Is America at Its Best Ever?


Is America at its best ever?

Matt Goeller is a veteran broadcaster, freelance writer, and father of three. He admits he lost his jump shot years ago!

One of my high school friends, Matt Goeller, posted the following thoughts on Facebook. Like him, they are intelligent, articulate, thought-provoking, and maybe just a little contrarian! I appreciate him giving permission to share what he wrote through my blog. You might agree – or disagree – in all or part, but what a great reminder to think carefully about who determines our perceptions of what is happening in front of our very eyes.

So . . . is America at its best ever? Is that remotely possible?

I read a Facebook post from a friend who I know to be thoughtful and reasonably positive. But on this particular day he was questioning the values of our country and its people based on the fact that he had read more about Caitlyn Jenner winning a sports hero award than he had about servicemen being murdered on American soil. His closing comment was a sarcastic one about what a great time it is to be an American.

The-media-paints-aI feel it is a great time to be an American, but too many of us feel a sense of doom and gloom.

Is it possible that America is no different or even better than it ever was and that you may be using the wrong yardstick to pass judgement on your country and its citizens? Allowing yourself to perceive the values of our nation by what you read or hear about via social media and network news reports is a terrible idea. Both of those types of “reporting”  exist for a singular reason that has nothing to do with reporting news. It is there only to provide eyes and ears for advertisers. [Read more…]

The Return of Kristen Conner

Available August 1!

Available August 1, 2015!

The return of Kristen Conner … she’s back and she’s (still a little) mad!

First item of business, the only way to purchase either of the first two Kristen Conner murder mysteries is as a used paperback online – yes – it’s true – Cuts Like a Knife and Every Breath You Take are officially out of  print.

I take that back. The large-print library editions published by Center Point and the audio editions published by Oasis Audio are still available. All eBook editions are down and gone!

But that’s not a bad thing – it’s by design. Worthy Publishing bought rights to the first two novels and did a fabulous job. Both books hit #1 on Barnes & Noble. The covers, trailers, and publicity were great. I was very fortunate to get reviews from some of the major national media outlets that cover books – Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Romance Times, and many others.

Revised Edition

Revised Edition – available August 1, 2015!

But Worthy’s sweet spot is nonfiction and we agreed that it was the right time for the series to move. Note: With the percentage of fiction sold in the eBook format, many publishers are contracting their fiction lists – this is standard operating procedure in today’s publishing universe.

Enter Sydney Lane Press – a fiction company founded by yours truly and one of my colleagues from when I was publisher at Thomas Nelson – Brian Henson. Brian and I have complimentary (and wildly different) gifts and talents. (For example, Brian can do math.) Our business model will be to bring proven fiction authors back to market.

But back to Kristen Conner.

Cold As Ice will be available August 1, 2015. Yay! To all who have asked “when is the next one coming?” … THANK YOU for your patience.

Revised Edition

Revised Edition – available August 1, 2015!

New editions of Cuts Like a Knife and Every Breath You Take will be available on August 1, 2015. In particular, Every Breath You Take has undergone a major new edit – not quite a rewrite, but close!

Jeane and Tyson Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media will be handling publicity.

For fans of the Kristen Conner series I would appreciate it very much if you could …

  • make sure you have hit “like” on my author Facebook page so you are up-to-date on announcements.
  • purchase the new book in your preferred format – paperback, eBook or audio.
  • when the books are back up on Amazon, B&N, iStore, GoogleBooks, etc. – please post a review if you haven’t already done so.
  • share your review with friends!

More news to come!

Is Happiness a Choice?

happiness is a choice

Is happiness a choice?

Is happiness a choice? Can you become happy by choosing to be happy?

Two small studies by researchers Yuna L. Ferguson and Kennon M. Sheldon, reported in the Journal of Positive Psychology, suggest exactly that. The intention to become happy may be the key to being happy.

Does the explicit attempt to be happier facilitate or obstruct the actual experience of happiness? Two experiments investigated this question using listening to positive music as a happiness-inducing activity. Study 1 showed that participants assigned to try to boost their mood while listening to 12 min of music reported higher positive mood compared to participants who simply listened to music without attempting to alter mood. However, this effect was qualified by the predicted interaction: the music had to be positively valenced (i.e. Copland, not Stravinsky). In Study 2, participants who were instructed to intentionally try to become happier (vs. not trying) reported higher increases in subjective happiness after listening to positively valenced music during five separate lab visits over a two-week period.

I will admit, this is not a massive research project and I would never argue that happiness is possible all the time by an act of the will. I recognize that there are circumstances and conditions that will make anyone and everyone unhappy. But are we forced to live there? [Read more…]