Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The history of the Swastika: Good not evil

In ancient times, the symbol of the swastika meant good, until it was stolen by Hitler, like most good things. It was one bad man's adoption of the word that changed the meaning of it.


The Swastika: A Sign of Good Luck Becomes a Symbol of Evil

Pages 14-15
The Swastika Flag
The swastika is a very old symbol with use widespread throughout the world. Sometimes referred to as a “Gammadion” “Hakenkreuz” or a “Flyfot,” it traditionally had been a sign of good fortune and well being The word “swastika” is derived from the Sanskrit “su” meaning “well” and “asti” meaning “being.” It also is considered to be a representation of the sun and is associated with the worship of Aryan sun gods. It is a symbol in both Jainism and Buddhism, as well as a Nordic runic emblem and a Navajo sign.
By definition, the swastika is a primitive symbol or ornament in the form of a cross. As the illustration below shows, the arms of the cross are of equal length with a section of each arm projecting at right angles from the end of each arm, all in the same direction and usually clockwise.
swastikaWhen Adolph Hitler, the frustrated artist, was placed in charge of propaganda for the fledgling National Socialist Party in 1920, he realized that the party needed a vivid symbol to distinguish it from rival groups. He sought a design, therefore, that would attract the masses. Hitler selected the swastika as the emblem of racial purity displayed on a red background “to win over the worker,”
Hitler had a convenient but spurious reason for choosing the Hakenkreuz or hooked cross. It had been used by the Aryan nomads of India in the Second Millennium B.C. In Nazi theory, the Aryans were the Germans ancestors, and Hitler concluded that the swastika had been “eternally anti-Semitic.”
In spite of its fanciful origin the swastika flag was a dramatic one and it achieved exactly what Hitler intended from the first day it was unfurled in public. Anti-Semites and unemployed workers rallied to the banner, and even Nazi opponents were forced to acknowledge that the swastika had a “hypnotic effect.”
“The hooked cross” wrote American correspondent William Shirer “seemed to beckon to action the insecure lower-middle classes which had been floundering in the uncertainty of the first chaotic postwar years.” The swastika flag had a suggestive sense of power and direction. It embodied all of the Nazi concepts within simple symbol. As Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf,  “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the Nationalist idea, and in the swastika the vision of’ the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man.”
The Bremen Incident
One of the first actions Hitler carried or after becoming Chancellor in 1933 was to abolish the Weimar Republic flag. On April 22, 1933 he decreed that the national flags of German would be the old Imperial red, white, and black tricolor and flown in conjunction with the swastika flag. These flags were to be flown together on all merchant ships, which led to a serious incident with diplomatic consequences.
On the night of Friday, July 26, 1935, several hundred Communists took part in an anti Nazi demonstration on a pier in New York harbor as the German liner Bremen was about to depart for Europe. They attempted to board the liner and were fought by 250 policemen, detectives, and crew members. Thirty of the demonstrators gained the forelock of the vessel and tore down the swastika flag flying there and threw it into the Hudson River. In the short fierce struggle with the police, a detective was badly beaten before the Communists were ejected.
Meanwhile, there was savage fighting on the pier and in the adjacent streets. The police used their batons freely on the heads of the Communists and after a time the demonstrators we drawn off. The police arrested four men alleged to be the assailants of the injured detective. Three others were arrested for disorderly conduct.
The injured detective and two of the rioters were taken to the hospital. Ten of the Bremen’s crew also were treated for cuts and bruises. The liner departed on time, and 20 policemen sailed with her as far as the quarantine station to guard against the possibility that other Communists might be concealed on board and start a new attack. The Bremen’s commander, Captain Ziegenbein, commended the police’s work. The police officials, however, blamed the ship’s officers for taking too lightly a warning they had sent them hours before the riot occurred.
The indignities inflicted upon the German flag by the American anti-Nazi demonstrators on board the Bremen resulted four days later in an emphatic protest being delivered to the American Acting Secretary of State by the German Charge d’Affaires in Washington. It was pointed out to the German diplomat, however, that the insult had been aimed at the “Party” flag and that the National flag had not been interfered with: a very fine distinction in the circumstances but one which precipitated the Nuremberg Flag Laws of September 15, 1935.
The whole question of the German National flag was resolved seven weeks later during the Seventh Reichsparteitag Congress held at Nuremberg in September 1935. This annual occasion was used by Hitler to publicly announce that the red, white, and black swastika flag of the Nazi Party would henceforth be the National flag of Germany. The incentive to solve the unsatisfactory arrangement of flying two flags together representing the nation had been thrust upon the Fuhrer as a direct result of the Bremen incident. The official use of the swastika flag came simultaneously with the increased use of racial policies.
The Swastika Flag’s use as the National Flag was a symbol of the acceleration of the Nazi’s anti-Semitic agenda which included the September 15, 1936, “Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor.” These laws revoked the Jews’ citizenship in the Reich. Jews could not vote, marry Aryans, or employ “in domestic service, female subjects of German or kindred blood who are under the age of 45 years.”
Jews found themselves excluded from schools, libraries, theaters, and public transpor-tation facilities- Passports were stamped with the word “Jew.” Name changes were disallowed, but Jewish men had to add the middle name “Israel,” Jewish women the name “Sarah.” Jewish wills that offended the “sound judgement of the people” could be legally voided. Furthermore, Jewish businesses were taken away from their owners and placed in the hands of German “trustees.”
The Bremen Incident led the Nazi’s to raise their banner of hatred as a national symbol while making the Jews into “second class subjects” of Germany. The Jews were then treated as the untermenschenHitler believed they were. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Ome year ago the Arkansas Pioneer Branch of NLAPW (National League of American Pen Women) celebrated our 70th Anniversary and one of our very special guests was our distinguished Govenor Mike Beebe.

Chilly Willy the Hoodie Wearing Bully


Bullying is a great problem and seems to be getting worse. Do you know a bully? Have you ever been bullied or have you been a bully.? Did you know that 70% of school age children report some form of bullying, with verbal being the most prevalent, and a stunning 14% of bullying among students are violent cases? A huge percentage of students miss school everyday because they are afraid because of bullying.

Check out my newest book, a narrative about young lad who was a big time bully.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ever wondered how to get reversion rights from your publisher? Here's a very good article:


Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Partly in connection with the controversy surrounding troubled publisher Ellora's Cave, I've been getting questions about how to go about requesting rights reversion from one's publisher.

There's no official format for a rights reversion request, and if you do a websearch on "rights reversion request" you can find various pieces of advice from authors and others. Here's the procedure I'd suggest. (Note that I'm not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice.)

First of all, if you have a competent agent, ask your agent to handle it. Especially if you're with a larger publisher, your agent is more likely to know exactly whom to contact, and in a better position to push for a response.

If you don't have an agent, or if your agent is not very competent or not very responsive:

1. Look through your contract to find the rights reversion or termination language. Sometimes this is a separate clause; sometimes it's included in other clauses. See if there are stipulations for when and how you can request your rights back. For example, a book may become eligible for rights reversion once sales numbers or sales income fall below a stated minimum.

The ideal reversion language is precise ("Fewer than 100 copies sold in the previous 12 consecutive months") and makes reversion automatic on request, once stipulations are fulfilled. Unfortunately, reversion language is often far from ideal. Your contract may impose a blackout period (you can't request reversion until X amount of time after your pub date), a waiting period after the reversion request (the publisher has X number of months to comply, during which time your book remains on sale), or provide the publisher with an escape mechanism (it doesn't have to revert if it publishes or licenses a new edition within 6 months of your request).

Worse, your contract may not include any objective standards for termination and reversion, leaving the decision entirely to the publisher's discretion; or it may include antiquated standards ("The book shall not be considered out of print as long as it is available for sale through the regular channels of the book trade"--meaningful in the days when books were physical objects only and print runs could be exhausted, but useless for today's digital reality).

It's also possible that your contract may not include any reversion language at all. This is often the case with limited-term contracts, so if your contract is one of those, you may just have to wait things out. Unfortunately, I've also seen life-of-copyright contracts with no reversion language. This is a big red flag: a life-of copyright contract should always be balanced with precise reversion language.

2. Begin your reversion request by stating your name, the title(s) of your book(s), your pub date(s), and your contract signing date(s). I don't think there's any need to create separate requests if you're requesting reversion on more than one book; but there are those who disagree.

3. If you do meet your contract's reversion stipulations, indicate how you do ("Between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014, Title X sold 98 copies") and state that per the provisions of your contract, you're requesting that your rights be reverted to you. If the contract provides a specific procedure for making the reversion request, follow this exactly.

4. If you don't meet your contract's reversion stipulations, if reversion is at the publisher's discretion, or if your contract has no reversion language, simply request that the publisher terminate the contract and return your rights to you. If there's an objective reason you can cite--low sales, for instance, or your own inability to promote the book--do so, even if those reasons are not mentioned in the contract as a condition of reversion.

5. DO: be polite, businesslike, and succinct.

6. DON'T: mention the problems the publisher may be having, the problems you've had with the publisher, problems other authors have had, online chatter, news coverage, lawsuits, or anything else negative. As much as you may be tempted to vent your anger, resentment, or fear, rubbing the publisher's nose in its own mistakes amd failures will alienate it, and might cause it to decide to punish you by refusing your request or just refusing to respond. Again: keep it professional and businesslike.

7. Request that the publisher provide you with a reversion letter. Certain contract provisions (such as the author's warranties) and any outstanding third-party licenses will survive contract termination. Also, publishers typically claim copyright on cover art and on a book's interior format (i.e., you couldn't just re-publish a scanned version of the book), and the right to sell off any printed copies that exist at the time of reversion (with royalties going to you as usual). Some publishers are starting to claim copyright on metadata (which they define not just as ISBNs and catalog data, but back cover copy and advertising copy).

I've also seen publishers claim copyright on editing (which means they'd revert rights only to the originally-submitted manuscript). This is ridiculous and unprofessional. For one thing, it provides no benefit to the publisher--what difference does it make if an author re-publishes the final version of a book from which the publisher has already received the first-rights benefit? For another, if edits are eligible for copyright at all, copyright would belong to the editor, not the publisher. If you find a copyright claim on editing in a publishing contract, consider it a red flag. If the publisher makes this claim without a contractual basis--as some publishers do--feel free to ignore it.

To give you an idea of what an official reversion letter looks like, here's a screenshot of one of mine.

8. If the publisher registered your copyright, ask for the original certificate of copyright. Smaller publishers often don't register authors' copyrights--again, check your contract, and double-check by searching on your book at the US Copyright Office's Copyright Catalog.

9. Send the request by email and, if you have the publisher's physical address, by snail mail, return receipt requested.

Hopefully your publisher will comply with your reversion request. But there are many ways in which a publisher can stall or dodge, from claiming that your records are wrong to simply not responding. If that happens, there's not much you can do, apart from being persistent, or deciding to take legal action--though that's an expensive option.

One last thing: a publisher should not put a price on rights reversion. Charging a fee for reversion or contract termination is a nasty way for a publisher to make a quick buck as a writer goes out the door. A termination fee in a publishing contract is a red flag (for more on why, see my blog post). And attempting to levy a fee that's notincluded in the contract is truly disgraceful.