Bobbing Around

Volume Four, Number Eight
May, 2005

Bob Rich's rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Killing our own soldiers by Donna C.
*Protect your privacy
  a petition about the US 'Patriot Act'.
*Oops... No Life Rafts by Sonny Whitelaw.
  Maybe all that environmental idiocy is for a cosmic purpose?
*After death -- what?
  A few thoughts that ease my pain.
*18th recipient of the Life Award.
* For writers
  Did you really mean that?
  Invite the reader in.
  Handling a Headache.
  Betty Jo Schuler on Bullying.
*Just to let you know...
  Need publicity?--Janet Elaine Smith.
  Comic book about bullying by Betty Jo Schuler.
  A new historical adventure from Brenda Weber.
  A dark fantasy/horror from Susie Hawes.
  Dale Harcombe's poetry collection Kaleidoscope.
*A new kind of driving course?
*I Should've Told Her
  a story by Mike Kechula.
  Perfect Opposites by Sorana.
  Book Marketing from A to Z by Francine Silverman.
  Thicker than Blood by Penny Rudolph, reviewed by Jenny McLarin.
  Amanda's Rib by Cyndia Depre, reviewed by Charlene Austin.
  Dance With Your Heart by Shirley Cheng, reviewed by Shirley Roe.
  The Simple Touch of Fate: Real Stories; Real People by Arlene Uslander and Brenda Warneka, reviewed by Heather Froeschl.
  The Keeners by Maura Shaw, reviewed by Charlene Austin.
*Always a free contest

   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.

First placing for my story

   Just a little brag: my short story An Interstate Business Venture came first in the May 'minute' contest at

Stop Press
Book signing 2nd June

   If you are anywhere near Melbourne on Thursday 2nd June, I'll be delighted to talk to you at the Friends of the Earth bookshop, 312 Smith Street Collingwood, from about 7 pm onwards.

   I'll be signing copies of the newly released FOURTH edition of my Earth Garden Building Book, but you don't have to buy a copy (unless you want one anyway). Just come to swell the audience.

   I'll be showing pictures, answering questions, and if my arm is twisted sufficiently, I may have to give a speech. But I promise it won't be boring.

   Finger food and hot drinks will probably be for sale.

Publicity campaign in full swing

   I have a new friend, although I haven't met her. She is Aimee Lipscombe, the publicity expert Penguin Australia have assigned to me for the fourth edition of the Earth Garden Building Book. This lady is the best publicity person I've worked with. So, I've been very busy with interviews and things.

   I am keen to get this book 'out there'. If you know anyone interested in building a new house, renovating an old one, even making occasional repairs -- or only dreaming about learning how to do such things -- send them along to my page about the book.

   "Yes, Sir?"
   "Is there a chef's recommendation or something?"
   "Oh yes, today is's ox-tongue, and he does it--"
   "YUK! Do you expect me to eat something that was in an animal's MOUTH? Bring me a boiled egg."

Killing our own soldiers

by Donna C.

The following is a condensation of an essay of about twice the length. Donna prefers not to have her bio posted.

   The more I read, the more I am completely and totally disgusted, and nauseated at our government's complete and total fore-knowledge of the effects of radioactive munitions, and of the massive, un-told numbers of cancers, birth defects, other illnesses, and deaths of not only Iraqi, the former Yugoslav, Bosnian, Afghani and Central Asian people, but those from neighboring nations, too! (The minute radioactive particles reportedly blow through the air to other locations, up to a thousand miles a year.)

   And if the idea of wiping out the total health of all life forms (plant, animal, and human) in the middle east is not, in and of itself bad enough ... consider the fact that DU has a half-life of 4.5 BILLION years (roughly the age of the earth itself).

   In effect, the US (with the help of a few "allies") have managed to destroy the future life in an entire geographic region for BILLIONS OF YEARS! I find it hard to sleep now, fully aware as I am that my tax dollars have supported this weapon of mass destruction for years.

   That's a whole lot of guilt, isn't it?

   I could tell myself that I simply "didn't know". The media hadn't warned me, FOX news didn't cover DU all those years... and maybe that'll help ease my conscience a bit. Maybe. But now that I've read so much, fully absorbed the horrors, completely aware of the truth -- there are no more excuses for inaction.

   Being without a conscience is a luxury that only a few sociopaths (like some world leaders) can escape. But for those of us who actually *care* that others are purposely inflicted with disease, pain, suffering and death -- like it or not, we feel obligated to do something.

   To a normal mind, it's beyond comprehension that our nation is purposely wiping out an entire group of people. To achieve this end, a large number of Americans have been brainwashed with pumped-up nationalism that enables them to rationalize that somehow American lives are more sacred than middle eastern ones.

   Some call this false patriotism the "war on terror." I call it genocide via a form of nuclear war.

   It's really, really hard to accept that one's own seemingly benevolent "Christian" leaders would purposely, knowingly do something to harm one's very own soldiers. It goes against everything that we've been ever taught: that our good government is here to protect and act as servants of the public. And so the denial lives on.

   To any person of knowledge and conscience, however, the topic of Depleted Union must become everyday conversation. Our daily goal must be to alert family members, neighbors, and friends -- even if (or especially if?) they don't to want to hear it.

   Let's face it. Who actually *wants* to hear about the fact that radioactive poisons are being used on our own soldiers as well as foreigners?

   Don't we *owe it* to our friends, neighbors, and loved ones to tell them the truth? After all, what young person would willingly go off to war knowing that s/he will suffer untold horrible serious illness/disease/eventual early death as a result of being poisoned by radioactive material -- ON PURPOSE, AT THE HANDS OF OUR OWN GOVERNMENT?

   If we can manage to reach most young people (and their parents) about the radioactive poisoning they *will* face in the middle east (and how their government is working hard to hide this from them), how many are going to be willing to pay the "ultimate sacrifice" of being so poisoned?

   I know that there are some wonderfully patriotic, brave souls (often vets) who are doing counter-recruiting, presentations, and touring the US, trying to awaken the un-aware public about the real dangers of DU [weaponized poison uranium gas]. But due to the sheer number of people who need to be "woken up" and the relatively small number of persons doing such work, coupled with the urgency of this effort, I suggest strongly that all those who possess a conscience and concern for humanity must become involved in this, too.

   Here's a good website that has more info:


US citizens: protect your privacy

   Bob Swiatek sent me the following:

   One Million Signatures Needed for Campaign for Reader Privacy!!

   Don't let the government read over your shoulder!!

   The USA PATRIOT Act threatens your privacy in bookstores and libraries. It gives the FBI the power to apply to a secret court for an order compelling the surrender of records of the books you purchase or borrow.

   Section 215 is scheduled to expire on December 21, 2005, but many in Congress want to make it permanent. The book community opposes re-authorizing Section 215 unless it includes safeguards that protect the privacy of our reading records.

   Sign the petition today and spread the word for others to sign at

   Please use the petition (PDF) at the site to collect signatures at your library or elsewhere, and return signed petitions to:

Office for Intellectual Freedom
American Library Association
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611

   We'd like to collect one million signatures by May 31st since Congress will begin discussions of section 215 and other sunset provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act this summer.

   The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and the ALA Washington Office, along with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center, are sponsoring a petition drive to urge our representatives in Congress to support legislation that amends section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

Oops... No Life Rafts

by Sonny Whitelaw

   Life on Earth is a progression.

   Billions of years ago, microscopic organisms thrived in a primordial soup toxic to modern life forms. Slowly but surely these prehistoric microbes self-destructed by creating environments toxic to themselves, but ideally suited to more advanced life forms. Just as lichens that grow on rocks create soil that supports plant life inimical to lichens, we're all sitting around worried about a meteor creating an environment inimical to humans, when we're doing it all by ourselves.

   I wonder what life forms our toxins are paving the way for?

   This is not a doomsday scenario. It¹s ecological fact. 99.8% of all mammals that walked this planet are now extinct. In our hubris, humanity views itself the penultimate exception, yet our monoculture virtually assures a fate preordained by evolution. We build ships hoping to reach other worlds, other life-forms, while secretly gorging on the darker fruits of knowledge, birthing Promethean monsters destined to destroy us long before our star consumes us in its inevitable conflagration.

   'Ah ha!' you cry. 'A doomsayer! An animal liberationist leftist greenie, a reborn 'land rights for gay whales' escapee from the 1970s!'

   Nope. Sorry. I'm a scientist by training. It's just that, like thousands, probably millions of scientists worldwide, I'm disgusted with the 'if you can't see it, it won't hurt you' comforting denial that plagues society.

   If politicians and bureaucrats extracted their collective heads from the sand, and even more unlikely, set aside vested interests for five minutes, they'd realise that you cannot negotiate with the environment. It will do as it damned well pleases, no matter how economically, politically or socially inconvenient.

   Seriously, I'm curious to see how the US government will respond to its waterways, including the oceans and the Great Lakes, for secretly harbouring toxic quantities of Methyl mercury, PCBs, dioxins and a staggering amount of hormone-disrupting compounds. Economic sanctions, perhaps? Maybe they'll declare war on the atmosphere for spreading it around, or maybe they'll lob an 'awe and terror' barrage at it for chucking increasingly deadly weather at them. Not that the US government hasn't been waging war against the atmosphere, indeed, the environment for decades, but the White House smiles condescendingly and shakes its head. They are merely defending their democratic rights. Australia, of course, will follow suit. Perhaps we'll diplomatically snub the oceans as the sea level rises. Oh, sorry, we've already done that to Tuvalu now that whole chunks of it are disappearing at high tide. But I digress. Back to the assorted toxic compounds.

   Ever ask yourself why most kids in Western countries -- yes, most, more than 50% -- are on medication for respiratory or allergy problems, attention deficit disorders, diabetic/obesity disorders, or why girls as young as 16 are getting breast cancer? D'ya think it could have something to do with that extraordinarily well-ignored memo the CDC put out around ten years ago? You know, the one that came with a stack of data showing how, in just six months of breast-feeding, a baby in the United States and Europe took in the maximum recommended lifetime dosage of dioxin, which rides through the food chain like PCBs and DDT. The same breast fed baby swallowed five times the allowable daily level of PCBs set by international health standards for a 150-pound adult. Using formula based on cow's milk really doesn't offer much of an alternative, nor does immigrating to Australia, Asia and Africa. The last time I looked, we're all on the same planet.

   And there are no life rafts.

   In 1980, Sonny Whitelaw decided that a career in academia wouldn't be as much fun as running a dive charter yacht and adventure tourism business in the South Pacific. Photojournalism came as a natural extension to her travels, and Sonny's work has featured in numerous international publications, including National Geographic. Two of Sonny's novels, The Rhesus Factor, a contemporary eco-thriller and recipient of the LiFE Award and 2004 Draco Award, and Ark Ship, are available as e-books in addition to paperbacks. Her latest novel (under license to MGM) is Stargate SG-1™ City of The Gods. For more information, visit

After death -- what?

   One of the science fiction greats -- was it Robert Heinlein? -- advanced the amusing notion that since we all create our own reality, whatever you believe about life after death is true for you. If you are an atheist, you'll blow out like a candle flame, gone forever. If you fear fire and brimstone, in hell will you cook. If you anticipate playing a harp on a cloud wearing a nightshirt, that will be your (to my mind almost equally terrible) fate. And if you don't know, you will have an eternity of not knowing, of wondering (pun intended) around without purpose and meaning. Sadly, that's what all too many people do in this life too.

   I feel fortunate therefore that I no longer belong in the category of doubters. I used to, for much of my life. But, in the past few years, I have had a few puzzling personal experiences. Counselling clients, whose honesty and intelligence I do not doubt, brought along stories that shook my doubt and disbelief.

   Yvonne Rowan has contributed a wonderful little chapter to my coming self-help book on cancer. This lady has clinically died twice, and remembers both occasions. She is convinced -- and I must believe her -- that she is here for a Purpose, that death is nothing to fear but is a transition from one phase of existence to another like birth is.

   The more I have thought about these issues, the more I am convinced that life as a human is a form of education. This is school. When we have finished with one lifetime of lessons, there is a judging. I think, on the evidence available to me, that the judging is done by the enduring part of the person, not by some outside superior authority, although possibly there may be a Helper. Then we design the curriculum for the next life of learning.

   As in all education, you can succeed or fail. But that's all right. If we miss out on an important lesson this time, we are forced to repeat that class.

   In fact, we do that even in this life. I know that if I am hit with the same annoyance or tragedy time and time again, this is because I am being presented with learning opportunities I am not using. When something goes wrong, I have come to ask myself, 'What is the lesson for me in this?'

   The 'life is a school' belief also puts worldly accomplishments and possessions into a better perspective. In a maths class, I may learn how to solve a particular set of simultaneous equations, not because the result is important, but because I learn a skill through doing this exercise. The actual outcome of the activity can be thrown away. An essay on some aspect of Geography doesn't have to be publishable in a travel magazine. Its use is to teach me certain things I need to know.

   So, the ego-building (or destroying) events of my life are just byproducts, incidentals of no significance. If I become a million-dollar best-selling author, so what? It's actually no better than writing for my own pleasure, in secret -- unless of course I need to learn some lessons that go with worldly success.

   From my perception, those can be some of the most painful lessons people can face.

18th recipient of the LiFE Award

   The LiFE Award: Literature For Environment celebrates books that draw the reader's attention to environmental issues. The newest recipient is different from any other so far: it is an authorised story using the characters and setting of the old TV serial Bonanza.

   The book is Felling of the Sons by Monette Bebow-Reinhard. The sample I've read is very well written, and got me in.

For writers

Did you really mean that?
Invite the reader in

Did you really mean that?
When subject and object refer to different things

   'Working together in this fashion, the pile quickly disappeared.' Um... I've never seen a pile work, in this fashion or any other.

   'Walking down the street, my eyes were dazzled by the bright lights.' Right. And what were you doing in the meantime, while your eyes were walking down the street?

   Is this just a quibble? 'Surely you know what I mean? We were working together to make the pile quickly disappear, and I went walking down the street, to have my eyes dazzled by the bright lights.'

   Say what you mean. 'As we worked together in this fashion...' and 'I walked down the street, to have my eyes...'

   This kind of error occurs very often. It is one that raises my ire in many books I edit. Even quite a few people with an otherwise good command of grammar tend to slip into this error. Without naming names, here are a few examples I found amusing:

   'Skidding to a stop in front of us, we piled into the car's back seat.' I find it difficult to visualise how people can come to a stop in front of themselves.

   'Hitting the sealed road again, the busful of kids cheered.' How could they hit the road, sealed or otherwise, if they were inside the bus? I think it's the vehicle that did the hitting.

   And while we're on vehicles, 'Sitting in the open bed of a pickup truck, the temperature dropped with every rising mile.'

   I could fill a couple of pages with more and more examples -- but now that I've alerted you to the problem, I am sure so can you. From now on, whether you are listening to people speak or reading, you will be struck by many instances.

How does the mistake arise?

   Every sentence has a subject, verb and object, possibly with extra bits and things inserted. 'I do this' is a basic sentence. 'Whenever I arrive home, I like to relax with a nice cup of tea' is a slight expansion. 'Arriving home, the best thing is a nice cup of tea' does NOT say the same thing. The subject of the sentence (that which does the arriving) is me. The object of the sentence (what is being done) is relaxing with a nice cup of tea. In grammatical jargon, the subject and object 'must agree', that is, refer to the same entity -- in this case me. The mistake arises when the choice of words make it seem as if the action was being done by the object, here the cup of tea.

   By the way, I only drink tea if nothing else is available.

Invite the reader in:

a few tricks of making fiction gripping

   All fiction is fantasy. As a writer, you create a reality, and invite me to move into it while reading your story. That reality may be very close to what I find in my everyday life, but even then, you are introducing me to people I've never met, take me to places I've never seen, describe events that never happened.

   Your aim is to make this created reality so strong that it becomes more real to me than my own life -- at least for the moment. Every device that helps you to achieve this is good, everything that has a chance of weakening or destroying the illusion is bad.

   Now we come to a central concept: 'point of view' (POV). Everything anyone writes is always from a POV. 'The boy crossed the road.' Someone perceived him doing so, and the writing reports this perception. Although the wording is in the third person, the POV could well be the boy's, as in the following:

   Or, the witness of the scene could be some other person:

   If the witness is not any person in the story, then it is the writer:

   This little paragraph has several things wrong with it.

  • It's an author lecture: an outside view that distances us from the characters rather than taking us into their world.
  • It gives too much information. As a reader, I am not there to be informed, unless I'm reading a text book or other nonfiction work. By telling me all these facts, you put me into an analytical frame of mind. Then I'll be critical assessing the information I receive. Instead, you want to get me to LIVE the current witness's experience. And there is no hurry about informing me. Their ages, the relationship between them can be revealed later, through dialogue, action, and (as a third preference), thoughts.
  • The paragraph reveals both their thoughts. This is tempting, but instead of making the story real, it gets in the way of allowing the reader to identify with the current witness. I cannot BE Roddie if I also know what Rachel is thinking, or vice versa. The most powerful way to capture me is to pick one person who presents the scene. Any other people are best presented from the outside, the way the current witness perceives them.
  • The first two samples of writing were vivid, full of sensory data: how that person sees, feels, hears the world at that moment. The third one lacks such elements.

       Let me illustrate the relatively subtle point of how an 'omniscient view' can be counterproductive. I am reading a story about two sisters, and have been immersed in the world of Joan, the elder girl. Then the author writes, 'Miriam eventually drifted off to sleep, remembering the wonderful meal they had enjoyed that afternoon, but Joan lay awake.' This is a perfect example of how head hopping distances the reader. Because I am shown the thoughts of both girls, I cannot identify with either, and therefore I FEEL that I am being told a story, not that I am in it.

       So, in summary, to bring your writing to life, present it from within, through the perceptions of ONE character per scene, using vivid sense impressions.


    Handling a Headache
    Every student has a right to an
    education in a safe environment

    by Betty Jo Schuler

    Handling a Headache

       The psychological management of headaches is a complex topic. I own a text book devoted entirely to it. It took me over 11,000 words to discuss pain management in my coming book on cancer. All the same, here are a few pointers that will help if you are subject to regular doses of this curse.

       Headaches may be the result of many underlying problems, ranging from the relatively trivial like wax in the ear pressing on some of the delicate stuff in there, to life-threatening like a brain tumour. However, whatever the cause, you can reduce the level of pain, and sometimes even stop the headache before it strikes.

       Here is a list of things you can do. They work. They have been shown to work in controlled research studies. I teach them to my clients, and they have worked for me. One of the reasons I am not plagued by frequent headaches is that I habitually use these tools.

  • Whatever the cause of the headache, stress makes it worse. Many headaches are caused entirely by stress. Therefore, learning a good collection of stress management tools is a huge step forward. One is described in my book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias. It's there because I teach it to maybe half my clients, whatever their presenting problem.

       If you are competent at meditation, yoga or a similar discipline, use that. The main thing is, every day, spend a short time on switching off. I find that 15 to 20 minutes is enough.

       I can hear you say, 'But I'm too busy!' Of course you are. That's probably why you often suffer from headaches. You will find that a short mental rest will make you more efficient, so that this investment in switching off will get you to gain time rather than lose some.

  • Avoid talking yourself into a headache.

       The other day, out of the blue, I had an unpleasant twinge in my temple. It was like a fist had clenched there, and on a scale of 10, the pain was about 3 or 4. 'I don't get headaches,' I told myself. 'It'll go away.'

       It did.

       I could have reacted differently. I could have said to myself, 'Oh no! That's a headache starting! I've never had a migraine yet, but I bet this is the first one!'

       And it would have been.

       I am not saying that every headache can be sidetracked by refusing to believe that it's coming. Not true. The pain could be due to blocked sinuses, eye strain or tight muscles in the neck, and you will have the headache until you attend to the cause. But reacting to the first painful twinge with fear is going to increase muscle tension, and this will worsen the pain. You can get into a vicious cycle. Frequent headaches can lead to fear of them, which leads to more headaches, and worse ones.

  • Part of the mechanism for this is 'vigilance'. Are you wearing shoes as you're reading this? I bet you can feel them on your feet now, while before you didn't. This is how attention works. When you have a tendency to feel pain in a particular part (like the head), you can develop the habit of watching out for it. This means that non-painful unpleasant sensations in that area become interpreted as pain, and small sensations become magnified. By looking for pain, you find it, and even generate it. Then, reacting to it with fear, you blow it up into a full headache.

       So, distraction works. When you feel the usual warning twinges up there, do something pleasant. Meditate for a few minutes, or the opposite, get busy with something that focuses your attention. And tell yourself that you survived headaches before, it'll go away, sooner rather than later.

  • The next point may appear to contradict what I've just said. Some kinds of headache, notably migraines, have early warning signals. Attending to these allows you to interrupt the process that leads to the headache.

       The thing is, these early warning signals are not pain, but muscle tension. About half an hour before a migraine strikes, you are likely to have very tight muscles in the temples and/or forehead. They can be so severe that blood flow is reduced. Then, eventually the tension eases, and the rebound of blood flowing in is the immediate cause of the headache.

       So, if you learn how to relax those muscles, and can detect the first signs of tension there, you can actually prevent the migraine.

  • The headache can be no more than a distressing physical problem. However, in many cases, it also has hidden meaning. 'That boy and his drugs is nothing but a headache' can verbalise what actually goes on. Any distressing physical symptom may have emotional meaning, and nothing -- no medication, massage or magic -- is going to help until you attend to the meaning.
  • This leads to the last point: 'secondary gains'. Almost invariably, every problem does some good things for you. This may be how others react to you; a perfectly valid reason for not doing things you'd rather not do; or a justification for certain opinions you hold. It is routine in any counselling situation to explore such secondary gains, and detach them from the problem.

       I'd go on, but I need to set a good example. I'm already WAY over the 500 word limit. What a headache!

    Every student has a right to an education in a safe environment
    by Betty Jo Schuler

       BULLYING: an ugly word for ugly behavior. Bullies tease, embarrass and threaten others. Some students are afraid to go to school because a bully calls them names, takes their money, and hits or trips them. Bullying is an increasingly dangerous problem and some states are passing legislation requiring schools to have programs in place to deal with this antisocial behavior.

       Did you know…? Bullying is rampant in schools, and in today's society, may be life threatening.

       Approximately 160,000 students stay home from school every day because they're afraid of being bullied.

       A University of Michigan study spanning 35 years found that children who were named by their schoolmates at age eight remained bullies throughout their lives.

       Research shows sixty percent of young people characterized by their classmates as bullies in grades six to nine had at least one criminal conviction by age 24.

       These offenders, when they reach adulthood, will bully their mates, children, and others they feel superior to--unless different behaviors are learned.

       The bullies' victims may suffer longtime emotional and behavioral effects.

       How can we help children deal effectively with bullies? Enter the Bully Brigade!

       BULLY BRIGADE, Banish Bullies Now, written by former elementary school teacher Betty Jo Schuler and illustrated by art teacher Susan Scott, is an anti-bullying book written primarily for use in elementary school classrooms. A Teacher's Guide and Reproducible Activity Kit is also available from DiskUs Publishing.

       B-FORCE, a comic book featuring a superhero and super-heroine out to stop bullying in middle and high schools, has just been released and a study guide is also available for this book. DiskUs Publishing.

    Just to let you know...

    Need publicity?
    Betty Jo Schuler
    Brenda Weber
    Susie Hawes
    Dale Harcombe

    Janet Elaine Smith

       Need Publicity? -- Author Janet Elaine Smith has been successful in getting her books into many brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide and has also won many awards with her novels which sell quite well. Dunnottar, her first book, was the No. 1 best-selling Scottish book on for almost 3 months. Recently, other authors have asked her to be their publicist. While she wants to help, she doesn't have enough time to try to sell their books as well as her own. So, she has come up with a 'Personal Marketing Plan', where she tailor-makes a plan for a book and its author to achieve success. This program is 'brains' to add to 'legs' to become a best-selling author! For more information on the Personal Marketing Plan, contact


       Popular, tried-and-proven Promo Paks now available from SOS for Authors. 19 simple step-by-step how-to programs that will take your books from 'there' to 'moving up the ladder' of success. Previously sold for $60.00; now just $19.95, (plus a free bonus of a direct link to 2 top newspapers in each of the 50 states). Hundreds of authors have become successful just by following these methods.

    Betty Jo Schuler

       B-FORCE, a comic book featuring a superhero and super-heroine out to stop bullying, has just been released. Author, Betty Jo Schuler. Susan Scott, illustrator. DiskUs Publishing.

    Brenda M. Weber

       Brenda M Weber, lifetime resident of Manistique, Michigan, has her second book published. John Horn--Legend of a Lumberjack is a historical adventure based on the finding of a grave by her family in the 1960's.

       "Deep in the forest along Lake Michigan's Manistique River, a simple grave marker reads, John Horn -- April 1897. Why is it there? Who was John Horn? More than 100 years ago, Manistique was a booming lumber town. Thousands worked there, some living in company homes, some in logging camps. Steamers docked daily at the busy Manistique Harbor, met by a local Indian chief, Ossawinamakee. Into this town came John Horn.

       Step back into the late 1800s to meet John Horn and the woman he loves, Lily, the preacher's daughter, the girl with the moon in her eyes. You'll also meet Moonwater, John's sister and owner of Ravenwood, a boarding house shunned by the townspeople.

       Meet their nemesis, a fur trader with a mangled hand and surprising identity. Walk through the streets of a logging town and the deep Michigan forests where you'll meet Bittenear, and where you will want to visit time and again. This is one adventurous historical love story you will not want to miss."

    Susie Hawes

    Evas' Son
    Dark Fantasy/Horror Ore Mountain Publishing House
    ISBN# 0-9767390-1-1
    Paperback 6X9
    Page# 282
    Price Paperback: $12.99 plus S&H
    Price Ebook on CD: $6.99 plus S&H

       Hoping to spare his wife and child the pain of the Etruscan’s treacherous passage to heaven, K agrees to forfeit his own entrance into the afterlife. He rebels against Evas, the twin-headed goddess of terror and decay. A powerful necromancer in his own right, he finds himself among the living dead, forced to sustain existence by consuming the blood, flesh and life essence of living creatures. K flees the village of his birth to protect his grandchildren. As he travels the earth seeking redemption, he explores the meaning of death, life and the magic that created him.

       In his travels, K witnesses the birth of a powerful religion and the death of a civilization. He meets humans and vampires, building relationships and experiencing love, betrayal and hope. In ancient Greece, Rome, and the middle east he follows his quest for redemption.

       For over a thousand years, he wanders. Will he find a path to the afterlife, or will he ultimately be damned, forced to spend eternity separated from his family? Evas’ Son, A new novel by Susie Hawes, out today from Ore Mountain Publishing House.

    Dale Harcombe

    Dale's newest book Kaleidoscope is a collection of poems published by Ginninderra Press.

       Some poems from the book are up at Book is priced at $17. Signed copies are available through Dale's website.

       You might also want to check out a review of Kaleidoscope and Dale's three poems, 'Reflection', 'Bruise Blue' and 'Words', currently up at

       Dale also writes children's novels. Chasing after the Wind was published by Scholastic. Several others are currently with publishers.

       When not writing, Dale works as a manuscript assessor.

    A new kind of driving course?

       Teaching new drivers how to control a vehicle is now a well-established process, and works very well. The recent addition of drive simulation devices has further improved it. The learner can now suffer disasters in a virtual world, without harm, and learn from the experience. When my kids learned to drive, it used to be a fact that a P plater needed three crashes before being safe. Now, those three crashes can occur on a simulator.

       Advanced driving courses are also great. Almost anyone will benefit from learning the finer points of driving, and become a more competent, safer controller of the potentially lethal four-wheeled monster.

       More recent are defensive driving courses. Where I live, this is part of compulsory training for police and other people whose profession requires them to spend a lot of time on the road. Again, any driver will benefit from doing such a course. According to my wife Jolanda, I am among those who'd benefit a LOT.

       But, I'd like to see yet another type of instruction for drivers: how to drive more economically.

       Fuel prices are ever higher, and will continue rising. World petroleum resources are getting less and less, which is why Saudi Arabia can dictate terms to the world. We can save money, do the future a favour and reduce air pollution in cities by learning to drive in a way that minimises fuel use.

       For many years (even when fuel was cheap), I've tried to drive in this way, but I lack relevant information. For example, when going uphill, at what stage is it more efficient to change to a lower gear?

       Anyone with relevant information could produce a best-selling book.

    I Should've Told Her

    A story by Mike Kechula

       When I saw Kerry, I nearly died. She looked gaunt, a virtual skeleton.

       "Are you well, Kerry?"

       "Never felt better. I'm on a rice diet. My boyfriend insists I'm too heavy."

       Heavy? Six months ago, she had sixpack abs, tight butt, and was a good athlete. Now, she looked as if she might soon expire.

       She said she wanted to be perfect for her boyfriend. I thought him a brutal bastard, who wanted her a corpse.

       I wondered if I should say something, considering we were supposed to be joyously celebrating our common birthday? Today she turned twenty, and I turned twenty-nine.

       She'd called and invited me to a picnic for just the two of us. Her idea of a birthday celebration at the beach was wonderful. What a charmer!

       We'd always clicked since meeting at the university. She thought there was a mystical tie between us, because we'd been born the same day. I figured someday I'd take her up on that. Maybe after my divorce.

       Our picnic seemed more for me than her. She ate only a handful of rice, but had made me huge, delicious, roast beef sandwiches. Plus wine and homemade apple pie. Faced with her emaciation, I felt like a czar feasting in front of a starving peasant.

       She said her boyfriend had given her a new car battery for a b-day present. I tried to remain poker-faced. Good thing she couldn't read my mind: she'd have seen, "freakin' cold bastard" splashed across my gray matter.

       She gave me an intricately woven, macramé key ring. Probably labored on it for weeks. What a terrific gift!

       But my gift to her turned out to be an embarrassing, poor choice. A pound of fine Belgian chocolates. Rice-only eaters don't permit themselves such wondrous luxuries. Damn! How could I have known she'd been starving herself? Five pounds of basmati would have been a more appropriate gift. But that would've been just as hokey as a car battery.

       Finally, I mentioned how fit she'd looked when we'd taken Creative Writing together, six months ago. Hoped to make a point about her present appearance. I also mentioned how some men are cruel victimizers. She acted as if she didn't catch my drift.

       The man obviously didn't love her. How could he watch a loved one waste away?

       I thought, Kerry, love ME, instead. I'll give you deep love that nurtures, not the perverse, sadistic kind that destroys. Why waste your life on a man who wants you dead?

       But something urged me not to tell her. So, I didn't speak my heart.

        Now I wonder what might've happened if I'd told her that day how easy it would've been to fall in love with her? Perhaps she'd have said she was flattered, but think otherwise. Maybe she'd have downgraded our comfy friendship.

       I lost track of her soon after that.

       Until I read her obituary.

       Michael Kechula, a retired tech writer, now writes flash and micro fiction. His works have appeared in ten magazines. He's also editor of two magazines.In May 2005, Apollo’s Lyre will devote their entire issue to a dozen of Kechula’s speculative, flash fiction tales.

       Kechula also serves as Submissions Editor for Coffee Cramp, a print magazine, and is Sr. Editor of Nimue’s Grotto, an online, speculative fiction magazine.


    Perfect Opposites
    by Sorana

       Sorana wrote:
    My name is Sorana and am 20 years old.
    I am from Romania and am currently a student at the Foreign Languages and Literatures University, majoring in English and Spanish.
    Besides reading good literature and playing the piano (classical music), I also love writing poetry and prose poetry in English.
    I have been writing literature in English for around 4 years and now have a collection of over 300 poems.
    In March 2004 I also had an English poetry book edited, “Meditation on a Rainy Day”.

       I have little feeling for poetry, but even I can see that this is deeply meaningful and touching.


    Book Marketing from A to Z
    Thicker than Blood
    Amanda's Rib
    Dance With Your Heart
    The Simple Touch of Fate: Real Stories; Real People
    The Keeners

    Book Marketing from A to Z by Francine Silverman

    Infinity Publishing Company
    ISBN 0-7414-2431-2
    Trade Paperback $US18.95

       I've been forced to be in the book marketing game since 1987. With 12 published books, I have acquired a lot of experience. This is illustrated by the fact that Fran Silverman quoted me in five separate chapters of her book.

       And yet, almost from the first page on, I discovered promotional ideas that were new to me. Throughout the book, I've also found many ideas I'd come across before, but dismissed as not applicable to my situation. And yet, here was another author, using the concept in a way that I could.

       For example, I know about the Google search engine's 'pay per click' scheme. I'd considered it for my editing service, but since 'editing services' will bring me up on the first page anyway, I didn't feel I needed to spend money. Somehow, it never occurred to me that books could be promoted in the same way. It is certainly worth my while to pay a few cents to have a targeted audience visit the page where I describe a book and display its first chapter.

       If Fran's compilation is helpful to me, it will be invaluable to the beginning author, keen to bring the world to that first book.

       Suggestions for improvement? First, if anything, there is too much valuable information here, so, despite the excellent organization of the material, it's not easy reading. Second, there is no electronic version. Since I live in Australia, I asked Fran to send me an e-book copy. She ended up shipping a paper one, with the cost (to her) of postage being more than the price of an electronic copy would be. If I wanted to buy this book, it would have cost me over $US30 when purchase price and shipping were added. And the book took a week to get here. She could have made more profit, got the book to me the next day, and charged me perhaps $5 if the book consisted of electrons instead of paper and ink.

       But a book is its contents, not its format. The contents of this one are excellent.

    cover of 'Thicker than Blood'

    Thicker than Blood by Penny Rudolph
    reviewed by Jenny McLarin

    Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
    Hardcover: ISBN: 1-59058-148-2; 312 pages price: $24.95
    Large Type Trade Paperback: ISBN: 1-59058-163-6; 500 pages $22.95
    UK Hardcover ISBN: 1590581482 list price: £13.07

    The following review came with a *STAR* in Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

       Rudolph launches a new series starring Rachel Chavez, who owns--and lives in--an L.A. parking garage. After her gambler father loses the family farm and her tuition money for Stanford, Rachel is grateful to have inherited the garage and its small apartment from her grandfather. Following codeine and alcohol addiction, Rachel is living day to day; trying to stay sober and make ends meet, During her rounds in the garage, she is upset to discover a dented car with smudges of what might be blood on the fender. Her initial fear turns to horror when she learns of the hit-and-run death of one of her regulars, an executive at nearby InterUrban Water District. Is this the car that killed him? And, if so, who was driving? One of the many delightful aspects of this story is the eclectic band of misfits and outsiders who help Rachel solve the crime--from homeless fortuneteller Irene to night-shift office cleaner Goldie. Rudolph provides a well-crafted plot and satisfying levels of suspense, but what stands out most is Rachel herself--one of the most refreshing new series heroines to wander into the crime genre in quite a while. Let’s hope Rachel’s garage remains a dangerous place.

       Penny Rudolph’s second novel Thicker Than Blood, a 21st century version of California’s Chinatown water wars, is slated for June release. She won a 2003 EPPIE Award for her historical suspense novel Listen to the Mockingbird as well as awards from National Writers Association, Southwest Writers, Florida First Coast Writers and Panhandle Professional Writers. Visit her online at

       Booklist magazine has a policy of protecting the privacy of its reviewers, so I don't have a 'bio' for Jenny McLarin.

    Amanda’s Rib by Cyndia Depre
    Reviewed by Charlene Austin

    Mundania Press
    Trade paperback ISBN: 1-59426-014-1
    Ebook ISBN: 1-9425-040-1

    “If Amanda Winslow had been an only child she’d be dead.”

       Cyndia Depre’s Amanda’s Rib grabs with the first sentence and doesn’t release its grip until the end.

       Only the knowledge of what her death would do to her sister kept Amanda from suicide during the sensationalized trial for the murder of her husband, Michael. Now in a secluded cottage, on the outskirts of a small rural town, Amanda wants only to escape and forget a haunting and traumatic past. But when the charismatic Jack Lindsay learns she was tried for her husband’s murder, he demands she tell his friend and law partner, Wade Harris, and threatens the quiet life and new friendships she has just managed to build.

       Should Amanda run again, or risk everything, including her own shattered heart, and trust Jack when he takes an interest in solving the mystery of Michael’s death?

       Amanda Winslow is intriguing but not his type, so Jack is surprised by his reaction to his partner, Wade’s, friendship with the striking redhead. When he learns she stood trial for the murder of her husband, at first convinced he is only protecting his friend, Jack is determined to force Amanda to reveal the truth. Then he convinces himself he is only interested in solving the mystery of Michael Winslow’s death. Will he recognize his feelings for Amanda in time to save her from the past that haunts and hunts her?

       I received “Amanda’s Rib” to review, sat down intending to read a chapter or two, and was instantly captured in Ms. Depre’s maze of intrigue, clues, and revelations. I didn’t stop reading until the last page.

       Cyndia Depre casts a powerful spell of mystery, clouds it with emotion, haunting secrets and misunderstandings, and weaves it into a heartrending, imaginary journey through a real-to-life drama. Mixed amid the darkness is a cast of charming characters. The quick witty dialogue that peppers the relationship between Amanda and Wade, and so disturbs Jack, adds just the right amount of humor to lighten the darker revelations and suspense Ms. Depre crafts onto the pages of Amanda’s Rib with a master’s hand. This one goes on the do-not-miss-it list.

    Review© Charlene Austin, Author of Dream Pictures, coming from Mundania Press.

       Cyndia Depre graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. After running her own business for ten years, she closed the doors and began writing full-time. She lives in a suburb of the Twin Cities with her husband and their miniature schnauzer.

       Charlene Austin reads and reviews as herself, changes hats, and writes fiction as Carrie Lynn Lyons. Her first novel, Dream Pictures, will be released 2006 by Mundania Press. She is busy working on the sequel, Dream Shadows, and building the growing Writing Road and Writers and Readers Network Groups.

    Dance With Your Heart by Shirley Cheng
    reviewed by Shirley Roe

    Genre: Inspiration/Fantasy/Poetry
    ISBN: 1-4116-1858-0
    Pages: 225 Price: $ 17.99 or $14.95 directly from the author.

       Tales of fantasy, inspiration and joy are presented in the short stories and poetry of Shirley Cheng, simply written, easily assimilated yet thought provoking.

       Each story provides a life lesson, from living without prejudice to cooperation; every page enriches the reader’s soul. The book will travel through the house from coffee table to child’s room providing daily inspiration for the weary and delightful bedtime tales for the young.

       Children will delight in: Funny Animal Poem

       The poetry also has a serious side in: O, Please Guide Us

       Author Shirley Cheng has experienced much pain and suffering in her young life. Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at eleven months, she struggled through the next eleven years until she attended her first day of school. She quickly achieved grade levels in only 180 days, telling the world that this was an extraordinary young lady. At age seventeen she lost her eyesight but after eye surgery hopes to earn a science doctorate from Harvard.

       A small book for the whole family that will fulfill its promise and make you dance with your heart.

       Shirley Cheng has figured in 'Bobbing Around' before. She is the author of three books. Her motto is 'Although I'm blind, I can see far and wide; even though I'm disabled, I can climb high mountains. Let the ropes of hope haul you high!'

       Shirley Roe is Managing Editor of Allbooks Reviews. She is a freelance writer who spends her time between Ontario, Canada and Florida. Her diverse writing skills have been rewarded with several awards. Of Dreams and Nightmares and A Call to Faith and Freedom were released in 2004 & 2005.

    The Simple Touch of Fate: Real Stories; Real People edited by Arlene Uslander and Brenda Warneka
    Reviewed by Heather Froeschl

    Publisher: iUniverse

       Fate means different things to different people, but in general it is described as a moment when our destinies are guided by something we cannot explain;­ a moment when things happen that seem coincidental, miraculous or simply amazing. In The Simple Touch of Fate, the editors have compiled over 50 true stories of fated events. The collection will give readers a satisfying sampling of the variety of fate’s guidance in our lives.

       Examples of chance events, from the reuniting of a husband and wife separated over years and oceans by the chance purchase of a tablecloth at a yard sale, to a woman's astounding luck at winning it big twice on the slot machines of Las Vegas on the same date a year apart, will amaze you and leave you wondering if these events are coincidences. Read on and discover that we all cross paths for a reason, we are all sometimes in the wrong place at the wrong time, but are also sometimes in the right place at the right time. How does it all equal out? Sometimes it doesn't. There are instances of devastating results of fate in this book, balanced by unbelievable tales of good fortune.

       The editors share their own instances of the hand of fate and have compiled a unique collection that is sure to be appreciated by readers who have even a hint of appreciation for the unknown, the mystical and the fact of life that not everything can be explained.

       Arlene Uslander is the author of 14 books, over 400 articles/essays, is an award winning journalist and professional editor. Brenda Warneka, a partner in a Scottsdale, Arizona, law firm, writes on legal topics, as well as travel and human interest articles. For ordering information, please visit their website:

       Reviewer Heather Froeschel is the author of 10 anthologies and the soon-to-be published Spiritual Visitations. She reviews for

    The Keeners by Maura D. Shaw
    Reviewed by Charlene Austin

    Medallion Press
    Hardback, 278 pages
    ISBN: 1-932815-15-5

       Maura D. Shaw gives readers a story rich in history and steeped in tradition in her new novel The Keeners from Medallion Press.

       All is blooming in County Clare, Ireland in the spring of 1846, including seventeen-year-old Margaret Meehan. She is sure the heart of handsome rebel Tom Roidan is hers and he will soon take her hand. When not practicing the ancient art of the Keeners, singing and chanting songs of lament for the dead with Nuala Lynch, Margaret dreams and plans with her best friend, Kitty Dooley, of a cottage across the road from each other and their children playing in the lane.

       But it is 1846, the year of the blight. The potato blight and famine will soon shatter her dreams. The devastation has her keening daily for friends, family, strangers, and her beloved County Clare.

       Most of her family is gone. Kitty is a broken shell. Nuala has keened her last lament. Tom’s Rebel activities have made him a wanted man. It’s to America for Margaret Meehan. She flees with Tom to Troy New York. With a heart that keens for County Clare and a young girl’s dreams, she will carve a new life in a strange land with the man she loves.

       A gifted storyteller with a mastery of language writes a tightly paced story, and Maura D. Shaw is such a storyteller. Her knowledge of Ireland and its history, her empathy with a people she is connected to through her great grandmother, add a depth to this story that pulled me in to feel the hunger, pain, loss, fear, love, strength, and courage that take Margaret from the shores of Ireland to a new home and a new life. She captures the devastation of a land and its people through the eyes of characters that tug at the heartstrings and tie them into a forget-me-not bow. The Keeners is a bookshelf keeper: a book, a story, you will want to read again, from a talented author who respects her craft and cares about her readers and her subject.

       Review © Charlene Austin, author of Dream Pictures, coming from Mundania Press.

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