Tag Archives: multiple authors

The United States: Is she still a beacon to the world? edited by Kenneth Weene

 

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Exceptional or Problem Country

My View – Dellani Oakes

I was raised in a very liberal environment, but a patriotic one. My parents believed in the government, supported the military, but a lot of that faded when we got involved in Vietnam. Much more of that faith was shaken after the Watergate scandal. Still patriotic, still supportive, there was a feeling of discontent, even embarrassment.

I am proud to be American, though I see the flaws in our country. Our system needs an overhaul, where the needs of the people are met, rather than political agendas. It saddens me that we are viewed so negatively by so many in the world. We’re still a destination for those who want a better life, mostly because people have learned to work the system. They ring what they can from it, leaving We the People to pick up the pieces.

Discouraged as I am with our government, I still love my country. I still believe that it’s one of the greatest places to live. We have freedom that many don’t share. We can move from place to place across state lines without having to show papers and a passport. We are free to gripe about our government and its leaders, voice our opinions and gather in protest. We can vote and sign petitions. I’m not saying that our wishes are always met, but at least we can say what we think without fear of death.

Do I agree with everything our country has done? Not at all. But I can’t deny that I am proud to be an American and I believe it is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

 

Dellani Oakes is an author of romantic suspense novels, who lives in Florida where the sun shines, rain rains, the sky is blue and you can have all three at one time.

www.dellanioakes.wordpress.com

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Stars & Striped Coloured Glasses

by Stuart Carruthers

Back when I was a youngster living in England, we looked across the pond and our hearts sank. America had everything; it was the place from which cool radiated to our young eyes. Cowboys and Indians, trucks and cars with bonnets that stretched to the horizon; police shows were Cagney and Lacey, Starsky and Hutch and The Rockford Files and even the Churches had a band with electric bass guitars and drum kits. We, by contrast had police with pointed hats and sticks, brown short nosed Austin Allegro cars, Juliet Bravo, and churches with pipe organs and hard wooden pews. Evel Knievel jumped gorges and trucks; Eddie Kidd hopped over rivers.  Where we ate cereal and toast for breakfast, I was told by my mum that Americans ate donuts and apple pie! What more could a young boy want!

Skip forward 30 plus years and something has changed. Now everyone has hundreds of TV channels; all countries involve their soldiers in unjust wars and cars have become the same bland Japanese shapes. My son still wants to go to America, but that’s because it’s a long way away not because it has anything more than we do here in Taiwan. Globalization has given us everything from anywhere in the world wherever we are. Being American is no longer an aspiration it’s a way of life. We are fed a non-stop diet of American TV, fast food and god help us Coffee (since when was America synonymous with good coffee!?)

Thanks to social media we’re now fed the worst of Americana: cops that kill indiscriminately, highways perpetual state of inaction and never ending images of the worst of Walmart’s customers.

Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s too much information, maybe, as with the rest of the world, the post-war baby boom has expired and the hope and optimism that came with it has faded and grayed with age like the children of the 50’s and 60’s.

I still haven’t found my way across the pond, but this is largely because other places looked more interesting. Not better or worse, just not the same as the UK. Today, America seems too familiar and it’s that familiarity which leads to a perceived lack of excitement for a traveler. But one day I will go and I hope that I’m wrong and that it’s as different as it could be.

 

Stuart Carruthers is a writer and a British ex-patriot who lives in Taiwan. Find him at https://www.facebook.com/Writeimagination

 

 

A Note on Returning Home

by James L. Secor

After years of travel, wandering in foreign lands, I returned to

My home–or so it was called, this place I grew in, and left for adventure,

But, in fact, was not my home, not a real home, this place I recognized

Showing little change for the years passed but now an effaced place of people living

In cells, cocoons isolated and without touch from other cocoons

Without touch–had touch been reduced to a sin, a perversion, human

Made to be inhuman?

True, a face was on it, all pasted on as

Hollywood, political smiles are, the stuff of cartoons, eyes dead in

Faces of plastic doll heads blurting sound bites of recognized syllables, but

All empty words divorced of any emotion, devoid of sentiment.

So misleading, hearing I behaved, as social, civilized man might and

Became an inappropriate one, my conduct that of a foreigner, lost in

My own land that truly was not my land, or my country, not my home,

Home being a place of welcome and warmth and support, with

Family and friends, but now no more than Odysseus’ isle of coldness and

Treachery calculated and so, fit only for a battle, a battle

I am too old to fight, too old to withstand the volcanic hatred

And killing, for surely some must cease breathing for life to once more break ground.

 

So I knew why, with more conviction than when I began my return,

I felt that I did not wish to come back to this, my country–a lost place

With no connection to me or anyone else. I knew there was nothing,

No life, no soul, no waiting arms open and welcoming, like the place

I had grown to love, with family and friends and support for a life

Far from the abuse and oppression of the people who called me their own

Only to find nothing had changed but everything had worsened and I

Was wanted less than I was before.

So, now I live nowhere at all.

 

Jim Secor wandering scholar, student and teacher, returned to the States in 2010. A social activist/critic playwright, Jim’s 44 years overseas sharpened his sense of a home gone awry. He can often be found at http://labelleotero.wordpress.com .

 

 

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While Nero Fiddled . . .

by Micki Peluso

The Roman Empire between 100 and 200 AD encompassed Northern Scotland and reached out as far as Asia. It was one of four classified Empires; including Han China, Mauryan, India and Parthian Persia. The Roman Empire stands out due to its ability to unify and cause major changes in language and the development of lands conquered. It is said that the United States of America is second in this endeavor. So why did the Roman Empire Fall? The glory that was Rome fell by 284 AD due in part by what is taking down our country today — greed, corruption and apathy.

As we watch our own great nation, once the shining star of the free world grow ever weaker, inundated with internal and external problems, one wonders if we are following the footsteps of the once mighty Empire whose arrogance and refusal to see or care blinded them to their own demise. Our country became the United States of America in 1776 with the words of our Constitution written in the blood of those who fought and died for it. That would be about 240 years ago.

We face many of the Roman Empire’s problems and more, which includes loss of respect from other nations, mockery from our enemies, little or no aid from countries that we spend billions upon, as well as major financial, medical, and environmental problems on our front. Scandals in government have scorched the integrity of our political philosophies. We have backed down from stamping out terrorism when it first raised its ugly tentacles in the 1970s; beatable than, not so easily now. Our economy, dependent upon two-income families, has affected the lives of this present generation of children, along with the ever progressive computer technology which is both advantage and bane. We have been forewarned and educated in problems needing immediate solutions. As a Super Power we still ‘talk the talk’ but fail to ‘walk the walk.’ Chicken Little is scurrying about, crying out, ‘The Sky is Falling.’ We don’t bother to glance up.

Can we be so foolish as not to see what’s happening to our once great nation? The greed, corruption, and apathy are snowballing into a massive avalanche that may well bury the country we once knew. Cartoonist Walt Kelly paraphrased Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s famous quotation, ‘We have met the enemy and they are ours.’ On the second Earth Day on April 22, 1970, Walt Kelly’s first ‘Pogo’ cartoon graced the cover of a magazine. His words were relating to environmental issues but aptly fit all the problems of our times. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

 

Magazine writer, humorist, and memoirist Micki Peluso  can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Micki-Peluso/e/B002BLZ7JK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1435341140&sr=1-2

 

 

American Alchemy

by Kenneth Weene

Having grown up in New England, my childhood was imbued with the “Shining City on the Hill” mythology of America. We were, after all, the landfall of Pilgrims and Puritans, the home of Anne Hutchinson and Rodger Williams, the bedrock of Unitarianism, town meetings, and transcendentalism. We believed in the transformation of man. If the ancient alchemists goal was to change lead to gold, New England offered the promise that mere men could be transformed into pure-hearted signers of a perfect social contract. Hadn’t that been shown on November 11, 1620 aboard the Mayflower? Hadn’t that human steel been proven in the Revolution and again in the fire of the Civil War?

Even today, despite much revisionist history, despite learning of the abuse of Indians by those “founding fathers” and of the slave connections of many of those revolutionary heroes, despite knowing that many New Englanders grew rich during the War Between the States: it is easy to look back on my childhood—so close to Concord, Lexington, Walden Pond, and Bunker Hill—and believe America did offer the world an example of what could be.

Our downstairs neighbor, who appears from time to time in my writing, was a veteran of World War I. Despite the shrapnel in his legs and the laboring of his gassed lungs, he believed America had fought to make the world safe for democracy and to end the age of war. He believed we were a place that offered the possibility of—if not perfection, surely—improvement. We all believed America was the place a man could rise to new heights.

Born just before World War II, I can remember the pride of standing with my grandfather and watching General Eisenhower’s motorcade come down our main street. One of my first published poems was about that day.

Now much older, I look back and wonder when the possibility that was America was lost. Intellectually, I know there were always problems of justice and equality, but what went wrong to our national goal of perfectibility or ongoing improvement. We are no longer interested in the transformation of ourselves or our world into something purer; we have become, as the ancient alchemists, preoccupied with the accumulation of gold.

We no longer believe in a compact between government and citizens. Rather we glorify individualism at the price of mutual responsibility. While other governments offer ever increasing support, protection, and encouragement to all, many Americans see government as the threat and believe that we are in a free-for-all in which the best should and do succeed while the devil takes the rest.

Perhaps it was always so. We are, after all, the nation of slavery, Manifest Destiny, and robber barons. Perhaps we never truly ascribed to the pursuit of something higher. Perhaps my childhood hagiography was a lie. It is enough to make an American weep, shout, and work for change.

 

Novelist, poet, and essayist, Kenneth Weene is one of the founding editors of The Write Room. Find him at http://www.kennethweene.com

COMING SOON FOR THOSE WHO LOVE TO READ

Not only are the members of The Write Room Blog fine authors, but we are also prolific and wide-ranging. Here are some of the new books from the gang. Some are already available and others will be out soon. All are worth reading. So check the inventory, make your wish list, and get set for a good read.

1) From Frank Fiore “MURRAN” the story of a Black American boy coming of age in the 1980s and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a tribe in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a drug gang. Eventually he is framed for murder and flees with his high school teach to the teacher’s Maasai village in Kenya. There Trey learns true Black African values and culture, goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, and becomes a young shaman. Returning to America to confront the gang leader who framed him, Trey teaches the values of the Maasai to his tribe in Brooklyn.

2) Suppose your acts and deeds in life were exposed?  What if darkness spread throughout the world, its evil feeding each person’s inner fears, terrorizing their bodies, minds and souls?  Monica Brinkman’s stand-alone sequel to “The Turn of the Karmic Wheel” aptly titled, “THE WHEEL’S FINAL TURN” takes us to Northern California where one woman holds the power to control the world’s destiny.  Brinkman presents a page-turning adventure of horror, the paranormal and spirituality. Watch for its release in 2015.

3) From Anne Sweazy Kulju comes “GROG WARS: PART 1.” Who will win the war for love and beer? A self-made German brewer endures the cross-Atlantic “coffin ship”, braves the savage-infested Oregon Trail and is threatened with Shanghai.  He becomes wealthy, but he would give it all for the love of his woman–while a lesser man would take it all and rid of the woman.  Let the battles begin!

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4) Chase Enterprises Publishing is now taking pre-orders for a stunning memoir from a woman who has lived nearly 40 years with the deadly disease, anorexia. Eileen Rand’s story, “NOTHING ON THE FIELD: A message of hope from a recovering anorexic” is a brutally honest account of her terrible struggle while also offering up hope to others with eating disorders. Clayton Bye, her recorder, recommends the memoir to anyone who has ever faced adversity in their lives or who simply wants to know what this killer disease is all about. Avoid the rush and order yours now at ccbye@shaw.ca.

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5) Discover the passion for not only cooking, but for enriching the joie de vivre! Recipes that create delicious entertaining and romantic conclusions. Whether cooking for two or more, these easy dishes will enhance any occasion and can turn an ordinary eating experience into a memorable event. Intermingled between luscious pictures of recipes, are gorgeous photos of men to spice the cook’s creative energy. A romantic story thread begins after the first recipe and concludes following the last menu suggestion of cheese and wine. “FRONT ROW CENTER’S PASSION IN THE KITCHEN” is a great addition to any cook’s collection and is the go-to book when desiring originality with a flare. Winner of multiple literary awards, Cynthia B. Ainsworthe delivers more than tasty meals.

6) Kansas, 1959. A traveling carnival appears overnight in the small town of Seneca Falls, intriguing the townsfolk with acts of inexplicable magic and illusion. But when a man’s body is discovered beneath the carousel, with no clue as to his identity, FBI Special Agent Michael Travis is sent to investigate.  Led by the elusive Edgar Doyle, the carnival folk range from the enigmatic to the bizarre, but none of them will give Travis a straight answer to his questions. With each new turn of the investigation, Doyle and his companions challenge Travis’s once unshakeable faith in solid facts and hard evidence.  In “CARNIVAL OF SHADOWS,” his powerful, atmospheric thriller, bestselling author R.J. Ellory introduces the weird and wonderful world of the Carnival Diablo and reveals the dark secrets that lurk at its heart.

7) Santa is better known then ever, and the world is getting busier. But he still has to deliver the presents. How will he get the goodies to all the children in time? Watch for the e-book and enhanced e-book of “SANTA’S DOPPELGANGER” coming soon from Stuart Carruthers.

8) Looking for a collection of multi-genre short stories, funny bittersweet slice of life experiences, essays and a smattering of poetry to laugh at, relate to and treasure? Be prepared for “DON’T PLUCK THE DUCK” by Micki Peluso, a reading experience to remember. Available soon on Amazon and everywhere enjoyable books are found.

9) “ANGELS VERSUS VIRGINS”. The twisted mind of author Bryan Murphy mingles with that of a teenage boy in this short, sharp tale of football and fanaticism with a bitter-sweet ending.

10) “SHADOW OF DOUBT” by Nancy Cole Silverman — When a top Hollywood Agent is found poisoned in her bathtub, suspicion quickly turns to one of her two nieces. But Carol Childs, a reporter for a local talk radio station, doesn’t believe it. The suspect is her neighbor and friend, and also her primary source for insider industry news. After a media frenzy pits one niece against the other—and the body count starts to rise—Carol knows she must save her friend from the court of public opinion. But even the most seasoned reporter can be surprised. When a Hollywood psychic warns Carol there will be more deaths, things take an unexpected turn. Suddenly, nobody is above suspicion. Carol must challenge friendship and the facts, and the only thing she knows for certain is that the killer is still out there. And, the closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she’s in.

11) Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins new book is “MAGGIE’S KITCHEN TAILS: Dog Treat Recipes and Puppy Tales to Love.” It is inspired by her dog Maggie, who rescued Mamie many times when she got into trouble with her blood pressure and diabetes, waking her when they crashed.  Maggie is now in training as a Service Dog.  She was severely abused as a puppy creating serious health issues for Maggie, which forced Mamie and her husband Doug to learn what foods were healthy and to create special recipes for their canine companion. Many of those recipes are included in the book; all of them are human grade and with added spices can be enjoyed by humans. A potion of each book’s sale will be donated to benefit animals suffering from the effects of abuse that are needing to be re-homed. Mamie’s co-authors for this book are her husband Douglas E. Adkins, Martha Char Love and Linda Victoria Hales. Copies can be reserved in advance.

12) “BACKWOODS BOOGIE” by Trish Jackson (just released on November 14th) is the third  book in Trish’s romantic comedy Redneck P.I. Mystery Series. Twila Taunton can’t allow gentle Pam Taylor to go to prison for a murder she did not commit, and sets out to hunt down the real killer, with the help of her quirky cohorts. When she discovers an illegal puppy mill, and a possible dog fighting ring, Twila calls on a vigilante biker gang and her long distance lover, Harland to help.

13) “VIRGO’S VARIANT” is Trish Jackson’s third story in her Zodiac Series, where each heroine belongs to a different star sign and exhibits the typical traits of her sign. “Virgo’s Variant” is a romantic suspense thriller about a reality show gone terribly wrong. It is available for preview on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program, where the power goes to the readers, who are the judges. If you have an Amazon account, please click on the link and if you like the story, Trish would love you to nominate it

14) Eduardo Cervino’s (writing as E.C. Briefield) upcoming novel “ALLIGATOR ISLAND” is based on his last years living in the Island of Cuba, during the Castro revolution. Revolutions, like alligators, have a nasty habit of eating their young. When moonlight bathes the Florida Strait, you might see Cubans escaping north aboard rickety rafts. The price of the perilous trip is fear, tears, and laughter if they succeed, or death for those who fail. These men and women carry nothing but dreams of freedom for themselves and hopes of prosperity for their children. The ninety miles between Havana and Key West may well be the most dangerous adventure of their lives. The spirits of countless Cubans who have drowned in the salty waterway cannot always steer away the sharks circling the flimsy rafts. This is the story of one such trip.

15) D. M. Pirrone’s “SHALL WE NOT REVENGE” is “a deeply nuanced mystery bolstered by fine writing and attention to historical detail” (Kirkus starred review, August 2014).  In the harsh early winter of 1872, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley must solve the brutal murder of an Orthodox rabbi.  Aided by the dead man’s daughter Rivka, who defies her community to help track down her father’s killer, Hanley unravels a web of corruption and deceit that ultimately forces a showdown with a powerful gambling king and nemesis from his own shady past.

16) Talk about homecomings . . . Thanks to suspended animation during his missions, Turtan, humanity’s greatest hero, returns to the space academy where he graduated 4,000 years before.  John B. Rosenman’s novel “DEFENDER OF THE FLAME” is Book III in his Inspector of the Cross series, and thanks to MuseItUp Publishing, it will blast into outer space this winter.  For 4,000 years, Inspector Turtan has traveled on freeze ships to investigate reports of weapons or devices that might turn the tide against our heartless and seemingly invincible alien enemy, the Cen.  If it weren’t for him, we would have lost the war and been annihilated centuries ago.  Now, at long last, Turtan believes he has found a way to defeat the foe and save us.  But is he only deluded?  Read the series and find out!

17) Set to be released by Christmas of 2014, “IT’S BAD BUSINESS” by R.L. Cherry is the second in the Morg Mahoney, P.I. series.  The investigator with a tongue as lethal as her revolver is back with a vengeance and the bad guys learn she is no wimpy woman.  She’s Morg, and that says it all. With a tip of the fedora to Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon,” the story even includes a Sam Spade who helps Morg at key moments.

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18) “THE MERRY-GO-ROUND MAN,” John B. Rosenman’s novel about three boys growing up in the fifties is now also available as an audio book.  It is narrated by Aze Fellner and available on iTunes, audible.com, and amazon.com.  If you think the fifties were conservative and innocent, think again.  Sex, violence, and mayhem abounded, and that was on a quiet night.  The story stars a boy with an Orthodox Jewish father who sternly discourages his two immense gifts.  Johnny is potentially an unbeatable heavyweight boxer and a sublime expressionistic painter.  The other two boys, a black kid from the ghetto, and a born Romeo with a gift for football, ain’t bad either.

19) John B. Rosenman is Bundling these days.  MuseItUp Publishing has just released “THE AMAZING WORLDS OF JOHN B. ROSENMAN” – Don’t put him down for being conceited.  The publisher picked the title!  It’s 592 pages and 4 complete, mind-blowing books.  Pre-order until November 21 at a special low price.  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and more.  Dark Wizard.  Dax Rigby, War Correspondent.  More Stately Mansions.  Plus The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes, winner of Preditor’s and Editor’s 2011 Reader’s Poll for SF/F.

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20) Ken Weene’s “BROODY NEW ENGLANDER” is a collection of three tales set in Maine. Beneath the Down East quiet, emotions roil and passions burn. These are tales of desire, lust, and yes, of love. Stories of fidelity and deceit, of anger and repentance, of youth and aging, of birth and death. They celebrate the prose poetry that is life.

21) Coming soon from Ken Weene,  “TIMES TO TRY THE SOUL OF MAN,” crime fiction based on real events and including previously untold facts about the attacks of 9/11. It is also a story of coming of age in 1990s America replete with drugs, alcohol, sex, unrequited love, and the search for life’s meaning.