Month: April 2013

Nature’s Cactus Garden

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Review: “The Cascade Annihilator” by Chris James

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In Book 1 of The Second Internet Café, Dimension Researcher Lucas Hunter encountered the evil American Dietrich during his trips to the ‘other’ dimensions. What ensued was an American attack on the Café in an attempt to destroy it – an attack that Lucas and his friends were able to thwart.

In The Second Internet Café, Book 2: The Cascade Annihilator, once again must confront his nemesis Dietrich, who is now armed with a weapon that threatens to not only destroy the Café, but the entire reality. The Café is again under threat, and not just from Dietrich, but from the entrenched European bureaucracy that wants to shut it down, or bring it more under political control. Aiding Lucas in saving the facility and the existence of ‘reality one’ is Paula Featherstone who has the ability to enter other realities when she sleeps.

To add complications to their task, Lucas discovers that another group, more advanced people from yet another ‘reality,’ are also interested in the outcome of his confrontation with his enemy, but he’s not sure he can completely trust the enigmatic Mr. Llews.

As in the first book, the action in Book 2 is nonstop; the characters are unforgettable, and the settings are all too real. Chris James has changed gears a bit in this book; writing from two points of view – alternating between Lucas and Paula – he keeps your interest as this complicated tale unfolds.  This is a book that you won’t be able to put down; in fact, you just might find yourself going back and re-reading portions to make sure didn’t miss anything.

Another five star effort by author James.

Café
Café (Photo credit: leandro_marco)
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Foreign Service Veterans Seek to Dispel the Myths

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Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Capitol Hill, Washington DC (Photo credit: KP Tripathi)

http://m.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2013/04/foreign-service-veterans-dispel-myths/62838/

Excellent article in ‘Government Executive‘ Magazine about visit of FSOs to Capitol Hill.

 

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Free and Low-cost Images for Your Blog

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Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.

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Angel Thunder in Pictures

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Once again I had an opportunity to participate in Angel Thunder, the US Air Force‘s personnel recovery exercise. I missed some of the highlights, such as the simulated rescue at the Grand Canyon, one of the first (and largest) military exercises in a national park. But, I was able to observe a simulated air crash at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, where local emergency responders came in to assist, and an emergency response at Playas Training Center in New Mexico involving US, Colombian, Chilean, Brazilian, and Singaporean units responding to explosions that caused casualties in a simulated village.  Some of my photos are below.

Local fire rescue personnel respond to simulated air crash at the air base.
Local fire rescue personnel respond to simulated air crash at the air base.
Simulated air crash casualty being treated.
Simulated air crash casualty being treated.
An IED exploding kicks off a mass casualty/rescue exercise at Playas, New Mexico.
An IED exploding kicks off a mass casualty/rescue exercise at Playas, New Mexico.
'Casualties' from the IED.
‘Casualties’ from the IED.
Rescue forces arrive.
Rescue forces arrive.
Colombian, Brazilian, and Chilean forces disembark from Chinook flown by Singaporean pilots.
Colombian, Brazilian, and Chilean forces disembark from Chinook flown by Singaporean pilots.
Casualty being treated
Casualty being treated
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Angel Thunder: That Others Might Live

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Despite018 the debilitating impact of sequestration, the U.S. Air Force still managed to hold its largest ever personnel recovery exercise this year.  Angel Thunder, a two-week exercise that tests and refines the ability to locate and recover those who are isolated from friendly control and return them to safety, concluded on April 20 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, and this year included nearly 3,000 personnel from all U.S. uniformed services, a number of federal civilian agencies, participants and observers from more than 20 countries, and local law enforcement, emergency management, and medical officials from several local jurisdictions in Arizona.

Begun in 2006, Angel Thunder was designed initially to give Air Force rescue units the training they couldn’t get through participation in oth057er exercises.  With the promulgation of a presidential document in 2008 which directed all federal agencies with personnel overseas to develop programs to ensure their protection should they become isolated, Angel Thunder’s focus was also moved toward interagency cooperation and involved more international partners.

070  Angel Thunder 2013 included international participants from countries such as Colombia, Brazil, and Singapore, working together and with their U.S. counterparts to refine the techniques for locating, supporting, and recovering individuals who are victims of natural or manmade disaster or who have been taken hostage. The exercise opened with a scenario demonstrating Defense Department support to civil authorities in natural disasters and mass casualty situations, with military forces responding to a major traffic accident in the Grand Canyon by recovering ‘injured’ persons and transporting them to medical treatment facilities.

A small exercise in the beginning, that was held every 18 months, Angel Thunder is now an annual, inter-service, interagency, international exercise that covers an area in the southwestern United States approximately the size of the country of Afghanistan and involves several hundred fixed and rotary wing aircraft in realistic scenarios ranging from the rescue of single individuals to providing medical treatment and evacuation to victims of mass casualties.

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Coming in for Landing

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Chinook Helicopter coming in for landing.
Chinook Helicopter coming in for landing.

U.S. Representative Ron Barber Gets Brief on Angel Thunder

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Representative Ron Barber (D), who occupies the House seat once held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, yesterday visited Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson to get a first hand briefing on Angel Thunder, the largest personnel recovery exercise in the world. Now in its seventh year, Angel Thunder has become a major platform for exercising the national capacity to provide search and rescue and recovery services for American military forces serving abroad, support to the civilian agencies in their efforts to protect their citizens abroad, and defense support to civil authority here in the US. This year’s exercise, despite the restrictions imposed by sequestration, is one of the largest yet, with some 3,000 participants from all of the military services, federal civilian agencies, and local emergency management officials and agencies in Arizona.

Congressman Ron Barber (r) and a staffer are briefed on Angel Thunder by exercise director Brett Hartnett.
Congressman Ron Barber (r) and a staffer are briefed on Angel Thunder by exercise director Brett Hartnett.
Military and civilian emergency medical personnel 'treat' simulated casualties during Angel Thunder, conducted at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
Military and civilian emergency medical personnel ‘treat’ simulated casualties during Angel Thunder, conducted at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.
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Review: “Serial Date” by D.V. Berkom

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How to Be a Serial Killer

Leine Basso has left her old life as a government assassin behind, and moved from L.A. to Seattle to start anew. When the contestants on the reality TV show “Serial Date” begin to become victims of a cannibalistic serial killer, Leine is hired to provide on-set security. Returning to L.A., she finds herself in the middle of gritty, bloody action, which soars to new heights when her estranged daughter returns and is kidnapped by the killer, who begins making demands on Leine that plunge her right back into the life she’s tried to leave behind.

In Serial Date, author D. V. Berkom exposes the dark underbelly of society, from the unreal make believe world of reality TV to sordid politics, and paints a picture in such vivid colors and bold strokes you feel you’re there. Crisp, crackling dialogue and characters you have no problem believing in, are the hallmarks of Berkom’s story, and the action, which is non-stop from start to finish, will have you on the edge of your chair, panting for more.

This is mystery as mystery should be – intricate, non-linear plot with more twists than a bag of pretzels, a lead character you can identify with, warts and all, and a satisfying conclusion that, if you’ve read carefully, will surprise you as you slap your forehead and say, “why didn’t I see that coming?”

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“Power Up Your Brain” by Nancy Wilson Writing as J. J. Jackson

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J. J. Jackson (Nancy N. Wilson)
J. J. Jackson (Nancy N. Wilson)

Power Up Your Brain

(Written under the pen name of J. J. Jackson)

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Your-Brain-Strategies-ebook/dp/B007R7WYT4

Description:

A MUST READ for anyone who wants to build and sustain a healthy brain regardless of age!
The book offers Five Simple Strategies (some of them potentially life-changing), with a number of action steps that can be taken to implement each strategy.

The Strategies


Choose your action steps NOW and begin to improve the power of your brain TODAY!

If you are willing to incorporate steps from each category into your lifestyle, you will develop habits that can improve and support strong brain function for a lifetime; and can potentially diminish the possibility of ever having to deal with insidious brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Power Up Your Brain Cover - 300 dpi

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More Books From Nancy Wilson – the Author, not the Singer

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Nancy Wilson Writing under her own name, and under the pen name, Susan Summer, Nancy N. Wilson is more than just a cookbook author. Check out her other books, e-Book and paperback.

 

 

 

 

The following links are to Kindle editions:

DETOX – The Master Cleanse Diet        (Author: Nancy N. Wilson)DETOX Cover March 17.cls

http://www.amazon.com/DETOX-Master-Cleanse-Diet-ebook/dp/B00BZ8HZ9A

Description:

If you want a strong, healthy body that works on the highest level of efficiency, this book is for you!

Alternative health practitioners have been saying for years that toxins are continuously entering our bodies – from pesticides, processed foods, polluted air and impure water, etc.

We have little or no control over exposure to some of the toxins, such as pesticides and polluted air; but, for the average person sugary and salty foods, trans-fats, and caffeine (plus others) are actively chosen as part of the daily diet.

If toxins are not cleaned out property, the body may hold onto them in the digestive track (especially the colon), the lymph nodes, the gastrointestinal system, plus the skin and hair cells.

Excessive accumulated toxic waste in the body can create fatigue, headaches, unhealthy weight gain, low energy, stomach aches and nausea, plus it can cause a number of chronic diseases.  The liver and kidneys are forced to work overtime to eliminate the waste, but they can only do so much.  They need help, which is the purpose of a detoxification process and the reason for this book.

Buy it today and DETOXIFY your body for better health!

 

NOTE:  This book has a giveaway running through the month of April at www.Goodreads.com.  Sign up for a chance to win a paperback copy of the book.

 

Attitude Adjustment – Make Your Whole Outlook Brand New

(Author:  Nancy N. Wilson)Cover Sept 2012

http://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Adjustment-Whole-Outlook-ebook/dp/B00963IUDQ

Description:

Is your attitude serving   you or hurting you?  Is it one of   constant doom and gloom, or one of happiness and joy?

If it is the latter, terrific – keep doing what you are doing! If it is the   gloom and doom, negative attitude that pushes people away, the book gives you   some options of things you can do to change.

Your attitude creates an aura that is positive or negative and becomes the   magnet that draws people to you or pushes them away. What you project through   your attitude is, in large part, the catalyst for the kinds of attitudes that   you receive from others.

If your life is not what you want it to be in one or all aspects, the problem   may be closely related to your attitude. You have a choice.  The can stay with Popeye’s mantra, “I yam   what I yam!”  Or you take steps to   change your attitude and change your life. It all begins with an honest look   at your approach to life and the attitude you project. 

As you read through each section of the book, you will find information,   exercises and suggestions to help you with attitude adjustments that can make   your whole outlook brand new.

Attitude can be your most powerful tool in living a good life.

 

 

Growing Roses

(Author: Nancy N. Wilson writing as Susan Sumner)

http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Roses-Everything-More-ebook/dp/B007SPZDHK Growing-Roses-Book-Cover-2 (1)

 

Description:

 

This book is the perfect choice for the novice rose grower.

It provides step-by-step instructions for every phase of the rose-growing process – from choosing the right roses, to planting the roses, and finally – how to care for your roses over time. Paying attention to each step will ensure a successful experience and help you grow magnificent roses in your yard for years to come.

Contents Include:

  • Types      of roses and how to choose the right roses
  • When      to plant roses
  • How      to plant roses
  • How      to water, fertilize and prune roses
  • Common      diseases of rose plants and how to prevent them
  • Caring      for your roses
  • Growing      roses organically
  • And      much more . . .

This is a book that you will want to keep handy for quick reference to answer questions as you plant and nurture your beautiful new roses.

 

As a young child, I was very curious and always wanted to know why something worked and how it worked. My mother allowed me to explore almost anything that interested me – including giving me things to take apart, such old clocks and radios. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know and then, I discovered the wealth of information that could be found in books, plus the magical journeys I could take through the power of words!

Reading became the center of my life. The town library was located in the Women’s Club of my little farming community that I called home. In my eyes, it was the grandest building in town – newly built, with a heavenly air-conditioner that sheltered me from the blazing heat of Arizona summer days. It was my personal cocoon in which I could read the hours away.

Later in high school, as I continued to devour books by the dozens, I discovered writing and began to create my own works. It was a magical time! My love affair with the written word began and has never really stopped.

Unfortunately, my affair was dealt a serious blow during my first year in college when an English professor told me that I used a lot of words, but said very little. His words went to my very core and hobbled my writing confidence for a number of years. I continued to write, but not with the same excitement and enthusiasm that I had previously enjoyed.

It was not until many years later that everything turned around. After completing my MBA as a “mature woman” I found a position with a Leadership Development Training Company in Manhattan that required use of three major passions: my insatiable curiosity of how and why things work, my love of learning through books, and my need to write and be published.

I know, my work wasn’t published in the true sense of the word, but my words were in print and people were reading them and using them to improve their professional lives. I had finally begun to realize my dream.

Now I am retired and living the dream on a daily basis. I write many hours every day. I can proudly say that I have fifteen books published under several names with many more on the way. It is an amazing feeling!

 

 

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Review: “The Rising: The Lost Children of Managrail, Book One” by Aron Joice

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Aron Joice’s The Rising: The Lost Children of Managrail, Book One, is a fantasy that is chock full of adventure. When the twins, Lila and Simian of Managrail, fall from the heights upon which their city is located, and find themselves lost in the forest inhabited by the night-prowling, flesh-eating Fergay, they set in motion an epic struggle between and among powerful forces that threaten to overwhelm them and destroy their way of life.

The impetuous Lila becomes central to all that transpires, despite her more mature brother’s every efforts. They are soon joined by Medack and Cayda, who are hunting the marauders who destroyed their village of Dirth and slaughtered all their kith and kin.

The action in The Rising is non-stop, with a combination of sword and sorcery that is sure to please fans of the genre. Despite some excellent writing, the story is somewhat marred by the introduction of too many characters without ample description of their origins or motives. A good story would rise to greatness if the reader had a better understanding of the interrelations of the various factions as they move inexorably to a showdown after Managrail is destroyed by the Fergay.

While I found the book enjoyable, I’m giving it only three stars because of this. Joice is an excellent craftsman when it comes to dialogue, but needs to give more background to help one navigate through the intricacies of her tale.

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