Category Archives: Shrouded in Silence

BOOKS YOU’LL LOVE; THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

BOOKS YOU’LL LOVE; THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

   “And why did you write that story?”
     Authors hear the question everyday. What’s hidden within the folds of the story? What secrets created the tale I’m telling. When the book is non-fiction,
the riddle may even be more intriguing. During the decades that I wrote my 32 published books, these are the back pages behind the headline episodes.
Here are the fascinating scenes behind the big picture!

THE ASSASSINS

            People often ask where I get the ideas for my books with a range from near-death experiences (Non-fiction, Crossing the Threshold of Eternity) to World War II adventures (Fiction, The Narrow Door at Colditz). I imagine different authors have very different approaches to the question. One of my dearest friends is a romance writer who dreams (literally) her plots. That’s a fascinating one for you! I find her angle truly intriguing.

In my case, there are a number of factors at work. In the first place, I never intended to be a writer. One of my college degrees is in art and ceremics. Painting the great watercolor attracted me. I got into writing when a publisher heard a series of tapes I produced on amalgamating psychology and theology. Hesitantly, I ended up producing a little book called, Your Churning Place and that started the typewriter clicking. With time, I got so deeply into writing, I didn’t have time for my art work anymore. (That’s changed lately)

As a reluctant author, my fiction books, like The Assassins, have grown out of a number of factors. Certainly, travel created a unique context. As I noted in earlier blogs, my time in Russia filled in many of the blank spaces in my thinking. Somewhere along the way, I lost count of how many countries I have visited. I know it’s over 60 and touches every continent except Australia. Travel always confronts one with the unexpected and that provides material for writing. My time spent in Rome and the Vatican offered surprises and exciting twists for novels. During the days of Apartheid, I traveled to Sourth Africa and even stayed in a black township (which was then illegal). For me, travel has turned out to be significant.source of information in writing books.

I find information in newspapers peakes my curosity. Before I wrote The Assassins, I began gathering data on the internet attack on Iranian computers that halted their nuclear program. The more I read about the Strunex virus, the more I pondered how such an attack might have occurred. From those stories began to evolve the plot that turned into a book. One of my favorite writers is Daniel Silva with his stories of international intrigue. In an unexpected way, Daniel Silva’s influence contributed to my own story.

Actually, reading is one of the most important activites any writer can do. I find many people who want to write never read. Sorry. It won’t work. Reading takes one into worlds that can never be visited but can be experienced through words. Books indirectly help stimulate one’s ability to use words. Perusing through books helps you come to grips with your own style and voice. Writing a book may sound like a fascinating idea, but if you don’t want to read all the time, put that idea in the closet with Santa Claus.

Where’s all this going? Well, the bottom line on what makes an author (in my opinion) is imagination. You can learn the technics of grammar and and style, but no one can teach you imagination. E.B. White wrote the classic on writing simply, but he can’t tell you how to go to the moon in a rocket ship called magic thinking. Visonary thinking keeps the world spinning and the plot thickening. It’s the greatest fun in the world. And makes books happen!

So, let your mind roll on and what comes out may really surprise you.!

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Filed under Christians, Crossing the Threshold of Eternity, Faith, History, Nature, Near Death Experiences, Prayer, Redemption, Rest, Shrouded in Silence, Stories, Syria, World

READING THE TOP DOGS CORRECTLY

Two significant men are key factors in much of what is currently happening in the Middle East. While it is not always easy to get a definite reading on either man, I believe it is important to access them as clearly as possible. We’re talking about Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an election year, anything said about President Obama ends up in a political context with the assumption that I’m either promoting or denigrating the candidate. Hopefully, you’ll recognize the tendency and side step the temptation to interpret me in that light. What follows is a candid attempt at an evaluation of the man. While President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize within months of his election, many observers believed the award to be questionable. In fact, Obama’s record has not been what would normally expect of a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
A brief reading of the historic record reveals the following: More military aggression than most presidents have displayed in decades. Not only was Osama Ben Laden taken out, but Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated. Drone attacks in Pakistan have not won friends in that government, but have made it clear that Obama isn’t backing down. Effective covert wars in Yemen and Somalia along with a three-fold increase in American troops in Afghanistan made it evident that the president had no problem in waging war. Obama was the first American president to authorize the assassination of a citizen when Anwar Al-Awlaki (born in New Mexico) was hit by a drone attack in Yemen.
Liberals who worked to elect Obama probably don’t rejoice in this record. Nevertheless, when Obama accepted the Nobel Peace prize, he articulated his position on war and made it clear that he was not a pacificist. He said, “For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
In a similar fashion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offers surprises. Politics in Israel can be wilder than what unfolds in America. On May 8, Netanyahu demonstrated what a clever and innovative politician he really is. Former political battles had been with Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. Certainly Livni is a woman of significant capacity and drive. However, she had been forced from party leadership after failing to join the Netanyahu coalition following the last election. On May 8, the prime minister made a public appearance to announce that Shaul Mofaz, the current head of Kadima, had joined his government, creating a new coalition.
No one in Israel anticipated this engagement that signaled what a significant politician Netanyahu is. The prime minister’s surprise move brought enduring stability to his government, guaranteeing survival until the next scheduled election in October, 2013. Not only is perseverance and continuity guaranteed, Netanyahu has the firm grip to persue any policy he wishes sue. Say, for example, — bombing Iran. (Which Ehud Barak is itching to do!)
The point? Both men do not back away from conflict. Neither is afraid to strike and both are capable of recognizing the expedient military path. Political opponents should be weary of pushing either leader into a corner. Obama and Netanyahu now stand ready to take any road that best serves their country and their purposes without worrying about internal opposition stopping them.
Don’t let the American election environment with bizarre charges misguide you. Both men are capable, ready, and willing.

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Filed under Faith, Forgivness, History, middle east, Peace, Shrouded in Silence

L’chaim!!!

Judaism celebrates life with the salute, “L’chaim.” The musical Fiddler on the Roof had a number of toasts to “L’chaim”, to life! It is a well known fact that the Jewish world treasures human existence and places the worth of each individual Jew at the top rung on the ladder. At times Christianity has recognized and embraced this value. At other times, it has forgotten. What not rethink the issue this fall? Isn’t the value of every life of such worth.

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Filed under Faith, Peace, Prayer, Shrouded in Silence, World

Civilized and Peaceful?

One need only glance at the main page on BBC News to realize that the world we live in has become increasingly turbulent and chaotic in recent years. Some individuals might hope–or even suggest–that we have become more civilized in the last century and that such forces as modernity and globalization will lead to peace and stability. But as cultures clash and the world becomes smaller, it would seem that the opposite is true.

In my mystery book Shrouded in Silence I offer a reflection on the increasingly violent times in which we live. Perhaps, even you find yourself fearful of being out at night or walking through a strange and unknown neighborhood. One of the underlying questions in the mystery is how we are to face such moments. Do we retreat? Run? Or do we face the adversary?

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Filed under Shrouded in Silence, Violence, World