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Tuesday, 23 October 2007
My long, strange road to becoming a published novelist (Part III) by Mark Chapman
Topic: Author Interview


(This entry is a continuation of one on author David Boultbee's blog. Click here to return to Part II.)

By 1995, the size of the online books I was writing had grown to more than 600 pages in total, a large percentage of them about OS/2. I counted and found that I had accumulated nearly 800 OS/2-related Q&As. By then, I'd noticed that a number of IBMers had written books about IBM products, including OS/2. So I checked and found that as long as I didn't reveal any confidential information I was free to write a book about OS/2 myself. And because I'd written all those Q&As myself, there was no reason I couldn't use them in a book.

So I wrote to the two biggest publishers of books on operating system software at the time, Sam's and McGraw-Hill. Sam's wrote back and said that they had all the OS/2 books they needed just then. McGraw-Hill replied that they were interested. They asked for an outline of the book and some sample chapters.

I didn't have any finished chapters written, so I organized a bunch of Q&As from the online book into chapters of related information (installation questions, printing questions, and so on). I wrote back that it was a concept document, rather than a finished manuscript and submitted it.

Within two weeks, they offered me a contract for the book, but I had to have it finished in 2 ½ months. I agreed and returned the contract. Then it dawned on me that I had just agreed to write an entire book in 10 weeks. True, I had 800 Q&As ready to go, but they all needed to be edited and formatted for the book so that everything hung together.

While doing all this, I quickly realized that while I had a ton of Q&As already written, they'd been written individually, haphazardly, rather than as part of an organized whole, and there were many gaps in the content. There were plenty of questions a reader might ask that either hadn't come up in support phone calls, or were so basic the support person didn't need to consult the database for an answer. So I found myself having to write more than 200 new Q&As to fill in the gaps, even as I edited and formatted the existing ones. Plus, to make the book less dry, I tried to find computer jokes and humorous true stories about computers with which to start off each chapter. This turned out well, but took a considerable amount of additional time to find and edit.

My wife graciously offered to help with the typing and formatting, which freed me up to do the new writing. Before I knew it, I was almost done. I still had two weeks in my deadline, and only a week or so of work left to finish the first draft. So, naturally, that's when everything blew up in my face.

This was back in the days when most people backed up their work to floppies (tape drives and Zip drives were expensive and rewritable CDs didn't exist yet). One day I decided to delete the backup files from my floppy so I could copy all the individual chapter files onto it in numerical order, to make it easier to find things. Through a comedy of errors, I managed to delete not only the backup files, but also most of the originals off the hard drive! (So much for me being the computer expert....)

I had two weeks left until my deadline and it looked like I'd have to start from scratch. In those days, there was no automatic backup of files on the hard drive, and no Undelete command. Something like a dozen chapters of my book were simply gone.

Gulp! So now what? Find out if I saved my book and made my deadline here in the next segment of the story, on author Suzanne Kamata's blog.

Posted by joyceanthony at 7:16 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 15 August 2007
Interview with Marsha Jordan
Topic: Author Interview
1.  First, Marsha, can you give us a brief idea of what Hugs and Hopes
is all about and how you started this project?
  Hugs and Hope is an Internet based group of caring people who, through the web site, are able to connect with suffering children and help spread some love and cheer.  It began as my hobby of sending cheery mail to critically ill children.    After my grandson was badly burned, I felt frustrated because he was suffering and I couldn't stop his pain.  This caused me to fall into a deep depression.  I battled my depression by focusing on hurting children and trying to make their lives a little brighter -- to take their minds off their pain for a while.    My hobby of sending what I called "happy mail" soon became a full time job of cheering hundreds of kids across the country.  Now it's a national non-profit charity serving hundreds of children and boasting over 3,000 volunteer "hug givers and hope builders."    It began with just sending cards; but now we have several programs, such as providing birthday parties, Christmas gifts, Easter baskets, balloon bouquets after surgery, and even granting wishes.  We support parents too with a 24 hour chat group and what we call a Parent Pal program (volunteers "adopt" a parent and provide one-on-one support).
2.  Your book, Hugs, Hopes and Peanut Butter, has gotten some wonderful
reviews.  Tell us a bit about it.
  I did not set out to write a book!  I send a weekly newsletter of encouragement to parents of sick children.  In it, I often include funny stories from my life and bits of wisdom or lessons I've learned.  Readers begged me to publish the stories so they could keep them.  I thought it would be great to have the sick kids illustrate the book, so I collected 40 drawings from HUGS and HOPE kids and included them with my sometimes serious, sometimes humorous essays.  The book has been a big hit.  People say it's very inspirational for anyone who is discouraged, disappointed with life, or just in need of a good laugh and a little lift.  That's ALL of us!
3.  How can someone purchase a copy of Hugs, Hopes and Peanut Butter?
  The book can be ordered through any book store; but when purchased from our web site, we earn more and don't have to pay the middle man! 
4.  You have several things listed on your site that others can do to help.  Two that particularly caught my attention were "Be an Elf" and  "Parent Pals" .  Can you tell us a little more about these programs?
    The Elf Program matches up a volunteer with a sick child whose family cannot afford Christmas gifts.  Volunteer "elves" love receiving their child's wish list and then shopping for, wrapping, and sending their surprises.  The Parent Pals program was instituted because parents of critically ill children are often very isolated.  When children are stuck at home due to compromised immune systems (not able to be around people who may have germs), the parents are stuck at home alone too.  Also, when a child is seriously ill, family and friends tend to pull away rather than pulling together to provide moral support and physical help.  Moms and dads feel very alone and need someone to care and just to listen and let them vent.  That's what parent pals do.  They provide that rare commodity called friendship.  What makes HUGS and HOPE a unique organization is that personal touch.  Volunteers become involved in the lives of these families in crisis. 
5.  What other things can people do to help? There seems to be a variety of programs.  One to fit everyone's schedule/finances.
  A volunteer may invest as much or as little time as they desire.  One may want to deliver balloons to a hospital.  Another may want to shop for birthday party supplies.  Some make blankets, tote bags, or pillow cases the kids can take with them to the hospital. Some volunteers help to grant wishes for items such as new bikes or swing sets.  Others help behind the scenes, working on our web site, helping to sell raffle tickets, coordinating programs, contributing to newsletters, and dozens of other jobs.
6.  What would you like to share with our readers that I haven't asked?
  Sending a cheery card is a very small thing that takes only a moment and costs very little.  Anyone of any age or ability can do it.  But it's a big deal to a sick child.  One card can make a kid's day.  I wish everyone would make the effort to send some happy mail.  It's satisfying to know you're making a difference.  Creating a little more joy and sharing a little love is not a small thing.  It means the world to these children.  I encourage young families with small children, retired grandmothers, handicapped people in wheel chairs -- EVERYONE to get involved.  One of the smiles they create may just be their own!    Love and joy are like peanut butter.  Spread them around and you can't help but get some on yourself!
Thanks, Marsha!!

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:04 PM EDT
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Thursday, 2 August 2007
Infinite Space, Infinite God--Interview with Karina Fabian
Topic: Author Interview

I had the fortune of having Karina Fabian, one of the editors of Infinite Space, Infinite God stop by to answer some interview questions.  This is the first of 43 stops Karina will make this month.  Check out her schedule after the interview and plan on stopping by a few other places this month!!!

The synopsis of Infinite Space, Infinite God states:

Is that religion in my science fiction or science fiction in my religion?  The writers of the Catholic SF anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (available at have so seamlessly combined the two that it's hard to tell.

Infinite Space, Infinite God features fifteen stories about the future Catholic Church:  its struggles evangelize aliens and lost human colonies and to determine the soul-status of genetically modified humans, genetically-designed chimeras, and clones made from the Martian sand; the adventures of religious orders devoted to protecting interstellar travelers or inner-city priests; and how technical advances allow monks to live in solitude on the Moon and help one criminal learn the true meaning of Confession. 

But it's more than just a great read.  With introductions exploring the issues at hand and current Church thinking, Infinite Space, Infinite God is bound to spark discussion and make people think--just as good science fiction should.


If you think that's interesting--and you do, don't you?? -- you'll find Karina even more so :-)

 Q: I've noticed the common theme through out this selection seems to be a struggle with holding onto and strengthening one's faith. Am I reading this correctly?

Karina: Depends on what you mean by "struggle." Are the characters in these stories losing their faith? I don't think so. In fact, in several of the stories--"Far Traveler" "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," and "These Three" come to mind--the characters regain a lost faith as a result of the incredible events they live through.

Many are, however, challenged to apply their faith to stressful and tricky situations. In "Stabat Mater," Teresa feels torn between what she's always believed God has wanted from her and the desperate-seeming demands of the current Pope as the world falls to ruin in nuclear war.

Q: What is the story behind this collection? Was there a seed that set off the wish to compile such a thought-provoking collection of stories?

Karina: Infinite Space, Infinite God definitely began as a mustard seed!

We'd always enjoyed writing together, so when Rob was involved in Artemis society (manned colonization of the Moon) and I was writing a series on religious orders, we created a near-future universe where humans were living in the solar system, and religion (particularly the Catholic Church) was active there, too. The stories didn't sell.

Thus, when Kathryn Lively started FrancisIsidore Press, an e-publishing company, we offered her a story collection. After discussing sales potential, we broadened the scope to an anthology with other writers and to include any Christian faith. Leaps of Faith was born.

When FrancisIsidore went out of business, we started looking for a print home. We had a Catholic publisher who loved the idea but wanted all Catholic stories, so we decided to make another leap--only this time with Infinite Space, Infinite God, an anthology of Catholic SF. We approached the Leaps writers and put out the call for new ones and came up with some terrific and very different stuff. ISIG, for example, was more directed toward applying morals. Then to make it even more interesting (and, I'd hoped, more palatable to our publisher who did a lot of nonfiction, educational, "high literary" stuff) I added introductions that discussed the Catholic Church past, present and future.

And it got rejected. After much consideration, they decided Catholic SF was too different for their company right now. (shrug) That's the publishing world. If it hadn't been for that editor, we would never have taken on the project, so we're grateful for their encouragement.
It took about a year, but we found Twilight Times Books and we're very happy. Lida is a terrific publisher who's worked with us to nurture this book into something special.
Incidentally, Rob and I wanted stories that were thought-provoking as well as fun to read. Glad we hit the mark.

Q: Do you ever feel that science fiction in any way conflicts with religion -- or more specifically, spirituality?

Karina: Oh, sure. The "rational, intelligent heroic scientist vs. the emotion-over-common-sense religious" isn't a cliche for nothing. Or the future world that has "outgrown our primitive need for a god." A lot of SF also simply ignores faith altogether. By the same token, there's a growing market out there of Christian fiction that ignores science or portrays the scientist as the Godless villain.

We don't necessarily have a problem with either. This is fiction, after all. Even the most believable story is still pretend.

Still, how believable is a world without faith, without spirituality? Whether you believe that we are created in God's image, that we have some kind of genetic predisposition toward faith, or even that we just need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, faith is a part of the human condition.

What annoys us more is when the story is not believable and the book is more a lecture in disguise than a tale. It's also bothersome when the lack of religion is more about sloppy worldbuilding. And, of course, the reverse goes for "Christian SF" that only nods to science without any real research. Go ahead and conflict--but be credible. Life is not black-and-white--neither is good fiction.

That's one reason why Rob and I were interested in compiling these anthologies. We wanted to find believable science fiction that nonetheless depicted characters with real faith.

Q: Catholic science fiction is what your writing has been dubbed. Do you agree with this title or do you find it limited? It seems to me, what you write has a much broader audience than that title implies.

Karina: You're not alone. Every review we've received emphasized that Infinite Space, Infinite God is a great read for people of any faith. It's also a finalist for the 2007 EPPIE awards for best science fiction, with a competition that included secular works and mostly novels. However, "Catholic science fiction" does tell you what to expect from it, so we're comfortable with the label.

Q: Do you plan on doing a follow-up collection along these same lines? What works do you have in the near future?

Karina: We have our earlier anthology of Christian SF shopping for a print publisher right now. Leaps of Faith was e-published by FrancisIsidore Press and was an EPPIE and Dream Realms finalist. As far as an ISIG II, we'll have to see what the sales on ISIG look like. We'd love to do another. (So far, the e-book sales are looking pretty good.)

In the meantime, I am working on a new Catholic SF novel. Discovery comes from the "Rescue Sisters" universe featured in our ISIG stories "These Three" and "Our Daily Bread," and concerns Sr. Rita, a relatively new member of Our Lady of the Rescue who is unsure about her Calling to be a nun. When her team is hired to oversee the safety of a mission to excavate the first-ever discovered alien ship, she's confronted with all the temptations of secular life, including her former love interest. Can the discovery of an alien artifact help her discover the truth of her calling?

I'm also working to find a publisher for my secular fantasy trilogy The Miscria, finish the last book in that trilogy, write a novel in my Dragon Eye, PI (<>) universe and perhaps start a time travel/paranormal romance during NaNoWriMo. (<>) Plus, I've been having a lot of fun playing around with websites.
Rob, of course, is busy with the Air Force. He's attending Joint and Combined Warfighting School, and (we hope) getting ready to take a squadron command this autumn. Nonetheless, he's my tech advisor for Discovery. (I love how his mind works!)

Q: If you could state in one sentence what message your writing conveys to the world, what would that message be?

Karina: For ISIG: The Catholic faith will continue to play an important role in the future.
For my writing in general: Life is full of challenges, but with faith, love and a generous dab of humor, they can be overcome.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share??

I'm pleased to announce my first issue of Faith-Filled Fiction, a newsletter about understanding and writing religions in our stories, is out. If you'd like to subscribe, please e-mail me.In addition to writing tips and resources, I plan to have informational articles written by the followers of the religions themselves. This newsletter is focused on learning rather than evangelizing, so many religions will be explored. I'm also looking for websites, resources, blogs and books to list, so if you have anything you'd like promoted (even if you're not a subscriber) let me know. Please put FFF in your subject line.

Thank you for joining us today, Karina. May this be a wonderful and successful year!!!* 


Infinite Space, Infinite God can be ordered directly from Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or the publisher, Twilight Times Books, PO Box 3340, Kingsport, TN 37664; or via the Internet at

 Below is a copy of this month's tour schedule for Karina--please stoip by and say hello!!!


1: (summary), Day 1 (summary)


2:, Day 2 (interview) (guest blogger)


3: (interview)


4: (interview)


5: (interview)


6: (interview) (interview)


7:  (interview) (interview)


8: (interview)


9: (interview)


10: (review)


11: (interview)


12: (interview)

      7:00-9:00 PM: (Live Chat)


13: (review) (interview)


14: (review)


15: (interview) (trailer)


16: (review) (interview) (summary)


17: (interview)


18: 12 Noon: Live Chat: (review)


19: karen Syed (interview and summary) (review)


20: (interview)


21: (review)


22: (review and interview) (review and interview)


23: (interview)


24: (interview) (interview) (interview)


25: (interview) (interview)


26: (interview)


27: (guest blogger)  (interview) (interview)


28: (guest blogger) (review) (review)


29: 12 Noon: Live Chat "Infinite Space, Infinite God and the Infinite Possibilities of Book Marketing"


30: (interview)


31: (review)



Posted by joyceanthony at 1:03 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 1 August 2007
Stop the Slaughter, Hartz!!!!!

Returning home from a routine trip to the library on Friday, July 13, 2007. I found one of my beloved cats lying on the floor in a pool of blood, her tiny body wracked with convulsions.  Checking on the others, I found two more unable to stand, their legs too shaky to hold their bodies, their bodies trembling fiercely.


Wrapping these three in towels, we headed for the Pet Emergency Hospital, where one of the first questions was whether I had recently given the cats a flea treatment—I had, that very afternoon.  The next question: “Was it Hartz?”  Again, my answer was yes.  This was my first year using this particular brand.


When I left the hospital that night, it was without my three cats.  They were too far gone to make it through.  I left with instructions to bathe the remaining four and watch them closely.  I followed this.  They were quiet and nervous that night.  By the next morning, another cat was in full-blown seizures and the other three were blinking rapidly and jerking, their muscles starting to be affected.  Another trip to the Pet Hospital.  When I left this time, one more of my babies was gone and the other three had been admitted.  I was scared they would not make it.  These three did come home.  They survived physically, but my heart goes out to them as they wander through the house crying for those who are gone.


The look on the vet’s face got me thinking and I started to research.  This was not the first tragedy caused by Hartz flea treatment.  Cats have been dying from this product for years---yet the product remains on store shelves.  Unsuspecting consumers, wanting to protect their pets and trusting the Hartz name buy and use it—sometimes it is fine, all too often it ends in tragedy.


I am asking you today to take a stand with me and demand that Hartz remove their flea treatment for cats from the shelves. Hartz knows the danger, they are aware of the record, yet they continue—this slaughter must stop!! 


The warning on the box states simply the product should not be used on cats under five pound, pregnant or ill.  None of my seven fell into any of those categories—all were over five pounds, five over ten pounds.  None were pregnant.  All were healthy.  The youngest was just over two years old and the oldest six—not kittens.  Yet EVERY SINGLE ONE had a reaction!!!


How can you take a stand?  The first step is to make a copy of this letter and post it anywhere and everywhere you can.  Let people know the danger of this product.  Next, contact Hartz at:

Consumer Relations Department
The Hartz Mountain Corporation
400 Plaza Drive
Secaucus , NJ 07094 USA

Consumer Hotline
Monday – Friday | 9 am – 5 pm EST


And insist they remove their product from the shelves.  If you see the cat flea treatment on a store shelf, talk to the store manager, let him or her know the danger and ask that it be removed.


Hartz, how many more lives must be lost before you stop this needless slaughter?  Is it going to take you seeing the pain and horror in your child’s eyes when they watch a beloved friend die?  Is it going to take looking into a pair of golden eyes that are begging for help as you hold the convulsing body that just hours before ran and played?  If there is any compassion at all within you, you will see the need to remove this product immediately.


I panic every time one of my remaining three moves quickly.  Hundreds of others out there do the same.  It is too late to save so many—it isn’t too late to save the rest!!! I ask each and every employee at Hartz to stop by the pet shop on your way home tonight—or maybe you have a cat at home –really look into that cat’s eyes and ask yourself this:  Doesn’t that cat’s life mean anything?  Is the money worth the pain and suffering?


If that doesn’t change your mind, look into your child’s eyes.  What would you do if you gave this precious child medicine to help him or her and instead of helping, the medicine attacked every muscle, caused convulsions – and death?


My cats were my children—just as so many others are to those who love them.  Find your conscious, search your hearts---and stop this senseless slaughter!!!


                                                              Joyce A. Anthony



Posted by joyceanthony at 12:10 AM EDT
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Monday, 9 July 2007
The Haunting by Ayn Hunt
Topic: First Chapter

The Haunting (ISBN 1-59088-748-4)


Also available on &


Formats: Paperback &

E-Book (ISBN 1-59088-306-3)


            I ran down the long, dark, narrow hall in the old haunted Harding mansion with ghosts chasing me, quickly gaining ground. Frantic, I reached out and tried each door I passed, but they were all locked. Then suddenly, I was backed up against the window overlooking the gardens far below, and one of the larger ghosts started touching me. Terrified of his icy embrace, I turned and hurled myself out of the plate glass window, sending crackling shards of shattering glass into the air as I plunged to my death.

            Abruptly, I bolted upright in my bed and realized where I was – in Aunt Alice’s spacious home. My heart was beating out of control, my breath ragged as I struggled to take air into my lungs.

            With shaking hands, I pushed back my short unruly hair as I nervously glanced around. My dark purple quilted bedspread was a jumbled, twisted mess, entwined with my pristine white cotton sheets. The short, mauve curtains at the windows billowed gently in the damp, early morning breeze. Outside, I saw the tips of Alice’s prize-winning roses under a stormy predawn sky. And there, beside my bed, was the large armchair with the clothes I’d chosen to wear today…to go to the monstrously huge, reputedly haunted Harding mansion for clues, God help me, to the murderer of the wealthy late owner.

            Had I just had a realistic dream? Or was it a portent of things to come?  

            “Jessica?” whispered the sweet familiar voice of Emily as she knocked on my door then, slowly opening it, quietly eased inside. “Are you awake, dear? You wanted me to make sure you got up at five-thirty, remember?”

            “Thanks, Em.” I felt exhausted, but forced a smile as I slipped on my old, navy blue, baggy sweatshirt. “But I’m already up. I didn’t sleep well. I know it’s foolish at my age to have nightmares, but I did. And it was so realistic! I could’ve sworn I witnessed my own death at the Harding mansion just before I woke up.”

God, that sounded strange. “I was being chased by ghosts over there.”

            To any other person, I’d never have admitted such a thing. But Emily wasn’t just another person. She was like my second mother, taking me under her wing after my parents died. “But it wasn’t like a dream I’ve ever had before. I felt myself running. I felt the floor shudder as I ran. I smelled the decay and dust of the old house. I even felt one of the ghosts touch me. His fingers were like icicles, and blowing around him was a strong, continuous icy gust of wind.  And I felt his anger too. And his rage!” Nervously I swallowed. “I don’t think it was a dream, Emily. It was more of a portent, a warning, of things to come.”

             Raising her white neatly plucked eyebrows, Emily solemnly nodded as she perched on the edge of my bed, then sympathetically smiled. “It’s no wonder you’re having forebodings, dear, what with that house’s terrible reputation and all the murders and things that have taken place there. Mrs. Smythe, who lives across the street from there, told me herself she’s seen strange lights going on and off in there at all hours. And Mr. Evans claims he always hears strange, loud, pitiful moans

coming from there when he walks by, going to the store. Even the mere thought of going near that house, let alone actually going in, is enough to give anyone strange, um, let’s just call them dreams. Your reaction is perfectly understandable.”

            “You think so? Really?”

            “Absolutely. Anyone in your position would feel the same way.”

            I relaxed a little. “I’m so glad you understand! I knew you would though. I just hope I can find something we need over there, for Alice’s sake. It’s been such a long time since her fiancée’s murder. And there’ve been a lot of people traipsing in and out since the old housekeeper died and the county seized it and sold it at auction. I hope no one’s disturbed anything I can use to lead us to the identity of the horrible person who murdered him. Alice’s sure the housekeeper kept a journal describing that terrible night, including the name of the murderer. She claims that if anyone knew who murdered him, it was Mrs. Johnson.”

            “Oh, absolutely. I agree. Mrs. Johnson knew everything that went on over there. I seriously doubt if anyone has bothered her stuff, dear. Don’t forget, she lived down in the basement despite her mysteriously inheriting the house years ago from Mr. Harding. From what I’ve heard, it’s a dreary gray cement area. Chances are, not many people would go down there for more than a cursory look. And that inheritance of hers was so strange! Why he left her the entire house and the furnishings is anyone’s guess. But people do all sorts of things that others don’t understand. Mrs. Johnson herself was an enigma too. Most people around here thought she was just plain insane, and insanity carries its own stigma, which kept

people away. I’m sure her things are all there and still intact, just the way she left them.

            Stuffing my cold feet into the warmest, thickest pair of athletic socks I owned, I slipped on my tennis shoes and absently tied them, listening to the rumble

of thunder of an impending storm. “I hope you’re right. I want to solve this thing so badly I can taste it. Alice deserves to find out who killed Mr. Harding.  It would mean closure for her and the chance to bring a murderer to justice.

            “Yes, well, it might take some time to find those things so just be patient when you search. Very few people saw any of them, and Lord knew, as reclusive as she was, she never confided anything to anyone about them.

Personally though, I never did like the brash Mr. Harding, and I told Alice how I felt years ago, trying to dissuade her from going through with the marriage. I still remember him coming over to her house, all smiles, bringing her expensive gifts all the time, courting her – that’s the expression we used back them. She was only seventeen, and I always thought there was something odd about a man nearly forty wanting such a young girl for his wife. But he was wealthy, well educated, and Alice’s parents, God rest their souls, were as pleased at such a match as Alice. Everyone, with the exception of me, was very impressed with him.”

I nodded. Alice had told me basically the same thing. But I was mystified why she’d disregarded her friend’s advice. Emily was a renowned psychic and very astute about human nature. She always had been, and her wise counsel had safely guided me through what could’ve been turbulent relationships if I’d relied only on my own instincts. It’d gotten to the point where I’d refuse to even date anyone until Emily had met the man first and gave me her opinion.

            Sudden lightening flashed brightly, illuminating my dim room like a neon bulb, spurring me to hurry. “I hope I don’t get caught in the storm,” I said as I quickly got my bright pink umbrella from its hook on the back of my closet door. “And hopefully, I won’t have to use this”, I continued, stuffing my pink-handled, custom-made derringer from the drawer of the bed stand table into my large canvas bag. Although I was trying hard to be blasé, inwardly I was puzzled by Emily’s neutral face. I’d expected her to be surprised…to be agitated…to warn me against taking my gun – but she wasn’t. Meaning what? That she expects me to have trouble over there?

            Emily glanced at her diamond watch. “I wonder why Mrs. Tremble’s not her yet? I told her six on the dot, and usually she’s early.”

            “Mrs. Tremble? Why’s she coming over? Are you going someplace too?”

            “Didn’t I tell you? I guess it slipped my mind, what with writing down the directions of what pill to give Alice at what time and all.” She smiled innocently as she carefully smoothed her newly permed curls. “I’m going with you.”

            Grabbing my large white canvas bag stuffed with everything I needed to do a thorough search in a dark old house without power, I froze. “Excuse me?”

            Emily glanced out the window, her face void of expression. “I’m sorry I forgot to tell you, dear,” she said, turning around to face me. “I guess it just slipped my mind.”

            “Have you forgotten about your arthritis? Your rheumatism? Your own pills you need to take? You know how your joints are aggravated by dampness and low-pressure systems. The way it’s starting to storm, you’ll be in so much pain you’ll barely be able to walk, let alone traipse up and down the stairs of that high porch and the one leading down to the basement.”

            A dreamy, far-away look lit her green eyes. “Don’t worry! None of that will bother me. I’ve heard so much about that grand old house all of my life. But I never got to see the inside. It used to be known as a real showplace.  The marble of all eight fireplaces was rumored to match the décor of each room, and the hand-painted exotic mural on the dining room wall won several prizes. This is my golden opportunity. I’m not going to let it pass me by.”

            I was sure that was the truth as far as it went. But I also knew how she still worried about me, seeing me as the orphaned twelve-year-old when I first came to live with Alice, instead of the thirty-one-year-old woman I’d become. “The house now though is old and decayed. It’s very run down, looking nothing like it once did. It’s much too dangerous for you to go. I don’t know what I’ll find, and neither do you. There could be a tramp camped in there and God alone knows what kind of bugs and snakes will be lurking around. Besides, you’ve got to stay here and take care of Alice. I don’t trust Mrs. Temble, and that new medicine the doctor prescribed for Alice isn’t doing her any good. Someone has to call and get him to change it again.”

            “I’ve already talked to Mrs. Tremble about it. Besides, there are ghosts

reputed to be in that house, and I know how to deal with them. If that house is as haunted as everyone now claims, I can be of help to you.”

            I sighed, studying her. I didn’t believe in ghosts despite my strange foreboding and she knew it. But she was nothing if not stubborn, and didn’t realize the physical hazards an decaying house like that could harbor. Not only could there by structural damage, there could be problems with one of the many homeless people that wandered on and off the trains. One of them could’ve decided the house was the perfect home and set up housekeeping.  While I’d never personally encountered danger of any kind, I’d heard plenty from my late husband, a homicide detective of Houston p.d. Crime was rampant all over and that included small towns. Thanks to the bustling tourist trade, Galveston had more than its share.   

            Sitting down beside her, I patted her little jean clad knees. “Be reasonable, Emily. I’m licensed to carry a gun. Rob made sure I knew how to protect myself. I’m not about to expose you to the possibility of danger.”

            Emily tossed her head, her white curls bobbing. “Very nice speech, dear, very well done. But I’m not impressed. It just so happens I can protect myself just fine. I too, have a gun. I’ve started carrying a specially ordered Glock 9 millimeter, semi-automatic which shoots off nine rounds without having to stop and reload. It fits perfectly into my purse.” She smiled proudly. “So you see? I’m as prepared as you are. Maybe even more so.”

            All prepared? A near-sighted, eighty-four-year-old carrying a gun which could blow an entire army contingent away with just one blast was being all prepared?

            “Where did you get a gun like that? I’m sure you don’t have a license for it. That’s a powerful weapon! Only cops should carry them, and even then, only when they’re on duty.”

            “I never said I was licensed. Only that I have it. I got it out of a gun catalogue at one of those mail order places. I bought it when Alice told me what she wanted you to do. I know better than you how dangerous that house is.” She leaned forward. “Oh, come on, Jessica. Let me come with you. I think I can shoot fairly straight with my glasses on. That’ll take care of any human intruders we encounter. Unfortunately though,” she lowered her voice, “I’m pretty sure we’ll be dialing mostly with the non-human kind over there, and that’s what worries me. If you’ll stop overreacting and calm down, you’ll realize I can be of help.”

            I studied her dear old wrinkled face. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But I had to stop her somehow. She was just too tiny, too frail to go through with the kind of search I was sure I’d have to conduct and I loved her too much to put her through it. “As much as I’d love the company, I can’t let you come, Emily! Think about it. It might be necessary to defend ourselves at a moment’s notice. And there might be holes in the stairs or floor or something. Don’t forget the power there’s been turned off. It’s going to be awfully hard to see anything with just my little flashlight. Not only that, there’s no running water to help you swallow your pills. And with this storm, it’s bound to be damp and chilly over there too.”

            Getting up, I shook my head. “So the answer is no. I love you too much to subject you to all the possible danger and discomfort.”

            Crossing her arms, Emily theatrically sighed. “Very well then. I’ll follow you in my own car. That way, technically, we won’t be going together and you  won’t be exposing me to danger. I’ll be doing it to myself.

            Shaking my head, I smiled ruefully, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Not only was Emily not licensed to carry a gun, she wasn’t licensed to drive either.  Her driving permit had expired years ago when she’d failed her eye test. Why couldn’t she realize I was trying to protect her? Bless her heart, her intentions were good. But I had bad feelings about this. Not concerning any ghosts, of course, but about the house itself. A lot of murders and unexplained accidents had taken place there. The building had an evil history, and there was an evil atmosphere around it. That’s why it was going to be torn down.

            But Emily was not about to be dissuaded. “I’ll wait outside in my own car, Jessica. That way I’ll be close by, just in case.”

            Staring into her mesmerizing large green eyes, I felt chilled to the bone. Emily had the eyes of an old soul, with so much knowledge revealed there, it was often painful to look at them, and I felt myself weakening. Am I being too practical, too overly protective? Will it hurt to have her come and wait outside? Surely, she’ll be safe in the broad daylight.

            “Oh, all right,” I sighed, quickly turning away, running my brush through my hair. “You can come but we’ll both go in my car. And you have to promise me you’ll stay in it.” I smiled at her. “Okay? Promise?”

            With her eyes shining with her eager enthusiasm, Emily made an X over her heart. “I promise.”

            I studied her, hoping I was doing the right thing. But a rumble of thunder shook the entire house, interrupting my thoughts. Quickly I checked the canvas bag I was taking. I had my old, sturdy red flashlight and two white candles and matches in case my flashlight didn’t work. And my new cell phone, which I’d charged the night before was in there, as well as tissues for the runny nose I’d be sure to have in an empty house loaded with dust. I had my two bottles of expensive, imported water, and also a credit card with my driver’s license, along with two twenty-dollar bills. And last but not least, I had the pack of metal lock tools my late husband had given me years ago in case I ever got locked out of my house or car.

            I sighed, thinking of what I was about to do. This time I wasn’t going to use the tools because I’d forgotten my key. This time, I was going to use them, God help me, for breaking and entering and which would have Rob spinning in his grave.

            Looks like we’re all set,” I said. “As soon as we get some coffee, we’ll hit the road. There’s no time breakfast, I’m afraid. I’d like to get this over with and be back here before the storm breaks much more if we can.”

            Emily glanced at her watch as we left my room, gently closing the door behind us. “Maybe we will. I’m sure Mrs. Tremble will be along shortly. At least I hope so. I told her six on the dot.”

            I nodded as I softly padded across the vase house to the kitchen in the back. As long as Emily stays in the car, she’ll be safe. She gave me her word she’d stay there.

But why, I wondered, wouldn’t the feeling of dread go away? It was so palpable, like

energy waves crashing over me again and again. Did its strength mean something bad was going to happen? But what? I’ve prepared for every eventuality.

            Helping myself to the ever-present pot of coffee Emily always kept at the ready, I sat down at the small wooden table. Maybe Mrs. Tremble won’t show up. What a godsend that’d be. It’d keep Emily, at least, out of the path of danger. She’s have to stay home if Mrs. Tremble didn’t come. She’d have to choice. No way would we leave my sick aunt all alone. Despite Emily’s promise she’d stay in the car, I had an uneasy feeling she wouldn’t. Sitting idly by while someone else was busily engaged in something she considered interesting wasn’t Emily’s style.

            Filling her large mug with coffee, she sat down beside me. “Before we go, I want you to promise me something,” she said. “I want you to trust your instincts. You have good hunches about things. Don’t ignore them.  But don’t get carried away either. Sometimes your imagination goes hog-wild. You can’t afford that right now. You must relax as much as you can, and think logically. Our thinking has ways of creating whatever we fear, so you mustn’t give into it.”

            My heart skipped a beat. “Meaning what? Exactly?”

            “I know you sense danger. I sense it too. That’s way I’m going with you. I sense a very powerful, intelligent force in that house. I know you and Alice don’t believe in ghosts. But I firmly believe that vision you had last night was a warning. It wasn’t a dream. And while you should take heed of it, don’t let the fear you felt while having it have power over you. If you believe the worst, Jessica, it will happen. But if you think pragmatically, if you calmly consider all your options today, you

have the ability to change your future.” She stared hard at me. “Use your innate ability. Promise me you will!”

            Shivering, I nodded, quickly taking a large swallow of my steaming coffee to ward off the chill of terror. She’d just unwittingly confirmed my worst fear. If she sensed danger, then it was real.

            Very gently, she took hold of my ice-cold hand with her freckled, bony one and squeezed it hard, staring me in the eye. “You’ve got strength in you, kiddo. You just don’t know it yet.” With a faraway look in her eyes, she turned and stared out the window in the direction of the Harding mansion. “I have the strongest feeling you’re going to be tested for all you’re worth today.”

            Getting up, she patted my shoulder. Then she quickly opened the back door for Mrs. Tremble who was loudly thumping up the stair

Posted by joyceanthony at 9:32 PM EDT
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Friday, 6 July 2007
Camille Claudel: A Novel -- A Review
Topic: Book Review

Camille Claudel: A Novel

Author:  Alma H. Bond

ISBN:  1-4241-1670-8


In a time when women were expected to stay home and stay quiet, Camille Claudel had the fortune--or misfortune--to be born with a talent for sculpting and the passion and will to throw aside convention and follow her heart.  She lived and loved with a passion unsurpassed, yet died alone, her spirit broken and penniless.
  Alma Bond has written Camille Claudel's story, using great psychological insight, in a way I believe Camille herself would have written it -- with great passion and emotion so rarely seen in today's literary works.

While Ms. Bond willingly admits she used her imagination to embellish the history and add to the facts, I can't help but feel her insight into the human psyche has allowed her to capture the feel of what really happened.

Bond has immense insight into not only the artistic mind, but also into the inner workings of a mindgone mad.  She has a way of infiltrating Camille Claudel's mind, wrapping herself around it and exposing it to her readers in a way that pulls them in and allows them to experience the emotion for themselves.

If you are seeking a light read, pass this one up.  If, however, you want a book in which you can immerse yourself, one that invokes emotion to the highest degree, pick up a copy of Camille Claudel: A Novel and be prepared for an experience you won't soon forget.

Posted by joyceanthony at 11:51 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Topic: First Chapter

For more information on "Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch" please visit Raven West's site at





            The mounting problem with guardianship and conservatorship is not new for those who have been victimized, yet it is only recently, with the media's attention on the Terri Schiavo case in 2005 that this financial and emotional abuse of our most vulnerable citizens has gained nationwide attention. Articles have been written in publications such as AARP magazine's "Stolen Lives" and published on Internet web sites "Justice For Florida Seniors", which is designed to "prevent guardianship abuse through education and action". A four part series in the Los Angeles Times became the impetus for California Assembly Bill 1363; Omnibus Conservatorship and Guardianship Reform Act of 2006. A March 22, 2006 episode of the television show Boston Legal featured a segment where a court appointed guardian was stealing from his ward. When the judge continued the case, the guardian told the attorney he would find his own attorney who would charge him $500 an hour and the money would come from the estate of the ward. This part is not fiction. (Hiring two thugs to beat up the guardian to force him to sign the release of his guardianship however was fiction) There are hundreds of horror stories of seniors who have been victimized from Florida to New York to California, but there are no happy endings. Until now.

            Magazine articles, media coverage and even new legislation are totally ineffective when the controlling forces of attorneys and judges dictate an individual's rights to their own liberty and property. In many cases the laws are as blind to the due process clause of the 14th amendment as the Statue of Justice is to the plight of the victims and their families. It takes extraordinary efforts of everyday heroes to help Lady Justice see, take notice and act.

            My mother always proclaimed the warning not to give your child the name of a bird because she'll spread her wings and fly away. What she should have said was not to name your child after an action hero, because she will have a life long propensity towards fighting for truth and justice. Notwithstanding the more derogatory inferences to "round Robin" and "Rockin' Robin", such is my curse having been named Robin. As a result, my aspirations were much more of the heroic breed of Robin Hood and Batman's partner.

            My history of fighting injustices took me into the political arena in Glendale, California when the city's redevelopment agency was forcing small business owners from their property through the power of Eminent Domain. In1988, I began a redistricting petition so that every resident, rich and poor, would have equal representation on the City Council.

            This compulsion led me to run for Thousand Oaks Board of Education to oppose a religious group's attempt to circulate abstinence materials in our public schools, which forced the school board to remove the brochures from the schools. When I reviewed my daughter's history textbooks, I worked with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League to remove the anti-Semitic texts from the High School. With no committee or any funds, I single handily defeated an overblown $110 million dollar school bond initiative. Twice.

            I accomplished these heroic feats while raising three daughters, running a retail store with my husband William, and publishing two novels under my pen name Raven West.

            A mid-life crises soon after my 50th birthday led me to enroll in Southern California Institute of Law, where I hoped to find a way to continue my education in an area that I felt would afford me the opportunity to continue my pursuit of justice in a more lucrative career. (Super heroes rarely received compensation for their endeavors). Yet, with all my experience fighting against the injustices of society, I was unaware of the true evil that was brewing within my very own family. An evil so insidious that it eventually cost my parents their home, their life savings, and nearly their lives.

            They say truth is stranger than fiction. As a writer of fiction, I can verify the truth of that platitude, because in my wildest imagination I could not have possibly created the story that became my own reality horror show. The list of villains and their accomplices rivals any comicbook character's nemesis. The battle was waged in a court of law and won by a daughter whose love for her father was stronger than steel. The is the true story of my incredible fight to rescue my father from the clutches of financial vampires comprising of my cousins, Attorneys Howard Raab, G. Mark Shalloway, and the guardian Lee Eakin and Neil Newstein of the Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Services of West Palm Beach, Florida.

            Our family owes a huge debt of gratitude to Elder Law Attorney Sheri L. Hazeline , an intelligent young woman who went up against a powerful law firm and beat them at their own game. If not for her advice and support, I am certain my father would be living in a Medicaid facility in Florida and all of our family's assets would have transferred into the bank accounts of Shalloway & Shalloway and the trust fund of Jewish Family Services.

             "Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch" is not only an interesting and informative account of how our family was able to defeat the Florida guardianship system, but will serve to help other families who feel helpless against a heartless probate court system. This book will alert our baby-boomer generation to the early signs of financial abuse and undue influence by relatives and caregivers and offer ways to protect their loved ones from the predators who use the legal process for their own gains. It is my hope that our story will offer help and support to those who have been victimized, so that no other family has to suffer the lose of their elderly parents and all they've worked their entire lives to accumulate to some nameless, heartless agency and their attorneys. My ultimate goal in writing this book is to expose the insidious web of legalized theft perpetuated by judges, attorneys and the national tragedy of a corrupt guardianship system. It this tragedy can happen to someone as well known and loved as Ruby Cohen of Cohen's Bakery in Ellenville New York, it can happen to anyone.

            The work of an action hero is never finished until evil is exposed and eradicated once and for all.



Chapter 1



My father, Ruby Cohen, owned and operated Cohen's Quality Bakery in Ellenville New York his entire adult life. During the 50's and 60's, the Catskills were the summer vacation destination for many Jewish families and no visit to Ellenville was complete without a stop in Cohen's Bakery, home of the "World Famous Raisin Pumpernickel". Everyone knew Ruby Cohen. He was as famous as any actor or politician and was regarded with respect and admiration by everyone who met him.[i]

            Dad was a charter member of Ellenville Elk's lodge 1971, founding president of the Ellenville Lions Club, among many charitable organizations. In 1997 he was honored as "Citizen of the Year." He was a wonderful father, husband, and a loving and kind grandfather to my three daughters: Tandy, Kimberly and Michelle. Ruby was a man anyone would have been proud to call their father, so much so that when my cousin's father passed away in 1968, "uncle" Ruby assumed the role of surrogate father.                                                  

            Their relationship became a constant tug-of-war that raged on throughout my adulthood, and increased once my two cousins Beverly and Diane moved to Los Angeles in 1984. Even though I knew we would never be the perfect extended family, never in my wildest imagination did I suspect they would conspire with other cousins to steal my father's entire life savings and try to permanently separate him from my mother.

            They say that blood is thicker than water, but you can't bath in it, wash clothes in it or water your lawn with it and blood tastes lousy with scotch.            

            I was working as an assistant editor at Healthy Living Magazine in Southern California in the spring of 2002 when I received a phone call from my mother informing me that my father had suffered a minor stroke while working at the bakery.  I asked her if she needed me to go to New York, but she told me she was handling things and that dad was fine. The stroke did little damage to his ability to function physically, but his memory and mental faculties were severely impaired, although at the time, none of us knew the extent of the injury or what his demented state would eventually cost our family.  

            The stroke forced dad to sell our family business. After over eighty years "Cohen's Bakery" would no longer be owned by a Cohen. I flew to New York in May of 2003 to attend the New York State Elks convention with my dad. I could immediately see the effects the stroke had on his ability to function in a normal fashion and although mom was trying to maintain a positive attitude, I could tell dad's deteriorating health was taking a toll on her as well. Mom told me she had received phone calls from the local police telling her that dad had been found wandering through town and she needed to pick him up. Believing he still owned the bakery, he would stop in and occupy his former office chair, and the police needed to be called to drive him home. On more than one occasion, dad stole the car keys and drove off, not telling anyone where he was going and usually ending up at the American Legion bar. I was amazed that my 79 year old mother was holding up as well as she appeared to be. Having volunteered for years with the Ellenville First Aid and Rescue Squad, she had knowledge of basic first aid and knew every emergency personal at the local hospital by name. Mom's ability to take care of my dad in his condition was truly amazing.

             In November, my three daughters and I flew to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents. Dad was his usual jovial self, but complained that he felt like a prisoner because his doctor told him he shouldn't drive or drink alcohol and my mother was doing her best to ensure he followed his doctor's orders. In spite of what his doctor had told him, dad insisted on having a few shots of scotch and eating the pumpkin pie dessert. After dinner he became dizzy and passed out in the bathroom. He was rushed to the hospital with dangerously high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The doctors were able to stabilize his vitals so that we were able to take him home that night.  Dad insisted he had the flu, and he'd soon be back to "normal" and would be out to California to attend Michelle's high school graduation in June. My mother said there was no way he would be able to make the trip in his condition, although we all hoped she was wrong. 

            When I phoned my mother a few weeks later, she told me of her concern that dad was receiving a number of phone calls from my cousin Gail Lerner who lived in Florida. Gail was never very close to our family and there had always been animosity between her and my mother for reasons neither of us knew or understood. Mom tried to tell Gail that dad wasn't strong enough to travel alone. He was having problems with his memory, sometimes forgetting to take his medication and worse, forgetting where the bathroom was when he needed to use it, but Gail only argued with her, causing their animosity to escalate. Mom's warnings began to re-ignite the friction between her and Gail. Their conversations became increasingly hostile, upsetting my mother, so she stopped talking to her.

             On a chilly end-of-winter day in March 2004 I received a frantic phone call from my mother that dad had packed a suitcase and told her he was going to Florida. Normally this was not an unusual occurrence. Dad would often vacation for a few weeks in warmer climate with his family while mom would stay home with her friends and social engagements. But unlike previous vacations, dad's health was a major issue. Mom was very concerned about his plans to have someone drive him to the airport in Newburgh, and his ability to change planes in Atlanta and arrive safely in Fort Lauderdale. I spoke to dad about our concerns and maybe it was a daughter's unrealistic denial of reality that I believed him when he told me he was fine and "not to worry."

            I asked him if he was staying with Gail, but he didn't confirm or deny where he was staying in Florida, only that he was only going for a few weeks, until the weather warmed up back home, and he'd be back in New York in time for the 2004 New York State Elks convention in May, that I had planned on attending with him.

            In spite of my mother's best effort s to talk sense into my father, dad phoned a friend to drive him to the airport and headed out the door. Although mom desperately didn't want him to leave, there wasn't anything a ninety-five pound, seventy-nine-year-old woman could physically do to stop him. We could not have possibly imagined that this one "small step" dad took that day would alter the course of the lives of my family forever, plunging all of us into a two year long nightmare.

            A few days after dad arrived in Florida, I called Gail to see how things were going, and to talk to dad. Gail told me he was out to lunch with friends and would call me when he returned. Three days later, I called again. Gail told me that dad was resting, but he'd call me as soon as he was awake. I never received a phone call, but with a three hour time difference between California and New York I didn't think there was anything that unusual at first about my not being able to call at a convenient time. I began to be concerned when my daughter Tandy called from Oklahoma and told me that she had also been unable to speak to her grandfather, and Tulsa was only a one-hour time difference. She told me whenever she called Gail, she was told dad was always either sleeping or out with friends and messages for him to return her calls went unanswered.

            March 19, 2004, nine days after dad left New York I received an email from Gail[ii]. Suddenly, this was no longer a two-week vacation. I had no idea who Henry and Sheri Solomon were, or what a Geriatric Care Manager was, or why my father would be looking for an "apartment" in Florida when, as far as I knew, he was planning on returning to Ellenville.

            I emailed a reply and tried to phone her, but the phone went directly to her voice mail. I left several messages trying to get in touch with my father and get some clarification as to what was going on, but never received a reply. Meanwhile, my mother was alone in New York, unable to eat, losing weight and literally worried sick about where her husband was.

            I kept trying to call, but no one would answer until about a week later when, by some miracle, my father answered the phone. I asked him about the email and the apartment and asked him what his plans were. His voice was so cold and distant. "I'm leaving New York, and never going back."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. This didn't sound like my dad. I felt the muscles in my stomach tighten, the first subconscious warning sighs of the dangers to come.

            "What are you talking about? Did you tell mom?"

            "I haven't talked to your mother. She hasn't called me since I got here. All she cares about is the money. Don't call me anymore."

            The phone went dead.

            I immediately hit the speed redial button, but no one answered. The next call was to my mother, who was crying so hysterically she could barely speak.

            "The bank just called. Your father tried to cash a check for $50,000.00."

            "You're kidding!" I replied. "Do you have that much in your checking account?"

            "Of course not. He knows that. The amount was crossed out and the correction wasn't initialed, and I don't think the handwriting on the date is his [iii]. Your father needs to come home, he doesn't know what he's doing."

            I should have left my job, quit law school and been on the next plane to Florida, but since I'd already made plans to go to New York in May, I didn't believe there was any reason to leave early. Mom told me she closed out all of their joint accounts, putting everything in her name to protect herself from future surprises, and she sounded as if she were handling the situation quite well. We both expected dad would be coming back to Ellenville, but found out that my cousin had other plans.

            A few days later my mother faxed me a copy of one of my father's IRA accounts, notifying us that the beneficiaries had been changed from my three daughters, to my four cousins; Beverly Cohen Scotti, Diane Cohen, Roberta Grundt and Gail Lerner [iv]. It was obvious in spite of my cousin's claims not to have known what Gail was doing, there wasn't anyway for her to fill in their exact month, day and year of their birth unless she had contacted them for the information. According to our financial advisor, this change should have never taken place without my mother's signature, which obviously, she never would have given had she known what Gail was doing.

I was furious. I knew my father would never take money from his only grandchildren, especially with Michelle, the youngest, graduating high school that year. Over the years dad had made many investments for his granddaughter's education. Even though they never asked or expected financial support, their relationship was tantamount throughout their lives. Both my parents attended all the special occasions in my daughter's lives, from the day they were born, each of their Bat Mitzvahs, Tandy and Kimberly's high school graduation and our yearly visits to New York were the highlight of my father's life. I knew there was no way he would have cut them out of any financial support and definitely would not have given it to his adult nieces. Someone was manipulating him, and I knew exactly who that was. Unfortunately, I had no idea at the time what lengths Gail was willing to go to keep my father from his family, until I received another frantic phone call from my mother.

            Mom received a notice that her power of attorney was revoked. It was signed by my father and witnessed by my cousin and someone by the name of Frank, whom I later learned was Gail's boyfriend[v].  The form was dated April 14, 2004. In just over one month, Gail had managed to find an attorney and gain control over my father and his entire estate. The paper listed dad's new address. I looked the address up on the Internet and found the location was Newport Place retirement home in Boynton Beach. I immediately phoned the facility, asked to speak to Ruby Cohen and was told by the receptionist that Mr. Cohen was not to receive any phone calls by order of his power of attorney. I told the woman I was his daughter and I wanted to speak to my father, but she refused to connect my call.

            I called mom and tried to reassure her that I would take care of everything, but at that time it was an empty promise. I had absolutely no idea how or what I could do from 3000 miles away with Gail now holding my father's power of attorney and her having full access to influence him to agree to do anything she told him. What was so heartbreaking to our family was that my daughters, who had always been so close to their grandfather, had lost all communication with him and I was helpless to do anything to rectify the situation.

            Hoping to find some help, I phoned my cousin Beverly, who lived a few miles from me. She was very cold, saying she didn't want to get involved since it didn't have anything to do with her. I then tried to contact my cousins Bob and Norman Feldner from my father's late sister Jean, but they refused to listen to my cries for help. It became obvious that everyone of my father's family was siding with Gail for reasons I could not understand. In the past, I would always invite my cousins to our family's events, but they would only attend when my father was visiting. In June of 2000 I held a graduation party at my home for my daughter Tandy. Beverly and Diane took the opportunity to present dad with a father's day present, right in front of my guests, which led to many uncomfortable questions. Whenever my parents would come to California, my cousins would invite my father to visit them in Palm Springs, party on their yacht, attend their children's weddings, and many other charity events. My mother and I were never included in their invitation. When Beverly was married, I suggested she ask dad to walk her down the aisle. She thought it was a wonderful idea and he agreed. Neither my mother nor myself were invited. Beverly said it was a "small family wedding", so, I wasn't that surprised when Beverly responded the way she had, but I never expected that all of my cousins would conspire to such incredible lengths to try to take my father away from my mother and me, and worse, his grandchildren. But they never expected the lengths I would go to in order to prevent them from succeeding.

            The gauntlet had been thrown, the battle had begun and it was going to be a long and bloody war before it was over. With no siblings, no other family members on my side, my mother in New York, my father in Florida, I was facing my very own Bermuda Triangle. And I was facing it "relatively" alone.


[i]  Cohen's Bakery and Ruby Cohen

[ii]  Email from Gail

[iii] $50,000.000 check

[iv]  Notice of change in beneficiaries from America Funds

[v] Revocation of mom's power of attorney

Posted by joyceanthony at 8:21 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 10 July 2007 1:20 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Hunted by Jamieson Wolf--a Review
Topic: Book Review

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This concept comes to life in Hunted, a novel written by Jamieson Wolf.

I was drawn into this story completely from the first page and it didn't loosen its grip until well after I turned the last one. Mr. Wolf has woven a haunting psychological thriller of the highest caliber.

His winning style draws you into the life of ex-soap opera star, Susan Halliway. Someone is stalking Susan and leaving her "gifts" of dead girls. Susan needs to find out who before more innocent children die.

Is the culprit Susan's friend Erin, who wrote the original storyline the stalker is following? Is it Susan's ex-lover, Derrick, who still yearns for her touch after all this time?

Follow this trio, taste Susan's terror--and in the end, even the most seasoned thriller reader will be shocked at who--or what--lies behind the terror.

For more information on Hunted, visit Jamieson Wolf at:

Posted by joyceanthony at 3:19 AM EDT
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Monday, 18 June 2007

I have been tagged by Cheryl Malandrinos to come up with eight unique things about me that others may not know. So here goes....

1.  The very first book I remember reading is Opalina by Peggy Bacon.  I must have read the book at least thirty times and would love to find a copy now to share with my son.

2.  My first short story is still sitting in a folder having never been shared with anyone.  The MC is named Adil and he's sixteen years old and fighting in a war.

3.  I never saw a television program until I was ten years old--it was on a black and white television and was Clambake, starring Elvis Presley.

4.  The very first song I learned all the words to was Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell.

5.  I have petted a lion.  There was a very old one at our local zoo when I was little.  He had lost all his teeth and he would allow visitors to reach out and pet him.  It was an amazing experience.

6.  I got my first job at the age of ten (a paper route) and worked at one job or another from then  until I was 36 and had to go on disability.  Of all the jobs I held, the receptionist for the casket convention was the most interesting.

7.  My favorite way to lift my mood is to put on Carman's R.I.O.T. as loud as I can and dance.

8.  I still have the original Bible that was given to me when I was seven years old.  It has the plain black cover and was given to me by my grandmother's next door neighbor, Helen Bowles.

Posted by joyceanthony at 1:34 AM EDT
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