Monday, April 28, 2008

My Own Kind of Freedom: A Firefly Novel By Steven Brust

I'm a big Firefly fan, so this week (for no particular reason), I'm highlighting the very cool free novel by Steven Brust, My Own Kind of Freedom.

Since it's published under Common license, there's not fancy cover and very little advertising except through the fan net. I found this summary on Serenity Stuff:

While transporting cut maple to Hera, Mal realizes he’s not quite himself; asking Wash dumb questions, being nice to Jayne. Clearly something is up. Could be because Inara’s gone, could be because this job is taking them back to where he led the fight in the last, losing battle of the war, could be something else. But he’s distracted and jumpy. Zoe is edgy because Mal’s jumpy. Kaylee is worried because of Mal and Zoe. Jayne is impatient to get some time for himself to get drunk and sexed. And River is hearing from ghosts, some more solid than others…

Thursday, I'll post my review. In the meantime, if you're a Firefly fan, you can get the novel here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Interview With Don Miles

Author Bio:
Don Miles has been News Director for radio stations in New York City, (WPAT,) Connecticut, Florida, Nebraska and finally Texas. He has won “Best Newscast” award from the Nebraska A.P. Broadcasters and his news teams in Florida and Nebraska have won numerous statewide awards. Don has served on the Board of Directors for Florida’s AP Broadcasters and has judged broadcast news contests for UPI Rhode Island. Don has taught at the Universities of Florida and Nebraska, at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and at elementary schools in New York, Connecticut, and Texas.
He is the author of two books in the field of broadcast news, (Broadcast News Handbook and Broadcast Newswriting Stylebook.) He has a Bachelors in Education from State University of New York and a Masters in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida.

Don’s inspiration for the book came mainly from his late wife, Dr. Minerva González-Angulo Miles. Minerva grew up in the neighborhood at the base of Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City, where the Emperor Maximilian’s castle still stands. She would often visit the castle and view the portrait of the emperor and empress whose story is featured in this book.

Don and Minerva traveled extensively throughout Mexico, and over the past few years visited many libraries and bookstores there in the research for this book. They also spent many hours in the stacks at the Benson Latin American Library at the University of Texas in Austin, which is widely recognized as the premier source for information on this topic. They also paid several visits to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to photocopy various U.S. government documents pertaining to the Mexican situation during the 1860’s.

Don wrote and produced plays and slide shows about Cinco de Mayo for elementary students, teachers and parents.

Why did you write this book? To dispel misunderstandings about the real meaning of Cinco de Mayo.
What was your favorite part of writing this book? Researching & writing it.
What was most difficult? The two years spent trying to sell the manuscript.
What is the one thing you’d like folks to know about this book or your work? I’d like them to know the real meaning of Cinco de Mayo, especially since it influenced the history of the US & Texas.
What’s next for you? A Spanish translation of the book

Cinco de Mayo: What's Everybody Celebrating? by Don Miles

Under the orders of French Emperor Napoleon III, French troops arrive in Mexico in 1861 with a dual purpose: to conquer Mexico and to help the Confederacy win its war against the United States. As President Benito Juárez suspends payment of Mexico’s foreign debts, the French drop their façade of debt negotiations and head for Puebla, where they are soundly defeated in their attempt to capture the city.

The French withdraw from their stunning setback and spend the summer of 1862 nursing their wounds and awaiting reinforcements in Orizaba. This gives the Mexicans ample time to highly fortify Puebla against a future attack. During the spring of 1863, French troops head for Puebla and Mexico City in what they hope will be a pair of easy victories.

Juárez and his government flee Mexico City rather than trying to defend the capital against overwhelming odds. The French make their grand entrance and immediately encounter problems with the Catholic Church. Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, asked by the French to become emperor of Mexico, will not accept the throne without a “popular” vote from the people.

When the American Civil War ends in 1865, generals and high-ranking officials from the former Confederate government drift into Mexico. General Ulysses S. Grant’s U.S. Army is now free to stage maneuvers along the border, setting off panic in Mexico City and Paris. Grant’s move prompts Napoleon III to cut his losses and pull his troops out. Now, it’s only a matter of time before Mexican forces retake the country …

More information and ordering here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

CSFF Presents: The Begotten by Lisa Bergren

At the height of the Inquisition, a secret, half a millennium old, is about to be exposed - a lost letter said to have been written by Paul and part of what was to become the foundation of the Christian canon. It speaks of the men and women - the Gifted - with mysterious spiritual gifts that struck fear in the heart of the Church. Now the letter has resurfaced. The Gifted ones are coming together. Their prophecy is coming true.

For More Information"

To purchase The Begotten

Lisa T. Bergren's Web site -

*Participants’ Links:

Sally Apokedak
Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Jill Hart
Michael Heald
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Terri Main
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Pamela Morrisson
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Robert Treskillard
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Rape of Innocence: Taking Captivity Captive by Lacresha Hayes

The Rape of Innocence is the testimony of a child growing up mostly without her mother and going through incest, rape and molestation. It's a story of a child who grew up too fast, enduring the worst of hardships. She details the struggles of growing up without God and then being disillusioned in the churches by hypocrisy.
This book chronicles the life of a child who became a woman of God, business owner, author, and wife to a pastor. What should have been impossible, God made possible! This book is for every woman who knows what pain feels like. This book is for every Christian who has been hurt or disappointed in the ministry. Come share the tears and the joys of triumphant victory.

The Rape of Innocence: Taking Captivity Captive by Lacresha Hayes
ISBN: 978-0-9798154-0-9
Retail price: $19.95

Order from Living Waters

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Chic Entrepreneur: Put Your Business in Higher Heels by Elizabeth Gordon

Learn how to take your business from flats to stilettos in this intelligently written, highly practical, and entertaining read. The Chic Entrepreneur teaches women business owners how to get out of the trenches and take their business to new heights by mastering the 9 dimensions of a flourishing business. Elizabeth Gordon, President of Flourishing Business®, a consulting firm that helps stagnant businesses jump start their growth, shows how to build a business right. Gordon explains how to build an asset of inherent value instead of just a bigger job and points out common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Packed with Chic Tips that businesses can inexpensively implement for an immediate return, this book is ideal for jumpstarting a stalled business, and putting it into overdrive. This simple yet timeless formula for achieving chic success in the business world is cleverly interwoven with critical analysis of real businesses and delightful tales that show what and what not to do. Sprinkled with words of inspiration and punctuated by powerful exercises, The Chic Entrepreneur is packed with tools that will enable readers to become Chic Entrepreneurs themselves.

Order from Robert D Reed Publishers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome by Angela K. Nickerson

From St. Peter's Basilica to the Capitoline Hill, this unique resource--part biography, part history, and part travel guide--provides an intimate portrait of the relationship between Michelangelo and the city he restored to artistic greatness. Lavishly illustrated and richly informative, this travel companion tells the story of Michelangelo's meteoric rise, his career marked by successive artistic breakthroughs, his tempestuous relations with powerful patrons, and his austere but passionate private life. Providing street maps that allow readers to navigate the city and discover Rome as Michelangelo knew it, each chapter focuses on a particular work that amazed Michelangelo's contemporaries and modern tourists alike.

A Journey into Michelangelo's Rome can be purchased at all major booksellers including:

Border's Books

Book Passage

and directly from the publisher, Roaring Forties Press

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Case of the Missing Coach by V Gilbert Zabel

"Hey, Ryan, what are you doing?" Colby whispered from his bed.

"I, uh, I don't know what to do," Ryan answered, also in a whisper.

"Huh?" Colby slipped from his bed to sit beside his friend. "What do you mean you don't know what to do?"

"Look behind us. Coach Randy never came to bed." Ryan raised his wrist to see the time. "And it's 3:30."

Someone doesn't want the Jonesville Chargers to win the championship, and when the team refuses to forfeit, their coach is kidnapped. Will the team be able to rescue him in time, or will their dreams be dashed, perhaps forever?

Purchase from Publisher

Monday, April 07, 2008

CFRB Presents: Never Ceese by Sue Dent

A determined young werewolf acting on her long-held wish to free herself of her curse, teams up with a skeptical vampire who can no longer admit that having his curse removed is something he wants.

Will Cassi Felts be able to help them, as her grandmother implored her to do? or will they suffer at the hands of a radical and evil stem cell researcher?

Young Adult Fantasy
ISBN: 978-159958-017-3
Publisher: Journey Stone Creations
2006; 300 pgs; hardcover; $17.95

Friday, April 04, 2008

Review: Behold Your Mother by Heidi Hess Saxton

Heidi Hess Saxton said that as a convert to Catholicism, one of the most difficult things for her to understand was praying to Mary. Why not just talk to Jesus himself? Her experiences as a mother of adopted children, however, gave her insights into this reluctance to accept an adoptive mother and helped her overcome her own hesitations.

In Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert, Heidi shares three of those experiences--once when she asked Mary for a small favor, once when she herself was the answer to that favor, and once when a difficult time with her children brought her an epiphany about our relationship with the Blessed Mother.

I have not had the beautiful and touching experiences she had when praying to Mary--nor the difficult time waiting patiently for her new children to learn to trust and love her. However, I can certainly identify with how her experiences a mom led her to understand the Divine Mother. In my case, I learned it while "meditating" on the common call in my household: "Mom! Would you tell (sibling) to (do this, stop that, give me this..)" Mothers are natural intercessors, and Jesus gave us Mary as Mother, with all the roles that implies.

Heidi examines those many roles--from the Intended of Joseph to the Queen of Peace, in the 48 meditations that follow her three stories about her experiences with Mary. Each begins with a bit of Scripture or legend about Mary, followed by a meditation in verse and a prayer to her or to a saint important to her role. These are beautifully done, but more than that, they are heartfelt. A few brought tears to my eyes. I read through the first time quickly, but I intend to go back over these, one a day, and spend a few minutes giving my love to the Mother of God.

This is a terrific book for someone wanting to strengthen their relationship with Mary, our Mother or to learn more about her life and her roles, past and present, and what they mean for us today.

Karina Fabian,
Editor, Infinite Space, Infinite God
to go in in March/April