Ascot Media Group Blog
  • Home
Welcome to the Ascot Media Group BLOG! Visit our main website at

A Real Hawaiian Punch Is Behind This Itch

San Juan Islands, WA – One Big Itch (ArcheBooks), a suspense-filled tale of obsessive love, is like a tour of Honolulu between its covers.  Sara Williams arrived in Hawaii in the mid-seventies during the 200th anniversary of the Cook Expedition, and was hooked by the history of the Polynesians and how the voyages of the Hokulae’a (their outrigger canoes) brought them to the Pacific Islands.  She decided to study the Hawaiian culture and particularly how these voyages inspired a cultural renaissance among Hawaiians who understood that unless they took an interest in their own culture, would possibly end up just another “McParadise.”

One Big Itch is a timely read. This ancient Polynesian crossroads hosts a sophisticated academia that spawned one native son who now occupies the White House, and another, Dr. Randolph Haverhill, the brilliant economist who lies dead on his doorstep.  Playful city it may be, but every Hawaiian knows that the city of Honolulu is haunted – and so is Hawaiian P.I. John Spyer!  He’s a conflicted hapa haole (half-white), too much of a haole to heed Madam Pele’s visionary warning to stay off the case, since John can never say no to old friends.  Even though Haverhill’s current and ex-wives insist Randy was murdered by one of his crazed lovers, the police target Haverhill’s own ill-fated, teenage son.  Forced to intervene in order to save Toby Haverhill, Spyer soon finds that every move he makes in this case jeopardizes his own client, opening up his own psychic wounds in the process. 

Read sample chapters, view the zine format, and download cover art and author photo at:; Sara’s blog and more reviews and endorsements are available at: and  Williams splits her time between Fort Myers, FL and the San Juan Islands of Washington, and has ties to Hawaii that go back some thirty years, lending realism and authenticity to her page-turning novel.



Phil Jason’s Reviews’ recently made One Big Itch the lead-off cover feature in the Fort Myers Magazine with: “Williams…has mixed a high-energy mystery cocktail laced with more than a little Hawaiian punch….her third novel and the second to feature private eye John Spyer, intrigues and puzzles both protagonist and reader with an array of evidence, motives, and false trails.  There are two sure things: The first is that academic superstar Randy Haverhill has been murdered. The second is that Spyer will not rest until he discovers the perpetrator…a third, less sure thing: Hawaii is haunted and its local spirits will spin you around until they have brought what is hidden to light.”

Eileen Goudge, NY Times best-selling author of The Diary: “Williams channels her inner Raymond Chandler with One Big Itch, an addictively ready tale set in Hawaii and featuring detective John Spyer.  It abounds with local color and Hawaiian lore, and the story moves along at a fast clip as it builds toward the cliffhanger climax.  You won’t see the end coming.”

Mystery “Here is something new under the tropical sun, a Tony Hillerman style regional mystery set in Hawaii.”

Bob Morris, author of A Deadly Silver Sea: “One Big Itch will blow you away like the wind off The Pali.  Here’s one novel with a real sense of place and a most intriguing hero.”

Don Bruns, author of Bahama Burnout: “If you love characters, One Big Itch has plenty of them.  If you love location, you’ll fall in love with Sara’s Hawaii, and if you love a suspenseful race to the finish plot, One Big Itch will give you all you want.  What a great read!”

Diane A.S. Stuckart, author of Portrait of a Lady, 2nd in the Leonardo da Vinci mystery series: “One Big Itch is one wild ride!  With her quirky characters and rollercoaster plot, Sara weaves a slyly entertaining tale that combines the lush Hawaiian landscape of travelogues with the gritty reality of its urban streets.  Alive with authentic native voices, this fast-paced mystery will leave you wanting to hop the next plane for a tropical adventure of your own.”

Matthew Goodman, author of The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth Century New York. “As if a page-turner of a murder mystery isn’t enough, One Big Itch also offers up an explosion of glorious Hawaiian color: expanses of mountain and sea, legends of native royalty, lots of local patois…not to mention a private investigator with a taste for Drambuie and vintage sports cars.  Riding the New York subway, I almost felt I was in Diamond Head.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Awareness of and Taking Action against a Furtive Killer

Black Mountain, NC, It would take a nuclear weapon, detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere, to knock out the country’s entire electrical power grid.  It would not instantly kill millions the way a direct hit by a nuclear weapon would, but death would be more insidious – people would die slowly from lack of water, food, emergency services, or violence after the breakdown of law and order.

The same destruction after an EMP attack as outlined in Dr. Forstchen’s chilling book One Second After (TOR/Forge Books) could also conceivably come from solar flare or geomagnetic activity.  These facts align with frightening new predictions from an international panel of experts led by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who now predict a potentially catastrophic peak of solar geomagnetic activity in May of 2013. 

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, sides with Forstchen and the NASA/ NOASS report, urging that we take this cautionary tale very seriously.  Gingrich presented the information outlined in One Second After to the American/Israel Public Affairs Committee at its annual policy conference.  After reading Dr. Forstchen’s well-researched book, the head of the Missile Defense Agency and the head of the Congressional Investigative Committee on EMP pushed for preventative action.

Dr. Forstchen’s book outlines necessary precautions to ensure we have a fighting chance to survive.  Some of these are: 

  • Stockpiling safe water, canned food, medication, and first-aid supplies.
  • A plan to handle climate survival with wood stoves, a wood supply, propane-fueled lamps, kerosene space heaters, candles and matches.
  • How to set up a portable toilet with household items.
  • How to protect yourself and your family when law and order breaks down.
  • Having a plan for security – the best chance of survival is to act swiftly. 

For more detailed information to withstand an EMP attack, read One Second After or visit the author’s website at:



W.E.B. Griffin, author of 36 best-selling military and detective novels: “The only thing more terrifying than this masterfully crafted story is the possibility of it actually happening – and not a damn thing being done to protect us.”

Publisher’s Weekly: “Fans of such classics as Alas, Babylon and On The Beach will have a good time as Forstchen tackles the obvious and some not-so-obvious questions the apocalypse tends to raise.”

Whitney Scott (Booklist): “In a Norman Rockwell town in North Carolina military action by unlikely people becomes the norm in Forstchen’s sad, riveting, cautionary tale, the premise of which Newt Gingrich’s foreword says is completely possible.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Woman explores her own destiny using the 11:11 Code

Houston, TX, How many times have you looked at the clock and were surprised by how often it reads 11:11 or 2:22 or even 3:33?  One woman’s curiosity got the better of her when this kept happening and she would not accept it was a simple coincidence.  Her adventurous personality provided her with the courage to further explore each twist of fate that kept popping up around certain numbers – just to see where it would all lead.

The 11:11 Code:  Secrets of the Convent (O-Books) is a gripping story of how yoga teacher Hilary Carter was led, by a compilation of past lives, premonitions and number signs to purchase (with the intention of renovating) an ancient convent in Andalucía, Spain.  The problems she encountered went way beyond any normal restoration of a historical property you would expect to see on a television show today.  First, her financial backer died, then her first builder ended up in prison and the second builder became paralyzed in a tragic accident – and all this only scratches the surface.  The actual building, formerly a home to the Knights Templar, was both haunted and had a will of its own.  Carter has since sold the convent, but this exploration of synchronicity and destiny sits with The Celestine Prophecy as an inspiring example of discovering meaning behind events. 

Carter will shortly be setting out on a very special journey – she plans to travel along the 111 degree line of longitude to raise awareness of the 11:11 phenomenon, beginning in Calgary, Canada and ending in Nogales, Mexico.  She will finalize her journey in New York where she will be available for interviews October 25 – 27th.  Carter admittedly lives her life according to the numbers 11/111/1111 and firmly believes that her journey will help heal our planet.  In fact, she suggests that if we each pause what we are doing at 11:11 a.m. every day, not just on November 11 (Veterans Day) when we honor those brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom, and take a moment to reflect and send out positive, uplifting and peaceful thoughts – she believes it could make a huge difference in achieving a peaceful world. 

There has already been much ado about the significance of 11:11 leading into the year 2012, and the fact that at 11:11 a.m. on December 21st in the year 2012, the Mayan calendar ends.  It is believed that at this point a global or universal spiritual awakening will begin.  After reading 11:11 Code, you will never look at the world in the same way again, for once you are awakened to the 11:11 sign, there is no going back to sleep …

Hilary Carter is a British Wheel of Yoga teacher, workshop leader and consultant astrologer, having studied with the world-renowned faculty of Astrological Studies in London.  She is currently involved in setting up a yoga retreat center in an ancient convent that she has recently purchased in the Dordogne region of France.



Claire Wilkinson, author of The Crab Man: “Wow! What a book!  This is a fascinating true tale of hidden secrets in an ancient Spanish church.  The amazing coincidences that Hilary experienced around the number 11:11 took her on an incredible journey.  Her discoveries and insights along the way will enlighten you and open your eyes to a new way of looking at the world…found the book intriguing and thrilling…couldn’t wait to continue reading and feel sure everyone else will too.  It is such an important book…the truth will come out!”

Paul F. Newman, author of Declination in Astrology: “For those who have vaguely heard of 11:11 and maybe dismissed its wilder claims, this personal account provides an exciting and thought-provoking real life adventure.  As a personal account of how mystical numbers can impinge so forcefully on a person’s destiny and change the course of lives, this is worth a dozen theoretical treatises on arcane revelation.  The journey never flags and we travel in anticipation as the underlying (or unconscious) reasons for her buying the convent are gradually revealed.”

Barbara Venn-Lever, Host of ‘The Positively Barbara Show: “A delightfully easy read which draws you inward and onwards.  It is a hard one to put down.  Be prepared to have the blinkers and fetters removed and free your own spiritual evolution from ignorance.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

The Bourne, Bauer, Ryan and Sandor Identity: Real Life?

Greenwich, Conn. , Who is the real Jordan Sandor? A new novel of espionage and suspense by Jeffrey Stephens has readers wondering if a genuine CIA hero is out there who actually matches the description.

In Targets of Deception, Jordan Sandor retires from the CIA, only to be lured back into action when his former mentor becomes a rogue agent and helps plot a massive terrorist attack against the United States.

Like other fictional spy sagas, the Jordan Sandor tale is based on actual events. This isn’t the first time the public has searched for the true heroes behind the fiction.

Many researchers insist that the real-life Jack Bauer (of Fox-TV’s 24) is Jose A. Rodriguez, former CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service. The real Jason Bourne is rumored to be Robert Duncan O’Finioan, who allegedly survived secret government black-op projects. And many believe the inspiration for Jack Ryan (from author Tom Clancy’s series) was Gen. Carl Stiner, retired Commander in Chief, United States Special Operations Command.

Stephens admits that Targets of Deception (Variance Publishing) put down its roots in non-fiction.

“A friend of mine years back was in the Central Intelligence Agency,” the author said, “and he told me the story of a rogue agent who had gone over to the bad side in the Middle East. He couldn’t tell me anything that was classified, obviously, but he told me how difficult it was to track him down. I thought it might make an interesting story if we positioned his protégé as the person who would track him. The student tracks the teacher.”

The true events evolved into Stephens’ critically acclaimed novel, Targets of Deception. While admitting that much of the story is fiction, Stephens has studied the secret world of intelligence carefully.

“We owe so much to our troops who are fighting overseas, but there are also covert operations going on that we don’t know and can’t know,” he said. “I thought that was fascinating. The more I delved into that, the more I realized this was a story I had to write.”

Realism touches everything Stephens puts on paper.

“I’ve been to every location in this novel, I did research in Washington, so everything in this book has veracity – the weapons, the agencies of government, and so on, were all based on fact,” he said. “The lethal gas in this is VX gas, which is real and was developed by the British toward the end of World War II, and all these years later it remains the most lethal nerve gas known to man.”

Stephens earned his B.A. in Creative Writing from Penn State at age 19, got his Juris Doctor diploma from Fordham University School of Law and headed a private law practice in New York. He and his wife Nancy live in of Greenwich, Connecticut. 
Vince Flynn, NY Times No. 1 best-selling author of Protect and Defend:  “Jeffrey Stephens has arrived with Targets of Deception; a ripping, good yarn of intrigue that will keep you turning the pages all the way to its explosive ending.”

Robert K. Tanenbaum, best-selling author, Malice, Counterplay, Fury:  “Jeff Stephens is a writer to watch. His first book, Targets of Deception, is a very solid, fast paced thriller that carries the reader on a globe-trotting adventure into the world of counter-terrorism. We will want more of CIA agent Jordan Sandor.”

Steve Alten, NY Times best-selling author of Meg and The Shell Game:  “Jeffrey Stephens takes the reader on a fast-paced tale of international intrigue and suspense in this, his first novel, Targets of Deception. With a terrific lead character in Jordon Sandor and many plot twists, I look forward to watching Stephens develop as a top-notch author.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Where East Eats West – The Street-Smarts Guide to Business in China

Houston, TX, Designed to be the ultimate plane book, Where East Eats West: The Street-Smarts Guide to Business in China (Booksurge Publishing), entertains the weathered China hand as much as it educates the China rookie through humorous, firsthand narratives that make the reader feel as if Goodman is sitting beside them, having a conversation.

Already part of the MBA curriculum for Boston College, Rutgers and Colorado State University and winning praise by China veterans, Where East Eats West is an easy and wonderfully informative read. This book is perfect for the entrepreneur with a burning desire to head across the ocean in search of fame and fortune, or for those who have just received orders to relocate to China for the ‘opportunity of a lifetime,’ but have no idea what to expect. It is an amusing companion for those already in China doing business and struggling to maintain faith in a vision (and the essential goodness of humankind) or even for those who have been doing business in China for a long time (three years or more) and simply need a good laugh and know that they are not alone.
Among its many pearls of wisdom, Where East Eats West prepares the China newbie for those first few infatuating weeks and equips them with how to avoid becoming delirious with ‘China Fever’ as well as how to cope when reality sets in. Then it provides just enough historical and cultural background about business in China to help you understand where they’re coming from when you don’t see eye to eye which invariably happens.

Goodman openly shares his two most important rules to succeeding in the Chinese business market (and in another chapter) offers a friendly warning about the two most uncommon things in China –to preempt being caught off-guard. Where East Eats West’s down to earth advice will give its reader the tools to deal with such issues as China’s vast human resources, a.k.a. the enormous ‘talent puddle’  and offers everything you need to know about doing business in China, all wrapped up in a book so entertaining, you won’t be able to put it down.

Sam Goodman, Canadian serial entrepreneur started his first business at eleven. Moving to China in 1995, Goodman learned the language, built and sold the ‘World-famous-in China’ chain of cafes, Beijing Sammies; was a Client Partner for the world’s largest executive recruitment firm and a successful negotiator in English and Chinese on the Westinghouse US-China $5.4 billion, nuclear power plant bid.  When he’s not working, he’s rock climbing with his wife and daughter.



Ted Plafker, 20 year China veteran, author of Doing Business in China: “From sandwiches to nuclear power plants, Goodman’s in-the-trenches China experiences cover an unusually broad range and the advice he offers you comes unvarnished, unleavened, and unadulterated, just like he lived it. Anyone contemplating an adventure in the world of China business will learn an awful lot from him.”

Steve Chiu, 13-year China Veteran, Co-Founder, (China’s  “Finally! A China business book from the perspective of an entrepreneur. Where East Eats West has got it all: the hard truth, humor and real insight into doing business in China as the little guy, and winning.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

We Need a ‘Reset’ for the War on Terror, Author Says,

Washington, D.C. – Some of the United States’ top national security specialists agree with the sobering conclusions reached by distinguished author Ilan Berman in his new book, Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam. To wit:

  • The United States is losing the War on Terror
  • We cannot win unless we fundamentally change our approach
  • Jihadist ideology is an illegitimate interpretation of Islam, offers a bankrupt future, and we have the tools to marginalize it

Berman is an expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Russian Federation. He has consulted for both the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices.

When Berman speaks, officials in the U.S. defense, security and intelligence communities listen. In his day job, Berman is Vice President for Policy of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C., and he’s the author or editor of three previous books on tyrannical regimes, radical Islam and terrorist threats.

Robert C. McFarlane, former National Security Advisor to President Reagan, found unsettling truth in the pages of Berman’s Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam.

“This global struggle for the heart and soul of Islam bodes fair to change the course of history—and thus far, we in the West are losing,” McFarlane said. “In his absorbing and rigorous examination of where we stand in this battle of ideas, Ilan Berman documents an alarming litany of failures on our side. The power of this remarkable book lies, however, in Berman’s prescriptions which, if adopted, are a basis for optimism that it’s not too late.”

Winning the Long War was eight years in the making. Berman describes it as “among the most challenging tasks I have ever undertaken.” He spent years analyzing transnational trends and cross-cutting issues affecting U.S. security.

“Every one – terrorism, proliferation, radical Islam, etc. – is a facet of the struggle we have found ourselves in as a nation since September 11th,” Berman said, adding that his revelations came as he weaved them together “into something resembling a coherent strategy. My hope is that, in some small way, it helps readers to get the ‘big picture’ of the War on Terror and what we have to do in order to win it.” 

Berman serves as Adjunct Professor for International Law and Global Security at the National Defense University and is a member of the Associated Faculty at Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies. He is also a member of the reconstituted Committee on the Present Danger and Editor of The Journal of International Security Affairs.

Thomas J. Ridge, Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security: “The struggle against radical Islam is not limited to al-Qaeda or confined to Afghanistan and Iraq. The enemy is global. The challenge is multi-generational. The outcome remains uncertain. Ilan Berman argues persuasively that our strategic approach must be revisited and the rules of engagement changed. He offers a provocative, insightful and scholarly blueprint for defeating the enemy in the intellectual, economic, diplomatic, and political theaters of this confrontation.”

Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., U.S. Senate Minority Whip: “Berman is right when he writes that military force alone will not be enough to defeat this enemy; we must also employ economic and ideological tools. Sadly, when we have used these tools, we have usually failed to do so effectively. Winning the Long War shows policymakers across the political spectrum what to do to win this war.”

Robert C. McFarlane, Former National Security Advisor to President Reagan: “Islam is undergoing what once in America was called a ‘revival,’ the outcome of which will determine whether the overwhelming majority of moderate Muslims remain so. This global struggle for the heart and soul of Islam bodes fair to change the course of history—and thus far we in the West are losing. In this absorbing and rigorous examination of where we stand in this battle of ideas, Ilan Berman documents an alarming litany of failures on our side. The power of this remarkable book lies, however, in Berman’s prescriptions which, if adopted, are a basis for optimism that it’s not too late. Read it.”

Brad Sherman, D-Calif., Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade: “Berman offers a complete and coherent strategy for the so-called Long War, a struggle against radical Islam that will last decades. Most importantly, he has put forth a vision for countering our adversaries by demonstrating to their target audience that the jihadist ideology is an illegitimate interpretation of Islam and offers a bankrupt future. Very few writing in this area have tied together all the elements of a successful counter-terrorism strategy—political, diplomatic, law enforcement and especially economic. Berman has.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Author Rips Apart Conventional ‘War on Terror’ Beliefs

Lone Rock, WI – Was America’s War on Terror a ghastly mistake? Did the United States sacrifice thousands of lives and billions of dollars for nothing? These are among the suppositions that author Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. and Arabist-Islamologist, examines in his new book, Questioning the War on
Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters

Dr. Barrett knows his conclusions will stir up controversy and bring emotions to a boil. He has appeared on Fox, CNN, PBS and other television networks to defend his research and will continue his quest to open the media’s eyes to possibilities they have dismissed.

Writing in a down-to-earth style, Dr. Barrett offers extensive, scholarly documentation to support such startling conclusions as:

  • The War on Terror triggered our current economic catastrophe
  • Terrorism is less of a threat than lighting bolts and bathtubs
  • There is no connection whatsoever between Islam/Muslims and terrorism
  • The only significant terrorists in today’s world are governments
  • Osama Bin Laden repeatedly denied and deplored 9/11, and the FBI agrees he didn’t do it
  • Historians agree that many of the biggest terrorist attacks in history may have been false-flag “inside jobs” committed by the enemies of the people blamed for the attacks

Because these conclusions are so radically different from the worldview of the mainstream media, readers may appreciate that in Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters, they are framed as open-ended questions rather than dogmatic assertions.

“Americans are 30 times more likely to die from lightning strikes, and 10 times more likely to drown in their bathtubs, than to be killed by terrorists,” Dr. Barrett said. “Should we declare war against lightning bolts and bathtubs? Should we install PA systems in our bathrooms reminding us that the threat level of bathtub drowning has been raised to orange? Should we create a new Department of Bathtub Security empowered to do sneak-and-peak, warrantless searches of our bathrooms to make sure that we’re using no-slip bath-mats? Would this be any crazier than what we’re doing now?”
Using the Socratic method, Questioning the War on Terror asks 54 hard questions that, taken together, attack the central notion on which our post-9/11 political life has been based. It concludes with a list of 22 concrete actions that readers can take to end the War on Terror and achieve the change they voted for in the 2008 presidential election.

Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. He taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris and Wisconsin, where he ran for Congress in 2008.  Dr. Barrett currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author and talk radio host. His website is

“Kevin Barrett is taking on a big sacred cow, one that hardly anyone in the mainstream media or in Congress would dare to seriously question — the War on Terror, which in the past eight years has joined the flag, motherhood and apple pie as things an American dares question only at the risk of being labeled ‘unpatriotic’ or a ‘supporter of terrorism.’  Barrett delves into many of the assumptions behind the War on Terror: the myths, the lies, the propaganda.  The reader should be prepared to question some of his favorite political beliefs.” — William Blum, author, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather