Sketches of a Black Cat

Sketches of a Black Cat ISBN: 9781535054881 Riverdale Press, a biography by Ron Miner.

This is the “Story of a night flying WW II pilot and artist” written by his son in a forthright manner. It chronicles the daily experiences of his father and the group of men who participated heroically in the largely unknown and little recognized but extremely necessary activities of disrupting enemy supply lines and rescue of downed flyers at sea. Occasionally additional bombing of enemy targets and similar duties also were assigned. And because their ‘flying boat’ PBY’s were not easily maneuverable and of slow airspeed, their missions were flown almost exclusively at night throughout the Pacific. The author states: “This book is built primarily around my father’s words and writings and gleaned from his extensive collection of documents, news clippings, war records, and keepsakes. My aim has been to remain true to his voice…” He departs from this only where: “I felt a particular reference or anecdote might benefit from additional clarification, expanding, or the simple weaving in of a little history for context. Where this required research, I have tried to include and give credit to those sources.”

This is a biography where, unlike many, it has been relatively well written and paced so it reads like a novel and provides recall of action associated with names such as Tinian, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Tarawa, Leyte and more for those few who remember, and an introduction for those who are interested in the history of the early days of war in the Pacific Theatre and a little remembered part of aviation. A few unfortunate parts of the presentation are that the pictures often are difficult to see and fewer than expected and a disconcerting concurrent presentation of a caption often running alongside of the main dialogue. Otherwise, you will not be disappointed.

4* Biography that reads like a novel but with minor disappointments


SELF DISRUPTION PUBLISHING, an e-book written and copyright by Richard McCartney.

This is another in a series of books by the author that offers greatly needed help to the struggling self-publisher. When one considers the competition from the vast numbers of new titles published (the last figure I remember seeing is in the neighborhood of a million/year) and the tremendous advantages in favor of the long established powerful old guard of publishers, it indeed is a wonder that the independent’s offering even surfaces. This is exactly the reason McCartney’s book, along with his former offerings, are so important to the newbie and to the struggling self-publishing author. He begins with a short recounting of the exact problems you already know you face followed by providing the theory of why “Disruptive Marketing” works and presents the step by step procedures the reader must employ to gain the recognition required to make your book more than just an ego elevating tool that allows you to proclaim yourself a ‘published author’. This, and the author’s other contributions, in this reader’s opinion, are a MUST READ for anyone wishing to have his/her book properly recognized. And I say this as one who has been much involved in the book world for quite a number of years. Appleton-Century-Crofts published my first textbook which was followed by more in those years when book publishing had a precise pattern. Publishers selected the titles, signed the authors to contracts, gave standard royalties, printed the books, turned them over to their marketing division, discounts were established and standardized, the books were placed with companies who distributed them to book stores who sold them to people and everybody made money. Suddenly, Print on Demand became available, avoiding more costly traditional publishing methods, and many new publishers and authors entered the picture. The evolving problems that ensued gradually were solved, e-books and e-book readers came next and now anyone can publish a book. During this later period of disruption, I had retired from scientific activity and had switched from writing textbooks to teaching a university level course in writing and publishing and personally writing novels. Most unfortunately, my old guard publisher suddenly went ‘belly-up’ and I found myself exactly in the position of the individuals for whom this present volume is intended – getting people to know one’s books. Fortunately, I had the advantage of a large base of readers, so general marketing was not a problem per se. But, as a problem for large numbers of writers, a means for establishing such a base was a main theme for discussion. Obviously, availability of McCartney’s book would have saved countless hours of discussion. A suggestion I provided at the time probably still is viable – those who really enjoy the writing itself should continue for the pure enjoyment and sense of accomplishment and accept any monetary recompense as a most pleasant and additional result. Also to be remembered, the adage that has been around in writing for many years – ‘Don’t be in a hurry to give up your daytime job’. Now however, as a former teacher as well as from the position of a person once experiencing the exact problem faced by new and by struggling self-publishing authors, I should like to offer the simple, straightforward admonishment – McCartney’s book(s) are a MUST READ.

5* A MUST READ for any new and/or struggling self-publishing authors.