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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Book Review: Lydie of Peruwelz by Richard Burack Sr., MD






Title: Lydie of Peruwelz
Author: Richard Burack, Sr., MD
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook
In 1839, Lydie Fougnies, 20 years old, is attractive, refined, and educated. Her father is a well-to-do businessman. She meets Felippe Van Hendryk, single child of wealthy aristocrats. They fall in love and a two-year chaste affair leads to talk of marriage. However, his class-conscious, bigoted mother severs their relationship because Lydie is not from high society. Unhappy Felippe is sent to university in Switzerland where he marries, and divorces, the wanton daughter of a wealthy Swiss banker. Lydie is angry and resentful. She is a victim of emotion and, bent on revenge, she cannot think rationally. Believing she can wreak revenge on Mme Van Hendryk by proving her worth only if she belongs to the aristocracy, she directs her attention to Count Hippolyte de Bocarmé, a farmer who lives in a dreary, desolate 16th century chateau. Unschooled and crude, his size and strength seduce her. Certain that the rustic, prodigal son of a fine family can easily be led to the altar, she mentors him in reading, writing, and manners. Never does she suspect that he’s a conscienceless psychopathic felon. He conceals his craving to know her sexually, and plans to steal her family’s fortune.


My Review:

This book was a true page turner! I fell in love with Lydie early on, and was rooting for her throughout the entire book. She goes through so much, and when her and Felippe are separated by his mother I was both angry and sad. But she presses on, albeit not in the best way.

The author has a great way of telling this involved story, and even though there are different plots he weaves them seamlessly, making it a very enjoyable read. If you are looking for a book that has it all, this is the book for you. Well done!




Richard Burack has a BA from the University of Wisconsin and an MD from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He served as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific Theater during the Korean War. In 1960 he was appointed to the pharmacology faculty at Harvard Medical School, and later practiced internal medicine before embarking on a career as a medical director for two U.S. non-pharmaceutical corporations. In retirement, he was a part-time physician at a charity hospital in St. Lucia and has devoted himself to writing. In 1967, Dr. Burack published The Handbook of Prescription Drugs, alerting doctors and the public to the availability of less costly generic medications. Fifty years later, the public buys the majority of its prescription drugs as “generics.” He and his wife, Mary, reside in New Hampshire. They have five children and ten grandchildren.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Book Feature: The Water is Wide by Laura Vosika


THE WATER IS WIDE by Laura Vosika, Time Travel/Historical Fiction, 451 pp., $16.99 (paperback) $4.99 (kindle)


Title: THE WATER IS WIDE Author: Laura Vosika Publisher: Gabriel’s Horn Press Pages: 451 Genre: Time Travel/Historical Fiction

After his failure to escape back to his own time, Shawn is sent with Niall on the Bruce’s business. They criss-cross Scotland and northern England, working for the Bruce and James Douglas, as they seek ways to get Shawn home to Amy and his own time.

Returning from the Bruce’s business, to Glenmirril, Shawn finally meets the mysterious Christina. Despite his vow to finally be faithful to Amy, his feelings for Christina grow.

In modern Scotland, having already told Angus she’s pregnant, Amy must now tell him Shawn is alive and well—in medieval Scotland. Together, they seek a way to bring him back across time.
They are pursued by Simon Beaumont, esteemed knight in the service of King Edward, has also passed between times. Having learned that Amy’s son will kill him—he seeks to kill the infant James first.

The book concludes with MacDougall’s attack on Glenmirril, Amy and Angus’s race to be there and Shawn’s attempt to reach the mysterious tower through the battling armies.

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As the shadows lengthened, Shawn cleared his throat. “Any thoughts on where to spend the night? Is there a Holiday Inn around here?”
“There’s no inn of any sort.”
“Yeah, and that’s a problem,” Shawn said, “because last time I slept in the great outdoors, a wolf climbed into bed with me, and it didn’t really end well for either of us.” He rubbed his thigh, where a long scar would forever remind him of the night.
“You did well.” Niall cocked a grin at him. “It almost makes me glad to have you at my side, despite your infernal complaining.” The sky over the leafy canopy grew grayer as they climbed another hill.
“I haven’t complained for half an hour, and considering I’m stuck with you, that’s pretty impressive.” An owl hooted, low and mournful. “I’m pretty sure that knocks a couple months off any Purgatory time I’d racked up.” The river crackled, cold water splashing against thin ice on the edges, beside them.
Any time?” Niall chortled, a candle against the darkening wood. “You’ll be fortunate to get as high as Purgatory, and if you do, you’ve racked up so much time there, they’ll have to kick the rest of them straight into Heaven to make room for all the Purgatory you need!”
“I don’t think it works like....” Shawn stopped at the top of the hill, staring at the sight before them. “Holy ruins, Batman. What is that?”
Niall and his pony halted by his side. The animal tossed its head, and nuzzled Niall’s arm. Before them stretched a wide expanse of broken stone walls, stone buildings with mouths and eyes gaping wide in the twilight, on either side of a long road. One vast length of wall held numerous niches. Thirty yards away, crumbling walls enclosed rows of short, stout, stone posts. Beyond it, a stairway led down into a dark maw. Bushes sprang from cracks. Trees grew in and among the abandoned structures. Shadows stretched everywhere, as the sun sank, sending fiery orange and pink rays down the center road, lighting the mist that swirled along it.
“That,” said Niall with a smile, “is our inn. God provides.” He touched his heels to his pony, starting down the gentle slope.
Shawn coughed loudly. “Uh, yeah, He sure does. The question is what has He provided? What is this place?”
“A Roman fort.” Niall led his pony down the center path, the remains rising on either side. A bird called somewhere in the trees.
“The Roamin’ in.” Shawn used English for the last two words. “God has a sense of humor.”
Niall smiled, pointing to the stairs leading down. “There. ’Tis indoors.”
“It’s a pun,” Shawn clarified. “It’s a whole lot funnier if you see it spelled out.”
“No doubt,” Niall agreed. “Shall we gather firewood? Keep any more wolves from climbing in bed with you?”
“Yes, let’s. And what keeps away the ghosts of the Roman legionnaires? Or their victims?”
“One sight of your face ought to scare any spirits back to the underworld.”
“If that doesn’t work,” said Shawn, “your pathetic attempts at music will.”
“Perhaps you could brag of your exploits with women.” Niall grinned. “Even Hades is better than having to listen to that.”
Shawn laughed. “You’re jealous.”
They picked their way over the darkening path strewn with stones. In the trees above, an owl hooted.
“What happens tomorrow?” Shawn nodded at the limping pony.
Niall’s mouth was taut. “We hope he’s better. If not, we let him rest, and spend the time learning to play the lute. We’ve shelter, walls and a roof, which is more than we expected.”
They stopped before their intended room. Shawn sighed. It would do no good to stay in the open, but the stone structure, with its empty eyes and stone stairs descending into darkness, was hardly welcoming.
“We’ll need wood,” Niall said. They tethered the ponies to a tree springing up near the ruin, left the lute beside them, and set out to gather branches.
The sky was now deep blue, the ruins cloaked in shadow. A wolf howled in the distance. The air grew chillier as they worked, till a night among ghosts looked inviting, even homey, as long as it was warm. They piled the kindling on the lowest step outside their chosen abode, where it would warm the room, but send its smoke up into the sky. Niall scraped flint, and soon, they had flickering light by which to eat their hard bread and berries. Shawn settled back, content with his stomach less than empty, and pulled out the lute. He adjusted a couple tuning pegs, tried a few chords, and began one of the songs he’d played on guitar. Niall relaxed against another wall, watching his fingers, humming along. “Let me try,” he said at last. Shawn handed it over, giving instruction as Niall leaned over the strings, working his fingers into unfamiliar positions for chords, and picking out melodies.
Outside, a pony whickered. Niall and Shawn froze, looking to the doorway, where they could see only black night beyond the glowing fire. Niall laid the lute down gently. “We've been careless,” he said softly. They reached for their knives.
“I’m kind of hoping it’s only a ghost,” Shawn whispered back. The familiar tingle of adrenaline began, a tremoring of the nerves in his arms. His muscles tightened. “Do we wait for whoever it is to come in?”
Niall shook his head. “And wait for a whole army to come in on us? If I’m to die tonight, ’twill be fighting for my life.” He rose, back against the wall, and inched around till he stood pressed by the doorway, where the fire crackled. On the other side, Shawn did the same, his heart pounding hard. Niall pointed to his chest, then to Shawn, and held up fingers in a silent count: One. Two. Three.
He sprang over the small flames, into the night. Shawn leapt behind him, knife ready, heart beating triple time, nerves screaming! The fire threw shadows across the pony, who balked against his tether. Shawn saw nothing. But he heard the crack of a twig just beyond the light. He and Niall lunged. The single crack grew into a panicked flurry of rustling leaves, cracking twigs, branches snapping back in their faces as they gave chase. Shawn ducked and swerved, saw Niall ahead, veered, and suddenly, there was a pile of arms, legs. He dropped his knife.
“Get down!” Niall roared. Shawn threw himself to the ground, hands over his head.
All became silent for a heartbeat...two.
Then the forest erupted with sound!
“I didn’t mean you!” Niall said indignantly.
“I’ve done naught, Milord! Don’t kill me!”
Then Niall was laughing, great gusty roars of merriment. “Shawn, get up! You’re hiding from a boy!”
“Don’t kill me! I can help you! I can help your hobin, Milord!”
Shawn inched his hand from over his eyes to see the dark shape of Niall sitting astride a boy who managed to flounder, fight, and cower, all at once, while protesting. He climbed irritably to his feet. “You said get down!”
“I meant him.”
“You staged this because your lute-playing sucks!” Shawn threw back into the night. “You needed a distraction.”
“Thank goodness at least you can play a lute, because the way you fight, a mouse would have gotten the better of us!”
The boy looked back and forth between them. He stopped struggling. “Milord?”
Shawn realized both their faces were showing. He recoiled into shadow. Niall climbed to his feet, his knife at the ready. “Get up.”
“He’s just a boy,” Shawn sighed. “Put your knife away.”
“Aren’t we sending boys to war?” Niall asked. “What makes you think a boy can’t kill?”
Shawn had no answer. He could think only of the boys to whom he’d taught trombone, so many years ago in the future—boys in sports jerseys, with trimmed hair, worrying about who to ask to prom. This boy stood before them in tatters. He wrapped his arms around his skinny body. His hair hung past his shoulders. Clarence. His father’s killer, as he’d last seen him, flashed through Shawn’s mind. Yes, boys could kill. He didn’t want to believe this one would. He just didn’t want any more ugliness in his world.
“What’s your name?” Niall demanded.
“I have none,” the boy said.
“No name? How can you have no name?”
The boy shrugged. “My parents died long ago, my mother in childbirth, and my father in battle. A farrier found me and took me in. He didn’t know my name.”
“Surely he called you something?”
“Red.” The boy’s shivering increased.
“Niall,” Shawn said.
Niall pressed the boy, ignoring Shawn. “And why are you not with him now?”
“He was....” Red’s teeth clacked together. He clenched them tight, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, and tried again. “He was killed when the soldiers came through. I ran into the forest and hid. They were afraid to follow me into the ruins.”
“Niall, he’s cold.”
Niall’s knife remained pointed at the boy. “Which soldiers?”
“They were English, Milord. Meaning no offense, Milord.” His teeth clattered again. “If you’re English.”
“Niall!” Shawn stepped forward, his anger growing. “He’s just a kid! He’s about to....”
Before he finished, the boy collapsed. Shawn was under him, catching his sagging body before it hit the ground.












Laura Vosika is a writer, poet, and musician. Her time travel series, The Blue Bells Chronicles, set in modern and medieval Scotland, has garnered praise and comparisons to writers as diverse as Diana Gabaldon and Dostoevsky. Her poetry has been published in The Moccasin and The Martin Lake Journal 2017.

She has been featured in newspapers, on radio, and TV, has spoken for regional book events, and hosted the radio program Books and Brews. She currently teaches writing at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

As a musician, Laura has performed as on trombone, flute, and harp, in orchestras, and big bands. She lives in Brooklyn park with 5 of her 9 children, 3 cats, and an Irish Wolfhound.

Her latest book is the time travel/historical fiction, The Water is Wide.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Book Feature & Blog Tour: Miss Management by Traci Highland


MISS MANAGEMENT by Traci Highland, Romantic Comedy, 215 pp., $9.99 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)



Title: MISS MANAGEMENT
Author: Traci Highland
Publisher: Cheshire Lane Press
Pages: 215
Genre: Romantic Comedy


Mags has gotten herself in a ton of trouble: she’s lost her job, any hope for references, and she’s going to run out of money…. fast.

Yeah, sure, it may be her fault for punching her boss, but the jerk totally had it coming.
Nobody listens to her until she reaches her boiling point, and by then, well, she’ll admit that there’s no stopping Mr. Fist To The Face.

Now her years of hard work as a speech therapist are about to go down the drain unless she can find some way to salvage her career. So when her Aunt Elise calls to say that she has a job for her, it’s not like she can say no, even if the job is up in the wilds of Vermont.

Between stuffed moose, sloppy dogs and sexy men, Vermont proves to be a lot more interesting than she expected. But when she uncovers a scheme that would put her new employers’ livelihood in jeopardy, more than just hydrangea bushes are about to get squashed.

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Aunt Elise’s house, a tidy little Victorian painted white with blue shutters and a red door, looks like a gingerbread house about to collapse.  Sure, it’s clean or whatever.  But it’s old and sinking on one side.  She invited me for lunch after I got back from the bank yesterday, and after a night spent drinking beer and trolling through online job postings, and then spending the morning drinking coffee and trolling through more job listings, the invitation to drive on out into the Berkshires and have an excuse to see the sun is actually kind of nice.  The Berkshires is about as far as I can drive at any given time, given, well, anyway.  It’s nice to get out.
I knock and Elise opens the door. “What the hell is that in the driveway?  I didn’t recognize it.”
“It’s my Prius, Elise.  I’ve been driving it for four years now.”
“What happened to the pick-up truck?  I thought you liked to drive pick-ups.”
“I crashed that pick-up, Aunt Elise.”  She furrows her brow.  “It was on the news, remember?  I sort of accidentally ran over a mailbox.  And some hedges.  And an arbor.”
“Oh yes, the mistress’, right?  Now I remember.”
One of the mistresses.”  My husband of the time had many.  But I had been friends with Shawna. “I hit some black ice.”
She harrumphs.
The police also harrumphed when I told them about the black ice, as I recall.
“I always hoped you were a lesbian, you know.  With that truck.”
“Not all lesbians have trucks.”
“No, but the fun ones do.  Have you met Sharon and Hazel down the block?  Lovely couple.  Hazel drives a truck and—“
“Can I come in?  It’s starting to rain.”
She pulls the door back further and ushers me inside.  The house is a tea-party nightmare.  Shelves filled with teapots and chubby figurines pucker up at the flowered wallpaper in the hallway.  The rug of the adjacent living room is the color of cotton candy and I swear my stomach growls every time I see it.
I brush the plaques of inspirational sayings out of the way as I hang up my coat on the coat rack.
She stomps like a thin Godzilla back to the kitchen, causing the house to shudder and clink in alarm.  “You’re in luck, I just made some chicken salad.”
“Sounds great.”  I follow her into the kitchen and sit at the table with a sigh.
“I have a job for you.”
“Is that door still crooked?  I thought for sure that tightening the hinges would do the trick.”
“No, I mean a real job.”  Elise places a colorful bowl down in the middle of the table and glares.  Sealing her lips with some sort of judgmental superglue, she waits.
Oh, right.  The hands.  I go over to the sink and wash my hands.  She’s got this thing about germs.  Betty and I used to mess with her when we came over, going over to the sink and putting our hands together so that she would wash one of my hands and I would wash one of hers and then we’d wait to see if Elise would notice that we each still had one dirty hand.
She did. 
Always. 
As twins, Betty and I were convinced that we were supposed to be born with some kind of twin-specific super-power, but really the only thing we were consistently good at was making our baby sister Piper laugh so hard that milk would shoot out of her nose.
That was another trick that Aunt Elise didn’t find to be particularly endearing. 
After I dry my hands and grab the loaf of bread out of the breadbox, I say, “All right, so what kind of job are we talking about?  And please don’t mention the one in the woodchuck town.”
“What do you have against woodchucks?”
“Sweet Romany Halls! I don’t have anything against woodchucks, I don’t can’t work in a town that worships vermin, that’s all.”
“Fine. But please don’t take Romany’s name in vain.”
Romany Halls is a professional wrestler that Aunt Elise has a crush on.  One night when I was over doing some repair work for her I heard her swearing at the television set.  And I mean full-on swearing.  Aunt Elise never swears, at least not that I’ve ever heard.  As I walked into the guest bedroom to make sure she was okay, I realized that she not only was watching television in her guest bedroom, which was odd, but that the walls of the bedroom were covered in posters of one very muscled wrestler wearing not-so-many articles of clothing.  It was like an homage to all that was masculine and spandexy.
Whenever it’s just the two of us, I feel obligated to tease her about her crush and her shrine to the glory that is Romany Halls.  Me?  I don’t so much dig the guys with eye makeup thing.  But Elise, well, Elise seemed to like them big, oiled up, and wearing nothing more than colorful underwear.
“So this job?”  I grab a spoon and scoop out the chicken salad.
“It’s for a friend of mine, actually.  Very nice.  Her name is Eve and she needs help with Mansfield.”
“Mansfield?  That’s quite a name.  What happen, did he have a stroke?  Car accident?  Cancer?”
“I don’t know.  But she has put out several ads in the paper and everyone who shows up to check on Mansfield apparently refuses to treat him.”
“Refuses to treat him?  That’s horrible.  Why doesn’t she take him to a clinic?  If he’s rehabbing, a facility is probably better equipped than her house.”
“She says that he can’t travel to a clinic.  He must be in pretty bad shape.”
“Have you ever met him?”
“No, I know Eve from college.  She comes down sometimes, and I’ve met her grandson a few times.  Lovely boy.  But I haven’t met Mansfield.”
“Is she nearby?  Can I pop over there today and see what’s going on?”  I really need a job.
“She’s up in Vermont.  But last time I spoke with her on the phone she mentioned that she has a guest cottage you can stay in when you come.  I guess she has a lot of land.”
“Waityou already told her I would go?”
“Of course you’ll go.”
“You know that time you asked me to tell you when you were overstepping some boundaries? Consider them overstepped.”
She takes a bite of her sandwich, her eyes demanding from over the top of her bread.
I chew my bite of sandwich, taking my time in savoring the flavors of Aunt Elise’s chicken salad, just to make her sweat for a bit.  I close my eyes, exaggerating the chew.
When I open them again her eyes are no less stern as she wipes the side of her mouth with a hot pink napkin.
Damn.  She’s not sweating this at all, is she?  Not even a little bit. “Fine.  I’ll go.  This is a paid job, right?”
“Good.  And yes, of course, provided you don’t walk away like those others.”
“Speech pathologists don’t usually make house-calls.  I’d imagine that the other folks just tried to convince your friend to take Mansfield to a proper rehab facility.”
“Try not to be so judgmental before you even get there.”
“I’m not being judgmental.”  Maybe a little.  “He should be where he can get the best care, and that’s not always at home.”
“Eve and I went to Smith together, Mags.  I’ve known her for years and years. Trust me, if she’s determined that the best place for him to be is at home with her, then she’s right.  Period.”
“When did you tell Eve I’d be there?”
“Tomorrow. It’s going to be a great job for you.  You’ll see.”
Tomorrow.  Of course.


In some cases, bloggers ask us for first chapter reveals.  Please paste your first chapter here:
Nothing says Happy Friday like having Mr. Roth dribble crackers and sing La Cucaracha.  Nothing.
“Great job!  But let’s make sure to give those crackers an exaggerated swallow before the next stanza.  All right?”  I grab the paper cloth from the box and give his chin a wipe. 
He stares at me with rheumatic eyes, pushing his whole damn heart into his smile.
“Your smile always makes my day, Mr. Roth.”  I pick the last remnant of saltine out of his gray stubble and throw the paper towel into the garbage.  When Mr. Roth first came to see me, the stroke had paralyzed the left side of his face.  The paralysis had diminished somewhat and now he can do things like smile.  And sing.  Sort of.
At least we fixed the swallowing.  That’s a biggie.  He exhales a barely audible bar of his favorite song and I join him.  “Make it louder for me!  La cucaracha!  La cucaracha!  Ya no puede caminar…”
His smile widens and his voice rises, like a phoenix, dammit.  That asshat Dr. Robbins said he’d never speak again.  And here Mr. Roth is, six months later, singing. 
Days like this, I love my job.  Just as we’re about to finish up our session, Dolly pokes her head in the door. “I’m sorry, Mags, but Dr. Robbins says you’re going to have to keep it down.”
“Tell him to shut his damn door.”  That man exists to be the pain in my neck.  You know the pain, the one you wake up with every morning and no amount of Advil can kill?  That one.
“Was I too loud?”  Mr. Roth asks, worry crossing his cherubic, drooly face. 
“No, angel.  Not a bit.  You’re a rock star and I’m damn proud of you.” One day I am going to open my own clinic, so naysayers like Dr. Robbins can learn to shut the hell up.
Dr. Robbins, the asshat, runs the clinic. So naturally, he feels that everything in the office is his, too, like, you know, the pretty nurses and speech pathologists that he employs.
Grabbing Mr. Roth’s arm, I help him with his jacket.  Dolly clicks the pen in her hand like it’s a hand grenade.  On off, on off, on off.
“Stop it,” I hiss to her as I grab Mr. Roth’s gloves.  “Now keep practicing those scales we talked about and I’ll see you next week.”
He squeezes my hand and then says to Dolly, “She’s a saint, this one.  A regular saint.”
His r’s don’t come out quite right but hey, it’s a work in progress.
The second he’s out the door, I walk over to the nurses’ station and pull up the electronic records on my next patient. I haul on down to room number six, where Mr. Earle is waiting for me to re-adjust his tracheal tube.
I reach for the handle and I’m blindsided by Susie, the intern.  She’s the best kind of intern, hard-working and wicked smart, and rather pretty in a cute, slightly disheveled kind of way.  She’s shaking as she bumps into me, wiping tears from her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” There can be lots of things wrong when you’re twenty-one.  Hormones and boozing and all that, but this looks… different.
“Nothing, I’m fine. Tracheal tube, right?”  She straightens her Hello Kitty scrubs and adjusts the chunky black-rimmed glasses, making sure the floating strands of pinkish hair stay behind her ears.
I open my mouth but the words just sort of dry up.  Sometimes, it’s best just to leave it.  She knows I’m here—prodding would be rude, right?  Let her tell me when she’s ready, or not, her choice.  Besides, I’m running behind.
Susie and I wrestle Mr. Earle’s tube back where it belongs and the second we finish and leave the room, Susie’s face pales.
Dr. Robbins is standing in the hall, blocking the path between where we stand and the nurses’ station. 
He looks up at Susie and gives her a grin that turns my stomach into a rolling pool of bile and fire. His yellowish, crooked teeth and greasy hair make him look more like a Goodfellas reject than a doctor.  But hey, it could just be that I’m biased because he told me once that he hired me for my boobs.
Not my stellar resume.  Not my incredible grades that I worked by butt off to earn, but because he liked my boobs.
I wanted to quit right then and there.  To stand up and shout and sue and do all those noble things I would tell my sisters to do if they were in the same situation.
But yeah, I had just gotten divorced and needed the job.  Nothing like having to buy your cheating ex out of half of your own damn house.
So the words disappeared and I sort of just resorted to sending politely worded emails, like “Please remember to interact with the staff in a professional manner.” And “I believe we are due for the state-mandated sexual harassment prevention course.  Can I sign us up?”
Susie freezes beside me.  Her cheeks turn to scrambled eggs and she grabs my hand.  “Don’t let him touch me again.”  She whispers.
Again?  Touch her?  My vision blurs.  Like actually blurs as he walks towards us.  That creep. That stupid, sexist creep.  He touched her?  She’s just a child.  Mostly.  Practically.  Hell, it doesn’t matter how old she is!  He’s a monster.
Dr. Robbins sidles over and his snakelike tongue pokes in and out of his mouth as his eyes roam over Susie.  “Susan, do you know where the canned peaches are?  I need to use them for a videofluoroscopy this afternoon.”  He leans in closer to her and she clenches my hand as his chili taco breath assaults us. “Maybe you can show me in the supply closet?”
She shakes like a shake weight in those cheesy late-night infomercials.  “No.” Her voice is barely above a whisper, but I can hear her just fine.
He, however, moves closer.  “Stop,” I say.  As usual, my words do nothing. No one listens, dammit.  Again and again and again I’ve asked him to stop doing this. 
“Stop,” I say again, louder. 
He just moves on in closer, like I’m nothing more than a lamp.
That’s when I see it.  He reaches down and grabs her ass.  She jumps and he smiles.  “Get off.”  She hisses but he doesn’t listen, he never listens.  He cups her whole cheek now, grinning.
I punch him in the face.
His head slams back, blinking like, well, like I just punched him in the face.
Oh crap.
Did I really just punch my boss in the face? 
My fingertips chill and my hand aches.
I didn’ttell me I didn’t.
Susie gasps, her hands covering her mouth and a look of unadulterated panic in her eyes. My throat tightens.
Oh my God, I totally did.
“She asked you to stop.” It’s the only thing that leaves my mouth in a somewhat coherent fashion. 
He narrows his eyes, a large red bump creeping across his smarmy face. “You hit me!” 
Susie, her jaw now on the ground, looks at me. Her eyes are wide and frightened like a deer’s.  Her voice is flat when she says, “You punched him.”
I kind of hate deer.
“Yes!  Yes, I see that.  You’re fine, right, Dr. Robbins?  You should have stopped.  We all know you can’t go around grabbing asses like they’re doorknobs. But you just kept grabbing and squishing it around so I had to, had to—“
“You’re fired.”  He growls.
“You can’t!”
“Get out, Miss Anderson.  Get out now before I call the police.”
Well, damn.










Traci Highland writes funny books for sassy ladies.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Master’s from Quinnipiac University.  She uses this education to write books, bake cakes, garden and make homemade jams.  Her children say she’s bossy, her husband says she’s high-maintenance, but the dog thinks she’s perfect.

Her latest book is the romantic comedy, Miss Management.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Book Feature: Aren't the Emperor's New Clothes Grand by Philip M. Fishman


AREN'T THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES GRAND by Philip M. Fishman, Satirical Critique, 112 pp., $12.95 (paperback)



Title: AREN’T THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES GRAND
Author: Philip M. Fishman
Publisher: MPS Publishing
Pages: 112
Genre: Satirical Critique

If you love Trump, sorry, this book is not for you.  If, on the other hand, you are horrified at what this man is doing,  I think you will enjoy it.   I read a very interesting book recently that discussed despots and their common characteristics. What, then, are the characteristics of a despot? They attack free speech and the press. They threaten political opponents with prison. They scapegoat certain minorities to rally their base and divert attention from other problems. They engage in nepotism and use their office for personal and family enrichment. They attack and vilify the judiciary, legitimate law enforcement, and essentially anyone in government who is not considered absolutely loyal.  And, through a type of mass hysteria, they create a cult following.

Does any of this sound familiar? No, our President is not a despot..yet; but individuals do not become despots spontaneously- they evolve. My  book, AREN’T THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES GRAND, is a satirical critique.   As a satire, the book is humorous; but the subject is dead serious. Without hyperbole, I truly believe Trump is a threat to our Constitution and Republic; and I think if you read my book objectively, you will probably come to the same conclusion.

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Chapter 4
Inferiority Complex

          Mirror, mirror on the wall; who is the fairest one of  all?” 
          Donald has certainly started out the new year (2018) with a bang.  Here are his latest quotes, apparently triggered by Wolfe's just published book, Fire and Fury, questioning his fitness for the Presidency.  I am a very stable genius” 1 and “Actually throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being like, really smart.” 2  One needn't be a psychiatrist or have a PhD in psychology to recognize that Donald may have an ego problem.  And to a great many, that assertion is a gross understatement. 
        “...I will tell you this in a non-braggadocios way... there has never been a 10-month president that has accomplished what we have accomplished. That I can tell you. That I can tell you...And the numbers going up are going to do much better than anybody anticipates. In fact, they're going to say that Trump is the opposite of an exaggerator -- the exact opposite...They're going to start saying .. that he <Trump> ought to be a little bit more optimistic because his predictions were low, can you believe it? You know, a year and a half ago they were saying, oh he can't do that. Now they're saying, hmm, that was quick...And remember, I was the one when I was here the last time, I said, we're going to have Christmas again; I was the one that said you go to the department stores and you see Happy New Year and you see red and you see snow and you see all these things. You don't see Merry Christmas anymore...With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again, and it's going to be done with a big beautiful tax cut. Thank you everybody. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you very much.” 3
       In case you haven't noticed, Donald seems to rely on certain words an awful lot.  He apparently likes the words great, greatest, best, and very.  His most repeated phrase, “Make America Great Again” is continually  echoed by his supporters.  But what's that got to do with the title of this chapter?  It is simply that an individual that obsesses about himself and is always defensive to criticism is a very insecure person.  He needs that continual assurance that he is important.  It has been reported that Donald watches TV at least four hours a day, switching channels when he is not the main news.
           If bragging was the only problem with an insecure person; it wouldn't be so bad.  One could always turn him off;  but a person with an inferiority complex has to prove it. He needs to prove it to himself as well as others.  He does that by bullying. 
         Bullies like to intimidate and take advantage of people they perceive to be weaker than they, which serves to enhance their own self-worth.  They want to feel superior; and they want other people to feel that they (bullies) are superior.  
             Trump's alleged sexual harassment of women fits the pattern.  He, of course, has strenuously denied the allegations; but, interestingly for someone not unacquainted with lawsuits, has never bothered to sue for libel.  At the time of this writing there are nineteen women who have alleged sexual harassment or worse. 
          And, as would be expected, he has not confined his bullying to sexual aggression.  Donald habitually denigrates women that refuse to kowtow to him or those he considers unattractive.  During the first debate of the primaries, Megyn Kelly, one of the moderators, asked him about his put down of women.  She followed up, referring to his comment to a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice show, that... “it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.  Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”
          He evaded the question but later in a tweet attacked Kelly as unprofessional and “not very good.”  He obviously was not very happy with Kelly's questions and later referred to her as a “bimbo” and “highly overrated.”
         In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine after the debate Donald denigrated Carly Fiorina, one of the seventeen Republican candidates.  Look at that face.  Would anyone vote for that?  Can you imagine that, the face of our next President?” 4
          And then there was one woman, Jessica Leeds, who accused Trump of groping her on a plane.  His comment, “Look at her. She would not be my first choice.”5
          During the campaign, he viciously mocked a disabled reporter. And then there are the small contractors and employees mentioned in the previous chapter.  As mentioned, there have been numerous lawsuits, but the independent contractor generally finds himself out-gunned by Trump's lawyers, who are on retainer.
          There's another thing about bullies.  They are generally cowards.  That is the reason they prey on those they presume are weaker.  Their inferiority complex shows up very clearly when the person being bullied stands up to the bully.  Typically, the bully fades away because he is really a coward.   Was the bone spur really the reason for Donald's avoiding military service or was there possibly another reason?
           Furthermore, Donald's alleged history of aggressive behavior toward women not only fits the pattern of an individual suffering from an inferiority complex; but that of a coward as well.   One can only imagine what the outcome would be if a woman he ever accosts has training in martial arts.  Of course, since he focuses on attractive females; women of his own size need have no fear. 
        In January 2016, one week before the Iowa caucusses and two days before the second Republican primary debate, Trump announced that he would be boycotting the Fox News sponsored event.   A few days earlier, he had hinted that he just might do that after it was announced that Megyn Kelly would again be a co-moderator.  Trump tweeted that Kelly was biased and should not be a moderator.  Senator Ted Cruz chastised Trump and asked if he couldn't stand up to Kelly, how could voters anticipate that he would stand up to Putin and the Ayatolla.  Following a public backlash against his decision, Trump announced that he would be hosting an event to benefit Wounded Warriors on the same night as the debate.  Cruz responded by challenging Trump to a one- on- one debate “any time any place” prior to the Iowa caucusses.  Trump's campaign manager replied that Mr. Trump would be happy to have a one-on- one debate with Cruz if and when he was the last man standing.  As it would turn out, Cruz challenged Trump twice more, once prior to the Wisconsin primary; and then again, just prior to the Indiana primary.  At that point in time, the race had come down to essentially two men, Trump and Cruz; so, the condition of “last man standing” had been met.  Nevertheless, there was no debate.   
          Finally, a coward doesn't have the courage to own up to his  shame and frequently covers his cowardice by resorting to fanciful depictions of heroism.  After the horrific school shooting of February 2018 in Parkland Florida where a sheriff's deputy failed to enter the school and confront the shooter; Trump said he would have run in unarmed and tackled the assailant.6  What a hero!  We can only wish that he had been there.











At 79, Philip M. Fishman has a dual role since his wife’s stroke ten years ago.  The main one is as a caregiver; but when he is not busy with her, he is a writer.

He loves to blog on Face Book; but he has also self-published four books.  The first was a memoir of a brief teaching career after retirement, titled, Teacher’s Gotta Dance.  The second was a rebuttal to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.  His title is A Really Inconvenient Truth- The Case Against the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  For that book, he relied on his scientific background as well as a lot of research.  His third was a near future political novel, titled, Secession- A Republic Reborn.  Several sub-plots include the subject of his previous book as well as some innovative approaches to dealing with Islamic terrorism, our drug problem, immigration, and tax reform.  His latest is his most controversial of all, titled, Aren’t the Emperor’s New Clothes Grand.  It’s a    
satirical critique of our President and is a take-off of Hans Cristian Andersen’s fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes.  The reference is to Trump’s cult-like following, which seemingly ignores all his lies and broken promises.  Fishman gives an iron-clad guarantee that if you like Trump; you will hate his book.

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