A heads-up for Georgette Heyer fans: Her historical novels are on sale today on Kindle

Georgette Heyer fans know that, in addition to her exquisite, sparkling regency romances, Georgette Heyer also wrote several more serious historic novels about everything from the Norman Conquest to the Battle of Waterloo.  If you’ve dreamed of owning copies, you’ll be happy to know that, at least for today, Georgette Heyer’s historical novels are on sale.

One of my favorite writers — Ray Zacek — got a great write-up at PJ Lifestyle

The DaguerreotypeOne of my favorite new media novelists is Ray Zacek (who is also a friend of this blog).  I’ve already given enthusiastic thumbs up to two of his novels: The Taxman Cometh, which I reviewed here; and The Daguerreotype, which I reviewed here.

Because Ray is a wonderful writer, he’s starting to garner the attention he deserves in the blogosphere. The latest example is a fairly in-depth interview at PJ Lifestyle. Enjoy the interview and then give yourself the gift of a good read by buying his books.

The best rejection letter ever in the whole history of rejection letters

220px-Gertrude_steinI suspect most young people have never heard of Gertrude Stein — or at least, most straight young people, since Stein lives on as a gay icon. She was famous in her day for her prose style, which some called experimental, some called lyrical, and some called insane. The Wikipedia article on Stein actually does a nice job of summarizing her prose:

Typical quotes are: “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”; “Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle”; about her childhood home in Oakland, “There is no there there”; and “The change of color is likely and a difference a very little difference is prepared. Sugar is not a vegetable.”

[snip]

Her use of repetition is ascribed to her search for descriptions of the “bottom nature” of her characters, such as in The Making of Americans where the narrator is described through the repetition of narrative phrases such as “As I was saying” and “There will be now a history of her.” Stein used many Anglo-Saxon words and avoided words with “too much association”.

Stein predominantly used the present progressive tense, creating a continuous present in her work. . . .

Here’s a good example of her early writing:

A RED STAMP.

If lilies are lily white if they exhaust noise and distance and even dust, if they dusty will dirt a surface that has no extreme grace, if they do this and it is not necessary it is not at all necessary if they do this they need a catalogue.

In 1912, shortly after she began her literary career, Stein submitted a manuscript (“M.S.”) to Arthur Fifield, a publisher in London. He, in return, wrote her the most magnificent rejection letter I have ever seen:

Gertrude Stein rejection letter

April 19 1912

Dear Madam,

I am only one, only one, only one.  Only one being, one at the same time.  Not two, not three, only one.  Only one life to live, only sixty minutes in one hour.  Only one pair of eyes.  Only one brain.  Only one being.  Being only one, having only one pair of eyes, having only one time, having only one life, I cannot read your M.S. three or four times.  Not even one time.  Only one look, only one look is enough.  Hardly one copy would sell here.  Hardly one.  Hardly one.

Many thanks.  I am returning the M.S. by registered post.  Only one M.S. by one post.

Sincerely yours,

Arthur Fifield

Mental Floss has assembled a collection of nine other rejection letters sent to famous people, in addition to Fifield’s letter to Stein.  All are somewhat interesting.  Only the one (the one, only the one) to Stein is brilliant.

“The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America” — Book Sale *UPDATED*

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERUPDATE: The virtue of making lots of mistakes in life is that you get good at making heartfelt apologies. Here’s mine:

I really, really hate learning life lessons the hard way, especially when doing so inconveniences and even misleads others. Today’s life lesson was that, even if you think you’ve properly set-up a Kindle Countdown Deal for your e-book, you should check to make sure that the sale is actually in place before sending out the announcements.

Two days ago, I thought that I had set up a Countdown Deal that would begin today. At the same time, I scheduled a post announcing the deal, as well as this email notification. I was proud of myself for this unusual efficiency.

Pride goeth before a fall, of course.

It turns out that, even as my blog post automatically appeared and my email automatically got delivered, both announcing that my e-book is on sale, the $2.99 price on my e-book remained unchanged. I’d like to blame the Kindle Publishing process, but I can’t. The fault was entirely mine for not confirming that all systems were go before I launched my little publicity campaign.

I am so sorry I wasted your time. Having said that, it’s still a nice book to read and I still intend to put in on sale. When that happens, I’ll double check to make sure that Kindle and I are on the same page, and I’ll send out an announcement that’s the real deal.

*****

By any chance, have you heard of Bookworm’s The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America? It is, if I do say so myself, an utterly delightful book. Some (namely me) call it a clever and elegant compendium of essays offering insights into American politics and society. But why take my word for it — even though, since I wrote the book, some might say I have the inside track on just how wonderful it is? Others seem to like it too.

Before I tell you how much these others have liked it, let me entice you with a bargain:  Today through March 20, you can buy the book for $0.99, which is 67% off the regular price.  On March 21, the price creeps up to $1.99 (a 34% discount), where it will stay until 9 p.m. PST on March 23.  After that, if you still want to buy the book, you’re on the hook for the full $2.99.

Robert Avrech, who blogs at Seraphic Secret and who wrote How I Married Karen, a charming, book-length love letter to his wife:

[T]hen I sat down and read The Bookworm Returns: Life in Obama’s America, an eBook which should be mandatory reading for every American. Bookworm Room is a wife, a mother, a lawyer, and a blogger who is something of a hero to me. Whenever I need some common sense talk about difficult political or social issues, I make my way to Bookworm and see what she has to say. Her opening essay on guns, written as a letter to a teacher (but wisely never sent) is a classic discourse on the Second Amendment, and how best to protect our children. Because Bookworm is a brainy lawyer who has not sacrificed her common sense, she writes astonishingly clear sentences that manage to cut to the heart of, well, everything. Her chapters on what the Democrats have done to our health care system is, quite simply, revelatory.

Caryl B. Miller:

Deep in the wilds of Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge lives Bookworm, a pseudonym for a wonderful writer and culture warrior tilting against the predominant Left flowing current. I’ve always loved her blogging and here is a collection of some of her best work.

Her take on living in Obama’s America, delivered from what some people might call the heart of it alternately made me laugh and reflect seriously at what we’re becoming as a society, and I think it will have the same effect on you. It is, more or less, a diary on what we’re going through right now. And being a collection of short essays, it’s a great mental snack when you feel like giving your brain a treat.

Highly recommended.

Teri O’Brien, who blogs at Teri O’Brien and whose The ABC’s of Barack Obama: Understanding God’s Greatest Gift to America (Lies Obama Told Me) is an enjoyable, easy-to-read indictment of the Obama administration:

One reason that conservatives have a much easier time making logical arguments is that we constantly see our positions under siege by the popular culture, by academia, and by the legacy media. We have to defend our positions, which are laughingly characterized as “out of the mainstream” by people who think Bill Ayers is just a college professor from Barack Obama’s old ‘hood. We see our values and traditions mocked and denigrated on a daily basis. Not so for liberals. They spout crazy talk that goes unchallenged. They repeat threadbare clichés to each other as everyone nods in agreement.

One very notable example of the value of engaging in actual debate is the author of this book, Bookworm, a common sense conservative living in one of the most liberal bastions of the bluest of blue states, and the publisher of a popular blog. Her many fans know that she uses her well-honed intelligence to slice and dice liberal foolishness, and to expose its inherent inconsistencies with clever wit, humor and well-researched, hard evidence, delivered in extremely readable prose that is a delight to experience. For example, in a little over 600 words, she demolishes the anti-freedom, anti-choice Obamacare scheme by comparing it to grocery bag bans. Then I was the one nodding in agreement.

This book is not all wonky public policy–and even the entries written about serious public policy aren’t written in a way that is the slightest bit wonky. I cheered when she busted a liberal professor’s attempt to conflate the nihilistic world of Lena Dunham with the respect for traditional values permeating Jane Austen’s wonderful novels. I marveled at her profound insights about the cycle of life and death inspired by, of all the things, the death of a mouse.

The book is organized into short essays, which makes it perfect for a quick break during the day. Grab a cup of coffee, and be inspired and intellectually refreshed.

You will thoroughly enjoy this book, but beyond that, it will provide you with the evidence and solid arguments that you need to withstand the relentless liberal assault against what you hold dear.

Highly Recommended.

Terry Oberdank:

I have read most of what is in here from the Bookworm Room Blog but it was all worth reading again. She has a wonderful command of language and her values are very commendable.

Beth Vandiver:

“Bookworm” has her eagle-eye on the country and she’s a wonderful writer. If you like common sense, this is the book for you!

Needless to say, I am deeply grateful to those friends of mine who took the time and made the effort to say such kind things about my writing.  Perhaps those reviews will entice you to give the book a try….

Book Review: Dennis Koller’s “The Oath,” a book that seems to predict the Obama administration (if you don’t like Obama)

The OathWhen talking of the Malaysia Airline mystery, many of us have noted that we’re reminded of books we’ve read about sophisticated and mysterious airline hijackings. That’s how I felt yesterday when, over the course of a few hours, I swallowed whole Dennis Koller’s The Oath. Given that I view Obama’s presidency as a constitutional disaster, I was impressed that, to the extent the book examines the people to whom post-Vietnam voters entrust political power, Koller eerily predicts just how such a presidency could play out.

The Oath, first published in 2000, follows two former inmates of the Hanoi Hilton, one of whom became cop and one of whom is pursuing a deadly vendetta against some of the Leftists who came to interview, abuse, and malign the American POWs (think Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden).  One of those Leftists is moving towards genuine government power, so a great deal of the book asks the reader to think about McGuire’s view (“I’m a cop now and I uphold the law”) and the killer’s view (“The damage these people caused and can still cause requires extrajudicial justice”).

It’s within this moral context that Tom McGuire, the cop, hunting the killer looks back at the ethics class he took in his last year at Annapolis.  Military ethics are, of course, a very challenging thing because the military of necessity is not a democracy but, instead, functions on a command basis.  This means that, the lower one goes down in the hierarchy, the less information an individual actor has, making it increasingly difficult to tell whether an order is appropriate or immoral.

As McGuire notes while he struggles with the morality behind the killer’s vendetta, some orders are easily identifiable as the type that should be disobeyed, such as the one asking a soldier to throw concentration camp inmates into gas chambers.  Others, however, are less clear, such as orders to carry out a carefully targeted aerial bombing that nevertheless will inevitably kill civilians.

It was on the last day of class, says McGuire, that the professor threw at his students the hardest question of all (emphasis mine):

And speaking of bombs, the Professor waited until the very last day to drop the biggest one of them all.   The question he left with us was debated among ourselves long after graduation.   He started by reminding us that in a few weeks we would be graduating from the Academy and be sworn in as officers in the United States Navy.   At that time we would take a sacred oath to uphold the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign or domestic. He said the “foreign” part was easy, but what if we faced a domestic threat. Someone, say, who had been duly elected as President of the United States, but little by little was starting to dismantle the freedoms guaranteed us in the Constitution. “What should be our response in such a case,” he asked. “Were we honor bound by our Oath to resist, and to take up arms against him?”   The same scenario had been played out in Germany in 1934, he pointed out. Hitler succeeded Hindenburg after Hindenburg died. First thing he did was to consolidate power, suppressing all resistance and name himself Fuhrer.   And the German military? They chose to stay on the sidelines, and, as a consequence, the world was plunged into war where millions of people died. What would you have done in those circumstances, he asked? Honor your Oath, or sit on the sidelines?

Professor Springer had timed the class perfectly.   Just as we started to debate the issue, class ended.   He kept us there for a few minutes, and then dramatically wrote on the board in big block letters a quote from Cicero: Grecian nations give the honors of the Gods to those who slay tyrants. “Have a good day,” he said, as we filed out of class for the last time.  (Koller, Dennis (2014-02-26), The Oath (Kindle Locations 2032-2045), Pen Communication.)

Interesting question, isn’t it?  And it’s one that Jonathan Turley, a Left-of-center law professor said only last week that we have to ask about President Obama (emphasis mine):

The United States is at a constitutional tipping point: The rise of an uber-presidency unchecked by the other two branches.

This massive shift of authority threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system of checks and balances. To be sure, it did not begin with the Obama administration. The trend has existed for decades, and President George W. Bush showed equal contempt for the separation of powers. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under Obama. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, in the face of expanding executive power.

Turley is correct that other presidents have done what they could to increase their power.  Only Obama, however, has taken it upon himself to rewrite laws (a purely legislative function) or to ignore laws entirely, or even to violate them, because they don’t comport with his ideology (a violation of his oath of office).  Obama has declared himself free of Constitutional limitations.

Aside from the fact that it was prescient, The Oath was a very enjoyable book to read.  Koller is a talented writer, and managed to move effortlessly between characters and time frames.  Not only does Koller move us back and forth between the Hanoi Hilton and present day (or, I guess, year 2000) San Francisco, he also presents the story through both McGuire’s and the killer’s eyes.  Koller has clear, simple (but not simplistic) prose, and offers a lot of information with an economy of words.

I also liked The Oath because of that San Francisco setting.  The fictional McGuire grew up about ten blocks from where I grew up.  Although he was a half generation ahead of me and comes out of the City’s strong Irish-Catholic tradition, I knew what and where he was talking about.  It gave the book a homey feel.

Overall, I recommend The Oath as an enjoyable read, both as a mystery thriller level, and as a thoughtful approach to a profound ethical question.

My post on PJ Lifestyle: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned By Self-Publishing 3 Kindle E-books

Book publishing back in the dayI have a new post up at PJ Lifestyle:

When I was in my 20s and 30s, my dream was to publish the Great American Junk Novel. I had no illusions about my ability (or, rather, inability) to write something profound, but I truly believed I could write a Bridges of Madison County or Da Vinci Code. I was wrong. After innumerable efforts, I gave up. I have no imagination, no sense of character, and I’m incapable of writing dialog.

Thanks to the blogosphere, however, I discovered in my 40s that, while I’m not and never will be a novelist, I am an essayist. Over the past decade, I’ve written over 11,000 essays, which easily qualifies me for “expert” status. My blog has become a vast repository of my thoughts on just about everything: politics (mostly politics), parenting, education, Hollywood, social issues, national security, travel — you name it, and I’ve probably written about it.

Considering how many hours I’ve spent at the keyboard, I’ve always hoped that I could monetize my blog. Unfortunately, while I’ve got a solid, and very dear to me, following of readers who genuinely like the way I think and write, I’ve never leveraged my way into the Big Time amongst conservative bloggers. Not being in the Big Time means that any monetization I’ve done has earned me just enough money to buy a few books, not to make a mortgage payment or two.

A few years ago, it occurred to me that I might be able to make some money if I took my writings to a new readership. That’s how I decided to try my hand at self-publishing. I saw it all clearly:  I would assemble my essays, package them attractively, upload them at Kindle Direct Publishing, and sell them for a profit on Amazon. It seemed so easy….

Sadly, it wasn’t easy, at least not the first time around. That didn’t deter me from publishing a second e-book and, just recently, a third. Each book has been easier than the one before, so I’d like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, many of which I learned the hard way.

Read the rest here.

For those unfamiliar with my writing, the three books are:

The Bookworm Turns: A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land

Easy Ways To Teach Kids Hard Things : The fun way to teach your children important life principles

The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America

Seraphic Secret wrote a lovely review for “The Bookworm Returns”

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERRobert Avrech, who blogs at Seraphic Secret, read The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America, and then wrote the kind of review that every author dreams of getting.  What makes it better than the mere words is the source.  Robert is an Emmy Award winning screenwriter, which means that he really knows his writing.  Add to that the fact that, as his blog routinely shows, he’s brilliant, erudite, compassionate, amusing, and just an all-around wonderful thinker . . . and, well, you understand how flattering it is to get a review like this:

A few days ago, a friend from shul told me that he feels like giving up.

“Reading your blog post about the countless gender choices on Facebook,” said my friend, “made me realize that my grandchildren won’t be shocked at this craziness. To them, it will be normal. And that is sick. It feels like the radical left have won the culture wars and now we’re just fighting over meaningless scraps.”

“We can’t just give up,” I said.

But his despair left a profound impression on me.

Is it true that the radical left have already won? Does the rise of a Marxist community agitator to POTUS mean the end of the American Republic?

And then I sat down and read The Bookworm Returns: Life in Obama’s America, an eBook which should be mandatory reading for every American.

Bookworm Room is a wife, a mother, a lawyer, and a blogger who is something of a hero to me. Whenever I need some common sense talk about difficult political or social issues, I make my way to Bookworm and see what she has to say.

Her opening essay on guns, written as a letter to a teacher (but wisely never sent) is a classic discourse on the Second Amendment, and how best to protect our children.

Because Bookworm is a brainy lawyer who has not sacrificed her common sense, she writes astonishingly clear sentences that manage to cut to the heart of, well, everything.

Her chapters on what the Democrats have done to our health care system is, quite simply, revelatory.

Read the rest here.  Even if you don’t want to read the rest of the review, you might want to check it out because Robert’s pretty sure he’s found a picture of me.  ;)

Teri O’Brien has the nicest things to say about The Bookworm Returns

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERRenowned blogger Teri O’Brien has written the nicest review of my newest collection of essays, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America:

One reason that conservatives have a much easier time making logical arguments is that we constantly see our positions under siege by the popular culture, by academia, and by the legacy media. We are have to defend our positions, which are laughingly characterized as “out of the mainstream” by people who think Bill Ayers is just a college professor from Barack Obama’s old ‘hood. We see our values and traditions mocked and denigrated on a daily basis. Not so for liberals. They spout crazy talk that goes unchallenged. They repeat threadbare clichés to each other as everyone nods in agreement.

Someone who demonstrates the value of engaging in actual debate is the author of this book, Bookworm, a common sense conservative living in one of the most liberal bastions of the bluest of blue states, and the publisher of a popular blog, The Bookworm Room. Her many fans know that she uses her well-honed intelligence to slice and dice liberal foolishness, and to expose liberalism’s inherent inconsistencies with clever wit, humor and well-researched, hard evidence, delivered in extremely readable prose that is a delight to experience. Now, she has compiled some of her best into a new book, The Bookworm Returns: Life in Obama’s America.

Read the rest here.

By the way, when it comes to political writing, Teri is no slouch herself.

A polite request re my book

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERIf you’ve read and liked my newest collection of essays, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America, I would very much appreciate it if you could give it a review on the Amazon page.

Unless, of course, you hated it, in which case you can consider yourself off the hook for any reviewing obligations.

If you’d like inspiration, I can’t point you to a better example than the review from Caryl B. Miller:

Deep in the wilds of Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge lives Bookworm, a pseudonym for a wonderful writer and culture warrior tilting against the predominant Left flowing current. I’ve always loved her blogging and here is a collection of some of her best work.

Her take on living in Obama’s America, delivered from what some people might call the heart of it alternately made me laugh and reflect seriously at what we’re becoming as a society, and I think it will have the same effect on you. It is, more or less, a diary on what we’re going through right now. And being a collection of short essays, it’s a great mental snack when you feel like giving your brain a treat.

Highly recommended.

What people are saying about “The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America”

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERI’m kvelling.  When I toddled over to the Amazon page for my new book, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America, I discovered that Caryl B. Miller left the nicest review:

Deep in the wilds of Marin County on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge lives Bookworm, a pseudonym for a wonderful writer and culture warrior tilting against the predominant Left flowing current. I’ve always loved her blogging and here is a collection of some of her best work.

Her take on living in Obama’s America, delivered from what some people might call the heart of it alternately made me laugh and reflect seriously at what we’re becoming as a society, and I think it will have the same effect on you. It is, more or less, a diary on what we’re going through right now. And being a collection of short essays, it’s a great mental snack when you feel like giving your brain a treat.

Highly recommended.

If you liked the book, and if you feel so inclined, I would appreciate it if you could pop over to Amazon and say a few nice words too. The Amazon metrics are such that those stars and reviews are very useful for sales.

Gack! I’ve done it again — I’ve self-published a book on Amazon

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERI’ve been silent today for a reason:  I was putting the finishing touches on my Kindle e-book, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America, which has just gone live at Amazon. It’s a collection of my favorite posts from the last three years.  I describe it on Amazon as follows:

In 2008, President Barack Obama promised that he would fundamentally transform America — and that’s one of the few promises he’s kept. In a series of clear, elegant, witty essays, Bookworm looks at the changes in American society since Obama became president. These changes have seen America become a poorer, less safe, less free, more racially-charged nation, adrift in a world that, without America as both protector and anchor, is also become increasingly poor and dangerous.

I had a lot of fun assembling the book.  I was rather delighted to see how prescient I was when discussing Obamacare, the Obama economy, foreign policy, educational trends, etc.  I was also pleased to see that my original posts, which I tend to slam out in bouts of frenzied writing between parenting, household maintenance, caring for my mother, and the occasional legal job, were fairly coherent.  They all had typos (sigh!) and awkward phrases, but once I ironed those things out, they seem to me to read pretty darn well.

Also, please note the bee-yoo-ti-ful cover, which a friend of mine, who is a professional graphic designer, created for me.  If you’re interested in working with him on your own e-book, or have other graphic design needs, you can see his contact information on the inside title page.  (You can see that title page simply by downloading a Sample of the book.)

If you enjoy my writing, please consider buying the book (a bargain at $2.99).  I will receive $2.05 for every book sold.  You’ll get reading pleasure (I hope), and I’ll get a return on the effort I put into blogging.  As you know, I blog compulsively, rather than to earn money, but it’s really nice to see a little money coming in for the effort.

Book Review: Teri O’Brien’s “The ABC’s of Barack Obama: Understanding God’s Greatest Gift to America”

One of the problems I find myself having lately when writing about both Barack Obama, the man, and President Obama, America’s CEO, is my lousy memory, which goes blank when I try to pull up useful information about him.  He’s been connected with so many scandals that I can’t keep track of them.  It would be very helpful, I then think to myself, to have a laundry list of every lie he’s told, every failure he’s overseen, and every scandal on his watch (with Obama always having carefully averted his eyes when his minions carry out their dirty work or display their gross incompetence).

Thankfully, Obama laundry list I crave is now here and, even more thankfully, it’s funny, snarky, informed, and comprehensive.  I speak, of course, about Teri O’Brien’s recently released book, The ABC’s of Barack Obama: Understanding God’s Greatest Gift to America. For those of you unfamiliar with Teri, she’s a self-described “recovering attorney,” as well as a radio personality and a blogger.  All of those skills inform her book.  The lawyer part means that she knows how to put together a strong argument, with each allegation fully supported by relevant facts.  The radio personality means that she has a breezy, friendly style that’s easy to follow.  And the blogger in her means that her writing is fluid and effortless.

In her book, O’Brien takes on the persona of an Obama supporter who keeps getting humorously overwhelmed by Obama’s unsavory reality.  Imagine, if you will, a defense attorney trying to defend a client he knows is guilty as Hell.  The beleaguered attorney keeps coming up with new arguments, only to have the ugly facts float up like long-dead bodies in a fetid pond.  O’Brien has a deft touch that makes this technique work.  One can read about Obama’s many sins without getting bored or overwhelmed.

If you check it out today, you can get the book for free.  If you wait too long, you’ll pay only $1.99, which is a giveaway price.  If you’re a leisurely reader, the 56-page book will take a couple of hours (or more) to get through.  That’s time profitably, intelligently, and enjoyably spent.  On the other hand, if you go see a Hollywood movie for the same two hours you’ll help fund Leftist directors, producers, and actors, be forced to watch commercials and product placements, and it will cost you $12 a ticket.  Also, depending on the movie, you might feel pretty soiled when you leave the theater.  With Teri’s book, for a 6th of the price (or for free, if you act quickly) you can laugh, learn, and tell yourself that, no matter how corrupt our current political scene is, as long as America produces people like Teri, we’re going to be all right.