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My good friend and colleague from Avalon Books has recently published a new book, An Uncertain Path.

Here are a few word about the book from Sandra Carey Cody’s own writer’s blog, Birth of a Novel, also on WordPress.

A tragic accident links the lives of two young women, unrelated, unknown to one Cody Uncertain Path Coveranother, causing each to question things she thought were certain, and setting each on a path neither could have imagined.

Peace Morrow, abandoned as an infant, is about to meet the birth family she’s always longed to know. Raised as a Pennsylvania Quaker, she wonders what her Virginia aristocrat family will think of her. What happens when a careless action by one of them takes the family to the brink of disaster?

Rachel Woodard, longing to break out of the safe world she’s always known, takes a drastic step that results in the death of a young man and sets off a chain of events that swirls outward like a pebble dropped in a pool. Can she live a lie to preserve her own life and save everyone she loves from heartbreak?

An Uncertain Path is available on Amazon.

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Kathleen Marie Wills Verrill: A Tribute

Kathie, as she preferred to be called, joined our family when I was still in college. She had met and married my brother a few months before my brother introduced her to us.

Born with cerebral palsy, she spent most of her childhood in the shadows. The youngest of three girls, her mother was embarrassed by Kathie’s physical appearance, locking her in a closet when visitors came to their home. Before entering college, she worked at various jobs to pay for extensive orthodontics to improve her facial structure.

Kathie was very intelligent, graduating from University of California, Berkeley with a Masters’ Degree in Education. Once she had attained her degree, she began teaching in elementary schools, with a specialty in children with special educational needs. She had a wonderful sense of humor and loved hippos.

Her skills in her field earned her a place in the Who’s Who in Education throughout her career. Although she frequently had to leave positions to find new employment due to my brother’s career in the Veterans Administration, she was successfully employed as a valued educator from Maine to California, for the 40 years of their marriage and her professional life.

Kathie was forced to retire from teaching shortly after her 60th birthday when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. At the same time, she suffered from severe back pain due to her physical impairment which led to several surgical procedures to relieve her pain. For the last fifteen years of her life, she was housebound and finally bed-ridden.

Throughout her life, despite all her challenges, Kathie never asked “Why me?” Her quiet faith, self-determination, and her confidence in her abilities were her strengths and inspirational for everyone who knew her.

She loved fine things and enjoyed collecting all of these China pieces.This Lenox china demonstrates her love of excellence and are an example of her undaunted spirit, even in her last days.

 

1871. The war has been over for six years but Rupe Smith still fights his demons. Ten years have passed since he left his Maine village. His Wyoming ranch is the one place he wants to be and the last place he can be. There is no escape from the guilt of his parents’ grief or his longing for the girl whose one letter kept him alive, without knowing she is beyond his reach, married and raising a family.

Cathryn Marcher is not the giddy, giggling girl with high ideals she was before the war. The woman who waited for Rupert Smith’s safe return has no doubt she isn’t the reason he has finally come home. The haunted expression on his handsome face reminds her of the outcome, the horror and suffering of war she saw close at hand, all those years ago, in the faces of soldiers she nursed in Boston.

Captain Smith and Miss Marcher share a love of music but Cathryn must hide her disappointment when Rupert chooses to sing in harmony with the widow, Mrs. Miller, whom the residents of Oslo Hill believe will be his bride.

Susan Miller’s disdain for her voice teacher, her rival for Rupert’s love, is matched by Colonel Jericho Colson’s loathing for his fellow Union Army officer, his rival for Cathryn’s heart.

Available in print on CreateSpace, as an ebook on Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon

Cover Image of BookOn April 24, 1915 the Ottoman Turk Caliphate began one of the most heinous, inhuman exterminations of their fellow citizens when they systematically annihilated Armenian men, drove women and children on death marches into the Syrian desert, and committed the first genocide of the 20th Century. This terrible act led to a coverup on an international scale and paved the way for Hitler’s extermination of Jews, gypsies, disabled Europeans by the millions, Stalin’s Bolshevik henchmen’s slaughter of eleven million Ukrainians as well as the Siberian Gulags, home to many dissident Russian writers.

This butchery is only possible when political expediency takes precedence over morality. The Ottoman Turks were allies of the Germans during World War I. Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915 chronicles the efforts Germany made to hide the murder of 1.5 million Armenian Christians at the behest of the Islamic Caliphate of the Ottoman Turkish empire.

“Among the Turks and Armenians both it seems pretty well known that this thing is from the Germans. Even Mr. Ehman* himself is coming to the conviction that it is the work of his own government. We all know such clear-cut, well planned, all well carried out work is not the method of the Turk. The German, the Turk and the devil make a triple alliance not to be equalled in the world for cold blooded hellishness.” 

Tacy Atkinson, American Missionary, July 10, 1915, in her diary on the day when Armenians were deported from the town of Kharpert, quoted in Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915

*Pastor Johannes Ehmann, the local German missionary

This book, by Patrick Thomas (author of From Carmarthen to Karabagh: a Welsh Discovery of Armenia) offers insights and perspectives on this vast tragic conspiracy to annihilate an entire population that is still swept under the carpet, despite incontrovertible evidence.

I became aware of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 when I was 13 years old. Many of my classmates in the 8th and 9th grades were of Armenian descent. Their parents and grandparents were victims and survivors of this hideous crime. While I was living in Wales, I was proud that this small country was one among only a very few nations courageous enough to embrace and proclaim the truth.

Patrick Thomas’s book gives graphic details of how vicious the Islamic Turks, with the help of their German allies, were to their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, we have seen this barbarity in our own time committed by men and women of the same ilk.

“A ‘Special Organization’ of criminals (including many murderers) had been recruited …[and] sent to the provinces to enforce the deportation of Armenians, with the assistance of Kurdish irregulars. … The remaining men would be rounded up, taken away and massacred. The women and children were sent on death marches towards the Syrian desert. Many were gang-raped, some were abducted or trafficked, while others were left to die of exhaustion or starvation at the side of the road. Pregnant women had the babies ripped from their wombs. Those suspected of swallowing gold coins were sometimes set on fire. Their ashes were later sifted by those looking for loot. In Trebizond boatloads of Armenians were taken out and drowned in the Black Sea.”

Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915, page 18

During World Wars I and II, many Germans refused to believe what was being done in their name. Even now, too many Europeans and Americans close their eyes to history as well as current events. We choose not to believe when the truth is too painful or hideous:

“In the eastern provinces, that is excluding Constantinople and Smyrna and other places in Western Turkey, 80-90% of the entire [Armenian] population and 98% of the male [Armenian] population is no longer alive. These figures are probably correct. They can be checked town by town and correspond to my personal impressions and observations.”

Count von Lüttichau, German official, quoted in Remembering the Armenian Genocide 1915

We have been silenced and intimidated in the face of great inhumanity, over and over again. Time has come to look the past straight in the clear, though ugly, eye of truth and see the cure that history offers. Can we do less than our colleagues, Patrick Thomas and Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn? What is a writer’s job but to write the truth as she sees it?

While writing my novel by installment, I consciously chose holiday celebrations.

The one common thread about these holidays—besides the story itself—was the undeniable commercialization of every one of them as an opportunity for Big Sale Weekends, a fact I did mention in several of the 10,000 to 11,000 words short stories/novellas that make up the novel.

One could argue that the use of these holidays in book titles was a blatant and shameless exploitation in itself. Guilty!

In my defense, I used each holiday to structure an event in my protagonist’s growth from a pouty, self-pitying, rejected girlfriend to a woman capable of giving, as well as accepting, love from the two most important men in her life: her father, who she willingly believed had abandoned her in childhood, and her future Number One, who she must learn to trust when his profession makes demands, both of whom are men who have put their lives on the line for others.

The commercialization of Memorial Day, Presidents Day, Independence Day/4th of July, Cover Image Nights Before: The NovelVeterans Day, while celebrating our traditions and national values, as well as commemorating the sacrifices of those who have died to keep us safe and to secure our freedoms, also speaks to our fundamental identity as the land of opportunity.

As one of my English friends expressed the strength and success of our nation: “If you can’t make it in America, you can’t make it anywhere.”

The 4th of July, our ancestors’ declaration of independence from oppressive laws and unfair taxes, is a perfect occasion to celebrate what Americans do best: making our work, our lives, our families, our country great.

Happy Independence Day to all!

 

CJ Verburg’s Another Number for the Road  has all you could ever want from a murder mystery set in two iconic periods of American history: the 1960s: Free Speech, Free Love, Stop the War, Civil Rights and sex, drugs, rock and roll; and 1980s: Reaganomics, Cold War Collapse, Punk Rock, big hair and bigger shoulders.

Rock journo cum detective, Cory Goodwin (who has as many names as identities) goes on a “Magical Mystery Tour,” and then some, to recover her true inner self which has been consumed and subsumed by the demands of her multimillionaire son-of-the-founder-of-a-cosmetics-conglomerate husband’s boardroom betrayal of all they meant to each other as writing romantics who eloped in creative Paris and crashed in corporate necessity in Boston.

Cordelia Goodwin Thorne had many years of protest activism and rock star groupie antics to keep her from sinking into the paradox of her journo daydreams and her cosmetic charity dinner reality.

She joins the “Magical Mystery Tour” when she learns that The Rind is the mystery band—a group she interviewed for a magazine as a teenager. She aims to rekindle her past admiration for the much-maligned strongman of the band, the appropriately named, Dan Quasi, who, after the brutal murder of his friend and co-band member, Mickey Ascher, takes a runner and hides out for the twenty year hiatus, having lost his wife and his French bit to aforementioned co-band member.

Did this Quasi musician kill his best friend? Or was it the French bit? Or possibly her jilted lover and third band member, also appropriately named, Roach? Or has the mild-mannered Terry, fourth band member, been hiding a violent temper all these years?

The process of discovery is further energized by the author’s experience as a playwright and director. CJ Verburg makes use of the theatrical technique of juxtaposing two scenes on stage at once: flashbacks, backstory, supposition and real time, one upon the other, while skillfully  juggling a cast of characters that would daunt Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffiths.

Another Number for the Road  will satisfy all fans of complex, convoluted whodunits who remember the Sixties with longing and survived the Eighties, Nineties and are in deep with the Twentieth Century.

Freedom Square, NYC July 2015 – From the Ashes the Phoenix rises stronger than ever.

As a #ProudAmerican, I express my gratitude to the many hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans for the service and sacrifices made by the men and women in our military services. The last Monday of the month of May has been a part of our heritage since the first Decoration Day was recognized after the American Civil War, to commemorate those who have died in the service of our country.

“Copying a practice that began in the Southern states,[19][20][21] on May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans’ organization for Union Civil War veterans, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually and nationwide.[7] It was observed for the first time that year on Saturday May 30; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.[22] According to the White House, the May 30 date was chosen as the optimal date for flowers to be in bloom.[23]

”Specifically, on April 25, 1866, women in Columbus, Mississippi laid flowers on the graves of both the Union and Confederate dead in the city’s cemetery.”[38]Memorial Day

To all those families whose loved ones have died while in service to our country, I wish to express my gratitude and heartfelt sympathy for your loss.