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Archive for September, 2011

According to Psychology Today, 60% of remarriages fail. What are the reasons? Why do people believe that whatever went wrong the first time won’t happen again?

Have you gone through a divorce, found a new partner and are considering remarrying? Perhaps you’re afraid of making the same mistake twice and are thinking of living together first? Do you wonder if you’re doing the right thing?

Before You Say I Do, Again answers these important questions, and much more. Written by a divorce attorney with over 30 years of experience, the book is filled with insightful information, practical advice and statistics supported by research studies.

Other questions discussed include: Does your new partner have debts that will affect you? Will her/his kids ever like you? Are there any health concerns? Do you know why your previous marriage failed or how you contributed to its destruction? Have you wondered at the legalities of the new marriage? How much are attorney fees? The author points out all the vital questions you should be asking yourself at this important and critical time in your life.

Before You Say I Do, Again
is divided into 4 parts:

Part I takes you back to revisit your first marriage and the reason you’re now single; Part II discusses what you’ll need to do before remarrying so that you’ll be emotionally, financially and legally ready to take the first steps (this section includes a test to help you determine if you’re ready); in Part III, the author uses the ‘buying a car’ analogy to show the importance of ‘knowing’ before saying ‘I do;’ finally, Part IV is a compatibility test to determine how your new partner compares to your former spouse. There’s also an appendix that provides useful forms such as a testament, a pre-nuptial agreement and an asset organizer.

Besides being chock-full of information, author/attorney Benjamin Berkley writes in a simple, light, engaging style, making the reading experience enjoyable. The structure is clear and well organized. Best of all, it is written by someone who really knows what he’s talking about. If you or someone in your life is considering remarrying, please do yourself a favour and get a copy of this book. It is definitely an eye opener.

Purchase information:

Before You Say ‘I Do’ Again: A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage
By Benjamin Berkley
Frederick Fell Publishers, Inc.
ISBN-10: 0883911736
ISBN-13: 978-0883911730
Copyright September 2009
Paperback, 240 pages, $14.95
Nonfiction/Self-help
Publisher’s website: http://www.fellpub.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Before-You-Say-Do-Again/dp/0883911736

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Dina’s Lost Tribe is a historical novel that weaves four different stories and spans from the 14th century to our present time.

Henner Marcus is a professor of French Medieval Jewish Philosophy based in Chicago. One day he receives a letter from his cousin, Nina Aschauer, who’s been missing for the last five years. A historian with a brilliant, promising career, she had left Chicago and travelled to France in search of the place she was accidentally born while her parents fled from the Nazis, a remote village in the Pyranees by the name of Valladine, a place not even present in maps.

In the letter, Nina urgently begs him to meet her in Toulouse with a large sum of money. Deeply intrigued and out of concern for his cousin’s safety, Henner makes the 5,000-mile trip. Once in Toulouse, he receives an unexpected package containing a mysterious manuscript. The manuscript appears to be a codex written in medieval Occitan, a language still spoken today in the area of Languedoc. Henner also meets Etoile, a historian and Nina’s best friend.

Together, Henner and Etoile begin deciphering the codex and soon become entranced by the fascinating first-person account and by its author, Dina, a Jewess born into a wealthy, pious family who falls prey to a deceitful, lustful priest and eventually ended up incarcerated in the prison of the Inquisition. Her tale describes the expulsion of the Jews from France in the early 1300s. Thus the novel moves back and forth in time and interweaves Henner’s, Nina’s, Etoile’s and Dina’s persecution stories.

Who is this Dina Miryam? Did she really exist? Is her account real? How is her story connected to Nina’s and why did Nina disappear five years ago into a presumed village no one knows about?

Dina’s Lost Tribe is an interesting, at times engrossing read. The author does a skillful job in keeping each story distinct in flavor from the other. I’m not a historian so I can’t comment on the veracity of the facts, but from a reader’s point of view, the book seems extensively researched. As I read Dina’s tale, I was transported to a time and place where horrible injustices where committed. Like Henner and Etoile, I too was entranced with Dina, a woman who tried to remain brave and strong against all adversity. The author draws interesting parallels between Dina and the old biblical character with the same name. She also explores various themes, such as the hypocrisy of religion, the capacity of one human being to hurt another, the harmful consequences of ignorance and superstition, and the power of one individual to overwhelm and control another.

This is a slow read, for the simple reason that there’s a lot to be absorbed. The paragraphs are often long and written in heavy-handed language. If what you’re looking for is a fast-paced page-turner, this isn’t the book for you. However, it is the perfect novel for those who enjoy history, meaning and depth in their stories. The premise is intriguing and original and I felt I had taken a little history course at the end, which is always a plus.

Dina’s Lost Tribe
By Brigitte Goldstein
iUniverse, Inc.
September 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1450251075
Paperback, 412 pages, $22.95, ebook $9.99
Historical Fiction
Author’s website
Amazon

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CS DeWildt lives in Tucson Arizona with his wife and sons. His novella Candy and Cigarettes was recently released by Vagabondage Press as an ebook. His short stories can be found online at Bartleby Snopes, Word Riot, The Bicycle Review, Foundling Review, and Writers Bloc.

About the book

In the face of revenge, innocence is meaningless.

Death is omnipresent to small-town loner Lloyd Bizbang. Today proves no exception. After being attacked yet again by a pair of sociopaths who have targeted him since childhood, Lloyd stumbles upon a sight he wishes he could unsee in the town junkyard. Now as he just tries to live through another day, the bodies are stacking up in the town of Horton, and Lloyd finds himself connected to each of them via the drug-and-drink-addled, unhinging police chief, yet another person who has an old score to settle with Lloyd. A game of revenge and survival is underway, but will there be a winner at the day’s end?

Interview

Thanks for stopping by The Dark Phantom. Tell us a bit about your novella, Candy and Cigarettes, and what inspired you to write such a story.

The setting initially. I wanted to set something in a fictionalized version of the town I grew up in, something dark, something that explored the nature of revenge and redemption. So I got to work and put my main character, Lloyd Bizbang, on shoulder of the main highway that ran through town and the story just took over from there.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I don’t outline. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me. I work better without a plan so I start with a vague idea of where I’m going and then take the scenic route. I find interesting stuff along the way and if I get lost it doesn’t matter, I always end up someplace.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

Ah, the muse. So easy to dismiss unless you’ve really tried to create something true.
I wait, plain and simple. My muse is wild and runs out on me often, like a bad-for-you lover you just can’t break free from. She’s high maintenance, but she’s mine and I know she’ll come back to me eventually. She knows I’m faithful to her. I just keep at it and she returns, tearful, remorseful, and full of sweet surprises.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I spent two months getting a quality draft together. Then I submitted it to a few appropriate small presses, waited for the rejections, got them, and then finally received word Vagabondage Press was interested about nine months after I finished it. From there it was almost another year for editing and finally publication.

Describe your working environment.

I try to keep it sparse with as little distraction as possible. I try. But most of the time it’s a mess. I just moved to a bigger place and now I have a room just devoted to my writing. It’s the first time I haven’t had to share my space with a houseguest or washing machine or the accumulated crap of my three plus decades as a good consumer.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

It goes with the territory, so you better get used to it. If someone says something especially spiteful, well that says more about them than the work. And you just have to realize that writing is a highly subjective art form. Take any great work of literature and read the reviews on Amazon.com. No matter what it is some people will love it and some people will hate it. That said, I take constructive feedback, but in the end it’s my party and if you don’t like it, you can go someplace else.

Are you a disciplined writer?

More than most, less than some. It’s tough to say. My goal is to get something on paper every day and most days I succeed. But I’m sure there are other writers who would consider me lazy if we’re talking word count only.

How do you divide your time between taking care of a home and children, and writing? Do you plan your writing sessions in advance?

I solved that problem by waking up earlier than everyone else. I love to write in the early morning, when it’s still dark and the world is quiet. It’s as if I’m the only person alive and I’m doing exactly what I want to do.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, so put in the time.
I think I saw that on the television.

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