Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Award Winner!

Vanishing Act 

By Todd Daniel McCormick

Llumina Press

ISBN:  978-1-59526-909-6

253 Pages



American Writer’s Award winner Todd Daniel McCormick (2007) has written a “reality” thriller/adventure! And what better way to read about today’s reality is through a novel as timely and up-to-date as America’s top news stories and television programs! Vanishing Act just may be a future best seller...if you want to be one of the first readers...add this one to your “must-read” list!


Main character Nick O’Shea has been up for any type of adventure in his past; however, he’s now met a wonderful woman, Sandy, and is thinking about marriage and a family. Nick lives on his boat, Tequila Sunrise, and is always ready for his next assignment as a bounty hunter for rich-and-famous fugitives who’ve committed white-collar crimes—“extremely wealthy clients who get themselves into very delicate legal difficulties... eccentric and capable of making themselves scarce.” (p. 29) When his boss calls and assigns his latest “skip,” he also admits that if the man is never found, that his bonding agency may go under. For the missing man is James Preston, Billionaire and CEO who has looted his own company’s pension fund!


Consider what options a billionaire has in creating diversions to prevent apprehension! The chase is on, with Nick taking the lead, surrounded by the FBI, local officials, computer experts, family and friends! Nick has been considering retirement as part of the future and he calls upon contacts everywhere to help him with this, his last and most dangerous assignment! Disguises, deceptions, false leads all fail as Nick follows the faint trail left by Preston.  The action on high seas, in the midst of Hurricane “James,” which leaves Nick unconscious holding on for his life at the top of his mast, is just a sample of the adventure! Even when they meet face-to-face, Preston taunts, “This is a game, pure and simple...I’ve perpetrated the ultimate crime, and now I get to watch the carnage that will follow.” (p. 236)


But when Preston turns his actions toward Sandy, Nick quickly moves to high gear.


Interestingly, amidst the fast pace of the chase, McCormick quite successfully interweaves the romance between Nick and Sandy, as well as his personal life with family and friends. One of the reasons is that the primary setting on the seas allows this beautiful merge. The characters have been well developed to fit into the setting and lifestyles of what some call “the rich and the famous.”


The headline from the news release by the publisher says, “Prize Winning Novel Enters the Mind of the Corporate Criminal.” We’ve all seen the reality in the news! Take a break from reality and enjoy this award-winning fiction novel...just for the enjoyment and pleasure I’m sure you’ll have!


G. A. Bixler

For IP Book Reviewers


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Book About me! Actually, About Baby Boomers

Generation Ageless

By J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman

Generation Ageless: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Live Today...And They're Just Getting Started, by J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman, is a book you must read. Why? Because people will be talking about it! And those in the know know to read this book!

Baby Boomers--you may have heard the phrase, this catchword many times; but did you know there are 78 million of them? After reading this book, I believe there are even more-for surely there are those, like me, who were born on the "cusp--9 months before 1946!" and see themselves more like boomers than any other group!

Yankelovich, Inc. began studying consumer values and lifestyles in 1958.  As I started reading Generation Ageless, I did not realize how the activities by a company, about which I knew nothing, could be writing about--me! It was at first exhilarating--then it got downright eerie! Yankelovich chose to begin studying Americans through the gathering and analysis of data by generations.  Certainly, they could not have projected at that time that the generation born during the years 1946 to 1964 would become the largest group of any during the last century! Due to the number of individuals, it is also perhaps one of the most influential groups of people in the past and for the foreseeable future.

Generation Ageless is extensive and covers many issues. In some ways, it is like reading a biography of 78 million people, in one book! In another way, it is pure demographics about Baby Boomers. At the same time, every marketing agent should be studying this as a textbook!  Put all together, it is one of the most interesting and informative books I have ever read! It is an interesting read with both narrative and charts; however, with excellent writing, the authors have made what could be very dry into something that comes across in a personal fashion and includes information for anybody of any age.

Before reading this book, some of us may have begun thinking about planning for retirement or considering what we might want to do "with the rest of our lives." Even if we didn't feel like our lives were over, we might have felt that society was seeing us that way.  Well, after reading Generation Ageless, we will find that we are all thinking the same thing--we are too young to retire...we want to continue doing the things we are now doing and we want to continue them for as long as we want to! So, we now have the key words to explain that! We are not going to ever get old; we are merely middle age-less! "How cool is that?" as one commercial declares.

Baby Boomers want to matter; they want to have a presence and an influence. "Or to put it in the way that best reflects the edge they give to it, it's a matter of immortality and morality." (p. xiv).

The book uses the terminology that has been coined in the past: the Matures, Baby Boomers, Xers, and Echo Boomers. I found it especially heartening that the Baby Boomers group has expressed many of my own thoughts, as I've grown older. We look back with some regret to that accomplished by the Matures. We worry about the Xers and Echo Boomers. But no matter what, Baby Boomers are going to stay in the game. And because there are so many, what Baby Boomers will continue to do for themselves will directly benefit others.

Baby Boomers, in turn, have been divided into the Straight Arrows, Due Diligents,  Maximizers, Sideliners, Diss/Contenteds, and Re-Activists, with the driving force being the Maximizers.  Readers may see themselves as having started out as one type of individual but changing, due to personal experiences, later in life. As the book says, "maximizers are the most enthusiastic Boomer segment. They want more of everything and they want more out of everything." (p. 188) While the book indicated that maximizers had something in common with every other segment, I thought perhaps another way of saying this was that we all had some part of us that were one time or another in our lives!

This book is fun to read! It is encouraging; it is disheartening...but it is about us! If we have an enemy, then the enemy is us. But if we also believe that our future will be bright, we also know that the Baby Boomers will be there, shining and basking in the light provided by that generation! 

You'll be placing this book on a nearby bookshelf. It is a great resource of information. It gives you much to ponder. And it's fun to read and talk about!  I highly recommend Generation Ageless.