Today is Flag Day…and also my sister Judith K. Rush’s birthday.
Happy Birthday, Judie.
Ground Zero Chaplain Bob Ossler and I are ecstatic to announce that our book, Triumph Over Terror is a Finalist in the International Book Awards – 2018 -in the US History category.
Triumph Over Terror was a finalist in the national 2017 Best Books Awards.
Bob and I met in a writers critique group in Millville, New Jersey in early 2015. Bob wanted to tell his story about his time at Ground Zero after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
One story, “Sweeper Man,” was enough to convince us that Bob should write this book.
Bob admits that he is a talker and not a writer, so he had difficulty getting his thoughts down on paper in an organized manner. In addition, he realized as an adult that he has ADD – attention deficit disorder. (At the present time, the official term is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder- ADHD. However, hyperactivity is not necessarily a problem for everyone with this disorder.)
At any rate, Bob and I formed a writing team. He wrote out his “brain dumps” in emails to me, and I revised, edited, and organized them in a meaningful structure. It took us a year of writing emails, face-to-face meetings, many critique group meetings, outside edits, and more to finish this book, but we did it.
We went to The Greater Philadelphia Chrisitan Writers Conference, organized by Marlene Bagnull, and showed out outlines, book comparisions, short proposal and long proposals around. Bob wore his chaplain shirts and firefighter shirts and caught the attention of publishers, editors, and other writers.
Together, we pitched our book in fifteen minute, face-to-face meetings with publishers and editors. It was like a “speed-dating marathon” where potential relationships begin. We found several interested in our book, but one publisher pursued and wooed us.
“I want that book,” she announced in a crowded hallway.
Two months later, we finished our draft and shipped it off to Scoti Springfield Domeij of Blackside Publishing. After several rounds of revisions, edits, and polishes, the book was published.
Click here to read an excerpt of Triumph Over Terror: “Sweeper Man”
Dog books are great favorites with readers. In two book contests, dog books have taken first place. Our book, Triumph Over Terror, has taken second place. For this third contest, Christian Indie Awards, we would love to see our book take first place. With your help we can. Thanks.
Three days remain in the Christian Indie Awards Book contest (www.christianpublishers.net/18votes/) Deadline March 31.
Will dog stories win first place in this contest?
Our book, Triumph Over Terror, has been in two book contests (Best Books, 2017 and Readers’ Choice, 2017), and we have placed 2nd in each one (in nonfiction category) after books about dogs.
I love dogs. Our family always had dogs as we were growing up, and I had one when I was a young adult. They are great companions who cheer up people on their worst days and add further joy on good days. Dogs give unconditional love. Dogs are heroes in their own right.
Now we are in our third contest, The Christian Indie Awards (Christian Small Publishers Association), and sure enough, there is a dog book in our Nonfiction-Biography category!
Please help us honor our American heroes by…
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Here is a post honoring an outstanding veteran. The article is coauthored with Bob Ossler and myself.
What an honor to be pictured with 91-year-old retired Navy Captain John Arens at the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library in Cape Coral, Florida.
Every Tuesday, the SWF Military Museum offers lunch for veterans and family members. Up to 200 attendees enjoy the lunch and camaraderie each week.
Captain Arens, a Toledo, Ohio native, born in 1926, has an impressive military career.
He first served in the Merchant Marines near the end of WWII. As a teenager he joined this non-military organization which protects transportation of commercial goods and passengers during peacetime. However, in times of war, Merchant Marines can provide assistance to the US Navy.
While in the Merchant Marines, he was drafted into the US Army and served as an Airborne Ranger in the Korean War with the Army Rangers 187th Airborne.
In the 1960s, he trained for and became a Navy SCUBA diver and worked for a number of years in the Arctic. After that, he skippered a Navy…
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Our book, Triumph Over Terror, coauthored by Bob Ossler Chaplain and Janice Hall Heck, has been nominated for the 2018 Christian Indie Award. NonFiction category.
Click here to vote: 2018 Christian Indie Award.
Triumph Over Terror is a book about Chaplain Bob Ossler’s experiences at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Here is an excerpt:
Sweeper Man’s Hopeless Task
“I must lose myself in action, lest I whither in despair.” –Alfred Lord Tennyson
Soon after our introduction to St. Paul’s Chapel [where volunteers were housed], a volunteer guide offered to take us on a tour of Ground Zero. As I walked with about twenty other chaplains toward the smoking, smoldering, seven-stories high wreckage of buildings and souls, we passed a fatherly-looking figure pushing a long-handled broom. A dirty sweatshirt barely covered his protruding belly. White chalky ask shrouded his pant legs–the pulverized cement of collapsed buildings intermingled with ashes of cremated bodies. Engulfed in the stench of death, he swept and pushed, swept and pushed at piles of dust-fine ash and dirt, twisted metal and broken glass, chunks of concrete, tangled wires, and papers blown from the demolished towers. Debris stretched as far as the eye could see, endless–but still Sweeper Man swept and pushed, swept and pushed.
To restore order to his street, one man faced the greatest physical and emotional challenge of his lifetime. He picked up his broom to do something, anything, no matter how small.
Swoosh, swoosh. Swoosh, swoosh. A symbol of hope. He pushed his long-handled broom slowly but steadily, shoving away the rubble and ash of shattered buildings and lives.
As our group of chaplains walked by on Sweeper Man’s newly created path, he stepped aside. We greeted him, and he nodded. After we passed him, I looked back. He leaned on his broom, lowered his head, and began to cry. In that overwhelming mess, he looked so forlorn trying to clear his patch of the city he loved. Seeing him weep over his broom broke my heart.
I walked back and embraced him. He grabbed onto me and sobbed on my shoulder. “I’m exhausted from trying to clean up this mess. It’s hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless.”
I hugged him harder and complimented him on his nice, clean area, and how much I appreciated the time and effort he invested into clearing the trash and junk away. Before I moved back to the group of chaplains, I offered to share a prayer with him. He accepted, so we prayed together and asked God for strength in these terrible times.
Sweeper Man thanked me for the hug, the prayer, and the encouragement. After I turned to catch up to my group, he went back to work with his broom to make his path wider–sweeping, sweeping,
A tragedy of unspeakable proportions left his little corner of New York City totally trashed, but he persevered in his work.
Steady. Reliable. Crushed in spirit, but buoyed with enough encouragement to begin again, to take one more step, to push the broom one more time, to sweep away at the ruins threatening to bury all hope.
Sweeper Man reminded me of an important lesson that day: No matter the job, every single person who works in disaster cleanup is important and needs to be appreciated and recognized for their efforts.
Even though I may never see Sweeper Man again, for one moment in time, our lives connected, and God’s love touched us both.
Used by permission, Blackside Publishing.
VOTE for Triumph Over Terror in the Christian Indie Awards contest NON-fiction category.
Vote for other excellent writers:
Pam Halter, Willoughby and the Terribly Itchy Itch
Candy Abbott, I’ve Never Loved Him More
MaryAnn Diorio, The Dandelion Patch and Return to Bella Terra
Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key
Michele Chynoweth, The Peace Maker
A person with ADD/ADHD can overcome lots of difficulties. One can even write a book about his life’s experiences! Bob Ossler, Chicago paramedic, firefighter, air-sea rescue, ordained pastor and chaplain. Bob Ossler did just that with coauthor Janice Hall Heck. Triumph Over Terror is that book.
So I’ve owned up to being A.D.D./A.D.H.D, and that explains a bit of my poor performance in school in my early years. It may also explain a bit of my impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity as a child and as an adult.
When I was a kid, I was Trouble with that capital T. I couldn’t seem to control my inattention, my off-task behavior, my risk-taking behavior, my failure to learn as fast as the other kids, my inability to complete tasks, and my penchant for taking up new interests when old interests quickly faded.
As a kid, I was a mess. But I did squeak through high school, thanks to my supportive parents and a few teachers who seemed to take special interest in me.
Along the way, I discovered strengths that have helped me become successful in life. In fact, I might even call those strengths “my superabilities.” Once I identified them, my life changed…
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