2. Did Ancient Chinese Explore America?

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

FIRST PUBLISHED: 2013

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.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“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

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.asiaticfathers.com/Did%20Ancient%20Chinese%20Explore%20America%20Excerpt.htm

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 http://www.AsiaticFathers.com.

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

PRICE: Soft cover $19.99

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: HarrisMaps@msn.com

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Weather Report for July 6

THE CURREHappy DanceNT FEATURED BOOK IS “THE SECRET CORPS,” BY PETER TELEP.  YOU CAN FIND IT BY SCROLLING DOWN JUST BELOW THIS POST.

UPCOMING THIS WEEK ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD.

JULY 7: “WHEN CLOUDS GATHER,” BY RYAN JO SUMMERS AND “DID ANCIENT CHINESE EXPLORE AMERICA?” BY CHARLOTTE REES.

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.

JULY 10: “BENEATH THE STONES,” BY SUSAN CORYELL AND “BLACK TIDE RISING: DARK PROPHECIES,” BY KELVIN SINGLETON.

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.

NEWS

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 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P3BWGYY. 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 josambro@gmail.com and answer the following questions:

Date of Purchase? (for synching purposes)
and…
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 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P3BWGYY

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.

The Secret Corps

Peter TelepBOOK: The Secret Corps

PUBLISHED IN: eBook and 6×9 Trade Paperback

THE AUTHOR: Peter Telep

THE PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital, CreateSpace

SUMMARY:  #1 New York Times Bestseller Peter Telep is back with The Secret Corps, his latest pulse-pounding thriller incorporating a call to action unlike anything seen before in contemporary fiction.

When a small town home invasion results in a tragic death, retired Marine Master Sergeant James “Johnny” Johansen agonizes over questions whose answers threaten his loved ones, his career, and his company. The most serious question of all—is Johnny’s family linked to Islamic extremists in the United States?

Johnny turns to Willie, Corey, and Josh—his former brothers-in-arms. Relying on their skills as highly-trained Marines, the team uncovers a treacherous plot involving a renegade defense contractor and the highest levels of a U.S. intelligence network.

Risking their lives to reveal the shocking details of the operation, Johnny and his friends discover that hundreds of terrorists are poised to launch a coast-to-coast attack on American soil. Time is running out! Who can Johnny trust?

No one except . . .

THE SECRET CORPS

Secret Corps photoTHE BACK STORY: The Secret Corps was written over a two your period of writing and research. Seeking the help of over a dozen Marines, military veterans, and those in America’s intelligence network, I’ve endeavored to create the most accurate and believable thriller novel possible.

WHY THIS TITLE:  There are few thriller novels that introduce Marine Corps characters as authentically as this one. The novel features a call to action in the climax that is unlike anything else seen in fiction or film.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT:  The Secret Corps is an exciting, fast-paced murder/mystery thriller involving four Marine veterans who are caught up in a plot that threatens all of America.

REVIEW COMMENTS:

PRAISE FROM THE TOUGHEST CRITICS OF ALL…

“It’s about time a solid thriller writer looked to the ethos and extraordinary combat capabilities of U.S. Marines and gave the genre a welcome boost. With advice and counsel from real Leathernecks who know the breed intimately, Peter Telep has written a roller-coaster story that genuinely evokes the colorful character of the Corps.”

–Captain Dale Dye, USMC (Ret) Marine, Author, Actor and Filmmaker

“After reading this book, I am awed by Peter Telep’s attention to detail and how plausible this story could be.”

–Master Sergeant Clifton Lee, USMC (Ret)

“The players from Johnny and “the boys” to the Marine Corps Band of Brothers will all seem larger than life, but there is not one who would fail to live up to the challenge.”

–Lieutenant Colonel R.C. Adams USMC (Ret)

“Peter Telep did his homework–from our verbiage and personality nuances to the gear and equipment we use. I truly enjoyed reading this novel!”

–Joseph “Willie” Parent, Former GySgt USMC, 2D Force Recon / 2 Marine Special Operations Battalion

AUTHOR PROFILE:  Peter Telep is the author of more than forty novels. With the assistance of technical advisors from all branches of the service, he has documented the exploits of U.S. Army Special Forces in Afghanistan, tank platoon commanders in Korea, and mercenary fighters in Angola, Uzbekistan, and Vladivostok, among others.

His collaboration with Tom Clancy, Against All Enemies, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Additionally, he has written many bestselling novels based on Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, Endwar, and Splinter Cell video game series.

Mr. Telep’s work on The Secret Corps involved extensive research, including a trip to the Sig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire, where he received hands-on training in many of the weapons featured in this novel. He also traveled to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where he had the opportunity to pilot a Riverine Patrol Boat and make an “unauthorized” J-turn, much to the surprise of his soaked but smiling hosts.

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  Thank you so much for finding me here at Snowflakes in a Blizzard. I’ve been writing and publishing for over twenty years now, and I’ve worked for many big franchises, but I’ve never been more excited about a book. Why? Because The Secret Corps is all me. No marketplace influences. No publisher demands. No book contract. Just a story and a writer. My fuel was passion, and my inspiration came from dozens of military veterans who are some of the finest and most generous people alive. Nearly two years in the making, The Secret Corps is my debut novel as an independent author.

Make no mistake–when I discuss this book, I’m not offering some lame sales pitch. I’m offering a story that comes straight from my heart and soul, a story whose characters represent the courage, honor, and commitment of a great nation. What is The Secret Corps? I hope you’ll discover for yourself…

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.amazon.com/The-Secret-Corps-Peter-Telep-ebook/dp/B00X3V4FOU/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_img_3

LOCAL OUTLETS: None yet but there are a few in the Orlando, FL area… Example: http://www.thebookwormoforlando.com

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon.com

1. Downfall, by Deborah Teller Scott

NOTE: SCROLL DOWN BELOW THIS POST TO VIEW “BOILING POINT,” BY KAREN DIONNE, OUR OTHER FEATURED BOOK FOR JUNE 30-JULY 2.

TITLE:  Downfall

PUBLISHED IN: 2014.

AUTHOR: Deborah Teller Scott

SUMMARYIt was suDownfallpposed to be a quiet holiday on the south coast of England, away from the chaos of a London buzzing about the biggest murder trial in decades. But for Detective Inspector Michael Dachemont, nicknamed “Dashing Dachemont” by a dreamy-eyed reporter, it turns out to be anything but quiet when, just after meeting a lovely but troubled young woman on the beach, he is called in to investigate an apparent robbery attempt. What at first appears to be a minor incident soon becomes much more. The twists and turns in the case, along with the assortment of eccentrics he encounters as he tries to separate fact from fiction, prove challenging and require him to muster all his Yard training as well as all his patience and self-control. In the end, not only does he sort out the maze of intrigue but Inspector Dachemont finds himself caught in another and decidedly more agreeable web.

BACK STORYHaving read all of the novels I could find by writers like Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie, I realized that there is a dearth of new stories of the kind I grew up with, written usually by English women who combined romance and humor with a mystery solved by a detective who, besides being clever, was often handsome yet refreshingly modest, the kind of man many women still find attractive and enjoy spending time with on the journey to a satisfying denouement. I first came up with the general story months before actually putting it on paper…or, in this case, on computer. It took only a few days to write, but went through several revisions before the final version was ready for publication.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ THIS: The fun here, besides Scott’s delightful cast of eccentric characters, is the mental exercise of sorting out the killer among them. In the process, she manages to make some subtle points about the undeniable intersection of crime, the media, and the popular culture.

Deborah ScottABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah lives contentedly in southern Oregon with a menagerie of rescue animals and a small circle of delightful friends. Besides keeping busy with a part-time job and satisfying, community-enriching activities, she enjoys writing stories that appeal to readers who miss the comfortable, pleasant style of story-telling that was common in simpler times. Her period novel titled The Bell Tower will soon be republished exclusively for Kindle. Available on Amazon are her modern mystery novel in print, Deathbed of Roses, and also two anthologies to which she contributed —“The Man Across the Table” in Gratitude With Attitude and “Lessons Grady Taught Me” in Pets Across America.

WHY THIS TITLE: In keeping with the gently whimsical dark humor of the book, this is a clever play on words. you’ll see.

LINK TO A SAMPLE CHAPTER

Check it out at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QJD7SWK.

REVIEWS

Dargrace: “Clean, charming mystery. I enjoyed this quick read a lot. The story flowed easily and the characters held my interest.”

DL: “This is a nice murder story, in the Agatha Christie style, but “nice” doesn’t translate here into boring. Scott puts her dashing detective smack in the middle of a strange galaxy of characters that leave him amused and, at timers, baffled ― but not so confused that he doesn’t ultimately solve the crime. A fun read.”

Luv2Read: “Well written – the story kept my interest throughout. Surprising twists and turns in plot. Hope to read more by this author. Definitely recommend.”

Lora: “Really enjoyed the plot, it kept my interest right down to the end.”

WHERE THE BOOK CAN BE PURCHASED: Downfall is available in the Kindle store at Amazon.com for $2.99.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Deborah enjoys interacting with readers. Her e-mail is deborahtellerscott@gmail.com.

2. Boiling Point, by Karen Dionne

 

Boiling PointTITLE: Boiling Point.

PUBLISHED IN: 2011

THE AUTHOR: Karen Dionne

THE EDITOR: Natalee Rosenstein.

THE PUBLISHER: Originally published by Berkley/Penguin Putnam, now available as e-book by author

SUMMARY: As Chaitén Volcano sleeps ..  two microbiologists monitor the effects of global warming in the shadow of the long-dormant volcano. A celebrity scientist and his film crew arrive at the caldera to capture Chaitén’s spectacular scenery for a television audience.  And a Nobel Prize-winning scientist sits in his apartment in Paris, monitoring data on fifty-six volcanoes around the world—waiting for the one sign that his diabolical plan is about to be put into motion. Soon, their destinies will converge. For the Earth has become a pawn in the biggest gamble ever played with humanity’s future. And Chatien is about to blow.

Karen Dionne

THE BACK STORY: While looking for a focus for my second environmental thriller with Berkley, I Googled “worst environmental problems” and learned about geo-engineering – a term that describes various proposals to solve the problem of global warming by changing a physical feature of the planet. One proposal included putting sulfur dioxide particles in the air to mimic the cooling effect of a volcanic eruption. Making a permanent change to Earth’s atmosphere seemed like an act of hubris  worthy of the villain in a novel, and the idea for BOILING POINT was born,

In April 2009, I traveled to Chaitén Volcano in Northern Patagonia, Chile to research my novel. I stayed in the town at the base of the volcano, though the town had been destroyed in the initial eruption the year before and was still evacuated and without electricity and running water. I hiked to within one mile of the new lava dome, where I saw steam vents, heard explosions coming from the caldera, and felt a small earthquake. The Chilean government considered the volcano on Red Alert, and was reporting 18-25 earthquakes a day in the vicinity of the volcano at the time.

Seeing Chaitén Volcano for myself and experiencing the magnitude of its power and destruction truly informed the book. In addition, my English-speaking guide was present the day the volcano erupted, and much of what he told me made it into the book. An account of my trip with pictures is available on my website: http://www.karen-dionne.com/2012/12/extreme-research-2/

WHY THIS TITLE: My first novel, FREEZING POINT, is about a solar energy company that wants to melt Antarctic icebergs into drinking water, but things go terribly wrong (think Jurassic Park on ice). Naturally, a novel set at an erupting volcano that centers on a radical plan to end global warming had to be titled BOILING POINT!

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: While BOILING POINT deals with  big environmental issues, at heart, it’s a very intimate story in which each main character is forced to make a choice between a principle they believe in, and someone they care about. As one reviewer put it, “The author creatively juxtaposes the sincere efforts of those who work towards solving the problems of global warming against those who are equally passionate but who pursue more extreme measures toward achieving their goal. And yet neither is a match for Mother Nature herself.  Readers need not take a stand, one way or the other, to enjoy this novel of suspense.”

REVIEW COMMENTS:

“Dionne hits her stride with this heart-thumping, timely thriller, one that rings with surreal authenticity. Put simply, it’s a non-stop delight of a read.” – New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry.

“Fans of the late Michael Crichton will enjoy Dionne’s exciting second ecothriller . . . Crisp writing keeps the pace fast, and the tight interweaving of story lines bodes well for this author’s future
efforts.” — Publishers Weekly.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Karen Dionne is the internationally published author of Freezing Point, a science thriller nominated by RT Book Reviews as Best First Mystery of 2008. A second environmental thriller, Boiling Point, about an erupting volcano, a missing researcher, and a radical scheme to end global warming published from Berkley in January 2011. Her newest novel, an original story based on the popular Fox television series “The Killing” starring Joel Kinnaman and Mirelle Enos will publish from Titan Books June 24, 2014.Karen is co-founder of the online writers community Backspace, and organizes the Salt Cay Writers Retreat held every year on a private island in the Bahamas. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the International Thriller Writers, where she served on the board of directors as Vice President, Technology.

Karen has been honored by the Michigan Humanities Council as a Humanities Scholar for her body of work as an author, writer, and as co-founder of Backspace.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I was delighted when Berkley returned the rights to this novel to me so I could bring out an e-version myself and reach more readers. Readers who like fast-paced thrillers grounded in reality will enjoy this novel.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). http://www.amazon.com/Boiling-Point-Series-ebook/dp/B00F7Q082W/

LOCAL OUTLETS: available as e-book onlyWHERE ELSE TO BUY IT:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Boiling-Point-Series-ebook/dp/B00F7Q082W/.

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boiling-point-k-l-dionne/1100257855?ean=2940148710509
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/boiling-point-point-series-2
iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/boiling-point-point-series-2/id725508057?mt=11PRICE: $3.99

CONTACT THE AUTHORkarendionne@bksp.org.

The Weather Report, June 29

Chatein

THE CURRENT FEATURED BOOK IS “30 PERFECT DAYS: FINDING ABUNDANCE IN EVERYDAY LIFE,” BY CLAUDIA TALLER. YOU CAN LOCATE IT BY SCROLLING DOWN DIRECTLY BENEATH THIS POST.

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, JUNE 30 and JULY 3.

JUNE 30: “DOWNFALL,” by Deborah Teller Scott and “BOILING POINT,” by Karen Dionne.

As a novelist, Deborah Scott is definitely old school, citing Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and James Thurber as her primary inspirations. Her goal, she says, is to produce books that “warm the heart, intrigue the mind and entertain the senses.” And, sometimes, along the way, kill off a few people, but Scott accomplishes this in classic cozy mystery style. “Downfall” is unique in that it is a very British novel written by an American. (Maybe it helps that the climate of Scott’s home in coastal Oregon is very similar to that of the UK). The main character, Detective Inspector Michael Dachemont, is enjoying a holiday on the south coast of England, giving him a break from a high-profile London murder trial, when … blast it! … another murder intrudes into his R&R.

Michael Crichton is gone, but certainly not forgotten, as Karen Dionne will attest. Nearly every review of the first two books in her “Point” series include the phrase … “If you liked Michael Crichton …” Not that Karen is complaining, but she brings her own style to a relative new genre known as “the environmental thriller.” In “Boiling Point,” she takes a real event — the volcanic eruption of Mount Chaiten in Chile (see photo above) — and tethers to it an intriguing range of characters and diverse subplots. She has obviously done the science, but there is nothing dry about this fast-paced tale and her writing (especially when describing the eruption itself) is often spectacular.

JULY 3; “FALLEN,” by Melinda Inman and “THE SECRET CORPS,” by Peter Telep.

As historical novels go, you can’t travel any farther back in time than Melinda Inman’s upcoming book, “Fallen,” a fictional treatment of Adam, Eve and the Fall of Man. Melinda is the most accessible kind of Christian writer, demonstrating a reverence for her subject but standing back far enough from them to avoid being preachy or dogmatic. And since the Old Testament is primarily a narrative without a lot of character development, it offers today’s writers a myriad of intriguing gaps waiting to be filled. As you’ll see, Inman has met the challenge of the very first one.

Like Karen Dionne, Peter Telep is inexorably connected with a recently deceased popular writer — in this case, Tom Clancy. Telep even spent years channeling Clancy in a series of books based upon some of the legendary military novelist’s unpublished plots. This time, however, he’s going it alone with “The Secret Corps,” a military thriller that takes a relatively minor event — a fatal home invasion in a small town — and telescopes it into a farflung tale with global implications. Telep’s trademark is accuracy, and he has relentlessly researched the Marine Corps Way to give his book the stamp of Semper Fi.Clancy and Telep

NEWS AND NOTES: Each in his or her own way, the four writers featured this week are dealing with today’s marketing challenges.

Peter Telep has been to the mountaintop — in this case, a mountain named Tom Clancy. Telep, a successful thriller author in his own right, was asked to produce several novels from Clancy’s legacy, giving new meaning to the term “ghost writing.”

“The Secret Corps,” however, is Telep’s first post-Clancy effort in several years As he explains: “I’ve been writing and publishing for over twenty years now, and I’ve worked for many big franchises, but I’ve never been more excited about a book. Why? Because The Secret Corps is all me. No marketplace influences. No publisher demands. No book contract. Just a story and a writer. My fuel was passion, and my inspiration came from dozens of military veterans who are some of the finest and most generous people alive. Nearly two years in the making, The Secret Corps is my debut novel as an independent author.”

Like Telep with his military insights, Karen Dionne has plugged into a hot genre — the environmental thriller. She is also aware that no matter how compelling their story may be, writers these days need to reach out and grab their audiences by any means necessary. We’re very pleased that she chose to add “Snowflakes in a Blizzard” to her marketing arsenal.

Or why not crowdsourcing? Melinda Inman has tried Kickstarter to plug her novel “Fallen,” and it’s the perfect vehicle for this — a definite niche book that can motivate readers not only to read it, but to help give it wide exposure.

And finally, Deborah Teller Scott has taken a different route, staying true to the hallowed tradition of the cozy mystery novel and not pandering to a mass audience. As she’s well aware, there are plenty of people out there who will read and enjoy her latest novel without her needing to compromise.

30 Perfect Days

30 Perfect Days

TITLE: 30 Perfect Days: Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life

PUBLISHED IN: November, 2014.

THE AUTHOR: Claudia Taller.

THE PUBLISHER: Igniting Possibilities Press.

SUMMARY: In her book 30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life, a spiritual memoir, author Claudia Taller allows the reader to go into her personal world to find the perfect moments that ultimately define our lives. 30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life is a quest to live in the moment, make connections, and pay attention to what life has to offer. Through daily reflection, Taller deals with life’s surface obstacles with honesty and authenticity to gain insight into the patterns behind the problems. By the end of her journey, Taller is more accepting and forgiving of herself and others and knows first-hand that a change of approach can lead any seeker to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. The reader comes to a deeper understanding that once we embrace our lives as they are and turn inward to seek guidance, stress, judgment, expectations, and disappointments become small obstacles along the way. In the end, Taller infers, it is up to us to nurture our souls.

THE BACK STORY: Claudia Taller was participating in an Artist’s Way workshop when the group was asked to describe their perfect day. An Artist’s Way practitioner from way back when Julia Cameron first came to the forefront as a creativity expert, Taller’s “perfect day” had always consisted of walking, writing, reading, sharing a great meal with friends, being in nature, and doing yoga. She asked a different question–why couldn’t every day be a perfect day?

WHY THIS TITLE? Self evident.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Because you don’t come across books like this very often. Taller dissects and dishes out her daily life like a modern-day Thoreau, except that her Walden might be a yoga class, a coffee shop, or a sunset. Indeed, part of the message of “30 Perfect Days” is that perfection isn’t an unreachable ideal, but a matter of making the best of what each day has to offer. Yet Taller is no guru, and she confronts her own failings with unblinking honesty that makes this more like a conversation with a friend than pie-in-the-sky advice handed down from on high.

Claudia TallerAUTHOR PROFILE: Taller wrote her first novel when she was 12 and threw the 100-page typewritten manuscript away when she was 15 because it was inadequate. Much later, in college as an English major, she took a number of writing classes, but after a creative writing seminar which discouraged her, she turned away from creative writing and towards business and legal writing. It wasn’t until she was in her late 30s that she gave herself permission to just write at the heart level, and her success as a part-time freelance writer led her to launch Word Lovers Retreats in 2008, which she continues to host twice a year. Her first book, Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries, was hugely successful, and she wrote it because she is in awe of the passionate resolve of vineyard keepers and wine makers (Ohio’s Canal Country Wineries is being released in July 2015). Her first published novel, Daffodils and Fireflies, is about a woman who is on a journey to follow her heart and move on after a tumultuous past.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “We are on a journey on the river of life, meandering, flowing over the rocks if we’re lucky, working through the obstructive branches, widening and narrowing in our ability to respond to the world and to be our best selves. We find our true selves as we go along, bit by bit, even as we change, the changes wrought in us becoming part of all the things going down that river with us. The bad stuff, if we go about it right, gets left behind.”

READER COMMENTS:

“Taller’s honesty on the page and meditative voice make for compelling reading. She allows us into her life in an intimate way, yet her writing touches on universal themes.” (Marsha McGregor).

“As the title suggests, this book explores the idea of capturing a month of perfect days. But life often trumps our plans, so it is the book’s subtitle that is the true theme. Author Claudia Taller reminds us that while jobs, marriage, children, and the needs of older parents can challenge our mind, it’s up to us to nurture our souls. To find abundance and joy in the perfect moments that are indeed there everyday – if only we can let go of ego, worry, insecurities, and those complex emotions that plague us all. Not an easy task and not always accomplished. But Claudia lets the reader into her personal world to show how it can be done. If not for an entire day, at least in those cherished perfect moments that ultimately define our lives.” (Deanna Adams)

“A gifted writer, Claudia J. Taller draws the reader into a very personal look at her inner life–her joys and struggles with managing the challenges of her life in a way that holds meaning to her soul. As she sets out to have 30 perfect days and write about each one, life itself intruded with its plans! Taller deals with these obstacles by going deeper than their face value to gain insight into the patterns behind the problems and to find the places in her own heart that needed to shift into greater acceptance and forgiveness of self and others. Many of the chapters end with a question for the reader to reflect on the topic of the day in his or her own life. My favorite part was where Taller asked her writing class, “If you could have four other lives, what would they be?” In her own listing of her four other lives, she realized that she had already incorporated the essence of all four of them into her own present life, which though imperfect, had many perfect moments. Unabashedly honest, reading this book helps a person be more accepting of life as it is, while simultaneously seeing how shifting our own attitudes can make it better.” (Barbara Stone, author of Transforming Fear into Gold: How Facing What Frightens You the Most Can Heal and Light Up Your Heart

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.amazon.com/30-Perfect-Days-Abundance-Ordinary-ebook/dp/B00PHHSYI6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1435253745&sr=8-3&keywords=Thirty+Perfect+Days

WHERE TO BUY IT: The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from the author. Category: Self-Help, Body, Mind, Spirit; Availability: Amazon.com, BN.com, claudiajtaller.com.

PRICE: $5.99 on Kindle.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from the author. Category: Self-Help, Body, Mind, Spirit; Availability: Amazon.com, BN.com, claudiajtaller.com.