Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Excerpt: Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Woman edited by Dahlynn McKowen

Dahlynn McKowen editor of the book Not Your Mother's Book: On Being a Woman stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.






About the book:

Funny! Daring! DIFFERENT!

If, you've got it, flaunt it. And the women whose stories are in "Not Your Mother's Book . . . On Being a Woman," a new anthology, have got it, baby! They are successful, beautiful, giving, inspiring and exude womanhood more than any generation before them. They are sassy and crass, truthful and funny, and have come into their own with all barrels loaded, cocked and ready to go. There is no stopping them as they share their real-life stories with you, the reader.

Not Your Mother's Book (NYMB) is a new anthology for a new century. Series creators Dahlynn and Ken McKowen spent 10 years developing titles for the world's bestselling anthology series prior to launching NYMB. But their series is very different; all NYMB books are hip, modern, fun and even daring! No sad, sappy or death and dying stories-EVER!



About the editor:

From 1999-2009, Daylynn was a coauthor and editor (contractual basis) for Chicken Soup and while creating book after book, she read 100,000+ submissions. Jump forward a few years to today; the stories being submitted for Publishing Syndicate's new NYMB anthology series are so different, daring, smart and wonderful, that they are beyond thrilled to give authors a platform to write what they really want to write!




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Featured Book: Harbingers of Autumn by Geraldine Claire



About the book:

Complexity of human relations continue the sequel: Harbingers of Spring and Harbingers of Summer. In this saga, on a beautiful autumn morning, Jack Newsum, an attorney, meets Autumn Asbury, a stunningly beautiful, anthropologist during a homegrown terrorist attack on the Metrorail system of Washington, D.C., when Jack heroically guides her to safety. Autumn is a newly wed, married into a prominent family where her father-in-law, Herbert Lord is an esteemed funeral director. His failing health ignites a firestorm amongst the siblings. Just when Autumn begins championing her independence, her husband, Cal, needs her to quit her job and help with the family business. When eerie happenings start to take place on the funeral home premises, Autumn stumbles upon a hauntingly obscene discovery of unlawful desecrations of remains piled high in a garage, and under weeping willow trees. Regina, her sister-in-law, appointed by her father to carry on the business, faced off against Autumn’s highly charged antics leading to psychological warfare. Her marriage quickly goes on the brink. Autumn believes there is a threat against her life. Regina tries to hide secrets by setting a fire, resulting in agonizing consequences. Redeemable steps do remain high, and then it is too late. Their last days would be remembered when terrorist cells from abroad send the entire Eastern seaboard into chaos, leading, Cal, his wife and sister to an unsuitable resting place.



About the author:

Geraldine Claire is the author of the Harbingers series. She is also a playwright, songwriter, and the author of an original musical play (Greener Grass) set for workshop production. Her current work includes a children’s book (A Family Still, United Nations), which includes her music and lyrics of the same title, a screenplay (Shields of Honor), and an original musical (One Last Go Round). She is artistic director and founder of DeRyan Theatre Workshop in Montgomery County, Maryland where she resides.




Monday, November 26, 2012

Featured Book: Sounds of a Coo by Kelly Lambert



About the book:

The sound of a Coo is very special. And if we really take time to hear, We will soon learn about the world you see And how to you it may appear. So listen very closely when your baby starts to coo. They are telling you about the wonders of life, which to them are very new. This heartwarming and expressive collection of poems perfectly captures the way babies first experience their environment. Sounds of a Coo features poems that celebrate the magic and wonder of a baby’s world, and help us focus on the way our babies communicate. So cuddle up with your little one and share the rhythmical language of poetry. Your baby will enjoy it as much as you do!


About the author:

Kelly Lambert’s poetry and children’s books are inspired by the experiences she and her son Sammy share in West Virginia. With a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies, Ms. Lambert writes for the importance of children's literature and the enjoyment of each new creation. Look for Loni Lemur Loses His Tooth, coming soon!



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Excerpt: Life in the Universe by Marshall Vian Summers

Marshall Vian Summers author of the book Life in the Universe stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

This excerpt represents the author's views only, not those of this blog.



Life Universe Excerpt



About the book:

For thousands of years, humanity has looked into the night sky and wondered: who is out there? Now you have a chance to travel into that night sky, to go beyond wondering and experience for yourself the reality and spirituality of life beyond our world.

This book is a window into the living story of our universe: the realities of trade, travel and conflict in space; the birth and death of civilizations across the stars and the greater plan and purpose of a Creator who oversees the spiritual progress of life in all galaxies.
Enter a universe that is alive with danger, mystery, relationship and purpose.

Explore the unfolding narrative of life in our own region of space and learn about the struggle for freedom now occurring beyond the borders of our solar system.


Marshall Vian Summers has been engaged in a process of Revelation for over 30 years. The outcome of that revelation, this book reveals what life is really like in the universe, something human science and speculation may never fully uncover.


Much more than a book, Life in the Universe is an open doorway to a greater human experience. Unfolding before you page-by-page, is a story and a vision of the living cosmos, the complexity of interactions between worlds and the future that awaits us as we enter this larger arena of life.
Go beyond the limits of a purely human vantage point and immerse yourself in this "Greater Community," a vast universe of intelligent life that has always called to you.



About the author:

MARSHALL VIAN SUMMERS is the founder and messenger of the New Message from God, a spiritual tradition practiced in over 35 countries which teaches about the One Spirituality of humanity and our future and destiny in a "Greater Community" of intelligent life in the universe.

For over 30 years, Summers has lived in relative solitude, receiving and teaching what he says is a message from the Creator sent for the protection and advancement of the human family. Now over 9,000 pages in length, Summers’ mystical body of work has been translated into 16 languages and is studied by people around the world.





Friday, November 23, 2012

Guest Post: Marshall Vian Summers author of Life in the Universe

Marshall Vian Summers author of the book Life in the Universe stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.

This is a guest post and represents only the author's views, not those of this blog.



Entering Life in the Universe

By Marshall Vian Summers


To experience a Greater Community of life in the universe, and to enter into this great arena of life, we must first reconsider God. This is the Creator of all life—not a God of the ancients; not a God of the great testaments from the past, but a God for all times and all races; not a human God; not a God that expresses our temperament and our judgments; not a God that requires worship; not a God of the tribe or the hill or the mountain or the sun or the stars, but a God beyond it all—a God of a billion, billion races and more, so great beyond our comprehension.

Yet how do we relate to a God like this, who is so vast and impersonal? As the New Revelation tells us, God speaks to the most sacred part of us, the permanent part of us, through Knowledge within us. Therefore our relationship with God is of the greatest intimacy and relevance—without intermediaries, speaking to us and to all races in the universe, who are so very different from us.

The universe that we will now emerge into, our local region of space, is an environment that we know nothing about, for which we cannot prepare ourselves, which endangers us, but also encourages us to finally establish unity in the face of adversity.

This has required a New Message from God, for none of God’s previous Revelations can prepare us for a reality on this scale, a non-human universe that is not governed by human values or ethics or human preoccupations.

Now we stand at the threshold of this vast arena of life, on a world that is valued by others, a world that we are destroying at a precipitous pace. Now we must grow up, end our ceaseless conflicts and our adolescent indulgences and prepare for this much more mature environment in order to secure human freedom and sovereignty in our world.

For we are now the natives of the new world facing intervention, and as history has taught us, intervention is an extreme hazard to the native peoples. And yet we are unprepared.

Therefore, God has spoken again to prepare us for life in the universe, to prepare us for our first encounters, to elevate us, one person at a time, one relationship at a time, everywhere in the world where people have access to the Revelation.

This is the challenge of Revelation, for this is not merely a comfort and a consolation. It is not merely to remedy us from our daily stresses and difficulties, but to pull us out of the past by giving us something greater to do.

God has given us the eyes to see, but we do not see. God has given us the ears to hear, but we do not hear—preoccupied we are with our dilemmas, our preferences and our pursuit of happiness. But we still have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. And I pray that we will know and see.

God does not care which religion we belong to, for there are billions of religions in the universe. God cares if we resonate to the power of Knowledge that has been put within us, whether we are religious or not, from any nation, rich or poor.

You can see that all religions are pathways to this Knowledge, and they can be rich avenues for us. But they know not of the Greater Community, which is the missing piece in the picture of our lives and in the future of our world and in the outcome for every one of us and our children and their children.

The universe we will face will be a great challenge, the universe where freedom is rare and must be cultivated carefully and preserved against all the forces of intervention, seduction and persuasion. The wise know this, but we are not yet wise.

Yet the Creator has put wisdom within us so that part of us is wise, and in this way we can respond to what is true, what is different and what is challenging because Knowledge within us has no fear.
We are now facing intervention in the world by races here to gain influence and control for their own needs, presenting themselves as benign and speaking to our desire for wealth, power and spiritual fulfillment, having studied us for so long.

We now as the natives of the new world must gain the wisdom that God has provided. For I tell you, people of Earth, without this wisdom, we would eventually succumb—being too weak, too fractured, too ignorant, too selfish, too obsessed with our own ideologies, beliefs and national identities. We would succumb. God knows this.

May the power and the presence of Knowledge become strong, within us and between us now, for we are living at the greatest time in history, and it is by no accident that we have come here now to be a part of this. Do not deny or disclaim this. Do not diminish yourself any further. You know not of your importance in this, for nothing else matters.

God knows what matters for you and for us and for this world. We have the promise of being a free people in the universe, but it is only a promise and not an assurance. If humanity should fail at the doorstep of the universe, everything we have created that is good will be lost. And the possibility to regain our freedom will be remote.

Do not look to others in the universe for gifts and technology. Do not fall prey to that seduction. Do not believe the statements offering power and peace and equanimity that those who are here claim, for they are here for much more mundane purposes, driven by the needs that drive us. Now the revelation given in Life in the Universe can inform us. It is not a universe of demons and angels, but of physical beings struggling to survive.

God knows what is coming over the horizon and has given us the warning and the preparation. We are blessed to receive this.

Let us receive this gift not with our intellect, which only seeks to refer everything to the past and only to reassure itself that its ideas are true indeed, but to take this into our heart and our soul, where the deeper truth is known and remains beyond the realm and reach of the intellect.

This Proclamation must go forth powerfully now. There is no more time. It is very late, and there is much to do.




About the book:

For thousands of years, humanity has looked into the night sky and wondered: who is out there? Now you have a chance to travel into that night sky, to go beyond wondering and experience for yourself the reality and spirituality of life beyond our world.

This book is a window into the living story of our universe: the realities of trade, travel and conflict in space; the birth and death of civilizations across the stars and the greater plan and purpose of a Creator who oversees the spiritual progress of life in all galaxies.
Enter a universe that is alive with danger, mystery, relationship and purpose.

Explore the unfolding narrative of life in our own region of space and learn about the struggle for freedom now occurring beyond the borders of our solar system.


Marshall Vian Summers has been engaged in a process of Revelation for over 30 years. The outcome of that revelation, this book reveals what life is really like in the universe, something human science and speculation may never fully uncover.


Much more than a book, Life in the Universe is an open doorway to a greater human experience. Unfolding before you page-by-page, is a story and a vision of the living cosmos, the complexity of interactions between worlds and the future that awaits us as we enter this larger arena of life.
Go beyond the limits of a purely human vantage point and immerse yourself in this "Greater Community," a vast universe of intelligent life that has always called to you.



About the author:

MARSHALL VIAN SUMMERS is the founder and messenger of the New Message from God, a spiritual tradition practiced in over 35 countries which teaches about the One Spirituality of humanity and our future and destiny in a "Greater Community" of intelligent life in the universe.

For over 30 years, Summers has lived in relative solitude, receiving and teaching what he says is a message from the Creator sent for the protection and advancement of the human family. Now over 9,000 pages in length, Summers’ mystical body of work has been translated into 16 languages and is studied by people around the world.





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Featured Book: Stop Sabotaging Your Life by Bruno LoGreco



About the book:

In Stop Sabotaging Your Life: 3 Steps To Your Full Potential, acclaimed life coach Bruno LoGreco shares his simple path to achieving healthy mental and emotional independence.

How many times have you caught yourself thinking something like this?: I'm not enough-good enough...smart enough...good looking enough...successful enough.... LoGreco says we sabotage our lives by focusing too much on being what others want us to be and do, and not spending enough time listening to our own hearts and minds.

Some people try to find self-acceptance and contentment through counseling, but end up trapped on the therapy treadmill. Others try to go it alone, but still end up in a tiresome process of navel-gazing that never leads to personal fulfillment. LoGreco offers a three-step plan to help you reach your own potential: self-awareness (recognize what you have been doing, and why); rebuilding values (learn a different way to do things); and clarify your dreams (identify opportunities and set realistic goals). You will learn to leverage your strengths to stop chasing illusions and work toward achieving your dreams.

LoGreco doesn't claim his book will cure everything that ails you. As he says, "There is no secret formula, no magic pill that will make you happy, productive, and free. But that doesn't mean it can't be done."



About the author:

Author and Life Coach Bruno LoGreco has been providing one-on-one life coaching, teen mentoring, workshops, and seminars for more than a decade, and made it his full-time life's work in 2000. He's reached a national audience through his regular cast member on Canada's smash hit series Style by Jury and Save Us from Our House. LoGreco worked with the District School Board and Canada's Ministry of Economic Development to teach students how to reach your full potential; and is a popular guest and keynote speaker at public and government events; a national spokesperson for Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamer, a regular contributor to fortune 500 pharmaceutical website, and is represented by National Speakers Bureau.




Monday, November 19, 2012

Featured Book: The Trojan Horse Conspiracy by Dick Nelson



About the book:

Brad Tilsdale, one of the FBI’s top counterintelligence agents, is on a mission: ferret out a Russian mole he knows is lurking within the Bureau’s ranks. Meanwhile, Russia’s KGB and China’s MSS have bigger plans. They’re joining forces to infiltrate higher levels of the U.S. government with programmed sleeper agents—and not even the White House is above their ambitions. And their plan has a name: The Trojan Horse Project. What follows is the gripping story of shadowy plots intersecting with the dogged persistence of a career lawman. As the various forces of the Trojan Horse Conspiracy spring into action, Tilsdale and his team nearly derail the world’s most infamous terrorist attack, despite the government’s blunders. International crises come to a head as North Korea and China sit on the edge of nuclear war with the United States. These seemingly disparate world events find a common thread, presenting a puzzle that Tilsdale must unravel if he’s to safeguard a nation’s security and freedom. His mission leads him into the domain of America’s political elite—and what he finds may push the nation into chaos. With a story woven around some familiar public figures, The Trojan Horse Conspiracy asks unsettling questions: Who is actually controlling our government, and how do we protect ourselves from evildoers? What nefarious forces are behind Washington’s power set? In reality, we will always owe our freedom not to our presidents, but to the brave men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for an ideal of democracy and freedom. A page-turning political thriller, Dick Nelson’s novel will leave you with a clear-eyed view of the fragility of our political system—and the importance of defending it against all odds.






About the author:

Dick Nelson is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former Navy fighter pilot. During his combat service in Vietnam, flying the supersonic F-8E Crusader from an aircraft carrier, Nelson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, thirteen Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, and other decorations. After his Navy service, Nelson was a commercial pilot with Continental Airlines, and then attended the UCLA School of Law. As a litigator of high-stakes cases in California, he specialized in the legal areas of employment, business, and trade secrets. Moving to Florida in 2005, Nelson worked for the Dept. of Homeland Security. Now retired, Nelson is also the author of The Contrail Chronicles: An American Family’s Journey Through War And Peace.




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Author Q&A: Francine LaSala author of The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything

Francine LaSala author of the book The Girl, the Gold Tooth, and Everything stopped by for a Q&A.



How did you come up with the title?

In the late 1970s or early 80s, there was a book and then a movie starring Pam Dawber (from Mork & Mindy) and Robert Hays (Airplane!) about a guy who comes into a possession of a watch that can stop time called The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything. I used to love that movie as a kid. My book has nothing to do with that movie, but I always loved the title. Before I started writing The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything, all I knew about it was that it was going to feature a woman who gets a gold crown implanted in her mouth then everything changes for her, because I once (unwittingly) got a gold crown implanted in my mouth and thought wouldn't it be cool if this was actually some kind of a magical device that could change my life (instead of something my dentist imposed on me!) I'm kind of big into objects transforming lives--Rita Hayworth's Shoes has a similar premise in that respect. Anyway, then there was the girl (me), the gold tooth (that thing), and everything (life drama flipped on its ear through imagination).


Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?


There are many messages that run through the story, but I think a big and important one is that if you don't know who you are, life can really do a number on you. To be in control of your life and your circumstances, you really have to understand your true self at the core level. Mina's (my protagonist) amnesia is kind of an allegory for being lost in life.


How much of the book is realistic?

Realistic or reality-based? Realistically speaking, yes and no. I think a lot of women go through times where they seem lost and and their lives seem out of their control. Women with small children certainly can feel trapped in their lives. As far as reality-based goes, I'd be lying if I said I didn't live through some of Mina's experiences, to some extent. That's not a bad thing. I think having those painful and frustrating experiences, feeling the burn of them right to your core, and then torturing your characters with them is what gives scenes depth and emotional resonance. Although I don't have any long-lost uncles... Well, at least not that I know of!


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?

Not at this point. It's kind of a complicated story, with many characters who seem both dubious and trustworthy at once. I'll be thrilled if readers pick up on the hints I've dropped. If they don't, well I guess I would want to change some of that! But it's out there now. No turning back!


What was the hardest part of writing your book?


Definitely the "amnesia" apsect. Mina is not exactly stable in the brain so I had to be very careful constructing the story from her point of view. I really had to pay attention to every word spoken by her and to her, and to her every action so as not to give those things away that she in her condition would not already know. Much trickier than it sounds!


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned a few useful Russian phrases!


Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was a kid I was big liar. Huge. Even before I could write a sentence, I would tell classmates all of these insane tales I made up in my head about who I really was (a princess!) and why I was in the school I was in and not a royal school (hiding from dragons!) and what they (my loyal subjects!) had to do to serve me (in effect, serve me!). I'm sure I had enough material going that would have made for a nice trilogy or longer series, but alas, Sister Shall-Remain-Nameless thwarted my yarn-spinning by telling my parents how I was was distracting the class with my imagination. I guess that's what I kind of do now, distract others with my imagination. But my parents don't seem to mind so much anymore.


Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?


It's hard to pinpoint a favorite author, but I can pinpoint a favorite common trait: A quirky take on reality. I've read more men who do that, like Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, John Irving, even Voltaire. I'd love to discover more quirky women writers. Any suggestions?

Tell us your latest news.

Right now I'm reveling in the launch of my new novel! I can't think of anything happening right now that's as exciting as that. But I do have news from time to time to share. I have a blog. I also love to follow and be followed on Twitter and connect with readers via Facebook.


Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?


Sure! Hey guys, please enjoy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything! And if you do, please share your enthusiasm with everyone you know. If you don't love it, feel free to use the book as a doorstop, or even as decor? It does have such a lovely cover! In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts so post a review or reach out: francine@francinelasala.com.



About the book:

Mina Clark is losing her mind—or maybe it’s already gone. She isn’t quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can’t shake—a “temporary” condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten. A routine trip to the dentist changes everything for Mina, and suddenly she's not sure if what's happening is real, of if she's just now fully losing her mind... especially when she realizes the only person she thought she could trust is the one she fears the most.



About the author:

Francine LaSala has authored and collaborated on more than 30 works of nonfiction (biography, cooking, lifestyle, sex, humor, and more) including Carny Folk: The World's Weirdest Sideshow Acts, and edited numerous works of bestselling fiction through her company, Francine LaSala Productions. She's helped top authors create and shape their books, from Eileen Goudge and Patti Callahan Henry to Douglas Clegg and Shane Briant to Linda Evans and Alana Stewart. Rita Hayworth's Shoes is her first novel. She lives in New York with her husband and two daughters, and will not admit how many pairs of life-changing shoes she has in her closet. Visit her online at www.francinelasala.com.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Giveaway: Dog Trots Globe by Sheron Long

Join Chula, a 9-year-old Sheltie, as she travels from California to France. This lively and often funny adventure finds Chula sniffing around the boulangeries, lavender fields, and big outdoor markets of Provence. In Paris, she trots across the Seine, stands on her hind legs in awe of the Eiffel Tower, and attends opening night at a gallery. Through vivid color photographs and Chula's unique perspective, you'll experience Paris and Provence in a delightful way and see why Chula says, "It's a dog's life there!"


Thanks to PR by the Book I have one copy to give away!

US/Canada. No PO boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Author Q&A: Sheron Long author of Dog Trots Globe

Sheron Long, author of the book Dog Trots Globe, stopped by for a Q&A.



Have you traveled with pets before the trip to France with Chula?

Yes, we’ve traveled with all our dogs—two other Shelties and one Belgian sheepdog. Chula’s first trip was by car to New Orleans when she was just nine months old. That’s when she learned about hotels and elevators. On the way back, we stopped at the Grand Canyon. It was quite a sight to see this little pup peering over the edge into such a giant hole! Since that first trip, Chula has gone all over California with us, and she’s now been to France three times. 



Why did you decide to take Chula with you to France? Why France?

We have been to France before on shorter trips and always left Chula at home. This time we were able to stay for two months, and it was unthinkable to be away from her for that long. Why France? Well, we love Provence, so much so that we created a second home there, and we know what a dog-friendly place France is.



How did you prepare for international travel with a pet? How did you prepare Chula?

At 30 pounds, Chula was too big to travel in the cabin with us, and we wanted to be sure she would be safe in the hold. We contacted several airlines about their "accommodations" there and learned that pets travel in a pressurized cargo area just like the main cabins.

Once we were comfortable that Chula could travel safely, we did more homework. We learned the importance of selecting a properly sized travel crate. Several weeks before the trip, we left the crate open at home so Chula could go in and out as a way for her to get familiar with the crate.

We chose a good time of year to travel that was not too hot nor too cold, avoided sedation, and made sure Chula would have food and water throughout the trip. We also chose a non-stop flight to keep her travel time as short as possible.

Next we had to get Chula’s pet passport ready and found a lot of help at www.pettravel.com. Rules vary by country. For France, Chula needed the EU Health Certificate to prove vaccinations, a microchip ID, a USDA endorsement with a date no more than 4 months prior to the trip, and an International Health Certificate from a vet within 10 days of the trip.


Would you consider Paris to be pet-friendly? What about France as a whole?

Dogs go everywhere in France! Most stores welcome them or provide a hitching post outside where they can wait for their masters. Many hotels host dogs for a fee, usually from 10 to 35 euros a night. Almost all restaurants not only invite dogs in, but also bring them a bowl of water. We took Chula with us whenever we went out to eat, whether in bistros or fancier places. She became good at catching anything that fell her way and especially loved that crusty French bread. She also honed her “under-the-table” manners and made friends with a wide variety of French dogs.

Despite the more than 200,000 dogs in Paris, the City of Light is a less dog-friendly place. You'll find those dreaded "No Dogs" signs on the gate of just about every park. In both Paris and Provence, those same signs appear on the door of every museum. Dogs are valued, but creative and historical works are even more valued!



What unexpected obstacles did you encounter?

Upon landing in Paris after an 11-hour flight, we wanted to get Chula outside fast. The only problem was that “outside” meant concrete surfaces, and Chula was trained not to do her business on hard surfaces. We were desperate to find some grass, and finally did at one stop on the tram between Charles de Gaulle airport and the train station.

The next obstacle came the following day on the train to Provence. Chula rested happily under Bob’s legs until the conductor came by looking for tickets. Guess what? Dogs need tickets too, and for a moment we were worried he would throw Chula off the speeding train. A small payment of five euros solved the problem!



Why did you write this book? Why did you decide to tell it from Chula’s perspective?

France has been a passion of mine for many years. I wrote the book to share the joie de vivre I experience whenever we are there. As it turned out, the best trip ever was the first one with Chula.

Like a puppy, so many things were new to Chula—sniffing through the big outdoor food markets, learning to ride in a taxi, hearing people talk to her in French. I began to imagine what her view was like, and that’s when I decided to tell the story in Chula’s voice.

The book is part Chula’s memoir and part armchair travel to Paris and Provence with more than 150 color photographs. As Chula shares impressions from her dog’s-eye view, humans learn a lot about French cheeses, market days, the lavender and sunflower trails, how the Eiffel Tower is painted, and more. 



What were some of the memorable adventures with Chula?

Chula loved the visits to the big Provençal markets. Lots to sniff! She went from the spices to the big pans of paella to the sausage table, She became a good friend to that vendor since sausage is her passion.


But the most memorable was the day of the Transhumance in the village of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. That's when the shepherds take their sheep from the lowlands to the lusher pastures in the highlands. Along the way, they circle the village twice. Chula is a Shetland Sheepdog, but not one who is actively working right now. When she saw 3,000 sheep headed her way, she didn't herd, nor did she nip at anybody's heels. She ran for cover under the nearest cafe table and knocked over the water bowl!


What advice do you have for owners traveling with their pet?

Do it! Leave with a sense of adventure and return with a smile on your face. 



What are the top three items owners should take along when traveling with a pet?

Two leashes (because you know you’ll lose one), a roll of paper towels (lots of uses, not just the obvious), and a couple of plastic pull-apart water bowls. Oh, and take plenty of mutt mitts. In French restaurants, where asking for a doggie bag is a faux pas, the mutt mitt comes in handy for stashing left-overs when the waiter isn’t looking. 



Where would Chula choose to go next, if she could communicate this information right now?

Anywhere we go.


How did traveling affect Chula?

We were surprised by how flexible Chula was. In one day, she traveled by car, plane, and train. She slept in a new home and in old hotels. She did it all with that beautiful Sheltie smile. But then, Chula has always been adventurous. She loves to meet people, go places, and do things. She lives every day as if it were made for her.


What resources can owners use to learn more about pet travel?

If you are going by air, check out the safety records of the airlines available to you at www.petflight.com. Search online for recommended vets in the places where you plan to stop and carry the list with you. Go here for more of my pet travel tips. 



Is traveling with your pet a fad or is it going to continue to develop? If so, in what way?

On a serious note, people form strong bonds with their pets and want to share the world with them. Advances in pet travel make that possible today, and in my opinion, the number of four-legged travelers is only going to increase. As long as we can look out for Chula’s well-being, we will continue to travel with her and enjoy life together far away from home. "Have dog, will travel" will always be our motto.




About the book:

Join Chula, a 9-year-old Sheltie, as she travels from California to France. This lively and often funny adventure finds Chula sniffing around the boulangeries, lavender fields, and big outdoor markets of Provence. In Paris, she trots across the Seine, stands on her hind legs in awe of the Eiffel Tower, and attends opening night at a gallery. Through vivid color photographs and Chula's unique perspective, you'll experience Paris and Provence in a delightful way and see why Chula says, "It's a dog's life there!"


About the author:
Sheron Long is the owner of the adventurous Chula. A bona fide Francophile, Long has visited Paris and Provence dozens of times. Eager to share her love of France with everyone, person or animal, Long took Chula along on one of her visits. Now, Long is an expert in traveling with a pet. For more information visit the Dog Trots Globe page on the OIC Books website. Or, to interact with Chula directly, visit her on FaceBook, Chula Wula.




Featured Book: Chaos by John Austin Sletten



About the book:

CHAOS is the sequel to Sletten’s mystery thriller Deceit. The former FBI special agent is in hot pursuit to find the truth concerning the mysterious death of his wife. In so doing he travels in the underground world of the Government’s black ops delving into TOP SECRETS such as confirmed knowledge about Aliens and alien nations. What he finds is the continual misappropriation of funds dedicated to build a universal underground world that will be home to a select group of individuals in case of a sure certain nuclear holocaust. The protagonist again gets matched up against Paul Gordon Charles, who has been tagged the leader of this new universal government. In the end they come head-to-head in the little hamlet of Wallace, Idaho which PGC has pigeonholed the Center of the Universe? The central character, an eccentric too, finds an unimaginable scenario of events in place that will compromise and turn the world upside down. While peregrinating back and forth to various locations seeking the truth, Sletten, the man in the leading role, puts his best foot forward, or does he, to be a competent single parent even though he is in constant fear of his own life and once again has become the hunted rather than the hunter.



About the author:

JOHN AUSTIN SLETTEN grew up in a small town, Montevideo, in southwestern Minnesota. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota in 1966. After careers in banking, justice, and public accounting he enjoys baseball, mathematics, music and writing. The writer had his first works published with the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine. It was a feature story entitled “Confessions Of A Little League Father.” This piece of writing led to an appearance with Oprah Winfrey. He has been a sports writer for the Princeton Packet and published many magazine articles. His first book published is The Johnny Callison Story, a biography of the great Philadelphia Phillies baseball player whose career traversed three decades. He was a Phillies player during the entire decade of the obstreperous 60's. Sletten's second book published is DECEIT, the first book in a mystery thriller trilogy. This book, CHAOS is the second book in this trilogy. The third book, ATONEMENT will be the final installment. He has three other novels completed and waiting publication. Along The James, a Historical Civil War Novel, The Keeper and Uncommon Knowledge. Sletten resides in the Philadelphia area with his wife, Kathy.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Featured Book: Fierce Beauty by Bhagavan Antle



About the book:

Fierce Beauty is a celebration of tigers, leopards, lions, ocelots, and other wild cats that inhabit The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS), a wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The institute’s fifty acres are home to more than one hundred rare animals, from ligers (a hybrid cross between a male lion and a tigress) that stretch nearly twelve feet long to cheetahs capable of running seventy miles per hour.

Featuring dozens of exclusive new portraits from preeminent nature photographer Tim Flach, Fierce Beauty depicts the beauty, power, and grace of these remarkable creatures as never before. And with more than 300 images of wild cats and essays by such distinguished conservationists as zoologist and TV personality Jim Fowler, Dakota Zoo director Terry Lincoln, and a foreword by renowned actor Robert Duvall, Fierce Beauty enables readers to experience the vibrant form, bold markings, and striking personalities that make wild cats unique cohabitants of mankind.



About the author:

Bhagavan (“Doc”) Antle is the director of the TIGERS wildlife preserve in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and the founder of the Rare Species Fund, which supports animal conservation projects around the world.

Robert Duvall (born January 5, 1931) is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career. A veteran character actor, Duvall has starred in some of the most acclaimed and popular films and TV shows of all time, among them The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, To Kill a Mockingbird, THX 1138, Joe Kidd, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, MASH, Network, True Grit, Bullitt, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, Tender Mercies, The Natural and Lonesome Dove. In 2005, Duvall was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush at the White House. He and his wife Luciana Pedraza are active supporters of Pro Mujer, a non-profit charity organization dedicated to helping Latin America's poorest women; and of efforts to preserve endangered species, particularly tigers.

Tim Flach is an award-winning photographer known for his inimitable animal portraits, including two best-selling anthologies, Equus and Dog.

Barry Bland is an internationally acclaimed photographer specializing in photography of animals both wild and tame. With over fifteen years experience Barry's work has been published in hundreds of magazines and newspapers around the world. His work regularly appears in UK newspapers including the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and The Independent. In the U.S. he has been published in the New York Daily Post, The Daily News, In Touch, and People Magazine. In the UK his work has been seen on BBC, ITV and Sky News television. In the U.S. his photos have appeared on Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, ABC and NBC News, Good Morning America, and Inside Edition.

The TIGERS preserve has three primary missions: (1) to increase support for wildlife preservation by giving the public an unobstructed encounter with rare and endangered species; (2) to correct misimpressions surrounding exotic big cats and captive wildlife management; and (3) to educate policy makers about the financial, strategic, and political importance of private wildlife facilities.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Excerpt: Winning the City by Theodore Weesner

Theodore Weesner, author of the book Winning the City, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.






About the book:

It’s Detroit, 1961. Fifteen-year-old Dale Wheeler, the son of an unemployed, alcoholic autoworker, has big dreams of leading his team to the City Basketball Championship. But his dream is shattered when Dale, the co-captain and top point guard, is cut from the team to make way for the son of a big-money team sponsor. His life in a tailspin, Dale finds a helping hand in Miss Furbish, the beautiful homeroom teacher whose well-meaning kindness gradually builds into a potentially dangerous passion. And in his lowest times, Dale gets a final shot at his dream with a hardscrabble team of street-ballers that may have what it takes to win the City Championship. Winning the City Redux is now reimagined for a new generation of readers to discover. A perfect follow-on to Weesner’s classic hit The Car Thief, Redux entertains as it examines new dimensions of classism, corruption, youth angst, and dangerous passion.



About the author:

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community. His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly, and Best American Short Stories. His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City, and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, Washington Post, Harper’s, Boston Globe, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times to name a few

He is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions. He lives and works in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guest Post: Talia Soghomonian author of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner – In their own words

Talia Soghomonian, author of the ebook Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner – In their own words, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.



Taylor Lautner, 20, is in Los Angeles promoting the final Twilight movie in the internationally successful franchise. Physically a lot smaller now that he’s not playing a werewolf, the handsome actor is dressed in khaki colored jeans and a blue shirt. His hair is a little longer than we’re used to seeing, and as always, looks well put together, and a picture of glowing health. Not currently dating anyone, he was formerly linked to Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez.

Let’s talk a little bit about memories. What do you like about Jacob that’s going to stay with you?


I grew to love Jacob throughout this whole process. He has so many awesome qualities that I think all of us should apply towards ourselves. I can go down the list, but probably the biggest thing that I respect about Jacob that will stick with me is his loyalty. He is extremely loyal, and also his persistence. He knows what he wants, and he knows what he is passionate about and he will do anything to achieve it. And he doesn’t let anything get in his way. So I mean that’s probably about Jacob, but this whole experience has been amazing. It was definitely a bittersweet end, especially because we filmed the last two movies back to back so it was a seven-month shoot. We were all really tired at the end of the shoot, so we were excited to be done, and at the same time, we knew as soon as we finished, we were going to want to go back in time and wish we could do it all over again. So we soaked up every last moment and enjoyed it and here I am a year and a half later, wishing we could go back and film some more.

Kristen said something about when she first met you, that you were like a baby, and now obviously you changed a lot, you’ve grown up in four years. Is that weird to grow up in front of everybody?

No, it wasn’t weird. It is weird for myself to look back at pictures of the first film. I look like a different person. It’s crazy what can happen in four years.

Is there anything you won’t miss or are looking forward to post-Twilight?

I won’t miss the weather conditions that we usually had to film in. It was always cold and rainy, and whenever the sun came out we had to stop filming, so we could only film when it was crappy outside. It will be nice to film movies where it will actually be nice outside and you could roll cameras. That will definitely be nice.

Since you finished the movie, do you remember any specific conversations that you had?

Yeah, we all definitely grew so close throughout this and in the past four years that we will definitely all stay in touch. I mean, it was always a great excuse to hang out and spend time together when we had to work for twelve hours a day with each other. So now we will have to find different excuses, but I’m sure we will. I don’t know about any specific conversation and stuff, we’ve all become such close friends by this point. The saga may be coming to a finish, but our friendships definitely will not.

How do you feel when you are out of that umbrella, out of Twilight and now okay, it’s just you? How do you deal with that?

It’s different. Twilight is its own world, is its own thing. So when you are in that world you are in a world that’s unlike anything else. The fans are unlike anything else, the filming process, everything. So it is different, but also you are a little nervous about it. But it’s exciting to be able to finish this chapter and go out and explore the real world because Twilight just isn’t real. It is unlike anything else and who knows if any of us will every experience anything like it ever again. We were just so fortunate to be a part of this, but it is exciting to be able to start a new chapter and learn more.


So what character would you like to do after this?


All characters. I mean, I don’t want to do one thing. My goal is to challenge myself to a wide variety of characters. I think specifically I am just looking forward to playing a real person with real issues. Now that I’ve been living in a supernatural world playing a werewolf and all these love problems and transforming into a giant wolf, I’m looking forward to playing a character that’s more grounded and more realistic.


Will you have roles with your top on, or will you take your top off?


It will definitely be exciting for me to be able to keep the top on. Sure.


Do you believe in something similar to imprinting? Are we destined to be with somebody?


I do not know, that is a good question. I definitely think if it were it would be different if than imprinting, but yeah, it’s very possible.


So do you believe at love at first sight?


I’m still figuring that one out. I go back and forth on that one. Sometimes I say I do and sometimes I’m not sure. So I definitely think I need a few more years under my belt to fully realize if I believe in that or not.


Are you part of that final sequence?


Kind of. You’ll have to wait and see. My character is, but I’m not.


Is it easy for you to make friends with females? Is it easy for you to have good chemistry?


I’m a total people person. I love meeting new people and making new relationships, so I definitely am totally open to that, I love doing that. It’s the first time that Jacob is really realizing, "Okay. She’s gone. She’s got a ring on her finger, she’s going to Brazil." It was an emotional scene as well. So that one definitely touched me the most, especially because it was the last one, and I got to share that with Kristen. And there were physically challenging ones and emotionally.


So you don’t live in a guarded way?


I probably would be lying if I said that we don’t guard ourselves more than we used to, but you don’t want to be too guarded and have too many walls up that you can’t even make new friends or find new relationships, that would be a bummer. But yeah, we have to be more careful than we were before.
After all this work, are you planning to take a break or do you want to keep working?


I’m looking forward to working and doing something different. I’m very excited about that. So the good thing is, this isn’t over until the end of this year, so this will definitely keep us busy for a bit, but as soon as that’s done, I’m looking forward to doing something new.


Will you have a poster of Twilight New Moon?


Definitely not. (Laughs) No, that would probably be weird.


Do you have a memento from the set as a souvenir?


I don’t have anything. Well, the only thing I might have is my last wardrobe, but I don’t even have the jean shorts sadly. The thing I really wanted was my motorcycle from the second, third and fourth movies, but I don’t think I’m going to get that. They are sticklers. That’s probably in some museum somewhere. They don’t want to give it to me, so that’s a bummer.


Coming onto romantic roles is that something that you really wanted?


Well, I do enjoy romance, a lot of the stuff I have in development right now and that will be next for me, isn’t mainly focused on romance. I mean there’s always some sort of romance in every movie, but everything I’m working on right now is not super romantic. So I’m excited about that. It will be different, after this romance saga. (Laughs)


What are you going to miss the most when it’s finally over?


It will just be the time spent with the cast. Like I said, it was always an awesome excuse to hang out because we all are super, super close friends by now and we enjoy spending time together. It was always a great excuse to say, no, I have got to work with them for twelve hours a day for three months, and we just got to hang out that whole time. Now that it’s done, we are going to have to figure out different ways and it’s going to be tough because we are going to be busy and doing our separate things. But that’s by far the biggest thing I will miss, just being able to say all right, we are going back to film another movie and go back to camp and spend three months together, and that was always the most exciting feeling. When we finished, we knew that there was going to be another movie, so it was sad but it’s okay, there will be filming again in another couple of months. And that’s not happening anymore, so that’s the biggest bummer.


And what do you miss doing that you can no longer do because of the crazy fans?


Sometimes it’s just like the simple things, like going to a movie theater, or going to a restaurant that you want to go to. Sometimes it’s just those little things that you can’t do but you always figure out ways to do it. Then you miss like bigger things, like going to theme parks. I love roller coasters and theme parks and I haven’t been to one of those in years.


Do you do disguises?


I’ve tried the disguise and it doesn’t work. I haven’t gone full out, I haven’t put on a fake nose and a beard, I haven’t put on a mask, but I’ve tried a hat, all the way down, covering the face, big sunglasses. That definitely doesn’t work, so I have to figure out something better.


And what can we expect from your character in this last movie?


In this one, I am really excited for everyone to see it. It was fun for me to play because he’s much more light-hearted and comedic, and happy in this one. He’s a lot more stress-free, and less emotional, because the one thing that he’s always wanted is to end up with Bella and that was what he was always stressing over, and now he realizes that that’s not where he’s supposed to be and that’s not where he’s supposed to end up. He finds what his meaning in life is, and it was a lot of fun for me to play because it’s a completely different Jacob and I think the fans will like seeing that side of him, happier.


Publication by courtesy of The eBook People. The interview is published in the eBook “Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner – In their own words” © The eBook People GmbH



About the book:

For this project The eBook People teamed up with Paris-based American lifestyle journalist Talia Soghomonian. Her work has been featured in InStyle, Elle Girl, Rolling Stone Magazine, Maria Claire, NME, Rock Mag or Le Monde Mag.

In the eBook the author analyzes the vampire cult, the phenomenon that is Twilight and takes a look at the cast from her own point of view – something that she is one of the best persons to do, as she has met Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in person and has interviewed all of them various times.

The eBook contains more than 30 interviews with the cast from 2008 until now and runs over more than 300 pages on the Kindle. In addition, the eBook includes more than 100 images that are combined with audio quotes taken from interviews conducted with the stars.



About the author:

Talia Soghomonian started out in theater. It was while she was playing a rather pesky, fashion-conscious journalist that she decided to drop theater and “get serious.” After fashion design, she pursued journalism, the main reason being that she wanted to meet U2… She went on to meet some of the world’s biggest stars. Her work has been featured in NME, Rock Mag, Rolling Stone, InStyle, Marie Claire, Grazia, Elle Girl, Le Monde Mag, Guitar Part and Collider.com. She was also a staff writer at the French daily Metro where she wrote about film and music.

Originally from Los Angeles, she currently resides in Paris where life is not always easy… Talia has a hard time resisting the chocolate, the architecture and the shoes.




Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Excerpt: The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien

Timothy L. O'Brien author of the book The Lincoln Conspiracy stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.



The following is the first chapter of The Lincoln Conspiracy, a new historical thriller by Timothy L. O'Brien, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post. It is a tale of riddles, intrigue and murder set in post-Civil War Washington, as a detective and his wife get control of two diaries filled with unsettling clues about the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.


Rain kept the dust down.

Nothing else in Washington did, especially in early summer, when the heat started coming on and dirt in the streets began the slow broil that led into August. Fiona would hate that rain was already lashing the leather on his new boots. She was practical in these matters. But even Fiona would admit that rain kept the dust down. Temple would rather be with Fiona now, instead of gimping toward a train to fetch Augustus and Pint.

The small rain down can rain. 
Christ that my love were in my arms 
and I in my bed again.

As he crossed D Street on New Jersey Avenue, he could see the dome of the new Capitol building looming beyond and above the seventy-foot Italianate clock tower that marked the B&O Railroad station. If the rain got worse, New Jersey would get rutted and rats the size of dogs would slop in the puddles and pick through the garbage floating there. Several carriages and a string of horses—far more horses than usual—were tied to posts in front of the station. Union troops, boys mostly, were milling about in their blues. Weary little boys with swords and rifles and blank stares; today they seemed slightly frenzied. Then again, everyone was close to conniption fits with Lincoln dead only a month.

Shot. Dead. Just like that, the tired man, the calm one, the seer.

Dead. Dead tired. Gone.

At the corner of C Street, the rain picked up and lashed Temple’s face as hard as it whipped his boots. A lashing, the Dublin priests and nuns had told him, was salutary. “Saaaluutarry, Temple. Good for you.” Then, smack. Fear the Lord, learn your grammar, and obey the rules of the orphanage. If you didn’t obey, smack. Pain, they thought, was an education in its own right. They knew hardly a thing about it, really. He had pain every day in his bad leg, small flashes he tried to ignore. When the pain got bad, occasionally very bad, he just leaned more heavily on his cane. Fiona could look in his face and know the singe was about to arrive in his leg. But then, Fiona looked in his face and saw everything.

Temple ducked beneath the B&O’s eaves to get out of the rain. He entered the depot and glanced at the ticket and freight offices, set opposite each other inside the station. A small group of women were huddled and chatting outside the ladies’ waiting room, while three men, their arms wrapped across one another’s shoulders, pressed toward the gentlemen’s saloon.

Temple looked beyond the entry hall to the car house, where the train to Baltimore waited. The railroad tracks cut diagonally through the car house, sheltered by a dozen granite pillars that supported an iron roof with a three-hundred-foot-long glass window set inside it. Rainwater smeared the glass. Even the sky can’t stop mourning the president, Temple thought.

The B&O tracks continued through the station, winding along C Street and First Street before crossing the mall in front of the Capitol, picking up Maryland Avenue and making their way to the Long Bridge. Virginia was beyond the Long Bridge. Baltimore and New York were the opposite way.

Temple scanned the platform near the Baltimore train. There—there now. There’s something unusual. Stump Tigani, the most deliberate capper in the District, was actually off his heels and in a rush. 

Stump’s always a surprise, Temple thought. Amid the Union blues, the black long coats, and the crenellated, bell-blossomed hoopskirts of passengers waiting to board the train to Baltimore, Stump—small, muscular, and flinty—was darting along.

Like every newly minted Washington police detective (“You mean ‘defective,’ ” Fiona would laugh. “You have a limp and a cane, my love. You’re a police defective”), Temple was well aware of Stump’s calling card: courier for Northern spies and the Union army during the war, may have taken money from Secesh when it suited him; connected and resourceful; inscrutable; dangerous, very dangerous.

Finding Stump at the B&O wasn’t unusual. Stump had carried packages back and forth from this station many times before, sometimes twice in a single day, and all of his parcels had pedigrees: dispatches from powerful men, wealthy women, and furtive lovers. Transactions and messages; the daily push and pull. Stump hurrying, however, was quite odd. Stump was never invisible—no one in Washington was during the war—but he was paid well to be quiet, reliable, and discreet. He escorted clients’ secrets from one place to another with all of the devotion and circumspection of a father help- ing his toddler navigate the ruts across Pennsylvania Avenue. Everyone and everything got safely to the other side, but Stump never rushed.

Stump’s right hand was stuffed inside his overcoat. Looked like Old Boney. A gun? Or maybe Stump’s gut hurt. Bad food at the Willard? Stump could manage paying for his own fixin’s at the Willard now that he was working the carriage trade, that was for certain.

Stump was weaving and pressing forward, heading toward the Baltimore train; clinging to something, afraid of something. Stump liked to leave town at night, not in the morning. Why was he here now?

Well, none of this was Temple’s concern anyhow, was it? He had come to meet Augustus and Pint, secure their cargo, and get on his way. He needed the money, Augustus needed the money, and he would get his cargo even if his right leg continued to send flashes up his side.

Washington brimmed with the wounded and crippled, but Temple was probably the only twenty-five-year-old in the city who hadn’t earned his stumble in the war. And his cane—a thick, dark span of polished hickory—punctuated his limitation. Old before your time, Fiona would tease. He smiled to himself and sat down on a bench to stretch his leg while he waited.

Temple was pulling his timepiece from his waistcoat pocket when a shift in the patterns of the bristling swarm of it all made his head snap up and his eyes sharpen. A quiet, violent struggle was unfolding at the entrance to Stump’s train. Two men were on either side of Stump, their hands on his shoul- ders. Another was in front of him. They were murmuring something to Stump, and from dozens of feet away their lips looked as thin and dark as pencil drawings. One of the men tried peeling off Stump’s coat and then spun him around, so Stump faced Temple. Stump’s eyes were cast downward. The courier was concentrating. Temple saw a flash of metal as Stump slid a stiletto from inside his sleeve. Then things stopped. Stump stopped. The men around Stump seemed to stop. For a moment, all of them looked like props on a stage set. Stump lurched forward and fell to the platform, dark blood spurting from a long slice on the side of his neck. The skin on Stump’s neck parted a bit more as he slumped, his eyes growing moony lickety-split and his fingers spidering up to his neck as if he were hoping he could just press the life back into his throat before it all poured out. As he flopped down to the ground, a greasy puddle of blood spread wide and silently as fog around Stump’s head and neck. His teeth pressed outward against his lips and his mouth tightened into a simian oval, fixed somewhere between surprise and the last, sharp twitchings of pain.

Temple pushed off the bench to his feet. Several other men rushed the group around Stump as people began screaming. A young soldier came running, his brogans smacking the ground and the edges of his blue coat flapping. As Temple scuttled toward Stump’s body, he collided with the soldier, who careened off him like a toy.

Temple continued hip-hopping—damn my limp—toward Stump.

The group of men around Stump were fighting with one another now. They were all dandy, crisp white shirts and tailored black coats. Gentlemen didn’t do this, didn’t mix it up in gangs. Still, eight men and they were fighting like boys from his orphanage. Some of them had brass knuckles; one had a knife. One had a gun. As they scrapped, they moved a few feet away from Stump’s body, leaving the courier unattended. When Temple reached the body, he rolled it over and Stump’s coat flopped open, exposing the borders of a thick belt wrapped around his torso and swelling up from beneath his shirt. Temple popped the buttons and loosened the strap that was squeezing a brown paper package against Stump’s sternum. This was what made Stump so anxious, this little package. And now Stump’s life was oozing from a surgical tear across his throat, mucky with blood and already attracting flies. As Temple yanked the package from be- neath the belt, a shadow slipped along the pavement next to Stump’s body.

One of the gents was standing over him and he had a long metal rod, of all things. “Leave it alone,” he said to Temple. “Take your hands off the package.”

Temple pulled out his detective’s badge, flat and heavy with an image of the Capitol building stamped upon it, but the gent ignored it, raised his rod, and sliced it down toward Temple’s neck.

Ah, well. Temple was grateful for his cane at times.

He swept his cane from the ground and blocked the rod; a few quick turns of his wrist and he spun the rod out of the gent’s hands. Still crouched, he whipped his cane across the gent’s knees and, as the man crumbled, Temple gave him a solid whack across the side of his head. He looked up at the group of men, who had parted and put down their knives and knuckles to consider him. The gent with the gun turned toward him and raised his pistol. He looked delighted, his eyes dancing beneath a high, sloping forehead. That one enjoys it, Temple thought. He enjoys killing.

“Corporal,” Temple shouted over his shoulder to the soldier. “I’m a Metropolitan Police detective. Charge that man.”

Good boy: He did as he was told. He raised his rifle, bayonet shining at the end of it, and shouted at the gent with the gun, telling him to disarm. The gent smiled, pointed his gun, and fired. One shot. The boy’s eyes widened in surprise and then he dropped like a sack, the black brim of his little blue cap crumpling behind his head. Temple drew a knife off his ankle and readied it, but now the men—as startled as everyone else in the station by the sound of a gunshot—scrambled, separated, and ran. Temple was alone with Stump, who, like the boy nearby, was limp and lifeless. And it would seem that everyone here today wanted the package more than they wanted poor Stump.

Temple loosened the package from the brown leather belt securing it to Stump’s torso and wondered: Take it in or open it now? Fiona says my sin is impatience. Temple tore open the package. There was a black leather diary and a smaller red leather journal that was also a date book for the previous year. The larger of the two was written in the small, careful script of a woman; the other, on long, narrow pages filled with exclamation points and long lines of discourse, was written by a man. Temple scanned the pages: “Mr. Lincoln” and “railroads” and “New York” appeared several times in the woman’s writings; “Lincoln” and “traitor” and “Lord War” in the man’s script. The man’s pages also contained another word, forcing Temple up on his cane: “assassination.”

His leg hurt. He jammed the pages into the tops of his boots—one set for each boot, everything in order—then hurried toward the B&O’s entrance to find a horse. Fiona said that theft was a sin, too, but on a morning already heavy with sin it didn’t rank with murder.

Temple had to press past throngs of people twirling toward the front of the station and away from the gunshots. He could hear a baby crying to his right, a man shouting for his wife to his left. A porter had come to a full stop and was sitting on two trunks he had been dragging toward the trains. He perched on the edge, surveying the calamity around him, and then pulled his hat down over his eyes, content to wait out the pandemonium. Temple hobbled around the porter and exited the station.

Temple was large and lanky and needed large horses. Weren’t many of those, ’cept for the mounts that the Army of the Potomac had. Rain was still coming down, but lighter now. First bit of luck today: a beautiful chestnut stallion, unflinching in the rain and tied to a post. Easy to spot. All of the horses that had been here earlier, and the crowd of soldiers, too, were gone. Remember that. Just this one, in the rain, waiting for him.

Temple untied the horse and it didn’t buck. He stuck his left foot in the stirrup, jammed his cane between his right hand and the pommel, and hoisted himself up, stretching his gimp leg behind himself as he swung it over the saddle. Beside the pommel, burned into the leather, were two large initials: L.B.

“You should have stayed inside until the rain stopped,” warned a voice to Temple’s right. “We wouldn’t want what you took off Stump to soak up the bad weather, would we?”

The gent who’d shot the young soldier was standing there, pointing a LeMat at Temple. Military revolver, but not a Colt. LeMats were dicey. Buckshot from the bottom barrel. The gent raised his gun toward Temple’s head, eyes gleaming (He likes it, Temple thought again, he likes killing), and pulled the trigger. The hammer fell, but no shot. The horse reared.

“Powder’s moist,” Temple said. “The rain. You have to mind the rain, friend. Damp pistolas mightn’t fire.”

“Bastard, get off my horse and let me have the damn package.” The gent thrust his hand into the saddle and yanked a riding crop from it, then whipped Temple’s right thigh. The crop tore through his pants, blood came streaming through the tear, and a flash of pain seared his thigh.

The gent brought the crop down again, but Temple jammed his cane into the middle of the man’s forehead, and he stumbled back, dazed. Like billiards, Temple thought. Temple slapped the horse’s neck with his left hand and the stallion skittered sideways. He slapped it again, very hard, and the horse bucked wildly into the gent, throwing him to the ground. Temple gathered the reins and galloped off, up New Jersey.

The rain began to let up, and the sun broke through in a yellow, boiling burst.



About the book:

A nation shattered by its president’s murder
Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy
A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him

From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?

In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.

Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.

Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.



About the author:

Timothy L. O’Brien is the Executive Editor of The Huffington Post, where he edited the 2012 Pulitzer Prize–winning series about wounded war veterans, “Beyond the Battlefield.” Previously, he was an editor and reporter at The New York Times. There, he helped to lead a team of Times reporters that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in Public Service in 2009 for coverage of the financial crisis. O’Brien, a graduate of Georgetown University, holds three master's degrees -- in US History,Business and Journalism -- all from Columbia University. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife and two children.

www.timothylobrien.com





Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guest Post: Talia Soghomonian author of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner – In their own words

Talia Soghomonian, author of the ebook Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart & Taylor Lautner – In their own words, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.



Looking casually stylish in a pair of black skinny jeans, black heels and a white shirt, Kristen Stewart, 22, is in a friendly mood and seems excited about this next chapter of her life. She talks about the end of Twilight, the transformation Bella goes through from human to vampire, how the franchise has changed her life, and the downside of fame. A fan of Fifty Shades of Grey, her role inspired the book and she says she’s not too prudish to accept the role, should it be offered to her.

Can you talk about the transformation from human to vampire?


One thing that I liked about Bella’s human version is that she gives as much as she wants to and doesn’t feel pushed. To me, she’s always been really honest, even if she’s technically lying to people, she’s emotionally very honest. Because of that, she’s sometimes unsteady, and sometimes I allowed her to be kind of just teenager-ish. It’s like, you are this very developed, mature version of what we all know her to be, but at the same time, you are this very young, new animal, quite a baby, and you are figuring out how to like use the tools that you have been given. It’s like a 12-year-old getting into a six-speed sports car and being like, "Whoa, so that was fun."


How about just the physicality? Any challenges to that? She’s so strong.


Yeah, that’s the thing. You want to get as close as you can to those experiences. I want to feel that strong, but obviously, you can’t always. Sometimes you have to fake certain things. I really appreciated it when we weren’t on treadmills. I liked being able to actually run on ground and get movement, actual space behind me, and there were different ways that we accomplished looking strong and fast and all that stuff, and my favorite bits were always the ones that we could actually do.


You look very different. You’re wearing a great jacket and the running and the new attitude. Did you have any input on that too?

Yeah, absolutely. One answer to that is that Alice dresses her after she becomes a vampire, because she’s so busy afterwards and she’s so focused on other things, one having the self-control to not rip everyone’s throat out and even though that comes very easy to her, and the fact that she’s got this child, all these things, they dress her. So, for a second, I was like, "Do we hold onto the idea that Bella doesn’t think about it, and so she just kind of looks plain (laughs) and puts on whatever is handed to her and it’s a natural, easy thing, or did she choose these things?" Now her clothes are pretty straightforward, and she will wear a random pair of high-heeled boots, so it’s like, "Whoa, Bella, what are you doing? This is weird."

You have all become huge stars since the first movie. Did you notice any change, like the way people treat you on set?


On the Twilight sets, towards the end, I found that people didn’t really talk to us anymore, which was weird. It was like they possibly were even told, "Hey, leave them alone. If you don’t have a reason to talk to them, don’t just go up to them." And I hate that. Don’t protect me, I’m fine, it’s like, now you are just completely isolating me, so thanks. And then it makes them seem like you are the one possibly who said that to people, which is like, do not represent me, ever. That is the most horrifying idea that that happens unbeknownst to me, but I am sure it does. Just really annoying.


Is it important for you to stay grounded and normal and effectual?

No, I just want to sit by myself all day. (Laughs) Yeah, God of course.

Are you looking ahead to new projects after Twilight and do you feel like these movies are going to cast a long shadow in some ways because you will always be referenced, or is that something that you aren’t thinking about at this point?

I mean, people will always talk about the fact that I got really super-duper famous on Twilight. If people who really love the books have a hard time seeing me in other parts, it’s kind of the ultimate compliment to really understand that. I can’t think of an example, but I’m sure that there are people who have experienced that and it hasn’t seemed to put a damper on anything that has to do with my personal experiences. I am so challenged, I’ve gotten myself into a position where I get to pick and choose my challenges, which is close to unparalleled. It’s very lucky and unique, it doesn’t happen as an actor and if I didn’t have that, then I would be pissed. If I didn’t have that, then I really would be worried. I think that I’m really proud of it and hopefully people keep talking about it, you know?

Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?

I’ve read large excerpts.

Did you know it was based on your character? And if there were a movie, would you be in it?

Uh, (laughs) first of all, they haven’t called me or anything, they haven’t offered me the part.

Maybe you are being protected? Maybe someone didn’t take the call. (Laughs)

No, probably not, I mean if they probably told me about that, it would be funny.

But it’s pretty spicy.

It’s spicy. Yeah. I don’t know, I haven’t read the whole thing and it’s also a highly coveted part everyone is trying to. I don’t know, it’s… I don’t even…

But do you think you would be brave enough to do something like that?

I haven’t read it, and so I mean, I know what you are talking about, I’ve definitely read some of those bits, (laughs) and it’s really nuts, I couldn’t believe it. I see people reading it and I’m like, "Dude you are in public, what are you doing?" (Laughs) But I’m pretty daring. It just takes the right story, and so I don’t know because I haven’t read it. I’m not avoiding it or anything. I just think it’s been made this big deal, so I don’t even know how to answer it.

And what kind of character would you like to do after this movie?

I don’t know. Right now I’m about to do a movie called Callie that I’m really excited about. And it’s hard for me to project into the future like that, because I don’t know ever what it is going to feel like. You can tap into qualities that you don’t know you have, and always the first step of that process is reading something and being surprised by it, or being moved by something and going, "Wow. I didn’t know that part of myself."

Now that Twilight is over, can you reflect back on what was the scene that most touched you or was the hardest to shoot?

There are so many of those moments throughout the entire shoot. She lives a whole little life and in five years, or four years, whatever it is, and God I think probably there have been a lot of challenges. I don’t know, ‘cause all the ultimate life milestones happen and I think maybe in New Moon I was definitely not excited about having to play ultimate death.

What was the most awkward scene you had where you felt like you were completely off?

I think that if I should go back and do that moment again, I could do it better.

Did you take any mementos from the Twilight set? Have you stolen anything? Thumbtacks?

No, I didn’t take those. I took all of her rings and stuff, I have all the bracelets, the wedding ring. I think I have a fake one, actually. I don’t think I have the real one. And I love how I don’t even know that. It’s probably sitting in some baggie somewhere, like a real big diamond.

What are you going to miss the most now that it’s definitely over?

Sometimes there’s just like a feeling. Every set has its own feeling. It’s very consistent, there’s a mood on every set, and we recently did reshoots and as soon as we were back there, it was like, "Oh, fun. Wow, I can’t believe we are doing this again." And it’s crazy how it just assumes the exact same tone, and I will definitely miss that. That’s what people attach themselves to. I think it’s just day in and day out, and you find certain relationships and comforts and creative charges and highs and lows and then just like boredom with certain people, and then at the end you’ve made something and you are like, "Oh good job," and you can pat each other on the back. I always will have that. Even the other day at Comic Con when we saw everyone, it was like, "Here we are again." Instantly right back into that same mood, and I like that mood, it’s a good one.

And what do you miss doing the most doing that you can no longer do because of your insane fame?  What would you like to do if you could?

Well, there’s nowhere in the world that I’m not like [that] at some point. Even if I feel like I’m the most remote, even if I feel like I’m literally at the bottom of the ocean, I’m always going to be recognized. I swear, behind that shell, there’s going to be a lens popping out or something, and so I think to maybe just feel like I literally could actually do anything without someone seeing.

Publication by courtesy of The eBook People. The interview is published in the eBook “Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner – In their own words” © The eBook People GmbH



About the book:

For this project The eBook People teamed up with Paris-based American lifestyle journalist Talia Soghomonian. Her work has been featured in InStyle, Elle Girl, Rolling Stone Magazine, Maria Claire, NME, Rock Mag or Le Monde Mag.

In the eBook the author analyzes the vampire cult, the phenomenon that is Twilight and takes a look at the cast from her own point of view – something that she is one of the best persons to do, as she has met Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in person and has interviewed all of them various times.

The eBook contains more than 30 interviews with the cast from 2008 until now and runs over more than 300 pages on the Kindle. In addition, the eBook includes more than 100 images that are combined with audio quotes taken from interviews conducted with the stars.



About the author:

Talia Soghomonian started out in theater. It was while she was playing a rather pesky, fashion-conscious journalist that she decided to drop theater and “get serious.” After fashion design, she pursued journalism, the main reason being that she wanted to meet U2… She went on to meet some of the world’s biggest stars. Her work has been featured in NME, Rock Mag, Rolling Stone, InStyle, Marie Claire, Grazia, Elle Girl, Le Monde Mag, Guitar Part and Collider.com. She was also a staff writer at the French daily Metro where she wrote about film and music.

Originally from Los Angeles, she currently resides in Paris where life is not always easy… Talia has a hard time resisting the chocolate, the architecture and the shoes.