Book Review: Dance Of The Heart

“Dance of the Heart” is a quick-read novel of only 118 pages, however, there is so much more to this story than one would expect. First of all, Therrian does a fantastic job of setting up the scenes, the characters, and the beginning. It was very clear to me who the characters were and what role they played.

Michael Baldwin is successful and flourishing. He is well-balanced in his career as a successful professional dancer and home life with a longtime partner, David. And, they just built a beautiful home on Lake Michigan. All goes well until his lead partner, who is morbidly disliked, accidentally dies.

Michael has mixed emotions over her death but even more so, mixed emotions when a new dance partner, Elizabeth, replaces Margo, the dead lead. Michael, acknowledging being gay from as long as he can remember, is extremely attracted to Elizabeth. The drama continues as Michael struggles with his emotions and ultimately discloses his feelings to his partner David.

Of course, David, as any partner would be, is crushed and reacts accordingly. In the meantime, Elizabeth, being only a temporary replacement for Margo, returns to her home. Michael, with all intentions in place, was going to tell Elizabeth how he felt, however, she left before he was able to do so. This results in more mixed emotions for Michael.

“Dance of the Heart” is appropriately named, because there certainly is a lot of heart dancing in the book. Does Michael ever tell Elizabeth how he feels? Can a gay man actually fall in love with a woman? Was Michael’s infatuation with Elizabeth real or a fantasy? Does David move on to other lovers?

What a wonderful story! “Dance of the Heart” is an account that proves how complicated love can be. Therrian’s story shows how we, as human beings, can spin ourselves into a hole of confusion when we don’t follow our true feelings. Michael’s mother, Sally, summed it up best by saying “You can’t choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose what you do with it. In the end, it’s all up to you.”

ISBN 9780615135007
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (5/07)

Book Review: Best Of Friends

“Best of Friends” is a novel about the lives of the “Fabulous Five.” The Fabulous Five is a group comprised of five wonderful, loyal ladies who have been best friends for years. Each woman in the group has her own issues to deal with and to learn from. The story mainly centers around Liz, whose mother has just passed away. Liz’s family is about as dysfunctional as a family can be. The siblings have taken sides with each other. Liz always tries to be neutral, but when their backstabbing antics are directed at her, she finds herself unable to do so anymore.

Kim is another lady in the group who has finally met Mr. Right. Kiona, a female player, is deciding to settle down with one of her catches. When she and her boyfriend decide to move in together, they both have to learn to make compromises and to get over their commitment phobias. AJ allowed a bad marriage to tear her down and take her out of a promising career. Struggling
to care for her twin daughters, while she is on welfare, she fears that all is going to be lost. But her perseverance finally pays off and she finds herself back on track. Quineeta is single and loving it, however, when she has a health crisis, she relies on herself to get through it, when really she should have let her friends be there for her.

“Best of Friends” is truly an enjoyable novel. The author, Sherry Brantley has an awesome imagination which she puts to use in dreaming up plots for Liz’s family to use against each other. She does an excellent job of character development. These ladies are very three-dimensional and Brantley lets you into their heads and hearts to make them seem more real. I could relate to so many of their experiences, and the doubts and fears that invade their minds were so similar to my own. Brantley also incorporates a touch of spirituality throughout her writing. I loved this because as she addresses Liz’s dilemmas, she does so in a way that has Liz evaluating her actions on a higher level and making the realization that if she had taken the higher road, things would have been better. It wouldn’t have been as fun to read about though!

“Best of Friends” is a must read for a women’s reader groups. This will be a fun book to discuss. It is also the perfect book for a lady that needs an evening to herself, where she just wants to cuddle up with a great story. Don’t miss this one!

Best of Friends
Sherry Brantley
Lulu (2005)
ISBN 9781411645455
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (4/07)

Book Review: Alex Webster And The Gods By David Dent

What’s a major deity to do when he finds himself washed up on Mt Olympus? Jupiter, once mighty Roman God has spent two millennia sulking about his defeat at the hands of Yahweh and the loss of the great Roman Empire. Jupiter and his motley assortment of gods have become complacent, even the eternal fountains have mildew on them and are in need of a good clean.

Shedding his robes in favor of an expensive Brooks Bros pin stripe three piece suit and Harvard Business School MBA in hand, the reinvented J. J. Jones is ready to reclaim his throne, the world is ripe for the picking, he rationalizes “…All the old religions are fighting each other, especially the Christians and Muslims. We can come up the middle and be everybody’s second choice.”

He does however realize that the path to glory is not an easy one, the world is a considerably different place in the 21st century than ancient Rome. Also his fellow Gods are going to need a makeover, not only in their appearances but in their attitudes as well, if they are going to fit in.

J. J. realizes that what he needs is a management consultant! Enter Alex Webster. Alex and his sometime girlfriend Victoria take on the daunting task of removing 2000 years of stagnation, of course there are some bumps along the road. Old habits die hard, and it is not long before Carmen Cupido (Cupid) gets the nickname of Dr. Love in a local night club where he has been practicing the art of matchmaking, and coming to the attention of the local police as the likely purveyor of date rape drugs.

J. J’s scheme for ‘world domination’ is to ease into it slowly by becoming the CEO of a global company. To facilitate this he engineers a scheme to merge two companies and become the head. What he doesn’t realize is how much resistance he is going to encounter from a mere mortal. Gerry Shilling CEO of Pharmaglobe has no intentions of stepping aside gently, and sees this merger as a stepping stone for himself!

I found Alex Webster And The Gods to be a thoroughly enjoyable romp. David Dent’s style of writing reminded me a lot of the late Douglas Adams, another master of putting characters in the most unlikely and bizarre situations. The humor is mostly dark and very well executed. Juno for example likens her marriage to Jupiter, to that of Bill and Hillary, and because Jupiter is off chasing every bit of skirt in the universe, “we only have sex every hundred years”.

Every chapter starts with a little quote, some words of wisdom, from Carl Sagen, to Yoda, everyone gets their say, but my personal favorite is from William S. Burroughs “Sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts”.

If I have a criticism of the book, it is that it is too short. The ending is very cute, and certainly paves the way for a second book, and I’ll bet J.J.’s Brooks Bros suit that David Dent is typing away as you read this. All in all, I give this book very high marks, it is a fabulously crafted concept and one that would transition well into the big screen, or a TV series. The characters are larger than life, the plotlines outrageous, this is what I class as great entertainment.

Although it is officially classified as Science Fiction, it should appeal to everyone that enjoys a light and funny read.

Review by Simon Barrett
http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

John Reese’s Top Traffic Secrets

Track all sources of traffic generation.

John Reese stresses the need to track where all traffic comes from and at what cost. It is crucial to know exactly how many sales, newsletter sign-ups, or other leads your particular marketing campaigns generating. This enables you to work smarter and not harder. By tracking all traffic to your site you can make twice as much while working fifty percent less.

Content is King

On the internet, people are searching for one thing……. Content! Load your website with as much content as possible. Then, continuously add content. Search engines love information and they will love your site if you’ve got lots of it. There’s plenty of free content for the taking on the internet. You can load up your site with articles from article directories like ezinearticles.com. Or, you could be like John and use content from the public domain. Or, you can use content that is in the creative commons. This type is now easier than ever to find now that Yahoo and others have come out with a search engine designed specifically for content that is in the creative commons.

An affiliate program is critical to maximum traffic and sales. Lots of internet marketers don’t take advantage of this powerful traffic-generating technique. An affiliate program allows you to have your own personal salesman spread all over the web. The best part about it is that there is absolutely no risk involved but tons of traffic and sales to gain. Your website simply cannot grow to its full potential without an effective affiliate program.

Banner Ads

John Reese advocates the use of banner ads during a time when they are largely an untapped marketing source. Banner ads are one of the most overlooked sources of targeted traffic online.

Also, banner ads are now one of the cheapest sources of targeted traffic. In the late 1990’s during the dot-com boom, people were selling banner ads for $40 and $50 CPM. Then the dot-com bubble hit and these rates hit the floor. You can now buy banner ads dirt cheap, at $1 to $1.50 CPM. This is $1 for 1,000 banner impressions. The key here is to find the perfect place to advertise that will send targeted, willing to buy customers to your site.

Create viral reports that can quickly spread around the internet. This method works best when you have an affiliate program. Allow others to brand your report in order to encourage its distribution.
A quality free report can be a powerful promoter when passed around the internet. This same phenomenon can occur when you submit your articles to article directories and popular newsletters.

Take advantage of your virtual real estate.

Take advantage of the different parts of your website. Don’t let any of your web pages go to waste. You can do this by adding a link to another one of your web sites or pages on your thank-you or sales confirmation pages. If you have articles on your site, place links to related articles on the bottom of the page. The longer you keep a visitor at your web site, the more valuable they become.

It is very important to funnel traffic from within the multiple sites you may have.

Continually seek out other web sites to link to you. Now, we’re not just talking about any kind of link here, but powerful, traffic-generating links from respected sites. Here are some quick suggestions:

Send a related web site an article that you have written and allow them to display it on their website with a resource box at the end. Offer to exchange articles and tell them about the benefits of doing so.

Allow multiple, related web sites to distribute your free e-book or report. All web masters are looking to add value to their web site, why not make it easy for them.

There are unlimited possibilities, be creative!

Online group participation can produce a no-cost stream of traffic and sales.

Get involved in email discussion lists, online groups and forums that are related to your target market. Becoming involved in discussions makes you very credible. Traffic from forums can produce a much higher sales conversion rate.

This method can produce quite a bit of sales for you just by helping others out. Not to mention, you’ll learn a lot along the way.

Jobless India At 2081 AD?

As population of any state increase so as more and more manpower is available for that particular state or country. But in India this simple rule is going against.

In this ancient land of world according to 1991 census the population of this land was approx.82crores. The main work force among population was 34.118%.

This simply means that one Indian was working for three others non-active persons. In contrast to this statistics as per census of 2001 total population of India was 1027015247.out of this only 30.49% were main workers.

In last 10 years 1991-2001, percentage of main workers among total population has come down from 34.18% to 30.18%. The clear cut 3.69% decline is number of workers.

The major reasons to this shortcoming in now availability of jobs. We have chosen the specific time period (i.e. 1991-2001) as new economical reforms or liberalization of economy was started in year 1991 by then finance minister Dr.Man Mohan Singh to 2001, in times of BJP disinvestments period (feel good era).

What these so called reforms & others new economical policies did effect on jobs availability in this peninsular country. The open eye investigation by ABC news team revealed the eye opening facts about it.

As per 1991 census only 34.18% of total populations were main workers among males, 51% of them were main workers. As in female side only 16.03% of total female populations were in working battery of nation.

The above statistics showed considerably down trend in 2001 census where total percentage of worker among population come down sharply from 51% to 45.27% means 5.73% decline. In this contrast woman jobs are also decreased but slightly from 16.03% to 14.66% means decrease of 1.66%.

The reasons behind these are new industrial environment in India’s and huge increment of population.

The population of county is increasing at the rate of 20.18% per decades compare to this the job opportunities in this part of world are decreasing at the rate of 3.69% per ten years. This clearly indicates that any increase in India’s populations directly proportional to the percentage of jobs left of future generations.

The new economic order in country has added fuel in this problem since 1947 India had taken path of socialism under congress govt. center. All economical decisions were taken keeping the idea of socialism. But the year 1991 was path-breaking year in which this social state started to move towards capitalist order. The economy was so called liberalized (liberalized) the political circle started favoring the management’s. The labour rights started marginalized since then to today this trend has reached at no back point. This has become immaterial which party/ a person in power has to comply with these capitalized orders.

If this down trend continues for next 22 year that is very apparent. India or Bharat will be totally jobless in 2081 AD

In this male dominated society one fact is very hard hitting that male jobs are decreasing at rate of 5.73% per decade where as female jobs are reducing at the rate of 1.66% per decade. This statistics become more crucial after knowing the social fabric of India where males are main bread earners and females play role of bread prepares. If male of society is not able to bring bread for his family the role of female in this social fabric will be further marginalized this will create lawlessness and complete anarchy in the society.

In India there are very few families, which are solely dependent on female bread earners. Mostly women work where their husbands are also in jobs. Thus they are helping their husbands in bread earning and preparing.

The precise and timely planning are options left. The hopes are demising. The sun is far away. Only right man at right place can prevent the situation to happen otherwise jobless India is waiting at 2081 AD.

Increasing Your Search Engine Position By Higradeworld

Since search engines are the first stop for people on the internet looking for goods or services, the position your website appears in search results is an important factor. If your URL shows up far down the results list, the chances of the consumer never finding you increase incrementally. Once you achieve a high search engine position, it is essential that you make sure you maintain the high ranking you have worked so hard to achieve.

This means you must come up with a strategy to monitor your search engines positions. This strategy is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign. Think of your search engine positions as your online portfolio. Would you let your stock portfolio be ruled by chance and market fluctuations, or would you keep close tabs on your stocks so you could buy and sell when the time is right? This is the way you must consider your search engines positions.

Be aware that at first, after you have launched your search engine campaign and done all the right things to increase your rankings, you will most likely see a continual upward climb. What you need to be on the lookout for is the moment that upward climb reaches a plateau. When this happens, your search engine position campaign moves into stage two, the monitoring and protecting stage.

In stage two, do not be concerned about the short-term fluctuations in your positions. These are similar to the subtle rising and falling of stocks in a portfolio. Short-term movement is an integral part of the whole process. It’s the long-term changes that you must watch for and prepare to act on immediately.

Analyzing the long-term trends of search engines positions is imperative. The way in which search engines rank websites may change at the drop of hat. If you are unaware of these changes – many of which are subtle yet can be deadly to your ranking – your position may drop to the bottom of the list before you can get your bearings. To prevent this kind of precipitous drop, you must create a system to monitor your positions on a monthly basis. Devise a chart to keep tabs on your top ranking positions or your top pages, and make sure to watch “the market” closely.

Each search engine uses a formula to compute website rankings. When a search engine changes this formula in any way, it may raise or lower your ranking. Some search engines use a number of different formulas, rotating them so that a formula doesn’t become overused or outdated. Depending on which formula is being applied, your search
engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank significantly. Therefore, you must check your positions frequently in order to catch when a search engine changes formulas and what effect it has on your positions.

You must also deal with your competition – a crucial factor you must always be vigilant about. Your competitor’s position may suddenly rise, automatically lowering your position. Or their position may drop, pushing your position higher. Each month, expect position changes due to the continual changes that are occurring in your competitor’s position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy to compensate for decreased rankings. Monitoring these
fluctuations will also give you vital information about how to improve your website to increase your position in search results.

Of course, you must discern what the most popular search engines are in order for your monitoring efforts to be effective. Right now, there are ten popular search engines that direct most of Internet traffic to your sites. The challenge you face is that these top ten may change from month to month.

This means that your must not only monitor your search engine positions, but you must also keep track of theranking popularity of the search engines you are monitoring. Find out which search engines people use most frequently every month and be sure to live in the present! People are fickle about their favorite search engines, and it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The search engines they loved when you first launched your campaign may be old news in the next few months. You must adjust your list of engines according to the whims of the Internet users. Check out
http://www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/netratings.html for a current list of website favorites.

Another factor to monitor carefully is a sudden drop of your positions in all search engines. This is not the same as monthly fluctuations – this is a neon red warning sign! It could mean a number of different things.

It all your search engine positions have plummeted, it may indicate that search engines spiders – those sneaky programs that seek out your site and rank their positions – have found some type of problem with your website. If you have recently changed the code, for instance, the spider may become utterly confused and consequently drop your positions disastrously. If a spider creeps up on your website when it is down for adjustments or changes, you may actually disappear from a search engine index entirely. Or a search engine may drastically change its formula, and suddenly all of your website come up as irrelevant. If that search engine is a current favorite, it may create a domino effect, causing all of your position to drop in all search engines.

Some search engines rely on the results from other search engines, and it is vital that you know which engines these are and keep track of all the engines they influence. The biggest problem here is that search engines will sometimes change affiliations, and this can create a major shift in the geography of the Internet. For example, recently Yahoo decided to display only results gleaned from Google. So you must not only monitor your own positions, but you must keep abreast of seismic shifts in the landscape of the Internet as a whole.

Finally, pay attention to your keywords. Keywords are the foundation bricks of the entire search engine system, and they demand individual scrutiny in your monitoring efforts. If you have found that a number of your positions have plummeted, it may mean that a page of your website has become invisible or inaccessible to search engine spiders. Or the competition for that particular keyword or phrase has recently rocketed into outer space. In either case, you must act quickly and efficiently to regain lost ground.

Your search engine marketing campaign is an investment. If costs you time and money on a continual basis. Protect this investment as diligently as you would your financial portfolio. In the same way, track your positions from an objective perspective, and monitor your positions on a regular basis. Make sure your time and effort reap rewards by keeping your eye on the big picture – your long-term marketing campaign.

In The Shadow Of The Bat

Psychologically complex and realistic characters are not exactly what one would consider as “old traditions” in the comic book industry. Indeed, during the earliest decades, the concept of a “flawed hero” was discarded in favor of the “Superman” ideal. However, as readers became more discerning and Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics began to create more realistic heroes, things had to change. Superheroes had to progress from the simplistic motivations and personalities of the old days, adopting increasingly realistic and complex identities. Quite arguably, the most psychologically complex casts of characters to have ever been created is the so-called “Bat family” of DC Comics.

Chief among this “Bat family” is the Batman himself, who presents what might be the largest array of mental disorders and psychological issues to be found in a single fictional character. He exhibits signs of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, with his mind fixated on the death of his parents. The fixation inevitably pushed him to become the crime-fighting urban legend of his native Gotham City. He frequently showed signs of separation anxiety towards the younger heroes he often trains as his wards and sidekicks, particularly after the “Batman: Death In The Family” storyline, where the second boy to take up the Robin suit, Jason Todd, is killed. His separation anxiety also manifested when the possibility of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, sustained a near-fatal wound, as well as when Cassandra Cain, the fourth Batgirl, had lost her ability to effectively defend herself. In many ways, the Batman also exhibited an obsession with control, with a silent arrangement going on that any superhero who wishes to operate long-term in Gotham City had to have his direct approval.

The Batman’s chief aides, the many incarnations of Robin, also have their own set of problems. Dick Grayson, the first Robin, also has a set of issues. As the Batman’s first actual sidekick and active ally in crime fighting, there were moments when he exhibited signs of performance anxiety and status anxiety. Early on, some of his actions can be interpreted as being his attempts to alleviate his performance anxiety after being chosen as the mythical Batman’s sole companion on the streets. In time, one might be led to assume that Grayson eventually formed the Nightwing persona as a means of alleviating his status anxiety, and to enable himself to establish his own identity outside the “shadow of the Bat.” However, as shown by his adherence to the core principles of his mentor’s methods, he was not fully able to overcome the power of his roots. Indeed, one might be tempted to interpret his current place as the protector of the city of Bludhaven as his way of overcoming his status anxiety, essentially becoming that city’s own version of Batman.

Jason Todd, the second Robin, also had his fair share of disorders and problems to work through. Like Grayson before him, Todd had to live in the “shadow of the Bat.” However, there was added pressure for him, as he had to also live up to the legacy left behind by the first Robin. He experienced a lot of status anxiety because of the pressures set before him by his mentor and his predecessor, though he eventually came into his own. His death in the line of duty prompted the Batman to reconsider the prospect of taking in another youth to aide him in his war against crime, effectively developing into a projected form of separation anxiety early on in the career of the third Robin, Tim Drake. Due to Jason Todd’s death, Drake had to overcome both the nominal trials to become Robin, as well as the Batman’s own doubts on whether he could allow the boy to join him on the streets.

In addition, there is the complicated case of Cassandra Cain, the fourth – and current – Batgirl. Trained from an early age to be the ultimate killing machine, Cassandra was raised without even being taught how to speak. This, along with her reclusive childhood, has left her with a deeply-rooted sense of social anxiety. While the time spent in Bludhaven with Nightwing and the third Robin helped her gain a better footing on the social scene, her general aloofness and reluctance to participate in large-scale social gatherings showed that she did not overcome her social anxiety. Cassandra Cain also felt the pain of rejection and status anxiety over not being chosen to protect Gotham City during the Batman’s absence, subconsciously believing that she had not earned that right. However, she is shown to have allowed that feeling to evolve into resentment and anger, though how much of that is due to her own doing. Forced to use psychoactive drugs, her erratic behavior had also become suspect.

Finally, there is the Batman’s expansive rogues’ gallery. Each of the classic Batman villains exhibits some sort of mental disorder or psychological imbalance. The Joker, for example, is clearly insane, with mental instabilities running down many levels. Mr. Freeze, in his re-worked origin, exhibits signs of separation anxiety, as he is utterly unable and unwilling to accept that he cannot save his wife’s life. The Ventriloquist and the Mad Hatter arguably both represent dissociative identity disorder, though the former makes for a stronger example than the latter. Even Bane, “the man who broke the Bat,” has his own share of issues, with one of them being a mild form of status anxiety brought on by his aforementioned achievement.