Saturday, February 27, 2010

Guest Blogger: Truth Was A Tragedy of War - Spencer DelCano

Its amazing how those of us who were there saw different sides of the war. I was there from April 67 thru May 68 and like most of my comrades, saw atrocities which our brains had difficulty assimilating. Few of the reasons we were told why we were there was truth. There were often orders to do things which had nothing real in relationship to the outcome. General C. Abrams ordered Marines to take a hillside which was miles away from any logistically beneficial location and after hundreds of young Americans had been slaughtered he gave it up. I can't count the incidence of graft and theft we witnessed when attempting to secure supplies and equipment for operations while being told we'd have to wait.

Parts of my nightmares which persist include an incident which happened near AnKe, an old French strong hold, where we had been pinned down with a handful of ROK (Korean soldiers) in a valley near a large hillside. Mortar rounds were continuously lobbed at us from the hillside but our 81 MM rounds could not match their distance. Our calls for back up and rescue fell on deaf ears for nearly a week until one Sunday morning we saw two choppers in the sky heading our way. We were jubilant thinking they were the leads for our rescue. Nope, it was an inspection team who came to check my vehicle records. Huh, in the middle of an attack a team can show up to look at my vehicles but not bring help nor supplies? When the Lt. Colonel told me his purpose as I broke the salute I attacked him as if he were the enemy. At that moment, he was to all of us. It took a half dozen Koreans to keep me from killing him on the spot.

They left but two days later a team returned to arrest me for hitting a field grade officer. They secured the site and dropped bombs on the hillside to clear it. I had no idea the very officer who I attacked was involved in a huge trade for profit of US supplies. The very supplies and equipment we often had in short supply. Being aware of the Uniform Code of Military Justice one can request counsel from one of equal or higher rank. The officer I called upon who had served with me in Texas showed up and told me not to worry. He was one of the graft investigators who had been checking on the situations we had complained about.

The next day I was ordered released with all charges dropped. Being afraid of assassination I refused and demanded a trial. For about three days I was offered a rank increase to E-6 and additional combat pay to leave without a trial. I was too scared for my life to accept anything without a recorded court hearing. I was exonerated at trial in VietNam and sent to a cushy relay site for my last few weeks in the war zone. The Lt. Colonel received, at the time, what we considered a slap on the back but in the early 70s I read where he committed suicide at some reserve post in the South. His rank was the same as it was in VN.

I've said this to agree with your point that though we may have been in the same war zone we do, in fact, see different sides of it and are affected in different ways. It has nothing to do with being against the US as some have said but a lot more to do with being a young impressionable person who believed in the ideals the government set forth yet presented us with totally different realities once we arrived in country.

Whatever realities you might have does in no way erase those of mine. You can't take away the images in my brain of seeing a working village today yet the next day seeing only the remains of it smoldering when only US troops were in the area. The horror was only added to by the powers that be trying to make us believe the atrocity was committed by communist troops from the north though our troops were the only ones there the day before and today. Somehow we were to believe that those horrible Viet Cong invisibly showed up, destroyed the village, and then faded back into oblivion. No way, even to a young still naive soldier serving his country.

This article, with all its intellectual pinning, can only address the issues as someone or groups of ones have written and been allowed to fuse into the minds of those who have no idea what they are talking about. Those of us who experienced VietNam with our bodies and souls could care less about some argument as to whether or why the war was initiated or advanced nor by what treaty. Our leaders told us a damn lie and hundreds of thousands still live with that lie while hundreds of thousands died for that lie about VietNam. Yes, truth was and remains a casualty of that war.


I am always amazed, although I don't know why, that this war is so memorable for all of us...the feelings have never gone away for those involved. Unfortunately, the corruption didn't begin or end with Vietnam, but there are now more people willing to speak out!

Bless you, Spencer, and may you find your nightmares slowly disappearing even though it takes sooooo long!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: M. L. Lacy Pens Excellent Second Novel in Chrysalis Series!

Chrysalis: Tribulations

By M. L. Lacy
ISBN: 9781449014803
448 Pages

I just finished reading my notes and review of Book 1 Chrysalis: The Awakening by M. L. Lacy and must quickly say that Book 2, Chrysalis: Tributions has not only surpassed but has moved the series into must-read status for fantasy lovers. Not only has the scope of the story expanded into an exciting novel but the writer has found her pace and style in her second book. Her words flow and pull readers in quickly and completely! Plus her blazing butterfly book cover is fantastic!

One key advantage point for Lacy's series for non-fantasy readers, including myself to some extent, is that her main character, Bree, was born a human, but a Chosen One. There is a background story that highlights why Bree was not brought into her role much earlier in her life; however, for readers, this provided Lacy the capability to explore how humans feel about "people" in the Magical world. Specifically, because of long life, vampires began sharing their mates with others during their lives. Now, for them, it is routine and considered normal. For Bree, however, she is not really interested in sharing her fiancée with anyone and, more importantly, her beliefs and feelings about sexuality are constantly being challenged and then explored.

This struggle for Bree allows non-fantasy readers an easy way to understand and consider "the life" within that Magical world. Whether or not Lacy intended this or not, it was a great benefit for me since I, too, follow Bree's beliefs. Even though that is not endorsing the way of life for Magicals...

While Bree watches, learns, and prepares for meeting her major opponent as the leader of the Magical world, Esmeralda, she also faces a power struggle within her clan. Frankly I'm enjoying the overall power struggle that underlies the Clan's structure...that is, the need for all the men to protect Bree, even though she is the Chosen One...It is funny and sweet...and darn frustrating for both Bree and for some readers to see that the men refuse to recognize her true authority...

Of course she has not yet turned...

And, of course, Bree does what she wants and needs to do anyway...

Bree is like a lot of women, we allow loved individuals to do things that we may not like until we get to the boiling point and "explode" in frustration! She may need to develop a little better control in the future; but it is sure fun to watch her explosions in the meantime! One thing though, she has remarkable skills and knowledge that is constantly surprising everybody, because her strengths and total Magical abilities should not yet have been totally provided...

It seems that even the Magicals don't really understand how much the "elders" have given and shared with Bree, their last Chosen One. Ahhh, but I would have loved to see Esmeralda's face when Bree not only entered her hidden cavern, but also freed the two prisoners that Esmeralda had planned to trade for Bree!

Readers, there is a lot happening in this nearly 500-page does stand alone; however, I would recommend you start with Book 1 to get that background established. I have a feeling the Chrysalis series by M. L. Lacy is going to go on and on... Don't miss it!

G. A. Bixler

Guest Blogger Janet Morris Grimes Gives 5-star Rating...

The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened to Elvis and Me
by George Nichopoulos, M.D. with Rose Clayton Phillips.

This book highlights the story behind the death of Elvis Presley, some twenty plus years ago. Though many books came before it, none offer the viewpoint from the Doctor himself who was faced with the task of keeping one of his best friends, also the biggest megastar at that time, healthy enough to meet the demands of his adoring public. One might ask why it has taken so long to write such a book, and the answer is simple. It has taken over twenty years for Dr. George Nichopoulos to fight the legal battles, medical investigations and media attacks that followed the death of Elvis.

Though he was not present at Graceland in Memphis on August 16, 1977, he answered an emergency call for help from Joe Esposito, Elvis’s Road Manager, that simply said, “Something’s happened to Elvis.”

Dr. Nick, as he was affectionately known, responded to the scene in time to crawl in the back of the ambulance and ride with Elvis to the hospital, performing CPR the entire time. With another team of doctors that met them in a trauma room at Baptist Hospital, Dr. Nick was the one who would pronounce him dead after their fervent attempts to revive him failed. Dr. Nick signed the Death Certificate. Dr. Nick broke the news to his friends in the nearby waiting room, who knew the truth as soon as they saw the tears rolling down his own face. It was Dr. Nick who then rode back on the ambulance to Graceland so he could tell Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father, who waited there for the news with his nine-year-old daughter, Lisa Marie.

This story is as much about the inner workings of the circle that surrounded Elvis as it is about the Doctor who attempted to keep him healthy enough to meet the demands of his adoring public. The media did not care about the role Dr. Nick played in Elvis’s life until after his death. And as news spread of the loss of Elvis, Dr. Nick was as hurt as much by the way they tarnished the image of his friend, Elvis, as he was about his own image.

Filling in the ten years they spent together, this story highlights the impossible demands of performing two shows a day that Elvis was required to do for many of his tours. To be so young, Elvis had many health issues, some brought on genetically and others caused by his extreme lifestyle. Dr. Nick and Elvis found a good balance of treatment while he was home at Graceland, but much was out of his control when Elvis was on the road. Still, even years after his death, Dr. Nick was shocked to discover that when the media needed someone to blame for his death, the search would stop with him.

After facing criminal charges, the eventual loss of his medical license, and numerous inquiries that prevented him from treating patients adequately over the past twenty years, Dr. Nick still searches for answers in his own quest to understand what happened to Elvis. He may never be able to set the record straight for the public, but feels that he owes it to his friend, even after all of this time.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Janet Morris Grimes

Any day spent writing is the best day of my life...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A "Short" from Follower Spencer DelCano - Wheelchair Undercover!

I could see the silhouette of the person rolling the wheel chair a block ahead of me. What stood out in my mind was how many people stopped to engage him. Often there was a quick hand shake as he rolled on in the same direction as me. I never gained on the distance we shared so the images remained about the same. Intermittent waves while pumping the grip on the wheelchair. At a point he faded from view.

I lost thought about the man in the wheelchair until I crossed Newstead Avenue just passed the bank approaching the library. Suddenly his silhouette became a live photo of someone who was used to moving about town rolling in his chair. Bright engaging smile, small talk about the game, comments about women and a freedom of spirit uncommon to many in this depressed economic area. He gave me a lively greeting, “good morning, sir, a great day it is”. I waved my normal response to a stranger and walked in the library.

While I read through a few poetry anthologies one of the librarians who was a regular flirt started commenting about all the recent drug arrests in the area in the last month or so. For some reason the wheelchair man came to mind but I shelved the idea. Nope, not him. Could it be he was undercover? I hadn’t seen him around before but so many had moved in and out of the area in recent years I could have easily missed his arrival.

A while or so later on my walk back home I used the other side of the street so I could stop in to speak to Mr. Cox, the ageless tailor and laundromat owner who years ago made shirts and suits for me. His eyes had gotten bad so he stopped making and repairing clothes but kept the laundromat open. Mr. Cox’s figure created a friendly shadow in the doorway as the winter sun beamed through the cold air. How you today young fellow? Out for a walk again? His eighty plus years made just about all of us young fellows to him. After we chatted about basically nothing for a few minutes I resumed my walk toward home with a faint thought of walking around the lake in Fairground Park. I had already covered about a mile and wasn’t in a mood to add another one walking around the lake.

As I approached Fair Avenue I saw the wheelchair man just across from the park. I considered that he had covered at least the same territory as me while vigorously pumping the wheelchair. Something began not to feel quite right about his presence but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t want to belabor the point but it kept needling at my thoughts. A few years ago while serving on the Police Community Relations Group we used a number of deceptive fronts to lure illegal drug buys and were awarded with a number of arrests and convictions. The whole neighborhood had been quiet and fairly calm since though I had heard rumors about recent activity.

I did walk to the park but crossed the first limestone bridge crossing the lake which reduced my trip by about half. I could still see the outline of the wheelchair east of my location as I made my approach to the western edge of the lake and back to Fair Avenue on my way home. The two blocks from Natural Bridge always was a welcome spot letting me know my exercise for that day would be over in a few minutes.

Once home I had trouble getting the wheelchaired man out of my mind. His image and friendliness almost seemed out of place but I might had become a bit too sensitive after so many years of being a spotter, block unit captain and neighborhood stabilization officer. I heard unfamiliar voices just off my driveway and peeped out the window. There was the wheelchair man lifting his chair into the rear of a black SUV which I recognized as one of the Drug Task Force vehicles. My initial thought was correct especially after hearing him say, “Yep, I had a good day. We’ve got a number of suspects to watch.”


A Little Levity: Proofreading Is A Dying Art...

Most individuals in the publishing world who have interacted with me know that I'm somewhat of a stickler for it never surprises me when a friend (AKA David Brown, Author) sends me things like the following:

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

This one I caught in the SGV Tribune the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this.
It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!!!

They put in a correction the next day.

I just couldn't help but send this along. Too funny.

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

No kidding, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Now that's taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

No-good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace

I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Who would have thought!

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

They may be on to something here!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?

Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge

He probably IS the battery charge!

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Weren't they fat enough?!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

That's what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Boy, are they ever tall!

And the winner is....

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Did I read that right?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: A Heavenly Highlight of a Golden Oldie! Irving Greenfield

by Irving Greenfield

Made into a 1990 movie directed by Richard T. Huffron, this movie was centered on an ex-Beret in the Vietnam War...

However, the original book dates back to 1979 and was written with a WWII scenario.

Irving Greenfield, who is still writing in New York these days, as well as teaching at a local college, has written over 300 novels during his career. Since we have been working together for several years now, I did a search with an on-line bookstore and have purchased about 20 of his books so far!

I had the pleasure of reading the original WWII story yesterday, staying up late to finish it in one page-turning day of adventure!


John Tagget was a very young, but bold and amazing soldier when he was asked to take on an important mission for combined U.S./British forces. He was the only soldier who would be meeting with a group who would move in to take over a specific secret designation. However, when he got there, the man, Cortez, who he was to meet and work with, was not there.

But the Germans were...
Fortunately, he was found by a small group of Frenchmen; however, the entire period he was working with them, he also was seeking a connection with Cortez...

The book alternately takes readers back into that period in 1944 when he was under the direction of MI6.

But now John Tagget is 55 and is on disability from the government. His left arm and leg were both damaged during the time he was a prisoner of war. Doctors found no medical reason for his injuries but have been treating him for years.

John had been successful in his career and was worth over a million and a half dollars. His wife had died three years ago and he was now involved with Claudia Harris, who he was thinking about more and more to making a permanent commitment to her.

But lately he had been having nightmares. At first he would not remember what had brought him trembling from a sound sleep, When he had first been liberated from the concentration camp, he had no memory and it took awhile for them to identify him has Captain Tagget. Official records had listed him as MIA after D-Day.

He spent two years in the hospital after he was back home. But he remembered nothing about what had happened during the invasion... a part of his life was still missing... were the dreams about that lost time?

He had to find out...

But as he did, people started dying...

It had started as he was reading a biography of Sir William Enright, who mentioned a certain address that was the location from which sensitive intelligence operations occurred. He recognized the address: 29 Russell Square...

Records were checked and little was found, if any... Or, records were completely gone!

While some people were willing to help him, both the FBI and CIA were not. Especially the latter, who he soon realized, were the individuals following him and eliminating those with whom he talked!

The day it all happened - June the sixth - John Tagget was nowhere near the invasion!

And for 35 years, he had lived without the use of his disabled limbs; that is, until he was fighting for his life and willed them to move in order to save his life.

John Tagget soon walked without his crippling limp and was able to fully use his arm!

What had been done to him and who was afraid for him to find out, even after 35 years?

Tagget by Irving Greenfield is about as exciting as you get for suspense, mystery and war stories. Unfortunately, for us, there seems to always be wars... So this book does not become outdated. The corruption, disinformation, lying, and power-hungry activities continues even today. And, it can happen to just one young soldier who has joined and committed his life on behalf of his country.

This Golden Oldie is a winner!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Raw Talent by D. Kenneth Ross - Golf Enthusiasts - Check It Out!

Raw Talent
by D. Kenneth Ross

Have you ever had the enjoyment of seeing raw talent in a young person? Seeing that one special gift that he has been given that may be used, polished and developed? In Raw Talent, D. Kenneth Ross shares the story of such a gem—a young boy named Carlos who had been given the raw talent for playing golf.

Raw Talent opens as Carlos Alvarez awaits the start of his first Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Throughout the novel, golf enthusiasts will have the opportunity to read of this competition between he and another PGA professional who had been invited to play.

Carlos was only thirteen when he began visiting a local driving range to “bang a few balls just for fun.” There was also that “release” that came to set a ball down and “hauling off and smacking it as hard as he could.” (p. 2) Fortunately for Carlos, Pete Sanchez, owner of a driving range, watched as he spent time at his range and, when the opportunity arose, he offered Carlos a job to gather the balls there. And, of course, have the opportunity to use and develop his skills. Pete saw Carlos’ raw talent—and was wise enough to realize that his talent not only surpassed his own, but he had that “sparkle of joy and endless determination” that was so important to polish that talent.

Though big for his age, Carlos was very shy. But he was determined in one major area—to help his Mom and Grammy Cella and, if necessary, to get his Dad out of his family’s life. He had spent too many hours trying to find his father, who most times would be hanging out with his drunken friends, to beg for money for food and expenses before he would drink it away or use it for other pleasures. Both he and his mother found that being beat up was part of the price of living.

Carlos also spent some of his time at the gym. At school, it was his excuse for showing up bruised and battered. Mainly, though, he was getting pretty good at fighting and would some day be able to stop his dad... What he could not understand was why his mother was able to accept his dad’s abuse. His Grammy Celia, who loved her grandson very much, tried in all ways to support him and help him learn about his grandfather who had been a strong, God-fearing man. But all Carlos could think about was “when he could fight better, he’d make sure his dad would never hurt his mom or Grammy Celia again.” (p. 20)

As Carlos spent time on the job, Pete became more and more certain of his initial recognition of Carlos’ raw talent. He began to slowly make suggestions to him and to give him lessons. When Pete learned that his father had taken his son’s salary, it was then that his feelings started to be more personally involved. Even to the extent of working with Grammy Celia to have Carlos’ wages paid in check form rather than cash.

Grammy Celia died when Carlos was fourteen. The loss was traumatic for Carlos but it presented an even greater burden that he must do something to support his family. Pete had shared with Carlos that he had “hustled” some when he was younger and Carlos sought his training in how he could use his golfing talent to earn money. When Pete was hesitant to do this, primarily because he saw that Carlos’ was so talented that he could make money professionally, Carlos was not interested in waiting. Instead he turned to his boxing skills and when the opportunity arose to make money boxing, he took it!

The only problem was that he had to travel into Mexico to fight.

And on the same day he was scheduled to fight, the police found Carlos’ father—murdered!

And his father’s drinking partners claimed that they’d seen Carlos nearby that day.

Ross has created both a heartbreaking and heartwarming story that follows a young man’s life through a bad home environment, trouble with police and into the triumph of not only using his raw talent, but in gaining the protection and love of his personal mentor as well as a new family. Carlos’ story will capture the hearts of readers and keep them enthralled as Raw Talent culminates in a great win! You, too, will win reading the story of Carlos!

G. A. Bixler

Pre-Order NOW!

Review: Upcoming final book of More Than Angels Trilogy!

More Than Angels:

Once Upon a Dream

By Ruby Moon-Houldson
191 Pages

When I become very involved with the characters, I tend to want...more! However, Ruby Moon-Houldson’s final book, More Than Angels: Once Upon a Dream, in her More Than Angels trilogy ends so beautifully, so completely, that I found just...contentment. There were no small issues hanging, there was a feeling that Thia, the main character, had finally conquered all and was able to set aside her long dangerous career in the FBI and enjoy her husband and family!

Ok, I don’t think that is giving away the story, do you? Because you have no idea what’s happened in Once Upon a Dream! Many surprises!

Whew! Some parts were creepy!

Thia is back to having major nightmares. Her latest case brought her back to her hometown and while Colin was able to travel with her, he decided on his own that it might be good for her to stay in the house where she grew up.

That was NOT a good idea!

Thia is immediately thrust into nightmares such as when her brother was being tortured, by, of course, their father. Colin was there to comfort her, but would it be enough, because Thia found it hard to get close to him within the shadows of her childhood.

Professionally ignoring her personal past, Thia responded to a local resident when she wrote a letter to her at the FBI office that the town was being terrorized, involving drugs, stalking and much violence. There was sufficient details and background given that Thia didn’t feel she could ignore the letter, especially when there were accusations that the town’s police were involved.

A local man had become a witness for the court and in having this happen, he was taking full advantage of being protected by the law, assaulting women and anybody else who got in his way. But the town was tired of it; especially because they also knew what some of the police were doing while on duty!

While Thia begins interviews with town residents, quickly finding evidence to support the claims that had been made, she is also faced with meeting those people who had bullied her when young, still calling her “Thia Pia.” But the worst was the events in her childhood home that included spirits, shadows, and the evil that had remained until Thia had come back!

And then one night she wound up alone there and decided this was the time to open that door at the end of the hallway, only to immediately hear a low chuckle there in the dark...

Suspenseful tension, action and a final kidnapping scene that Thia alone must handle, mixed with terrifying, nightmare paranormal events will keep you riveted! If you’ve been following the More than Angels trilogy by Ruby Moon-Houldson, Once Upon a Dream must be read—it’s the best of the trilogy! If you haven’t read any, get all three! Top favorites for me!
G. A. Bixler

Exxxciting News From Ruby Moon-Houldson as She Writes 10th Guardian Series Novel

Hi everyone,

I have been talked into doing something a bit different that relates to my hobby----writing. I started writing the 10th book in the 'Guardian' series readers and other interested parties may follow along as I write this book. Video clips will be added to my YOUTUBE and my FACEBOOK... probably the NING sites as well. In each video clip I will tell you how I'm getting along with writing the book. I will share if I'm getting anything done, if something has come up to slow me down, I'll let you know if the characters are taking over and writing their own story, etc. This will give you the opportunity to see what it's like on the other side of the table---I'm on the writing side and you're on the reading side.

These clips are not edited. Ruby will share with you what every night of writing brings to paper and to the computer program she’s typing her story in. So if you’re looking for Hollywood style editing and special effects—you will not find it here. This is a “follow the author” project.

So invite your friends to check in on these sites to see how the process is going.

Dr. Ruby Moon-Houldson

also they are on my Facebook

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Review: Robert Saniscalchi's Second Book to Come Out - Check out His First!

Bullets and Bandages

Robert Saniscalchi

Having read several different novels surrounding the Vietnam War, I found Bullets and Bandages by Robert Saniscalchi, to be the most realistic, indeed, horribly so. It is quite simply a fictional account of a young man’s tour of duty in Vietnam, based upon true events as told to him by his brother. Because the author did not hold back on either his own fear or the actual events he met, the novel becomes very realistic, and the characters are those that you would expect to find in a war that nobody wanted.

The book opens and closes in an unforgettable scene as Rob Marrino, our main character, sits with the father of Sergeant Green, who had become his best friend, and who had been killed just a few weeks before he was to leave the service and come home. Green’s father asks Rob to tell him about his son and to tell him what they have been involved in so that he might remember his last few years of life.

So Rob starts to talk . . .

When there is a war going on, if you are the right age, all of your friends are talking about whether to “join up.” Or so it was at the time of the Vietnam War. Rob Marrino’s friends were joining; he needed only the courage to talk with his parents about it. His father took it the best and told him that he would be proud to have his son serve his country, as he had, adding that he hoped that it would be the army that he joined.

During basic training, they were given an option to move on for more training as a medic, and Rob decided that sounded like something he wanted to do. What that decision resulted in was that he became “special” to his unit. Everybody knew that it was important to make sure “Doc” was ok, because their own lives could actually be in his hands. But Rob was not only a medic, he was an active participant in that war. Rob felt he was under a man with experience and knowledge—Sergeant Jakes. And soon he met Corporal Clarence Green. The three of them slowly became close friends.

Rob Marrino was a praying man. Or maybe he became one once he was in the throes of war. The readers don’t know. What we do know is that he prayed continuously. He prayed for the courage and strength to ignore his shaking hands and get on with wiping the blood from a soldier’s wound to see how bad it was, to give him a quick shot of morphine to ease the pain. He prayed for each soldier he helped and for those who didn’t make it. He prayed when getting ready to enter a battle. He prayed in thanks for each time they made it through. Rob Marrino had never been as afraid in his life as he was during his tour in Vietnam. His prayers calmed him and many were grateful for his calm reassurance as he took care of their wounds.

It was the lack of honesty, the innate evil of the enemy that was hard for many of our soldiers to accept. Rob, by now, used to that evil, finally came back to the primary camp and saw a Vietnam man snapping pictures of the compound. There were several individuals with him, pretending that they were being photographed, but what was being photographed was the placement of where everything was located. This was all occurring while guards were on duty. They later explained that the man was a local farmer and had been around there for about five years. Combat officers quickly saw the dangers and were constantly alert. Even in the camp, guards did not fully understand the horrors of what was happening in the bush.

There is a touch of happiness for Rob when he is wounded. He meets a young nurse from his home state, and they fall in love. Somehow you feel that there in the midst of so many bullets and bandages, God must have brought her to care for him, to provide, through her, just a bit of His love to a weary soldier.

This book is very graphic in the war scenes--parental guidance material! On the whole, however, the story is one in which Americans can take pride. These are the true soldiers of our country, those in the lower ranks that fought for every inch that was won. Here was this man who made it through many brave tours, only to die from a snakebite! There was that man who gave it his all, and then was killed during a training accident weeks before leaving for home. This story is about the men who prayed their way through the Vietnam War. I am proud to have had an opportunity to read this unforgettable story.

G. A. Bixler

For Independent Professional Reviewers

News from Karen E. Dabney, Author of The Magic Pencil!

The Magic Pencil, a novel for young adults

Young Malcolm Bakersfield has been making his way through life’s pitfalls as best he can with the help of family and friends. School’s not a problem but Malc could do better. One day he tells his older brother and a friend about his latest dream. It is as fantastic as it is wonderful! But Malc has yet to learn that it, and a pencil, will forever change his world! We join him in his quest to find the truth to the power of the pencil.

Karen E. Dabney has created memorable characters and a fun read that teaches life lessons along the way. The Magic Pencil can be enjoyed by younger children as well as adults. It is humorous, entertaining and uplifting. Original poems are placed throughout the story.

The well-known author, Jimmy Santiago Baca, has lauded Karen’s work as “unrivaled in young adult literature.” Author Karl Klein believes the novel “is destined to become a classic.”

To place orders for the book see Web site:

Or contact:

Dabs & Company
PO Box 47327
Oak Park, MI 48237

Checks or money orders payable to Karen E. Dabney

To arrange for readings and interviews contact the author:

Phone 313.632.3384

Fax 313.341.7571

ISBN 10: 0-615-28291-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-615-28291-6
244 pages, soft cover laminate, perfect bound

The Magic Pencil is also available at:

Museum of African American History
315 E. Warren Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201

Virgil H. Carr
Cultural Arts Center
311 E. Grand River Ave.
Paradise Valley in Harmonie Park
Detroit, MI 48226

Book Beat
Greenfield Rd.
Oak Park, MI 48237

Ladels Children's Book Boutique
1413 Brooklyn St.
Detroit, MI 48226

Eric's I've Been Framed Shop
1527 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48221

Hamtramck Public Library
2360 Caniff St.
Hamtramck, MI 48212

Wayne State University
Purdy/Kresge Library
Special Collections
5265 Cass Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202

Southfield Public Library
History Room
26300 Evergreen Rd.
Southfield, MI 48076

230 E. Grand River Ave.
Detroit. MI 48226

Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center
13535 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48238

Russell Bazaar
Business Support by Mittie
PR Firm & Book Vendor
(at Main Entrance)
7500 Chrysler Drive
Detroit, MI 48211
Fridays - Sundays

The book is available online


The Author Collective

Get Magic Pencil Gear!


The Magic Pencil $14.95

Personalized Autograph

Promote Literacy! Keep a mind lit!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bits & Pieces! Follow Two New Facebook Members - Great Authors!

First of all speed for dialup is always slow, but getting to the Internet is seriously impaired when snow and ice load up the my time on the Internet is way down! Sorry for any delays to my activities...just can't be helped!

Well, it's been about two weeks now that I've been snowbound in my cabin. Thankfully my sister and her husband live nearby and bring milk and other things in to me!

I have my long, windy driveway plowed out...and the plowman got stuck! So...I'm in the same situation as many of you are.

Thankfully my electricity has stayed on, although my furnace went out twice...

Oh well, I read an article that said spring was coming soon! LOL


Facebook has two new members!!!!

Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters is now a member and check out her book Fan Page To Join Here There!


Check out Anthony Tata, Author of The Threat Series

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Legend of the Black Lake - Next Book for Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters!

The story:

A father and a son drive by a lake which draws the attention of the little boy, who asks his father to stop in order to have a closer look at the lake. Father and son get out of the car and meet an old man. The young boy, Aaron, asks the old man why the water is so dark.

Oh, that's a long story, says the old man, and tells them The Legend of the Black Lake. The story is about the impossible love between Catarina, a beautiful pale girl from Vorarlberg (the westmost federal state of Austria which has borders with Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Germany), and Paulo, an honest man with a big heart and good intentions who has a very, very black skin. They instantly fall in love and decide to get married. Catarina's father doesn't approve the marriage, so Paulo decides to...

On this page
there are three videos.

The first one is the official video from http://www.vorarlbergvonoben/.at (Vorarlberg from above) a state owned site where loads of helicopter videos from the state of Vorarlberg are available.

The second and the third video show illustrations of the book by Felipe Campos.

The lake itself is located here,9.659257&spn=0.0077,0.013969&t=h&z=17

There will be a "käsknöpfle" recipe, a typical local dish which Catarina serves Paulo in the book!

In the end you will know, why the water turned black.

It's very beautiful love story without a happy ending.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spotlighted Author Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters finds Actor and New Fan on the Street!

Tânia met the Spanish actor Benito Jiménez
on the street just by accident!

 He saw Tânia, looked at the book "Mozart en el futuro" (the Spanish version of "Mozart in the Future") and just thought it was great.

With quick thinking, Tânia immediately asked him if she could record some impressions of him with her camera.

"Sin problemas" (no problems), he said.

Here is the video


While the Spanish public TV station RTVE interviewed Tânia, a friend of hers recorded some parts of it from the side.

You can see the TV camera pointing at Tânia.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tânia Maria Rodrigues-Peters, Author, Mozart In The Future, Calls In From Spain!

Tânia Maria is touring the world to publicize her book Mozart in the Future! 

Tania called home on the phone from  Spain recently where she had just given THE interview to Spain's biggest TV and Radio Station "Radio Televisión Española" (RTVE).

Originally, they had only wanted a few minutes but stayed in order not to miss the author reading that was given in a local book store. The book store was brimmed, packed with people, loads of them children. Tânia sat on the floor amidst the children telling them about Mozart. The camera team had difficulties getting her on screen, but she didn't care. She was there for the children not for the TV.

Although the exact time for the broadcasting the interview was not know, they shared that it will definitely be worldwide AND several times.


Mozart's House With Tour Visitors in the Front!

Mozart was quite confused with tourists wanting to take his picture,
thinking he was an actor playing "Mozart!"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guest Poet and Author Mary Edwards Shares Her Latest Words...

Through The Windows Of My Heart.

If happiness is a picture Please let me paint it now

Then let me close my eyes and live in it somehow

Let me hold it in my heart and never let it go

But let it shine upon my face so all I meet will know

I only paint the happy time to send the sad away

To help me change a saddened heart
 and build a better day

To help me stand up strong and tall
 and never let me faint

Or sit back down and fold my hands
 in streaks of muddied paint

OH NO! for soon my happy heart
 will cover up the pain

And the picture of my life will be a joyous day again

I'll paint with love and happiness
 that I will soon redeem

to paint another happy day and fill it with a dream.


I wrote this from the thoughts that stayed unanswered about too little time now that it is a heavy cloak to wear.


The whistling rushing winds of time
 have caught me out,

and fulfilled no promise of the things
 I thought life owed me

I recognize, now that it is late, was me owed life

to fulfill all promises, pay all debts

Oh winds blow backwards, give me time

or back the time I tossed away in forfeit

While I waited, hands open, mind closed
 and could not see your passing.

It's not too late, is it? Not quite too late?

the Knell is not yet ringing, but still I hear time say--
there is so ... little time.

This will not win time, but it is from my head and heart

Love Mary
It is such an honor to have Mary (also author of three published novels) share her poetry, don't you think?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents With Their Suicides

The Last Goodnights

By John West
ISBN: 9781582434483
254 Pages

If you are over 50, or sometimes even younger due to your health, you may have considered what you will do when you are older and your health is failing daily. I know I have...and that's why I wanted to read and review The Last Goodnights: Assisting My Parents with Their Suicides.

This isn't a fiction novel where some character is playing as a "death angel" that must be caught. This is a nonfiction true story of a son who was asked to do the hardest thing he'd ever done. Help his parents die...

John West wrote this book for only one reason: to reveal his true-life drama to help move toward changes to our laws that would permit "death by choice" as performed between a doctor and patient.

There is no real discussion about pros and cons, rather it is the heartbreaking story of a son who had two seriously ill parents, who were in pain, and asking for his help to end their lives. Whether you have your own thoughts about this or not, I urge you to read John's story, it is almost unbelievable what happened!

John's father was a well-known psychiatrist and, indeed former chairman of the department at the University of California. His mother was also a practicing clinical psychologist in Los Angeles. In their mid-70s they discussed with their son about their beliefs in freedom of choice--the right to personal privacy and self-determination that would permit individuals to die with dignity.

John's father was literally being eaten by cancer and had about five months to live. If he had lived those months, he would have endured days or weeks or months of agony. He chose to die. His son was there to assist him to take medication to accomplish that choice.

The Plan for his death went off on schedule...

Not so with his mother...

Let me stop to add that this book is not an easy book to read. Imagine if you were asked to assist in someone's death, knowing that you were performing not one, but two...murders...

At least as the law now reads...

Many of us have noted that we think nothing about arranging the death of a loved pet when he is in pain and close to death.

How much more love do we have for our parents and other beloved family members? Yet, we stand helplessly watching...and loved ones fade away, oftentimes not knowing their loved ones or even their own names!

I highlight that the trauma, the anguish, the long-term effects of John West's actions were to himself, not to his family. He started to drink excessively, get more and more depressed, and had to be in fear of losing his livelihood (he's a lawyer) and even his own life. Being in this situation was obviously the worst that any child or family member could be put in.

In my opinion, The Last Goodnights by John West just might be one of the most important books you read this year! It was for me!

G. A. Bixler

More From Mozart In The Future!

Mozart meets
Enjoying a hamburger!

Max snowboards
                                                                                                       Mozart started with the
                                                                                          safer sled

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: Iron River Takes Readers to the Border and Beyond...

Iron River

By T. Jefferson Parker
ISBN: 9780525951490
373 Pages

T. Jefferson Parker's latest novel, Iron River: A Charlie Hood Novel is strangely fascinating. Although Charlie Hood is the main character, the strange character to whom I refer is Mike Finnegan...

The book opens with Finnegan being severely hurt in an automobile accident and Hood and others visit him throughout the book, trying to discover who he is and how he knows so much! He seeks a favor from Hood, to find and determine how his daughter is doing; and he then becomes indebted to Hood. Readers may feel that he plays a significant role in what is going on--perhaps he is a representative of the evil that taunts individuals with power and money, or perhaps he is just a well-read old man who has a "ear to the ground." No matter which, it was fascinating to me watch this somewhat minor character interact with Hood.

Charlie Hood is on loan to ATFE. Various groups in Mexico are in need of guns; Americans are providing them. In turn, drugs are provided to those in America who want them for sale or use. Both countries are at fault; neither country can control what is happening. Is a war the only answer? Parker's story brings us close to that when one of the Mexican groups first kidnaps one of the ATFE men, torturing him until a small group get him out. Then, while he is recuperating in the hospital located in the U.S., they swarm into the hospital, killing five and take him again.

Vengeance for the accidental death of the son of the major Mexican drug lord.

A reason for the U.S. President to consider the hospital invasion an attack of America. Already 15,000 individuals have died along the Iron River (border). How many more will die?

Both Mexico and the U.S. work to alleviate the threat of the latest problem and secure a trade for Jimmy Holdstock, the kidnap victim, and it almost fails...

But even while all of this is happening, a young man who has designed a beautiful but very dangerous gun is working diligently to fulfill the bargain to provide 1000 guns... and succeeds! Will it ever stop? Not if Mike Finnegan has anything to do with it, me thinks...

Will the issue Parker is highlighting do any good to decrease the drug/gun trade? I pray that it does. What Parker has done, for sure, is create a thrilling novel of one of the most horrendous issues faced by both the United States and Mexico! Iron River takes you into the middle of this powerful corruption. They win some; they also lose some! Highly recommended for those concerned and watching this situation "in real life."

G. A. Bixler

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review and More - Mozart In the Future!

Mozart in the Future

By Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters

ISBN: 9783950280401

105 Pages

What a wonderfully fun story--Mozart in the Future is not just for children who are interested in music! Written by Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters, with beautiful illustrations by Pedro Caraca, the story can help children and parents realize and find a balance of activities in their lives.

I love children's books that take special care to provide appropriate and complementary covers, artwork and format. Indeed Mozart in the Future does that extremely well. For instance, instead of boring quotation marks for dialog, every line that shows somebody talking begins with a musical note - Isn't that Cool? And the young Mozart is simply precious, in my opinion.

Then you will meet The Spirit of Music, who comes first to Max, as a beautiful woman dressed in yellow, whose violet eyes and hair match! Max is a young boy who loves learning how to play the piano, but also wants to play with other children. However, his mother believes he is the next Mozart and must constantly practice! Until Max becomes ill and the doctor orders complete rest. It was during this time that The Spirit visited!

Because she actually knew Mozart when he was a young boy--and guess what? Mozart had a very strict father who demanded the same thing from him--constant practice! And Mozart had never had an opportunity to have a friend or play, just for the fun of it!

Until The Spirit of Music brought Mozart into the future!

Can you imagine what two small boys might get into when they meet for the first time, having had no time to play, or have a close friend? Can you imagine what Mozart, especially, must have been thinking when he saw all the magical inventions that were now available? Well, you really don't have to imagine--Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters, in Mozart in the Future tells us about Mozart watching TV for the first time, about his seeing an escalator, etc.

But Mozart has a whole life of creating beautiful, wonderful music! How is he going to get back home, into his own time?

You know what? I was having just as much fun reading this book, as you and your children will have! Yes, this is a perfect gift for any child, from say, 6 to 96! Bring a little music into the lives of your children... You're going to love this one, just as much as I did! Don't let this one go without checking it out!

G. A. Bixler

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Review: Impossible Motherhood Speaks to All Women!

Impossible Motherhood

By Irene Vilar
Other Press
ISBN: 9781590513200
222 Pages

Somewhere shortly after I began to read Impossible Motherhood: Testimony of an Abortion Addict by Irene Vilar, I turned to the back to see if there was an author picture. Such a beautiful woman, but with large sad eyes, even in this photo. As I read about her marriage, I wanted to alternatively "shake" her for allowing her husband to treat her so, and then "hug" her tightly as her mother and/or grandmother should have.

There is no doubt that a young 15-year-old woman who begins an affair with a much older man is searching for "something." There is both an honest account of her life with her husband, as well as a follow-up analysis of what was happening to her. Even though she later separated from her husband and went into the same type of defeating relationship with another man, by that time, Irene was already addicted--to abortion as a means of control.

Irene places her life within her cultural background. This is most significant--and not so significant. A need for women to gain some control over their own life has been documented for all women, not just one culture. I must say though that the activities about using the women in Puerto Rico to test drugs are a devastating reality that we must never forget! When will the time come when profits for corporations are no longer more important than people?

Childhood for Irene included her mother leaving the home in her early years. Two of her brothers were drug addicts, one dying from his abuse. Her father was a quiet alcoholic and while he seemed to be "there" for the family, his loss of his wife deeply affected the entire family.

When Irene was 15, she was allowed to go to the United States to begin college. As an intelligent woman, but young enough to be "moldable," she became the mistress of her professor. I can think of no other words to describe him than as narcissistic and selfish! In essence, he wanted his freedom above all else, wanted Irene to financially carry her own weight and had no desire to have children, making that quite clear but forcing Irene to be the one to deal with birth control.

Thus began the cycle. Irene could become pregnant, because she wanted children, but would abort within the time allowed legally...only to ignore her birth control pills or take them sporadically, until she was once again pregnant.

It is arrogance beyond belief what her husband did "in support of his freedom!"

It is stupidity beyond belief to allow it to happen...unless there are psychological issues that press someone into this type of self-destructive behavior. Irene Vilar freely shares her innermost feelings about her husband and others in her life. Many women become stupid when faced with things they cannot control, including myself!

I am so thankful that women are beginning to open up about sexuality and its impact on their personal life. God alone knows how many women are facing some type of psychological issue/result from sexual-related issues; and there are few, if any, church-supported actions created to help women with the terrible abuse they face.

If you have the least feeling for women's issues in the United States and other countries, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It is not fiction; it is a reality that must be explored and discussed...YOU must discover this for yourself!

G. A. Bixler

Monday, February 1, 2010

Interview from Brazil with Spotlighted Author Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters!

Mozart in the Future is already very successful in Germany, Austria and Brasil. It has also been translated into Spanish, Swedish and English.

The children’s book writer Tânia Maria Rodrigues-Peters from Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, just published her book Mozart in the Future. In her book she gives Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - who was one of the greatest composers of all times - a childhood that he never had.

It’s a childhood that is not only characterized by music. It’s just a childhood as that of a normal child. He eats hamburgers, plays with other children, watches TV, etc. He has freedom and a deep friendship with a boy named Max. The story is about fantasy, inspiration and brotherhood, and fairy-like being called the Spirit of Music who guides them.

In Austria as well as in other countries, several positive reviews have already been written about the book.

Tânia lives in a small village in Austria with her husband Carsten and their three children Luana (8), Teo (6) and Toni (4). Although Tânia is busy running the household and taking care of her kids, she found the time to write this wonderful fantasy story which is recommended for all ages. Both parents and children will be inspired by the two main figures Max and Mozart.

KultBrasil: Before moving to Austria you lived in both Spain and Germany. In which country was it easier for you to adapt yourself?

Tania: I think I am a person who is able to adapt herself in any place. Every place is beautiful in its own way, and it always fascinates me to get to know different cultures.

KultBrasil: When did you discover your talent as a writer? Was your professional experience as a school teacher beneficial?

Tania: I enjoyed reading already at very early age. When I was five years old I learned to read and to write. That was the time when I started devouring books. It was the first step to devoting myself to writing. The fact that I worked as a school teacher brought me closer to the world of children. Working with children and teenagers I was able to understand their world better. It does good to tune into a child’s thoughts from time to time. In this way it’s easier to write a story for children. So having worked as a school teacher was beneficial on this behalf. I was still in high school when I won the second prize in a literature award. In 1996 I won the first prize in national award in Brazil with a travelogue. In Spain, I won the seventh prize in a literature award, and, of course, I had written the story in Spanish which is not my mother tongue.

KultBrasil: When was it that the idea of writing Mozart in the Future came to your mind? What was it that made you start writing?

I had to visit the Brazilian consulate in Vienna in order to sign a legal document. I wasn’t very happy to travel since the journey takes several hours. But then I took the chance and visited the houses of the great composers such as Beethoven, Strauss, Händel, and, of course, Mozart whose house was the last one I visited. I have always been listening to Mozart a lot. I adore and love his music. During all of my three pregnancies I always listened to Mozart. And now my children love Mozart, too. So I visited Mozart’s house and I left crying. That was so emotional. It is so moving to be inside his house. The house where the greatest composer of all times used to live. On the way home I only thought about him. I thought about the fact that he actually never had a childhood. He spent the nights in so many different places traveling in a carriage from one concert to another. There was no time to have a childhood. Then I thought about how it would be if he could spend some time with us. Of course, I would make a Sacher tart for him, and he would be able to play with other children. He could go skiing, going down a slope on a sled, have a soft drink and eat a hamburger. So I started to write the book Mozart in the Future.

KultBrasil: Your book is very successful in Brazil. It is available in the country’s major book stores. Does it sell in Europe, too?

Tania: When I traveled to Brazil, that was crazy! I still can’t believe all the things that happened. First I managed to give author signings in the biggest book stores Livraria Cultura, Livraria Saraiva and Livraria Siciliano. Then I gave TV interviews in two different TV channels, one of them being the nation’s biggest called Rede Globe. In addition to that I gave two newspaper interviews and I even managed to be the cover of a magazine. The channel TV Cultura asked me to do a whole TV show about Mozart, however, there was no time left and I had to go back to Austria. So I will have to travel to Brazil again. My books will also be available in the book store chains of FNAC and Nobel within short. In Europe I have only given an author signing at Raiffeisenbank in Vorarlberg, Austria. But I am already planning more events in Spain and Germany. In October my book will be exposed at the Frankfurt Book Fair. BRH: This book is also available in U.S.

KultBrasil Have you written other books apart from Mozart in the Future? Can you tell us about them?

Tania: I have already written about ten books which still have to be published. New ideas come to my mind all the time. My husband Carsten helps me to be disciplined. So I always do one book at a time. My new book Lost in Africa is almost finished, however, last week something happened: We passed by a black lake which impressed me. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was thinking about the lake all the time. The next day I wrote the story The Legend of the Black Lake. I already sent the text to one of my illustrators who will accompany the story will watercolor drawings. After this literary escapade to the Black Lake I will go on with Lost in Africa.

KultBrasil: Mozart in the Future has already been translated into four languages: German, English, Spanish and Swedish. Are the foreign language version already published?

Tania: German, English and Spanish are already published. We are looking for a publisher to take care of the Swedish version. We speak Portuguese, Spanish, German, and English, but we don’t speak Swedish. Now with the English version already published, Barak Obama’s daughters will be able to read the book.

KultBrasil: In Mozart in the Future the two main figures are children. Do you think the book is suitable for all ages?

Tania: I think so. Both the Brazilian and the German revisor are adults and they both said that the book is fantastic and really inspiring. The illustrator Pedro Caraça works a lot with children and he said that parents should read the book aloud to their children.

KultBrasil: Your husband told me that while translating the book really moved him. What was it that moved him and what do you think your readers can expect from the book?

The book is about friendship and the devotion to music. It’s a story about Max and little Mozart who both are very talented. However, both are pressured by their parents to give their verybest. In my opinion children should do a lot of different things. Nobody should pressure them, but they should always be motivated. You shouldn’t deprive them of what passes quickly: their childhood.

The part that mostly moved Carsten was when Mozart reveals his real identity. Without saying something or giving explanations Mozart goes to the piano and starts to play, so beautifully he has never played before. Fortunately the Spirit of Music appears to both Max and Mozart. The Brazilian singer Danila Mercury inspired me to create the Spirit of Music. Mozart in the Future is made for dreaming.

Book Readers Heaven is grateful to KultBrasil for permitting the use of this interview. His site can be visited by clicking the title of this article.

BRH is honored to host Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters as the spotlighted author this month.

Myself, I'm looking forward to learning more about the Legend of the Black Lake; it sounds quite mysterious!