To find out who has ben awarded the very first Rainbow Award of Writing Excellence, please visit:
The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. My mother was apparently so nervous she barely slept the entire time she was in the hospital, fearing her fair-skinned, blue-eyed newborn would be switched with another baby. When my paternal grandfather, an observant Jew, came to see his newest granddaughter in the hospital, he was so uncertain of how to behave around the kindly nuns that he tipped his yarmulke to them each time one passed. It was in this haze of paranoia and neuroses, as well as black humor, that ....
(Continuing reading at http://joyce-anthony.blogspot.com/ )
Hi Everyone!!! I am officially out of space here, but have moved house and invite you all to please visit Books and Author's new home at:
I have a wonderful guest (okay-two actually) today and they would love to have you stop by, leave a comment, get a chance at wining a prize--oh, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the new blog (Please be kind-it isn't finished yet!!)
Format: Paperback 288 pages
Date of publication: 11/16/2007
Publisher: Pentagon Books
"It" is an invention that is highly valued by everyone and his brother and the race is on to see who will be victorious in finding the invention. David Snowdon has written an espionage novel that takes the reader on an international trip to locate a secret invention that was created by a genius and disappeared when he died. Will Special Agent, Jason Clay be able to get the formula before it falls into the wrong hands?
David Snowdon has created a storyline and cast of characters that will have you guessing about what comes next throughout the entire book. The plot takes so many unexpected twists and turns, the reader remains intrigued to the very end of the book.
I personally found myself slightly annoyed at the amount of detail used, as I enjoy creating a lot of the visuals in my own mind. Others may find the descriptions of clothing, background music and meal details an enhancing aspect of the book. In spite of this, however, I found myself intrigued by what was happening and was able to overlook much of the detail and concentrate on the story.
Snowdon has the ability to create believable characters and has most certainly taken time to research the settings within his book. I felt as though I was listening in from a corner table as I read. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone seeking an international spy thriller to fill a couple afternoons. Be prepared for surprises at every turn of the page.
On the Rainbow Scale of Excellence, The Mind of a Genius by David Snowdon rates four colors.
Last month, we visited with British author, David Snowdon. Today, I am giving you a taste of his book, The Mind of a Genius :-) Enjoy
For more information visit www.the-mind-of-a-genius.com
The phone began to ring and freelance MI4 agent, Jason Clay reluctantly disengaged himself from the girl he was kissing and reached for the phone.
“Hello,” he said, grabbing the receiver.
“Is that Clay?” said the voice at the other end.
It was a posh, home county voice and Clay thought it sounded vaguely familiar. But at that very moment, he couldn’t place it.
“It is,” he said frowning. “You sound familiar, who’s that?” Clay spoke with a mildly posh London accent.
“You’ve got a poor memory. It’s Colin Shooter.” Clay smiled.
Shooter was the assistant head of the MI4 and he knew that Shooter never called him just to say hello. Whenever Shooter called, there was always a reason, and a very good reason at that.
“Hello you,” said Clay cheerfully.
He was grinning now, and the girl sitting beside him on the sofa, a tall, slim blonde with lovely blue eyes, and who was about 24-years of age, was staring at him, a curious expression in her eyes.
“Long time, no see.”
“Listen, Clay,” said Shooter, “I’ve got something that might wet your appetite. “You haven’t got anything on, have you?”
“Only the shirt on me back,” said Clay smiling. “And that’s coming off very soon.” The girl chuckled.
Just like the girl sitting beside him on the sofa, Clay was tall, slim and Handsome with blonde hair, and lovely blue eyes. He was 34-years-old and had a smile that made the girls go wild. All he had to do was smile and within minutes, they’d be telling him the story of their life.
Tonight, he was wearing a white silk shirt and a pair of white cotton trousers.
“I’ve got something that’s right up your alley,” said Shooter. “This one’s irresistible. You’ll love it.”
“Will I?” said Clay jokingly, wondering what it was, and what was in it for him.
“I know you will,” said Shooter, at the other end of the line.
“You know my terms, don’t you?” said Clay, smiling. “I won’t even contemplate getting out of bed for anything less than ten thousand a day.”
“You’d be lucky to get half of that for this one,” said Shooter. “But come and see me tomorrow morning in my office at ten, and we’ll talk business, okay?”
Clay continued to smile. “Ten thousand a day plus expenses or no deal.”
“I’ll see you in my office at ten sharp tomorrow,” said Shooter. “And don’t be late.” And the line went dead.
“That guy,” said Clay, dropping the receiver, shaking his head and turning sideways to stare at the girl sitting beside him. “He drives a hard bargain, but he’s all right.” The girl smiled invitingly, but didn’t say anything.
“Now where were we?” said Clay smiling, as they started to kiss passionately, again.
The time was now 20.47 and they were sitting on a beige leather sofa in Clay’s spacious, luxurious living-room. The TV was on, but the volume had been turned down low. As they continued to kiss, they could hear it raining hard outside, and there was the occasional rumble of thunder. But that didn’t bother them, as they were now in paradise.
At 10.00am the following day, Colin Shooter sat in a conference room, at a conference table, in the MI4 head office in Vauxhall, overlooking the River Thames and worked on his laptop.
At 56, Shooter was tall, well-built, and had light brown hair. He was an ex-banker.
Today, he wore a brown suit, a yellow shirt and a brown tie.
Also in the room, sitting around the conference table was Special Agent, Paul Hudson and Special Agent, Janet Bond.
Hudson was 38, tall, dark and lean with handsome features and dark brown curly hair.
He wore a well-cut, navy blue Italian Suit, a white shirt and a black and blue stripped tie. He was an ex-solicitor, and a very good one, and it was his track record more than anything else that had impressed the M14 into employing him.
Janet Bond was 32, 5-foot-7, slim with a nice curvy figure, and blonde with blue eyes, and Scandinavian features.
She was a beauty, but she was also very intelligent. And it was the combination of beauty and brains that had attracted Shooter to her.
The phone started to ring, and Shooter snatched the receiver.
“Colin Shooter,” he said, speaking into the receiver.
“Mr Shooter, I have Mr Jason Clay here to see you.” The receptionist’s voice came clearly through the receiver.
“Give him a cup of tea,” said Shooter. “I’ll let you know when we’re ready to see him.”
“No worries,” said the receptionist.
And Shooter put the phone down. As he put the phone down, he continued to work on his laptop, and both Hudson and Bond sat in silence, with a blank expressions on their faces. They knew that whatever Shooter was doing on his laptop had to be vital, as Shooter was always very punctual.
Ten minutes later, Shooter finished working on his laptop and reached for the receiver.
“Send him in,” he said, when he got through to the receptionist. And he put the receiver down.
Three minutes later, there came a knock on the door.
“Come in,” said Shooter.
The door slid open and Clay wandered into the room. He wore a beige coloured suit, a beige coloured shirt and a red tie. He was looking very smart and there was a cheeky smile on his face, as he wandered into the room, and walked towards the conference table.
“Morning, all,” he said, aware that everyone was watching him.
The others returned his greeting.
“Take a seat,” said Shooter, waving him to a chair.
Clay moved towards the chair and sat on it.
“Thanks for coming,” said Shooter. “This one’s a beauty and you’re gonna love it.”
“That remains to be seen,” said Clay, smiling at him. “Let’s have the details and we’ll take it from there.”
Shooter stared at Clay.
He didn’t like Clay’s cocky attitude. Come to think of it, he wasn’t too fond of Clay. But Clay had his uses.
“Malcolm Prince, the scientist, remember him?”
Clay thought for a moment, then he remembered.
“He died a few months ago, didn’t he?”
Shooter nodded. “And that’s why you’re here.”
“Come off it,” said Clay, his smile turning into a grin as he looked from Shooter to Hudson, from Hudson to Bond and from Bond back to Shooter.
“I didn’t kill him. You’ve got the wrong guy.”
“I wouldn’t put it past you,” said Shooter, smiling at Clay. “You’d do anything for money, wouldn’t you? But if you’ve got your facts right, you’ll know that Prince died of a heart attack.”
“I could have told you that,” said Clay, smiling at him.
Shooter continued to talk. “Malcolm Prince was one of the finest scientist in the world. And at the time of his death, he had just completed a major project; a project that could change the world; a project that could benefit the world.” There was a pause, then Shooter continued to talk.
“We don’t know what the project was about. It was a well-kept secret, but we do know that the project was completed shortly before he died. Shortly before he died, he was on the verge of revealing the project to the world. But now he’s dead, and nobody really knows what that project was based on.”
“That’s sad,” said Clay.
Shooter continued to talk. “We’d like you to try and find out what that project was about.”
“And how do you expect me to do that?” said Clay, changing his position on his chair. Shooter smiled at him.
“Prince has a very lovely wife, and rumour has it that he was very fond of her. We have a feeling that she might have some vital information. Your task is to seduce her and to find out what that project was about.”
Clay gaped at him. “I thought you said I was gonna to love it.”
“You’re a very impatient man,” said Shooter, smiling at Clay.
He was thoroughly enjoying himself. “Patience is a virtue, Clay. Agent Bond has a present for you.”
Special Agent, Janet Bond produce an envelope and slid it across the table towards Clay. Clay opened the envelope, removed a glossy photograph and stared at it.
A beautiful, middle-aged, blonde woman with blue, friendly eyes, wearing a navy blue shirt stared at him.
Clay studied the woman in the picture and a wave of excitement swept through him.
The woman in the photograph looked classy, exciting and sexy. A combination that Clay considered to be irresistible. Shooter was right. He had a feeling that he was going to love this assignment. Here was an opportunity to have a good time, and at the same time, to make some decent money.
Clay smiled as he studied the photograph. It was a passport photo that had been enlarged into a 6 x 4 photograph.
Shooter and the others watched him, as he studied the photograph, and Shooter had a feeling that Clay was hooked.
“Nice girl,” said Clay, dropping the photograph on the table in front of him and smiling at Shooter.
“Laura Prince,” said Janet Bond. “45-years-old, 36-26-36 and an ex-secretary. She has a penchant for handsome toy boys. Had a few lovers when Prince was alive, but isn’t seeing anyone at present.”
“Very nice,” said Clay smiling and looking around the table.
“I told you,” said Shooter. “I wouldn’t lie to you.”
“But what makes you think she gonna fall for me?” said Clay.
“You fit the bill perfectly,” said Hudson, in his posh accent “You have a way with women. You can charm the birds out a tree. We’re sure you can swing it.”
“I can try,” said Clay. “But I can’t guarantee success.”
“That’s good enough for me,” said Shooter. “We don’t know for sure if she knows anything. She may be none the wiser, but all we can do is try.”
“That’s fine,” said Clay. “Ten thousand a day plus expenses, and I’ll see what I can do.”
“I don’t think so,” said Shooter, shaking his head. There was a crafty, little smile on his face. “Five thousand a day plus expenses, and you can take it or leave.”
Clay smiled at him.
“I’ve got a feeling we’re wasting each others time. Ten thousand a day plus expenses, or you can get someone else to do it.”
Shooter stared at him.
There were other agents that he could use, and who would work out a lot cheaper than Clay. But he realized that if anyone could pull this one off, it was Clay. And this assignment was far too vital to be bungled.
“Seven thousand a day plus expenses. Not a penny more, not a penny less. And that’s my final offer.”
“Done,” said Clay.
“Money, that’s all you ever think about, isn’t it?” said Shooter.
“What else is there to think about?” said Clay, smiling at him. “Moneymakes the world go round. And where would we be without it.”
“Sometimes I wonder why we pay you so much money,” said Shooter resentfully. We’re wasting hard-earned taxpayers money on you.”
“I’m value for money and you know it,” said Clay with his cheekysmile.
“I can get three good agents for what I’m paying you,” said Shooter.
“That’s three for the price of one. But you’re one of my best guys, and I’ve got a soft spot for you.”
“Come off it,” said Clay jokingly. “You haven’t got a soft spot for yourown mother, let alone a guy like me.”
Shooter smiled at him, but this time the smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“Watch what you say, Clay. You shouldn’t speak about anyone’s mother like that.”
They regarded each other for a moment, then Shooter continued to talk.
“An advance payment of £70,000 will be paid into you’re account. Spendit wisely. Agent Bond will give you all the necessary details.”
“Cool,” said Clay, grinning at Shooter.
Money was very essential to him and he never got tired of talking about it. The more money he could lay his hands on, the better.
“Has Prince got any other relatives that you know of?”
“He’s got a grown up daughter and a grown up son from a previous marriage,” said Hudson.
“I hope so,” said Clay, looking down at Laura Prince’s photograph. “Hewas old enough to be this chick’s father.”
“She was his second wife,” said Hudson.
Clay regarded Hudson.
He had been so busy concentrating on Shooter that there had been times when he had forgotten that Hudson was also in the room.
“Can’t Pretty boy, Hudson handle this job?”
“I haven’t got your knack with women,” said Hudson, smiling at Clay.
“You’re tailor-made for the job.”
Agent Janet Bond smiled.
“And why is Agent Bond smiling?” said Clay teasingly.
Janet Bond lost her smile and stared at him. There was something about Clay that she didn’t like.
“I wasn’t smiling at you.”
What a chick, thought Clay giving her his dazzling smile. She reminded him of the girl that he had spent the night with. They both had blonde hair and blue eyes, but Bond was undoubtedly the better looking of the two.
“One of these days, we’ll go for a curry.”
“I don’t like curries and I don’t like you,” said Janet Bond.
“One of these days, you’re gonna love me,” said Clay teasingly.
Bond’s eyes flashed angrily.
“One of these days, Clay, I’m gonna…”
She suddenly stopped without finishing her sentence, aware that Shooter was watching her with interest. She would have loved to have given Claya piece of her mind. She would have loved to have told him exactly what she thought of him. But she didn’t want to lose her composure in front of her boss.
“Enough of that,” said Shooter, sensing it was time that he intervened.
“Now Agent Bond will give you the details.”
Special Agent, Janet Bond regained her composure and started to talk in her posh accent.
Ruth Hartman the person:
What three words do you think describe you as a human being?
Kind, funny, empathetic
How do you think others would describe you?
Sweet, funny, a good listener
Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.
My husband, Garry. We've been married over 26 years, and he's my best friend.
Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.
We have two cats. Both are rescued strays. Maxwell, a grey, chubby male, is almost three years old. Roxy, a jet-black female, is nearly two years old. They love each other, and (usually) play well together. When they start grooming each other, we tell them to "get a room!"
What is your most precious memory?
My wedding. It was perfect. Not only did I get to marry the love of my life, Garry, but my dad is a minister, so he performed the ceremony.
What is your most embarrassing memory?
When Garry and I were dating, we were playing Frisbee at a picnic. He threw the Frisbee, I ran after it, backwards, and plowed into a picnic table full of people. I flew over the table, landed on a chair, broke the chair, and broke my toe. (I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to know that my nickname is "Grace.")
If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?
Actually, I'm also a dental hygienist two days a week. If it weren't for that and writing, I'd probably be a veterinarian.
In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.
Ruth Hartman loved her family, friends, and God. She loved to laugh. She loved to make others laugh. We will miss her loving spirit terribly, but she is now at peace with her heavenly Father.
Ruth Hartman the writer:
Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?
That happened last November, when "My Life in Mental Chains" was published. That's when I knew. It still hasn't completely sunk in yet, though. When someone tells me they've read it, it hits me again that I'm actually a writer.
What is going on with your writing these days?
I'm waiting on my complimentary copy of a short story I had published in I Love Cats magazine. A couple of days ago, I had an article accepted to You & Me magazine. I'm thrilled about those! It's funny, though, my first writing love is fiction, and I haven't had any of that accepted anywhere yet;
What are your future goals for your writing?
I've written several children's stories. I'd love to get some of them published. Also, I've completed a 25,000 word novelette, that I've submitted to a publisher. I'm still waiting to hear back from that.
Can you describe a typical writing day for you?
Since I work part -time in a dental office, I usually don't have entire days to write. If I'm off work, I'll write in between errands, laundry, and cleaning the house. If I'm really into something, though, my OCD kicks in and I can sit at my laptop for an entire evening at a time.
Why do you write?
I find that if I go too long without being creative, I get a little cranky. I need that self-expression. Sometimes, I like to paint, but I'm finding I get so much more satisfaction from writing.
What writer most inspires you? Why?
I love Mary Higgins Clark. I love her mysteries. I've never tried writing a mystery. I'm not sure my mind works that way. But I love to read them!
How do you define your writing?
My writing so far, is a mix of memoir, humor, and romance. In all of these forms, my favorite thing to do is write short, quirky conversations between two people who know each other very well.
In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?
Ruth's writing made me laugh, and feel good about myself.
Ruth Hartman the details:
Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?
I have a website at www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com
Is there a place where readers can reach you?
My e-mail is RGHartman@aol.com
Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
My only book so far is "My Life in Mental Chains". The short story in I Love Cats is titled "A Tale of No Tail." The article in You & Me magazine, which should be on their e-zine in early summer, is "Help From Unexpected Places."
For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
"My Life in Mental Chains" is my true-life story about my daily struggle with severe OCD. Readers will take the journey with me, as I take them through my thoughts and actions during OCD episodes. Also, I talk quite a bit about how I was treated, and my reactions to the ones who treated me cruelly.
Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?
I feel so blessed to have had this book, my first, published so quickly. I also owe a debt of gratitude to the ladies on our Premium Green (through WOW! Women on Writing) discussion board. Their support and advice is so valuable to me.
"My Life in Mental Chains" has been cathartic for me. During the writing of my story, I've come to realize just how amazing life can be. When I look back to how I was then, I never dreamed that I would ever be able to live a normal life again, much less write a book about it.
But even more meaningful than how it makes me feel, is how humbled I am to know that what I've written helps others with similar problems. That's what makes writing real for me. That's what keeps it alive. As long as I can help someone, or make them laugh at something humorous I've written, then my dream as a writer has come true.
A Review of My Life in Mental Chains
Many of us have obsessions or compulsions in our lives, little quirks that, while not "normal" , don't interfere with our daily lives. These "quirks" can be simply that, or signs of minor OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). This is a disorder that comes in degrees--from minor one area obsession, to debilitating thoughts and actions that make daily life impossible.
What would happen, if one day you woke up and one of your little "quirks" had suddenly taken on a life of its own-occupying every moment and making it impossible to think of anything else? What happens when you physically can't stop your thoughts and actions-even though you know somewhere inside it makes no sense?
This is what happened to Ruth Hartman. One day she started cleaning and couldn't stop--nothing seemed clean enough. She worried constantly about germs. Her daily life became one constant worry about catching something harmful or being the cause of someone else catching something.
Ruth Hartman describes the thoughts and feelings she experienced. She draws you in so that you can gain a rare glimpse into the thought process involved in OCD. As you follow her journey to find answers and learn to live a life, while not free of the disorder, at least to where her life was not totally consumed by it. You will cry with Ruth-and celebrate her victories. This book is a true inspiration to anyone who has ever experienced OCD--and to anyone who has loved someone who suffers from the disorder.
On the Rainbow Scale of Excellence, My Life in Mental Chains earns a perfect rainbow of seven colors.
Today and tomorrow, I am honored to be sharing with you information (and a fabulous interview with) author, Ruth Hartman. Today, let's take a look at who Ruth is and what she's written-tomorrow, please return for the interview and my review of her book, My Life in Mental Chains. (**Please also see note after the post**)
Ruth J. Hartman was once "normal." She perceived the world around her as any other person would-until she turned 27. That's when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) dug in its claws and refused to let her go. Her world (and her family's) was turned inside out.
Working as a dental hygienist was difficult enough, but trying to balance her work life with the challenges of OCD was overwhelming. Ruth's family, friends, and co-workers didn't understand why she suddenly acted so bizarre. She wanted to help them understand, but she couldn't. She didn't understand it herself.
My Life in Mental Chains is moving and tragic, yet in the end, it's an uplifting story of personal faith and inner strength. Ruth's insight will be a great comfort to OCD sufferers, their families, and their friends.
Ruth graduated from the Indiana University School of Dentistry with a degree in Science/Dental Hygiene. Her interest in writing, which began in high school, led her to earn her diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature in "Writing for Children and Teenagers."
She lives in rural Indiana with her husband and two cats.
My Life in Mental Chains by Ruth J. Hartman
Published by Pipers' Ash Ltd., $13.00
Publication Date: November 1, 2008
Non-Fiction, True-Life Story Chapbook
Note: For those looking for the second part of the feature with Vivian Zabel, I have not forgotten--She is to return on February 20th, and I have been working on a very special surprise contest for everyone--so please mark your calendars! I guarantee you won't want o miss this one!