Day: December 31, 2012

Interview with author Jack Durish

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Historical fiction author Jack Durish

1.      What is the one book you want us to read (title, genre, and availability).
Rebels on the Mountain: Historical Fiction available in all ebook formats on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

2.      Give us a one sentence synopsis.
Nick Andrews, a U.S. Army spy assigned to unwrap the mystery of diplomatic failures in Cuba, avoids being entrapped in Castro’s Revolution until he is forced to bury his friends and fight.

3.      Who are the main characters and who would you like to see portray them in a movie?
Nick Andrews: A U.S. Army Ranger and Korean War Veteran who has made a career of reconnaissance patrols behind the Iron Curtain – possibly portrayed by Stephen Amell
Lucia Comas: An American-educated, island-born mulata, daughter of the second wife of don Carlos Comas, a Cuba sugar plantation owner, and love interest of Nick Andrews – possibly portrayed by Christina Milian
Emma Regan: An American socialite whose husband, a retired pediatrician operates a free clinic on the sugar plantation she inherited, and sister to the don Carlos Comas’ second wife Sigourney Weaver
Fidel Castro: The charismatic leader of the revolution that overthrew the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista – possibly portrayed by Jsu Garcia
Che Guevara: The Argentinian doctor who became one of Castro’s most notorious lieutenants and his executioner following Fidel’s rise to power – possibly portrayed by Guillermo Diaz
Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author and Havana resident who mingled freely in the halls of power in Havana and purportedly supported Castro’s revolution – possibly portrayed by William Hurt

4.      Tell us about the story, but please don’t reveal too much.
Nick Andrews uses the cover of a pleasure trip with friends, the Regans – a retired doctor and his socialite wife who own an estate in Cuba – to infiltrate the island from its halls of power in Havana to the rebel camp in the mountains at the eastern end of the island. Unexpectedly, he rekindles a childhood crush with the island-born niece of the Regans, and makes friends with a loyal Fidelista rebel. Romance, rum, rumba, and revolution layer themselves into a thrilling tale of intrigue, action, and suspense.Rebels cover

5.      What inspired you to write this book and how long did it take?
I was slated to pilot a vessel from Galveston Bay to the Chesapeake, with a stop in Havana, when I was a young sailor, but the trip was canceled due to several factors including the fall of the Batista government in Cuba. I suppose that I never let go of the disappointment of missing that adventure. Thus, I followed events in Cuba closely and studied the history of the island and its people during the intervening fifty years. I spent another two years cataloging and studying my research, and another year and a half to write and edit the manuscript.

6.      What other books have you written?
Dream Pirates – Fiction for young readers with impaired reading skills and new English speakers
WordPerfect: Creative Applications – Technical manual
Infantry School: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Vietnam: A Soldier’s Journal – Personal memoir
Trifles: Literary Dessert – A collection of short stories to be published soon

7.      Which authors inspired you, your style?
Many including…
Ernest Hemingway: Voice
Mark Twain: Irony
Charles Dickens: Memorable characters

8.      Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Http:// contains my personal blog as well as my biography, a synopsis of all my books and links to them, and recommended websites for anyone interested in reading

9.      How can we follow you? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I am currently working on my second novel featuring Nick Andrews as a young soldier in the Korean War. Also, I have been posting to my blog a series of articles built from my research into Cuba with special emphasis on the love-hate relationship between the island and the United States. Most expect a change in US-Cuban relations when Fidel Castro dies, and Americans will begin looking forward to visiting this Caribbean paradise which has been off limits for so many years.

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Farewell to 2012

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Broken Hearts - Google+ Cover Tribute
Broken Hearts – Google+ Cover Tribute (Photo credit: Daniel M. Reck)

In just a few hours the year 2012 will be fodder for historians.  We’ll then have to hunker down and begin the effort of facing 2013, and whatever the new year has in store for us.

I’ve spent most of the morning wrestling with what to write in my final 2012 blog. Should I rehash the momentous events of the year about to pass?  Were there, in fact, even any momentous events?

We had a historic election.  The nation’s first black president won reelection; not with an overwhelming mandate, but with a comfortable enough margin of victory to make it more than a mere fluke.  But, he’s still faced with an implacably hostile House of Representatives; populated with enough hard core Tea Party activists to make getting rational legislation passed a task not to be envied, and a Senate that has a minority that will, from the difficulty we seen in getting a sane fiscal policy passed, continue to pose obstacles.  Horrific acts of mindless violence, such as the slaughter of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, were a blot on us as a nation, and the response of the gun nuts just made it worse.

We saw 12/12/12 pass without notice, and the so-called Mayan Calendar Apocalypse predicted for December 21, 2012 was a non event.

Should I, instead, focus on what we could or should be doing for the coming year?  Will it be better or worse?  That would, unfortunately, involve making predictions; and, predicting is something I’ve never been good at.  Life has a way of making fools out of those who would have the arrogance to do such a thing.

I don’t even plan to make any New Year’s resolutions.  I haven’t done that for as long as I can remember.  Making promises to myself for one day out of the year always struck me as a useless exercise.  I’d much rather resolve every day to do better than I did the day before.  You might say that makes me sound like a supremely self-centered person, and you’d be right.  I am self-centered.  The emphasis here is on ‘centered.’  Not in an egotistical sense, although I recognize that there’s a large element of egoism inherent in this philosophy, but, just the acceptance that it’s only my own actions and thoughts that I have any control over.

So, for me, 2013 will just be 2012 continued; and, hopefully bettered.  That’s a resolution I plan to make each day.  I will continue to try and write 1,000 words a day – actually, since I retired from government service in September I’ve managed to do three times that, so maybe in 2013 I’ll up my game and shoot for 3,000.  I started working on improving my Spanish language skills; for no specific reason, it just seemed like an interesting thing to do.  I began to get to know my new granddaughter, Samantha.  Being in Zimbabwe for most of the first year of her life, I was a stranger to her at her first birthday party.  I hope that she and I will become friends in 2013.  She’s such a smart kid; reminding me a lot of myself as a child.  And, I recognize that she, and all the other children, are the world’s future, so I have a responsibility to help her achieve her dreams – or at least get her on the road to doing that.

Maybe, in 2013, I’ll try and stretch my writing wings; maybe take a stab at adding to the genres I dabble in.  I have a long list of to-do writing projects, so the year will be busy.

I’m rambling, I know, but, that’s the way I feel at this moment.  I just ramble until I stumble across something that interests me.  Always have and I always will.  So, I bid a fond farewell to 2012 and a hearty welcome to 2013.  I don’t know what lies ahead, but I think the journey will be fascinating.  I hope all of you will come along with me.

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2012 in review

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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