Monday, October 1, 2018

Darkest Before the Dawn by Mike Martin @mike54martin #mystery #vbt


DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN by Mike Martin, Mystery, 266 pp., $14.99 (paperback)



Title: DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN Author: Mike Martin Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing Pages: TBA Genre: Mystery

Darkest Before the Dawn is the latest adventure of Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Mountie who finds himself surrounded by a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There are signs of trouble that may disturb his pleasant life, including a series of unsolved break-ins and the lack of supports for young people in the most trying time of their lives. But there are always good friends, good food and the sense that if we all pull together, we can find a way to get through even the darkest days.

Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new character enliven the pages as Windflower and Tizzard and the other police officers awaken the secrets that have been lying dormant in this sleepy little town. The deeper they dig the more they find as the criminals they seek dive deeper behind the curtains of anonymity and technology. But more than anything, this is a story of love and loss, of growing up and learning how to grow old gracefully. It is also about family and community and looking after each other. Of not giving up hope just before the dawn.

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Winston Windflower was surrounded by women. Literally
and figuratively. At home, his beautiful wife, Sheila Hillier,
was busy minding the new joy of their lives. Amelia Louise was just
over a month old, and she was the most beautiful thing that the
RCMP sergeant had ever seen. Right in front of him was a gaggle
of ladies from the Grand Bank United Church Women. He was
finishing up the latest in a series of seminars the local Mounties
were conducting on how to make your home safer.
The sessions were in response to a series of break-ins around
the Burin Peninsula in recent months. There had been ten reported
in Grand Bank alone. This was concerning to the locals who were
used to living in a community where you never had to lock your
doors at night. It was disturbing to the RCMP as well because they
had no idea who was behind this latest crime spree. Usually, that
was the easiest part of their job.
Break and enters were often carried out by drug users looking
for quick money for hits or professionals who would stake out a
home or business that had particularly valuable assets. There were
random robberies for other reasons, too, but ten in one small town
was more than unusual. What was even stranger was that houses
had been broken into, and nothing appeared to be missing.
That had startled the RCMP and scared the local women
who had come out tonight to hear about double bolts and security
systems.
“We never had to lock our doors around here,” said Mabel
Bennett.
“Who is doing this, Sergeant?” asked Rachel Mahoney.
“Is it drugs?” asked Barb Pritchard.

Windflower was trying to respond but the questions kept
coming.

“They don’t know yet,” came a voice from behind him. Wind-
flower turned to see who had come to his rescue. It was Betsy

Molloy, his administrative assistant.
“The whole detachment is working on it, and they’ll find them,”
continued Betsy. “The Mounties always get their man,” she stated
confidently.
That seemed to assuage the gathered women, who parted to
let the RCMP officer slip through. He nodded and smiled as he
politely refused all offers for coffee and cake and squeezed his way
out of the church hall.
Outside, he exhaled a sigh of relief and breathed in the first
warm night air of spring. It was early June, but the weather had been
unseasonably cold for this time of year. There’d even been morning
frost up until a few nights ago. Tonight was calm and beautiful and
mild. Windflower hoped that would be a harbinger of warmer days
ahead. But he had learned from living in this part of the world that
unpredictable was the norm when it came to weather. The good
news was that if you didn’t like the weather at the moment, you
only had to wait about an hour and it would be different.
He didn’t really care about wind or weather tonight. He
couldn’t wait to get home to see Sheila and their baby. He drove
home quickly and was welcomed by yet another female in his life,
Lady, his five-year-old collie. She was still a puppy at heart despite
her age and wanted to jump and play with her master. Windflower
pacified her with a pat on the head and a Milk-Bone biscuit and
ran upstairs.
Sheila was putting a new pink onesie on the baby who was
looking at her mother.
“She knows who you are,” said Windflower, creeping in behind
her. The baby moved her eyes towards him.
“I think she knows you, too,” said Sheila. “Come and say hello.”
Windflower sat on the bed next to Sheila and grazed his baby’s
cheek with his finger. Then, he touched her tiny fingers, and it felt
like she was trying to grab on to him. It may have been reflex, but
Windflower was overjoyed at her reaction. Maybe she does know me, he thought.
As he was pondering this question, Amelia Louise closed her
eyes and was soon fast asleep.
“Put the kettle on, and I’ll be down in a minute,” said Sheila,
who picked up the baby and carried her to the bassinet next to the
bed.
“Okay,” said Windflower. “I’ll take Lady out for a quick spin
too.”
Windflower went downstairs where Lady was waiting none too
patiently for him. Her spirits lifted when he grabbed her leash after
plugging in the kettle.
“Let’s go girl,” he said. She didn’t need to be told twice. Lady
was quite happy to sniff and snort her way all along the roadways
in Grand Bank. She did her business and barked at dogs on the
route to let them know that she had the best master in town. She
was disappointed when Windflower took the short way back home.
But once there, she was quite content to lie at his feet as he sat in
the living room with Sheila.
“So, tell me all about your day,” said Windflower.
“It’s not very exciting,” said Sheila. “Eat, poop, sleep. Repeat.
But I’m not complaining. We have a beautiful, healthy baby girl.”
Windflower smiled. “Well, I couldn’t be happier, with her and
with you.”
“Thank you, Sergeant. What’s happening out in the big world
of Grand Bank? How did your meeting go at the church?”
“They’re worried. Can’t say as I blame them.”
“It’s a big shift. Especially for those who have lived here all of
their lives. What is going on?”
“Don’t know yet, but as Betsy says, we always get our man.”
Sheila laughed. “Good thing Betsy was there. She’s always
helping out with the church ladies.”
“She certainly helped me out tonight. We’ll figure it out. We
always do. In the meantime, lock the doors when I’m not around.
I don’t want anything happening to my two favourite ladies in the
world.”
“Make that three,” said Sheila, laughing again, as Lady pushed
herself up against Windflower for one more rub.

He started to stroke her when his cell phone rang. “Boss, it’s
Jones. We’ve got a situation. We got a call about a shooting up near
the seniors’ club.”
“Injuries?” asked Windflower.
“A teenager,” said Jones. “I’m on my way.”
“I’ll be over in a sec,” said Windflower.
“Bad news?” asked Sheila.
“I’ll call you,” was all he said back.

Sheila didn’t ask any more questions. They liked a layer of insu-
lation between his police work and their personal lives. He gave her a peck on the cheek and patted Lady as he left to drive to the
seniors’ club, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.
The reality was somewhere in between.











Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

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Room for Grace by Daniel & Maureen Kenner @alwysroom4grace #memoir #vbt


ROOM FOR GRACE by Daniel & Maureen Kenner, Memoir, 179 pp., $16.00 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)


Title: ROOM FOR GRACE
Author: Daniel Kenner & Maureen Kenner
Publisher: Silver Boot Imprints
Pages: 179
Genre: Memoir & Biography

Stage 4 cancer for her and a debilitating disease for her husband: life crashed down in an instant. Maureen Kenner found resilience, however, in the lessons she learned from her Special Ed students in Providence, RI. Her students lived with their hearts opened despite struggles of the highest magnitude. Through these students, Maureen gains courage, humor, and the strength of spirit to face her devastating realities, head on. Maureen’s oral history was captured by her son Daniel who tenderly wrought this book out of their recorded conversations. Through anecdotes and hard-earned lessons, Maureen tackles challenge after challenge and reframes daily struggles with a positive outlook allowing her to transcend and conquer mortal fears with dignity and room for grace.

PRAISE:

“Maureen Kenner was one of those people who brightened every room she entered. Thanks to Room for Grace, that light is not extinguished. Although her story shares great sadness, Room for Grace is a book of hope and a celebration of life that sheds Maureen’s light on us all.”
—Ann Hood, Author of The Obituary Writer and The Red Thread

“In these pages, you will find a story like no other. Maureen’s story is one of courage and love, a story that will move you to your core.”
—David Flink, Chief Empowerment Officer, Eye to Eye

“The piercing light of Maureen’s compassion, love and intelligence, will leave every reader wanting to reach out in the spirit of service and live life to the fullest.”
—Annie Lanzillotto, Author of Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning, and Stagelight

“Buddy Kenner was a big-hearted teacher, universally beloved by all, a warrior for the arts and their importance in the curriculum. Amazing and unique guy. Read this book.”
—Tom Chandler, Rhode Island Poet Laureate Emeritus

Room for Grace is available at Amazon.


STAGE 4

Mary Poppins was my nurse on Day 6. “Pretend you’re at summer camp,” she joked, encouraging every step I made toward healing and recovery. “We’ve got a whole bunch of activities for you to choose from.”
“But instead of Newcomb and color wars and collecting orange salamanders or dancing to Tommy James and the Shondells,” I said, “today’s activities at the hospital include pain med management, ice chip crunching, and Dammit! Doll whacking…”
“Don’t forget IV pole walking,” she teased. “I always know when you’re coming because your IV pole is the squeakiest.” She tenderly guided me back into bed.
“But instead of early morning skinny dipping,” I said, “someone signed me up for the johnny gown flash mob.”
That really made her laugh. “I wish all my patients worked like you.”
“Well, you help make it easy,” I admitted. “I loved sleepaway camp. I’d pack my trunk with stamped stationary and Razzles, pick-up sticks and jacks. And my Magic 8-Ball. My bunkmates and I thought we could predict the future. Go figure. I could never have predicted this.” She wrapped a warm blanket around my feet. “One year,” I continued, “I was the last camper to be picked up and, on the way home, my sisters teased me that my parents wanted to leave me there.”
“That’s one of the reasons I love my job here,” she smiled. “The staff is a family. We’re planning a barbecue together this weekend.”
It was August 2013. 
Dr. David Sanfred, our family practitioner, walked into my room at 6:45 a.m. and stood at the end of my hospital bed. “Maureen, we’re getting ready to send you home soon,” he said. And then, “It’s time to talk.”
It was time to face what I’d avoided all week.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s very serious.” Though by our family’s side for many difficult situations, I’d never heard Dr. Sanfred’s tone this methodical. “We thought it was Stage 1 but the cancer metastasized from the colon to your umbilicus and has advanced to Stage 4.”
The hospital symphony went silent. I turned my head and watched the early morning sunlight peek through the window. “Is it curable?”
He gave my hand a soft pat. “No, it is not curable.”
I heard myself gasp.
I was in a panorama shot. I saw Mary Poppins outside the thin curtain share morning notes with the nurse coming on. They whispered, glanced sympathetically in my direction. I struggled for breath and gripped the Dammit! Doll.
“Will I be able to go back to my classroom?” 
“No,” he cautioned, “you will not be able to teach right now. But soon. We hope.”
The tears kept coming. Mary Poppins came back into the room. She reached out and hugged me gently, with so much affection I could feel her heart break.










Daniel Kenner rocked out to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” while other infants sang “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and National Players Tour 60, Daniel was a Presidential Arts Scholar at George Washington University and Scholarship recipient at The British American Drama Academy. Directed the Washington D.C. premier of Sarah Kane’s Crave. Author of the manuscript, Roux. Winner of the Rhode Island Playwriting Festival for his World War II letters home drama, Fields of Sacrifice. Adapted Les Misérables for high school stages.

Maureen Kenner’s heart was in the classroom. For thirty-five years she was a Special Education teacher in the Providence Public Schools. Born and raised in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Maureen graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in education and later earned a Master’s Degree from Providence College. Maureen was a vital influence at the Vartan Gregorian Elementary School at Fox Point, working tirelessly as a mentor for the betterment of all children and their families. Honored with many accolades throughout her career, Maureen was awarded Providence Teacher of the Year in 2003. Living with cancer, as a model patient, Maureen exemplified integrity, courage, grace, and hope. For thirty-one years, through sickness and health, Maureen was the beloved soul mate to the late Jacob “Buddy” Kenner, her intense love recognized in 2016 as a Rhode Island Caregiver of the Year.

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The Caged Butterfly by Marian L. Thomas @marianlthomas01 #womensfiction


THE CAGED BUTTERFLY by Marian L. Thomas, Women's Fiction, 307 pp., $5.99 (Kindle)



Title: THE CAGED BUTTERFLY
Author: Marian L. Thomas
Publisher: L.B. Publishing
Pages: 307
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Who Would Think That One Act of Love Could Affect Four Generations?
On December 29, 1930, Mildred "Millie" Mayfield gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Addie. Millie teaches Addie three things that she feels matters most in life; inner beauty, reading books and giving your “special something’ only to the man you marry. Addie lives up to the first two. On one autumn night in 1949, Addie falls for the irresistible red curls and vibrant green eyes of a young man from the other side of the railroad tracks. Neither knowing that the consequences of their love would have lasting effects. Known as one of the greatest white jazz pianists in New York, Timmy Taylor never had a reason to question his identity – until truth and betrayal strike. Will Timmy be able to push past the pain? Beautiful and talented, Nina Taylor inherited her father's gift, but not his looks. Certain that's how he made it big, she dives deep into an obsession that could be deadly. Will Nina learn to love the skin she’s in before it’s too late? Spanning from 1920 to 1996, this captivating tale of secrets, betrayal, and forgiveness will pull at the strings of your heart, and keep you turning pages while you pray for a happy ending.

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I want you to laugh a lot. I believe that laughing is like a sweet-smelling aroma for the soul and the heart. I used to laugh all the time. Back when life was good and innocent, and I was good and innocent.

Don’t prove my dream a lie.

Don’t be a caged butterfly.

Become something and someone that is even better than what I could see.

I don’t know what your new parents will call you, but in my heart, I whispered Thomas Gray Livingston III in your ears, if you be a boy. Mama thinks that you are and like I said before, she ain’t never wrong.

If I could give you one piece of advice, I’d tell you this—love the skin you’re in.












Award-Winning Author and Speaker, Marian L. Thomas, has penned five engaging novels to date. Her books have been seen on national television stations such as the Oprah Winfrey Network, Ovation, and the A&E Network. She has been featured in print magazines, newspapers and a guest on local, national and online radio stations. For her book, I Believe In Butterflies, Marian ranked among the top 100 Most Popular Authors in Literary Fiction on Amazon. She spent most of her teen years in Oak Park, Illinois, but now resides in a suburb of Atlanta with her husband. She enjoys a good bag of popcorn, a plate full of pasta, and a grape pop.

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Aren't the Emperor's New Clothes Grand? by Phil M. Fishman @phil_fishman


AREN'T THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES GRAND by Philip M. Fishman, Satirical Critique, 112 pp., $12.95 (paperback)



Title: AREN’T THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES GRAND
Author: Philip M. Fishman
Publisher: MPS Publishing
Pages: 112
Genre: Satirical Critique

If you love Trump, sorry, this book is not for you.  If, on the other hand, you are horrified at what this man is doing,  I think you will enjoy it.   I read a very interesting book recently that discussed despots and their common characteristics. What, then, are the characteristics of a despot? They attack free speech and the press. They threaten political opponents with prison. They scapegoat certain minorities to rally their base and divert attention from other problems. They engage in nepotism and use their office for personal and family enrichment. They attack and vilify the judiciary, legitimate law enforcement, and essentially anyone in government who is not considered absolutely loyal.  And, through a type of mass hysteria, they create a cult following.

Does any of this sound familiar? No, our President is not a despot..yet; but individuals do not become despots spontaneously- they evolve. My  book, AREN’T THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES GRAND, is a satirical critique.   As a satire, the book is humorous; but the subject is dead serious. Without hyperbole, I truly believe Trump is a threat to our Constitution and Republic; and I think if you read my book objectively, you will probably come to the same conclusion.

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Chapter 4
Inferiority Complex

          Mirror, mirror on the wall; who is the fairest one of  all?” 
          Donald has certainly started out the new year (2018) with a bang.  Here are his latest quotes, apparently triggered by Wolfe's just published book, Fire and Fury, questioning his fitness for the Presidency.  I am a very stable genius” 1 and “Actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart.” 2  One needn't be a psychiatrist or have a PhD in psychology to recognize that Donald may have an ego problem.  And to a great many, that assertion is a gross understatement. 
        “...I will tell you this in a non-braggadocios way... there has never been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished. That I can tell you. That I can tell you...And the numbers going up are going to do much better than anybody anticipates. In fact, they're going to say that Trump is the opposite of an exaggerator -- the exact opposite...They're going to start saying .. that he <Trump> ought to be a little bit more optimistic because his predictions were low, can you believe it? You know, a year and a half ago they were saying, oh he can't do that. Now they're saying, hmm, that was quick...And remember, I was the one when I was here the last time, I said, we're going to have Christmas again; I was the one that said you go to the department stores and you see Happy New Year and you see red and you see snow and you see all these things. You don't see Merry Christmas anymore...With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again, and it's going to be done with a big beautiful tax cut. Thank you everybody. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you very much.” 3
       In case you haven't noticed, Donald seems to rely on certain words an awful lot.  He apparently likes the words great, greatest, best, and very.  His most repeated phrase, “Make America Great Again” is continually  echoed by his supporters.  But what's that got to do with the title of this chapter?  It is simply that an individual that obsesses about himself and is always defensive to criticism is a very insecure person.  He needs that continual assurance that he is important.  It has been reported that Donald watches TV at least four hours a day, switching channels when he is not the main news.
           If bragging was the only problem with an insecure person; it wouldn't be so bad.  One could always turn him off;  but a person with an inferiority complex has to prove it. He needs to prove it to himself as well as others.  He does that by bullying. 
         Bullies like to intimidate and take advantage of people they perceive to be weaker than they, which serves to enhance their own self-worth.  They want to feel superior; and they want other people to feel that they (bullies) are superior.  
             Trump's alleged sexual harassment of women fits the pattern.  He, of course, has strenuously denied the allegations; but, interestingly for someone not unacquainted with lawsuits, has never bothered to sue for libel.  At the time of this writing there are nineteen women who have alleged sexual harassment or worse. 
          And, as would be expected, he has not confined his bullying to sexual aggression.  Donald habitually denigrates women that refuse to kowtow to him or those he considers unattractive.  During the first debate of the primaries, Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators, asked him about his put down of women.  She followed up, referring to his comment to a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice show, that... “it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.  Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
          He evaded the question but later in a tweet attacked Kelly as unprofessional and “not very good.”  He obviously was not very happy with Kelly's questions and later referred to her as a “bimbo” and “highly overrated.”
         In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine after the debate Donald denigrated Carly Fiorina, one of the seventeen Republican candidates.  Look at that face.  Would anyone vote for that?  Can you imagine that, the face of our next President?” 4
          And then there was one woman, Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping her on a plane.  His comment, “Look at her. She would not be my first choice.”5
          During the campaign, he viciously mocked a disabled reporter. And then there are the small contractors and employees mentioned in the previous chapter.  As mentioned, there have been numerous lawsuits, but the independent contractor generally finds himself out-gunned by Trump's lawyers, who are on retainer.
          There's another thing about bullies.  They are generally cowards.  That is the reason they prey on those they presume are weaker.  Their inferiority complex shows up very clearly when the person being bullied stands up to the bully.  Typically, the bully fades away because he is really a coward.   Was the bone spur really the reason for Donald's avoiding military service or was there possibly another reason?
           Furthermore, Donald's alleged history of aggressive behavior toward women not only fits the pattern of an individual suffering from an inferiority complex; but that of a coward as well.   One can only imagine what the outcome would be if a woman he ever accosts has training in martial arts.  Of course, since he focuses on attractive females; women of his own size need have no fear. 
        In January 2016, one week before the Iowa caucusses and two days before the second Republican primary debate, Trump announced that he would be boycotting the Fox News sponsored event.   A few days earlier, he had hinted that he just might do that after it was announced that Megyn Kelly would again be a co-moderator.  Trump tweeted that Kelly was biased and should not be a moderator.  Senator Ted Cruz chastised Trump and asked if he couldn't stand up to Kelly, how could voters anticipate that he would stand up to Putin and the Ayatolla.  Following a public backlash against his decision, Trump announced that he would be hosting an event to benefit Wounded Warriors on the same night as the debate.  Cruz responded by challenging Trump to a one- on- one debate “any time any place” prior to the Iowa caucusses.  Trump's campaign manager replied that Mr. Trump would be happy to have a one-on- one debate with Cruz if and when he was the last man standing.  As it would turn out, Cruz challenged Trump twice more, once prior to the Wisconsin primary; and then again, just prior to the Indiana primary.  At that point in time, the race had come down to essentially two men, Trump and Cruz; so, the condition of “last man standing” had been met.  Nevertheless, there was no debate.   
          Finally, a coward doesn't have the courage to own up to his  shame and frequently covers his cowardice by resorting to fanciful depictions of heroism.  After the horrific school shooting of February 2018 in Parkland Florida where a sheriff's deputy failed to enter the school and confront the shooter; Trump said he would have run in unarmed and tackled the assailant.6  What a hero!  We can only wish that he had been there.











At 79, Philip M. Fishman has a dual role since his wife’s stroke ten years ago.  The main one is as a caregiver; but when he is not busy with her, he is a writer.

He loves to blog on Face Book; but he has also self-published four books.  The first was a memoir of a brief teaching career after retirement, titled, Teacher’s Gotta Dance.  The second was a rebuttal to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.  His title is A Really Inconvenient Truth- The Case Against the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  For that book, he relied on his scientific background as well as a lot of research.  His third was a near future political novel, titled, Secession- A Republic Reborn.  Several sub-plots include the subject of his previous book as well as some innovative approaches to dealing with Islamic terrorism, our drug problem, immigration, and tax reform.  His latest is his most controversial of all, titled, Aren’t the Emperor’s New Clothes Grand.  It’s a    
satirical critique of our President and is a take-off of Hans Cristian Andersen’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The reference is to Trump’s cult-like following, which seemingly ignores all his lies and broken promises.  Fishman gives an iron-clad guarantee that if you like Trump; you will hate his book.

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Our Secret Powers by Terje Gerotti Simonsen #nonfiction #spiritual #paranorma


OUR SECRET POWERS: TELEPATHY, CLAIRVOYANCE AND PRECOGNITION by Terje Gerotti Simonsen, Nonfiction, 528 pp., $21.48 (paperback) $9.99 (Kindle)



Title: OUR SECRET POWERS: TELEPATHY, CLAIRVOYANCE AND PRECOGNITION
Author: Terje Gerotti Simonsen
Publisher: Pari Publishing
Pages: 528
Genre: Nonfiction/Spiritual/Consciousness/Paranormal

Is the paranormal normal?

Many readers will be surprised when learning that reputable scientists, among them several Nobel laureates, have claimed that telepathy is a reality. Their curiosity will increase when reading that both Cleopatra’s lost palace and Richard III’s burial place were recovered by means of clairvoyance. And some will think it to be sheer science fiction when finding out about Stargate––the espionage program where the American military and CIA for 20 years engaged in the development of psychic spies!

Simonsen, a Norwegian historian of ideas, introduces an array of entertaining paranormal tales from history, archaeology, anthropology and psychology, and presents scientific research that has provided fascinating results. He argues that the stories we hear about telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition ought not to be dismissed as superstition.

In step with spiritual and occult traditions, the author suggests that consciousness is not limited to our own head. Rather he thinks that all humans (and perhaps all living beings) are linked together in a “Mental Internet.’ Via this network we may exchange ‘telepathic emails’ with friends and family and make clairvoyant ‘downloads’ of information.  Thus perhaps what we usually call ‘supernatural’ is completely natural but little understood communications via this Mental Internet?

Our Secret Powers gives us a thoughtful and engaging presentation of a controversial subject and would make an excellent travel companion.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CemWOrGnVU

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The majority of the considerations in this book are based on strange incidents reported by scientists of one kind or another—archaeologists, anthropologists, psychologists, physicists and philosophers. Such people are more often than not very resourceful with well-developed skills in observation as well as in thinking. It therefore seems reasonable to take their reports seriously, even when—or especially when—they dare to speak against the consensus and vouch for the paranormal. It is not unusual to think that those scientists who report having experienced paranormal phenomena are misinterpreting their experiences at best or are fraudulent at worst. I suggest we take ‘the road less travelled,’ and regard ‘the defendants innocent until proven guilty’ and seriously listen to their stories. They were there—we were not.












Terje G. Simonsen is an author with a Ph.D. in the History of Ideas. He has increasingly focused his attention on the esoteric and occult traditions and on paranormal phenomena, as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, healing etc. Recently he published the highly acclaimed Our Secret Powers, based on his extraordinary knowledge within this field. Elegantly and with great personal wit and insight, he discusses parapsychological phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition. Several of the world’s most renowned experts on the paranormal has praised Simonsen’s work: The bestselling parapsychologist, Dean Radin, PhD, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, says: ‘As an encyclopedic introduction to the psychic side of the fascinating but puzzling domain known as the paranormal, there is no better choice than Our Secret Powers.” And Stanley Krippner, PhD, expert on hypnosis, shamanism and altered states of consciousness, former leader of two departments in the American Psychological Association, says: “This is an outstanding book and it deserves all the attention it can get. Not only is Our Secret Powers a book for all seasons, it is a book for all reasons!’”



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Miss Management by Traci Highland @tracihighland #romantic #comedy #vb


MISS MANAGEMENT by Traci Highland, Romantic Comedy, 215 pp., $9.99 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)



Title: MISS MANAGEMENT
Author: Traci Highland
Publisher: Cheshire Lane Press
Pages: 215
Genre: Romantic Comedy


Mags has gotten herself in a ton of trouble: she’s lost her job, any hope for references, and she’s going to run out of money…. fast.

Yeah, sure, it may be her fault for punching her boss, but the jerk totally had it coming.
Nobody listens to her until she reaches her boiling point, and by then, well, she’ll admit that there’s no stopping Mr. Fist To The Face.

Now her years of hard work as a speech therapist are about to go down the drain unless she can find some way to salvage her career. So when her Aunt Elise calls to say that she has a job for her, it’s not like she can say no, even if the job is up in the wilds of Vermont.

Between stuffed moose, sloppy dogs and sexy men, Vermont proves to be a lot more interesting than she expected. But when she uncovers a scheme that would put her new employers’ livelihood in jeopardy, more than just hydrangea bushes are about to get squashed.

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Aunt Elise’s house, a tidy little Victorian painted white with blue shutters and a red door, looks like a gingerbread house about to collapse.  Sure, it’s clean or whatever.  But it’s old and sinking on one side.  She invited me for lunch after I got back from the bank yesterday, and after a night spent drinking beer and trolling through online job postings, and then spending the morning drinking coffee and trolling through more job listings, the invitation to drive on out into the Berkshires and have an excuse to see the sun is actually kind of nice.  The Berkshires is about as far as I can drive at any given time, given, well, anyway.  It’s nice to get out.
I knock and Elise opens the door. “What the hell is that in the driveway?  I didn’t recognize it.”
“It’s my Prius, Elise.  I’ve been driving it for four years now.”
“What happened to the pick-up truck?  I thought you liked to drive pick-ups.”
“I crashed that pick-up, Aunt Elise.”  She furrows her brow.  “It was on the news, remember?  I sort of accidentally ran over a mailbox.  And some hedges.  And an arbor.”
“Oh yes, the mistress’, right?  Now I remember.”
One of the mistresses.”  My husband of the time had many.  But I had been friends with Shawna. “I hit some black ice.”
She harrumphs.
The police also harrumphed when I told them about the black ice, as I recall.
“I always hoped you were a lesbian, you know.  With that truck.”
“Not all lesbians have trucks.”
“No, but the fun ones do.  Have you met Sharon and Hazel down the block?  Lovely couple.  Hazel drives a truck and—“
“Can I come in?  It’s starting to rain.”
She pulls the door back further and ushers me inside.  The house is a tea-party nightmare.  Shelves filled with teapots and chubby figurines pucker up at the flowered wallpaper in the hallway.  The rug of the adjacent living room is the color of cotton candy and I swear my stomach growls every time I see it.
I brush the plaques of inspirational sayings out of the way as I hang up my coat on the coat rack.
She stomps like a thin Godzilla back to the kitchen, causing the house to shudder and clink in alarm.  “You’re in luck, I just made some chicken salad.”
“Sounds great.”  I follow her into the kitchen and sit at the table with a sigh.
“I have a job for you.”
“Is that door still crooked?  I thought for sure that tightening the hinges would do the trick.”
“No, I mean a real job.”  Elise places a colorful bowl down in the middle of the table and glares.  Sealing her lips with some sort of judgmental superglue, she waits.
Oh, right.  The hands.  I go over to the sink and wash my hands.  She’s got this thing about germs.  Betty and I used to mess with her when we came over, going over to the sink and putting our hands together so that she would wash one of my hands and I would wash one of hers and then we’d wait to see if Elise would notice that we each still had one dirty hand.
She did. 
Always. 
As twins, Betty and I were convinced that we were supposed to be born with some kind of twin-specific super-power, but really the only thing we were consistently good at was making our baby sister Piper laugh so hard that milk would shoot out of her nose.
That was another trick that Aunt Elise didn’t find to be particularly endearing. 
After I dry my hands and grab the loaf of bread out of the breadbox, I say, “All right, so what kind of job are we talking about?  And please don’t mention the one in the woodchuck town.”
“What do you have against woodchucks?”
“Sweet Romany Halls! I don’t have anything against woodchucks, I don’t can’t work in a town that worships vermin, that’s all.”
“Fine. But please don’t take Romany’s name in vain.”
Romany Halls is a professional wrestler that Aunt Elise has a crush on.  One night when I was over doing some repair work for her I heard her swearing at the television set.  And I mean full-on swearing.  Aunt Elise never swears, at least not that I’ve ever heard.  As I walked into the guest bedroom to make sure she was okay, I realized that she not only was watching television in her guest bedroom, which was odd, but that the walls of the bedroom were covered in posters of one very muscled wrestler wearing not-so-many articles of clothing.  It was like an homage to all that was masculine and spandexy.
Whenever it’s just the two of us, I feel obligated to tease her about her crush and her shrine to the glory that is Romany Halls.  Me?  I don’t so much dig the guys with eye makeup thing.  But Elise, well, Elise seemed to like them big, oiled up, and wearing nothing more than colorful underwear.
“So this job?”  I grab a spoon and scoop out the chicken salad.
“It’s for a friend of mine, actually.  Very nice.  Her name is Eve and she needs help with Mansfield.”
“Mansfield?  That’s quite a name.  What happen, did he have a stroke?  Car accident?  Cancer?”
“I don’t know.  But she has put out several ads in the paper and everyone who shows up to check on Mansfield apparently refuses to treat him.”
“Refuses to treat him?  That’s horrible.  Why doesn’t she take him to a clinic?  If he’s rehabbing, a facility is probably better equipped than her house.”
“She says that he can’t travel to a clinic.  He must be in pretty bad shape.”
“Have you ever met him?”
“No, I know Eve from college.  She comes down sometimes, and I’ve met her grandson a few times.  Lovely boy.  But I haven’t met Mansfield.”
“Is she nearby?  Can I pop over there today and see what’s going on?”  I really need a job.
“She’s up in Vermont.  But last time I spoke with her on the phone she mentioned that she has a guest cottage you can stay in when you come.  I guess she has a lot of land.”
“Waityou already told her I would go?”
“Of course you’ll go.”
“You know that time you asked me to tell you when you were overstepping some boundaries? Consider them overstepped.”
She takes a bite of her sandwich, her eyes demanding from over the top of her bread.
I chew my bite of sandwich, taking my time in savoring the flavors of Aunt Elise’s chicken salad, just to make her sweat for a bit.  I close my eyes, exaggerating the chew.
When I open them again her eyes are no less stern as she wipes the side of her mouth with a hot pink napkin.
Damn.  She’s not sweating this at all, is she?  Not even a little bit. “Fine.  I’ll go.  This is a paid job, right?”
“Good.  And yes, of course, provided you don’t walk away like those others.”
“Speech pathologists don’t usually make house-calls.  I’d imagine that the other folks just tried to convince your friend to take Mansfield to a proper rehab facility.”
“Try not to be so judgmental before you even get there.”
“I’m not being judgmental.”  Maybe a little.  “He should be where he can get the best care, and that’s not always at home.”
“Eve and I went to Smith together, Mags.  I’ve known her for years and years. Trust me, if she’s determined that the best place for him to be is at home with her, then she’s right.  Period.”
“When did you tell Eve I’d be there?”
“Tomorrow. It’s going to be a great job for you.  You’ll see.”
Tomorrow.  Of course.


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Nothing says Happy Friday like having Mr. Roth dribble crackers and sing La Cucaracha.  Nothing.
“Great job!  But let’s make sure to give those crackers an exaggerated swallow before the next stanza.  All right?”  I grab the paper cloth from the box and give his chin a wipe. 
He stares at me with rheumatic eyes, pushing his whole damn heart into his smile.
“Your smile always makes my day, Mr. Roth.”  I pick the last remnant of saltine out of his gray stubble and throw the paper towel into the garbage.  When Mr. Roth first came to see me, the stroke had paralyzed the left side of his face.  The paralysis had diminished somewhat and now he can do things like smile.  And sing.  Sort of.
At least we fixed the swallowing.  That’s a biggie.  He exhales a barely audible bar of his favorite song and I join him.  “Make it louder for me!  La cucaracha!  La cucaracha!  Ya no puede caminar…”
His smile widens and his voice rises, like a phoenix, dammit.  That asshat Dr. Robbins said he’d never speak again.  And here Mr. Roth is, six months later, singing. 
Days like this, I love my job.  Just as we’re about to finish up our session, Dolly pokes her head in the door. “I’m sorry, Mags, but Dr. Robbins says you’re going to have to keep it down.”
“Tell him to shut his damn door.”  That man exists to be the pain in my neck.  You know the pain, the one you wake up with every morning and no amount of Advil can kill?  That one.
“Was I too loud?”  Mr. Roth asks, worry crossing his cherubic, drooly face. 
“No, angel.  Not a bit.  You’re a rock star and I’m damn proud of you.” One day I am going to open my own clinic, so naysayers like Dr. Robbins can learn to shut the hell up.
Dr. Robbins, the asshat, runs the clinic. So naturally, he feels that everything in the office is his, too, like, you know, the pretty nurses and speech pathologists that he employs.
Grabbing Mr. Roth’s arm, I help him with his jacket.  Dolly clicks the pen in her hand like it’s a hand grenade.  On off, on off, on off.
“Stop it,” I hiss to her as I grab Mr. Roth’s gloves.  “Now keep practicing those scales we talked about and I’ll see you next week.”
He squeezes my hand and then says to Dolly, “She’s a saint, this one.  A regular saint.”
His r’s don’t come out quite right but hey, it’s a work in progress.
The second he’s out the door, I walk over to the nurses’ station and pull up the electronic records on my next patient. I haul on down to room number six, where Mr. Earle is waiting for me to re-adjust his tracheal tube.
I reach for the handle and I’m blindsided by Susie, the intern.  She’s the best kind of intern, hard-working and wicked smart, and rather pretty in a cute, slightly disheveled kind of way.  She’s shaking as she bumps into me, wiping tears from her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” There can be lots of things wrong when you’re twenty-one.  Hormones and boozing and all that, but this looks… different.
“Nothing, I’m fine. Tracheal tube, right?”  She straightens her Hello Kitty scrubs and adjusts the chunky black-rimmed glasses, making sure the floating strands of pinkish hair stay behind her ears.
I open my mouth but the words just sort of dry up.  Sometimes, it’s best just to leave it.  She knows I’m here—prodding would be rude, right?  Let her tell me when she’s ready, or not, her choice.  Besides, I’m running behind.
Susie and I wrestle Mr. Earle’s tube back where it belongs and the second we finish and leave the room, Susie’s face pales.
Dr. Robbins is standing in the hall, blocking the path between where we stand and the nurses’ station. 
He looks up at Susie and gives her a grin that turns my stomach into a rolling pool of bile and fire. His yellowish, crooked teeth and greasy hair make him look more like a Goodfellas reject than a doctor.  But hey, it could just be that I’m biased because he told me once that he hired me for my boobs.
Not my stellar resume.  Not my incredible grades that I worked by butt off to earn, but because he liked my boobs.
I wanted to quit right then and there.  To stand up and shout and sue and do all those noble things I would tell my sisters to do if they were in the same situation.
But yeah, I had just gotten divorced and needed the job.  Nothing like having to buy your cheating ex out of half of your own damn house.
So the words disappeared and I sort of just resorted to sending politely worded emails, like “Please remember to interact with the staff in a professional manner.” And “I believe we are due for the state-mandated sexual harassment prevention course.  Can I sign us up?”
Susie freezes beside me.  Her cheeks turn to scrambled eggs and she grabs my hand.  “Don’t let him touch me again.”  She whispers.
Again?  Touch her?  My vision blurs.  Like actually blurs as he walks towards us.  That creep. That stupid, sexist creep.  He touched her?  She’s just a child.  Mostly.  Practically.  Hell, it doesn’t matter how old she is!  He’s a monster.
Dr. Robbins sidles over and his snakelike tongue pokes in and out of his mouth as his eyes roam over Susie.  “Susan, do you know where the canned peaches are?  I need to use them for a videofluoroscopy this afternoon.”  He leans in closer to her and she clenches my hand as his chili taco breath assaults us. “Maybe you can show me in the supply closet?”
She shakes like a shake weight in those cheesy late-night infomercials.  “No.” Her voice is barely above a whisper, but I can hear her just fine.
He, however, moves closer.  “Stop,” I say.  As usual, my words do nothing. No one listens, dammit.  Again and again and again I’ve asked him to stop doing this. 
“Stop,” I say again, louder. 
He just moves on in closer, like I’m nothing more than a lamp.
That’s when I see it.  He reaches down and grabs her ass.  She jumps and he smiles.  “Get off.”  She hisses but he doesn’t listen, he never listens.  He cups her whole cheek now, grinning.
I punch him in the face.
His head slams back, blinking like, well, like I just punched him in the face.
Oh crap.
Did I really just punch my boss in the face? 
My fingertips chill and my hand aches.
I didn’ttell me I didn’t.
Susie gasps, her hands covering her mouth and a look of unadulterated panic in her eyes. My throat tightens.
Oh my God, I totally did.
“She asked you to stop.” It’s the only thing that leaves my mouth in a somewhat coherent fashion. 
He narrows his eyes, a large red bump creeping across his smarmy face. “You hit me!” 
Susie, her jaw now on the ground, looks at me. Her eyes are wide and frightened like a deer’s.  Her voice is flat when she says, “You punched him.”
I kind of hate deer.
“Yes!  Yes, I see that.  You’re fine, right, Dr. Robbins?  You should have stopped.  We all know you can’t go around grabbing asses like they’re doorknobs. But you just kept grabbing and squishing it around so I had to, had to—“
“You’re fired.”  He growls.
“You can’t!”
“Get out, Miss Anderson.  Get out now before I call the police.”
Well, damn.










Traci Highland writes funny books for sassy ladies.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Master’s from Quinnipiac University.  She uses this education to write books, bake cakes, garden and make homemade jams.  Her children say she’s bossy, her husband says she’s high-maintenance, but the dog thinks she’s perfect.

Her latest book is the romantic comedy, Miss Management.

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