Healy
Thomas Nelson
322 Pages

I love to read a book that has new paranormal “senses” included as part of the storyline! Well, Kiss by Ted Dekker & Erin Healy has definitely created an exciting one! Given the title, I won’t say anymore about that...just know that it is an intriguing addition to this wonderful book!

Shauna McAllister, the main character, has lost a major part of her memory due to a car accident. She is also wanted by the police. At the scene of the accident, which resulted in her brother, Rudy, becoming an invalid, they had found drugs...

As the daughter of a senator who was now a candidate for the presidency, readers would naturally think that he would do everything possible to help his daughter. Not true! When her mother had died and her father remarried, his new wife “took over” parental responsibilities and had abused, and accused, Shauna so badly that she had gone into therapy to try to help her resolve the issues she had with her father, Landon, given his potential future political position.

As Shauna laid in the hospital, recovering from a six-week coma and her other wounds from the accident, she realizes that she cannot remember anything about the preceding time period, prior to the accident. Worse, nobody will share with her about Rudy’s condition or allow her to see him. But there is someone there to see her—Wayne Spade.

They told her he had saved her life...and that they were “very close” prior to the accident, though she had no memory of him. But Uncle Trent and her father’s second wife, Patrice, both seemed to know him. Indeed, when she was able to leave the hospital, she was set up in the guest cottage at her father’s home, and Wayne had one of the guest rooms! Although she didn’t remember him, little by little she began to share and depend on his being there to help her remember.

At least until she began to feel like he, nor anybody else, wanted her to remember that part of her life she had lost. And then they had kissed...

Shauna starts her own investigation into her past life—and I must say that it led to an exciting tale as she traveled and met more people who could feel in the blanks, if she could somehow get them to share with her. Soon she began to feel that what had happened had something to do with her father’s candidacy. And then she met Miguel... And, finally, she found that she was renewing her relationship with her mother’s God and sought His help as she continued searching for her past.

Dekker and Healy have created a fantastic foray into the possibilities of the mind, and, in turn, have provided readers with a exciting thriller that very lightly touches on faith in action. If you’re a paranormal fan, this is a must-read. Highly recommended for readers who love thrilling drama! I loved it!

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon Vine

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Message From VPublishing!

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Family,

Thanks for your continuing support with my journey of becoming an established publisher who represents themes that are too often avoided. The holiday season is upon us and we all are getting ready to buy those who are dear to us Christmas presents and Kwanzaa gifts. Since most of us participate in this process anyway, why not purchase a gift from View House Publishing. We have books for adults and teens, and a puzzle for children. Check out our online bookstore and find something that will meet your needs (bookstore link is below). I have also attached a file, the cover of my new book which is scheduled to be released on December 18, 2008 (Sneak preview).

Online Bookstore link:

Sincerely,Shadrach Linscomb

Please check out my review of Shadrach's reading comprehension book on December 6th...
Then one of his novels, Player Related, back on March 25...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

News on The DeMarco Empire Novel!

Dear Glenda

Re: De Marco Empire by J Lou McCartney

I would like to give you an update on my novel.

My website is now up and running - I'll be updating this from time to time.

My other massive news is that my publisher 'Pegasus Elliott McKenzie' have nominated my book for two awards as follows;

The Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction Award 2009 and

The Orange Broadband Award for New Writers 2009.

Shortlist will be announced March/April 2009 and Prize awarded at a ceremony in London in June 2009.

This is very exciting news.

Check out my November 17 Blog entry for The De Marco Empire Review...or see it on Louise's beautiful UK site!

It looks great!

Copy of a Pre-Published Book as Christmas Present - How Cool!


I'm sending this book file, The Mark of Cain to you as a Christmas
present. (It's a bit different from the Dragon book). This book will
come out later this month. Hope you enjoy the story.

Orders for this book may be placed at:

I'm slowly but surely working on More Than Angels: Once Upon a Dream
(book 3). Thia's going home (her hometown) to work on a case. The
case in the story is based in part on a true case which transpired
over the past 2 years in my area.

Hope all is going well with you. Hope you're finding tons of great
books to read.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Ruby and I became friends as I reviewed her first More Than Angels book. Since then, I've had the pleasure of reading five of her books and consider Ruby one of my favorite authors! Besides being a good friend!

Ruby is probably best known for her books on the stars of Star Trek... more on that another time!

LOOK FOR RUBY'S NEW BOOK COMING SOON! Better yet, pre-order on the above site!

Aloneness Sets In

It nearly startled me
as it covered in its way
that aloneness set in
why did it choose today.

I've fought through the blues
shared passions as needed
walked through darkness
as if the route had been seeded.

Some days zip on by
others hang on like a bad dream.
Every ounce of strength drained
when emotions reached extreme.

Aloneness sets in at will
even in the midst of a crowd.
Smiling with a face of joy
as loneliness cries out loud.

I am mostly happy
but must past through the blues
At times it is just too much
far more than I can use.

Why did it come today
in the middle of a big to do.
No matter what I was doing
my mind just wouldn't leave you.

Thanksgiving was a blast
till night fall slipped on in
There it was like an invasion
that loneliness back again.

If tears could build a stairway
and memories a lane
I'd walk right up to heaven
and bring you home again *

Del Cano 2008 December

* verse was found on a keepsake
Author unknown.

One of my favorite poets allowed me to post...I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sugarwood is Wonderful Storyteller!

The Judges Chronicles:
Rebirth of Shavron
By Ivan Sugarwood
Xulon Press
ISBN: 1-60034-275-2
197 pages

Come Children! Come Everybody! Ivan Sugarwood, the great storyteller, is here to share with us The Judges Chronicles: Rebirth of Shavron! Come and hear how three judges saved the little town of Shavron!

Sugarwood begins with a brief reference to the creation, noting that God created the many animals: rabbits, wolves, foxes, lions, etc. In a little place, called Shavron, near the Cinnamount Mountains, many lived under the blessing of the Holy One. He had placed three judges to rule and provide guidance to the land: Many years had gone by until the time when three new judges were named. Gideon of Eldos, the judge of battle; Deborah of Moran, the judge of instruction; and Samson of Old Sim, the judge of commerce. This is their story.

Gideon was a rabbit and though it seemed strange to have a rabbit as the judge of battle, he always won because he spent time in prayer and allowed the Holy One to win the battle for Shavron. It was good that Gideon was the judge of battle at this time, because there was much to threaten the lives of those who lived in Shavron. For a powerful nation, Chetz, whose citizens were leopards, was about to attack.

Instead of depending upon God, the town’s council and citizens wanted to appoint a new Queen to save them! As soon as they had spoken of this desire, Gideon knew that he needed to talk with the other judges, so he set off to find Deborah. But when he found her, she admitted that she was practically a prisoner herself. What were they going to do?

While Gideon was gone, the two appointed Jezerah as Queen! And she brought along an elder who was called Iya and proclaimed her to be her mother, which was not true. Actually, Iya was a witch with great powers. These two foxes, cunningly moved into Shavron, only to ultimately enslave everybody and demand tax payments to build a large palace and anything else Jezerah desired.

Knowing that the three judges were a danger to their reign, they went out to capture them one by one until all of them were imprisoned in one place or another. Five long years went by until one day, Gideon spoke in prayer to the Holy One and found that it was now time! Time to reclaim Shavron and make it one of God’s blessed places once again! You’ll want to learn how this all occurs!

Sugarwood has created an exciting tale, very loosely patterned around the ancient judges once placed over another holy land. Use of animal characters has allowed the author to emphasize the known animalistic characteristics and use them to advantage as each type of animal plays a role in the story. In one way, in my opinion, it served to lessen the impact of one country against another; one race against another, yet allows the envy, greed, and jealousy to occur. Using a rabbit, so timid and shy, to be the bravest of them all is important as well, as it also emphasized the power of God, the Holy One, in working through the timid creature.

In addition to the thrilling story, the author has included many beautifully created sketches of his characters and is sure to delight and encourage children to become involved with the story. Remember this is a good-over-evil tale, so be sure your child is at the proper ago... This book is a perfect storybook to have in spending quality reading time with your child(ren)!

G. A. Bixler
for Author's Den

Tuskegee Airmen - Historical Documentation - Black History

Tuskegee Airmen: The
Men Who Changed A Nation
By Charles E. Francis
Branden Books
ISBN: 9780828321891
559 Pages

Please note that this review covers the 5th Commemorative Edition of Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed A Nation by Charles E. Francis. This Edition, with a beautiful hardback litho cover, has been edited, revised, updated and enlarged by Adolph Caso and now includes, in addition to many personal and group pictures, 38 class pictures of the graduating Tuskegee Airmen.

This historical text is one of the most beautiful and best compiled narratives I have ever seen. Individual names of Airmen are carefully given both in the extensive tabular, narrative and pictorial appendices, as well as in the comprehensive chapters of the book’s body. It was especially heartwarming to have a final chapter entitled “a forgotten lonely eagle” of the sky, which tells the story that after fifty years of searching, another Tuskegee hero had been found and his gravesite identified in the Sicily-Rome Cemetery, outside of Nettuno, Italy.

Who were these lonely eagles? Adolph Caso might be the only one who identified the Tuskegee Airmen as lonely eagles (p. 19); however, it surely is a phrase that can be used to identify the many, many men (and women) who were part of the Tuskegee experiment. The man who first comes to mind as a lonely eagle is General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. whose biography is listed in Chapter 24, Leaders of Men. While he was later recognized as one of the most outstanding members of the 99th and the 332nd, he was also the first Negro who was appointed to West Point Military and graduated in its 47 years of operation. And during that time, this lonely eagle “endured four years of silent treatment as a cadet.”

The sad realization is that he is just the first man I thought of. In reality there was one lonely eagle after another forced to face one humiliation or rejection after another. Surely, the first chapter of Charles Francis’ book tells it all: The Fight For The Right to Fight. In 1940 the U. S. Congress had passed the Selective Service Act ending discrimination in selection of recruits for the Armed Forces. Readers of the documentary will quickly see, however, that for young Black men, that did not mean that there was no further discrimination. In fact, one of the many things that was done to try to eliminate this discrimination was Eleanor Roosevelt flying with Chief Anderson at Moton Field. This is not to say that this was any great event, it is used here to show that the issue had been raised to the very top when she dryly stated, “I guess Negroes can fly.”

This book gives governmental actions as well as personal accounts of the men who fought to become Airmen in support of our United States of America!

With the additional Preface and Prologue added by Editor Caso, the book tracks the lives of Americans, and in particular, Tuskegee Airmen African Americans* affected by war from about 1918 through to 2008 when the latest Edition pf The Tuskegee Airmen includes available official class pictures.

In my opinion, the perfect closing to the review of this documentary is from the back cover:

The Tuskegee airmen are to be credited for completing two phases of American history: the integration of its Armed Forces, and the integration of America as a nation. The crowning glory to this attainment can be seen in the many positions held by Black Americans in every Branch and Service of the Armed Forces all the way up to the presidency itself. –Adolph Caso

This book is an important part of our America’s history...Add it to your personal library this year!

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviews

*Note that the book and this review uses Negro, Black and African American interchangeably due to time period covered.

Story of One Asperger Syndrome Teenager!

Marcelo in the Real World
By Francisco X. Stork
Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN: 9780545054744
314 Pages

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork is listed as a young adult novel. It may contain the story of a teenager; however, I personally would place it for reading by older individuals as well. For those who have found the Rain Man or Forrest Gump of special interest, this book may well be a must-read for you.

Marcelo is just 17 when his father decides that he must be introduced to the “real world.” He wants him to work in the mailroom of his law firm for the summer, after which he would like him to finish 12th grade at the local high school. Marcelo, on the other hand, has been looking forward to continuing his work with the horses at Paterson. He has attended Paterson his entire life, thanks to the wealth of his family. He does not wish to make this change for his last year. Unfortunately, his mother is willing to support his father at this time.

Marcelo, who has the habit of speaking of himself in the third person, has attempted to negotiate a little and, at the end of the summer, he will be able to choose which school he wants to attend. In the meantime, he has already been scheduled to begin work! His father explains that he needs to be able to interact with people and to learn about the rules in the real world. Considering Marcelo’s significant interest and knowledge in religion and religious texts, he uses it to highlight that, “in the real world” people do not normally quote a Bible verse, together with its location in the Bible, as part of daily conversation. However, it is his religious knowledge that plays a big part in how he begins to live in the world into which he was thrown!

The duties in the firm’s mailroom are broader than most would think. It includes printing and binding and delivery services, among other things. Jasmine is his boss, and she is quite free to show her being upset that she was forced to have Marcelo work for her rather than the individual she had already hired. However, little by little a relationship develops and Jasmine is willing to learn and adjust to Marcelo’s limitations, the primary one being that his actions are slower since he must mentally go through the process and work to be perfect on each activity. In fact, Jasmine must very well be the very first friend Marcelo has ever grown to care about...

Ironically, it is what Marcelo learns there at the firm that is life-changing for his entire family. For he learns about the bad things that people sometimes do! And he is forced to realize that people lie and will hurt people in order to have their own way—or worse yet, to make money, above all else. And these lessons are learned through actions of those working in the firm, including his own father! In fact, I was left with one feeling—who learned the most about living in the real world—Marcelo or Arturo, his father?

For those of us who personally know someone with autism and, in particular, Asperger’s syndrome, I want to add a caveat that Marcelo is an individual and his life cannot be considered as one lived by all those with Asperger’s and/or other levels of autism. The author has the character Marcelo using third person to talk about himself. While this may not have actually occurred, this method provides the reader to see and understand much about the thinking processes Marcelo goes through.

Readers may very well experience strong feelings about what happens to Marcelo. I know I did. The author has created a book that easily elicits thoughts of protectiveness, yet it is we, who come to know Marcelo that are faced with our own worlds of reality and how we each choose to face the hate, lies and corruption out there in “the real world.”

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon Vine

The Family Bones is Spooky!!!

One word to describe The Family Bones by Kimberly Raiser? Spo-o-ky! The author has the amazing ability to turn each scene into a wonderfully weird, strangely developing storyline that prompts you to keep guessing—what’s going to happen next? In a spooky kind of way! Lovely tingles and shivers!

Steven, Tara, and their two children, Sara and Charlie, have just arrived at their new home, inherited from Steven’s side of the family. When the lawyer had called him to tell him the place was his, the first thing Steven remembered was the deep well that was located in the back of the property and the horrible stories he was told about how a former owner drown cats down that well and how the bones of those cats would reform and search for the man who had killed him.

Now as he stood there in the yard, he tried to forget about those stories and looked carefully at the house, which was really in fairly good shape. He was thankful that his wife and children seemed to be so pleased with the property that they were willing to begin living there immediately! In fact, they were so excited, that each of them went off on their own to explore!

Tara wound up in the attic where she found a small bed...strangely she couldn’t seem to resist lying down and falling asleep.

Charlie had wandered so far that he got lost and also became so strangely tired that he sat down on the floor...and fell asleep...

Steven set out to find Charlie. Remembering he liked to explore cellars, Steven reluctantly went down, only to become so lost that he realized that he had traveled far away from the house and believed he was now at the foot of the deep well, looking up, with no idea how to get out... And, oh yes, he had picked up a sample of what he had been shuffling through and now could see...that he had part of a human skull in his hand...

It was Sara that started to find her various family members—including a new Uncle Ben and Uncle Jack that Stephen did not remember and had not known also lived on the property.

Readers will be pleased to learn that all of the above took place in the early part of the book! Because... There’s no way that I’m going to spoil this one for you! However, just let me say that once Raiser has you hooked, she then takes you into an entirely unexpected tale of science fiction that has such an interesting basis that you are caught exploring the details in the back of your mind, while you continue to read.

Raiser shows wit in her excellent writing and has obviously found her perfect genre. This book could only have been improved by its being longer! Highly recommended for fans that are still looking for “that new science fiction tale” that keeps you turning pages to determine what happens...and whether or not you believe in the “possibilities” of it all!

Myself, I’m hoping for a sequel to this one...

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviews

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More about Shadrach!

View House Publishing recently announced:

... that the author, Shadrach Linscomb is an Award-Winning Finalist in the African American Fiction category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News for his novel, Player Related.

The novel, Player Related, is about the romantic affairs of an African American man who spent his childhood in the foster care system. The story is emotional and entertaining at the same time.

Purchase your copy of Player Related now online at:

Check out my March 25 review and interview in this Blog!

Reading Comprehension Text is Fun Teen Tool!

Stories of Relevancy:
11 Reading Passages for
By Shadrach Linscomb
View House Publishing
ISBN: 9780966342000
47 Pages
(Now Available only in Ebook format)

As a life-long reader, I applaud and want to highly recommend Shadrach Linscomb’s Stories of Relevancy: 11 Reading Passages for Comprehension. While the book is aimed for teens, the stories are ones that would be interesting for anyone working to improve their reading skills. It might also be used by parents to open discussions with teens about important life issues.

Have you ever gotten so involved with a tv program and then had “to be continued” flash across the screen or you fell asleep right before the end and woke up to realize you might never know how the story ended. Normally, reading a book prevents that from happening! But what Linscomb has done is to take advantage of our natural curiosity and uses it to help young readers not only improve their reading skills, but work on their writing skills!

How? Well, just as you might get interested in a story and want to know how it ends, Stories of Relevancy provides snippets of 11 short and longer stories...enough to get you interested! Then, sometimes you get to evaluate whether the story ended as you would want it to end or other times, you get to write your own ending! Actually, I don’t recall ever seeing a reading comprehension book as well created as this one...

Most importantly, the stories are true to life. They deal with drugs, family life, dysfunctional families, and role models. One story discusses how peer pressure can be resolved through peer counseling. On the other hand, peer pressure to “fight” another is presented—and the reader must consider what options are available and what to do in response to the situation. Still another story describes the problem of a single mother having to finally share that a young boy’s father is in jail.

Linscomb uses his stories to force recognition of the many options faced by teens—does a young boy take a good job, earning minimum wage or does he choose to sell drugs to make more money. Highlighting the people that surround a teen as those who can be of help and support is another important aspect of the stories. Family is loving; neighbors are role models who take interest and guide the younger generations.

This author uses his varied background to create a workbook that will not only help with reading comprehension; it will help with interpersonal relationships and other life skills. Most important of all, perhaps, is that it allows each young reader a chance to share and express himself, in responding to each story.

“Reading is fun-damental” is a well-known catchphrase in support of reading literacy. In my opinion, Linscomb goes well beyond the “See Jack run” elementary reading skills we all remember—he presents an opportunity to create a caring, sharing, environment in which a teenager can learn and expand their knowledge base! How cool is that!

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviews

The Tenth Case - Great Legal Tale!

The Tenth Case
By Joseph Teller
ISBN: 9780778326052
393 Pages

If you are a fan of the legal system, especially court cases, then The Tenth Case, by Joseph Teller will be a must-read for you!

“It had long been Jaywalker’s belief that if you were to pull any ten criminal cases out of a hat, one of those ten could be won by the very worst of defense lawyers...At the opposite end of the spectrum would be the tenth case, one that even the best of defense lawyers couldn’t possibly win...” p. 105

Jaywalker was a great criminal defense lawyer—one of the best. But when he hit his “tenth case,” there were a number of reasons that it was very important for him to win the case. The primary reason was that he had been suspended from practicing and had been able to negotiate being allowed to finish just ten of his outstanding cases. The first nine were easily won!

The second reason was that he was thinking about not returning after the three-year suspension. Yes, three-years was a fairly long suspension, but Jaywalker had been known to pull stunts in the courtroom, and out, and they had finally accumulated to the point where his panel of judges were no longer willing to allow him to practice. He really didn’t want to “not return” if he lost his last case!

And the third reason was the client...a client that he had had once before, and had never quite forgotten...

The client was accused of murdering her husband...

Details of jury selection, the witnesses, the prosecutor’s case—it’s all there for the reader to enjoy. For this, the tenth case has Jaywalker worried. Is there any way by which he can win this case and set his client free?

I think the primary point of interest for me is that in this case the prosecutor and the defense lawyers respect and work together! Refreshing! Not only do you not hear of this very often; but also what it does is allow you to see how effectively it works, when it does happen! Hopefully, this is a sample of real life?

Readers, The Tenth Case will keep you guessing right up to the last page...and after—for you and the legal characters, including...Jaywalker!

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviewers

Monday, November 17, 2008

Four Paths to Forever An Exciting Adventure!

Four Paths to Forever
By Richard S. Lucas
Eloquent Books
ISBN: 978-1-60693-079-3
255 Pages

What would you do if you had heard that there was a secret gateway into another world? Would you set out to find it? Then this new book is for you! What an adventure! I thoroughly enjoyed Four Paths to Forever by Richard S. Lucas!

When Sandra Adams was just a little girl, she often traveled with her father, one time visiting the ruins in Canyon DeChelly in northern Arizona. There, their guide, Joe Eaglefeather, shared with them the story of the “Sipapu.” At the age of ten, she eagerly asked what it was. And then learned about “the gateway from the Inner World to the Upper World.” A gateway that you could only go through once and never go back! A legend? A story told to delight a young child?

What it did was create a life-long goal for Sandra—to find the Sipapu! Her career choice was in fact selected to help her; and as a professor of archaeology, nearly 25 years later, she was asked to take over and head up a dig that had been found in Kentucky. Her boss, Dr. Julius Weather, who was head of the archaeology department, was quite open with Sandra—this was her last chance to prove herself as a faculty member. Many had heard of her “hunt” for the mythical gateway and considered her an “embarrassment” to the university.

The group was small, two civilian volunteers; but as she worked there in Kentucky, she could not help but notice Tom Bentley—as more than a team member. Indeed, they soon acknowledged their mutual attraction. Tom revealed an important secret about meeting her. In fact, he had once enjoyed meeting Joe Eaglefeather as a guide himself!

As they worked the new site, there were many things that did not fit with their earlier expectations; i.e., that it was once the home of Adena Indians. However, when Sandra needed to present their findings to the University, she was both ridiculed and fired. Her primary opponent was Professor Jerry Sims, who had originally been assigned to the site but had been unable to go. But Tom had already offered her another job—and now she was free to accept!

According to legend, the gateway to the Upper World had first occurred in 2000 BC. At that time a group of individuals, named the Kulato, had come through at the command of their gods. They were to meet the people across this land and share with them their knowledge and teach them how it could be used. The 200 that came through had been divided and sent in four directions, according to maps and instructions that had been provided.

Lucas moves back and forth from the past to the present so that readers are able to see the historical perspective of the story, as well as what happened as Sandra, joined by Tom, and others decide to determine whether the sipapu was real or not. Led by dreams, spirits, and the intelligence of those finally brought together, an adventure of a lifetime begins—to find the gateway—and, yes, if it was real, to go through into the other world!

Lucas has weaved a beautifully crafted story that will speak to the very hearts of readers who look for adventure—seek that buried treasure—or follow their fate! Were they successful in finding a gateway? Is there an inner world that those who are seeking may find?

I, for one, certainly hope that a sequel is already in the works! We want to know the end of this lifetime adventure! In the meantime, I highly recommend that you take your first step—read Four Paths to Forever!

G. A. Bixler
For IP BookReviews

Carolyn Hart Creates New Character! A Ghost!

Ghost at Work
By Carolyn Hart
Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780060874360
290 Pages

Bailey Ruth Raeburn--remember the name! She’s the main character being introduced in Carolyn Hart’s latest novel, Ghost at Work. And I just know that...she’ll be back!

I’ve enjoyed Carolyn Hart’s books in the past, but none were so delightful or fun to read as Ghost at Work. Act-u-ally, Bailey Ruth is an emissary--the proper title, according to Wiggins, the head of the Heavenly Department of Good Intentions, who is giving Bailey Ruth her first opportunity to return to earth to help somebody in need. Of course, there are a number of rules to follow as she takes on this challenge...

And who could be more in need than Kathleen Abbott, a pastor’s wife who has found a dead body on her back porch? And that dead body is a man who just happens to have, among other things, offered Kathleen a gift of a little red teddy the night before he was killed!

You will find that Bailey Ruth tends to act impulsively—she’s trying hard to help Kathleen—so the first thing done was to move in quickly, introduce her presence by responding to Kathleen’s muttered comments to herself, and later suggesting that the body be moved!

Then Kathleen remembers that Daryl Murdoch, the dead man, had taken a picture of her when she was opening the “teddy” and on retrieving the phone from his pocket, Kathleen and Bailey find other pictures of individuals they recognize—in unusual poses. It seems Daryl took pictures of people who now could be considered suspects!

Though Bailey Ruth tries hard to “follow the rules,” there are some things that just cannot be accomplished—like remaining invisible while carrying a cell phone! Or the murder weapon!

Soon there are reports all over town of strange happenings as Bailey follows the trail and tries to find the person who murdered Daryl and tried to frame Kathleen. This is especially important because Kathleen in fear of her involvement has destroyed evidence, such as the cell phone...and gains Bailey’s help in burning the “teddy.” Bailey does feel bad for creating a false trail for the police to follow, but her role as “emissary” on behalf of Kathleen is paramount, especially, when she realizes that Kathleen daughter, nicknamed Bayroo, can see her and they all realize that Bailey Ruth is an ancester!

Bailey Ruth’s story might well be considered an “alternative future” story rather than an alternative historical fiction...for she certainly does provide us lots of information about our lives after we, too, leave this earth! But, it was even more fun watching her catch up here on earth as she learns about the technological upgrades, such as computers, and decides to “dress” in today’s fashions! Her interaction with Wiggins, her boss, is truly genius as she inveigles to remain on earth, even though violating rule after rule, all in a good cause, of course!

Hart has made me a permanent fan of Bailey Ruth! I certainly hope and recommend she continue this character into a major series...hopefully with Bayroo helping! Needless to say, for lovers of cozies, comedy and charming characters...Ghost at Work must be considered a must-read!

G. A. Bixler
For Amazon vine

Songha - The Savannah Cat!

The Adventures of Songha:
The Amazing Savannah Cat
By Linda R. Caterine
ISBN: 978-1-4343-8361-7
66 Pages

Cat-Lover Alert! Check out The Adventures of Songha by Linda R. Caterine and bow to the beauty of “The African Queen!”

With a beautiful cover featuring Songha by Robert Knight and fascinating sketches by William Dye throughout the book, Linda Caterine has created both an informative and exciting children’s book. If you are a cat lover, like I am—you’ll love it, no matter what age!

Songha is a Savannah cat, who comes from Kalahari, an African desert. Her father, Rafu Dubwana, who, now lives in America, is an African Serval Leopard. Once breeded, his daughter, Songha became “one of a kind.” This is her story!

If this story is not totally true, it is this reviewer’s guess that it is “almost” true and based upon the antics of Songha. You see, there is one important thing that differentiates Songha. She is half-wild and even though her mother was domesticated, her “wild side” just has to come out some time!

So, although she is greatly loved by her human family and by her companion, Simba, who also has a leopard ancestry, Songha has one great desire—to run free and learn about her kingdom! And, indeed, on every occasion possible, she has managed to escape her home!

First, she had to meet George, a long-haired gray Persian, who wanted nothing to do with Songha—not that Songha cared much, except she had seen that the Persian was able to go in and out of the house through a small door! Songha planned on going through that door as well! In fact, she had been quite perturbed to know that George was able to go out, while, she the Queen, was not!

At last Songha made it through the door! But then she was caught by a shape-shifter! The next time, she met Jacques Cousteau and with his guidance, she met everybody in the neighborhood, who later became her friends...and subjects of her kingdom...

Why? Because they saw or heard about her amazing skills—she could do things that none of them could do! And, because she had saved them from “El Diablo!”

Caterine entertains us with poetry and prose as she shares the adventures of Songha:

...No one has seen him to this day
And no one knows his fate,
And now my little Kingdom’s safe
There are no more complaints
El Diablo is a “Legend”
And my friends think I’m a “Saint...”

This rare exotic cat will win your heart! She may retain some of that wildness, but who among us does not admire and rejoice in seeing the great cat beasts of the world. This one of a kind cat, now “somewhat” domesticated has much to give to human families.

Come, learn of the Savannah cat—in The Adventures of Songha by Linda Caterine. This would be a wonderful holiday gift for your children...and plan on reading it for your own enjoyment! I know I did!

G. A. Bixler

De Marco Empire - Melodrama on every page...

De Marco Empire
By J. Lou McCartney
Pegasus Publishers
ISBN: 9781843864394
345 Pages

Do you enjoy following the lives of the rich and famous? Are you a fan of soap opera dramas with the many characters sharing slices of their everyday life? Then De Marco Empire by J. Lou McCartney is presented for your reading enjoyment!

Katie Saunders, together with best friend, Lucy, were heading out to celebrate Lucy's birthday. When they couldn't get into the new and prestigious Club La Pregheira, Lucy pulls Katie through the long line, explaining that they were there to work. Once inside, they were caught in her lie and decided to go ahead and ask about employment. Both were beautiful women and were hired, but they were given that first evening to enjoy the place and get to know how things were done.

It was that night that Katie and Antonio De Marco briefly met. But it was to be a perfect match--though their relationship was to be riddled with the melodrama typifying the life of a successful businessman with a gangster background and drug and criminal connections.

Soon both Katie and Lucy were working and happy in their new positions as waitresses. Both were personable and were bringing in good tips. Katie was involved with Matt, Lucy's brother, but as is often the case, Katie was not as committed as Matt, so that when Antonio started his seduction, it didn't take much to persuade her! Of course, she was unaware that Matt had been threatened a number of times to "stay away."

Worried about Katie, he had no choice but to do as he was told--he feared for their lives!

Of course, his decision was good, even though he knew nothing about the reality that routinely occurred when somebody crossed the De Marco brothers. For instance, there was the manager of one of their nightclubs that had been caught involved with drugs and local drug lords--he was now dead, and the woman who had "snitched" was now supervising the waitresses at La Pregheira, much to the chagrin of everybody else who worked there!

Even Veronica who managed La Pregheira could not understand why Gianni, Anthony's brother and partner, had insisted she be placed in this important position. But Veronica had her own secrets--she was allowing the waitresses to develop a little "side action" for which they were all being well compensated. Veronica was well on her way to saving a nice nest egg until Gianni found out--even though he didn't shut her down, rather he just took part of her share!

Gianni was into just about anything that came along, including as many women as he could seduce--at least until he was officially married. He truly loved his fiancée and had every intention of being faithful. He was happy to see that Antonio and Katie were also becoming more involved and they often joined as a foursome at the club...

Until his fiancée was murdered... And more and more deaths follow!

Until years later, Anthony and Katie have finally decided to proceed with their wedding, only to be stopped once again, by murder!

As can be expected, there are many suspects, many individuals who could have been responsible, not to mention all the others who meet the same fate during the day-to-day events surrounding the De Marco brothers!

Readers will follow the trail of each vignette of the many characters within the Empire, trying to work out exactly what has happened! Afterwards, why not take your copy of McCartney's De Marco Empire as your pass, and stop by at La Pregheira--everybody's dying to get to know you!


G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviews

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mansfield Discusses Faith of Obama...

The Faith of Barack Obama
By Stephen Mansfield
Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-59555-250-1
164 Pages

"This book is...written in the belief that if a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important things about him, is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life..." –Stephen Mansfield

I think reading The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield after the 2008 election is over has allowed me to better absorb the wealth of understanding this book provides. Mansfield, who has also written of Churchill, Booker T. Washington, George W. Bush, et. al. has a gift for honing in on, and creating a well-documented text that speaks directly to and clearly presents the defining points of the person about whom he has written.

It is not the first time Mansfield has written about the faith of men. It perhaps, though, is the first time that his book is published immediately before the election of that man as president elect. Obviously, the biography may well become a must-read for all Americans, as we look toward the time of change that Obama has promised. I believe the book covers essentially all of the issues that drove this year’s election and helps lay a foundation that will guide our understanding of the future.

One of the major highlights of the book was a comprehensive, comparative analysis of the “Four Faces of Faith” for those individuals who were the primary participants in the 2008 election: George W. Bush as the individual who was leaving the office and then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain as the leading candidates. Each of these individuals has openly discussed their faith during the election. Reading the comparison however, clearly focuses on how the candidates’ profession of faith may have been perceived by citizens.

Mansfield begins his book, naturally, with a look at Obama’s early life. Considering the diversity of influences from his major role models—his parents, grandparents, and his stepfather¾it is somewhat amazing that he was able to intellectually work through the breadth of his experience and arrive at a point where he chose to follow Christ. Then, as various political campaigns were undertaken, Obama was constantly attacked from a faith standpoint; however, being under fire, actually worked to forge his beliefs into both rhetoric as well as actions that in turn fired his growing numbers of followers.

“We worship an awesome God in the Blue States,” declared Obama at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention speech. Quite willing to claim that democrats were Christians too, Obama has in essence “founded” a Religious Left that has met the needs of the millions who soundly rejected that only the Religious Right were true Christians. “We, too, have faith...Those of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion, who defend the rights of gays and who care for the poor... It was a conscious attempt to reclaim the voice of the American political Left.”

Mansfield clarifies issues regarding Obama’s early teachings in Islam, and his relationship with Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as well as a discussion of the black church experience, which historically has provided a method for hearing the news, dealing with issues and planning for the good of the community. His inclusion of a perhaps little-known issue, of the “Tuskegee Syphilis Study,” lends credibility to his discussion and forces us to better understand the fear and anger of a large part of our population!

In closing, Mansfield highlights a number of healers—those who are able to bring about change for the good. Will Obama be such a healer? Mansfield seems to imply that he just might be. He has been forced to share and has willingly stood on what he believes, while at the same time, admitting, for instance, when he is unsure of his position on abortion, that “I don’t believe such doubts make me a bad Christian. I believe they make me human, limited in my understandings of God’s purpose and therefore prone to sin.” (From The Audacity of Hope) May this reviewer add her personal “Amen” to that!

Needless to say, I highly recommend The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield!

"No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don’t want faith used to belittle or to divide...Because in the end, that’s not how they think about faith in their own lives." --Barack Obama

Respectfully submitted,

G. A. Bixler