Tuesday, November 3, 2020

2020 Election Day! Sharon Sala Shares Thoughts for America! With Responsive Music...


At first, you're certain you just misunderstood.
Then it happens again and the shock that goes through you is sharp and sudden.
When you realize it is their truth, then comes horror, followed by a seeping fear.
It doesn't make sense to you.
You don't understand... will NEVER understand...how your view and their view of the same world can be so different.
And then you remember, we are not cookie cutter people.
We are not cut from the same cloth....nor were we raised the same.
And there's where you stop.
We are not the same. We didn't have to think the same.
But we DO have to treat each other with dignity and respect.
And they didn't.
Before, celebrating differences was beautiful.
Now, some have made it a sin... a crime...to be different.
I have no dealings with people like that anymore.
They crossed a moral line with me that I can never unsee...or unhear.
And I am sad.
The world is uglier than I knew.
They kept it hidden... their hate and prejudice.
I let their smiles and laughter...and the familiarity of their faces delude me into believing they didn't mean what they'd just said.
But I was wrong.
They meant it.
And now it shows.
Like a festering sore that won't heal.
The pain of their discontent is unbearable.
I don't know how they walk in the world carrying this kind of hate.
I don't understand them.
I don't know them anymore.
I am a stranger in the place where I was born.
The ultimate irony.

I do not belong here... and yet, here I am. 

~~~










!!!


Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has over 125 books and novellas in print, published in six different genres - Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction and Non-Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, five-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Romance Writers of America presented her with the Centennial Award for recognition of her 100th published novel.
Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher's Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.



I Love meeting authors I have not read via their posts on Facebook or elsewhere... So I took the opportunity to learn about Sharon Sala's writing by reading!

But it was the beautiful thought-provoking words that she posted yesterday on Facebook. I immediately asked if I could share it across the world with my blog...And She Agreed! Thank you so much, Sharon!

Election Day 2020 is, perhaps, the most memorable election that America will ever experience. In a Nation divided, each side wondering why... We, the People, have the momentous responsibility to choose who will be our next president.  As written by Sharon, many of us just don't understand WHY? Why is there such a divide...We may never know... All we can do is accept our responsibility and make that choice, on this the final day...Election Day 2020...

I pray that you follow your heart, mind, and God as you accept your responsibility and cast that vote... We are, indeed, fighting a war...God be with All of Us!
~~~





Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Research for Election Year Has Kept This Reader UP-TO-DATE on Issues - Check out Four Books!


Being a constant reader, I found myself turning to some of the books that have been published during the last few months regarding the political environment we are now facing in America... I had already read Mary Trump's outstanding biography which shared her relationship within the Trump family... (See my review). It had provided me with the "why" of Trump and I was better able to deal with his colossal failure as our president.

Nothing prepared me for this book! The name of the author is probably a  pseudonym, but I knew the publisher so bought the book. It is probably too late for many voters, including me. But it is well worth reading to confirm whether or not you voted correctly in this year's election. Where Mary Trump's book left off, the first part of the book took over... It was so realistic that I had a hard time reading and would stop and put it aside for awhile.  Issues that most of us are fully aware of as they have been discussed during the last four years. However, in satire form, coming from the present president, it is mind-blowing. Just as we have come to know the scatterbrain method by which the president speaks, the words, some of which were actually repeated from dialogue of the incumbent, presents an almost maniacal flow of words spewed or twittered in his obsessive and sometimes violent behavior at his rallies, or when he is interviewed by somebody other than Fox staff. We have all seen this at various times...but the full regurgitation from "The Mind of a Dictator..." has to acknowledge in everybody what exactly has been happening in America...

A dictator’s mind that creates a climate of chaos, hate, racism, and division. If these are thoughts of the leaders, you will elect. STOP! You are making the wrong choice. 
MY PREDICTION "I said this once, many years ago before I became president, 'If I were to run, I'd run as a Republican politician. They are the dumbest political party in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie, and they'd still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.' If you don't believe me, read People Magazine of 1998. That was when I said it. I was right then, and I am right now. “Dumb people deserve an authoritarian leader, the kind that leads by leashing a tight rope around their necks and dragging them around. I am that leader. I can say the things Republicans fear to say and do the things they fear to do. That's why the Republicans Party establishment chose me. I do their dirty work, and they get to pretend like they had nothing to do with my choices. This approach makes leading easy as I do not have to assume any responsibility...
~~~
I would have much more to say about this book in a full review, but needless to say, I was overwhelmed...and couldn't wait to give you my "My must read" recommendation on this one!


The book that was the most revelatory of new information for me was
HOAX by Brian Stelter who some of your know from watching CNN. His program there, Reliable Sources, is about how news concerns may be considered, handled and possibly changed via research and consideration. I'm a fan... I had heard about "Fox News," but my main reason for not watching was that the head of the network had been fired due to harassment of women. That was bad enough...but what I learned both shocked, dismayed and, frankly, still think is unbelievable in today's world... 

"Everybody can be bought” In 1996, while Donald Trump was buying up buildings and beauty pageants, Rupert Murdoch bought Roger Ailes. Murdoch hired the GOP political operative and gave him a pile of money to build a news channel from scratch in the basement of the News Corp building in New York City. It was one of the most fateful decisions in modern American history. A
iles had both political and personal motivations for partnering with Murdoch. He wanted the Republican Party to win on television the way Rush Limbaugh was winning on radio.  Ailes showed up to the Television Critics Association’s press tour in July 1996 and officially announced the name of his new channel. Before he took the stage, reporters received a handout portraying poor public opinions of the press. It was a “fake news” manifesto twenty years before Trump turned “fake news” into a mantra. The handout cited one poll where only 14 percent of respondents gave journalists positive marks and another where 67 percent said TV news was biased. Ailes said Fox News was the solution: He swore he wanted Fox reporters to “just give the viewers the facts and the information.” He knew exactly what he was really doing, but he insisted, “I’m just announcing balanced and unbiased coverage. If that’s traumatizing some people, so what?” Ailes’s bombastic bromides were irresistible to television critics. He was practically writing their columns for them. “He says rude, obnoxious things that make for more interesting newspaper stories,” one writer admitted after the press tour appearance. Remind you of anyone?
Ailes and Trump ran in the same New York media circles for decades. To hear Ailes tell it, “Donald and I were really quite good friends for more than twenty-five years.” And to hear Trump tell it, “Roger owed me.” The two men had a lot in common: Similar fears of crime. Similarly racist views about immigration. The same generational references, since Ailes was just six years older than Trump. Both men were tail-chasers and wife-cheaters. Both had a taste for conspiracy theories. Both had paranoid streaks. And both ran their businesses as fiefdoms. With Ailes, Fox hosts were reminded to lavish him with credit whenever writing a book or giving a speech. With Trump, lieutenants were reminded that hismind wandered whenever conversations weren’t about Trump. Both men also appreciated the power of public relations—whether they were building up their own brands through puffy magazine profiles or knifing a rival in the back through a well-placed hit piece. Trump never saw any distinction between the press and PR. Whenever he could, he used the press to score points and further his own interests.
~~~

Remember, I was reading this book when it was published this year. However, I have been watching and listening about the incitement of all negative things by this administration for four years... What I didn't know was that there was such a close tie to people like Hannity and Trump, that they spent much time talking and it would be hard to say just where each idea or confusion point came from. Specifically, I was not only unaware, I was totally surprised that an information program would be permitted to...lie...to the people.  Perhaps it was what they wanted to hear? I'm not sure. Myself I preferred to hear the truth, discussed and to formulate my own opinion. Not so with Fox... And it has gotten progressively worse during this administration's tenure...

I consider this a must-read book as well! If you have been totally unaware, as I was, that a television station with news reporters can also have "talk" shows that are apparently free to do anything they want, to lie, initiate and perpetuate those lies...Well, I consider reading a book that can specifically document such corruption of the truth is well worth your time...
~~~

"I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have. I don’t know if that’s an asset or a liability, but whatever it is, I do.”  Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016, at the Old Post Office Pavilion, Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.


I had already heard the news that the president had known about the Coronavirus early in the year... But, for me, I wanted a copy of the latest book by Bob Woodward, an award-winning journalist, on his interviews with the President. The first book had been written with just research but no interviews. This time, Woodward spent hours with the President...And he willingly told Bob Woodward what he would not tell the citizens of the United States... That he knew how deadly the virus was...

About halfway through the lengthy speech (State of the Union), Trump mentioned coronavirus in one short paragraph. “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China,” Trump said. “My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” That did not, however, include sharing any part of the warning he had received with the public.

Woodward asked the president about an earlier report from his own staff members, he was told by the president that he didn't recall it... Of course it had been part of the daily briefing, with a spotlight, but, as usual, Trump wasn't paying attention... Indeed the president rarely reads what he is provided routinely in daily reports. Only this time, it would lead to the biggest mistake Trump had thus far made. Trump's reasoning was that he didn't want to panic Americans...
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told me. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Woodward covers the discussions held between he and Bob Woodward in this book. Bob often pointing out or discussing his concern about not sharing with the people...to little avail.   

“And I think he’s going to have it in good shape,” Trump said, “but you know, it’s a very tricky situation.” What made it “tricky”? “It goes through air,” Trump said. “That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” “Deadly” was a very strong word. Something was obviously going on here that I was not focused on. Over the next month I would make trips to Florida and the West Coast, oblivious to the mounting pandemic.

While discussing Fear on television, I was asked for my bottom-line summary of Trump’s leadership. “Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis,” I said.

And so it was that Bob Woodward, along with most of America, had no idea it was "deadly..." Indeed he has not been willing to speak of this even though the book has been out and thousands have died and millions have been infected in the States...

Much of the book includes interviews with Tillerson, Mattis, Comey, Sessions,  Rosenstein, and other individuals no longer in the administration. They were candid and informative, some of which we had known about but details were important. I had garnered most of the topics covered in this book from my almost obsessive news watching during that time period. Nevertheless there was many background details that I used to fill in earlier accounts which provided a sometimes new perspective. For me, this was well worth reading and I can highly recommend to others interested in this extraordinary administration...

Of the four books, in addition to the one by Mary Trump, I found the book by Michael Cohen to be the most readable and, in turn, the most heartwarming... Once again, most of what was included had been covered on the news. However, I found the personal perspective of this true story, this memoir, the most telling.  The most sympathetic. For instance, Michael shared that none of his family were happy with his working for Donald Trump and were constantly trying to get him to quit or, at least, not be at his beck and call constantly...

Donald Trump’s seduction began the way it would continue for years, with flattery, proximity to celebrity and power, and my own out-of-control ambitions and desires. For me, it started on a nondescript day in the fall of 2006. At the time, I was a successful, if little-known, middle-aged midtown Manhattan attorney and businessman on the make, sitting in a tidy nondescript office with two of everything arranged before me on my desk, a function of my obsessive nature: two staplers, two tape dispensers, two phones, two cups with sharpened pencils. I was thirty-nine and I worked for the mid-sized white-shoe law firm Phillips Nizer. As a lawyer I’d long had a busy practice in personal injury and medical malpractice, but my real passion and talent was in dealmaking, and I had accumulated a multi-million dollar fortune in the rough-and-tumble taxi medallion industry. Wealthy, with a beautiful wife and two healthy, happy young children, I had just purchased an apartment in the Trump Park Avenue building for $4.9 million and I tooled around the city in a Bentley and considered myself semi-retired. I had it made, in other words, but I didn’t know that I was on the precipice of a mid-life crisis that would lead to an all-consuming fixation and my downfall.

Michael willingly shares how he was pulled into the seduction. I found myself comparing him to the many who have become followers and members of the cult in which he surrounds his loyalists... The Power, the celebrity... It was not something that had ever interested me, but I found a certain empathy for Michael and other followers... Michael was willing and able to do anything for Donald. One thing he pointed out in the book and on television is that Donald rarely actually says "Do this" or "Do that." What he does is create scenarios where if you wish to follow him, you must accept as truth, no matter how wrong... Unfortunately, we have all seen in during the last four years. 

Ultimately, something happens that forces the follower to begin to question. This exploration of what happened for Michael is poignant. When that happened, Michael was able to see the lawlessness of his actions and the manipulation used to have him, essentially, leave his family and choose his boss, as the primary person in his life. Thank God that he was able to pull away from this cult and return to his family...and to paying the price, legally, for all that he had done for his boss. If you have a need to learn how to pull yourself out of a destructive relationship, I can highly recommend this as an illustration of how you go where you are and how to find yourself again...


GABixlerReviews

Friday, October 23, 2020

Anonymous Insider Speaks Out Against Author-Amazon Relationship...in...Write Off!

 WRITE OFF!


It felt like a bizarre irony when I realized I’d put my novels into the hands of villains virtually identical to those within their pages.



Since the inception of Kindle in 2007, the Amazon Corporation has monopolized the book distribution industry, transforming itself into the only viable option for publishers and self-publishing entrepreneurs, alike. Until 2015, Kindle was a dream for writers like me, who’d spent years under the restrictions of traditional publishers. However, the honeymoon period was not to last.
!!!

Writers froze in fear in 2016 when Amazon began terminating the accounts of innocent authors in response to the behavior of third party Kindle Direct Publishing scammers. Amazon offered nothing by way of a fair trial to its victims, who either had to quit writing, or initiate global appeal campaigns through social media and Change.org.

Their next attack concerned reviews. This all begins with an insane requirement that readers are unaware of: If a book slips below a four-star average – it’s over! No promotion site will even take an author’s money to promote it.

Writers who live in the real world don’t expect every reader to love their books. However, the ‘four-star minimum’ demands that we must rank up there with Hemingway before we can even inform the world of our books’ existence. I find this to be unreasonable and even obscene, despite, by some miracle, having actually hit the proverbial mark.

Reviews are extremely rare. They come in at an average rate of one for every five-hundred readers, and always represent thousands of dollars in promotional expenditure. While there is an epidemic of fake five-star reviews out there, Amazon didn’t spend any time investigating the culprits. They simply blitzed all of us. Any positivity our books had became suspect. In response, Amazon programmed the algorithm to delete many of our perfectly legitimate five-star reviews, which had been posted by complete strangers who had no connection to us. Amazon offered no reasons for these deletions, nor any appeal process.

This was followed by a variation on that theme when they allowed the reviews to appear, but removed stars from them. I had a review that expressly stated, “I give it four stars” . . .  and yet only one star was checked. The very next review that came through was titled ‘Five Star’, yet only three stars showed. After investigating the review histories of these customers, it was abundantly clear that they knew how to use the review system. They showed no confusion about what the stars were. All of my appeals to Amazon were rejected, and all attempts to contact the reviewers through the review comments option were blocked.

Recently, my flagship novel experienced a flood of five-star ratings – only to then get hit with as many one star ratings within five weeks as it had previously received during its entire six-year history. The anonymous nature of these new, silent, one-click ratings makes it impossible to know if it’s a troll attack, or if the algorithm is stripping stars away. I had to temporarily unpublish the book in order to protect it from further harm. 

No book marketing guru will ever address the true dangers of the dreaded ‘one-star’ review. They focus solely on how to deal with the emotional angst it causes. While it’s true that it does cause that ‘sinking in the stomach’ feeling, that’s actually the most irrelevant factor. A one-star review/rating is virtually impossible for the average rating to recover from. Amazon weighs them heavier than five-star reviews, which means it could take up to twenty consecutive ‘fives’ to repair the damage caused by a single ‘one’. Amazon also suppresses the visibility of a book each time a ‘one-star’ appears.

In the meantime, the four-star minimum promotion requirement remains.

It’s a well-established fact that human beings are drawn to negatives, one-hundred times more than they are to positives (which is why bad news sells.) Regardless of how negligible in number an author’s negative reviews might be, Amazon’s ‘Most Helpful’ voting system was always guaranteed to send negative reviews soaring to the top of the list on a book’s product page. My ‘two-star’ reviews make up a mere 5% of my overall review tally. However, they dominate the visible reviews on the product page of my flagship novel, leaving the 65% ‘fives’ mostly hidden in the shadows. This almost certainly deters readers, who would have most likely enjoyed the book.

The algorithm is also programmed to devalue reviews that are over a year old. A book might have a 4.0 average at night, and be a 3.9 by morning – effectively knocking it out of the game.

Amazon seems to accept book promotion grudgingly and goes out of its way, with the most arbitrary measures, to impede an author’s marketing efforts. One of the most effective tools is to have a quality book video trailer on the relevant book’s product page (via the ‘Related Video Shorts’ feature.) But authors aren’t allowed to use it. Rather, Amazon defers us to our Author Central pages to upload videos, knowing very well that this feature is utterly useless. Casual, browsing customers are highly unlikely to go searching through Author Central. If, by chance, they decided to do so, they would only see a row of black video screens with no thumbnail images and no titles. They wouldn’t know what video they had clicked on until it started playing. 

Whenever we seek help from Amazon on any of these issues, their responses are invariably unhelpful, meaningless, and usually show that the operative hasn’t even read our query.

There have been so many other types of rug-pullers enabled by Amazon’s unrepentant policy of zero-accountability. Unfortunately, it would take a book in itself to list them all.

Writers put their hearts, souls, and years of their lives into their books, and that’s before going to the expense of cover design and marketing. But writing has become a no-win venture. Positive reviews are essential for promotion, but if we get them, Amazon will take them away. The abusive treatment this cruel, totalitarian monster inflicts upon us has rendered it a futile proposition, for which enormous monetary losses will be on the horizon.

In retrospect, this was always destined to be the case, since, in Jeff Bezos’ own words: "Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle."

~~~



Wow! I've always supported Whistle Blowers!!! Even in these days when they can be fired under an incompetent administration...

However, for as long as I've been reviewing at Amazon, I have tried over and over to have them differentiate books from any other product! Instead, placing them within an entire spectrum of products has resulted in...the above... Ultimately, the value of the work of the creator of a book has become of less value than any movie that might have evolved from that original BOOK!

So...I ask is the above true? Is the Insider right? Can you provide examples, affirmations, or other comments? 

All can remain anonymous... They can be left as a comment on my blog... or sent to me at GABixlerReviews@aol.com... No names will ever be used, although I would appreciate knowing sources if you trust me enough...

IS IT TIME FOR WRITERS TO BECOME WHISTLE BLOWERS ON AMAZON?

Saturday, September 26, 2020

TAKING LIFE - BY AUTHOR ROD RHIMES!

 


Michael paused from his efforts to unwrap the bundle. "Yes. Rare traits in anyone," he said thoughtfully. As though peeling off the concentric leaves of an onion bulb made of delicate crystal, Michael carefully removed the layered batting and packing paper from around the object. From the center of the folded back peels of tissue and padding, he removed a beautiful antique clock. Hand painted roman numerals adorned the clock face. The case was made of glass panels on the top and sides supported by brass struts in the corners. The thick glass panels had a greenish tint, but were perfectly clear. The mechanical workings of the clock were visible behind the glass. Michael wound the clock. A tiny three-ball regulator began to spin behind one of the glass panels. 

"Wow, what a lovely clock." Trudy looked closer, admiring the antique. "Just look at the workmanship." Michael tenderly placed the clock on a shelf attached to one of the living room walls as a sort of short mantel. "Yes," he said. "It plays a little music at midnight too." He advanced the clock's hands to demonstrate. The clock began to play an exquisite musical phrase. "It's from the nineteenth century," Michael explained. "The music is from a waltz by Chopin." 

"It's really beautiful. I've never heard that tune before." "Some old friends of mine run an antique shop in Sausalito. They knew I would be interested in it once I heard it play, so they put it aside for me a few weeks ago." Trudy watched Michael's face as he continued listening to the little clock play its music. He was smiling, but she noticed there was also a hint of melancholy in his expression. His eyes focused off in the distance as though he was gazing down a tunnel stretching far into the past. The music finished playing, and Michael returned to the present. 

"Sorry," he said, self-consciously, "that tune takes me back to another time." 

"I completely understand. There are certain songs that remind of a place, or a season, or a special moment in my life too."

~~~




She had come into his life like a whirlwind--a beauty that reminded him somewhat of a woman he had loved so many years ago. It had been so long since... he'd been married...

Michael awoke, having another dream of his past life, a dream that reminded him once again just how long he had lived...He could still feel the sword as he plunged it in to his enemy...

This man would have easily lived for at least another two decades had he not been so unlucky as to have encountered me in battle, Michael thought. Michael took a deep breath as he prepared to draw the life force out of the man and into himself. He tightened his grasp on the man's neck and pressed the man harder against the tree to reduce the possibility of any potential commotion. Then he began. He felt the life energy transfer into him like a yellowish-blue light, rejuvenating him, strengthening him. The man's time line continued to shrink end-wise approaching the present as though watching liquid drain through a bottom spigot in a clear glass cistern. Sensing something terribly wrong was happening to him, the man reacted violently by flailing about as best he could. However, escape was impossible...

~~~

Centuries had gone by. Michael was able to adjust to keep him looking around the right age in any given time or place. He was now a nurse at a hospital and had been able to help many terminal patients. An older lady for whom he had cared and gotten to know had just died. He normally needed time to adjust to what she'd asked him to do...and move on... He had made it home, but some letter had been placed under his door and he caught and slid and fell.  Thinking it was from a building manager, he got up and went on to fall into bed after a very long day...

But the envelope revealed a different type of note: "I know your secret. I will contact you again. Show this to no one." Shit, Michael had thought, can't anyone around here write a decent haiku?"

For somebody who had lived as long as he had...and had to be constantly on guard, finding the typed letter was more an annoyance than concern, even taking the time to dwell on its being a very poor haiku... I found myself chuckling at this as the writer throws in comments that the reader can smile and enjoy throughout the book...

Especially when Trudy came into his life... A figure had been watching him and possibly even stalking him--maybe a hunchback or bent over man... Actually, Trudy was indeed following him, had textbooks in her backpack and finally had the opportunity to introduce herself as a history student...loving history was why she had begun working on her thesis...and the books were part of that burden.

Except she had noticed something...there were pictures of men in various wars that appeared to be Michael. Actually though, she had been very hungry and had fainted...and Michael had rescued her and took her to his apartment. Well, readers will enjoy how the two manage to get together through the rest of the book... An enjoyable romp that ensures readers get the opportunity to learn more about Michael's earlier lives and how he became immortal...

It's definitely a strange, but wonderful romance...But the more thrilling part was that letter and the fact that a killer was roaming through the halls of the hospital, somehow killing them by creating an embolism in their brains... Obviously, suspicion soon included medical staff, and Michael was one of those who had also caught attention because of his patients dying... Of course, the police recognized that he was assigned to terminally ill patients, but...still...

I enjoyed all of the characters that were uniquely drawn by author Rod Rhimes. Among my favorites are Trudy and the police inspector. The description for the hair of one of the villains is a fun caricature of a balding man, while the goddess of the river and her horse brings a touch of fantasy that is positively brilliant.

This is Rhimes' first book...and could possibly be leading to a series. If not, this first novel is well worth your time. The premise is exciting, including a bit of intrigue about there being more than one kind of immortal! Fascinating! And highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews


Rod Rhimes is a long time human being and debutante writer. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Rod spent over 20 years living in the San Francisco Bay area. "Taking Life" is Rod's first novel.

Great news! "Taking Life" was awarded Indie Book of the Day! I am humbled by the honor.


You may follow Rod on:

Twitter: @rodrhimes
Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7514660.Rod_Rhimes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Rod-Rhimes

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ARE YOU READY TO OPEN YOUR GIFTS FROM GOD By Patricia M. Goins

BONDAGE

Burnout, misery, depression, and strife.
I’m tired of being unhappy, I want
change in my life.
Slavery, addictions, burdens, and pain.
Different words that all mean the same
thing.
No peace, no joy, no happiness, no love.
I’m tired of being in bondage.
I want to be set free.
Lord please come and rescue me!
 - Patricia M. Goins




The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. 
Isaiah 61:1






It wasn’t until I was at the end of my rope that I started praying to God and asking Him to help me. It was around this time that a friend invited me to go to church on New Years Eve. 
I had never spent New Years Eve in a church. In the past, it was a tradition to go to a club with my friends and get wasted on alcohol and marijuana on New Years Eve. Looking back, I now realize that it was the best decision I ever made. When you reach a cross road in your life and you feel a strong desire for change, this is God speaking to your spirit. He is the only one who can put you back on the right path toward your true destiny and purpose in this life.

>>>>>




I wasn't planning on using the above Video, but, perhaps, God led me to see it out of the corner of my eye... In today's world, we need to pursue every way in which Black Lives may be enhanced, don't you think? Today, I posted on Facebook about Louisville, Kentucky's great negotiations to improve the police relations in that city, as a response to the murder of Breona Taylor... Yes, there was money...but all of the issues identified for which changes were to be made were. to the nation, much more important...I hope the actions in Kentucky will spread across the nation.

As a reviewer, I have met and read books from all races, many of them Black writers. I haven't found one that was not well worth my time. More importantly, having made friends with these writers, and seeing their posts routinely, I began to see something that was prevalent in most of their lives that wasn't necessarily in White lives... The importance of God and Family... I wonder if our white ancestors had been enslaved and brought over to America in chains as slaves, how different America might be right now... The time, I believe is now to move forward, like never before...and make Good Trouble!

<<<<<<<<<


Patricia Goins has presented us with an excellent, short, question book. Are You Ready to Open Your Gifts From God? Well, I always like to think I am. But I have to admit there was at least one gift that is available to me that I have sometimes been unable to open... Perhaps that is the same way for you? I sure hope so--I hate to be alone in this...

Goins starts out with a short overview of her personal life, including becoming a nurse, right out of the military. Perhaps it was "good money" as her family noted often, but, Patricia was just not happy... Her past may be different, or it may be somewhat like yours...No matter, because she has taken each of those important gifts and shares with us as if we were in a one-on-one conversation. You know, like with a friend, she wrote..."Are You Ready?" And then each chapter brings on another question... or a statement: "God Wants to Show you the Way."


Several poetic verses begins the section (such as "Bondage" above, which sets up the reader on the specific topic to be covered next. The gifts are not new, forgiveness, love... but the narrative on each one provides a thoughtful review of these words, from God's standpoint... 

I was blessed by this short book and know you will be too. In this time of turmoil, this book helped me to calmly consider...and reconsider...what gift I might not have opened during this chaotic time.  Check it out... I highly recommended.


GABixlerReviews




Monday, September 14, 2020

Linda Prather's Latest Novel, Would You Die For Her? Extraordinary Surprise Climax!


Desperate to block out the screams in the distance, I covered my ears and closed my eyes. “Please, God, please make him stop.” 
I’d never believed in prayer, but the screams stopped, or at least I couldn’t hear them anymore. 
“See what happens when you make me angry, Dakota?” I hadn’t heard him come in. I kept my eyes closed as I huddled in the far corner of the cage. 
A key clicked in the lock. His footsteps approached. “Look at me!” He grabbed my chin, forcing me to look at his blood-soaked clothes. 
“She suffered your pain.” He squeezed harder. 
“Say, ‘Thank you, Christian.’” 
Another part of my soul died as her blood dripped from my chin. “Thank you, Christian.”
~~~


“I’d like a minute alone with them.”
Though I’d expected the answer to be no, Wagner nodded. “I’ll wait out here. Let me know if you need anything.” 
I entered the familiar room. Look at it as a detective. That was easier said than done. My gaze fell on the music box I’d played with as a little girl while Mrs. Dickson cleaned.
I walked to the dresser and lifted the lid. The small ballerina sprang to life, pivoting and twisting to the sounds of “Waltz of the Butterfly.” Closing the lid, I focused on the walls. 
Bethany had spent some time in the room after killing them. She’d written Broken on every wall three times. I moved closer to study the writing. I needed to ask if the photographer had taken pictures of it. 
Tears filled my eyes when I forced myself to look at the sheet-covered bodies on the four-poster bed. Blood had dripped from the mattress, forming a pool on the floor. She had to stab them more than once. I closed my eyes, looking for the strength to pull back the sheet.
“Dakota Renae Dale, don’t you dare!”
~~~

How do you write a review for a book that, literally, left you in shock? You immediately ask, was that the only way for the author to end the book? Yet, no matter what I explored in my mind, no other ending would suffice. This book does not have a happy ending...yet...it does! That's what makes it so sensational. Readers might have been looking for such an ending, but not really expecting it to actually happen... 

The ending itself was extraordinary...and satisfying... No, I'm not saying two different things. I am merely allowing my own feelings to flow into this review of the latest novel by one of my favorite authors, Linda Prather. As I think back to her very first book which I read and reviewed, I cannot but be proud of how much she has advanced in the ranks of important authors. Her plotting is fascinating and delightfully twisting, yet her continuity allows the reader to sink into being mesmerized by her amazing villain. Words cannot be found to express just how much I came to hate this man! Psychologically dismaying as readers learn more and more, pages turning,  sympathy and anger merging as each action makes you cringe. Yet, wonder how in the world...and when...is this freak going to die?!

Even the love story was unique with both individuals having been affected by the villain and yet, slowly finding themselves drawn toward the other, even as both fought their feelings... The sacrifice of both involved makes a powerful impact on readers that surpasses that of Love Story as it told of death within a relationship!

I find I don't want to go into the story per se. The book, for me, is character driven and brought together in such a unique way, as they become victims of a horrible psychopath. Anything covered by a review could hint at what will be happening in an ongoing story that is fascinating, disgusting, horrible, and intriguing. I would not have wanted to miss this book, nor will I not remember it because of the plot. It is, for me, one of the best psychological suspense thrillers that I've read in years... Prather has surpassed anything else I've read from her and promises to just keep getting better and better as she has reached consistent great writing with a creative genius that surpasses many...

Read this Book!


GABixlerReviews


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Linda S. Prather, was born in Kentucky in 1955. She currently live in Lexington, Kentucky with my fiancé, Coby W. Fuson. She has two wonderful sons, Charles and Steven.

I have always loved reading and writing. And although perhaps not a great literary work, I loved and was inspired by Old Yeller. The characters in that book were real to me. When I started writing, it was my greatest desire to write characters that readers could love and hate, laugh and cry with.
Knowledge was another love. I wanted to learn about everything. I studied metaphysics; delving into touch healing, dream analysis, meditation, and hypnosis. I received my associate's degree in metaphysics in 1992 and continued from there to become a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. I spent several years studying the effects of hypnosis on cancer and pain. I taught meditation, dream analysis and self-hypnosis through Eastern Kentucky University's Special Programs for four years. The power of the mind has always fascinated me. I've recently become a paranormal investigator, and love old houses that go bump in the night.

The Gifts and coming soon Sacred Secrets are a combination of my love of mystery, metaphysics and the paranormal.

Friday, September 11, 2020

OPERATION AMETHYST By Leesa Wright! Have Fun!



“She’s a world-renowned, beloved, prima ballerina, currently performing with the South Vietnamese Royal Ballet in Huế City. The Vietnamese have a name for her, dansseur que pleure. The dancer who weeps.”


“The globe was from my father after my first performance of Romeo and Juliet, my favorite ballet.” Tears ran down her face. “How did you know to bring these to me? All three of these are my most treasured belongings. Thank you so much.”
“I don’t know, something just told me they were important.” Elijah pushed her back down, kissing the tears off her face and showering her lips with soft kisses. “No more tears, brat." 


She had come from a closed world of Dance--the Prima Ballerina in South Vietnam, where her father was Ambassador. Her mother had died many years ago so that she had early become being on her own, an independent girl and then a young lady who had spent her life...studying...
It was during the Vietnam War and talks on peace had begun... It was then that the enemy set their sight on that prima ballerina and, suddenly, Elyse Booker's life was in danger, unbeknownst to her... She had been forced to leave Saigon, taking luggage with her, but sending most of her clothes in a large trunk. Her ride was a helicopter... 

Which was being fired upon as they left South Vietnam... Elyse was in fear of her life as the 'copter caught on fire and went out of control over the jungle... Finally, one of the men managed to kick her out, as in seconds the entire crew and 'copter exploded...

Elyse Booker* had been dancing since she was very young, but she had also studied languages, musical instruments, and was very well-read. Still, nothing had prepared her for the bugs, snakes, jungle animals, and the North Vietnase following her! She ran for hours, fought a monkey in the tree she climbed with her strong legs for a banana, only to stumble and fall, hiding when she heard the sound of men coming... When she came to a village, speaking with the elder of the village in his language, she asked for water...and then was hidden from the soldiers who followed her...

She played back the last telephone conversation with her father in her mind, the argument that ensued as he told her to notify the South Vietnamese Royal Ballet of an emergency at home, pack all of her things as a chopper was already on the way to pick her up from the American compound where she lived in Huế City. Daddy, Why? Why do I need to come home? Whats going on? Elyse, please dont argue with me. There is no time to explain. I need you home as soon as possible. I have responsibilities here. I have two performances next week. Im sorry, you need to do as I say.” “Why are you always ordering me about? I’m a grown woman.” The call was breaking up, and soon, all she heard was the crackle of static on the line. “You’re,” more static, “danger,” then the dial tone as the call disconnected.

Staring down into beautiful amethyst eyes, the Captain had to scuffle with her, holding his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming--the Viet Cong was very near! Seeing the man above her, she hold quietly for quite some time, then in a rage, she erupted--only for both of them to notice that her breasts were bare. The Captain immediately handed her his shirt...

Thus began the strangest rescue message ever! A radio message was sent in to camp and they discovered that they had been hunting for her--that her helicopter had been destroyed--and that they were to immediately return bring her back to Khe Sahn!

Where Captain Corrington (Cap) and his small team was to speak to the Commandant... And was told his team was on guard duty until they could get Elyse some place safe. Cap was NOT happy... 

Elyse soon realized that she was surrounded by marines and felt safer. But did they have to have all dropped their mouths when they softly whistled and looked every inch of her over, not once...but... She quickly put that to a stop! Sorta... She had been around men all of her life and she had become friendly and caring. Soon that small team were like brothers--except Cap... 

They started moving keeping her near the end...as they arrived at a small stream and Elyse decided she didn't want to get wet...

Another grueling day behind them brought them closer to their target. Athlete that she was, Elyse struggled to keep up with the men’s fast pace. When they came across a small, fast-moving stream, they crossed it single file. The first three men along with the Captain had entered the stream. The water appeared to be chest deep and fast moving. 
Elyse contemplated the stream. She didn’t want to get wet with nightfall fast approaching. It’s not that wide. I’m a ballerina, I can make it. 
Elyse backed up and took a running, graceful, leap straight over the heads of the men in the stream. All four looked up to see legs sailing overhead. Elyse landed on the far bank, and with a grin on her face, turned to look at the men in the stream. 
Shock and admiration shown on their faces. All except the Captain. 
“Elyse, don’t move, stay where you are.” 
Elyse backed up, turned, and walked into the nearby clearing and sat down on the grass. It felt cool and refreshing. She longed to rest her cheek on it. 
Elijah saw red as he pushed his way past the men in the steam and climbed the embankment of the stream. Marching into the clearing, he could barely contain his anger as he strode over to her and hauled her to her feet. “You little fool. Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again.” He shook her like a rag doll. 
Elyse pulled away. “What is your problem? I did not want to get wet, so I jumped the stream. No big deal.” 
“It’s not the jump,” Elijah said. “It’s the landing. The far bank could have been booby trapped. This clearing could have been booby trapped or worse. I told you not to move, and you disobeyed my orders and walked in here, anyway. You will start doing as you are told from this moment forward.” 
“I don’t take orders, Captain,” Elyse retorted. 
Elijah grabbed her arm and pulled her back against him hard. He grabbed her by the back of her hair and forced her to look up into his eyes. “You will do as you are told without question. I know how to deal with spoiled brats.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Elyse spat back at him. 
“Keep testing my patience, Elyse, and I’ll show you what I dare.”
!!!







No matter where they moved, those who meant her harm would find her. She was under constant guard, except when she rebelled and escaped! You see, her guard team were under orders to not tell her she had a bounty on her head. And, in my opinion, that allowed all of the "adventures" she got into throughout the book... Of course, if that hadn't been the orders for the marines, the book would not have been so much fun! Did I include that she got into a tank, accidentally started it and wound up destroying everything in her path until going into the swimming pool?! 

The tension between Elyse and Cap grew as each realized that their attraction to each other was part of the conflict. Cap knew it was a bad idea to get involved. Elyse only knew one thing--she was falling, hard, for him. On the other hand, wherever Elyse went, she made friends with all the soldiers and soon became known well enough that talk of her traveled from one camp to another--and she was dancing all the way!  A problem because the enemy would hear and be able to pinpoint where she was. So Cap decided to contact other camps to have "fake Elyse dancers" working to help detract from the real one.  Got to say, this reader was totally enjoying what was done to protect her--especially, when she actually saw one of the "Elyses" and realized that a nude dancer with a red wig was taking her place. Wow! Talk about a temper!

I could go on talking about this book! Needless to say, if you are looking for an escape from reality, yet a fun alternative reality within the armed forces...you've just got to check this one out.  It gets a little steamy, but anybody late teens and above can thoroughly enjoy Operation Amethyst!


GABixlerReviews



Leesa makes her home in Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota with her husband and their two dogs Rosie and Jax.

When she isn't writing, she enjoys gardening, painting, and reading romance novels. She and her husband also enjoy movies, traveling, and entertaining their two grown children, along with their spouses, and seven beautiful grandchildren.
Leesa's favorite romance authors are Kathleen Woodwiss, Christine Feehan, and Johanna Lindsey.
The book's inspiration came one night from a dream about the characters, a song, and the story around them.
 


*Pic of Elyse was selected from female models on the Internet.