Thursday, November 26, 2015

Meet Arthur C. Sippo MD, MPH, Emergency Room Physician, Occupational Therapist, Author, Blog Talk Show Host, Author and Much More

About three weeks ago, my friend Tom Johnson suggested I contact Arthur for an interview on his blog radio show. We exchanged a few Emails, and I guested on his show on November 13. You can listen to it and other podcasts here.

The main purpose of the interview was to talk about my books, and Arthur advised me that it would probably go over the scheduled hour, which I fully expected...I'm a talker! It went a half hour over, but after about 30 seconds, I felt like I was chatting with someone I've known for years. First off, Arthur amazed me by telling me he attended Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, my alma mater. We missed each other by a year--he graduated the year before I entered. Having lived in New Jersey, we both knew some people in common, including Long John Nebel, a popular radio talk show host back in the day.

Somehow we got on the subject of UFOs, which fascinates me. Having served in the military for a few decades, he has some plausible theories about whether we've been visited. We talked at length about the Roswell incident, to my knowledge the only UFO incident that involved the possibility of alien bodies.

I told Arthur he's so interesting to talk to, I want to interview HIM for my blog, and he graciously agreed. Meet him here, and see his answers to some probing questions about what's really out there!

About Dr. Arthur Sippo



Arthur Sippo attended  Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, NJ from Aug 1970-May 1974 and graduated  Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.  He was also a Distinguished Military Graduate and Executive office of the ROTC Cadet Corp.
He attended Medical School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN from Aug 1974-May 1978, earning his MD degree.
He did his Internship in OB-GYN at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC from Jul 1978-Aug 1979.
He attended US Army Flight Surgeon Training at Ft. Rucker, Aland served in the 101st Airborne Division Oct 1979- Aug 1981, where he served as the First Brigade Surgeon, Flight Surgeon, and General Medical Officer.
Dr. Sippo attended The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore, MD from Aug 1981-May 1982, earning a Masters in Public Health.
He completed the Residency in Aerospace Medicine at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine in Brooks AFB, TX in Jun 1983 and obtained his Board Certification in Aerospace Medicine in Feb 1984.
At the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Ft. Rucker. AL from June 1983- Nov 1986, he was the Division Director of the  Biodynamics Research Division, a Medical Researcher, a Flight Surgeon, and a General Medical Officer.
Dr. Sippo served as an Exchange Officer at the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine, Farnborough, Hants, England; From Nov 1986 until Dec 1989.
While in England he also acted as a reserve flight surgeon at RAF Lakenheath, and RAF Alconbury.  He also was a lecturer on Aerospace medicine to the British Army Aviation Commander’s school and ran the Altitude Chamber for all British Army Pilot training at RNAS Yeovelton.
Dr. Sippo returned to civilian life and went into the practice of  Occupational Medicine with Occupational Care Consultants, Toledo, OH from Jan 1990-Apr 2001. He was Board Certified in Occupational Medicine in Feb 1994.
He joined the Ohio Army National Guard in Medical Staff in Feb 1990 and eventually commanded the 145th MASH from Nov 1994-Jan 1996.
He was made the Assistant State Surgeon OHARNG from Jan 1996-Jan 2001.
Since April of 2001, he is an ER Physician at various hospitals in Southern Illinois and at the John Cochran VA Hospital, St. Louis.
He has been an author of scientific papers, Adventure Fiction, Pulp Fiction, Catholic Apologetics, and Speculative Theology.  He has given several lectures on medical, scientific, religious, and literary subjects.
Dr. Sippo has been married to his beloved Katherine since 1986 and between them, they have raised 5 children. 

An In-Depth Interview with Arthur, About One Of My Favorite Subjects--UFOs! 

1) How well does the official Roswell story hold together?
The entire Roswell saga started with a single press release authorized by the Roswell Army Airfield Commander, Col. Blanchard, on 8 July 1947 and ended officially with a news conference three days later in the office of the Eighth Air Force Commander, General Ramey in Fort Worth, Texas.  Aside from these official Air Force press events, there is nothing tangible available to the investigator.  There is no debris to be examined.  No official analysis of either the debris or the incident in question.  No board of inquiry was convened to study the event and to present guidelines for how such incidents should be handled in the future.  It is also noteworthy that the official log of communications between the Roswell Base, Eighth Air Force Headquarters in Fort Worth Texas, and Washington at the time of the incident are missing from the official files, which is contrary to Air Force policy.
As for the press event in General Ramey’s office, it was restricted to one specifically selected civilian photographer and newsman.  The only debris that was seen and photographed was what was on the floor in the office.  Only a handful of photos were made and they focused mostly on the military personnel who were present, NOT the debris.  If this had been a real news event, there should have been several reporters from papers and news services with multiple camera men.  The planeful of debris that was brought to Fort Worth would have been scattered on the floor of a hangar to be displayed to the entire world in order to prove that this was indeed a mundane weather balloon.
Once they had that single press meeting on 11 July 1947, the entire Roswell incident was never mentioned again despite efforts by the news media to get some follow up on the story. 
In short, the Air Force buried the story and did its best to make everyone forget about it.  This is not standard military procedure.  The debris should have been analyzed and identified even if the results were to remain classified.  There is no evidence for this.
The incident should have been studied and the conduct of the participants should have been reviewed and critiqued.  This is especially true because the people at Roswell Army Airfield had blundered so badly and created an international furor.  Both Col. Blanchard and Major Marcel should have been disciplined and relieved of their posts.  Instead, Blanchard was held in communicato for a month while an officer was sent from Eighth Air Force to run the base in his absence.  Marcel was told to forget the incident and resumed his normal duties a few days after the Fort Worth news conference.  Neither of their military careers were in any way hampered by the incident.  They both finished their regular tours at Roswell and had good Officer Efficiency Ratings.  Blanchard in particular went on to become a 4-star Air Force General and died of a heart attack at his desk in the Pentagon in 1964. 
It appears to me that Blanchard kept silent and was rewarded for doing so.  Marcel had a good military career as well but left the service to take care of his ailing mother.  He remained silent about the Rowell incident until the mid-1970s when Stanton Friedman looked him up and interviewed him.  When this happened, we received more details about the debris that was recovered (including its memory metal capabilities) along with Marcel’s claim that the debris seen in the photographs was not what he had brought from New Mexico.  The major kept silent about this because he had been ordered to do so and he was a good soldier.
In short, the Air Force initiated a very sloppy, rushed effort at a cover up three days after Col. Blanchard revealed his initial press release that only succeeded because of the isolation of the base, the lack of any other information sources about the incident, and the patriotic fervor of the “Greatest Generation” who were willing to believe whatever their government or military told them.  The actual materials that were recovered from the debris field at the Brazel ranch have never been evaluated in the clear and are not available for us to examine at this time.  Why was this the case?  If it was nothing but a weather balloon, full disclosure would have laid the matter to rest.  Even if it was a Mogul Balloon train, all the components were off-the-shelf items with the exception of the specialized electronic package to measure sounds which would have been smashed up pretty badly by the fall. (It should be noted that no electronic components were among the debris that Marcel says he found.  Even if there had been, a cursory examination would have shown that this was terrestrial technology.)  There was nothing unusual about any of it and it all could have been dismissed as the remains of a meteorological test bed.  The fact that the Air Force made this debris “disappear” is very suspicious.  
2) What about the two Air Force Roswell books?
·                          The first Air Force book The Roswell Report: Case Closed was published in 1994.  It put forward the suggestion that the wreckage found by Mac Brazel were the remnants of a top-secret Project Mogul Balloon Train.  While this remains an intriguing idea, the Air Force provided no concrete evidence to support the contention.  There were no reports in any historical records of anyone identifying the Roswell debris as belonging to Project Mogul.  There are no detailed photographs or measurements of the materials in question to substantiate this.  In fact, the Mogul balloon theory was never brought up with regard to Roswell before this book.  The debris field described by Major Marcel was 4000 feet long and 200 to 400 feet wide.  A single Mogul Balloon train would not contain enough material to fill such a space.  Furthermore, no balloon remnants were found at the site, nor were any electronics found. I don’t find this credible. 

The second Air Force book The Roswell Incident was published in 1997.  It treated the Mogul Balloon theory as if it were an established fact instead of an unsubstantiated suggestion.  But then the Air Force did something that I think was foolish on their part and very revealing.  There had been several allegations by witnesses that alien bodies had been found at the Roswell crash site.  The Air Force claimed in this new book that these witnesses may have been describing anthropomorphic dummies which Air Force researchers had dropped to test new parachutes and life support equipment.  The book also alleged that two incidents of catastrophic aircraft decompression had occurred in 1956 and 1959 leading to several deaths. Facial swelling in the deceased crewmembers could have been misinterpreted as the features of aliens.  The book recognized that the dummies had not been used prior to 1952. The reports of bodies associated with the Roswell incident in 1947 would have required the witnesses to confuse the later events from the 1950s and 1960s with events that had occurred at the time of the Roswell incident.  This is an even more ludicrous suggestion than the Project Mogul idea.  But I think that it tells something important. 

During the 1960s and the 1970s, there were numerous claims of crashed UFOs some of which allegedly had alien bodies associated with them.  UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield has written about these in a 7 book series entitled UFO Crash Retrievals.  No solid evidence exists to substantiate these claims, but they are interesting nonetheless.

The description of the bodies included both similarities and differences from story to story.  There were a few general commonalities.  The bodies were humanoid in shape, with a length of about 4 feet, with large heads for body size, and large slanted eyes.   

Most UFO researchers (including Stringfield) had considered such claims to be on the lunatic fringe.  But Stringfield kept running into witnesses with military, intelligence, scientific, and medical backgrounds who seemed to be describing the same thing. He came to believe that there may be something to this.   

(It should be noted that Major Marcel vehemently denied that he had seen any bodies but researchers now believe that there was a second crash site at Corona, several miles from the Brazel Ranch. This was not discovered initially and the stories about bodies seemed to come from that site.) 

It appears that the Air Force felt the need to explain away any claims that witnesses had seen alien bodies either at the time of Roswell or later.  Why?  The idea is so far out and so lacking in evidence that a mere denial should have sufficed.  I suggest they tried to debunk the sightings of alien bodies precisely because some people had seen something.  This was a tactical error.  The Air Force has now tacitly admitted that witnesses saw strange bodies and that there was a mundane explanation for this.

However, their proposed explanation is utterly ridiculous.  Any sighting of alien bodies in 1947 could not be explained by events that would not happen until many years later.  Besides, the anthropomorphic dummies were 6 feet tall, with normal sized heads and normal looking eyes.  Even the body small, big headed body sightings from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s could never be explained by this.
 
In short, the Air Force seems to admit that bodies were seen.  Sadly, their contrived explanation cannot explain this.

I do not know if there have been real sightings of alien bodies.  In the 1940s and 1950s, the idea of a mechanical drone aircraft was science fiction.  Today we know that advanced alien technology would not need to have a living crew on a UFO.  The absence of a living crew would also help to explain the excessively violent flight parameters seen in many UFO sightings.  Rapid changes in altitude, extreme acceleration/deceleration, and tight almost 90 degree turns make more sense if the UFO is a mechanical object without a living crew.  But the Air Force seems to be saying that the reports of bodies need to be explained away, not merely dismissed.
Another allegation in The Roswell Incident was that many UFO sightings since the 1950s were of experimental American aircraft and that the Air Force used the UFO idea as an excuse to cover up these tests.  If one peruses the FOIA information from the early 1950s it is clear that the US Air Force at the highest level checked the secret projects being done by the US Government and its military and found no evidence that any of the unexplained sightings could be correlated with such tests.
3) What is the story about Nitinol?
Nitinol is a family of nickel and titanium alloys that return to their previous shape after being deformed.  It is a true “memory metal.”  The world was first made aware of this material by researchers at the US Navy Ordnance lab in the early 1960s.  At that time, Elroy John Center, a scientist who had left Battelle in 1957, told some associates that he helped develop this material by analyzing the Roswell Crash debris while working at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio.  In fact, there were two classified Battelle monographs on the Nitinol alloys that were referenced in the studies done by the Navy.  Dr. Center’s name was not mentioned in the list of authors of these monographs.  Since they were classified, the monographs were not generally available outside of high security government circles.
Battelle was a private research facility in Columbus founded in 1928 and had helped the US Army Air Corp analyze foreign technology from Germany and Japan during World War II.  They had several contracts with Air Force Intelligence headquartered at Wright Field just down the road in Dayton, Ohio.
The original plan in July 1947 was to send the Roswell debris to Wright Field for evaluation.  After the ersatz “press conference” at Fort Worth, it was implied the debris would not be sent on to Dayton, but the testimony of numerous witnesses indicates the Roswell debris was sent on to Wright Field.  It would not be surprising that some of the material might have been sent to Battelle for analysis.
It should be noted that the description of some of the Roswell debris as being made of “memory metal” was not known until the mid-1970s when a retired Major Jesse Marcel began speaking to UFO investigators about his experiences.
Dr. Center’s claim to have reverse–engineered Roswell wreckage was itself not revealed to the world at large until 1992 through a MUFON Newsletter.  He had died in July 1991 from cancer and so could provide no further information to investigators.  From that point onward, many researchers tried to obtain copies of the two Battelle monographs through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  No copies could be found in government archives and Battelle (a private corporation exempt from FOIA) has a policy of not providing copies of monographs done under client contracts.
This state of affairs persisted until 2008 when a partial copy of the second Battelle monograph was retrieved under the FOIA entitled Second Progress Report Covering the Period September 1 to October 21, 1949 on Research and Development on Titanium Alloys Contract No. 33 (038)-3736.  It is authored by "Simmons, C.W.; Greenidge, C.T., Craighead, C.M. and others." The Battelle report was completed for Wright Patterson Air Materiel Command which ran the Foreign Technology efforts for Air Force Intelligence.  The partial copy clearly identifies Dr. Eldon John Center as being listed among the “others.”
So it seems that Dr. Center’s claims may have some validity.  The placement and timing of the research is right for Battelle to have been contracted to analyze Roswell crash debris. Also the “memory metal” aspects of some of the Roswell debris was not common knowledge until almost 30 years after the Roswell incident.  At the time Marcel began talking about it, Dr. Center’s claims and the Battelle monographs were not known to the general public.
4) What have been the real statistics about the sightings reported to Project Blue Book before it was cancelled in 1969?
The UFO phenomena virtually exploded in the early 1950s eventually including the famed flap over Washington, DC in 1952.  A large number of UFOs buzzed the restricted airspace over the capital, appearing and disappearing from radar at will and dodging the fighter jets that had been scrambled to intercept them.
During this time period, the Air Force was publically dismissing UFOs as either natural phenomena, misidentifications, and hoaxes.  It claimed that 90+% of all sightings had been explained away by the Air Force investigators.  After the DC saucer flap, official Washington was not so sure.
In the wake of this, the CIA contracted Battelle Memorial Institute to analyze all the material collected by the Air Force UFO study projects (Sign, Grudge, and Bluebook) which constituted several thousand sightings.  Battelle issued the classified Robertson Report which provided the following statistics:
a)                                              17% of all the reported sightings had been clearly identified as something mundane 

b)                                             83% could not be explained

c)                                              63% were unexplained but were lacking in sufficient information by which to either confirm or deny the stories.  This fraction included most of the reports from the general public.

d)                                             20% were unexplained but were reported by credible professionals such as pilots, scientists, and military personnel who were deemed reliable witnesses who may have had some supporting physical traces, pictures, radar contacts, or other evidence that supported their stories. 

e)                                              3% were hardcore unexplained cases which included multiple witnesses from different locations, along with supporting evidence of different kinds, making it a virtual certainty that the stories as told were true.
In summary, one case out of five that had been reported represented a credible report.  Most of the reported cases were unexplained.  One case in 33 was a hardcore unknown that could not be dismissed.  This situation was of great concern and so it was decided that UFOs needed to be studied for national security reasons.
In 1969, after the large UFO flap in 1966-67, the Air Force contracted Dr. Condon of the University of Colorado to perform a review of the material that had been collected by Project Bluebook and its predecessors.  This constituted about 13,000 reports.  (It was also revealed that there were several military reports of UFOs that had not been reported to Bluebook which were included.  This infuriated Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the scientific consultant for Bluebook because it meant that several of the best UFO cases had not come through his program.  He had been told that he had access to everything and he was livid when he found out that this was not true.)
The analysis by the Condon Committee produced the following results:
a)                                              22% of all the reported sightings had been clearly identified as something mundane
 
b)                                             78% could not be explained

c)                                              45% were unexplained but were lacking in sufficient information by which to either confirm or deny the stories.  This fraction included most of the reports from the general public.

d)                                             33% were unexplained but were reported by credible professionals such as pilots, scientists, and military personnel who were deemed reliable witnesses who may have had some supporting physical traces, pictures, radar contacts, or other evidence that supported their stories.

e)                                              5.5% were hardcore unexplained cases which included multiple witnesses from different locations, along with supporting evidence of different kinds making it a virtual certainty that the stories as told were true.
By 1969 fully one case in three was credible and unexplained.  The vast majority of cases still remained unexplained.  And more than one case in twenty was considered highly credible and well established.
As you can see, it was never the case that most sightings had mundane explanations.  In fact, the number of credible unexplained cases always has outnumbered the ones that could be explained by a fair margin.  Therefor, it is clear that the final Condon Report's claim that UFOs were not of scientific or national security interest was inane and did not conform itself to the facts which the Committee itself produced.  There continues to be a cover up about the real nature of UFOs at the highest levels of our government which persists to this very day.
 
 
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Hearts and Heroes and a Holiday Recipe--Meet Lyn O'Farrell

Lyn O'Farrell is the writing team of Anne Farrell and Linda McLaughlin. Their romance novel, WORTH THE RISK, was a finalist in RWA's prestigious Golden Heart contest and was first published in paperback under the title PRIVATE AFFAIR by Kensington Precious Gems. Anne and Linda live in sunny Southern California, the inspiration for the fictional town of Santa Elena.

Connect with them online: 




The holidays are almost upon us, which means lots of opportunities to overeat! Holiday potlucks are a staple of the season, and if you’re looking for an easy recipe, I have one to share. Like me, it’s a little sweet and a little tart, fairly low-calorie, dairy free, nut free and gluten free. (Unless you doctor it up, that is.) 

Lyndi's Cranberry-Blueberry Delight

 

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. can of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
1 package of fresh small blueberries (about 4 oz.)
1 cup of golden raisins 

Mix, chill and serve. That's it! 

The recipe serves 8-10 ladies. (The photo doesn't reflect the full recipe. It's what is left over after a couple of days of snacking on it.) I’ve also spread it on turkey sandwiches in lieu of regular cranberry sauce.
Since it's so simple, it's easy to experiment. Add nuts for crunch or sweeten to taste, if it's too tart. I'm thinking about adding some of those little marshmallows next time for color and sweetness.

 HEARTS AND HEROES

And if you’re looking for a bargain boxed set for holiday reading, may I suggest Hearts and Heroes? 

What do a cowboy, a biker, a pilot, a P.I. and a race-car driver have in common? They are the heroes of the new Hearts and Heroes Boxed Set of Five Contemporary Romances.

 

Books included:

THE COLTON CREEK COWBOY by Patricia Thayer

On the run… and right into a cowboy’s arms.

Stalked by an ex-boyfriend, Tori Slater escapes to the family’s homestead cabin in Wyoming where she meets the property’s caretaker. An ex-cop, Logan McNely wants a solitary life so he can forget his past, but finds he’s now protecting this intriguing woman. To save Tori, he has to save himself first before they can have a future together.

THE BAD BOY NEXT DOOR by Mindy Neff

She's thirty, single and on a husband hunt and her bad boy neighbor is definitely not on her list!

Hallie Fortune wanted to marry a safe, boy-next-door type of man. Her real neighbor, bad boy, ex-Marine, single-parent, Cody Brock, would never do. But suddenly, every time she had a date, Cody was there--at her house, at the restaurant, even at the grocery store! If Hallie didn't know better, she'd think Cody was sabotaging her husband hunt. And bringing his baby daughter along as an accomplice.

THAT WILDER MAN by Gillian Doyle

Max is back to save his hometown from a flood, only to be confronted by his past and the woman who betrayed him.

As teenagers, Max "Wildman" Wilder and his girlfriend Liza Jane had raised their share of hell--in town and in bed. Then Liza Jane betrayed him. Now richer and wiser, Max has come home. But he had no intention of giving Liza Jane another chance to break his heart.

THE RELUCTANT NERD by Sandra Paul

Going undercover can change a man in unexpected ways...

Concerned about nerdy Simon Primes' total lack of confidence, scientist Ernestine St. Bennett is determined to enhance his masculinity--and thus his social ease--by applying the principles used in her studies of fish. Little does Ernie know Simon is really Sam Pierce in disguise...and that no enhancement is needed!

WORTH THE RISK by Lyn O'Farrell



A publicity-shy librarian falls for a sexy single dad with a scandalous past, but is love Worth the Risk?

Children's librarian Amanda Lloyd values privacy above all else… until she meets a sexy single dad with a scandalous past.

Ex-racer Mitch Delaney’s life has been plastered across the tabloids more than once. But he believes that anything worth doing is worth a risk, and he wants Amanda in his life. Can he convince her to take a chance on love?



Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble/Nook, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Visit With Kim Headlee--and Mark Twain!

Thank you, Diana, for hosting Mark Twain and me on your blog today!

The dear boy turns—can you believe it??—180 years old on November 30th, and to celebrate, I am releasing the print edition of King Arthur's Sister in Washington's Court! Retail links for the hardcover and paperback aren't available yet, but please sign up for my monthly newsletter The Dawnflier to be among the first to learn how to preorder a personalized, specially discounted copy of one of the most important novels to be published in the last 126 years.

Like the original 1889 edition of Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, #KASIWC features more than 100 original pen-and-ink illustrations to complement my satiric sequel. 

Here's a peek at what readers may expect in both print editions:

Art c2014 by Tom Doneske.
The time on the pocket watch represents
Mark Twain's time of death
(6:21 p.m. April 10, 1910).
PREFACE.
M GIVEN TO understand some of my posthumous critics have intimated that I was jealous of Jules Verne—that maybe I even felt threatened by him. I have never heard such cocky popping beetle dung in my entire death.
Verne was a hack of the First Order whose publisher (engaged after he had inflicted two decades of the most unengaging whining and pleading, pining and wheedling upon all the other High Lords of Bookdom) viewed it necessary to transform his dyspeptic drivel into something within shouting distance of palatability for the reading public. Jules Verne didn’t invent science fiction; his publisher, Pierre-Jules Hetzel, did,—and I’m sorry I wasn’t born a couple of decades sooner to save everyone the time, trouble, and confusion.
As for this book, here I confess it’s long past overdue. I buried one clue in the joined opposites of Hank Morgan, Technology-Wielder, and Morgan le Fay, Magic-Wielder. Furthermore, Mrs. le Fay was the only important character in A Connecticut Yankee whom I didn’t kill off, of the thousands I did lasso, hang, shoot, electrocute, explode, drown, torpedo, and otherwise murder. Unfortunately, certain Weightier Matters contravened my intent, and I never put pen to parchment to commence the duologue’s conclusion within my lifetime. That nobody acted upon my clues in the hundred years since my sadly unexaggerated demise, speaks to the fact that I’ve been waiting till I’m well and truly dead before whispering my words into the quick and able ear of my chosen Ghost-Writer. For the matters depicted herein, of course, are things which ought to be settled. I don’t have anything else in particular to do in eternity anyway.
 
Written upon the occasion of my
175th birthday,  
November 30th, 2010
Wytheville, Virginia.

P.S. by K.I.H. For decades I’ve admired Verne’s ability in Michael Strogoff to transport the reader to nineteenth-century Tsarist Russia, especially considering the author never stepped on the steppes. Yet Twain/Clemens still selected me for this project. Go figure.



BUY LINKS (Digital edition)

TITLE – King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court (#KASIWC)
AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee
GENRE – Science Fiction/Fantasy Time-Travel Romance
PUBLICATION DATE – 1 November 2014 (e-book); 30 November 2015 (hardcover and paperback)
LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 350 pages/70K words
PUBLISHER – Lucky Bat Books
COVER ARTIST – Jennifer Doneske
INTERIOR ARTISTS – Jennifer Doneske and Tom Doneske
FEATURE-LENGTH SCRIPTS – Registered trilogy: adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, adaptation of KASIWC, and original script The Once and Future Queen; all available upon request.

SYNOPSIS
Morgan le Fay, 6th-century Queen of Gore and the only major character not killed off by Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, vows revenge upon the Yankee Hank Morgan. She casts a spell to take her to 1879 Connecticut so she may waylay Sir Boss before he can travel back in time to destroy her world. But the spell misses by 300 miles and 200 years, landing her in the Washington, DC, of 2079, replete with flying limousines, hovering office buildings, virtual-reality television, and sundry other technological marvels.

Whatever is a time-displaced queen of magic and minions to do? Why, rebuild her kingdom, of course—two kingdoms, in fact: as Campaign Boss for the reelection of American President Malory Beckham Hinton, and as owner of the London Knights world-champion baseball franchise.

Written as though by the old master himself, King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Mark Twain as channeled by Kim Iverson Headlee offers laughs, love, and a candid look at American society, popular culture, politics, baseball... and the human heart.

***

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet W. Lawrence Gold, M.D., Author of Medical Thrillers and Screenplays

I met Larry about 7 years ago when I was editing for Moongypsy Press. I was assigned NO CURE FOR MURDER. It didn't need much editing, and I devoured it. I've been a fan and a friend of Larry's ever since. His books are right up there with Robin Cook's. He knows his stuff--and he can tell a story that'll make  you want to rip the pages to get through. Here's Larry in his own words, telling you about what's new--including THE DOCTORS' LOUNGE.

 

 

I was born in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, moved to Queens, and then, as New Yorkers say, my family ascended to the Island.
After graduating from Valley Stream Central High School, I went to Adelphi, a college then, a university now, and then to medical school in Chicago.
The war in Vietnam interrupted my postgraduate medical training with a year in Colorado Springs and another as a Battalion Surgeon in Vietnam. I spent seven months in the Central Highlands with the 4th Infantry and five months in an evacuation hospital in Long Binh outside Saigon where I ran the emergency room.
I returned intact in 1968 to complete my training in internal medicine and diseases of the kidney, nephrology.

I worked for twenty-three years in Berkeley, California in a hospital-based practice and served as Chief of Internal Medicine and Family Practice. For many years, I was an active member of the quality assurance committee.
We retired in October 1995 before fate could intervene. We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge for a life at sea in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Four years later, exhausted from repairing everything on board, (often many times) we sold the sailboat and within a year took the lazy man's out; we bought a Nordic Tug trawler. We motored around Florida, the Bahamas, and the entire East Coast and Canada.

I've written fourteen novels, ten in the Brier Hospital Series, and one non-fiction book, I Love My Doctor, But…a lighthearted look at the patient/doctor relationship.

I write primarily to entertain, but I can't help but pass on to readers observations and beliefs culled from years of practice, and yes, my biases, too. I strive for realism in portraying the medical scene that is gripping enough without melodrama or gimmicks.

With even a minor degree of success in writing novels, comes responsibility to readers. I attempt to produce honest material that reflects my beliefs. Exposing these beliefs to the public through my writing requires courage, stupidity, or both. My fans have been generous, and although nobody enjoys criticism, I've learned much from that, too.

The novel that expresses most clearly my candor, and my bias, is For the Love of God. The novel reflects my attitudes toward those who are willing to sacrifice the lives of their children for their personal religious beliefs.
We live in beautiful Grass Valley with 11 year old Bennie, a Yorkie who just looks like he's on steroids and Wesley, a 1 year old rescue, a terrier of some sort.

After having written a number of novels, it was time to sit back and reflect upon the writing process as well as aspects of promotion and sales, lessons always learned the hard way.

While I’ve had excellent reviews of my work, in general, sales have been surprising. My best seller, First, Do No Harm, was the first in the Brier Hospital Series, and while not as well-written as my later novels, that novel and its sales have taught me several lessons. These include the downside of an incompletely edited novel, the importance of character, and writing in such a way that the reader feels the need to move on to the next chapter.

The Brier Hospital milieu has proven popular, but a series has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages including reengaging the reader in a familiar environment and well-known characters while the disadvantages include making sure that each novel stands on its own feet and can be read in any order. In addition, characters, while familiar to some, must be at least briefly reintroduced. A successful series is self-propagating, an unsuccessful one is a dead end.

I began to think of writing the Doctor’s Lounge to reflect what readers liked best in the Brier series; episodic and dramatic medical scenarios and engaging characters.

Among my most popular characters, a little surprising in this youth oriented world, are a couple, Lola and Jacob Weizman, both octogenarians. I introduced these characters in the murder/mystery novel, No Cure for Murder and readers have been calling for them to reappear.

We’d all like the inside scoop when we discuss back-room politics, religion, education, the arts, the law, and the inner sanctum of medicine. In my newest Brier Hospital novel, ‘The Doctors’ Room’ we get that insider’s view into medical practice and complex ethical issues.

Jacob Weizman has after sixty years of exemplary medical practice, suffered a crisis of confidence and has withdrawn from hospital practice. He spends his mornings in the Doctors’ Lounge where he becomes a sage, a sounding board, consultant, advisor and all around mentor for physicians, nurses, and even for hospital administrators.

Through Jacob’s involvement, the reader can observe the realities of medical practice and how it affects practitioners and patients alike.

Medical fiction at its best is dramatic without being campy, exciting without being unrealistic, and educational without being pedantic and laden with jargon. Hopefully, The Doctors’ Lounge fulfills these criteria.
 


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Monday, November 16, 2015

What We Don't Know About eBook Pricing by Mit Sandru

My guest, Mit, is a true Renaissance man. He was born in the greater area of Transylvania in the last century. He wrote 11 books in YA Fantasy, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Thrillers and Vampire genre. He is an artist and composers and painted hundreds of canvases, and composed dozens of tunes. Want to see and read more? Visit him at sandru.com

See Mit's Author Page and Books on Amazon

Visit Mit on Facebook

e-mail Mit at mit@sandru.com

 
  eBook Pricing

 In a free economy the market, meaning the suppliers and the buyers, establish the prices of goods. Suppliers want to sell high, the buyers want to pay low, the competition heats up, and in the end the prices settle at the optimum level based on supply and demand. What should the right price be for eBooks then?  

To understand better what an eBook price should be let’s decompose the book costs.  But what is the book in the first place? We think of a book as its content, but in reality the book is the content-delivery-device, CDD. It can be in the form of a paper book, a CD for Audio, iTunes download, or an electronic device like Kindle. From this point of view the book is made of two components: content and the content-delivery-device, CDD.

1 – The writer creates the content, then it is taken over by editors, designers and other specialists and they polish it for insertion in a CDD, be that for print on paper, audio, or e-ware. The writer gets paid, along with everyone else, and that is the fixed cost for the content, which is paid in full for before a book becomes a book. The content is software.

2 - For hundreds of years the CDD was the paper book, the hardware. The p-Books cost is made of paper, print, binding, packaging, transportation, warehousing, and eventually the destruction of the unsold p-books. Bottom line, the p-Book without content has a price determined by the pound(s) of paper it uses. Imagine what the cost would be for clay tablets.

3 - The third cost element of a book’s cost is the marketing and advertising. Without them who will know if the book even exists?

4 - The retailing, the actual selling to readers, is the fourth element of the cost. The bookstores get as much as 50% off the list price.

5 - The last cost added to the book is the publisher’s profit, which is necessary to continue in business. An accountant may say that I forgot other expenses like overhead, burden, taxes and many others. I considered all these extra costs as part of each element mentioned above.

Therefore, a book’s price is made of five cost elements: content, delivery-device, marketing, retailing, and profit. 

The p-Book uses all five cost elements, and therefore has the highest price. Audio has a high price as well because of the additional production costs. The eBook makes use of an e-Reader, the CDD, but this device is paid for only once as a Kindle reader, or tablets and smart phones to read eBooks on them. In theory the price difference between a p-Book and eBook is the cost of producing the CDD, the p-Book. Only the publishers know exactly the cost of CDD. As an educated guess I would say it is 25% of the retail price. In this case a $20 p-Book would cost $15 as an eBook. 

However, the eBook price should be lower still. When a publisher sets up to publish a new book, the process is to produce a paper book and price it accordingly, as if eBook doesn’t even exist. (They say otherwise, but I don’t believe that.) In other words the cost of the content and marketing is already accounted for under the cost of p-Books. The e-Book’s cost is really zero, if we ignore more royalty for the author in case of higher unit sales. But the publisher needs to make a profit and the retailer as well. Amazon takes 30% off the listed prices for eBooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Based on these prices the profits would be between $2.09 and $6.99, give or take a few pennies. Considering that the publishers make about $3 from a $20 p-Book, an eBook priced at $4.29 would bring in the same profit. Above that price the profits would be pure gravy. 

So, why don’t the Trad-Pubs sell eBooks for less than p-Books? The entire publishing industry, the Trad-Pubs, the distributors and the bookstores among others are in the business to make money, as they should. Commerce is based on demand and supply. If the demand for books is known, the supply should be equal. Too many books –higher supply– and competition forces the prices of p-Books to come down. This means lower profits for everyone in the publishing industry.

Contrary to their propaganda, the Trad-Pubs are not the gatekeepers of the high literature bastion. They are the Gatekeepers of p-Books Supply. Another factor to take into account is if eBooks are cheaper it will cannibalize the sales of p-Books. Trad-Pubs have control over p-Books, but not eBooks. Relinquishing that control will spell disaster for the Trad-Pubs and bookstores. Not a good thing for them.

All writers, without a paying job, write without pay, at least in the beginning or perhaps ever, and there are many people who want to become writers and they write a lot. The Indie Authors can publish their books without Trad-Pubs and more commonly the content is published as eBooks. Since the gatekeepers can be bypassed the Indie Authors publish a lot and flooded the book market. The carefully monitored supply of p-Books had been upset by plentiful supply of eBooks. Darn it. If this situation continues the Trad-Pubs could be put out of business, and already thousands of bookstores closed. The eBook technology is making the gatekeepers guard a gate without a fence. And that’s why the eBooks are priced as high as the p-Books to restore some order in the supply equation, discourage readers to buy eBooks, and prolong the p-Books as long as possible. The ultimate solution for them would be the disappearance of the cheap eBooks. Forever.
 
Knowing why the Trad-Pubs price eBooks artificially high, how much should be the eBook prices published by Indie Authors? Amazon takes the least commission for eBooks priced from $2.99 to $9.99. Right there is the optimum price range. It is well known that the lower the prices the higher the sales. The decision has to be made about what an Indie Author wants to achieve, maximize market share or profits. For example, as an Indie Author if I want market share, I’d price all my eBooks at $0.99. Amazon’s commission is 70% at this low price and I’d get only $0.30 per eBook. But, theoretically, I’ll sell more books and more readers will know about me. On the other hand I could set the prices at $9.99 and receive a maximum profit of $6.99 per eBook. Will I sell a lot of eBooks at this price? Not likely. The sweet spot between the optimum price, profits, and unit sales is claimed to be $2.99 to $3.99. Still these prices will not produce results if you are an unknown Indie Author. Not enough people will be looking for your books and buy them when they see lower prices, unless you advertise.  

But how about pricing the eBook to recover your investment? I’ll use one of my eBooks as an example to price the eBook based on cost. I don’t rent an office in Manhattan, I don’t have shareholders, and I don’t pay myself for writing the novels. (If the Department of Labor finds out that I don’t get paid they’ll sue my employer, and that would be me.) However, it doesn’t mean that I publish my books for free. I may write and do the illustrations for free (I’m an artist as well,) but I pay for editing, and no book should be published without it. As an example: to publish a book of 50k words/200 pages it costs me $1,535. ($1,500 for editing, $35 for the copyright.) The time I invested – the equivalent labor cost – I consider it sunk cost. What then would the price be for this book? If I want to recover my cash investment and forecast to sell 100 eBooks, the price would be $22, list price. Even my mother wouldn’t pay that much for her son’s eBook. If I would sell 1,000 units the price would be $2.99. A better price, but would I sell 1,000 eBooks? My dilemma is, do I recover my cost or expand my market share. If I sell low and make no profit, my market will expand and more readers will know about me, and hopefully they’ll buy more of my books in the future. In time I may make a profit. Hopefully before I die. 

Another way to look at pricing is matching the competition’s pricing. I do surveys and gage what other comparable books sell for and the quality level of those books. High sales always reflect the quality of those books, and not necessarily because of the lower prices. Then, when needed I adjust my prices accordingly. 

How about zero pricing? Unlike p-Books zero pricing ($0.00) for eBooks is possible with no cost to the publisher. However, from what I found out the readers value them as much as they pay for them. Near zero. That doesn’t mean the zero pricing used strategically is not beneficial. Zero prices should be considered lost leaders to generate sales for other books. I have a series, Vlad V, which so far contains five novels. The first book, “Vampire Vlad V,” I offer for free as an enticement to buy the rest of the books in the series. My advice as an Indie Author: don’t give anything away without the potential of receiving some future benefit. 

In conclusion, what is the right price for the eBooks? Any price that sells your eBook and advances your career as a writer. And remember, the readers are smart and will not overpay.


 


 

 

 


 

 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bernard Foong Has Had (and is still living) a Fascinating Life...

Meet Bernard Foong, my friend and fellow Solstice author. When you read his bio, remember...this is not fiction. See trailers and links to his autobiography A HAREM BOY'S SAGA: A MEMOIR BY YOUNG, and contact Bernard, below.

About Bernard

Bernard Foong is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.

By Christine Maynard (screenwriter and novelist). 
 
 
Bernard Foong  – A brief history 

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.  

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region. 

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer - travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years. 

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.  

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad. 

Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.  

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009. 

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW - Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.  

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:

·       Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.

·       Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.

·       Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.

·       Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.

·       Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:

A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.

This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems ."
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.
 
A Harem Boy’s Saga amazon sales site (E-books and Print books for Initiation, Unbridled and Debauchery) links shorten:
·      US amazon: http://amzn.to/1FMlHVY
·      UK amazon:  http://amzn.to/1DkHC8v 
No Distance Between Us amazon sales link:
E-book:
https://www.facebook.com/aharemboysaga
Twitter @aharemboysaga 
Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1IDX5DP (contains adult content) 
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/trisf2013 (adult content)
 
Amazon Author's Page: http://amzn.to/1cZKgZ7 
Video trailer for all the 3 books in A Harem Boy's Saga series (conservative version): http://youtu.be/F0Lv80yhhq0 
Video trailer for INITIATION (sensual version):
http://bit.ly/1DOMft1
Video trailer for UNBRIDLED (sensual version):
Video trailer for DEBAUCHERY (sensual version): http://bit.ly/1NUcelM