Bobbing Around

Volume Five, Number Three
October, 2005

Bob Rich's rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*Toward survival: change agriculture! by Michael Meacher
*A Fair Go by Phillip Adams
*Conservation snippets
  Sea level rising
  Genetically modified plants
  You MUST have a rainwater tank here!
  New Organic Traders' and Consumers' Network
*The art of counselling
  Why I love to do it
  Is personality fixed or modifiable?
  Mind reading
*Tattooed for Life a heart-warming story from Margaret Muir
*Seeking a rational philosophy of life by Hermann Raith
*For writers
  'Present tense and first person' by Jeanne Gassman
  Can writing be TOO creative?
*A cap that doesn't
*Paul Purcell on personal preparation for disaster.
*What my friends would like you to know
  Carolyn Howard-Johnson wins an award.
  'Dead Men and Women Walking' anthology seeks submissions.
  Chris Wright publishes children's adventure book.
  Book marketing advice at Maureen McMahon's website.
  Susan Stafford's story.
  Mr. Touchdown by Lyda Phillips -- on desegregation.
  Mating Net by Rowena Cherry -- Chess SF romance.
  Feather Foster's Garfield's Train -- an episode from history.
  Elizabeth Delisi's Since All is Passing reissued.
  Bear Hugs by Ginny McBlain reissued.
  Betty Sullivan La Pierre's fantastic holiday sale.
  SF/Fantasy newsletter from Lee Pletzers.
  Escaping Reality by Geoff Nelder -- a mystery thriller.
  A Clear Eye -- Canadian historical from Lea Tassie.
  Two books by Sally Odgers: Gold's Bride is a wife for sale; Jack Russell; Dog Detective! for the kids.
  Complete author promo package from Lori Soard.
  Tato by Kathe Gogolewski -- middle grade fantasy adventure.
  Historical romance White Heart, Lakota Spirit by Ginger Simpson.
  Darrell Bain's new newsletter and website.
  Free poetry book from Evvy Garrett.
  The Sweet Shade of a Chinaberry Tree by Janice Parrish -- on school desegregation.
  In the Beginning, a science fiction story by Ben Gardner.
  Nolan Lewis announces three books.
  Perfect Wedding by Alice Wootson.
  Therapeutic Journaling Group starts Oct. 25 in Illinois, USA.
  Rendering for Strawbale Construction starts 24th November in Sydney, Australia.
  Permaculture North Do-It-Yourself Day -- run your car on vegie oil. 6 Nov, Sydney, Australia.

Now available in paperback

New cover of AnikoMy EPPIE winning literary biography, Anikó: The stranger who loved me is now available in paperback within Australia.

   This story about the strength of the human spirit will inspire you. It is about the life of a woman who did the impossible and survived the unsurvivable more than once. And while you're reading, you'll find out how I became the naughtiest kid in the world, and how I was deported to Australia for the term of my natural life, and how this prevented a murder (either mine or my stepfather's).

   $Au24 + postage and packaging $Au5.

Talk with me at free online conference

   I have the honour to be on two panels (on editing -- October 26th-- and on non-fiction writing, October 27th) at an online conference carried out through blogging. It is run by SORMAG's online book club.

   While the conference has started, you can still get a lot out of a visit. I've 'called in' and am surprised at the large number of attendees.

   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.

*Book Reviews
  'Cancer: A personal challenge' reviewed by Brandon Wilson.
  'Coping With Physical Loss -- a workbook' by Rick Ritter.
  Spooking Spectacular Sweepstakes
  Reach for the Stars: A Contest for the Best Frugal Promoter of 2005
  Guardian Angel Publishing To Offer Young Writers A Chance At Writing And Illustration
  Make the World Smile II

Toward survival: change agriculture!

Michael Meacher (former UK government minister, including former chair of the UK Government's Organic Action Plan Group)

With permission from (Institute of Science in Society -- press release 14 Sept 05).

Why our current agriculture and food production is not sustainable

   There are five reasons why our current food system is not sustainable. First, the increasingly mechanised agriculture depends on oil, but the supply of oil is beginning to run out, or at least half of the 2 trillion barrels of oil available has already been used and oil demand from China, India and other major developing countries which are industrialising fast is rising so sharply that production cannot keep up with demand, and permanent shortages of oil will kick in within a decade or less. The price of oil will escalate to $100-$200+, and oil-driven food production will sharply decline.

   Second, the growing shortage of water means that half a billion people now already live in water-stressed areas, and the UN expects this to rise 5-6 fold to half the world population by 2025. This will lead to massive shifts of populations and water wars. Frankly, the current use of water in agriculture is extravagant and utterly unsustainable. For example, US prairie farmers and East Anglian barley barons need 1,000 tonnes of water to produce 1 tonne of grain, plus 1,000 energy units are used for every 1 energy unit of processed food. That is just not sustainable.

   Third, the intensification of climate change has led to a ten-fold increase in the incidence and ferocity of climatic catastrophes in the past 40 years. These include major-scale hurricanes, cyclones, floods, as well as increasing drought, desertification, inextinguishable forest fires, which are now rendering more and more croplands unusable or infertile. Half a billion of the world population now do not have croplands on which they can maintain themselves. The latest UN report says one sixth of countries in the world (up to 30 nations) now face food shortages because of climate change. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimates 160,000 now die every year from climate-change induced malnutrition, dysentery and malaria.

   Fourth, the loss of biodiversity from monocultures imposed by industrialised farming, not least GM crops. A quarter of the world's GM crops are grown in Argentina, where huge areas were cleared to grow GM soya, especially Argentina's pampas, previously one of the most organically productive areas in the world.

   Fifth, long-distance transportation of food across the world is incompatible with the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2050. Between 1968-88, world food production increased 84 percent and the world population 91 percent, but world food trade increased 184 percent (i.e. doubled), yet planes and cars are the fastest rising causes of greenhouse gas emissions. To put that in household terms -- a typical UK family of four emits per year 4 tonnes of CO2 from the house, 4 tonnes from the car, but 8 tonnes from production, processing, packaging and distribution of the food they eat.

So what should be done?

   I have five proposals. First, we need a massive switch from highly mechanised, pesticide-driven agriculture to low-input/organic agriculture with energy saving up to 10-fold. How? The current food system is linear in design, treating inputs like energy and raw materials as infinitely available (which they are not) and the environment as infinitely capable of absorbing waste (which it is not). This is not sustainable. To change this, we need a tax system that factors in the full cost of all these finite items and uses the proceeds to subsidise organic, low input and localised agriculture systems. In contrast, organic production systems are an example of sustainable circular methods of food production in harmony with the natural eco-system. Is this happening? Well, although sales of organic food in the UK have quadrupled from £260 million in 1997 to over £1 billion now, the one million acres now devoted to organic production is still only 2-3% of agricultural land in the UK.

   Second, developing a sustainable food system should become a major Government policy based on setting targets for:

   These targets are to be achieved within specific timescales. The Government's Organic Action Plan Group, which I chaired, did set a target to increase the percentage of organic food consumed in the UK which was produced in the UK from 30 percent to 70 percent by 2010, but (as so often) the mechanisms to deliver it were delayed and weak - the UK was until recently the only country in the EU15 which did not offer post-conversion aid to new organic farmers. Moreover, none of the other necessary objectives I have listed are currently subject to targets, apart from agri-environmental schemes to encourage broad and shallow adoption of very modest environmental standards.

   Third, the very large external/environmental costs of transportation must be internalised. Transporting agricultural products in the UK (mainly big heavy goods vehicles) emits 1.1mt CO2 per year, and transporting beverages and other foodstuffs emits 3 mt CO2 per year. So, transporting crops and food together accounts for one fortieth of all the UK's CO2 emissions per year. That is not sustainable and indeed, at the start of the foot and mouth outbreak, one of the reasons why disease took hold so quickly was huge transportation of animals across the country every day for marketing. We have what is euphemistically called a 'cheap food' policy in this country -- it is no such thing: it takes no account for example of costs of water purification after agriculture and pesticide run-off, nor of damage to the environment from long-distance transportation and exacerbating climate change. At the very least, we should require all food products to be labelled to indicate the environmental impact of distribution, and organic and other assurance schemes should take the lead by introducing the proximity principle into certification. But what is fundamentally needed is a revolution in environmental and social accounting, so that a flat-rate VAT is supplemented by a tax surcharge on over-exploitation of natural resources and on long-distance transport of certain agricultural products (those which can be cultivated locally under EU rules).

   Fourth, sustainable food system should promote human health and certainly not harm it. There is now increasingly convincing evidence that industrialised farming systems do the reverse. Here are two pieces of evidence:

   But why is this not followed up by the Government? Might the fact that DEFRA's Pesticide Safety Directorate depends for 60 percent of its revenue on agro-chemical industries have something to do with it?

   Fifth, globally, what is making so much of the world's food systems unsustainable is climate change. Drying out of croplands and the growth of continental and Indonesian fires on a rising scale and the rising frequency and ferocity of storms, cyclones, flooding and rising sea level, increasingly put at risk feeding of up to 9 billion people on this planet by 2050. Climate change will only be reversed by fundamental changes in the world economy, national societies and our individual way of life, but the minimum requirement is already clear.

   Sustainable food systems should be at the heart of global policy, not (as now) another device for exercise of imperial power by the strongest nations. The pressure for reform could hardly be stronger. If we do not learn lessons of what is facing us, our planet Earth will apply those lessons itself, but at a price which at worst could cast considerable doubt on the survival of our own species.

This article was a speech delivered at Sustainable World International Conference 14 July 2005, Westminster, London.

Phillip Adams on A FAIR GO


Phillip Adams is known by all Australians. He is an icon of individual thinking, and an unwillingness to toe the line. Nevertheless, he has made a niche for himself in the media. Here is something he wrote, reproduced with permission from Rights Australia. His message is for everyone, regardless of nationality.

   BACK in the early '90s, the federal government asked me to chair one of its smallest agencies -- the National Australia Day Council. Our brief was much bigger than our budget -- to encourage Australians to explore and celebrate national identity. At the time, Australia Day was a bit daggy -- lots of re-enactments of Arthur Phillip setting foot on shore. To blackfellas, it was not a day to celebrate. To most, it was just the last weekend before the end of the summer holidays.

   We decided to make the day about the future rather than the past -- to talk about core values and the sort of country we could become. Reconciliation was high on the agenda -- supported by both sides of parliament. With Mandawuy Yunupingu my board's first Australian of the Year, we had hundreds of public meetings across the country.

   And at every meeting there was a clear consensus: Australia was about "a fair go". The fair go was the article of faith. Sadly, it's becoming a mythical creature, hiding in a billabong somewhere with the bunyips.

   The "fair go" issue came alive at the time of the Tampa when 10,000 readers backed me in establishing A Just Australia. And we've just gone through a five-year struggle to get kids out of detention, to stop housing thousands in detention camps in Nauru, Woomera, Manus Island, Christmas Island, Curtin and Port Hedland. Our government is still "processing" the people who fled terror regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan as their "temporary" refugee status is reviewed, four years after the last of them arrived by boat.

   Finally, A Just Australia has got some promises of solutions for long-term detainees. We've seen children moved out of the detention centres and have built up a coalition of forces to break the bipartisanship of support for bad policy. We've seen the campaign broaden from just the left and the churches, creating divisions in the government to achieve change. But there's no guarantee that if another group of asylum-seekers headed our way, we wouldn't do it all again.

   Where was the "fair go" in all of this? What practical difference did it make that Australia was a signatory to all the major human rights treaties? That it even chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights during this time? Where was the protection of the courts for the most vulnerable people in Australia?

   The fair go, it turned out, wasn't guaranteed by the High Court. As Justice McHugh said, "It's not for courts, exercising federal jurisdiction, to determine whether the course taken by Parliament is unjust or contrary to basic human rights."

   Our kids get the idea of rights from watching American TV. It takes a while for them to realise that they don't have constitutional rights in Australia. The Bill of Rights is there for Americans -- and for Canadians there's a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Britain joins with the rest of Europe in the European Convention on Human Rights.

   All these countries have healthy parliamentary democracies and courts, but they've decided there will still be a set of standards that their governments must maintain -- and a process of complaint and review when the governments breach those standards.

   We don't have these protections. And we've seen the results. Attempts to bring even a limited bill of rights through a referendum were defeated, with the main argument being "the courts will protect". There are a few Australians, such as Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez, who would dispute this -- and thousands of new Australians who've had grim experiences of our human rights protections when they've arrived.

   Yes, we've got a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. It was a body born of compromise and is now neglected and ignored. Our government still goes through the motions in reporting to UN treaty bodies on our observance of key international instruments, but dismisses any criticism.

   And we've got new challenges -- a government that can't even tell the truth about the connection between our involvement in Iraq and the prospect of terror attacks is asking us to trust them with new "anti-terror" laws. And the industrial relations "reform" may well leave millions of Australians unprotected and vulnerable.

   We need a stronger voice for human rights now -- and I'm asking for your help again. Building on the experience of A Just Australia, under the leadership of my friend Howard Glenn, who led AJA, we've created a new organisation: Rights Australia.

   We've established an office in Sydney and a website, and around 1500 people have already expressed their interest and support. I'd like you to sign up, and to help. Visit for information or to make credit card donations. Or write to me at Elmswood, Gundy, NSW 2337.

Phillip Adams AO

Conservation Snippets

Sea level rising
Genetically modified plants
You MUST have a rainwater tank here!
Organic Traders' and Consumers' Network

Global Sea Levels Could Rise 30 Centimetres by 2100
by Sarah Marsh

This is guaranteed to affect YOU personally. It is guaranteed to effect you NOW, not in 100 years' time. If you have suffered as a result of unusually severe weather, it has already affected you.

GERMANY: October 4, 2005

BERLIN -- World sea levels could rise 30 centimetres (12 inches) by the end of the century and freak weather will become more common due to rapid global warming, according to a new study by a leading German research institute.

   The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg said computer models it had created showed the average global temperature could rise by as much as 4.1 Celsius by 2100, melting sea-ice in the Arctic. "Our research pointed to rapid global warming and the shifting of climate zones," said project leader Erich Roeckner. "Our climate models predict warmer and drier summers for Europe, with warmer and wetter winters."

   The German researchers said that polar bears may no longer be able to wander from one ice floe to the other in the Arctic, while ships may increasingly choose to navigate through northern passages around Siberia and Canada.

   The German study's release comes just days after US scientists said the Arctic ice shelf had melted for the fourth straight year to its smallest area in a century, driven by rising temperatures.

   Most scientists believe greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide that is released mainly from cars and utility smokestacks, cause global warming by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere.

   Guy Brasseur, director of the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, said the report aimed to provide politicians with the information they needed to make crucial decisions.

   The findings are to be included in a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of scientists that advises the United Nations.

   Brasseur told Reuters that Europe would suffer more summer droughts and storms. A general decrease in rainfall throughout southern Europe would have a dramatic impact on agriculture.

   Klaus Toepfer, head of the UN Environment Programme, said in an interview with German broadcasters NDR that he was extremely worried about the study's results and stressed the need for urgent action against climate change.

from Planet Ark and Reuters News Service

On genetically modified plants

   For many years now, the biotech industry has been dismissing as hysteria warnings from the environmental movement that genetic engineering is dangerous. Plants and animals, we are told, are modified in a manner that is safe, useful, and contained. Here is some of the evidence that the industry is lying, posted on the list 'Permaculture-Oceania'.

   Just how damaging GM trials can be is highlighted by the news that ABB Grain, which has been randomly testing canola (oilseed rape) samples in South Australia, has reported finding contamination from Topas 19/2 -- a variety that has not been trialed there since 1997!

   This is the third detection of GM contamination of Australian grain within the last couple of months, following cases in Victoria and Western Australia. Still more worryingly, ABB also report that the contamination is extensive -- turning up at low levels "in many samples."

You MUST have a rainwater tank here!


Rainwater tanks mandated for new South Australian homes.

   Rainwater tanks holding at least 1000 litres will be mandatory for all new South Australian homes and significant extensions from July 2006. Tanks must be connected to at least one toilet, laundry cold water outlet or a hot water supply and be fed by a minimum 50 square metres of roof area. Systems will also need to include automatic switching between tank and mains water, mosquito control and backflow prevention devices. Homes with a dual supply system, for example using recycled effluent for toilet flushing, will be exempt.

   "Adelaide is already leading the nation, with far more rainwater tanks per head of population than any other capital city in Australia," said Premier Mike Rann. "As the driest state in the driest continent in the world, we need to make the most use of our rainfall."

Organic Traders' and Consumers' Network

   OTACNet (Organic Traders' and Consumers' Network) has been set up by Helen Wallace and Catriona Macmillan to support and promote organic businesses. We promote the sustainability of organically grown products, and encourage consumers to base their product purchases on full information about where they come from, how they are produced and what they contain.

   We keep members up to date with all the latest domestic and international news about organics, new products and current research. We also provide information and education to business owners and their staff about organics, marketing and customer service.

   The network will provide a way for organic traders to communicate with each other and provide business and referrals to each other, as well as providing group buying and marketing initiatives.

   Contact Helen Wallace 02 9557 0500, fax to 02 8214 6800 or email

The Art of Counselling

Why I love to do it
Is personality fixed or modifiable?
Mind reading

Why I love counselling

   I've just returned home from work, and I feel ten feet tall. Not that I've done anything wonderful -- but one of my clients has, and he is sure it was my doing.

   Two weeks ago, a mother brought her 12 year old son to me. Both were in despair, and the unspoken message was that they hoped I could do some magic to fix an impossible an unchangeable situation.

   Both mother and son were considerably overweight. The story I got was that he was being severely bullied at school. His older brother kept torturing him at home. The teacher was unfair to him, even picked on him all the time during a recent school camp. When marking a spelling test, she took a mark off for a word he'd spelled correctly, and when he questioned this, she refused to change -- so he'd lost his temper, and then got in serious trouble.

   Then there was his eldest brother, who was a star football player. People kept comparing my fat little client to his muscly hero brother...

   I listened to their bleak story, making them feel heard and validated. But also, I asked questions that showed them that the situation was better than they'd thought.

   I asked if he had any friends at school, and how many kids regularly picked on him. Yes, he did have many friends, and there was only one bully, who called him things like 'Fat Freak.' According to this boy's mother, he suffered from ADHD and Tourette's syndrome. Aint' labels great excuses?

   I expressed my surprise that my client was doing so well. I told him that most kids who come to me because they are bullied have lots of kids picking on them, and often they have no friends at all because others don't want to risk being on the receiving end too.

   We discussed the use of humour in fighting bullying, the use of assertion instead of aggression (we rehearsed dealing both with the teacher and with elder brother), and how bullies work, by needling everyone, until they find someone who provides entertainment by reacting.

   This was during the school holidays, so mother arranged that they would return after the boy had had a week at school. When she mentioned that, he visibly tensed up.

   They came back today. The boy decided that he wanted to see me alone -- previously he insisted that mum stay. He sat still and straight, looking proud.

   I asked him how things were at school.

   The bullying had stopped.

   I congratulated him, and asked how he'd achieved that.

   He shrugged. "I just ignored him instead of reacting. After a couple of days, he got sick of it and left me alone."

   Unaccountably, although he'd made no changes at home, his big brother was also treating him a lot better. And he was thinking about that unfair mark on the spelling test. The result was that he spent quite a bit of his holidays, practicing his handwriting.

   And he talked his mother into the two of them going into a weight loss program together.

   What is the change?

   He now has personal power. He knows that when something is wrong, he needs to think about it, and try out a solution. If that works, he'll continue. If not, he won't despair, but think of something else to try.

   And I think he will have this way of thinking for the rest of his life.

Is personality fixed or modifiable?

Hello Dr Bob,

   I was wondering if you could answer a question relating to psychotherapy/psychology that is confusing me. I have been reading the book by Jamie Blyth and read some of your contributions about habitual patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

   I have read some psychologists say that an individuals personality/temperament traits cannot be changed, yet I thought that the definition of personality was a persons pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving, does this mean that therapy to change the way a person thinks, feels or behaves can change their personality, or is personality something seperate to thinking, feeling and behaving?

P.S. Great site! (


   Graeme, I think we are onions. What you get as a baby, a small child, a teenager, stay with you. In that sense, sure, you don't change your personality.

   All the same, you do grow and develop and change. You are not the three-year-old, but someone who has that set of traits deep within, still influencing thought, feeling and behavior, but also being submerged by more mature aspects.

   For example, I will never be a party butterfly. I hate the scene, and will stay away from it if I can. I've had some nasty experiences at parties, and once upon a time these used to be triggered in such situations. Now, this no longer happens. If I must go to a party, I'll smile, and no-one needs to know I'd rather sit down with a book. I may be bored, but I am no longer distressed.

   Does this answer your question?

Mind reading

   My name is Leanne and I have been married since April of this year. It seems like my husband and I have been falling apart since right before we got married. I started noticing that he was more stand offish towards me. I would want to be affectionate and he would start doing something around the house to keep busy. He is a funny guy and likes to joke around a lot, and sometimes I am laughing and other times I wonder if he is joking around to avoid talking about his feelings. He never acts like he needs me for anything, very independent.

   I am very independent as well, but I love to get away from it and love him, cuddle him, tell him how much I love him every now and then.

   He looks at me and says something like "Are you getting all mooshy on me again?' Its almost like he would rather not. I want to be close to him, but I feel like he just pushes me away all the time, so I am left rejected and lonely... not to mention I feel emptiness.

   Lately we have been fighting more and more, twice now he has talked about separating...we have only been married for 7 months! I tell him I love him and I don't want to give up on us that quick.

   He has been married before, and she cheated on him and so divorce was the way out. I don't know if it was this prior marriage that hurt him or if maybe he was like that with her. But I do know it is hurting the both of us, and if keeps up this way we will separate. I just want to be close to him, but if I try, it feels like he just wants to run. I never feel the love or hear it. I hear the words I love you, but that's not enough for me. I don't feel it. Is there anything that you would recommend for us? We have been going to counseling, but it just seems like every time we go, we end up fighting afterwards. I don't think it should be this way. Please help us, any advice would help.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

   Leanne, you don't say where you live, and a hotmail address can be anywhere. So, personally I can only help via email. If both of you are interested, we can work together. Go to and see how I do it.

   If your current counselor isn't helping, go and get another one.

   Here is something to think of. Everything you have written to me is 'mind reading'. He acts in a certain way, and from this you deduce what he 'must' feel. If you were acting like that, you'd feel the way you described.

   However, he mightn't. If you were coming to me for couples counseling, I'd have you say these things to him, and ask his response. My bet is he's likely to say, "No, she's got it wrong. The problem is that she is suffocating me with all that clinginess. I love her like crazy, but need my own space." Or something entirely different, but with the same underlying message.

   Often, an ongoing problem is kept alive, and made worse, precisely by the solutions people try out. He seems to distance himself? Tell him I love him and give him a cuddle. Result: he pulls away more, so I chase more, until he snaps at me and I feel hurt and we have a fight.

   If something doesn't work, stop it and try something else.

   What would happen if you acted toward him with the same kind of friendly politeness a shop assistant uses to a customer?

Hope this helps,

Tattooed for Life

by Margaret Muir

Dear Bob

   I was introduced to your site through the Yahoo Group (I think ANZ authors) which we are both members of and having had a good look I am forwarding a Cancer related article I wrote some time ago (first published in Family Circle 2003) about my own experiences. On first appearances my way of coping with breast cancer may sound strange/extreme even shocking but I would be pleased if you would take time to read it. If the article, or part thereof is of interest to you, for future work, or to your web-readers, I will be happy for you to use it.

Marg Muir (Perth WA)

SEA DUST by Margaret Muir due Dec 2005 -- Hale Books, London


   “Think about it carefully,” my friend said. “Don’t forget you are stuck with it for life.”

   “Yes, I know, but I am stuck with ugly scars for life.”

   For twelve years I had hated the mastectomy scars on my chest. I never wanted anyone to see me undressed, not even my husband. I tended to walk with my shoulders rounded, to hide my chest, even though I had clothes on.

   I had a bilateral mastectomy in 1989 after being diagnosed with carcinoma-in-situ of the type of breast cancer which can develop both multifocally and bilaterally. Fortunately my diagnosis was made at a very early stage.

   My sister had died at the age of 56 from breast cancer. The disease had also claimed both maternal and paternal aunts. Having worked in the field of cancer detection for twenty years, for me, there was no choice. I wanted both breasts removed – a bilateral mastectomy.

   My decision, however, for an immediate operation, was difficult for my husband to accept. He would have preferred me to consider less radical forms of treatment. Even the surgeon referred to the operation as mutilating surgery. But this had to be my decision and for me there was no choice. I knew that I wanted to live, and a pair of breasts was a small sacrifice to save me from my fear of becoming another cancer death statistic. I went ahead.

    Before the surgery I had I talked to a plastic surgeon about breast reconstruction. He had explained what could be done. But I did not want anything artificial placed under my skin. I had read about the possible problems with bilateral reconstructions, of the prostheses ending up lopsided. Added to that was the worry of silicone leakage or cancer being hidden under an artificial implant. I tried to think of it from all angles. I would have two mounds on my chest but no nipples and no sensation. Reconstruction was not for me.

    After the operation I was fitted with external breast prostheses and, when dressed, appeared no different from any other woman. Undressed, however, I was quite different. The operation had left me with long ugly scars stretching from one side of my chest to the other, plus lots of loose saggy skin. I hated it. I hoped the skin would shrink as the scars healed, but it didn’t.

   When I think back I guess it was not much of a turn on for my husband, plus I was embarrassed about my appearance. Our marriage ended within a few years and I think that the operation had a lot to do with it. My husband never laid his hand on my chest after the operation. Some men just have to have breasts to wake up to every morning. (I don’t think they were ever weaned properly – you know what I mean!)

   To try to improve things, I went back to hospital and had the scars neatened, like going to the dressmaker to get the puckers taken out of a lumpy seam. That improved the look of my chest a bit but still left me with one scar bending upwards and the other bending downwards – like one smiley face and one scowl. It seemed there was nothing else I could do.

   From the end of our marriage I withdrew myself. I found other things to do with my life, mainly on a singular basis and, although I liked men’s company, I was too embarrassed about my body to want to get into a relationship where I would have to reveal the scars stretching across my chest.

   I know that this is not the case with most women who have lost one or two breasts and not all women lose their husbands as a result of it. But it is the accompanying loss of self-confidence which is perhaps the hardest to regain.

   Amazingly this has all changed for me in the last few months.

   In a local shop recently I noticed that the girl behind the counter had a small rose tattooed on her shoulder. It was very pale, like a soft pencil sketch, shaded in grey. I commented on how nice it was and she showed me the rest of her back. A stream of pale grey briar roses ran down from her shoulder. A couple of blue butterflies flitted between the roses. It was quite beautiful and so different from the stereotypical work of skulls and serpents in psychedelic colours which I had always associated with tattoos.

    I asked her for the name of the artist who had etched the flowers on her back. Next day I went to the library and found an excellent book which gave me a new insight into the art and traditions of the tattooist. Taking advice from the literature I decided have a tiny sample rose tattooed on my hip, somewhere on my anatomy that would not normally be visible.

   Then I visited John in his Living Art Studio. I think the hardest thing to overcome was the initial fear of walking over the threshold into the tattoo parlour, its walls decorated with demons and dragon. But once inside, I found myself quite at ease with the artist, a practitioner whose art is drawn on a living canvas.

   The tattooist is an artist first and foremost but instead of using paper he uses human skin. His body art is living art and the purchaser carries that artwork around with him/her for life. John has been tattooing for over twenty years and has won many major prizes at the Tattoo shows.

   I explained that I would like a small grey rose in a pale grey wash. He drew a sketch on my hip. When I was satisfied, with its position, shape and size, he began. The needle or gun sounded like a dentist’s high-pitched drill. He asked if I was OK and if it wasn’t too painful. I said it was like a hard tickle. That was the best way I could describe it. It didn’t hurt.

   When it was finished I liked it but it was very dark, almost black

   “Don’t worry it will fade.” he said.

    Over the next couple of weeks the skin healed. The dark surface flaked off revealing a lovely pale grey rose. I was pleased.

   When John did that tattoo, I spoke to him about my chest and asked if he could tattoo over scar tissue.

   “Yes, providing the scars are more than three years old,” he said. “Of course the scars will still be there but they’ll be hidden by the artwork.”

   It wasn’t long before I was back to present my chest as a canvas. I had drawn up a rough sketch. I knew I wanted grey roses and two butterflies and I wanted the tattoo to give the impression, for anyone glancing at my chest, of a pretty lacy bra, its rounded cup-shapes where my breasts had been.

   As the amount of work required was quite considerable, John suggested that it should be done in two sittings. It would take him at least two hours on either side. John’s wife was in the studio to offer her support and said that they had been discussing my proposals. She thought I was very brave. They both wanted it to be something I was going to be happy with and had arranged for the shop to be shut so that I would have a private session.

   As before, John drew the design onto the right side of my chest. I asked him to alter the position of one of the roses and make one a little bigger. When I was satisfied with the rough sketch he began.

   It took almost three hours. Some areas of the chest proved to be more sensitive than others but I preferred it to the dentist’s chair. John talked about his work and I felt completely at ease which was strange for someone who had not wanted a man to look at her chest. But this was different – a bit like going to the gynaecologist, I suppose – where you leave your pride at the door. But I respected John as an artist. He was just working on another picture but how many artists create their best work on a surface which is constantly moving?

    The tattooist’s initial work is to create a fine outline of the design. When that is complete he fills in the shading, using the needle like an artist uses a pencil to shade his drawing. Colour is added last if required.

   Two days after having my right chest tattooed I want back to the studio to have the left side done. Within a few weeks my chest was healed and transformed from a series of ugly waving scars, running from one side to the other, to a loose tangle of wild roses in shades of grey. Hovering above the roses, two pastel blue butterflies and on the left, a tiny snake and red ladybird, which I opted for to be a bit provocative.

   Am I happy with my tattoos? Well I wake up in the morning and sit up in bed facing the mirror. Instead of hiding my chest I now slip the straps off my nightie and look admiringly at my chest and think how lovely the roses look. I am no longer embarrassed about my flat chest with no nipples, and want to share the elation I have felt since receiving my personalised body art. My self-confidence has returned and I am walking taller and prouder; no longer with my shoulders rounded but with my chest puffed out. I obviously still wear my prostheses and on outward appearances don’t look any different, that is apart from the straight back and the smile on my face.

   Choice of art is a personal thing and if you see something you really like it lifts your spirits. Some people prefer work in oils, others gouache, some like abstract, or still-life. My favourites are watercolours, and pen and ink drawings. Perhaps that is why I love my grey briar roses.

   Who would have thought that a straight-laced, more than middle-aged woman would have found a new lease on life at the hands of a tattoo artist?

Seeking a satisfying rational philosophy of life

by Hermann Raith, Ph.D.

   The belief in materialism is the most widespread rational philosophy of life, but is it satisfying? Materialism means that nothing can exist without matter or energy. This implies that the universe and we exist only by pure chance without any purpose.

   On the other hand, if we would assume the existence of a spiritual world independent from the material one, we could have the faith that the total world scenario is perfect and satisfying for everyone. This scenario may be beyond our horizon, but nevertheless we can try to imagine how the world should be functioning in order to be perfect and satisfying. With this method, everyone could develop an personal rational philosophy of life, which should consider all scientific facts, but can include also unproven elements from religious philosophies.

   In my booklet, "A Rational Philosophy of Life -- A possible way toward a believable belief" I demonstrated this method by my own philosophy of life as an example only. In summary I came to following conclusion:

   The universe was created from almost nothing, during the Big Bang. It now includes billions of galaxies, each with billions of solar systems that probably contain billions of planets, where life may exist.

   Life on earth has been generated through biological evolution, a great principle that explains our existence but gives no importance to the individual. However, I believe that biological evolution is connected with an evolution of souls, via rebirth.

   Genes alone may still program most living organisms. The soul may have here no influence, and may merely be there so it can grow. The soul seems to come into action via the brain, most evolved in the case of humans, who have consciousness and can recognize themselves as unique individuals. Individual development may go on as humans via reincarnations, where different environments and special events can help us to gain the necessary experience. This developmental process could continue over many lives, until rebirth may no longer be required for further individual development. During our life, we may get assistance for our development from human and spiritual mentors. I think, we ourselves are primarily responsible for our ways, goals, and success. These are not just a gift of heaven.

   The process of individual development could be compared with climbing a tree. The way is well defined along the trunk, and without choices. However, when the branches begin to appear, individuals have to make decisions as to which direction to take. The higher they climb, the greater will be the possibilities for individual development, and the wider the horizon of opportunity. Those who are still climbing the trunk cannot imagine the feeling they will have when they reach the higher levels of the tree.

Details about the book and its content as well as my biography are given at my website:

I 'met' Hermann because his daughter loves him. She paid for me to edit his excellent little book, as a present to her father. Hermann and I found a great deal of similarity between our world views. Do have a look at his web site.

For writers

Present Tense and First Person by Jeanne Gassman
Can writing be TOO creative?

Present Tense and First Person
by Jeanne Gassman

There was a debate on one of my writing lists about the use of first person, and on whether writing should ever be in present tense. Jeanne's contribution was so good that I asked for her permission to reproduce it:

   To say that an author should never use present tense or write a story in the first person is both arbitrary and capricious. Both of these forms are accepted (and published regularly) in modern fiction, but they both have some serious limitations--especially for the inexperienced author.

   I'll start with the issue of writing in the present tense. The use of present tense in fiction actually goes back to the early 20th century when writers first began experimenting with form. In fact, I believe Virginia Woolf wrote in the present tense. However, it's vital that an author who wants to write in the present tense fully understand its effect on the reader. Present tense creates the illusion of immediacy, the sense that everything is happening now. This can produce a fair amount of tension in a story. It can also be exhausting for the reader. If everything is happening "right now," the reader begins to feel as though he is being pushed through a story at an increasingly rapid pace. It puts a demand on the reader to give every event equal importance. It removes that level of distance that reader may need to ruminate over plot or character development, something that is easier to do when the story is presented in the past tense.

   The use of present tense can be quite effective in high-tension genres such as suspense or action/thriller. It also works well in some simple children's stories. Present tense is not appropriate for the more leisurely generational saga, fantasy, and romance. You will also find many, many literary short stories written in the present tense. Finally, you can use present tense as a means to set apart a particular scene, such as a dream or hallucination. In my experience, the most common problem I see with stories written in the present tense is "tense slippage," a situation where the author falls back into the past tense for a sentence or two without being aware of the shift.

   There are plenty of first person novels published every year. I would hesitate to tell anyone not to write his book in the first person because it will be rejected out of hand. That simply isn't true. It is true, however, that some editors and agents are wary of the first person novel. Perhaps the main reason for their caution is that many first books written in the first person are highly autobiographical. If an editor or agent sees a book come across their desk written in the first person by a previously unpublished author, most of them will suspect that the story may be more memoir than fiction. The other big problem with first person is its limitation in viewpoint. You must tell the entire story from your narrator's viewpoint. If that narrator is unreliable or a liar, your reader will come to distrust the truth of your story. If your narrator is not present at a major plot event, then you have to devise a plausible reason for the narrator to know what happened. The first person viewpoint is the most intimate of all the viewpoints in storytelling. The use of first person requires that the author create a narrator who is likable, engaging, easy to understand, and complex enough to be interesting enough to listen to for an entire novel.

   Write your novel in whatever viewpoint or tense you feel works best for the story. But do be aware of the limitations and demands of your choice, and do be prepared to accept valid criticism if the technique simply doesn't work.

   Jeanne Lyet Gassman is an award-winning author whose fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry have been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. In 2002, she received an Encouragement Award in Creative Writing from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Jeanne also teaches writing classes and workshops in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Can writing be TOO creative?

And here is something from another writing list. This time the answer is mine:

>Has anyone ever heard of this? I haven't. Someone I'd submitted work to said that about a story I'd posted. He'd posted that my work was a touch over the top and that it was "overly creative usually means overly boring." The piece was to introduce yourself to someone for the very first time. My reply: Hmmm. Haven't heard that one, "overly creative = overly boring." Care to explain that one? Interesting. Or is that akin to tryin' too hard? As of this posting, no response. My first reaction: testy. I wasn't angry, but my nerve was pricked a good deal. When I calmed down long enough to really think about this, the comment still didn't make sense. So, I pose this here, just to glean advice from the mix of professionals out here. Is that true, overly creative means overly boring? And, was my reply too harsh?


   A couple of years ago, I considered entering a short story contest. The judge's name was given, so I looked her up and borrowed a book of hers from the library.

   The result was that I chose not to enter the contest. I never managed to finish the book.


   She was INCREDIBLY clever with her use of language. Images leapt off the page, she had me laughing about character sketches -- but all the cleverness got in the way of the STORY. Those clevely delineated characters stayed just that -- characters -- instead of becoming people. They never came to life for me. Whenever I noticed a new and interesting word picture, I admired the device, and this destroyed the illusion that I was in the reality the author created.

   Now, I don't know what your writing is like. It may be nothing like this woman's. But creativity is a tool. The proper use of this tool is to introduce the reader to people (who start as characters). You need to create a world, and invite the reader in. Ideally, the reader will temporarily BECOME one of your characters. To achieve this, the devices you use must become invisible. The point of vivid language is to convert the make-believe world within the story into becoming more vivid than reality, at least for the moment. If the reader's attention becomes focused on the writing (with admiration or otherwise), then the words are in the way, and the story will fail.

All the best,

A cap that doesn't

   Some inventions should be uninvented.

   There is a nice, fat, squishy tube of toothpaste. Its contents are supposed to stay within until wanted, and then emerge in a controlled, measured manner.

   Do they?

   With some brands they do. The cap on the tube can be unscrewed. You smear a layer on your brush, replace the cap, and there you are.

   However, some genius decided that this wasn't good enough. Perhaps people complained of losing the cap during the miniscule time is was off the tube. Perhaps, in large and disorganised families, there is so much squabble for access to the toothpaste that the cap falls to the floor and is stomped on. Whatever the motivation, several brands sell their product with a cap that has a hinged lid. The theory is that the hinged part clicks back into place after use, keeping the situation clean, healthy and neat.

   Theories are all very well. Have YOU ever seen one of these tubes that behaves itself once it has been opened? I haven't. Invariably, I end up with a lid thingie that is chronically half open, with an exescrence of dried exudate decorating the outlet. This is messy, asks for the entry of vigorous little beasties that may make you sick, and wastes toothpaste.

   This reinforces my commitment to the motto of the Australian Army Engineers: 'KISS'. The acronysm is for 'Keep It Simple, Stupid,' something all designers of everything should keep in mind.

The "Disaster Dozen" Top Twelve Disaster Preparedness Myths

By Paul Purcell

   Hurricane Katrina has given us another emergency preparedness wake-up call. Do we pay attention or hit the snooze button?

   The biggest obstacles to emergency readiness are the misconceptions surrounding preparedness. To help improve public safety, let's look at some of these myths.

1. "If something happens, I'll call 911."

   Help can only go so far, or be there so quickly. Call for help when needed, but remember there will be instances where you're temporarily on your own.

2. "I need a 72-hour kit with a flashlight, first aid kit, food, water, and a radio."

   72 hours is not very realistic. Two weeks is more like it. Regarding supplies, customize yours to your family's unique risks and needs. (See

3. "Insurance will cover everything."

   Insurance agents won't instantly rebuild your life like on TV. Insurance companies are far more concerned about their bottom line than yours.

4. "Good preparedness is too expensive and complicated."

   Not at all. The problem is, we get more preparedness info on airlines than we get as citizens. We aren't taught the thousands of simple and economical things that can improve our readiness.

5. "We can only form neighborhood groups through FEMA, the Red Cross, or Law Enforcement."

   Neighbor helping neighbor is our highest civic duty. You don't need permission to coordinate your safety with others. Working with these groups is advantageous, but not required.

6. "In a 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' attack, we're all dead."

   "WMDs" are extremely dangerous, but destruction is NOT guaranteed. For widespread destruction, a top-grade WMD must be expertly applied under ideal conditions.

7. "Nothing like that could happen here."

   Though some areas are more prone to certain disasters, no area on earth is completely immune.

8. "All I have to worry about is my own family."

   Technically yes, but the more capable your family is, the more you should help others.

9. "If preparedness were really important it would be taught in school."

   Preparedness is that important, but schools only have the time and budget for what they teach already. You should teach your family yourself.

10. "I can get free preparedness information on the Internet."

   Many really good free sources exist. However, it takes time and experience to filter trash from treasure. This is why we gathered over 400 books and manuals on CD in "Disaster Prep 101."

11. "Preparedness means I have to hoard guns and be a 'Survivalist."

   Nope. While security is a valid concern, most people around you will not be a threat. Though Katrina looters gained considerable media attention, there were more numerous stories of heroism.

12. "If something really bad happens, NO one will help."

   Someone will help. However, people should prepare so they need as little outside help as possible. The less you need, the more responders are freed up to help others.

Paul Purcell is a preparedness consultant and the author of "Disaster Prep 101" found at

What my friends want you to know

Carolyn Howard-Johnson wins an award
'Dead Men and Women' anthology
Children's adventure by Chris Wright
Book marketing advice
Susan Stafford
Mr Touchdown by Lyda Phillips
Rowena Cherry
Feather Foster
Elizabeth Delisi
Ginny McBlain
Betty Sullivan La Pierre
Lee Pletzers' newsletter
Geoff Nelder
Lea Tassie
Two from Sally Odgers
Lori Soard promotional package
Kathe Gogolewski
Ginger Simpson
Darrell Bain
Free poetry book from Evvy Garrett
Janice Parrish
Ben Gardner
Nolan Lewis
Perfect Wedding by Alice Wootson
Therapeutic Journaling Group
Rendering for Strawbale Construction
Permaculture North Do-It-Yourself Day: run your car on vegie oil

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

   Carolyn Howard-Johnson, the author of USA Book News' Best Professional Book 2004, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't was presented with Book Publicists of Southern California's Irwin Award. Carolyn won for the "Best Cost-Effective Campaign."

   BPSC is a resource for publicists, authors and others associated with the publishing industry. The organization publishes a member directory and newsletter, sponsors events and give out the IRWIN awards to help foster industry excellence.

   Carolyn's first novel, This is the Place, has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction has won three. She is an extension division instructor for UCLA’s Writers’ Program and speaks at writers' conferences nationwide. She is a columnist for Home Décor Buyer. Her book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON’T has been her publisher's ( bestselling e-book since its release. Find the paperback at Amazon.

'Bards and Sages'

   Bards and Sages is still accepting submissions for its next anthology project, Dead Men (and Women) Walking. The anthology focuses on all things undead. Complete guidelines can be found at They hope to finalise before December.

Chris Wright

   English author Chris Wright had his first book published in 1966 - a children's adventure in hardback. Then followed nearly twenty more: children's fiction, photography, shooting, and in 1999 his first thriller. 'Things are great now,' says Chris. 'The electronic market has opened new doors for me. Hard Shell have taken five of my thrillers, and four of them are already published. The fifth, 'Academy of the Dead' will be out by the end of the year. It is the third in a series of detective thrillers.' Not that Chris is only into e-books. He had a Christian biography published in the UK last year, and a companion volume will be out this November. Find out more on Chris's website:

Maureen McMahon


   The book industry reports that 78% of the titles published come from small/self-publishers. With combined annual revenues of less than $50 million, these publishers have limited publicity budgets and their authors are expected to do their own promotion. Where can they learn?

   Now authors with books to promote may ask questions of nearly 150 author experts whose specialties run the gamut from romance to foot surgery.

   Assembled from the thousands of subscribers to Book Promotion Newsletter, the experts include authors, editors, book reviewers, book coaches, ghostwriters, publicists and publishers.

   This free service is hosted at Moonspinners Writer's Page, by Maureen McMahon, author of romantic suspense novels, Return of the Gulls, Shadows In the Mist and others, and Francine Silverman, author of Book Marketing from A-Z, a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors.

   Click the "Ask the Experts" button on Maureen's Moonspinners Writer's Page. Once at the site, visitors may ask a book marketing question of any of the experts. Responses will be emailed back to the inquirer within 3-5 working days.

Susan Stafford

Enhanced By The Light-Remorse, Redemption and the Reformation of a Life soon to be released.

   At one time or another, we have all been affected by negative influences. Life hasn't stood still for Susan during the last decade and a half. She has grown from a suicidal and sexually active sixteen-year-old into a contemplative and confident 37-year-old woman, a motivated author who has inspired thousands of breastfeeding mothers, and a devoted wife and mother. "I am the person I always should have been," says Susan.

   In this deeply personal account and newly revised edition of The Missing Piece, Susan reveals the never-before-told details of her past. She addresses people's false perceptions about why young girls get into the adult entertainment industry. She divulges what she did in the past and explores who she is now, taking full responsibility for her past decision to work in an escort service and sharing what she has learned about keeping sexually pure, about healing after an abusive childhood and destructive relationships, and about the power of forgiveness. She talks candidly about her childhood, the explosive mixture of life circumstances that spawned disaster, the consequences of her actions, and the experiences that ultimately led to her salvation. Join Susan on her journey and witness how she successfully pieced her life back together.

   From the depths of destruction and despair to the heights of a satisfying marriage and motherhood, hers is both a chilling page turner and a truly inspirational story about beginning again and making life matter.

Lyda Phillips

Young-Adult Novel Mr. Touchdown Marks 40th Anniversary of Desegregation of Memphis Area Schools.
ISBN 0-595-67288-4 hardcover $23.95; ISBN 0-595-35900-0 trade paperback, $13.95

   Eddie Russell and his timid sister, Lakeesha, are told they will be helping to desegregate an all-white high school. Their father tells them they will be fighting for a righteous cause, but they have no choice in the matter.

   The wall of hostility Eddie and Lakeesha face at Forrest High School seems unbreakable, until cheerleader Nancy Martin crosses the line to befriend the black students--starting a cycle of violence that threatens to spin out of control.

   Author Lyda Phillips draws on her own experience in this iUniverse Editor's Choice young-adult novel.

   "I was a cheerleader and an honor student in 1965 at Whitehaven High School when four African-American students integrated the school--three girls and one boy, a football player named William Reed," Phillips said. "Toward the end of the football season, Willie Reed blocked a punt, which won the game for us. From that moment on, his place was made.

   "The three girls, however, sat alone at the end of the teachers' table in the cafeteria. No one spoke to them. At some point they simply faded away.

   "The image of them sitting there alone has stayed with me ever since," Phillips said. "Since then I've talked to probably hundreds of people--black and white--about their experiences with segregation."

   In 1999, Mr. Touchdown won first place in children's literature in the Authorlink New Voices contest and second in the annual Paul Gillette Writing Contest in association with the Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

Rowena Cherry

Prequel to bestselling and award winning FORCED MATE

   Helispeta wanted to marry well... but not THIS well.

   What is an ambitious young princess to do when she finds herself irrevocably married to the wrong god? What is her jilted fiance to do?

   Prince Devoron-Vitan, supreme commander of the Tigron Empire's star forces, wants to go home and find out what the star-blazes is going on. In one short gestate, his twin brother Djohn-Kronos has killed their father, taken the throne, nullified all existing royal betrothals, and started a war.

   Then, rumors reach Devoron-Vitan that Djohn-Kronos intends to catch Devoron-Vitan's fiancee, Helispeta, in his MATING NET.
For more information

Feather Foster

ISBN: 1-4137-6915-2, $19.95

   Garfield's Train recreates the death of president Garfield.

   Few people realize the enormity of the U.S. political scene in the 1880s. Those were the days powered by the "Robber Barons" of Mark Twain's Gilded Age.

   Scotch Plains, NJ author Feather Schwartz Foster offers a glimpse of that era of sprawling 30-room "cottages" in her new novel, Garfield's Train. The fictional Dunbar family interacts with such characters as General Grant, Roscoe Conkling, James G. Blaine, and, of course, the Garfield family.

   James A. Garfield was only president for six months -- three of which were spent dying. To finally escape the heat of the Washington summer and offer the dying man some respite, he was brought to Long Branch for his last days. In a burst of patriotism, caring and community spirit, a ¾ mile railroad spur was built overnight for the President to be brought from the train station right to the door of a cottage-by-the-sea without painful jostling in a wagon over a rutted road.

   According to the author, "This was arguably Long Branch's proudest hours, yet has become a mere footnote to history. The actual historical records only indicate that it happened -- not how it happened. In Garfield's Train, I tried to draw the picture in my mind of the entire posh resort and the way the 3,000 residents turned out to support the railroad workers in their labor of love and patriotism.

Elizabeth Delisi

   Elizabeth Delisi is pleased to announce the re-release of her suspense novel, SINCE ALL IS PASSING, from Amber Quill Press. When Marie Kenning witnesses the kidnapping of a child, she relives the horror of the death of her own child and husband. Officer Chris Whitley takes on the case-­-and an interest in Marie--­but evidence quickly indicates the child is dead. Days later, Marie stumbles across the kidnapper and his very-much-alive victim. Unable to convince the man she loves of the truth, Marie sets out alone on a dangerous cross-country mission to save the child.

   For more information about SINCE ALL IS PASSING, or to order your own copy in trade paperback or e-book, visit Amber Quill Press:

This book was one of the first I reviewed. The review is still there.

Ginny McBlain

   Ginny McBlain is pleased to announce the re-release of her 2002 EPPIE Finalist, BEAR HUGS. The contemporary romance is available in ebook and print at Awe-Struck E-Books.

   Never again...

   Paige Holbrook needs help to bring her son out of a coma. In desperation, she turns to Bidwell Bear, young Jamie's TV idol.

   From their first meeting, Paige and Hunter Blackwell, the man inside the Bidwell costume, each experience an attraction neither can ignore.

   Hunter is about to realize his life-long dream--to become a singing star. Glitz and glamour aren't Paige's thing, not after what she's been through with her playboy ex-husband.

   Is Hunter's love worth the glare of the spotlight?

Betty Sullivan La Pierre

   Betty Sullivan La Pierre's fantastic Holiday Sale comes to a screeching halt on Dec. 10. The prices include--autographed, beautifully gift wrapped and sent to any place in the USA. Go to her site and check out the options. Prices go from cheap and up....

   She's also added a little incentive....a free pdf download of your choice with any bundle purchased.

   Now you can't beat that. :)
Go to:
(Her site is the only place you can get these bargains.) m/.

Lee Pletzers

   SF/Fantasy author Lee Pletzers releases his NewsZine every month, packed with usful information: Book Reviews || DVD Reviews || MovieReviews. Articles on writing and the life of writing (from writers around the globe and himself) || News and Events || publishers lookingfor writers || an ongoing novel to start this month called Civatateo (witch vampires). And get up to 40% discount on signed author copies of his next book Gonzo Girls to be release by Rockway Press USA.

Check out his blog at

Geoff Nelder

   I bet you have a friend who would engulf you in hugs n kisses if you bought them a copy of a compelling, engaging, mystery thriller told with wicked irony. Yes? Then ESCAPING REALITY by GEOFF NELDER is the one. Debut, hottest thriller of 2005. (you might need to tell them to skip the naughty bits.) Available from Amazon or directly from (and posted to anywhere on the planet).

Lea Tassie

   Lea Tassie is celebrating the release of her fourth novel, A CLEAR EYE, from Felinity Press in trade paperback.

   It's 1947 and twelve-year-old Callie lives on a primitive, isolated homestead in northern British Columbia. Her domineering mother, Lillian, insists that her daughter's sole purpose in life is to be a dutiful wife and mother, and her father, Lewis, a veteran haunted by his experience of war, refuses to interfere. Callie dreams of becoming a botanist, an ambition that combines her deep love of nature with her hunger for truth. Her innocence, fostered by isolation and her mother's determination to force Callie into the outdated mold of Lillian's own pre-war youth, is the fateful catalyst of a family feud that tests all Callie's growing strength as she struggles for the freedom to be herself.

   "Great, great work! An evocative, thought-provoking slice of Canadiana with a heroine determined to break free of limiting expectations and discover her place in the world. Loved it." (Laura Langston, author of Mile High Apple Pie, Lesia's Dream and A Taste of Perfection)

   For more information visit Lea's website.

Two from Sally Odgers

Wife for sale!

   The time is 1830, the place the colony of New South Wales. Lively Garnet Perry has been sent from England to marry Edward Landis. Edward proves both elderly and impotent, and his terrible old mother engineers a situation that sees Garnet offered illegally for sale. Her new owner is settler Jeremiah Gold, who has come to Sydney Town in search of a hard-working wife, and who persuades a convict parson to marry them.

   Jeremiah's supposition that Garnet is experienced leads to a disastrous wedding night and Garnet's infamous temper erupts. Determined to tame his wife, Jeremiah sets her to work helping clear land for his new farming venture.

   Garnet escapes back to Sydney Town, but finds herself in even deeper trouble. Her ignominious return to Jeremiah sets the scene for a series of confrontations, but eventually, Garnet comes to love her stubborn husband. She would do anything to take back the bitter words between them, but now it seems too late. Can a marriage bought at auction ever be worth the price?\

Jack Russell; Dog Detective!

   Meet Jack, the detective with the nose for crime. Jack lives in Doggeroo, with his human landlord, Sarge. Next door live Foxie and Auntie Tidge, and the lively setter, Lord Red, lives at Uptown House.

   This quintet forms the core of a mystery series for kids and dog-lovers everywhere.

   Other Doggeroo characters who come and go through the stories include Polly the skeptical dachshund, Shuffle the pug, tart-tongued Jill Russell, and feisty Ralf Boxer. Then there are the villains; Fat Molly Cat, the Phantom Mudder, the Pug Mugger and (most terrier-fying of all) the Awful Pawful.

   The “Jack Russell” series is available from Scholastic Australia. Titles include “The Dog Den Mystery”, “The Phantom Mudder”, “The Mugged Pug” and “The Lying Postman”. Coming up in 2006 are “The Awful Pawful” and “Sausage Situation”.

   The Jack Russell stories are written by husband and wife team Darrel and Sally Odgers, with Ace and Tess (the Jack Russell girls) as advisors. The illustrations are by Janine Dawson.

Lori Soard

Complete Author Promotional Package

   Authors, tired of running here, there and everywhere for your promotional needs? Get a complete package from Lori Soard.

Author Yearbook--10K readers
Be on the Radio
Be Part of All Stars or Divas
Much More!

Kathe Gogolewski

   TATO, a middle grade fantasy adventure by Kathe Gogolewski will be released from Wings Press November 1, 2005.

   TATO captures children’s imaginations by recognizing their desire to earn the admiration of the adults closest to them. The story casts Michael Tate, an inventive and willful boy, and his bossy older sister, Nicole, into a strange world filled with fantastic beings and incredible events in order to rescue their parents, held hostage by the evil power that rules the realm.

    In her review for Midwest Book Reviews, senior reviewer Shirley Johnson wrote about TATO: "This is a fun read, entertaining from beginning to end; but also one that will teach children lessons of life. Very highly recommended."

Learn more about Kathe and her books at

Ginger Simpson

   Ginger Simpson is pleased to announce that on November 1, the sequel to her first historical romance will be released. White Heart, Lakota Spirit, the continuation of Prairie Peace will be offered by Wings ePress, Inc. A description is available at:

Darrell Bain

   Since closing the Christmas tree farm, Darrell Bain has a new, completely revamped web site at He is also producing a newsletter each month which can be seen at his site. The newsletter covers a multitude of, subjects and has been archived. The one presently up talks about teen age slang, favorite books, hurricanes, Tonto the autistic Dachshund (a real dog, not a book--yet!), new releases and other tidbits, with a link where you can write Darrell and comment and/or suggest topics for future newsletters. Come visit and see what's going on around the Bain homestead.
Darrell Bain

   Author of The Melanin Apocalypse, Savage Survival, Alien Infection, Strange Valley, Doggie Biscuit!, Medics Wild!, Hotline To Heaven, The Pet Plague, The Disappearing Girls, Life On Santa Claus Lane, and others.

Evvy Garrett

A FREE .pdf eBook, just released, featuring excerpts of all four of evvy garrett's poetry eBooks is available at: or

Janice Parrish


   Hard Shell Word Factory is proud to announce the release of Janice Ward Parrish’s debut novel, THE SWEET SHADE OF A CHINABERRY TREE. In this book a federal order to integrate the high school rocks a small Southern town to its foundations as townsfolk are forced to choose sides and forsake life-long friends and neighbors. Nineteen-year-old Gaynell McGowan welcomes the disruption of a stagnant summer, but then finds herself swirling at the scandalous center of the storm.

   In the tradition of To Kill a Mocking Bird, Ms Parrish propels us into a small southern town where lace tablecloths and good manners can no longer cover 500 years of casual cruelty. The lazy rhythms of Southern speech and the details of an unhurried life, belie the fast pace of this novel right up to the chilling climax.

   Hard Shell Word Factory’s books are distributed in print through Ingram and available through your favorite bookseller.

E-book (various formats) ISBN 0-7599-4806-0 $6.50
Trade paperback ISBN 0-7599-4806-2 $12.95

Ben Gardner

   When a private citizen discovers an inexpensive and safe new space drive and begins launching satellites from his backyard in metropolitan Atlanta, the local police take notice. When it's discovered that the same technique can make the ultimate weapon and he refuses to turn it over to the military, the government takes notice. When he blackmails the governments of the United States and the Russian Federation into supplying him with their top scientists to accompany him on the first manned expedition to Mars, the world takes notice.

IN THE BEGINNING, ISBN: 1-4116-3848-4
by Ben W. Gardner

   Mike Angel, a retired Navy Seal who holds several doctorates, develops the ultimate artificially intelligent computer and together they solve the Unified Field Theory and how to generate and control the forces of gravity. Using this knowledge, Mike expands the uses of this technique to create a space drive, an impenetrable force field, and the means to form a quantum singularity at will using several existing technologies.

   The future is in the hands of the young. Mike demands that children be brought along on this expedition and makes them the most important members of the crew. Most government-sponsored science is cloaked in secrecy, but Mike insists that two journalists, one American, the other Russian, accompany them on the adventure and provide global 24/7 television coverage of their discoveries.

Nolan Lewis

   My three books: MAULED, a fun mystery. IONE CIRCA 1930, memoirs. CLOUDS ARE ALWAYS WHITE ON TOP, subtitle: Flying The Box The B-17 Flying Fortress Came In. All available at:

Alice Wootson

   I'm excited to announce the up-coming release of my ninth book, Perfect Wedding, by BET Books. Perfect Wedding will be on bookstore shelves on December 1st. It is the story of Dana Dillard who has wanted to go to Hawaii forever. When she sees a reality show where the winning couple get an all-expense paid wedding and a honeymoon to Hawaii, she decides to enter the contest. Never mind that she doesn't have a fiance' or even a boyfriend. She'll worry about that after she wins. Her colleague, Steve Rollings would be happy to fill that bill. Now all he has to do is convince Dana that he's the one for her.

Alice Wootson

Therapeutic Journaling Group

   Georgiann Baldino will be co-facilitating a Therapeutic Journaling Group at Edward Cancer Center, Naperville, Illinois. Cancer patients and caregivers are invited to attend. Participants do not need to be patients at Edward. The first of eleven monthly sessions will be October 25th from 7-8:15 pm.

   Anyone who is interested in attending can visit www.edwardcancercenter.organd select "Healing Sciences" for more information.

   Georgiann Baldino is an experienced trainer in the health care industry. Her online writing porfolio can be found at

Rendering for Strawbale Construction

Ryde College of TAFE and Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, Strawbale Construction are pleased to present the next workshop at the Permaculture Display Garden, Blaxland Road, Ryde -- Sydney, Australia.

“Rendering for Strawbale Construction” 24th, 25th and 26th of November 2005, 24 hours over 3 days.
Time: 08:30 am – 04:30 pm.
Cost: $485.00 (incl. GST) includes morning & afternoon tea and light lunch.

   Hand-outs are provided and a TAFE certificate of attendance will be issued on completion of course.

   Please see our website “Workshops” for more detailed info on the course. For bookings please ring Ryde College of TAFE, Business Centre on + 61 (0) 2 9448 6301 or Penny Pyett on + 61 (0) 2 9888 2575.

Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, Strawbale Construction

Permaculture North Do-It-Yourself Day

   Forget about rising petrol prices -- learn how to run your car on vegetable oil at the Permaculture North Do-It-Yourself Day.

   Bio-diesel expert Phil Dolan is bringing his modified car to the North Shore and will talk you through the process -- a simple conversion that will enable you to run your car for next to nothing and help save the environment at the same time.

   While you're at it, pick up some other skills -- learn how to make everything from your own slippers and beer to a solar cooker, a chicken coop and preserved homegrown foods.

   You'll save money while you become more self-reliant. Learn how to propagate plants and save seeds, spin wool, design a permaculture garden -- even make your own paper.

   Experts will descend on Ku-Ring-Gai Senior Citizens Centre, 259 Pacific Highway, Lindfield, on Sunday November 6, from 10am to 4.30pm.

    Each workshop is just $5 for Permaculture North members and $10 for non-members. There will be drinks, snacks and a sausage sizzle, and a playroom for kids.

   Book your place now. Call Penny on 9888 2575 or Sandy on 9953 4816.

Book Reviews

Cancer: A personal challenge reviewed by Brandon Wilson
Coping With Physical Loss -- a workbook by Rick Ritter

'Cancer: A personal challenge'
reviewed by Brandon Wilson

   In today's world, it's rare that a single family remains unaffected by cancer. It either afflicts a close member of our inner circle or that of our friends. Cancer: A Personal Challenge edited by Dr. Bob Rich is a valuable tool to help one understand the disease and its roots more clearly, while providing healing options and inspiration to both sufferer, family, friends and those in the health profession.

   Cancer: A Personal Challenge is an easy-to-understand collection of articles and stories written by eleven health care professionals, patients and survivors. The book begins by presenting the facts about cancer: its origins, environmental causes and the fascinating connections between thoughts, emotions and stress and how they may ultimately affect our nervous system and immune system. It then provides a more holistic/spiritual perspective by examining the anthroposophical writings of Rudolph Steiner and others.

   This foundation at least partially address the question: "Why me?" by suggesting we re-examine our stressful lifestyles, radioactive surroundings and chemical-laden food and water. Then this book provides useful exercises to help sufferers deal with the body's "dis-ease," as well as tools for fighting back and coping with pain.

   As a lay-person and one who has seen family and friends rage against cancer, one of the most fascinating parts of this book are the first-person stories from those who are "bloody-minded" enough to refuse to give in. Their courageous accounts allow us inside the mind of those ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down, and paint a picture far more complex than the media's single-dimensional image of "cancer victim." On the contrary, their poignant stories are ones of hope, strength and faith in becoming a survivor and treating cancer not as a death sentence, but as a challenge along life's trail-or transition along a path of ultimate perfection.

   After reading this book, I have a clearer picture of the disease than now effects 44% of men and 39% of women in the US. Moreover, I'm struck by the options and choices that each of us can make, individually and as a society, to make cancer a more remote possibility in our lifetimes. That choice is ours.

Brandon Wilson is the author of the award-winning Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith and Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa His writing has graced previous issues of bobbing around.

Coping With Physical Loss -- a workbook
by Rick Ritter

Published by Loving Healing Press
Publication date: January 2006
ISBN-13: 978-1-932690-18-7 / ISBN-10: 1-932690-18-2 $17.95
104 pages, includes Bibliography and Index

   When your body no longer works the way it is supposed to, you lose far more than physical function. While some people can focus on what they have left and get on with life, for most of us physical loss involves grieving, changes in how we value ourselves, even disgust and shame.

   This is why Rick Ritter's workbook will be invaluable for anyone who has been damaged in any of a very wide range of ways: surgery, accident, violence, disease, even aging. Helping professionals working with people whose problems focus on physical losses will need this book on a daily basis.

   Rick developed the exercises in the book over a long time. When he uses them himself, his own example as a survivor of physical loss is no doubt enough to lead and inspire his client. To achieve the same end, he has enlivened the book with many individual examples and case stories. This lifts the book from the useful to the indispensable.

   I edited this book for the publisher, Loving Healing Press, and feel honored to have been associated with it.


Spooking Spectacular Sweepstakes
Reach for the Stars: A Contest for the Best Frugal Promoter of 2005
Guardian Angel Publishing To Offer Young Writers A Chance At Writing And Illustration
Make the World Smile II

Spooking Spectacular Sweepstakes

   Win any of three autographed book collections (see for books included), or Halloween Collectibles LITTLE DEVIL DOLL by Show Stoppers NIB, or Godiva Chocolates -- Halloween collection, or The Wild West Coin Collection -- The American Indian (5). You can visit the Books We Love member authors, and sign their guest books. For every five guest books you sign, you are entitled to one entry into our Spooking Spectacular Sweepstakes. You will find all contest information as well as the images by going to the Books We Love main page and clicking on the button that says: SPOOKING SPECTACULAR SWEEPSTAKES. Or click on the skeleton to go directly:


   The Books We Love Spooking Spectacular Sweepstakes will run from October 10, 2005 – November 10, 2005.

Reach for the Stars: A Contest for the Best Frugal Promoter of 2005

Organization/Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Star Publish
Contest link:
Deadline: October 30

   Entries: It's easy! Tell us about a special approach you have used to promote or give us an outline of your entire campaign. You can do it in 500 words or less--way less.

   Prize: Star Publish will publish the winners' entries in an e-book designed to help other writers hone their public relations skills and encourage those who are not promoting to better realize their publishing goals. As a service, the e-booklet will be given to any writer who would like a copy. Six winners will be chosen. The grand prize winner will also receive $50. Copies of Successful Website Marketing, Book Marketing from A-Z, The Complete Writer and The Frugal Book Promoter will also be given.

   Judges: The contest judges will be Kristie Leigh Maguire, publisher of Star Publish, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author, and Irwin Zucker, founder of Book Publicists of Southern California and President of Promotion in Motion.

   Brief Guidelines: A writer need not be published to enter. Writers may submit campaigns or ideas intended to build a package to present to agents and publishers before their work is published, or promotion plans used to promote a given work or body of work after it is in print. How a writer uses a promotion campaign will be considered in selecting the winning entry as well as the actual promotion process. Originality and thoroughness will also be considered. Complete guidelines and entry information are available at:

Guardian Angel Publishing To Offer Young Writers A Chance At Writing And Illustration

   Children’s musical e-picture book originators, Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP), announced plans today to distribute future print publications on Amazon, and to add three new lines within the next year. Included will be Angel to Angel which will include a series of young author writing contests in elementary schools across the USA where kids (12 and under) will write and illustrate for a chance to win the publication of their book with GAP as e-books online for one year.

   “We are excited with all our new ventures” said GAP President and Publisher Lynda Burch. “Our partnership with Booksurge & Amazon will allow for worldwide printing and distribution of our books, especially since we are expanding from picture books to storybooks, and adding more fiction and nonfiction.”

   The newest angelic trio, especially Angel to Angel will help round out their mission, says Burch, to encourage literary arts by offering children of all ages the means to love, understand and appreciate the creative processes and expressions of books.

   “Littlest Angels will be personalized book versions of real kids using their own names, pictures, and stories, a hobby or special love, and earliest and educational readers for kids.” Burch said. “Furry and Feathered Friends will be the stars filling the colorful pages of Guardian Angel Pets with stories of love, heroism, and just plain fun.”

   Information on Angel to Angel guidelines, Littlest Angels and Guardian Angel Pets and Wings of Faith can be found at

Make the World Smile II

Details at

   To enter, all you have to do is sign up for my e-newsletter at my web site or through yahoogroups. All newsletter members are automatically entered into a drawing for a gift basket of fun stuff related to the theme of my new release, SCRAMBLED EGGS

   For every copy of my romantic-comedy Scrambled Eggs that sells within the first three months of publication, I will donate $1 to charity as well.

   ADDED BONUS: If you email me proof of purchase from Triskelion Publishing, I will enter your name into the contest drawing an additional ten times! (Drawing will occur at the end of this charitable campaign.)

Cynthianna Appel

About Bobbing Around

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

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

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

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

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

Submission Guidelines

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

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

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

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