Bobbing Around

Volume Four, Number Three
September, 2004

Bob Rich's rave
email me  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions.
*Elections in Australia
*Hurricanes hit Florida -- Why?
*Simple Truths
  A challenging essay by Brandon Wilson.
*Parasites on Society
*ADD/ADHD and Ritalin -- a response
*The Meaning of Life -- a response
*...And a correction
*Cries for help
  Borderline Personality Disorder
  Examination Anxiety
  Scapegoated by her parents
*Thinking of Christmas presents yet? :)
  brags and announcements.
*For Writers
  Don't Say "What If!" (on building in tension) by Tracy Cooper-Posey.
*Book Reviews
  'Sleeper, Awake' reviewed by Michael Thal
  'Anger and Anxiety' and 'Personally Speaking' reviewed by Victor Volkman.
  Beyond Trauma: Conversations on traumatic incident reduction.
   'Sleeper, Awake' reviewed by Marilyn Peake.
  The Fisherman's Son.
*TWO contests at the same time!
*A political thriller.
*Monthly Short Stories is running a contest.

One of my current self-imposed tasks is to do a little spring cleaning of my web pages. (Yes, it IS spring in my part of the world.) You can earn yourself a free e-book by helping me. Find a dead link in one of my contacts pages, and choose your reward. To participate, please go to my writer's, psychology or mudsmith contact page.

Two books coming along
   Since February 2002, when Penguin allowed the Earth Garden Building Book to go out of print, I've had a steady trickle of emails, phone calls and letters from people wanting to buy a copy. Well, the fourth edition is complete, and Penguin intend to release it some time next year. Please contact me if you want to be notified when it's for sale once more.
   And my current project is dear to me: a self-help book for people affected by cancer. I have a team of wonderful contributors, and our book is almost finished. I am still looking for people with expertise in the environmental causation of cancer: the way our everyday activities like using insecticides, sources of radiation and common chemicals contributes to this terrible problem. If you know of anyone like that, please pass on my invitation to contribute.
   Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person. You may forward the entire magazine to anyone else.

   I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.

Elections in Australia

   I am sickened by the current way the two major parties are campaigning for the Australian elections. Both stick to porkbarrelling, posturing, and pissfarting about trivial issues (excuse the language, but it's the only word that will do). Every news release has the obligatory '...billion dollars'. It's as if they were being generous, but they are using the taxpayer's money as bribes. And yet, there are some HUGELY important issues out there that they have ignored.

   What on earth are we doing in Iraq? It has nothing to do with us, there never was a threat, and all we are doing is giving entirely valid justification for terrorists (from their point of view, resistance fighters, all the same as the Maquis in France during WWII) to target us. Wouldn't you in their place?

   What about the Kyoto Protocol? Of all the countries in the world, we are one of the very few who haven't noticed that burning more fossil fuels could result in the deaths of billions of people. And how many Australians live at near-sea-level altitudes, and in regions that are going to become cyclone zones?

   And then there is the shameful treatment of refugees. We are justly indignant at German concentration camps for the Jews, and what Stalin did to his people, and political prisoner slavery in China. And we are doing the same.

   Please ask your local candidates about these issues, before the election.

Hurricanes Hit Florida -- Why?

   I have friends who live in the embattled State of Florida. My thoughts and best wishes have been with them, and with all the other battered people, as the fourth hurricane strikes within a month.

   And I have a message of gloom. I am very much afraid that this is not an isolated incident, a fluke of nature that will probably never repeat. Rather, it is a disaster and a human tragedy that is likely to return time and again. I predicted an increase in the frequency, severity and human impact of tropical storms in 1972. I wish I had been wrong.

   As always, the first step is to understand the enemy. A tropical storm is a heat engine, like the device that runs your car. The fuel for it is warm, rising water vapour. As heat rapidly evaporates sea water, the resulting updraft sucks in air from all around, and if the sea temperature is high enough, and if there is no wind strong enough to disperse the pattern, you get a self-feeding convection current. Once it grows beyond a critical size, it is a gigantic spinner that ambles over the sea. The slower the centre moves, the stronger the storm can become, with winds at the periphery reaching up to 400 Km/h.

   Because evaporating warm water is the fuel, a hurricane can be stopped by two things: lowered sea temperature, and crossing a significant tract of land.

   The 'Greenhouse Effect' is no longer a theory, but fact. For example, a recent article in New Scientist (16th August 2004) reported a research study that determined sea level changes near Italy over the past 2000 years. Almost all the sea level rise has occurred in the past 100 years. Similarly, a study has showed that 80% of Swiss glaciers have melted.

   The connection is obvious. Rising global temperatures mean warmer sea surfaces, over a larger area. This means more fuel for the storms. It means they can go further from the Equator before running out of steam (literally).

   I am sorry to say, in the years to come, Florida's tragedy will repeat, time and again -- not only there, but along the coasts of all the continents, reaching further and further into the temperate climatic zones. One day, perhaps, New York and Sydney may be regularly devastated.

   Should we perhaps do something about reducing fossil fuel use?

Simple Truths

by Brandon Wilson

   I recently completed walking the Via Francigena, a pilgrim's path dating back to 800 AD. This 500 mile section was a culmination of a dream for me to walk from Canterbury, England to Rome.

   If anything, walking alone along those country roads gave me time for contemplation. Originally, I thought this would be a walk for "peace", a rather altruistic notion in this climate of fear in which we all now live. However, along the way, as I meditated on the issue of peace, I was led to consider the reasons for lack of peace.

   Barring the occasional crazed tyrant of the times, I believe it is simply "need" that precipitates actions which cause war. I was continually reminded of this along the way. As a "pilgrim" traveling with my home upon my back for nearly thirty days, I was reminded of the basic human needs which we as Americans often take for granted.

   When I arrived in a small village at 11:30 pm, after walking nearly 50 km all day, I found the two hotels there "complet", the lights of the town shut off, and no place to sleep. As I sat shivering on the church steps awaiting the town to reopen in the morning, I thought of all those people of the world, including as many as 32 million of my countrymen, who spend each night in similar frigid discomfort.

   Another day, as I walked 10 km or two hours between villages in the hot sun without water, only to arrive to a village with no restaurant, bar, cafe or public fountain, I was reminded of the millions of others throughout the world who must make a similar trek each day to find drinkable water, then often carry it home again upon their heads.

   Other days, I would walk hours in search of food, only to arrive and discover the one store in town closed, with no restaurants to be seen. I felt in a very visceral way the sufferings that millions of my fellow Americans and others feel each and every night.

   And after more than twenty days on this trail, as I limped along shifting weight from one blister to the other, perhaps in a small way I felt the suffering that 41 million Americans must cope with each day because they do not have or cannot afford health insurance.

   Walking throughout this eastern region of France, I was perpetually reminded of the devastation of war. Since the start of modern history, this volatile region has been a stepping stone on the road of conquest from the Vikings to the Gauls to the Romans to the Napoleonic Wars to the World Wars. It is an area where too many times blood has run like water. Where entire villages were wiped out less than a century ago, and where over 100,000 Americans died in the course of one battle, one of the bloodiest in World War I. In perspective, this is the equivalent of nearly 30 World Trade Centers.

   I, too, have known fear, especially as the tractor trailers barreled along these two lane roads at 60-80 mph. All it takes, I reminded myself, is one moment of inattention, and I will end up like one of the many hedgehogs, rabbits or birds I passed, splayed across the highway.

   My point? If we, as the most powerful military nation in the world, are to eliminate war or serve as the guardian of our most treasured principles as a nation, we need to lead by example. We need to assure that those basic needs of our people and, in proxy, those of the world are cared for. Until we make sure people are warm, safe, fed, clothed, have medical care, educated, and are assured basic human rights, there will be war. When people are in dire need, or otherwise find their backs against a wall with nothing to lose, there will be chaos and war. And we as the the mightiest empire, unfortunately will often become the target.

   With "might" must come "right-eousness". As a nation, we must act with a true mind and a pure heart. This is the imperative for our country's survival, as well as the world's. It's not, as some might have us believe, simply an issue of "you're either for us or against us." History reminds us it is never so simple or black and white.

   Now is the time for politicians and for all of us to act with conscience, without benefit or regard to polls. To act, as my grandfather might have said, "with gumption" and do the right thing, not necessarily the most politically expedient one.

   Instead of believing we can act alone without consequence, it is time to truly be a world "leader" and work with the United Nations and especially Third World countries to eliminate the root cause of war, for these root causes are the true "evil-doers".

   Whether Christian, Jew or Muslim, it is time to turn teachings into action and truly turn bombs into plowshares. Only though this action will we earn the respect and assure a future for our generations.

   Only through these simple, concerted actions of conscience can we, ourselves, live without fear, can look each other in the eyes again, and can gaze with clear conscience into the mirror each morning.

   It is time to show true strength, honor and courage, because the brave are among us all, awaiting a finer destiny than simply a home in the suburbs or easy retirement. For without this concerted action, all else is in vain.

   This is simply what one "pilgrim" perceives as a global imperative as we stand in the quagmire of another war. It is a simple revelation after these many days, miles and struggles on the road.

   For in many ways, we are all pilgrims, each on their own path. I implore you, take a moment, look within and discover these truths for yourself. For the truth will truly set us free.

Read Brandon's press release

Parasites on Society?

   Unemployed people are lucky in Australia: we have the 'dole'. Our succession of conservative governments (both Liberal and Labor) have weakened it, tied conditions to it, took dignity away from recipients -- but at least it is still there. I don't know how unemployed people manage to stay alive in the USA. The choice between crime, begging and charity is not very enticing.

   Then there is the spectre of the ageing population. Heavens, who will keep the wheels of commerce turning when the Baby Boomers are all in nursing homes?

   How will that poor overloaded younger generation cope with the increased taxation? Maybe they should kill all of us oldies off?

   Relax. This nightmare is a mirage.

   The long term unemployed are actually doing the rest of us a favour. The grey army is not a threat.

   This is because currently there are far more people seeking work than there are jobs. I am not only talking about the official statistics of job seekers, but also of the hidden horde of those who have given up.

   But there is a more fundamental reason. The level of unemployment is a choice. We could choose to have 100% employment, or 50%, or even 10%.

   Thirty years ago, selling fuel to car drivers provided jobs for three people at each outlet. Now there is one. Collecting domestic refuse used to employ five per truck. Now there is one. How many bank tellers have been replaced by ATMs, internet banking and electronic transfers? Modern software has reduced the need for clerical staff -- and even for middle management.

   That is, we as a society have chosen to eliminate jobs.

   But shouldn't we aim for efficiency? Isn't it better?

   Better for shareholders, in the short term. But even they are disadvantaged when people who were once gainfully employed can no longer buy. You can only make a profit if there are people who can afford what you are selling. So, everyone loses out from this kind of 'efficiency'.

   Even worse is the 'cost-effectiveness' of exporting jobs to poor countries. Believe it or not, everyone loses on this one, even the new employees who can now afford a cupful of rice a day. That may be a topic for another rave; now I want to concentrate on those parasites on society who eat but do not work: the 'dole bludgers' and the retired.

   Suppose we took the 'efficiency' idea to its logical conclusion and reorganised society so that the absolute minimum number of working hours still provided all the goods and services for everyone. That is, we might aim for 0% employment, 100% unemployment.

   That is not possible. There are some jobs that simply need people. For example, a physician can in principle be replaced by a computer, but a nurse cannot. So, what is the limit?

   In the 1970s, this analysis was performed by Dennis Gabor, a Noble-prize winner. He published his findings in a book, Inventing the Future, which is still well worth reading if you can get hold of a copy. (Well, it's worth reading whether you can find a copy of not :) .)

   At that time, he demonstrated that 10% of Americans could in principle generate all the goods and services of the US economy. Given the enormous development of smart technology since, that figure just has to be smaller now.

   But let us stick with 10%. That means that we could choose to have, say, 50% unemployment, and still not be anywhere near the limit. Everybody could work a few days a week. Those who chose might not work at all, thereby liberating valuable work opportunities for those keen to spend more time doing something productive. And we could still enjoy all the goods and services we now receive.

   So, don't worry about nursing home fodder, and people too lazy to work. They are doing you a favour by not competing for jobs.

ADD/ADHD and Ritalin -- a response

   The last issue had an article by Cynthia Clay, in which she explained the dangers of Ritalin, and suggested an alternative. Heide Kaminski has this to say in reply:

   It really irritates me. Forgive me, but I have ADHD and at the moment I am still groggy from a fairly sleepless night and I am unmedicated...

   First of all: all you people who are so well-meaning and suggest these wonderful things such as "hire a behavior specialist", will you please then do the next thing and get insurance companies to accept your theories????? I am a single mom on poverty level income. Guess what! Medicaid does not pay for a behavior specialist and the like and my income does not allow me such luxury. Even when I was married and had Blue Cross they wouldn't pay for the wonderful place in my town where ADHD kids and the like could go to get physical, tactile and other such wonderful alternatives for their needs. Wonderful and... VERY expensive...

   Second of all: yes, my son has very little appetite... so what does this mother do? SHE COOKS HIM DINNER AT 10 PM WHEN HE IS HUNGRY!!!

   His growth and weight are in the 75%, his pediatrician is very pleased.

   He has trouble sleeping, yes, but so I lie down with him every night and rub his temples for a half an hour or so.

   Sometimes I feel guilty because I medicate him and then I let it slip... When he is unmedicated he destroys the house, is mean to the cats, gets kicked out of swimclass, makes his sisters cry. When he is on medication he loves to hold long philosophical discussions, actually looks left and right before crossing the street, and I barely hear him cry.

   I have ADHD and am quite lax on taking it as I have learned to control myself. I can judge when I need to avoid a situation or walk away from one. But you know what I CANNOT do??? Something, I know my son can't either? I cannot control my emotions or regulate them, avoid them or walk away from them. Unmedicated, I can explode at the drop of a pin, either in anger or with desperate sorrow. Ritalin is not just about paying attention in school. For me and my son as well as many other people, I am sure, it makes it possible for us to be the real loving, caring, passionate and of course, smart, people who we are... we just don't know how to express that side of ourselves without the help of meds. We both tried other meds and dietary changes and herbal remedies and both came back to Ritalin, because the other approaches didn't do a thing for us.

   I bet the author does not even have ADHD...

   Whew, I feel better now. My coffee is ready, too.

Have a great day!

   My take on ADHD is, there are some people who are genuine sufferers, but the overwhelming majority of those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are not. I have had clients whom I sent to have prescriptions, but most of the kids brought to me are simply not diagnosable -- and yet doctors and specialists put them on drugs.

   Balance in everything...

The Meaning of Life -- a response

   A Month ago, I summarised a little philosophy a young client and I came up with. Pamela Faye felt the need to respond:

   The Great Spirit, God, or whomever we choose to call the power, created the Universe and all within. History and science proves that the universe has been turning for eons of time eternal. From the moment we are conceived we are destined to one day wither and die, as all living organisms on this breathing, sighing earth do.

   Oceans have ebbed and surged since the beginning of time with every revolution of the moon bathing silver light from silent words that only the spirit comprehends.

   Man is capable of using but 10% of his brain's capacity. Hence emerge the geniuses of time, prophets, professors -- even mad scientists. The gift of "the depth of insight" is given to these to deliver the messages in one form or another, of eternal life of the spirit within, for we are as individual as every leaf on a tree. So are the whispers that brush past our ears.

   The Hubble telescope defines through the strength of magnified vision the enormous beauty of this swirling universe. Its richness of reflecting, radiating colors -- stars that glint lavender, cobalt, crimson auras, shooting far on the speed of light. When someone comes to you and asks, "What is the meaning of life?" deliver the sequence of images from the Hubble Telescope.

   Sometimes, it is only the depth of vision we lack that holds the power to return rhyme and reason to the turning pages of time eternal. Life is beauty beyond compare, of which we must treasure every fleeting moment -- its good, and its bad, because where perfection is born, forever lurks evil. As the sun rises with every new day, it will also set. Insecurities, which fight to sustain themselves in the warmth of sunshine bathing from the limitless depths of azure skies, will certainly thrive on the mysteries of night when black velvet heavens sparkle with eyes of a power far beyond mere mortals understanding.

   The meaning of life Bob? It is not what our eyes perceive before us, it is the distance of vision belonging to the spirit alone which truly delivers the depth of understanding.

Pamela Faye
Rolling Seas Promotions

   Pamela Faye is the Australian Author of the Native American Historic Fiction novel 'Chétan' -- The Arts Editor and Marketer to the Publishing and Movie Industries for the Company Rolling Seas Promotions.

   'Chétan' is available world wide through Ingram's US & UK Distribution. Published by Mundania Press.

   Pamela is a friend I immensely admire. However, I've got to say this. I agree with everything she's written here -- and in my opinion none of it has anything to do with what I wrote. Both can be true, or neither.

   And the bit about us using only 10% of our brain is a myth. We use 100% of it, all the bits for their proper purpose. Some of this purpose has nothing to do with conscious thought. In the same way, we use 100% of a knife, but only the sharp part of the blade cuts. But the edge of the blade would not be all that useful without a handle.

Sorry Lance!

   Last issue, I published several responses to my previous article 'The Right to Die'. One was from Lance Collins. I gave him an incorrect 'bio'. He writes:

   'Lance Collins has been a very long term solar-powered light for the Alternative Technolgy Association of Australia. When readers to the ATA's magazine ReNew, or visitors to its web site ask difficult questions, Lance is the person who finds the answers, and gives them in easy-to-understand language.'

   It is true I'm a long time member of the ATA but I am not the person who writes for RENEW. You are thinking of Lance Turner.

Cries for Help

   We live in a thoroughly stuffed-up society. This is why there is a need for my counselling services. Here are a few items of my correspondence that will be of interest to many people.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Examination Anxiety
Scapegoated by her parents

Borderline Personality Disorder


Young woman, age 19.

My dear,

   Please don't kill yourself. I believe we are sent to this planet to learn lessons. If you go before learning yours (whatever they may be), you'll just have to come back again to the same misery. OK, that's just my belief, and I may be wrong. But do you want to risk it?

   You've tried twice and failed. Each time you try and fail, you risk permanent damage. You could end up aware and intelligent, but brain damaged enough to be paralyzed, double incontinent, in a nursing home bed for the next 50 years. I am a nurse as well as a psychologist, and have looked after people like that. The eyes show awareness, but the body is dead, probably full of pain, and there is NO dignity.

   Anyway, You do not have BPD. It is not a thing or condition or disease. It is a LACK OF SKILLS.

   When we are little, we learn how to be human beings. This involves skills like how to love, how to give and receive friendship, how to maintain and share privacy for ourselves and others, and many more subtle skills like this. In our fragmented society, many people miss out on learning those skills.

   You may have.

   OK, learn them now.

   You write that no one cares. I don't know your circumstances. This may be completely true. Or actually there may be people who care for you a lot, but your behavior may have made them be cautious about showing this.

   Either way, you can make them into your loving friends again, or find new ones, once you know how.

   There are many wonderful web sites for people who struggle with BPD. is one. Look for others with a Google search. You will find help and friendship there.

   There is a wonderful residential program developed in Canada. I have pasted a press release about something that may be similar below my signature.

   Anyway, you do have a life. Use it, don't throw it away, either by killing yourself or by living in misery. BPD is a challenge, not a life sentence.


PRESS RELEASE: New Program Offers Hope for Borderline Personalities; Renowned Psychiatrist to Head Treatment Center for Borderline Personality Disorder

   Fear of abandonment, inappropriate rage, impulsiveness, chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom -- these are some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder [BPD], which affects an estimated six million people in the USA. Despite its prevalence in society, BPD is under diagnosed and when it is diagnosed, treatment is difficult. Now, McLean Hospital hopes to make recovery easier for those with BPD with the opening of The Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, one of only a few programs in the United States designed specifically to treat borderline personalities. John Gunderson, MD, one of the nation's leading experts on BPD, established, and will lead, the program.

   "People with borderline personality may look fine from a distance, but once you talk to them, it becomes clear there is a problem. They lead truly desperate lifestyles," explains Dr. Gunderson. "As a group of people, they are very involved in virtually all social public health problems. People with BPD are costly to society, not to mention the emotional toll they take on their friends and family."

Examination Anxiety

   I am an oversea student and is facing HSC exam. In about 2 weeks, I will have my Japanese oral exam. But I am just so nervous,stressed and not confident. Sometimes, I even can't fell asleep at night. can you please give me some information or treatment?

   When I was a student, I had a friend from Hong Kong. At the end of first year, he came second in Chemistry, out of some thousands of students. A week later, his body was found, dangling from a rope around his neck. Police found a letter in Chinese and had it translated. The head of his family back home had severely chastised him for letting the family down, losing face, by only coming second.

   The young man who sent me the above email was probably under similar pressure. Here is my initial answer to him:

Dear Chun,

   You did not state which school you are at, or which State even. However, I am sure your school has access to a counselling service.

   Tomorrow, seek out the school counsellor. There is a technique that was devised in the early 1970s for exactly your situation, and is now used for all forms of anxiety. I use it a lot with my clients, and have attached the form I give to them about it. Print this off and show it to the counsellor. It is the basis of my book Anger and Anxiety.

   Another point is the things you are telling yourself. From your name, I guess you are Chinese. I have had many Chinese friends, and understand the culture.

   You will do better if for the moment you forget your family obligations, losing face, the importance of this step. You have been studying for 12 years now, and have sat for many exams. This is just another one. It is not important. You want to do well, of course, and so you will. But that's all.

   The great middle distance runner Herb Elliott sometimes went to sleep before a race. As a result, he did a lot better than the ones who got all tense and nervous. Do the same. Concentrate on the task, do your best, but forget about the implications.

Good luck!

PS. He did brilliantly in his Japanese exam.


   Hi Bob, My name is Lea...and I don't know if you will help me, but I have nothing to I thought I'd e-mail you. I have so many problems, and I am being denied help from my parents. I'm only 17...and I don't know what else to do. I've been abused by my father in the past, and now he is denying me the help I need. He refuses to put me into individual counseling claiming that I am "horrible to live with" when I am put into it. I have a cutting problem, I do it several times a week. I have been to two individual therapists in the past year, and both times my parents took me away from them and wouldn't take me back. I've also been to two of them said I needed medication badly and the other was horrible and said there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, except that I needed family therapy. Family therapy is torture to go to because everytime we go all we talk about is college, and nothing else. My parents don't want to believe that I have problems, and just won't do anything. I never attempted suicide but I think about it alot...and last year I took six tylenol and two ibuprofen...telling my Mom that I was going to kill myself. She walked away from me, and hid the tylenol when I wasn't looking, saying that I "wasn't going to control her household anymore with my problems". She left all the other medicines in the cabinet for me to take. I didn't want to commit suicide I just wanted to say, "I NEED HELP!" But nothing works. I don't know what to do anymore, I'm being denied help and I can't get better. I'm always alone, I'm always depressed, I'm always jealous of other people, and I'm always sad. I have 3 friends but I can't really talk to them and I just don't know what to do. On my birthday last year my parents went out to dinner and left me at home all by myself. It was horrible. I don't have any money but I really really need therapy. I don't know if you will help me but I thought I'd try anyway...I live in New York in the United States. ~Lea

Dear Lea,

   I do counseling for money. It is my livelihood. But how can I NOT respond?

   Lea my dear, the first thing I suggest you do is to get hold of a wonderful book and read it. 'Man's Search For Meaning' by Viktor Frankl. This man was in a Nazi concentration camp. He survived, but they killed his wife. And yet he made some good out of the bad...

   Alcoholics Anynymous has a marvelous prayer, which goes something like this:

   You cannot change your family's treatment of you, not until you are no longer financially dependent on them.

   You are 17. Are you still at school? If you REALLY concentrate on your studies, this will allow everything else to go into the background. You can use study as a sort of a drug to get away from all the pain and misery. When I was your age, that was one of the things I did. (I didn't even have a family at the time, was terribly shy and scared of girls, yet the thing I wanted most in life was a girlfriend. I probably would have admired you from afar, but wouldn't have had the courage to talk to you.)

   And if you do well at school, you may be able to win a scholarship. You can research what is available using the Internet, and start applying now. Then you can move away from home, be financially independent and divorce yourself from your parents.

   Of course, for all I know, you could have left school, or your past history of emotional problems may have left you behind academically. In that case, I suggest you find a job. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as you can do something honest. Stay away from anything you would be ashamed of. Do not sell yourself short: you are as good as the next person. In fact, having suffered, you are no doubt more mature and understanding. Later in life, you might want to devote yourself to helping others in your kind of situation. Again, that is what I did.

   Something else will be of great help to you: vigorous exercise. When you feel miserable, do something that'll get you puffing for air, raise a sweat and get your heart racing. Even skipping rope is fine, or doing pushups. You don't need to spend money, or go into dangerous situations like running late at night.

   In the same line, I don't know what you normally eat. But try to eat a wholesome, nutritious, balanced diet. No junk foods or takeaways. Avoid things with artificial flavoring, coloring, preservatives. You may well find that when you do this, everything will appear to change. Much of the emotional trouble people experience is due to poisoning from food additives.

   Finally, fight back by refusing to accept your family's valuation of yourself. Fight back by no longer responding with hurt and anger, but by being serene and strong. Confound them. At the moment, you are acting as if you were a puppet on a string. They stick in a needle, and you cry or shout. Let them stick in the needle, and you can smile. They won't know what hit them when your reaction is no longer predictable.

   Lea, you are not alone. We live in a sick, stuffed up society in which many people experience suffering similar to yours. Many people break out of the victim mode. I did. Do the same.

Have a good life,

What my friends want you to know...

Connie Winters
DL Nelson
Heide Kaminski
Inkie Inks
Michael Thal
Betty Sullivan la Pierre
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Dorothy Thompson
Brandon Wilson
Lori Avocato
Janet Mills

Connie Winters

   C. J. Winters has two novels published in paperback and e-formats this year.

   Show-Me Murder, a paranormal cozy mystery trio set in Missouri, features The Psychic Circle (some not-very-talented psychics), a Native American undercover agent, a precocious six-year-old, and the 90-year-old Shakespeare Club. Untangling the affairs leading to murder often demands more than one mind, and more than one way of seeing. Especially when there are enough decades-old secrets, greed, hatred, and intrigue to fill the pages of a book.

   A Star in The Earth, a paranormal romance set in 1907, is the sequel to C. J.'s time-travel, Moon Night. Alerted by her parents that Jake Livingston, 39, plans to wed a beautiful, sophisticated widow, willful Emilee Schuyler, 19, charges home to Colorado to set him straight. The problem is, how do you seduce the man who's loved you like a big brother since the day you were born?

   C. J.'s novels are available from or

   A long-time resident of Missouri and fan of its independent and often unpredictable residents, weather and landscape, C. J. searches the hearts and minds of her characters, for they have stories to tell. Fascinated since her teens by intangible forms of communication, she puts her villains and heroes under a psychic microscope, searching for the reasons they are as they are, and do as they do.

DL Nelson

   W3 is an almost monthly FREE newsletter offering theory, samples and exercises about all types of writing.

Heide Kaminski

   Heide's new book is ADHD and Me. This innovative book provides a hands-on approach to understanding ADHD. Pages are simple to keep the easily distracted child attentive and illustrations are black and white offering the child opportunities for creative expression. Reviewed and recommended by psychologists, therapists, and other professionals as well as acclaimed author Benjamin Polis (My Life and Triumph over ADD) and co-author Kate Kelly, MSN (You Mean I'm not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!) this book is a long awaited resource for everyone touched by ADHD.

   Available through
ISBN 0-9746109-0-9

Inkie Inks

   My book, Inkie Inks Henry & Harriet -- the Prize of Dragonhart, is due to be released within the next two weeks. The information and links provided by your various websites have been unbelievably helpful and I shall certainly use them again for book number two which is well under way.

Michael Thal

   Michael Thal's inspirational true story, "The Lip Reader," won First Place in the Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Writer's Competition.

   Michael L. Thal is a freelance writer and author. He penned The Light: An Alien Abduction and The Legend of Koolura. He has written and published over thirty-five articles for magazines and newspapers. He won First Place in Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Writing Competition, Inspirational, for his story, The Lip Reader. You can read his monthly education column, Ask Michael, in SIGNews.

   Michael lives in Sherman Oaks, CA with his teenage daughter, Koren. You can reach him at You can purchase his books directly from him.

Betty Sullivan la Pierre

   The first chapter of MURDER.COM (murder in Silicon Valley) will be up Oct. 1st for your reading pleasure. Don't fret if you missed "THE DEADLY THORN", the chapters are still available on my site. Go to:

   Be sure and read the new poem "SHADOWS OF TRUTH" by Margaret Marr. I hope these chapters will pique your interest in reading 'the rest of the story'. Drop me a line in my guest book, would love to hear from you...

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

GLENDALE, CA (August 23, 2004): Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author and instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program, has been chosen to receive the California Legislature's renowned Women of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, which was presented this month by California Senator Jack Scott, Assemblywoman Carol Liu and Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer at the California Legislature's 5th Annual Women in Business Lunch in Pasadena. The citation marks the first time an author has been honored with this award.

   A well-known Southern California retailer for over 30 years, Howard-Johnson returned to her lifelong passion for writing at age 60. Her first novel, This is the Place, an engrossing look at love, prejudice and personal redemption set in 1950's Utah, has won eight literary awards. In addition, Howard-Johnson's second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, has garnered another three awards, and the author's fiction and nonfiction works and poems have appeared in numerous national magazines, anthologies and review journals. A respected speaker on topics ranging from Utah's culture to retailing skills, and an instructor at the University of California Los Angeles Extension's acclaimed Writer's Program, Howard-Johnson has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. The author's next book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T, was released in late August 2004.

   For additional information on Carolyn Howard-Johnson's published works, and the California Legislature's 5th Annual Women in Business Luncheon, contact Contact: Learn more at:

Dorothy Thompson

Yes, I do have an announcement! My book, Romancing the Soul -- True Stories of Soul Mates from around the World and Beyond has just been released by Zumaya Publications in electronic format! The link is It will be available in print soon!

Brandon Wilson

   Brandon and Cheryl Wilson challenge the "impossible" on a 1000-kilometer journey -- on foot across Tibet. Join perhaps the first Western couple to make this perilous trek from Lhasa to Kathmandu, across the unforgiving, windswept Himalayan plains.

   YAK BUTTER BLUES is a remarkable tale of survival. Alone, the Wilsons face Tibet's ruthless environment: blistering winds, extreme temperatures, sandstorms, blizzards, high altitudes and the thinnest of air -- made all the more challenging by exhaustion, hunger, illness, inflexible bureaucrats and implacable, trigger-happy Chinese soldiers.

   YAK BUTTER BLUES is a story of faith -- and the kindness of strangers. Although the land and climate leaves its imprint daily, an even more lasting impression is created by pilgrims, monks and generous villagers eager to share what little they possess: yak butter tea, the warmth of their family's fire, camaraderie and a steadfast trust in the Dalai Lama's return.

   YAK BUTTER BLUES is a tale of personal enlightenment. The couple is an invaluable witness to a Tibetan culture pushed to the brink of extinction by occupation for over fifty years. They also discover the human link connecting us all, a link that becomes clearest on a trek that removes the distractions of modern life as it unveils the truths of "deliberate travel." In doing so, the couple discovers a sense of greater purpose, wonder, a renewed faith and ultimately what it takes to endure.

Perfectbound ISBN: 1-933037-24-5
Hardback ISBN: 1-933037-23-7

Lori Avocato

ISBN 0060731656

   A burned out registered nurse becomes a medical insurance fraud investigator only to be yanked back into the nursing field by an experienced hunk of an investigator who she just can't say no to -- until she stumbles upon two dead bodies.

   Book #1 in The Pauline Sokol Mystery Series available September 28, 2004 from Avon Mysteries.
Book #2 available July 2005
Book #3 available October 2005

Janet Mills

   Janet Mills announces the release of her newest western historical romance, NOTHING LESS THAN LOVE, from Whiskey Creek Press. "Janet Mills has once again penned an unforgettable tale! Nothing Less Than Love is a poignant story of betrayal, secrets, heartbreak, forgiveness and love. You become so absorbed in the characters and their lives that you don't want to see the story end." 5 Angels and a Recommended Read award from Cindy with Fallen Angel Reviews.

   Janet Mills' best selling romance THE SWEETEST GIFT has been selected as a Publisher's Pick from Whiskey Creek Press in September. "Well researched with characters that come alive, the reader will long remember Will, Jade and Landon, and even a delightful cameo by Calamity Jane. Blending these characters into scenes of real history, Janet Mills produces an exciting and sensual tale that it is a privilege to choose as the Publisher's Pick for September 2004!" -- Debra Womack, Publisher, WCP

Don't Say "What If!"

by Tracy Cooper-Posey

   I teach popular fiction at college, and have had a lot of experience bailing out writer friends who get stuck with their stories and characters. I've lost count of the number of beginning writers who have that small germ of an idea that sadly goes nowhere -- but they still insist on trying to build a whole book around it.

   Usually, when you get an "idea" for a story, it's really not a story at all. It's a fragment of a story that beckons, with some emotional excitement. Something makes you want to write the story. Whatever that germ of an idea is, you need to work with it, because on its own, it's not a story. It doesn't have characters, or conflict. It doesn't have a plot.

   Now, most story ideas (or sparks, or whatever it is that's making your writer's muscle twitch) are usually one of two types: 1) a fragment of a character or 2) a situation/scenario/scene. You can test this for yourself, if you've been keeping a notebook of story ideas or a writer's journal. Analyze each story germ you have, and put it into column a) "character" or column b) "situation". It's possible your germ of an idea has elements of both, but you won't need a third column.

   Pick the idea that tugs the most. Settle down with pen and paper, or open a new file -- whatever method works best for you when you need to get in some serious, hard thinking. Yes, this is a simple method for get a story plot rolling, but to get the most out of it, you need to apply sweat and stick-to-it grit.

   If the story germ you have is a character, ask yourself: "What's the worst thing that could happen to this type of character?" Start writing down the ideas that come to you. This is how you build conflict: by dragging your character through mud, blood and a bucket of tears.

   This is where the sweat comes in: It's very important that you don't settle for your first answer! It's very easy to think up a couple of quick answers, get a brief flare of excitement over them, and dash off to your keyboard. Easy, but death to your story -- at least in the editors' eyes. Your first answers will be clichéd, obvious and done-to-death by a dozen different authors who got the idea into print before you (or got it onto celluloid).

   Keep writing possible answers down. Keep raising the stakes. Once you have a couple of handfuls of answers, some of them will stand out as real possibilities because they're unique, interesting and push your buttons. These answers may even group themselves into families; those inter-related events are your plot starting to unfold. Yes, you can use one or more of your answers in the same story -- just don't use the weak ones. And don't forget to arrange your answers in an escalating order of dire-ness, so that the stakes keep rising as the reader turns the pages.

   Then you have to tack on the baby sister question that also takes some really hard thought: Why? Why is this the worst thing that could happen?

   Answering this question starts to build your character's main trait and motivation for that trait. Again, don't settle for the first answer. It's critical that you keep digging for deeper, more personal, more critical reasons why this is a bad thing to happen. You'll be automatically raising the stakes, with each better answer you give.

   Now, to return to the other type of story germ: The scene/situation/scenario. The dam-busting question to apply to this type of story idea is, "Who would suffer most in this situation?" Again, start writing down answers, and don't settle for the easy pass, because what you're building here is your lead character -- one who steps into your scene with conflict built in and already revved up.

   Don't forget to finish off the process with the all-important why? Again, this will build your character's main trait and motive.

   Then you'll need to switch over to developing the character or the plot, depending on which type of idea you started with. By the way, it's never quite this clean cut -- you'll shuttle between the two. Whatever decisions you make should be made with the aim of increasing the conflict and tension. And keep the two critical questions in mind as you make decisions: What's the worst thing that could happen to this character now? Who would suffer most in this situation? Don't forget to follow up with Why?

   Once you've got some answers to both of these two questions, the plot and your characters will have begun to build and your enthusiasm for the story right along with it -- because these questions lay down strong conflict and emotional intensity.

   Small bonus: This method gives you the means to develop the perfect 30 second pitch, the perfect back cover blurb, the perfect descriptive paragraph for your query letters: Just lay out your answers to the two questions: "This is the situation, and here's why it's the worst thing that could happen to this character."

   Editors will love you for it.

   Tracy Cooper-Posey is a multi-published, award-winning author of romances, mysteries, and romantic suspense. You can find more of her how-to articles & essays on her website:

Book Reviews

   The last month or so has seen several of my books reviewed, and I have reciprocated by reviewing the books of the reviewers. My rules are: if I don't like a book, I refuse to publish a review about it. I expect the same the other way. So, the opinions expressed here are honest, and not in any way a matter of 'You scratch my back and I scratch yours.' I won't give false praise, and would be offended to receive it.

Michael Thal Sleeper, Awake
Victor Volkman Anger and Anxiety
Personally Speaking
Marilyn Peake Sleeper, Awake
Bob Rich Traumatic Incident Reduction
TheFisherman's Son

Michael Thal

   Michael L. Thal is a freelance writer and author. He penned The Light: An Alien Abduction and The Legend of Koolura. He has written and published over thirty articles for magazines and newspapers. He won First Place in Writer's Digest 73rd Annual Writing Competition, Inspirational, for his story, The Lip Reader. You can visit him at his website

Sleeper, Awake

   Oh Tony! You think the Internet is something -- world-wide instantaneous communication. That's nothing! Just you wait. In 1500 years there'll be Artif. She's a doctor, computer, and teacher--a god-like intelligence that is the concierge in everyone's life. She affects the one million humans inhabiting the future through an implant permitting universal communication. She is the relay, the Internet server, for all humanity.

   Artif is a mega computer that enables humans to travel anywhere in the world from the comfort of their floating homes in the sky. They can feel, see, taste, and hear the sounds of any environment through their projected images. If you live in a home floating over a tropical rainforest, you can visit your best friend living on a boat near tropical Antarctica.

   In Dr. Bob Rich's Sleeper, Awake, actress Flora Fielding funded research to find a cure for the cancer stealing her life. She allowed herself to be placed in suspended animation expecting to be revived in a decade. Instead, Flora slept for 1433 years after the great Cataclysm that altered human history.

   The author, through a descriptive narrative and well-developed characterization, shows a future where a great upheaval shifted the environment and altered landmasses. For example, a huge mountain formed where Chicago once existed.

   The cast of characters is extensive and richly described. Tony Califeri, who predicted the Cataclysm back in the 21st Century, is revered like Christians worship Jesus. Kiril is a thrill seeker, a rare individual who seeks the love of one woman, Souda -- strange behavior in this new world culture. Mirabelle Karlsen is Flora's advocate, and Abel is the President of Control, a world government body.

   In his fluid writing style, Dr. Rich creates a world of the far future where hunger, war, and disease are but faint memories in the consciousness of humanity. The world of Sleeper, Awake is a fascinating read. I give it all my fingers and toes up.

Victor Volkman

   Victor R. Volkman is the webmaster for the Traumatic Incident Reduction Association (TIRA) and owner of Loving Healing Press. He is a trained Metapsychology facilitator, but primarily works on the TIRA Public Information Committee and in support his wife's Metapsychology practice as well. He is the author of several computer programming books and teaches part-time at the community college level. He has lived in Michigan all his life.

   He is the editor and major contributor of an excellent book on dealing with trauma: 'Beyond Trauma: conversations on traumatic incident reduction' (see below).

Anger and Anxiety

Real help for sufferers of uncontrollable anger and anxiety, August 27, 2004

   Dr. Rich uses clear, real-life examples to move from the abstract concepts of fight-or-flight, phobias, worry, arousal, and anger to help you understand how your own life may be impacted by these phenomena. In addition, he ties concrete physical symptoms to these areas that you may never have suspected were linked. Understanding what is our normal and natural heritage as human beings is one key to regaining your power over these phenomena. It also allows complex cause-and-effect relationships such as Pavlovian conditioning to be readily comprehensible. For example, I had never really considered the possible explanation that some phobias are passed unintentionally from parent to child. The method of behavioral modelling clearly explains the mechanics of how this can be produced.

   True to the Cognitive Behavioral Technique, the text emphasizes that you may not be able to change what you are thinking or feeling but you can change what you are doing... and the rest will follow. Fortunately, each chapter ends with a self-directed survey to increase awareness of anger and anxiety in your life. Part II of the book details specific actions you can take to conquer anger and anxiety. Wolpe's method of progressive muscular relaxation is developed in sufficient detail for anyone to be able to apply it. Though a useful skill in itself, muscular relaxation increases sensitivity to tension and therefore supplies an early-warning system for anxiety and anger. This also works in conjunction with systematic desensitization through imaginary and real experiences. When confronted by a distressing scenario, the client applies learned relaxation techniques and thereby scores a victory over phobia.

   Although Anger and Anxiety: Be In Charge of Your Emotions and Control Phobias is first and foremost a self-help book, the author does recognize when situations require outside help. Chapter 6, "Help from Those Who Care" is a frank discussion about the limits of self-help and when to go for outside assistance. The book wraps with a grab-bag of CBT tools and tricks you can use to empower your life: thought-stopping, narrative therapy, role-changing, and a quick glimpse into Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy techniques. I would strongly recommend Anger and Anxiety to anyone who has a history of unexplained anger or overreactions to situations as well as anybody who finds more of their life occupied by worry and fear than they are happy with.

Personally Speaking

   In Personally Speaking: Single session email therapy with Dr Bob Rich, psychologist Dr. Bob Rich presents his therapeutic advice to 50 unique individuals. Each one of these people has reached a critical point in their life where they feel that they cannot go on with whatever issue is after them: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, loneliness, agoraphobia, ADD, history of abuse, self-image, suicidal thoughts, etc.. many of people have each posted their list of woes on an Internet service called the Body-Mind Queendom. Once posted, a registered counselor or therapist can volunteer to answer such a plea for help. Bob Rich has mixed in his private clients with his answers to these often anonymous people.

   You may immediately ask, how could email "therapy" possibly make a difference in someone's life? Consider that David Epston, one of the co-inventors of Narrative Therapy, has found in his research that one good letter is worth four to five face to face sessions. He began to replace the usual case notes with a letter to the client, summarizing the session. These letters (and by extension emails) are often taken to heart by the client, kept and read over-and-over as a talisman against distress.

   Another key to the success of one-shot email therapy is the intention to get maximum gain from the medium. Bob Rich has said that he considers every session, in person or by email, as the last. In his replies, he gives it everything he's got: acknowledging them for what they have achieved and obstacles overcome, providing real data on their condition and how they are not alone, and advising them on a course of action.

   Dr. Rich is also never afraid to share where he has also struggled with the very same issues that clients bring up. Clearly his compassion and love for people shows up in every posting. A few of these clients have developed elaborate stories of inadequacy and built up false stigma to support them. His advice might then fall along the lines of: "Don't change. Just think of yourself with kindness and acceptance." Sometimes the client can get the basics and work on their own with a book such as Dr. Rich's Anger & Anxiety: Be In Charge of Your Emotions and Control Phobias and other times they are advised to seek a school counselor or other therapist.

   Personally Speaking is a book you're unlikely to read cover-to-cover in a single sitting. Rather, you are encouraged to browse along the thread of subject keywords that appeal to what you need. The client stories are intense, genuine, and replete with real-life details. You will undoubtedly discover part of yourself in one or more of these requests for help. I urge anyone who feels condemned by their past to read this inspiring dialog. I also highly recommend it to any therapist willing to take a risk and treat every session like it was the last opportunity to make a difference.

Marilyn Peake

   Marilyn Peake is the author of the well-received children's fantasy adventure novel, THE FISHERMAN'S SON. Its sequel, THE CITY OF THE GOLDEN SUN, will soon be published.

   She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology. She has presented research data from her Masters Thesis, completed in 1985, at a meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association.

   Piers Anthony, the great science fiction and fantasy author, wrote the following about THE FISHERMAN'S SON: "Now I have read The Fisherman's Son. This is a nice children's fantasy, grounded in realism. Even the fantastic element is realistic, in that the dolphin doesn't abridge the rules just for convenience; the right introduction has to be made. It's not all right to make the excuse 'I lost the cup because of a bear.'"

Sleeper, Awake

   SLEEPER, AWAKE, a science fiction novel by Dr. Bob Rich, is a truly amazing experience. To step inside this novel is to step inside an almost alien, but totally believable, world. Dr. Rich designs the futuristic world of SLEEPER, AWAKE with such compelling detail that one comes to the conclusion that this must indeed be the reality of our future earth.

   Flora Fielding is a beautiful, rich, famous, Oscar-winning movie star. She develops breast cancer and has herself placed in cryogenic storage until a cure is found. She is awakened 1,433 years later. There is no cure for cancer. Her awakening is a political move, with disagreement between Abel, the President of Control, and Mirabelle, the Deputy President. Once awakened, however, Flora is wholeheartedly welcomed into this new world.

   The future, however, is strange and alien to the movie star. People have "implants" that allow them to send "images" of themselves to each other. "Artif," a form of artificial intelligence, monitors everyone's health and communicates with everyone. Thoughts move objects. There are only one million people on earth; and no one may have a baby unless there is a death. There has been a great Cataclysm due to global climate changes; and the physical geography of earth is not the same as Flora remembers.

   On the postive side, people are never violent. When Kiril attempts violence against another human being, this is the first act of its kind in over one thousand years. Despite its alien quality, the world of SLEEPER, AWAKE is in many ways a vast improvement over the world today.

   I give this fascinating book 5 stars out of 5, and highly recommend it!

Beyond Trauma: Conversations on traumatic incident reduction

Edited by Victor Volkman

   'Traumatic Incident Reduction' is a technique developed by Dr Frank Gerbode in the 1980s. Volkman's book is intended to publicize the technique to sufferers and professional helpers alike, through 'conversations' with qualified exponents of the technique, and with people who have been helped by it.

   As he points out in the Introduction, the general perception is that trauma produces scarring for life, and sufferers can achieve no more than to learn to live with the results. As I know from my own work, this is simply untrue, and if Beyond Trauma does nothing beyond attacking this myth, then it will have been worthwhile.

   The opening chapter is by Frank Gerbode, in which he writes, "Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) operates on the principle that a permanent resolution of a case requires… recovery of repressed memories, rather than mere catharsis or coping." This is because "…you can't stop doing something you don't know you are doing."

   The second author in the collection, psychologist Dr Robert Moore, refers to TIR as "a regressive desensitization procedure for reducing or eliminating the negative residual impact of traumatic experience." This will immediately orient most people with psychological knowledge. 'Desensitization' is getting rid of a fear by safe exposure. A 'regressive' technique is one that goes back in time. And there you are.

   Just having read this opening chapter told me that TIR works, because it is based on sound, scientifically validated principles. I use hypnotic regression combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy with trauma survivors. The style and activities may be different. The processes invoked are very similar.

   Also, I am pleased that the cart is not put before the horse. All the research on the outcome of psychotherapy shows that the major part of what we do depends on forming a strong, positive, trusting relationship with the client, and an ability to mobilize the client's strengths and resources. Specific techniques are less important. TIR emphasizes being 'client centered', and insists on the attitude that the client makes the choices. This is necessary for any successful therapeutic encounter.

   After the Introduction comes an illuminating, and very moving chapter on the Vietnam experience. Anyone with no understanding of war MUST read this. Especially, since some of the horror is what presumably well-meaning professionals did to them in the name of therapy.

   I was moved to tears by a wonderful tape transcript, recorded by Colonel Chris Christensen about several of his cases. I wish I'd met him…

   Experimental studies supporting the efficacy of the approach are cited. TIR is shown to work at least as well as other ways of approaching trauma victims. Then there are a series of case presentations, by professionals working in a wide variety of settings.

   Here is a quote from a client: 'Now with the therapy and everything I worked through, it was gradual. I couldn't see beyond this wall. Then it got further where there was a wall in front of me. Then I got to the point where I could see over the wall, but I couldn't get there. Then I finally got over that and I'm trying to get on with my life. Basically I think if I wouldn't have had TIR, I wouldn't even be here. I'm serious… I knew what I was going to do -- nothing. I would get up every day and I would just wait until 11 PM [to go to bed] because I couldn't wait for my life to be over.'

   Some of the 'conversations' involve exponents of different approaches, some of whom also use TIR. This gives the book a depth and breadth I found very informative.

   There are things that could be done to improve the book. One is to combine all the references as the end-at the moment, each author has a separate list, which can be hard to access later. "Now, which chapter was that book in?" Another minor point is the presence of repetition of content, perhaps inevitable in a collection from multiple authors. But, having read the book, I feel that I have already become better at working with distressed clients.

The Fisherman's Son

A fantasy for children by Marilyn Peake

   This beautiful little story starts with tragedy. Twelve-year-old Wiley's mother dies, and his drunken father has gone off, so he is left to get the priest from the next village and organize the wake.

   The path is through the forest, which is known to be haunted by a Beast…

   But I won't spoil your fun by telling you what he found in the forest.

   Marilyn Peake's writing is vivid, evocative and strong. Her words conjure up the scenes she describes.

   What will make the magic powerful for a child is that it is embedded in reality: the everyday life of a small, primitive fishing village, the hand-to-mouth existence of an orphaned boy subsisting on the kindness of his neighbors, the details of life as the seasons turn.

   A magical woman, a golden cup, a telepathic dolphin, treasures in the deep are some of the enticements any youngster will find captivating.

   And then we find out that this is a quest, a classical rescue complete with a dragon to be slain, a castle to be found -- but all under the sea.

   As any good children's story, this one has hidden moral lessons, and also subtle levels of meaning an adult will enjoy.

Two contests at

   There are four grand prizes being offered in the Coins and Books Extravaganza which can be found at

   The prizes:

One 1995 uncirculated set of UK coins in the original Royal Mint Folder with Additional Information Leaflets and Outer Case. PLUS one autographed copy of UK author Robina Williams' fantasy novel, Jerome and the Seraph;

One Royal Australian Mint 1988 commemorative coin set, including decorative folder and display. PLUS one autographed copy of Australian author Maureen McMahon's romantic suspense novel, Shadows in the Mist;

One 1980 S US Mint Silver proof set, including the Susan B. Anthony Dollar and Kennedy half dollar. PLUS one authographed copy of US author Marilyn Meredith's mystery novel, Wings;

One Canadian Millenium quarter proof set depicting Canada's past. PLUS one autographed copy of Canadian author Judy Bagshaw's romance novel, Lady Blue.


   AND, the Great Pumpkin Hunt at Books We Love is just starting. It's a simple contest, contestants simply have to visit author pages, and find the ones with pumpkins. The prizes are the Godiva Chocolates Halloween Bear, holding a box of Godiva Chocolates, and a paperback novel from a Books We Love author in the winner's choice of genre. Details are on the index page.

Staircase B

   She seemed to have it all -- a wealthy family, a to-die-for job as a political columnist, and a front row seat at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Beauty, brains, and a blossoming career have catapulted Brit Nevins to the top of her world.

   In the presence of the national candidates and their staff, Brit begins to experience vivid images of sex,violence and finally murder. The unwelcome and embarrassing imagery is threatening her entire existence. Even worse, these "visions" are not of her own life!

   The very people she is supposed to be interviewing, the celebrity ticket for the highest offices in the land, are hiding something sinister. Their secrets are emerging, unbidden, through Brit's subconscious mind. Her race to expose them before they can silence her involves a dangerous game that will tear apart the Democratic National Ticket -- and once again end in murder.

   This is a book by Bob Wiltz and Bob Rustico, which you will find at Atlantic Bridge publishers.

Short story contest

   The excellent magazine Monthly Short Stories is running its first ever contest. Entry fee $US10. Prizes of $100, $75, $50 and $25.

   Don't bother entering, I am going for the first prize :)

About Bobbing Around

   If you received a copy of Bobbing Around and don't want a repeat, it's simple. Drop me a line and I'll drop you from my list.

   You may know someone who would enjoy reading my rave. Bobbing Around is being archived at, or you can forward a copy to your friend. However, you are NOT ALLOWED to pass on parts of the newsletter, without express permission of the article's author and the Editor (hey, the second one is me.)

   If you are not a subscriber but want to be, email me. Subject should be 'subscribe Bobbing Around' (it will be if you click the link in this paragraph). In the body, please state your name, email address (get it right!), your country and something about yourself. I also want to know how you found your way to my newsletter. I hope we can become friends.

Contributions are welcome, although I reserve the right to decline anything, or to request changes before acceptance. Welcome are:

* Announcements, but note that publication date is neither fixed nor guaranteed;
* Brags of achievements that may be of general interest, for example publication of your book;
* Poems or very short stories and essays that fit the philosophy and style of Bobbing Around;
* Above all, responses to items in past issues. I will not reject or censor such comments, even if I disagree with them.

Submission Guidelines

   It is a FALSE RUMOUR that you need to buy one of my books before your submission is accepted. Not that I cry when someone does so.

   Above all, contributions should be brief. I may shorten them if necessary.

   Content should be non-discriminatory, polite and relevant. Announcements should be 100 to 200 words, shorter if possible. Book reviews, essays and stories should be at the very most 500 words, poems up to 30 lines.

   Author bios should be about 50 words, and if possible include a web address.