Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Chance Read

The Ovary Wars by Mike Hogan. This is not something I would typically pick up to read. It has an interesting title and an interesting cover. But those alone would not have gotten my attention. What got my attention was the blurb at the top of the book - How does a terrorist kill four million people? He stops them from being born. Now ... that got my attention!!!

How does something like this start? Well, it starts as a think tank type project tackling a growing problem - a population that is growing too fast and living too long. And when certain rules are thrown out - like morals - it can lead to problems. That is what happens here.

An American mathematician comes up with the idea and takes it overseas to get developed in an atmosphere not as restricted as in the USA. When the project shows success it is used by unscrupulous people to attack the USA. The results - women of child-bearing age are no longer having children - their ovaries have actually dried up. Also as a result, the economy goes haywire - starting with the medical staff who work with pregnant women, then doctors who deal with pediatrics, and industries dealing with baby products. This also causes a lot of new cases of depression and suicides.

But how did this happen? The President of the US has his staff trying to determine what the cause of this phenomenon is - a fluke or a terrorist attack. Agents Emily Chandler and Pete Vangard are on the job and their motives are entirely different. Emily Chandler is driven by additional anger because she will not be able to have the children she has been putting off because of the job. Their investigation keeps leading to dead ends when key people in the investigation die. When it becomes apparent that prechild bearing aged females were NOT affected by this unknown attack, more emphasis is placed in the investigation to discover and prevent additional attacks.

This is something you will have to read. It is more than a story about the investigation. It also follows the lives of a family - the family of a good-hearted doctor and how it affects his practice, family, and ultimately his death.

Is there hope? READ and check it out!!! (HINT: Revenge is sweet!!!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Announcing September Workshop for Dallas MWSWA


September 4th Workshop: Critiques

For our September workshop, we'll break out into small groups that will include at least one experienced writer. Anyone interested in a critique should bring 5 copies of any 5 pages from your WIP (work in progress,) which you will read out loud to your group. Some of you will choose to read, others will only critique, but everyone will learn something.

The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson , TX 75080 . Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact information:

Personal NOTE (by misterreereeder): I am not a writer but I am definitely interested in finding out about what some of the local writers are writing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Political Thriler - The Hornbrook Prophecy

I am again challenged to read a book different from what I typically read. This one is a political thriller by Robert Wickes and it is called The Hornbrook Prophecy. This is from a review I read that caught my interest - In this taut, tense, uncompromising novel of suspense, author Robert V. Wickes deftly blurs the lines between fiction and reality leaving readers to wonder whether The Hornbrook Prophecy is fiction, or prediction. From its ominous Prologue set in ancient Rome to the shocking final scenes in the nation’s capital, The Hornbrook Prophecy reveals an uncomfortably and terrifyingly-real plot that will leave readers captivated until the final, explosive pages.

One thing for sure, this certainly presents some things that would be of interest for anybody who likes political thrillers. It does not matter what your views are and you may have similar (or dissimilar) views. There are some things I could see as I read that I certainly could identify as being too familiar with right now.

You have those politicians who are simply incompetent but keep getting reelected because they have been able to convince their constituents that they need them in office. You also have some politicians who are trying to do their best for their constituents. You also have some groups who are simply being mislead and do things that are not productive for society.

After reading this book, I can only say I hope things do not get this bad here in America. I have faith there are enough intelligent and caring people that things will not go this far bad before things have to be fixed like they had to be in the book.

Why read this book? One thing for sure, the book gives some food for thought. What are likely to be the results of reading this fictional account? Some will definitely dismiss it as fiction. Others will use it as a catalyst to become involved or more involved politically.

There were things I enjoyed about the way the author wrote. He used various references to different people and characters like Will Rogers and some of his quotes. He also referred to Don Quixote through his characters. And there were characters in the book I liked.

Elgin LaGrande was a Lieutenant Governor in Alabama and in spite of his position in the state government was very interested in doing things outside of the political arena to improve the lives of his constituents.

Also interesting was Senator Hornbrook - a respected independent. While his ideas were not always shared by me, his interest in not just his constituents but his country were something I liked.

There were also those persons who were not directly involved in politics. Their interest was in keeping their freedoms and control of their lives. At the same time they were still willing to help others in need.

There was a quote in the book that I liked. It was made by Albert Jay Nock. He said, "There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means." This is a provocative thought. Is there some truth in it? Yes ... but I think both methods are needed - with balance!!! What do you think???

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MRD Group Goes "Over The Pond" for August Selection

You heard it right!!! Our Mystery Reading Discussion Group went "over the pond" for our August Selection. Not literally - but the book we read by Peter Lovesey is called The Circle and it takes place on the other side of the ocean in a place called Chichester. It was recommended for our group to be read by our informal leader - Mary Anne.

The mystery in this book seems to revolve around the circle - a group of aspiring writers who get together and meet once a month. It starts with the murder of one of its guest speakers - a book publisher. The method of the murder is arson. The first suspect the police have for the murder is the chairman of the group who was supposed to have a book published by the mans company. Several of the members and the newest (not yet a member Bob) sets out to prove the chairman is not guilty. Things get somewhat complicated when there is an attempt at murder of Bob and murder of another circle member - these were done through arson as well. This causes the police to reconsider their investigation since their primary suspect had been in jail. The question is - why are members of the "circle" being targeted and is the person responsible a member of the "circle"?

Our "group" / the Mystery Reading Discussion group at Firewheel Mall did the typical rating of the book. There were 10 of us who got together to discuss it. One person abstained from the vote since she did not get a chance to read it. Of the other nine, the vote was unanimous - 9 thumbs up. What were the reasons it was given these thumbs up? I suspect part of the reason was the British humor in the book. It is the dry kind of humor - not the joke kind. Another thing that was interesting were the variety of characters / members of the circle - and their involvement in the mystery. One of the characters started writing a blog about the mystery. Some of the information released in the blog showed there was a leak in the police department.

As far as our group is concerned, some figured out who the person who was responsible earlier than others who were surprised. All in all though the group enjoyed the mystery and some are anxious to read more by this author. For more information about this author you can check out his website at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Profile Photo

Have to show it off!!! My daughter did it for me using Photoshop!!! It was a surprise!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Acknowledging Educators

It is that time of the year. Preparations are being made for the start of the new school year. With this in mind I want to -again- acknowledge and say thanks to educators and teachers like a previous blog from last year: Reading Brought To You By.html.

This year I want to share a couple of more experiences. First, it was several years ago - more than 10 years ago. I was in between jobs and doing work with a temp work company called MANPOWER. On a couple of my day assignments, I was placed in schools - one was a new school about to open and another was a school that had been remodeled. My job varied and included moving and setting up new equipment and furniture in the classrooms, etc.

While I was there, some of the teachers were coming in to set up their individual classrooms. I was amazed at the ages of some of these teachers. I could not remember having such "young" teachers when I was a student (I will not say how many years ago)!!!

Fast forward to this year!!! I attended a meeting where time was dedicated to service awards for educators - some teachers and other administrators in the school district. At one point I thought I heard them recognize an assistant principal at an elementary school for 25 years. When she walked up to get her pen, I told myself I must have misheard and they must have said 5 years because surely she must have been in elementary school 25 years ago. Well ... there were several others recognized just like this and I could not believe how young they looked.

Granted I was sitting in the back and I did not get a close up view of the people being recognized - not to mention my eyesight is not always the best!!! But this just confirms one of the things I have learned about most of the people in the education field - they are DEDICATED!!! So once again, I would like to say THANKS to those who care enough to help educate our kids.

PS. For those of you educators checking my spelling and grammar to see how well you have done, **grin**, let me apologize if all my I's are not dotted and all my t's are not crossed. I may even have a few hanging participles (?). I really DID learn but may be a little sloppy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oceanview Publishing Presents ... Book of Nathan

Oceanview Publishing is introducing a new novel that is the work of two authors - Curt Weeden and Richard Marek. It is called Book of Nathan and it is an interesting collaboration of the two authors.

The prologue of the book introduces two characters who play a very important roll in the story.

The first person is Rick Bullock. He had been an advertising executive and his wife had worked with the homeless. As a result of her influence and her untimely death, he left his job with the advertising company and became the director of a homeless shelter.

The second character introduced in the prologue was "Zeus". Rick knows "Zeus" from his work in the homeless shelter. Zeus was a big, unsightly man who was under developed mentally. His role in the story is mainly as a catalyst - to get Rick involved in an investigation. You see, "Zeus" is thrown in jail because an extreme evangelist is murdered and he is the suspect.

This book is a mystery that uses a blend of comedy to tell the story. Rick has put together an unlikely team to help him investigate and defend Zeus. First there is Maurice Tyson - a resident of Gateway 0 the homeless shelter where Rick works. He is the only one who can truly understand and communicate with Zeus. Then there is Doc Waters. He is a down on his luck very intelligent professor who is out of sorts with the mafia. Speaking of the mafia, Manny Maglio, a civic minded mafia boss, is helping to finance the investigation. It isn't that he is really interested in the investigation but there are strings attached. The strings attached come in the person of his dead brother's daughter - Twyla Tharp. She is in prostitution and Manny wants Rick's help getting her into a reputable business. She has an interview with Disney in Florida and this is where Zeus is being held. Finally there is a little known Jewish lawyer named Yigal Rosenblatt. He and his firm took on the case for the attention this big time case will bring to them. His interest quickly shifts when he becomes aware of Twyla.

Another source of support (and influence) quickly becomes apparent - tycoon Arthur Silversteen. Rick learns he is more interested in finding the Book of Nathan - a lost book of the Bible. He also learns the murder of the evangelist may be connected to this book as well. The evangelist was preparing for a TV rally in which he was going to reveal the secrets from this find. It was possible this find might be contrary to the views of some of the extreme religious groups.

Rather than let on to any more of the story, let me mention one of the humorous situations in this story to whet your interest / appetite. It relates to a weinermobile look-alike and the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson. (Hey ... wasn't one of the authors of this book a retired from Johnson & Johnson?)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Announcing August Workshop For Dallas MWASW

Dallas MWASW Meeting

First Saturday of each month
Texas Land & Cattle
812 South Central Expressway
Richardson, TX 75080

Next Meeting: August 7

Packing the Wow in Your First Five Pages
Award-winning author Gretchen Craig believes that in order to convince an overburdened agent or editor to ask for the whole manuscript, we have to write a sparkling first five pages. Using excerpts from successful novels (handouts), Gretchen will survey and analyze how the authors incorporated setting, tone and so much more in their first five pages—and how we can do it, too. Gretchen Craig has two mainstream novels with Kensington Zebra and enjoys sharing her knowledge about the craft of writing with others who share her passion.

The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle. Meeting time is 9:30-11:30 AM. There is a $5 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for a chance to network and eat lunch. For more information, contact Rebecca Russell at

We've begun a few fun traditions geared toward honoring accomplishments, both big and small. Members with sales, please contact Rebecca Russell at with the release date, name of publisher and title of the book. She would also appreciate future workshop suggestions.

P.S. You do NOT have to be a MWA member to attend.