Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Review: Sudden Threat Outstanding Alternative History Thriller!

Sudden Threat
By A. J. Tata
Variance Publishing
ISBN: 9781935142034
402 Pages

When a professional in any field is also an excellent writer, the result is an outstanding novel! Sudden Threat by Army Brigadier General A. J. Tata is evidence of that statement and certainly, in my opinion, a must-read for thriller fans!

Sudden Threat presents an alternative history story with timely relevance. “Prime Minister Mizuzawa had chosen the proper course for his native land...Japan could not let a few radical Muslims divert the world’s attention away from what really mattered...it was a matter of national survival!” (p. 18, 23) Takishi was his choice to help him rule a new Japan; and as a major partner in “The Rolling Stones,” they were in the best position to take advantage of the 9-11 window of opportunity!

Fortunately, Takishi had friends in major positions in the United States government who did not agree that an attack against Saddam Hussein, his country and other surrounding countries was the right direction for America. The solution: create a “sudden threat” against America from an entirely different direction—somewhere where a small war could be encouraged which would force a delay for action

Matt Garrett and his brother Zachary are the two main characters. While Zachary served in the service, Matt had been the CIA designated “hunter” for Osama bin Laden. Matt had already become suspicious, wondering why, when he was close to capturing one or more Al Qaeda members, he would suddenly be transferred somewhere else, on some pretext that his new assignment was much more important. Fortunately, he began to document his concerns, for when he is captured, his records become a major contribution in the later spunky and informative briefing presented to the president by Meredith Morris, the primary female character and the major person to research, analyze, and effectively present what apparently was happening.

The addictive hunger for power, found in every country, every nation, nearly always results in tragic events. Tata shows it better than any other author I’ve read! Nobody can trust these individuals, not lovers, not authorities, not entire populations! Tata takes us directly into the throes of a group of these evil men, who call themselves, The Rolling Stones” as they strive for “satisfaction,” individual power, no matter the cost!

Tata also brings a far more realistic approach to war scenes as well, sharing not only the action, but also the personal feelings of the individuals. One particular man, a good and honorable Japanese man who came to fight along with the Americans is one of the excellent scenarios that illustrates different race issues are really not the cause for wars, without someone, somewhere, thirsting for individual power!

As if you needed another reason to buy and read Sudden Threat, consider the fact that BG Tata is donating all of the proceeds to the USO Metro DC Hospital Services Fund for Wounded Warriors! Cool, right?

Needless to say, I think Sudden Threat is a fantastic read. Additionally, I have been fortunate to have already read Rogue Threat, Tata’s next book, so I can assure you that you need to add General A. J. Tata to your must-read author list! “Hooah!”

G. A. Bixler

Author's Note: Click on title of Review to check out Tata's web site. He's added a "Readers Operation Center" to ask questions about his novels...I think this is a great idea! Don't you?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Evolution and Evolvement

On Evolution and Evolvement

By Adolph Caso

I say that life is everywhere on earth, and its derivatives—life-forms or living-forms--are only where creation is possible. There are very few life-forms in the desert but many more in the jungle, because these live-forms evolve to complete themselves through preordained cycles mandated and controlled through their DNA (deoxyribo nucleic acid), with little if any spillage from one life-form to another or from one species to another. The reason for so little spillage has to do with the fact that these life-forms, in their distinctive creation and subsequent evolvement, employ specific types of pre-programmed elimination processes of their own, and it matters little that they may be aquatic or terrestrial, sequoias or homo sapiens.

Think of a male’s ejaculation with only an exiguous percentage of the sperms taking hold while millions and millions are lost or destroyed! Other ways of achieving similar results are through selective procreation or coitus. The Neanderthal did not beget humans regardless of the many missing links found before and after paleontology became a science, and the fact remains that tigers did not then nor do they now have intercourse with leopards. Male rats may rape female guinea pigs and not produce pregnancies. Males on males do not produce progeny, and hermaphrodites are governed by their own laws. Indeed, sperm compatibility’s role controls the birth and the evolvement of living-forms which continue to develop into their various shapes according to how they are impacted by other environmental constructs, including rejection. Weak cubs quickly become prey. Pollination is also governed by similar prescriptive patterns and laws. There is interaction in living-forms but no overlapping, and taxonomists like Aristotle, Linnaeus, Cesalpino, Darwin, Lamarck and many more modern ones, only discover, classify and reclassify living-forms and have been successful in doing only that. Drawing conclusions is a different story, and one can say that Aristotle was right for more than two thousand years and Darwin continues to be right to the present day.

Whereas the biological world cannot exist without chemistry, chemistry stands alone and generates life-forms with the help of conduits such as water. Water dissolves, breaks down and spreads whatever it comes in contact with. Life, therefore, is chemistry (or energy) with the potential of generating life-forms by chance or according to how, where, and when the various parts of chemistry are distributed, re-distributed, or manipulated. Each generated life-form, singly or collectively, has its own span and range of termination and no form ceases by generating another form, including parasites. In cases where this may happen, it is the result of abnormalities doomed to termination or elimination without procreation possibilities or potentialities, i.e. the octopus man, mules, etc.

Mine is a theory of evolvement as opposed to evolution; the former is what we really say when we talk about evolution. We confuse the two because we do not understand the fundamental difference between them. Evolution is a noun without a verb antecedent and is man-made. Evolvement is also a noun but with a verb antecedent and is not man-made. It has been invented as a theory to describe or classify natural processes that may be more complex to the experts than to novices. Evolution was invented and established as a science due to a human need to explain and make sense of things that are incomprehensible, which is what religion does best in its truest form.

We call it evolution because we have not drawn clear distinctions between them much as we have done between life and life or living-forms which are distinct. Man is not a derivate of some other life-form. Monkeys are not derivatives of some other life-forms. Humans are neither derivates of Neanderthal nor of chimps and neither morphed into homo sapiens. When life-forms become extinct, for whatever reason, they stay extinct, and other myriad life-forms miraculously continue to spring up, seemingly without rhyme or reason. This is where God comes in, not to explain Himself through the miracles of Jesus, but to reveal that these living forms cannot be without plan or purpose, and we may never really know that plan or purpose. In view of creation’s enormity, God becomes bigger than we can otherwise conceive and experience.

Because of life (chemistry or energy), living-forms surely are generated in other heavenly bodies throughout the universe depending on the singular amenities present at given times. In their controlled laboratories, human beings continue to create, replicate and duplicate life-forms ad infinitum, and they do it through chemistry. Without it there would be no biology which is represented by living-forms with their variants such as those of human beings. In nature, there’s only creation and evolvement with neither having duplication or replication capabilities, which is done in laboratories—in nature no two snow flakes are alike but in the laboratory, two or more flakes can be alike, much as two cars, and herein lies the role of intelligent design or creationism, which has to do more with man-made evolution than with creation. Darwin continues to have it right: "Generally the term [species] includes the unknown element of a distinct act of creation."

Life came with the earth when the earth formed, in the same way that life goes to other similar bodies that are formed, transformed or destroyed. With the arrival of water and the subsequent settlement of the earth’s surface over periods of time, life-forms appeared and quickly began to implement their designated non-laboratory controlled DNA cycles by evolving, propagating, and dying—first singly and then collectively. That process has never changed, even after discovering that a recently-discovered skull is more than “approximately seven million years old” when it was an integral part of a living-form. Therefore, the following questions may be appropriate:

When, where or how did its generative-determinant sperms emerge from chemistry and evolve through biology into that specific living-form with its particular behavioral patterns?

How long did it last as a chemical-biological species?

And, how and why did it become extinct?

And, did life-forms begin with the formation of our planet earth?

And, is this the time to refer ourselves to God?


Author Adolph Caso, in addition to being Publisher of BrandenBooks, also teaches and serves on the Board of Dante University (Click title for link to Dante University!).

Friday, February 20, 2009

And It All Started With Three Little Seeds!

By William Gallaty
A WAD Productions Book
ISBN: 1440468001
270 Pages

I was thoroughly enjoying the action and adventure! And, if William Gallaty, author of Bloom, had not added that last twist—that last surprise, I would have still been happy having read it. But when he did...he added the realism that made it more believable and thus more memorable—more...unsettling and chilling! And it all started with three tiny seeds!

Although defeated, Hitler had initiated many hateful activities. One of them was to commission scientists to find a way to murder and eliminate all peoples of a given nation! The method to be used was to create food products that would ultimately destroy the people who consumed them! The seeds were never used during the war; however, once over, a certain scientist saw a way to make his own fortune and he sold three seeds to another group who hated, who wished to eliminate entire nations. But to do this, it would require someone who would become a traitor to his own people, so that the food would be grown and accepted where it was needed. Unfortunately, that was not hard to do! From those seeds, a multinational company, Manna, was created from which nearly all food products were bought and used, with notable exceptions...

Years have gone by and Collette Dubois, a doctor working in Africa, and in communication with another friend in India, have begun to realize the high morality rate for infants. As individuals start talking and conducting research, they are more and more convinced that the problem could very well be with the food that the countries’ populations and their animals are consuming. Indeed, Collette is one of the first to put it in words, “she had been party to what might be considered a long-term form of genocide.” (p. 65)

Interestingly, the author chooses an investment firm executive to be one of the leading characters rather than, say, a scientist. It’s not surprising, because the money angle definitely was one of the leading factors leading to the catastrophe; however, in my opinion, by choosing the financial leader, it allowed an entirely different scenario to be developed and explored—a potent angle that proved to be exciting and unique. For Brad Sanders realized that he had to potentially go against one of his major account owners, while at the same time, he had to consider the potential market losses of other major clients.

There are sufficient terrorist “hits” of all those attempting to verify and announce what has been happening to provide great action and suspense! However, I must say that the overall storyline, frankly, was “scary,” and perhaps more horrific because of the realism! Gallaty added to this feeling by adding quotes by Hitler, religious books and politicians at the beginning of each chapter so that readers are forced back out of the story to realize that there are, indeed, actual people and events that daily erupt across the world in acts of terrorism.

Readers, take the time to fictionally delve into today’s reality: “All they needed was a starving world searching for a way to cure hunger...” (p. 256). For many reasons other than that I enjoyed this book, I have to consider it a “must read!” Well-written!

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviews

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Harbor NOT to My Liking...

By Lorraine Adams
Vintage Books
ISBN: 1400076889
292 Pages

Harbor is one of those books that you either love or hate. The New York Times Book Review said, “Captivating...Intricately plotted and beautifully written...A remarkable act of artistic empathy.”

I would agree that Harbor is wonderfully written and kudos must go to Lorraine Adams. It is her skills alone that provided a reason to keep reading, for as long as I could. I even violated my own principle and went to read the last chapter, but found nothing there that changed my opinion.

For, you see, I have to admit that I could not, as I usually would for a professional review, bypass my personal feelings—my responses to the book. While empathic, I could not find the sympathy sought in having young men leave a country in which they feared their life, only to come to America and lie, cheat, steal and murder. In my opinion, the problem with this kind of story is that it promulgates negative feelings rather than the potential positive ones that, perhaps, were expected.

Additionally, in this book and at least one other I have read, there are implications about American women, which, if stated sufficient times, only promulgates these perceptions.
Heather, for instance, is characterized as being seen by the men as someone who is a whore, and even is beaten by one of the men living in the apartment. Whether there is indeed a romantic relationship between Heather and one of the men, the author's overall description and treatment of Heather is the more telling characterization.

In fact, the concept of all women being readily available for sex and money is clearly stated:

There were the women, who, even if they were the lowest-paid of the lowest, made more than anyone in Algeria. They could be bedded and lived off, and during the day, when at work, there were other women and other things.” (p. 154)


...with his head still bowed, he looked upward and met her eyes, just the moment that was needed. He saw the shift in her instantly. She was susceptible to him... (p. 150)

“You have a woman?”...
“Free Boston ...[women] makes you forget Allah real quick.”
“Free. That is the thing. Free.” (p. 133)

Indeed Adams has correctly empathized...but do we really want to create this image as globally American! I for one do not find it beneficial. And resulted in totally pulling me out of her storyline!

I recognize that this is more an essay than a review. Actually, I really didn’t like the book, even without the issue that caused me to “hate” it. The book is hard to follow, it moves from site to site, but there is little to pull readers in after you realize that the men are just criminals from another country rather than from America. And even the main character, Aziz lies about his identity and gets a fellow countryman murdered. Sorry, I wouldn’t recommend this book except as a resource for any historical events which may be of interest to readers. It is well-written.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guest Poetist - Devitta R. Jones

I am so happy to share with you two poems by a young 16-year-old friend of mine who I met at Authors Den (click the title to go to her site). She has graciously allowed me to share the following two poems which I especially liked!

For Him I Shall Dance

I shall dance...
To dance
is to give my all unto the Lord
But when I dance
I give all and more
when I dance it's just him and I
no other friends
no one implied
to dance
is to show my faith in the Lord
for He is King
the father of all land
and for Him I shall dance.

Giver Unto My Life

You're the provider
The healer
The giver unto my life
For what you give
I shall give 10% plus more
For you have provided and will provide
All the things that I need
For all I have to do
Is call upon your name
for you said
I was the head
and not the tail
you said you placed me above
and not beneath
for you are the provider
and surly the giver
unto my life

Responsive Poetry - Your Poet Is Thomas Kemp...And Me

Were You Wounded Too?

Not to far from here resting on solid rock,
an old faded red covered bridge of wood and tin.
Open top, horse drawn buggies caught in a storm
would race there for protection when rain and wind
blew at the top of trees.
Here was the safe place for protection.
When it was built, people wanted a place safe and warm.
But, where does the heart go to stop the hurt,
after torn like white bed sheets to dress the wounded?
Where do the eyes look again for warmth
after you walk away from muddy love?
I am glad we found each other.

Copyright ©2009 Thomas T. Kemp

Wounded too Many Times to Count...

Standing at the kitchen door,
Looking at the desolation of winter.
Old brown leaves clumped from the wet
Covering nearly every bed which had bloomed.
Will I get them cleaned out
Before new growth springs green again?
Alone here in the warm cabin
Only cats and kittens keep me company.
My heart is empty, void of feeling, of love.
Nowhere to go, nobody to share with--
Will I ever look into eyes filled with love?
Wounded too many times to look?
Will spring bring a time to see you again?
G.A. Bixler, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honor Due Won Award - Honor Defended Now Available!

Honor Due
By David H. Brown

Military Writers 2008 Award

In a suspenseful, sometimes-funny first book in his Citizen Warrior Series, DAVID H. BROWN, in But the Major found he was no longer alone in his war. Not only did neighbors prove to be trustworthy, but Blon, too, sought revenge. And, as she watched the Major and had to depend upon him for her life, she sought, too, to fill the empty place in his heart that had long been empty. As the Major follows the clues and tracks the men responsible, still he searches for the reason, the “why” this was happening. What he ultimately discovers surprises him…as well as the readers!

Look for this suspense-packed first book soon. The Major is already on to something new in HONOR DEFENDED. You won’t want to miss the Citizen Warrior Series!

HONOR DUE, has won a prime location on my bookshelf as a must-read author. I have found that I really enjoy books written in first person. Although the majority of publishers require third person in fiction writing, I think first person allows a much more personal feeling for the reader. It is as if the main character, the Major, is sitting right across the table and telling you his story—once in a while tossing in a joke or a “smart-ass” remark or action that enables you to thoroughly enjoy meeting the character. The reader is privy to his internal dialogue, his thoughts, conversations with his dog, and even his arguments with God. Bringing in the special care that he must take as a diabetic, even during traumatic times, makes the storyline even more realistic. I think you’ll grow to love the sensitive, loving, and protective man that lies within the Major’s gruff and gritty exterior.

The Major is “an ex-special forces vet whose years in ‘Nam taught him what he needed to know to work as a covert agent for the shadow branches of the government when he returned home.” Continuing from the book description, “in the 90's he realized his bosses weren't taking terrorism seriously. Finally, a diabetic and completely tired of the life, he'd had enough of the killing, and one day he simply walked into the Pacific Northwest rainforest and lost himself”(page 2).
Having done reviews on two other books by former Vietnam veterans, (The Road from Here to Where You Stay and the Negligence of Death*) I have found a haunting spirit that surrounds those veterans and their stories about the Vietnam era. They sadden me, and yet pull me in to share what proves to be intimate parts of their lives. I am always grateful for that experience. Perhaps it is because I wrote to a friend who was in that war and he would never talk about what was happening there. Indeed, there are many veterans who cannot talk about their Vietnam service time. In a way, because of the controversies over the war and the unwillingness for involved soldiers to share their experiences, there is a certain mystique that seems to have developed. As a lover of mysteries, perhaps that is why I am continuously enthralled by those novels I find that are written by veterans of this puzzling war.

No matter the reason—veterans of Vietnam never quite give up their warrior persona. The Major didn’t and when he arrived in the rainforest he’d brought all of his skills and talents, as well as his memories. Deep inside he knew that even though he’d had enough of the killing and he was now a civilian, he knew also that he would still always be a warrior and would be prepared whenever he was forced to again play that role.

It was a good thing that he’d prepared.

When the stranger showed up, asking questions, carrying his picture from his service days, instinct immediately told the Major there was trouble coming. He didn’t know why yet, but his instinct told him—he would have to kill that stranger. So he did.

Many of the Major’s war memories surrounded his wife and child and her Montagnard family. Though his wife and child had been killed, he had worked to bring her family to the United States. Indeed he had met his wife through one of his warrior brothers, Ang. Now, as he followed the trail that the stranger had taken, he found that brother, to be tortured, dead.

But he also found evidence that someone had escaped—perhaps Ang’s wife? The Major had to find out.

One of my favorite characters is Black Dog—truly the Major’s best friend. As the Major tracked through the rainforest, it was Black Dog who discovered the hiding place, and would not leave it, until Blon, Ang’s daughter, had been found, nearly frozen, nearly dead.

As he doctored and nursed Blon back to health, the Major had plenty of time to think—why was this happening now and who was behind it? Considering those with whom he had worked years ago, he was able to realize one thing quickly. The stranger that had been sent and who murdered Ang was really another victim—he had been sent to his death, as surely as he had died. He had become a victim of war and for that he had honor due him. The Major would see that honor was given to both of his warrior brothers—Ang and the stranger!

But the Major found he was no longer alone in his war. Not only did neighbors prove to be trustworthy, but Blon, too, sought revenge. And, as she watched the Major and had to depend upon him for her life, she sought, too, to fill the empty place in his heart that had long been empty.

As the Major follows the clues and tracks the men responsible, still he searches for the reason, the “why” this was happening. What he ultimately discovers surprises him…as well as the readers!

Look for this suspense-packed first book and HONOR DEFENDED which was just published You won’t want to miss the Citizen Warrior Series!

Lifeguard - Free - Claim It!

Free - Lifeguard

by James Petterson & Andrew Gross

Claim if via Comment! First Come First Served!

Working as a lifeguard in a posh Florida resort, Ned Kelley finds the woman of his dreams. The only thing he needs is money. So when his friends offer to cut him into a deal that promises $1,000,000 each, how can he turn it down?

The plan is simple, a fast break-and-enter to grab paintings from a rich collector. But on the night of the heist, they're double-crossed. Worse, Ned's friends are brutally executed. Now he's the prime target of both the FBI and the killers. With no one to trust, Ned must dodge the authorities and the vicious killers in a desperate effort to avenge his friends and clear his name. Written with the astonishing velocity and hairs breadth plotting that only James Patterson can master, Lifeguard is the wildest thriller yet from one of America's most influential authors (New York Times).

With twenty New York Times bestsellers, over eighty million books in print and translated into nearly forty languages throughout the world, James Patterson is one of the top-selling writers of all time. He is the only novelist to have #1 bestsellers in the categories of suspense, fantasy, and romance. James Patterson has spent more than 150 straight weeks on the USA Today 150 list of overall top-selling bookslonger than Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, or John Grisham.

James Patterson is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many books, including Beach Road, Honeymoon, Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas, and the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series of thrillers. More than 100 million of his books are in print around the world, making him one of the top-selling writers of all time.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lavina - In Honor of Black History Month

Lavina: The Saga of an African Princess
By Author O. Wright
Tate Publishing, LLC
268 Pages

I met a master storyteller this weekend! And spent as much time as I could with him, for he told me a sometimes dramatic, sometimes beautiful story of our ancestors. And I shall remember it always!

Lavina: The Saga of an African Princess by Author O. Wright is undoubtedly a new historical classic! The book is written as if an ancient of our tribe, our community, has sat down to tell us of our history. I felt as if I should sit at the feet of this master storyteller so that I would not miss a word. The storyteller takes us back to just before the turn of the century…into the 1690’s. In a quiet, peaceful and family-oriented spiritual community in Guinea, on the coastal plains of West Africa, it is time to crown a new princess of the Bonga people. Thanks to the “Almighty Protector” Lavina had been given to her loving parents and on her 18th birthday, she was to be crowned as the reigning princess. It was believed that this maiden’s reign would bring forth a fruitful land.

While this sacred status could not be dissolved by matrimony, also that day, Lavina became betrothed to Rabboni, prince of his own tribe. They had loved each other on first sight and knew their marriage would be blessed.

But as the crowds gathered to celebrate, there also came, due to a storm at sea, a mighty ship which had been sailing for many days in order to pick up slaves to be sold in America. When the storm forced their landing, they instead stole the people of Guinea, killing many who fought their capture and stealing away a total of 378 innocents—Lavina and Rabboni amongst them.

And so on the day Lavina had declared herself to Rabboni, it was also the last she spoke to him. She realized that she had not told him how much she loved him, but had not found the way during their brief time together. As the white slavers crowded the nearly 400 individuals into their ship, they separated the men from the women and children. There was little food, which they had to eat from an animal trough, with their chained hands. When the stink got too bad, the captors pulled in ocean water to flush away the filth. Even though all were treated badly, it was the young maidens, 60 of them, whose lives were forever changed as the slavers took them to their own cabins where garments were ripped off and they were taken for the evil men’s purposes. One day, Rabboni caught sight of Lavina—she was being dragged to a cabin. He could not rush to protect her and cried out to the Almighty Protector. And as Lavina was thrown on the sleeping cot, which was made to hold the victim in complete restraint, she, too, cried to the Almighty Protector and begged the slaver not to hurt her, which he ignored. As she was sadistically abused, however, Lavina was blessed with a peaceful heart and her prayers were then to just get her through the experience.

After two months, in July 1695, the slave ship entered the Bay of Virginia. After having been kidnapped and abused, all of the captives were frightened, fearful of what was to come. Because of their physical deterioration, they were rubbed with palm oil so that they could appear healthy and strong; some were given medication to make them appear in good spirits. Then they were pushed from the ship and assembled on the auction block where they were sold…like animals.

Fortunately, some white people deplored what was happening to the Africans. A white couple knew she would be mistreated and, as they had devoted their lives to the cause of freedom and human decency, bought Lavina. They knew it was against God’s will to degrade humans and sell them as property so, although they opposed slavery, they bought Lavina to save her. As they lovingly cared for her, they were able to convince her that she was to be their daughter and when she understood and accepted their parentage, they made it legal.

But what of Rabboni? Even the slave owners and other slaves viewed him as a special man, for he carried himself as royalty and spoke with eloquence. Some were afraid of him and tried all manner of torture to break his spirit but could not do it. After many years, he was sold to another slavemaster, who acknowledged and saw his intelligence and began to teach him carpentry and other trades.

Ten years slowly go by and the love between Lavina and Rabboni does not die nor fade. Often they send thoughts of love to the other, and their words are as poetic as the words of the Song of Solomon, between two who are the other’s beloved.

From others, they learn that their Almighty Protector is also the God of some in America. And they learn about Jesus, His Son. He becomes their Savior and they pray to Him that they be reunited with their espousal.

Yes, this is a love story like no other. It is a love that lives strong and true through agony, humiliation and danger. A love that had been blessed. In vivid detail, Author Wright has shared with us a time that should never have happened, a time when evil men who falsely claimed that their religion allowed them to buy and sell other human beings, subjugated God’s people. Into this horrible time, Wright shares the story of human love, covered and protected for many years by God’s love and the sure knowledge that evil will never triumph. A memorable Must-Read for everyone who calls America home!

G. A. Bixler
For IP Book Reviewers

Christian Book Expo - March 19-22 - Dallas!

More Than 200 of Your Favorite Christian Authors!

Tens of Thousands of Christian Books in Interactive Displays!

Christian Book Awards...

Evening music and special events...

Author-led Panel Discussions
Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make? A Debate.Featuring anti-theist Christopher Hitchens debating apologist authors: Doug Wilson, Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, Jim Denison, Stan Guthrie (moderator)
Living Christianly in a Post-Christian Culture
A Guided Tour of Heaven and Hell
What is the Gospel?
The Emerging Church

These are Just Highlights...click the title of this blog to go to site! Wish I were going!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Straw - Poetry by Adolfo...

Statues of Buenos Aires.Image by Captain Victor via Flickr
The Straw
By Adolph Caso

Give me the straw
That I might drink
From the barrel
The pure wine
Of my orchard,
And be inebriated
So much as
To fall
On my back
Arms spread out
Looking at the sun
That makes
The cool clover-leaves
Grow around my body.

Give me the straw
That I may drink again!

Thanks so much to Adolfo for sharing his latest poem!
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Guest Blogger! Publisher Shares Thoughts on Book Reviews!

Adolph Caso

“Even when bad, book reviews are good,” said Edmund Brown, publisher and editor for more than 75 years. He was responding to a negative review in the Boston Herald, whose book review editor saw no redeeming feature to a book dealing with a newly-discovered copy of the 1775 edition of the Declaration of Causes. In view of the fact that that book sold but few copies, one would have to conclude that the bad review was indeed bad, except that the author gained visibility, and his name became familiar with some book buyers.

Visibility is the key word. It means familiarity. It also means confidence. Ultimately, it means acceptability on the part of the reader who, by buying a specific book, he or she invests first and foremost in the author and only indirectly in the publisher. Often, book buyers do not consider the name of the publisher; but do consider the name of the author and the content of the book. Good, objective reviews bolster the image and reputation of the author while they increase the profits of the publisher. Bad reviews, on the other hand, reward neither the publisher nor the author.

A good reviewer has to be an honest reviewer, and should refuse to review a book either because it is badly written or because the book’s content is without intellectual or factual merit.

In submitting books for review, one should first locate potential reviewers by categories--those that have expertise related to the content of the book. Next consideration is the publication or publisher; this choice has to be compatible with the content of the book.

Traditional lists of both reviewers and publishers can be found in Google, Writers Market, or Literary Market Place. But the better publications for reviews are daily newspapers, magazines, Sunday supplements like that of the New York Times, and trade publications like Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Book List, and Kirkus. Often forgotten are college and university alumni magazines; these reach captive audiences within a field of familiarity both for the name of the author and the content of the author’s book. Higher education magazine editors are always in search of published authors, their goals to increase the basis of potential donors.

The number of non-traditional online reviewers is getting bigger by the day. As their reviews appear at the point of book sales, they have immediate impact on the book buyer looking at a chosen book and reading either a good review or a bad one. This innovation, spearheaded by Amazon.com, has gained international support to the point that, other book distributors, such as Barnes and Noble, Borders, Follett and others, all publish reviews attached to titles. As a result, these special reviewers are gaining more and more deserved prominence.

Branden Books, with its many authors, has benefited from reviewers such as Michael Woznicki and Glenda Bixler. The latter creates the most consummate reviews found anywhere. Her major strength lies in the fact that with her reviews she enhances the content of the book and clarifies the issues so to help the book buyer make better and more informed purchasing decisions.

Regardless of where reviews appear, however, this better axiom stands: Even when bad, book reviews may be good.

Note from IPBookReviewer: Contrary to what you may be thinking...I did NOT strong-arm Adolfo into giving me a compliment in this article! But I appreciate!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fat Cowboy - Farce Extraordinaire!

Fat Cowboy
By Rod Miller
Audio iSoap Drama
New Fiction.Com

At the same time that Radio Soap Dramas were very popular, there were also pulp fiction magazines and novels. Fat Cowboy by Rod Miller reminded me of these books, published on cheaper paper with drawings highlighting the storyline for, in this case, “men’s adventure!” For surely Fat Cowboy has the guns and warriors plus that warped sense of humor that keeps the story moving forward to share the “temptation, corruption, and redemption” of con men and criminals.

Miller takes readers deep into the jungles of Peru for his wild, fantastic story. First, let me highlight that Fat Cowboy is indeed a con, a hustler—“a true believer in the principles of unregulated free enterprise, the accumulation of private wealth, the subservience of labor to capital, the ascendancy of the individual over the collective and natural selection.” (p. 15) or making money through any way and every way that will bring fame and fortune...why, he’s even rescued the wife of the vice-president when she was “kidnapped” and discovered in South America. He, of course, successfully brought her back, even if she didn’t want to come and later escaped again!

Aristito Fur is the reason for his safari. This rare, ermine-like animal is known to have the softest fur. And the income for about 4000 square feet of this fur would be a $4Billion annual gross. Obviously Fat Cowboy saw the potential and decided to kidnap and breed these animals. Only issue, the animals are part of a Peruvian tribal religious activity, involving a virgin, so negotiations must be extremely sensitive... And, oh yes, one other important issue is that Fat Cowboy has no plans to raise the aristito himself! So he "manipulates" an internationally acclaimed biologist, Dr. Destri O’Riordan, to accept the challenge of ensuring that these animals do not become extinct, which could actually occur, according to the latest research Fat Cowboy has been able to acquire.

Just a small band of men, plus Dr. O’Riordan travel to Peru, where Fat Cowboy has a contact who knows the chief of the Peruvian tribe, Lydia Pinkham (I’ll let you wonder how and why the chief took this name for his own!). But they were not the only ones who were on their way to Peru.

For Ygal Ben Wa, a Mossad, a totally displaced and misunderstood warrior, had been hired by ConPet, to ensure they could build a oil pipeline across the country! Their target was Zamora and his friendly group of soldiers of fortune and mercenaries known as the Fourth of September Brigade who fought against anybody--anybody with white skin! Interestingly, Zamora’s band of men had visited Lydia Pinkham just before Fat Cowboy’s group arrived. They were the first to enjoy Lydia’s well-known soup that was based upon cooking one human head, along with many herbs and hallucinogenic drugs!

Readers, you are just not going to believe what happened there in Peru! You have to experience this story yourself. All I can tell you is that Fat Cowboy flew home alone and as far as I’m aware, Destri O’Riordan is still in Peru with the aristito...and Lydia...

Click on over to NewFiction.Com and subscribe to Fat Cowboy, free, to read or listen to the story of Fat Cowboy’s greatest con that he's now boasting about ...in jail!

G. A. Bixler

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do you Like Movies? Check out Lendaround!

While I have hundreds of books surrounding me on shelves, on the floor, on tables, many of you probably have lots of DVDs! Just as I love books and belong to Book Crossing to donate and/or share my books, many of you may have the same need for your movies!

You may have a couple of dozen DVDs sitting on your shelves gathering dust. They're good movies – not the kind of thing you'd like to sell for a quarter of what you paid for them – but if you admit it, you probably watch them once a year max.

A new site, www.LendAround.com, helps you use those DVDs to do your friends or work colleagues a favor, and get favors from them in return. It works simply – you list the DVDs you own, invite your friends to check out what's on your shelf, and then start borrowing from their collections. The service is free, and your friends can drop off the DVD to you in person, or mail it for only 43 cents using a neat little downloadable wrapper that's preaddressed.

The site's in private invitation-only beta test right now, but I've been allowed to join myself and to let a few of my readers in as well. Just send an email to ipbookreviewer@lendaround.com and you will receive an invitation to join with priority access to the private beta. Please say in the email what kind of movies you like!

Second in Citizen Warrior Series is Available!

The Big River Press News January 2009

Hello Good Readers,
I'm taking this time to send another great recommendation your way.

Book II in the Citizen Warrior Series, HONOR DEFENDED continues the adventures of Major Westfall, a denizen of the Pacific Northwest rainforest who has built himself a wilderness compound complete with hot tub & killing fields, good neighbors & his faithful companion, the three-legged Black Dog.

January 2009 Release
Major Westfall is Back in a New Breath-Snatching Thriller

In HONOR DEFENDED, Book II of the Citizens Warrior series, the War on Terrorism slithers into Major Westfall's neck of the woods when a brother officer, home on leave from Iraq, is beheaded and his wife abducted by terrorists planning attacks his beloved America.

Major Westfall is awakened before dawn one freezing late winter Saturday by a frantic call from an old friend and War Brother. Already in bad mood, he sets out to hunt for those who burnt a woman's house on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, abducted her, and left behind her beheaded Marine Corps husband's body.

On the beach behind the family's home, he finds sign of someone coming ashore on the last high tide. Tracks lead to a pile of driftwood where Black Dog noses out the family's wounded dog.

Putting his ear to the Hoko grapevine, he hears of a break-in at the local gravel quarry where explosives and detonators were taken. A neighbor's grandchild mentions a missing school janitor, and the name her classmates gave him, Aladdin. When the Major takes a sneak and peek he unearths a terrorist sleeper.

Calling in the troops, he prepares to do battle deep in the Olympic Peninsula wilderness where a cadre of evil guys have gathered, intent on creating havoc with Washington State's ferries.

HONOR DEFENDED occurs over one 24-hour period of heart-pounding, breath-stopping action in which old friends are met, new ones made, the young must grow up fast as lives are broken, and the honor of a War Brother and his family is defended.

If you haven't joined the Major before,
check out Book I of the Citizen Warrior series, Honor Due.
Give both of them a read. I know you'll enjoy them!


Hardcover - $22.95 - ISBN: 978-0-9798744-5-1 buy here from Amazon
Paperback - $14.95 - ISBN: 978-0-9798744-6-8 buy here from Amazon
Order a autographed copy using your by clicking the title of this article!

Watch for HONOR REDEEMED, D. H. BROWN'S next thriller this fall.
The Sex Slave Trade decides the Major's territory is a good place in which to hide its wares. So begins a quiet war that encompasses the whole west coast. If you want to die, abuse a woman.

SOURCE: BigRiverPress.com, P.O.Box 371, Clallam Bay, WA 98326

Monday, February 2, 2009

Use the Web to Borrow DVDs from Friends

Today is the day this site opens! What do you think? Good idea? Read On!

Latest Way to Beat the Recession:
Use the Web to Borrow DVDs from Friends




2 FEBRUARY 2009 – Recession-hit Americans can now watch hundreds of free
movies – by using a new web site to borrow DVDs from their friends.

"It's like Netflix meets Facebook," said Jackson, founder of LendAround.com.
"You list some DVDs you own, invite some friends you like, and start
browsing their collections. The web site helps arrange loans, and keeps
track of where everyone's DVDs are. And nobody pays anyone anything."

Jackson estimates that though there are over two billion DVDs in US homes,
80 per cent are watched just twice a year. "What stops us sharing with
friends isn't meanness," he said, "it's embarrassment. Borrowers don't know
how to ask, and lenders fear they'll forget who they lent a treasured movie

LendAround solves the problem for both sides. Browse and search tools make
it easy to find out what movies and TV are in friends' collections, and a
"Your DVDs" tab shows the location of every lent out DVD. A 'retrieve' button
allows owners to ask for their movie back without having to call or email
the borrower.

With an estimated $7 billion a year spent in the US on movie rentals,
consumers are likely to see paid entertainment as an obvious target for
savings. But it was experience in Africa, rather than the concern about the
economy, that gave birth to LendAround. "This isn't really about money,"
said Jackson.

Jackson, a former journalist who founded a $2 billion online auction company
and later worked as a venture capitalist, started visiting Africa regularly
in 2005 for his charitable foundation, which gives tiny grants to community

"Coming back from Rwanda or Lesotho and looking around my home, I was
struck by how much stuff we all own and take for granted," he said. Wouldn't
it be great if instead of leaving things to gather dust on shelves, we could
lend them to our friends?"

Although the LendAround service does not compete with video stores or
DVD-by-mail services, it can give users a surprising choice. "I and my
friends are currently sharing 1,634 movies," said Jackson. "That's less than
the average Blockbuster store, but the choice is surprisingly wide – from
West Wing and The Wire to obscure Kurosawa and Almodovar art-house titles."

Most users will share DVDs with personal friends and colleagues at work, but
Jackson also expects rapid growth in universities and among members of
churches and sports clubs, who meet regularly and trust each other. So in
most cases, DVDs are lent and returned by hand.

But LendAround also supports borrowing by mail. "When my brother in New York
requests a DVD from a friend in Seattle, they can download and print a
customized page with his address on it, wrap up the DVD in 30 seconds, and
mail it for just 43 cents."

For Jackson, DVDs are just the beginning. "We've started with DVDs because
they're not too expensive, they're rarely used, only take a couple of hours
to enjoy, and have a standard size and weight. But depending on what they
ask for, people could use LendAround to share anything and everything."

More sharing is good for the environment because it means less use of the
world's resources to make products, less packaging and transportation, and
less garbage and landfill when they are discarded.

As well as allowing people to show off big collections, the LendAround
service also works for people who have only three or four DVDs of their own.

"Netflix don't publish how many DVDs they stock," said Jackson. "But working
backwards from their financial statements with the SEC, it looks like they
own about four DVDs per customer. They manage to provide a great service
with surprisingly few DVDs, but not everyone can afford $17 a month to
borrow three movies at a time. LendAround is free. It's by the people, for
the people."

Jackson also believes that in hard times, people are more likely to come
together to help each other. "A friend does you a favour by lending you
something, and you do them a favour in return. What goes around, comes
around – that's our motto."

Note: I personally haven't checked this site out yet; however, as a member of Book Crossing, I do support the idea of sharing! Check it out...!