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by David Kerns

Fortnight on Maxwell Street is a reluctant hero’s journey of fear and courage set in Chicago in the spring of 1968. 24-year-old medical student Nick Weissman spends two weeks delivering babies in the kitchens and bedrooms of the inner-city’s slum tenements. Over his head medically, and unprotected in one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods, his character and resourcefulness are tested in the extreme when a national tragedy intervenes.

The young white protagonist steps into his racial fear, testing his fledgling professionalism and his honor to care for a black family in grave danger. The embodiment of racial hatred, James Earl Ray, moves in parallel with Nick, stalking Martin Luther King, Jr., killing him and igniting the urban chaos that is the setting for the climax of the story.

“David Kerns’ Fortnight on Maxwell Street is a suspenseful medical odyssey that dances along a high wire of racial tension during a tragic and historic American moment.”
—James McManus, author of New York Times Bestseller Positively Fifth Street 

“Kerns masterfully stitches his young and reluctant medical hero’s story together with the fascinating and dark journey of James Earl Ray as he stalks and murders Martin Luther King Jr. This realistic tapestry of life and racism in America in 1968 is profound and timely.”
—Robert M. Reece, M.D., author of To Tell the Truth.

“With craft and compassion, David Kerns has written a gripping story of one young medical student’s journey into America’s racial divide in 1968 Chicago.”
—Hillary Homzie, author of Queen of Likes and The Hot List.

“David Kerns’ thrilling and intelligent novel follows a medical student’s inner-city trial-by-fire in a time of national peril.”
—Sasha Paulsen, author of the forthcoming Dancing on the Spider’s Web 

  “This nuanced medical drama grabbed me from the start, sucked me into both the beloved and despicable characters, and dealt with racial demons head on. It’s a hero’s journey set against one of the most explosive two weeks in America’s history.”
—David Marshall, bestselling author of The Book of MyselfThe Book of Us and What I Love About You.”

“A propulsive, harrowing, and moving read, from beginning to end. David Kerns delivers a nuanced portrayal of racism as a spectrum disease. We see how heroes and villains are made, how character is forged in the crucible of a historical moment. Fortnight on Maxwell Street rings absolutely, heart-stoppingly true. A book for our time.”
—Jessica Grant, author of Making Light of Tragedy and Come, Thou Tortoise

by J Dominic

When a local priest molests a young boy, parents conspire, mobsters appear, an “angel” from Providence descends, and—evoking Montaup’s brutal colonial past—the unsaid gets said. And done.

In the Rhode Island backwater town of Sowams at the base of Mount Hope—or Montaup—a childhood traffic accident has rendered Jate Tavino, skull-plated, growth-stunted, and rattled-up good. As an adolescent Jate can’t match the mental prowess of his non-identical twin brother Ross, or the physical stamina of his street-wise pal, Pruney Mendoza.

Both Pruney and Ross lament, “Jate don’t get things.” But Jate gets far more than is plate-in-the-head obvious.

And Jate writes it all down: colorfully distorted regional history, hotly debated literature, ethnic religious rituals, tales of the dead, and hush-hush cross-your-heart secrets of the living.

About the Author

Years of cross-country roving have provided J Dominic with the “praspective” expressed by Jate’s dad, “You never get such an up close view as when you’re far away.” Reaching Montaup is Dominic’s first novel.

by William C. Gordon

Sixth in a series of noir mysteries featuring newspaper reporter Samuel Hamilton, Unfinished confronts the question, how much hurt can be repaired when betrayal, kidnapping, and violence touch a person’s life? The story opens with the kidnapping of a young boy—the third such kidnapping within a short period—only now it’s the son of Emma Sheridan, a French émigré, widow of a Vietnam veteran, and someone to whom Samuel owes a huge emotional debt. This time it’s personal.

While Samuel engages in his usual relentless job of pursuing the kidnapper, the narrative illuminates the lives and experiences of an exotic cast of characters, Emma Sheridan, whose life has been a series of losses, Emma’s eccentric but resourceful son Alain, the wise and compassionate Argentinean therapist Ana Cejas, and then there are the suspects and perpetrators, driven by their own perverse needs.

About the Author

A San Francisco trial lawyer with a long, successful career, William C. Gordon is the author of five previous noir mysteries that have appeared in 10 languages.

by Robert Sieben

Once a major wildfire is burning, it’s too late for fire prevention and sometimes beyond the efforts of firefighters. That’s why the most important person preventing a house from burning is the homeowner, who can provide critical protection in advance.

If you live in an area threatened by wildfires, here are the most important steps you can take to preserve your home.

• Install an automatic gas shut off valve.
• Ember-proof your home.
• Keep decks clear.
• Create and maintain a non-ignition zone adjacent to your house.
• Remove junipers from your property.
• Take advantage of the wet season for vegetation
• Provide both vertical and horizontal spacing between plants and trees.

You fire insurance will not replace the time, anguish, valued personal items, or loss of community that occurs when your house burns down. The Homeowners Guide to Fire Prevention provides information that may save your home.

About the Author

Robert Sieben has been the volunteer coordinator of fire prevention for his homeowners association since 1998. He is a physician with no prior experience in fire prevention who built a townhouse in Oakland after the firestorm. The guidelines in his book represent what he has learned from thousands of hours of hands-on experience managing fire-prone vegetation on the large undeveloped portion of the homeowner association property. He served four terms on the Advisory Committee of the Oakland Wildfire Prevention Assessment District (WPAD), which he chaired, and also served on the North Hills Community Association, chairing its fire prevention committee. He has attended meetings of the Diablo Fire Safe Council and the National Wildlands Interface Council.

Bay Tree Publishing - The Halls of Power - William C. Gordon

by William C. Gordon

Fifth in a series of noir mysteries featuring newspaper reporter Samuel Hamilton, The Halls of Power explores corruption at the top of the money chain in San Francisco in the early 1960s. The work teems with eccentric characters at every level of society—hardboiled cops and immigrant workmen, and prosperous businessmen. None, however, can rival the albino sage, Mr. Song, who steps in with vigilante justice when the system stops working for the people of Chinatown.

Review

“I was bewitched by this page turner about the abuses of money and power. Willie Gordon has a great talent for dialogue. I could hear the characters speaking and with its fast-paced action, this book would make a great movie.”
Elizabeth Subercaseaux, author of A Week in October

About the Author

A San Francisco trial lawyer with a long, successful career, William C. Gordon is the author of five noir mysteries that have appeared in 10 languages. He lives in Marin County, California with his wife, Isabel Allende.

by Maud Nerman, DO, CSPOMM, CA

Renowned osteopathic physician Dr. Maud Nerman demonstrates how a wide range of symptoms—including unexplained headaches, anxiety, back or neck pain, weight gain, low sex drive, constant fatigue, asthma, chronic pain, or memory loss—can stem from the body’s inability to recover after an injury or trauma. Healing Pain and Injury identifies three key steps to regaining health after injury or trauma:

• Removing injury shock
• Restoring motion
• Controlling inflammation

Based on over 30 years of successful treatment of patients with seemingly intractable conditions, Dr. Nerman’s innovative approach enables readers to harness their body’s remarkable healing ability in order to reclaim their health and their lives.

When injury or illness befalls you, your body is your greatest ally, constantly fighting to restore balance and health to every part of you. But sometimes it needs the right kind of help.  Dr. Nerman weaves together personal stories from patients, three decades of experience, the healing tradition of osteopathic medicine, and recent scientific discoveries to explain why the body’s interconnectedness is often the key to recovery and how you can understand the clues it provides.

About the Author

Dr. Maud Haimson Nerman is an osteopathic physician with specialties in osteopathic manual medicine, cranial osteopathy, and classical homeopathy. A Stanford University graduate, she attended medical school at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Nerman is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor at the Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, CA. She has been in practice for over three decades, helping patients recover from injury and addressing complex medical conditions. She lectures throughout the U.S. on osteopathic medicine and regularly teaches advanced courses for medical professionals on the treatment of brain injury and trauma.

Reviews

 “Dr. Nerman is a gifted healer; I know that from personal experience . . . Now, everyone can have the benefit of her extensive wisdom.”
Geneen Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Women, Food and God and Lost and Found

“This highly readable, hope-giving book links cutting-edge science with practical ways to heal body and brain injury.”
Martha Herbert , MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

“Maud Nerman is a famously skilled clinician—both as an osteopath and a homeopath. Weaving personal anecdotes with solid clinical information, the book is both fascinating and useful. I highly recommend it for both clinicians and the lay public.”
Roger Morrison, MD, cofounder of the Hahnemann Medical Clinic, Hahnemann College of Homeopathy and author of The Desktop Guide, Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology

“Dr. Nerman provides phenomenal insight into the causes and treatment of trauma as well as useful guides for prevention. As an integrative physician, this book will be one of my recommendations for my patients and colleagues.”
Michelle Perro, MD, DHOM, Integrative Physician, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, Institute for Health and Healing

“If you continue to experience pain despite treatment, this book may unlock the doors to relief.”
Alan Caruba, Bookviews, Founding Member of National Book Critics Circle

“Dr. Nerman has compiled a truly eye-opening treatise on the devastating effects of trauma and injury shock on our health. The interconnectedness of every organ and energy system of the body, and the pivotal role that osteopathy can play in healing are deftly described in practical and readily understandable language.”
Michael E. Rosenbaum, MD, author of Super Supplements and Past President of The Healthy Foundation

Bay Tree Publishing - Undue Influence - Patrick O'Reilly - Phyllis Rosen

by Patrick O’Reilly
and Phyllis Rosen

Internet scams, Ponzi schemes, real estate rip-offs, weird cults, fortune-telling cons—it’s hard to read the news without finding another example of a successful con artist at work. As the number of cons (and victims) grows, the term undue influence is gaining widespread use.

Undue Influence: Cons, Scams and Mind Control identifies the tools and techniques con artists use and the vulnerabilities they look for in victims. Most scammers, including some charismatic psychopaths, have the uncanny ability to adapt common techniques of manipulation and control to the personality of their victim, and given the right circumstances, everyone is susceptible. The information in this book might be your best resource the next time makes an offer so good you can’t turn it down.

About the Authors

Patrick O’Reilly, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He is past president of the San Francisco Psychological Association and former chair of Bay Area Skeptics. He was a postdoctoral intern of the late Dr. Margaret Singer and has served as an expert witness on matters related to cults, gangs, undue influence, and false confessions.

Phyllis Rosen, J.D. has been a member of the California Bar since 1991. In the 1970s, Ms. Rosen was herself a member of a psychologized cult acting under the guise of being part of the human potential movement. Ms. Rosen was a research collaborator with Dr. Margaret Singer on matters of undue influence.

Reviews

“We’ve all wondered about the mysterious forces that compel bright people to follow leaders who are bad for them, or why we ourselves have been fooled. Patrick O’Reilly and Phyllis Rosen offer a sparkling page-turner filled with stories and insights that will leave you smarter than before.”
—Nanette Asimov has written about fringe groups as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work includes coverage of cults and high controlling relationships.

“One of the clearest, most accessible, and informative books on social manipulation and undue influence available … a remarkable feat.”
—Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D., professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, specializes in research on new and alternative religions and is the author of From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam Era

“… an important text for mental health practitioners when treating clients and patients who have been victimized.”
—George Taylor, Ph.D. is a professor of Special Education at Coppin State University, whose academic specialties include research methodology and special education. He is the author of twenty-three books in social science, including Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Research

 

Guest blog by Olin Dodson, author of Melissa’s Gift

When my daughter passed away from cystic fibrosis in 1997, it felt like my life ended. Melissa was only 18. I had known her for just 7 years—and that’s a long story—but we had a wondrous life together. Her abrupt passing, on top of her continuous struggles and hospitalizations, left me bereft and despondent.

It took nearly seven more years before I found an interest in living once again.

One of my greatest problems in those days and nights of darkness was the sense that each passing day was taking me further away from the Melissa I knew and loved. I feared that the experience of looking into her deep eyes and cradling her hand would become a faded memory. I existed under the power of two ideas: a) grief never ends; and b) you must let go and get on with your life. I was fortunate to learn that those two hope-shredding ideas were incomplete. Fully formed, they are: grief never ends, but love never dies; and let go you must… but not entirely.

Thomas Attig, in his book, How We Grieve, describes loving in absence as a desirable activity. He writes that, through story-telling, “we maintain a living rela­tionship with our deceased loved one, one in which we allow ourselves to be transformed by the gift of the other’s life. Searching for lasting love in separation is our best hope for tran­scending suffering and reaffirming the continuing meanings of the life now ended and of our own.”

After Melissa died, as I wrote the story of our years together, I soon discovered that she was with me every day. And, four years later, when I finished the book, Melissa’s Gift, I realized that I had not let go of Melissa; she was closer and more real to me than she had ever been. I saw her face and talked to her. I detected her handprint in different places in my life. I got on with my life with her. Melissa’s presence with me grew through my process of re-engaging with her in my imagination and writing, and delving deeply into the details of our love and sorrow.

Once I found a publisher for Melissa’s Gift, I studied contemporary thought about grief and loss. I began teaching workshops on grief, mixing the insights from my studies with conversations, dreams, and stories from life with my daughter. With each telling of stories, we continue to experience the love for—and from—the one we lost.

The stories, dreams, ceremonies and honoring of those who have passed enrich us. Together, we are part of a subculture of people who seek to fully embrace life in all of its joys and sorrows and see no point in merely “moving on” from loss. In our dif­fering ways we let go, but allow ourselves to be continually touched and influenced by a love which never ends, and the person who is so, so dear to us.

(This article was first published by Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc. and is used here with their permission.)

 

(Gijon, Spain, EFE)

The American writer William C. Gordon has reclaimed the style of the 60s in his crime novels, which he presented today at the Semana Negra (Noir Week) in Gijon.

Gordon is considered by critics to be the last survivor of the true genre because he preserves the original clues of the noir novel. Gordon has said that he refuses to use technology to solve the cases. In his novels the investigators don’t need DNA tests, computers or cellular phones, they only use their intuition, a precise methodology and intelligence.

“The idea is to use the brain to face the problems step by step, solve the criminal case and find the assassin,” he said today at the press conference.

Born in 1937 in Los Angeles, the author was in the U.S. Army, he owned a bar and worked as a lawyer in San Francisco. His wife, the Chilean writer Isabel Allende, pushed him to write noir novels.

Gordon created the character of Samuel Hamilton, a newspaper reporter who is the protagonist of his novels The Chinese Jars, King of the Bottom, Fractured Lives, and The Ugly Dwarf. “The protagonist is a reporter and not a private eye or a policeman precisely to avoid technology in the investigation,” explained the author.

In the first novel Samuel Hamilton is a ruined man, a drunk and a loser who needs help from others, but in the other two novels there is an evolution in this character: his life improves, said Gordon.

His father was the inspiration for title character in The Ugly Dwarf, whom he describes as an emotional dwarf, shameless and a womanizer. Gordon agrees with Ernest Hemingway in that “all novels are somehow autobiographic.”

His father’s assistant and mistress inspired the character of the dominatrix, who is the dwarf’s lover in the book. The writer has said that “for revenge and because he hated her,” he wanted to portray a negative image of the woman, but the unexpected result was that the readers sympathize with her.

Adapted from Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer by Neil Fiore, PhD

The inability to talk about your problems and feelings is a most serious obstacle to having a good relationship. Every relationship has its problems, but if you can talk about them you have a better chance of living through them, together. It makes sense, especially during times of serious illness, to be aware of barriers to open communications. In my work with cancer-stricken families I have seen two major barriers to communication: a conspiracy of silence and premature mourning.

A Conspiracy of Silence

With any serious illness and emotional topic, there is the danger of avoiding mentioning it for fear of saying the wrong thing and evoking strong feelings. This can lead to a conspiracy of silence in which the patient and the family avoid the topic in an attempt to protect each other, all the while creating feelings of alienation, misunderstanding, and barriers to direct and open communication.

Out of a sense of duty and a desire to protect a loved one, a vicious cycle of silence, misinterpretation, guesswork, and isolation gets started. Phrases like, “I don’t want to say anything because I’m afraid she’ll get upset,” or “They haven’t brought it up so I assume they just don’t want to talk about it,” are signs that a conspiracy of silence is taking place.

While you want to respect another’s timing, this doesn’t mean that you must sit silently with your own feelings and try to interpret clues as to when it’s okay to speak. You can still invite a conversation with phrases such as, “I don’t know what to say but I want you to know that I’d be glad to talk whenever you wish,” or “Please let me know when you’d like to talk about what you’ve been through.”

We cannot protect others from reality; they usually have some idea of what’s going on and often are imagining the worst. Even though our intentions are good, the desire to protect someone from hurt usually comes with an attempt to protect ourselves from our own upset. It generally makes sense to say something about what is troubling you, even if you choose to keep the details vague. For example, “I’ve been avoiding talking to you because I’ve been afraid I’d break down and cry. If you don’t mind me crying, I’d be glad to talk with you.” Let them know that you can handle your own emotions and that you don’t need protection from their feelings. If the two of you are going to cry, at least you can cry together.

Premature Mourning

Learning that a loved one has cancer often causes family members to start a painful premature mourning process and to be less available to support the patient’s ongoing treatments. Anticipating that you’ll have to repeat the mourning process in the future can lead to avoidance of the patient, thereby depriving the patient of real, human contact. Patients and their families and friends have different timetables for grieving and adapting to how cancer has affected them.

Even when we know that many forms of cancer are curable, there remains the fear that a cancer diagnosis is a death sentence. This fear can lead us to mourn the loss of a loved one even though he or she may recover from cancer, may live with it for years, or may want to enhance the quality of the last months of life with frequent visits and support from family and friends.

Of course, the patient can be the one who’s doing the premature mourning, isolating himself from the family and depriving them of an opportunity to share feelings and to express their concern and desire to help.

Please remember that being diagnosed with cancer, having cancer, and dying of cancer are separate and different states, each requiring its own emotions and adjustments, each in its own time. Eventually, the premature mourner must cope with the present moment rather than the imagined future. The patient may want to tell the premature mourner what I told a friend:

Stop avoiding me and treating me as if I’m already dead. I’m still here. I’m still alive! I need you to be with me, now. Help me to make the most of whatever time is left. There’ll be plenty of time for grieving after I’m gone. But don’t be so sure I’m going that fast. In fact, I may hang around so long that you may be saying, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?”

You most likely will find that, as you become more comfortable with these difficult feelings, you’ll worry less and will enjoy more fully the valuable time that you still have with each other.