Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

Project Renaissance mostly notable for seamless morphing of multiple tropes

 

Project Renaissance: White Wings

by Brian Gates

 

Booker Vaux and his friend and partner Sam Murphy are best buddies and super cops, you know the kind who wisecrack when facing down violent criminals armed to the teeth intent on killing them and a host of innocent bystanders. Outnumbered, outgunned, they take down the bad guys without even losing their sense of humour.


When Booker’s devoted wife and two loveable kids are kidnapped without motivation or ransom, he and Sam will stop at nothing to get them back. With the help of an anti-establishment hacker who feeds him clues, they set out on a search that includes a prerequisite car chase, numerous shootouts and gruesome murders all leading toward the high-tech mega-maniacal corporate mogul with plans to take over the world by introducing humanoid artificial intelligence who are programmed to do his bidding.


Project Renaissance: White Wings by Brian Gates is notable mostly for the morphing of several genre tropes into one seamless story. The introduction of some imaginative next-generation social technology also has to be appreciated, though unless you’re a gamer or have a keen interest in this area you may find the author’s extended explanations tedious. Plot twists keep the story interesting, but the outcome is never in doubt no matter how impossible it may appear to be.

 

 

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Tempest: Poems that provide personal poetic epiphanies.

 

You can’t expect in a book of fifty poems that each one is going to speak to you. If the majority do then I would suggest the poet has done a very good job. 


In Tempest: Poems, poet, Ryan Meyer didn’t make the cut, but there still are a good number of poems in this collection that are nothing short of astonishing.

Meyer is at his best when he comes at a subject obliquely, understanding coming as a satisfying surprise. Examples, where this is best achieved, are with Flamingo, the weekend, and drinking and dreaming of being somewhere, anywhere else. And again in Straight Bs, “Still, the lights guide me, Inch by inch, to the dance floor, Where glances have evolved Into lower back rubs … It’s dim enough for anyone To be a dance partner.”

Good poets have a way of saying what you already know or have experienced but saying it with originality. Meyer taps into this secret to universal appeal in Somewhere Else, that “…ends up just as disappointing as right here.” And again, in Cavernous where “Even my dreams leave me An anxious mess, feeling as if I’ve missed something, that I Have reason to be worried.”

This originality can also be illustrated in a unique perspective as is the case in On Evolution, where the poet compares his own purpose to that of a caterpillar and worries, “I hope growing wings doesn’t have to hurt”. And then with Long, Long After, a unique reflection of the past “The way everything was Before pie tins on the kitchen table Became ashtrays beneath wrinkled faces”.

Sometimes it’s diction, cleverly choosing the exact words. This is exemplified in A Melancholy Album Cover for a Coffee Shop Artist where Myer nails the affectations of an amateur. He achieves it again in Come Around, with this description “… the women who wouldn’t have Let this go any other way, who stood, Arms crossed, one foot tapping, Eyes staring daggers, unmovable, In the way of all other outcomes." Unique imagery that resonates on the periphery of your consciousness. 

His success is with poems that are not momentous, but just moments, like the heartrending description of the death of a sparrow in No Science to Loneliness.

However, themes of relationship angst, reminiscences of misplaced or wasted youth and existential anguish are too often revisited. They’re accompanied by a lack of intensity along with lots of garden analogies and weather metaphors. A few resemble the self-indulgent verse of adolescents using clichéd phrases like “tear-stained pillows” and “You leave me speechless.”

But despite the shortcomings, Tempest: Poems by Ryan Meyer is worth the read for a handful of jaw-droppers that provide personal poetic epiphanies. 

 

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Nowhere days

Nowhere days.
..and it's raining.
 

Unexpected Find by Hayleigh Sol

Unexpected Find

By Hayleigh Sol

 

★ ★ ★ ★ 4 STARS

 

Free E-book - FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

FREE E-BOOK

 

FOREST - Love, Loss, Legend

 

Free 'til January 19, 2021 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Matt Bennett grew up in a dying town on the edge of the rainforest on the west coast of Canada. He knows the dark secrets behind that impenetrable wall of green where species can come to life, thrive and die without anyone except God ever knowing they ever existed. Lost gold, lost love and lost hope compels Matt to return home. The Forest is waiting.

 

 

As soon as they can they plan to leave behind the small town and small minds of Pitt Landing. They will embrace life and experience the world, maybe even change it.

 

Man plans, God laughs.

 

Raminder’s father has a stroke and her commitment to her family means she must postpone her plans and stay in Pitt Lake. It’s just the opposite for Matt. A family tragedy leaves irreconcilable differences between him and his father and forces him to leave. They promise to reunite, but life happens.

 

Twelve years later, Matt is an acclaimed war correspondent. He’s seen it all and it’s left him with post-traumatic stress, a gastric ulcer, and an enlarged liver. He’s never been back to Pitt Landing though the memory of Raminder and their love has more than once kept him sane.

 

He’s at his desk in the newsroom, recuperating from his last assignment and current hangover and reading a letter from his father, the first contact they’ve had in over a decade. It talks about a legendary lost gold mine, a map leading to it, and proof in a safety deposit box back in Pitt Lake. He’s sent it to Matt in case something happens to him and cautions his son to keep it a secret.

 

Matt is about to dismiss the letter when the telephone rings. It’s Raminder telling him his father has disappeared somewhere in the wilderness that surrounds Pitt Lake.

 

Lost gold, lost love and lost hope compels Matt to return home to Pitt Landing, a dying town on the edge of the rainforest on the west coast of Canada. Will he find any of these, or does something else await him?

 

Free 'til January 19, 2021 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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Free E-book - Abandoned Dreams

ABANDONED DREAMS

Free ‘til Jan. 19 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Have you ever wondered what dreams you might have fulfilled

if life hadn't got in the way?

What if you had an opportunity to try again?

 

 

At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960s.

 

George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.

 

Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.

 

Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything.  Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven. 

 

Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion, George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life than he’d previously led.

 

Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.

 

Can dreams be resurrected?

 

Can a life you’ve abandoned be taken up again?

 

Is it worth it?

 

Will they let you?

 

Abandoned Dreams - Free 'til Jan. 19, 2021at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

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#FreeEbook. The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, a Young Woman, an Uncompromising Ethic

The BIG PICTURE

– A Camera, a Young Woman, an Uncompromising Ethic

 

Free ‘til Jan. 10 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

“This is a fascinating novel...adventure, excitement, drug cartels, family issues, romance...themes that are important and questions we sometimes need to ask ourselves.”

- Judge's commentary - 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published eBook Awards

 

 

Young, talented, ambitious, Freyja Brynjarrson’s a photographer struggling to crash the art establishment, the challenges presented by her family, and still keep true to her uncompromising ethic.

 

Fate places her on the front line of a political demonstration where soldiers open fire on civilians. She photographs death for the first time and finds the surge of adrenaline  breathtaking

 

Because of the sensitive nature of her pictures the current government, facing an imminent election tries to suppress them. But someone far more unscrupulous than government spin-doctors also wants those images destroyed.

 

Gunnar Brynjarrson, Freyja’s eldest brother is the head of an illegal narcotics empire. He’s concerned about the opposition party’s platform to decriminalize drugs. His sister’s photographs could influence the outcome of a close election and put his business in jeopardy.

 

As events unfold, Freyja slowly becomes aware of the far-reaching impact the billions of narco dollars have on the government, the economy, friends, family, and even herself. Something insidious has infected society and like a superbug, it’s resilient, opportunistic, and appears as a mutation in the most unexpected places.

 

Free ‘til Jan. 10 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

REQUEST FOR REVIEW OR RATING

Reviews and Ratings are important to authors and readers.

In exchange for this Free book, an honest review or rating would be appreciated.

To leave a review or rating visit Amazon.com and enter

The Big Picture by Rod Raglin

Click on the cover and scroll down.

On the left-hand side, you’ll see CUSTOMER REVIEWS

And below that REVIEW THIS PRODUCT

Click on WRITE A CUSTOMER REVIEW

THANK YOU!

#FreeEbook. SAVING SPIRIT BEAR - Eco-Warrior Series Book 1

 

Corporate Climber challenges Eco-Warrior

to decide the fate of the rare and endangered Spirit Bear.

 

Free ‘til Jan. 10 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

 

 

Kimberley James is hoping her new assignment will jumpstart her stalled career with a New York corporate relations firm. Her client wants to develop a mega ski resort in northern Canada. Her job is to convince the current owners of the land to sell. With millions of dollars to be made, it seems like a done deal. Until she runs up against Jonah Baker.

 

Baker is part owner of a lodge on the land and an ardent environmentalist. He'

s not about to permit a development that threatens ancient rainforests and the habitat of the rare and endangered Spirit Bear for any price.

 

Kim begrudgingly respects his principles before profit, but cannot allow a tree-hugging, bear-loving zealot to derail her fast track to success. Jonah admires her determination and worldliness but will fight to the end to stop a materialistic corporate climber from destroying something rare and unique.

 

Spirit Bear is the first in the stand-alone series ECO-WARRIORS.

 

“I loved Spirit Bear and was hooked by the second page

- Five Star review from Bitten By Books

 

"An exciting read and I couldn't put it down."

- Lewis Dakin, Goodreads Review

 

"...beautiful description of the landscape and wildlife...it really is a joy to read it!"

- Elspeth, Goodreads Review

 

“I liked the concept of Spirit Bear. It was unique...something I haven't read a million times before.”

  • Reviewed by Tina Gibbons at Readers' Favorite Book Reviews

Free ‘til Jan. 10 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

The perfect anecdote if you’re taking yourself too seriously

 

 

 

It’s Not You, It’s BFJ, one of the eleven humorous short stories in Gregg Greenberg’s collection, F*cking Argentina and 10 More Tales of Exasperation, has the protagonist breaking up with the love of his life because he can’t abide she’s a huge fan of Billy Joel. The author cleverly works seven of the artist’s hit song titles into the story for emphasis. 


This is only one example of Greenberg’s whacky wit that will have you chuckling with relatable moments. “You may be right, (he) may be crazy”, but since “(I) Didn’t Start the Fire”, I’m using the occasional lyric or title from a Joel song where appropriate in this review. 

“Honesty is something seldom heard”, but it rings true in Weinberger’s Back-to-School Night, a tortuous tale of a father attending back-to-school night for parents of children in kindergarten. 

In F*cking Argentina, the South American country is anthropomorphically depicted as a deadbeat trying to hit up a wealthy acquaintance for a loan. Historically it appears that’s “Just the way (they) are."

Greenberg is “Only Human” and “allowed to make (his) share of mistakes” and he does. You have to be a Broadway buff to understand the significance of Officer Krupke Strikes Back and even then it’s not funny. 

Likewise, it’s a double fault for A Journeyman Tennis Player’s Prayer. A very select audience may enjoy this but not being one of them I can’t attest to their sense of humor. 

Malodor on the Number Five Express is also a bit off. The whiff of intolerance and elitism emanating from the protagonist isn’t appealing. 

But Greenberg recovers with The Last Couples Dinner. It’s about the guy we all know, the “Big Shot”, who has to have “the last word, last night … know(s) what everything's about”. 

A dutiful son accompanies his elderly mother to a stage performance only to discover upon leaving the theatre she’s forgotten her handbag. You may have “Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway”, but it’s nothing compared to the pandemonium created by a lost purse, effectively conveyed in Panic in Shubert Alley.

 

A Side of Exasperation on the NJ Turnpike could be described as a high-maintenance-family, fast food fiasco exacerbated by the “Pressure” of “you never-ever-ever stop the car when you are making great time”. 

In Back Off Baxter! the author missed the opportunity to develop this frustration into a “Karen” pet confrontation. Instead, it’s the protagonist’s daughter who challenges the pet owner and “Tell(s) Her About It”. 

Little Timmy’s Birthday Battle is presented as texts between parents, one at home and one in the car with his son trying to find the location of Timmy’s birthday party. Not being a rabid texter like the rest of the world, I had to go on online to look up the meaning of the text abbreviations and acronyms. Suffice to say, that kills the spontaneity of humor. BOMEI (But others might enjoy it). 

The stories in F*cking Argentina are flawlessly written, well-structured, and a welcome respite. Something I haven’t seen “For the Longest Time”. The perfect anecdote if you’re taking yourself and your circumstances too seriously. 

 

 

Free Ebook - The Bird Whisperer - Mattie Saunders Series - Book 3

The BIRD WHISPERER - Mattie Saunders Series - Book 3

Save a bird. Save the world. Save your soul.

 

Free ‘til Jan. 3 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

“A very entertaining story with plenty of action and a strong female main character.”

 

“The storyline is very good and contains several subplots.”

 

“All the characters “gets” are realistic”.

 

“A highly recommended novella that was very enjoyable.”

 

Oiled seabirds

Two freighters have collided in the harbour. One has a ruptured fuel tank and is spilling toxic oil onto the beach. Seabirds are mired in this toxic muck.

The Saunders Exotic Bird Sanctuary is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of exotic birds. A seagull is hardly exotic but it’s still a bird and Mattie loves birds.

She’s never rehabilitated an oiled bird. It’s more involved than just giving them a bath in dish detergent–a lot more.

 She might as well learn how since there’s likely to be more of them.

The reporters want to do know if Mattie supports a ban against more oil pipelines? More pipelines mean more oil that has to be shipped which amounts to an increase in oil tanker traffic in local waters.

Mattie supports whatever is good for the birds.

Does she have to take a stand on bigger issues to have any hope of resolving the smaller ones?

Do you?

 

Free ‘til Jan. 3 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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#newbooksnetwork #goodreads #amreading #readingcommunity

#parrots @birdsrescue #birdwatching

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#BirdsUp @BirdBooksChat

Free E-book, Loving the Terrorist 'til Jan. 3

What would you risk to save a very special wild place? Everything?

 

 

LOVING THE TERRORIST

 

“…a wonderful and thrilling tale.”

 

“I loved this book! It had everything from romance to action,

and it also addressed some important environmental issues.”

 

“You are captured from the first page until the last and want more when it’s over.”

 

Fill your new E-reader. Download your FREE e-book now at

 

 https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

 

Fill up your new E-reader with these #FreeBooks

 

 

The BIRD WHISPERER

Mattie Saunders Series - Book 3

Free ‘til Jan. 3 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Mattie doesn’t believe in love at first sight, maybe not in love at all, so what’s going on with this guy who has been hired to meet her at this remote airport in The Rockies?

 

Simon is there to take her to a remote cabin in the wilderness to do fieldwork on the Rufus Hummingbird while Bodine, her rock-star partner is on tour for three months with his protegé, Ellwyn, promoting her new album he produced and co-wrote. Mattie’s thinking maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder, but she doubts it.

 

It’s over, it just hasn’t ended.

 

She began falling out of love about a year ago. Nothing specific, just a lot of little things; she’s sick of seeing her life portrayed on ET and in tabloids; she can’t stand his pretentious, self-absorbed friends; and except for Pickles and Manny, their two macaws, they have nothing, zero, nada in common.

 

Regardless, Simon, the only First Nations person she’s ever had a conversation with is igniting sparks without even trying. But why him and why now? Could it be opposites attract; big-city white girl, small-town indigenous boy?

 

Free ‘til Jan. 3 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

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Fill up your new E-reader with these #FreeBooks

 
LOVING THE TERRORIST
Free ‘til Jan. 3 at
 
Miriam is forty and frustrated.
In an attempt to enhance her living-just-to-breathe life she joins some neighbours protesting a highway bypass that will destroy Eagleridge Bluffs. Not only is the Bluffs her special sanctuary, they’re also the beautiful home of rare and endangered plants and animals.
The protest gains the support of environmental organizations including the attention of a group of eco-radicals lead by an enigmatic younger man named Zaahir.
Miriam is mesmerized by this charismatic leader and sees him as someone that can save her as well as the Bluffs. But is Zaahir just using Miriam to help him further his radical environmental agenda?
As legal channels fail and civil disobedience falters, Miriam is seduced into the murky world of eco-terrorism.
 
Loving the Terrorist. Free ‘til Jan. 3 at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Fill up your new E-reader with these #FreeBooks

 

END OF THE ROPE - A Play in 4 Acts

Letting go is not an option - or is it?

 

When you rope up you put your life in the hands of your climbing partner. But what if you've just ruined his?

Craig, Whit and Milt are friends, have been for a long time. They've grown up together, but the friendship forged as young boys are getting tested as they grow into men - men with different perspectives and priorities.

Their love of climbing has kept them together. On the rock faces of the mountains they are as they once were - a team, a unit, loyal and committed. The ambiguous world of careers and relationships is left below - or is it?

 

End of the Rope - A #Play in 4 Acts.

Free 1 day only. Dec. 30 at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

The American dream is still alive for those determined to pursue it

 

For those of us who have only known life in an affluent country with a stable, democratically elected government, it’s hard to imagine the danger and drama of regime change in other parts of the world. Everything you believed in and all you’ve worked so hard to attain, can abruptly become a liability, and the peace and security of your loved ones suddenly put at risk.

This is the fate that befell so many South Vietnamese the day after the fall of Saigon in 1975, which marked the end of the Vietnam War with victory for the communist North Vietnamese forces.

One such person was Tim Tran, who relates his experience in the memoir, American Dreamer: How I Escaped Communist Vietnam and Built a Successful Life in America by Tim Tran with Tom Fields-Meyer.

To make that historical event even more personal and painful, Tran, a native-born Vietnamese, had experienced life in America on a scholarship and attained a degree in business from the University of California, Berkeley. He’d only returned to South Vietnam less than a year before the country fell to the communists.

In American Dreamer, Tran describes his childhood in a loving family that thrived through hard work, determination and amazing resourcefulness that emerges out of necessity. And how his father provided the motivation and the training for him to succeed academically.

Chapters about his immersion into American culture during his university years are a testament to his outgoing personality and the gracious, friendly, and helpful reception he received from almost all the Americans he interacted with.

Accounts of navigating day-to-day living in a totalitarian regime, harrowing experiences trying to arrange an escape from Vietnam, life-threatening confrontations as boat person beset by pirates, and volunteering with agencies while in a refugee camp are gripping and told with candour and humility.

Once back in America, career success is achieved with a combination of effort, excellence, enthusiasm, and integrity The author just doesn’t abide in America, he embraces it, holds it to his heart, then magnanimously gives back by creating an endowment that will for many years support the library operations at Pacific University. In these pages, Tran also pays tribute to all those who have supported him in fulfilling this dream.

Entertaining and inspiring, American Dreamer, attests to the fact the American dream is still alive for those determined enough to pursue it. And furthermore, there’s no need to make America great again, for people like Tran, it still is and always has been.

 

Free E-book. The Rocker and the Bird Girl

An Early Christmas Present

The Rocker and the Bird Girl, Mattie Saunders Series Book 1.

 

"... a seriously non-traditional #lovestory".

 

Romance and action combine with environmental themes for an exciting exploration of contemporary culture.

 

Free ‘til Dec. 16 at

The Rocker and the Bird Girl

 

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The Rocker and the Bird Girl video trailer