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Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Visiting With Vivian Zabel
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next few days, I am honored to say we will be visiting with Vivian Zabel, author of the book, Midnight Hours. Doesn't this sound excellent:

While struggling to recover from a debilitating gunshot wound, homicide lieutenant Martin Rogers discovers an online "interest" may be a serial killer, responsible for the death of several disabled men.

Martin’s interest changes from that of a man for a woman to the interest of a homicide detective for a suspect when Midnight attaches a photo of herself to an email – identical to that of one folded in the pocket of a dead paraplegic. Confusion reigns when an Assistant District Attorney is discovered to be the unknowing model for the face in the photo.

Lt. Rogers and friends set up a sting to capture Midnight, but she disappears like wisps of fog. Every lead results in dead ends and more confusion. Midnight brings death on the internet. Preying on helpless men, she offers love but gives them a grave, but who and what is Midnight?

Martin must find this killer before she can add him to her list of victims.

Let's meet the author:


Vivian Zabel (aka Vivian Gilbert Zabel and V. Gilbert Zabel) started writing when a child. She told friends that someday she would write a novel, but their laughter didn’t deter her ambition.

While teaching for 27 years, she couldn’t carve enough time from her days to write a book, but she wrote poetry, short stories, and articles, which were published. After leaving teaching and entering the writing field full time, she finished two young adult and three adult novels.

A lover of mysteries since she discovered Nancy Drew, Vivian always wanted to write one. Finally, she conquered her tendency to hurry to the end, jumping over needed leads and red-herrings, and created her first suspense/thriller novel, Midnight Hours.

Vivian lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband of over 46 years. Her interests, besides writing, include her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and reading
.

To find more of Vivian Gilbert Zabel's published works, visit the Vivian Gilbert Zabel ~ Author website. 

Cover Design for Midnight Hours was a collaboration between Vivian Zabel and Aidana WillowRaven. WillowRaven Illustration & Design

***

Order your copy of Midnight Hours now: $27.99 plus shipping. (Note: retail price $31.99 plus shipping  http://midnight-hours.weebly.com/reserve-midnight.html

***

Contest:

Prize: $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com

Rules:
1. Each person who comments on a blog stop receives one entry. For example, if a person leaves a comment on four blog stops, he has four entries.

2. Each person who purchases a copy of Midnight Hours from the 4RV Store (http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Store.html) or directly from the author receives fifteen (15) entries per purchase. Since we cannot receive notification from other places in time, we need people to use the publisher's store.

          A person may have entries from a purchase and from leaving comments.

         An email address will be needed to notify the winner and to send the gift certificate.

         November 5, a random drawing will be held using a program online to choose a winner. I will notify the winner by email


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:42 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 October 2008
More Excerpts from The Sage Age by MaAnna Stephenson
Topic: Blog Tours

The Rational and the Intuitive

In our daily lives, each of us incorporates our rational “knowings” and our intuitive “knowings” into a wholistic matrix that helps us make sense of our world. It’s likely that each of us leans a little more toward one way or the other type of knowing depending on personal preference.

The phrases “rational scientist” and “intuitive practitioner” are used extensively throughout The Sage Age. These are not mutually exclusive types of people. Rather, they represent schools of thought in perception and focus. For example, “rational scientist” refers to those who primarily make use of the intellect in the methodical investigation of reality. The term “intuitive practitioner” refers to those who primarily use a supersensible means of perception in a wholistic investigation of reality. In other words, they use senses other than the five associated with the tangible world. The term “intuitive” is a little different than the word “spirituality” in an important way. The intuitive arts are concerned with the esoteric sciences meaning that they deal primarily with the investigation of metaphysics in a methodical manner. Spirituality, on the other hand, is personal and subjective and focuses on how each person relates to everything in accordance with their beliefs.

At this point in history we have the opportunity to combine all ways of knowing to understand informed energy in an entirely new way thereby resolving many of the dilemmas we face today. The Sage Age highlights the information that each way of knowing brings and blends them into new models for new thought.

How do you combine your rational and intuitive knowings to form a wholistic view?


Einstein and His Famous Equation

When most people hear the name Einstein, the next thought is usually his famous equation, E=mc2. Believe it or not, Einstein’s Nobel Prize was not awarded for this revolutionary discovery, but for his lesser known paper on the Photo-Electric Effect also published in the same year. A good deal of the confusion about Relativity Theory is that most folks think it is one theory. It is actually three different ideas submitted in three different papers. The equation showing the relationship of energy to mass can be found in an addendum he submitted three months after publishing the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905. He began work on the General Theory of Relativity in 1907 and finished it in 1915. With it, he added the effects of gravity to his original equations and revolutionized how we view the makeup of the universe. And then there’s the confusion about that light speed squared business. What’s that all about?

Einstein’s first paper was titled “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” This eventually became known as the Theory of Special Relativity. It dealt primarily with how space and time were related, showing that they were actually two descriptions of the same phenomenon known as 4D spacetime. (A description of spacetime and how it differs from 3D space with an added element of time can be found in my article titled “Dimensions.”) It also explained the time dilation between objects which were moving near the speed of light and those that were moving very slow compared to the speed of light.

The paper showed time to be relative to its frame of reference. For example, if you and a buddy are standing in the aisle of a moving jet and tossing a ball back and forth, the two of you seem to be still and the ball seems to be moving at a normal, slow rate of speed. But, to an observer on the ground the ball, you, your friend, and the jet are all moving at 200 mph. The plane provides you with a different frame of reference than the one the observer on the ground has. Both Galileo and Newton understood this concept and called it an “inertial frame.” Einstein enlarged the inertial frame by stating that everything including you, the jet and the observer on the ground were all moving at speeds far below that of light. When one of the objects in the scenario gets ramped up to light speed, everything changes.

Because of this, no one observer had a privileged frame of reference. In other words, if an event happened and was observed in two different spatial locations, the event might appear to have happened simultaneously to one observer and as two separate events to another observer. The different perspectives were due to each observer’s motion in relation to the event. Therefore, both observations would be correct to each observer respectively. It would be impossible for either observer to claim they saw the event the “right” way.

Just as Einstein’s first paper showed that space and time were two descriptions of one phenomenon, similarly, the addendum to this paper showed that energy and mass were also two descriptions of one phenomenon. Energy and mass are not equal, as is often misquoted. They are intra-convertible. A very small amount of mass can be exchanged for a very large amount of energy, as demonstrated by experiments in atomic and nuclear physics. It’s considered one of the most elegant formulas in all of physics because a few characters demonstrate the complex concepts found in the original equation which is big enough to fill a blackboard.

Einstein applied this equation to whether or not an object of mass, any mass, could be accelerated to the speed of light. That’s also were the c2 part of the equation comes into play. The whole thing is about speed, not light. Let’s roll a rock to see how that works. It’s a rather large rock, so it takes a good deal of energy to get it rolling. The energy from that initial push is now stored in the rock as kinetic energy, which it dissipates as it rolls. Any additional pushes just store more kinetic energy than the can dissipate and now it has velocity. So, when we want to stop the rock from rolling, we have to absorb the extra energy it contains. The kinetic energy is proportional to the speed squared. So, if you give the rock twice the energy it can disperse, it will take four times as much energy to stop it from rolling (twice the energy squared is four times the energy). In Einstein’s equation, c represents the speed of light, emphasis placed on the word “speed.” His famous equation then, is the ratio of the energy required to move a mass proportional to the speed of light squared.

Some content excerpted from The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom
© 2008 MaAnna Stephenson
Content may be used freely with proper credit and a link to www.SageAge.net

To learn more about MaAnna Stephenson and The Sage Age, visit www.sageage.net and you can subscribe to The Sage Age Newsletter while you are there.

For more tour information, visit
http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/09/sage-age-by-maanna-step...

You can order your own copy of The Sage Age at http://www.amazon.com/Sage-Age-MaAnna-Stephenson/dp/1933449632


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:46 AM EDT
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Sunday, 26 October 2008
Dancing to the Same Score--an excerpt from The Sage Age
Topic: Blog Tours

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you an excerpt from The Sage Age. I hope you find it enjoyable.

 Dancing to the Same Score

One of the most famous experiments in physics is a simple yet profound example of the dual nature of light. It is called the “two-slit experiment.” It was first conducted by English polymath, Thomas Yong around 1800 and validated the wave theory of light, overturning Newton’s corpuscular ideas. Neils Bohr used it to develop the Principle of Complementarity showing that light was both a particle and a wave and no description of light was complete without referencing both. It was also at the heart of Einstein’s famous thought experiment called the EPR Paradox, designed to show the incompleteness of quantum theory. One of the most intriguing aspects of the experiment is that you find exactly what you expect to find. It validates light as both a particle and a wave. How can this be? Well, that is the very question physicists have been trying to answer for over 200 years.

The experiment is very simple. A steady laser beam of light is aimed at a target. Two devices with slits which can be individually opened or closed are placed side by side in the path of the light beam. When only one slit is open, all of the light travels through it and hits a target on the other side of the slit in a bullet fashion. This demonstrates the particle nature of light. When both slits are open, the pattern on the target looks exactly like waves which are interfering with one another. The most puzzling thing is that these same patterns emerge when the light is sent in a steady stream or when one photon is released at a time.

There are two main conclusions which physicists have drawn from this experiment. The first is that you find what you are seeking. If you set up the experiment with one slit to detect particles, that’s what is produced on the target. If you set up the experiment to detect waves, that will be the pattern produced regardless if it is a steady stream of light or one photon at a time.

As physicists attempted to come to grips with these results, some exotic theories arose. Some called into play the hidden variables found in entanglement experiments. Others suggested that each particle somehow “knows” beforehand which path to take so that it mysteriously cooperated with all of the other particles yet to be fired. Einstein even suggested a pilot wave ahead of the particle that served to guide it.

Physicist David Bohm developed a most intriguing theory. He described the two-slit experiment as photons dancing to a musical score. The score came from what he called the Seamless Whole which acted as a pool of information. This Whole included the physicist, the laser, the photons within the laser beam, the slits and the target, or measuring device. After the experiment was set up by the physicist, all elements of it became known to the Whole. For example, the conditions under which the experiment would be conducted was one element in the overall pool of information in the entire system. If the experiment were set up with one slit open to detect particles, that condition became a “known” element in the entire system. The photons then, simply went along with that information. In other words, they danced to that music. When the experimental conditions were changed, i.e., when the music changed, the photons simply did another dance in accordance. The photons didn’t have to have prior knowledge of anything nor was an observer necessary.

Prior to the introduction of Bohm’s theory, all of quantum physics had been absorbed in determining the state of a system in the present and the prediction of how that system would be in the future. This description was muddled in murky probabilities. Bohm’s theory described the genuine motion of particles over time, not just the probability of where any one would be at any one time. This solidified the idea that the universe must be seen as a whole system and that anything which can be said of its individual elements at any one instance is only a partial description at best. Bohm’s theories eventually came to be referred to as Bohmian Mechanics.

One of the interesting features of the two-slit experiment is that it allows a thing to be realized in two different ways. But, our daily experience would lead us to believe the words of Gertrude Stein in that “A rose, is a rose, is a rose.” We can accumulate different sensations of it by looking at it, smelling it and even touching it, but alas, it remains a rose. But, the two-slit experiment demonstrates a thing becoming a wave. That’s like a door knob turning into a sound depending on how you observe it. The entire concept is mind-boggling. Of such things, Heisenberg said, “What we learn about is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our methods of questioning.” Perhaps someday we will have a broader concept of nature that will give the two-slit experiment a fitting context so that we can better understand the question we are asking of it.

Some content excerpted from The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom
© 2008 MaAnna Stephenson
Content may be used freely with proper credit and a link to www.SageAge.net

To learn more about MaAnna Stephenson and The Sage Age, visit www.sageage.net and you can subscribe to The Sage Age Newsletter while you are there.

For more tour information, visit
http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/09/sage-age-by-maanna-step...

You can order your own copy of The Sage Age at http://www.amazon.com/Sage-Age-MaAnna-Stephenson/dp/1933449632


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:20 AM EDT
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Saturday, 25 October 2008
A Look Inside The Sage Age
Topic: Blog Tours

Today I want to share with you the Chapter Summaries and Table of Contents for The Sage Age. I hope this will allow you to get a taste of the wealth of information MaAnna Stephenson has included withing these pages.

Chapter 1 - The Body Antenna Explores the physical body as an antenna system and how using ritual body postures and breathing techniques helps tune that antenna. It also includes a description of how broadcast and receiving antennas work and compares them to how the body functions

Chapter 1 - The Body Antenna
The Body as an Antenna
Ritual Body Postures
How Light Radiates
Overview of Frequency
Antennas and the Physical Body
Multi-antenna Arrays
Near-field and Far-field Radiation Patterns
Impedance

Chapter 2 - The Physical Body Transceiver Examines the body’s crystal lattice system, which includes the bones and compares them to the shape and makeup of antennas. It also delivers new vibrational models, which demonstrate how the body communicates internally all the way down to cellular level. Included is a section on the electromagnetic light fields of the heart and brain and how they provide the power and transmission signal of the body antenna

Chapter 2 - The Physical Body Transceiver
Piezo Crystals
Liquid Crystals and the Body’s Crystalline Lattice
Cells
Bio-electromagnetics and Intra-cellular Communication
Smelling Shapes
Bio-electronics and Bio-electricity
Bio-photons - Light from Living Organisms
Bio-magnetism
Brain and Heart Light Fields
Exterior and Global EM Fields

Chapter 3 - The Energy Bodies Explores the types of information that are broadcast and received by the physical body and through the energetic subtle bodies. Descriptions of the meridian and chakra systems are given as well as the characteristics of the individual subtle energy bodies. A section on morphogenetic fields describes where the vibrational information for these systems resides.

Chapter 3 - The Energy Bodies
Meridian System
Chakra System
Subtle Energy Bodies
The Etheric Body
The Emotional Body
The Mental Body
The Astral Body
The Celestial Body
The Causal Body
Morphogenetic Fields
Quantum Biological Antenna System

Chapter 4 - The Mind-Body Antenna Delves into the mind-body antenna system and explores the power of thought, the existence of thought-forms and healing with intention. It also covers altered states of awareness including how such states are purposely used for healing, precognition and shamanic practice

Chapter 4 - The Mind-Body Antenna
Thought
The War of the Worlds
Thought-forms
PSI Research
PEAR Research and the EGG Project
Group Focused Intent
The Measurement Problem in Science
Healing with Thought
Prayer
Placebo Effect
Multiple Personality Disorders
Hypnosis
Effect of Environment
Shamanic Medical Practice
Earth Energy Effects
Shifts in Awareness
Precognition
Synchronicity
Altered States of Awareness
Near-Death Experience

Chapter 5 - Metaphysics - The Study of the Intangible World Covers metaphysics and the study of the intangible world. It includes sections on how dualism effects perception; the root of information and knowledge; and how most of what we notice in the world is actually projected from our own memory. This chapter also covers how we incorporate new information and determine meaningfulness and relatedness

Chapter 5 - Metaphysics - The Study of the Intangible World
Metaphysics
Dualism - One Understanding Itself
Information and Knowledge
Perception and Conception
Projection
Expressing Relationships
Consciousness - The New Holy Grail

Chapter 6 - Common Roots of Eastern and Western Thought A comparative study in the common roots of both Eastern and Western cultures, which gives insight into understanding how today’s explorations and discoveries are actually the fruit of ancient questions. It also explores the role of symbols in understanding complex, abstract ideas and why we are returning to the use of them

Chapter 6 - Common Roots of Eastern and Western Thought
One Origin
Western Basics
Eastern Basics
Symbols and Mathematics

Chapter 7 - Sound, Light and Time Covers the topics of sound, light and time as these are key ingredients into future understandings concerning our move into the age of vibration. The chapter explores how each topic has historically been used in both the rational sciences and the intuitive arts.

Chapter 7 - Sound, Light and Time
Sound
Light
Keeping Time
Synchronicity and Coincidence

Chapter 8 - Physics - The Study of the Material World Explains physics and the study of the material world in layman’s terms. Sections include topics on fields and forces, phase states of matter and holograms. Each topic has simple analogies with common, everyday type examples to help illustrate the points being brought forward.

Chapter 8 - Physics - The Study of the Material World
Matter
Atomic Theory
Many-worlds Theory
Symmetry
Fields and Forces
Scalar Waves
The Earth
Geomagnetic
Fired Earth
Geopathic Stress
Magnets and Lodestone
Schumann Resonance (was Schumann Resonance / Lightning)
Lightning

Chapter 9 - Waves Defines the different types of waves including light waves and quantum waves and how waves interact to create patterns such as a hologram. Sections also include all known phases of matter and defines the special phase of ultimate coherence

Chapter 9 - Waves
Light Waves
Quantum Waves
Wave Interference Patterns
Beat Frequency
Fourier Transforms
Phase States
Coherent States
Hologram

Chapter 10 - Cosmology - The Study of the Infinitely Large Explores the universe and shows how Einstein's theories challenged Newtonian models and revolutionized our understanding of space, time and spacetime. There is also a section on the zero point field as it relates to cosmology.

Chapter 10 - Cosmology - The Study of the Infinitely Large
Gravity
Astronomy
Telescopes
Black Holes and White Holes
Relativity in Cosmology
Cheating Infinity
The Zero Point Field in Cosmology

Chapter 11 - Quantum Physics - The Study of the Infinitely Small Delves into quantum physics and demystifies the mind-boggling concepts this new science presents. You’ll understand why it has impacted every other branch of science and the controversial nature of what its theories imply. Sections include faster-than-light travel; parallel universes; Chaos Theory; and String Theory. This chapter also discusses the importance of treating information as a fundamental element

Chapter 11 - Quantum Physics - The Study of the Infinitely Small
Causation and Causality
How Quantum Physics Began
Living in the Shadows - Back to Plato’s Cave
The Great Debates – Wave/Particle Duality and the Observer’s Role
One Slit or Two? - The Wave/Particle Experiment
The Particle Zoo - Not Seeing is Believing
Non-locality - Spooky Action at a Distance and Entanglement
Yes, No, Maybe – Schrödinger’s Cat and the Demise of Certainty
Dimensions - The Different Types
Parallel Universes and the Multi-verse
M Theory - Strings and Things
The Holomovement of David Bohm
Chaos Theory
The Zero Point Field in Quantum Physics
Information as a Fundamental Element
Geometrical Models of Space and Time

Chapter 12 - Medicine Explores the role and purpose of medicine and gives briefs
on alternative therapies which are gaining popularity. Many of these practices are rooted in ancient traditions, which are being combined with modern therapies.

Chapter 12 - Medicine
The Goal and Purpose of Medicine
Drug Therapies
Acupuncture
Chiropractic
Massage, Therapeutic Touch and Touch Therapy
Therapeutic Touch
Magnetic Therapy
Homeopathic
Water
Homeopathy
Flower Essences
Aromatherapy
Light Therapy
Psychoneuroimmunology
Kinesiology
Color Therapy
Entrainment
Ayurvedic medicine
Electro Therapy


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:30 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 October 2008 3:31 AM EDT
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Friday, 24 October 2008
The Sage Age by MaAna Stephenson
Topic: Blog Tours

 The next few days I will be sharing a great deal of information with you on a new book by MaAnna Stephenson, The Sage Age.  Today I will cover a bio on MaAna, a brief synopsis of the book and my review of it.  Over the next few days, there will be excerpts for you to enjoy-and ponder.  We will also cover chapter summaries, as this is one book that contains a wealth of information.  Let's explore...

Author of The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom

While currently known as a visionary thinker and new author, MaAnna Stephenson is a true Renaissance woman. From an early age she was exposed to a myriad of influences including her father's engineering and artistic endeavors, her maternal line of intuitives, and an intrinsic fascination with sound and music. Born in the small town of Humboldt, Tennessee, MaAnna began her journey as the youngest of three children with a huge age gap between her siblings and herself. Constant inclusion in the world of adults led to an early maturity and perhaps a different view of the world than most children experience – especially with the special gifts of the adults in her family. None of it was lost on young MaAnna. "My mother was also an intuitive, as were all the women in my immediate family. Having psychic senses was quite normal and the information derived from these methods was respected and adhered to. I became accustomed quite early to the fact that there were things - forces and powers - which could not be measured with a ruler but were just as real as anything I could see or touch."

An additional gift was bestowed by her paternal grandmother – the gift of music. Time spent at the organ with her grandmother, who was well known for her passion for music, ignited a flame in MaAnna as well. By the time she was a teenager, she was already a multi-instrumentalist and composer, exploring sounds and techniques with special interest in how they affected listeners spiritually and emotionally. Her advanced education continued this line of exploration as she attended Jackson State Community College and Lambuth University concurrently, double majoring in Music and Acoustics with a special apprenticeship at a local recording studio as a sound engineer.

MaAnna transferred to Jackson Area Vocational and Technical School, acquiring a degree in Electronics. This led to a prestigious job offer and subsequent move to Dallas, TX in 1984. She continued her work in sound engineering and music with several international hits to her credit.

After a decade in the big city, she accepted a field assignment in Nashville, TN where she has resided since. It was in Nashville that she began her writing career with a short story triggering what she calls "soul memories." In response to her experience, MaAnna began her self-education in the fields of technical, scientific and New Age thought, exploring ancient mysticism and the rational sciences with equal emphasis. After a five-year preparation period, she was initiated as a shamanka. Her training for this initiation further contributed to her education process as she continued her studies in reconciling the rational sciences and the intuitive arts. This process has culminated in the writing of the newly released "The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom".

While maintaining this intense pace, MaAnna has somehow found time to feed her inner artist, working in stained glass, wood carving and, of course, continuing to indulge her love of music. A member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, she considers herself a "bridge builder" as well as an artist, composer, scholar and author. Her current focus on "new models for new thought" is leading her to develop interactive classes that continue to explore the concepts in "The Sage Age".

 The Sage Age – Book Synopsis
Combining the knowledge of physics with intuitive practice is no small task. The two disciplines often use the same words to mean entirely different things. Written for the seeker with more than a casual interest, The Sage Age – Blending Science with Intuitive Wisdom demystifies complex ideas with intelligent analogies and examples designed to appeal to both the scientist and the natural intuitive.

Four years in the writing, this expansive new work combines knowledge from the physical sciences and the intuitive arts to present a visionary perspective that harmonizes these diverse disciplines into one body of knowledge.

With a well-researched approach to its subjects, The Sage Age covers a broad range of material from ancient to modern thought, frontier science and current intuitive practice to deliver a depth and breadth of understanding that culminates in a holistic perspective for our time.

Living up to its mantra of "new models for new thought," The Sage Age is certain to be a catalyst for dialogue and is destined to be a major work in its field.

 My Review

The fields of science and the intuitive arts are normally divided widely.  Each normally sees the other as lacking somehow.  MaAnna Stephenson agrees.  In The Sage Age, MaAnna shows how both extremes are actually very much part of the whole.  As Ms. Stephenson's words emerged, I felt as though I was witnessing an intricate dance between science and intuition-they came together and parted, only to return to each other again and again, each step choregraphed by the Universe to bring out the best in each.

The Sage Age is definitely not a light read.  While MaAna explains complicated topics in a way that makes them easy to understand, the book covers so much you need to take your time, re-reading sections and allowing the words to play out within your mind.  I experienced many "a-ha" moments as I read.  I can only imagine the wonders we could create if everyone understood the concepts that reside between the covers of this book.


Posted by joyceanthony at 4:44 AM EDT
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Thursday, 23 October 2008
The Forbidden Daughter by -Shobhan Bantwal-A Review
Topic: Book Review

When Isha finds out the baby she is carrying is a girl, she fears the reaction of her in-laws.  Girl children are not acceptable in their eyes, or that of the doctor, who suggests she have an abortion rather than give birth to the a second female child.  When Isha refuses, she has little idea just how drastically her life is about to change. Just how far will some people go to see that Isha does not "disgrace" her in-laws name? Who all is involved and why has nothing been done to stop the selective abortions that are taking place regularly?  Can Isha make it on her own?  Will her efforts to expose the truth result in her losing everything she lives for?  Who can she trust with her secret, life and heart?

Shobhan Bantwal takes her readers into a world most of us can't even imagine.  I continually had to remind myself that this story was not taking place in some long ago dark age, but instead in modern times.  It tore at my heart to know that in some parts of the world, female children are still considered unwelcome--to the point of actually being killed rather than loved and cherished as they should be.

It is obvious that Shoban Bantwal knows her subject and the country of which she writes.  She doesn't pad the pages with a lot of fluff, but instead uses every word to draw her reader in--and make them care for her characters.  The only thing that kept me from reading this book in one sitting was my eyes giving out--but I found myself dreaming of the characters.  Before I finished, I had not only cried, but  found myself angry and wishing I knew how to stop this archaic practice.

You can't read The Forbidden Daughter with no emotion.  It is considered women's fiction, but I would suggest any man who cares also read it--he won't be disappointed by the depth explored by Ms. Bantwal.  I can see this book being made into a movie.


Posted by joyceanthony at 5:57 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008
A Talk With Shobhan Bantwal
Topic: Author Interview
Shobhan Bantwal The Person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Restless

Easy to anger as well as easy to humor

Family oriented

 

2.    How do you think others would describe you?

 

I think most people would describe me as extroverted, outspoken, and intelligent-a woman of too many words and strong opinions. But I always feel people give me more credit than I deserve for smartness and efficiency. Deep down, I feel very inadequate and afraid I'll never live up to their expectations.

 

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

 

My family is my passion-mainly my husband, daughter, and granddaughter. They are my whole life and I often worry about their health and their futures.

 

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

I'm not a pet lover, so I have no pets, although my husband adores dogs and would love to have one.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

 

My most precious memory is of holding my grandchild for the first time. It was only last year, but already it feels like such a long time ago, because she's already walking and talking. Somehow, grandchildren feel more precious than children, perhaps because I'm older and wiser now than when I became a mother many years ago.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

 

Some years ago, at a large New Year's Eve party at a friend's house, I slipped and fell on the slick tiled kitchen floor, right in front of several people. Of course, they were very solicitous and kind, but secretly I believe they thought I was drunk. I hadn't had a drop of alcohol because I don't enjoy it. All evening long I had nursed one glass of coke, but I still think people thought I'd had too much to drink. A few of them kept looking at me suspiciously. To this day I recall that episode and my cheeks get warm.

 

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Actually, writing is only a hobby for me, which has somehow turned into a second career. My full-time job is with the government, so I'm a bureaucrat all day, five days a week. I put on my writer's hat on weekends and weekday evenings. Most often, I struggle to make the time to write, because my day job can be quite demanding.
 

8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

 

Shobhan Bantwal was a woman of great courage. With no experience of any kind, or any visible talent, she took up writing at the age of 50. A half century of living had apparently failed to teach her that merely dreaming of something does not necessarily guarantee success. The amazing thing was that Shobhan did dream of becoming a published writer and did manage to succeed (to some extent). Despite rejections earlier in her quest for an agent and publisher, she managed to find both at 54. She was a bit crazy but she died a happy woman.

One thing can be said about Shobhan: she was passionate about everything she took up, her family being her main project in life. She loved them with no expectations in return.

 

Shobhan Bantwal The Writer:

 

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

 

When I started to write short stories I wasn't very confident that my tales with Indian characters and cultural elements would be of interest to anyone. But my first short story competition entry, sponsored by Writer's Digest, won Honorable Mention. That same year, another story won Honorable Mention in a contest run by New York Stories magazine. That was the moment when I realized that I had some potential, and that I could perhaps write a full-length novel.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

 

I'm working on my third novel, because Kensington, my publisher, offered me another two-book contract. I am not allowed to discuss its theme at this time, but I can safely say it will be a story about Indian culture and features mostly Indian characters. I prefer to stick to what I know.

 

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

 

Since I have a fairly demanding day job, I prefer to think in terms of one book at a time. Anything beyond that is much too ambitious, given the constraints on my time and energy.

 

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

 

I don't have a typical day. Each day is different. However, on weekday evenings, I generally get about an hour of writing done after dinner. On weekends, I get slightly more time, but housework and the daily demands of running a household and socializing cut into weekends as well. But I try to pack as much writing as I can into my weekends.

 

13.  Why do you write?

 

I have a lot of ideas and stories swirling in my brain. I have to vent those, and if I can express my opinions on certain social issues that bother me (remember I'm opinionated), then weaving them into fiction and making a story out of a real social-political issue is a great way to say what I want. Also, Indian culture is very rich, with plenty of fodder for fiction, and I try to draw from it as much as I can.  Educate, Inform, and Entertain are my main reasons for writing.

 

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

 

Although she is not my absolute favorite writer, Nora Roberts inspires me greatly, mainly for her prolific writing. She literally churns out books by the dozen each year, and good quality ones, a feat no other author seems to be able to emulate. And every book turns into a bestseller. She is truly amazing, and an inspiration to many writers, including me.

 

15.  How do you define your writing?

 

I call it mainstream women's fiction with romantic and ethnic elements.

 

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

 

Great entertainment with a delightful dose of spice, romance, and drama.

 

Shobhan Bantwal The Details:

 

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

 

I'm not a blogger by nature but I have a nice website, with information on my books, my other writing, links to my non-fiction articles, my bio and award-winning short stories, Indian recipes, photographs from India, book reviews, and contact page. The website is http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/

 

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Yes. Readers can reach me through my email address on my website contact page - shobhan@shobhanbantwal.com

 

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

 

THE DOWRY BRIDE - Released September 1, 2007

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER - Released September 1, 2008

Both are available at all nationwide and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.

 

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

 

They can expect to read very entertaining mainstream fiction filled with drama, intrigue, and romance, and at the same time learn a lot about Indian culture and some hot-button social issues that are significant in contemporary India. I get a lot of email from readers who thank me for opening their eyes to certain issues that they had no knowledge of. They always tell me they found the idea of using a real life social issue combined with fiction a great way to bring it to people's attention.

 

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

 

I love receiving feedback from my readers. Hence I have created a contact address on my website where they can reach me (indicated in question 18).

 

My writing, as I mentioned, is to educate, entertain and inform, so I hope they pick up my books so they can have all three. Not many American and Canadian readers are aware of the real India, which lies somewhere between the glitz and glamour of Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood) and the poverty and bleakness portrayed in documentaries and serious literary novels about India. In my books, readers can get a middle-of-the-road glimpse of Indian life.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:14 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
The Forbidden Daughter--An Excerpt
Topic: Blog Tours

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER

An excerpt

Oh, Lord, I beg of you. I fall at your feet time and again. In my next incarnation, don't give me a daughter; Give me hell instead . . .

Folk Song from the State of Uttar Pradesh, India

1

April 2006

Today was the day! Today Isha would most likely have an answer to that single question she’d been obsessing about for weeks—ever since she’d found out she was pregnant: Was it a boy, or . . . God forbid . . . a girl?

Nonetheless, she wasn’t sure if she
wanted to know. Even if she did, would her doctor be willing to reveal the fact, since it was illegal to discuss the sex of an unborn child with its parents? For Isha it was a case of mixed emotions and desires. There was a popular Americanism that described her feelings perfectly—damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Nervous anticipation made her stumble a little as she stepped out of the car to walk toward her obstetrician’s comfortable and well-appointed medical office.

Nikhil, her husband, quickly grabbed her arm to steady her. "Are you all right, Ish?" he asked with a slight frown. He was the only person in the world who called her Ish.

She nodded. "Just a bit tense, that’s all," she replied and lifted the hem of her cream chiffon 2

sari a bit, so she wouldn’t trip over the long, trailing pleats while climbing the single concrete step leading up to the front door.

"You’re not dizzy or anything?" Nikhil’s deepening frown and gently solicitous voice told her he was worried—more so than usual.

"No. I’m feeling fine," she assured him. No point in scaring him by saying she had huge butterflies, the size of bats, flitting around in her tummy. She was jittery enough for both of them.

She stole a brief sidelong glance at Nikhil. Dressed in elegant gray slacks and a blue designer shirt, he was the picture of polished good looks combined with affluence. But he wasn’t his usual confident self today. He seemed edgy—almost as much as she.

He kept a protective hand curled around her arm. "Good. Let’s keep it that way."

The black and white sign outside the single-story brick building was both prominent and impressive. Karnik Maternity Clinic—a proud testimonial to the doctor’s professional success. Beneath it were his name and credentials:
Dr. V. V. Karnik — Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialist.

Although male OB-GYNs were still rare in small towns, this particular doctor had an outstanding reputation; consequently, he had acquired a large and exclusive clientele.

Isha was at the clinic to get an ultrasound test done—one of the most brilliant inventions in the medical field since the discovery of antibiotics. It could reveal whether the baby was healthy or not, and the most interesting thing was that one could see the fetus as a three-dimensional image on a computer screen. How fantastic was that!

Although she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find out the sex, she still couldn’t wait to see her unborn child. It would be thrilling to have a chance to be introduced to the tiny person growing inside her.

"Nervous?" asked Nikhil, after they’d announced themselves to the receptionist and settled down on the blue-and-gray upholstered sofa in the waiting room. 3

"Very." She searched his face. "Are you?"

He smiled at her, his hazel eyes warming up. "A little, I guess."

"A
little?" she asked with a wry chuckle. She knew her husband well. He often covered up his negative feelings with that attractive smile. He rarely fooled her, though. And he hadn’t slept well the previous night. "I think you are more anxious than I am."

He took her hand and rubbed his thumb over the wrist, the laughter fading from his eyes. "Everything’s going to be okay. You’ll see."

She knew he was trying to reassure himself while doing the same for her. They were both pulsing with tension. There was a lot at stake here.

Twenty minutes later, it bubbled up like a fountain, warm and effervescent—the emotion that could be experienced only by a mother-to-be. Her baby! With damp palms and a racing heart, Isha observed the fuzzy movements on the monitor. The word
amazing hardly described it. It was like watching a fantasy show on television.

That funny little glob was the living, moving baby in her womb. But even at this early stage of pregnancy, the little arms and legs were identifiable. With its oversized bald head and a protruding forehead it resembled some alien creature in a science fiction movie.

But the elation quickly dampened when other thoughts began to crowd her brain. Oh no! What if . . .? She said a quick, silent prayer.
God, please let it be a boy. Please! If I don’t have a son this time, I’m finished. Her in-laws had made such a ruckus about her giving birth to a girl the first time. Her mother-in-law, supposedly an enlightened woman, with a college degree and an interest in music, world affairs and literature, had wrinkled her brow when she had first learned Isha had given birth to a girl. "Arré Deva, moolgee!" Oh, God, a girl!

Dr. Karnik allowed both Nikhil and Isha to gaze at the image on the screen for several more 4

seconds. Isha looked for the small but significant part of the baby’s anatomy that would establish its gender. So far there was no indication of it on the screen. Was it something that didn’t appear until the fetus grew a little bigger? She studied the image more closely. What she desperately hoped to see wasn’t there.

The doctor looked at her and Nikhil by turns. "So, do you want to know the child’s sex?"

Isha closed her eyes for an instant. Did she really want to know?

But then she heard Nikhil say, "Um . . . yes." He sounded hesitant.

"Are you sure?" The doctor gave him a pointed look.

Nikhil glanced at Isha and she nodded, albeit reluctantly. Was the doctor serious, or was this his idea of injecting a little levity into a grave situation? But he wasn’t smiling. And it was common knowledge that some doctors did manage to reveal the sex of the fetus discreetly, despite what the laws dictated, perhaps to accommodate the parents’ natural curiosity.

They exchanged brief glances. It was an unspoken agreement that the three of them would keep this confidential.

Deep down, she already knew the answer. The tiny image on the screen was plain enough.

"It’s a girl."

Silence fell over the examination room as Isha and Nikhil tried to digest the doctor’s casual announcement. Nikhil stood motionless, his gaze fixed on some unknown spot on the wall.

Another girl! That was all that went through Isha’s mind over and over again, although she’d known it in her gut. Official confirmation just made it harder.

Assuming their silence indicated disappointment, Dr. Karnik said, "It is not the end of the world, you know."

Isha rolled her eyes. "Maybe not to you, doctor. My in-laws will be devastated."

Dr. Karnik shrugged. "So . . . we can fix that." 5

"Excuse me!" Isha stared at the doctor. Had he really meant to say what she thought he’d meant? Or had she misunderstood him? She looked toward her husband, wondering if he had read the same message. All she saw was a puzzled look on Nikhil’s face. "What does that mean, doctor?"

"We can easily perform a clinical abortion," the doctor replied. "You’re only in the beginning of your second trimester, and it is a fairly simple procedure."

"Fairly simple!" Isha felt like she’d been punched in the stomach.

"Simple, safe, and fast, with today’s techniques," assured the doctor.

"No!" Glancing at the screen again, she saw the fetus move. The baby! "That’s not an option."

For more information, please visit http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:18 AM EDT
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Monday, 20 October 2008

I have the pleasure over the next several days of visiting with Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Forbidden Daughter.  This book is not your ordinary relaxing read, but is packed with subjects so often hidden from the public view, hidden but still very much existent.  These topics include:

*Gender-Based Abortions in a Male-Centric Society

*India’s vanishing girl babies

*Selective abortions 

*Female infanticide 

* Gender-based abortion

*Female Feticide

* India’s Unwanted Children

When a young widow refuses to comply with her in-laws' dictate to abort her unborn child, will her rebellion turn out to be the greatest mistake of her life, or a blessing in disguise? This is the story of one mother’s valiant fight to protect her daughters in a society that often frowns on female children, and the only man who will help her in her battle when the stakes become impossibly high.

 

THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER is woven around the hot-button social issue of vanishing girl children in contemporary India, where gender-based abortions and female infanticide continue to be practiced in some areas despite laws to ban the practices.

 

 

 

Shobhan's Bio

Shobhan Bantwal is the author of THE DOWRY BRIDE and THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER. Both novels are set in India and released by Kensington Publishing Corp. Shobhan’s short story titled WHERE THE LOTUS GROWS is scheduled for publication in an anthology in spring 2009 and the proceeds will be donated by the publisher, Freya’s Bower, to a battered women’s shelter.

As a freelance writer, Shobhan frequently writes columns for India Abroad. Since 2002, Shobhan’s articles and short stories have also appeared in a variety of other publications including The Writer magazine, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, New Woman India, Kanara Saraswat and Sulekha. Her short stories have won honors and awards in fiction contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.

For more information about her books, stories and articles, visit her website at www.shobhanbantwal.com

Please return to learn more about The Forbidden Daughter and Shobhan Bantwal.


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:54 AM EDT
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Sunday, 19 October 2008
The Ethnic Presidency Revisited
Topic: Blog Tours

A short time ago, I had the opportunity to feature Earl Ofari Hutchinson here at Books and Authors.  This election is an historice one, no matter who wins.  For that reason, I wanted to tell readers again about this wonderful book, written by a man who is extremely well-versed in politics.

A New York Times Poll released July 15 found that the prospect of an Obama presidency has deeply divided black, white and Hispanic voters. A majority of Hispanics and blacks say an Obama White House will improve race relations. A majority of whites say it won’t. In his book, The Ethnic Presidency: How Race Decides the Race to the White House, noted political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson predicted that race would be a decisive factor in the presidential race.

Hutchinson said that the New York Times poll validated many of the key points and predictions in his book, The Ethnic Presidency. The poll found that a majority of whites are skeptical about Obama’s competency, experience and political beliefs. While a majority of blacks and Hispanics believe that Obama is best able to bring racial harmony and hope to the poor and dispossessed.

The racial divide that the New York Times poll found on everything from black and white views of racial progress, political expertise, immigration, and the future of the country under the first African-American president,” says Hutchinson, “echo the points detailed in The Ethnic Presidency.”

Hutchinson goes much further and tells how racial messages, images, stereotypes and code words impact and influence presidential elections past and present. The New York Times poll found African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters will play a major role in the presidential election. Hutchinson tells why their role and importance in presidential elections has grown immensely in the past decade and will continue to grow in future presidential elections.

.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author, syndicated columnist, political analyst and commentator. He is a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows. He is associate editor of New America Media. His op-ed columns appear in the Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, L.A. Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers. He is the author of ten books.

 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1881032256/

 


Posted by joyceanthony at 2:49 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 October 2008 2:53 AM EDT
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