Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Business Review

The Science of Leadership
By Victoria C. DePaul and Thomas Michael Powell
ISBN 978-0-9794508-0-8
Review by Heather Froeschl

“Your attention, your energy, whether it be positive or negative, creates and attracts.” This statement is the key to “The Science of Leadership” by Victoria C. DePaul and Thomas Michael Powell. The book is about how negative and positive energy, Human Quantum Energy, affects the workplace, our lives, and ourselves. It is a guide for those in management but it also a guide for those in management of themselves. Everyone falls under that category.

Explaining first what Human Quantum Energy is, the concept of Polarity, and the true affects of negative energy, the authors clearly demonstrate in layman’s terms that the workplace does not have to be a scene of negativity. The analogy of a New Human Operating System, which runs on positive energy, is fantastic for those in today’s computer generation. The statement that people generate Negative Energy because their HOS is deficient is perfectly simple. This is so easily relatable for those who work with deficient operating systems. Deeper explorations are offered though and touch on such things as negative energy cannot be countered with more negative energy reactions, and the concept of acknowledging disappointment and BEing it momentarily in order to be able to dis-create that self image. These are powerful tools for every person, but in a leader or manager of a business, these are tools that help to show examples you’ll want your associates to mirror. In order to possess these tools, a full understanding of the material is needed and the book certainly offers a thorough explanation and presentation of these concepts.

Giving examples of situations, the authors make it clear that there is a science to leadership. Understanding that science is not something every manager has had the privilege to know…until now. The language of this book is easy to understand and relate to, even though dealing with sometimes complex concepts. In the end, readers will wonder why they didn’t already know this consciously and will be eager to put into practice the positive lessons learned. This book should be on every new hire’s desk, in every conference room, and in every CEO’s library.

This book is currently available through

Poetry Review

From the Well
By Colleen Avelli
ISBN# 1-4241-8040-6
Review by Heather Froeschl

With poetic voice, sentiments are released and shared, moments of life relived and relayed, and tidbits of time examined and explored. In Colleen Avelli’s poetry collection, “From the Well,” readers are gifted with caches of imagery, treasures of emotion, and quite simply, a delightful, touching tome.

The first section of the collection is perfectly pagan, dealing with nature and moments of legend and lore. With dragons and princesses in towers, knights and minstrels abound, while ancient stones and emotions endure, the poetry trickles as a stream through primeval forest. Magic is woven through settings of old, leaving the reader wishing for simpler moments and for the feel of wildly rough tree bark under the tips of fingers. My favorite in this section is a poem titled; “Celtic Maiden” in which a damsel is so bravely “saved” by a knight who comes to be told that his sword is not needed, for the maiden can clearly take care of herself. Let the fairy games abound! Another portion of the book examines the touchstones of life. From a moment blessed by a butterfly to the pitfalls and trappings of the mind, subjects here vary greatly but are raw emotion and offer a bare naked glimpse at the author’s soul. A son’s haircut, a bit of writing done and disposed of, human connections embraced and ignored, all are topics of poetic verse. In the last section, looking at love and loss, the mirror is held up to show days of unbridled joy and times deep within the well of despair. My favorite in this section is unbearably heart-touching. “Goodnight Daddy” is an embracement of loss and saying goodbye in life’s hardest moment. Relating to this endeavor is something most readers will do, acknowledging what Colleen Avelli is openly sharing is something I do here in reaction. Poets open their souls to the reader of their words; Avelli does so seemingly without hesitation.

An endearing collection of poetry, “From the Well” has something for everyone. Reaching out to the free spirit in all of us, stroking the heart strings, Avelli shares her gift through rhythmic lines of verse. The accompanying illustrations add to the magical feel of the book, lending an ancient quality perfectly fitted to the text. In pure delight, I highly recommend “From the Well.”

Fiction Review

In Bed With God And The Devil
by Charles Sabillon
ISBN-10: 1596821051
Review by Heather Froeschl

Just who is to blame for the world being the way it is? A lawyer might argue that humans were created and evolved in a way that demanded selfishness - the very essence of what makes the world the way it is, and so humans are not at fault but whoever created them is. An interesting argument that is closely examined in Charles Sabillon’s novel, “In Bed with God and the Devil.”

Roy Johansen is a very successful, sought after, cut throat lawyer who also happens to be a womanizing, selfish, self centered male. When he dies suddenly, at a young age, he finds himself in hell. There he endures greater and greater punishments, tortures, and lessons. In some forms he is simply torn to pieces, devoured, burned, or sliced apart, but in others he is reborn into beings that suffer great loss. He experiences love of a child only to have her die of Leukemia, he is born to a Sudanese woman who perishes due to poor living conditions, war and famine, he begins to understand what it is to be used for sex, as a tool for greed, as a victim to the very cases he won as a lawyer. Roy is not through being an attorney though, and argues with his torturers at every instance. The Devil himself has creatures to carry out the punishments but Roy’s challenges that the system isn’t working gains the attention of Satan. Roy’s demands that the punishments fit the crimes are enough to make the Devil cringe.

A parade of who’s who in hell presents itself to Roy. In Sabillon’s hell, readers might be as surprised as Roy to find Joan of Arc, Marilyn Monroe, and even his Sudanese “mother,” along with Popes, Genghis Khan, and Torquemada. Each encounter is a brief history lesson, but more a lesson in the ways in which heaven and hell seem to function. Though I am not sure that Marie Antoinette would know the term “erectile-dysfunction” the stories were quite interesting as Roy learned many lessons he obviously missed class for back on Earth. After many painful, tortuous events, and after the Devil is fed up with him, Roy finds his way from hell and enters heaven to challenge God, a being he always argued did not exist when alive. Roy wants to know how 99% of humans end up in hell due to a selfishness that is in the genetic makeup and has been for 100,000 years. This dispute with God fills the remainder of the book and it is through this argument that Roy faces his biggest challenge ever as a lawyer and human being.

Sabillon offers a very different novel tale. I applaud his audacity to approach such topics! This book is sure to be controversial but what a delicious story it is! The vast array of characters is highly engaging and witnessing Roy grow through it all is amazing. The plot is well planned and one feels the monotony of hell. “In Bed with God and the Devil” is sure to raise some eyebrows but will have readers turning pages and thinking deep thoughts well into the night.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fiction/Mystery Review

Places the Dead Call Home
by Paul L. Hall
ISBN-10: 0595410715
Review by Heather Froeschl

I think there comes a time in most people's lives where they want to find a deeper purpose to their existence. To some that means digging into the past to find the truth, and to some it means completing a journey that was begun but not finished. In Paul L. Hall's novel, "Places the Dead Call Home," readers will witness the converging journeys of several people, some on the side of truth and some on the side of hidden guilt.

Jeffrey Bonus has been told all his life that his father couldn't have committed suicide, but he had no way to prove it either way. As a reporter, he was used to uncovering details and doing interviews, so when he decided to finally get to the bottom of his father's death he dug down deep and found just the right people to speak to. Others, with even more pertinent information, were digging down deep too, in order to put a stop to the uncovering of truth. Jeffrey's road trip to interview key witnesses includes several pit stops and interesting highway happenings when he decides to give young Jeanette Koskos a ride. She packs a pistol and some large sums of money, but her persuasion comes strongly from her mouth. He just couldn't say no. Josh Kinkaid is an unsuspecting victim to what will be Jeffrey's attentions and would just as soon stay home tending bar and selling drugs. His cousin Frankie suddenly reenters his life though and convinces him that they need to travel to Mesa Verde and the ancient site of the Anasazi. There, they might find the answer to a cryptic message left in the journal of Josh's mother. They might find out why both of Josh's parents were killed in the parking lot of a gas station years earlier. Several dead family members and synchronistic circumstance lead to all four of the group ending up together and under the surveillance of a certain someone who happened to be there years ago when Jeffrey's father died. With the help of a very twisted individual, this surveillance begins to be a deadly game.

Paul Hall offers up an interesting story in a mystical setting, complete with legends and lore. It is clear that he's done his homework and this leads to a vivid scene, helping the reader to experience the book rather than simply reading it. The depth that his plots present, going back to the past and showing how that all affects his characters is outstanding. This is not just one characters' story but that of many people who are connected in some life itself demonstrates. The work is fast paced and intriguing, enticing readers to turn the pages well into the night. Very well done! I look forward to reading more from Paul Hall in the future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Author Interview

Interview with Wells Earl Draughon. Author of:
The Rape of Alma Mater
A Thanksgiving Miracle
Last Things, First Things
While America Sleeps

As the author of numerous titles, both fiction and non-fiction, which do you prefer to write?

Each is challenging and satisfying in its own way. Non-fiction (for me) is by far the easier.

At one point in my reading your latest work, "While America Sleeps," the thought occurred to me that this seems to be something that your career has built up to, that the fiction writing might have been a path to this non-fiction, in that your adoring readers will be a ready audience for this work. Was this your plan or were you simply writing fiction?

The fiction writing was never building up to this; however, my unusual background certainly prepared me to write this book. The only novel of mine that is relevant to this book is “The Rape of Alma Mater,” which could have been a non-fiction book. I thought it would be more enjoyable to read in a fictional form. Also, I had known the various people that make up the main characters, so characterizing them was easy. There are a number of “famous” people portrayed too (with changed names), but I did not personally know these people.

Can readers look forward to more fiction from you in the future?
More non-fiction? What projects do you have in the works?

More fiction, yes. More non-fiction? It depends on whether there’s a need, a problem to be solved that I think I can solve, or help to be given that I believe I can give.

How long did it take you to finish this latest book? The amount of research alone must have taken a good deal of time.

I never planned to write such a book. In fact, two years ago, if someone had listed for me the conclusions reached in this book, I would have been skeptical or even rejected them out of hand. Some years ago, I happened upon a book by a Conservative on the remainder table and read it. It was unconvincing and offensive, but some of the claims were so important I decided to investigate further.

By diligent and time-consuming searching on, I found a number of more competent books, read them and found that some of their conclusions could not be so easily dismissed. I continued searching for the most reliable books available, studying them and assessing their claims and the evidence they cited, but still had no intention of writing a book myself.

As my research led me into more and more areas, especially education, I saw that I did have something to contribute to the debate. First, I could sift out the information which was best supported, assess it from a scientific standpoint. Second, I could show how the various problems kept each other going. Finally, I understood all that lay behind the scare-term “political correctness” in a way Conservatives never will. I saw that our society is dealing with a more-or-less complete ideology with its own social control system, one which needs to be understood, not merely treated as a magic word and railed against.

Once all the problems were solved and organized into a detailed outline, the writing (given the huge amount of nonfiction writing I’ve done over the decades) took only a few months.

Briefly, please explain your inspiration for "While America Sleeps."

First, there are the scary prospects. Could there really be civil war inside the United States? Two years ago, I would have said, “Nonsense!” Now, I’m not so sure.

Second, there are all the quite reasonable and practical solutions, and the fact that none of them is being implemented. This is intriguing. Why? I wanted to know.

Finally, there is the disappearance of that condition so dear to the hearts of liberals and Pragmatists: a marketplace of ideas. I had been forced to discover that this condition disappeared from the field of professional philosophy in the late 1970s. I discovered ten years ago that it had also by then disappeared from the field of literary studies. The research that I began to do two years ago showed that it has now disappeared from the area of current affairs, a socially more devastating development.

What qualifies you to offer such a work?

Years ago, I deliberately acquired undergraduate majors in each of the social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, economics) to reinforce my studies in philosophy (particularly political philosophy, logic and philosophy of science). Having taught scientific method a number of times at the undergraduate level and having done some empirical research, I can easily assess statements that claim to be factually accurate. And being a philosopher, I can easily recognize the difference between a descriptive claim and a normative claim. And years of debate with professional philosophers have enabled me to recognize every “trick in the book.” This made wading through the mass of claims and counter-claims relatively easy.

Problem-solving skills are less easy to quantify, but along the way I managed to acquire those too.

Please give us a brief bio.

Wells Earl Draughon has published articles in Public Affairs Quarterly, Social Theory and Practice, Psychological Reports, and other journals. He has a PhD from New York University and is the author of the book “What Freedom Is.”

If there were one thing you wish readers to know about you, what would that be?

It is that I have always been and remain an unrepentant egalitarian who is appalled by the death of liberalism and who is dismayed by the realization that the two dominant political points of view in our society today are anti-egalitarian (the Conservatives on the one hand and the New Ideologists on the other) and that both views are held and enforced in a fanatical way.

Who are your favorite authors to read yourself? Fiction - ? Non-fiction - ?

I realized after many years that the notion of a favorite author or a favorite book is a misguided idea. The novel or movie that is best for me at one time may not be the most satisfying at another time. I do not plan to read much in current affairs in the future, although I will keep up. Currently, I’m reading a biography of Iris Murdoch. Also, a work that I’ve re-read a number of times over the years is the four-volume autobiography of Simone de Beauvoir, particularly “The Prime of Life.”

If you had to name one book that you think people ought to read, what would it be?

It would have to be “While America Sleeps.” It’s depressing, but it contains what we all need to know. Of course, the myriad factors that influence the course of events can change for the better, and I certainly hope they will; but at this point and for the next two or three years, there is no sign of a change for the better. It is said that an ancient Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times!” From all indications, the next 20 to 30 years are going to be an “interesting time.”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Children's book Review

Kali Leads the Way
by Nancy West
ISBN-10: 0978672208
Review by Heather Froeschl

Where danger lies, heroes lead the way. Sometimes those heroes are dedicated animals. In "Kali Leads the Way" by Nancy West, readers are introduced to one hero with four paws in the land mine strewn countryside of Cambodia.

Kali is a young Labrador Retriever in training to be a humanitarian mine detection dog. Her job is to use her keen sense of smell to detect buried land mines. Her challenge is to overcome her non-work related curiosity. Kali is distracted by butterflies and her trainer decides that she is not yet ready for work. She soon proves herself when her companion work dogs fail to find something that she spots easily...a live mine near the training site. When the monsoon season arrives in Cambodia the other dogs are brought to a nearby city to wait it out. The dogs cannot work in the heavy rain. Kali remains with her trainer to watch over the training grounds. One night, after many rain soaked days, the clouds clear and a knock is heard at the door. A man carries his young son, desperately in need of medical care, and hopes that Kali can lead them over the mountain to the city. Kali is able to focus on her work, and ignore temptation, but will she safely guide the group around a buried mine and the other dangers that lurk in the forest?

This beautifully illustrated book shows the dedicated service dogs like Kali provide. It also gently explains what land mines are and the dangers that farmers and others face having to live with this very real unknown threat. Educators looking to introduce this sad product of war will find this book to be a perfect blend of fact and hopeful outlook. Information on what can be done about land mines is provided at the back of the book.

Nancy West takes a tragic situation and turns it into something we can all hope for. Showing the growth of the dog's sense of duty puts the developing hero in a relatable light. Children will cheer her on as she ignores the monkeys and sticks to her task. Adult readers will be touched by the sense of need and desire for help. Kali is leading the world in showing compassion and taking control, and that's just what we all need more of. Well done!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Author Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview an author pair who happen to be some of the coolest people I know.

Debora ElizaBeth Hill and Sandra Brandenburg have published The Crystal Chalice, ISBN-10: 1929374445, and the first book in the Lost Myths Saga series, The Land of the Wand, among other titles.

Heather: Sandra, Debora, thank you for taking a few minutes to tell us about your writing world! How did you decide to write as a partnership?

Deb: We've known one another since high school. I had just returned from living in England; we were 28, I think...we decided to write a coming-of-age novel about two college co-eds in San Francisco in the 1960's. That novel, BEYOND THE GLASS RAINBOW, has not yet been published...but it will be, one day!

Heather: Do you find it challenging to work in the literary ideas of both of you?

Deb: Not I said, we only have one brain between us.
Sandra: Not really. We talk about it, know what the other is thinking, and accept what the other does. Then each of us adds our own spin, and our partner works with that.

Heather: I love the Lost Myths Saga. How did you come up with the notion of today’s myths and legends being based on “real” figures from another dimension? How far do you intend to take this idea? Meaning, will Santa Claus be included in your work? Jesus? Hercules?

Deb:I'm trying to remember that...I have always believed that Lucifer was the tragic hero of Paradise Lost. Mostly, we both have a very, shall we say, 'unusual' idea of how the universe works. And, we feed into one another's ideas...dangerous, in our case. I hadn't actually thought of Santa Claus...good one!
Sandra: It just seemed natural to me. After all, some legends are so strange they must come from aliens!

Heather: How many books do you plan on there being in the series? Do you have plots in mind for future volumes?

Deb: There are four volumes in the initial series, The Lost Myths Saga. We have an idea for a second series of four using cards from the Major Arcana.
Sandra: Four for the original series. But the next generation ..hmmm...

Heather: What other works do you have in progress? I’ve heard something about film rights! Tell me more!

Deb: Boy, you're really asking for it, here. After three years of misery working with an Irish film development company who were, we believe, actually evil aliens, at the beginning of this year The Lost Myths Ink film fund finally came to fruition. We have a 'Deep Pockets' company that will fund an unlimited number of films for us, with a percentage investments from producers. Three films are scheduled to begin production this year, thus far. The first is THE DANGER CLUB, an action/comedy set in Northern California, and there is a companion novel. We haven't quite figured out how to arrange for publication of the novel yet, we'll see when production starts -- basically we're going to need a publishing company who can produce a quality hardback/paperback combination in conjunction with the film release.

Other than that, we’re working on a children's stage play/film script together, and with a renowned fantasy artist on a children's book. Solo, I'm working on three novels, one of which will be the fourth volume of my 'Ghost' series, entitled The Last Descendent.
Sandra: Some mysteries, and a 'coming of age' story. We have a number of scripts, some from our books, Debora has the most, as always. I'm a slacker!

Heather: Please give us a bio.

Debora Elizabeth Hill
I was born in ’61, in San Francisco, and except for two years in London have lived most of my life in the best place on earth, Northern California. I attended college here and began my career at sixteen, as a rock music journalist. San Francisco in the 1970's was a crazy place, particularly in the music industry. Rolling Stone was still headquartered there, and I had an instant intro to the business through my cousin, who worked for Bill Graham Presents.

My first book about music was published in 1979, the year I graduated from high school, and was followed by two more in the 1980's, the last of which, Punk Retro: The Music of the No-Future Generation, was published in 1986. I moved on to fine arts and investigative journalism, and formed my company, Lost Myths Ink LLC, with my long-time business partner, Sandra Brandenburg, and her husband Tom, our office manager and general ‘dogsbody’. In 1997 I had an exciting personal event with my first-ever mention in a Marquis ‘Who’s Who volume: The Who’s Who of American Women. I am now listed in something like half a dozen volumes worldwide; it’s still exciting when someone sees my entry!

My first fantasy novel, A Ghost Among Us, was published in 2002, and the sequel, Jerome’s Quest, in 2003. In 2002 Sandra and I signed a contract for development and film production with ShadowHawk Films and United Film Productions International (we were board members of the latter), which we ended in July of 2006. My third fantasy novel, A Wizard by Any Other Name, was published in 2005, and my first collaborative fantasy with Sandra, The Land of the Wand. In March of 2006. The Land of the Wand is the first volume of a four-part series entitled The Lost Myths Saga, and has done so well the publisher has pushed up the release of volume 2, The Crystal Chalice, to January of 2007.

Larry Withowski of Jetta Consultants is the coordinator/monitor of The Lost Myths Ink film fund. Our first feature film, DREAM LOVERS, will be produced by Fountainhead Pictures and directed by Aaron Shuster. The second feature will be GO WEST, YOU IDIOT!, the story of a Czech defector: based on the journals of Frank Cmero. GO WEST, YOU IDIOT! will be produced by Tomas Krejci and Daniela Humlova of Milk and Honey Productions. The third feature will be SOUL MATES, a solo script by Debora Hill. SOUL MATES will be produced by David Fairman of Grosvenor Productions (London).
Visit our website:

Sandra Brandenburg
I was born in 1961 too.

Ms Brandenburg has worked, in the past as everything from Corporate Flunky to Wallpaper and Paint Sales, Custom Decorating, Cashier, Dry Cleaner's Assistant, and the most menial of all possible jobs...researcher...and...technical writer in the construction field. Since being released from that particular prison, she has concentrated on poetry, fiction, script writing and editing.

Her career as a journalist has included articles and stories in a series
of publications:
The Pacific Sun
Mothering Magazine
Women's Voices
Fall Creek Press
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine
Science Fiction Eye

1995 part of original concept team for BiblioBytes
Fall 1997, Spring, 1998: worked on concept development for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager (on Adam Seligman's team).

A monthly column This Pagan Life at
Currently under contract to White Tiger Films for The Danger Club, a screenplay and novel.
SHADOWSPRITES (A children’s theatrical play)
The Regency Rake (fantasy)
COME AGAIN (solo novel)
GODDESS COUNTRY VISIONS: Visionary Artists of Northern California (art book)
THE GREAT RUBBER DUCKIE ADVENTURE (theatrical play and film script)

SuperGirls; the Co-Ed Murders
SuperGirls: The Renaissance Faire Murders
Rumour Has A Memory

Heather: Is writing your “day job” or do you have other obligations to consider?

Deb: Day job, night job, all the time job...because we lost so much money with the evil aliens, Lost Myths Ink only has three employees at this time; the two of us and Sandra's husband, Tom. The film fund has a massive amount of coordination and planning work to do, and that will only become more complicated, so we're hoping to hire more employees later this year.
Sandra: It is, now. but, obviously I straggled along, doing anything for a buck, and for the longest time!

Heather: Do you enjoy the marketing side of being published authors?

Deb: Yes, but we're honestly not doing enough of it right now. We're hoping to hire some p.r. people this year as well...
Sandra: Not much, but I do whatever Debora tells me to in this area. Chiefly, I am a cooperative soul.

Heather: Any unique promotions plans in the works?

Deb: We may eventually write a film for The Land of the Wand which could be either adult animation or computer-gen and live action. THE DANGER CLUB will offer a unique opportunity for promotion, being a novel and a film. We've never done the usual 'author' things; never attended a convention, etc. due to our film work. We would like to, and planned to attend a couple last year and this, but it always slipped by us. With the filming schedule during the second half of this year we not get to any this year, either, but that's life...we do have some unique opportunities for exposure that other authors don't get, so I guess it works out in the end!

Education, Business Review

QGE=A, Quality Generic Education is the Answer
By Win Straube
ISBN-10: 076183771X
Web Page:
Review by Heather Froeschl

I have been an advocate for my children’s education and I will continue to be, despite being labeled by some teachers as “the problem parent” of the classroom. If that is what it takes to be involved, then so be it. Win Straube encourages parents and educators alike, as well as every citizen, to become more involved in our nation’s children’s education, in our own education, and subsequently, in our nation’s future. In his book “QGE=A, Quality Generic Education is the Answer” readers will be inspired to find ways in which the best education can be offered at the lowest possible cost.

Is this book relevant to every United States citizen, regardless of their being a parent, teacher or student? Absolutely. We are all parts of the main cog system and we all have the power to make positive change. So what is Quality Generic Education? It is identical quality to “brand name” education that is universally applicable, available to all, and not ideologically directed. In short, it means that an education garnered from a state university would be of equal value to one from Harvard. I can hear the gasps of disbelief at such a notion, but I am all for such a concept to become a reality. How can it? Straube knows about education, and he explains it all very nicely.

The author discusses a motivation to learn that he hopes all citizens are capable of, the roles of parents and teachers, the purpose of public schools, and what we should all be doing to encourage learning. His explanation of generic education includes the examination of lessons taught without bias or religious influence on student’s opinions and focuses on what we need to do in order to make our nation’s education systems more efficient, and more readily accepted by other educational systems. Looking at our higher education possibilities, and what is now available through long-distance learning, and the internet and the costs of those things, Straube is explaining the future of our children’s and grandchildren’s education. He speaks of what distracts us as students, what is lacking in our learning, and even explains how a college education is not enough to ensure success. What is the cost for education? Is it simply funds? Is it the promise of student loans, or is it also the price of our personal beliefs when the school we attend is telling us what to believe? There is much to examine, and Win Straube certainly opens the eyes of his readers.

“QGE=A” is a greatly researched and fact backed book, offering a lengthy and valuable appendix. The style is straightforward and convincing of the need for change, yet Straube’s voice is not demanding in an overpowering way. He knows what needs to be done and offers his guidance, wisdom, and plans to every reader. I encourage everyone with the slightest interest in our schools and colleges, students and teachers, and our nation’s competitive future, to read this book and take a step toward creating a better learning environment for all.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Political Science Review

While America Sleeps: How Islam, Immigration and Indoctrination Are Destroying America From Within
by Wells Earl Draughon
ISBN-10: 0595435246
Review by Heather Froeschl

Personally, I believe that what is so great about America is living in an open society. There are some who think that this will be our downfall. Wells Earl Draughon supports his claims in his latest book, “While America Sleeps.”

The subtitle to this book is, “How Islam, Immigration, and Indoctrination are Destroying America from Within.” Draughon sets out to prove his point and backs it up with 42 pages, that’s 823 endnotes, worth of sources cited. My opinion is that most of those could be construed in another light, but this is not a time for my own commentary. Draughon states his opinion that Islam is infiltrating our entire social system and suggests that we might all soon be forced to pray to Allah several times a day, among other things. He suggests that the claims made by Muslims that Islam is a non-violent religion, is false. He explains that teaching appreciation of diversity and multiculturalism is the same as teaching that our own (I assume that by “own” he means Caucasian, English descendants) is not to be appreciated. He warns that this acceptance of diversity will be our nation’s downfall.

We are all immigrants to this land called America, unless you are Native American, but Draughon waves a flag that calls for stopping immigration altogether. He warns of invasion by Mexicans who want their land back; he warns of immigrants who infiltrate our schools, our political offices, who reproduce in order to have greater numbers on their side. And he has all of his stated facts backed up by anecdotes, examples, and those footnotes of cited sources. Draughon has done his homework. I just don’t personally agree with his opinion.

The book presents the author’s thoughts very well. It is full of relevant stories to each point that he makes. The images evolve and the crescendo of emotional and political outrage is well portrayed. If you have an inkling to side with the author’s thoughts, then you will nod your head with every page. If you are like this reviewer though, and believe in an open and free society, you will probably find yourself shaking your head instead. As a fictional author, I love Wells Earl Draughon’s work, but in this case, it was difficult to stomach.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Poetry Review

The Passion Runs Through It
by Debra Dietz
ISBN-10: 1424136210
Review by Heather Froeschl
Moments in time are often ignored or forgotten, but reliving them through poetic words can bring them back to life and to the forefront of our minds. This is the gift a poet hopes to give to readers. In "The Passion Runs Through It..." by Deb Dietz, that gift is willingly shared and embraced.

Capturing a feeling and portraying it openly so that others can feel it is a talent few have. Relaying a moment so well that others can say, "I know how that feels; I've done that!" takes a talent that Deb obviously has. Taking everyday images, from ribbons of asphalt to spiral bound notebooks, she opens the eyes of her readers to all that is around them. In magical moments of solitude and moon gazing, and passionate portrayals of love, it is clear that the word can evoke deep feeling. These are not epic poems, but short works of art that reach out to many senses.

Deb Dietz will feel like a friend whom you've shared moments with. My only complaint was that I wish the book were longer...I want more!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Fiction Review

The Spindrift Frame
by Jim Accardi
ISBN-10: 0595417833
Review by Heather Froeschl

Things aren't always what they seem, and people aren't always what we think they are. Sometimes it takes a painter's eye to really see the truth; and sometimes, that truth is exactly as we pictured it to be. In Jim Accardi's latest book, "The Spindrift Frame," readers get the whole picture, one frame at a time, through Tam Malonee's point of view and acrylic paintings.

Tam is a portrait artist through the desperation of need; he is however, quite talented. His gift comes in handy when he runs out of money and finds himself trading paintings for cash, a monster of a car, and his own sanity during the highest terror of hurricane Gregor as it comes storming at his door. Tam is running from the law and some trouble he created up north, and finds himself making promises to a waitress in Tennessee. She needs to go to Florida, and he's on his way there, so she enlists him in a plan to rescue her daughter who lives down that way with her father. Madison Monroe seems like a desperate mother, wishing to help her daughter, but she is very moody and right away Tam thinks that he should rethink his promise to help. In the meantime there are numerous obstacles, a pauper funeral to attend, a family brawl to assist in, an escaped convict to outmaneuver, and an old man's dying wish to fulfill. Facing a killer hurricane while planning to abduct a young girl from her grandparents' home, painting up a storm to put gas in the car, leaves Tam in one huge predicament. Along the way, Madison lets him know that he is an alcoholic and that he needs to face it. She promises to give up chewing gum. It's a win-win situation, if you look at it in a certain light. Deep revelations are discovered and it seems that Tam is finding out who he really is, all the while, finding out that others in his life really weren't the way he thought they were.

Jim Accardi has a gift for characterization. You wouldn't think characters in a book could have such deep and profound souls, but Tam and Madison do. Even minor roles are portrayed with such human qualities that readers will swear that they've known someone just like that. The story is a twisted little tale of adventure and risk. A little slow to start, it is worth trying to understand what is going on. The picture will become clear as Tam paints it for all to see. Are things what we make of them or is destiny at hand? Do we see what is really going on or only what we wish to believe? "The Spindrift Frame" is a great read that leaves you with something to think about. Well done!