Guest Blogger: What the World Needs Now – Authentic leadership by Andreas Dudas

Andreas Dudàs has more than 20 years leadership experience gained in top executive positions in over 25 countries. Visionary entrepreneur, mentor, motivational speaker & expert on authentic (life) leadership, he is the author of Do You Dare To Be Yourself? Learn more at www.andreasdudas.com.

What the World Needs Now – Authentic leadership by Andreas Dudas

On the one hand, never throughout the entire history were human beings offered such a bewildering array of opportunities to foster personal growth, accumulate wealth or build great nations. Each time I leave the new airport in New Delhi, for example, I am overwhelmed with the rapid change of the environment driven by a mind-boggling growth rate of the economy. On the other hand, never has humanity faced so much misery: A rising number of armed and violent conflicts, water and air pollution, congested highways, a rapid shift in weather conditions and the exploitation of natural resources without considering even the most basic environmental regulations.

Many scholars claim that the dramatic challenges we witness are mainly driven by two key factors: a sudden and startling surge in human population and a fast acceleration of the scientific and technological revolution, which has provided us with a sheer unimaginable power to affect the world around us. Some scholars tend to assert that new technologies, genetic engineering or other innovative products will be the keys for coping with our pressing problems. I completely disagree! Only a new leadership paradigm will remedy the current havoc.

For nearly 2000 years, the worldview has been driven by a leadership paradigm based on autonomy, separateness and control. These have also been the root metaphors influencing religion, business and science mainly in the Western world. This traditional archetype supports not only autonomy and freedom, but also control and manipulation. Nothing was wrong with such an approach, up to a point, for it was the basis for an enormous technical advancement on earth. But at the same time, this old paradigm has led us into a disaster and is now in big trouble not just that it relates to the environment, but across many fields such as politics, education and business. Already in the early 1990s, many renowned personalities emphasized that the shortcomings of command-and-control management were becoming apparent. The hierarchy of bosses organized in ranks with each superior exercising authority over subordinates who do exactly what their boss wants, has long been dominant. Many companies underwent a drastic paradigm shift in their leadership style over the last two decades. However, daily news on “poor management” suggests that not a lot of things have really changed.

What our planet needs now is a drastic shift towards a leadership paradigm embracing values such as interrelationship, cooperation, integration, balance, holism and especially love. These are exactly the values found in individuals living authentically. Such people have learned to act in accord with their core values, preferences, and needs as opposed to acting merely to please others or avoid punishments through playing a role. Such individuals have found the power of speaking up and lending a caring hand to our planet by reaching deep into their hearts. Only a huge investment of self-awareness and self-respect has nurtured their immense power to show respect for others and for the earth as a whole.

The sad news is that business, politics and education are not rewarding authenticity yet. We all are growing up in a command-and-control society, which nurtures our constant fear of not amounting to anything or loosing praise and recognition if we dare to live up to our innate principles and values. Furthermore, success in our society is still measured against the amount of money we accumulate or how fast we advance in our career, which spurs an ego-rooted rather than a heart-centered behavior. It often favors competition rather than cooperation. However, the greatest leaders of all times have set a stunning example of what one can achieve through leading from the heart. At the time of Mahatma Gandhi’s death, his personal possessions were valued at less than two dollars. His power and strength was derived from internal depths of his soul. Gandhi showed that the human heart is a source of tremendous power holding the capacity to change the course of history. We all have the birth right and even obligation to live up to our authentic self, which in turn feeds the power of living up to values so much in need, such as cooperation, appreciation and balance, and supporting a sustainable development of our planet. Since most of us stuck in the “comfort and fear zone” we need strong leaders empowering us to live authentically and promoting the strength to value respect for others. Reach deep in your heart, stand up for your true self and become one of the future leaders empowering others to reclaim their authentic presence!

Guest Blogger: Dreams are Made of This by Kim Antieau

We have a great guest post today by Kim Aniteau, author of Her Frozen Wild!

_________________________________

Dreams Are Made of This

Kim Antieau

I have a very vivid dream life. I have since I was a child. From the ages of five until I was twenty-five, I dreamed several times a week that someone was trying to kill me. I spent many nights in my dreams running, running, running from some unknown assailant. Fortunately those nightmares have taken a backseat in my dream life for many years now and only pop up now and again. But I still have some amazing dreams.

Because I have such vivid dreams and I often talk about them, my friends have often asked if my dreams inspire my stories. I didn’t think so until I began to dream about bears.

Several years ago I started dreaming about bears several times a week. During one year, it seemed as though I was having bear dreams nightly. I dreamed of grizzly bears and black bears. In the dreams, the bears were often chasing my husband Mario. I was often trying to protect him from the bear.

In one dream I climbed a tree to escape a bear. Then I looked down at my own hands and saw they were claws: I had become a grizzly bear. In another dream, a bear was on a rampage in my neighborhood. Terrified, I confronted him. I told him I would become his bear-wife if he would stop his violence. He agreed to my bargain.

During this time of the bear dreams, I researched bears, bear mythology, and bear folk tales. I discovered that many indigenous people believed humans were related to bears. Bears were often totem or spirit animals for healers. If someone dreamed of a bear, then she was probably a healer. Many cultures believed bears could become human and humans could shape-shift into bears.

The Siberians had elaborate rituals and ceremonies for hunting the bear, as did many Native American tribes. They believed the bear offered itself up to the hunters as a sacrifice. The hunters had to be respectful and follow the rituals carefully so that they didn’t dishonor the bear or its spirit when they killed the animal.

Around the time of my bear dreams, I went to a workshop at Breitenbush Hotsprings in Oregon. Breitenbush is deep in the forest near Mount Hood, away from any town or city. We were surrounded by the wild. While I was there, I read an article about the Scythian mummies unearthed in Siberia. One of the mummies, the so-called “Ice Maiden,” had tattoos on her body, and she’d been buried with a conical hat and other accoutrements that indicated to the archaeologists that she might have been some kind of priestess or shaman.

As I read the article, I got chills. I knew I had to write about her. I devoured any information I could find out about her, the Scythians, and the nomadic cultures of the Altai Plateau in Siberia.

The story for Her Frozen Wild began to unfold as I did research during the day and dreamed of bears during the night. It became a story about the ancient shapeshifting People, the ascendants of the Scythians of the Altai Plateau. Tattoos and cave art became an important part of the story, too, acting as a kind of pathway to enable time-travel and shapeshifting.

Although the “plot” of my bear dreams never became part of the story of Her Frozen Wild, the dream where I placated the rampaging bear by becoming his bear-wife was at the heart of the novel. In my dream, I essentially agreed to become part of the bear clan. In the novel, the main character, Ursula, comes to terms with her own family history: Her grandmother had become a bear-wife decades earlier. More importantly, Ursula embraces her own true wild self.

Dreams can be potent symbols for our lives and creativity. I often put my own dreams in my novels as a character’s dream. Dreams have their own logic, and I’m hesitant to make them up out of whole cloth, so when one of mine will work, I’ll use it.

In the case of Her Frozen Wild, I’m not sure the novel would exist today if I hadn’t had so many dreams of bears. I always understood the visceral fear of bears human have, but because of my dreams, I also came to understand their raw power, mystery, and sacredness.

After I finished writing Her Frozen Wild, my frequent intense bear dreams stopped. Every once in a while, I will dream of a bear. I’m always glad for the dream. I feel as though I’ve been visited by a relative. Nowadays I’m always on the lookout for some wild or strange creature who might start frequenting my dreams. Who knows? They might just inspire my next novel.

copyright © 2012 by Kim Antieau. All rights reserved.

Kim Antieau has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s SF, The Clinton Street Quarterly, The Journal of Mythic Arts, EarthFirst!, Alternet, Sage Woman, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She was the founder, editor, and publisher of Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales. Her work has twice been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and has appeared in many Best of the Year anthologies. Critics have admired her “literary fearlessness” and her vivid language and imagination. She has had nine novels published. Her first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is a modern classic of feminist literature. Kim lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

Her latest book is Her Frozen Wild.

Learn more about Kim and her writing at www.kimantieau.com.

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | LibraryThing

About Her Frozen Wild

Scientists in the Altai in Siberia uncover the 2,500 year old frozen mummy of a tattooed priestess or shaman. This mummy has the same mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) as American archaeologist Ursula Smith whose mother disappeared in Siberia 30 years earlier. Ursula travels from the U.S. to Siberia to unravel the mystery of the “lady” and meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who graciously invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers he has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. A shaman takes Ursula to one of the sacred timeless caves where Ursula’s mother supposedly disappeared. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she must unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei—even if it costs her her life.

Guest Blogger: Rie Sheridan Rose ‘The Story Behind The Luckless Prince’

The Story Behind The Luckless Prince

by Rie Sheridan Rose

I no longer remember the original inspiration for this book, but that is understandable when you look at its entire journey. I do remember working on this book when we lived on Applegate in Austin, Texas. (We moved to Georgetown, Texas from there in 1973.) In other words, it was started a very long time ago.

 

I remember that the original tale was about two boys, a prince and his page, who got lost in the woods and were captured by tiny men who turned out to be elves. There was an ivory tower in the middle of a pond with a wicked sorceress involved somehow. And the prince discovered some truths that changed his world. The book was called Where Elves Are King at this point – and remained so titled until I realized the acronym…

 

Well, soon after that – before we moved still – I discovered The Lord of the Rings at the Austin Public Library. I was reading the books individually, handing on every word. (Unfortunately, someone else was reading them ahead of me and wasn’t as fast a reader, because I had to wait a couple of weeks at least to find out what happened after the end of The Two Towers when Frodo and Sam were in Shelob’s lair. I was not a patient waiter either!) After reading these books, my elves got taller…but no pointy ears.

 

I dabbled with the book off and on over the years, until I thought I had it in a fairly good place. I was in college by now, and I gave my copy – the only copy, you understand, still handwritten in the late ’70s – to one of my best friends to read and critique.

 

And I forgot to get it back.

 

I didn’t even realize this until we were out of school, she had moved away, gotten a divorce and changed her name. (Tosca, if by some miracle you read this and still have that envelope…I sure would like it back…)

 

So, I had to start completely over from my vague memories and even vaguer notes. This turned out to be a very good thing in the long run, as the fragments that I do have from that early draft look like they were written by a twelve-year-old.

 

I managed to reproduce a manuscript that was better than the original, had the epiphany about the name, and, after much brainstorming, had settled on the title The Blood that Binds (shortened from The Sun, The Moon, and the Blood that Binds which referred to the three articles of jewelry key to the plot.) I started shopping it around, and got mostly form rejections, but one editor asked for a full. I was ecstatic.

 

I sent her the full, and waited with baited breath for a response. Unfortunately, she didn’t accept it, but she gave me a very good piece of advice. She told me that the pacing needed work, and suggested that I look for a “Book Doctor” (professional freelance editor) to help me fix it.

 

I put the book aside for awhile, because I had no idea where to find one of these, and – by pure chance – hanging out in the “Student’s Lounge” at Writer’s Village University’s online site one day, I saw someone mention that they were a Book Doctor.

 

I contacted her, and she helped immensely in polishing the book. First major edit here.

 

A fellow student at WVU suggested that I send the book to her publisher, a small press which is no longer with us. I did, and it was accepted. I couldn’t believe it!

 

I received a marvelous edit from the company, and learned a great deal about writing along the way, some lessons that I still use today. Second major edit here.

 

The book was published as The Blood that Binds in 2001. I was now a published author, and it felt wonderful. But I kept learning. And when the company folded, I let the book lapse out-of-print rather than finding it a new home, because I just didn’t feel it was the best it could be.

 

At a convention in Dallas several years later, I got into a conversation over breakfast with Jim Reader, a fellow author who happened to live a few miles away from me. We decided to form a writing group to share work back and forth for critique. (It’s still a small group of two, but I don’t think anyone else would put up with our level of picky.)

 

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to rework The Blood that Binds into the book I had always wanted it to be. We went through it chapter by chapter, and Jim pointed out stupidities I had never thought of. I realized as we worked, that it was the first male input I’d had on the work. I highly recommend not falling into this trap. Make sure you have male and female beta readers/collaborators along the way.

 

I made the changes he suggested, and then we went through the whole thing again. By now, Jim was swearing he never wanted to see the thing again…and I was close behind him. But it was a much better book for the work. I added characters, built up other characters, and created entire plot threads. Third major edit.

 

I had always wanted to have something published by Zumaya Publications. They are one of the major small presses in my opinion, and at last I had something to pitch. I sent in the manuscript, now entitled The Luckless Prince after realizing that The Blood that Binds was overused, and it was accepted last August. In March, we edited the book through Google Docs. Best editing experience ever (not counting meeting Jim for dinner and page exchanges every week, because that was a different kind of working,) and the fourth major edit for this book.

 

It’s been a long, long journey to where we are now, but the book is the better for it. It is a polished gem that grew from a lump of rock. I am very proud of it, and will finally name it “done.”

Rie Sheridan Rose has been writing professionally for the last ten years or so — though she has just added the “Rose” on the end. After putting up with her for the last eight years, she figured her husband deserved the recognition. Prior to last year, her work appeared under “Rie Sheridan.”

In that decade, she has published 4 novels, 1 short story collection, 2 chapbooks of collected stories, and five poetry collections as well as contributing to several anthologies.

Her stories have also been published in The Eternal Night, ShadowKeep and Verge ezines, as well as the EOTU and Planet Relish websites.

Her poetry appeared in the print magazines Mythic Circle, Dreams of Decadence, and Abandoned Towers as well as the Electric Wine and Tapestry ezines.

The Half-Price Books 1999 “Say Good-Night to Illiteracy” Anthology contained her children’s story “Bedtime for Benny”.

Both her short story anthology RieVisions and poetry collection Dancing on the Edge were finalists in the 2003 EPPIE awards. Poetry collection Straying from the Path and Young Adult novel The Right Hand of Velachaz were finalists in the 2004 EPPIE awards.

Her most popular stories to date are the Adventures of Bruce and Roxanne, humorous horror shorts several of which have been collected into two print chapbooks by Yard Dog Press.

She has also written the lyrics to several songs for Marc Gunn. Their “Don’t Go Drinking With Hobbits” CD is due out in August.

Her latest book is The Luckless Prince, published by Zumaya Otherworlds.

Rie lives in Texas with her husband Newell and several cats, all spoiled rotten.

You can visit her website at www.riewriter.com.

Connect with Rie at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/riesheridanrose.

 

 

 

 

 

Promoting Your Book Via Your Website and Social Media

Hayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades , California, to a family of visual artists.  In the early 1990’s she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet.  In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children’s book.  Looking for a cute and catchy name for a main character, she kept hearing “first in, first out”.  Hence, the name Fifo was born.  Hayley’s mother would often ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up, so Hayley decided to start her series of “Fifo” books with that very question.  Her first book, Fifo “When I Grow Up” was published in 2002.  Her love of travel inspired her second book in the Fifo series, Fifo “50 States”, published in 2010.

Along with writing children’s books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years, specializing in concert touring.  She has worked with many “A list” musicians including Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox just to name a few.  Hayley hopes to one day soon release an album of children’s songs.  She is a currently member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA.

You can visit her website at www.fifothebear.com.

Promoting Your Book Via Your Website and Social Media

by Hayley Rose

When I wrote my first Fifo the Bear book, Fifo,” When I Grow Up”, I figured the first step I needed to take to market my book online was to build a website. I had plenty of ideas as to what I wanted it to look like, but I never imagined the true significance of a website as a marketing medium.

Back in 2002 when my first book was released, social media was far from what it is today. Having a website meant you were on the cutting edge of technology and an added piece to your main focus – offline marketing campaigns. Today, things are different and having an online component to marketing your book is vital.

The Value of Your Website

For some authors a website is simply an ancillary tool used to direct people to, just in case they don’t buy your book offline and are still in the decision-making phase. It’s akin to handing someone your business card and hoping they don’t put it in the big heap of other business cards. For other authors, their website is the prime focus of their online efforts and is something used to drive customers to and increase sales. It’s their brick and mortar, just without the physical bricks and mortar. What you do with your website and how you market it is up to you, but don’t underestimate the power it brings.

Make Your Website Engaging

If you use your website to promote your book, it’s important that you design it so that it’s engaging. You want people to stay on your site long enough to read all of the enticing information you provide so that they are compelled to buy your book. Offer your visitors polls, encourage discussions about your book, write engaging blog posts or create a contest. Provide your visitors with an option to subscribe to your website or newsletter so that they can read about any updates and be sure to remain consistent with your communications.

Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Fortunately, the rise in new technology has changed user communication and information-gathering habits allowing people to easily adopt and adapt to it. Published authors, especially those new to the industry, are given cost effective and efficient avenues by which to reach readers in ways they couldn’t have done before. A local author no longer has to remain local; he or she can branch out to markets all across the globe. Social media is simply a way to connect with customers. They are avenues by which you drive traffic to your website where customers are encouraged and able to buy your book.

When you understand the value of your website as a marketing tool and the use of social media as an avenue to drive those customers to your website, you will be able to creatively attract more potential customers. And don’t be afraid to take risks and test out new ideas. You never know which one will be the golden ticket.

Hollywood Book Publicist Charlie Bennett Remembers the Day Elvis Died

Before I became a book, TV and movie publicist, Tuesday, August 16, 1977 started out like any other day for me while serving as a staff editor of the renowned Hollywood-based entertainment industry newspaper, The Hollywood Reporter (www.thehollywoodreporter.com).  I had driven into Hollywood that morning the 16 miles or so from my home in the West LA suburb of Brentwood, and was scheduled that afternoon for an interview lunch with singer Gladys Knight at the venerable Hollywood restaurant, Musso & Frank Grill (www.mussoandfrankgrill.com).  Of course, the lunch had to be unexpectedly cancelled due to the day’s historical event – - which turned out to generate many books.

August 16, 1977 turned out to be a day I will never ever forget in my media career, right up there with later events when I was a publicist backstage watching my client Johnny Carson do his last “Tonight” Show and even more recently sharing the excitement of the numerous consecutive Emmy Award wins at the Emmys with client producer/director Bertram van Munster for his hit CBS reality series, “The Amazing Race.”

As the morning of August 16, 1977 unfolded, I was planning our news coverage for the Wednesday edition of THR when a frantic, emotional telephone call came into me from our Memphis reporter, Mark Tan, saying he had police and medical emergency news sources that had “tipped” him that Elvis Presley lay dead on the bathroom floor of his Memphis mansion.  Mark was well connected in Memphis and I took this news very

seriously knowing he was not one to make such a call unless he thought it legitimate information.

Click to Enlarge

Now, remember this was an era before even fax machines.  There was no Internet, email, Skype, cell phones and all the electronic communication pathways that exist in today’s news gathering operations.  News stories were dictated over the phone by a reporter to the news desk, which was exactly what was happening with Mark’s call to me.  I jotted down the info from Mark on my yellow reporter’s note pad, realizing that my newspaper may be the first to know about this news on the West Coast, which I still believe is the case today.  But, Elvis’ reported death was unconfirmed information at this point and we had to tread very carefully to confirm it had happened.

I felt my blood begin to pump…like any good reporter at the start of reporting a major news event.  My next move was to call Elvis’ record label, RCA Records, just 4 blocks from us down Sunset Boulevard to see if their PR head, Mr. Grelun Landon could shed more “official” light on this horrific news.  I was not surprised to see that not even Grelun, a top music industry PR person, who had guided Elvis career knew nothing about what I was hearing.  Obviously shaken, Grelun said he would check this info out and get back to me immediately.  At least an hour passed when Grelun called.  He was actually sobbing and was in shock since he knew and worked with Elvis for years and was readying news coverage for Elvis new tour which was set to begin that very evening.  He gave me RCA’s official statement on Elvis’ death.  Just a few minutes later official word came from a Memphis hospital that in fact Elvis had died.  We knew we had a major story on our hands and the news of Elvis death would dominate page one of the Wednesday, August 18th edition of THR.

Without the Internet or help from Wikipedia back in 1977…we started pulling together all of the information in the newsroom we had on Elvis, actually rifling through past stacks of print editions, having Grelun send us all his Elvis press releases via messenger, etc.  Very quickly I saw we had very  limited info for his obituary and decided to go up to Hollywood Boulevard – - accompanied by a young lady THR intern (who later became a famous Hollywood TV news anchor) – - to literally scour the numerous book stores there for books on Elvis.  We bought maybe 10 books in all on Elvis, including a few biographies, before hurrying back on foot to THR, a few blocks away.  It was an unusually hot day in Hollywood and smoggy too.  At that time the newspaper was located at 6715 Sunset Boulevard, formerly serving as a fancy men’s clothing store where gangster Mickey Cohen would shop.

Click to Enlarge

Editor Jay Arnold, Mark Tan and I quickly pulled together a plan for our coverage of Elvis’ death.  I did the front page news story, including reactions from RCA Records and Barron Hilton on the singer’s ties to the famous Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.  Oddly, we did not get any return phone calls from Elvis’ long time manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who was known in media circles as elusive.  Producer-actor Bill Burrud (“Animal World”) was scheduled to have his star placed that afternoon on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but it was canceled due to Elvis’ demise.  Today, both of their stars are alongside one another on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.

We worked throughout that warm afternoon and into early evening as our air conditioning began to choke and gasp and finally close down for nearly an hour before they got it going again.  At about 7 pm or so, the three of us turned in our first “takes” on the Elvis death story to THR editor-publisher, Ms. Tichi Wilkerson.  After a few rewrites and further fact checking, as well as looking for any updated info from Los Angeles television and radio stations, we finally got the layout of THR’s stories in place for a final review before turning our stories and photos over to Leo, our press room foreman.  I stayed late that evening to listen to the purr of THR presses as they began to churn out the news of Elvis death to the Hollywood creative community.  Jay and I, along with some editorial staffers went to Musso & Frank Grill for dinner and drinks (beer and martinis first).  I got to dine that day at Musso’s without Gladys Knight as it turned out.  At the bar, famed Hollywood columnist Hank Grant joined us after just finishing his radio show for CBS’ KNX Radio in Los Angeles that had featured the sad news of Elvis’ passing.

On the drive home out Sunset Boulevard, I passed the world famous Beverly Hills Hotel and flashed back on a moment there years earlier when I had seen Elvis having lunch in the hotel’s Polo Lounge and how gracious he was thanking me for a review I did of his performance at the Hilton in Las Vegas.  I had only seen Elvis perform that once in Las Vegas, having years earlier missed him as a teenager when the State Theatre in Hartford was sold out for his one night show.  For me, Elvis’ earlier records on Sun were the best he ever did, especially “Mystery Train.”  He continues to sell his treasured recordings today in numbers no one could ever have imagined back then.  He was known back then as “The King of Rock and Roll”, “Elvis the Pelvis” and “Swivel Hips.”…Elvis lives.

Professional national book publicist Charlie Barrett formed The Barrett Company in 1992 as a full service media relations and media marketing / communications agency.  The Los Angeles headquartered firm offers 21st century integrated media outreach and media marketing expertise with an emphasis on the publishing and entertainment industries serving authors/publishers, Hollywood celebrities, motion pictures and television.

Since the firm’s creation TBC has served authors with such companies as Simon & Schuster, Globe Pequot Press, Norton and studios and TV outlets from Warner Brothers and Paramount, to cable TV network American Movie Classics (Mad Men) to ABC, CBS, Fox Television, as well as self-published author publishers such as Xlibris, Author House, i-Universe and numerous celebrities from Johnny Carson to Ed McMahon to Kevin Costner to Oprah Winfrey (Oprah’s Big Give television series on ABC).

The Barrett Company serves major publisher, small press and self-published authors with Harper Collins, Little Brown, Penguin Press, Oxford University Press, CreateSpace, Viking Press, Random House, Holm Press, Ben Bella Books, SMU Press and NYU Press – – creating and performing a range of publicity services and media outreach for both fiction and non-fiction book releases areas, generating media attention/coverage in print, broadcast and the growing on line digital medias. TBC is developing new book marketing strategies for e-books and author activity with Kindle, Nook You Tube, Twitter and Facebook

Mr. Barrett formed The Barrett Company after serving in top PR and media relations positions with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for more than ten years, where he was in charge of media relations for The Tonight Show and Johnny Carson and also, Today, among other well-known NBC shows such as Unsolved Mysteries, Fame and numerous highly-rated NBC specials, including The American Film Institute Awards and The American Movie Awards. As a film publicist in Hollywood, Charlie has worked with Dennis Hopper, Robert Stack, Tatum O’Neal, Steve McQueen, and Candice Bergen.

Charlie began his media career as a reporter with The Associated Press in New Haven, CT and later served on the editorial staffs of both The Hollywood Reporter in Los Angeles and Billboard in New York.  He has also authored numerous articles for magazines and newspapers on the performing arts and travel as well as appearing as a regular contributor on major US radio talk shows discussing celebrities, films, television and books. Charlie was voted the Book Publicist of the Year award by the Southern California Book Publicists Society.  TBC is a member of The Publishers Association of Los Angeles, The Academy of TV Arts and Sciences (ATAS gives the Emmy Award) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the Oscar).

The Barrett Company is well known and regarded among the world’s media outlets for its credibility and creativity.  Through years of client assignments TBC has developed remarkable and successful PR campaigns for a wide range of authors/publishers, Hollywood creatives, companies and celebrities, which have paved the way for the firm to produce media, consumer and trade events of all descriptions both in the US and overseas, from Book Expo to NATPE (the renowned annual television program executive conference) to  the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Frankfurt Book Fair  and The Cannes International Film Festival. The TBC web site is at www.thebarrettco.com.

We’re having a Facebook party!!!!

Charlie Barrett - Facebook  Party 2

Pump Up Your Book will be hosting Hollywood book publicist Charlie Barrett Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 9 – 11 p.m. (eastern time – adust to your time zone) at Pump Up Your Book’s Facebook page.  Tell your book friends that not only will this give them an opportunity to chat with Charlie about book publicity BUT…

WE’RE GIVING AWAY A KINDLE ($189 VALUE)!!!!

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US!

Why I Love (and Write) Historical Fiction

Why I Love (and Write) Historical Fiction

By M.M. Bennetts

Truth to tell, I always wanted to write a novel about spies.  Spy thrillers have such drive, such pace.  They pack such a wallop.

But when I first conceived of Of Honest Fame, I think I must have been envisioning the spy-version of Sharpe.  Or Hornblower.  And I wrote a bit of an opening.

At the time, however, I was wholly immersed in the research for my other novel, May 1812, and was reading everything to do with the domestic trials and tribulations that occurred within British politics as they were fighting the French–the assassination of the Prime Minister, the bills for the abolition of the pillory for women and the reformation of the Apprenticeship Acts, plus the Luddite rebellion, as well as the ongoing war effort.  So that the whole spy business was put to one side.

But then, that work done, and the first novel finished, I widened my scope and turned my attention to what else was happening in Europe in 1812.

And this coincided with the publication of Adam Zamoyski’s landmark study of the French Invasion of Russia which he titled simply 1812.

Because of Zamoyski’s own background, plus the opening up of the archives which had been closed to the West, roughly since the Russian Revolution, an entirely new picture of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia emerged.  One which set aside the Napoleonic PR machine’s carefully constructed fabrication of everything being hunky-dunky until that nasty winter set in early.

Zamoyski blew the whole field open, proving once and for all that Napoleon exposed his troops to every avoidable misery and disaster.  And this not just on the way out of Russia, but on the way in as well.  According to Zamoyski, at least half of the invasion force was dead before they ever crossed into Russia.

Another forgotten or overlooked casualty of the Napoleonic Invasion was Poland, stripped bare, beggared and abused, not by the Russians–who generally get the blame for most Polish ills of the period–but by their allies, the French.

Not only did Napoleon empty their already depleted treasury, he beggared, quite literally, their entire government; his troops stole everything they could lay their hands on, abused the populace, starved them, and the Polish Lancers who were pledged to help him were turned against their own countrymen when sent out to ‘requisition’ for the army.

This book changed forever the nature of Of Honest Fame.

It was this book which forced me to leave my espionage comfort zone of Britain and France and the Peninsula (which is where I had envisioned some of the novel taking place) to refocus my attention on the war in Europe, on these lands and these peoples whose lives and countries were ravaged by the Grande Armee.

Because frankly, I couldn’t get the pictures out of my head.

Then came David A. Bell’s riveting The First Total War.  Another book which knocked my socks off, detailing as it does the atrocities which the French committed throughout the Napoleonic wars, using the Terror tactics they developed during the Revolution to subdue every opposing European power.

The atrocities committed against the Spanish population were exposed by Goya in the etchings, which I had seen.  But no one previously had ever revealed that Spain wasn’t the only place these were committed.  Italy and Germany had also suffered so.

All of which coincided with the publication of histories of British spies and intelligence work during the war which showed that, at the very least, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary for War were well aware of the war as it was progressing in Central Europe.

They were not, as we have come to be in the last hundred years, only aware of their own efforts against Napoleon in the Peninsula.  On the contrary, they were actively supporting the Russian effort as well as exchanging information with their ally.

So it was through the work of all these splendid historians that Of Honest Fame took shape and became the book it is today.

I owe them an immense debt of gratitude for their painstaking work to dismantle the hoary monolith of Napoleonic propaganda.  And I hope that my work can help to disseminate the truth of their findings still farther–and still deliver a ripping good read.

London, Paris, Prussia, Poland, Bohemia…these are the settings against which the gambler, gaoler, soldier, sailor, etc. conduct their business as intelligence men.

It’s not quite what I envisioned all those years ago.  I think it may just be better.

Educated at Boston University and St Andrews, M.M. Bennetts is a specialist in the economic, social and military history of Napoleonic Europe. The author is a keen cross-country and dressage rider, as well as an accomplished pianist, regularly performing music of the era as both a soloist and accompanist. Bennetts is a long-standing book critic for The Christian Science Monitor.

The author is married and lives in England.

Bennetts’ latest book is Of Honest Fame.

You can visit the author’s website at www.mmbennetts.com.

 

The Bruises That Don’t Show by Jennie Helderman

We have a special guest today! Jennie Helderman, author of As the Sycamore Grows (Summers Bridgewater Press), is here to talk about what most people keep a secret – abuse. Visit Jennie on the web at www.jenniehelderman.com.

Divider 5

Jennie HeldermanThe Bruises That Don’t Show
by Jennie Miller Helderman

The TV producer wanted bruises, something that would show. Ginger had none, not that day. She’d had nothing purple to show the preacher who told her to go back home. No red marks to show the policeman who, without visible evidence, couldn’t make an arrest.

Abuse, to some people, means black eyes, broken teeth, bald patches. But abuse takes many forms. Abuse is about control and some means of control are subtle. Who goes through the mail? Who makes money decisions? Who keeps the money? Intimidation, isolation, verbal abuse—these leave no telltale signs but their pain can be just as damaging as physical abuse and take longer to heal.

As the Sycamore GrowsAsk Ginger McNeil, whose story is told in As the Sycamore Grows. Her husband slapped and shoved but isolation and economic abuse were his mainstays. She lived with him in a two-room cabin hidden behind a padlocked gate without power, a telephone, or even a mailbox. She made her own soap, canned chickens and cooked catfish soup on a wood stove to feed her children. Then he bought a Jet Ski—with his disability check. Even poverty can be a means of abuse when it allows one person to control another.

“Verbal abuse is insidious,” says Patricia Evans in The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Name calling, sarcasm, criticizing, teasing, withholding—all disregard or devalue a partner. They can diminish self-esteem and confidence to the point of brain-washing.

Again Ginger provides an example. She was religious. Her husband was not—until he discovered the power of the Lord as a means of control. By that time, he was able to convince her to pray to God through him.

Now Ginger knows the warning signs. She knows that abuse always escalates. Verbal abuse always precedes physical abuse.

Wounds to the heart and soul may not leave outward marks, but purple will come.

# # #

Jennie Helderman broke the glass ceiling at age ten by becoming the first girl page in the Alabama State Legislature. That surge of girl power wouldn’t be the last time she saw a need to put women’s issues at the forefront. Years later, after she helped set up a crisis-call center in an old house, a cry for help at the other end of the phone line resounded in her head. That call was the catalyst; eventually, the empty bedrooms upstairs served as the community’s first shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

From there, Helderman began work with women’s issues and leadership, community development, public relations and communications, beginning in Gadsden, Alabama, and reaching to national levels. She has championed women’s and children’s issues and worked with child abuse victims. From 2000 until her term expired in 2006, she presided over the six-member board of the Alabama Department of Human Resources, which serves 520,000 clients each month and oversees all family abuse issues in the state.

A 2007 Pushcart Prize nominee, Helderman coauthored two nonfiction books, Christmas Trivia and Hanukkah Trivia and writes profiles for magazines. Previously she chaired the editorial board of the 120,000 circulation alumnae magazine of Kappa Kappa Gamma, The Key.

Her latest book is As the Sycamore Grows.

Helderman is married to a retired newspaper publisher; is the mother of two and grandmother of three; and has recently moved from Alabama to Atlanta. Her website address is www.jenniehelderman.com.

Why God Matters

Family Projects, Family Love

Today’s guest is Karina Fabian, co-author of the hugely popular book, Why God Matters.

Many times one sees Roman Catholicism explained using either closely reasoned theology or an appeal to ancient writers of the Church. While both are legitimate approaches, the average reader looking to explore the faith is often left cold. In their collaboration, Why God Matters, Deacon Steven Lumbert and his daughter, Karina Lumbert Fabian, delineate the Catholic Faith as experienced by a pair of average, everyday people like the great majority who make up the 24% of Americans who share this religion.

If you want to find out more about Why God Matters, visit the author’s website at www.whygodmatters.com.

…………………………………………….

Family Projects, Family Love

By Karina L. Fabian

Every family has its way of bonding: camping trips or Saturday night card games, movie nights or regular, enforced, discussions at table. For my family, it’s always been projects projects.

One of my earliest memories was of preparing our  yard for our new mobile home. While Dad worked on the foundation, my sister, Gina, and I cleared the yard and joined my mom in asking the neighbors for jugs of water. I don’t remember much about that trailer, except that years later, when it got too small for us, my dad’s solution was to buy another smaller trailer, set it alongside and begin the long process of tearing out doors, walls, and windows to make them into one large home. This, too, was a family affair, and my sister and I worked at our parents’ sides and learned how to do everything from painting  to laying linoleum to rewiring the walls. Our house was our project, and we were very proud of what we created.

As Gina and I got involved in school activities and clubs, the projects were smaller and perhaps less important than building a home, but my parents threw themselves into them with the same dedication. Mom sewed dresses for our girls’ club (for friends as well as us), Dad made costumes for the building blocks in The Velveteen Rabbit. They helped organize fundraisers and always pitched in to help. We used to get annoyed at Mom washing the cars a second time to make sure the job was perfect, but we never doubted how important we were to them, or how much they wanted to be a part of our lives.

We went to college, married, and soon had houses and projects of our own. Inevitably, there were Mom and Dad ready and eager to drive over–sometimes across the nation–to help. When my family and I moved to Virginia and bought a house with an unfinished basement, my parents stayed for a month doing the framework, plumbing, and vent system. Rob and I had the ideas, and my father, the expertise. Again, it was a family project; only this time, it included my children–even Liam, who was not quite two, but loved to wield a paintbrush. Being a military family, we’ve lived in many houses, but that one will always be special because it was a project that involved three generations.

It’s been several years since the Summer of the Basement. We’d all gotten busy in our lives–me with my writing and my family and my parents with Dad’s deacon work. Our phone calls and IMs had degenerated into a kind of laundry list of our days–not unusual in our family, but lately, had left me wanting something more. We were never much for just sitting and talking; most of our conversations came as we were working on something together. We needed a project.

Then Tribute Books asked me if I’d be interested in writing a series of Catholic faith stories and life lessons for a small book called Why God Matters. I hesitated, intimidated at the thought of doing it alone, and unsure I would reach their audience with my personal stories. Then it struck me–this was a project! My father, a deacon in the Catholic Church had fantastic stories, and I had the writing expertise. I called him and he eagerly agreed. Maybe he was missing a project, too.

As we wrote the stories, we shared our pasts in ways we hadn’t before. I learned a lot about my dad’s bad-boy childhood. I got the full story of the time he was almost shot by an escaped convict. He shared his former ’60s attitudes toward religion and self-reliance–not quite what I expected from my conservative father. Our relationship took a new dimension as I was put in the editor’s role while we worked his stories. It was a project, indeed, and probably one of the most important in our lives, for we not only created something of lasting value, we got to know each other in ways we never would have otherwise.

Will there be other projects like this for us? I don’t know; we’re both so busy. I do know this: no matter what project the future brings, I can depend on Dad, and my whole family, to pitch in their talents and their love.

Invasion of the Baby Daddy

5 Things You Should Know about Invasion of the Baby Daddy

EVERY UNWED MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE COMES TO LIFE IN THE PAGES OF INVASION OF THE BABY DADDY, a compelling and moving debut novel that echoes the emotional and cerebral frustrations of unwed mothers throughout the ages. Its unforgettable characters and authentic story line are interwoven with current and real facts about the volume of unwed mothers in our society today. In the story, Dr. Sands believes he has found his perfect mate only to discover that she is pregnant from a previous relationship. Not fully aware of the ramifications of this colossal news, Dr. Sands and Rachel date via long distance during her pregnancy and ultimately decide to get married. In order to make a life together, Rachel must move to Tennessee to start a new life with her husband. But the Baby Daddy has other plans for them. Determined to make this marriage work, Dr. Sands goes to extraordinary lengths to try and negotiate with the Baby Daddy. Brimming with honesty from the author s own experiences, Invasion of the Baby Daddy comes alive with unique freshness, candor and rich detail.
We welcome today’s guest Dr. John E. Bell, author of Invasion of the Baby Daddy.
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Five Things You Should Know about Invasion of the Baby Daddy

by John E. Bell

The first topic most do not know of Invasion of the Baby Daddy is the comparison to everyday average Americans to the story in the book

I feel the American family structure is currently changing and has been changing over the last 20 years. For example 6.4 million children are born out of wed lock today. Over 50% of marriages end in Divorce and most families today never have evening dinner together any more. We are now in the hurry up and going no where society. The facts alone are alarming but also very true of our society. Another example of the decay of the the American family specifically when African-American families have a 72% single parent house hold. Latino families have a 40% single parent house hold. Caucasion European families have a 36% single parent house hold in America according to the 2007 Census report. It shows how the American family is ever changing and also what American family challenges that will be comfronted in American society in the future.

The second topic most do not know about Invasion of the Baby Daddy is the direct link to many suburban/ urban problem

It seems to me the root of many of the problems of unwed mothers have been the acceptance of the decay in the American family. A lack of education and the instant generation has become the issue of where our society and family life has now evolved into. It seems that most of the women and men who have unplanned children early in life, most of them have a low education and no goals that prevent the detour of the mistakes of unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, a great mislead issue is when most of the American families repeat the mistakes of the previous generations before them because the societal conditions that existed for the previous generation has not improved for their children. Unfortunately, this now becomes a generational issue of the next parents of the children of today.

The third topic in the book that most do not know is the reality of blended families and what many go through in their lives

The problem that can interfere with a blended family having a great life would be the Baby Mother or Baby Daddy that is attached to the child itself that attempts to separate a family when the biological Mom or Dad wants to move on. The Baby Mother to the child can not leave a state with the child to live out of state, even if she has married someone else. This is a court order called Joint legal status that gives a Baby Daddy as much custody to parent as the Baby Mother even without a marriage as one can see this can leave a blended family with severe hardships and ultimately even end in a devasting divorce. Moreover, Joint legal status court orders however is a state by state issue an not the law in every state. You must check your state to make sure that this law does not affect your relationship if you are planning on moving on from a Baby Daddy or Baby Mother.

The fourth topic most would not know about in the book Invasion of the Baby Daddy would be how a single man can adapt to a blended family

The new man in a situation where he has met a ready made family with a woman that is ready to move on as well is a great thing. There are some good men who would love to step up and welcome a women and her child or children. In the book, “Invasion of the Baby Daddy” A doctor by ther name of Dr. Mark Sand is a good man that happens to fall in love with Rachel and her child. However, it is interacting with the biological Baby Daddy or Baby Mother of the child that will always present issues with such a great guy in these blended family situations.

The fifth topic is how the American family can be impacted by Baby Daddys in our society today

The Baby Daddy will always be a sinister character. Usually, a selfish irresponsible Baby Daddy will not want to spend money on the child. Infact, statistically most unwed Baby Daddys never intended to be fathers and most were not father material to begin with. They were boys trying to have sex and live a life of illusion from consequences that came from practices of unsafe sex. Most actually are lost souls that had no father themselves or only act out what they have learned from the same father type that they now have become. This is what is seen in the pages of “Invasion of the Baby Daddy.”

Dr. Bell is a Surgical Podiatrist and a College Professor at Strayer University at the Shelby Oaks campus in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Bell has a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Strayer University in Memphis, Tennessee and a Doctorate Of Podiatric Medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Bell is a graduate from Morris college in Sumter, South Carolina. Dr. Bell is a Gulf War veteran with 10 years in the US Navy with an honorable discharge. Dr. Bell is a member of Phi-Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.

Dr. Bell has his own radio show called the Dr. John Bell Show that can be heard on Saturday from 4-5pm central time and 5-6pm Eastern time on KWAM990.com. Dr. Bell is married and has one daughter and a step son and has experienced the subject of the baby daddy syndrome and the drama that can be experienced from relationships that include a blended family structure. Dr. Bell has chosen to write about some of the challenges from a man’s perspective involved in a blended family where the man does not have any children and the woman has a child from a previous relationship.

This story has been a compilation of many American family’s dilemma with people who want to move on from their past mistakes in life of children and relationships and how much it can cost the people we love most when our life choices become complicated with an invasive baby daddy as in the book or even an invasive baby momma into a family situation. This book demonstrates how the American family structure is changing and how the law is often used to separate families and ultimately even end a marriage. In this American story of many with this subject, one family had to find a way to make the ultimate sacrifice to avoid destruction from the invasion of a baby daddy.

You can visit his website at www.drjohnbell.com.

Special Guest Feature: Doing Non Doing by George Earl Parker

Doing Non Doing
by George Earl Parker

George Earl Parker, singer, songwriter & author of VAMPYRE BLOOD - EIGHT PINTS OF TROUBLE

George Earl Parker is an author, singer/songwriter, and artist. As designer and director of the short film “Yellow Submarine Sandwich,” included in Eric Idle’s pseudo-documentary of a band called the Rutles, Parker received accolades, awards, and a showing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. His art has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the country, and three of his songs have shown up on the European Country Music Association charts. Vampyre Blood-Eight Pints of Trouble is his first novel. He currently lives in California where he is working on his music and his second book.  You can visit his website at www.georgeearlparker.com.

I am not a normal writer that would be a contradiction in terms. By definition writers are hardly normal. They dream up stories that never existed before, and populate them with people and scenario’s that are imaginary.

There is nothing wrong with this noble occupation, people have been following it since the invention of the chisel, and their efforts have prevented an unimaginable number of pratfalls from taking place. Without the writer to chart the uneven terrain of love, the dastardly realm of politics, or even the contradictory subatomic shenanigans of quantum physics, existence would be pure chaos.

For the writer of course, existence is pure chaos, and its measurement is in what one has to sacrifice. The life of a writer is solitary; it is solitary because one has to think. It isn’t really necessary to come to conclusions, in fact conclusions are to be avoided at all costs, because they paint one into a corner and corners are best left vacated until the final throes of ones final edit.

Keeping the story moving, adding twists and turns, and not being long winded are all excellent nuggets of advice for the writer trying to mine rich veins of adventure, comedy, or angst. The fact that they are all diametrically opposed to one another brings the errant writer to an almost Zen-like crossroads that he has to learn to transcend with the wily non-doing of a Taoist adept bent on immortality.

But wait a minute; this non-doing of which you speak is what writer’s have been waging war against since the dawn of time. It’s the blank page one stares at, the canvas un-painted, the word un-spelled, the story un-formed. It is the bane of every writer’s existence; it is the very thing that drives us up the wall. It is the most contemptible facet of an occupation that is otherwise the most pleasing of all artistic careers . . .isn’t it?

No! All of those things are doing, and they are indeed the friction that brings creativity to a halt. Non-doing does not only apply to writing, it applies to life itself. It is the cornerstone of a spiritual existence, it is the flexibility that water exhibits, it is not thinking oneself into a corner, and it is not taking oneself too seriously.

Why are you immune from all the pitfalls of being a writer? I hear you wonder, along with a string of curses and vicious invective that is better left unsaid. But the truth is I’m not. I continue to fall into all the traps that bedevil you, and many, many more of my own invention. This is probably the reason I refuse to think of myself as a normal writer anymore, because as a normal writer I was at war with the blank page, and the best thing I ever learned to do, was to make peace with it.