Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Small Story for Page Three by John W. Germond




Blurb:

Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion. Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.

Review:

Although I wrote fiction as a child and teenager, I didn’t seriously consider writing as a career until I worked at the National Public Radio affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina.  I was hired as the secretary/receptionist fresh out of secretarial school, and I practically venerated the four journalists for whom I worked.  They talked about how great it was working in Public Radio where they didn’t have to worry about their stories clashing with the interests of advertisers or sponsors, because at the time PBS and NPR were supported entirely by government grants.  My bosses had complete Freedom of Press.

Harry Fletcher does not have that freedom.  His colleague, Eddie Concannon, was working on “A Small Story for Page Three” prior to his death.  A gurbernatorial candidate led a commission investigating corruption in the judicial, State’s Attorney’s and police departments that led to several indictments.  It was that commission that catapulted him into favor for the candidacy for governor.  Concannon told his wife he’d uncovered a “nugget” prior to his death, and Harry decides to follow it up before writing the story.  As he follows the leads, he clashes with his publisher who makes it clear—the editors and reporters do not determine what goes into the newspaper; he does.  It doesn’t matter who has corroborated the story—if the candidate says it didn’t happen; it didn’t.  Printing it could hurt the man’s candidacy.  (And Richard Nixon never had any tape recorders in the Oval Office because he said he didn’t.  Printing the Watergate story could hurt Nixon’s presidential legacy. Really?)  Why is Marcotte so invested in killing this story?

Harry is an old-fashioned newspaper man.  He’s more interested in writing the whole story than in finding a sound-bite or grabbing the front page.  He tracks down leads and corroborates them with more than one source, and he protects his sources.  But we don’t just see him at work.  We see him at home where his marriage to a younger woman is going through a rough patch, which doesn’t help matters.  One of his sources is an attractive woman whose husband is also out of town, and an envious colleague reports a bit of flirtatious banter during an interview as a full-blown affair.  While the story is told in first person, Mr. Germond’s characters are all fully-drawn, interesting, and engaging.  The story is fast-paced and a real page-burner.

I would love to see more from this retired newsman who finally wrote that novel so many journalists have stuffed in a drawer, but he left us three days before this book was released.  At least he got to see the galleys.  RIP Mr. Germond, and thank you.

Length: 224 Pages
Price:  $5.95

You’ll notice I always include the publisher’s buy link.  That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher.  Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%.  When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left.  So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book Publisher.com and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40.  If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your Kindle is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive.  Plug the USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from your “Downloads” box to your Kindle/Documents/Books directory.  I actually download my books using “Save As” to a “Books” file I created on my computer that’s sorted by my publisher, friends, and books “to review,” and then transfer them to my Kindle from there.  That way, if there’s a glitch with my Kindle, the books are on my computer.  Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. RIW

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Housetraining Puppies & Adult Dogs by Lori Verni-Forgosi

dog train

Welcome to the Dog Training Challenge!

What is it? A group event in which housebreaking issues are eliminated once and for all! (Now that the kids are back in school but it's not holiday season yet, it's the perfect time!)
  • Puppies: All need house training!
  • Older dogs: Many still have accidents, whether frequent, occasional, excitement wetting, etc!
  • Already housebroken dogs: Teach your pet to use a designated area instead of your entire yard!
What do I have to do? How do I win?
  • Everyone wins by no longer having to deal with accidents in your house or poop all over your yard!
  • One person at random wins the $20 Petsmart card... however, you can earn extra entries the more you participate!
Yeah, yeah... clearly the author is selling books. How much is this gonna cost me?
  • Yes, Lori Verni-Fogarsi is the author of this book and hopes you'll buy one and participate. But honestly, this is not some sort of huge money-making venture for her! (Let's face it... if she were looking to get rich, there are better ways!) I know Lori is a genuine person who truly cares about dogs and their owners!
  • The book will be only $2.99 during this entire event! (Kindle version, which you can read on any computer or smartphone as well as Kindle, iPad, etc.) If you prefer paperback, it normally retails for $14.99 but Amazon often offers it for less. (For example, right now it's $12.92 with free shipping.)
Okay, sounds good. How do I sign up?
  1. Get your copy of "Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies & Adult Dogs" from Amazon.
  2. Enter your information into the entry form below to confirm that you have the book & are participating.
  3. Start reading & following the methods!
  4. Return to Lori's site regularly to participate in the discussion, ask questions, &/or get extra entries in the entry form! (Additional entries will become open to you once you've done Step 2.) Bookmark this page so it's easy to find!

How do I know if my dog's issues will be covered?

Housebreaking Dogs Book Cover

The book covers LITERALLY every housebreaking issue you could possibly think of! Including, but not limited to:

  • General confusion about where to "go."
  • Leg lifting/territorial marking.
  • Occasional accidents in a certain room.
  • Won't go out in the rain (or other weather issues).
  • Excitement or fear-related wetting.
  • Accidents in the crate.
  • Won't go in front of you outside.
  • Accidents after moving to a different home.
  • Accidents when visiting.
  • Special section for rescue dogs.
  • Teaching your already housebroken pet/s to use a designated area instead of your entire yard.
  • And more!
Ready? Let's go! START HERE: (Step 1): Get your copy of "Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies & Adult Dogs." STEP 2: Use this form to confirm that you have the book & are participating. (You may need to wait a moment for the form to load.) Do some extra entries now if you'd like. a Rafflecopter giveaway STEP 3: Read the book & follow the methods! (It's a short, easy, read!) STEP 4: Visit the main event page regularly to ask questions, participate in the discussion (in comments, below), let us know how your dog is doing, gain additional entries, etc. Congratulations on taking the first step toward enjoying your pet, home, and yard more! I encourage you to take some time to visit these fabulous blogs who are all helping support this amazing event! Just click their titles to visit!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

My Aviation History



I’m a baby boomer, a child of the space-age.  Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier two years before I was born and I was six when the Russians launched Sputnik and the Space Race was on.  To me, flying was as natural as walking or driving, if you had enough money to do so.  My family wasn’t poor, but we weren’t rich either.  We were part of President Eisenhower’s vast Middle Class, although I saw us as part of the lower half because my dad drove a truck, my mother worked in a factory (much to my embarrassment), and we lived in the city, not the suburbs.  Oh, we had a TV, and Daddy bought a new car every two years.  We lived in a house, not an apartment, and I was in Girl Scouts and choir and I got new clothes every spring and fall, and I heard the usual admonitions about children starving in China if I didn’t clean my plate.  I got a transistor radio when I was ten and my own stereo when I was twelve, and every summer we visited my cousins in the country, so maybe we were upper middle class in terms of income.

When I was ten, I went to visit my cousins over Spring Break.  My uncle drove me up to Iron Mountain, Michigan from Chicago, but then his plans changed and he couldn’t drive back.  How could my family get me home?  I don’t know who came up with the idea of flying me home, but my aunt put me on a North Central Airlines flight.  I flew on a converted Douglas C-47. The plane was a troop transport during World War II, converted from a DC-3 passenger plane.  After the war, many airline companies bought the surplus planes and re-converted them to passenger planes.  Like Sydney Bellek and Elian Davies in M. S. Spencer’s Lapses in Memory, I received my “wings” on that flight.

My next flight was aboard a Cessna.  I don’t recall the model.  My sister, brother-in-law, and their best friends rented a cottage in Eagle River, Wisconsin and took me along to babysit.  That was a disaster.  I was fine in the city, but when a raccoon got into our garbage outside the only door I could have used to go for help, and I was stuck in the woods without a phone, this city girl panicked thinking it was a bear.  The next time the adults went out, they got a sitter for me.  But I digress…  We went on an aerial tour of the resort area, and at the age of twelve, I got to sit up front, next to the pilot.  That was so cool!


I didn’t get to fly again until I graduated from high school.  My graduation gift from my parents was a trip to Los Angeles to visit an aunt and uncle out there.  I got to see the mountains and go to Disneyland, but I didn’t get to see the ocean.  That was my first experience on a jet.  I believe it was a Boeing 707.  I had a few flights on those and 727s—a couple more vacations, and then my flights to and from Boot Camp and the Navy Hospital at Oakland, California.  The difference is in the engines.  A 707 had engines on the wings, while 727s had them on the tails.

I discovered the Boeing 737 Baby Jet when I was engaged.  My fiancĂ© was stationed in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and it took two flights to get there from San Francisco.  Three, if you counted the chopper service across the San Francisco Bay!


Yes, I’ve even flown on helicopters.  San Francisco and Oakland Helicopter Airlines made sixty-two passenger flights per day across the Bay between the two airports, using Sikorsky S-62[3] turbine helicopters.  They even had flight attendants who would make sure each passenger’s seat belt was properly fastened.  Once we were airborne, they would jump up, pass out mints, sit down, buckle up, and we would land.  It was much easier to get to the San Francisco airport than taking busses.  I had to really hang onto my wedding gown when I went home to get married.  It got caught in the updraft and was headed for the rotors!

The weekend of my twenty-first birthday was quite an adventure.  I flew home on a hop out of Travis Air Force Base on a C-131 cargo plane.  We sat backward and instead of a flight attendant, we had a burly sergeant telling us how to don our parachutes and pull the oxygen tanks off the wall in case of an emergency.  (Yes, I used that in Rock Bound.) There was a trailer on board in which some brass were flying across country for some sort of meeting.  We stopped at an Air Force Base in Kansas while they met with someone there.  The sergeant took inside the trailer.  He said it was the one used by the Apollo 11 astronauts during quarantine when they returned to Earth.  I didn’t appreciate the historic significance at the time, because I didn’t realize he meant Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins when they came back from the Moon.  I thought he meant one of the later missions.  Eventually we made it to Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis, and I caught the last civilian flight to O’Hare.

I couldn’t catch a hop back to San Francisco, so I grabbed a civilian flight.  It was a Boeing 747 with a piano bar, and since it was my birthday, I didn’t have to pay for my drinks.  Flying from Central to Pacific time, my twenty-first birthday was twenty-six hours long.  Sydney and Elian spend time aboard a 747 with a piano bar in Lapses of Memory.


My last interesting flight was the hop I caught to Hawai’i.  It was a Lockheed Orion P-3 used by the Navy for anti-submarine and marine observation operations.  I was assigned the starboard observation post.  Being the only female aboard was fun.  I got to sit in the catbird seat behind and above the pilot and co-pilot and watch the sun set over the Pacific.  The navigator let me speak to a picket ship in the middle of the Pacific whose only job was to steam in a tight circle and speak to aircraft to let them know they were on the right course to Hawai’i.  They hadn’t heard a female voice in months.  The drawback was that since I was basically a hitch-hiker, they didn’t bring along a bucket for the head.  Translation—there was no ladies’ room.  And, because the P-3 flies low to spot submarines in the water, it’s not a jet aircraft.  It’s powered by four turbo-props, so it’s slower than a jet.  A flight that takes about four hours by jet takes six hour in a P-3.  Yup—six hours with no restroom.  I didn’t care about seeing my husband when we finally landed.  I just needed to find the facilities.  The crew wanted to wash the plane and put fuel onboard.  I convinced them to let me out at the fuel tanks.  My husband, who had been in the control tower when we landed, was on the stairs and missed my sprint across the tarmac. He was quite flummoxed when the plane finally taxied to the terminal and I wasn’t on board.  The pilot told the tower I was on the flight—where had I gone?

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt the power gathering beneath me, the G-forces pushing me into my seat as we tear down the runway, and the sudden smooth freedom of flight.  I miss it and hope to feel it again someday.  But if I don’t, I hope you will.  And no, I’ve never joined the Mile High Club.  For me, flying’s fun enough.  I cry on takeoff for sheer joy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lori Verni Fogarsi's Momnesia: Hop & Win Book Blast

The event is over, but "Momnesia" is still a great book, and well worth buying, even at full price.  Check out my review next door at Rochelle's Reviews.

Momnesia Book Cover
MOMNESIA (mahm-nee-zhuh) -noun-
Loss of the memory of who you used to be. Caused by pregnancy, play dates, and trying to keep the house cleaner than the Joneses.
"Momnesia," which has been recognized in two awards, is the story of an average suburban mom who, feeling invisible under all the responsibilities of caring for her family, sets about finding balance between her "momminess" and her "sexiness." She does find some adventure pursuing her own interests, but it isn't until she tosses the Invisible Rule Book altogether that she discovers life---and love---have more to offer than she ever imagined!

book blast hop and win

Lori V. FogarsiLori is an author, speaker, and small business consultant. She has two novels: "Momnesia," and its sequel, "Unexpecting," and a nonfiction book, "Everything You Need to Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs." Her books have been recognized in the USA Best Book Awards, the National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and Indie Book of the Day Award.




momnesia book coverUnexpecting cover


Regarding her novels, Lori says, "I like to write about the thoughts and feelings many women have, but are often hesitant to discuss... or even think about! It is my hope that when reading my books, people experience a sense of camaraderie, being understood, or at the very least, good old-fashioned entertainment for a time."

Housebreaking Dogs Book Cover


Her nonfiction dog training book is among the top bestselling independently published books of all time! Originally released in 2005, it continues to be one of the most highly acclaimed books in its genre, recommended by vets, rescue groups, and pet professionals worldwide.

Lori is a happily married mom of two, step mom of two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Originally a native New Yorker, she now divides her time between Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA, where she is hard at work on her next books.

Because she is also an avid reader, Lori understands that your time is valuable and that selecting a book to read can feel like a commitment! She welcomes you to visit her special "Momnesia Page," which includes the first two chapters free as well as another excerpt, reviews, and more. Enjoy!

And don't forget to go next door and check out my other  reviews at Rochelle's Reviews!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Chicago Blackhawks Dropped the Flag

The City of Chicago is celebrating, but I'm not.  Our hockey team, the Blackhawks, have won the Stanley Cup.  Apparently that's the equivalent of baseball's World Series, which I will celebrate when the Cubs win.  Yeah, I know—I'm not holding my breath.  Back around the Turn of the Century (the last one, 1900 or so) Sam Sianis of Billy Goat's tavern tried to take his goat to a baseball game at Wrigley Field.  The Wrigley's refused to allow him to bring the goat into the ballpark and he cursed the Cubs.  They haven't won a World Series since.  I'm not sure if they've even played in one.  In my lifetime they've come close to winning the National League pennant twice, but lost to the New York Mets in 1969 and the San Diego Padres in 1984 (darned clay infield!).  Mr. Sianis' nephew brought a goat into Wrigley Field at the Millenium, but the Cubs still haven't made it.  Apparently his uncle had some pretty strong mojo.  After all, he was the inspiration for the Saturday Night Live "Cheesburger, Cheesburger" skits.

I was raised as a Cubs fan and my heroes were people like Ernie Banks who patiently played first base and hit balls into the bleachers and out onto Waveland and Sheffield Avenues without once ever playing in a World Series game.  Back then players were not free to leave a losing team in favor of a winning one or tell their agents to "show them the money."  Nor did they fight with the umpires (much) or hurl obscenities at the umps or the fans.  There was such a thing as sportsmanship, and that's why my family watched baseball and not hockey.  They didn't approve of people beating each other up with the implements of their sport.

But that's just a part of the game and always has been, apparently, and I wouldn't bother to blog about it.  I'd be glad our Chicago team won and go my own way as I usually do when any of our other teams win.  I am, however, angry at the Blackhawks.  A few years ago I was at the United Center for a performance of the circus and I was dismayed when I was caught in the concourse during the National Anthem and everyone out there but me ignored the song.  I wrote an essay called "The Flag Drooped," and submitted it to the National Veterans' Creative Arts Competition where it won a Bronze Medal.  Well, the flag practically lay on the floor during the hockey playoff that I witnessed on TV when I was caught at Buffalo Wild Wings playing trivia during a recent playoff game.

It was bad enough that very few of the fans bothered to salute properly during the performance of the Star Spangled Banner.  There was a murmur in the background that almost drowned the song out.  People weren't even keeping quiet.  I've grown to expect that.  If they teach respect for the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the National Anthem in school, those lessons don't seem to last past the schoolyard gate.  But one would at least expect the athletes to stand still with their hands over their hearts during the performance, as my Cubs used to.  I realize these are not intelligent people and I'm not suggesting we idolize or deify them, but they're the guys on camera and the fans do idolize them.  Companies pay millions of dollars to advertise their wares during these games, and these men make millions of dollars to skate around and hit a piece of rubber with wooden sticks.  The least they can do is stand still with their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem.

I realize many of these guys are not from the United States.  I get a lot of e-mails from my very conservative sister about how people who drive around displaying the flags of other countries from their car windows should get with the program, get green cards, learn English, pay taxes, and display the US flag or go home.

Well, these guys have green cards, they speak enough English to do TV interviews, and they have accountants to evade taxes just like all the other millionaires in this country.  And there they were, on camera, every one of them holding their hockey sticks in their right hands and fidgeting throughout the Star Spangled Banner.  I was absolutely disgusted.

I do not congratulate them on their win.  I am ashamed that they play in my city.  As far as I'm concerned, the flag didn't just droop—the Chicago Blackhawks dropped it.  I forget how many demerits that would have cost a company when I was in Navy boot camp, but I think it would have meant at least an extra week of boot camp doing nothing but cleaning toilets with toothbrushes.  Maybe someone should make the Blackhawks do that.