Category Archives: adventure

Lessons from a World War II American Odyssey

The stories of our past, real or imagined, serve as classrooms for today’s traveler. They reveal humanity at its best and at its worst, and as spoken often throughout history, those who fail to learn its lessons are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In the first of a two-part saga, author and historian John J. Dwyer draws from the written and unwritten pages of American history, to weave a story that could parallel today’s headlines.

Dwyer’s Shortgrass (Tiree Press, May 2017) offers a realism that differs from your typical historical novel revealing the grit and determination that defined “The Greatest Generation.” The story’s characters embody the many real life heroes that traveled similar paths during those turbulent times of world conflict and human survival and the lessons taught reveal something of the author himself.

“While the story is set in a different era, Shortgrass, and its sequel, Mustang, are the closest thing to my own written testament to those who come after me. They depict what I have learned about love and loss, history and heroes, inner conflict and unanswered questions, God and man – life itself,” offers Dwyer. “Although a work of fiction, the history and the lessons it teaches us are timeless and real.”

The adventurous journey of a Mennonite farm boy, Lance Roark, begins in the drought-ravaged Dust Bowl of Oklahoma where his battle for survival would prepare him for college gridiron glory. As war clouds gather across the seas, he is smitten with teenaged Chickasaw cowgirl and stunt flyer Sadie Stanton. He later finds love with Mary Katherine Murchison, a beautiful oil heiress and singing star of the Big Band Era.

He eventually enters the dangerous world of America First, the Lindbergh-led organization opposing Roosevelt’s drive toward American involvement in the War. When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his lifelong commitment never to raise his hand against another human soul brings him to his own crisis of conscience. He is faced with the decision whether or not to accept command of a B-17 Flying Fortress in which he would witness, and inflict, mass slaughter in Nazi occupied Europe amidst history’s most fearsome war.

“John Dwyer writes as he thinks: lucidly, dynamically, engagingly. Wherever John takes you, you’ll be glad you went. And you will want to go again.”

Reg Grant,
Senior Professor and Chair of Media Arts & Worship
Dallas Theological Seminary

John J. Dwyer earned his Master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Since 2006, he has been adjunct professor of history and ethics at Southern Nazarene University. He is former history chair at Coram Deo Academy, near Dallas, Texas. John is the author of the The War Between the States: America’s Uncivil War, the historical novels Stonewall and Robert E. Lee, the novel When Bluebonnets Come and the recently released, The Oklahomans: The Story of Oklahoma and Its People. John is also the former editor and publisher of the Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage newspaper and also worked as a radio announcer and play-by-play football and basketball announcer for several radio stations, winning the coveted position of sports director for the University of Oklahoma’s 100,000 watt KGOU-FM radio station.

www.johnjdwyer.com

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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

JaipurThe Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opened on March 6th. My husband and I were eagerly anticipating and hoping to see the movie before we left for India but the schedule didn’t allow. We thought its predecessor, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was a great movie, very entertaining. But what made it special for us is that we went to Jaipur, India after it released and actually saw the place where it was filmed. Because of our firsthand knowledge of life in Jaipur, we could relate on many levels. Having friends in India and “doing” ministry there, we hoped that the second would be just as good. Hey, if it has Richard Gere in it, it has to be, right?!

At this very moment, we are back in Jaipur and we hear that the reviews have not been so great. But it made me think about PR. (I know. You are asking, “What doesn’t?”)
With the success of the first movie and cast including Richard Gere and Judy Dench, expectations for the sequel were high. The first week grossed more than $8 million and by the second week the total was $12 million. I am not a movie critic or expert, but I’m not sure this is what everyone had hoped for.

So what happened?

The reviews by moviegoers were great, most were 10s, but the response from movie critics was not so great. Did their opinion keep people away? Was it the time of release? Was it a poorly written story line? Poor acting? (Hard to believe with that cast!) Was it promoted well enough? (Probably so. I saw it everywhere.) We may never know for sure.
Such is the nature of PR. With all of the work that goes into promoting and building a public platform, you never know for sure what will “stick” and resonate with the audience. I am sure that the PR strategists behind this film did their homework and knew their audience. I am confident they did everything possible to get the actors placed on the right shows, posted throughout social media, and the trailers were spectacular, sure to capture the attention of anyone enamored with the exotic feel of India. Since I haven’t seen it yet, I can’t comment on the storyline…was it weak?

Sometimes a book is promoted well, has a great cover, the authors receive rave reviews only to see it fizzle because the writing is not that great, the message doesn’t resonate or the author fails to “stay” in the public eye to continue to promote the book. There are other times that little is done in the way of promotion yet it rips through a certain demographic and finds its way onto the best-seller list (e.g. – David Platt’s Radical or Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz) and in the process, provides a platform for the author where they now have a “voice” that people will listen to.

I say that it all goes back to spaghetti. “Spaghetti,” you ask? Yes, spaghetti! Throw it on the wall and see if it sticks. And throw a lot of it. And keep throwing it. Throw different kinds of spaghetti (angel hair, fettuccini, lasagna, etc.) and see what the audience likes. Sometimes you are not surprised by the results and sometime you are.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be strategic or targeted, but the truth is that sometimes we are surprised, sometimes maybe not, but we have to keep trying.

What are you doing that is working for you? How are you promoting your message, building your platform? I would love to hear from you!

Tina Jacobson is the founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency.

What Borders do you Cross?

Whether you are in the comfort of your home

or venturing through a foreign land

we have one question to ask…

What borders do you cross to be free?

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Keep crossing borders in pursuit of freedom whether traveling the road or in your home!

You say Goodbye >> but I say Hello

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Delivering the Message with Diversity

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“You say goodbye

I say hello.”

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