An Unbridgeable Chasm
And the Last Trump Shall Sound consists of three novellas depicting a chilling imminent future for the U.S. How did this anthology come about?
The book was the brainchild of Shahid Mahmud, who runs a small press called Arc Manor out of Rockville, Maryland. He invited me into the anthology back in October of 2019, explaining that he’d already lined up Harry Turtledove and Cat Rambo.
I believe the project crystallized in Shahid’s mind when he observed the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which he thought captured in microcosm what was happening to this country on both the public level—an unbridgeable chasm between Democrats and Republicans—and the private level: families split into warring camps over the
Donald Trump phenomenon. Shahid sensed that we’d become divided to the point of acute instability, and he wanted to do a book that would somehow address the crisis.
Three amazing writers penned the stories in this anthology. What was your collaboration process like?
The essential premise, a string of Republican White House victories leading to the secession of the three West Coast states, emerged from conversations between Shahid and his friend Harry Turtledove, one of sf’s premier practitioners of alternative history. When Shahid proposed that I join the project, an early draft of Harry’s novella existed, and I was expected to pick up where “The Breaking of Nations” left off.
At first I turned Shahid down. The mere idea of a second Trump term followed by eight years of Mike Pence depressed me so profoundly I couldn’t image wanting to write within such a universe. But I couple of days after Shahid approached me, I remembered a detail from his pitch: when “The Breaking of Nations” opens, Trump is already in his grave. I thought it would be fun if Pence got the idea—reinforced by an adult-movie star masquerading as his spiritual counselor—that with the help of Heaven he could bring Trump back from the dead.
So I emailed Shahid and was delighted to learn the slot hadn’t been filled yet. I penned most of my contribution during a Christmas visit in Denver with my wife’s side of the family, including my intended climax: Trump’s resurrection in the Washington National Cathedral—not a miracle but a feat predicated on a robot doppelgänger.
Shahid passed my first draft on to Cat Rambo, who then faced the formidable challenge of writing a novella that would give readers a self-contained narrative that stayed within the parameters of “The Breaking of Nations” and “The Purloined Republic.” Cat came through in spades with a dystopian vision titled—from the Stephen Crane poem—“Because It Is Bitter.”
All of which is a complicated way of saying that And the Last Trump Shall Sound was not so much a collaboration as a round robin experiment in freewheeling extrapolation.
What is the main thing you hope readers will take away from the book?
I hope that Harry, Cat, and I might help readers understand that the American experiment, with its roots in sophisticated political philosophy and the 18th-century Enlightenment, is in dire jeopardy right now. They won’t come out and admit it, but the men at the top—Trump, Pence, Mitch McConnell, and so on—obviously no longer believe in this experiment. The President would like to see our republic become a monarchy, Pence would like to see it become an evangelical Christian theocracy, and McConnell is doing everything in his power to sustain the kleptocracy.
That said, And the Last Trump Shall Sound is not a counsel of despair. It’s a warning, not a prophecy. All three novellas, I feel, leaven their darkest moments with a certain buoyancy and between-the-lines affirmation. As I often say, pessimism can be its own sort of naivety, cynicism its own sentimentality. There is still a common good.
What are you are working on now?
Way back in 1986, an editor at Henry Holt, Marion Wood, bought a manuscript from me called Those Who Favor Fire. At the last minute we changed the title because it had just appeared on an sf novel by Marta Randall, and we wanted to avoid confusion (though titles cannot be copyrighted). My nuclear-war comedy ultimately rolled off the presses as This Is the Way the World Ends.
Thirty-four years later, I am applying Those Who Favor Fire to my satire-in-progress. It’s an absurdist take on the climate crisis, spun from the notion that the Hollow Earth theory is correct. It turns out that our surface world is mirrored by Quondonia, a subterranean civilization menaced by global freezing. The conceit is ridiculous, of course, but I’ve found that if I live long enough with my premises—I’m a slow writer—I actually start to believe them at some level, and I come to imagine the reader will too.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: And the Last Trump Shall Sound, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, democrat, donald trump, ebook, election, goodreads, James Morrow, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, political, politics, read, reader, reading, republican, story, trump, united states, us, writer, writing
The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul
The Demolition of Democracy is a compelling analysis of the policies and the behavior of the Trump administration and how they are destroying the democratic foundation of the United States. Ted Bagley has written this book as an attempt to get people to realize that it does matter who we choose to lead our country. This book delivers a clear perspective on the current state of the U.S. government and Ted Bagley does not sugar coat his words. The author seeks to open the reader’s eyes to the realities we live in today, and open them he does.
Ted Bagley shines a light on all the issues the country and world are facing. He fearlessly reviews and examines the broken-down of our political and judicial system and the absence of democracy in the country. The Demolition of Democracy takes a good look at the people at the top and the general climate of the country they operate in. This book makes it clear that the United States of America has been going through a dark period with less than proper leadership. Issues like racism and prejudice have become staples of the administration. Ted Bagley states his stance clearly, unequivocally, and with reverence.
This book is not for people who are easily offended as it can be viewed as aggressive, but I choose to see it as passionate. The Demolition of Democracy is a hard hitting book that investigates and diagnosis the political problems facing Americans.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07W8MJ1P2
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: america, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, goodreads, government, kindle, kobo, literature, nonfiction, nook, philosophical, political, political science, read, reader, reading, story, Ted Bagley, The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul, united states, us, writer, writing
Celebrate Their Origins
Italians of Lackawanna County uses photography to show readers how the region’s Italian community seeks to preserve its heritage. Why was this an important book for you to write?
This book was extremely important to me to write, especially in a time when so many stereotypes against the Italian-American community as a whole exist. My goal was not just to seek to preserve and promote the Italian culture and heritage of Lackawanna County, it was also to show a positive image of Italian Americans working hard to celebrate their origins and how they are working to make the region a better place to live and work. Pictures tell the story in a way that words cannot—thanks to the wonderful photographers and community members who submitted photos, this book comes alive and readers hopefully get a true sense of what it means to be an Italian American living in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.
In this book you not only cover modern day traditions but you also trace the history of Italian immigration. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
I have worked as a historian focusing on Italian American studies for the past 15 or so years, always placing an emphasis on local Italian history because my region is so heavily populated with people of Italian origin, like myself. Most of the research for this book is through interviews with the citizens, as well as through archives, such as the Lackawanna Historical Society and the Dunmore Historical Society. I also consulted scholars and archivists in Italy as they also have a wonderful catalog of history surrounding the various town festivals—this helped provide a background for the festivals that were brought here and I was able to truly tie them in to their towns of origin. This kind of work is more of a historic reconstruction, because a lot of the background information has either been lost or is unavailable—because of this, I rely heavily on people in the community who are willing to share their stories.
This book showcases Italian-Americans’ pride in their heritage and place in America. What were some themes you wanted to focus on throughout this book?
As I said before, I truly wanted this book to be a positive representation of Italian Americans and show how they contribute to the good of our society. I really wanted to focus on the fact that we are three or four generations away from the original immigrant generation here in Lackawanna County, but people are still passionate and proud to preserve the traditions their ancestors brought over so long ago. I also wanted to highlight the fact that our area truly embraces everyone of all ethnicities—while I focus on Italians, I do make mention that our Italian festivals have become more inclusive and you don’t have to be Italian to participate. I think that welcoming spirit is one of Lackawanna County’s greatest attributes and I wanted to showcase it as best as I could.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have two projects that I am working on right now. The first is a passion project about the Guardiese community in the United States. My grandfather came to the United States from Guardia dei Lombardi (AV), Italy, and he was extremely proud of where he came from. These Guardiese traditions were passed down to me by my mother and inspired me to research our local as well as our national Guardiese community. My research locally is complete and now I am working on the national research.
I am also researching Sylvester Poli, a theater magnate from Italy who really revolutionized vaudeville. I was part of the Leadership Lackawanna Core Program this past year and our team project was to create a historic display in downtown Scranton’s Ritz Theater, which Poli founded in 1907. The research we did for the project took on a life of its own and I want to continue to pursue it and possibly publish a book.
Both projects do not have a set time commitment due to research, but I would like at least one to be complete within the next 2-3 years.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog
Boasting one of the nation’s largest and most diverse Italian American populations, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, joins old and new with events such as La Corsa dei Ceri or St. Ubaldo Day in Jessup and La Festa Italiana on Scranton’s Courthouse Square. Every town in the county with an Italian population has its own story. Whether the people can trace their origins to Guardia or Gubbio, Felitto or Perugia, the Italians of Lackawanna County all share one thing in common: a strong sense of pride in their ethnic origins. In Images of Modern America: Italians of Lackawanna County, readers will find familiar images of summertime traditions, as well as new representations of how the region’s Italian community seeks to preserve its heritage.
Posted in Interviews
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I had not prepared myself for the thrill that would come in chapter three. I, of course, enjoyed reading about the USS Benjamin Stoddert, Auguste, and Jacques Piccard and all the sea missions. I love being introduced to new jargon and chapters one and two had me learn about different sea vessels and everything that happens at the sea. Chapter three was however different. The reader gets introduced to Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O); a secret global council promulgated in 1904, founded to watch over and defend mankind from powerful and unknown enemies.
The O.T.O being in war with the New World Order (N.W.O) made the story exciting to read. To contain the situation, a meeting had to be set. The exchange between the president of the United States and Colonel Fisher as the latter brought the president up to speed with the history on the modern day battle with the N.W.O and the kidnapping of Henry Boder. I could visualize the two men as they discussed the issues at hand. Larry taking the spot from the president and hurting his ego was thrilling. I enjoyed how the most powerful man was made to listen to what a mere colonel had to say.
Reading Global Dawn was a pleasant experience because the plot gets more interesting with every chapter. I appreciate the effort the author puts in character selection. Each character seemed real and authentic. My favorite character was colonel Larry. The man spoke with authority and knew his facts. I admired the guts he had. Dr. Henry Boder was another important character in the book that helped build a good part of the plot.
The inclusion of Benjamin Rothschild and Hitler and their relation to the New World Order in the book was surprising yet fascinating. Rothschild’s epiphany; that there were too many people on the planet and fewer resources for what he referred to as ‘the worth’ would make for a lively debate. The thinking pattern of the two men were extreme but still logical, and I appreciated how I could follow their different ways of seeing things.
Global Dawn is an amazing book that you don’t want to miss. W. B. Thompson is an excellent writer. Each chapter is succinct and makes the reading fun and easy. Organizational wars, envy, respect for authority, family, warfare, technology, and global influence are among the themes the author covered, and most of the them can be compared to issues in the real world. Global Dawn is an exciting book that I recommend to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic science fiction and techno-thriller genres.
Pages: 436 | ASIN: B07QL8GT58
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: alibris, apocalypse, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, ebook, fantasy, Global Dawn, goodreads, historical mystery, hitler, ilovebooks, indiebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, new world order, nook, novel, post-apocalyptic, publishing, read, reader, reading, Rothschild, science fiction, scifi, shelfari, smashwords, story, suspense, techno-thriller, technology, technothriller, thriller, united states, Wesley Boydd Thompson, writer, writer community, writing
Italians of Lackawanna County
Going through this book is akin to being virtually in touch with the Italian culture and customs. The author compiled text and images which show how beautiful the Italian community in America is and how wonderful the people are as they co-exist with others. Stephanie Longo tells the story of Italians of Lackawanna in a distinct and brilliant way that can’t help but admire the way of life of the Italians. The author starts by narrating the history of Italian immigrants who first moved to the county. The immigrants had to do menial jobs like farming, mining and other works that required hard labor. The first wave of Italian immigrants knew that only hard work would help them fend for their families. This notion was passed through different generations of Italian Americans as everyone had to work to survive.
The author shows the deep connection between Lackawanna county authorities and the Italians who live in the county. With pictures, the author talks about Italian-American themed events that happen throughout the county, the close ties between Pennsylvania administration and Italian officials in Sicily, the Lackawanna County Library System which promotes Italian American events throughout all nine of its branches, and the heritage and Italian pride witnessed in the county among other things. The author also highlights the monuments and buildings which were made in honor of Italian heroes and legends. They include the Gino J. Merli Veteran’s Center, The Christopher Columbus statue on Scranton’s Courthouse Square and the statue of Dante among others.
I absolutely loved the images Stephanie Longo shared of the La Cosra dei Ceri festival. The pictures were colorful and everything seemed perfect. La Cosra dei Ceri is a festival I would want to be part of if I ever get to be in Lackawanna County around May. I appreciate the author’s effort to explain in detail what the festival is about, and what each family does in honor of their patron saints. Religion and by extents Catholicism is a huge part of Italian living. It is beautiful how religion brings the masses together as they worship and celebrate life as one people.
Italians of Lackawanna County is about 70% images and 30% text. This is one of the things that made me enjoy reading this book. Pictures tell a lot and one can easily and quickly understand the content without having to read a bunch of words in a paragraph. I loved reading this book because the author shared a little history of the Italians in the county and how Italy is. Italians of Lackawanna County is a great educational read that I would recommend to everyone who wants to learn more about Italian-American culture.
Pages: 98 | ISBN: 1540228266
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: alibris, america, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, catholicism, culture, ebook, festival, goodreads, history, ilovebooks, immigrant, indiebooks, italian, Italians of Lackawanna County, kindle, kobo, lackawanna county, library, literature, musem, nonfiction, nook, novel, pennsylvania, photography, publishing, read, reader, reading, religion, scranton, shelfari, smashwords, Stephanie Longo, story, travel, united states, us, writer, writer community, writing
Ameher’s No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope
Ameher is a woman of strength, compassion, and a faith like no other. From a very early age she endured hardships in Nairobi only to pursue the American dream as an immigrant and face immeasurable abuses and prejudices in her new home. When she struggles to find a safe place for herself and her children, she is met head-on with one challenge after another but chooses to hold her head high and never give up as she battles a system designed to protect citizens but fails in all too many cases. Nowhere is faith more explicitly exemplified than in Ameher’s life as immigrant to the United States.
Ameher’s No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope is the author’s own story of harrowing experiences as she tries desperately to find someone she can trust. Her story in an important one and one that bears repeating until a broken system is finally repaired.
At 400 pages, the author has enough striking material to make a short series of three separate books based on her life. The many abuses and the detail to which she goes into regarding her life with Todd make for an entire work on their own. The author takes great care to explain the entire process to which she was subjected, and this section of the text would make for a moving book all by itself.
The author recounts the expectations placed upon her as one raised in a religious home. She addresses the stigma attached to having a child out of wedlock quite well. Throughout her ordeal battling the system in the United States, she is able to lean on her faith and holds strong as she relies on friends who seem to exhibit a shared strength of faith. As I see it, Ameher has the makings for a fantastic self-help/devotional book centered entirely on her own faith. A book of this nature would make a fascinating read.
Because Ameher is an amazing example of persistence in the face of adversity, she is a prime candidate to pen a book on the discrimination faced by a woman of color in the United States. The challenges she faces are a sad but true testament to the daily struggles faced by people of color across this nation.
Ameher’s work is explicit enough to be engrossing, but not graphic in nature. The author takes care to explain the horror of her trials without turning readers off with vulgarities.
As effective as Ameher’s work is in capturing readers’ attention, it could use some additional editing. At times, it reads a bit like a rough draft with more care placed in the emotion of the wording than in the accuracy.
Ameher has bared her heart and soul to the world in order to help other women with her book. Any reader who picks up her story will be inspired to keep the faith and rise up in the face of adversity.
Pages: 400 | ASIN: B079438P7M
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: abuse, african, alibris, Ameher, Ameher's No More Crumbs Chronicle of a 4-D Woman Rising from Hate to Hope, author, author life, authors, barnes and noble, biography, book, book club, book geek, book lover, bookaholic, bookbaby, bookblogger, bookbub, bookhaul, bookhub, bookish, bookreads, books of instagram, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookwitty, bookworks, bookworm, christian, christianity, domestic violence, ebook, emotional, faith, goodreads, ilovebooks, immigrant, indiebooks, inspirational, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, minority, motivational, nook, novel, publishing, read, reader, reading, religion, self help, shelfari, smashwords, story, united states, women, writer, writer community, writing
The Battle to Save History
Boomerang Will Not Return follows a stealth bombers crew as they travel back through time and must battle for the future in the past. How did the idea for this novel start and how did it change as you were writing?
I always loved the time travel stories starting form the classic tale of the H.G. Wells The Time Machine and movies such as Time After Time, Back To The Future trilogy and the Terminator movie franchise. The idea for Boomerang Will Not Return came to me from two motion pictures featuring time travel, The Philadelphia Experiment and The Final Countdown. The novel had evolved from a short story I wrote titled Sword of Gabriel, which featured my story protagonists accidentally traveling back in time because of the time and space altering comet called Gabriel. I wanted the story to have a broader aspect and therefore the battle to save history happened in both past and resent.
Time travel is rife with paradoxes. Were there any challenges to writing because of this?
Yes, the time travel paradoxes presented an interesting challenge to me as a writer. The general theory of relativity does not forbid the time travel, but there are technological and moral questions that arise from the use of such an invention. I wanted my time travel story design to be simple and straightforward, and let the readers use their imagination as to how the process of time travel in my story had occurred. The best part about working on a time travel story is that it offers a possibility of a new timeline, where temporal interference alters history as we know it. Time travel is a great tool for entertainment and I hoped to make the best of it.
Your characters Stugel, Hartmann, and Crown are interesting and well developed. If Hollywood came knocking who would you cast to play your characters?
Characters are the ones who drive any story and I had a great time developing them to make them realistic and interesting. I am a military history buff and I learned that in any conflict there are decent people on both sides, who were caught in the maelstrom of war and did their duty to the best of their ability even if it was for a wrong reason. And if I was fortunate to be approached by the Hollywood agents with a movie offer and given a casting choice, I would probably cast Liam Helmsworth as Hartmann, Jennifer Lawrence as Crown and actor Alexander Ludwig as Stugel. I think they would be good for the roles.
Do you plan on continuing this series in another book?
Well, I would like to do it, except that I think the story had a definite ending and final resolution. If I decided to change history in my novel, then yes, I think a sequel or two might have been in order. Time travel story ideas are definitely on my shelf for the future projects, and as soon as I am ready, I shall develop another time travel tale with a new and fascinating plot that hopefully will be interesting and enjoyable.
Author Links: Goodreads | Facebook | Website | Amazon
It was supposed to be a simple mission–deliver six nuclear missiles back to the United States onboard the most advanced Stealth bomber in the world. The B-3 Boomerang is a super weapon that knows no equal. Nearly invisible to radar and lethal, it’s a paragon of present-day military technology. And America’s enemies want its secrets. What no one expected was an aerial phenomenon that catapults the plane and its crew from the present day to the year 1942 into the heart of Nazi Germany.
With their plane disabled and captured by the Nazis, Major Richard Hartman and his copilot, Captain Deana Crown, are forced to fight for survival in a hostile land decades away from home. With the plane’s superior technology and its nuclear onboard arsenal, the Nazis could win the Second World War. The battle for the future will happen in both past and present. The pilots trapped in time now have a new mission: to save history at any price.
Posted in Interviews
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Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War – Trailer
What happened in Vietnam … didn’t stay in Vietnam.
It came home with us!
As one reviewer described the book, “Patrick Hogan pulls off what most cannot – invoke emotion using non-fiction. Fair warning, his description of the Vietnam War will make you angry, depressed, sad, and happy all at the same time.”
This edition of Silent Spring – Deadly Autumn of the Vietnam War, is an account of war – a tale of anger and determination – a chronicle written in sorrow and hope. It’s the story of countless veterans who served in Vietnam and many of their children.
The book is both a memoir and an investigational voyage into all the issues the U.S. government doesn’t want you to know about the Vietnam War.
It’s not just another paperback about Vietnam or Agent Orange. Rather it’s a “silver bullet” which cuts through to the heart of the circumstances and chemical used during that war—toxic enduring herbicides and insecticides—which in some cases are still being used to this very day all over the globe, even right here in America.
So, forget everything you’ve heard from the government and what you think you know about the Vietnam War because you will be absolutely stunned by what the US government had willingly dumped on Vietnam and its own troops.
Posted in book trailer
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