Q&A With UFO Researcher Nick Redfern


or Nick Redfern’s World of Whatever 


(Look carefully at the photo above. Can you spot our visitors from another world?)

Q) Do you have favorite “days” in the 365 UFO book?

A)  On the night of October 25, 1973, there was a very weird Bigfoot-UFO encounter in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The weirder side of the Bigfoot phenomenon interests me a lot. Also, the crop circle phenomenon is one that interests me a great deal, too. There are 4 or 5 such cases in the book of crop circles.

Q) Are there stories and reports that just keep drawing you back in?

A) Yeah, I would say the Men in Black-type cases. That whole phenomenon (MIB, Women in Black, Shadow People, etc) is my favorite to investigate and write about. I keep coming back to it and probably always will! It’s very different to the MIB of the movies – much creepier and weirder.

Q) Have you always “believed” or has there been an episode in your life you couldn’t explain?

A) Well, I try not to get caught up in belief systems too much. I try and work on facts and evidence. But, yes I have had some weird experiences over the years. I have had a lot of very strange synchronicities. I also had a very strange experiences with a ghostly pet back in 2003, Charity the Sharpei, who was a great friend and still missed.

Q) What is the most disturbing aspect of UFO phenomenon? The most hilarious?

A) The most sinister aspect, as I see it, is when people get manipulated by the phenomenon and it can have a big, adverse effect on them. I think there is a dark side to the phenomenon that manipulates people deliberately and it can cause a lot of havoc. Some of the most hilarious stories are those from the 1950s, the era of the Contactees. One of them, Truman Bethurum, told of meeting an alien woman named Aura Rhanes. He described her as being “tops in shapeliness and beauty!” There are lots of wacky stories like that!

Q) Do you think we’ll ever find out what happened at the most famous of sites/crashes?

A) It’s hard to say. Roswell is the most famous crash case and, even with the 70th anniversary now looming on the horizon, we still don’t really know what happened. And no files have ever surfaced. So, it’s very difficult to know for sure what happened. I’m not sure with Roswell if we will ever get the proof of what happened. It may be in lock-down mode forever.

Q) If you could stand at any moment during all we know of the history of ufo sightings, what moment would you want to see?

A) I would go back to the Foster Ranch, Lincoln County, New Mexico in early July 1947. That was when and where the Roswell craft came down. Ideally, I would be right there as it slammed into the ground and I would know what really took place.

Q) If I saw a UFO, I’d run. Is that the correct response? (I’m thinking, “never run from a lion, they’ll think you’re prey” here…)

A)I think the ideal thing to do is stay there and take it all in. But, some people are definitely traumatized by UFO encounters, and it’s hard to predict how people might respond when faced with a UFO.

Q) What’s the scariest place you’ve ever been? I was afraid of the monster on the Mekong in your book. Whoa that thing scared me.

A) I don’t really get frightened on expeditions, etc. For me, it’s more of an Adrenalin rush. I have had a lot of good times on Puerto Rico searching for the Chupacabra. The island’s El Yunque rain-forest is a mysterious and cool place!

We have a special promotion to celebration Nick’s work, the perfect “big picture” UFO, monster-hunting, crop circle whirling tour-de-force through every day of the year through history:  365 Days of UFOs by Nick Redfern.


ON SALE MARCH 15 the HAIR CLUB BURNING pitch got over 120,000 views on Facebook. Maybe more. Weird. Exciting. Alarming. And it’s all about the racial harmony and  integration. The integration that matters: FRIENDSHIP.

We made this short pitch tape for a famous Hollywood director so he could critique us. He told me to keep my hair out of my eyes.


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Make The Words Go Faster


/beth wareham

In my long, lonely corporate publishing career, I read way too much. Some of it still haunts me, strange sexual longings and random violence that popped up in the strangest of manuscripts and proposals. But most of it just bored me silly. I remember reading this long passage of a Hollywood “Dermatologist to the Stars” who rushed to a starlet’s house to pop her pimple with a Q-tip so it didn’t read on the camera the next day. And we wonder why movie folk get so infantilized.

But that pimple was a good day. I still remember it, right? What I don’t remember are long, meandering stories with little plot and lots of author ego. I remember novels (my colleagues’ favorites) whose prose had been picked clean like a European forest. Perfect. Beautiful. Bloodless.

Give me blood. Give me fast and raw and take me somewhere. I don’t want a perfect 2 hour moment of strolling though the Vienna Woods, I want to feel, move, challenge, fight, fuck, love, retreat, surge forward, and maybe win, maybe not. I want life.

How to convey that speed, that rawness? First, get the right story. Only you know what the right story is. It’s the one that gets your blood up, the story you want to rise to and conquer. Next, read other stories  you admire. Watch how writers write raw and fast. It’s plot, word choice and length of sentence, graph, chapter, book. If you can’t get it done in 60,000 – 80,000 words, rethink it. And, I’d even shoot for a shorter book: 50,000 sounds good these days.

Get real. Your competition is Homeland on Showtime and Fargo on FX. Your competition is 24 hour war coverage, the weasel that dances atop Donald Trump’s head, and all the shiny things the internet throws up that keeps you surfing for hours.

Here is a short list of books that changed the way I thought about the velocity of narrative. Or, as my husband says, “they know how to write clean.”

My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan

Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The White Album by Joan Didion

There many more. I hope you tell me some of your favorites because I’ve been watching way too much on-demand. And just as I had to change for my health and eat clean, my brain needs a’washing and I want to read clean. Help me.

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Skinny Green Smoothies

Aliens. Drug lords. The Beach.

Gringo Maniac Murder Spree-2.jpg

Enter a caption


/beth wareham

As a publisher and editor, I am not renowned for my alien drug cartel books. In fact, this is my first one. So, at 55, I lost my virginity and finally took the plunge into alien drug cartel novels. I had to: The book is that good.

You might know Joshua Warren from his many non-fiction books, including the bestselling USE THE FORCE: A Jedi’s Guide to the Laws of Attraction. Or, you might know him from his frequent appearances on The History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy. You might even have wandered into his Asheville Mystery Museum in North Carolina. Wherever you first encountered his work, one thing is for sure, you’ll never have a wilder, more hilarious, page-turning ride than with Warren’s foray into fiction, THE GRINGO MANIAC MURDER SPREE.

Set in Puerto Rico, smack dab in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, Dick Peck (our hero) is fighting the insidious alien infiltration into the drug cartels of the island. To solidify power, these alien drug lords have kidnapped the greatest consciousness in the Universe and are holding it hostage. Until Dick Peck arrives, that is, and begins to take them out one by one.

Filled with gratuitous violence and hair-raising adventure, this R-rated story is a colorful grab-bag of UFOs, aliens, spirits, MIB, cryptids, ESP, and a kaleidoscope of inter-dimensional phantasmagoria, capped with cold-blooded wit.

This book will be a movie; mark my words. In the meantime, it is the perfect, page-turning, page-burning, two-hour read to get you through the boredom of air travel, the sluggish narratives of on-demand television, or even a long business meeting. (You put the book under the table and read, looking up occasionally and nodding. Worked for me.)

But don’t believe just me. Here’s a quote from a really cool film guy about the read:

“This is the most insane fun I’ve ever had reading a book in my life.
I called in sick so I could finish it.”

– T. Beckett Scotland, Film Producer, The Devil of Blue Mountain

Just click on the title to buy: The Gringo Maniac Murder Spree. You just can’t have this much fun for $10.00 ANYWHERE. If you can, prove it!

Come romp on twitter @shadowteams @skinnysmoothies @giantsweettart

Or post a smart remark on Facebook at Shadowteamsnyc,  Skinny Green Smoothies, Beth Wareham or Hair Club Burning









L I S A  H A G A N  B O O K S




Hive-Mind novel by Gabrielle Myers, organic farming, cooking, California organic produce, Chef

Gabrielle Myers author, cook and chef releases  Hive-Mind with Lisa Hagan Books/ShadowTeams

“In powerful lyric prose that sometimes can’t help give way to poetry…

Gabrielle Myers sings her own, very personal love song to the soil under all of our feet. The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred and ten degree summer day.  In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we are.”

Pam Houston, Author of Contents May Have Shifted


“It’s gorgeous. The writing is so precise and riveting that you can’t tear yourself away from any moment. Myers is a writer of elegance and heart, and also of extraordinary intelligence. I’m not quite sure how you create this hardhearted and yet spiritually elevated work; but she has somehow managed it. It’s a remarkable experience to read this book. So please do.”

Wesley Gibson, author of Personal Saviors

  The quotes above will hopefully convince you of the writing in Hive-Mind. Now we want you to know that Myers can also cook. This puree will become a go-to dish for entertaining or that magic hour of just sipping a drink at day’s end.

And really, how much hummus can we eat?

     Lemon-White Bean Puree

“I suggest using following recipe as a base bean puree recipe. From this basic recipe, you can add chopped olives, tomatoes, spinach, or capers, crushed fennel seed or cumin, or even sautéed ribbons of kale and escarole. While you can lather the puree on a toasted baguette and top it with a generous drizzle of olive oil and pinch of parsley, this smooth mix also acts as a healthy alternative to the ranch and sour cream dips often served with crudité. Try this savory puree as a substitute for the often canola-heavy mayonnaise in your favorite sandwich.”

3 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans

2 lemons, zested

1 lemon, juiced

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 to ¼ cup water, depending on consistency

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

salt and pepper, to taste


1. If you use canned cannellini beans, rinse the beans in a colander under cold running water until the starchy residue is removed. Allow the beans to drain until all the excess liquid is gone.

2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick and the ingredients aren’t easily blending, add a few tablespoons of water.

3. Season the puree with salt and pepper. If you like more spice, consider adding an additional 1/8 = 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper.

4. You can serve the puree immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Gabrielle Myers

(This  recipe originally appeared in the Prostate Forum Blog in September 2013: prostateforum.com)



A Two Hour Consult with“The Startup Whisperer”



Chris Heivly Author of Build the Fort. Whether you are launching a book, building a business or managing a huge project, Build the Fort’s 5 simple steps will help you create something where there was once just a dream. He’ll help you accelerate growth and strengthen connections as you build your fort in the New Economy.

Simply add your email below and a winner will be chosen at the end of November.

WRITING SHORT: He Wasn’t Born With It, He Learned.

After 27 years at the New York Times, the incessant need for space was like water running over a stone and Holland, through the sheer practice of his craft, learned how, as the San Francisco Chronicle so eloquently said, the
“remarkable ability to conjure up the essence
of a composer or a piece of music in a few deftly Bernard Holland New York Times, Something I Heard, music critic, Yo-Yo Ma,
chosen words. He is, I think, an aphorist of
unparalleled virtuosity.”

But don’t believe us. Read the book. See how he does it. Learn by watching; there are few better teachers than this one. Click here: Something I Heard

And until the book arrives, he’s given three solid pieces of writing advice below to get you started on the short life, writing for the age of social media. Never before has it been so important to boil your idea down to the essence and in the process, concentrating its message and power.

Writing Short Tips from a Master Bernard Holland, Something I Heard, Chopin, music critic

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L I S A  H A G A N  B O O K S


 S  H  A  D  O  W  T  E  A  M  S


Win a 2 hr consultation




“Every publication is a startup”

Our favorite business author, Chris “The Startup Whisperer” Heivly, has donated a two-hour consultation to a lucky winner who wants to get somethin’ started.

Chris and his partners sold MapQuest to AOL for over 1 Billion dollars and now mentors budding entrepreneurs at The Startup Factory. His book, BUILD THE FORT, takes 5 simple steps he learned building forts as a kid and turns them into a clear roadmap for building any project, whether it’s a startup tech company or the launch of a book.

Here’s Chris’s piece from Inc.com on becoming a first time author: inc.com/chris-heivly/curious-how-to-write-your-first-book.html

Here’s what are the parallels he found between publishing and startup: shadowteams.co/2015/10/11/every-publication-is-a-startup-a-qa-with-chris-heivly-the-startup-whisperer/

This is a once in a lifetime chance to speak with Chris Heivly about your startup project, your book or business venture!!

H O W  C A N  Y O U  E N T E R  TO  WIN ?

By simply signing up to receive our newsletters.http://www.amazon.com/Build-The-Fort-Lessons-year-old-ebook/dp/B0157GPRHW

One lucky newsletter entrant will be selected on Nov 30

Get Our Latest Updates and Enter to Win a private session with Chris Heivly!


Build the Fort, Heivly Chris, Durham, Startup Factory

Learn how to build a successful start up with the Startup Whisperer



Author and Former New York Times Chief Critic Interviews Himself About His Quest for Doing Nothing




BERNARD HOLLAND: What were your goals in life? Have you achieved them?

BH: From an early age my life’s ambition was to do absolutely nothing. After 60-odd years of obstacles and detours I am nearing my goal.

BERNARD HOLLAND Who was your role model?

BH: Friends of D.H. Lawrence say that he would sit in a chair for four or five hours at a stretch, immobile and silent. I’m not a big fan of his books (I do love “The Sea and Sardinia”) but he’s my kind of man.

BERNARD HOLLAND: What have you been reading?

BH: Georges Perec’s “Life: A User’s Manual” _ a huge encyclopedia of things that interest me; Knausgaard’s “My Struggle” – I read one volume, and rush to the next;. At the moment Joseph Roth’s delicious little newspaper items from 1920s Germany (“The Hotel Years”) ; Next for me is Houellebecq’s “Submission” and Edward St. Aubyn’s newest.

BERNARD HOLLAND: What books on music do you read?

BH: Very few. I admired Ian McEwan’s “Amsterdam” for nailing the contemporary music community (spot-on, uncanny}.Thomas Bernhard’s fantasy Glenn Gould (“The Loser”) is fun too

BERNARD HOLLAND: Do you read critics?

BH: I always keep up with Alex Ross. I’ve read things by Justin Davidson I admire. I like the depth and civility of British music magazine writers but they are usually engaged in a kind of Consumer Reports (this performance is better than that one). I try not to listen that way. Every performance is different; learn from each of them. The New York Times has some interesting new stringers.

BERNARD HOLLAND: How are you coping with retirement?

BH: During my working years I was surrounded by connoisseurs and experts always happy to lift me to their stratospheric levels of wonderfulness. Retirement has freed me from the chains of excellence. Mediocrity interests me. My scotch is at the bottom of Johnny Walker’s color chart. Great wine gives me hives. I doze in the arms of the second-rate. Oh how happy I am.

BERNARD HOLLAND: What are you listening to these days?

BH:. Silence. It’s very powerful.

—– to order your copy of Holland’s Something I Heard, click on the title.

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Former New York Times Chief Critic Bernard Holland, author of

SOMETHING I HEARD, is much celebrated for his ability to capture a composer or performer in, what the San Francisco Chronicle called, “a few deftly chosen words.”

In an almost 30-year career at the New York Times, Holland had to make 400-word reviews sing nightly.

Few can do it.

(Another great practitioner was the late architecture critic at The New Yorker, Brendan Gill.)

In age of twitter and wordpress, you best be able to write short too.

Here are a few tips from a Master, or Maestro, whichever:

1.  Never state the obvious. For example, don’t start your piece with “I went to an important concert last night” We know it’s important or why would you be there?

2.  Write it, Read it. Cut it. Mercilessly (Awk! An adverb.) Take out every extra word that does not forward the action or thought.

3.  Use words, of course, but use the right word. Don’t use an obscure or big word to impress. Don’t use long phrases and write around the point. Choose the word that gets right on top of what you want to say – provocative or not – and press the button.

(Or in this case click on the book)Bernard Holland New York Times, Something I Heard, Bach, Mahler, music critic, music appreciation, classical music critic, Linda Ronstadt, American Orchestras, Yo-Yo Ma, The crowd shouted more Holland
We respond.






/beth wareham

Despite repeated requests by his editor to write something dirty about classical music, former New York Times Chief Critic Bernard Holland refused, saying “classical music showers daily, just like me.”

To read more of Mr. Holland’s thoughts, check out http://amzn.to/1S9AQIV. You’ll hear the music. No way you can’t. I even loved it and baby, I’m a rocker.

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First Verified Photo of Former New York Times Critic Bernard Holland, author of Something I Heard



Beth Wareham talks to Something I Heard author, Bernard Holland

1. You’ve been away from the New York Times for 7 years. Why did you release this book now?

Two close friends – Richard and Dee Wilson – (Richard Wilson is a composer/pianist and holds the Mary Conover Mellon Chair of Music at Vassar) came upon the piece on Glenn Gould and said I should think about a book. It was some kind of tipping point for me and seven years after leaving the paper, I thought “yes, I’ll do a book.”

2. A google of your by-line puts your contribution to music criticism at the Times to over 4600 articles and reviews. How did you begin to approach what you wanted in this compilation?

I remembered certain reviews and started rereading them together. I began to appreciate the work more. Before, I just wanted to enjoy being retired. Now, I can look back at a career and think “it was a wonderful job but there was too much of it.” I needed to put it all aside. I was overloaded.

3. As a writer, you are known as a skilled “aphorist.” How did you get to be that way?

I say it in the book. I had to write hundreds of short reviews. I had strict boundaries and that allowed me freedom. Boundaries are liberating. You know exactly where you are and it really makes you think. I became good at throwing out any word I didn’t need.

I had to operate within a space and that space only. There’s a quote from Stravinsky that says – and I paraphrase – when I begin to compose, I have limitless opportunities. It’s up to me to choose one.

As a writer, you can’t sprawl, you can’t run everywhere. I feel the same way musically about Mahler. I think sometimes in his symphonies, he abuses his space.

4. I have to ask it: What are your desert island pieces?

Haydn’s “Last Seven Words of Christ”
Wagner’s “Parsifal”
Schubert’s G Major Piano Sonata
Liszt’s “The Fountains at the Villa d’Este”,
Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”
Debussy’s “Iberia”
Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony
Astor Piazzolla’s “Maria de Buenos Aires”
Any Nelson Riddle arrangement of Frank Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt.

5. And finally, what’s your favorite part about being married to me?

You like Jimi Hendrix and I’m cool with that.

Get more of the music in Something I Heard by clicking here on the title.

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Food of the Hive-Mind

Hive-Mind, Gabrielle Myers, organic farm, memoir, Tip Top Farm, Laura Trent

To Purchase Hive-Mind click on cover


excerpt from Hive-Mind
by Gabrielle Myers

“When I go into the kitchen, the sun’s started to angle itself at Mount Vaca. The golden light casts a reddish filter on my knife work as I thinly slice the halibut filet, fish so fresh the white flesh looks slightly blue and feels sturdy under my knife. After I cut the halibut into tiny cubes, I place it in a stainless steel bowl on top of an ice bag, grate a pinch of lemon zest, sprinkle sea salt and mix in a good amount of olive oil. All the time I maneuver around the kitchen’s gravel floor and awkward cutting boards that jut over the table at weird angles….

Baker walks across the herb circle to the kitchen; her leg brushes a tarragon plant the size of a small citrus tree.

We each do our bit of tidying, and set the table. Gina arrives smiling, flush and tan from her day in our fields. I begin to disk the okra with my sharpest knife. I gently mix the tartare and arrange a thin circular layer on each plate. I distribute five disks of okra on each circle, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the whole plate and sprinkle wild fennel pollen that I harvested near Lake Berryessa last weekend over the tartare.

Tartare: beef, lamb, tuna, halibut; all I have to do is cut, put sea salt on, pair it with a good olive oil and garnish. The tender fragile quality of the meat or fish plays against the texture present in each bite. Tartare was my favorite dish to serve at Oliveto. We’d fry capers until they were stiff star-like flowers, or take nasturtium petals and dot them over eye of round, ground and moist with oil so the dish looked like a Monet painting…

To purchase Hive-Mind, click on the title.


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Every Publication is a Startup: A Q&A with Chris Heivly, “The Startup Whisperer”


/Beth Wareham

Chris, when I read your book about how to get to yes in the startup scene, I was relieved that the startup I was working on – in this instance, a publishing company – had made many of your moves instinctively. It turns out that I was building my own publishing fort. I also realized your book, Build the Fort, was about startups and each publication was a microcosm of that launch.

1. Do you view your book as a fort-building experience?

Yes very much so. I can even take it a step further and share that I viewed the book as a startup in itself. So if fort building is like startups . . . you get the picture. Like every startup, I had a concept that I thought people would enjoy. I also experienced highs and lows as I built out the product (the book) and now I get to enjoy the feedback (good or bad) from my customers (readers).

2. In Build the Fort, your 5 essential steps for startup success are presented as a parable about building a hideout in the woods with your friends when you were young. The analogy works. Step 1 in Build the Fort is to socialize the idea. Many a book has failed because it could not be described succinctly. How should an author “socialize the idea”?

The first thing is to go talk to your target audience and share the concept and point of view. In Build The Fort, I had a thesis that there are no books that concentrate on the months leading up to your decision to leap. So, I asked a bunch of people about that and determined that I was right. Interestingly, I also used the socialize the idea to talk to potential publishers, agents, other writers and industry people so I could understand how this was going to play out and what my options were.

Writers need to be matched to publisher carefully or the entire project can derail. How do you recommend, as you do in your book, that a writer find the right people? Obviously, information is power and the only way to get information is to talk to as many people as possible. Or Step 1 in the parable. Some talk to too few and others dont talk to as diverse a group as they should. I talked to major publishers, agents, hybrid publishers, 1st time writers, freelance editors and startup publishing services folks. Sound like a lot? It is easy when you have no fear and nothing to lose.

3. Every author confronts the same difficult beast: marketing and promotion. Can you talk about how you gather the assets closest to you to move your book sales.

Yea, this is the biggie for me right now. I decided early on that ultimately the success of the book was going to be on me. I heard that from everyone during my socialization tour. Turns out that writing the book was the easy part. The marketing assets are a mix of mine and others. My assets were the 6,800 email contacts I had amassed over the last 5-6 years. It took me all weekend to get them into one email database. I also started turning every one of my speaking opportunities into a Build The Fort story a year ago. Every public opportunity was a chance to tell people that a book was coming out. Call it brand building. I also researched a ton of ideas on marketing a book and took the ones I thought I could execute and put them in a spreadsheet of ideas. I am still adding, subtracting and rolling those out.

4. Create short term goals is perfect for the independent authors. Many get discourage when their book doesn’t perform immediately, but it is a process for the tortoise, rarely the hare. Can you talk about your short term approach for Build the Fort?

This makes me laugh as I am struggling with this right now. Let’s start with the actual writing of the book. I have a full-time gig so I needed to give myself permission to only write 3-4 times per week for 1-2 hours per sitting. My overall goal was to finish by the end of 2014 (I started writing in April). My near term goals were to write 1,000 words per sitting.

In terms of sales and marketing, I set a personal goal for sales and then asked the publishing team their goals. I then readjusted mine down. But, like any startup, I am not satisfied with the pace. That will never change for me. The one point I will make is that with 2 other businesses (The Startup Factory and Big Top Reverse Job Fair) the book comes in third on my priorities. To that end, I needed to give myself permission to execute at 30-40% of what was possible. Time is my enemy. I told me to not beat myself up for not executing everything that was possible. Knock off the big items one by one when I can. That is good enough.

5. At what point in your publication will you be satisfied that you have Built a Fort?

I have already built many forts, and look forward to building more, it is my passion. Now, I have a published book that thousands of future entrepreneurs are reading. It is an exciting life.

To order, click on the title, Build the Fort

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Is Classical Music Funny? 25 Ideas from SOMETHING I HEARD by Bernard Holland


Something I Heard, Bernard Holland, music critic for New York Times, classical music criticism

To order SOMETHING I HEARD, click on the title or cover


“Holland has a remarkable ability to conjure up the essence of a composer or a piece of music in a few deftly chosen words. He is, I think, an aphorist of unparalleled virtuosity.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“No one today can match the limpid elegance and intellectual precision of his style…”
— The New Yorker

/Bernard Holland

The day I put “music critic” after my name people started asking me about music. Before that no one asked my opinion about anything.

He is the most interesting Bach player in memory, but when taken as a model of how Bach should sound, he is a catastrophe. People who blow up buildings get our attention, and sometimes their messages clean out our heads, but we don’t let them be architects.

They will no more grow than Mother Nature will take the liver spots off my hands. We have grown old together.

There’s a more relevant question behind the one that asks why so few black musicians go into classical music, and that is: Why should they want to?

If the early music movement taught us anything it is that all music is contemporary.

The tango is sublimated warfare. It rarely smiles. Elegance, ritual and a deep dignity win out over darker impulses. In a single Argentine dance form the universal paradoxes of romance between two human beings seem to gather.

I would trade some Strauss, most of Hindemith and even a little Brahms for the first eight bars of “April in Paris.”

One wonders what kind of music Carter would have written had he, like Haydn, lived his teenage years in frightening poverty.

“My music isn’t modern. It’s just played badly.”

In the green hills of North Carolina on Saturday night, the lion lay down with the lamb. A reputed sower of discord communed with a maker of harmony. Louis Farrakhan, meet Felix Mendelssohn.

Gabriele Schnaut’s Brünnhilde bore down on the helpless listener like a sopranic freight train threatening derailment at any moment. Her Siegfried (Wolfgang Schmidt) could offer only strangled desperation. When we were lucky, Mr. Schmidt landed on no pitch at all, creating a kind of 19th-century German Romantic rap.

The Brant aesthetic, when brought under a roof, shrinks to a form of encirclement. Here the audience, Custer-like, receives incoming fire from every direction.

Wagner lovers are besotted people, like the sharers of some extraterrestrial visitation who are compelled to gather in cities like Seattle, Vienna, New York, San Francisco and, of course, Bayreuth to trade sightings.

When doom is announced on Monday but does not arrive until Saturday, the “Ring” and its audiences are captives in time, forming a kind of space capsule in which listeners are as much crew members as the performers.

Mr. Sellars takes his usual role as honorary member and emotional spokesman for the oppressed and the slighted. It must gall him at times to be so showered with attention and success.

The brothel scene steams with bare skin, gyrating pudenda and simulated (I think) copulation.

The sorrows of this story’s title lie in togetherness and loneliness made to stand side by side.

A Beethoven sonata begins at the front door, takes a trip, meets new friends, goes home. A Scelsi piece closes the front door and digs in the basement.

Gorgeous to look at but virtually uninhabited, the Metropolitan Opera’s new ”Traviata” seems to have been the victim of a neutron bomb.

This building is cursed and should be leveled. It doesn’t need an architect. It .needs an exorcist.

Perhaps a more apt title for these events would be “Three Tenors, One Conductor and Four Accountants.”

Bruckner is a Mozart sonata that ate too much.

All of us should go home, find a dark room, sit down and be silent.

That leap from ”understand” to ”appreciate” is long and blind.

You do not keep “Das Liêd von der Erde” together by snapping your fingers like Harry James.

Good acoustics, like a good haircut, go unnoticed.
Acoustics are to music what bookbinding and typeface are to Faulkner. If our minds are doing their work, Faulkner’s voice will sound the same in the roughest, smallest and most unwelcoming old paperback as it does in the most luxurious special edition.

Look no farther than Leopold Stokowski who managed to pack his dessert-like sound into a suitcase and carry it from city to city.

The critic’s duty is to report that Mr. Bocelli is not a very good singer.

Just as we put up our umbrellas, the sun comes out. We don’t know whether to be happy or sad, and so we are both.

Critics may speak German or English but they can’t speak music. Music is sublimely illiterate

Messiaen invented a Christianity with no missionaries and a congregation of one.

To order, click on the title Something I Heard.

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WE SUBMIT FOR YOUR APPROVAL: Books to Make You Smarter, Books to Entertain



Dear Friend: Shadow Teams now powers Lisa Hagan Books, an independent publishing company working in the United States, Canada and the U.K. We now believe everything everyone told us about how hard you must work on a startup.
We are extremely proud of our first group of books. We offer them below.

Simply click on the title of the book to order.

Please forward on this email to family, friends and other readers. We would love your feedback and help in spreading the word. http://www.shadowteams.com

Anyone who signs up for our email will get three chapters of our next release for free. (What is the book, you ask? It will be a surprise, just like all presents.)

If you wish to review the book — for print, blog or possible interviews – or for potential inclusion in curriculum, please email beth@shadowteams.com


b9thnolinelargery Bernard Holland
New York Times Critic Remembers 1981-2008

For twenty-plus years, music critic Bernard Holland heard it all. He reviewed and interviewed many of the most celebrated classical artists – singers, conductors, instrumentalists, composers and the avant garde – of the twentieth century for the New York Times.

Reporting both sides of the culture war between music history and radical change, Holland writes critiques on Philip Glass to Verdi, Messiaen to Bach, Peter Sellars to Zeffirelli, and Linda Ronstadt to The Three Tenors.

Along the way, the reader chats with Herbert von Karajan, takes a plane trip with Yo-Yo Ma, joins in with the boos at Bayreuth, and walks the slow walk with Robert Wilson.

“No one today can match the limpid elegance and intellectual precision of his style, which recalls the heyday of
Virgil Thomson.”
-The New Yorker


by Gabrielle Myers
Hive-Mind final cover-page-001
With the lyrical precision of Annie Dillard and the exquisite food writing of M.F.K. Fisher, Gabrielle Myers takes us on a Northern California idyll – an internship at the Tip Top Farm and Produce in Vacaville.

Here, the beauty of the land – light streaming through fig branches; carnelian tomatoes exploding in front of rows of sweet peas – is tended by the mysterious frenetic Farmer and her companion, Baker. Together with their intern Gabrielle, the trio tends a landscape full with sustenance and life. Their days are filled with back-breaking farm labor and their nights are alive with the freshest, most creative meals imaginable.

At night, Gabi lays in her yurt pondering her mother’s suicide attempt, working on stories to tell herself to make it alright, while just up the hill another mind, busy as a hive, fights a storm of loss and sorrow that threatens to shatter their eden. And what of these stories we tell ourselves? Myers asks.

Sometimes, they can’t be rewritten.

“The voice in Hive-Mind is complicated, edgy, vulnerable and deeply in love with fig trees, cherry tomatoes, and the sound of crickets on a hundred-and-ten degree day. In these dark, environmentally catastrophic times, we need books like this one to shake us out of our slumber, remind us where we came from, reconnect us to what we have.”
– Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted

Order now from Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.


Men in Black:Personal Stories and Eerie Adventures
by Nick Redfern


Nick Redfern’s new, and third, book on the Men in Black is filled with the very latest revelations on the sinister and deadly MIB. Never-before-seen witness testimony combines with papers from some of the leading figures in UFO- and paranormal-themed research to provide an outstanding look at this creepy and disturbing phenomenon.

Men in Black: Personal Stories & Eerie Adventures takes the reader on a mysterious, macabre, and menacing journey into the world of the dark-suited silencers. It’s a journey that encompasses tales of UFO conspiracies, government agents, strange and bizarre monsters, the occult, demonology, and psychic attack.

“Reading and reviewing the always-fascinating writings and research of author and “unsolved mysteries” lecturer Nick Redfern, for more than a decade, has allowed me to gain new insight on conspiracies and paranormal subjects. And Redfern refuses to let up…..”

– Red Dirt Report

Order now through Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.


Build the Fort: 5 Simple Lessons You Learned as a 10-Year Old Can Set You Up for Start-Up Success
by Chris Heivly

In Build the Fort, Heivly breaks down his childhood personal fort-building experiences and uses them as an analogy to his journey as co-founder of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2 billion) as well as The Startup Factory (a seed-stage investor & mentorship program).

Build the Fort outlines five basic elements that are common to both fort-building and startups:
• Socializing Your Idea without fear or inhibition,
• Identifying and Marshaling the People You Trust,
• Gathering the Minimal Resources Closest To You,
• Acting on the Smallest and Simplest of the Idea, and
• Build the Fort.

Whether you are 16 or 60, Build The Fort will provide the reader a better understanding of the earliest micro-steps of starting your own business by overlaying Chris’s 30 years of experiences in startups, investments, big-company intrapreneurship and community development.

“Chris is a ‘been there, done that’ kind of guy when it comes to startups. From his own highly successful startup, to leading a venture capital firm, to running a successful accelerator, to personally mentoring hundreds of entrepreneurs, Chris is not only someone who knows his stuff, but is the kind of person who truly cares.”
– F. Scott Moody
CEO of AuthenTec (sold to Apple)

Available on Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.


by Gabriel Horn

An island appears and disappears. A mysterious animal stands at the edge of the forest, watching. A door becomes a portal to the deepest secrets of the ocean. Through the darkness, a wolf strikes for life.

Born in a downpour that breaks a record drought, she is named Rainy. A young Native American girl, orphaned at 5, she lives with her grandfather on the white sandy shores of the Florida coast. As she approaches adolescence, Rainy struggles with her love for the Earth and the horrors inflicted on our natural world, facing questions of loss and identity, and the very essence of the human spirit. They are questions that hours spent in classrooms, and even her grandfather’s ancient wisdom, cannot answer. Exasperated, a storm rages inside of her, ultimately releasing her own spirit to the storm raging outside, and lifts her into a dream that is more than a dream.

Beyond this dream, in a place where the ordinary and extraordinary merge, Rainy Peek realizes her destiny and what it truly means to be MOTHERLESS.

“…insightful and eloquent”
– The Tampa Tribune

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To order book or ebook, click on title: Something I Heard

/Beth Wareham

Being married to a legend has it’s downside. When our wedding announcement ran in the New York Times, a publishing colleague remarked “I didn’t know you knew Bernard Holland.” Yeah, lady, I knew him. Every inch. But I wasn’t pitching him books. I had bigger fish to fry.

When I traveled with him, people would elbow me out of the way to get at him. Young music students would trail him at events and I would whisper in his ear “you make me famous, I suck your dickee.” No one thought I was funny but me and I kept myself amused at the edges of these “high culture” events.

As his wife, the legend took me everywhere and taught me how to be a woman of the world. I stood at the Bebelplatz in Berlin where Hitler’s brown shirts burned thousands of books just before I walked into the Staatsoper to hear Wagner. I sat on the water at Puccini’s house on a tiny lake in Italy where he lived, composed, and hunted ducks. He took me to Havana for a string of concerts with the visiting Milwaukee Symphony; I met Royalty on the manicured gardens at Glyndebourne and then watched the bloody despair of Berg’s Lulu inside.

Fast forward twenty years. I own a publishing company and it was time to put out some of this huge body of work. BUT WAIT! The New York Times owns 4600 of my legend’s bylines. That’s about a 2000 page book right there, I thought. I rolled my eyes. I would have to penetrate the Times wall to get permissions, a task that even Pinch Sulzberger would find hard. But luckily, we found the great Sam Sifton and he, well, sorted it out.

Next came assessing all those critiques into a larger whole that would paint an incomplete picture of classical music albeit a tantalizing one. Working with my legend, we chose reviews whose music led to discussions of real life: love triangles, serial killers, power grabs, lying, cheating, love, and loyalty.

I learned that music lives above words; it is impossible to capture again once released. No two performances will ever be the same and the best music is that which lives in your head, in memory. It can not be pulled out of the rest of you any more than your soul can.

And there it is. There was no divorce, no fighting, only a deeper understanding of what my marital legend had been blathering on about for the last twenty years. The writing is beautiful with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (the writer he most reminds me of, stylistically) elegant, lilting language.

And now I’m going to turn off the Stone’s “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” and change the pace. Today, I’m going to listen to Tristan und Isolde and see what it does to my soul. I could use it.

To order, click on title: SOMETHING I HEARD

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by Nick Redfern, author of Men in Black

Peter Beckman is, to put it mildly, a notable character. Having grown up in northern California, as a youngster he gravitated towards the arts and acting and was soon involved with local theater and production companies. In his early twenties, Peter attended the California Institute of Arts, where he studied screenwriting alongside Alexander Mackendrick, of The Man in the White Suit fame. His movie appearances include Chud II, Orson Welles’ unfinished The Other Side of the Wind, and Echo Park.

Beckman is the voice of General Wolf in the SyFy Channel’s series, Monster; he worked as a voice-artist on Street Fighter 4 and 5, and is the author of a highly entertaining paranormal-themed novel, Dead Hollywood. In addition, Beckman is the male voice in Josie Cotton’s recordings of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! And, if like me you’re a big fan of the Ramones, you’ll be interested to know that Peter had a starring role in the video for the band’s 1983 single, Psycho Therapy, in which he receives a kicking in the head, courtesy of a psychotic punk-rocker!

Continue reading here: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/10/a-strange-story-of-rosemarys-baby-pt-1/

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The NEXT 15 Points of Wisdom from ‘The Startup Whisperer” Chris Heivly’s New Book, BUILD THE FORT


Chris Heivly sold MapQuest to AOL for 1.2 billion and entered a rarefied group of startup kings. He’s also handled more than 75 million in investment capital on behalf of other companies. Instead of building a big house in Hawaii, he started The Startup Factory, the largest seed investment firm in the Southeast.

From Chris Heivly’s new book, BUILD THE FORT: Why 5 Simple Lessons You Learned as a 10 Year Old Can Set You Up for Startup Success

16. There will never be enough public data available to you that moves your brain to a place where it says – go do this, it is a safe bet.

17.Questions from your inner brain are evil.

18. Fear of failure is the mother of all fears.

19. Fear of future failure prevents good ideas and good founders from ever making the leap.

20. You cant execute month 30 without surviving month 3.

21. When I look back on every company I have ever run, I have just one regret; that I did not spend enough time on developing customers.

22. Spend too much time on product – your vision has outpaced the time allotted and your ability.

23. Cross co-founder support is a pretty cool ingredient early in the company formation and is easy in the honeymoon period.

24. Get to a place where you all feel comfortable exposing what’s rumbling around your head no matter how trivial.

25. Regardless of whether you are a first-time founder or if this is your third rodeo, advisors can help shape your vision.

26. Good advisors have this ability to see through the noise and help you find the core of what you are trying to do.

27. Determining the MVP unlocks your brain to identify the resources required now – not a year form now.

28. It is imperative that you build into the product, on day one, the hooks to track activity.

29. Being a CEO is about finding creative ways to gather resources with little or no cash.

30. I will never make a seed or early-stage investment based on research from Gartner, Forrester or IDC.

For even more wisdom from a startup great, read BUILD THE FORT: Why 5 Simple Lessons You Learned as a 10 Year Old Can Set You Up for Startup Success and explore Chris’s Inc. Magazine articles

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15 Points of Wisdom from “The Startup Whisperer”


In Build the Fort, author Chris Heivly breaks down his personal childhood fort-building experiences and uses them as an analogy to his journey as co-founder of MapQuest (sold to AOL for 1.2 billion) as well as The Startup Factory (a seed-stage investor & mentorship program). The result: BUILD THE FORT: Why Five Simple Lessons You Learned as a 10-Year-Old Can Set You Up for Startup Success. (click on the title to buy)


1.Most would-be founders stay inside the dream and never make the leap into reality.

2.Some entrepreneurs make the leap with unrealistic notions of how to maximize those first delicate steps.

3.By, definition, first-time founders have no context, feeling or understanding.

4.I am not aware of one business that exists solely inside your own head.

5.Over half the features you are thinking about will never be used yet paid for.

6.Your job is to find the most productive and efficient path to success for your product and business.

7.Pushing your idea out into the world gives the idea a life beyond just you.

8. Each socializing opportunity is a chance to hone your words.

9. Overwhelming me with detail before I have a chance to understand the big picture works against you.

10. The world is littered with decent products that never find a customer.

11.Your task as CEO is to garner the resources necessary to execute on your vision.

12. At its core, networking is a pay-it-forward exercise.

13. Entrepreneurial DNA has a built-in give-back component.

14. As an investor, I want to see that you need to make this idea work at any cost.

15. Your risk should be commensurate with my risk.

Want more Chris in addition to buying Build the Fort? Read his articles for Inc. Magazine here: http://www.inc.com/author/chris-heivly

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Albert Bender


by Nick Redfern, author of Men in Black: Personal Stories and Eerie Adventures

Part-1 of this article began as follows: (QUOTE) “There’s no doubt that over the years I’ve written some weird articles on equally weird subjects. But, this 2-part one just might be the strangest of all. In the last few years I have seen a trend develop that seems to be increasing. It basically goes as follows. I am getting more and more reports from people who have read my books and who, as a result and in the direct aftermath, were seemingly targeted by the very same supernatural phenomena I was writing about. No, I’m not kidding.” (END OF QUOTE)

And here’s part-2.

On the morning of July 16 of this year, I opened the Word document of my new Men in Black book, to finish up the final edit before it went to publication. At that very same moment, I heard a noise from one of my rooms, so I checked it out. For an hour or more, the maintenance people had been working on something on one of the exterior walls of my apartment. And, the vibration of their hammering and power-tools shook 1 of 8 framed pictures off my interior side of the wall. It had fallen to the floor, shattering the glass in the process.

TO READ THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE, GO TO http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/09/when-books-become-dangerous-pt-2/


To order Nick Redfern’s terrifying MEN IN BLACK: PERSONAL STORIES AND EERIE ADVENTURES, click on the title.

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/by Nick Redfern

There’s no doubt that over the years I’ve written some weird articles on equally weird subjects. But, this 2-part one just might be the strangest of all. In the last few years I have seen a trend develop that seems to be increasing. It basically goes as follows. I am getting more and more reports from people who have read my books and who, as a result and in the direct aftermath, were seemingly targeted by the very same supernatural phenomena I was writing about.

No, I’m not kidding.

It all began back in 2010, when I was promoting my second book on the MIB, titled The Real Men in Black. One of the things I dug into in the book was the matter of MIB and telephone interference. We’re talking about strange voices on the line, weird electronic noises, and hang-up calls. Several people contacted me to report they were experiencing the exact same thing – but only after they had read the book.



To order Nick Redfern’s newest MEN IN BLACK: PERSONAL STORIES AND EERIE ADVENTURES – click here. And be CAREFUL of those that come to visit.

Look for “When Books Become Dangerous, Part II” tomorrow.
Visit Nick Redfern at Nick Redfern’s Whatever

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“The Startup Whisperer” Gives It Up in His New Book, Build the Fort



/Beth Wareham

Chris Heivly has earned his place at the startup table.(http://www.inc.com/author/chris-heivly)

He sold MapQuest to AOL for 1.2 billion and is now a co-founder and director of The Startup Factory, a seed-stage investor and mentoring program in the exploding East Coast start-up environment.

Below are just a few of Chris’s wise observations. The only way to have them all, of course, is to purchase BUILD THE FORT. (Click on title to buy.)

This book is so simple and clear, you could use it to start a lemonade stand or begin manufacturing rocket engine parts. Chris uses the simple analogy of putting together a fort with his childhood friends and how the same principals guide how he builds companies today. It’s part Who Moved My Cheese?, part Lean Startup.

Being a CEO is about finding creative ways to gather resources with little or no cash.

I will never make a seed or early-stage investment based on research from Gartner, Forrester or IDC.

Data is awesome and your first chance to separate your idea from the other startup ideas.

There is a large benefit — at this stage of the company — to have everyone within shouting distance from each other.

I have the same passion for office furniture that some women have for shoes.

Shoot too big and you never get enough data, traction and momentum to get anyone interested.

Think in three month chunks and ask yourself, “what do I need to get me to that three month milestone.

. . . yes you can solve every single one of your mini-walls but eventually you run out of energy.

Find a way to gather the critical parts as quickly and cheaply as possible.

There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think to myself, “Chris — you needed to spend more time on acquiring customers.

Feel secure in the opportunity to create customer momentum with a realistic number of initial customers.

Raising investment dollars on an idea today is foolish.

The rest of us need to raise money based on data and traction.

Dreamers fail because they could not execute fast enough.

Winners optimize time by concentrating on the parts of the business that are critical at this immediate moment.

Your asset gathering tasks must be in sync with what the team can accomplish without losing energy, traction or momentum.

There is no room in a startup for perfection freaks.

Your vision as perfect as it appears is unattainable at this startup moment.

It takes an awfully self-aware startup CEO to navigate these waters effectively.

The more I jump the easier each jump gets.</strong

If you can’t actually go through Chris’s program at The Startup Factory ,
buy Build the Fort. It’s the next best thing to being there.




By Nick Redfern
Reprinted with the permission of Mysterious Universe

Right now, I have a new book out titled Men in Black: Personal Stories & Eerie Adventures. This is my third book on the MIB phenomenon, the previous ones being On the Trail of the Saucer Spies and The Real Men in Black. Like most of my writing on the Men in Black, the new book demonstrates that despite widespread assumptions that the MIB are from “the government,” they clearly are not.

Of the thirty-plus chapters in the book, only two are suggestive of a government connection to the MIB controversy. The vast majority of the cases take things down very weird paths. They are paths that lead towards the domains of the occult and the paranormal. And in some cases there is absolutely no UFO link at all. In those cases, we’re seeing nothing less than full-blown supernatural activity.


To order MEN IN BLACK: Personal Stories and Eerie Adventures, click here

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Just Reading the Table of Contents Scared Me: Nick Redfern’s Men in Black

/Beth WarehamMen In Black cover.indd


1. “Men in Black types have pounced on humanity”
2. “Looking up at his room, were the three men”
3. “Some witnesses report that the skin looks ‘artificial’”
4. “I noticed a kind of change in the air, a shift, a weird shift”
5. “My encounter with an ‘Old Man in Black’”
6. “The MIB seem just a little off”
7. “Something is wrong with this man – dangerously wrong”
8. “There was nothing friendly about the way he was grinning”
9. “You will not discuss what happened”
10. “The MIB seem to be able to drain a person’s energy”
11. “A short man in a black cape and top-hat”
12. “All I could hear was static”
13. “Men in Black are neither hallucinations nor hoaxes”
14. “He was staring right into my soul”
15. “I was to be visited by these strange men in the dead of night”
16. “This shadow wore a black fedora”


17. “It was like something out of The Exorcist”
18. “Beings that don’t quite fit the mold”
19. “Feeling a little paranoid I quickened my pace”
20. “The voices revealed themselves as the MIB”
21. “His eyes were black and his skin a Mediterranean olive”
22. “It occurred to me that I could make contact with the MIB”
23. “Perhaps the black car was my guardian angel”
24. “What you doing out here all dressed up like that?”
25. “I will ask you one more time to leave now”
26. “I was waking up unhappy and shaken”
27. “He had a narrow shrunken face”
28. “They looked odd and retro”
29. “His staring eyes are lit up with a disturbing glare”
30. “I remembered thinking: I don’t think they had pores in their skin”
31. “Nothing entities like Men in Black say or do should be trusted”

UnknownTo keep up with Nick, click on NickRedfernFortean.blogspot.com

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Children and Grief: An excerpt from Gabriel Horn’s novel MOTHERLESS


To order Motherless, free on KINDLE UNLIMITED, click on the title.

by Gabriel Horn

… love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
– Khalil Gibran

She was five and half years old….

It hurt to see his only granddaughter so gloomy, but it was her right, for everyone needs time to grieve. Even him. Still, it was heartbreaking, observing her little form on occasion, gazing through the screen door, her brown eyes following the trail past the front yard that snaked toward the mailbox where the pink lilies were getting ready to bloom. She was looking at them now….

“You know, when you were still forming in your mother’s belly, she planted those flowers.”

She shook her head, but kept her eye on the lilies. “They’re pretty.”
“In a few days, they’ll be stunning and yet so subtle….”

He explained that the lady who owns the beach shop, Irene Glassman, had given them to her mom. “They were so small and kinda sad lookin’ in these big pots. Didn’t have flowers. I remember your mom carrying those pots up to the mailbox. One at a time. There must’ve been six of ‘em. ‘Maggie,’ I said, ‘let me help you carry those pots.’ But she just shook her head, face sweatin’ and all, and instead, insisted she do it alone. It was a hot day and she worked for hours plantin’ those flowers, digging holes along that ditch….”

The young girl’s eyes strained.

“Ye can’t see the ditch because the flowers are tall now.”

She glanced up at her grandfather, then again looked up the driveway at the lilies.

“Can’t ever forget how she cut herself while plantin’ the last one.”

“How’d she do that?”

“She’d told me that she knelt down heavy on a shard of sharp shell. She was wearin’ a sundress at the time. The shell cut her knee open pretty good. She bled a lot. Needed stitches as I recall…. wound up with a small scar.”

The young girl with long hair like her mother’s, but auburn brown, not black, stared up at the road, and half a world away from where she’d been, still expecting, still wanting, someone to appear.

What could be sadder than a child’s grief?


Dead is dead, the bus driver had said. And she knew he was right; the tiny tree frog was dead, and a little girl was learning that death means never coming back. The pretty frog would not be listening to the singing of the male tree frogs that night as an angry off-shore storm, responding to their mourning songs, would bring a deluge of rain that would fall and finally free the dead frog from the corroded barrel, and in the little girl’s mind she could see in that instance of pouring rain, the small stiffened body sliding down the ugly drum into the once purified water that all her life had sustained her. The little girl could even see beyond the dump site, the tiny lifeless form carried in the night songs of the other tree frogs with the rushing water on towards the womb of the great mother of all life, the Ocean.


Rainy was in third grade and was sitting at the kitchen table. Grandpa was leaning against the kitchen counter. She wanted to know more about her father who was not Indian….

“What about my dad?” she asked, sliding a chunk of mango in her mouth.

“Your father,” he said, taking a drink of coffee, “he still felt that tribal connection. He still had not lost touch with his Indigenous spiritual being. Which was probably why he fell so in love with your mother, and she in love with him.”

Then he sighed, a slight sound of air leaving with his breath that he didn’t mean to make, something that loss and remembered grief can cause you to do sometimes when you’re not even aware of how much you still miss those you loved….


Rainy was just completing eighth grade at the time, and had taken the news of Mrs. Kingsley’s passing hard. Sadie couldn’t seem to console her, nor Koda, nor Grandpa. After weeks had past, finally, one day Grandpa and Rainy sat together on the porch steps after school. Koda sat behind them, sensing something in the air. The bamboo wind chime Grandpa had bought at the beach store was playing it seemed its first music in the sudden arrival of a tropical breeze from the South.

“Rain,” Grandpa began, “we’ve each known grief. It’s a part of the human condition. It’s a terrible feelin’. But it’s a necessary part of healin’.”

She was looking down and running her fingers over the turquois edge of the step. Before the renewal she might’ve gotten a splinter from the rough wood, but Grandpa had sure smoothed it out.

“I know,” she said.

“I know ye know. But please hear me out…as I love ye, and I understand you’re hurtin’.”

He paused and settled alongside her, and like always, trying to find the right the words. The bamboo chime played above them and the brown oak leaves rustled on the ground and bird sounds permeated the air.

“Grief can cling to ye, Granddaughter. It can stick to you like the sap of an oak in winter. “Stay stuck with ye all day. You can’t wash it off. You sleep with it at night. You wake up and it’s still there in the mornin’.”

“I know, Granpa. I’m sorry,” she said, a warm soft breeze lifting her hair. “I’ve been sad too long for my own good.”

“You got nothin’ to be sorry for, sweetheart. I’d been more worried if ye didn’t hurt. The world lost a great teacher. You lost a special friend.”

She shrugged and nodded and smiled just a little…. “I’ve not been a pleasant person to be around,” she said, turning her head to face the wolf.

“I’m sorry to you too, Koda.” He acknowledged the sentiment, but was still tuned to the air. And to the spirit that had arrived.

Rainy stared ahead at the rutted driveway, snaking towards the road, the mailbox at the end. She saw that the lilies were blooming. After the shadow man had run them over, they came back…. After all these years, she thought. But some things don’t come back…. Yet she was learning that they can, just not in ways we might expect….

“It’s only that Mrs. Kingsley’s dying raised up all these feelings I used to have, Granpa, and I feel bad she doesn’t get to teach anymore.”

“Grief can trigger those kinda memories and feelin’s, Rainy. But ye got a young heart, and it’s a strong heart. As ye get older in life, you’ll need a strong heart because you care so much and love so much. Those ye love get older too, and they die. It hurts every time, but just be certain that you’re grievin’ Mrs. Kingsley’s absence in your life, and not grievin’ for her. You can even grieve for the children who will never know her, but do not grieve for her. She’s in the Mystery.”

Rainy didn’t want to think beyond the moment, couldn’t think beyond it, but Grandpa’s words played in the notes of the bamboo wind chime. And he glanced up at it, his eyes gleaming, and then looked at Rainy who was also looking up at the hollow bamboo tubes of different lengths playing music in the gentle southern breeze.

“Mrs. Kingsley was pretty like that, and her words played in your ear, gentle like that too.”

“They did, indeed,” Grandpa said. Then he stood and stretched and put his face closer to the wind chime. “The road never gets easier, Granddaughter,” he said, speaking as much to himself as to her. “You just learn to cope better…understand a little more.”

Sitting back down on the step, he glanced up again at the music of the chime, and he smiled.

He took two fingers of his hand, the forefinger and the middle finger, and he touched Rainy’s heart. “All those ye loved, Rainy, are inside… here,” he said. Then he touched her forehead. “And in here…. In your memories. In your stories.”

Then he kissed the top of her head.

The bamboo tubes played above them in a warm southern gust of salty air.

“They’re a part of everything.”

He leaned his back against the steps, gazing with more than his eyes past the driveway, past the jungle of trees, across the road construction, and the steel and concrete support beams of new development. His vision sailed over the remaining dunes and last of endangered sea oats, and out to the turquoise sea.

“We have to let go at some point, as their spirit must continue the great change,” he said, “not hindered by our grief….

“As for the livin’,” he said, gazing back prophetically into the soft brown eyes of his granddaughter, and taking her hand, “the living must carry on for all those beings we love in this life who are still here.”

To order MOTHERLESS, click on the title. It’s free on amazon’s Kindle Unlimited
Visit Gabe at www.nativeEarthwords.com

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UFOs and Half-Hearted Media Coverage


By Nick Redfern

A few nights ago I was interviewed on Richard Hoagland’s radio show and we spent a lot of time discussing one of my recent articles here at Mysterious Universe. It was the one on UFO Disclosure, the complete and utter naivety of those who support it, and my “seen it all before” comments. It was this article that led us into another, somewhat related, topic. Namely, how come the media – given its attention to breaking and/or understanding Watergate, Iran-Contra, the WMD situation, and the Edward Snowden affair – has never been able to blow the lid off the UFO secrecy and secure the disclosure so many seek and hope for?

The skeptics and debunkers would say – and they have said – that this glaring issue of the world’s leading journalists not having cracked something like Roswell, is because nothing of an extraordinary nature occurred back in the summer of 1947. That’s not true. And the outrageous thing is that those same skeptics and debunkers know exactly why the mainstream, influential press has not solved Roswell. They prefer, however, to spin and weave as they see fit.

To read the rest of the article, log on to Mysterious Universe at http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/09/ufos-and-halfhearted-media-coverage/

Look for Nick’s newest book in mid-September, the pretty dang scary

Men In Black cover.indd

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Gabriel Horn takes on the Many Kinds of Bullies in MOTHERLESS


How do you teach a child to combat bullying? How do you teach a child to even identify and understand it? Native American author has experienced his share of bullying – obviously as a Native American he fights for the timeless identity of his people – but as a conservationist and defender of Mother nature. Here are his thoughts on bullies – seen and unseen.

To order MOTHERLESS FREE on Kindle Unlimited, click on the title anywhere in the piece.


By Gabriel Horn
White Deer of Autumn

Bully: overbearing. Intimidate; domineer. Cruel. A man hired to do violence. One who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. To be loudly arrogant…. Terrorize, tyrannize.

In MOTHERLESS, bullies come in different forms. The shadow men in the cover of darkness who dumped toxic waste into a creek, killing indiscriminately, and crushing the hearts of a little girl, and a bus driver from Jamaica. “Ain’t notten’ gonna bring God’s little creature back,” he said. “It’s dead. It got stuck tryin` to hop itself outta dat –” and he couldn’t think of a word that wasn’t swearing to describe what he was seeing and smelling in that ditch. “Wi don’t know why sum’ady done dat…. Oh Mon, I am so sick ah dis. Now, come on, Sweet child, it ain’t good wi breedin’ dis shit.”

Bullies can be kids.

The school day began with an assault at the bus stop, not a physical assault, like somebody punching and kicking another human being, or hurting an animal for no good reason, but the kind of assault that uses words to hurt you personally. Words to demean and belittle you. Words shot into your brain that can never come out….

“You’re only part Indian, not a real Indian,” declared Terrance Walcott, standing on the highest point on the sandy shoulder of the two-lane road. He was an eighth grader, who some say should have been left behind in seventh like he was in third.

“Look at your skin,” he said, and pointed with his fat finger at the sixth grade girl. “It ain’t even red.”

With her fists clenching, her lips pressed together, Rainy raised her dark brown eyes and looked up at Terrance. Though she appeared more than angry at the ugliness of what he had said, the betrayal felt worse, as did the embarrassment. Bullies.

They can be parents.

“And why the hell would you care about Indians, Chubby? You’re not sweet on that little half breed squaw I heard you talkin’ to your mom about?” Terrance smirked and shook his head vehemently. “No,” he said.

His stepfather reached into his pocket and held a wad of bills. Slipping a ten out, he gave it to Terrance. “Now here. Go by some war paint or somethin’. Get yourself some burgers.” He snickered. “I hear squaws like their burgers like they like their men.”

Terrance stared at the money. Couldn’t make sense of his stepfather’s gibbering. “Thanks,” he said, wide-eyed with possibilities.

“Now, bring me another tall one before you head out and do something stupid.”

Bullies. They can be school administrators and principals….

“I told Rainy about genocide, Dr. Lawson…. But I didn’t tell her all of it.” Dr. Lawson’s face flushed red, like she could’ve blended in with the stripes on the miniature flag near the phone on her desk, and she cleared her throat. “Yes, Mr. Peek, but Rainy is not a full Indian, only part, am I correct? You did legally change her last name?” She sorted through some related papers on her desk: memos, school records, and letters.

“Yes, the idea was to make it easier for her in school.”

“Of course, Mr. Peek. We realize she has no parents.” She lifted one page from the shuffle. “A question of negligence apparently came up when she was in fourth grade.

I understand there was an incident.”

He stared at her. “Yes, there was an incident, but I never heard of a complaint against me.”

“Well, it was probably something over that age old discussion of whether grandparents were capable of raising small children, and you being a single grandparent….”

Bullies. They can be teachers.

“No, Sir, indeed,” he said, standing upright, like a big bellied soldier at attention, holding a textbook instead of a gun, the dark frames hiding his bushy grey eyebrows, the shiny bald head reflecting the light from the ceiling. His thin lips tightened, so that it appeared he didn’t have any, and his head nodded agreeably. In his mind, he had reestablished his dominance….

Disturbed at what she was doing, the Colonel had stepped in front of her desk and leaned over so close to her face she could smell his creamed coffee-stale breath.

“Miss Peek, is it?”

He knew her name…. just by acting uncertain of who she was, he could make her feel less significant to him. Not empower her. Keep her off balance. His intention did not go unnoticed. His smelly breath, his violation of her space, and his obtrusive cold blue magnified orbs staring from behind the thick glass lenses in black frames, enabled her to already assess the kind of man he was, just as Koda would have done, as wolves (and a lot of dogs) will do with all men they can see, men they can smell, or hear, or sense in any number of ways, the ones not hiding behind a rock or a tree a football field away, downwind against their pale faces, concealing their human scent and malice, their dead eye taking dead aim through a telescopic scope….

“Yes, Sir,” she said, glancing up at his blue gumball eyes….

“You should have better things to do than doodling, Miss Peek,” he said in a low hard voice, his mouth inches from her ear, and pointing to an image on the paper.

“What is that? My Lord, is that… a snake?”

“It’s Kulkulcan, the Feathered Serpent.”

“No matter what you call it, Miss Peek, it is doodling” – if not downright improper and heathen, he was thinking but didn’t say.

Bullies. They can be fat cat politicians on the take.

He had heard it on the local news from the detached anchorwoman before the announcement of the storm …, Influenced by big oil, state legislators push to lift the ban restricting offshore drilling.

When the words first struck him, he closed the Mayan art book in his lap and let out a painful moan, like a person expressing sudden deep grief after learning of a loved one’s death and not wanting to believe its truth. Then he clenched his fists.

“Greedy bastards,” he murmured to himself. “It’s never enough for them. Never enough….”

He spoke in a low primal growl, almost as low as his breath, so that Rainy could not hear above the rolling thunder of the shaking sky. He would step out onto the front porch, as she lay in bed, his heart pounding in his chest the way a heart pounds when something terrible has happened, and he would step down into the front yard and over to that special place where he had found the eagle feather, and where he had made tobacco offerings while speaking to the Great Mystery, and he would collapse to his knees as the weight of his anguish became too much for him to bear, and, embracing the need to be closer to the Earth, he bent further until one side of his face pressed against the sandy ground.

A light rain would begin to fall, his fingers clutching the sand, his tears mixing with the rain, a weeping grief-stricken child that is an old man grasping hold of the Mother that he loved with all his being, and, for the moment, feeling too small to protect her from more of what was coming, and what she had already begun to know of those who didn’t know the Way to live.


Bullies. They can be as cruel as anything on Earth.


The answer to bullies? Fight with your mind, your body, your life:

“Your rescue of endangered sea turtles, and other marine life, at the risk of your own, was nothing less than heroic.”

The faculty seated in their swivel chairs, and in their sympathetic civility, could not hear the terror in primal voices on that blazing dark night in the Gulf. They could not hear the honking of great herons and egrets, the squealing of the gulls, the terrified panic of pelicans flapping wings too heavy with oil to fly. They could not hear the turtles in their screaming silence burning in water that was on fire.

Coastal fishing and shrimp trawlers had used tubes and buoys to make another burn box, encircling a large area of the water, and trapping the oil. The bird and animal rescue crew shouting back from their smaller vessel that there were birds and dolphins and turtles trapped inside. The BP ship’s captain yelling at the rescue crews to “get out!” and then shouting the orders to the trawlers, “Light it up!”

The faculty could not hear in that horror of flaming darkness, the warnings of the other rescuers and the crew for her not to dive in; “Rainy!” they cried. They could not know what had mysteriously protected her as she rescued the turtles, drawn together desperate for refuge, until a rescue net tossed from the bow of the boat began dragging her own body back as she rolled in near unconsciousness over a dead dolphin towards the desperate and outstretched hands of her anxious sea mates and friends. They could not know why her skin hadn’t charred beneath her wet suit, why her beautiful hair did not singe in the searing water, why her heart remained still beating….

Bullies are the MOTHERLESS.

“If they don’t stop their behavior soon, if they don’t stop violating her body and learn to respect her, and they don’t stop taking from her without love, and without gratitude, then the energies of all that they have destroyed will return…. And all their anger; their greed; their violence; their prejudices and intolerances. The carbon. The plastic. The toxins. And the spirits of all the innocent….

“The Ah-nuh must protect the water…. It is what we must do. It is the purpose of our existence.” There was of burst pulse, like another soft squawk, and another whistle ….

“Maybe then they will listen….”

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The Mystery of a Man Who Shot Himself



By Nick Redfern

Back in June of this year I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe titled “The Mystery of the Marconi Deaths.” It began as follows (QUOTE): “To many, it might sound like the ultimate plot-line of the equally ultimate conspiracy-thriller: dozens of scientists and technicians – all working on highly-classified programs, and all linked to one, particular company – dead under highly controversial and unusual circumstances.

“It’s a controversy that ran from the early 1980s to 1991 and remains unresolved to this very day. And it all revolves around the top secret work of a company called Marconi Electronic Systems, but which, today, exists as a part of BAE Systems Electronics Limited. Its work includes the development of futuristic weaponry and spy-satellite technology.” (END OF QUOTE.)

To read the remainder of the article, log on to http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2015/08/the-mystery-of-a-man-who-shot-himself/

Look for Nick Redfern’s newest book on the Men in Black this Fall.

Men In Black cover.indd

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VELOCITY: Writing for the On-Demand Generation



I currently have a book out for sale. This in itself is an amazing vote of confidence in a dying industry but I have a film company that wants to do a feature. So, the book moves on to it’s next stop: the publisher.

What the movies (and by that I mean any film, tv or on-demand network) wants is action. Of course. Movies are about pictures; books are about thoughts, ideas and sometimes pictures, if the writer if really really good.

But my big problem with most writing is the boredom. The scene takes too long; the interior monologue is predictable and I can rarely see how the insides of these characters act when put in the crucible: That’s why you read.

Men love thrillers and the speed with which they read. Men write them, men read them. (Gone Girl was a wonderful anomaly but once again tied to a cliche idea: my man is cheating on me and I want revenge. How about walking out and getting on with your life, Missy?)

Women write “thrillers” too – Patsy Cornwell, Janet Evanovitch, Kathy Reichs. I will read all three when left in an airplane seat, but would never buy one.

Why? Not hard enough. Not rough enough. Not weird enough. This is an on-demand world where story-telling has a real edge, where action is so fast and the pictures so vivid, it is unforgettable.

That’s what I want for a book: You read it like a shot, an entertainment. You react and then over time, you will respond to it’s deeper ideas.(Yes, thrillers have lots of them.)

In a decline from a publishing company, the young editor said, “It moves so fast I can’t keep it straight.”

That gave me a good laugh. A friend of mine spent an entire flight to Italy reading Harold Robbins and when we landed, she said, “I didn’t get who that Alpha Romeo guy in the book was and more importantly, what was he up to…..”

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

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In a shocking expose in The New York Times, the mega-corporation amazon.com was outed for being a really craven crappy place to work.

So why not just go all the way and adopt the tactics of 15th Century Europe. That’s right. No one expects a Spanish Inquisition!

Image little Jeff Bezos in his jaunty khakis turning the wheel on the rack and screaming “Did you program this in the crapper? Looks like it! Smells like it! Works like it!” as one of his minions is stretched into a 6’7″ cubicle worker.

Mechanical Turk breakdown in Department C3? Jeff is there with the Spanish Donkey and The Saw Torture to sort things out. Once sorted, the CFO calls “Bring out ya dead!” as he trails Jeff, off to HR for fresh flesh.

What goes on at amazon is no different than what goes on at countless corporations in America. Amazon and Jeff are watched a little more closely because of their ham-fisted, We-Won’t-Negotiate-With-Your-Ass mentality. It is a fort where conference rooms are at the front of the building (I don’t know who goes deeper inside but you probably won’t) and many departments will not even talk to a consumer about essential publishing problems. You’ll just get an email in a few days that you may or may not understand.

Our tech team lives on the phone with amazon, often solving problems days before they do. And of course, my tech team being a reflection of me – calls and jeers at them. I encourage it, in fact. Because if you are going to throw your weight around and put your employees in the public stocks for having an idea, you just perpetuated the ethos of every small-minded manager everywhere.

Ugh, amazon. Just UGH.

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Everyone at www.shadowteams.com love women who love adventure. When we heard about young Erin Davis and her dream of circumnavigating the Earth in a single engine plane, well, she got our Amelia Earhart and Beryl Markham ringing inside us.

In a world where everything is virtual, we salute a young woman grabbing the realness by the tail and living a life filled with challenge and wonder.

1. How old were you when you started flying? Who taught you?

I first gained my love for flying when I was 7. My uncle (who works for Boeing) had an airplane and the first time we went flying and I was able to take the wheel. In that moment I fell in love. My training started when I was 19 and I switched my major to Aviation Science at Utah Valley University. I got my Private Pilot License with the help of my instructor, Marcos Garcia.

2. Was it love at first flight?

Flying was something that I knew I was meant to do, so when I took my first training flight I was overjoyed. I was also overwhelmed when I found out it was going to be harder than I thought.

3. When did your dream of flying a single engine plane around the world take hold? When did it move from dream to reality?

I came across the Instagram profile of the last woman who achieved this feat while sitting through my brother’s graduation this July. I leaned over to my parents and told them I wanted to beat her record. It instantly became a reality when my parents jumped on board and I decided that I could do it no matter what other people said.

4. Your age group is home playing video games and you are undertaking a real, huge adventure that seems a throw-back to the last century. It’s thrilling. What would you say to more young people about real-time challenges?

I came across the Instagram profile of the last woman who achieved this feat while sitting through my brother’s graduation this July. I leaned over to my parents and told them I wanted to beat her record. It instantly became a reality when my parents jumped on board and I decided that I could do it no matter what other people said.

I would tell the youth of my generation to be passionate about something, something wholesome that will push you to achieve your dreams. Don’t take your goals to the grave with you. Think big, bigger than you have ever thought before! When I decided I wanted to achieve this flight I knew some habits had to change. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I wake up at 6 and leave my apartment by 7:15. You need to be productive in your day to accomplish your goals.

5. Have you begun to plot your route around the planet? Can you tell us a little about how you plot the route of flying a small plane around the world? Refueling? Staying away from certain geography, no-fly zones, etc?

The route will depend on the international clearances that I receive. The ideal route is starting in Provo Utah; Florida; N/E Brasil; Africa (the country depends on the clearances), Africa is where the clearances get tough and avoiding certain geography starts. After I get through Africa I will be “island hopping” through the Pacific Islands; Hawaii; California; and back to Provo.

6. Are you afraid of being lonely or scared during the flight?

During this flight I will be able to have a navigator with me (hopefully my uncle, or another pilot that I know), so I won’t be too lonely. My biggest worry for the flight is mental and physical fatigue. The average day will consist of eight hours of flying which can take a toll on your body. My plan to fight this fatigue is exercising, training in longer flights, and having food readily available during the flight.

7. Who are your favorite authors who write about flying? James Salter, Beryl Markham, Antoine de St-Exupery, Richard Bach, etc. Do you have favorite movies about flying?

My favorite author is Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin companies. I have been motivated by his determination in starting his businesses, which include the Virgin Airlines. He taught me that even though you may be small or young, you can accomplish great things if you set your mind to it and work hard enough.

8. What do you hope your trip does for young women when they read about it? Create more explorers? Dream bigger? Grab the world by the tail????

Through my flight I want to bring attention to how few women are in aviation, but most importantly I want to inspire the youth to get out and dream. They don’t have to dream about being a pilot (although I would love that), they just need to think big. They don’t need to fit into a mold these days. If they want to break a record, go for it. If there isn’t already a record, who is stopping them from creating one? I want youth to be their own person and to be the best they can. My goal is to inspire those who never thought they could achieve something great because they feel average. My message to them is to look in the mirror, realize that you are not average, tell yourself that you don’t have to be what others make of you, and go out and be great. Find something every day that you like about yourself or something that you are accomplishing, and let others see that in you.

Facebook page is Erin Davis, Aviator (www.facebook.com/ErinDavisAviator)
Instagram is emdavisaviator (www.instagram.com/emdavisaviator)
Twitter is @EDavis_Aviator (www.twitter.com/EDavis_Aviator)
Website is davisaviator.wix.com/erindavisaviator


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Elusive Streetlights Confronts her Rape by a Student and the Road to Reclaiming Life in Tea and Madness


Q&A with C. Streetlights, author of Tea and Madness
(Click on the title to buy the book.)

1.The idea of “know thyself” has existed since the ancient Greeks and here you are in 2015 telling us there is no real, authentic life without knowing yourself. Can you explain?

We live in a time with information readily accessible to us and yet we are no wiser for it. We are information rich but knowledge poor with no real ability to gain the wisdom needed in order to truly authenticate our own existence. I don’t fault anyone for this; in fact, I think it is part of the natural process for us to seek outward influences when shaping who we are. I’ve seen this as I’ve birthed and raised my children – as babies they sought out my voice to find peace, as toddlers they mimicked my actions and phrases. And yet, somehow as we age and move beyond these early childhood development stages, we can’t seem to disregard entirely the need to find other voices or actions to mimic. Instead of finding peace from a mother’s voice, we feel stressed because Google returns over 2.67 billion hits in .44 seconds on the search “How to be real”. Instead of evolving into higher level introspects, we are instead becoming more reliant on outside sources to tell us who and what we should become. The answer to being real and authentic won’t be found in any digital form; the answer is always found when you honestly evaluating yourself and becoming your soul’s best friend.

Until you’re able to hear a stranger’s footsteps in the hallway at night and finally recognize them as your own spirit’s, then you won’t be able to discern who or what is influencing your life’s path.

2. What was the journey you took to self-awareness? Was the book a part of it or a reporting of your journey?

Tea and Madness is a collection of pieces I wrote over approximately 3-5 years. All but I think one or two originally appeared on my blog, Streetlights Imagination when I had no idea or real intention to publish a book. A book had never even crossed my mind! So really, this is a presentation of my life as it unfolded during a time period when my life had fallen apart into unrecognizable pieces and I had to either rebuild or give up. The only life I had known before – a successful and professional teacher, working wife and mother, highly respected in the community – had been completely taken away from me once my sexual assault at the hands of a former student came out. I had no idea who I was anymore. The coping strategies I had created to handle my depression and anxiety disorders disintegrated, my agoraphobia returned, and I was contractually bound by a gag order by my school district. I was forced into living almost a double life that was necessary at the time for survival. I had to not only protect my family from malicious rumors but I also had to protect my reputation from any possible damage if I fell apart outside of my house. Writing gave me freedom, however. I adopted a pen name and the anonymity gave me the security I needed to reclaim my life again.
While I never made a real effort to hide my blog from anyone, I also never expected to promote or publicize it much. Once I opened my Twitter, I hardly ever tweeted a link to anything I had written. I wasn’t ashamed by anything I wrote or even felt insecure. My life at the time was incredibly tumultuous and anxiety-ridden. I didn’t think to share my words. And so I began writing incredibly raw and unfiltered, sometimes feeling desperate to set down a truth I couldn’t share anywhere else. I hesitate to call it “journaling” because I was not recording life events or attempting to play therapist with myself. I was seeking out an understanding of just what the hell had happened to me and most importantly why?

Watching my book come to life was experiencing my voice being heard for the first time. As a rape survivor who never reported this was enormously validating. I could feel a shift in the cosmos as if my planets realigned themselves back to their original course. The district’s gag order had expired some time ago yet due to state school board politics and an unsupportive teacher association, I still have not been permitted to request a hearing for my license to be reinstated. Again, I understood what Lazarus must have felt like the morning after he rose from the dead to have my own voice out in the world for the first time in five years

This book, if anything, is a product of pain and unexpected joy.

3. ‘Know thyself’ seems to speak to the core of taking responsibility for what one thinks and does. How does “know thyself” have ramifications on the larger world?

There seems to be a fear in the world at large to be responsible for spiritual greatness. I don’t mean ‘spiritual greatness’ in terms of an organized religion’s spirituality, but the spirituality of understanding the relationship a person has between herself and the Universe. I remember once being on a highway in Arizona and seeing the Milky Way for the first time. It wasn’t clear or defined but there it was and I was both incredibly insignificant and powerful at the same time. Insignificant because I was nothing compared to something so vast and far-reaching, yet powerful because in all that far-reaching spilt puddle of stars I realized there was only one of Me – no duplication. What was I going to do with the gift of my existence? I truly believe if people recognize that by even existing in relation to the enormity of Universe, and feel in awe of that, there would be such a vibrational shift in society’s effectiveness.

But somehow instead of encouraging each other to take the reigns over their own lives, we have perpetuated a Peter Pan ideology that on our quest to “finding ourselves” it is okay to hurt other people, be reckless with other people’s emotions, or to be reckless period. The opposite is true. We’ve distorted and bastardized the idea of introspection as being inward mobility instead of it actually being outward projection. Thoughtful introspection and reflection shouldn’t move a person to selfishness or even isolation. It should move a person to an understanding of how he or she fits within a more Universal frame and then help that person move forward along a path.

4. If you do not “know thyself,” is love possible? Is happiness possible?

The only real sin is to not be true to who you know you are or can be. According to DMR: Digital Marketing/Stats/Strategy/Gadgets, in 2014, there were an estimated 45 million boards and 176 million pins dedicated to beauty on Pinterest. In the same time frame, there were 4.5 billion pins associated with fashion along with 30 million users who have pinned something fashion related. 94% of all Pinterest activity is by women. I’m not picking on Pinterest because I have an axe to grind; I happen to love Pinterest. I use Pinterest to illustrate the insatiable need we have to fix ourselves when we don’t need fixing. We need to love ourselves; every single ounce of messy shit that happens in our lives is a part of who we are and we don’t need to pin an affirmation to make it true, damn it.

We have to stop being selective in our celebrations of humanity and start recognizing that too much energy is wasted on public packaging.

I needed to share my experience with other women because I know that if there is something women have in common it is the ability we have to undermine our own joy. Women will either break each other down to strengthen a false sense of validation or they will break themselves down so they won’t feel happy at all. There is no misery award. Nobody wins a prize for who can be the most wretched. If you fall into one of these two categories you need to look at yourself in the mirror and honestly say to yourself, “What the hell is so wrong with me that I can’t let myself or other people be happy? Because frankly I am a bitch.” Until someone truly fixes that for herself she won’t ever give herself permission to experience joy from any kind of sorrow.

5. As a teacher and communicator, what do you teach your kids about self-awareness?

I loved being in the classroom with a passion. I always insisted to my colleagues that students would rise to any expectation we placed before them and my students never failed me. From the first day of school to the last, if they knew failure or missing assignments were not an option than they knew the expectation was to turn in all assignments and to do their best work at all times. It doesn’t mean I never had students who pushed limits or boundaries. I did. But it also meant that my students knew they would have to talk about it. I only ever had a handful of “class rules” to discuss at the start of the year, the primary rule being to “be aware of yourself and others”. They weren’t required to raise their hands because I thought that was childish. I didn’t have to raise my hand when I needed to speak to other people, why should they? However they did need to learn how to be respectful of other people’s boundaries and couldn’t speak over voices. If they wanted to add to the discussion or ask a question they needed to wait until another person was speaking, including me. After a couple days of school they learned.

My kids also knew they would have to work for their grades, not only the assignment but also in how they were graded. Essays were submitted with a reflection sheet telling me what they struggled with in particular while writing that the essay and why they thought it was difficult. They also had to identify two specific areas in the paper they wanted my personalized feedback on and then describe what they plan on doing in the revision process. I wanted most of all to move beyond the mentality of “just fulfill the requirement” and step into the role of introspective learner. For the most part it worked.

Above all, my students knew they always had second chances because I believe in redemption. I always accepted late work, most times without penalty. When I asked them what they felt was and fair and reasonable point deduction, students would be fair with me and with themselves. If the assignment was late due to an illness, they would say, they felt it was fair to have no points deducted. I agreed that was reasonable. One student turned in a large project two months late and when I asked him the same question he very honestly replied he shouldn’t earn more than half of his total score. I felt that was reasonable to. Because my students knew I believed in them they believed in themselves. Slowly.

Many times it came through example. I had a student transfer to my class from another school that was labeled as “trouble”. I’m sure she was at some point but I could also see she was a sad girl. She skipped class constantly, was belligerent to staff and other students. She was hurting. Finally one day she walked past my doorway, blatantly showing her presence but refusing to come to class. I had had it. I was about to lose my temper, which was exactly what she wanted. Instead I calmly took attendance, had everyone leave their backpacks and grab our class novel and told them we were going on a field trip. Students were confused – this was definitely not our normal day. We went down one hall and then down another until we finally found her: sitting against the wall in an alcove where the janitor’s office was. I told her that if she didn’t come to class then I was bringing class to her. We all sat down and I began to lecture and read with my students. This happened about two or three more times until she finally began coming on her own every day, but not before one of the popular kids in my class asked “Why are we doing this for her? If she doesn’t come that’s her problem not hers!” I looked at him and scolded, “No. If one is lost we are all lost. That’s why we do this.”

I miss being in the classroom.

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Native American Author and Educator Talks Climate Change with a Huge Dose of Hope.

Motherless novel by Gabriel Horn, Native Americans, Mother Earth, pollution, earth destruction my man


By Motherless author, Gabriel Horn
(Click on title Motherless anywhere on page to go to amazon)

Q:How do you talk to young kids about global climate change? How do you empower them to be hopeful? Work toward change?

A: Whenever I talk with kids, younger ones and older ones, I share with them an Indigenous perspective of the world that grants me clarity, and a sense of belonging, because such a perspective allows me to feel a part of this unimaginable universe.

I explain to them that this Indigenous world view has also taught me that the Earth is my Mother, and that for this reason, I can never be MOTHERLESS. I explain to them that such ancient wisdom enabled our ancestors to develop tremendous varieties of foods and medicines that contributed to their mental and physical health. And they accomplished this without toxic fertilizers and pesticides.

Our Indigenous ancestors created societies without police, without prisons and mental institutions, and without pollution and wanton land desecration. I am up front about taking care of this world today in which we live. I explain to them that I’ve learned that the highest level of human intelligence is a people’s ability to live in harmony with the natural world.

I also ask them if they have seen any negative changes to our natural environment, and how that makes them feel. I’ll challenge them to be good critical thinkers, asking them why they think humans are destroying the environment, and how would they, as individuals, make a difference in the treatment of our Earth.

You see, we have an obligation to our children, a most sacred responsibility, as clergy and medicine people, as artists and writers, and as publishers, as school administrators, and teachers, and parents, and grandparents, and even aunts and uncles, to discuss the reasons for the horrific changes taking place in our environment due to human behaviors.

We need to introduce, not just young people, but adults as well, the wisdom of Indigenous ways of looking at the world, ways that allow human beings to see themselves as children of a living Earth, related to all things, not separate and superior.

That has always been my priority as a writer, and it certainly shows in MOTHERLESS. We need to discuss ways that can help young people to be more conscientious and compassionate in their lives, to show courage and intelligence in challenging scientific and political arrogance, and to use their own knowledge, kind hearts, and education, to find a path in life that allows them to live in harmony with the natural world, making contributions to the welfare of the Earth, not her destruction.

TO ORDER MOTHERLESS –  on  sale as paperback – CLICK ON TITLE

To read more about Gabriel Horn, log on to www.nativeearthwords.com




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My Love of the Ocean by Motherless author, Gabriel Horn

Motherless Native American author Gabriel Horn teaches us about saving MotherEarth, artwork Carises Horn
Original art by Carises Horn


by Gabriel Horn

It is dawn, and it is dark. Out my windows, west and southeast, more storms approach. This is third week of them. Every day. Every night. The tightly suited and smiling weatherman, and blonde wearing a pretty dress and smiling weatherwoman, on TV saying, it is soggy and sloppy and damp and conceding that there is street flooding and higher tides that may cause beach erosion, but they have stopped using the words to describe this weather system as highly unusual. They have stopped saying, not normal for this time of year. They have stopped describing this weather system as anything more than a lingering low, looking more tropical, because you get the feeling that they don’t know how to describe what is happening. You get the feeling that even if they did, someone tells them what they can say about it, what they must not say. I know that living here in Florida for most of my life, I have never seen so much rain…rain…water… everywhere…every day for weeks. The Thunder Beings make their presence known, and I am more aware that something has changed. I think the Sun has been visible for maybe a few hours during these weeks of rain, and water. The water. The Rain. The Ocean. She is rising, you know. Don’t need the meteorologists to tell me this because they won’t anyway. I can see the low tide reaching the top of the sea wall…. Again at first light. Strong winds, but Huracan? Is he forming? Is the Mayan god of wind forming out of his anger? Not yet. Not a tropical storm, either, but rather the kind of rain without great winds, though the Thunder Beings travel with them. Again. Another dawn awakening to the rain. Another day of storms arriving. It is a sign, no doubt, I say. It is a sign. I see a flash of white light. I hear in the distance, the rumbling, the sound, powerful, but it seems detached of emotion. In my mind I can see the water moving up from the Ocean in the forms of clouds across the Gulf. I hear more rumbling. The rain. The rain is coming. The rain is coming….
A moment ago, I did a word search in the final draft of Motherless, and it showed I had used the word water 97 times. Did you know 97% of the Earth’s water is Ocean? I also discovered that the novel begins with water, and ends with water. I called her Rainy. I made no conscious decision to do any of this. It just happened. A few days ago, the Moon waxed full. They called this one, the Blue Moon because they have created a calendar out of sync, like the rest of this society. Some scientist say we could survive without the Moon. We could adapt over time to a wobbly, violently spinning Earth with, or without, great tidal surges. Yes. Sure we can. Some scientist say, life would not exist as we know it without the Moon, and should anything happen to the Moon, our lives would be as good as dead. They all say, that the Moon is slowly moving away from us. Slowly, moving away….
You see, I prayed about this novel Motherless, to my grandmother, the Moon. (I address her as my grandmother because I cannot assume, nor want to impose, the idea that you regard yourself in such a relationship with the Moon. Of course, a time existed in America when that clarification would have been unthinkable. But not now…). And so, during the years of writing and rewriting Motherless, I prayed to her while she waxed full. I made offerings to her. I danced and sang to her. I prayed when her light was absent from the night, and she was new. I made offerings to the Moon, the celestial body which controls the tidal movements of our Ocean. Grandmother, I pleaded to her, if only somehow I could draw from myself the ability to write this story in such a way that it could reach into the hearts of human beings, and that somehow through this story, I could help save our precious Earth, her womb that is the ocean, and the lifeforms she sustains…. I implore you, Grandmother, lend your strength to me for her…to help stop her suffering…. I beseech you, beautiful Moon! I am so grateful to you. Please, help me. Pity me, that I may help the Earth, beautiful Moon. Did you know they actually bombed the Moon? Yes, they bombed the Moon. On the day President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, American scientists at NASA were “shooting the Moon”. That’s one way they described it. “Moon bombing,” they called it too. They claim they were looking for signs… of water.
I called her Rainy because of water. It is trickling rain now outside my window. But the sky is growing darker and the clouds appear heavier. Water is Life. I say in my mind. Water is alive. Water feels. And we are running out of Time…. As the kindergartner Rainy searches for her seat, that’s what the school bus driver says in a Jamaican whisper as he remains sitting on the bus steps, gazing across the street, his Rasta imaginings turning to nature, and time…. “We runnin’ outta it.” Did you know that oil is the fastest source of deterioration to the ocean? Did you know that oil spills suffocate all forms of Mother Ocean’s life? Did you know that an oil spill can destroy the ecosystem of an entire coastline or even a deep ocean? Do you know of the suffering? The faculty seated in their swivel chairs, and in their sympathetic civility, could not hear the terror in primal voices on that blazing dark night in the Gulf. They could not hear the honking of great herons and egrets, the squealing of the gulls, the terrified panic of pelicans flapping wings too heavy with oil to fly. They could not hear the turtles in their screaming silence burning in water that was on fire…. Coastal fishing and shrimp trawlers had used tubes and buoys to make another burn box, encircling a large area of the water, and trapping the oil. The bird and animal rescue crew shouting back from their smaller vessel that there were birds and dolphins and turtles trapped inside. The BP ship’s captain yelling at the rescue crews to “get out!” and then shouting the orders to the trawlers, “Light it up!” The faculty could not hear in that horror of flaming darkness, the warnings of the other rescuers and the crew for her not to dive in; “Rainy!” they cried…. We now have a word describing the brutality and such horror and destruction. It’s called ecocide. We didn’t used to need such a word.
Did you know that at one time in America it was unconscionable for a human being to bring harm to water in any way? They say, It would have been a serious violation of tribal law. Water beads are forming on my window now; some trickling into streams along the glass. The sky grows ever darker in the dawn. The clouds more ominous as I think…. Defying reason. Defying logic. Defying intelligence. Civilized humans treat the very Earth that allows their birth, like a commodity. The scientists of NASA, and those of other civilized nations, will keep searching for planets with water, moons with water, anything with water because humans need water to live, and they can’t in all the millions of star systems with planets and moons they have already seen, have not found any. What does this tell them that they cannot see? What does this tell them that they cannot hear? What does this tell them that they cannot feel? How sacred is this planet we leave on! How sacred is the air we breathe! How sacred is the water! Thank you, Mother Ocean. There is an island of garbage twice the size of Texas inside the Pacific: the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is the largest oceanic garbage site in the entire world. In Rainy Peek’s final message, she speaks for the innocent: “The Earth is alive,” she said, her eyes glowing in the blue spectral world formed from her imagination into the aura of her opened hands…. “The Earth is our Mother.” Did you ever stand in the water as the waves broke off shore with your hands opened and gently touching upon Ocean’s surface, and said, Thank you, Mother. I love you, Mother. You are so beautiful. Have you ever done that? Which is how it feels to be Indigenous. It’s a lot of what that word means, except the idea of such love is never not accompanied without the concept of respect. And that is the difference of how you cannot love something to death! When I prayed to the Ocean, to the water, to help renew me as I struggled to write Motherless…to help me find the strength, to help me find a way to tell just one miniscule story of her life’s ancient journey, through a young Native girl’s, and an old Native man’s, life journey, did so with such respect. The next day I saw a Loggerhead in the sand a few feet from the shore with her face cut to shreds and dead, and I wondered, could this have been done by a recreational speed boat with an outboard 200 horsepower engine by a man who had once told his wife how much he loved the water, ever since he was a kid? Did you know that “until the 1970’s, chemicals and garbage of all kinds were deliberately dumped into Mother Ocean and that it became a civilized and common practice for disposing everything else, including pesticides and radioactive waste? Did you know that several parts of Mother Ocean, from the Baltic Sea, to the Gulf of Mexico, not far from my window, now exists giant dead zones where nothing in the water can live?
Comes the Rain now! Pouring down in sheets! Comes the Rain…. She flew past the orange groves along the trail, over the dunes near the shore, and out across the churning open water. And in all the mighty movement of wind, and the torrential rain that was her namesake, and the crashing wild waves that had carried the first life to shore, Rainy Peek’s spirit was strangely calm, even peaceful. She could see everything all around her, but as a spirit without a body, all these sensations became as one, and all she could feel now was the sheer wonder in what she saw…. Even as sheets of rain fell like the oceans were just forming, and white crested waves tossed and splashed like they wanted to go everywhere, she still felt only wonder as the storm of the sky had merged with the sea, and the worlds of sleeping and awake and of dreaming and not dreaming all came together. Rainy was a part of it all. And now I imagine dolphins and sting rays and mantas and turtles and fish of all kinds, and birds…so many birds, and tiny crabs and larger ones and snails and pretty colored coquinas, and I am thinking, Huracan may be coming…. And that what must be, must be.



/Beth Wareham interviews Gabriel Horn

To order free on amazon prime, click here on the title MOTHERLESS

Q:Rainy is a gifted child, often misunderstood, even by her teachers. Is this a common experience for a young Native American going through the American school system?

A: It has been said that they had no relationship with nature or natural beings. No relationship with the Mother. This had made them hard. It has been said of them, that they learn to think only with the head, not with the heart.

In Motherless, Rainy Peek does not surrender her Indigenous identity to an educational system designed to separate a child’s heart from the child’s mind. How many times have we heard when we have messed up; Use you head! How often have we ever heard someone say to us, Use your heart. So, yes, her resistance to the indoctrinating process is often misunderstood, but her ability to score high on tests is so valued that her presence in class, and in school, is tolerated. Her history teacher, Mr. Kline, and the school principal, Dr. Lawson, both know that, in the long run, Rainy Peek can mean recognition for him, and for the school, and recognition based on student academic achievement in public schools is all about “the bottom line”.

In Motherless, Rainy Peek grows up showing a spiritual connection with her ancestors, which includes an innate wisdom that always keeps her close to, and conscious of, the natural world; however, she also holds the special ability to retain, in her memory, what she hears, what she reads, and what she sees, everything she needs to excel academically in an American public school system which focuses on the memorization and regurgitation of information. And having both abilities is the gift. Though her innocence and her identity often suffer the assaults of a people out of balance, she remains on the path of her destiny…on the Path of Beauty.

Imagine that you live in a country you innately love in the way of the heart, like how it moves you to watch a myriad of water birds wading together in a flooded field after a storm, or the way the wind sweeps across the shore, caressing your face as you are standing alone, or the way the sound of wolves travels through the valleys past your front door, and makes you feel secure; the babbling creek that makes you feel happy; the sudden emergence of a dolphin in the bay, a manta in the curl of a breaking wave, these are the moments that reach into your heart and fill you up. And yet, your head, your mind, is very much aware of what any of these experiences has to teach you, forever reminding you of your relationship with all this life, and the right of all this life to exist. That’s Indigenous. That’s the gift.

If you don’t understand this deep felt connection to the Earth, Herself, you can’t know or understand a child with this gift. This is the way Grandpa and Rainy feel about the country in which they live called America, aware that under each step they take, for thousands of years, before it was called America, has walked generations of those who passed down to them this genetic code of ancient wisdom that has not been lost.

And that’s why children in this society are discouraged from feeling for anything outside themselves. If that code of wisdom still exists in a child, even as a tiny spark, he or she can grow up with feeling, which means that child is capable of empathy, compassion, and even love. But, then, how will such a child become an adult and participate in the desecration and the exploitation and destruction of our country in these moments of bonding in a way that is Indigenous? It’s the kind of love that only the heart can know.

And so, the intent of Western education appears always bent on putting out this spark, which from my experience teaching Indigenous children, remains in many of them still.

How many generations of Indian kids have had to sit in public school English classes and never read a story written by an Indigenous writer? How many Indian kids across the country attending public schools, have to see stereotyped images of their race and heritage burlesqued as athletic team mascots while no serious attention is ever given to their people’s literature, history, or philosophy? How many Indian kids have been forced to sit in social studies classes and never hear the teacher discuss the Indigenous social, peaceful, and governmental influences on this country, the United States of America? How many of them sit in science classrooms day after day, year after year, and never read or hear a teacher discuss the Indian people’s relationship to living things, their many agricultural, medicinal, astronomical, and mathematical achievements? And how many Native kids have suffered through American history and government classes while the teachers and textbooks expound on myths, and half-truths recreated to make Americans feel good about themselves, unable for children to learn from the past because they are not taught the past, as the history text and teacher, in most cases, gloss over, or completely ignore, the greatest acts of genocide and ecocide ever committed?

Talk about feeling alienated in your own land. It is no wonder why, “American Indian and Alaska Native students have a dropout rate twice the national average; the highest dropout rate of any United States ethnic or racial group.”

In Motherless, Rainy Peek embodies the symbiosis of heart and mind. It is the gift that enables her to have the personal power, the heart, to resist, and not absorb, the indoctrinating process of her Western education. She is an example for any girl, or boy, young woman, or young man, who can retain the information needed to achieve academic success, but using it one way or another, to help save our natural environment, and even themselves from participating in the brutality humans are inflicting, not only on the very planet on which we live, but on our Moon, and neighboring worlds.

In the end, Rainy Peek displays the power to alter the perception of the most academic of minds, a magical power emanating from the gift that manifests out of the union of heart and mind.



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Native American Writer Gabriel Horn Celebrates the Child Narrator (We’ll Miss You, Scout)



Simply click on MOTHERLESS here.

/Beth Wareham (Q) and Gabriel Horn(A)

Q: You chose a 5 year old female orphan who lived with her Grandfather to tell this tale. Why? How did their relationship make the book deeper?

A: Innocence: The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, especially freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil…. Freedom from guile, cunning, or deceit.

That’s why in Motherless, five year old Rainy Peek became the protagonist. She epitomized Innocence, and what happens to such innocence in a world gone Koyaanisqatsi, out of balance. As she grows up, Rainy continues to symbolize the innocence in not just what is left of humanity’s children, but the innocence of all life forms subjected to civilized man’s lack of empathy, and for reasons even Rainy must try to understand, his cruelty.

Rainy embodies innocence until it is almost entirely stolen from her. I feel all the children in the novel emanated out of simply the innocence of being born, but not all children are allowed to retain it for very long. To this end, Motherless does not cower from the causes of senseless self-centered acts, inflicted by humans of all ages that steal the innocence from our world. We know some parents can be the very ones responsible for defiling the innocence of their own children.

I think Terrance Walcott is an example of that. I mean, really, what was Terrance to his parents, especially to a stepfather who made it his responsibility to bully the kid into an image of his own narrow minded and ethnocentric adult world view? What was Terrance to his mother but something she did once to help her feel complete, but never had? What was Terrance to his father that his only act of trying to connect with his son’s admiration for this young Indian girl was to give him a Cleveland Indian’s baseball cap? Each parent destroyed Terrance, and they did it early on without shame, sometimes just out of ignorance, but not without guilt and not without pain. In turn, like history repeating itself, Terrance went on to steal the innocence of others.

Even Mr. Kline, aka the Colonel, assumes the role of innocence destroyer. He is the teacher, the one driven by a haunting past to impose his indoctrinated perspective of history on his students with the most patriotic of intentions, never even attempting to understand the motivation behind the very war that stole what was left of his own innocence. And again, as he in turn ripped away the innocence of others in war, he perpetuates the cycle with his students, and with his own son. It’s a vicious, violent cycle. I wanted Motherless to help reveal its impact on individuals and on our world.

In the scene when the pedophile man attempts to steal an innocent child from the world, who better to protect that child than the powerful wolf who was, himself, an innocent victim of soulless men?

Then there’s the lost innocence of Sadie Willis, Rainy’s best friend whose own mother would, and eventually, could not accept the responsibility of motherhood. And Sadie’s Rasta father, himself clinging to a semblance of innocence that only gets taken from him in the end as well.

Regardless of whatever happens in their youth, and the losses of innocence they must endure, these children never sacrificed their souls to a cultureless way of life hell bent on consumption and dominance. Instead, Rainy and Sadie cling to what they manage to retain of that precious innocence through defiance and resistance, and out of love for the kind souls around them.

When Rainy is eleven years old, with the guidance and encouragement of her grandfather, she steps into her vision on a magical island where she encounters, the mystical Ah-nuh. At one point, the distraught Ah-nuh reveals her anguish as she feels the love of all the non-human life around her, and the idea of what happens to them as a result of soulless human behavior.

Despite the innocence stolen away in Motherless, I wanted to show some of what it’s like, whatever the reason, for older people who raise the children of their own children, and the kinds of situations and responsibilities they assume. Not only does Grandpa find a way to balance his own life’s regrets and losses, with his caring for Rainy, but Sadie’s grandmother, in order to provide a healthy environment for her granddaughter, must learn to draw on her will that at some point in time had been lost. Both of the girls’ grandparents are dealing with health issues, and the two girls become cognizant of this, and for ways to assist them both lovingly and with dignity. With Sadie, she even assumes the role of caregiver. Rainy aware of her grandfather’s limitations, shows in more subtle ways, how children can care for their elders even as their elders care for them.

More than anything, though, I wanted to show that the love between grandparent and grandchild shared by Rainy and Grandpa is tender and precious. That such a bond does, in fact, still exist. But I needed, for those of us who do not know such love, to have the vicarious experience that I could provide in Motherless, and that maybe, knowing that it can exist, we strive to find it ourselves, to honor it, and to treasure it.

That’s the depth, and the exquisite bond between these two generations that I wanted to explore in Motherless, showing that kids can make choices if they are giving a spiritual and responsible foundation that allows them resilience. I wanted to show that wisdom can come with age, and having someone to pass that wisdom down, provides a precious purpose and sense of being that is undeniably a necessity for a peaceful and healthy society.

In the end, Rainy Peek’s story in Motherless became a lot about lost innocence and trying to understand how this world got to be the way it is, how civilized people got to be the way they are, and about the innocence that’s worth fighting to keep. And maybe seeing that the vicious cycle can be broken. It may or may not have been my intellectual choice to exemplify this innocence in Rainy. It may also not have been solely my choice in showing grandparents as valued beings who need a sense of purpose. It well may have been the choice of the story.

FREE on Kindle Prime MOTHERLESS (Click on the title to go to amazon.com.)

Gabriel Horn Native American author, Motherless, University of South Florida, Save the Earth, Native American wisdomgabe-usf-lecture_med

Motherless, Gabriel Horn, Native American Author, Native American author

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Newly Found Short Work (Written in 1950) by Celebrated Author Ruth Sidransky



By Ruth Sidransky

I don’t remember whether I was eight or nine or ten. I might have been twelve, probably ten. I do remember that we lived in Brooklyn somewhere near the waterfront, so near that water rats were not an uncommon part of my childhood. We were poor and I was the youngest of seven, the only son.
My mother supported us all. Poppa was too old. He had given up the New World struggle when he began to gray. My mother died without a gray hair, without time for philosophy, without leisure; she died as she lived, working. She was a square woman, with short pudgy hands, jet curly hair and high Slavic cheekbones.
Every morning she’d rise two hours before the family, poke the stove in the basement, straighten up whatever mess there was from the night before, she was not famous for the order and cleanliness of her household, rush to the market, buy whatever she could with what little she had for the first meal of the day. Upon her return from the market she would rouse Poppa.
Grabbing one of her pudgy hands he always said, “Yes, mien kind, I am up.” In the space of no time we were brushed out of our beds and into our clothes that she had ready for us. Breakfast was quick. Some jam, black bread, a little tea from the huge brass samovar on the old round walnut table. And we were whooshed out of the house.
Somehow I always managed to wait for her under the steps of our ugly old house, wait until she emerged so that I could walk proudly with her to Havemayer Street. Within minutes she was out, carrying a large paper bag on one arm, and a black worn shopping bag on the other arm. Each bag was full, brimming with buttons and thimbles, needles and thread, bits and scraps of elastic for ladies bloomers, men’s armbands and what have you, bright cheap rayon ribbon and more bits and scraps at the bottom of each bag.
Our meeting each morning was a surprise. Momma never expected me to be there. I should have been on my way to school.
“Benny what are you doing here?”
I smiled.
“Hurry, you’ll be late for school.”
She would rush me along the street. I never noticed her woolen gloves with the tips of the thumb and forefinger cut out. I never noticed her heavy non-descript brown woolen stockings, her sweater sticking out of the shabby black cuff of her coat, her thick black babushka wrapped securely around her head. This was her uniform to keep out the blasting cold as she kept her vigil all day long at her Havemayer Street pushcart.
“No Benny!”
“Please Momma.”
“You cannot stand mit me. Go to school Benny, go with your friends.”
I never won. I ended up in school: fall, winter, and spring. I wonder now if I shall ever be as wise as Momma.

She would stand all day, from eight-thirty in the morning until dusk. She knew to the penny how much her supply of buttons and thimbles cost her. And each hour she could calculate her profit. At the end of the day, if it was a good day, she might have made three dollars. It was never much more than two dollars, and if the weather was especially foul seventy-five cents was all she could expect. At dusk she would rush to the market to buy food for our evening meal, hoarding just a little money for the next morning’s bread.
As much as I loved her, I had other problems, other considerations. I wanted something very much. I have never wanted anything so much since that time. Not too far from Momma’s pushcart an Arcade opened. It should have been a penny arcade, especially in those days. It wasn’t. It was a nickel arcade. Each day on my way home from school I’d pass the arcade with my nose pressed to the glass. There was no glass. I could walk in with the other boys in the class, the boys whose fathers had stores, butcher shops, egg shops, milk stores and watch their faces tickle with glee as they pressed their noses to the mock glass. My pockets were important then. I’d push my hands in as far as they would go, look down at the floor in the Arcade, shuffle my worn shoes in the sawdust and mumble some important phrases.
“Where’s your nickel Benny?”
“I got a nickel but it’s home, yeah, it’s home.”
“Gaway, I don’t believe ya.”
That was Meyer Levin, the rabbi’s son. I hated him. But I remembered what Momma always said when I complained about him.
“Be nice to him. That’s the rabbi’s child. Benny behave! Don’t say no more against him.”
Momma’s words flashed through my mind. So I didn’t punch Meyer Levin. I kicked my feet together. I didn’t say a word. I turned around and went for the exit.
“Hey Benny, don’t get sore, I was only foolin’.”
“I gotta help my mother. I’ll see you tomorrow in school.”
“Okay, but bring some nickels and we’ll come here at three o’clock.”
I kicked up the sawdust to the door and then walked out into the lightly falling snow. It was almost four, and by four thirty it would be almost dark. Momma was waiting. I couldn’t face her. My greedy conscience couldn’t either. If I did go I wouldn’t know what to say to her. I had to think up a story, a good one and not a lie. The problem was pressing. I couldn’t think. And then I heard Momma’s voice.
“Benny!” I heard the cry of anxiety in her voice.
How could I walk so fast? I had nothing to say to Momma.
“Benny, where were you? It’s almost dark. The market closes soon.”
“I’m sorry. We were playing and I forgot the time.”
“All right Benny, all right. Help me close up.”
I held up the open bag and Momma swept all her unsold merchandise into it. The other bag would remain empty. It had been a good day. I wanted to ask for a nickel, perhaps two nickels.
Momma grabbed the tattered awning she used to cover her pushcart. “It was a good day today, two dollars and seventy-nine cents. We can have meat, the first time this week. Poppa will like that. I have some kasha in the house. Onions I have to buy. We have enough bread. A little tea. Some shmaltz. Maybe even a cucumber salad. Benny, my little Benny, what would you like to eat tonight? We can buy something special for you too.”
I was only a small boy. I felt the heat of shame as it crept over my face. I never asked for the nickel.
“Nothing Momma”, I said.
“You sure my little one, I want you should have something extra.”
“Another time Momma, when you make three dollars ask me again.”
She patted my head.
I don’t remember dinner that night. I don’t remember if Poppa was pleased. I don’t remember what my sisters said. I only remember that I had a chance to get my nickel and I didn’t take it.
The days passed. I didn’t see Meyer Levin after school. I had stories ready for him. Good ones too. I never passed the Arcade. I walked two blocks out of my way to avoid it. The weekend came. Saturday Momma stayed home with all of us. On Sunday morning one of the older girls opened the pushcart for business.
Momma and Poppa dressed in their best.
“Benny come with us for a walk.”
I could never refuse Poppa: “Yes Poppa, I will get dressed fast.”
Was this a holiday? I don’t remember that either. Poppa and Momma wanted me, their only son, to walk with them. So I did. We walked through the streets of Williamsburg and Momma and Poppa nodded to all their Brooklyn neighbors. Where were we going? I wanted to move on when they stopped in front of an empty store, not too far from the brownstone where we lived on South Eighth Street.
Poppa spoke. “Well Momma, no more pushcarts for you. I rented this store, now you can sit and rest when there are no customers.”
Momma stood still. “Poppa, you are teasing.”
“You begin on December First. No more standing in the snow. The rent includes heat and electric.”
“Where did you get the money? You stole it?”
“It is money I have saved for many years. I still have more for my funeral, and some left over for yours too.”
Momma reached for Poppa’s hand and held it without another word.
Poppa said, “Benny, here’s money for you.” And he gave me two nickels.
Monday and school the next day. I had a nickel for the Arcade. The other nickel I would save, like Poppa who saved and said, “Money grows when you save it.”
Now I was ready for Meyer Levin and the Arcade. I had the nickel to spend as I wanted. I held the nickel in my hand. I turned the nickel over and over, a new shiny 1914 nickel with an Indian head on one side, and a buffalo on the other side. I walked to school with a new step, quickly.
“Hey Meyer, let’s go to the Arcade after school.”
“Sure thing. Do you have a nickel?”
“Yes, I’ll show it to you later.”
We met, three boys and me and walked to the Arcade.
“Let’s see your nickel.” I slipped it out of my pocket when we reached the curb. It fell out of my hand and down the grating, down to the sewer.


To order the work of Ruth Sidranksy, click on the titles below: REPARATIONS, a beautiful sweeping novel of post-war Europe and the two young American Jews that help the people of the sewers and forests return to the world after the Holocaust.


A Woman's Primer Cover 2-4

Click on the title A WOMAN’S PRIMER, a charming throwback to the books for young ladies that now carries advice on money, freedom, courage, and passion from this amazing 86-year-old author.

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Author Gabriel Horn Talks about His Obsession with Motherless



/Beth Wareham

I sent Native American author Gabriel Horn a Q&A about his new book MOTHERLESS. When I got back just one answer – the first – with promises to finish the questionnaire, I knew this was an interesting stand alone piece for writers writing. It is also a true picture of what drives the writer’s art: OBSESSION. We write and we rewrite. Nothing is ever over and nothing is ever finished, just like life.

Q: Why did you write and rewrite Motherless? What drove you?

A: Maybe I am crazy. That being said…

A master teacher and writer told me early on, nearly 50 years ago, There is no such thing as writing; only rewriting. And, I remember reading how Hemingway once said, he never considered himself a great writer, but a damn good rewriter. I remember reading that he rewrote the last page of For Whom the Bell Tolls forty-nine times. That’s one page! I understand how that can happen. I might’ve broken his record. I had taught this idea of rewriting to my own writing students over the years, and now I was once again, more than ever, having to walk the talk. The writing had to be my best because I knew the content of Motherless would not be one corporate publishers might want to handle from an Indigenous perspective. If I could find the words that could reach into one of their hearts…. If I could write something so moving it would have to be published….

Stories evolve like people evolve. Or they should. This story grew inside of me. I saw it in my daughter’s eyes. I felt it in my wife’s tears. It lived in my mind. It lived in my spirit. It dreamed inside of me. And I kept writing it and rewriting it to make it perfect as it is flawed.

I would wake up every day, week after week, month after month, year after year, driven to keep at it because I love the Earth. I respected my agent, Lisa Hagan, and she deserved the best I had because she believed in me; she believed in this story. I was driven because I knew there was a diversity of young and older people in the world who also loved the Earth, or had strong feelings about saving our planet from the consequences of human arrogance and greed. I had something they might want to hold. A perspective they may have forgotten and wanted to know again. Something they might need. I had this story being born of me. This story that needed to be told. I was driven because this is what I do, this is who I am. This is why I’m here.

And I would dream…. It has been said, Wisdom comes in dreams. And I would write and rewrite.

Motherless had to be good writing because of what it says, the theme itself so disturbing, and yet so profoundly wonderful. I have never talked down to young people. I have never written down to young people. I just had to find the right words. Just like in the story, Grandpa is always struggling to find the right words, and at one point when he questions himself, he hears the memory of his wife telling him that it was alright … give Rainy the words, in time she would understand them. Writing about a history that is not a good history, like genocide, and writing about this environmental holocaust in which we are presently living, created so many drafts I can’t count, all created around the loving souls of the characters, though, and for the loving souls of its future readers. This kind of writing, and rewriting, is not for the faint of heart.

I shared drafts of Motherless with friends I’ve had for many years who I could trust to give honest feedback. Some were teachers and teachers of teachers, and a few writers themselves, and most of them had grandkids and they would read with them Motherless. And I would revise, or write, sometimes just based on one little word they would say. A daughter of a friend who read a draft of Motherless sent me a clay turtle she had made in school and a drawing she had done about the book to help me along the way. I kept those by my computer as I revised and wrote. Revised and wrote. Wrote and revised. I listened to what she said when she told her dad about the story, especially about other kids, and Mr. Kline, and about school. He’s got that right, she said. Another grandchild said to her grandmother, I like the writing. Man, I needed those affirmations.

Don’t they always say that publishing is about timing? Timing. Motherless will be published when it’s ready…. Be patient. I would hear these whispers out of the Mystery. When the timing is right…. And so, I used the time to revise and write, and write and revise.

And after years of revising Motherless, you, Beth Wareham, got my best. And then you, with your extraordinary sense of things, feel for story, gave me the suggestions I needed and the reasons why I needed to make some cuts. Tighten it up. Keep it moving! Get this baby turtle ready to hatch! I understood you. You were awesome.

I had completed the final revision. Lisa half jokingly said before I let go of the final draft, I think you might have revised a thousand times.

Now Motherless is in the world and there will be no more revising.



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WHOA: amazon wants to be your editor too


/Beth Wareham

We have a tech team – the Crazy 8s – who make this a publishing company. Without them in the 21st century, there is no us. However, I draw the line – as do they – at the human/machine border when it comes to writing. We see the mind of autocorrect. We know how companies cower behind templates, never bothering to come on for the “live chat” or answer the damn question in an email. We sit on hold for hours, waiting for a clerk to send an email to a department that won’t talk to clients. Now a simple problem of their making requires us to plop down 29.99 to fix it. Every year.

We have seen the vulgar, cheesy way that the world abuses words and cry BULLSHIT. But our cries go unheard.

Amazon is now offering the unsuspecting writer an “editorial” package. In their words, they will work with you on:

Plot flow
The editor will also review for consistency in:

for $210 per each 10,000 words. You can do the math with your manuscript now. And even though they will review your consistency, the ESSENTIAL line edit will cost $160 per 10,000 words and, in amazon’s words, you will receive this:

The editor will review your manuscript using the Microsoft Word Track Changes feature and provide a line edit that corrects typos and ensures consistency in:
In addition, an editor will also provide an Editorial Letter explaining the suggested changes made in the manuscript.

Good grief. So that another $160 per 10,000 words on top of your $210 per 10,000 words and by the way, do you know how to load the thing and make changes?

And my biggest question is, if amazon is the editor, will they charge the $79 change fee for anything missed in their editing? They didn’t have a guarantee of services, just prices. And prices.

So let’s look at what amazon is going to do to YOUR novel. It’s 60,000 words so that means you’ll pay your amazon editor $1,260. Your line edit of 60,000 words at $160 will come in at $960.00.

You are now in for over $2000.00 and my only question is why would you pay machine-based editors relying on templates from the minds of engineers that kind of money when a talented editorial mind will work with you, your individuality and your art and give it the damn respect it deserves?

Whoa. I don’t want amazon to edit me. I want a grumpy person with a red pencil behind their ear, giving me hell and making me a better writer. I want a human brain to read a book for humans.

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Meet Gabriel Horn, Author of Motherless

National Native American Indian Heritage Month, Gabriel Horn, Motherless

Native American Author Professor Gabriel Horn-White Deer of Autumn

November National American Indian Heritage Month, Native American Author Gabriel Horn, Motherless


/Beth Wareham

Few books and few authors have moved me as Gabriel Horn has. His book Motherless is, as his first review that reads in part, “magnificent storytelling!” and its impact on the heart is huge. With the wisdom of our first and best caretakers of the natural world, Horn uses Native wisdom in a quest to heal the battered and bruised Earth. Read about him here. Click on the title to buy the book: MOTHERLESS

“I remember the horn necklace placed around my neck by a woman visiting with me at the time. She said, … never forget. That’s what I remember. I was a very small child then, but all through my life, I never did forget. My name bears that conviction.

“I would learn early in life that being Indian was never an intellectual choice. No matter where I found myself, or where I lived, I was Indian. No one could have taken that away. It was my heart. The men and women in black robes couldn’t take it away from me; neither could the public school systems of America. It couldn’t be ridiculed or humiliated out of me by those I felt ashamed of and those ashamed of me. It couldn’t be beaten out of me. Even now, it can’t be blood quantumed out of me. I am Indigenous to my death. As La Donna Harris once said, Blood runs the heart; the heart knows what it is.

“Years after the gift of the horn necklace, I would find my traditional uncles, Metacomet and Nippawanock. They would present me another necklace. This one consisted of Persian turquoise, beads of Indian wampum and beads of glass from Europe, deer antlers and bone from America, and a steel wire that strung everything together. As they placed the necklace they had made for me over my head so that it draped across my chest, they said, ‘Like you, dissimilar things had been fitted together to create something beautiful and whole.’”

His legal name is Gabriel Horn. His Native American name in English is White Deer of Autumn. He has authored books for children and adults using both names.

Gabriel Horn, White Deer of Autumn, is a member of the family of Princess Red Wing, Metacomet, and Nippawanock of the Narragansett Tribe/Wampanoag Nation. He is an award-winning writer and teacher. He is also a nationally recognized lecturer on writing and on Native American philosophy and its intricate connection to the rights of traditional indigenous peoples, animals, and the welfare of the natural environment.

TO visit the MOTHERLESS page on amazon.com, click on the title.

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Visit Gabriel Horn @ www.nativeearthwords.com


An oil covered pelican sits stuck in thick beached oil at Queen Bess Island in Barataria Bay, just off the Gulf of Mexico in Plaquemines Parish, La., Saturday, June 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An oil covered pelican sits stuck in thick beached oil at Queen Bess Island in Barataria Bay, just off the Gulf of Mexico in Plaquemines Parish, La., Saturday, June 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)



/Beth Wareham

For 87 days, crude oil bled into the Gulf of Mexico, each drop feeling like the poisoned blood of a huge beast come to destroy one of the most beautiful – and useful – ecosystems in America. The results – dead wildlife, destroyed breeding grounds, petroleum packed sediment on the ocean floor – the true depth and breath of the horror will not be known for decades.

And there it was, everyday, the oil bleeding into the ocean. We watched on CNN powerlessly. We watched on CNN with horror. For 87 days. In no world is a tank of gasoline worth what was done to the life of the Gulf. America was traumatized. And what did it do to the children?

Now, for the Young Adult in your life, MOTHERLESS by Native American novelist Gabriel Horn, has created a beautiful tale of loss and the hope now available on amazon for teens, ‘tweens, and really smart kids in your life. (Click on the title to go to the amazon page.)

In Motherless, young Native American Rainy Peak grows up on the pristine shores of Florida with her Grandfather, her parents having died in a car crash years ago. As she struggles with making her way through school with both bullies and friends, she learns what it means to be Indigenous and feels the bleeding of the Gulf as if it is part of her own flesh. Magic realism takes her into the ocean where the creatures speak of their trauma in the crude oil apocalypse in a scene that will haunt both young and older reader for years.

In this cauldron of lost parents and the bleeding Earth, the Mother of each of us, Rainy’s heart and mind are forged into that of protector. She understands how everything fits together and when a creature falls, we all fall. She will go to college and become a marine biologist. She will dedicate all that she is to saving the Mother. And in the process, we will all learn about grace, love, honor and the need to be whole.

FREE ON KINDLE PRIME, DOWNLOAD IT FOR YOUR FAVORITE TEEN. MOTHERLESS If you don’t have Kindle Prime, it’s the best few bucks you’ve spent on your child in your life.

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/Beth Wareham

Of course I’m prejudiced: I have a digital publishing/tech company with a very old-fashioned business model: For one agreed-upon fee, a client receives every service he or she needs to make an ebook and paperback. We build the electronic presence around the book it needs to succeed. We are also responsible for every word in the books. In perpetuity. We’ve done the editing and proofing and have the tech experts to go in and make every change. In perpetuity.

Now, let’s paddle on over to amazon and see how they are handling the explosion in independent publishing. Looks kind of like ducks nibbling for bugs in the grass. For $199, you can pick from one of any ten interior designs for your book. You plunk your beloved manuscript in the template you choose and BAM!, any change you make will cost $79 per change.

If you want something a big jazzier, there is a template level of ten designs for $349 with 10 interior images. More photos – up to 30 on this template – will cost $25.00 per photo for each addition picture. The math on that one is easy.

There are charges for formatting author-supplied indexes, an adjustment to a template, conversion from Createspace to Kindle, a cover design package with one choice and and one change, and a higher package that supplies the writer with two concepts and two changes for not cost. Any more changes to the cover revert the the $79.00 a change charge, I assume.

My goodness. Was the internet merely a way to hasten the death I always felt awaited me when I worked in corporations – that of being bitten to death by ducks? This time, the nibbles are small costs that end up in one big pile of duck poo on your dock and a book that looks like hundreds of thousands of others.

The most shocking part of all this is that I’ve worked in publishing for 25 years and HAVE NEVER seen a manuscript completely error-free, no matter how many eyes ogled it. (Even The Great Gatsby suffered a typo in that first printing: Find one and you win the lotto.)

So I wonder, if I have 18 changes in a book I’ve worked on for years, in amazon’s world, I have to pay over $1,400 to have my book corrected?

More duck poo. I say that you can’t parse this kind of an artistic endeavor down in that fashion, and, as much as I love amazon, these “change fees” might have writers choosing between putting dinner on the table and making their work finer.

That is one crappy choice. Do yourself a favor: find a team to help you publish and you stay on your keyboard, making more art. It’s cheaper in the long run and you won’t have that icky “bitten to death by ducks” feeling.

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BLEEDING BLACK: A Lakota Novelist Confronts the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Artwork by Carises Horn

Bleeding Black
by Amy Krout-Horn

The first time my feet touched the sugary sand of Passagrille Beach, Florida and I felt the tide, warm as bath water, rushing in as if to hold me, I wept. Her beauty, power, and magic, opened, and then filled me, and though I arrived, born from a people whose Lakota ancestral lands ride upon the center of the Great Turtle’s back, I felt welcomed home. She greeted me as if we had always known one another, and as the sun touched the horizon, I laid my hands upon the water and said, “Mother.”

Since that sunset, a decade ago, I have rarely traveled from my home near the Gulf of Mexico. Only a few days each year, I return north to visit family. The Land of Flowers holds me under its sultry spell and when away from the ocean, I long for her. I go to her in ceremony, celebration, and sorrow. Lying on the sand, listening, my soul always finds what it is searching for, in her song of wind, waves, and rustling sea grass.

There, I have met many relatives: a gull I call “Tokaa” because he always arrives first, asking if I’ve brought bread crusts, the pair of crows that land soon after, conchs crawling along the sand bars, sting rays flying graceful as butterflies, myriad fish, the small ones schooling around me as pelicans glide above the sun-shafted shallow water. And, at the base of the dunes, a sea turtle’s nest symbolizes the continuation of her nation. They all bring their lessons; even the forceful bump I once received from a shark continues to remind me that respect must accompany love. Nowhere else have I found such a strong feeling of mitaku oyasin, the sacrosanct connection existent between all living things. Nowhere else have I been more certain of my place within the sacred hoop. Nowhere else have I experienced a more comforting embrace with our mother, the Earth.

But now, she bleeds.

The Earth, mother to all, bleeds from a wound thaty her human children have inflicted. Those of us, who feel her suffering, struggle against the blackness spilling into our souls, the blackness that threatens all light, all life. As the death toll rises for the birds, the dolphins, the turtles, and the countless uncounted casualties, my heart aches, and I wonder if something in me is dying, too. Our killer, a civilization founded upon greed and gluttony deceptively deemed “prosperity.”

The systematic plunder callously called “progress,” has taken our planetary parent to her brink. Will the toxic tar balls and oily filth wake America up from its dream? Will our collective eyes snap open; to the realization that the nationalistic dream we are all supposed to strive for, is just a cleverly marketed nightmare? But these questions find their answers in the indignant politicians who yell “foul” at the mere suggestion of a moratorium on deep water drilling, and the US courts agree. Wouldn’t want to stop bleeding her dry, even for a moment, would we? America wouldn’t want to take steps towards signing into a clean energy methadone clinic and off the black tar fossil fuels, would it? Of course not.

In this “green frog skin world,” as Lame Deer called it, economics always trump ecosystems, blue chips trump blue waters, sleep walking trumps clear thinking, and only those who still know Earth as mother, foresee the fate that this kind of greed-based denial tempts. For those of us whose hearts still beat with the pulse of the universe, whose memories have not forgotten our Original Instruction, and who watch the prophecies unfolding, there exists a great need to link the power of our spirits and send our strongest medicine prayers to Wakan Tanka, the Great Holy Mystery. The white buffalo calves emerge from the womb. Unktehila, the water monster, rises from her long slumber. Our ancient fathers, the star relatives watch closely. Little time remains for those who have forgotten how to live within the circle, to relearn the lost wisdom.

On the eighty-fifth day, the scientists and engineers finally stumble upon the bandage that halts the bleeding, and the media analyze the situation using all the ugly lingo indicative of the oil drilling business: top kill, bottom kill, junk shot, blow out, and crude. Even as hope and thankfulness illuminate my mind, another thought shadows the cautious optimism, a thought that history predicts as painfully plausible. Big oil will snatch this shaky-at-best, leak stoppage method, and run with it, proclaiming it justifiable evidence to prolong the rape of our mother. The oxygen- robbed dead zone, produced by BP’s chemical dispersants, will merge with the long existent one formed from agricultural fertilizer run-off that flows from the Mississippi River each year, and the macabre dance will continue.

For now, the bone white sand of Passagrille remains white, the water turquoise, and the sea oats, golden. I go there often for the indigenous kind of Holy Communion. Yesterday, as I walked into the surf and felt all the life forces surging around, through, and within me, a shark appeared. Unlike his before-mentioned, larger cousin, the smaller creature (the length of a man’s arm) didn’t bump me, but swam quite near, and for a moment, stared knowingly. Again, the idea of love and respect, its crucial complement, came to mind, along with a recent news image. The journalist’s voice announcing that Louisiana had reopened coastal waters for sport fishing hadn’t drowned out the laughter, as the camera captured the men smiling, pulling fish from the water and tossing the struggling creatures onto the deck. Do those men love the Gulf of Mexico? Do they respect it? Would their “love” wane, if they were no longer allowed to take whatever they want from it? What CAN participants of an all-you-can-eat, bigger is better, super-sized society say about their behavior? What NEEDS to be said? Earth screams the answer, humanity MUST echo, “Enough.”

Amy Krout-Horn, Lakota, worked as the first blind teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota’s American Indian Studies program. Krout-Horn is a regular contributor to Slate and Style magazine and, in 2008, was awarded their top fiction prize for War Pony. She, with the contributions of her life partner, Gabriel Horn, co-authored the novella, Transcendence (All Things That Matter Press, 2009). She resides in Florida. For more information, visit her web site at http://www.nativeearthwords.com

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/Beth Wareham

I am not some bold reader of experimental fiction. For years I studied the classics and still am not 1/4 of the way through reading what I believe makes me a well-read adult. I am also a middle-aged white female perfectionist.

I have spent time inside 2666 though. I found out about it online. It was only after the invention of the Kindle that I could take on Anna Karenina (I needed the French translated and the book light enough to carry). In the case of Infinite Jest, I just needed the joie de vie of the light reader to cram in my purse to put this notch on my reading belt.

Regardless of whether you are afraid of new fiction or slavishly follow reviews in the New Yorker and The New York Times, books have never been cheaper, more available and easier to read.

Spend a little time on NPR.com or Book Riot or Good Reads and see if you like the feel of the place: That’s your new bookstore. See what readers are talking about, explore your favorite subjects, get lost in what interests you.

For if there is anything the digital revolution gave us, it’s “make up your own mind.” That, of course, and the ebook for under $9.99.

We love that price and we love that availability. Put on your helmet and spelunk through the internet until you, the reader, find your reading cave (which, by the by, smells so much better than the average “Man Cave.”) Then, from there, don’t be afraid of “reading mistakes.” At these prices and ease of purchase, you can’t make a bad buy.

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To search for great book ideas, try NPR.com/books or

Book Riot or Good Reads

My Tech Team is Bad Ass, the Editor Said



/Beth Wareham

Never in my wildest dreams did I think my nerds would become the Crazy 8s. Tentative at first, they now sword fight me on every balcony, demanding more and more content at the speed of light. Every wobble on In Design and they get all OCD on my ass. They created shared file project maps and will no longer accept me shouting cover copy over the phone; I must type it up and put it in the right damn place.

In short, my nerds have tamed me. i have never met such amazing people in my life. Every cover, author website, book design platform, social media and analytics are done by my nerds and I’ve decided if I act more like them, I can’t help but succeed at everything.

Dear Nerds, Katherine and Kim, you are remarkable women publishing hard and fast, like a gang. I am nothing but grateful.

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On June 21, the Summer Solstice – and longest day of the year – is celebrated in Times Square, New York City, by thousands practicing yoga together and letting all that light in. This year – 2015 – is the first World Yoga Day as designated by the U.N.

On center stage in Times Square, Rajashree and colleagues will teach from 2:00 to 3:30 pm. Bikram Yoga NYC Will also host Rajashree for another class and book signing. Log on to http://www.BikramYogaNYC.com for details.

And to buy Rajashree’s new book? Click here Rajashree’s Pregnancy Yoga

Rajashree's Pregnancy Yoga CoverAthleta: Mind Over Madness Yoga 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015
9:00am 7:30pm
Athleta Mind Over Madness
Summer Solstice in Times Square
Bikram Yoga 2:00pm-3:30pm
Instructed by
Rajashree Choudhury
Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo

WHAT: A free yoga-fest in the heart of Times Square. Both experienced and beginner Yoga enthusiasts unroll their yoga mats for FREE outdoor classes in the center of the world’s busiest intersection.
WHEN: Sunday, June 21, 2015
WHERE: Times Square
Registration is now open! Thank you for your patience! For those of you making a pilgrimage to NYC for this event, click here to see Times Square hotel deals to help plan your trip.
The Times Square Alliance is pleased to support three of our favorite yoga charities this year, Bent on Learning, Exhale to Inhale and Urban Zen. While you register, please consider contributing to one or all of these great NYC-based yoga-related charities. Since all Solstice classes are free, consider a donation equal to the amount you would normally pay for a yoga class.
This year, there is an exciting new development. The United Nations General Assembly has declared that June 21st is the International Day of Yoga, and is planning a global celebration, with New York City and Times Square playing central roles, in part because of our 13-year tradition of having a Solstice yoga event here at the Crossroads of the World. Times Square is the leading official public site in New York City for the International Day of Yoga, and dignitaries from the UN and the Government of India are scheduled to attend our event on the 21st.
Solstice in Times Square Class Schedule:
Class times and instructors are subject to change. All registrants will be informed about any adjustments prior to the day.

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Rajashree Choudhury, Donna Rubin, and Jennifer Lobo


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Critics Cringe: It’s Good If You Say So



Spoiler Alert: I am married to the man that wrote this book. I published the book; The New York Times did the editing. (Big shoutout! Less work for me.) None of that is interesting. What is of note is that I was sitting next to him as he listened to so many of the performances in this book.  I also watched as the world of classical music reacted to his reviews. Most days, they wanted to kill him. And that, folks, is a critic doing a job well. He or she is not there to make a bunch of friends.

Despite the ill will in the business, audience members often came up to him after a performance and wanted to know what he thought. He’d grunt a bit and say “what did YOU think?” When they responded, I never heard him put them down. He always said the same thing, “it’s good if you think it is.”

That is the point. Nothing matters but the individual having a reaction to the material and performer on stage. A “review” can tell you what happened, connect that moment to a longer continuum and give you a vague idea if it’s something you might like. Beyond that, critics really can’t do much for you because it’s about you.Your experience, in the end, is the only one that matters.

Because of him, I often traded in the soul-shattering work on Hendrix for the soul-shattering work of Wagner. My husband’s reaction? Made perfect sense to him because, as he said, “they are both great.” I got him to deconstruct the opening  chords of Baba O’Reilly. He taught the mean beauty of the opera Wozzeck, Lulu and Otello. I still remember Rusalka singing to the moon.  He wrote a piece comparing a Schubert song cycle to Bob Dylan’s 2001 masterpiece, “Ain’t Talkin.” I like to think I had a hand in that.

Like Alex Ross, the New Yorker critic who worked under Holland, these critics jump around, writing about classical as well as all the other music forms, though I’d say Holland is a boob when it comes to rap. These critics attach classical music to a larger world and that matters, that keeps it alive and moving. Holland, in particular, is always searching and reading about history, context, source material. It’s not a commitment to anything, it’s just his curious mind at work.

With Something I Heard, he put a long career of listening to music in one place so that an arc would appear. You’ll have to read it to see. (The ebook is in a promotion and available on amazon for coffee change.)

Is there a future for classical music? What a stupid question. If it’s good, there is. Even this aging rocker feels that Marta Argerich is as good as Tina Turner. Yeah, this is a divided house that stands.

To order: Something I Heard, click on the title.

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Failing through Busy-ness? Stop.



from Nan Russell’s It’s Not About the Time 

There are many types of pain. Feeling overwhelmed, chronically exhausted, or unable to stretch non-elastic time to t what needs doing is one kind. So is wanting to do one thing and having to do another; knowing the people you love most feel low on your priority list; or giving up hope you’ll ever move toward that life dream.

When you believe you can time-manage yourself out of that kind of pain, which is what I tried for years, life tends to offer its version of a wake-up call: head- aches, illness, anger, outbursts, insomnia, overeating or drinking—you name it. If the pain gets bad enough we seek change.

Consider whether you’re ready:
1. Do you want to move away from the pain of over- whelmed and busy-busy-busy?
2. Are you willing to try something other than more time-management techniques that treat only symptoms?
3. You consider with an open mind that your time- problem isn’t about time.
Consider the statements below. If you’ve had enough and want to change it, check it. If it’s out of control sometimes, but more okay for you than not, leave it blank.

  1. I’m tethered to work 24/7/365; people can reach me via cell anytime and they do.
  2. I use at least part of the weekend to catch up on work.
  3. My life and responsibilities are over owing my ability to get everything I want done.
  4. I don’t have any time to think or be creative and that hurts the quality of my work.
  5. I have out-of-control numbers of unopened emails and just ignore some.
  6. I need to delegate more but have no time to train or hire anyone.
  7. My New Year’s resolution was to improve work-life balance and I broke it in weeks.
  8. Significant others in my life complain about my lack of time and attention.
  9. I feel at the end of my rope more days than not.
  10. I can’t remember the last time I unplugged and relaxed, even on vacation.
  11. I feel compelled to check my phone every few minutes to make sure I don’t miss something important.
  12. I know that stress and pressure are affecting my health and well-being.
  13. I keep hoping things at work and home will change.
  14. 14. There are so many things I’d like to do, but I just don’t have time to do them.

Self-scoring: Only you know if something is too much, too little, or just right for you. However, typically if you checked eight or more, i.e. more than half, there’s a consistent problem that time-management alone is unlikely to solve.

To enter to win a 1-hour consult with Nan, go to twitter and retweet @shadowteams

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Nan Russell is a business-time management consultant who has met her share of talent in need of direction. Her latest book, It’s Not About the Time  will help you harness your talent and put it on what matters to you the most.

Stop twirling and learn to prioritize and say no. Learn what has meaning and where you should put your focus, never allowing just anyone to pull you off your course. Life happens. But with It’s Not About the Time, you have new tools to accomplish YOUR wants and needs.

In your hour consult, you’ll talk about:

  • Your goals, immediate and long term
  • How you spend your days
  • How you should spend your days
  • How to set boundaries and use time
  • How to do what you love for more hours everyday
  • Have a good life that matters to you and the people you care about

Is this a conversation you need to have?

Email Beth@LisaHaganBooks.com or Lisa@LisaHaganBooks.com to join the contest.

Entries should be received before March 15, 2017.

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#Cliches are not good, but… #writing



from Keep It Short by Charles Euchner


To give clichés life—to make them fresh and original again— find something surprising to add to them.

Too often, we use familiar ideas without really under- standing their meaning. We repeat phrases and ideas carelessly.

When we overuse expressions, we live in a fool’s paradise. We cannot hold a candle to the halcyon days, our salad days, when we suited the action to the word and revealed the naked truth. But we give short shrift to language, writing with neither rhyme nor reason. And we lose such stuff as dreams were made of, at’s neither here nor there, since these expressions are dead as a doornail. Coming full circle, we realize, more in sorrow than anger, and it’s a foregone conclusion that overuse of such terms is a fatal vision. So, in one fell swoop, we throw cold water on it.

All of those expressions come from Shakespeare. ese expressions once expressed ideas with freshness and originality. But used over and over, they have lost their vitality. Too o en, we use these clichés not because they express ideas well, but because they o er a simple way to say something. ey let us say something without thinking.

Remember you want to make the reader see, feel, helpless, harmless. Milo’s dead.” By using the slack, disinterested tone of a gumshoe, Lynch moves us away from sickly sentimentality.


Samuel Beckett uses clichés in playful ways to make them fresh. He writes: “Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards.” And then, describing the odor of graveyards, he added that he will breathe in the smell of corpses “when take the air I must.” In her memoir of family suicide, Joan Wickersham freshens a stale image: “Cal may have had pots of family money, but my husband didn’t even have a small saucepan.”

Whenever possible, though, avoid clichés. Lush detail—observation of sights, sounds, smells—helps to create original expressions.

Nack could just say, “I thought about that horse day and night. I couldn’t get Secretariat out of my mind. It popped up no matter where I was or what I was doing” Zzzzzz. Instead, Nack uses compelling images to show how Secretariat shaped every minute of his life.

Write like Bill Nack. Always look for the fresh images—ideas that are familiar, but which other writers have not used before—to help the reader experience the scene –

smell, taste, touch, imagine—and think of more familiar the images, the less you will engage your reader.

“Cliches,” Geoffrey Hill notes, “invite you not to think.” Cliches give use easy, lazy was of expressing our- selves. As Hill notes, “you may always decline the invitation.” When you feel tempted to use a cliché, stop. Get in the habit of considering how to state a point simply—or think of a fresh, original way of making a point.

To avoid the dreariness of clichés, play with them. Start by looking at its literal meaning. Porter Abbott explains:

When the orator urges his or her auditors “to strike while the iron is hot,” how many of them see the sweating blacksmith at his forge and feel his magical transmutation into new meaning? The answer is none. But when one tramp suggests to another that “it might be better to strike the iron before it freezes” the original vehicle is revived in its literal state.

Taking words literally reveals the cliché’s original insight. When you do a genealogy of clichés, you discover vibrant images that can be revived.

When you change the context of cliché, you can give it new life. In a memoir of his life as an undertaker, Tomas Lynch writes about the death of a neighbor: “Milo is dead. X’s on his eyes, lights out, curtains.”


For more details on Keep It Short, click on the title.

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Write with the Body


…excerpt from KEEP IT SHORT by Charles Euchner 


Reading is a sensual experience. So use the senses to connect with the reader’s physicality.

Consider the following questions:

You are in a store, checking out backpacks. You are looking for a leather one. How do you go about checking whether the item is made of leather or man-made materials?

You are riding in a cab. A nostalgic, sad song is playing, followed by one with an upbeat rhythm and a sexual pulse. How would the music affect your mood?

When you are in an art gallery, in what manner do you look at the paintings?

Do you enjoy petting furry animals (allergies aside)?

You are given a bouquet of flowers. Your first reaction would be…

You are a completely alone on a private island and there is a crystal-clear lake. It’s hot and you could use a swim. You …

You have set out to furnish your living room. What would best describe the type of furniture that you choose?


Whatever you write, think consciously about the physical words you use.

Sight: What do we see when we see? We see brightness, color, shapes, texture, and proportions. We see relation- ships between things.

Often, when I am working on research or a draft, I need to visualize what I’m thinking before I understand it. So I draw pictures—shapes showing relationships, levels of importance, movement, and more.

If you can get your reader to see your subject, you have won the battle. It’s as if you’re side by side, look- ing at a painting in a museum, like Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” See those lonely people in the diner? It’s late. Nothing’s happening outside. Everyone looks so alone. But the couple—they’re together, right? Are they on a date or just getting a smack after a long night at work. They don’t look intimate. The soda jerk is paying attention, though. What about that man at the end of the diner? He’s really alone. Once you start to see the pictures, you start to tell the story—and interpret what it means.

Also give your writing color. The colors’ many qualities—primary or secondary, dark or bright, simple or complex—contribute to a mood. In music, color describes a piece’s emotional feel. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony evokes darkness, while his Fourth evokes brightness.

Colors also conjure emotions. Red evokes power and sexuality, yellow intelligence and joy, blue tranquility.


How do you feel about things like the smell of a spring breeze, the air shortly after rain, a brisk winter wind, the ocean, or a sunny day?

How often do you engage in meditation or deep breathing exercises?

When walking down the beach, do you take off your shoes or sandals?

When you read a novel, do you picture the scenes in your head as you’re reading them?

These questions are part of a sensuality test that Psychology Today posts on its website. (Take it yourself at http://bit.do/sensualitytest.) The test helps you to under- stand just how physically you experience the world with your senses of sight, sound, touch, and smell.

My purpose here is to get you to write physically. Even when exploring dry and abstract topics, I want you to think sensually. When you do, you can connect with your reader—capture her attention, hold it, get it to consider your ideas wholeheartedly, and remember and reflect what you want to convey.

Language, I submit, is a physical experience. When you use language well, you can make your audience con- nect with the topic physically. A description of cold cre- ates a shiver; of music, a sense of rhythm and time’s pac- ing and feel; of texture, a tactile feeling of smoothness or roughness or slipperiness or more; of light or shapes, a sense of appearance.


Sound makes us pause, lean in, and listen. Sound makes us attentive. Think of the times in your life when you stopped doing something … because … you heard something. “What’s that?” you asked. You could not con- tinue until you learned something about the sound. You needed to find out whether it mattered.

The power of language is really the power of sound. Alliteration—the repetition of the same consonant sounds—somehow evokes meaning. S’s sometimes sound slithery, sometimes soft, and sometimes hissing. K’s sound hard and abrupt, almost like a collision or an attack. L’s sound lilting and lithesome, light and uplift- ing. P’s sounds somewhat silly, plopping and plunking and puffing along. We could go on.

Don’t think too hard. Just listen to the sounds you write and pay attention to how they make you feel. You’ll know when there’s a fit and when there’s not. Now look at these images: blue is patience but also coldness and depression, orange – courage and confidence, endurance and friendliness, and green money and nature.

From Keep it Short by Charles Euchner 

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from It’s Not About the Time by Nan Russell, Lisa Hagan Books, 2017


While we don’t react to stress the same or feel the same things are stressful, most of us still get stress wrong. We believe it’s harmful, when in fact, the right kind of stress is helpful. Consider these facts:

  • The right stress is good for you! Stress expert Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University identified three types: good stress, tolerable stress, and toxic stress. The stress most of us have, most of the time, isn’t “tolerable” or “toxic” stress, but good stress. Stanford researchers found: “a confrontation with a co-worker, the pressure to perform, a to-do list that’s too long— are not the toxic type of stress that’s been linked to serious health issues. Short bouts of this type of everyday stress can be a good thing.” Who knew an impending project deadline could be good for you?
  • There are benefits to stress. Firdaus Dhabhar, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University, along with a team of researchers, found not only that moderate, transient stress heightens our immunity, but “short bursts of stress can paradoxically enhance memory and learning.” We optimize these benefits with no stress periods

Life Happens—Dealing with Stress, Change, & Being Overwhelmed

interspersed with “regular hits of acute stress,” i.e. short-lived stress. While chronic stress can be toxic, acute stress can be protective and helpful.

• How you view your stress matters. Studies involving 30,000 civil service workers in Britain found “heart disease and mortality rates increased steeply with every step down the ladder.” Low status and lack of control were key factors in that disparity. But, even more interesting was their discovery on beliefs. Those who believed stress impacted their health, regardless of their job or initial health, were found within the 18-year follow up to have double the risk of heart attack. A large U.S. study found the same result about stress beliefs and health. Bottom line? If you view your stress as detrimental, it’s more likely to be. If you believe stress provides you with life’s energy or consider it “a kind of engagement with life,” as health psychologist and author Kelly McGonigal puts it, that thinking will serve you better.

To read more about the book, click on the title It’s Not About the Time. To engage the author, click on the name Nan Russell.


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Lisa Hagan Books

We are a publishing company owned by writers and agents, a new experience in a new world order. The internet made it possible. The writers make it fly.

Our ideas are simple:

  1. Help writers write.
  2. Connect writers with other professionals that can help them write and publish.
  3. Put books together with core readership.
  4. Live in the world of ideas.

Yup. Four things we want to achieve. Just 4. These 4 ideas were formulated after decades in the biggest publishing houses in the country, an experience that drew us FURTHER away from the reasons we got in this business in the first place. We love hands-on work with creative minds. We love the joy of seeing those ideas made manifest in two covers and a bunch of nicely trimmed pieces of paper. Or, better yet, tiny pixels that allow us to take a library anywhere we go.

We use a distributor based in Chicago for those works that need traditional distribution. Still others are tailored to work solely online. Depends on the subject and what the author hopes to achieve.  In today’s world, more is possible and we are reaching further to offer different types of reading experiences that suite different needs.

Talk to us, we’re always here.

@Shadowteams  or @GiantSweettart on Twitter

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Or, send us an email: Beth@LisaHaganBooks.com or Lisa@LisaHaganBooks.com

We mean it. And join the conversation every Thursday when writers, agents, and publishing professionals chime in about their projects, tell you what they are searching to publish, and solve writing problems right there in the twitter feed. #ThursdayWrites 






3 Sins of Bullshit Writing


from Charles Euchner’s KEEP IT SHORT: A Practical Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (click on title to read more)

If you don’t know what your ideas are, if you haven’t flushed out details or set your purpose clearly, you might commit one, two or all three sins of bullshit writing. And that, says Euchner, is when “things get ugly. When we try to bull our way through sentences and paragraphs.”

The 3 deadly sins of bullshit writing are:

•We repeat ourselves.

•We use vague phrasing – adjectives and generalizations – instead of clear crisp logic                and details.

•We ramble, piling words and phrases, with a hope we will discover some telling detail  or concept, but usually moving further and further away from the point.


When you feel any of this creeping in, you know you’ve lost the grip somehow. Backtrack and flush the idea, plotting, character development, background research and how you are going to tell you story. We suggest beginners start with the beginning, move on to the middle and then give us the end.

If you see any of those those 3 deadly sins popping up a lot in that book in your hand, you may want to put it down and go get another. Life’s short and there are just too many great books to read.

Join us every Thursday on Twitter with the hashtag

#ThursdayWrites and tell us what you’re working on. 

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