Things Unsaid

Things Unsaid cover

THE BOOK: Things Unsaid.

THE AUTHOR: Diana Y. Paul.

PUBLISHED IN: October 2015, but pre-publication copies are available.

THE PUBLISHER: “She Writes Press, a three-year old indie press located in Berkeley, California and founder of is dedicated to women authors and building a community of support for them. They publish approximately fifty books per year and have extensive professional experience from Seal Press. They are phenomenal!”

SUMMARY: A family saga of three generations fighting over money and familial obligation, Things Unsaid is a tale of survival, resilience, and recovery.

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household—but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Diana Y. PaulBACK STORY: When I was a professor at Stanford, teaching Buddhist philosophy and therole of women in Buddhism, I thought a lot about the differences between family obligation and karma as contrasted with western traditions. I always wanted to write a novel in which the main character struggles with both value systems. It evolved as my friends and I began to deal with tough choices: aging parents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other health problems and one’s own family’s needs. Things Unsaid is the result of approximately three years of intensive writing.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The original title was Unhealed Wound, also the title of my blog. On my blog site, under the tab “Why Unhealed Wound”, I give the reasons for selecting that title and its meaning for the mythic hero: Harry Potter’s scar on his forehead, for example, or Frodo’s wound in Lord of the Rings, as well as its symbolism in Buddhism. She Writes Press changed the title to Things Unsaid, far less academic and more to the essence of the story. The new title suggests family secrets as well as the damage inflicted. I like that title much better, since Unhealed Wound may be a bit obscure for those who are not familiar with mythology.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT:  Choosing between parents and one’s own family is never easy, but now it is almost an epidemic since life expectancy is extending into never-before-seen advanced age. Things Unsaid deals with those issues that the sandwich generation—pressured between competing loyalties—has to confront. Most of my friends have had to deal with heartbreaking decisions. So did I. This is a fictional account with emotional truth. I placed it in the late fifties and sixties since that generation was a tumultuous one, the “Mad Men” times. I was a little girl during the sixties and grew up in the Midwest, the time and place for Things Unsaid, when our parents led separate lives and we had “shadow” dads. Think: “August: Osage County” meets Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant with an overlay of Buddhist karma.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Diana Y. Paul was born in Akron, Ohio with a Japanese American father and an Italian Catholic mother. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, with a degree in both psychology and philosophy, and of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, with a PhD in Buddhist studies. She is the author of three books on Buddhism, one of which has been translated into Japanese and German (Women in Buddhism, University of California Press). Her short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and she is currently working on a second novel, A Perfect Match. She lives in Carmel, CA with her husband, Doug, and two cats, Neko and Mao, and various wild critters in the nearby canyon. Diana and Doug have two adult children: Maya Miller, who is in the wine industry and has two little girls and Keith Paul, who is an underwriter for an insurance company in the entertainment division. When she is not writing, she is creating mixed media art which has been exhibited in California, Hawaii, and Japan.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I have always been fascinated by the family in all of its permutations, both humorous and emotionally shattering. Hopefully, in Things Unsaid, I have combined a bit of both. Mostly, it is about how the best of intentions can still have unintended consequences. We all come from imperfect families and the dramas on television, in the movies, and in literature confirm that family saga and family peculiarities will always intrigue us and hook us in. I wrote Things Unsaid as another example of the surprises of a particular family in a specific time and place we can all understand.


Things Unsaid is a powerfully written story that explores the moral dilemma of love, duty and sacrifice for the family you are born into versus the family you create as an adult. Jules, the well-etched protagonist, seeks to find her way through the tangled tentacles of her mother’s narcissism, her father’s weakness, and her siblings’ secrets and selfishness. This tale of relationships grabs you on the first page and stays with you long after you’ve read the last words.” — Matilda Butler, award-winning author of Rosie’s Daughters.

“At first blush it appears to be a classic dysfunctional-family novel. Yet Things Unsaid is written by a scholar of Buddhism. And so, under its skin, it is a lively, accessible meditation on redemption, and on the transformative value of good intention and deed.” — Rebecca Coffey, science journalist and author of Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story.

“A satisfying and provocative read, THINGS UNSAID is wisely contemplated, meticulously detailed, and powerfully and artfully rendered. A wonderful book, well worth your attention.”– Tom Parker, author of Small Business and Anna Ann Annie

“A bold and poignant story that brings deep insights into the messy and complicated world of family relationships, and shows how one woman is able to survive them with her sanity and spirit intact.” —Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, author of Love in Translation and His Wife and Daughters.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Also see my author website for an excerpt:

LOCAL OUTLETS: In discussion with Bookworks (Pacific Grove), Pilgrim’s Way and River House Books (Carmel), and Bookshop Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz). Major distributors will provide to bookstores nationwide.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Things Unsaid –The publication date is October 13 with preorders now available on for $13.13 ($3.82 savings over the retail price of $16.95) and at Barnes & Noble for $12.86 ($4.09 savings). The e-book will be $6.95 but is not available as a pre-order.



Twitter: @DianaPaul10 Author website:


Think Like a Writer

Tom BentleyTHE BOOK: Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See


THE AUTHOR:  Tom Bentley

THE EDITOR: Tom Bentley


SUMMARY: The book’s core is how to see the world as a writer. It supplies tools to find and cultivate your writer’s voice, that unique combination of attributes—sensitivity to language, storytelling and audience—by which writers see and define the world. It discusses writing at a structural level: how words work in sentences and how sentences work in stories, moving to how to use those elements and that writer’s stance to write across genres.

It ends with how to deal with writing distractions, and offers a resources section with takes on practical matters of software, hardware and links to writing resources. And it’s written in a light, entertaining style.

THE BACK STORY: I wrote it because I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about writing (well, that’s one way to not get anything written). I’m interested in the creative use of language, its power and its subtlety, and how it can affect us deeply. So I wrote about my own wrestlings with language and how it’s used to tell stories. And how to find and work with your writer’s voice.

WHY THIS TITLE?: The title came from the thought that there’s a way to apprehend the world as a writer, and how to fine-tune that apprehension. You realize that stories are everywhere, and you could write some!

WHY SOMEONE MIGHT WANT TO READ IT: Tom has been around the block more than a few times as a writer, and what he has to say comes not just from other books on writing, but experience.

REVIEWHow to Think Like a Writer COMMENTS:

1. “This book is the whole package: educational and instructional while applying all the techniques of authenticity and great storytelling in the process. Rich in vocabulary, many sentences are pieces of art by themselves, and great fun to read on top of it. The mix of biographical material to illustrate the points of each chapter and the actual sequences elaborating on said point’s relevance make you forget you are actually learning something very useful.” — Eniqma.

  1. T. Bentley not only provides a wealth of valuable information about the craft and business of writing (nonfiction and fiction); he shows you how it’s done by sparkling example. While nudging you to develop your own authentic storytelling voice, he shares his own, in all its irreverent, wise, funny, candid, word-drunk glory.But, a warning: If you read the book, you might, like me, suddenly run out of excuses for not writing. Also, you’ll probably never look at “fresh, steaming cat poop” in quite the same way. —  Annie Dennison
  1. Tom’s book encouraged me to see my way into new creativity. He helped me understand voice and how to create my own by playing with it. A fun read packed with good advice, easy to understand. A keeper and re-reader. — Jan

AUTHOR PROFILE: Tom Bentley is a fiction writer, an essayist, and a business writer and editor. (He does not play banjo, but he does likes to drink high-proof bourbon. .) He’s published hundreds of freelance pieces—ranging from first-person essays to travel pieces to more journalistic subjects—in newspapers, magazines, and online. He is the author of a coming of age novel and a short story collection. You can see examples of his services, his published writing, and his lurid website confessions at
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I hope people who read the book see how working with words is one of the most fulfilling pursuits there is. Despite the frustrations of writing, the rewards are limitless. Writing is a way of exploring your own thinking and your very self—and it can be jolly fun too.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: A couple of chapters are available here:


PRICE: $5.99

CONTACT THE; Twitter: @TomBentleyNow

Collision Course

Collision Course cover


BOOK: Collision Course (A Josh Williams Novel)


THE AUTHOR: Joe Broadmeadow.

THE PUBLISHER: JEBWizard Publishing through Createspace (Print) and KDP (Kindle format)

THE EDITOR: JEBWizard Publishing.

SUMMARY: Collision Course is a legal thriller incorporating elements of blind political ambition, the strained relationship between the Police and the minority community arising from racial prejudices embedded within police departments, a troubled war veteran, and the taking of a human life by a police officer in the line of duty.

The novel explores the human aspect of those thrust into a nightmare beyond their control. An ambitious US Attorney turns the rage of racial inequality into a platform for a run for the US Senate, perverting the Justice system and trampling over anyone in his way to succeed.

Joe BroadmeadowTHE BACK STORY: I spent 20 years as a police officer for the City of East Providence (RI). During that time, I saw many examples of inherent racism and prejudices within Law Enforcement agencies and the Criminal Justice system.

The only way to eliminate this pernicious infection within these insular worlds is to admit they exist, to expose them, and to work towards eliminating them.

The media often shows a skewed version of events, highlighting the dramatic at the expense of the truth. By writing these stories, I hope to show a more well-rounded perspective.

In the Josh Williams Series of novels, Collision Course and the upcoming sequel, Silenced Justice, I look to move that process forward.

WHY THIS TITLE: Collision Course implies the imminent violent contact between two entities. In this book, two men, from completely different backgrounds, collide because of circumstances beyond their control. Men that might have been friends if things had been different end up as pawns in a game of politics.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: The media is awash with stories of violent confrontations between the Police and members of the minority community. Much of the public discussions lack the basis to evaluate these situations rationally.

In this series of novels, Collision Course and Silenced Justice, I provide a view into the world from the perspective of an officer trying to do his job, having seconds to make life and death decisions, then facing the consequences of his actions compared to those over which he had no control.

These novels bring out the truth that racism is alive and well. Not just as part of Law Enforcement, but as a part of society as a whole, and requires our attention.

These novels also confront the reality of the politics of racism and the depths to which some will go to promote their own success.


By W. Prescott on January 2, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

5 Stars

Great story line with lots of unexpected twists and turns..and believable characters with whom you can identify. You will either love them or hate them. The author must have an extensive background with investigative police work because he deftly described the legal system, and medical terminology, as well as describing the camaraderie and banter between police officers. Being from New England, it was fun to have the story centered in familiar territory. You will enjoy this book. By gerald prendergast on December 10, 2014

Format: Paperback

5 Stars

This first book by Joe Broadmeadow was a great read. The interaction of the characters brings a real life feel to the novel. I think the men/women in a police uniform would enjoy this, maybe more than the average detective mystery reader, as it portrays the the life, the feelings, the interactions of the main characters in a real true to life fashion. A job well done. You come to admire the tight knit stick togetherness of the department against the actions of big government. It gives you a glimpse of the everyday interactions of our protectors on the street what they go through on a daily basis. I can’t wait for the next book, in the series. A well written portrayal of men and women who work on the street to protect us. By David Jarrett on May 8, 2015

Format: Paperback

4 Stars

I enjoyed this book. Its description does not accurately depict the story, however. It is more a legal thriller, about a veteran white police officer, prosecuted for a questionable civil rights violation after shooting and killing a black criminal who turned out to be unarmed at the time of the shooting. An ambitious United States Attorney sees the case as a way to advance his career in politics, while a maverick defense attorney and the officer’s friends rally around him in an attempt to clear him of the charges. The first sixty pages or so are backstory, somewhat more than necessary in my estimation, but some of this is necessary to set the stage for the courtroom drama that is to come. There is quite a bit of POV shifting, some of it somewhat jarring, but once the story really gets underway, it is hard to put down. The main characters in the story are fairly well developed — the secondary ones less so — there are so many that it was hard to do them all justice in a 360 pp. book. There is quite a bit of “cop speak” in the novel. Some of it gets a little tiring, but it is probably necessary for realism. The author has a writing style that I appreciate, blending drama and excitement with a dash of humor and a healthy dose of cynicism. All in all, I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys legal thrillers.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Joe Broadmeadow retired with the Rank of Captain from the East Providence, Rhode Island Police Department after twenty years. Assigned to various divisions within the department including Commander of Investigative Services, he also worked in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and on special assignment to the FBI Drug Task Force. When he is not writing, he is hiking or fishing (and thinking about writing). Joe completed a 2,185 mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in September, 2014. After completing the trail, Joe published a short story, Spirit of the Trail available on in Kindle format. Joe lives in Lincoln, RI with his wife Susan.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Collision Course began as an idea of giving readers an inside look into the world of a small city police department. Most crime novels, TV shows, and movies depict larger departments like NYPD and LA. The reality is most departments in the United States consist of 25 or fewer officers.

As the story progressed the long simmering issue of race and racism rose to the surface. The story told itself. Real life events echoed the realities of the level of racism still prevalent in our society.

Collision Course and the soon to be released sequel, Silenced Justice, try to expose this troubling aspect yet highlight the changes that have occurred and the painfully slow but steady progress made towards eliminating this from our society. SAMPLE CHAPTER:

LOCAL OUTLETS: Barrington Books, 184 County Road, Barrington, RI 02806 WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT:, Barnes& Noble

PRICE: Paperback $13.15 Kindle $3.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Joseph.Broadmeadow@gmail.comFacebook:

Twitter: @jbroadmeadow WordPress Blog: and

Consciously Connecting

PHolland HaiiasUBLISHED:  December, 2014

AUTHOR:  Holland Haiis

PUBLISHER:  Balboa Press; A Division of Hay House

SUMMARY:   Consciously Connecting is an exciting and easy step-by-step guide which will engage you with a weekly plan of action. It aids those who are too connected to technology with insight on “How to Reconnect” to themselves and others without the use of screens, keyboards or cell phones.

The book is divided into the twelve months of the year, each month has a theme, and within that month there are four weekly exercises. Each week’s exercise allows for a deeper connection to yourself, your life, and others, without having more things to do. This is about re-learning how to live connection, it’s not about having more things to do, it’s about BE-ing.

Learn how to disconnect from poisonous people, actively engage in the present moment, enthusiastically make time for play, and move in the direction of your goals. Consciously Connecting will reward you with a huge shift in your thinking and the way you connect to everyone and everything.

BACK STORY:  Consciously Connecting was written as I was experiencing my own disconnect and witnessing the disconnection of so many others. I was in the middle of Central Park, and more interested in my emails than my surroundings. Speeding taxi’s, joggers, and horse carriages can all be a recipe for disaster if you don’t look up!  It seemed timely to not only offer this gift to myself, but to others as well.

Consciously Connecting took one year to write and another six months to finalize putting all the pieces together.

WHY THIS TITLE?:  Working as a Wellness and Business Coach has allowed me to see the disconnect in my client’s personal lives and businesses. As mentioned, I was having trouble with my own work-life balance, and the word connection kept coming up in conversation.  When I work with a client it’s all about consciously connecting to what they desire, want, and need in their life or business, so the title seemed like a perfect fit.

WHY SOMEONE MIGHT WANT TO READ IT:  If you’re a fan of Super Soul Sunday, enjoy Deepak, Gretchen Rubin, or want to find balance and re-connection to the things you love, this will be a great tool for you. If you want to learn how to reconnect to spontaneity, creativity, connectivity, this will be an exciting and energizing way to go about that journey.

Consciously Connecting


Harvey Schachter of The Globe and Mail said “It may rejuvenate you in unexpected ways.”

TV Host Jason Galka states “Love this book, it is an easy and useful tool for anyone!”

Tony Award Nominated Actress Barbara Walsh “Consciously Connecting is a concise and clear guide on how to get focused and enrich your life’s path…..The empowerment felt as you strip away from to much technology to reconnect with your self and others is liberating.”

AUTHOR PROFILE:  Holland Haiis is a successful consultant, speaker and wellness and business coach that mentors and facilitates clients to reach their goals. She incorporates the principles of Consciously Connecting as she works with individuals and business to help them engage in a plan of action as they become awakened, get excited, and stay connected!

Holland coaches professionals, executives, small businesses, non-profits and individuals to facilitate transitions and assess new beginnings. She guides business owners on the path to become business leaders and transforms teams to bring their best to the work place. It is thrilling for Holland to have a front row seat to co-create and celebrate the success of others!

Holland also enthusiastically leads workshops and seminars as she engages participants to follow their unique and individual path to greatness.

AURTHOR COMMENTS:  “Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Consciously Connecting and Snowflakes in a Blizzard. My hope is that you will take this journey and connect to the celebration of your life and the people in it. Self awareness should be fun, and I believe you will experience that with Consciously Connecting.”


WHERE TO BUY IT:  The book is available in hardcover, softcover, and e-book.×648&kpid=9781452597850

Events:  Holland will be featured on Laura Sikorski’s Show, Sikorski’s Think Abouts produced by The Daily Blu, on July 20, 2015. She will be live on Fierte Haitienne FM Radio on July 11, 2015 and interviewed by Hay House Radio in August. If you would like to invite Holland to a book signing event please visit the link listed below.


Weather Report, July 13

Beach umbrellas 2




Joe Broadmeadow brings a key ingredient to his first police novel, “Collision Course”  – experience. He spent 20 years with the East Providence, RI police department, retiring as a captain, and like most members of his profession, he has been conflicted about recent controversies involving police brutality. While he understands the pressure that beat cops are under – especially in an urban setting — he also knows that possessing a gun and a badge can bring out the worst in some people. Broadmeadow attacks that issue head-on in “Collision Course,” which revolves around a fatal police shooting and its ramifications in a small city.

Most of the time, machines are our friends and helpmates. But they are also jealous companions who tend to suck us into their influence to the exclusion of everything else. Holland Haiis has made a career out of disconnecting us – or, rather, teaching us how to connect with life instead of a computer screen.


We’ve had a couple of Christian writers so far, but Diana V. Paul is our first to come from the Buddhist tradition. Her novel, “Things Unsaid,” dissects family and generational relationships not only from the traditional storytelling perspective – and she tells a compelling story – but also from the wellspring of her philosophical beliefs.

Tom Bentley is a writer’s writer, a veteran with the versatility of a Swiss Army knife.  He’s done non-fiction books, self-help books and novels. He’s written for magazines, Websites and anyone willing to hire him. And along that path, he has learned that there is something in their way of looking at the world that sets writers apart from other people. “Think Like a Writer” is a primer on how to make that perspective work for us in our writing.


1. Holland Haiis, whose book “Consciously Connecting”  will be featured on Snowflakes this week, makes frequent use of radio to promote her work — not radio ads, but radio appearances. If you occupy a particular niche (and all four of the books profiled above fit into that category) radio talk show hosts are always looking for guests. You don’t have to be famous, just a person with something interesting to say and a vehicle with which to say it.

“I say ‘Yes’ to every opportunity that presents itself,” she says. “Some shows have larger audiences than others, but I believe that if you only look at numbers you are doing yourself a disservice. It’s impossible to know who might tune into a particular show, on a particular day, and how that may change your life. It’s also great to support others who are following their dreams as well. So the next time you’re asked to give an interview, any kind of interview, remember what could connect you to something really great…YES!”

2. Given the rise in shark attacks at some Atlantic beaches this summer, perhaps it’s safer to remain on the sand with a good beach read. Here are a few suggestions from books that have been “Snowflakes in a Blizzard” features this year:

Beneath the Stones. Featured on the site for one more day, this Susan Coryell novel combines romance, history and a ghost story. That equals beach book times three.

Caught. Books of short stories are perfect for the beach, because they can be read in small increments. This one, from New Zealand author Deidre Thurston, has as its theme the potential importance of everyday life events,

How Not to Avoid Jet Lag. Summer vacation often involves travel — and while your particular beach may not be exotic, the odds are you’ll enjoy Joshua Samuel Brown’s irreverent travelogue.

Downfall, by Deborah Teller Scott and Death of a Cabman, by Nina Boyd. I lump these two together because they are both “cozy mysteries” set in the UK, although Scott’s is contemporary and Boyd’s a period piece from the turn of the 19th century.

When Clouds Gather, by Ryan Jo Summers. Another blend of mystery and romance. The fact that its focus is a bed and breakfast makes it even better to take along on vacation.

Island Dogs. The whole idea of a vacation is to have fun, and B.M. Simpson’s rollicking novel about a group of expats who meet and bond in a Caribbean bar is vivid enough to transport you there.

Beneath the Stones


THE AUTHOR:  Susan Coryell.

THE PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press.

SUMMARY: Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But, Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril and it is up to Ashby to find a solution. Interfering with Ashby’s plans is a dark paranormal force that thwarts her every effort to save Overhome. Supernatural attacks emanate from an old stone cottage on the property rumored to be a slave overseer’s abode, prior to the Civil War. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life. Who is this angry spirit and why is his fury focused on her?

THE BACK STORY:  When I completed A RED, RED ROSE, I truly thought I was done with Ashby Overton and Overhome Estate. But so many readers clamored for a sequel that I realized there was room for more. Now that I have published A Red, Red Rose and  Beneath the Stones, I am working on a third book to complete the trilogy.

WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Basically, this book is a three-for-one — a romance, a historical novel and a ghost story. Plus, given the recent Civil War Sesquicentennial, it’s trendy — and intriguing in the way Coryell bridges these two very different eras..


“I really enjoyed the layers to BENEATH THE STONES, including the young, rascally cousin Jeff, the M&M Wedding Express (bridal planners), and the interesting history tidbits. My favorite part was Ashby’s interaction with the paranormal and what she learns about herself.” — Author Clifford Rush.

“Fans of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney will love BENEATH THE STONES. Ms. Coryell spins a tale in the tradition of the Gothic masters, complete with a ghostly mystery that’ll give you the shivers. I’m hooked!” — Author Jannine Gallant.“BENEATH THE STONES is a sequel to A RED, RED ROSE, but you don’t have to have read the first book to enjoy this one. Coryell provides just enough background so we understand the story as a standalone novel. An interesting cast of characters if featured in this book, which is actually a story within a story–a mystery that dates back to the Civil War. Coryell combines humor, suspense, mystery and a good dose of the paranormal to entertain readers in this Gothic romance. A highly enjoyable read.” —  Author Marilyn Baron.

Susan Coryell photoAUTHOR PROFILE: A career educator, Susan has taught students from 7th grade through college-level. She earned a BA degree in English from Carson-Newman College and a Masters from George Mason University. She is listed in several different volumes of Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in Teaching.  Susan belongs to Author’s Guild, Virginia Writers, and Lake Writers. She loves to talk with budding writers at schools, writers’ conferences and workshops. Her young adult anti-bully novel EAGLEBAIT is in its third edition for print and e-book, updated with cyber-bullying. EAGLEBAIT won the NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age,” and the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice.” A Red, Red Rose, first in a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, won a literary award with the Library of Virginia. Beneath the Stones, the sequel, was released in April of 2015.

The author has long been interested in concerns about culture and society in the South, where hard-felt, long-held feelings battle with modern ideas.  The ghosts slipped in, to her surprise.

When not writing, Susan enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. She and her husband, Ned, love to travel, especially when any of their seven grandchildren are involved.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “The Civil War letters included in BENEATH THE STONES are based on actual letters written from battle fronts by family ancestors, Joseph Franklin Stover and John William Stover. After my mother-in-law’s death, the family found a nondescript box in her file cabinet. Inside we were amazed to find fifteen letters hand-written in beautiful, flowing script. Since this occurred as I was in the midst of writing Beneath the Stones, I immediately seized on the idea of using excerpts from the letters in the novel. Though, for practical reasons, I omitted many details, overall the letters reveal a haunting picture of life for the Confederate soldier. A final note: The flute mentioned in one of the letters is very likely the same flute on display at the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox, Virginia.”


: Amazon. .

PRICE: $4.99 Kinlde, $16.99 paperback.CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Please visit Susan Coryell’s website: and my blog: or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.

Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies

THE BOOK: Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies.


THE AUTHOR: Kelvin L. Singleton.

Kelvin SingletonTHE EDITOR: Kelvin L. Singleton, Editor-in-Chief, Jordan Publishing Company.

THE PUBLISHER: Self-Published, Kelvin L. Singleton.

SUMMARY: When Deputy Director of the Census Bureau Evan Parker discovers that the American Census is a lie and factions of the American Government, including two presidents, have killed to keep this terrible secret in the name of national security a nationwide manhunt ensues. If this information is not contained before it can be disseminated to the American public, the threat of total anarchy looms. CIA Director Vincent Sterne, with the blessings of a terrified sitting American President, discriminately, utilizes the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency to draw the noose tighter around Evan Parker and his family members, who desperately evade the net of lies and deceit sequestering them from American citizens and the national media. Under the white-hot gaze of a mysterious high-priest, Kaleem Kinzana, the ominous rhythm of the voodoo drums thrum across the continental U.S., plying the forces of dark magic as the Parker family seeks refuge alongside the only man on earth with the capability of saving them. Even prominent civil rights leaders are drawn into this drama as Vincent Sterne will run nothing short of afoul to silence his elusive quarry.

THE BACK STORY: I wrote Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies in 1995-96. I’m no religious nutcase, because I believe God wanted it written. Given today’s polarized state of political affairs, social distress, and mounting racial tensions, many have deemed this novel prophetic. Back then, the Internet was not so widely used as it is today. Even so, most of my research was done in libraries throughout the greater Charleston, South Carolina area. Much of which, you would be hard-pressed to find on the world wide web. Curious, isn’t it? In a fever pitch, it actually took me a little more than two weeks of non-stop writing on paper; any paper I could get my hands on. When Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies was done, it loomed a staggering 1107 pages after transcribing and deciphering my own sweeping handwriting to typed text. Incidentally, I had to then teach myself how to type. That was 20 years ago, with numerous rewrites and proofreading until I was satisfied with the end product.

WHY THIS TITLE?: This novel started out as Black Tide Rising, but because of the many events that actually took place after its original conception, the subtitle Dark Prophecies seemed a necessary thing. It was first called prophetic by an evangelist, whom I sought out to read those error-filled pages just to be certain that I had not damned my soul to hell for the sin of blasphemy. After endorsements by a few preachers and a Bishop, I believe my soul will be safe. However, those who traverse these pages may find they have a very different view on my disposition with the Almighty.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: What makes this novel unique is the method behind my madness. It accentuates new ideas, even terrifies those who wish to keep us all separated. We live in a world that is both driven and torn by political, racial, and religious affiliations. My goal in writing Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies is not to further the divide between races, but to illuminate the hazards of continuing to allow such things to keep humankind from reaching the rich promise of hope and togetherness at the very pinnacle of our existence upon and within the harmony of our Mother Earth.


This book nearly got me fired and I own my own law firm. I couldn’t put it down. I read this book during the morning into lunch, after dinner at the stop light. I had to force myself to put it down. It’s a must read. The depth of the characters and the plot of this book had me on an emotional roller coaster. This author is amazing the way he draws you in. It’s well worth the read. Just don’t get fired doing so. – Diana Brown, Goodreads.

It is said that the final chapter(s) of a book often disappoint. I’m happy to say that is not in this case here. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies, which I conveniently ordered here thru Amazon/ Get your copy today! Kelvin Singleton, thanks for this fantastic, mesmerizing creation. – Olen Grant.

Normally, I’m a slow reader, often using books to help me to sleep. Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies, however, was almost too engrossing to put away even when I was tired and had to go to work the next day. Like the character Melissa Parker, as she read very disturbing excerpts from Kinzana’s voodoo Bible in Chapter 1, I found this novel difficult to pause. I’ve never been so concerned about the welfare of fictional characters in my life. Some of the longer chapters are truly exhaustive, but length and breadth have nothing to do with it. The religious, supernatural, and political aspects of this novel forced me to wonder—what if—from beginning to end. I actually asked forgiveness for even considering such things. What a great read. Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies is truly prophetic. Mr. Singleton, I am a fan for life. – Sharrie Adams.

AUTHOR PROFILE: A Scorpio, born November 11, 1964. I am the oldest of ten children, but the only one who had to grow up contending with the painful horrors of Sickle Cell Anemia. If it is my burden to endure so that my siblings could live happy, healthy lives then so be it. I would like to inspire and encourage others, who also share this malediction, and their supportive family members, toward the pursuit dreams. Never allow the disease to dictate the quality of your lives or the desires of your hearts. It is not a measuring stick of your humanity or self-worth if you do not allow yourselves to wallow in what cannot be changed. Be confident, within responsibility of physical boundaries, of course, and set your goals as high as you like. Most people cannot begin to imagine what we suffer in the throes of crisis, but bolster your spirit to rise above it. Although the body has physical limitations, the mind is a boundless asset where dreams are attainable. I was told by doctors that I would never live to see age 16, then 21. Yet, here I am. Before I leave this earth, I will loudly declare, “Here I am. I did this. Here is my defining mark!”

My first novel is entitled It Is Written and AUTHOR .

AUTHOR COMMENTS: In authoring Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies, it is my calling to write this world a better place because I still believe in the redemptive qualities of humankind. Sometimes it is necessary to illuminate what lies in the heart of darkness to see the light masked by despair. It is a matter of choice. This novel was not intended for a single demographic, but it encompasses the concerns, or what should be the concerns of all people.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (I’ll provide a link).


PRICE: Kindle Edition: $9.99 Print Book/Paperback $19.23.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Facebook pages: poetry/blog: Email: and Twitter: Pinterest:

When Clouds Gather

When Clouds Gather


PUBLISHED IN: November 2014.

THE AUTHOR: Ryan Jo Summers, Also author of “Whispers in her Heart” Black Lyon Publishing Dec 2012, “Shimmers of Stardust” Soul Mate Publishing Sept 2014. Coming soon—“Chasing the Painted Skies” Soul Mate Publishing November 2015 and “Glimpse Eternity” Melange Books Feb-March 2016. blog:

THE PUBLISHER: Soul Mate has been an awesome house to work with. They are a small press based in NY and their talented team of editors work hard to make the writer’s work shine.

THE EDITOR: Since many of the Soul Mate editors are also authors, they experience all the challenges, and triumphs that their authors do.

SUMMARY: Darby Adams has a full, happy life in Driftwood Shores with a successful Bed and Breakfast Inn, The Brass Lamplighter, and her teenage son, Matt. Until a guest is found dead in one of her rooms. Suddenly, she is the number one suspect. With her world rapidly spinning out of control, Darby desperately needs a friend. The surviving family wants answers—and prosecution—so they hire Private Investigator Sam Golden to unquestionably prove Darby’s guilt. Busy with his disobedient, willful teenage daughter, Sam still takes the case. He starts in the dual role as a sympathetic ally to Darby while searching for the evidence needed to send her to prison. It should be an easy case to close, until strange things begin happening at the B & B, Scary things.

THE BACK STORY: Years ago—1997–I was visiting family in Portland OR. We were walking along the shore, littered with rocks and driftwood. Above the cliffs was a lighthouse. What a perfect location to put a Bed and breakfast, and then have a grisly murder, I thought. The story ruminated for a while and I finally wrote it in 2004, taking maybe around 6 months or so. I tried a few agencies, but it was never accepted so It sat in a drawer for several years. Until I took it out in 2013, blew the dust off and revised it, taking about three months for that. Ryan Jo SummersFinished, I submitted it through an author pitch and it was accepted.

WHY THIS TITLE: I know I’m always curious why a book is called what it is, especially a novel. I like titles that evoke images of nature. In this case it’s clouds. Darby’s grandfather used to warn her when she was young that when clouds gathered, it meant a storm was blowing in. Now, it becomes a metaphor for something bad about to happen in her life, again. Throughout the story, the ‘clouds gather’ several times in Darby’s life. It becomes a warning to be on the lookout.

WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ IT: I like stories set in coastal or lake areas. Darby is also the town pound, where she cares for unwanted pets and re-homes them as she can. Sam even adopts a cat for his daughter’s birthday. I am drawn to stories that feature animals in them.


“Great mix of romance and suspense. The setting is cozy, the romance delicious and the action and mystery gives this story wings!” –RN.

“An amazing story with…several twists and turns that will continue to snag your attention.” – AD.

“I couldn’t stop reading. The romance is fun and organic.” — VP.

AUTHOR PROFILE: I am the single mother of five cats, one collie, one macaw and several fish. Most were rescues in one form or another. We share a 1920 cottage nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I write contemporary romance, blended with assorted sub-genre elements like time travel, inspirational, mystery, shape shifting and paranormal. I also dabble in short stories, poetry, some non-fiction and a recently completed young adult/ new adult novel. I also regularly write for regional periodicals and the occasional magazine.

In my spare time, when I am not at my ‘day job’ or writing any of the above, I like to paint, bake and cook, gather with friends, tour the nearby national forest, tend the forty-plus houseplants or work wiggly word find puzzles. And of course, read other people’s books. When I am working through a challenge, I draw cartoons as a coping mechanism.


LOCAL OUTLETS: Fountainhead Books of Hendersonville Battery Park Book Exchange (Asheville) City Lights Bookstore (Sylva) Malaprop’s Bookstore/ Café (Asheville) (biggest one in area and hardest to get into)


PRICE: $2.99 on Kindle. Paperback version will be out in a few months, not sure what price will be.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: has contact page to email me. Blog is

Did Ancient Chinese Explore America?

Ancient Chinese

THE BOOK: Did Ancient Chinese Explore America? My Journey Through the Rocky Mountains to Find Answers.


AUTHOR: Charlotte Harris Rees

EDITOR: Dr. Cyclone Covey

PUBLISHER: Torch Flame Books, Durham, NC

SUMMARY: A Chinese classic, the Shan Hai Jing, reportedly from 2000 BC, claimed travels to the ends of the earth. However, today many, while accepting the antiquity of this account, believe it was just mythology. But was it?

Testing the hypothesis that the Shan Hai Jing described actual surveys of North America, Charlotte Harris Rees, author of books about early Chinese exploration, followed an alleged 1100 miles Chinese trek along the eastern slope of the US Rocky Mountains. The possible early Chinese connection to this area should have been easy to disprove.

In the travelogue Did Ancient Chinese Explore America? Rees candidly shares her doubts then her search and discoveries. She weaves together history, subtle humor, academic studies, and many photographs to tell a compelling story.

Charlotte ReesBACK STORY: In 1972 Charlotte’s father, Dr. Hendon Harris, Jr., a China born Baptist missionary found in an antique shop in Korea an ancient Asian map which he immediately recognized was tied to the Shan Hai Jing. The map shows the legendary Fu Sang (beautiful land to the east) on the American coastline. For years some scholars had suspected that Fu Sang referred to America but here was proof on a map. Harris did a lot of research, collected more maps, and published a book titled The Asiatic Fathers of America. However, at that time Charlotte and her siblings were disinterested and/or skeptical. Harris died in 1981 and for years his maps were under his son’s bed.

In 2003 after reading another book stating that Chinese arrived in the Americas before Columbus, Charlotte decided to pick up her father’s research to learn for herself whether he could possibly have been right. She and her brother took the map collection to the Library of Congress where it stayed for 3 years while being

studied. Charlotte was invited to present her finding at the Library of Congress in 2005 and since then at many prestigious universities around the globe. In 2006 Charlotte published an abridgement of her father’s book then in 2008 published Secret Maps of the Ancient World which gives many more indications of the Chinese/Native American connection. In 2011 she published the first edition of what is now titled New World Secrets on Ancient Asian Maps. That book explains the Harris map collection and other related maps.

The next step in Rees’s research was to compare the described Shan Hai Jing journeys to actual locations in the US.

In 1953 Chicago attorney Henriette Mertz, had compared topographical world maps to Shan Hai Jing descriptions. This ancient Chinese writing was quoted down through Chinese history. Mertz stated that the descriptions of the Eastern Mountains fit nowhere else in the world other than North America. The Shan Hai Jing says: “Go so far and then you will see…” then tells how the rivers flow, minerals, plants and animals, some native only to the Americas and each in its correct habitat. From that she charted maps. However Mertz was older when she wrote about this and never went herself to test the thesis, and neither did anyone else before now.

This book traces one of the four journeys Mertz charted in North America. It covers 1100 miles from Casper, Wyoming to Chinati Peak, TX on the border between Texas and Mexico. Along the way Charlotte was able to validate over 90% of what the ancient Chinese reported that they had seen. Some of what they reported is long extinct in those locations but was there in the past. She also found many other indications that Chinese had been there at a very early date.


“The travelogue by Ms. Rees is of great significance in that it was the first of such an attempt to follow the footsteps of the Chinese travelers as described in Shan Hai Jing and look for sufficient evidence such as geography, plants, animals, minerals, and petroglyphs. Although there have been many doubts in the past about the accuracy and reliability of the Shan Hai Jing, Mrs. Rees’s observations and findings are convincing and will undoubtedly lead to even further studies by open-minded researchers.” — Hwa –Wei Lee, PhD, Former Chief, Asian Division, Library of Congress

“You should earn several prizes for this book. The writing is precise and understandable to anyone who reads English. The photos are magnificent, the quality of paper is beautiful and pleasant to feel as one turns the exciting pages of careful, logical research. The maps make the narrative understandable to those of us who are unfamiliar with the areas of North America that you wrote about.” — K. J. Prestidge, TV host, New york.

“I wholeheartedly recommend every Rees book – engaging in style and consistently advancing knowledge. Charlotte Harris Rees is intrepid, matchless authority on ancient maps, author of pioneer expanding books, possessed of all sterling qualities required for original scientific erudition, which she fearlessly resumes.” — Cyclone Covey, PhD in History from Stanford University


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlotte Harris Rees has appeared on television and National Public Radio in the United States and Canada and in numerous international news articles. She has given many presentations including at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC); The National Library of China (Beijing); La Trobe University, Australia; Stanford University; the University of London; Tsinghua and Peking Universities (Beijing); University of British Columbia; Zheng He Symposiums (Melaka, Malaysia, Washington, DC, and Shanghai); Macau University; the University of Maryland; Seton Hall University; the Chinese Historical Society (Los Angeles); Switzerland; and Royal Geographical Societies (London and Hong Kong) about her family’s old maps and her research concerning the early arrival of Chinese to America.

Mrs. Rees is an independent researcher and a graduate of Columbia International University. In1972 her father, Dr. Hendon Harris, Jr. (1916-1981), found in an antique shop in Korea an ancient Asian map which led him to write a book of almost 800 pages that contended early arrival of Chinese to America by sea. In 2003 Mrs. Rees and her brother took the Harris Map Collection to the Library of Congress where it remained for three years while being studied. Dr. Cyclone Covey, History Professor Emeritus, Wake Forest University, (PhD from Stanford), who for over 60 years has studied the early history of America and the Chinese connection, has been her research mentor.

Rees’s father, Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr., a third generation Baptist missionary, was born in Kaifeng, China. As a child Rees lived for four years in Taiwan then later in Hong Kong where her parents served. In recent years she made several trips to China. Her home is in Virginia. Her web site is

LOCAL OUTLETS: Givens Books, Lynchburg, VA Where else to buy it: Author’s website , and many other sites on the internet including as an e-book.

PRICE: Soft cover $19.99


Weather Report for July 6




We’re now officially into the summer reading season, and a couple of our offerings this week are ideal beach books.

In “When Clouds Gather,” Ryan Jo Summers has wrapped mystery and romance into a neat bundle with a story built around a bucolic bed & breakfast. Bucolic, that is, until a guest is found dead in one of the rooms, and the world caves in on owner Darby Adams. Not only does her business go into the tank — haunted hotels are one thing, the chance that a guest may become a ghost quite another — but she comes to be regarded as the chief suspect, largely for lack of any other possibilities. Private investigator Sam Golden is sympathetic (and intriguing), except that he’s working for the victim’s family, and they think Darby is guilty.

For quite some time, Charlotte Rees has been a voice crying in the academic wilderness, convinced that some ancient maps discovered by her father, Hendon Harris, provide proof that Chinese explorers reached the North American continent before Columbus. In “Did Ancient Chinese Explore America?”, her second book on the subject, she enters the wilderness of the American West looking for clues. I think you’ll find that what she discovers might cause you to rethink your assumptions about America’s earliest history.

As might be expected, Rees is very popular in China, where she has been invited to speak on several occasions.


Susan Coryell’s latest novel also shapes up as an entertaining summer read. Memories of the Civil War Sesquicentennial are still fresh in Virginia, and Coryell — a writer steeped in the region’s history — has provided a bridge between the present and the turbulent past.  Ashby Overton has everything to look forward to, including a promising writing career and her wedding at summer’s end. But Overhome, her beloved historic family estate in Southern Virginia, is in financial peril, and it is up to Ashby to find a solution — even as she is menaced by dark supernatural forces that seem to emanate from an old stone cottage that was once the home of a plantation overseer. As the violence escalates, Ashby begins to fear for her life.

“Black Tide Rising,” on the other hand, is not a relaxing beach read. Rather, it’s one of those riveting stories that come about when an author starts thinking “What if?” and “What’s the worst case scenario?” This is an examination of America’s festering racial problem as it might be interpreted by Stephen King.

Singleton writes in the Amazon description: “Everything you have ever known about your status as a minority or the majority may be the lie of all lies. Black Tide Rising: Dark Prophecies agitates the serene waters when hundreds of millions discover that Blacks now outnumber Whites, and the American Government is willing to kill to keep this secret.  The Lord God Damballah has grown weary with mankind’s villainy, demanding a measure of blood. While Deputy Director of the Census Bureau Evan Parker runs for his life, trying to save his pregnant wife and father from relentless assassins, the constant pounding of the Conga and the Rada will drive the Vigil of The Drum. Wailing far into the night, the voodoo drums will resurrect the Kuuta — blood lust! It forces the Black race to surge as one. See what humankind is capable of when demons of genocide are unleashed in the streets of America the beautiful, land of the brave. Feel what is hidden deep within souls that are pushed one step too far.


1. Kelvin Singleton, author of “Black Tide Rising,” is a native of Charleston, SC, where nine people were shot to death last month inside the historic Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a disturbed young man who was apparently racially motivated.  This is what Kelvin wrote on the day after:

“Charleston, South Carolina, the historic city where shots were once fired and heard around the world. Rising from the ravages of the Civil War and the ashes of human disparagement, the good people gathered to hold a supportive vigil of Gospel songs, prayers for the slain in the name of peaceful coexistence between brothers and sisters of many races. My people have made me most proud in the handling of the tragic slaying of nine souls, who had gathered in the presence of God Almighty. Once more, shots have been fired in the name of hatred while the Confederate Flag still darkens the sky overhead; ever the reminder of the shame it brings to us all.”

2. Congratulations are in order for Melinda Inman, whose crowd-sourcing effort to fund her novel “Fallen” rallied on the final day to push her over the top. Melinda was short of her $5,000-plus goal by more than $1,000 with only 24 hours remaining.

This is what she wrote in her blog:

“Thank you for coming alongside to make it happen. If you pledged $25 or more, your copy will be signed and shipped right to your door. Please tell others that Fallen is coming. Let’s prepare the world to receive this story of God’s grace! And now, I must rest. I’m exhausted, yet so excited that I can’t unwind! (I’m editing this at 4:00 a.m.!) I maxed out my physical capabilities and sent my autoimmune disorder into a tizzy these past few months. I’ll be back soon with more details, but I must take a break. God bless you and thank you again, dear readers and supporters!”

Note: The photo above is of Melinda’s “Happy dance.”

Joshua Brown3. Joshua Samuel Brown (featured book for June 19) has come up with an ng intriguing marketing idea. He writes:

“Want free travel advice from me, noted guidebook author & bon vivant Joshua Samuel Brown?

For a limited time, I’m offering Jet Lag readers a special, super-sweet deal. Here’s how it works:

1) Buy How Not To Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness from Amazon at 19 tales of travel madness from Lonely Planet author Joshua Samuel Brown, with illustrations by David Lee Ingeroll

2) Read and enjoy! When you’re done, contact me at and answer the following questions:

Date of Purchase? (for synching purposes)
What is the last country named in How Not To Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness? (It’s the last word on the last page under the title OTHER STUFF. It’s the setting for one of the stories in the book.)

3) Ask me a question or two concerning potential future travel plans.

For example:
“Hey Joshua, What’s the best beach in Belize, and where should I stay when I go there?”

“Dude, What’s one spot in Taiwan I have to see, and how do I get there from Taipei?”

“Yo, Josambro…How can I crash a wedding in China without looking like a jerk?”

“JSB, What are three must-try Singaporean dishes and in what food court will I find them?”

The possibilities are limited only by my own areas of expertise!

I’ll get back to you within a week (possibly longer if I’m on assignment someplace remote, but I’ll do my best to keep it under a week) with personalized travel advice!
It’s like having your own personal travel-writer pal…only you don’t have to let me sleep on your couch next time I’m in your town.

Buy the book: How Not To Avoid Jet Lag & other tales of travel madness on Amazon at

Here’s a quote from Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, an early reader.

“I’ve often thought that guidebook writing attracts the mad, the bad and the slightly crazed. If he didn’t start that way – perhaps a pre-writing career as a bike messenger helped – his years on the road have certainly contributed to Joshua’s off-kilter take on the world.”
— Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet co-founder

Buy the book! Ask me questions! Be repaid not merely with a fine book of bizarre illustrated short stories, but also with free travel advice!

4. Starting this week, I will begin listing all the books that have been featured previously. For more information, click on “Pages” on this site and then the author’s name.

May 26: “Island Dogs,” by B.M. Simpson. About a group of rowdy but lovable expats who bond in a Caribbean bar. Similar to Carl Hiassen, but better. The perfect book to take to your beach chair.

May 28: “Waiting for Westmoreland,” by John Maberry. A very personal look at one man’s Vietnam War experience, and what it taught him.

June 2; “Death of a Cabman,” by Nina Boyd. An intriguing mystery, overlaid with turn-of-the-20th-century British history.

June 5: “The River Caught Sunlight,” by Katie Andraski. The publicist to a charismatic evangelist begins to question his motives and her role in his work.

June 9: “What to do About Mama?” Reflections on caregiving from those who have been there.

June 12: “Turnstiles,” by Andrea McKenzie Raine.  Through their own unlikely interaction, three unhappy characters become more than the sum of their parts.

June 16: “Betrayal,” by Sharon Brownlie. An edgy, disturbing and intriguing novel of a woman getting even for her childhood sexual abuse.

June 19: “How Not to Avoid Jet Lag,” by Joshua Samuel Brown. A longtime travel writer, Joshua shows us the quirky side of Asia and other places.

June 23:  “Caught,” by Deirdre Thurston. From a New Zealand author, a collection of short stories about how seemingly mundane life events can prove significant.

June 26: “Thirty Perfect Days,” by Claudia Taller. Presented with fierce honesty, a chronicle of a woman’s search to bring order and meaning into her world.

June 30: “Downfall,” by Deborah Teller Scott. A British “cozy mystery” artfully crafted by an American writer.

June 30: “Boiling Point.” A massive volcanic eruption in Chile and its effect on a cast of interesting characters.

July 3: “The Secret Corps.” A former Tom Clancy co-writer goes it alone with this Marine-flavored thriller.