Whither Science? by Danko Antolovic

whither science book cover
Whither Science? by Danko Antolovic is a series of essays that explore some of the questions facing modern science.
“In Whither Science?, we look at the history of science, question its practices and examine its potential,” says Danko Antolovic. “We examine the strengths and weaknesses of the scientific method, and we seek to understand the worldview that follows from it. Lastly, and most importantly, we inquire about the future of science and about the problems that science urgently needs to solve.”
Science and the scientific method have matured into a global endeavor, which influences all of contemporary life, and like other great human endeavors, science has its historical origins and intellectual foundations. It has a set of accepted principles, as well as current practices that do not always coincide with the professed principles, and it has choices to make for the future.
Whither Science? looks into the fundamental questions about the purposes, practices and future of science. These questions need to be asked because both scientists and the broader public, that is, all who benefit from science, should try to understand the social, historical and material consequences of science’s ubiquitous presence.
This book is written in non-technical language, and is intended to be easily accessible to general readers who are interested in science and its broader implications. It will also be of interest to scientists who seek to explore the intellectual context of their discipline.

 

Excerpt from Whither Science?:
The Age of Heroes
Foundational stories of the origins of peoples and cultures always exalt the past in order to validate the present, but we know that the here-and-now never quite measures up to the grand mythical past from which it supposedly descended. Heroic bygone days always give way to a mundane present, and not even the greatest historic rulers of ancient Greece had quite the stature of the legendary kings of the house of Atreus, or of Achilles and Odysseus, Homeric heroes of divine lineage. The latter heroes, for all their courage and wile, were in turn not the equals of their predecessors, the mythical gods who, in the beginning, shaped the world in blood-drenched acts of creation.
Our contemporary techno-scientific culture, which is close to being the global culture, has no foundational myth written in a great epic and chanted down the generations, but it does have a popularly accepted foundational narrative, which is retold in countless books on popular science, and which aims to explain science’s origins and validate its purpose. In this essay, we will briefly relate this narrative, and we will examine its transition into present-day science, a contemporary human endeavor for which the narrative still functions as the story of origin.
At the risk of being somewhat Eurocentric, by science we mean a systematic and uncompromising application of rational empirical inquiry to the material world. Of course, empirical inquiry is as old as the human kind, but its transformation into a fundamental outlook on the world, that is into “science,” took place in the 16th and  17th century Europe. Men who stand as symbols of that awakening are mainly the early astronomers: Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei; in popular imagination they live on as Promethean figures who defied authority and brought the gift of light to humanity, and some of them, like Prometheus himself, did so at great personal cost.
European Enlightenment of the 17-18th century, and the Industrial Revolution, stretching through 19th century, is the Age of Heroes of classical science. This is the time of larger than life figures, “fathers” of scientific fields: Newton (mechanics and calculus), Boyle and Lavoisier (chemistry), Kelvin (thermodynamics), Darwin (evolution), Faraday (electromagnetism); mathematicians Leibniz, Euler and Gauss also belong here. And so on: our purpose is not to produce a full list of credits, but to sketch out the popular narrative, incomplete as it inevitably is. The later part of that period, the 18th and 19th century, could also be called more prosaically the Age of Progress: many of the scientific names and discoveries from that time enjoy little popular recognition, but that was the period in which the breakthroughs of the heroic age matured into a way of life and formed the foundations for today’s technology-based society.
Early 20th century saw another, late heroic period, belonging to atomic physics and the theory of relativity; in popular imagination, this period in science’s history is represented by the slightly idiosyncratic visage of Albert Einstein, and by the mushroom cloud. The foundational narrative of science, as we outline it here, ends with the Second World War and the development of the atom bomb. This is the time when heroic ages come to a close, and science comes under the sway of earthly rulers, of history, and of politics.
Now, it is certainly true that scientific progress provided useful help to state power well before the atom bomb, and in any case heroic ages are always more allegorical than factual. But the development of the nuclear weapon is a historical marker of the changed status of science in society, since the magnitude of the bomb’s power made it clear that the very survival of nation states would depend on the national prowess in that application of empirical inquiry that we call science. Science would from then on be co- opted, managed and circumscribed by political powers.
Intellectual status of the scientist changed at the same time: he would no longer be the autonomous, intellectually esteemed and perhaps marginally irrelevant pursuer of esoteric quests, and would become society’s artisan, maker of useful things. Again, history is gradual, but two historical episodes serve as useful markers of that change:
Toward the end of the Manhattan Project, a sizable group of scientists who were involved in the development of the bomb, led by Leo Szilard, petitioned the United States government for restraint in its use. They were summarily ignored, and the bombing of population centers in Japan went ahead. The shiny new weapon that they had provided was not theirs to dispose of or haggle about – they were the craftsmen, not the decision makers.
After the war, Julius Robert Oppenheimer, a highly prominent scientific figure in the Manhattan Project, was accused of “communist sympathies,” investigated, and disgraced. Historians may argue about the merits of the charges, but this certainly was a cold- hearted destruction of a man who had contributed much to the technological basis of America’s nascent superpower status. Whether intentionally or otherwise, the Oppenheimer episode made it clear who was dispensable and who was not, in the emerging techno-scientific order.
Ironically perhaps, the fate of Oppenheimer wasn’t even a novel one. Long before him, mythical inventor Daedalus also discovered that skill and mastery over matter did not guarantee power, or even protection, in the world of men: disregarding his good service, the story tells us, Minos of Crete imprisoned and abused him in a fit of anger. He, Daedalus, was an artisan, maker of useful things; Minos was king.
Significance of the foundational narrative that we outlined above reaches beyond popular science classes. Today, the practitioner of science is almost without exception an employee of a larger corporate entity (a university or a company) or of a national government. He is hemmed in by the tangible constraints of his terms of employment and funding, and by the less tangible ones of departmental, institutional and funding politics. He labors in a crowded field, in which there are increasingly fewer stones left unturned, and he climbs the ladder of corporate seniority until he retires.
Since scientific development is fundamentally important to the well-being of modern societies, it is easy to see the benefits of exalting this decidedly un-adventurous walk of life with the help of a heroic foundation story. In the eyes of the supporting public, and in those of prospective practitioners, present-day science is the heir and descendant of the heroic achievements that dispelled the darkness of superstition, changed our image of the universe, and wonder-worked what we today know as the industrial world. And so it is, but we should examine the heir on his own merits.
Incidentally, science proper isn’t the only one claiming heroic validation. Industry based on science is eager to convince us that the past isn’t really over: heroic times are still with us, we are told that we now live in the “digital” age, and its tycoons are quick to claim the title of “genius,” closest modern equivalent of demigod. We should feel uneasy about these latter-day claims to heroic-age continuity: when king Alexander of Macedon elevated himself to divine status, that was an embarrassing overreach of a great man; when emperor Caligula did the same, it was the delusion of a fool.

 

Danko Antolovic About the Author
Danko Antolovic is a scientist and technologist whose professional activities and publications have included research in quantum chemistry and computational modeling of molecules, research in solar energy for space applications, design of systems for image analysis and robotic vision, and development of wireless communication technology. He received his doctorate and master’s degree in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Indiana University.
Danko is the author of a monograph on wireless technology, “Radiolocation in Ubiquitous Wireless Communication” published by Springer in 2010. In addition to Whither Science? his non-technical writings include a recently published essay on the philosopher René Descartes, “Descartes’ Menagerie of Demons,” and an upcoming novella based on the Greek myths about the legendary inventor Daedalus, in which Daedalus retells the myths as his own life story.
Danko currently resides in Bloomington, IN. In his free time, he enjoys reading folk tales, fantastic and slightly surreal stories, and occasional science fiction. Readers can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Danko Antolovic, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Told from the Hips by Andrea Amosson

Told from the Hips book cover
Told from the Hips, by Andrea Amosson, has been translated from the original Spanish version titled Cuentos Encaderados. It is a collection of short stories that feature strong women and the strength they have within them to handle any challenging situation that comes their way. Each story is about a different woman, in a different circumstance. The women in these stories each have varying backgrounds, cultures, and histories. Their stories are empowering, relatable, and thought-provoking. 
 “Told from the Hips is a collection of stories of womanhood, sensuality, emotion, and difficult pasts that have been “collected” from these individual characters at various points in their lifetime and experiences… Andrea Amosson creates a collection of short stories that each work well on their own to create their own solid tone and feeling, yet that work together to create a theme of powerful, strong, unembarrassed women. Each story tells its own tale in a short time, creating both a full, stand-alone story, yet one that leaves readers yearning for more.” – 5 Stars from Red City Review

 

Excerpt:
COPENHAGEN
After thirty minutes of riding, my uncle, who always led the group, took a left turn. I noticed these were the hardest turns for me. Turning right was easier, but in the opposite direction, I usually leaned in so far that I was afraid of landing belly-down on the pavement. From behind my aunt yelled that the “Lope” was straight ahead.
I looked up with excitement. “The Lope, at last!”
We got off our bikes. We parked them next to an assortment of velocipedes, some with little baskets and flowers, others with stickers, and still others simple or elegant.
“Where is the ‘Lope’?” I asked, looking around and observing the parking area with multi-colored bikes next to an empty space where children were kicking a ball around; a little further on, a couple of homeowners with their pets and, at the center, something that appeared to be a sort of flea market.
“This is the Lope”! they answered in unison.
Once again I felt a fondness towards them; you could tell they were close, a couple of Chileans isolated in the middle of the Nordic cold. They had spent so many hours together they even coordinated their answers, without really intending to.
“This is it?” I said, with obvious surprise.
“Yes. What do you think?” she answered, her eyes shining.
“It’s pretty… ” I lied.
“Let’s look around, you’ll like it,” he said.
“Sure… let’s go… it’s pretty…” I lied again.
So we started to cross the humble streets of the so-called “lope,” no longer capitalized. The vendor stalls sold
vintage watches, second-hand clothes, some portable radios, fake pearl necklaces, little tea cups, music. They adored this little outdoor fair with its charming wares.
I thought about the Persa Bío Bío marketplace, the enormous bagatelle fair in my capital city, about how I would get ready one weekend every month to peruse the ample aisles and be amazed at the products they had for sale. Suddenly I was struck by the immense distance that separated us. I could go to the Persa Bío Bío whenever I wanted, but what about them? They had been living in Europe for a long time. Many years would have to go by before they could visit the dusty Atacama Desert again, where he came from, or the fertile lands of Temuco, where she was born.
I understood that the “Lope” was not just a flea market. It was, in reality, a small journey back to their lost homeland. A connection to that slice of a republic beaten down by dictatorship.
As the years passed, the visit to the “Lope” had become sacred. Every Sunday they got on their bikes and pedaled hard to get to the only disorganized and chaotic place they could find in Copenhagen’s limpid symmetry. They would wander through the sparse rows of enchanting shops as if they were visiting the Louvre. Basically, it amounted to a way of conjuring up a sense of nostalgia in the midst of a flea market.
Once I realized this, I decided to wander through the “Lope” (capital letter and all), with the best attitude I could. I even tried to chat with some of the vendors. They obviously didn’t understand anything I said, but the Danish, in utter contrast to their environment, exude a special warmth in their embrace of foreigners. “Thank you!” I repeated as I paid three thousand crowns for a dysfunctional watch with an orange band.
The visit to the “Lope” came to an end. In a couple of hours, I had to board a train to Switzerland. And from Switzerland, a plane to Santiago.
“Did you like it?” they asked me in unison, as usual.
“Of course! It was lovely! Thank you so much!” I answered, with the enthusiasm of a girl of fifteen, but this time I really meant it.
We went back to their apartment by a different route. They wanted me to see the monuments, cross some bridges and glimpse some of the parks for one last time. The cool breeze of Frederiksholm Canal caressed my cheeks. The look in my eyes thanked them for this last round of stops at the traditional tourist attractions. And I appreciated even more the visit to the novelty store.
Back on their street, we chained the bicycles to the lamp post in front of the building. My uncle ran up and down to and from the apartment so fast that he didn’t give me time to prepare for saying good-bye. He had my suitcase, backpack and the new bag I had to purchase to hold all the presents they were sending to Chile. The bag was a universe of small multi-colored packets tied up with silk and satin bows. They hadn’t stopped wrapping packages for the entire length of my stay. Whenever we had dinner, our table-talk was surrounded by wrapping paper, ribbons and cards. They wouldn’t let me help and that had bothered me. This was before visiting the “Lope” and understanding their estrangement. The little packages were another remedy for the loneliness they felt.
We went to the train station, in a cab this time. It had started to rain. We ran with the luggage, me sweating, they with agility, but all of us somber.
My train was already at the platform, although it would not depart for another thirty minutes. “It’s better if you get on now,” he said, his eyes all red.
“But there’s still time,” I answered.
“No, Emilia, you’d better get on now,” she insisted.
“All right…” I said, astonished.
I thanked them for their hospitality, for the roast beef dinners, the walks through the immigrants’ quarter, the visits to palaces, gardens, castles, the coast. They listened to my words in silence. To cheer them up, I mentioned the gifts they were sending to Chile. And, especially, the visit to the “Lope.”
The parting was rather cold. Not what I was expecting. There were no hugs, barely a handshake.
I got on the train to look for my seat, next to the window. I placed the suitcase in the space under the seat and arranged the rest on my lap. Then I looked for them. Outside, people crowded together between the trains that came in and out of the station.
When I saw them, I waved. I know they saw me, but they didn’t respond.
Raindrops ran down the window and I couldn’t distinguish their faces. They started to walk away slowly. From my spot, I could see them going out the door; they didn’t turn around. They walked with their arms around each other, at a weary pace, as if dragging their bodies through the rain that now beat down furiously. I stared at them until my sight began to blur, blinked for an instant, and when I opened my eyes, they had already gone.

Andrea AmossonAbout the Author:
Andrea Maluenda de Amosson was born in Antofagasta, Chile. She studied journalism at the Catholic University in Antofagasta, and completed graduate studies in Hispano-American and Chilean Literature from University of Chile. She received a Creative Writing scholarship from University Complutense of Madrid, Spain, in 2005.
Andrea has lived in Dallas, Texas with her family since 2011, she is the mother of two little boys.  She teaches a weekly creative writing class, the only one in Spanish language in the Dallas area, and she has founded a free, Spanish only, book club for the Hispanic population. The book club now has more than 30 members and celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary last October.  She is also the founder of “La farmacia de la Ñ”, a literary group of Hispanic writers and poets of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, that offers free public literary events to the Hispanic population, in order to promote reading and writing; and to open space to share the Latin-American culture.
Andrea has won several awards and contests for her writing. Most notably, she won 1st place People’s Choice for her short story Maria Kawésqar in a literary contest organized by La Nota Latina magazine, the Hispanic Heritage Literature Organization, and the International association of Hispanic authors and poets in Miami, FL.
Told from the Hips was published by Nowadays Orange Productions in January 2015. It is the English translation of Cuentos Encaderados.
Readers can connect with Andrea on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to http://www.andreaamosson.com/
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Andrea Amosson, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate

Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate.
In Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate, Pamela Sherrod, a Christian author, screenwriter, and producer, shares the story of how she unintentionally stumbled into the center of one of Hollywood’s longest and most vicious legal battles and played a vital role in the historic outcome of the Sammy Davis Jr. Estate.
When Sammy Davis Jr. died in 1990, after losing his fight with throat cancer, another war soon erupted, one which threatened to dismantle his legacy and the future of his estate. The $5 million debt that he’d left his widow, Altovise, represented just one chapter in a tumultuous story that was filled with unfathomable glamour, multiple scandals and the treachery that accompanied the greed of their associates.
In 2005, when Sherrod partnered with Altovise Davis to create inspirational and educational family films, she was introduced to the dark side of the entertainment industry. Sammy’s embattled estate teetered between the control of his wife – whose life was wracked by alcoholism – and the two men who were determined to seize it. The tragedies that followed would challenge, not only Sherrod’s faith in God, but the very essence of the work that she’d begun.
In this eye-witness account, Sherrod presents stunning revelations and testimonies about the famous couple’s life – including friends such as Bill Cosby and Elizabeth Taylor – as she documents, not only the final outcome of the Davis estate, but the tragic and triumphant events that preceded it.
“It’s more than just a story about Hollywood, the betrayal of friends, the theft of screenplays, the abandonment of allies and other horrific things that take place there,” says Sherrod.  “It’s Sammy and Altovise’s story, but it’s also my story as a Christian writer. I was pulled into the Sammy Davis Jr. saga, although it wasn’t my intention, and (for better or worse) it made a lasting impression on my life. In many ways, I’m ‘the last little Indian,’ trying to finish the work that Sammy urged Altovise to do, and the work that I’d committed myself to do.”

 

Excerpt:
Introduction
In 1970, Sammy was married again, this time to Altovise Gore, and the couple would become Hollywood’s version of Bonnie and Clyde. They were notorious for hosting numerous gatherings where the phrase, ‘anything goes,’ could have easily been coined. Their sprawling Beverly Hills home was the scene of parties that catered to aficionados of heavy drinking, experimental sex – especially wife swapping and orgies – and the flagrant use of drugs.
Although, Altovise, herself, was a professional dancer, and had performed with Sammy on various stages, somewhere along the way, she’d lost a strong sense of herself. Living with Sammy could be overwhelming; for a man with a small physique, his persona would cast a huge shadow.
Following their marriage, Altovise continued to appear in Sammy’s shows, at least, until the period when entertainer, Katherine McKee, replaced her, both, under the stage lights of Sammy’s productions and under the silk sheets of his bed. Altovise and Sammy’s ‘open marriage’ allowed Katherine to assume the role of Sammy’s ‘road wife,’ but it would also contribute to Altovise’s long and painful battle with alcohol. Despite the complicated, and sometimes degrading nature of their union, she would always call Sammy her hero. After all, he was like an open wallet.
During the height of his career, Sammy, literally, made millions each year, but, unfortunately, made an art of spending considerably more. Back during his heyday – when the money was good and the loans were quick – he got away with it. After all, there was always another show to cover his debts.
Sammy, who had extravagant tastes, shared his indulgent lifestyle with Altovise, who, like her husband, shopped with almost reckless abandon. From luxurious furs and exquisite jewels, to a fleet of customized and exotic cars, Sammy tried to quench their every desire.
The years of hard living and reckless spending would eventually catch up to the star. His business and investment ventures were plagued with mismanagement. A troubling pattern existed in which Sammy had been underpaid by various recording studios, and he’d signed contracts which offered less than favorable terms. There were even instances in which he’d failed to secure the master recordings of his own songs.
Having lived far beyond his means, when Sammy died of throat cancer in 1990, he left to his wife an estate that was embroiled in a huge legal and financial crisis. With over $5 million owed to the IRS, alone, Altovise faced a tax lien that, at the time, was the highest in the country. The glamorous and privileged life she’d known for twenty years was now over.
Altovise was ill-prepared to accept the sobering realities of her new life, especially when the IRS seized the Davis estate, selling their twenty-two room mansion and auctioning their most precious possessions. She was equally unprepared for the cold rejection of some of their oldest friends, especially Bill Cosby, who’d been one of Sammy’s closest buddies.
After all, when Sammy was battling cancer, he made one of his last T.V. appearances on The Cosby Show, and on the day of Sammy’s funeral, Cosby was an honorary pallbearer. To memorialize him, Bill wore Sammy’s initials on his clothing during the following season of his show. It was the type of moving, Cosby-like gesture for which he was so famous.
However, while Bill donned Sammy’s initials in public, behind the scenes, he had a very different attitude. Altovise later confided in me that she’d been desperate for help, but when she’d reached out to Bill, she’d been shocked by his indifference. “He never helped me,” she said, her voice still filled with pain. A friend had also called Bill on her behalf, but she claimed that he’d never even called back.
In the following seasons, Altovise would quietly disappear from the public, and her whereabouts would be a mystery for many years, at least, up until 2004, when she first resurfaced in Sarasota, Florida. A cloud of questions still remained, though, regarding the years when she was seemingly ‘missing,’ and the final outcome of the Davis estate.
A few months later, in 2005, a friend would introduce me to Altovise, to help write her autobiography. I welcomed the new assignment with the intention of, first, learning all I could about her amazing life. In my efforts to understand Altovise’s struggle – the pressures of her marriage and the magnitude of her debt – I began to research Sammy’s career and their unconventional marriage.
I was struck by the cruel dichotomy in Altovise’s life. I was lunching with a woman who’d entertained some of the world’s most famous celebrities. She’d once lived in a sprawling Beverly Hills mansion, where, parked out front, was a Rolls-Royce bearing her name on its plate. That day, however, she would return to a cramped little apartment down the street from my community and actually need a ride to get home.
Altovise and I found that we shared a passion for creating children’s stories, an interest which began to consume most of our conversations. We became increasingly drawn to the idea of collaborating on stories that might impact the lives of teens, especially future artists. This was ideal, because Altovise wasn’t ready to discuss the sensitive nature of her marriage, which was controversial, to say the least. Nor, was she forthcoming about the last ‘missing’ years of her life. In fact, a frightening new problem was developing, and she couldn’t speak about this, either.
I paused the work that I’d begun on Altovise’s autobiography, because her life was far more complex than it had first appeared. She was struggling with a great deal more than just a mountain of debt and a Smirnoff bottle, stashed inside her Louis Vuitton. Behind her radiant smile was a woman facing, still another crisis.
Altovise wasn’t exactly homeless when she was later evicted from her Sarasota apartment, but her tenuous situation become something close to perilous.
To make bad matters worse, rumor had it that two men were stealing her belonging, raiding her bank accounts and sponging off what was left of Sammy’s estate. For some reason, Altovise believed that she’d found herself a hero in one of the men. When they entered a business partnership – though it was heavily tilted in their favor – she’d believed that her rags-to-riches-to-rags ordeal was over. Unfortunately, when Altovise signed over the control of Sammy’s estate, she unwittingly opened up Pandora’s Box.
Being a quiet and soft-spoken writer, I never wanted to be pulled into a messing legal battle, especially since Altovise, initially, wanted to keep this part of her life private. So, even when their arrangement went sour, I managed to refrain from getting involved, that is, until February 2007, on the unforgettable evening of the Academy Awards.

 

Pamela SherrodAbout the Author:
Pamela Sherrod is a Christian author, screenwriter, and producer. She graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in Journalism.
As a screenwriter, Pamela partnered with the late Altovise Davis, and formed RisingStar31 Productions to write and produce entertaining and educational films.  In 2015, Pamela launched plans to produce her first musical film, A Detour to Mexico.
As a writer, Pamela has published several books, including The Last Chapter in the Life of Mrs. Sammy Davis, Jr and Sammy Davis Jr.: The Writer Who Saved His Estate.
Pamela currently lives in Sarasota, Florida, where she’s raising her daughter. Readers can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to: SammyDavisJrTheWriterWhoSavedHisEstate.com
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Pamela Sherrod, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight

Code Name Papa Book Cover
After a lifetime of working for a secret international group, John Murray finally reveals his journey with the help of his wife, Sharon, and co-writer Abby. His memoir, Code Name: Papa – My Extraordinary Life While Hiding in Plain Sight, details his time within an organization that, while not connected to the US government, operated with the full blessing of top people in our government.
“With this book, I hope to educate the public and open up the conversation about what our country and others have really done on dangerous secret missions to help the world,” says John Murray (Papa), who deftly tells his fascinating and memorable life story, laying out facts but leaving it to readers to determine how they feel about each mission.
The highlighted missions include the deaths of eight counter covert operators in a major Las Vegas hotel conference room during a mission that has “stayed in Vegas” until now; a European mission to save sex slaves from major drug dealers; a successful all-out effort to save a small European country from takeover, and much more.
These are real stories, gritty and true—not the fantasy world of James Bond, Scandal, and others.

 

Synopsis:
Who’d have thought a bright, but fairly ordinary young man from middle class America who got just above average grades, dated the same girl throughout high school and went to church most Sundays, would grow up to eventually head a very secretive band of brave individuals–both men and women–who regularly put their lives on the line because they wanted to protect the rest of you. Yet that’s what we did, often sacrificing our personal lives (four marriages for me, all in the book) and our health (countless broken bones, major surgeries, even death) to do it.
Meanwhile you’re just going to have to call me “Papa” like everyone else around the globe has through most of those wildly unpredictable and dangerous years.

 

Praise:
 “I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what really happens to bad people who threaten the safety and well being of our world. It was a page turner that I could hardly put down.”S. King
“I typically do not take the time to write reviews. However, this book was so incredibly riveting that I felt compelled to let other Amazon members know that it’s an honest-to-goodness page turner. I can’t wait to see what happens next…hopefully a sequel and movie!”Max’s Mom
“The story is riveting, once you start reading you won’t want to put it down! Learning about these undercover missions involving the cooperation of several nations is mind boggling.”L. Lynch

 

About the Authors:
For the sake of their own safety and that of their loved ones, the writers have chosen to move forward in revealing this story under aliases.
John Murray:
A Vietnam vet, John Murray, later known as “Papa,” has spent the majority of his adult life working as an undercover agent for the U.S., Canadian and various European governments. During this time, he rose from agent to the head of US Operations.
John was raised in the South by his grandfather who taught him at an early age how to survive by hunting and fishing, which all served him well for his future. He firmly believes that if he had not had the guidance of his grandfather and others who influenced his life that he never would have survived the ordeals that he did.
John, who enjoyed a very average American childhood, always wanted to be a ‘normal’ husband and father, but you’ll eventually understand why that was impossible.
Papa and his crews bore the responsibility of taking care of much of the world’s evil – evil that could never have come to the public’s attention.
Now retired, he and his wife are living in a small rural Western town. As ‘normal’ as he tries to live, he will always be haunted by the visions of what he saw and what he tried to prevent or rectify.
Sharon Murray:
Sharon is a retired business executive who has lived in many parts of the US and in Asia.  Happily married to John for over five years, she had no idea about his work until she experienced his nightmares about the past.
After discussions about how she might help John, he asked Sharon to help him write his memoirs just as something to leave behind, unpublished. After several years of working on them, Sharon convinced John it was a story worth telling to the world.  Working on this project has helped John start to face some of the things he experienced while trying to be a good guy in a world gone awry.
Abby Jones:
This is Jones’ fifth book.  She also writes for numerous magazines.  The original manuscript was handed off to Abby, a friend of Sharon, who has a reputation for her easy, conversational writing style.
Abby worked with John and Sharon for approximately eighteen months to make sure John’s voice was never lost in the rewrites.  She notes that both John and Sharon were wonderful to collaborate with via phone, computer and text.  By the way, she has never met John!
Abby currently lives on the West Coast. She has traveled extensively and lived in many other parts of the US as well as in Europe.
Code Name: Papa—My Extraordinary Life while Hiding in Plain Sight is the first in a planned trilogy. John, Sharon, and Abby are currently working on the second book, about Papa’s mentor, Amy.
To learn more, go to:
CodeNamePapa.com | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview with John Murray, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

Christopher Mannino’s Epic Fantasy Novel ‘School of Deaths’ is Now Available in Audiobook

School of Deaths Book CoverJanuary 26, 2016 (Greenbelt, MD) – Author Christopher Mannino announced today that School of Deaths, the first installment of his Young Adult trilogy, is now available for purchase in audio format from the popular audiobook site, Audible. Sword of Deaths, the second book in the trilogy, is expected to be released in audio format next month. The books are narrated by acclaimed audiobook narrator Joel Froomkin.
“I’m really pleased with how well The Scythe Wielder’s Secret series has been doing,” says Maninno, “I know a lot of people are interested in audiobooks for long trips or even their daily commute, but the selection can be on the skimpy side. I’m happy I can contribute School of Deaths as a fresh option.”
School of Deaths has been ranked as an Amazon bestseller in Epic Fantasy, and reviewers have compared the series to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson.
Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death? 
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.
As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn’t an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.
“If you like Harry Potter, you’ll love this!” – Sasha Alsberg, A Book Utopia
“Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!”Reader’s Favorite
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, MD. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance and production drama groups. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life. To learn more, go to ChristopherMannino.com
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Christopher Mannino, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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A Guide to Finding a Publisher for First Time Authors

laptop, writingSo you’ve finished your novel. It’s finalized, ready to go, and you know it’s going to be a hit. What do you do next? This is a simple 4 step guide for those who want to try to find a publisher without going through an agent.
1. Scope Out Publishers 
It sounds like an easy enough step, but how do you go about it? You might have seen suggestions to check out your local bookstore and jot down the publishers of books in your genre. But there are easier ways. More likely than not, you’ll find that a lot of those publishing houses do not take unsolicited submissions.
So where do you turn? Your best sources are yearly updated writer’s market books, such as Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer, or Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market by Alice Pope. These contain information on almost every publishing house you could want, as well as agents and literary contests. Flip through these and find publishers who are accepting unsolicited submissions in your genre. It is also a good idea to then check out their websites for their most up-to-date information, such as whether they are currently open for submissions.
The internet is actually a more useful resource than a lot of other guides let on. There are quite a few lists of independent publishers out there and many of these lists are generated by other writers or collaborations of writers who have been through the same process. However, it should only be used as a secondary resource as these are not always official or licensed lists. Here are some lists of publishers from Book Market, IPG Book, and Flavor Wire to get you started.
Another option to consider would be genre-specific publishers. For example, Harlequin and Crimson Romance specifically publish romance novels while Down and Out or Mulholland Books are geared towards mystery and crime books.  This could be ideal in the sense that each publishing house has experience promoting your book’s genre and most likely already has a following.  Some of their customers would be inclined to buy your work simply because it was published by a company that has published other books that they enjoyed. One thing to be mindful of is that publishing through a genre-specific company would commit you to that one genre. For example, Harlequin may love your romance novel, but wouldn’t be interested in a new family drama you were working on.
There are pros and cons to each of these routes to publication, but you know yourself and your book best so be sure to weigh your options before committing to one.
2. Follow the Submission Guidelines
There is no better way to make a good first impression then to follow the publisher’s guidelines to the letter. There is also no better way to make a bad first impression then to disregard the guidelines. You will find that there is an astonishing amount of variability in what different houses look for in a submission package, so you’ll need to be flexible.
Some houses may want your full manuscript, some the first few chapters, and others may want a sampling from various chapters. Some accept electronic submissions while others do not. Some want a one page summary and others want a ten page summary. You get the idea.
It is a good idea to have certain generic pieces of your proposal prepared. For example, have a basic cover letter ready that allows for variability depending on what the publisher is looking for. Prepare a summary of your novel that is a couple of pages long that you can lengthen or shorten as need be.
Once you have put together a submission package that has all of the necessary parts, it’s time for the next step.
3. Send It Out and Wait
Most publishers will provide information on the length of their turnaround time, but it is important to know that it could easily take longer (or shorter, if you are lucky!). Be patient. If it takes a lot longer than they said it would, then it is okay to send a short message asking if your submission has been received.
Most houses are very good about not leaving you hanging and letting you know if you have been rejected. Once in a while, however, you might get no reply at all. In that case, see it as a rejection and move on.
If you happen to get accepted, then congratulations and best of luck! If not, then move on to the final step.
4. Deal with Rejections and Feedback
The number one thing to do when you get a rejection is to remember not to write back telling the publisher that they have made a mistake. This may sound silly to you, but people do it. Simply accept it, and move on. Unless you are one of the luckiest people to ever try to publish a book, chances are you will face rejection before acceptance. If you really believe that your manuscript can make it, then keep trying.
There is, however, the possibility that your book is not as great as you thought it was. You have to be willing to be critical and honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t need to give up on the whole thing, but it might need some editing or a re-write. Sometimes it takes a second pair of eyes to catch something you missed when you were so close to the project. It’s up to you to decide.
Once in a while a publisher, even if they reject you, may also send along feedback and pointers. This is a good thing and you should take it as a learning opportunity. The fact that even though they rejected you, they took the time to make constructive comments lets you know that they think you and your manuscript were worth their time. They might even ask you to resubmit after making the corrections.
Really take their suggestions to heart. Chances are that advice coming from someone in the publishing world will only improve your manuscript and increase your chances with other houses, as they typically look for similar things.
Of course it is always up to you to decide what advice to implement in your writing. You may receive contradicting advice from two different publishers! Ultimately, it is left to your discretion. Just remember to use every bit of feedback and every rejection as an opportunity to grow.