Category Archives: Blog Talk Radio

Watch RWISA Write: Stephanie Collins

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Stephanie Collins!

Guilt, Shame & Fear

By Stephanie Collins

 

“I can’t stand the feeling of being out of control, so I’ve never had any interest in trying drugs or alcohol,” I mused.

“You sure seemed to have an interest when you were younger,” Dad informed me. He responded to my perplexed look before I had a chance to deny his claim. “What? You don’t remember trying pot? Let’s see. It was about 1975. That would have made you five, right? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a summer afternoon. I walked into the living room and found you with a bong in one hand and a beer in the other. You just looked up at me, glassy-eyed, with a smile on your face and said, ‘Hi, Dad.’ You don’t remember that?”

“Uh…no!”

“Ha! Do you remember the massive headache you had the next day? You hated life that day! I told you not ever to do it again…and you never did,” he reminisced in a tone laced with humor and pride.

It was after that conversation when I really began to question my apparent lack of childhood memories. I have next to no memory of life before the divorce of my parents (when I was eight) and precious few afterward.

My parental split also marks the onset of memories of the “secret playtime” I shared with Dad. I remember realizing that what was happening to me was wrong (to a certain extent, anyway), but Dad really missed Mom. I felt proud to be there for him in his time of grief and loneliness. I had many roles as the oldest daughter. I got my toddler sister to bed on time, scolded her when I found her drinking a beer (that one I do have a vague memory of), and I cleaned the house. Those “more intimate interactions” with Dad were just another in my list of responsibilities as I saw it.

But if Dad remembered the timeline correctly, Mom and Dad were still together when I was five. Where was Mom when her Kindergartener daughter was experimenting with drugs? Could this mean I should add neglect as a descriptor of my “chaotic” upbringing? Could it mean the molestation began earlier than I have any memory of? Does it even matter at this point?

For a time, I was skeptical if someone told me s/he didn’t have sexual abuse in their background. It seemed it was everywhere. I ran a support group in a junior high school when getting my psychology degree. It was for eighth-grade girls, and the only qualifier for an invitation to the group was poor school attendance. After a few weeks of meetings, I opened a session with – innocently enough – “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” One girl immediately began to cry. She explained she had confronted her parents over the weekend with the news that her brother had sexually abused her for years. She had come forward out of fear for the niece her brother’s girlfriend had just given birth to. That student’s admission led to the revelation that six of the seven of us in our circle that day had a history of sexual abuse.

My best friend in college was gang-raped in high school. My college boyfriend was [brutally] raped by a neighbor as a child. Maybe the most disturbing situation I heard about was when I was a senior in high school. I had befriended a freshman. She came to me one day, inconsolable. She was petrified, as she was positive she was pregnant. I tried to calm her with reassuring words, then asked, “Have you told [your boyfriend] yet?” She burst into a fresh bout of tears. When she was finally able to speak again, she confessed in an agonized whisper, “I can’t! It’s not his. It’s…it’s my uncle’s, or my father’s.”

I don’t know how I thought sexual abuse was rampant all around me but had somehow left the rest of my family untouched. Soon after my first daughter was born, I learned that Dad had attempted to molest my younger sister when I was about 12 (my sister would have been 7 or 8 then). As it turns out, I disrupted the attempt when I went to inform them I had just finished making breakfast. I learned of that incident because our [even younger] step sister had just pressed charges against Dad for her sexual abuse from years earlier. He served four years.

Incidentally, that family drama enlightened me to the fact that my grandmother had been abused by a neighbor. My aunt had been abused by her uncle. I wonder if Dad had been sexually abused, too (in addition to the daily, brutal physical abuse I know he suffered at the hands of my grandfather).

As with most survivors of abuse from a family member, I am full of ambiguity and conflict. I am glad Dad was educated to the error of his ways. I’m satisfied he paid for his crimes. I’m relieved the truth came out. I hate that the truth came out. I mourn for the shell of a man who returned from prison. I weep for a family that was blown apart by the scandal. I am heartbroken for my grandmother, who was devastated by the whole ordeal. I am thankful I live 3000 miles away from my family, so I don’t have to face the daily small-town shame they all do, now that Dad is a registered sex offender. I am proud of my step sister for speaking up. I am woefully ashamed for not having the courage to do it myself, which possibly would have prevented the abuse of others after me. I love my father. I am thankful for the [many] great things he has done for me over the years. I hate the effect his molestation had on me, including the role it likely played in my high school rape by another student, and my first [abusive, dysfunctional] marriage.

As I’ve clearly demonstrated, my story is far from unique. Heck, it’s not even remotely severe or traumatic when compared to what others have survived. Still, here I am – 40 years after my first memories of molestation – and I’m still suffering the consequences. Along with my disgrace for allowing others to be abused after me, I carry incredible shame for my involvement in the acts (regardless of the decades of therapy that advise me I had no real power or choice in the matter). I carry unbelievable guilt for the strain my history places on my relationship with my husband. He’s an amazing, wonderful, loving man, who deserves nothing less than a robust, vigorous, fulfilling sex life, but gets – to the best of my ability – a [hopefully] somewhat satisfying one. I carry secret embarrassment over the only real sexual fantasy I have – that of reliving my rape and [this time] taking great pleasure in castrating the bastard in the slowest, most brutally savage way imaginable.

Heaviest of all, I carry fear. There’s nothing I can do to change my past. All I can do is work toward preventing the continued cycle of abuse. I may have a warped view of personal boundaries, I may struggle with my sexuality, and I may be somewhat unfamiliar with healthy family dynamics, but I can do all in my power to ensure my kids fare far better than me. I fear failure.

My eldest daughter has mild to moderate developmental delay. While statistics for sexual abuse in the general population is scary enough, the likelihood of abuse when a cognitive disability is involved is all but a certainty. My second daughter is non-verbal, non-ambulatory, and severely mentally delayed. She’s a prime candidate for abuse. What if my efforts to protect them fall short?

My [teenaged] son and my youngest [“tween”] daughter both have ADHD. Impulse control is a constant struggle for them both. What if the education, counseling, advice, and coaching I offer them about healthy relationships, sexuality, safety and personal responsibility aren’t enough?

I try to counteract these lingering after effects of abuse by remaining ever thankful for the love, good fortune, and beautiful life I share with my husband and children today, but my guilt, shame, and fear cling to me with tenacious persistence.

I am just finishing “It Begins And Ends With Family” by Jo Ann Wentzel. I highly recommend the read. The subject is foster care, but no conversation about foster children is complete without a discussion of child abuse and neglect. While we can debate the best course of action in helping abused children, the top priority must be to work toward a goal of prevention; to break the cycle of abuse. I am hopeful that – as a society – we can work together to empathize, educate, support, counsel, and care enough to stop the cycle of all abuse. If sharing my truth will help toward that goal, well…Here I am. This is my truth.

Stephanie Collins, RWISA Author Page

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Watch RWISA Write: Michael Hicks Thompson

August is Watch RWISA Write month. Today, we celebrate author Michael Hicks Thompson!

DETOUR → CUBA

 

 

PART I

 

Once the port-of-call jewel for Magnus Wealthy, Cuba has been a country lost in time for the last half century, plus some.

 

Never been to Cuba? I recommend it. But do it before it returns to the playground of the filthy rich and the Hemingway admirers.

 

Yes, I’ve been there twice. But not as Magnus Wealthy. Think short-term mission trip. Door-to-door evangelism. Knock, knock. “May we come in.” (Of course, my interpreter said it the proper way: “¿Podemos entrar?”)

 

An interpreter is essential if you can’t speak the language.

 

But here’s the beautiful thing. Most Cubans are the friendliest people you’ll meet. They love to meet and greet Americans. We’re a mystery to them. It’s amazing. And understandable. Most have never tasted freedom.

 

Castro usurped the country in the biggest land swindle ever. Now, the elderly Cubans alive today are happy with a single, pathetic gift from Papa Castro’s government.

 

“He give me this cooking pot,” the appreciative, sun-wrinkled, Spanish speaking octogenarian said.

 

Never mind that his midget refrigerator will take him a lifetime to pay off.

 

PART II

 

We flew into Havana, via Mexico, spent the night and flew on to Holguin (hole-Keen) early the next morning. It’s a four-hour flight. Cuba is the size of California.

 

The ‘hotel’ in Holguin was once a grand one—now, dilapidated. Papa not only didn’t let the government keep hotels up to standard, he took the toilet seats away. From personal experience, I can assure you he did it to humiliate the eleven-and-a-half-million souls into submission.

 

Ask any American what Cubans look like and they’ll include “dark-skinned” as an answer. However, you’d be surprised to see nearly as many red-headed and blue-eyed Cubans as dark-skinned islanders. The Spanish influence is apparent. Fifty-one percent of Cubans are Mulatto, thirty-seven percent, White, and eleven percent, Black.

 

All Cubans are proud. And friendly. Why shouldn’t they be? They’ve not had the outside world of communications and world events for three generations. They’ve simply missed the rise in socio-economic gain around the world. They’ve been isolated. They don’t know any other life. They’ve lived on Cuban baseball and communism since 1959.

 

And they’ve avoided all the gun-shot TV news and television episodes of Law & Order. God blessed them.

 

Or, did He?

 

When I think of Cuba, I think of Maria. She’s the Lady who led our group through Cuba. Maria was born and raised in Havana, in a prominent family.

 

Shortly after Castro took over, her father gathered his wife and children and fled to America.

 

Maria has such a huge heart for her native land. She’ll always love her people and her land.

 

Many wealthy families left their homes and their businesses behind; to start over. But the ones not able to afford travel remained behind. They faced the dark days of seclusion.

 

Catholicism gradually faded away. To be replaced by many false religions—Santería being the most prominent. It’s a singing religion based on the old songs of slavery. So, most Santeríans are descendants of African slaves.

 

PART III

 

Every morning ten of us would have breakfast, pray, and pile into vans with our interpreters for an hour or two ride to a small village, usually to the south, near Guantanamo. A different village each morning. That way, we could avoid the immigration officials who’d heard we were proselytizing in their country. Only once did we hear our leader yell out, “Everybody in the vans. We have to leave. Now!”

 

We would meet at a local house church and greet the pastor. Some would have no more than ten church members; some as many as thirty. We snuck in bibles, clothes, hygiene products, and boatloads of gum.

 

Each church provided a local member to escort us, individually with our interpreter, to un-churched homes in the village. The patriarch or matriarch always welcomed us. Some even asked us to hold off any discussion so they could gather their family. Even neighbors. All ages would gather around in a small living room, many sitting on the floor, while we introduced them to original sin, Jesus, the Gospel, and a merciful God.

 

The interpreter kept track of those who repeated the prayer of salvation (asking Jesus to come into their hearts and save them from eternal damnation). More than a few grown men cried on my shoulder after accepting Jesus into their hearts.

 

Naturally, there were plenty who preferred to worship their idols. Ceramic statues, sometimes made of wood or plastic.

 

If the idol worshiper wasn’t getting what they wanted from their man-made God, they’d place them face down in their underwear drawer, to punish them. Strange stuff. And sad.

 

At the end of the week, our leader would give us the number. “Four-hundred-fifty-two made a profession of faith this week. You’ve not only sowed the seeds of the Gospel, you’ve been a part of the harvest.”

 

That made me feel pretty good, but we all knew Holy Spirit had been working in those hearts long before we arrived. Only God can change the heart of man. But, what really made me warm and fuzzy, was the sight of my sons who’d been able to join us on the mission field. They had been part of the harvest. And it would have a lasting, lifetime effect on their lives. They talk about it to this day.

 

And so do I.

 

Michael Hicks Thompson, RWISA Author Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writers: Don’t Get Lost in the Traffic!

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Wrote a great book, did you? Looking for ways to reach readers, are you? Well, have I got the place for you. It’s called RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! Yep! I’ve been telling you all about it for the past three-plus years.

And just what exactly is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB? I’m glad you asked. RRBC is an online community of readers and writers whose sole goal is to support one another. Members buy, read, and review fellow members books. It’s what we do.

But wait!!! There’s more!!!

By joining the RRBC community, you will have your book(s) placed in the club’s online catalog, making it available to the entire membership (currently at just under 400). Those who choose to be supportive of fellow members will discover the perks of membership. Books of the Month? We select three titles and promote them on Twitter, blogs, and Facebook each and every month. Many club members purchase these titles and review them.

Spotlight Author? Well, let me explain it to you. When chosen to stand in the spotlight, the author embarks on a month-long journey that includes wicked Twitter support, a blog tour, a seat on the shelf with club President Nonnie Jules (chit-chatting about you and your book), and a live interview on one of the RRBC Blog Talk Radio programs.

Look, most of us here are writers. We understand the marketing struggles indie authors face in today’s world. RRBC is meant to be a tool for the writer. But it requires more than just signing up. Support is vital. Those who don’t support, well, they receive little support themselves. It is through support that members become familiar with the names of fellow members. Marketing, branding — this is a foothold, an opportunity to meet other authors who also happen to be readers. This is the writer’s chance to build a foundation on which to establish their work.

If it sounds like something you may be interested in, stop by the RRBC site and have a look around. It only costs $25 per year.

Click here to visit the RRBC SITE!

It’s Gwen Plano’s Day!

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A loud and gigantic CONGRATULATIONS to Gwen Plano on being named Rave Reviews Book Club’s #PUSHTUESDAY honoree!

For those who may not know who Gwen Plano is, let me introduce you to her. Gwen Plano is the author of a book entitled Letting Go Into Perfect LoveIn this memoir, Gwen shares her struggles and her triumphs with readers, offering hope to those who are still in the grips of domestic abuse.

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But that’s not all there is to Gwendolyn Plano! Did you know she is also the host of the popular blog talk radio program Aspire to Inspire? This show airs each month on the Rave Waves network.

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So if you happen to find Gwen today on Twitter, don’t forget to send her your best wishes. And again, CONGRATULATIONS, Gwen! You deserve this honor!

Visit Gwen at her web site: http://www.gwenplano.com/

Find Gwen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Listen to Aspire to Inspire live or in the archive: RAVE WAVES

Grab a copy of Letting Go Into Perfect Love

Don’t miss your opportunity to find great support for your book. Join Rave Reviews Book Club today: JOIN RRBC

 

 

Reading, Writing, and Responsibility!

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Do writers have responsibilities? If so, what are they? Do these differ from the responsibilities of, say, sculptors, painters, or photographers? And is there a different set of rules for those who write poetry versus those who write fiction?

Though I write in various forums, I’ll speak on fiction for this article. As an author, I do indeed have responsibilities. My first—and most important—responsibility is to know how to construct a sentence. This includes knowing proper punctuation, what and when to capitalize, and correct spelling. If the story in question begins with massive amounts of misplaced commas, run-on sentences, and poor spelling, I’m not likely to find an audience for my work.

Equally important is the need to tell a compelling tale. Nobody wants to read entire chapters with the main character searching for his car keys, getting coffee at Starbucks, or filling his tank with premium gasoline because that Porsche 911 is his baby. By compelling, I mean interesting; the sort of story that lures you in like a carnival barker just daring you to part with that dime, to look inside the tent, to glimpse the man with lizard skin covering his body.

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I try to write reality. If a scene is meant to be dark and raw, I intend to make the reader feel somewhat uncomfortable, even voyeuristic. In one particular review of Jazz Baby, the reviewer mentioned feeling a need for a shower upon finishing the story. I don’t take offense at this notion, I revel in it.

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Are your characters real? Are they fully developed and breathing on the pages? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Weak characters make for a weak story. I’ve read books that were thin on plot but still managed to keep me interested by presenting amazing characters. We won’t find fully formed characters in lengthy physical descriptions, either. We find them in personality traits, quirks, nervous habits, and in the things that make them happy or angry.

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We also have the responsibility to get it right. Get what right? I’m glad you asked. If you’re writing a story set in the mid-1970s, would you insert a character discussing the pros and cons of using Google Chrome on your laptop? What about a story where Grandma speaks of meeting Grandpa on the observation deck of the Empire State Building in the spring of 1921? Maybe Cousin Lexie, in a poignant scene, reminisces about watching Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory under the stars, at a drive-in movie, back during the summer of 1956. None of these events could happen in real life. Google Chrome and laptops didn’t exist in the 1970s. Construction on the Empire State Building didn’t begin until early 1930. The Gene Wilder classic film saw release in 1971, not 1956. Don’t put your lead character in a 1990 Ford Pinto. Do your research, get the facts straight.

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The biggest responsibility we carry as writers is to entertain those who would spend hard earned money and valuable time in reading what we’ve created. Just because I think my story is interesting doesn’t mean others will.

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We are indie authors. Indie is short for independent. Our souls aren’t contractually bound to some monster corporation that basically owns what we’ve worked long and hard to create. But neither do we have access to said monster’s deep pockets for advertising, public relations, and connections to people like Oprah Winfrey, The Ellen Show, or any of the late night gabbers. We’re not likely to find our work climbing the New York Times bestseller list. We must seek out those tools for ourselves—and usually with limited budgets.

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Thankfully, we have the internet. This amazing invention literally brings the entire world to our very fingertips. There isn’t a nation or continent we cannot reach—unless we’re talking about, say, North Korea. Does anybody really want to be Dear Leader’s favorite writer? It’s mind-blowing to hear from somebody on the other side of the planet sharing their thoughts about something I wrote. This is the real reward for the author—in my humble opinion.

But let’s face facts: Just having a Twitter account or a Facebook page won’t make us internationally-known authors. Sure, social media does help. We establish our own little corner of the web through the bread crumbs we sprinkle using tweets and likes. However, we are competing with 100 million other writers scattered across the globe.

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There is another tool, though. This tool is the wave of the future. And it grows bigger by the day. I’m talking about Rave Reviews Book Club. Why a book club? I’m glad you asked. RRBC isn’t just your average ordinary book club. It is an online worldwide community for supporters of the growing indie movement. This is the place to find readers for your work. It is also the place to find great novels, memoirs, and books of poetry—at reasonable prices. That’s right, it offers something for readers and writers alike.

How far you go is entirely up to you. If you support many, many will support you right back. Those who join looking to get support without giving it will find a stocking full of nothing come Christmas morning.

Rave Reviews Book Club is the brainchild of Founder/President Nonnie Jules, an indie author herself. RRBC is designed to grow the author’s name and presence on the internet. The club offers all sorts of amazing tools to help indies succeed. What are those tools? Well, writers get their books (linked to Amazon) added to the club’s online catalog. Supportive members find themselves sitting in any one of the amazing seats of honor up for grabs each month. We’re talking about three slots for Books of the Month, Member of the Month, Member of the Week, PUSHTUESDAY winners, and, of course, the many Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio programs the club produces each and every month. Imagine being interviewed live, speaking to a worldwide audience, while discussing your latest book for a full thirty minutes!

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It’s simple: Club members buy, read, and review fellow members’ books. They tweet links to those stories they’ve enjoyed. And just maybe, if you’re super supportive, you’ll find yourself being hosted by fellow members on their blogs.

Listen, most of us indie authors aren’t indie by choice. Without an agent, the monster corporations can’t be bothered with what we’ve created. They often view us as inferior to the mainstream. That’s where responsibility comes into play. Write it well, get it right, and entertain your readers. It’s really that simple. The work will sell the author.

 

 

 

Discover Rave Reviews Book Club

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So you’re an indie author. You’ve taken the time and effort to write that novel or book that’s been inside of you since as far back as you can recall. You’ve even paid a professional editor to comb through it to make sure it’s worthy to sell. It’s there on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a mere few dollars—unless you want the paperback. Nothing beats that feeling of holding your very own published work in your hands.

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So what comes next? How do you, the author, get word to readers around the world that your work is available, ready to be read and reviewed? If you have deep pockets, you’ll have no worries. Just hire a team of marketers and let them go to work for you. They seem to know what they’re doing, right?

Okay. So maybe your pockets aren’t that deep. Perhaps you are like a million other indie authors across the globe who cannot afford to hire that marketing team. What will you do? To do nothing spells certain doom for the hard work that went into your published novel or book. Sure, you may sell a few copies through Twitter or Facebook. You might even find a handful of readers through your own blog. But the reality of the situation says that falls short of your expectations.

Here’s a suggestion: Tap into the incredible resource known as Rave Reviews Book Club.

Just what is Rave Reviews Book Club? Well, I’m glad you asked. Rave Reviews Book Club is a growing community of readers and writers who all share the same goal: To support one another on this amazing journey as authors.

It’s a simple yet brilliant concept: Join the club, read at least four member-authored books during the course of the year, review these books, Tweet about these books, and support the authors. In return, you, as a member of the community, will find this support returned to you.

There is a catch though. You get out what you put in. If your support of others is weak, you can expect the same in return. However, if you choose to really dig in and promote your fellow members, you will most certainly find strong support for your own work.

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What is this support of which I am talking? Members buy one another’s books—that means sales. Those sales translate into reviews. Reviews mean more sales—if the buzz is strong. But that’s not all. Each and every month at Rave Reviews Book Club, three books are selected as Books of the Month. There is also a Member of the Month, Spotlight Author, Member of the Week, and a #PUSHTUESDAY honoree. There are blog tours, Book Trailer Parties, and Blog Block Parties.

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Did I mention the Rave Waves Blog Talk Radio programs? There are currently nine live radio shows produced by Rave Reviews Book Club. And guess what? They are open only to the RRBC membership. These thirty minute programs allow members/authors a showcase for their work; an opportunity to introduce yourselves to the RRBC membership.

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Rave Reviews Book Club is here for one purpose and one purpose only: To Profile, Promote & Propel the careers of indie authors. If this sounds interesting to you, stop by the web site and take a look around!

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The Hungary Eyes Blog Tour Featuring Maurice G. Miller

Greetings, dear readers. I am so excited to introduce to you my very special guest blogger today,  the talented indie writer Maurice G. Miller. Please make Maurice feel right at home by saying hello in the comments below.

Take it away, Maurice…

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Welcome to the “Hungary Eyes” Blog Tour with Maurice G. Miller

 

First, I would like to thank my gracious host for giving me the privilege to guest blog here on the fourth stop of my weeklong tour. Also, a debt of gratitude to 4 Wills Publishing for organizing all this. The tour runs today through October 14th. If you are interested in continuing with me on the tour stops (and I know you will), just click here for the dates and locations, and don’t forget to bookmark the page. Thanks!

 

Moving away from the book and my writing for a day, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the current conditions in Hungary, 25 years after the time period that the events in ‘The Budapest Experiment’ took place. It is amazing to me to watch the current resurgence of Russia, and Putin’s vision of a restored Soviet Union. During the recent season premiere, in an interview with 60 Minutes, Putin identified the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980’s and early 90’s as one of the great tragedies in Russian history. This, combined with the recent Middle East refugee crisis that has plagued Hungary, makes for some interesting situations. Below is a revised excerpt from my very first blog post ever in April of 2015. Please be sure to leave comments/questions/feedback at the end of the post, they are much appreciated.

Political Tug of War – Hungary Revisited

Looking through world headlines these days, you can’t help but take notice of all that is going on with Russia on the world stage. For me, an interesting sidebar to these global events are stories on the role that Hungary could potentially play in Russia’s plans.

The setting of my soon to be released fiction novel, “The Budapest Experiment”, takes place in Hungary in the year 1991. Having spent some time there in the early nineties, I have always held an interest in the progress of Hungary’s democracy, economy, and people. This is what prompted me to choose this topic for my first blog ever. Heavy subject matter, I agree, but I hope you find it to be interesting.

Region in Crisis

The annexation of Crimea and the support of rebel forces in eastern Ukraine have resulted in serious economic sanctions against Russia from the US, Western Europe, and other nations in 2014. Additional sanctions in 2015 seem inevitable. This, combined with falling oil prices, have done some serious damage to the Russian economy. Many are predicting a renewal of the Cold War, and every day there are stories of Russia flexing its military muscle, in one capacity or another, at different locations around the globe. On top of this, the recent assassination of Boris Nemstov, leader of a political opposition group against Putin’s policies, adds more fuel to the fire.

Recent assaults in the Ukraine cities of Donetsk, Lugansk, and Mariupol are evidence that the alleged Russian backed rebel movement is gaining momentum. Securing critical border locations and transportation routes between Ukraine and Russia would allow for covert movements of military resources between the two countries. I am certainly no expert in the area of global political, and military strategies, but it would not be surprising for me to see the rebels slowly gain more control of Ukrainian territory. Perhaps by the end of 2015 going so far as to make a move on Odessa, a major Ukrainian seaport on the northern shores of the Black Sea with key trade routes to Eastern and Western Europe. The big question is will the US and its allies have to become involved in some military capacity to stop the rebel advances, increasing tensions with Russia, and putting the world on the brink?

What’s Hungary Got To Do With It?

Much like the protagonist in my fiction novel, my first trip to Hungary was in January of 1991. It was fourteen months after the fall of the Berlin wall and the perceived end of the Cold War that had been going on for decades. I remember it as a time of great excitement, hope, and anticipation, as Russia and the former Soviet Bloc countries in Eastern/Central Europe were transitioning from Communism to Democracy, and from state to market economies. Hungary and Poland were at the forefront of this transition, with business laws in place to encourage foreign direct investment, privatization, and repatriation of profits.

As we look at Hungary 25 years later, there is an interesting dynamic going on with the current ruling Fidesz party and the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Some experts feel the Hungarian government is shifting allegiances more toward Russia and away from the European Union. The country’s key geographical location in Central Europe could be a vital piece in the political strategy puzzle that Vladimir Putin may be trying to put together. While this may seem like a far-fetched idea, citizens of Hungary are concerned about this, evidenced by large demonstrations in Budapest recently. This dynamic was reinforced by a cordial meeting between Putin and Orban on February 17, 2015, where an agreement was reached over natural gas supplies and routes. Putin’s meeting was sandwiched in between the reportedly, not so friendly, meetings with European Union (EU) leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Poland’s Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. As all three of these meetings were taking place, Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest in protest, fears of a return to a Communist way of life living in the hearts of many.

Orban has recently come under scrutiny for returning the country toward centralized systems in public education and administration. Political corruption in the government has also been made to be a point of contention. The US recently denied six Hungarian diplomats entry into the country based on outstanding corruption charges. Orban is now faced with a political tug of war and the challenge of straddling the fence, trying to balance relations with both Russia and the EU. Hungary has been part of the EU since 2004. Will Hungary be the first EU country to defect and join instead the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)? Will the EEU expand their integration to include military and political union?

Hungary ‘On the Fence’ – Blog Update

Anyone that is keeping track of world news lately is aware of Hungary’s dilemma in the middle of the overwhelming refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians and other Middle Easterners fleeing their war torn countries trying to make their way to asylum in Western Europe, look to choose the most expeditious route that goes through Hungary. In response, the Hungarian government has detained thousands of these refugees in camps and has built a fence to secure its border with Serbia, preventing refugees from passing through. Emergency legislation was passed allowing border patrols to use force as an additional means to keep the refugees out. The Hungarians are now building a similar fence along the border with Croatia.

As Russia is now running military air strikes against ISIS in Syria, and some claim against rebels/enemies of Syrian President Assad, it will be interesting to observe the unfolding of events in the months and years to come.

What will Hungary, the Middle East, Eastern/Central Europe, the former Soviet Bloc countries, and Russia look like 25 years from now?

On the next tour stop, some background on my initiation into the world of self-publishing.

In celebration of the blog tour, the Kindle version of The Budapest Experiment is available for download for just $.99 thru October 14th. Just click on the Amazon page link below.

http://www.mauricegmiller.com/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WHA3J0E

Maurice-G.-Miller

Author Bio

Maurice has been involved in the creative arts since his teenage years. Having worked and played in rock/blues bands for most of his adult life, the artistic role models that he came to admire were those authors, musicians, and philosophers that wrote the books, poetry, lyrics, and music that touched and moved the souls of generations. Counted among his favorites authors are J.D. Salinger, Earnest Hemingway, Dante Alighieri, and Kahlil Gibran. Deciding to take a break from the music career, he has rededicated his creative energies toward writing.

Then there is the “business geek” side of him. With an MBA degree, and having started several ventures, he has an obsession for creating new business ideas, digging into data analytics, and dissecting statistics. This passion for entrepreneurship is reflected prominently in his writing style.

Maurice’s debut fictional novel, “The Budapest Experiment”, an international thriller, was released on May 25, 2015 and is available now on Amazon.

Lots more can be found, including book info, social media contacts, and blog posts, at: http://www.mauricegmiller.com

Links

Web Site: http://www.mauricegmiller.com

Email: mauricegmiller@yahoo.com

Amazon Page: http://smarturl.it/budapestexp

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mauricegmiller  @mauricegmiller

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1DO6y6k
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1ESXMYv

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/MauriceGMiller/

Google +: http://bit.ly/1N1Jmdv

The Budapest Experiment – Synopsis

At what price would you sell your soul…?

This captivating thriller weaves business, politics, seduction, power, and religion all into a compelling tale of international intrigue.

Set in 1991, during the dawn of the Post-Communist era in Hungary, this novel chronicles the exploits of Michael, an adventurous but struggling American entrepreneur.

During this period of tumultuous political, economic, and social change, the Russian Mob is taking advantage of the ensuing turmoil to entrench itself deeper into the business landscape of the former Soviet Bloc countries.

Navigating through the streets of Budapest, Michael immediately senses an air of mysticism and lurking danger. After a few successes and trials, a series of business dealings leads him to a consulting position with the ‘Organization’.

Seduced by their women, money, and power, Michael becomes entangled in the web of Mob culture. Digging into his conscience, he encounters a spirit ravaged with feelings of guilt and betrayal, but a rapidly growing bank account serves as the means to justify his actions.

Pondering his future, Michael wonders if he can balance this extreme Budapest lifestyle with his ‘ordinary’ family life back home. After padding his wallet for the past several months, would the Organization let him just walk away, or would there be consequences?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

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