Wednesday, May 31, 2017

William Rubin Presents Important Prequel to Chris Ravello Medical Thriller Series

Sometimes a prequel doesn't seem important to a series already started; however, I was very happy to take a step back for William Rubin's Chris Ravello Medical Thriller series! More, I highly encourage you to start the series with this book before you continue on to the second, Forbidden Birth...Be sure to read my review of that book.

There are two reasons I was happy to see the prequel. First, it shares more of the life and family of Chris Ravello so that we learn more of the man who by the next book has made a major career change...and that leads to the second reason--to learn why he made that decision...

By the time readers are in the second book, we are immediately thrown into a brilliant plot or a thriller that pulls you directly into and through the book. Knowing the why, how and when Ravello became a cop lays a foundation that, for me, established him as a righteous hero, one to look forward to as he uses his significant knowledge, expertise, and experience in fighting crimes related to medical issues...

Sunday afternoon at the Ravello residence in beautiful Rye, New York – it’s the best time of the week. Jacqueline and Bill Ravello, aka Mom and Dad/Grandma and Grandpa, are over for our weekly family dinner. My best friend, Kevin Kennedy, is here as well. He is like a brother to me. Michelle, Christine, James, and I round out the crew. Our magnificent seven use this time to catch up with each other and enjoy some great cooking courtesy of Mom and Michelle. Today is extra special, as it’s the first time Michelle and I are hosting the event at our new home, a four thousand square foot, five bedroom Victorian in one of Westchester County’s more exclusive neighborhoods. Michelle gathers the children at the top of our sprawling staircase, putting the finishing touches on their hair, as the rest of us catch up with each other in the living room...
“I’m so proud of you, Christopher. This new house, your career, the two wonderful children you and Michelle are raising.... I always knew you could do it.” Mom beams with pride. 
Blushing, I try to downplay it. “I’m as surprised as anyone, Ma, with how well it’s turned out. For a lot of years, I was a major screw up. You were the one who pulled me through all the fights, the turmoil, the feeling I didn’t fit in when we moved to Ossining from Arthur Avenue.” A smile fills my face. “I don’t know how you hung in there with me, Ma, how you believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. You made this all possible. Thank you so much.” Tears rim my eyes. Mom’s mist up as well. 
“Oh Christopher,” she says as we lean into each other and hug. “Can you come to the kitchen with me? I have something for you in my purse.” 
“Sure, Ma. Lead the way.” Mom glides through the dining room and into the kitchen, checking on the meal she and Michelle have prepared. The aroma of lasagna and garlic bread in the oven waft through the air, bringing me back to happy Sundays from my childhood. Mom stirs the mac and cheese she is making for the kids, adding in seasoning as she goes. Sipping a glass of cabernet sauvignon, I admire her, reflecting on how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman as my mother. Many are not so fortunate. “I meant what I said a moment ago, Ma. I felt so lost, like such an outsider once we moved to Ossining...”
Mom and I embrace for a moment. She leans back and pulls a tissue from her purse and dabs at her eyes. “Ma, are you okay?” “Yes, I’m fine dear. I just want you to know how proud I am of you. Seeing what you’ve accomplished, what a wonderful life you and Michelle have built for yourselves.…” Mom smiles broadly through her tears. “I’m glad you found a strong woman, Christopher. A mother’s always concerned about who her son will marry, who will take care of him when he leaves home. You and Michelle will pull each other through the darkest hours of your lives long after I’m gone. If I had to die now, I’d die happy, knowing how wonderfully my little boy has turned out.”
I kiss Mom on the forehead and hug her. “Hey, Mom, don’t get all melodramatic and serious on me now, huh? You’re not going anywhere for a long time.” I chuckle. “You’ve got two beautiful grandchildren counting on you to spoil them.” 
Mom dries her tears as she speaks. “Sorry for going a bit overboard, but what can you expect from a mother? Here, I got something for you.” Mom reaches into the depths of her purse and pulls out a sturdy white box with a bright blue bow. It envelopes her hands. “Here, open it.” 
“Uh, okay. What’s this all about?” Mom’s face fills with anticipation as I untie the bow and open the box. 
A puzzled look comes over me as I stare at the large gold medallion. It depicts a man, a club in his hand, fire around his head. The medallion is thick, filling my hand with its size and
weight as I lift it and the chain it is on out of its box. “It’s beautiful, Ma. But what’s with the flame around the guy’s head?” I smirk at her. “Are you trying to remind me not to be a hot head?” 
Mom gives me the look reserved for mothers when their children misbehave. “Very funny.” She grabs the gift from me. “It’s a St. Jude medallion, Christopher. He’s the patron saint of lost or hopeless causes. His feast day, October 28th, happens to be your birthday.” 
My look of confusion speaks volumes. “You wear this as a reminder, dear.” Mom’s knowledge of Catholic saints is encyclopedic. Mine not so much. “A reminder of what?” 
“To always do good in the world, to help and protect those in need, no matter how lost they are or how hopeless their cause seems to be. Do this and St. Jude and I will always be there to watch over and protect you.”

The Sub-Title, Jacqueline's Tragedy, is the key to the major change to Chris Ravello and his family's lives. Jacqueline, Chris' mother, had been behind every action and reaction of daily living during Chris' early school years. From her, he gained the strength to fight against bullies, stand strong in doing right, and working hard to achieve the most he could... He was now a surgeon, performing small and large miracles to save those who needed his expertise...

Chris was now able to afford a larger house for his wife and two children. It was on the first Sunday in that new house that all the family, including Chris' parents and his best friend, Kevin Kennedy had come for a small housewarming... Kevin was a cop as had been Chris' father. Everybody was thrilled with the beautiful home and after the meal, that day, Jacqueline had taken Chris into another room and presented her son with a stunning gold medallion of St. Jude. It was almost as if she knew even then that Chris would one day need that help promised through praying to St. Jude... But that was later, after Jacqueline, herself, had been killed by street violence...

Jacqueline had been on her way to help serve at a food kitchen when a man waved her to stop. She hesitated, but then saw another man lying on the nearby walk. As soon as she got out to help and moved to the man, she was caught. But she fought
them so hard that finally they had to run because the police was on their way. They rushed her to the hospital but she soon went into a coma... Finally, after days of visiting, Chris noticed a strange mark and thought she might have been drugged... Telling Kennedy, it was soon discovered that another man had the same mark and that there appeared to be more than an assault happening...

Ravello and Kennedy had handled many tough issues since they had grown up together. Now, there was no way that Chris was not going to be involved with finding those who had attacked his mother.  Kennedy soon showed his intelligence in working to get Chris permitted to be informally involved, since the mark appeared to be leading to something that could be behind all the missing older people who had been reported.

Soon, even the governor was involved and not only agreed to have Chris involved, but wanted him to take over an already-formed medical group that had, as yet, not solved one case since none of those working had any medical training...

The book quickly gets into a serious investigation, with Chris finding a side of him not seen for a long time, when he used a scalpel as a weapon to scare a witness into talking!

There were two interesting medical issues that became prominent in the that was unique and plagued our main character, Chris... And another which was used to attempt to bring Jacqueline out of her coma... The ending of Jacqueline's life was via a brief awakening where she was able to speak to all of her family... What a blessing that decision, though fatal, made to the family.

In fact, the drama of routine death-life actions, together with those who care not about life itself, if they can make money through, in this case, selling organs, brings about today's reality into books that stir strong emotional responses that keep readers riveted. But the thrilling ending when Chris is in serious danger cannot be beat for an exhilarating conclusion, as well as lead in to Chris' new career! Bravo to Rubin for giving this more personal touch to his characters as we look forward to future medical thrillers by this expert in the medical field! Highly recommended.


William Rubin is a practicing physician who enjoys weaving tales of medical/scientific intrigue. Writing for him is equal parts catharsis, creativity, and escape from the rigors of a busy medical practice and the joys and challenges of raising a family. The works of James Patterson, Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Patricia Cornwell inspired Dr. Rubin to create the Christopher Ravello Series. Challenges and tragedies in Dr. Rubin’s life, particularly the untimely death of his mother, provided some of the underlying drama, conflict, and turmoil for the series’ lead character.

When he isn't busy practicing medicine or crafting his next medical thriller, Dr. Rubin enjoys time with his family and friends, running, playing piano, and travel. He values your thoughts, insights, and feelings on his series. Please leave a review on your favorite website(s).

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nellie Leverette Wasilewski Shares "Layla Lee" - A Child of Song and Dance!

Layla Lee

You confiscated my heart
child of song and dance.

Waltzing through 
transparent ribbons 
of imagination,

you held me steadfast 
and enthralled.
High spirited, full of energy
and free, you reminded me 
of me!
All the things you are, 
can and will be 
make you every inch 
the princess you become 
in make believe.

It's not your big blue eyes, or
your appreciation of beautiful 
things; but, rather,
your delightful gift of love 
with a vivacity
that enchants, surprises
and captivates.

Thank you so much, Nellie Leverette Wasilewski,
for visiting today!

When I read Layla Lee, a child of song and dance,
my immediate thought was to have Shirley Temple
be our Layla Lee - What do you think?!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Deliverance - Poetic Verse by Robert Fultz with Complementary Music...

Many were his enemies
For many years, he fled

To keep from killing his own sons
King David prayed instead.
One day came his deliverance
From all his evil foes
That day he sang unto the LORD
And this is how it goes:

My Rock and my Deliverer
My Fortress and High Tower
My God, my Strength, 
in Whom I trust
To Whom belongs all power.

I will call upon the LORD
Who’s worthy to be praised
In my distress, I cried to God
And now I stand amazed.


Robert Fultz

May 8, 2017

Psalm 17:1 ¶ « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul: And he said, » I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sandy Nathan Presents Mindspeak: Heartspeak - A SciFi Fantasy Like No Other!

Clarisse stood, unable to move, captivated by both the strangeness of the scene and its familiarity. The street looked like the old photos of Palo Also from her family albums. The houses were small and pushed back from wide streets with generous sidewalks.
She was on a tree-lined thoroughfare. The trees were elms, even though she knew the elms had died off from the blight years ago. Water-guzzling, emerald laws covered the front yards, nothing like the postage stamp-sized hunks of grass of 2016.
The place was a throwback to Palo Also of the 1980s or earlier. before the money hit and new millionaires converted modest neighborhoods into suburban fiefdoms fit for modern royalty. Marring the city's character, as she and so many of her old-timer counterparts thoughts. Clarisse lived in the most legitimately patrician and authentic Palo Alto neighborhood: Professorville, the enclave of academics and scientists, intellectuals, and whole covens of psychiatrists, all nestled close to the university and downtown. Three generations of Hulls had lived in the ornately elegant Queen Anne Victorian with its deep porches and heavy, gingerbread trim she called home.
What was this street? The sparseness of everything: buildings, trees, traffic. She had to have been standing there for close to a minute, gawking. Nothing moved on the streets. Not a single car had passed, none were in sight. On each block, two or three were parked on the curb, as though placed for effect. She didn't recognize the models, they were like props on some movie set.
No people. Not a single animal. Not a cat or a dog.
The sun blazed and the air sparkled clear and bright. A bird trilled, as if to say everything was normal. More than normal--cheery.
Clarisse wasn't cheery. This was the worst day of her life. She wanted nothing more than to be home with Jack and the boys, in her jeans, sticking her hands in dirt. The vegetable garden had become her refuge this terrible year. She'd met with the committee today. Her fate was sealed.
But she wasn't home. Nowhere near home. The street signs on the corner said "Marble St. and Sawyer Way." She'd lived in Palo Alto all her life and had never heard of these streets. Maybe she was in Midtown, closer to 101 than where she lived and less familiar. Midtown was as close as Palo Alto came to a modest neighborhood.
If she was in Midtown, though, why was she there? How had she gotten there? Poof! Like she'd materialized out of thin air? She'd been walking toward her car after the meeting, and then, here she was. Clarisse was one to think things out before acting. Another person might have bolted, but she needed to consider what was happening.
Where was her car? No sign of it anywhere. She knew why she wore a suit and high heels rather than her usual slacks and blazer. She'd worn ceremonial clothing for the meeting with Dean Dog turd and his Nazi cohorts. Tears leapt to her eyes at the thought of the dean. The committee had been meeting about her tenure for a year; today's hurdle was to have been the final resolution, the discussion that would give her tenure, or not. And it had been...
"Hello? Is anyone home? Help me!" She dashed up a manicured walkway to a small gray house and struck the red door with an iron knocker shaped like a hand. "Hello?! Is anyone home?"
...When she turned around, he was standing right in front of her. "Shit!" she muttered, jumping back. "Where did you come from? Do you always scare people like that?" Her lips pulled back. She wanted to slug him.
He was thin and vague, like everything in the landscape. His dark lank hair hung over his forehead, but was short in back. The front separated out in greasy strands. His hands were shoved in his jeans pockets...
"Um... I'm sorry. I've never done this before. They, uh, sent me to take you home." His skin was very fair, almost blue-white, so his brows and lips and the shadow on his jaw stood out. If he hadn't been so cringing and subservient, she would have thought him handsome.
"You're going to take me home?" How? Where? "You know where I live?" He nodded slowly. "Hull House?" Another nod. "All right. Let's go." She pulled herself erect. "Let's go home..."

Mindspeak - Heartspeak:

A Saga of Quantum Physics, Alternative Universes and Love (The Bloodsong Series Book 4) 

By Sandy Nathan

The first thing you should realize about Author Sandy Nathan is that you will never be able to anticipate what her books might be about. They are normally 400-500 pages that, at first, makes you groan with the length, and then, by the first pages, you are so quickly immersed, that you are soon heading toward the amazing ending! And this one is even more so and, I think, is my favorite of her far...

Readers walk right into the life of the main character, Clarisse, as she finds herself on a strange street, wondering how she got there. Her car wasn't there, and, in fact, nobody was around, no people, no animals... But the memory of where she'd been that morning was still clear in her mind... She had just lost her job at the university. Not only had she not received expected tenure, but she had been fired because of a recent incident with a student, which was certainly not her fault... at least in my opinion.

The sad part of her losing her job was that, in addition, to her research activities, she was also working for the government on a top secret project--which was essentially the same as she was doing at the university. The problem? The proof that her hypothesis was correct had been proven--but the government refused to allow her to share the information in support of her need to gain tenure...

Her research dealt with the opinion that alternate realities existed and that she was able to prove it through her study and move toward showing it beyond the point of hypothesis. In fact, for the government, she had built a large computer which had already been used to relocate items from earth to another realty. She was now working to determine how to bring something back...

Though her tenure committee said she proved nothing, there was another that had discovered her activities and the status of her work. It just happened to be that he was in one of those alternate realities... And he had sent his representative to earth to find and bring her back!

And when the young man who had been sent to meet her told Clarisse that he was to take her home, it turned out to be his home, not hers... In a box-like universe that expanded and contracted upon need and with the only alien to appear was via a face, which appeared on the walls as a holograph...

And a group of human people who appeared to have been taken off the streets of earth and brought here, supposedly to be an army to fight against the earth... Of course, Clarisse finally realized that it was she who had suggested that, and the face, that she started to call "Pops" had allowed her to believe she was right. But what they had planned for her was much more sinister...

Clarisse is a genius that had been born into a family of genius that went back generations. But she begins to discover that she has been "played" by her parents and discovers that things that had happened to her might have really been planned... Clarisse is a gutsy lady in addition to her genius mind and has been trained for combat conditions and certainly can handle herself. 

But is she strong enough to fight against the power of aliens who were able to bring her automatically to a place she has been trying to prove existed...through the use of a computer? 

The story concept is brilliant, in my opinion. Nathan continues to amaze me with her creative imagination in providing readers with awesome, innovative and fascinating science fiction that is exciting and intriguing...The activities that occur in the alternate universe are extraordinary and thrilling...

But, most of all, what Nathan did by bringing in the lives of Clarisse's two sons places this book into new realms of thought. Is the mind the strongest part of humans? Or does love have control?

Prepare for an ending that will answer that like no other book you will have read! I am quite certain of that! SciFi enthusiasts, this is a must-read, in my opinion.  Highly recommended to all who love to explore the unknown!


I used to be a princess. My parents were born in the hungry days of the Great Depression. They overcame the poverty of their youth by becoming extremely successful. I spent my time showing horses and water-skiing behind my dad’s obscenely overpowered boat. That life vanished when a drunk driver hit my father head-on in 1964, killing him. 

Not instantly, though. My dad's death was the stuff of horror movies and plunged my family into years of darkness. 

My old life disappeared. I lived at close to poverty level for a while. What happened in the following decades opened my eyes. I've seen and lived the over-privileged existence I describe in the Bloodsong Series. I've seen how it can warp those who are lost in it. I've seen how the power of money can mask mental illness and allow evil to ruin lives.

I know the mental and emotional landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, as it has come to be known. I know the physical geography just as well; I lived on the San Francisco Peninsula for fifty years. I made my home in the iconic cities and towns of Atherton, Woodside, Cupertino, and Palo Alto during that time. 

How did such a hothouse flower end up writing the rough and visceral fiction I do? It’s because of what happened in those dark years. 

My writing has a bite. My life has had a bite. Recovering from what happened to me has taken many years. And I have recovered. What was legitimately mine came back to me, along with the fruit of my own labor. If your life echoes mine, you might like to see how I healed; it’s in my books. 

My writing isn’t for everyone. I write about people getting better and the world working out, but it’s not always gentle and nice. A reviewer described one of my books as “equal parts horror, spiritual, romance, and action.” If that’s for you, you’re my reader. 

I consider what I write as falling primarily into the visionary fiction genre, which is about psychological maturation and making the world a better place. I have had huge spiritual experiences all my life, as well as gentler, ongoing inner guidance. Whatever is behind these experiences and this earthly life wants me to tell you my visions through my tales: my darkness and light.

Now for my “regular bio”: I’ve been in school a very long time and have two advanced degrees. I’ve had prestigious careers. My writing has won thirty national awards. I’m very happily married; my husband and I have been together forty years. I have three grown children and two grandchildren. My husband and I live on our California horse ranch and love it. We still ride the trails together, metaphorically and on our horses.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Warren Adler Takes Readers on Thrilling Ride of the Trans-Siberian Express!

An early spring sun, all light and no warmth, was slipping behind the gargoyled, columned mass of the Yaroslav station as a black Zil pulled smoothly up to the main entrance. The policeman posted there stiffened as he noticed the large, official-looking car. The driver and his companion in the front seat, both small-eyed, high-cheekboned Slavs, got out and talked briefly with the policeman. Then they returned, pulled several pieces of baggage from the car’s trunk and swiftly strode inside the station. Immediately, a second car, a Chaika, pulled up. Five tall, dark-suited, somber men emerged and fanned out. Two positioned themselves on either side of the entrance, conspicuously alert, while the others walked through the station entrance and disappeared into the converging crowd of people. 
Inside the Zil, Alex Cousins glanced at his watch. It was four fifteen. The train was scheduled to leave at five, precisely five, Zeldovich had said confidently. “They will take care of the details,” Zeldovich assured him.
“Thank you,” Alex responded. He had no illusions about Zeldovich. It had been an uneventful trip from the dacha near Barvikha to the Yaroslav station. Viktor Moiseyevich Dimitrov, the sixty-nine-year-old General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had been expansive at lunch. His appetite had returned along with his color, and he had stuffed himself with huge portions of black bread and globs of sour cream heaped on top of deep bowls of borscht. 
The chemotherapy was working, Alex had observed, his doctor’s pride swelling as he reviewed the charted progress and the past six weeks of endless diagnosis, observation and treatment. At best, the disease was tricky, and as cunning as a jungle beast. Acute myeloblastic leukemia was a microscopic war between the proliferating white blood cells and the rapidly weakening red blood cells in Dimitrov’s body. And the reds had been losing. 
Now, Dimitrov was no longer in the depressed manic state Alex had initially encountered. At lunch a waiter had brought a fat bass, broiled brown and dripping with butter. Dimitrov had watched its arrival, broadly smiling with boyish glee. Alex had been allowing him to fish again in the Moscow River, which meandered a few yards from the rear of the dacha. Fishing was Dimitrov’s one passion, aside from exercising his power, and being able to fish again had restored the General Secretary’s buoyancy, reassuring him that he had been snatched, however temporarily, from the grave. 
Alex had only picked at the fish. Despite his anxiety, he was somewhat excited by the prospect of his upcoming Siberian journey. Although, under different circumstances, he now would have been searching back in time, with all the emotion that nostalgia engenders, to prepare his mind for the mystique of the adventure. “It is a legacy of the soul,” his grandfather, that old Siberian fox, would have said. But to begin such a journey under duress seemed, somehow, incongruous. 
He looked down at the fish, runny with butter, the skin crisp and shiny, wondering if he could force his appetite. “Delicious, Kuznetzov. Eat!” Dimitrov commanded, jabbing his knife forward, a trickle of butter escaping along the side of his mouth. 
Despite himself, despite what he suspected, Alex felt satisfaction in Dimitrov’s enjoyment. It was the damndest personal sensation, this dichotomy within himself, this raging war between between his odd affection for the man and the knowledge of his impending act. Could it be possible he was mistaken? That all the comings and goings, the odd bits of information, the strange admissions, and little confessions of Dimitrov himself, were only a distorted view through some faulty prism? I am a doctor. I am apolitical. You had no right to draw me into this, he wanted to shout across the table, trapped now like a fly that has fatally touched the flypaper with the tip of one wing. 
“Why the long Siberian exit?” he had asked. “A flight would be much faster.” 
“Nonsense,” Dimitrov had said blandly, as if he were merely persuading Alex to have another glass of brandy. “How could you deprive yourself? How many chances like this do you get in life? Whoever heard of a Russian with no curiosity about his past? Don’t be foolish. I insist.” 
“But my wife—” Alex had answered mildly, not able to bring himself to even the first plateau of genuine protest. His wife was certainly no reason to return. He might have been more accurate to say, “My life.” 
“Take a look at where you began,” Dimitrov persisted, knowing that there was truth there, a match to dry tinder, for Alex had often longed to see the place from where his grandfather had escaped. But his escape had been only physical. In the old man’s mind and heart, he had never really left Siberia. 
“I’ll come back,” Alex mumbled. “I’ll do it another time.” “Nonsense,” Dimitrov said. “It is my gift. Consider what you have given me.” 
Another old fox, Alex thought. Why don’t you tell me the truth? I know too much. Perhaps you’ll never let me out. “One more week. What will it matter?” 
Alex had been gone six weeks. “The Politburo meets in seven weeks,” the American Secretary of State had emphasized again and again. “You must keep Dimitrov alive until that meeting,” he might have said if he had not been so well schooled in diplomacy. Alex had, of course, understood the message and had done his duty. How na├»ve and ineffective the President and the Secretary now looked in retrospect. Dimitrov had outmaneuvered them both. 
Still worse, he, Alex, could be characterized as a co-conspirator. And this trip was his fat reward for success. Let me put you in a rolling prison across the wastes of Siberia while I prepare a holocaust. Did they think he had brains the size of a pea? Suddenly the idea of seeing his wife again—dear, bland, irritating, unaffectionate Janice—seemed almost attractive. 
How they must have chuckled over their good fortune in discovering Alex, a Russian-speaking doctor who was an expert on leukemia. And he had been right under their noses at the National Institutes of Health. At first he had been very unreceptive. Couldn’t they have found someone else for this job? He was above politics, disgusted with their silly little power games. The preservation of human life, the alleviation of suffering, was the bedrock of his motivation. He had actually willed himself to be apolitical, dismissing everything that was not within the confines of his expertise. In mankind’s stupidity, man inflicted so much misery on himself, and could not seem to organize society for his own benefit. But that was the politicians’ problem. One could not bleed over uncontrollable factors. At least in his field he could focus on a recognizable enemy. All else was trivia, he had convinced himself. 
Now, in Moscow, the events of the last six weeks had effectively demolished that self-delusion.
As Dimitrov’s strength returned, so did his cunning. He had struck exactly the right chord for a Russian—antecedents, roots. Russians and their damned ancestor fixation. To this day, every child born was given two names—his own and his father’s. “Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kuznetzov” was the name, which appeared on Alex’s original birth certificate. He had changed it to Alexander Cousins, in spite of his father’s passionate opposition. But he could not change the heritage that had been programmed into his fantasies from birth. Siberia—a myth weathered and matured by repetitive storms of memory. His grandfather had been caught in the Czar’s penal machinery as a boy and sent to Siberia as punishment. He had helped build the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and his labor shortened his sentence. He ended up in Irkutsk, which was dubbed the “Paris of Siberia.” After several years there, his grandfather took his wife and young son, and escaped to America. It was with these stories of youth, hardship, despair, danger and escape that Alex’s ancient gnarled grandfather had mesmerized him, ever since he was old enough to understand. As he grew older he could pick Siberia out on a map, roughly along the fifty-fifth degree of latitude. He learned that it was an area of five million square miles that could encompass all of the United States, including Alaska, all of Western Europe, and still have hundreds of thousands of square miles left over. The route the family had taken was through farms and cattle ranches, through trackless virgin forests, around the earth’s deepest lake, to heights where the sky is fair for all but sixteen days of the year, down to places where swarms of insects tortured men and animals, and through pockets scourged by unspeakable disease and Manchurian tigers. During those interminable first days with Dimitrov, Alex had, of course, dwelt on these stories with relish, especially after seeing Dimitrov’s enchanted reaction. It was all part of the treatment. Who could have expected it to be flung back at him like a weapon?

When Author Warren Adler put out a notice that he was celebrating Russian Literature Week by placing one of his books on sale, I immediately knew I wanted to read the book. For two reasons, besides the fact that I am a fan of this author...

First, many years ago, I had a strange dream. Without going into details...I was with a prisoner in the Siberian jails. He was dying and I was there comforting him until he had died... Since then my interest of Siberia has continued... 

Since my only knowledge had been about the prisons in Siberia, I was thrilled to meet citizens of the area who were just as loyal to their homelands as most people are about where they live... One of the main characters, Anna Petrovna Valentinova, Professor of History, resident of Irkutsk, was such a woman and she became a favorite as I watched and learned about her life...

Second, if I had a bucket list, the top item would be to travel by train across the United States... Or, at least, I would have until I read the book! LOL, because it wasn't quite like I imagined it would be...

For one, if you are traveling alone, you may be housed with either a man or woman. In fact our main character Dr. Cousins and the female from Siberia were the two that were given the same compartment on the train...

Set in the 1960-70s, this may no longer be true and I at least wanted to learn a little about the Trans-Siberian Express and very much enjoyed the video I found. One thing I noted was that the train route has been expanded into China since then...

But it might not have been if a certain event planned in the '60s had actually occurred--at least according to Author Warren Adler!

Dr. Alex Cousins, an American doctor was an expert in the treatment of leukemia. His real name had been Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kuznetzov before they had come to America. He had legally changed his name, even though his family had opposed it. But that change did not keep the Federal Government from finding Dr. Cousins, with the intent that he should help keep alive a Russian Diplomat, Viktor Moiseyevich Dimitrov, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Or at least keep him alive until a special meeting could occur...

Dr. Cousins was successful in at least getting Dimitrov to the point of remission. But he warned that he didn't know how long he would have, since he should still be considered terminal...

To thank him for what he'd done for him medically, Dimitrov aggressively gave him a trip on the Trans-Siberian Express, and, supposedly, to give him a gift of seeing the home of his grandfather. Although Dr. Cousins tried to resist taking the trip, he finally gave in, but noticed that there seemed to be a number of people who were intent on keeping track of him... And there just happened to be an entire train car of soldiers that had been added for this trip... 

Alex Cousins was soon watching all those around him, wondering whether the people that seemed to be following him was there to ensure he was safe--or to ensure he didn't finish the trip... For it had been impossible for the doctor not to have picked up much information as he'd provided medical support.

But soon, as we might have expected, Alex falls deeply for his room companion and readers are invited to enjoy their blossoming relationship...

At the same time, one of the more interesting aspects of the novel is meeting many of those other travelers on the train... and how their lives come together for both good and bad exchanges... In fact, with the excellent book description of this book, I'll not go into detail of the plot, but rather the characters...

One of the most intriguing characters was a service worker on the train...she felt it was her duty to know all of those assigned to her area and to meet their needs...and if, by chance, she might meet a traveler--a gentleman, well-mannered and good appearance, she might make special efforts to ensure the quality of her service was of the highest. But aside from her few personal encounters, she was proud of her position, her home away from home and was a hard worker, trying to go beyond her duties whenever she could... That naturally got her involved deeply in some of the turmoil...

Like when the young couple who were traveling to a part of Russia established to house Jews, and the wife became ill, she thought nothing of contacting Dr. Cousins to treat the woman. Even then, though, Adler's skill in merging lives and bringing about an accomplished, complete story as he then pulls in another lone traveler who is out for revenge, and a "spoiled little brat" who causes him pain and, later, trouble... Readers will surely want to discipline the young bully, for his parents, who were government workers presented an example of poor parenting, to say the least...

I am constantly pleasantly surprised at the diverse range of topics that Adler covers in his books. I was drawn to this particular book because of my own interests and found it a quite satisfactory tale of adventure and intrigue. Do check it out as one of Adler's earlier books, this time during the Cold War Era...


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Poet Rory Fry Presents "Chase The Light" (With Complementary Music)

Chase The Light

You've called us from the darkness 
Of sins feigned delight
To offer up devotion
And chase the light

In humble adoration
Through Your awesome might
We can face the ages
And chase the light

Our weapons forged anew
Our strategies revised
To better testify
As we chase the light

This our one ambition
To glorify the Christ
Our crosses hoisted upright
As we chase the light

The call to long endurance
Effectually ignites
Creating faith from indifference 
So we can chase the light

We've known the lash of estrangement 
In our once futile minds
Your bludgeoned body was the payment
So we can chase the light

The call to saving faith 
Runs ever deep and wide
Streams of ineffable grace
Draw us to chase the light

About the author:
I am a simple man who loves to proclaim the Saving Message of Jesus Christ and the Healing Power of Recovery! I spend much of my time working with others and enjoying the presence of my wife Christina and son Rowen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Guest Blogger, Assad R. Wright, Shares the "Why?" to His Books...

Why the book?

“Hijacking of the American Presidency: Terrorists in the White House”?  

By Assad R. Wright

Ever since the Timothy McVeigh and later the 9/11 disasters, to name a few, I have been struck by a number of troubling thoughts. Two in particular are 
one, the propensity to react to acts of terrorism rather than being proactive and being in a position to prevent it in the first place; 
and two, the preoccupation with profiling and tracking Islamic radicals and various terrorist groups abroad. 
While the latter is undoubtedly sound policy, we never seemed capable of preventing terrorists’ attack on American soil. 

This was understandable given the very nature of the problems involved. Homegrown terrorists do not routinely wear uniforms or badges declaring the fact that they are terrorists or belong to a terror group. Indeed, as noted in my books, the homegrown terrorist could be your nice pie-sharing neighbor, your Sunday school teacher, your friendly postman, your seemingly patriotic veteran returning from duty in the Middle East, your innocent looking grade school teacher or college student--or just about anyone you’re used to interacting with. 

You’ll probably never know until the act is carried out and reaction is called for.    

The above concerns served as my motivation for starting this book series. The hope was and still is, that our security forces and governmental policy makers will be more proactive in developing methods and means to avert homegrown disasters like the Boston Marathon bombing or the Orlando Night Club massacre. If these books help to make us aware of the fact that in most cases we are several steps behind the homegrown or resident terrorist, and institute corrective measures, then my prayer would have been answered.

In both books; The Ring the Bomb and the Word: The Face of the American Homegrown Terrorist, and Hijacking of the American Presidency: Terrorists in the White House, the agency tasked with combating homegrown terrorism is the Religious Unit of the Anti-terrorism Task Force of Homeland. 

One is not sure as to whether such a unit exists in reality, but such a unit seems logical since most terrorism, both local and foreign are likely to have a religious bearing or motivation.   Such a unit, well versed in the intricacies of religious doctrines and dogmas, is well prepared both to interact with and interdict hostile behaviors of any religious movement, both here and abroad.

The scenarios in both books, and those pending, become feasible when one takes into account the near seismic changes in the countries socio-political values. 

It is even suggested by some that America, if not the world, is in a post-truth era. 

Moral values and the common good, notions on which the constitution drew heavily, have given way to narrow self-interest--be that of the individual, groups or race. 

What this means is that the constitution is exercising a progressively diminishing force on both thoughts and behavior. Given these notions, it is not impossible for individuals or factions in America to begin acting like some politicians and factions in Third World or Developing countries.

In the Hijacking of the American Presidency: Terrorists in the White House, when Chuck Chisolm gave his report of the splinter group’s intent to assassinate the sitting president and have the vice-president, their hand-picked puppet installed in his stead, the reaction by the agents and policy makers present, was indicative of the view held by many that Americans would always behave according to the rule of law provided in the constitution and a belief system long considered superior to others.

“But…that’s like hijacking the presidency of the United States of America,” one agent protested, his voice almost cracking in panic.
“And putting terrorists in the White House,” another joined the protest.
“This cannot be,” the deputy exclaimed. “We are the United States of America, not a Third World country ruled by juntas.”

Later when the deputy of the Department of Defense was apprised of the plan, his reaction was similar. “Mother of God, “the Department of Defense deputy shouted. “What you’re talking about is madness…madness. Madness!  You’re talking about hijacking the presidency of the United States. You’re talking about overthrowing the constitution of the United States, and you’re talking about a coup-de-tat right here in the United States of America. Has everybody gone mad?”

The bottom line is, since the tenets of the constitution and the long held values considered "American" are no longer considered sacrosanct; one can expect radical changes that mirror even fractious societies. Consequently, our security forces can no longer be merely reactive, but must be placed on a proactive footing with the ability to act preemptively if it becomes necessary.

Assad R. Wright

Born and raised in Jamaica, Assad R. Wright attended Mico Teachers College and the university of the West Indies in Jamaica, followed by graduate work at Long Island University and CUNY Graduate Center in New York. A retired teacher, the author is now the pastor of a local assembly in Miami. This is the sequel to his first book, The Ring the Bomb and the Word: The Face of the American Homegrown Terrorist. 

As soon as I finished the second book in the series, I went out and got the first one, which I'll be sharing in the near future....
Click on the book title in the right column to check out my review of his second book...

Thank you so much, Assad Wright, for sharing further about your books used to hone in on issues of concern in America!