Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

We are blessed today. We are making a roast for Christmas dinner, but discovered when we went to look that we were down to only one clove of fresh garlic. The supermarket is closed, and the convenience store was out of fresh garlic.

But .. upon hearing of my problem, one of my neighbors, whom I had never met, offered to give me enough peeled fresh garlic for our roast. He keeps a jar of peeled garlic in his refrigerator, and generously poured about a dozen peeled cloves into a plastic bag and sent me on my way.

We are blessed indeed. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Stolen, by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

Doesn’t that cover just make you want to run right out an buy Vivian Gilbert Zabel’s new novel, Stolen? It does me. And in case you need an added inducement, here’s some more information for you:

Stolen starts with every wife’s nightmare, a call from another woman claiming to be married to Torri, the main character’s husband. Finally jolted out of her lethargy, she packs up herself and her kids and returns to the home of her grandparents. I don’t want to give the plot of this exciting novel away, so just trust me on this one: it’s a book you won’t want to miss. Oh, yes, and do plan to start reading early in the day. You won’t want to put this one down. I sure didn’t.

Zabel has won several awards with her writing, including first place with her mystery/suspense Midnight Hours. She taught English and writing for nearly 30 years and edited newspapers, yearbooks, and literary magazines sporadically for 45. She had poetry, short stories, and articles published over the years, but while raising her family and teaching, she didn’t have time to write longer works. After retirement, she produced a collection of short stories with Holly Jahangiri, Hidden Lies and Other Stories; a collection of poetry with seven other poets located in the United States and Canada, Walking the Earth: Life’s Perspectives in Poetry; three young adult books, The Base Stealers, Case of the Missing Coach, Prairie Dog Cowboy; and two novels including Stolen.

A wife for nearly 49 years, the mother of three living children, grandmother of ten grandchildren, and great-grandmother of five, Zabel believes family and faith are most important, and that belief finds its way in most of her writing. Her characters come from people she observes or reads about mixed with her imagination. Plots take a gain of an idea and combine with a massive dosage of “what if.”

The novel will be available through any bookstore, the 4RV Publishing website book store, plus other online book providers such as Amazon. Pre-sales are open on the publishing website now.
The ISBN for Stolen is 978-0-9825886-4-2

Also check out the Stolen website

More about stolen children:
2002,“Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates
and Characteristics,” gives the following defi nitions concerning
family abduction:
• Taking: Child was taken by a family member in violation of a
custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
• Keeping: Child was not returned or given over by a family member
in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial
• Concealment: Family member attempted to conceal the taking or
whereabouts of the child with the intent to prevent return, contact, or
• Flight: Family member transported or had the intent to transport the
child from the State for the purpose of making recovery more diffi cult.
• Intent to deprive indefi nitely: Family member indicated an intent
to prevent contact with the child on an indefi nite basis or to affect
custodial privileges indefi nitely.
• Child: Person under 18 years of age. For a child 15 or older, there
needed to be evidence that the family member used some kind of force
Review version
or threat to take or to detain the child, unless the child was mentally
• Family member: A biological, adoptive, or foster family member;
someone acting on behalf of such a family member; or the romantic
partner of a family member.
According to the bulletin, and the survey taken in 1999, family
abduction is type of crime and child welfare problem with limited statistical
information is available. However, the survey showed fortyfour
percent of family abducted children were younger than age six.
Younger children appear more vulnerable.
One statistic which surprised me in a way is fi fty-three percent
of children taken by a family member were abducted by their biological
father, and only twenty-fi ve percent by their biological mother.
Only six percent of abducted children in the survey had not
yet returned by the time of the survey interview. Of course there is no
information about unreported kidnappings.
Children who are taken by a father or mother, when the kidnapping
parent wants to keep the child from the other parent or family
members, are imperiled. They are often told the other parent and
family members do not love or want them or harm them or will harm
them. The result is psychological harm to the stolen children, as well
as in some cases physical and sexual abuse.
Arlene Kardis states, “Of the children reported missing,
350,000 are taken by family members in violations of custody
In sixteen percent, the child experiences severe mental harm.
Eight percent suffer physical harm, while seven percent are sexually
abused. Four percent of stolen children are never found.
Abducting parents often take children to another state or
another country, making discovery and recovery more diffi cult.

U.S. Department of Justice, “Children Abducted by Family Members:
National Estimates and Characteristics” October 2002.
Arlene Karidis, August 19, 2009 Baltimore Crime Examiner , “Child
abduction statistics”
Lisa C. DeLuca, September 11, 2009 “Statistics on Child Abduction”
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2010, FAQ Missing

November Chapbook Challenge: Lessons Learned

Robert Lee Brewer’s November chapbook challenge has come to an end. Check out the comments section of Robert’s blog for November for all the wonderful poems written by all of us participating writers.http: //

Since I was also participating in NaNoWriMo, In order to not go completely crazy I wrote poems that I hope will be part of the book. They are supposedly written by the ancestor of one of the alien characters in my novel, and thus I wanted them to reflect the moral, spiritual, and ethical viewpoint of the aliens. It ended up being a very rewarding experience. The poems were considerably more “religious” than I would normally allow myself to write, and also contained more metaphoric imagery than I normally find in my poetry. As this lack is something that I have been wanting to address, I find this a particularly interesting development.