Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FREE Halloween Golf Book -- Grand Slam: A Tale Of Weird Golf

It wouldn't be Halloween without a scary story or two, but we don't often connect "golf" with "scary" unless we're standing over a downhill three-footer with eight inches of left-to-right break and a $1000 press on the line.

Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to put some spine-tingling thrills into your golf experience.  Like picking up a copy of Grand Slam: A Tale Of Weird Golf. To celebrate the season, this quick, fun, tongue-in-cheek read is available for the spook-tacular price of FREE right now at Amazon.com.

Grand Slam follows the hair-raising adventures of Eddie Monk, a sportswriter who suspects that golf's newest phenom, Harry, "The Closer" Lanack, has a horrible secret that is propelling him toward winning the most elusive record in the sport. When the full moon intersects the golf tournament calendar with perfect timing, Harry's game--not to mention his hunger for human flesh--steps up a notch of two. Eddie's quest for the truth sends him from an insane asylum in Vienna to the storied fairways of Winged Foot Golf Club and a final showdown with "The Closer" under the light of the full moon.

And you thought that three-footer was scary?

Enjoy Grand Slam for FREE right now. If you don't have a Kindle, download it to your smartphone or tablet using the free Kindle app or read it on your computer. While you're reading, though, make sure you keep all the lights on!

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Saturday, October 19, 2013

KITE Flies For Under-Supplied Schools

A new social enterprise, KITE (Kids Inspiring Tomorrow’s Education), will make its formal launch in Bedford, NY, at the Bedford Historical Hall on the evening of October 24th, 2013.  The undertaking terms itself a "school supply company that gives", following the tried and true "one-for-one model." For each pencil pack purchased, KITE provides a pencil pack to a child in need. KITE is partnering with schools and organizations that are committed to eliminating the barriers of education both internationally and domestically. Thirteen million kids in the United States alone are without the most basic of school supplies with tens of millions more children around the globe facing this same reality.

KITE’s first two partner schools include the Kipp Ujima Village Academy (KUVA) in Baltimore, MD and the Oloomongi School (in partnership with the Anne K. Taylor Fund) in Masaai Mara, Kenya.  KUVA is a Title I School where a high percentage of students are living below the poverty line. Their student body is 99% African American and 86% receive free or reduced meals. The Oloomongi School serves a student body that has little access to basic school supplies due to widespread and extreme poverty.  KITE’s Co-Founders, Elizabeth Long Lang and Emily Ginnel Blair will be visiting the Kipp Ujima Village Academy in Baltimore, Maryland on October 25th (the day after the event) where they will be making their first domestic donation of pencil packs.  

KITE will be debuting its line of First Edition pencil packs, proudly made in the USA.  First edition pencil packs include 12 pencils and will retail at $10.00.  KITE pencils will be available for purchase at the event on October 24th from 5-8pm and online at www.kiteproducts.com.

KITE aims to empower consumers to help those in need by turning basic, necessary instruments of learning into weapons of change.  “A pencil is one of the most enduring, pervasive education technologies ever invented," says KITE co-founder Elizabeth Long Lang, "yet is still elusive in many poverty stricken communities. It’s easy to take such basic instruments for granted, but they are engines of confidence, propelling us on the path to literacy. With the necessary tools, every child can achieve success.”

KITE’s Co-Founders, Elizabeth Long Lang and Emily Ginnel Blair, both former residents of Bedford, will be hosting the event, along with co-hosts Kate and Dan Ginnel of Ginnel Real Estate, Ali Tejtel, and Nelson and Terry Long.

KITE’s long-term goal is to provide kids in need with the necessary tools to attend school and be productive learners. A lack of school supplies can negatively impact a child’s opportunity for academic achievement and places children at greater risk of abandoning school altogether. KITE is starting with pencils, but their dream is to develop a full line of school supplies, and in turn, help to make the dream of education a reality for millions of children around the world.

Dave Donelson distill the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides and Handbooks, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, and management strategy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creative Aging Project Shows Libraries At Their Best

The Westchester Library System's Creative Aging Project has been a huge success, helping seniors express themselves and enjoy fulfilling, productive activities at their local libraries. It's just one more way WLS and its 38 member libraries empower their communities.

Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides and Handbooks, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, and management strategy.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Harrison Public Library Reaches Out to Special Kids

An ongoing goal of the Harrison (NY) Public Library is to make the public library a meaningful and popular place for all children. In partnership with the Westchester Therapy Solutions (Formerly Donna Klein & Associates), the Harrison Public Library staff has been trained to better understand and serve children with disabilities. As a result of this training, the Library staff has developed a series of craft, story-time and sensory movie-time programs that will be implemented by the end of 2013.

The Kick-Off Event, “Special Program for Special Friends”, an inclusive, interactive music show, is scheduled for Friday, September 20th at 10:30am. Matt Mazur from Turtle Dance Music, LLC will lead families through 45 minutes of participatory, movement-based songs. Children will also be able to try out different instruments throughout the show.

The Library has scheduled monthly Arts and Crafts for Special Needs Kids Programs. We are inviting kids ages 3 through 5 and their parents to join us Friday, September 27th at 10:30 am for the first craft program in this series. Visiting occupational therapist from the Westchester Therapy Solutions (Formerly Donna Klein & Associates) will be available on site. Families and caregivers participation is encouraged and needed. Sign up is required. Limited to 10 families. Siblings are welcome.

Dave Donelson distill the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides and Handbooks, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, and management strategy.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chimps Lead the Action in Devolution

Action rules in Peter Clenott's Devolution, the story of a teenage girl raised by chimpanzees. The book is peopled by interesting characters and plays out against a well-described setting, but it depends on a rising crescendo of fist fights, gun battles, and ferocious attacks by wild animals (and humans) to propel the reader through the story.

As entertaining as the mayhem might be (and it is entertaining), it actually serves to underscore the theme of the book, which is how thin the line really is between man and beast. The protagonist, Chiku Flynn, is the sixteen-year-old daughter of two deeply flawed scientists who essentially turned her upbringing over to the chimpanzees they are studying on an island in the Congo. The result is a heroine every bit as compelling as Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

There are a raft of other characters, too, but the most interesting are the chimps. Clenott gave them distinct personalities, the ability to communicate, and individual motivations for their actions. This could have been cringe-inducing and mawkish, but he pulled it off quite well and made the primates fully believable characters.

The Congo itself plays a huge role in the novel. Having visited Central Africa myself and studied the DRC while writing my novel, Heart of Diamonds, I read Clenott's work with a particularly critical eye. My conclusion: his portrayal of the nation's tragic history and its current convoluted conflict is spot on.

Devolution is a fun, compelling read based on a fascinatingly creative premise.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Room of Tears Ends with a Twist

Room of Tears has one of the most creative "hooks" for a novel you'll ever encounter. Author Linda Merlino took what could have been a 9/11 weeper and turned it into an engrossing tale with a fascinating twist to the ending. You'll find no spoiler here; suffice it to say that you'll never see it coming and the concept will set you back on your heels.

The book tells the story of Diane O'Connor, the widow of a fireman who was killed in the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. The narrative takes us into the future when her son, Peter, born nine months after the attack, is elected Pope--the first from America. The links between those two events feed the narrative as it moves back and forth in time. Multiple voices tell the story, too, although most of it comes from the protagonist.

Room of Tears requires some careful reading to keep track of the story, but it's well worth the effort when you come to the thought-provoking conclusion.

Dave Donelson distill the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides and Handbooks, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, and management strategy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Maybe the Richest Deal Ever Made on a Golf Course

It's probably impossible to prove, but it's entirely likely that a deal spawned at St. Andrew's GC in Hastings may have been the largest ever struck on a golf course. I ran across this interesting tidbit in American Colosus: The Triumph of Capitalism 1865-1900 by H.W. Brands. The club, which celebrated its 125th anniversary this year, played an essential role in the sale of member Andrew Carnegie's steel interests to J.P. Morgan and others in 1901.

The deal was a perfect example of the role golf can play in business--not to mention the value of scoring judiciously when playing against your boss.

Andrew Carnegie playing at St. Andrew’s circa 1899. He enjoyed the game so much, he built a home next to the course // Photograph courtesy of Westchester County Historical Society
Carnegie Steel President Charles M. Schwab was the hero of the piece. Morgan had made it known he and his partners wanted to buy out Carnegie so they could monopolize the steel industry. Schwab saw the value of the deal (he subsequently became President of the company it created, U.S. Steel) but the ultimate decision was Carnegie's, who wasn't particularly interested in selling. His wife, Louise, though, wanted him to retire. Here's how Brands described what happened:
"Louise Carnegie conspired with Schwab against her husband. Shortly after Schwab informed her of the merger scheme, she telephoned to say that Carnegie would be playing golf the next morning at St. Andrew's club in Westchester. He was always more cooperative after winning at the Scottish national sport, she suggested. Schwab took the hint, whiffed a few for the cause, and broached the subject of selling. Carnegie didn't reject the plan outright, which Schwab took to be a good sign."
It was. The next morning, Carnegie named his price--$480 million. Morgan accepted it and a few days later closed the deal personally. As he shook Carnegie's hand, he said, "Mr. Carnegie, I want to congratulate you on being the richest man in the world."

At that point in time, it probably wasn't an exaggeration. The deal would be worth about $13 billion in today's dollars. That has to make it one of the biggest ever born on a golf course.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Novel That Deserves an Audience: Room Of Tears

The tragedy of 9/11 has spawned countless books, but author Linda Merlino tackled the difficult task of telling a remarkable story that occurred in the aftermath of that horrible day. Merlino's new novel, Room Of Tears, is the gripping tale of a firefighter's widow and her astounding life after the attack, told from a unique vantage point.

The protagonist, Diane O'Connor, was widowed when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 9:59 that morning. The event destroyed the life she had planned and shattered her faith, but it didn't crush her willingness to face her fate. She kept a note hanging on her kitchen cabinet as a poignant reminder of the words she left for her husband that terrible morning.  She also kept a journal of the year that followed 9/11, revealing it only because she knew her son, born nine months after that fateful day, needed to know what was in it.

Merlino says she was moved to write Room Of Tears by a chance encounter she had in 2008 in the Raleigh Durham Airport while on a book-signing tour for her first novel, Catalina Hudson (originally published as Belly of the Whale). In the airport, Merlino met a woman whose husband had been a New York City firefighter that day. He survived by chance; he had switched shifts to accommodate a doctor's appointment. "We moved down here to get away from the memories," the woman said. She went on to tell Merlino about the funerals, the widows, the waiting, and the grief. "Write your story," she said. "I may not be able to read it, but it needs to be written."

Room Of Tears needs to be read. It's a tribute to one woman's strength and a testament that miracles can really happen.

Available in eBook and trade paperback. ISBN: 978-1-927792-10-0

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Coming of Age at St. Andrews

An American Caddie In St. Andrews
At least once in their life, every golfer should make the pilgrimage to the Old Course in St. Andrews. Oliver Horovitz not only made that trip, he turned it into a coming-of-age book about his experiences working as a caddie there during his college years. An American Caddie in St. Andrews is an enjoyable, light read that covers the young man's summers looping on the Old Course while completing his education at Harvard, chasing girls, and pub crawling through the ancient town.

If you're a golfer looking for hole-by-hole insights into the Old Course, you'll probably be disappointed in this book. On the other hand, if you'd like to know what really goes on in the caddie shack, you'll be rewarded by the many tales Horovitz tells. As most of us have long suspected, caddies don't exactly have positive opinions of their clients. A tip less than 100% of the standard fee is generally met with disdain, for example. The caddies also have a private language for ridiculing their players--often right in front of them--to other caddies. It's not unusual for a caddie to purposely give wrong information to a player just for the sake of having a funny story to tell when they get back to the shack. Basically, two types of golfers are accorded caddie respect: scratch players and celebrities. The former gives the caddie fewer errant balls to look for and the latter gives them something to gossip about.  If you don't fall into either of those categories, according to Horovitz, you're just another chump, at least as far as the caddies at St. Andrews are concerned.

There are some non-golf story elements that turn the book into a memoir of sorts. The author chases girls and catches a few, shares various bachelor-pad type apartments with other caddies, and spends one summer filming the caddies as an assignment for one of his classes at Harvard. He also develops a fond relationship with an elderly uncle who lives in St. Andrews. A recurring theme is the way he was treated by the old caddies at the course and how, over time, he earned their trust and respect.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

American Triumvirate

American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf, written by James Dodson, has earned the United States Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for 2012. Dodson previously won the award in 2004 for Ben Hogan: An American Life.

“Snead, Nelson and Hogan set the standard for professional golf for three decades and were instrumental in defining the modern professional game,” said Robert Williams, director of the USGA Museum. “James Dodson did a masterful job not only telling the story of these three men, but also bringing an entire era of golf into sharper focus. This book is an impressive accomplishment that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.”

American Triumvirate brings to life the colorful personalities and compelling stories of three of golf’s all-time greats: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. Interviews with friends, family and fellow competitors helped Dodson paint a picture of determined athletes, all remarkably born in the same year, 1912, who would revitalize a struggling game in Depression-era America.

Through Dodson’s expert storytelling, the reader experiences the dominance of Snead, Nelson and Hogan from the late 1930s through the 1950s. The passion, skill and competitiveness displayed by these giants of the game helped to forever change the public perception of golf and to plant it firmly in the mainstream of American life.

“This is a story about three extraordinary men, who were very different, but each helped put golf on the front pages of newspapers in America,” said Dodson. “Hogan, Nelson and Snead were the founding fathers of the modern game.”

Snead won 82 PGA Tour events, which remains the record. Six years after capturing the 1939 U.S. Open, Nelson won 11 consecutive PGA Tour events in 1945. And Hogan won four U.S. Opens, including the 1950 championship at Merion Golf Club, site of the 2013 U.S. Open.

Writer-in-residence for The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines, N.C., Dodson also edits three arts and culture magazines published by The Pilot: PineStraw, Salt and O.Henry. Dodson, who spent two decades as a contributing editor and columnist for Golf Magazine, received the 2011 Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects.

“This book was a real labor of love in the purest, best sense,” said Dodson. “Winning an award named after a mentor and friend is a huge honor for me. Mr. Wind gave me the inspiration to write the book, and called them an ‘American triumvirate.’”

The Herbert Warren Wind Book Award was established in 1987. The award recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to golf literature while attempting to broaden the public’s interest in, and knowledge of, the game of golf. Wind, who died in 2005, was the famed writer for The New Yorker and Sports Illustrated who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” at Augusta National. He is the only writer to win the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honor.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf