Friday, September 24, 2010

Are birth rates changing our environment?

In ancient times, only the rich had large families.  The poor couldn’t afford to have many children and newborns were often discarded and found on the dung heap.

Making a quantum leap forward, large families in America were common in the early days, especially among the farmers.  The family was self-sustaining and the elders were cared for by their children in old age. Also, unlike in antiquity, law – and esp. religion – prohibited the killing or abandonment of infants.

However, men and women married very early – especially women as soon as they had passed puberty – partly so that parents no longer had to feed and clothe them.

In the 1940’s and 50’s, children married soon after completing high school. The women stayed home and raised children.  Things began to change when women sought higher education and/or joined the workforce.  They wanted a career of their own and didn’t want to be bothered with raising children. 

Birth control became popular among the middle and upper classes while the poor kept having children. Those without work looked to welfare to support their families. The middle class primarily bore this tax burden.  The middle class began shrinking and the gap between rich and poor widened. In hard economic times, as we are now experiencing, the burden is even greater.

Birth rates continue to have a great impact on our society.  Those who complain the most today are singles and parents without children.  The same is happening in other western societies. Migrant workers remain in the country and produce children while the career oriented indigenous population doesn’t want to be bothered.  In some countries, social welfare pays the family based on the number of children. The welfare income in large families is so good that there is little incentive to work, even when jobs are available. 

The future is happening now.  Former minorities will become the majorities. It is projected that by 2025 that the world Muslim population will exceed the Christian population. Reversing this trend is analogous to changing the effects of global warming.*

The best bet is to accept the reality of change and adjust. Those we hate today may become the rulers of tomorrow.  Fighting change is a losing battle.

* See for statistics on Christian vs. Muslim population growth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Greer Agency

An exciting new approach to detective novels, 15 interconnected short stories involving a different kind of private eye.

The Greer Agency is 75k words of gritty detective fiction presented in 15 separate but connected stories. The reader follows the development of private detective Mike Greer, the only PI in the Altoona, PA phone book. It’s tough to make a living in a decaying old railroad town, but with the help of an anonymous benefactor, Greer lands some interesting cases—cases that he solves with guts and determination. Throughout the stories, his budding romance with Susan grows. Eventually they realize they are right for each other.

Readers will find Mike Greer an accessible everyman with luck, pluck, smarts and a host of interesting friends. He finds his way into and out of problems large and small. Greer narrates the stories in a refreshing and original voice. Each story has its own plot and can stand on its own but, as the book progresses, the mysteries pile up and the plots get more complex until the explosive last story.

Mike Greer is a protagonist with a low tolerance for bullshit and an easy touch for the emotional pleas of the downtrodden. He works alone and struggles against an uncaring world. But throw no pity party for the man, he will have none of it. His melancholy is tightly wrapped inside his tough guy exterior, and pity just bounces off as he walks away, down the dark sidewalks of Altoona into the next story.

Now available in print and e-book format from All Things That matter Press:

You can read what others are saying about The Greer Agency by clicking here.

To learn more about Harris Tobias, The Greer Agency and his other exciting novels, you can go here, here, or here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

HUMAN TRIAL by Timothy Stelly

Timothy Stelly’s HUMAN TRIAL (2009, All Things That Matter Press) and HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (2010, All Things That Matter Press), present the tale of a ragtag group of survivors of an alien-launched thermal war that has destroyed nearly all human amd animal life on the planet. HUMAN TRIAL raised the question, What happens when all that remains of the world is fear, distrust and desperation? HT II follows the group on a cross-country trek that results in a final, frenzied battle against the extra-terrestrial invaders.
Reviews for part one of Timothy Stelly’s sci-fi noir thriller, Human Trial, have been positive. Readers and critics from the U.S. and Canada have praised the book for its grittiness and frightening tenor.

“…Superb. It's as if I'm one of the 10 going through the same trials they are. I can hardly wait to read the next installment.”—T.C. Matthews, author oif What A Web We Weave
“The book scares me because of the possibility of this happening in our future and how we will handle it. Scary. Deeply thought out…Timothy definitely has his own voice and it is powerful.” —Minnie Miller, author of The Seduction of Mr. Bradley
“Human Trial was a well written, well thought out book with plenty of biting, satirical social, religious and racial commentary interspersed within the dialogue. The drama, and the pathos, were nonstop, and I never knew what to expect next.” –Brooklyn Darkchild, author of This Ain’t No Hearts and Flowers Love Story, Pt. I & II
“[This] story has been haunting me-reminds me of Octavia Butler's 'Parable of the Sower’…Stelly's work haunts me two years after I read it.”
--Evelyn Palfrey, author of Dangerous Dilemma and The Price Of Passion
“4 out of 5 stars. I felt the echoes of other notable science fiction novels, including "Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler, "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and "Manhattan Transfer" by John E. Stith. Timothy Stelly creates a believable milieu of small-town America being turned upside down by forces beyond comprehension, and puts the reader right in the middle of the action.—Claxton Graham, review
“Human Trial is at once a sci-fi story, a look at the psychology of survival, and a timely cautionary tale regarding current environmental woes; our individual and collective responsibility to one another and to the planet…It is an entertaining and intricate story that can be read and enjoyed along with the likes of Mitchener, King, or Peter Straub. Stelly intuitively knows what everyday people will do to survive and how their interactions with each other will sound.”—Brian Barbeito, Columnist and author of Fluoride And The Electric Light Queen
“Gritty and intense, Human Trial will leave you stupefied and terrified, neither of which will protect your gut from wrenching. The message finally revealed is not only horrifying, but real, as is the omen foretold. Turning tables and unbalanced scales foster confusion and terror in an epic far greater than its words.” - Brian L. Doe, Author, The Grace Note, Barley & Gold; Co-Author, Waking God Trilogy
“Oh the suspense, the drama, the intensity, the love I’m having for this story…trust indeed that my adrenaline cannot go any higher. This will be a series finale you don’t want to miss.” – Walee, author of Confession Is Good For The Soul and What’s On The Menu? All Of Mw!

Timothy N. Stelly is a poet, essayist, novelist and screenwriter from northern California. He describes his writing as “socially conscious,” and his novel, HUMAN TRIAL, is the first part of a sci-fi trilogy and is available from, and in e-book format at Reviews of HUMAN TRIAL can be read at
HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM’S WAR (All Things That Matter Press) is scheduled for release in MAY, 2010. Stelly also has a short story included in the AIDS-themed anthology, THE SHATTERED GLASS EFFECT (2009) . His story SNAKES IN THE GRASS, Is a tale of love, betrayal and its sometimes deadly consequences.
In 2003, Stelly won First Prize in the Pout-erotica poetry contest for his erotic piece, C’mon Condi.

Contact Info:
Both books available at, and
Visit me at: or
Human Trial is still available from and Paperback
$18.99, e-book (kindle) format, $10.99.
Read the Brian Barbeito review of HUMAN TRIAL at:
Read more online reviews at and
"Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol." -- Steve Martin

Tags: Sci-fi, sci-fi noir, last man genre, trilogy, ,African-american literature, noir, alien invasion

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

They Plotted Revenge Against America

Lily's Odyssey

Lily's Odyssey
ISBN-13: 978-0984098453
All Things That Matter Press
Carol Smallwood

Lily's Odyssey unfolds in three parts with the inevitability, impact, and resolution of a Greek play. The dialogue rings true, the concrete conveyed along with moods and half-tones to paint Midwestern middle class flawed characters with poignancy. The psychological detective novel explores the once largely unacknowledged: it is not only soldiers who get post-traumatic stress disorder and child abuse whether it is overt or covert incest is a time bomb. From daughter to grandmother, Lily's voyage is told with lyricism, humor, and irony using a poet's voice to distill contemporary American women's changing role in religion, marriage, and family.

Carol Smallwood has appeared in English Journal, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Writer's Chronicle, The Detroit News. Short-listed for the Eric Hoffer Award for Best New Writing in 2009, a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Award Winner, she's included in Who's Who in America, and Contemporary Authors. Writing and Publishing: The Librarian's Handbook is one of her recent American Library Association books. Contemporary American Women: Our Defining Passages, co-edited, is her 22nd book.

From the Preface:

     Weight of Silence, and Nicolet's Daughter were considered as novel titles but it remained Lily's Odyssey. Odysseus, the epic hero from Greek mythology in The Odyssey, helped by the gods with his band of men, maneuvers the Scylla and Charybdis passage as one of his many adventures in ancient times. Lily, from the Midwest, named by a gardener mother she doesn't remember, struggles with a subconscious she fears will destroy her. Her narrow passage is between reality and disassociation, her time the latter 20th and early 21st Centuries. Her odyssey without help from the gods reflects a passage through linear labyrinths women interpret as round. Lily's fragmentation is echoed in the writing style.


     That evening after we saw Dr. Schackmann, Cal said, "You must realize that building my practice takes all my energy, and accept that as reality." He was mixing his martini before dinner on the glass-topped mahogany sideboard. As he spoke, I studied the sideboard's inlaid rosewood and ebony squares, again thinking he was a good surgeon, widely respected, and it must have been my fault that I wasn't a good wife.
     I got a coaster and placed it on the sideboard. He frowned and turned it so the pheasant on the coaster squarely faced him. "You don't even know why you're so dissatisfied," he said, and laughed. "How can you not even know that?"

       At the luncheon, I made as many trips as I dared to the restroom without causing people to wonder if something was wrong with me. Inside the unheated cement block room, my long deep breaths came out like smoke signals when I opened and shut my mouth to relieve my clenched jaw, shake my head in disbelief. Each time I went in, I saw cracks in the ceiling that I hadn't seen before. Some natural light came through a small casement window dotted with snow, and I recalled making dots of snow on windows into fairy tale pictures when a child.
       When people had complained about the cold rest rooms to Father Couillard, who was the priest before Father Mulcahy, he'd say, "Enjoy the cold while you can, my friends. Where many of you are headed, it will be plenty hot."


Smallwood is a watcher. Her eyes are unblinking. And her ears can detect the mercurial ticks of a heart. As a storyteller, she's as sure as any Preakness jockey. She knows when words need to clip-clop up to the gate, when to bide, and when to unfetter them, to let the truth loose. Truth thunders in Lily's Odyssey.
      -Katie McKy, author of Pumpkin Town, Houghton Mifflin, and Wolf Camp, Tanglewood Press.

Smallwood is an incredibly gifted author with a broad range of experience. She demonstrates commitment to conscience in her work through Michigan Feminist Studies, The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and Best New Writing 2009.
     -Sandra Potter, CEO & Founder, Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, co-author, Unnecessary Roughness: Till Death Do Us Part;
The Child Abuse Survivor Project.

Literary novel

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shooting Angels by Nicolas Sansone

 Shooting Angels by Nicolas Sansone

A NASA Space Shuttle plummets to Earth. A team of eight rescue workers plunges into a treacherous Texan wilderness to recover the wreckage, and become entwined in a cosmic conspiracy. An uncouth disembodied head enslaves an elderly rancher and uses his cellar as the war room of its campaign against God, a noir-style slickster with a buxom blonde wife and a taste for margaritas, who rockets down from the suburbs of Heaven on a comet to do battle with metaphysical evils. "Shooting Angels" races from the jungles of Texas, to the dark corners of undiscovered space, to the innermost reaches of the human mind, to the smoggy streets of Central Heaven, where people are free to give in to their most detestable urges. The novel asks its characters to confront their ordering theories of the universe, and raises questions of how we are to envision divinity in a technological age.

Review from amazon user S. Lemme:
"Shooting Angels" is an immensely creative and eminently page-turning first novel from Nicolas Sansone. Sansone's imagination delivers a world in which the outrageous is entirely believable, the everyday and mundane are eerily unnerving, and God (as well as Mrs. God) is a truly relatable being. This fast-paced and quick read allows readers to readily consider the "big" questions of faith and reality with good measures of humor, compassion and irreverence. Sansone's tight depiction of his large cast of characters, who range from the ordinary to the downright bizarre, contributes to his characters' accessibility and believability (in the face of the extraordinary). After this read, I can only look forward to what will come next from Sansone's rich imagination. Though his characters and their predicaments may be out-of-this-world, to quote the novel, "They are born of the imagination, but so is everything real".

Amazon page: AATMP e-store:
Author Website:
Author Blog:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shaman Circus by Gail Gray

 Shaman Circus by Gail Gray
 In New Orleans following Katrina all bets are off; all masks dissolved. “Don’t forget the sham in shaman,” Jacob Laguerre lies to his new apprentice, Alex Hampton. When Alex, a twenty-eight year-old anthropology professor goes on field-study to post-Katrina New Orleans, he enters a chaotic and altered landscape where he’s psychologically, physically and spiritually challenged by the sarcastic mentoring of the mulatto, Laguerre, a current day voudou shaman.  
Both Laguerre’s and Alex’s psyches struggle through stages of transition and rebirth as their lives are enmeshed with a group of quirky fringe-dwellers, as colorful and eccentric as New Orleans itself. Lily Hampton, a sculptor, torn between her love for both men; Mavis, an artist who spent nights in her attic, but survived the floods;  Perry Laguerre, Jacob’s hermaphroditic twin, and Bad Jacqui, lesbian owner of a French Quarter bar: are pulled together to form the cynical but ultimately idealistic team who vow to stay in post-Katrina New Orleans. 
They all follow a taut path between madness and redemption in the no man’s land of Refrigerator Town as they assist in the aftermath and healing of both the city and those who remain. 
Shaman Circus is a magical realism/dark urban fantasy approach to the failure of the levees. This raggle-taggle group discovers how devastated and government-abandoned New Orleans leaves no quarter for societal charades and consumer societies. Cast adrift and crashing together they attempt to make sense of both internal and external wastelands, ultimately leading to transformation and sanctuary.

Review by Steve Lindahl, author of Motherless Soul

"Shaman Circus is a story of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The writing has great detail and provides an understanding of what life was like in that city with clarity that wasn’t in either the news media statistics or the graphic pictures provided at the time of the storm. I was especially affected by a section where an artist was cleaning her studio. When she discovered that one of her works was only half destroyed from water damage, she ripped off the ruined part and kept the rest hoping she could recreate the painting someday. Gray’s images of huge out of control trash fires and colorful Louisiana Voodoo rituals performed in half destroyed warehouses, pulled me into her story and held me there. There was also a fascinating love triangle between Alex, Jacob, and Lily. Their relationships swirled around with almost as much destructive force as the hurricane. Shaman Circus is the type of book that makes its readers want to slow down to carefully pull in every word. It is more than a good read. It is a wonderful journey." -
To purchase Shaman Circus:  Amazon
ATTMP Press:
For info on Gail Gray:

For info on ATTMP Press: ATTMP:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why should I care? Am I my brother's keeper?

Why should I care if people don’t have health care?  I did my pro-life duty by seeing that a seed planted in the uterus has a chance to grow and create a new life.  What happens to the child afterward is not my problem.  I’m not my brother’s keeper.  Children are born with equal rights.  Just because they grow up and can’t get a job to support themselves, is not my problem.  If they get sick it’s because they didn’t take care of themselves.  They deserve what they get.  To care for them is socialism. To give help to those in need is socialism.  We’re a capitalist society.  You make your own way.  We can’t protect everyone. Why do we need a police force?  People can get a gun and protect themselves.  We must protect our freedom to do what we want to whomever we want.  Why would a country take care of its citizens?  That is socialism and socialism is evil. 
Then there’s the fairy tale about a man who healed the sick. Why would he want to do that?  Then he went so far as to feed the hungry.  Why would he do that?  Did he not know that was socialism and socialism is evil? 
Health care is for those who can afford it.  If you can’t, that’s just tough. Am I my brother’s keeper? 

(Sarcastically posted)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Motherless Soul by Steve Lindahl

Motherless Soul is the story of Emily Vinson, a woman whose entire life was impacted by the loss of her mother when she was 2 years old. At 82 Emily contacts a hypnotist hoping to draw out hidden memories and to discover as much as possible about the short time she spent with the woman who gave her life. Glen Wiley, the hypnotist, teaches her more about herself than she had expected. He helps her bring out memories of many past lives, including an experience that took place on a smoke filled battlefield. All of Emily's lives have had the same tragic outcome, the loss of her mother at a young age. Her soul is caught in what Glen calls circularity, meaning that the tragedy will occur again and again unless she can break the pattern. She and Glen must revisit her past lives and use what they learn to find the other souls who are part of the circle. They must use the past to change the future. Emily's stubborn desire to know her mother is realized in intricate and unsettling ways no one could have imagined possible.

Excerpt (from Chapter Four)

Glen asked her to count backwards from one hundred. When she passed fifty-nine he started to guide her saying, “Go back, back further to a time before you were Emily Vinson. Keep going back.” His words seemed to run right through her body, like a shot of whiskey. Glen seemed to be growing distant, although she knew he was right next to her. She kept counting toward zero, even as he spoke.

Emily lost track of the counting. She was certain she’d repeated some numbers, but she tried to keep them coming. She knew she had to do what Glen told her to do. She closed her eyes. Shortly after that the dim light she could make out through her lids faded into absolute darkness.

“You’re slipping through time and space into a place that’s been buried in your heart for ages upon ages. Something important happened to you in this place. You’re starting to remember what it was like: the smells, the sounds, the texture of the world around you.”

Her eyes started to burn. Memories were flowing into her head after a period of nothingness and those sensations were different from what she’d experienced the day before. This time it was as if she were two people. The person she had been before the session began, the old woman nearing the end of her life, was now watching someone else from inside that other person’s body. The other person was very young, but in trouble.

“Talk to me, Emily. Let me know what you’re feeling.”

Emily started to cry. She wasn’t able to hold back. Her cry was the loud wail of a hungry baby. But Emily knew what she felt wasn’t only hunger. Something was very wrong.

Review: Jen Knox (Author of Musical Chairs)
This is a profound work about the cyclic nature of pain and one woman's desire to confront it and move on. The story begins with Emily's search to demystify the mother she never knew, the figure whom she believes to hold the secret that will break a cycle of discontent. Where this leads her is on a journey of self-discovery that begins with a trip to a hypnotist and introduces Emily to generations past. Emily's journey is filled with realizations that grow exponentially, and ultimately lead to a philosophical and spiritual awakening. This book is phenomenal. The chapters are short and engaging, and the writing is fantastic.

For a video reading of an excerpt go to -  Motherless Soul

For more information about Steve Lindahl go to

To purchase Motherless Soul go to Amazon, All Things That Matter Press or
Barnes and Noble

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is it time for Revolt?

Is it time for Revolt?
Are Global Warming and Health Care Reform issues politically related?

In discussions about Global Warming, the far right doesn’t buy into the notion that pollution is the cause. In discussions about healthcare reform, the far right doesn’t feel change is needed. There are thousands of scientists who have studied the causes of global warming. Scientists have seldom, if ever, been in total agreement on any issue and it is easy to find scientists that will support one’s political agenda. There are doctors and insurance companies that want things to remain as they are and find political support.

Past arguments to delay implementation of pollution controls on industry was purported that it would hurt the economy. It would require corporations to spend much money to reduce emissions.

Past arguments to prevent controls on financial markets and institutions was that it would inhibit a free market economy. The freewheeling of the financial institutions, without controls, led to the crash on Wall Street, and that hurt the economy. The freewheeling of insurance companies to insure only healthy people, exclude pre-existing conditions and maintain high profits, are fighting to block change with political support.

The middle class is declining as more slide into the poor category. These same people, many without a healthcare program or one that is adequate, support political views that benefit the rich. Why? Brainwashing by highly paid public relations firms know how to tap into the psyche of Middle America. They talk about long waiting lines and substandard care if government controlled. They use terms like communism, socialism and other isms as scare tactics to keep the poor in their place, and people succumb to this propaganda.

In the preamble to our constitution it states, “…promote the general welfare…” It did not mean the general welfare of the rich, but of all Americans. Abe Lincoln expressed in his Gettysburg Address: “…a government of the people, by the people and for the people…“ Not having a government “for the people” is part of the reason 13 colonies revolted. Is it time for another revolt?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Review: Eminent Murder

Eminent Murder Eminent Murder by Joe Crain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was surprised to read a book by a new author that is comparable to the suspense works of John Grisham involving the work of lawyers in solving crimes. Joe Crain’s “Eminent Murder” novel captured me in the very first chapter. The story takes place in a small Texas town where three men, bullies in their youth, grow up to become ruthless power brokers. With intimidation and blackmail, nothing seems impossible for furthering their political and financial ambitions. Clay Longley returns to his hometown to find his childhood sweetheart married to one of the erstwhile bullies. When they attempt to take away the ranch of his parents to build a Golf resort complex, he fights back. The legal battle becomes nasty and revenge evolves into multiple murders. In the ongoing fight for justice, a Texas Ranger and former school friend of Clay becomes involved. Are the Sheriff’s department, city council and District Attorney’s office engaged in a cover up? Is justice possible in the face of these power brokers? Intrigue, suspense, twists and turns leave the reader spellbound. This is the kind of book that you read non-stop. Joe Crain has proven himself a first class writer. I highly recommend this book and give it a 5-Star rating.

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Book Review: Shaman Circus

Shaman Circus Shaman Circus by Gail Gray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Katrina disaster brings kindred spirits together in a story steeped in occult mysticism. In an environment shattered by natural disasters, the fractured lives of people search for meaning. Their struggle is not only with the physical, but spiritual. A mix of educated personalities and people of the street participate in thought provoking occult rituals. Personal relationships are altered as they seek understanding of who they are. Is shamanism the answer? Can relationships survive personal change?Gail Gray has proven herself as a good author. For readers who are interested in the paranormal, they will enjoy this book.

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