Bobbing Around

Volume Seven, Number One
July, 2007

Bob Rich's rave  other issues

*About Bobbing Around
  guidelines for contributions
*THREE new recipients of the LiFE Award: Literature for Environment
*Some snippets of philosophy
  What does is take to be an Elder?
  On monogamy, by Maya Reynolds
  The Did list, by Donna Boyette
  Buying a miracle, sent along by Max Shub
  John Howard's new war
  Olympics and crimes against humanity shouldn't co-exist
  Violence begets violence: letter from a survivor.
  Averting water wars in Asia, by Professor Brahma Chellaney
  Ancient Australian water tunnels
  Proof of Climate Change from Dr John James
  A LiFE Award winning book, FREE
*Helping others
  Being an email friend
  Daring to face an audience
  Can't do a thing right
  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, from Dr Russ Harris
  Cancer story continued
  Medical service refused to rape victims?
*For writers
  Bent Lorentzen shows how to promote: Plus+plus
  Books for vision.
*What my friends want you to know
  Child cancer: fighters and heroes
  Acting From The Heart: Australian advocates for asylum seekers tell their stories
  Greenpeace internship scholarships
  Beat of Gaia's Heart: new free newsletter
  The Search For The Million$$$ Ghost
  Cat reads Darrell's newsletter
  Dragon Rampage
  Flight of the Gryphon
  Aydil Vice and her disgustin' hair knots
  The World According to Agents and Editors: a course
  Free Muse Online Writers Conference
  Stumbling Upon my Purpose, by Christopher Chaplin
  Rarity from the Hollow, by Robert Eggleton, reviewed by Darrell Bain
  Footprints in the Snow;Tales of Haunted Russia, by James Choron, reviewed by Carolyn Harris
*The last of the Boys in Blue by James Choron
*Some humour for you:
  A Modern Insanity by Doug Arnold
  A spectacular funeral
*Sizzling summer: free contest, good prizes

Volume 7!

   This is the first issue of the seventh year of 'bobbing around'. Maybe that just shows that I'm too obsessive for my own good? To celebrate the occasion, subscribers can buy any of my available 13 titles for half-price until the next issue. To take advantage of this offer, email me.

   Actually, I don't know how I've found the time to put this issue together. My psychological counselling practice has exploded this year, so much so that I am now working on Saturdays.

   Four clients a day is considered a good load for a psychologist. You need to prepare for a session, then be there for the client during a possibly stormy hour, then write up the case notes, get yourself back to a space you can give from, read up the notes for the next client... and you need the occasional break too. And yet, currently a day with only six clients is light. Some days, I've had nine. I've made the deliberate decision to accept any new clients and have the first session within a week of contact.

   The results on my own well-being? I am fine. I've thought about it, and I maintain my inner strength and peace through 13 different measures. In November this year, I'll be running a workshop for other psychologists titled 'Overload Without Burnout'.

   In the way of the world, my editing activities have also become busier than usual. I've caught up now, but a couple of weeks ago there were four full-size books waiting for my attention. Now I have a bit of a lull, though I am expecting several, so it's the time to sneak in a 'bobbing around'.

This kind of email makes my day...

Good morning Bob

   Just to say I found your excellent web site by chance, as was feeling pretty desperate when I got up this morning. I've been through a very stressful time the past couple of years, and although always bounce back, unfortunately it doesn't take much to make me think I am "losing it" again.

   I have put your site in my Favourites on the PC, and know it will be an enormous help at difficult times.

Thank you so much.
Marion, UK

   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.

THREE new recipients for the LiFE Award

   Since the last issue, three publications qualified for the LiFE Award: Literature For Environment.

   The first is possibly the best book published by Twilight Times, The New Bedford Samurai by Anca Vasopolos. I edited this book, and noted its passion for reducing the killing of marine life. It is non-fiction -- indeed, in her last email, Anca told me she was giving a talk in the library where its hero's Samurai swords and things are displayed -- but with a few twists. No novel could be more gripping.

   Valley of the Raven by Ken Ramirez is a young adults' tale in which a group of youngsters return to the old Native American values to defend the land against depredation.

   And the most recent recipient is a first: a DVD rather than a book. It is Tilting at Treadmills by John Benton. If you care about our impact on the environment but are wondering what to do, you should look at this DVD. John interviews world-known experts such as Amory Lovins, and presents a positive and empowering message.


What does it take to be an Elder?
On monogamy by Maya Reynolds
The Did list by Donna Boyette
Buying a miracle sent along by Max Shub

What does it take to be an Elder?

by a Koori (Australian Aboriginal) woman in northern NSW, who wishes to stay anonymous
   An Elder is thoughtful, strong and also compassionate. An Elder condemns all kinds of violence and abuse, not just those kinds that is convenient for them to condemn. An Elder stands up for the weak and speaks truth to power.

   An Elder is not perfect, but neither is he or she a hypocrite. An Elder recognises that his or her strength comes from a long line of ancestors and their accumulated wisdom. An Elder is always learning.

   An Elder is somebody you can expect a 'fair go' from. An Elder will not attack you when you least expect it. Instead, an Elder will stand up for you when you most need it.

   An Elder will definitely not take responsibility for you, but will encourage you to take responsibility for yourself and stands alongside you while you do so.

   An Elder knows that true dignity comes from within, and that nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. An Elder is slow to judge, bur fierce in his or her defence of the oppressed.

   An Elder understands that our history of colonisation has left many of us hurting and afraid. An Elder will not manipulate our hurt and fear, but will help us to see that we can overcome it together.

   An Elder has a vision for a better and more peaceful community. An Elder lives in a way that makes this community happen.

   Elders do not hit women or children. Elders do not rape men, women or children. Elders do not tolerate the abuse of any man, woman or child in their community, EVER.

   Are you an Elder? Or are you just old?

On monogamy
Maya Reynolds

Maya and I both belong to a number of writers' email groups, and I really liked her contribution to a discussion about monogamy. Here it is:

   I think the real issue is time. Two people come together at a point in time when they each have specific needs they believe the other can fill. Sometimes it's a simple economic exchange: one provides security and the other provides companionship. Other times, it's a genetic exchange: both want children. Sometimes it's a social exchange: the partners share common goals and interests.

   As time passes, those needs change. So do the people. Unless both partners are growing in same direction or are VERY committed to staying together, it's not surprising that their relationship should change, too. Tracy's reference to religion or social constraints helping to preserve a monogamous relationship is probably close to the mark for many people. How many times have you heard someone say, "I'd never marry him/her today"?

   With our lifespans increasing, it's possible to be married for more than sixty years. That's a long time to be with one person.

   I know I've been deeply in love with three men in my lifetime. Each loved me, but each loved a different woman because the woman I was at eighteen was not the woman I was at twenty-seven, nor the woman I was at forty-two.

   I don't think monogamy is unnatural. Nor do I think a belief in monogamy is unrealistic. I think a belief that nothing ever changes (or should change) is.

   Life is change. Unless we are willing to adapt to it, we're likely to be left behind--by a partner, a job, our friends or our children.


The Did list
by Donna Boyette

   Don't keep a To-do list, keep a Did list instead.
The things you don't do stay undone when you're dead.
What you plan to do won't matter unless done.
Things you don't do are recalled by no one.

   So keep a Did list and review it each day.
If the list is empty, give your TV away.

   I plan to take my own advice and get serious. I'll have to try harder -- we already don't watch TV. Wish me well!

Buying a miracle
sent along by Max Shub

   A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet.

   She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes.

   Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

   She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

   "And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

   "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick...and I want to buy a miracle."

   "I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

   "His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

   "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

   "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

   The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

   " I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

   "How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

   "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly.

   "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

   "Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. "

   He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need."

   That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

   Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

   "That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

   Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle dollar and eleven the faith of a little child.

   In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need.

   A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. I know you'll keep the ball moving!

   Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!

   A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you've granted to me.

   Today I pass the friendship ball to you.

   Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.


  • When you are sad....I will dry your tears.
  • When you are scared....I will comfort your fears.
  • When you are worried.....I will give you hope.
  • When you are confused....I will help you cope.
  • And when you are lost....And can't see the light, I shall be your beacon.....Shining ever so bright.
  • This is my oath.....I pledge till the end.
  • Why you may ask?.....Because you're my friend.
    Signed: GOD


       I believe it's OK to send it to more than 10 so I didn't really count.


    John Howard's new war
    Olympics and crimes against humanity shouldn't co-exist
    Violence begets violence: letter from a survivor

    John Howard's new war

       There is a Federal election looming in Australia. As on the last two such occasions, Prime Minister John Howard has looked around at someone to hate, fear and despise, then pointed the bone.

       At first, he tried union officials, but Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has outsmarted him by expelling any naughty ones from the Labor Party. But then, a long-in-the-coming report was published about sexual abuse and violence in remote northern Aboriginal communities.

       There certainly is sexual abuse and violence in those places, and certainly, something needs to be done about them. But there is sexual violence everywhere in the community. For example, I have provided therapy to 8 or 10 women who had escaped a particular so-called Christian sect, in which men justify the forcing of sex on young girls by their father, brothers, uncles, in the name of the Bible. All of these women were severely traumatised by the church-going, Bible-studying males in their families.

       There is sexual violence in many ordinary middle-class families, in outback communities, both Aboriginal and white, in the cities, and among those with more money than they can spend. I've had clients who were the daughters of millionaires, so I know.

       But certainly, women and children in remote Aboriginal communities need to be protected from those men who abuse them.

       The report on the situation made over 90 recommendations on how to achieve this. Instead of following these recommendations, or examining them in the usual way of Australian politics, John Howard launched a war: a spectacular, media-grabbing project that will cost a huge amount of money, cause a lot of suffering, and probably achieve nothing.

       Completely against the approach recommended by the report, we now have policemen and doctors invading these communities without prior consultation. They will impose actions regardless of the opinions of the locals. It is a prime example of a paternalistic, arrogant, white-man attempt at a solution to a problem that requires the cooperation of those affected, mutual respect, patience and compassion.

       But after all, the issue is not one of protecting the women and children. It is one of stigmatising Aboriginals everywhere, of pretending that violence and abuse are Aboriginal problems, of focusing attention away from the Government's appalling record on human rights, environmental conservation and basic decency.

       I know a great many Aboriginal people. Many of them have been sexually, physically and/or emotionally abused by other Aboriginals -- or by white people.

       But the problem is not one of race. It is rather a problem of European-based culture. There was no such behaviour before the invasion of Europeans into Australia. Destroy a person's culture, treat him with contempt, and you will brutalise him, regardless of race. He will turn to alcohol and other drugs, hit out in anger at any handy target, act in all the ways that prejudice can then point at.

       The answer is not to lock offenders in prisons and give paternalistic help to the victims. The answer is to change the system so that Aboriginals can respect themselves, be proud of their wonderful heritage, have the motivation and means to make worthwhile contributions to society, and take charge of their own destiny.

       The people who should police the unacceptable behaviour of some Aboriginals is the Aboriginal community itself. As the report recommended, they are the only ones who have the power to make long-term change.

    Olympics and crimes against humanity shouldn't co-exist

    “Global Human Rights Torch Relay”
    Information And Planning Forum

       The Olympic Games are scheduled in Beijing 14 months from now, while the Chinese Communist Party continues to commit severe human rights violations against its own citizens and in complete disregard of the Olympic Charter.

       The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong is particularly concerned with the illegal trade in organs harvested from living Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China. This “Human Rights Torch Relay” will travel around the world, including Australia, during the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games to raise awareness of this critical situation. Some of the other human rights issues include persecution of Christians outside the state-controlled churches, Tibetan Buddhists and ethnic minority groups, as well as the existence of slave labour camps and child labour within industry.

       We welcome all concerned individuals and organisations to participate in this global initiative. How many lives could have been spared if the world had challenged the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Each one of us now has a chance and a responsibility to ensure that history is never repeated.

    Date: 18th July 2007 Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm
    Venue: Thomas More Centre, 582 Queensberry St, North Melbourne
    Contact: RSVP Peta Evans Ph: 9306 9753
    Forums/Meetings will also be held in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth.

    Violence begets violence: letter from a survivor

       Two years ago I was on a bus that was blown up by terrorists. Three months in traction and six operations later, I'm asking for your help to prevent this from happening to any more Australians.

       These recent attacks in the UK have not only brought back some really painful memories, they've prompted me to make a television ad -- and we need your help to show it. Please watch my urgent plea here:

       I thought going to war in Iraq was supposed to make us safer, not put us in more danger. And now we're hearing it was for their oil. Some of you may have seen me ask John Howard from my hospital bed whether he thought what happened to me was a result of the war in Iraq.

       I did not think then that two years later we would be still be in this position, where I feel compelled to ask Mr Howard the same question. Yet here we are -- our military presence is not making the Iraqis any safer; it is not making Australians any safer. Why, exactly, are we there then?

       I want to help the Iraqi people, but not at the end of a gun. Our involvement in the violence in Iraq will only lead to more violence. Why can't we instead spend the money on reconstruction programs?

       I'm no expert, but I do know something about the real cost of terrorism. Please, help me tell this to the Prime Minister.

    Thank you,
    Louise Barry
    Survivor, 2005 London Bombings
    GetUp member


    Averting water wars in Asia by Professor Brahma Chellaney
    Ancient Australian water tunnels
    Proof of Climate Change from Dr John James
    A LiFE Award winning book FREE from Sonny Whitelaw

    Averting water wars in Asia
    by Professor Brahma Chellaney

    This essay is copied with permission from the International Herald Tribune. Brahma Chellaney, a professor of strategic studies at the privately funded Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, is the author, most recently, of Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan.

       The sharpening Asian competition over energy resources has obscured another danger: Water shortages in much of Asia are becoming a threat to rapid economic modernization.

       Water has emerged as a key issue that could determine if Asia is headed toward cooperation or competition. No country would influence that direction more than China, which controls the Tibetan plateau, the source of most major rivers of Asia.

       Tibet's vast glaciers and high altitude have endowed it with the world's greatest river systems, a lifeline to the world's two most-populous states -- China and India -- as well as to Bangladesh, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, Cambodia, Pakistan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries make up 47 percent of the global population.

       Yet Asia is a water-deficient continent. Although home to more than half of the human population, Asia has less fresh water -- 3,920 cubic meters per person -- than any continent other than the Antarctica.

       The looming struggle over water resources in Asia has been underscored by the spread of irrigated farming, water-intensive industries and a growing middle class that wants high water-consuming comforts like washing machines and dishwashers. Household water consumption in Asia is rising rapidly, although several major economies there are acutely water-stressed.

       The specter of water wars in Asia is also being highlighted by climate change and environmental degradation in the form of shrinking forests and swamps that foster a cycle of chronic flooding and droughts. The Himalayan snow melt that feeds Asia's great rivers could be accelerated by global warming.

       While intrastate water-sharing disputes have become rife in several Asian countries -- from India and Pakistan to Southeast Asia and China -- it is the potential interstate conflict over river-water resources that should be of greater concern.

       This concern arises from Chinese attempts to dam or redirect the southward flow of river waters from the Tibetan plateau, starting point of the Indus, the Mekong, the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Salween, the Brahmaputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej Rivers. Among Asia's mighty rivers, only the Ganges starts from the Indian side of the Himalayas.

       The uneven availability of water within some nations has given rise to grand ideas -- from linking rivers in India to diverting the fast-flowing Brahmaputra northward to feed the arid areas in the Chinese heartland. Interstate conflict, however, will surface only when an idea is translated into action to benefit one country at the expense of a neighboring one.

       As water woes have intensified in its north owing to intensive farming, China has increasingly turned its attention to the bounteous water reserves that the Tibetan plateau holds. It has dammed rivers, not just to produce hydropower but also to channel the waters for irrigation and other purposes, and is presently toying with massive inter-basin and inter-river water transfer projects.

       After building two dams upstream, China is building at least three more on the Mekong, stirring passions in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Several Chinese projects in west-central Tibet have a bearing on river-water flows into India, but Beijing is reluctant to share information.

       Having extensively contaminated its own major rivers through unbridled industrialization, China now threatens the ecological viability of river systems tied to South and Southeast Asia in its bid to meet its thirst for water and energy.

       The idea of a Great South-North Water Transfer Project diverting river Tibetan waters has the backing of President Hu Jintao, a hydrologist. The first phase of this project calls for building 300 kilometers of tunnels and channels to draw waters from the Jinsha, Yalong and Dadu rivers, on the eastern rim of the Tibetan plateau.

       In the second phase, the Brahmaputra waters may be rerouted northward, in what be tantamount to the declaration of water war on lower-riparian India and Bangladesh. In fact, Beijing has identified the bend where the Brahmaputra forms the world's longest and deepest canyon just before entering India as holding the largest untapped reserves for meeting its water and energy needs.

       The future of the Tibetan plateau's water reserves is tied to ecological conservation. As China's hunger for primary commodities has grown, so too has its exploitation of Tibet's resources.

       And as water woes have intensified in several major Chinese cities, a group of ex-officials have championed the northward rerouting of the Brahmaputra waters in a book titled, "Tibet's Waters Will Save China."

       Large hydro projects and reckless exploitation of mineral resources already threaten Tibet's fragile ecosystems, with ore tailings from mining operations beginning to contaminate water sources.

       While China seems intent on aggressively pursuing upstream projects on interstate rivers, the forestalling of water wars demands a cooperative Asian framework among basin states to work toward common ownership of the resources.

    Ancient Australian water tunnels

       Brad Moggridge is a Principal Research Officer at the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation. His recently completed Master's research concerns the way Aboriginals accessed water in the driest continent.

       People have lived sustainably in Australia for somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 years, and yet 70% of the continent is desert. People don't realise, but modern roads follow the tracks of Aboriginals -- and these went from water source to water source. To the urban eye, there is often no indication of water, but the ancient people found it. According to Brad's research, they studied the vegetation, followed dingoes and other animals, even tracked ants underground.

       Often, there was no surface indication of water at all. Then, they accessed this source of life by digging tunnels, sometimes to considerable depths. People would climb down to get water. They went to considerable lengths to protect the water from contamination, and to reduce evaporative losses.

       The evidence for Brad's conclusions ranges from Dreamtime stories and rock art to the records of white missionaries and explorers.

       So what?

       If we could be in tune with the land, and use its resources in a way that maintained them, if we could cut our perceived needs to the minimum and lived for what's important in life instead of material goods, we could also have a sustainable life. There are too many of us to recreate the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, but we can adopt the attitudes that allowed them to survive what to us seems to be a very harsh environment.

    Proof of Climate Change from Dr John James

       In this fully referenced summary of the state of the planet, (link is to a PDF file) we show that dangerous levels of global warming at 2 degrees celsius cannot now be avoided. The life-style changes needed internationally to avoid this are so wide-reaching that immediate and effective and action is unlikely.

       The report contains references to all the major sources we have used for the information in these newsletters and on our site.

       We have presented a similar report Climate Change and National Security to both state and Federal governments. (Also a PDF file.) Our recommendation is that we have to now prepare for the inevitable by involving every citizen and every stakeholder so everybody will understand how they will each be affected at 2°C and what they can do individually. What does 2°C mean?

       When everybody faces their personal truth, this will build a grass-roots movement that will overwhelm political and industrial opposition.

    A LiFE Award winning book FREE
    from Sonny Whitelaw

       In 2005, I explored the wide-ranging outfall of climate change in my novel, The Rhesus Factor. The novel won the LiFE Award, briefly visited a few bestseller lists, and inspired a politician to urge every member of the Queensland State Parliament to read a copy so that they, too, might grasp the real meaning of climate change (the full text of this speech is available on my web site).

       I've been concerned about the social as well as environmental issues surrounding climate change since my postgrad studies in the subject at Sydney University in 1980. Since then, I've published over a hundred articles and several novels, with a further two novels scheduled for UK, US and Australian release in 2007.

       For reasons that I've explained in the inside cover, my publisher and I have just released The Rhesus Factor as a freely available e-book.

       By free, we mean that you can download and share it at no charge, no cost, gratis. There are no strings to this, no forms to fill in, no obligations or competitions to enter, and no requests for your personal details or for financial contributions or remunerations. I have revisited the premise for this story in a later novel, and may do so again (hence it's marketed as part of a 'series'), however The Rhesus Factor, is a complete, stand-alone story currently available as a paperback from the usual outlets.

       You can download The Rhesus Factor from my website as a PDF file. It's also freely available in several of the latest version e-reader book formats from my publisher.

       So, why are we giving away The Rhesus Factor? Our reasons are straightforward. In the last twelve months, the complex issues resulting from climate change have shifted rapidly from the realms of science fiction to painful reality. Understandably, many are unable to grasp exactly what the short and long-term implications are for them and their loved ones. As a rule, before people are willing to act to save themselves, they need a clear vision of the dangers and of the consequences of ignoring those dangers. While science describes our world through facts and figures, art and literature describes our world in metaphorical ways, by allowing us to see with our hearts what our minds sometimes have trouble fathoming. By making The Rhesus Factor freely available, my Canadian publisher, Deron Douglas, (who footed the bill for this venture) and I hope that a greater number of people might better understand the real meaning of climate change and its implications, while producing this novel as an e-book will leave the barest possible carbon footprint in its wake.

       At this critical juncture in human history, all of us--artists, scientists, and policy makers--have a moral obligation to our children and grandchildren to address this most urgent of issues. Nature is rewriting the story of our planet, but she is only doing so under duress. If we don't all pitch in now using whatever skills we have, we may find ourselves written out of the story entirely.

       We hope you will enjoy this free edition of The Rhesus Factor and invite you to distribute the novel, or the link to where it can be downloaded, to others. You may also distribute a copy from your website or blog, conditional on the novel remaining intact with all credits, cover and copyright details unaltered.

    ISBN-10: 1-55404-237-2
    ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-237-1
    e-Book Length: 315 Pages
    Published: June 2007
    Imprint: Double Dragon Publishing
    Download:(no charge, PDF format)
    (no charge, multi e-book formats)

    Helping Others

    Being an email friend
    Daring to face an audience
    Can't do a thing right
    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy from Dr Russ Harris

    Being an email friend

    I have made a blunder, one I am terribly sorry about. Someone sent me this email, and I wrote the reply -- then I discovered that I'd deleted the original, and it's lost. I have no way of sending my reply to this fine young person.

       Hey, just wanted to write to you in hopes that I'd get a response on to what to do. A really good friend of mine is deeply depressed and nothing I do seems to help him. My friends say I can't do anything and I'm hurting myself in trying but I feel I need to. He has what's called chronic fatigue syndrome and rarely leaves his house, usually it's weeks before he will venture out. This disease makes it so that he's always exhausted and cannot do much of anything outside. He also has what is a side effect of that, depression. I met this kid through an online game and he lives in a totally different country so I can't do a whole bunch beside talk to him. He is only 16, and his parents don't seem to be around for him much. He's been to a few doctors but they usually seem to just give him a few drugs that don't do much and then get rid of him, or so it seems. I've told him to go back and tell them what they gave didn't help but he is incredibly shy and scared of the doctors. I am the main person he talks to and I feel I can do nothing. He believes nobody can help him. He threatened suicide last night, and I didn't know what to do. I feel so helpless as I am only 21 myself. If you have any advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. -Steph

    Dear Steph,

       You are right -- and your friends are also right.

       You are right: how can you not do everything in your power to support him? It is common decency to do our best to help anyone in trouble, and this is not just anyone, but a person you care for, even if you have never met. I am very glad he has you as an anchor to life.

       And anyway, that's what life is really about. Jesus, the Buddha, all the great religions tell us that we are on this planet in order to learn the lesson of Love. So, by doing your best for your friend, you are discharging your purpose, and moving toward the goal of life.

       At the same time, your friends are right too. He is travelling his journey, and you are travelling yours. Even if you lived in the same house, you could not make his choices for him. How he lives, whether he lives at all, is his responsibility not yours.

       So, if you have done the best you can, and he still makes a choice you find distressing (such as staying depressed indefinitely), then all you can do is to accept and respect it.

       That's how I cope with my work as a counselling psychologist. If one of my clients were to commit suicide, I would feel terrible of course. I would examine my history with this person to see what I could have possibly done to be more useful.

       But, at the same time, I would know that this tragedy is not my tragedy. As a student nurse, the first lesson I was taught was: "It's not your pain. You are not there to share it, but to relieve it." That's how I respond to the pain my clients bring to me. If I join someone in depression about their circumstances, or share their anxiety or anger, then I cannot help to lead them out of it.

       OK, what I've written so far is for you. What about him?

       The worst thing about depression is that it tells you the lie that nothing can help, nothing will ever change, you will always be in this black pit. And this IS a lie. I used to believe it about myself. Nowadays, I don't get depressed, even when things happen that used to have me crash for weeks.

       If I could do it, he can do it.

       Get him to go to and look around. One page he'll find very helpful is "First Aid for Depression", which is a chapter from a book I am writing.

       He should stay away from the doctors who only want to give him pills, and contact a psychologist. Psychologists have many highly effective tools for dealing with depression.

       And I feel honoured that you asked me. Maybe, between the two of us we can help him to start a new, positive and contented life.


    Daring to face an audience

    Hi Bob,

       I have a mild degree of autism and whenever I am under pressure my head jerks around and I have these facial tics. It looks ridiculous and I hate it. Now I have published a book and want to be able to talk to the media, potential buyers and stuff, but I'll make a complete fool of myself. Can hypnotism or something help?

       Chris, you can get rid of them yourself. This has nothing to do with autism, but is a reflection of fear of the situation. You can deal with it in a number of ways:

    1. In my book Anger and Anxiety: Be in charge of your emotions and control phobias, I describe a way of learning relaxation. This will give you a switch for anxiety. so, just before the speech, you switch it off.

    2. Expose yourself to public speaking situations that do not matter. You will become used to standing in front of an audience, and it becomes non-scary.

    3. Focus on the task, not the worry about what impression you might make. It's just a job you are doing. How you come across, whether people are judging you or not, is irrelevant.

    4. Talk to one person at a time. Say something to that person while looking in her eyes. Then shift to a different part of the room and say something to another person while looking him in the eyes. This does two things. You are just talking to one person -- surely that's not scary? Second, you get a response, and that's encouraging.

    5. Use some humor. When you get up, say, "You know folks, I'm terrified. And when that happens, my head starts twitching like this, and my mouth jumps all over the place" -- and do an exaggerated act of your tics. The audience laughs, not at you but at your humor -- and you'll be among friends.

       Choose one or all of the above.

    Can't do a thing right


       I hope you can help me with the following problem that I have been having:

       For the past 20 years (I am in my early 30s) I have had those near and dear to me say when I have made a mistake that it wasn't my fault or that these things happen, like that it is fine for me to make so many mistakes (more than 5 a day most days). A recent example was that my partner and I were purchasing an LCD TV and there was a choice between 2 and my partner asked my advice and I selected one. Later on I found out that the sport coverage did not look as good as it should and therefore I realised my mistake. I apologised of course but later when I asked for help to stop making so many mistakes, my partner stated that I only thought I made too many mistakes (including the TV) and should not be so hard on myself and that I needed help to stop thinking that I have mucked up. My question is how do I stop making so many mistakes, I am sick of people covering for me when I did not ask them to.

       A booklet or similar would be fantastic.

    Dear Mary,

       I don't have a booklet on this particular problem, but it is the kind of thing many people suffer from. Perhaps all of us do from time to time.

       My version used to be "I can never do anything right," "I am a stuffup, if there is a wrong way of doing it, or even if there isn't, I'll do it that way." As a result of believing this about myself, I succeeded at everything I had a go at, and kept doing better than anyone else expected.

       There was a particular time when I was a student, that I remember as very lonely, and full of this feeling of constant failure. I was part of a group at the time, and a lady from then recently found me on the internet and sent me an email. She told me how she used to admire the way I was into so many things and doing so well. I remember her as intelligent and very attractive. I never spoke much to her, because I felt too faulty. If only... :)

       OK, whose opinion of me was correct? My view that I could do nothing right, or hers that I did better at most things than most others?

       The objective evidence bears her out. I was wrong.

       I strongly suspect that the same is true in your case. Both for you now and me as a young man, the inner perception sets up a filter so we focus in on the negative. Anything positive is ignored as if it didn't happen, put down to luck or the help of others, dismissed as unimportant, or quickly forgotten.

       People like us also have double standards. It's OK for others to be fallible, to make mistakes. It is terrible if we do the same. So, maybe a good project for you is to study the mistakes of others, particularly people you admire for their competence. At the moment, you are very busy counting your own mistakes. Apply the same observational skills to notice the mistakes of these other people. You may well find that you do no worse than them.

       Here is a third point. You find making mistakes to be distressing, because when they happen you feel bad emotions, then you feel bad emotions about feeling bad about the mistakes, then you feel bad about feeling bad about feeling bad... a bit like some of those nursery rhymes. When you make a mistake, it's OK to accept it as a mistake. You are allowed to be annoyed with yourself. But then, why feel bad about feeling annoyed? The first is a good negative, because it forces you to take note of what had happened, and to learn from it so you do better the next time. But the rest of the anguish does nothing but distress you further.

       So, instead of beating yourself up about your mistakes, simply accept one when it happens. One of my mottoes (now) is: "There is no such thing as a mistake. There are only learning opportunities." So, if you feel faulty because you made a mistake, just think to yourself, "Ha, here is that 'faulty me' story again. Now, what can I learn from this situation?" See: keep the good distress that'll help you to improve the way you do things, and let the rest go.

       Hope this helps you. Let me know.


    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
    from Dr Russ Harris

       "Mindfulness" is a hot topic in Western psychology, increasingly recognised as an effective way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness, enhance emotional intelligence, and undermine destructive emotive, cognitive, and behavioural processes.

       Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a powerful mindfulness-based therapy with empirical support in a wide range of disorders, from anxiety, depression and PTSD, to chronic pain, anorexia and substance abuse. It is also a very effective model for coaching, and it is increasingly being used by organizational psychologists for a wide variety of workplace issues. Effective with individuals, couples and groups, ACT helps clients to live in the present moment, connect with their values, access a transcendent sense of self, and effectively handle painful thoughts, feelings, memories, sensations and urges.

       ACT is very efficient. In one published study, hospital re-admission rates for chronic schizophrenic patients were reduced by 50%, with only 4 hours of therapy! Other published studies have shown that ACT training increases therapist effectiveness and reduces burnout.

       Dr Russ Harris is the foremost provider of ACT training in Australia. His highly-acclaimed workshops will give you a solid foundation in ACT, and a variety of powerful and effective new tools for therapy. Those same tools can help you reduce stress and burnout, and increase work satisfaction. Indeed, many participants report profound positive life changes following a workshop.

       The fee for a 2-day workshop is $375 ($325 for students). This includes a free copy of Russ's ACT-based self-help book The Happiness Trap, plus extensive reading materials, numerous client handouts, and a CD recording of key mindfulness skills.

       To register for a workshop, or to find out more details, visit
    Or send an e-mail to:
    Or tel: 0425 782 055


    Cancer story continued
    Medical service refused to rape victims?

    Cancer story continued

    The last two issues have included reports from Carolyn Harris about her breast cancer support group Chinwag. Here is her latest:

       Our cancer thread has reached 10,000 posts from women with cancer and we will be two years old on the 18th of this month. Our only man who is 72 and has lost two wives to cancer has made a journal of all the posts up to the 10,000 and when he has also managed to do a short history of all our stories we are going to put it on CDs and make it available to our members and anyone else who is interested free of charge.

       If we claimed any month eBay would want a cut, and anyway it is not for money but for love and the hope that many other people may gain from reading out input.

       A number of what I call 'sundry' readers have commented to me that they expected all 'doom and gloom' from our thread and have been delighted at the amount of love and understanding we all extend to, not only eachother, but to everyone who comes in for a chat.

       Of course we have had our tears too and have recently lost a Mother of one of our members, and the husband of another who has been ill for a long time, we send flowers and love and support and move forward again.

       I am so amazed that something I started two years ago with just the feeling that we should take cancer out of the cupboard and talk about it has done so much good.

       It has been wonderful.

    Medical service refused to rape victims?
    from Lillian Cauldwell

       Lillian runs Recently, she interviewed me, the topic being how individuals like you and I can minimize our contribution to climate change, and why we should bother. Her archives contain many more interesting, significant interviews, and you should go and browse at her web site.

       She is also a writer, and has a blog at Author's Den, where, again, she presents carefully researched articles about matters of social importance. She calls it Speak Up & Be Counted!

       She writes:

       I plan on presenting articles about subjects that often are off the beaten path because our political, religious, and news stations decided to drop the ball concerning them. I also invite you, the reader, to become involved in my articles or stories and share or volunteer some of your own crises that you believe must be kept in front of the media, public, and the world.

       The first story/article deals with doctors and/or hospitals who refuse medical treatments, referrals, or prescriptions to victims of rape.

       Please visit the blog and let me hear you roar!

       My next topic will be Homelessness and why it isn't a Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter Holiday public relations event any more. So, stay tuned and please keep on coming back.

       I promise that reading this blog will be worth your time, patience, and curiosity. In fact, I hope to draw in a lot of disgruntled people and start a grass roots movement in all of these stories/articles.

       After all, baby steps DO change the world.

       There will be a tie-in with Passionate Internet Voices Talk Radio's new talk radio program called "What's Happening?" which starts July 11. Keep in mind, you'll hear "What's Happening" at the Free Radio Blog, the podcast at and read the blog at typepad. It's what I call a coordinated effort to wake up our complacent population and alert them to the fact that there's a whole other world out there, unexplored and untapped.

       Let's go there together and do the impossible with one baby step at a time.

    For writers

    Bent Lorentzen shows how to promote: Plus+plus
    Books for vision

    Bent Lorentzen shows how to promote: Plus+plus

    Hi Dr. Bob
    (is this how you wish to be addressed?)

       I want to thank you from the depths of my soul for your exceptional work on the dragon saga, Krona. I cannot recall in my life having ever promoted any sort of service anywhere, but have done so for the first time now. You can see what I wrote at

       Together with my publisher, Lida, I've placed the first chapter there with a little twist... a twist sort of involving you... both to promote the book's publication and as a way to make that first scene with the little insect waking up made better.

       Please feel free to use anything I've written for an endorsement and I'll also be happy to furnish you with a picture.

       I honestly am flabbergasted over how good you are, and can only slightly imagine the amount of dedicated work you put into this editing you do.

    Best wishes,
    Bent Lorentzen

    At his web site:

       My publisher has given me the right to preview the first chapter, and I'll do so here, but with one stipulation. As I wrote in a small article-response to Eric Goodman's article (Literary Magazine Editor Inside Secret) at his, the first few paragraphs are often the key to success with a work of literature. Often, even the best of books is put down if it doesn't instantly grab you on page one when you open it in a bookstore after a long day with the kids or at work. My publisher wondered, I guess, if her intuitive take on my very raw draft had been right on, so she sent it to this editing service called Dr. Bob's. Actually, a living guy by the name of Dr. Bob wrote back to my publisher with this statement after critiquing the mechanical stuff: "I love this story. The dragons very quickly became real people to me. Smooka grew from a faintly ridiculous blunderer into a wonderful hero. This is one of the most imaginative, delightful books I've read in a long time. I think it is an award-winner."

       So now we come to the point of this. He had two major critiques for the book, and one of them was the opening scene in Chapter One, which you are about to read. This very germane-to-the-plot "hook" was written entirely from the POV of an insect, which Dr. Bob felt might be hard for many readers to honestly identify with, though he did write this: "This is a very intriguing start. It's difficult to get into the mind of a non-human creature, but I think you've done it well. However, this scene is not a very good hook in that most readers will find it difficult to identify with this character."

       By the way, I'm not one to advertise services but will do so now for the first time: Dr. Bob's editing service -- Bob Rich also practices psychotherapy Down Under -- and has floored me with his insight into the inner workings of my book. Initially, I had no trust in what this Dr. Bob was even after doing a quick Google search when my publisher suggested she send him the raw manuscript. For God's sake, I hadn't even had the opportunity to really finish my own editing. I have to say I have never experienced an editor as good as Dr. Bob, and I've worked for newspapers and magazines around the world.

    Books for Vision

    Pamela DePompo-Klein ( is inviting writers to donate a book to a very worthy cause. She invites you to join celebrity donors Paul Newman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matt Dillonin in helping to transform lives.

       New Eyes for the Needy helps the less fortunate see clearly by providing new eyeglasses to poor Americans and distributing donated recycled glasses overseas. We are proud of our 75-year legacy of providing clear vision to those in need. The prescription eyeglasses we provide enable children to succeed in school, senior citizens to continue living independently, and working-poor adults to maintain employment.

       In the past year, New Eyes has purchased more than 5,500 pairs of eyeglasses for poor Americans. In addition, we distributed 350,000+ pairs of recycled eyeglasses to indigent people around the world.

       We will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of New Eyes with our "Hocus Focus" gala on Saturday, October 20, 2007 at the Beacon Hill Club in Summit, New Jersey. The evening features dinner, live musical entertainment, and live and silent auctions.

       Our auction will include autographed children's books, and we respectfully ask you to contribute a signed copy of one of your books. Gala proceeds will be utilized to purchase prescription glasses for needy Americans, helping them maintain clear vision and self-sufficiency.

       Thank you very much for your consideration.

    Pamela DePompo-Klein, Executive Director, New Eyes for the Needy
    549 Millburn Avenue, PO Box 332
    Short Hills, NJ 07078

    What my friends want you to know

    Child cancer: fighters and heroes from Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos.
    Acting From The Heart: Australian advocates for asylum seekers tell their stories
    Greenpeace internship scholarships
    Beat of Gaia's Heart: new free newsletter
    The Search For The Million$$$ Ghost
    Cat reads Darrell's newsletter
    Dragon Rampage
    Flight of the Gryphon
    Aydil Vice and her disgustin' hair knots
    The World According to Agents and Editors: a course
    Free Muse Online Writers Conference

    Lanie Shanzyra Rebancos

       Is your child diagnosed with cancer? Do you know someone in this battlefield? Maybe lost a friend or a child to cancer? Do you have cancer? Child Cancer: Fighters and Heroes a Poetry Anthology by/for kids with cancer and their families and friends, caregivers and doctors.

       Please send 3-5 poems in a body of an email with a short bio (4-5 sentences) and on the subject line type Child Cancer Submission. If you’re dedicating the poem to someone, please indicate their names and what cancer they have. Everyone is welcome to submit their poems, especially the ones who are involved: KIDS WITH CANCER. Kids can also submit their drawings in jpeg form. Send in your poems and drawings to Contributors will get their complimentary copy as an ebook. Printed version will be published at You can start submitting your poems and drawings now. No deadline yet.

    Jack Smit

    Acting From The Heart: Australian advocates for asylum seekers tell their stories
    Edited by Sarah Mares and Louise Newman
    $24.95 plus shipping
    For more information and to order:

       Over 50 people who reflect the diversity of this movement describe how and why they became involved.

       The contributors shared a sense of disbelief and outrage that 'Australian values' suddenly appeared to include callous self-interest and a disregard for human suffering. The detention of over 4000 children could not easily be seen as necessary or 'a fair go'.

       For some, the 'refugee issue' has become a defining personal stance, one that has engaged and divided families and communities. Acting From The Heart shows the hardship and commitment behind this extensive grassroots political movement. Stories, poems and political cartoons by Australia's foremost award-winning cartoonists make up this powerful and provocative book.

       The refugee question has become a moral debate and, for some, a way of reasserting our essential human values. Acting From The Heart represents a powerful contribution to the ongoing debate about the ethics of our nation and the politics of institutionalised inhumanity worldwide.

       "An illuminating and at times harrowing reflection on the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia, Acting From The Heart is a reminder to each of us that individual action does make a difference. The inspirational stories give voice to those who have suffered under and those who have fought against unfair and indiscriminate government policy. Compelling reading for all Australians as a reminder of a continuing injustice that demands attention."
    Rev Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision

       "The heart breaks in silence to read these stories of courage and endurance in a struggle against cruelty and indifference. These are true stories; stories which capture a shameful period in Australia's history; stories which record the efforts of ordinary Australians to resist the callous policies of a heartless government. I knew many of these stories already before I read the book, but I was moved to tears of anger and shame reading them, remembering them. The authors of these essays exemplify the very best of Australian values: the government policies that made their efforts necessary exemplify the very worst. We will be remembered for this."
    Julian Burnside QC

    Jack H Smit
    Project SafeCom Inc.
    P.O. Box 364
    Narrogin WA 6312
    phone (08) 9881-5651
    mobile 0417 090 130

    Greenpeace internship scholarships

       Greenpeace is putting the call out for people who are interested in environmental campaigning to apply for our Spring Internship program. Most of the positions are climate change-related, but there is also a Genetic Engineering position available for those keen to get stuck into GE. I (Julien Gronbach) took part in last year's internship program and can testify to the fact that it is a massive learning experience, very intensive and challenging and extremely rewarding!

    See the website .

    Beat of Gaia's Heart: new free newsletter

       “The Beat of Gaia’s Heart” is a free environmental newsletter that will deal with any subject that can help make life better. The newsletter goes live on Saturday, July 7, and will feature in its first issue a lengthy interview with Dr. Jon Hanger, head veterinarian of the Australian Wildlife Hospital. Future issues will include more interviews, articles, resources for green living, book, movie, and music reviews, and suggestions for further reading on environmental, animal, and holistic health issues – everything from alternative medicine to improving the quality of life. Interested parties may read the introduction at my website on the Environment page at, or may subscribe through the same link. You won't be spammed if you subscribe, and although it's copyrighted, you may freely forward the newsletter anywhere you like -- as long as it's forwarded intact. The objective is to share information.

       Disclosure: My latest book, Klassic Koalas: Ancient Aboriginal Tales in New Retellings, contributes all author and artist royalties to the Australian Wildlife Hospital, which was founded in memory of the late Steve Irwin’s mother Lyn and is a major project of Wildlife Warriors Worldwide.

    Lee Barwood

    Heide Kaminski

       Three women, one from Southeastern Michigan, one from Northwestern Ohio, and one from Southern Virginia set out to make this book a reality. They began by going on a premise put forth by The Amazing Randi, that if you could prove to him you were psychic he would pay you a million dollars.

       In the book six women, from an internet chat, agree to meet and help an eccentric millionaire in his quest to find out about ghosts. They become guests in his mansion in North Carolina. Along the way they meet skeptics, unexplained activities, have incredible adventures in the beautiful countryside, and form a bond of friendship.

        Come along on their ghostly trip and enter a world beyond belief. There are surprises around every corner and unforgettable characters. You will wish you could have been right there with them in that mansion.

       The book is available at Barnes and Noble and at

       The authors are available for book signings, lectures, interviews, personal appearances, and radio and television appearances. Contact:

    Darrell Bain

    Hi Folks--


    Darrell Bain. Fictionwise 2005 Author of the Year. Double Eppie Award winner 2007. See for all my books.

    Susie Hawes

    Dragon Rampage
    eBook by Susie Hawes
    Dark Fantasy/Humor

       When the Park Ranger's body is found badly savaged as if slain by a dragon, Royal Guards show up to execute Farquarte for murder. This means war! Farquarte manages to escape and begins a systematic raid and "Authentic Dragon Rampage" on the land. Behind the scenes his friends seek to determine the identity of the real murderer. As Farquarte disrupts daily living in Tenesmus (For a few, permanently), political intrigue and dirty business dealings draw the noose even tighter around his neck. His friends are forced to hide or be imprisoned, and his mate must separate from her family to accompany him in his destructive spree. Wanted outlaws, they travel over the land, hoping that the identity of the true murderer can be found before Farquarte is caught or killed. Will Farquarte's friends solve the mystery and clear his name? Will he or his mate be killed before Farquarte is exonerated? Can Farquarte find a way to free the magical people of Tenesmus from the threat of imprisonment that hangs over them daily?

       Buy the book at Fictionwise.

    Ann Durand

    Title: Flight of the Gryphon
    Author: Ann Durand
    ISBN-10: 1-55404-451-0
    ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-451-1
    Genre: Science Fiction - Romance
    eBook Length: 211 Pages
    Published: May 2007
    Purchase Link:

       In Flight of the Gryphon, Katera would rather die than allow the elders to present her at the altar of Kopa Na An. Her twin sister, Adrella, never returned after her Summons to the altar. Craving an end to her suffering under the merciless rule of Askinadon, Katera plots her own demise. Her plans are foiled when she is rescued by an attractive stranger moments before she attempts to plunge hundreds of feet down a waterfall to a her death. The stranger releases her from her forced servitude to Askinadon by removing the high-tech device implanted in her head. Encouraged by her freedom, and her attraction to this mysterious man, Katera asks him to free her people from Askinason’s unrelenting grip.

       Mikolen is close to completing his 10-year project to repair the device that will return him to his era. Helping Katera can only thwart his efforts by exposing him to his archenemy, Askinadon. The only thing he still needs is the exotic matter stored inside the Orb in Askinadon’s lab. With it, he can end his exile in this hellish world and create a wormhole to complete the stargate that will carry him home. He has only to steal the Orb as his last act in this world. Yet, something compels him to risk it all, to gamble on…what? Mikolen can only look into Katera’s green eyes and wonder.

    Sara Webb Quest

    Hi Bob,

       My middle-grade chapter book, AYDIL VICE & HER DISGUSTIN' HAIR KNOTS, is now published! AND it has a super-lovely review at page's bottom, which totally made my day! AND author Sara Pennypacker of "Clementine" success has agreed to give a short review in the next month! Here's the link to the book and review number-one: By the way, I did all the book's illustrations, if ya can believe it!

       Also, after I interviewed author Sara Pennypacker for PRIME TIME, I created a short "Success" article for WRITER'S WEEKLY.

       Aydil Vice is a clever, determined, middle-grade heroine living as real a life as any five or six year-old. Lovers of Clementine and Junie B. will fall in-love with Aydil and her "knotty" abilities of working through tough situations. But, in Aydil, readers will find a uniquely normal child living a tougher life.

    Enjoy & So Much Love & Thanks,

    Denise Cassino

       The Long Story Short School of Writing announces yet another great writing course available to you. Jennifer Svendsen Delaney is just back from a great conference about agents and editors and has compiled her new-found knowledge into a course to help you get published. The World According to Agents and Editors
    Reports from a Writing Conference and
    Suggestions that Will Get Agents to Read Your Work

       Fresh from the inspiring Backspace Writer’s Conference in New York City, Jennifer Svendsen Delaney conveys insights garnered from direct contact with renowned agents and editors as well as published authors. These lessons are packed with advice and information as well as writing assignments and feedback that will help you to improve your odds of being considered for publication.

       You will find many other courses at their web site.

    Free Muse Online Writers Conference

       The Muse Online Writers Conference served more than 1,000 authors in its inaugural year and registrations are running double that in this, its second year.

       Scheduled for the week of October 8-14, the conference is sponsored by Lea Schizas and Carolyn Howard-Johnson. It was conceived to serve authors who otherwise may not be able attend onsite writers' conferences All workshops and presentations are free of charge for attendees, certainly appealing to emerging and starving authors and those homebound.

       A growing line-up of authors, publishers, editors and others who specialize in different aspects of building writing careers: Promotion, Shel Horowitz; Grant writing: Hope Clark; Publishing, Deron Douglas; Carolyn Howard-Johnson, promotion and editing; the king of writing book proposals, Terry Whalin; the website-for-authors guy, Marshall Turner, and many more. [In fact, Carolyn left ME out! :)]

       The online conference will feature a Virtual Interactive Chat Lounge where attendees will engage in real-time dialogue with presenters,

       Presenter Kathe Gogolewski, says, "This conference is unique in that it offers the same benefits that other conferences but this one has unlimited seating, no crowding, more opportunities for interaction, and a smoke-free environment! This conference represents some of the best that technology has to offer!"

       Learn more at:

       Those interested in attending or presenting should email Lea Schizas at

    Book Reviews

    Stumbling Upon my Purpose by Christopher Chaplin
    Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton, reviewed by Darrell Bain
    Footprints in the Snow;Tales of Haunted Russia by James Choron, reviewed by Carolyn Harris

    Stumbling Upon my Purpose
    by Christopher Chaplin

    This review appeared in the current issue of the Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology.

    Published by
    ISBN 1-897347-03-0
    RRP $17.49

       I am a professional editor as well as a psychologist. Also, I am a professional grandfather, with a love of children. So, the little editing job I received via email was just right: a picture book for very young children who suffer from handicaps of communication.

       The concept and story line were excellent, but clearly this writer was very close to illiterate. Still, I knocked the language into shape for him.

       Since that first little book, I have worked closely with Chris Chaplin on a long list of projects: more picture books, chapter books to be read to older handicapped children, the design and wording of his web site (dedicated to helping multiple-handicapped children), and finally, on a book about how he coped with the problems caused by his son's haemophilia and severe autism -- this book.

       By the time Chris wrote Stumbling Upon My Purpose, his use of English was excellent. In his own way, this black man from the ghetto (his own description) is a genius. He is certainly very good at learning, and incredibly creative.

       The book starts as a very touching, beautifully written story of how Chris coped with little Christopher's problems, how he developed his own unique approach to doing far more than managing them: he has helped the boy to make gains that The Professionals would not believe. Time and again, Chris defied doctors, educators and other experts, went his own way -- and succeeded.

       But the book is not primarily biography. It is an inspiration and example to others who carry the load of caring for a handicapped child. While it is a sample of one, Chris is careful to point out that it is meant to be used as a starting point in developing a unique approach for a unique child. I think it is brilliant for this purpose.

       Many parents despair, feel resentful at fate, and buckle under the strain. Well, all of us are likely to do so from time to time. I am sure Chris has. However, he is a shining example of how to turn adversity into an opportunity for personal growth, giving and love.

       The second half of this little volume contains poems and short essays by Chris on a variety of relevant topics, and an outline of the contribution his various other books can make to the education of a multiple-handicapped child.

    Rarity from the Hollow
    by Robert Eggleton
    reviewed by Darrell Bain

    ISBN 0-9776448-2-0 (.PRC)
    ISBN 0-9776448-3-9 (.PDF)
    Fatcat Press

       Give yourself a treat with something different next time you're ready to read. Try Rarity from the Hollow. It is one of the most unusual novels I've read in a great while. Look in on a dysfunctional family, poverty, child abuse, and the thought processes of a young girl turning the corner from childhood to adolescence, then put them all together in a surreal setting that looks at our society from a distinctly different viewpoint. You'll enjoy the ride with Lacy Dawn and friends and family, but don't expect the ride to be without bumps and enough food for thought to last you a long time.

    Footprints in the Snow;Tales of Haunted Russia
    by James Choron
    reviewed by Carolyn Harris

    ISBN: 978-1-934135-06-8
    $14.95 (current special at Amazon $10.95). Published by Zumaya Books.

       I recently bought this book because I knew that the stories are real. They have been researched, and are stories of real people and what they have experienced.

       This is a delightful journey through Russia, meeting its ordinary people like you and me.

       Every story is unique and beautifully told. Each event has something special about it that pulls you into the next chapter.

       Sometimes you are warmed by the event and sometimes heartbroken as the tale is told and sometimes left with a sense of wonderment that the people who have passed on are still able to make contact and make a difference to someone's life.

       I found his book delightful and interesting and in every way thoroughly enjoyable...

    Carolyn Harris

    Carolyn is now retired and spends a lot of her time gardening, doing craft and reading. Living in southern Tasmania gives her a life that is stress free and enjoyable and releases her mind to enjoy a greater range of ideas and thought.

    The last of the Boys in Blue

    by James Choron

       It was November 11th, 1968, as I stood impatiently in my grandfather's living room tapping my foot while the old man finished putting on his old uniform, the one that he'd lovingly preserved for over 70 years. Next door, Sherry, my soon to be fiance, was doing the same thing with her grandfather, Papa Pete, as was Bobby Adkinson two houses farther down. As I had the biggest car, I picked them all up and took them to the High School football field where everything was getting organized. It was Veteran's Day, they all called it Armistice Day still, and they were going to be in the parade. There were nine old men altogether who had marched off to "hang the Dons" way back in 1898. They were the last of "the boys in blue".

       Those nine men, all of them at least 90, were the last of our county who fought for the United States wearing what they called "dirty-shirt blue" of the "Old Army". Our little town only had a population of around 500 when the United States went to war with Spain. Out of those 500 souls, 32 marched off to follow the drums when Mr. McKinley called. Five never returned. This parade marked the 70th anniversary of that occasion.

       The historians don't pay much attention to the War with Spain now. They make jokes about it at best, or call it American Imperialism at worst, but to us it was our grandparents' war -- the one where they marched off to defend the country that they loved. Those 32 men represented a full 25% of the adult male population of our town, and all but three of those in the right age bracket to go. The remaining three were what they called back then "invalids" and would have gone if they could.

       Only nine of them were left by the fall of 1968, but all were in fair health and marched as a unit, just like they'd done every year since we'd started having parades, the full two miles of the parade route and twice around the town square. They were tough men and always had been. When they started organizing the parade the Veterans of World War One had offered to let them march as part of their formation because there were so few of them. They refused. They made up their own little formation, three columns of three, dwarfed in between the VWWI, VFW formations, and four marching bands. They were there, on their own, representing "their army" and "their war".

       Sherry and I stood in front of the bank on the town square and watched them pass -- nine old men in blue.

       When our grandparents came onto the square and approached the review stand, the band stopped in the middle of the march they were playing, went quiet for just a moment, then with only the drums, flutes and piccolos, began to play "The Girl I Left Behind Me," the unofficial marching song of the "Old Army". The other three bands took the cue and joined them.

       You should have seen those old men. I swear it was like some kind of magic. All of a sudden they didn't look so old any more. They were a little straighter, a little taller and for the life of me, the nine of them suddenly looked like a regiment passing in review. That little knot of kids, me and Sherry included, had never been so proud of our grandparents in our lives. For a fleeting instant, most of us boys saw ourselves in those ranks. We saw ourselves in the faces of the men who had gone before us and given us the name that we bore. I know that the girls all saw our grandmothers, many of them long gone, standing there beside them as they waved handkerchiefs and threw flowers from the bank's sidewalk planter into the path of the parade. The people in the bank didn't care. They stood there with us waving and cheering like everyone else. You just don't see that kind of thing anymore.

       That was the last year they marched. Four of them passed away in the next year and two got too feeble to march that far. The next year, the five survivors rode the parade route in an open car. The next year it was only three of them. Mr. Adkinson died in 1969. Papa Pete died in 1976. Mr. Adams and Mr. Harrison and Mr. Wheeler all passed on in 1979. My Papa left us in 1982 -- he was just a few weeks short of 101 years old and -- he was the last man in our county to be one of the "boys in blue". I'm proud as hell of him still.

    James L. Choron
    Author of "Footprints in the Snow;Tales of Haunted Russia"
    ISBN: 978-1-934135-06-8

    Available NOW from, Barnes&Noble, or by special order from any fine bookseller for $14.95 ($10.95 while the special introductory offer lasts).
    256 pages
    Publisher: Zumaya Press

       For wholesale orders or review copies please contact:

    Some humour for you

    A Modern Insanity
    A Specatcular Funeral

    A Modern Insanity
    by Doug Arnold

    Dear Dr Bob,

       As you have been made aware, my psychiatrist has been forced to cancel my therapy. I wonder if you can help? My situation is that I seem to suffer from a psychosis caused by telephone calls. When the phone rings, I cannot seem to find the calm and positive attributes that Dr Lessen, my previous psychiatrist tried to achieve with me. There was a time of course when I used to think that my friends and loved ones would give me a call to tell me how much they loved me and I used to be first to the hand set. Now, I unfortunately have to report, I seem to be obsessed. This manifests itself with smacking the walls with a baseball bat, chewing the carpet and most disturbingly, playing Black Sabbath records backwards to listen for hidden messages. Were you aware that if you play Paranoid in reverse the lyrics say "Your call is important to us, please hold?" It then plays Greensleeves in the style of an off key electronic string quartet.

       The problem arose some six months ago when my ISP (Internet Service Provider) decided to cut my broadband connection. They continued to charge me for the privilege, but just did not bother to make the connection work. Of course I phoned to complain. After a week of phone calls, some three hours long, I was completely in tune with the structure of their phone system. If you listen to the message and press button one, you are put through to the next level. Press three and wait for the message. If you do not sit and listen to the entire recorded message and wait to be told which button to press, it sends you back to the start. Anyway, at level four there is an option to connect to the complaints department. Well they call it a customer service representative, but who cares for the spin? The phone rings twice, tells you to leave a message and they will get back to you, then the line cuts off leaving you distraught, with a dead line tone.

       Anyway, after I found out they were still charging me I cut the direct debit at the bank and signed up with a new ISP. They started charging me for the phone as well as the internet and yet the account still did not work. So I rang up. After a week on the phone, talking to a bloke who spoke Indian English with a heavy Mumbai accent, called Jim, I left a message with the serious complaints department, voice mail. I was further shocked when a manager, called Jane, who spoke with a London accent, called me up to deal with the problem. She told me that it was the telephone company's fault, not theirs.

       I called BT (British Telecom), who refused to deal with me, because I am not one of their customers and I should call the ISP who bill me for the calls. Three months later I finally cancelled my phone, refused to pay the bill and within two days had a broadband connection, phone and a refund on the telephone calls. This came with an apology for any inconvenience.

       I cracked completely when I had a bill for fifty quid from another ISP whom I was connected to for half a day, until it was realised that I am not one of their customers. I now have one phone, one internet connection, two phone bills and three ISP bills. My wife has moved in to the battered wives home, the kids are in care. The landlord is pursuing an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order) against me and threatening to evict me. That is where the baseball bat comes in.

    Doug writes: I live in Plymouth, Devon, England. Secret Tide is a novel just come to its end of contract in America and will be republished in UK later in the year, along with Wages of Sin, a modern gothic, a black tale of personal growth. The web site is www.writenotes,

    A Spectacular Funeral

    You may need a dictionary for this, but it'll be worth it.

       A cardiologist died and was given an elaborate funeral. A huge heart covered in flowers stood behind the casket during the service.

       Following the eulogy, the heart opened and the casket rolled inside.

       The heart then closed, sealing the doctor in the beautiful heart, forever.

       At that point, one of the mourners burst into laughter. When all eyes stared at him, he said, "Sorry, I was just thinking of my funeral -- I'm a gynecologist."

       The proctologist fainted.

    Sizzling summer:

    Free contest, good prizes always has a contest going. Recently, a few of my books have been chosen as prizes, so I can tell you for a fact that it's all above board.

       Lately, my guestbook at has had lots of hits by people doing the current contest. And everyone who visits gets a free story from me. This contest seems to be even more popular than usual. For some reason, it is called a Sizzling summer contest, even though it is winter when I look out my window, and even more winter when I go outside!

    About Bobbing Around

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