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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.

One of the first books that sparked my interest in history, and particularly the Middle Ages, A Distant Mirror, purported to compare the 14th Century to the 20th. At the time the book was published, I was deep in studies of Comparative Literature, World Literature, Women’s Fiction et cetera, et cetera.

Cover image of A Distant MirrorWhat enthralled me about A Distant Mirror was the inevitable connection to tales of chivalry and classic romance—a literary convention that is neither tragedy nor comedy; a heroic or mysterious prose narrative set in a distant time or place; a medieval tale of knightly adventure.

Barbara W. Tuchman turned the study of history into a great adventure and a lifelong love of all things Medieval.

I loaned my copy to a fellow Mediophile (I think I’ve made that word up) and she never returned it, so it was with great pleasure that I found Tuchman’s book is available on the iBookstore.

If you have not read this book, I sincerely hope you will, as it is one of the first dystopian novels to be universally recognized as prophetic and at the same time dismissed as pure fantasy, something that could never happen.

A few quotations:

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

“War is peace. Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength.”

“Big Brother is Watching You.”

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”

“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

And a few others from another source that are even more frightening:

“Control healthcare and you control the people.”

“Increase the Poverty level as high as possible, poor people are easier to control and will not fight back if you are providing everything for them to live.”

“Increase the debt to an unsustainable level. That way you are able to increase taxes, and this will produce more poverty.”

“Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government. That way you are able to create a police state.”

“Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Housing, and Income).”

“Take control of what people read and listen to – take control of what children learn in school.”

“Remove the belief in God from the Government and schools.”

“Divide the people into the wealthy and the poor. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to take (Tax) the wealthy with the support of the poor.”

The first set of quotations are from the featured book: George Orwell’s 1984.

The second set of quotations are from the Community Organizer, Saul David Alinsky, who inspired the 44th President and the would-be 45th. The would-be 45th was so enamored of SDA that she wrote him a fan letter.

A+ if you see the connection between the Alinsky ‘rules’ and many policies that have dominated the educational and political environment over the past 50 or so years.

Another few quotations:

“…The Frankfurt School initially opposed the culture industry, which they thought ‘commodified’ culture. Then, they started to listen to Walter Benjamin, a close friend of Horkheimer and Adorno, who argued that cultural Marxism could make powerful use of tools like radio, film and later television to psychologically condition the public. Benjamin’s view prevailed, and Horkheimer and Adorno spent the World War II years in Hollywood. It is no accident that the entertainment industry is now cultural Marxism’s most powerful weapon….”

“…But hell had not forgotten the United States. Herbert Marcuse remained here, and he set about translating the very difficult academic writings of other members of the Frankfurt School into simpler terms Americans could easily grasp. His book, Eros and Civilization, used the Frankfurt School’s crossing of Marx with Freud to argue that if we would only ‘liberate non-procreative eros’ through ‘polymorphous perversity,’ we could create a new paradise where there would be only play and no work. Eros and Civilization became one of the main texts of the New Left in the 1960s.

“Marcuse also widened the Frankfurt School’s intellectual work. In the early 1930s, Horkheimer had left open the question of who would replace the working class as the agent of Marxist revolution. In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question, saying it would be a coalition of students, blacks, feminist women and homosexuals – the core of the student rebellion of the 1960s, and the sacred ‘victims groups’ of political correctness today. Marcuse further took one of political correctness’s favorite words, ‘tolerance,’ and gave it a new meaning. He defined ‘liberating tolerance’ as tolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the left, and intolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the right. When you hear the cultural Marxists today call for ‘tolerance,’ they mean Marcuse’s ‘liberating tolerance’ (just as when they call for ‘diversity,’ they mean uniformity of belief in their ideology).”

Want to know more? For a full examination of how community organizers and their academic minions have shifted the balance, read William Lind’s Who Stole Our Culture?