Category Archives: Awards

Review of The Good Spy by Kai Bird

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames
By: Kai Bird
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015

 

Brief Review:

I was military, stationed in Germany in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  I do not remember how many times my company was on high alert.  There were threats coming from the Middle East, especially on November 4, 1979, when a group of Iranian students stormed the U. S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages.  The rescue attempt on April 24, 1980, known as Operation Eagle Claw, failed, resulting in the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen and one Iranian civilian, as well as the destruction of two helicopters.  The hostages were held captive for 444 days.  They were released on January 20, 1981, minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States.  This was only one incident that took place during “Peacetime” or during the “Cold War.”  Personally, I didn’t see “Peacetime” so peaceful.  We could have gone to war at any given time.  I had all of this on my mind as I read The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird.

Robert Ames was a CIA Operative who died in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut on April 18, 1983. He was one of 63 people killed that day of which 17 were Americans.

What does Bird’s title, The Good Spy mean?  Ames worked hard and he was a devoted family man.  He appeared to be a kind and decent man who had a thirst for Middle East knowledge: he learned Arabic and learned about the history and culture of each area he was stationed at.  He made friends, not just contacts.  Ames was somewhat of a rogue who operated independently and didn’t always see eye to eye with his fellow operatives. Yet, he was “good” at his job.

The Good Spy, in my opinion, is best read in small chunks so that the reader can get to know Ames and all the many players, movers and shakers of the Middle East.   Bird does an excellent job with an overview history of the Middle East and the role that Ames played in that history.

This book left me with this question: If Robert Ames had lived beyond 1983, would the course of history, especially in the Middle East, been changed?

 

Listen to an interview between Kai Bird and Charlie Rose at:

https://kaibird.com

 

About the Author: (from Amazon)

Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. His new book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. A biography of a CIA officer, The Good Spy was released on May 20, 2014, by Crown/Random House. Kai’s last book was a memoir about the Middle East entitled Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 (Scribner, April 27, 2010). It was a 2011 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. He is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005), which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the Duff Cooper Prize for History in London. He wrote The Chairman: John J. McCloy, the Making of the American Establishment (1992) and The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy & William Bundy, Brothers in Arms (1998). He is also co-editor with Lawrence Lifschultz of Hiroshima’s Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (1998). He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s writing fellowship, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study Center, Bellagio, Italy and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and a contributing editor of The Nation. He lives in Miami Beach.

 

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7 Upcoming Writers Conferences

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Los Angeles
July 7-10, 2017
https://www.scbwi.org/annual-conferences/

Thriller Fest, Grand Hyatt, New York City
July 11-15, 2017
http://thrillerfest.com/

Romance Writers of AmericaWalt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, Orlando, FL
July 26-29, 2017
http://www.rwa.org/conference

Writers Digest Conference, New York City
August 18-20, 2017
http://www.writersdigestconference.com/

Killer Nashville, Franklin, TN
August 24-27, 2017
http://www.killernashville.com

Creatures, Crime & Creativity, Sheraton Columbia Town Center, Columbia, MD
September 8-10, 2017
http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/

Historical Writers of AmericaSanta Ana Pueblo, NM
September 21-24, 2017
http://historicalwritersofamerica.org/

 

 

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Coming in June 2017 – Adrift on Edisto

COMING IN JUNE 2017!

Title of Book: Adrift on Edisto
By: C. Hope Clark
Genre: Mystery

Book Excerpt: Blood rushed in Callie’s ears. With an embarrassed board frozen before her, stunned citizens behind her, Callie stiffened in defense. “Excuse me?” She crushed the papers in her hand, but she wasn’t sure she had the strength for Brice’s challenge, or the focus to handle it properly. Not without getting fired on the spot . . . or being arrested for murder.

And God knows there’d been enough murder on the island.
She’d been exonerated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in the shootout. But that fact paled in the shadow of Mike Seabrook’s death. The community had adored him. And he’d been the man she’d professed to love just twenty-four hours before he succumbed to a bullet and a knife on a muddy, desolate, rained-out road.

The room had gone silent. Silent! How many people still held her accountable?

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Murder in Chelsea

TitleMurder in Chelsea

By: Victoria Thompson

Genre: Gaslight Mystery/Historical Fiction

Excerpt:

Frank knew the Upper West Side well.  He’d visited too many of the fancy town houses with their marble steps and their velvet draperies and their dreary furniture.  He’d listened to too many rich people make the pettiest complaints and give the paltriest excuses for committing murder.  He did not expect today would be much different.

The maid who answered his knock at Mr. Wilbank’s house looked him up and down and stuck her nose in the air.  “Tradesmen use the rear,” she said and started to slam the door in his face.

Frank gave it a shove and sent her staggering back.  Before she could recover, he stepped inside and closed it behind him.

“I’ll scream,” she said her eyes wide.

“Don’t bother.  Just announce me to Mr. Wilbanks.  Tell him I have a message from Miss Anne Murphy.”

“I shouldn’t ‘ve let you in.  He’ll give me the devil.”

“Not if you tell him what I said.  He’ll want to hear news of the child.”

“What child?”

 

 

About the Author: (from Amazon.com)

Edgar® Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest is MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE. She also contributed to the award-winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. A popular speaker, Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

happy-birthdaybeautiful-hd-picToday’s my Birthday and I sent out invitations for others to join me, however, everyone seemed to be too busy so I am eating CAKE all by myself.

Like my invitation stated, I am promoting all genres today even though February is Romance month.

And since no one wanted to party…guess you all had to big of a night on Sunday night after the Super Bowl Game…I am partying by myself.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of one of the books below, subscribe to my newsletter before midnight (Feb. 7th).  I will choose the winner on Feb. 8th.

http://www.sparkinganvil.com/cindy.html

Take time to visit the authors below and sign up for their newsletters.

 

 

by Clementine Paddleford and Cynthia Harris

Stories Paddleford wrote about her childhood.

  • Hometown Appetites, The Story of
    Clementine Paddleford the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate

by Cynthia Harris and Kelly Alexander

You can only get this book in Paperback and Kindle, if you would like to purchase a hardcover, I will be happy to sell you a copy.

Website – http://www.sparkinganvil.com/cindy.html

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Cyn_Harris

*****

  • The Yellow Hoods Series

by Adam Dreece

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Twitter: @AdamDreece
Signed copies available at TheYellowHoods.com/Store

 

*****

by Jason B. Ladd
*****

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Cindy’s Notebook First Book of the Year Award goes to….

My husband picked up a book that has been on my nightstand for a long time.

“Are you ever going to read this?” he asked.

“I have,” I replied.

“What’s it about?” he asked.

“Do you have the time for me to tell you about it?”

“Was it good?”

“Yes, it was!”

“So, what are you, book blogger, going to do about it?”

He had that glint in his eyes that says…”I know you want to.”

“I wrote a review and posted it on Amazon, to help promote it.  And I tweet, etc. about it every now and then.” I said.

“You are a book blogger.  Aren’t you going to do more?” he asked.

“More,” I thought.  Why would I want to do more than what I have already done or do when I think about it.  It is not my book after all.

Yet, this simple word “more” got me thinking.  What more could I do?

Then it donned on me.  I could start a book award of the year and this would be the first receiver of that award.

So, here is the first award that “Cindy’s Notebook” is giving away.

Congratulations:51spqu1ewl-_uy250_

2016-book-award

 

Award Logo Art Work by Cyra R. Cancel

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Writing Contests

Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: Closing date January 31, 2017.

El Chapo Review Essay Contest 2017. Genre: Creative non-fiction. Prize: $500 top prize. Deadline: January 31, 2017.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. “The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America.” Genre: previously unpublished work of short fiction. Prize: $100.00. Deadline: January 31, 2017.

 

My husband and I are combining our websites into one.  It is a work in progress.  Visit:

www.sparkinganvil.com

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Featuring Children, Tweens & YA Authors

Are you a Children’s Author?

Do you write for tweens?

What about Young Adults?

I am paying it forward in 2017 by featuring authors on my blog.

Sign up for me to feature you on the Feature Calendar page!feature-md

Occasionally, there will be bonus material, giveaways, reviews and more!

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American Book Awards Program

From the website of – Before Columbus Foundation

The American Book Awards Program is not associated with any industry group or trade organization. The American Book Awards offer no cash prize nor do they require any financial commitments from the authors or their publishers. The Award winners are nominated and selected by a panel of writers, editors, and publishers who also represent the diversity of American literary culture.

Submissions

There are no application forms, fees, or any other restrictions for submissions, nominations, or recommendations to the panel. The book is what matters, not the procedure. The only requirement is that two copies of the book must be mailed to the Before Columbus Foundation by December 31st for consideration for the following year’s Awards. Anyone may make a submission (it does not have to be the publisher). There is no limit on the number of titles that may be submitted. All genres are accepted (including anthologies, children’s books, and multimedia). You may include reviews, publicity, or other informational material with your submission if you wish.

American Book Awards
Before Columbus Foundation 

The Raymond House
655-13th Street, Suite 302
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 268-9775
beforecolumbusfoundation@gmail.com

For more information visit – http://www.beforecolumbusfoundation.com/american-book-awards/

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Filed under Animation, Authors, Autobiography, Awards, Biography, Body, Books, Children's Books, Christmas, Comedy, Coming of Age, Cookbooks, Crime Fiction, Dark Fantasy Romance, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational, Memoir, Military, Mind, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Age, Non-Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Fantasy Romance, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Picture Books, Religious, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Spirit, Suspense, Thriller, Travel, Urban Fantasy/Horror, Western, Young Adult

New Release – Mistletoe & Horseshoes

14923973_1840035786215305_526874780_oTitle: Mistletoe & Horseshoes
By: Juliette Douglas
Publisher: Juliette Douglas Brand
Publication Date: November 29, 2016

Book Excerpt:

Her five-year prison sentence was reduced to two years for good behavior for the killing of her boss and sometimes lover, Rance Girard. Jolene King had set out to rebuild her life if that was possible.

Arriving in Trace Crossings during a blizzard, Jolene was just glad to have a place to hole up from the ferocious wind and snow…even if it was a stable.

Emmett Foster wasn’t sure about his visitor…but it was Christmas and he wasn’t about to let human or beast die out in this weather if he could help it.

Two lost souls seek to leave their past behind and find new beginnings…after all miracles do happen during Christmas…Don’t they?

 

Author Bio:13260_10203156899867774_9066514740806994054_n-1

This award-winning author lives in Kentucky where she is rescue mom to 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 possums.

Her stories focus on the bold, strong and brassy women of the old west. Her popular female bounty hunter series, The Freckled Venom Series has garnered readers of all ages. She now has five books available on Amazon.com in kindle and paperback under her pen name of Juliette Douglas.

Laramie Award: Best Debut Western Freckled Venom Copperhead
Finalist in fiction category: Authors Talk About It contest: Freckled Venom Skeletons
Laramie Award Finalist: Perfume Powder & Lead: Holy Sisters

Follow Juliette on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/author.juliette.douglas

 

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