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Daily Archives: March 3, 2012

Author Spotlight no.64 – Jeff Rasley

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the sixty-fourth, is of non-fiction and thriller writer Jeff Rasley.

Jeff Rasley is author of Light in the Mountains — A Hoosier Quaker finds Communal Enlightenment in Nepal, Islands in My Dreams, Nepal Himalayas — in the Moment, False Prophet? and Bringing Progress to Paradise.

He practiced law for thirty years in Indianapolis, Indiana and was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar.  He has an outstanding academic record: graduate of the University of Chicago, A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, All-Academic All-State Football Team and letter winner in swimming and football; Indiana University School of Law, J.D. cum laude, Moot Court and Indiana Law Review; Christian Theological Seminary, M.Div. magna cum laude, co-valedictorian and Faculty Award Scholar.

Jeff is currently President of the Basa Village Foundation USA Inc. and U.S. liaison for the Nepal-based Himalayan expedition company, Adventure GeoTreks, Ltd.  He teaches classes for IUPUI Continuing Ed. Program and Indiana Writers Center.

For chairing the Indiana-Tennessee Civic Memorial Commission, Jeff received Proclamations of Salutation from the Governors of Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania and he was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp of the Alabama State Militia, a Kentucky Colonel and honorary Citizen of Tennessee.  He was given a Key to the City of Indianapolis for his report on the safety conditions of Indy Parks.  Jeff received the Man of the Year award from the Arthur Jordan YMCA.

Jeff has published numerous articles and photos in academic and mainstream periodicals, including Newsweek, Chicago Magazine, ABA Journal, Family Law Review, Pacific Magazine, Indy’s Child, The Journal of Communal Societies, The Chrysalis Reader, Faith & Fitness Magazine, Friends Journal and Real Travel Adventures International Magazine.  He gives programs about adventure travel and philanthropy to service clubs, community organizations and churches.  He is an avid outdoorsman and recreational athlete.  He leads trekking-mountaineering expeditions in Nepal and has solo-kayaked around several Pacific island groups.  Jeff also loves to read and considers completing Marcel Proust’s 3600-page Remembrance of Things Past as one of his most enjoyable accomplishments.

Married to Alicia Rasley, Jeff is a multi-published author, RITA Award winner, and University professor.

And now from the author himself:

I started writing bad poetry as a teenager and graduated to short stories and feature articles in college.  I honed my craft at feature article writing as much as time permitted through graduate schools, practicing law, domestic husbandry and raising two sons.  My loves other than wife, kids and writing have been sports and what has been called adventure travel.

After one semester I dropped out of college and hitch-hiked across the country.  I spent the next summer traveling around Europe by any means necessary.  The following summer I motorcycled from Northern Indiana to Mexico City.  Career, marriage and kids slowed me down somewhat, but I have set foot in over 40 countries.  I’ve climbed several Himalayan peaks and have been leading Himalayan trekking and mountaineering expeditions for a decade.  I managed to survive an avalanche and getting lost at sea in a solo kayak in the Palau Islands.

Eventually travel for the sake of adventure and personal curiosity was insufficiently meaningful.  I began to “philanthro-trek” – combining travel with philanthropy in the new millennium.   A special relationship developed with a remote Himalayan village.  Two friends and I were only the third group of “white people” to visit the village.  Leaders of the village and I established the Basa Village Project, which has grown into a Nepal-based NGO and a U.S. nonprofit corporation to benefit Basa and other Himalayan villages.

Three of the books I have written tell the story of how I came to have a special relationship with the Rai people and the wisdom I have gained from them about environmentalism, spirituality and community.  I have tried to give a truthful account of the 3 Cups of Tea received from my friends in the Nepal Himalayas.

A fourth book, Islands in My Dreams is an anthology of personal essays about unique island cultures I have experienced in my travels.  For example, Tonga has the fattest kings and the longest ruling family dynasty of current monarchs.  Palau is the most litigious society on earth with three lawsuits for every citizen.  Islands are where dreams and nightmares come true.

False Prophet? is my first attempt at fiction, although it is inspired by a case I handled twenty years ago.  It is an inspirational mystery, romantic suspense and political / legal thriller; a story of love lost and found and a rant against the inequities of the legal system.  The story is gritty but uplifting.  It reveals the seamy underside of local politics in Indianapolis.  But it also shows how white folks and African-Americans can work together for justice.  The love story is one of frustration and self-destruction, but ultimately understanding, reconciliation, renewed intimacy and a baby.

Thank you, Jeff. 🙂 You can find more about Jeff and his writing via his website www.jeffreyrasley.com

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with editor and novelist Jennifer Ciotta – the two hundred and ninety-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo (Amazon to follow). And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

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Short Story Saturday Review 004: ‘Clouded Vision’ by Linwood Barclay

Welcome to the Short Story Saturday review slot and the fourth in this series. This week’s is of long short story ‘Clouded Vision’ by Linwood Barclay.

I’d been looking forward to reading this book for a number of reasons (not in any particular order); it’s a Quick Read and I love to devour a book in one sitting (or standing… walking into town and back, in my case), it’s crime genre (my favourite) and it’s by Linwood Barclay. This is the only book of his I own but the Manageress at the Red Cross shop I volunteer at is an avid fan so it’s been near the top of my pile for a while. What better excuse than to read it for a review I’m posting just before heading to the shop. 🙂

As a good story should, the prologue (‘Setting the Scene’) starts with action, where we’re introduced to Eleanor (Ellie) Garfield whose fate we know by the end of these six-pages. As you would expect, the focus then switches to the family and the lengths they will go to to find their missing wife and mother. One of these routes is a ‘psychic’, Keisha Ceylon, who’s not all she’s cracked (anyone who reads this story please pardon the pun) up to be.

Other characters featured are the husband (Wendell), pregnant daughter (Melissa), the father of her child (Lester), a grown-up child himself, and Keisha’s competition, fellow psychic Winona. All are believable and well-rounded, even those only appearing for a page or more.

We ‘learn’ of the murderer’s identity about half-way through the book, the pace continuing with several more twists until the end. I did guess a couple of them, including the final one, but by then I’d become so attached to the characters that I hadn’t wanted it to end any other way (and it had me clapping!).

Although the Quick Reads series are designed to “engage new or lapsed adult readers”, and as the name would suggest, be quick to read, this story doesn’t hold back. It’s written in third person past tense, covering a few days of a could-be-based-on-real-life situation with a good mix of description and dialogue, long and short sentences keeping the narrative drive.

The book is a mere 96 pages of reasonably large print, equating to (by my very rough calculations) about 10,000 words – ideal for a lunch break or not-so-light relief. 🙂

Whilst we want books to be our friend, take us by the hand and lead us on a journey, some hold more tightly than others and Linwood, albeit only judged from this one story, certainly has a powerful grip.

Lindwood’s website is http://linwoodbarclay.com, which features this book ‘Clouded Vision’ on the home page. He is on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon amongst other places.

You can read more about the Quick Reads series here.

If you’d like to submit your story (50 to 2,500 words) for review take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with editor and novelist Jennifer Ciotta – the two hundred and ninety-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

 

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