I wasn’t going to enter any book contests this year. Lady Grace, my new sci-fi, fantasy, visionary fiction novel, dribbled out of the publisher’s arms when most of the contests were within minutes of closing. But, like a compulsive gambler, I couldn’t leave book contests alone. I got the Lady in the IPPYs (Independent Press) Awards, sliding in just under their “drop dead date”.
The IPPYs are the oldest and largest book contest open to independent publishers and authors. It’s a great contest, and very prestigious. I’ve entered it many times and done well.
Never at the last minute, though. The management offers nice discounts on entry fees if you get your entry in early. Unfortunately, I didn’t get mine in early. My husband growled at me as I put the book package together. “How many awards are enough? How much are you going to spend this year?”
Answer: There is no “enough.” Ever. Anywhere. In anything. You spend what you need to go the distance. I mean, did they tell Secretariat his saddle cost too much or he ate too many oats?
Since the early-bird special had come and gone and my husband was still snarling about how much contests cost, I put Lady Grace in one class in the IPPYs––I didn’t hedge my bets entering two or three. The category I entered was Visionary Fiction.
Jenkins Group, sponsor of the IPPYs began announcing winners on April 27, six days ago. They seem to be announcing awards when the judging of a batch of categories is finished. As of this sitting, Wednesday, May 2 at 1:03 PST, Visionary Fiction is practically the only category NOT announced.
Six days is a long time to hold your breath.
Talk about stretching my neurotic tendencies to the max. In the last six days, I’ve learned it’s as bad to go into something from a strong position as it is a weak one. My 2011 novel, The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, WON the Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction at the IPPYs last year. YAY! Talk about a feel good moment. I’ve won Bronze and Silver Medals before, but never a Gold.
So I should feel confident, right? No. My inner self-talk goes like: “They probably will give it to someone else to spread the awards around. Also, you’ve done a bunch of touch ups to the cover since you sent the book––the ink was barely dry when you mailed it. It probably isn’t good enough. You don’t know what the other books in the category are like. They may be FAN-SUPER-TASTIC. Can I stand it if Lady Grace “only” gets a Bronze or Silver? What if it don’t get nada? AHHHH!”
This skillful manipulation of my inner state by repeated negative thoughts might be considered The Anti-Secret. This is the antidote to Rhonda Byrnes’ famous Secret. Rhonda’s book goes like: “If you wish for it hard enough, something will come.” Maybe not what you wanted, but something.
I do not consider myself particularly neurotic. I think of my self as the female, West Coast, Protestant version of Woody Allen.
I’m going to sit at my computer, fully experiencing my pain and heart palpitations (really) until the Jenkins Group posts those wins. Or losses.
Sayonara! I will let you know what happens, win or lose.
THE RESULTS JUST CAME IN: SOMETIMES YOU WIN, AND SOMETIMES YOU LOSE.
THIS TIME I LOST.
Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-one national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.
Every once in a while something comes across my desk that deserves to be read and passed on. This posting is one of those things. It still is, even after I checked urbanlegends.comUrban Legends rates this story as true, but there’s a kicker at the end. Here’s the tale:
You’re a 19 year old kid.
You’re critically wounded and dying in
The jungle somewhere in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam . . .
It’s November 11, 1967.
LZ (landing zone) X-ray.
Your unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense from 100 yards away, that your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in.
You’re lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you’re not getting out.
Your family is half way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you’ll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
Then––over the machine gun noise––you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
You look up to see a Huey coming in. But . . . it doesn’t seem real because no MedEvac markings are on it.
Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you.
He’s not MedEvac, so it’s not his job, but he heard the radio call and decided he’s flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.
Even after the MedEvacs were ordered not to come. He’s coming anyway.
And he drops it in and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load three of you at a time on board.
Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the doctors and nurses and safety.
And, he kept coming back––thirteen more times–until all the wounded were out. He took twenty-nine of you and your buddies out that day. Some would not have made it without the Captain and his Huey.
Until the mission was over, no one knew that the Captain had been hit four times in the legs and left arm.
Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman, United States Air Force, died last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise, Idaho
May God Bless and Rest His Soul.
I bet you didn’t hear about this hero’s passing, but we’ve sure heard a whole bunch about Lindsay Lohan, Dr. Murray, that sicko Sandusky, and a 72- day sham marriage.
Shame on the media !!!
Now . . . YOU pass this along. Honor this real hero.
President Bush Honoring Captain Freeman
OK. Here’s the kicker: Vietnam War hero and Medal of Honor recipient Ed Freeman died at the age of 80 in Boise, Idaho on August 20, 2008. The end of the narrative makes it sound like it happened last week and no one noted his passing. Not so.
The media did not ignore the courageous life and quiet death of retired Army Captain and Medal of Honor recipient Ed W. Freeman, as the partial list of news sources you can reach through this link shows. It may not have made front-page news, but Freeman’s passing on August 20, 2008 was commemorated in a special segment on the NBC Nightly News, an AP national wire story, and obituaries published in newspapers across the country.
In 2001, Captain Freeman received the nation’s highest military honor 36 years after his heroic actions. President George W. Bush commemorated Freeman’s heroism, with a citation which reads as follows:
Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November, 1965, while serving with Company A, 229th, Assault Helicopter Battalion, First Cavalry Division Air Mobil (ph).
As a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion at landing zone X-ray in the Idrang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The infantry unit was almost out of ammunition, after taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force.
When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone, due to intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire, time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water and medical supplies to the Paceeds (ph) battalion.
His flights had a direct impact on the battle’s outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival without which they would almost surely have experienced a much greater loss of life. After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area, due to intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life- saving evacuation of an estimates 30 seriously wounded soldiers, some of whom would not have survived, had he not acted.
All flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking elements. Captain Freeman’s selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of his peers.
Captain Freeman’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army
He was a hero, and he was acknowledged. And I acknowledge him. His courage is awe-inspiring.
But what does this urban legend show? Well, when I first got an email with the initial story, I passed it on to my entire mailing list and sat down to write a scathing idictment of the news media.
“Let’s Occupy the News! Tell our media that we want news worth hearing,” I wrote in the first draft of this post. I wanted to believe the worst of the media, and maybe humanity. What kind of values do we have? I threw in a big dose of ain’t it awful?
How could this travesty occur?
We may have reason to hate the garbage our media feeds in the guise of truth, but in this case, we fed it to ourselves.
I guess the moral is: Watch what you swallow.
Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-one national awards, in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.
There are nights that are so still
that I can hear the small owl calling
far off and a fox barking
miles away. It is then that I lie
in the lean hours awake listening
to the swell born somewhere in the Atlantic
rising and falling, rising and falling
wave on wave on the long shore
by the village, that is without light
and companionless. And the thought comes
of that other being who is awake, too,
letting our prayers break on him,
not like this for a few hours,
but for days, years, for eternity.
May the other come to you this day.
Let your prayers and hearts break upon him
as he is broken for you.
Ronald Stuart Thomas (29 March 1913 – 25 September 2000) was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest.
Life is a trip. Two days ago, I was notified that my book, Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could, had won the 2011 Silver Nautilus Award for Children’s Nonfiction (grades 1 – 6). I was ecstatic. Winning is always fun, but this was more than that. Teco and I have bonded; he’s my boy and my personal riding horse. His lovely essence is entwined with mine.
The day after receiving the award, my vet told me that Tecolote would never be ridden again, in fact, he might die. I’m reeling. I can’t make sense of it.
Teco got pneumonia a week or so ago. Out of the blue. I think the very strange weather we’ve been having––rainy and cold one day, 88 degrees the next, back to rainy and cold––triggered it. He was a very sick horse. I’ve not seen a sicker horse. I won’t describe it, because it was awful.
We had the vet out. He gave him a strong course of antibiotics. (The drugs they have available now are wonderful.)
But Teco didn’t get better, or all the way better. The vet gave him another course of antibiotics and did an ultrasound of his lungs. Definitely pneumonia. Not all gone. It should have been gone.
He stopped eating, even fresh grass. Weight was falling off of him.
Barry went down to feed one morning found him down on the ground. Teco wouldn’t get up. He called me, but the horse had gotten up by the time I reached the pasture. The same pasture in which he was born that cold night ten years before. “He’s OK,” Barry said. The horse was nibbling on pasture grass. He was OK.
Later, I found him in the corner of his pasture, head down, lipping at dirt (despite grass all around). Looking so dejected. Kicking at his belly now and again like he was colicky.
He’s in the hospital now––Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center––which I consider the best equine hospital anywhere. I thought for sure they’d be able to fix him. They’re so great; they can do anything.
Barry spent three or four hours over there the first day with very skilled vets swarming around the horse, doing high powered ultra sounds and who knows what else. Teco’s illness didn’t add up. There were so many parts to it. It must have been brewing for a while. The vets did say that it wasn’t because he was premature. If it was that, it would have shown up years ago.
Tecolote is resting comfortably in the hospital now, undergoing treatment. The pneumonia triggered a bunch of things. I can’t write them all down. The vet said so many things; my mind’s a blur. And I’m crying.
It’s his heart. It’s beating at twice a normal speed; it’s enlarged. Fluid is accumulating. He still has pneumonia, but they can’t give him more antibiotics now because his digestive tract is messed up.
If they can stabilize his heart so that he’s well enough to come home, no one will ever ride him again. Riding a horse with a bad heart isn’t a good idea. If they can’t stabilize him . . .
Horses are heartbreakers. Animals are heartbreakers. People are heartbreakers.
If you engage in the world, if you fall in love and love, you open yourself to all the pain the the universe. We’re mortal. Those we love are mortal. They die. We’ll lose them, and we will feel pain.
Tecolote’s fighting the battle of his life now, doing it in his calm, gentle way. Even the vets are exclaiming about what a kind, patient horse he is.
I want to share this video with you. It shows some photos of me riding Tecolote. I didn’t realize when we took the photos that that ride would be one one my last with my boy. The absolute last ride was when I got on him and rode him slowly down to our arena a few days ago. He coughed almost every step and didn’t want to move. He did though, in his plucky way. I got him to the end of the arena and thought, This horse is sick. I’m taking him in.
When I got back to the barn, Teco put his head down and fluid poured from his nostrils. That was our last ride together.
Please think of him as he fights to live. Tecolote, the little horse that could.
I’m posting a message about something very important. My husband and I watched the film INSIDE JOB last night. INSIDE JOB won the 2011 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. It came out in DVD this week. You can get it on Netflix.
“The financial practices that laid the groundwork for the global economic crisis are traced to their sources in an examination that lays the blame for the collapse at the doorstep of many who are still in power. Predatory lending, credit default swaps, and financial deregulation are subjected to close scrutiny and criticism in a primer on the situation that affected the lives of millions.”
I looked forward to seeing this film because my family and I––like so many of the citizens of the United States and the world––were negatively impacted by the recession and financial meltdowns in recent years.
I also wanted to see the film because I am an economist. I hold a BA and MA in economics and was a doctoral student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in economics, public policy and business. I’ve held a number of professional positions in economics. What’s happened in the world economy is of extreme interest to me.
Was INSIDE JOB a good film? Oh yeah. Surgically good. Brilliant. The causes of the financial meltdown which filmmakers Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs examine are difficult. Derivatives, credit-default swaps and many other financial concepts are explained using diagrams and clear language. You will understand this! Too well, probably.
In addition to its intellectual content and interviews with people who were running the show as it collapsed and before, this film is very well presented. The bites of theoretical material are interspersed with shots of the cities and buildings associated with high finance. The “work hard, party harder” culture of the ultra rich is presented in flaming color and sound. The editing is snappy and the sound track is snappier. The interviews are crisp and illuminating, or very painful and illuminating.
One of the things that INSIDE JOB makes very clear is that what happened in 2008 isn’t the fault of either political party. Its roots have been there since the 1980s, spanning many presidential administrations, with presidents belonging to both parties.
Why am I writing this? Because the conditions that caused the meltdown haven’t been fixed. Even though the world economy still reels, structural changes have not been implemented. Not a single perpetrator has gone to jail or even been charged with anything. It could happen again.
Watch the film. In all probability, you are not among the mega-rich who sailed through the crises and came out in better shape than before. In all probability, you were hurt financially, just like I was. It behooves us to fully understand what happened.
I’m writing for another reason. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed to watch the interviews of the top names in economics interviewed in the film. These include the heads of business schools and departments of economics in some of our best universities. Turns out they weren’t giving the government sage advice to preserve our economic well-being and prevent the crash. Many were well-paid advisors to the financial institutions that nearly broke this country.
Economics is a mathematical discipline. It was when I was in school, and it was becoming more so by the year. The guys and gals in econometrics and the truly mathematical forms of economics were the top dogs. If you didn’t shine in those fields (I didn’t), you were subjected to a more than subtle put down.
The problem with mathematical analysis is that it seldom matches the messy reality that we humans create. As the mathematics become more pristine, their relationship to what they’re describing grows looser. So we have economists saying that derivatives were safe and stabilizing. It looks like the most conservative branches of economics, personified by the non-interventionist monetarist policies of the late Dr. Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, have taken over the profession.
Friedman advocated a free market economic system with little intervention by government. Nonintervention in financial markets is what we had in the crashes of the 2000s. That’s what we’ve got now.
Not all economists felt/feel like Friedman, but they seem to have been shouted down. Some economists value compassion, alleviating human suffering, and promoting justice and righteousness.
I feel sick at heart over what’s become of my profession.
I urge you to see INSIDE JOB and take what action you feel appropriate to curb misuse of power and corruption in high places. [Hint: The answer isn’t deregulation and political polarization.] I’m writing my senators and the president himself and demanding that our government do what its supposed to do: govern and protect the citizenry.
The book takes place in the late 22nd century and features a character from outer space. Nuclear Armageddon is supposed to occur the next day. Is it science fiction? A fantasy? Sure is. It’s both science fiction and fantasy.
Does it have anything to say about present day reality and the economic situation we find ourselves in? Oh, yeah. Big time.
I was recently interviewed by Irene Watson of Inside Scoop Live. Irene’s interview captures The Angel’s soul better than anything that’s been produced about the book so far. I began The Angel a few month’s after my brother’s sudden and tragic death. Grief was a motivating factor in my writing, but lots more was active in my overheated subconscious when the book came blasting through. I’m an economist. I’ve been worried about the snail-like progress of our recovery from the Great Recession. I’ve been worried about a lot of things in our world. They come out in Irene’s interview.
Please take a moment to listen to the interview and join me in exploring the direction our world is taking. Is the world of The Angel something that could come to pass? You can hear the interview on the link below, or through the link to Irene Watson of Inside Scoop Live.
THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY is a sci-fi, fantasy, thriller set on the planet earth’s last day. It presents a dark and doomed planet with secrets hidden everywhere. It’s characters are an amazing crew that will haunt you. One reviewer called it, “A future world only heartbeats from our own.”
While THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY has this science fiction/fantasy aspect, it is also the story of a troubled young man’s coming to grips with his family, which has to be the most dysfunctional in the world’s history. He has hours to do it before the nuclear Armageddon.
Most of all, THE ANGEL & THE BROWN-EYED BOY is a love story between Eliana, the angelic dancer who came to earth to save her own planet, and Jeremy, the tech genius, revolutionary, and heir to a fortune. Their love flames in this novel. It’s one of the great love stories, with love reaching through time and space.
I hope you enjoy it on Valentine’s Day or any other.
Here’s a video to give you the look and feel of the book:
Wonder what a book’s characters look like? Here’s a special video prepared by author Sandy Nathan to show you what she thinks the characters ofThe Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy look like:
TECOLOTE: THE LITTLE HORSE THAT COULD
Coming out simultaneaously with The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could presents a heartwarming tale of survival and overcoming pretty much every obstacle life can throw out. This is the true story of Tecolote, a Peruvian Paso colt born prematurely on a freezing night. Join Tecolote as he fights for his life and grows strong and big, becoming a member of the herd and trusted riding horse. Illustrated with photos of Tecolote and his friends taken when the action was happening. Great for kids of all ages.
Here’s a video that gives you the heart of the book:
“The most splendid part of the day just happened… and I am sad and happy… I just finished reading your novel. It was such a wild ride… so clever and perfectly timed. I am astonished by your imagination. It worked so well… and it was so out there!
“When can I get my hands on the sequel?”
A reader from California
Captivating from the first page onward, this entertaining tale will draw readers in and keep them riveted. Highly recommended.
L.C. Evans, author of Talented Horsewoman
A good book elicits an emotional response while being read; Nathan’s book haunts the reader long after the final page is turned. In The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boytwo dying worlds fight for survival, their futures dependent on a revolutionary and an angelic otherworldly dancer. It is world not that many heartbeats away from our own, making the premise chilling. Todd A. Fonseca, award-winning author of The Time Cavern