The SURVIVALIST AUDITION CONTEST is over, the winners chosen and notified of their dubious honor to appear in the next book in the series.  These winners will be characters working with the Rourkes to further combat bad guys of all sorts from around the globe and beyond, deadly engineered insects, and the most vile of all foes, politicians.  Using their unique skills, these characters will become involved in a storyline which changes the road taken by the Rourke family and, the entire world. 

            In no particular order, these are the real life characters that will appear in the upcoming Survivalist series.  Congratulations to you all!  Ryan Fleming, Patrick Haryett, Neal James, Steve Vaughn, Michael Spivey, Earl Burger, Jim Judy, Goemon Nozza, Fuji Nozza and James White.

            Bob and I want to thank you all for your participation in this contest and are looking forward to perhaps trying some more fun stuff in the future.  The one disappointment was that only one woman tried out for a role and unfortunately, only after the contest closed.  Where would John Rourke have been without Natalia standing by his side or later on his daughter Annie, who loved to cook and sew but who could handle herself in a fight just as well as the men around her? John’s wife Sarah and then former fighter pilot and future wife, Emma, were both strong women willing and able to fight to protect their loved ones.  If you remember back to the very first book in the Survivalist series, Total War, two of the bravest characters who died, trying to save the lives of others were women, Mrs. Richards and a stewardess named Sandy Benson.

            That said, we have been able to assemble a group of diverse individuals who will all lend their skills to help create a unique Survivalist story.  John Thomas Rourke has certainly gotten himself into a predicament this time. We are excited and can’t wait to see what happens next.

            We sincerely want to thank you, the readers, who have helped us keep the Survivalist series alive.




For those of you who have been keeping up with the continuing exploits of the Rourke clan from The Survivalist series, you know that things are not going well for them.  Even in the future, bad guys keep crawling out from the muck, politicians want what’s good for themselves, not necessarily what’s good for their constituents, and aliens are still trying to control the planet.  If you think that sounds bad, wait until you catch up with #33, “Deep Star” which will be coming out any day now – teenagers!

                With all this bad stuff going on, the Rourkes certainly could use some reinforcements.  Bob and I are putting out a call to those of you out there in the reader world to pitch in and give the Rourkes/Rubensteins some much needed help.  Those of you with weaponry backgrounds and survival skills are welcome to audition for a role in an upcoming SURVIVALIST book as well as those of you with any other unique skills that you think would be helpful.  Remember that Paul Rubenstein started out with virtually nothing in the way of staying alive except a quick wit and the will to survive.   Natalia had special training while Sarah, Annie and Emma learned from the School of Hard Knocks. 

                Bob and I are would like you to send us an audition letter, telling us a little about yourself and what skills you have that could help the gang get out of some sticky situations, be it by firepower or brainpower.  The person with the most interesting or noteworthy skills will be featured in an upcoming SURVIVALIST novel.  The contest runs through the month of October.  Tell your survival oriented and talented friends!  The biggest and the baddest are not necessarily the winners; the most sincere and unique have an equal chance of winning the prize. 

                Email us at actor-survivalist@usa.net and tell us how your special skills can help the Rourke gang fight the bad guys.  No attachments, please.




As many of you know by now, we lost award winning book and screenplay author, Warren Murphy, last week.    Although he wrote over two hundred books, he was most famous for his Destroyer series featuring hero, Remo Williams, which he co-wrote with the late Richard Sapir.  His wit and humor, as well as his take on the current political scene, will be missed.   One may have forgotten that he also wrote the screenplays for both The Eiger Sanction and Lethal Weapon 2, as well as comics, mysteries, satire and short stories.  He was also a willing teacher, helping other writers to improve their skills and always ready to encourage them in their endeavors.

                Warren Murphy was a prolific writer of the ‘70s and ‘80s as were writers such as Mickey Spillane and John McDonald and Michael Avalon, who like many others, wrote under numerous pseudonyms.   I know there were many more such writers beyond those I just mentioned. It was almost like a club where they were producing a similar genre product, in this case, adventure stories, for the same group of manufacturers, AKA publishing houses. I happened to be married to one of these writers. Most of these guys were paid paltry sums to produce fast, page-turning action adventure involving evil bad guys and beautiful women, writing them rapidly enough to keep current with their rent and utilities.   Considering the numbers of books sold back then and the people who still collect and reread these books today, the writers succeeded in keeping up with demand.

                Their real success is not based on how many books were sold in those days but in the number of young people who became hooked on reading because of their fast paced stories.  Personally, Jerry and I received many letters from people who stated that they had had no interest in reading and that they were turned off by the books they were supposed to read in high school.  Somehow, they got their hands on a Survivalist or Mercenary book or a Destroyer or Nick Carter and found that reading could be a pleasurable experience and then they never stopped turning the pages.  Reading about good guys versus bad guys and the concept of good should triumph over evil, mixed with a little romance was and still is good for the soul and the spirit.  A good story is a good story and makes the reader stop to think of what they would have done in the same situation.  Some of these people tried their hands at writing their own stories and some succeeded and became the next generation of storytellers.

                Jerry’s dad had  to grow up quickly.  Being the only boy in the family with four sisters and a mother to support, he didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time in school; instead, he spent his time working at anything that would help bring home money.  He was smart and would spend any free time he had with his nose in a book that he had picked up somewhere.  If his father caught him reading, the book was taken away and usually thrown into the fireplace and Jack would be given a lecture about idle hands.  Fortunately, this didn’t stop Jerry’s dad from continuing to read.

                Jerry grew up seeing his father spending a good portion of his free time reading.  Many times I saw Jack with a paperback book protruding from his back pants pocket. His dad’s favorite authors were Harold Robbins, Mickey Spillane, and Zane Grey.  In fact, when he passed away, he was buried with a few books to read while waiting to pass through the pearly gates.  As Jerry grew older, his dad would read favorite passages to his son and, eventually, pass his favorites over for Jerry to read.  The two of them later became fans of the James Bond books and this became a special link that they shared.   Unfortunately, Jerry’s dad passed away before any of Jerry’s books were published.  John “Jack” Ahern would have been so proud of his son.

                Reading has been called “the window to the world.”  It can teach you about the world as it is, and can open your imagination to what it could be.  There is no end to the stories that can be told as long as we have great storytellers to tell them.




I have sad news; another great team has been broken up.  When I think of teams, I immediately envision the greats such as Hope and Crosby, Fred and Ginger, Sonny and Cher and Martin and Lewis, all household names to most of us -- well, known to most of us beyond a certain age.  How about Batman and Robin? One of the most recent team pairings became local legends, Shelby, and Oreo.  They soaked up the sunshine together and watched the neighborhood; they had the same human friend, Lilly, who loved them both and showered them with hugs.  Shelby and Oreo even shared their food; if Oreo left any food in her outdoor feeding area, Shelby would gobble it up before it had any chance of growing stale and, when Oreo had a successful hunt, she left the feathers under a certain bush so that her canine friend was gifted.

                We understood that her life would be different once her six kittens were born.  By the way, they were born in Lilly’s bedroom closet.  Oreo stayed home with the kids and took care of them as would any full-time mom, leaving them for just moments in order to satisfy her own needs.  If she didn’t meet up with Shelby, she would circle the house and leave her scent on the downspout by the back door and at the base of the Butterfly Bush which was her favorite hiding place when hunting birds.  Sometimes she would wait at the front door to remind me to leave her some food.

                The day finally came when all of her children had been placed in forever homes and her responsibilities declined.  She would come around and expect to be fed more than once a day and, seeing as how skinny she had become, I obliged.  She and Shelby would still have meaningful conversations as they wandered about with me trailing behind them, but these sessions were now less frequent.  Then one afternoon we noticed that Oreo’s cat food was uneaten; Shelby took care of that as she wouldn’t have wanted it to spoil or be eaten by some other creature.  This became part of Shelby’s routine for many days to come. 

It’s been about two months now since anyone has seen Oreo.  Shelby still starts off her morning sniffing the drain spout next to the back door, checking for her scent around the Butterfly Bush and even looking under the car where Oreo liked to escape the afternoon sunshine. When I see Shelby staring out through the front door window, I know she still is waiting for her friend to cross the street and run up onto the porch, but Oreo isn’t coming.

Life for so many of us settles into a certain routine, a routine that we assume will go on forever.  We expect the same people will be part of our lives forever, the same opportunities available at all times, the same world that we are all part of.  For good or bad, ours is a world that is static, forever changing, and we, through the course of time, learn from it and change with it accordingly.  This is life; this is how we grow, through our experiences.  I understand, but how do you explain it to a hound dog with a broken heart?




"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."  This statement was made by monk and writer, John Lydgate, in Fifteenth-Century England.  One only has to be reminded of what's been happening in the US recently to readily agree.

All gays are exhibitionists or perverts and shouldn't have civil rights bestowed on them until they straighten up.  The General Lee is a symbol of southern prejudice?  Come on, get real!  Oh, let us not forget that our Constitution needs to be changed because it is so out of date and thereby meaningless and irrelevant to this modern generation and its needs.  These are all issues we have to work out as a country.

Life goes on as we strive for perfection.  We strive, we reach, but I doubt that we will ever achieve it. What seems perfect to one of us usually causes another to cry out in anger or shame.  Let's face it; we are not an agreeable group of people.  We are diverse and that is what makes us special.

This country was settled by unhappy people who came to America wanting to escape a bad situation in their own homeland, who sought to better themselves in a new, less restrictive environment.  This country was also settled by people who were brought here against their will and enslaved, such as the Africans, Irish and Germans.  Many of these people did not arrive with smiles on the faces, loving and agreeing entirely with every other group's varying cultures and beliefs.  Hate and prejudice traveled with and arrived here with the first shipload of future Americans.  Time didn't heal all wounds, but things were either dealt with, replaced with new issues of more importance at the time or ignored by the general populace.

Wave upon wave of these new issues washed ashore over the course of time, issues that were sometimes unthinkable to some citizens who instead, chose to stow them in a place far away, adrift, not to be thought of or talked about.  But like Pandora's Box, unpopular and controversial issues have a way of surfacing and spreading, demanding our attention.  When we ignore and refuse to intelligently discuss issues, arbitration may be necessary, especially when those on one side or the matter or the other demands action to be taken.

Just like children fighting over the last cookie, a person who has been given the authority, may step in and make the decision based on the facts that he or she is privy to.  The outcome may be agreeable to all concerned or it could lean heavily toward one participant's advantage.  Another result might be that it is determined that the cookie will remain uneaten.

The obvious resolution to this dilemma would have been to share the cookie equally and skip the middleman, right?  What are the chances of that happening?

I won't say if I approve or disapprove of the Supreme Court's recent decisions, but they sure did open up a giant bag of worms!  Stay tuned for season 226 next year of The Supreme Court Rules Again!