Bobbing Around

Volume Four, Number Five
January, 2005

Bob Rich's rave
email me  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions.
*Survived the Tsunami!
  A report from Bill O'Leary
*A role play exercise:
  DL Nelson on Iraq.
*Support the Iraq War & Betray Christ? by Nancy Fulton
*Oops, We Did It Again
Brandon Wilson on the new colonialists.
*A case study in psychoneuroimmunology
*On 'Borderline Personality Disorder'
  by Cheryl O'Brien
*For writers:
  The Art of Writing Headlines by Andrew Pegler
  Through the wrong end of a telescope:
how to get your reader INTO the story.
  Phrases that make the media love you by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  Tsunami fund raiser--Marilyn Peake
  'Dance With Your Heart'--Shirley Cheng
  Book Promotion Newsletter--Francine Silverman
  'Weekends'--Lindy Hudis
  'Snap Me a Future'--Connie Gotsch
  TWL Author Talks--Dorothy Thompson
  'Eva's Kitchen Confidence'--Eva Kende
*First blind film director?--Joe Monks
*Speed Reading
*A film review from John Gorman:
  'The Take'
*Book review: Julie D'Arcy's 'Silverdawn'
  reviewed by Kelley Hartsell
*A Man Without a Country
  James Choron writes about Kim Philby
*Valentine Day contest:
  Win books--no entry fee
*Oriental Palmistry
  Myrna Goldbaum
*Atlantic Bridge

   Twilight Times Books has reissued my highest-selling e-book. This is Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias. To celebrate, I am giving away TWO free e-books to anyone who sends me an emailed copy of proof of purchase, or buys a paper copy. This offer ends on the 28th of February.

   Read a review of this book by Charlene Austin.

Would you like to vote for me?

   Preditors and Editors are running their annual contest. I have been entered as an editor, an author, and my novel 'Sleeper, Awake' is in the science fiction section.

   If you like my work, you might be willing to cast a vote for me in one or all of these categories.

   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.

   What is a vase? [Answer at the very end]

Survived the Tsunami!

A letter from Bill O'Leary

   I edited Bill's immensely funny and touching book Wilboy last year, and in the process we became friends. Bill is also the author of the beautifully produced Andaman Sea Pilot, a coffee-table-quality book. He and his family live in Thailand, in one of the heaviest-hit areas, so I was delighted to receive his news:

Dear Colleagues,

   Some quick news from Amanpuri. Fred's rushing around taking care of our guests, so I'll pen this quick synopsis. Firstly, thank you all for your concerns and best wishes. You'll never know how much we appreciate it. Sorry if we seem short, it's just that it is still chaos here...

   You've all seen the news that Tsunamis have killed thousands in south and southeast Asia, including Phuket. Most of the damage you've seen on TV happened around 10:10 a.m. yesterday morning and continued for 3 hours. Efforts to assess damage and get going on a clean up operation have been hampered by countless threats that more earthquakes had spawned more surges that were due over the last 24 hours. None have eventuated, but no-one wanted to go anywhere near the coast -- just in case.

   My 'myth' that Phuket is immune to Tsunamis was permanently washed away in a series of devastating 5-8 meter surges that rocked the entire Andaman Sea.

   It happened without warning, except that the sea 'pulled back' 250 meters a few minutes prior to the first surges. Fish were left flopping around, high and dry : many Phuket locals and inquisitive tourists were killed because they raced down the beach to try and 'catch' them.

   Here at Amanpuri, we had several 5-6 meter surges. Most of Phuket's west coast had surges reaching up to 10 meters. Patong and Kata were worst hit. We were lucky to have Richie, a young Aussie mariner, working here as a trainee captain on our beach. He noticed the water disappear and with the help of Fred, they managed to 'hustle' all of our guests off the beach to higher ground just before the first waves slammed.

   Amanpuri is one of the few hotels that didn't have any loss of life. For this we can thank Richie and Fred for their fast and fearless action. Truly heroic stuff.

   All our bigger luxury yachts broke their anchors and mooring chains during the first ocean surges. The power of these surges is nothing I have ever experienced before. Terrifying. We are powerless against this type of natural force.

   We managed to salvage all our vessels to safety late last night. We didn't lose a single big boat. Wonders never cease. Unfortunately, our entire Amancruises back-office operations base on the beachfront in Bang Tao, along with 6 cars and 12 motorbikes, 2 jetskis and assorted speedboats were washed away and destroyed in the surge. Most of our boat crews have Sunday off, and many of the rest were on boats with guests, so we were very lucky again. Those workers stranded at the Cruises office base climbed into trees and onto rooftops to avoid being swept away. Bernard, our French engineer, did a 'James Bond' and climbed onto Mr. Thadani's passing Jet ski and rode the first wave to safety, getting off some 500 meters inland. It's since been looted. They like jetskis here.

   The survivors witnessed scores of locals and tourists perish... many were infants and older people. It's going to take a long time before the entire west coast of Thailand will recover from this jolt. It's difficult to think of all the fishing shanties along the beaches, the thousands of people living in coastal communities who are lost now, who were never registered with anyone, and who will never be counted. Equally hard to imagine the people here on holiday who were swept away, the divers, the sightseers in small boats, the people asleep in beach chairs the morning after Xmas. Especially violent was the surge at Phi Phi Island where countless foreigners' bodies may never be recovered. I don't know how to put into words the enormity of the local suffering. It was immediate and crushing and many of us are still trying to function under a 'cloud of shock'.

   I thank God that my wife and 4 kids survived. The surge stopped some 12 meters before our house at the back of Surin, which is 500 meters inland. I was on a speed boat at sea at the time, as were many of our boat crews and guests. This turned out to be the safest place. Remember, in case of Tsunami, find deep water or high ground. In Phang Nga bay, I witnessed the entire sand headland of Koh Yao Yai washed away into the sea and saw Koh Hong in Krabi fill with a 5 meter surge and empty producing fierce boiling rapids. It was like the ocean was heavy breathing.

   All our crew, hotel guests and vessels are accounted for. I've driven the Phuket coast road today and the destruction is more intense than any pictures could ever portray. There are still hundreds missing. Many staff at Amanpuri have lost family, friends and loved ones. Our prayers go out to them and to the other families of those who have passed on, both in Thailand and throughout the region.

   Love and peace from all of us "Survivors' here at Amanpuri in Phuket,

Bill O'Leary
Amancruises at Amanpuri

A Role Play Exercise

by DL Nelson

   When my daughter was young and disagreed on what she should be allowed to do, we often did a role reversal. She would become the slightly overprotective mother while I would be the recalcitrant teenager. If we didn't dissolve into giggles at our acting antics, we usually came out with a workable compromise and went on to share some gooey dessert. Many temper tantrums and angry moments were sidetracked and our lives ran more smoothly.

   I wish Americans could pretend they were in the Iraqis' place, only not in Fallujah, but in our own homes. Imagine that the Moslem world, convinced of western godlessness, decided to take over the US to make it an Islamic heaven. Successfully they bomb us into submission, destroying our major cities, leaving millions without water or electricity. Our military is disbanded and our weapons of mass destruction, which were quickly found, were destroyed.

   I will call the people who took over America "liberators" because they think they have "liberated" us from our evil ways. Any American who resists the liberators will be called an "insurgent".

   To stop our "uncontrolled materialism" the liberators of the US closed all our shopping malls and sent much of the goods back to their own countries. Corporation heads were replaced with religious leaders. Our Army and all our law enforcement agencies were disbanded, although some American joined the new Moslem Army and new Moslem police forces. Unemployment was running at 67%. Any reconstruction projects done were by citizens of the liberating countries so any chance for work was further reduced.

   The new Ayatollah, in charge of the American government, was an American Moslem appointed by the liberators, although we were told we could appoint our own religious leaders in the future, but then they would set up a government based on Koran. Over and over the Americans were told to put aside their "new" culture of only a couple of hundred years and accept the much older culture created by the Koran. Because of its longevity, Americans were told that it had to be superior to the upstart idea of secular democracy, free trade and capitalism.

   Certain cities, of course, rebelled, and New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and Miami were bombed into rubble to route out the insurgents.

   Several churches were turned into prisons, when although abundant in number local prisons overflowed with people who fought against the liberators. Reports came out of American insurgents being tortured. People were snatched from their homes in the middle of the night and tortured. Many were shot outright if they tried to protect their families. Almost no household was left without losing a relative to the liberators.

   Now, as an American, would you embrace the new leaders, thanking them for saving us from our decadent lifestyle and repressive leaders? Would you immediately embrace the new values that you had been denied because of our previous evil leadership? Or would you join the insurgency? If you did join the insurgency would you think of yourself as insurgent or as an American patriot fighting to resist invaders?

   Let's stop pretending now. Hopefully we have been able to put ourselves in the Iraqis' place and see why they may not be co-operating, and why the insurgency is growing. Anyone familiar with the Arab world knows that Iraqis have been the strongest fighters of the Middle East throughout history. They have been invaded before, but no invasion had ever been successful and this one will fail at a terrible cost to both Americans and Iraqis.

   DL Nelson publishes W3 e-zine for writers. Her web site is

Support the Iraq War & Betray Christ?

   I find myself entirely baffled and dismayed by the support for Bush and the Iraq war by "Christians". The city on a hill is supposed a beacon of hope and God's eternal love, not a citidel bristling with laser sighted rifles.

   Christ's instructions are clear (Luke 6:27-36): [27] "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, [28] bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. [29] If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. [30] Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. [31] Do to others as you would have them do to you."

   The Perfect Example illustrated that even to prevent murder... a Christian cannot kill. (Luke 22) His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, "Lord, shall we strike with a sword?" [50] And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. [51:15] But Jesus said in reply, "Stop, no more of this!" Then he touched the servant's ear and healed him."

   I know there are millions of "Christians" who say this cannot be true. Christ cannot mean what He says. I weep for them as Christ wept for them... Because the joy of being a Christian is that you need never fear, need never kill, need never die. The kingdom of heaven is truly within you.

   Nancy Fulton is a writer and political activist living in Los Angeles, California. Probably the best overview of her work can be found by looking at her script home page

Oops, We Did It Again

by Brandon Wilson

   First, I certainly applaud the US media's recent coverage of the debates and political contests for everything from president to dog catcher (ad infinitum). However, 'tis also the season for otherwise major stories to slip under the radar and go unnoticed -- or unchallenged -- not unlike that hurried passage of the "Patriot" Act I. (Stay tuned for Part II).

   Maybe I've gotten a little dizzy with all the political posturing of late. I suspect the rest of America has become just as weary. But while all of us were following one half of the walnut without the pea, Secretary of State Colin Powell recently made a significant statement in regards to our long-standing ally, democratic Taiwan.

   Powell told Phoenix Television in Hong Kong: "There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy."

   Now wait a minute. It seems I've heard that line before. Now where was it? Could it be, oh yes, that's the official party line from Communist China, the 800 pound gorilla that has been gobbling up smaller countries for the past fifty years, like Tibet, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, and parts of India. Tibet is still struggling to regain freedom, sovereignty and a homeland it lost in 1950.

   Now I know we've been buddy-buddy with the behemoth Mao-land since Nixon opened the doors to US corporations back in the 70s. We've come to think of them as one major source for potential McDonalds gobblers and Wal-Mart suppliers. One billion consumers cannot be ignored. I guess the logic is that if we share the fruits of MacCapitalism, can MacDemocracy be far behind? Wanna bet?

   But one thing is certain. Any backsliding in support of our friends in Taiwan puts this small free nation and the world on a very slippery slope. It will only be a matter of time until there is a military showdown in Taiwan and, like the Borg, they will be "assimilated." Or drag the US into another prolonged conflict.

   Are we following the same path as the US did in Tibet? Are we making the dangerous flip from supplying support, weapons and global recognition to our friends -- to a flop of kowtowing to Communist China's interests? All for the sake of the big McBucks?

   This certainly sends mixed signals to our allies at a time when America's leadership and moral authority are already in question. It leads to the crushing defeat of another friend and further instability in the region. All for what amounts to Communist China's insistence that neighboring countries return "to the Motherland."

   For those familiar with WWII, why does that sound so familiar?

   In these days when coalition of the "willing" is wobbly at best, it's time for America to stand by her friends and, dare I say, not "flip-flop" when it comes to foreign policy. Resistance is never futile.

   Brandon Wilson is an author, internationally published adventure travel writer, award-winning photographer and long-distance trekker. He finds himself saying, "How could they?" a lot these days. Instead of SOMA, he embraces long-distance hiking on pilgrimage routes thru Tibet and Europe. Visit for free articles on this ancient practice.

A case study in psychoneuroimmunology

   My book on cancer is coming along beautifully. I've written about half of it, and have a wonderful crew of contributors for the rest. Naturally, months of preoccupation with the topic has got me thinking.

   There are two interesting questions:

  • Why doesn't EVERYONE develop cancer?
  • Why does ANYONE?

       Let me explain. Every day, my body produces perhaps 2500 cell mutations that by rights should end up in cancer. And yet, I have got to my great and advanced age without allowing these to get away. Magic!

       The magic is in the immune system, and in safety mechanisms that are built into the cell itself. The immune system has specialised hunters whose sole job is to destroy mutated cells that could pose a danger. And within every cell, there are at least three types of gene that protect the cell from going wrong. To get a cancer, you need genetic changes within a cell that circumvent all three, and then the cell has to escape the marauding hunters.

       This of course poses the second question. Despite all this, people do get cancer. There is evidence that this was a rare event before the Industrial Revolution, and it has been increasing all the time. My latest figures are from 2001. In the USA, one man in two and one woman in three can expect to have a cancer develop during that person's lifetime.

       A cancer cell is weak when compared to the normal cells of the body. It is easily destroyed by the immune system. Of course, once the rogue growth has got away, cancer cells have the safety of numbers. Like a herd of grazers, the main bulk survives and breeds on, regardless of what predators can do.

       But it should never get that far. It does.

       I think the answer is threefold.

       First, we have increased the number of damaging impacts on our bodies. As I've said, it takes three or more insults to a cell before it might go wrong, and yet an average of 2500 cell divisions do so every day. This is due to the stuff in food we eat, water we drink, air we breathe. It is due to the medications we take, our protective measures against insects, mould and dirt. It is due to radiation from the nuclear industry, all the electrical appliances that surround us, the wonderful conveniences of civilisation.

       Many of these same influences have proven to have negative effects on the immune system. Not only do they initiate cancer, but also they handicap our ability to fight back.

       The third effect of civilisation is the most deadly. There is a demonstrated link between emotions and the immune system. This is studied by the 20-year-old science of psychoneuroimmunology. All too many people live lives they feel are meaningless. They are caught in a situation they find intolerable. Others are under sustained stress, year after year. People suffer chronic anxiety and depression. Families have fragmented so that our instinctive needs for belongingness are not met. All of this drags the immune system down. One of the many results is cancer.

       Let me give an almost trivial illustration of how the protective mechanisms of the body can be sabotaged. I haven't had the flu since I discovered the uses of guided imagery. At the first sign of a sore throat or a drippy nose, I meditate, and use a nice set of images that tickle up my immune system. The symptoms go within a few hours; 12 at the most.

       This year, I got persistent bronchitis. It didn't progress to anything worse, but it stayed with me for about 10 days, the same as it did for other people. How did this happen? Why did my magic tools fail to work?

       The next day, I suffered sinusitis for the first time in maybe ten years, and then the cough came.

       A few weeks of Christmasitis dragged my immune system down. It sabotaged my defenses enough to allow physical stress to weaken me so that the infection struck. If I had the same kinds of emotional down for years at a time, if I didn't look after my physical fitness on a regular basis, I'd be a candidate for cancer.

    On 'Borderline Personality Disorder'

    by Cheryl O'Brien

       I was diagnosed some years ago with Borderline Personality Disorder. I knew nothing about what this diagnosis meant or what it applied to. I didn't have the courage to ask, mostly because I had no defence or way to respond to the general 'brush off' techniques used by many psychiatrists when you ask them questions about your own mental health. It is as if they presume you wouldn't understand or know enough to make it worth their while in explaining it.

       Not having any way to understand the diagnosis, I set it aside and went on about living my life the best way I knew how. Trying all the time not to think too hard on the topic of my sanity, and hoping that I could at least get my kids grown up before any outsider noticed my insanity and had them removed for their own good from this bogey-man of a woman who suffered from this condition.

       The other day I was studying character types in preparation for writing an article for my writers group about creating characters. The article is still in progress. During my reading I found a description of the Borderline Personality Disorder Type and at first reading I said. "Oh yeah that is me!" Now I know why I was diagnosed to be that. Then I found myself doing a double take as I read through it again and realised, "No! That was me! I am not like that now." Okay, so I still have some leftovers of it, but I am not true to type so to speak. Something has changed. I had begun to wonder what it all meant.

       Then I read your response to a Young Woman: "Anyway, you do not have BPD. It is not a thing or condition or disease. It is a LACK OF SKILLS."

       Then in the press release further along in the article I read, "Fear of abandonment, inappropriate rage, impulsiveness, chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom -- these are some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder."

       Oh yeah! Now I remembered a counsellor telling me that in her opinion I did not have a disorder. I did not have a mental health issue. I was not sick. She had gone further to say that in her opinion my fear of abandonment was directly related to the many times I was actually abandonned in my childhood and often neglected. She said that my rage at the world was justified, I had suffered many things that had only one logical response, rage. My seeming impulsiveness was simply because so much was going on in my life at any one time that decisions had to be made quickly and actions responded to without too much thought. Then she said the feelings of emptiness and lack of worth I suffered from was because my time and energy was taken up by so many other things, i.e., my kids and their many health needs, and the 'large hole' I felt in the pit of my stomach is because of my eldest son's death. She finished by saying, the feelings you have are all logical, sensible and the same feelings that any other person in your position would have. I walked out of her office not knowing which of us was the craziest!

       After reading your response, I realised that while helping my son deal with his ADHD and lack of empathy, I had learned many things about social behaviours and had noticed that I related very well to my son and his lack of understanding about social boundaries because I had spent my life feeling like I was playing a game and no one would tell me the rules. I had even said as much on a few occasions. I asked a counsellor once, "How can I play the game of life if I don't know the rules?" While helping my son I started to discover the rules and had helped myself.

       For those who may feel similarly about the game of life, here are some 'tricks' my son and I figured out.

       The above is just some of the rules we figured out together, yet I fear I have taken up more than enough of your time so shall leave it there.

       Regular readers will be familiar with Cheryl and her wisdom. I am grateful to this wonderful lady for her openness, courage and caring. She is a perfect example of how you can choose to grow from suffering.

    For Writers

    The art of writing headlines
    Through the wrong end of the telescope
    Phrases that make the media love you

    The art of writing headlines

    by Andrew Pegler

    Extracted from Write On, the newsletter of the Victorian Writer's Centre, September 2004, with the author's permission.

       Andrew's words of wisdom apply to all writing, not only to the field he has chosen. A few examples are the title of the book; chapter headings if you use them; that all-important first sentence. And then, you have query letters to agents or publishers, and the marketing to induce people to read the book.

       I'm the author of two books, The Bugle's Dictionary and John Howard's Little Book of Truths. I also publish The Bugle, a satirical cult magazine. Being an author in Australia doesn't pay too well, so I run a business as a freelance copywriter. Check out my copywriting CV here, just click on the copy writing link.

       The best way you can get into this line of work is to draw up a list of advertising agencies and call on them. Ask for freelance gigs. If you are invited for an interview, then take something with you that demonstrates your creative talent. This can be a portfolio of work. If you have no prior experience, then invent a product and write the campaign for it (i.e., a slogan and body copy for a brochure, a script for a radio commercial, and so on).

       Copywriting, while still very creative, is done within strict commercial guidelines based on market research. It requires the ability to write to express the benefits of a product or service to the marketplace. Keep that in mind and you will do okay.

       I want to reveal some hard-earned secrets about writing a slogan or advertising headline. Headlines are very important. On the average, five times more people read a headline than the body copy, so if you have not done some selling in your slogan, you are wasting your client's money.

       Before writing the headline or slogan, start with three questions:

    a. Who is my customer?

    b. What are the important features of my product?

    c. And why would someone be bothered buying it?

       Here are some rules:

    1. The headline must promise a benefit or reward.

    2. It must be clear and concise, and cannot be more than five to eight words. More than that and it becomes a sentence. For example, 'Have some Jam Factory fun!' is good, but 'The Jam Factory is a fun place to visit see you there' is long and clumsy.

    3. The headline must connect sensibly to the product.

    4. Avoid negatives, i.e., instead of 'contains no preservatives,' write '100% preservative free.'

    5. Ask yourself, does the headline arouse interest?

    6. Keep it simple.

       Before you start scribbling, write the following four things on a bit of paper next to your computer. They are what your headline has to achieve.

    a. It must scream, 'Oi you, LOOK AT ME!'

    b. Attract your audience.

    c. Express a complete message.

    d. Draw the reader into the body copy.

       You might suddenly realise that you are lacking all-important inspiration. That happens to me all the time. Distract yourself with some other complex task. This takes your mind off the immediate problem, but also gets it whirring in the back of your head. Soon enough, possibilities will start presenting themselves and before you know it, you're off and running.

       Then I sit down and write maybe 20 headlines, then edit until I have fewer than 10 and send them off to the client. Clients like having a choice. All you have to do is to sit back and wait for feedback.

       To give him work or to just ask a question, you can email Andrew at andrew@andrewpeglermedi

    Through the wrong end of the telescope

       Here are two versions of the opening of a story. Choose the one that grabs your interest the better.

       OK, now compare this to:

       Are you yawning yet?

       The second version may be excellent psychological analysis. It contains a lot more information than the first. But does it get you INTO THE SKIN of the characters in the story?

       The fiction author's job is not to inform or lecture, but to allow the reader to construct a reality, and then, ideally, to move into it. People are very good at doing this imaginative exercise. What the author needs to supply is not a photograph, but a charcoal sketch. A skilled artist can draw a few firm lines, and what appears is a recognisable face with character, expression, movement. A skilled writer does the same with words.

       Vision can take in details simultaneously, so that a photograph is no worse than a cartoon. In writing, we have a sequential medium. The trouble with the verbal photograph is that the reader needs to wade through all that detail before appreciating the real message, which is, inevitably, emotion. So, it's essential to focus in on the few features that will induce emotion.

       This is done not by saying how a person feels, but by presenting words and actions that indicate it. The trick is to pick a witness, Tony in the example above, show his perceptions (hearing the scream in his wife's soft statement), and other people's observable behaviour. The background, the information that beginner writers are so anxious to present, is not only irrelevant but counterproductive. Everything essential is there, in the live story. What we need to know can be presented later, through action and dialogue.

       Tony's feelings of inferiority about his appearance may be essential to the story. In that case, there in the opening scene, you might have him say, "I know I'm ugly." Maryanne can respond, "You idiot, your face has nothing to do with it. I married you, didn't I? I just can't cuddle and be lovey-dovey when you come home two hours after you said, and my dinner is burned, and Jimmy spent the evening screaming the house down because he wants Daddy before going to bed, and..."

       But it's not necessary in the opening scene.

       The lesson is, don't present your characters from the outside, through the wrong end of a telescope. Show them from within, the way they think, feel and act. Focus on tricking me, the reader, into BEING the person in the story, not some godly outside viewer.

    Phrases that make the media love you

    by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Show you really care:

    You say:

    Help them out:

    You suggest:

    Four Ways to Ruin Good Vibrations

    You blurt:

    The Happiest Words of All:
    1. The book launch is Tuesday. I'd love to have you come. (Your contact may not be able to make it but she is rarely asked!)
    2. Thank you.

       Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be presenting more promotion tips at San Diego State University's Writers Conference Jan. 21, 22, 23. Her first novel, This is the Place, and her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered are both award-winners. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and her next book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T was named USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004.". She was recently awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by the California Legislature.


    Marilyn Peake
    Shirley Cheng
    Francine Silverman
    Lindy Hudis
    Connie Gotsch
    Dorothy Thompson
    Eva Kende
    Joe Monks

    Marilyn Peake

       Two fantasy adventure novels written for children, The Fisherman's Son and its sequel, The City of the Golden Sun, take place on a fictional island devastated by a tsunami. The island culture radically changes after a tsunami sinks The City of the Golden Sun to the bottom of the ocean. These books were written by author Marilyn Peake in order to show children how to heal emotional and spiritual pain by tapping into the positive aspects of life: wonder, beauty, loyalty, love, and so much more.

       In order to help the real world victims of the most recent devastating Tsunami, Marilyn Peake will donate $1 to UNICEF for each copy of her books purchased within the year 2005.

       For more information on where to purchase these books, in either paperback or electronic format, visit:
    The Fisherman's Son --
    The City of the Golden Sun --

    Shirley Cheng

    Dance With Your Heart: Tales and Poems That the Heart Tells
    Paperback, ISBN 1-4116-1858-0

       Dance With Your Heart: Tales and Poems That the Heart Tells is filled with inspirations, lessons and magic. Be prepared to be touched, taught, and tickled by the stories and poems contained between the covers of Dance With Your Heart.

       In Dance With Your Heart, the reader will discover and visit new worlds. Inch alongside a tiny snail as she goes through a journey of self-discovery in The Gift of Uniqueness, and learn that cooperation is the key to working successfully in the story The Raging Sun and Rain. The poems, which range from thought-provoking to inspirational, could only have been written by Shirley Cheng. Her language is simple yet lyrical, and she writes with sincerity, clarity, and wisdom rare for her youth.

       Shirley was born in New York in 1983, and received no schooling until she was eleven. Having achieved grade level in all areas after only 180 days in a special education class, she was transferred to a regular sixth grade class. One of her stories, Mary Miller, the Elusive Lady, was published by Poughkeepsie Journal in 1997, and her poem, The Colors of the Rainbow, in the anthology Celebrate! New York's Young Poets Speak Out in 1999. Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen, and hopes to earn science doctorates from Harvard University after eye surgery.

    Francine Silverman

       Francine Silverman, editor of the popular online Book Promotions Newsletter, will be publishing Book Marketing from A-Z with Infinity Publishing -- in late January or early February 2005. Fran has compiled the best marketing strategies of 300+ published authors who represent all genres and levels of expertise. Whether their books are self-published, print-on-demand, e-books, or published by a traditional house, these author/promoters share their experiences -- both good and bad -- in their own words.

       For a sample of their strategies, visit the newsletter archives at htttp://

    Lindy S. Hudis

       Lindy S. Hudis is proud to announce that her novel, Weekends, will be available in February 2005 from Whiskey Creek Press. For details, please click here:

       An innocent-sounding family reunion at an exclusive California beach resort turns into a weekend of murder, deceit, exposed secrets and unexpected intimate encounters.

    Connie Gotsch

       Set in New Mexico, in the beautiful Four Corners, Snap Me A Future, an electronic suspense/thriller by award-winning author, Connie Gotsch, was released by DLSIJ Press in October, 2004.

       Readers follow the adventures of Shelby McCoy, the once tough investigative reporter now working her way back into journalism after a horrific attack by the subject of one of her articles. While pursuing a story, she finds herself face-to-face with a knife-wielding criminal. Can she think fast enough to save herself and the man she loves from harm? Will another gun shatter life forever? Or will help come from an unexpected and non-human source?

       Snap Me a Future is Gotsch's second novel. Her first, A Mouth Full of Shell, won first place for full-length fiction in the 2002 New Mexico Press Women's Communication Contest, and second place in the 2002 National Federation of Press Women's Communication Contest.

       Gotsch lives in Farmington, New Mexico, where she serves as program director for public radio station KSJE-FM. Her show, "Roving with the Arts," has also won New Mexico and National Federation of Press Women Awards. She hosts a book show called "Write On Four Corners."

    Dorothy Thompson

       Dorothy Thompson announces a new e-group that is rockin' the literary world! TWL Author Talks opens its doors on January 1, 2005 and sends an open invitation to anyone interested in talking to New York bestselling authors. As a member, you will get the opportunity to ask our distinguished guest authors questions about their literary successes so that you might learn how to become a success, too! Scheduled guests include Jennifer Crusie, Jenna McKnight, Karen Kay, Kay Hooper, Jennifer Blake, Roxanne St. Claire, Deborah LeBlanc and more pending. Each will come in on their designated week (which you will find in the calendar section of the main group page) and answer your questions. It will be a lot of fun and a great learning process! To sign up, go to See you there!

    Eva Kende

       Just in time to aid you in your New Year's Resolution to reduce grocery costs and improve nutrition in your daily life! Eva's Kitchen Confidence is now available in Wire-O bound paperback format. Get the paperback with the flick of your mouse or choose any ebook version for less money. Choose the .prc version to synchronize with that new Palm that Santa brought you and have this handy guide at your fingertips! This cookbook is a friend in your kitchen that understands your problems, sympathises and gives you the tools to success.

    Book Information:
    Paperback: 160 pages
    Binding: Wire-O
    ISBN: 1584952423
    $14.20 USD
    All versions can be ordered from

       Eva Kende learned to cook at the age of thirteen and has been learning since. Feedback from readers of her bestselling cookbook, Eva's Hungarian Kitchen, convinced her that there is a large segment of the population that is intimidated by cooking from scratch. To help instil confidence into the timid and to pass on the secrets and confidences, she wrote Eva's Kitchen Confidence. Eva, a retired biochemist, lives in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, in the Rockies with her husband John. She divides her time between her family, travelling and writing.

    Joe Monks

       Joe Monks, writer and publisher of such titles as Zacherley's Midnite Terrors, Cry For Dawn and the upcoming zombie comic series Dead Meat, has launched a new web site,, focusing on his own work and, he expects, the launching pad that will put him in the director's chair.

       Monks, who lost his eyesight in 2002 but returned to comics later that year despite the handicap, recently had one of his short stories optioned for the screen by Bunkasha Publishing in tandem with DK Publishing, two Asian powerhouses. The featurette, for a Japanese television pilot, was recently released in North America on DVD as the first episode in the Flowers on the Razorwire film series, which couples short horror features with digest sized comic books. Monks was also tapped to write the screenplay, and has a cameo role in the wraparound sequence, a sort of Tales From The Crypt HBO introduction to the main story.

       With the launch of, however, the writer/publisher has set his sights--so to speak--on going behind the camera, to direct his latest screenplay, The Bunker, in which the teenage daughter of a U.S. Congressman is kidnapped and endures the countdown to her own murder, locked in an underground cell.


    Speed Reading

       Wouldn't it be useful if you could read ten times faster than now?

       You can.

       What's more, research shows that a speed reader has BETTER comprehension of the contents of a tract of prose. This is different from 'skimming', which almost guarantees that you miss content.

       I do speed reading while I edit. And yet, I pick up every little typo, every comma out of place, every convoluted expression. Well, let's be honest. I can do this in YOUR text. I miss a few such glitches in my own writing.

       Speed reading works because people have the general ability to form 'chunks' of information when dealing with an overlearned skill. Think of driving a manual car. To change gears, you need to coordinate one foot on the clutch, the other on the accelerator, the hand doing a complicated little dance, all controlled by the ear listening for changes in engine tone, and the whole symphony of action in response to environmental triggers that continue to need monitoring. It is a very complex task.

       For the beginning driver, this is a major challenge. However, after practice, it becomes unitary. The coordination is well below the level of consciousness. Indeed, if you try to pay attention to the elements, the skill is disrupted. Try it, but not on a busy road.

       Speed reading is the result of the same kind of overlearning. Training the skill is tedious, but the results are useful. You can pay money and go to a speed reading course, but this is unnecessary. I am sure there are also simple computer programs you can find on the internet.

       But you can do it with nothing more complicated than a wooden ruler. That's what I did in the 1960s. Lay the ruler at the top of a page of writing, and move it slowly down so that it covers one line at a time. Adjust the speed of lowering it so that you are under a slight bit of pressure to finish the line before it's hidden from view.

       And that's all. Over time, with regular practice, you'll find that you need to move the ruler faster and faster in order to keep up with your increased reading speed. And your ability to notice the details of writing, to take in the content, will improve.

       Are there any disdavantages? There is one. When I read for pleasure, I like to take my time, to allow the story to capture me and take me somewhere. If it gets exciting, sometimes I switch to speed reading mode without even realising it, and what should have been half a day's switch-off is gone in half an hour.

       Usually, though, I remember to read normally when I want to enjoy myself... at least at the start of the book.

    A film review from John Gorman

    'The Take'

       John reviewed a film in the last issue. Here he is again, with a film that makes me want to stand up and cheer.

       The Take, released in September, is one of several political documentaries coming to theaters this fall. This film, however, goes much further than most in providing alternatives to globalization and the Race to the Bottom, which corporate capitalism insists is the only viable path to the future of this planet. Indeed, what started author Naomi Klein on this quest for an alternative to this gloomy scenario was a question from a globalizer who argued, "We know what you're against. But just what are you for?"

       Ironically enough, as we discover from this movie, it is Argentina, once the "poster child" for the International Monetary Fund and globalization that is providing at least the outlines of an answer to that question. Argentina, as the film explains, is not a poor country that was made poorer by privatization and IMF demands for reductions in already inadequate government services as a condition for loans. It is a rich country that has become poor thanks to these measures.

       As the Argentine economy melted down in 2001, and the country defaulted on its foreign debt, thousands of businesses closed, leaving literally millions of workers in the street, reduced from the middle class to a proletariat almost overnight. Revolution was in the air, as individuals were cut off from their bank accounts, while millions of dollars left the country. One government after another fell, as angry crowds demanded, "Que se vayan todos!" ("Send them all packing!") Many workers, however, were not impressed by these marches and began to think in more concrete terms, occupying closed factories, first to prevent the owners from selling off the machinery and then to put them back into production.

       As the film shows, these efforts are not easy, and the Argentine courts have not been helpful, looking on private property as a sacred right. Nonetheless, the machines are started and production of things like auto parts, tiles and clothing resumes under the motto, "Occupy, resist, produce." What these workers have understood is the need, not only to seize the means of production, as in the sit down strikes of the 1930s, but to take over the production itself, or, in IWW terms, "Fire the boss" as well. As quickly becomes clear, the workers are in no need of managerial advice or entrepreneurial direction. They already know how to make the product, and whatever skills they need to market it are quickly learned as they cooperate with one another. In the meantime, interviews with the ceramics factory owner show us the face of the enemy, as a positively vampiric-looking capitalist assures us the government will get his ceramics factory back for him and restore his wealth and power.

       The workers, for their part, care little about ideology. They simply want to work, live with dignity and support their families in decency. While the capitalists scheme to get back their plants, the workers drill with slingshots to repel anticipated police assaults. On the face of it, these preparations seem ridiculous, but the main weapon in the workers' arsenal is not their slingshots but their solidarity and the implied threat of general strike and even civil war, if the government insists on bringing back "the Good Old Days" of capitalism.

       It would be pleasant to end this review with a report of worker triumph. As we learn from the film, however, the issue remains very much in doubt, as the government vacillates, the IMF fumes, and the workers dig in. What we can take away from The Take, however, is a conviction that there is another way of doing things, not worked out in every detail, but real enough to give every capitalist indigestion, if not nightmares. We see that ordinary workers are able to act effectively in defense of their own interests, to rely upon themselves instead of on political bosses or even labor leaders, as they stand up in dignity and strength when those interests are threatened.

    Silverdawn by Julie D'Arcy

    Reviewed by Kelley A. Hartsell

    Published by Mundania Press
    Paperback ISBN 1-59426-021-4 $Au12.00
    E-book ISBN 1-59426-072-9 $Au6.00

       Julie D'Arcy has created a world of magick with Silverdawn that encompasses so much that readers are sure to be pleased with this story. She combines many different facets of paranormal romance into her story so that there is something for everyone, be they fans of romance, fantasy, time-travel, or adventure. The plot is well thought out, driving forward with strength from the opening lines, never losing steam through the final climactic battle of good vs. evil.

       Silverdawn is a complex individual who only wishes to live out the life she has always known. When she is suddenly faced with mythical beings like griffins and horrific monsters like undead zombies, though in shock at the change, she handles it all surprisingly well for one who has ever believed there was no such thing as magick. She is more shocked then anyone to find out she is the only one who can save both worlds from destruction.

       Faren has only one goal in life, to please his king and fulfil the missions given to him to uphold their world's ways. He is a strong warrior, well trained in the art of war, but still gentle enough to be the shoulder to cry on for his own damsel in distress. His duty surpasses all for him so when he falls in love with Silverdawn, he must choose what is most important, his duty or his love.

       The rest of the cast of characters is well done also, from the aging mage Pendragon, to Iraj the evil sorcerer, to Kalden, Faren's foster brother, and a number of other key players. There are also a couple shockers of plot twists involving some of these people that come into play in the story. This is a delightful story that is a fast, exciting read one will hate to put down even for a minute. Readers will eagerly await more vivid tales from the mind of Ms. D'Arcy.

    A Man Without a Country

    by James Choron

       Jim is a regular contributor. He sent me a very interesting article, but alas, at nearly 3000 words, it was way too long. Here is an extract.

        ...Then, there were people like Kim Philby… The man who "sold" the atomic bomb… We were as close as he ever got to anyone, just before he died. Old Philby was nothing like the way he was shown to us in the West. I never liked Philby much. No one did. Even if he hadn't been who and what he was, he just had that kind of cold, distant personality. Even in his "normal" life, if he ever had one, he must have lived in an "ivory tower". Still, he was a traitor, but he wasn't a monster. Maybe writing about what he was like will do some good.

       He was a strange old bird. You could see it in his eyes. And yet, from his perspective, what he said made a lot of sense. He was an idealist. He didn't see "governments" or "politics". He saw the human race as a whole, and he saw the world of "science", not "government", as being custodians of the "welfare of the species".

       He always said that the reason he did it was to "insure balance". He was afraid of his own country's strength, and didn't trust America's leadership. He said that Truman was a good man, and he respected Eisenhower… but no one could know what might come next, and if only one nation had the bomb, then they could dictate terms to everyone else in the world. He'd seen Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and they terrified him, just like they did every other scientist who worked on the bombs. He'd seen the Hydrogen bomb tests, and they'd terrified him even more. He sure as Hell didn't want any one country or ideological system to rule the world. That, he said, was why he did what he did.

       In any case, when the Cold War broke out, right after the Hot one, Philby decided that it was just too dangerous for only one side to have something as devastating as the bomb, and started funnelling information to the Soviet Union. There were several others who did, people like Hiss and Chambers and the Rosenbergs. Most of them did it for money, or for political reasons. I think Philby was telling the truth. I don't think he did it because of any of that. He did it out of fear.

       He knew that the Soviet Union was the only country powerful and stable enough in the post-war environment to be trusted with that much power alongside any Western government. He said that none of them could really be trusted with it, but China was in the middle of too much upheaval, Germany and Japan were in ruins, and, besides, he had just helped fight a war against them. He just plain hated the French. He figured that the "Yanks" would never start a war with the Soviet Union, and vice-versa, if both had the bomb, and because Europe was "in the middle", they'd help keep the lid on. Once the genie was out of the lamp, a balance of power had to evolve.

       I think he was right. Can you imagine if Nixon alone had had the bomb… or if Mao had gotten hold of it before he did? The Soviet Union would have looked like the surface of the moon, and the fallout would have made Europe a radioactive wasteland. What if McCarthy had been nominated for President in 1952, and won? They really didn't know very much about the after effects of the bomb, then. Most of Europe, let alone Russia, would have become an uninhabitable wasteland, for generations to come. Ever seen an old movie called "On the Beach"? It's a scary thought.

       I'm not going to try and justify Philby, or what he did. You can't justify Philby -- he was a traitor. Still, I always felt sorry for him. He wasn't like the others in that rat nest. He didn't expect or get anything out of what he did. The only thing he managed to do was live, and to stay out of prison. The way I saw it, his life became his prison. His "exile" weighed down on him pretty heavily, I think. Toward the end, he was a little crazy. He sounded rational enough, but at times… well, it was scary. He'd get this glazed look in his eyes and go off on topics that had nothing to do with the conversation… things from the past… fifty years ago, and more, even at the time. And… if he knew you well, he spent a lot of time trying to "justify" what he did. He really didn't care what the public thought of him, but he seemed to want what few friends he had to know that he didn't' "sell out" to hurt anyone, but to save lives. I think that when death finally came for him, it came as a relief.

    Valentine Day contest always seems to have a free contest going. The current 'Valentine Day' contest has lots of excellent paperback and electronic books for prizes. And while you go about gathering information, you can find out about high quality books that are well worth reading. After all, my titles are among them :).

    Oriental Palmistry

    by Myrna Lou Goldbaum

       In Oriental Palmistry the definition of a soul mate is one who bonds with another and is familiar with them. They are from another time zone when they lived on this planet and were someone other than who they are today, thus reincarnation. Example: in another lifetime, over 100 years ago a person might have been an Indian man. In this time zone that person is a young girl. Or, in another time zone the person was someone's old maid aunt but this time he is a strong male in his seventies, or a three year old little boy.

       A soul mate, according to Oriental Palmistry has five levels.

    1. Communication
    2. Visible Appearance
    3. Spirituality
    4. Sensual relationship
    5. Similar religious belief system

       Beyond these five levels one must also touch on the terms of: Trust, Love, Honor, Respect, Affection and Spontaneity. These are not the only characteristics one must have in common to relate to a soul mate. Also present must be their reactions, likes and dislikes, same philosophy about life in general, ambitions and dreams. A twin flame is a term used to describe one candle across from another twinkling at the same time and to the same degree of intensity. Another common term used is mirror image. This is the outlook one has the same as their soul mate. Because of our past lives, individuals bring to this time span on earth their ways of thinking, being creative and working through life's ups and downs from the past experiences they had when they resided here before.

       A soul mate cannot find another unless they too have a past life when they were connected on several levels in that other lifetime.

       Myrna is a Palmist, Psychic, Author; the Soul Mate Specialist. 55 years experience, 32,600 documented palms with a 90-95% accuracy. In life one must find the path to follow in love work and play. I facilitate by guiding one's direction and listening.

       Although I have printed what Myrna sent me, I must say I don't believe it. I can't see that the lines on my palm have anything to do with any other aspect of my existence, and I certainly don't believe in 'soul mates'.

       What do you think? Responses welcome.

    Thank You

       I circulate this e-zine through the kindness of Linda Eberharter, publisher at Atlantic Bridge . They publish many excellent books, some of them edited by me. Several have done well in recent contests. Do have a look.

    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 tml, 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.

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    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.

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       A vase is an object for displaying amputated reproductive organs.