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Fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic nonfiction books edited by RKedit

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Ruins of Grandeur
by Donald G. Geddes, III

    Behind the opulent facades of the Grand Canal's architecture my mind recalls what my eyes cannot see, the dark labyrinth of narrow passageways and sunny campos with their unique and mysterious-looking wells upon which stray cats snooze on sun-drenched lids.
Here and there ancient brick reveals itself, exposed by crumbling stucco. Gray-haired grandmothers peer from open windows, their faces framed by peeling shutters while, inside, TV sets blare incessantly. Above the narrow passageways flap the pigeons and the ubiquitous laundry. Strung out to dry, clothing and under garments undulate suggestively in the breeze. And everywhere there are flowers; white roses cascade over brick walls, geraniums thrust brazen pink and red blossoms skyward from earthen pots, purple wisteria dangles in pungent profusion like a tangled arbor lush with grapes. Already I detect or perhaps just imagine the familiar aromas – sewage, floral attar, fresh bread, dead fish, garlic, mildew and Gorgonzola – smells all tinged with salt air from vast greenish-colored lagoons.

by Nancy Deville

    …. My heart rate ripped to its tipping point. Once over 145 BPM I would begin to disassociate. To maintain control, I started survival breathing, what my father called “ream the other guy” breathing. Four counts in. Hold for four. Exhale four.
    During the rape, I was hyper-focused on staying alive, on avoiding any movement that would cause the icy cold razor switchblade pressed against my neck to slice through my pulsing carotid artery. I analyzed every possibility to gain an advantage over my attacker, including fighting back as soon as the razor was safely away from my neck. It was a nice try, as Dad would have said, though it gained me nothing but three cracked ribs. Even seriously injured, I had reached in vain for the blade when it lay in the rapist’s slack hand as he dozed, his body a dead weight on top of me, his long black hair flopping over my face as he snored, filling my nostrils with the sickening sweet smell of his oily scalp and the rankly sweet odor of licorice on his breath.

Winner, Category: Unpublished
(Novel since published)

Depth of Deceit
by Betty Briggs

    Surprisingly on time, Stephanie leaned back in her chair and surveyed the day’s new crop of lawbreakers. Hollow-eyed, malnourished, pierced and tattooed, they looked as if drugs, alcohol, or whatever other abuses to which they submitted their bodies, had completely polluted their systems. Dressed in bright orange jumpsuits, wrists shackled in handcuffs––they’d failed to appear for previous court dates––any of the five men and three women could have answered a casting call for “criminal” in a Hollywood movie; not exactly entertainment law’s “pretty people” Stephanie had once dreamed of representing.
    A scholar of Perry Mason TV reruns, Stephanie, too, had vowed to protect the innocent. The only problem, Perry’s clients were always innocent. Hers were, well like Carlos Ortega, whose wife, the poor woman, now stood at the lectern.
    “But you see, Your Honor, I don’t need a restraining order against my husband,” Mrs. Ortega said. Behind her on the right sat the prosecuting attorney, counsel for the State of Utah. To her left sat Stephanie, in her role today as indigent defense attorney, representing those who couldn’t afford a lawyer.
    The first thing Stephanie noticed about the young Hispanic woman was her long dark ponytail, so thick and frizzy it covered her entire back, cascading to her waist. It wasn’t until the woman turned her head that Stephanie saw the split lip, bulging black eye, and stitched forehead. No doubt the young woman would tell the judge she’d fallen down the stairs, that or some other dubious explanation. This happened all the times – women protecting husbands who beat them, men Stephanie would be called upon to defend.

The Billion Dollar Solution
by Robert Newbold

   ….  Often, if we know those few places where extra effort will pay off, we could apply extra effort there, as additional resources or weekend work, and the project would be completed even more quickly.
  The entire portfolio of projects could be finished more quickly if we could identify the key resources – those chronically overloaded – and provide purposeful assistance. Despite – or perhaps because of – the chaos in which many organizations operate, the number of key resources is normally very small. Once again, to get a realistic picture of the few resources that truly need help, it’s a matter of separating the wheat of figure I.3 from the chaff of figure I.1. When those resources are identified, the capabilities of the entire organization can be improved by applying capacity in a relatively small number of places.
    This book is about converting an organization from the common picture to the Billion Dollar picture and beyond, a change that would be worth large bundles of money to many organizations. That conversion is conceptually very simple, because fundamentally the improved speed comes from focus: on priorities, on key tasks, on key resources. In practice, it’s not simple at all. The common picture is self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling; and many of the ways people interact to sustain it are inimical to the Billion Dollar picture.

Orléans Embrace with the Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré
by TJ Fisher (narrative portion, Orléans Embrace. . . .), Roy F. Guste, Jr. (Gardens), Louis Sahuc (French Quarter photography)

A smooth read – “Katrina changed everything. Life here is different, every face altered. Yet we feel and sense the landscape not only in its hurricane-leveled sodden depressions but—perhaps even more so now in the strangely comforting depths of our shared history. Even in the worst hit areas, not all is dissipated. Dense intricate attachments burrow too deep to underestimate or overlook. This is no featureless town to be rubbed off the map and cast aside. Here the band plays on.…

Excerpted from Part 1 of Ben Franklin gold medalist “Best New Voice nonfiction” TJ Fisher’s narrative portion of the award-winning Orléans Embrace with the Secret Gardens of the Vieux Carré.” Ron Kenner, editor.

Hearsay from Heaven and Hades: New Orléans Secrets of Sinners and Saints
by TJ Fisher

Another smooth read

Excerpted from — Hearsay from Heaven and Hades: New Orleans Secrets of Sinners and Saints.  TJ Fisher’s latest published work. —

Winner, Poetry: General, National Best Books Awards

…Yes, we have artists and the card readers in Jackson Square, ghost tours, carriages, second-line parades, street entertainers, formality and debauchery cohabiting; in my block I like seeing a miniature horse, an alligator-size lizard, a guy with a snake draped around his neck, and costumed people rubbing shoulders with those cloaked in black-tie attire (with requisite drinks in hand) as they saunter beneath my balcony. I like Theatre d’Orléans. It would not be the same if recreated in suburbia. It is not the same at (the French Quarter of) Disney World or Las Vegas. We love the French Quarter precisely because it is the Quarter, not prissy and perfect. A place where blemishes and imperfections are welcome. Applauded. We rebel against gentrification and homogenization. Frankly, most of us here prefer a little poison in our paradise.… Ron Kenner, editor.

Reflections In The Ice
by Derek Para with Patrick Quinn

A smooth read by Olympic gold Medalist Derek Parra. — Parra, selected along with seven other athletes to carry the flag at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games, would recall in his book, Reflections in the Ice: Inside the Heart and Mind of an Olympic Champion (with Patrick Quinn):

 When it came time to begin the procession I touched the flag for the first time and felt a physical sensation unlike anything I had ever experienced. If it’s possible to feel your soul being touched then that is what I felt. As we carried the flag out before the capacity crowd and a worldwide television audience, the silence was deafening. I’ve never before heard such stillness. I was some place emotionally I had never been before; some place spiritually I didn’t know existed. While in this instance that flag representedf so much death [following the events of 9/11] it seemed also to stand for life, love, and the hope of a nation.

The book, edited by Ron Kenner, won a Ben Franklin gold medal in in the category of Autobiography/Memoir.

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