Middle Tennessee Authors Circle

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Franklin and its surrounding areas are home to many artists including authors. There are several 2019 events featuring local writers for you to consider.

The Authors Circle (an association of local writers) will have a booth at the downtown Franklin Main Street Festival which takes place April 27 and 28 (Saturday and Sunday).  Plan to stop by the Authors Circle booth.  Local writers often offer discounts and they are always happy to sign their books and answer questions.

The Authors Circle is a regular participant in the Downtown Franklin Art Scene held on the first Friday of each month.

One of the largest Authors Circle events in terms of participating authors will take place on June 1st and 2nd at the Williamson County Library at 1314 Columbia Ave, Franklin, Tennessee. Fifty authors, including yours truly, have already signed up for the educational and  book signing event. The event is an opportunity for one-on-one visits with area authors. The June event also includes educational panels for aspiring authors, or anyone interested in the literary world: 

 Saturday, June 1

10:00                    Children’s Books
11:00                    Young Adult
1:00                      Creative Nonfiction
2:00                      Writing for an Anthology
3:00                      Christian Fiction
4:00                      Fiction--Historical, Crime, Fantasy

Sunday, June 2

1:00                      Book Business--From Manuscript to Book Sales
2:00                      Poetry
3:00                     Nonfiction
4:00                      Fiction--Crime, Mystery, Horror.


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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Must Have Kitchen Tools for Seniors

Times have changed. Now, you need a new set of tools to survive in the kitchen, and don’t forget the Band-Aids. It is all because of how our foods are packaged. Thank goodness that now we can buy most milk products in bottles, but cartons are still around, and it’s the only way to buy cream or specialty milk products like buttermilk. Just try to open those cartons by following the instruction—"press here”.  Forget about it—can’t be done. Go get the saw!

Opening today’s hermetically sealed jars, (pickles, preserves, mayonnaise, etc.) would challenge Hercules. Hot water, lid tapping, and table pounding doesn’t get the job done any more. Even the simple and safe looking packages of bacon and what we used to call lunch meat has become defeating. The package instructions read “peel from here”. I should read peel from hell! Oh, and what about the resealable Ziploc style packages that will not reseal, at least not  my me. And God help us and bring the Band-Aids, if you try to open a can of green beans, or some other canned goods, using those pull-to-open rings on the top of the cans. I have visions of amputated fingers. I usually I save my fingers, but don’t always succeed opening the things without the help of some tool. More than once, the only thing that stood between me and dinner has been my hammer and chisel!

I have discovered that continuing  to eat requires a new set of kitchen tools.  Luckily, I found most of what I need in the tool shed.  

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

You Can’t Fix Stupid, but We Often Elect It!

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“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”― Mark Twain

As a retired business employer and author on management I have put to test my views of competence and incompetence through many years of observation and experience. My firsthand experience with people, in particular evaluating an employee on the job, is they fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Competent

  • Conscious incompetent (inexperienced but learning)

  • Unconscious incompetent (incompetent and doesn’t know it)

Combine incompetence with unawareness and you have “stupid!” And, to make matters worse, the “unconscious incompetents” usually think they are the smartest people in the room!  Also, a prestigious degree doesn’t protect one from being an “unconscious incompetent.” Stupid doesn’t mean uneducated and being smart in one area doesn’t keep you from being incompetent in another. You can be young and stupid or old and stupid. You can be new to your position, or heaven forbid, in your existing role for years. As an employer, I wanted to replace the unconscious incompetent as soon as possible. Why, because “You Can’t Fix Stupid”.

I’m not making this up.  I just read an article in the Post-Tribune titled Science Finally Proves You Can’t Fix Stupid. The article reports on the findings of  now retired Cornell University psychologist David Dunning who since 1999 had been researching stupid— “how totally brick-headed people are, and how little any of them realize it.” His findings demonstrate that dumb people can’t tell they are stupid. “The very factors that impose human incompetence also make them incapable of realizing it.”

Dunning wrote in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, ”What's curious is that, in many cases, incompetence does not leave people disoriented, perplexed, or cautious. Instead, the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge. A whole battery of studies … have confirmed that people who don't know much about a given set of cognitive, technical or social skills tend to grossly overestimate their prowess and performance, whether it's grammar, emotional intelligence, logical reasoning, firearm care and safety, debating or financial knowledge."  

I’m no longer in management but I’m trained as an observer of people and I can spot an “unconscious incompetent” person in a New York minute. You can find a swarm of them in the political arena particularly Congress–several new members stand out to such a degree as to mask the incompetence of all the rest.

As an example, David Rutter, in his Post-Tribune article observed, “The research has profound effects on public policy. When a politician starts a conversation about climate change with, "I'm not scientist, but ...," it usually means they have translated their total ignorance about science into a comforting self-delusion.”

Go figure.

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Read more about Tom Collins’s views on management and leadership in his book The Language of Excellence. For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

I exchanged my pen for a paint brush today to celebrate the one day of the year I too am Irish!

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Earth Has Never Stopped Changing

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Powers far greater than man’s shaped Earth’s past and control its destiny. Some believe the current configuration of land and seas is the result of global expansion—that our earth, as illustrated above, doubled in size over the last million years. Others believe that it was continual shift that pulled Pangaea apart forming the current continental configuration. In addition to the movement of its land masses and formation of seas, Earth has been frozen and defrosted, slammed by Cosmic Objects, and exploded by volcanic eruptions. Earth is also constantly bombarded by solar winds and fluctuating radiant energy from our Sun. Our atmosphere’s chemical composition has never been constant—it too is influenced by solar forces, geological variations, and environmental activity.

Given the enormous controlling powers, the idea that mankind can preserve Earth’s character as of a given point in time, or that such character deserves to be preserved to the exclusion of others, seems a bit silly. Doesn’t it?  

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

A Conversation about America's Future That Could Occurred in the Capitol

Them: (Some of our newly elected Democrat Representatives) I tell you we can make a better America! We start with health care—Medicare for all!  We’ll nationalize the insurance companies. That way we get all their “reserves”. That is the money they have allegedly stashed away to pay future claims. As a government, we do not need reserves.  We will operate on a pay as you go method-like Social Security. Now, here is another key element; we get rid of the competing insurance companies. We decide which one is the best, and shut the others down, freeing all those workers to fill the other job openings. We eliminate all the duplication—tremendous savings!  That alone may pay for universal healthcare.

In addition, we can do the same thing to improve other bloated inefficient industries. For example, just think of all the waste because of duplication in the auto industry.  Duplicate factories and work forces –and high paying executive jobs.  Because there are so may different cars, we are very wasteful when it comes to repair and service.  The person who works on a Ford isn’t trained to work on a Lexus for example. And, if you want to know why electric cars have not taken over like we want—it is because our resources are locked into the gas and diesel side of the business.  The sensible thing to is get rid of the wasteful duplication.  We pick one company, decide on one standard model—make it electric. That’s is what everyone will drive. We lower costs. We free up resources and labor to invest elsewhere. With smaller electric cars we also get a bonus—their small footprint means we need less road space. Especially, if we can cut down on the number of trucks and we have some great ideas for doing so. We can take part of those roads (one lane from of every Interstate, for example) and dedicate it to bicycles and walking. People will be healthier. We can finally solve the obesity problem.  Cars will be only for trips of ten miles or more—for shorter distances people will walk or use their bicycle.

Me: Will people really give up their favorite cars for bicycles and the new electric car standard?

Them: Sure, they won’t have a choice. But your question brings up the media issue.  They are not exempt from the capitalist model—wasteful duplication. Think how many different news organizations there are—yet, they are all supposed to be doing the same things. We can clean that up, and while we are at it, we get everyone in the country on the same page. That way we pull this country together to accomplish great things—unity instead of discord. We settle on one national newspaper, one news network and a single news website.  We will get rid of the duplication and freeing resources and enormously talented people to invest in other areas.

There is almost no area exempt from the waste caused by the duplication of effort and resources. That is the real challenge for the future. We are consuming the flesh of Earth! We are using up all the natural resources  and contaminating the rest.  It is not sustainable!  Capitalism is wasteful. So called competition is nothing more that duplication that spreads our resources too thin—we need more concentration not  duplication.

Think about this for a minute.  If you really want to tackle the income gap, then eliminate the benefit of having more income and wealth than someone else.  There is no reason for me to drive a cheap car while you drive a Bentley.  We get rid of Bentleys, 5,000+ square foot homes, first class air travel, etc. Get rid of the distinctions and there is no reason for anyone to have substantially more than anyone else.  Just think of how much more there is for everyone when you get rid of the billionaires and millionaires and free all that money to circulate!

Me: But what about all the people who will reenter the labor force?  Aren’t you concerned that there might not be enough jobs?  

Them: No, that is the beauty this.  Men (and women) aren’t meant to work their lives away.  Once we have gotten rid of duplication and eliminated profits that only go to the very few rich people,  the rest of us will not need to work as much. We will be freeing people to enjoy life more.  We will reduce the work week to thirty hours, add more holidays. Everyone will get at least four weeks of vacation plus maternity leave.

Did you know that as much as 50% of motel and hotel rooms in this nation go empty at times?  In other words, half of the investment in hospitality goes unused. And hospitality profits are some of the highest. We have most of the population just trying to enjoy themselves while their hard-earned incomes are drained away to the pockets of real-estate tycoons who own our hotels and resorts. We can do better than that.  One of the things I have in mind is free vacations for everyone at government owned nonprofit resorts.  We can build them in our national parks and forests. They will not cost us anything. We already own the land, and we can use our Army Corps of Engineers and military personnel to build them.

Me: That sounds good, but how are you going to attract the best and brightest to run things—to make this work?

Them: We save the perks that the millionaires are enjoying now for our leaders. But we are not going to let Wall Street  greed drive things. We will elect our leaders.  Our best and brightest will want leadership positions because that will be the new path to the kind of perks that today only rich people enjoy by exploiting people and accumulating wealth. We will have taken wealth out of equation. The only way you have those special benefits will be by serving the people—not through economic greed!

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It will be a wonderful world····Would you like some more Kool-Aid?

Me: No thanks; I’ll stick with what I’ve been drinking!

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

It's Cold Outside-Time for a Good Book

Why not read something people you know are reading, like this this one—The Claret Murders?  

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The Claret murders tells the story of a fictious mystery during the real life 2010 Nashville flood. It is available in hard cover, paperback, kindle and other digital formats.  If you prefer listening to reading, then get this great story on Audible. You can also buy, a signed library edition at www.tomcollinsauthor.com.

Here is what one reader had to say:

“I am typically not one to enjoy murder mysteries due to my own craving for believable plots. That doesn't stop me from reading one now and then. Collins's novel strains the bounds of my beliefs in some ways as there are tools at Rollins' disposal that would be the envy of any spy! However, the difference between this novel and those I've read in the past is the management of characters and the interweaving of real events with a believable plot. I could see myself in places mentioned in the novel (some of which I have seen) and almost felt the invisible witness to things not even Rollins is privy to view.

Curious as well is the use of drones for reconnaissance, something once unbelievable yet with the news of 106 governmental agencies being granted rights by the FAA to fly them, quite believable now. The story-telling ability of Collins keeps you engaged and makes it hard to stop reading. And his prescience for anticipating the use of drones by non-governmental entities may be foretelling the expanse of their reach and capabilities in the future.

The Claret Murders was an enjoyable read for me and as a skeptic to murder/mysteries, that is quite a feat. I recommend this to anyone who loves to read a good story.”

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

The Best Pies

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Over the New Year’s family dinner table the discussion was “Pies.” In the old south there are two kinds of pies:

Pecan pie or jes' pie (it's just pie)  i.e. no pecans. Over time a poor translation of the Southern dialect resulted in jes' pie becoming known as “chess pie” among those who spoke in a more sophisticated vernacular.

It is kind of like a Hershey’s Candy Bar – you can have it with or without nuts.

Jes' pie may have started out as pecan pie without the nuts, but by the time it had metamorphosed from jes' pie into chess pie, it had its own recipe.

The people around the table declared that most pecan pies were too sweet or too gummy—the exception was the pecan pie of Alice Collins, who everyone declared made the best pecan pies.

Well the secret is out! I discovered Mother’s recipe for both pecan pie and chess pie. What made hers the best? It was probably the simplicity of her recipes.

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If you have trouble reading ingredient #3 in the pecan recipe, it is White Karo syrup. 

Her chess pie recipe starts out the same with ½ stick of butter and three eggs but only a ½ cup of sugar and no syrup.  Instead she adds a teaspoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a tablespoon of white corn meal.

 

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

 

What's that Green Stuff?

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The family became much smaller last year, 2018, with the passing of my mother and her sister, Aunt May. To this day, we are still dealing with issues like insurance policies, etc. As I was dealing with one of those that involved going through old documents, I ran across a culinary gold mine—my mother’s favorite recipes including her famous “Congealed Green Salad.” This culinary delight made its appearance at every holiday gathering of the family. This was not the first thing a younger member of the family would turn to. They were more likely to turn up their nose at the dish initially. After all, green is not an appealing food color. Even green vegetables are not usually on your “favorite foods list”. Nevertheless, the Congealed Green Salad eventually won over even the most timid. Once you were brave to try a spoonful, you were forever hooked. Here is mother’s recipe in all its well-used glory!

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores.
Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Five Best Books on Leadership and Management

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Sure, I write fiction, mysteries, but of all the books I have written I am most proud of the one non-fiction work, The Language of Excellence. The book codifies the leadership and management concepts that I used to succeed in business. Gary Slaughter, author and nationally recognized management expert, places The Language of Excellence as one of the five best books on leadership and management. This is what he recently wrote:

“Over the past fifty years, I’ve devoured dozens of leadership and management books. In fact, I’ve also taught hundreds of leadership and management workshops to Fortune 500 corporate executives.

In my judgement, The Language of Excellence by Tom Collins is among the best five books I have ever read on this subject. The other four include these classics:

The Motivation to Work by Fredrick Herzberg
The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker
On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
The Transformational Leader by Noel Tichy

Moreover, The Language of Excellence replaced One Minute Manager on my ‘best five’ list. OMM, written in 1982 by Ken Blanchard and Spenser Johnson, has sold over 13 million copies and been translated into 37 different languages. Despite OMM’s popularity, The Language of Excellence is far more informative and easy to apply.”

Most of my life has been spent in business. As a corporate executive I made and loss money for other people, before going solo. By the time I was running my own company, I had learned what worked and what didn’t work. My lessons were learned on the firing line and by reading and listening to the experts. I am a great fan of contemporary business authors like Jim Collins, Tom Peters, and Nancy Austin. But it was their predecessors, including Peter Drucker, who were at the cutting edge of modern business management methods and leadership concepts. If you are just starting in business, or if you are a seasoned business leader constantly searching for the answers, their works as well as The Language  of Excellence needs to be on your bookshelf. Better yet, they need to on your desk, and in the case of The Language of Excellence, it needs to be in the hands of those you depend on to help you succeed in business and life.

All five of the best books on the subject are available on Amazon and other online bookstores.

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The Language of Excellence is available in hardcover, paperback, and digital formats. Volume purchases for corporate training and gifting as well as signed copies are available on the author’s official website, www.authortomcollins.com. From now until December 25th enter the code GIFT at checkout for free shipping and a 20% discount. To buy now click on SHOP NOW.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

"The Language of Excellence" by Tom Collins

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Looking for that perfect gift for the business leader or young professional in your life. Give them a signed copy of the book successful business leaders are talking about–The Language of Excellence.

From now through December 25th get free shipping plus a 20% discount by going to www.tomcollinsauthor.com. Or click on BUY NOW and enter the code GIFT at checkout.

Here is what business leaders are saying:

“Over the past fifty years, I’ve devoured dozens of leadership and management books. In fact, I’ve also taught hundreds of leadership and management workshops to Fortune 500 corporate executives. In my judgement, The Language of Excellence by Tom Collins is among the best five books I have ever read on this subject.”—Gary Slaughter, Management Expert and Author. 

“Tom Collins' The Language of Excellence just may be the only guide book to personal and business excellence you will ever need to read. A must-read for achievers.” C. Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.  

“Collins defines the essential ingredients of business with masterful simplicity and clarity. I wish I had read this 30 or 40 years ago.” —Edward Rosenberg, Designer/CEO Spectore Corporation

“Not only is Collins an accomplished businessman, but he is also a two-time stage IV cancer survivor who has clearly demonstrated great determination and the ability to overcome difficulties and carry on successfully. His book teaches you how to equip your team to deal with almost anything business or life will throw at them.” —Doug Ulman, President / CEO at Pelotonia and former President/CEO the LIVESTRONG Foundation

Select Amazon Reviews:

  • “This book is filled with common sense that is so lacking in corporate business practice today. Principles transcend business and apply to life across the board.”

  • "Section V, People: The Foundation for Excellence" is worth the price of the book.”·      

  • “I have read countless leadership books and they all either say the same thing or are difficult to implement. Tom Collins book is excellent and an easy read but what really stands out is the advice to quickly inculcate the tools for achieving excellence in your leadership teams. A must read for start-up organizations and young entrepreneurs.”

  • “I could see this book as being a part of a company’s on-boarding process and employed regularly. Anyone in management can find value in employing this book. Buy it - distribute it - read it - use it.”·      

  • “I’m re-ordering more copies today for all the young managers in my life. This book should become a well-worn tool in any organization serious about achieving excellence and fostering the right corporate culture.”

  • “I've found these principles incredibly useful in both my personal and professional journeys.”

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Signed copies of my books including The Language of Excellence are available only on www.tomcollinsauthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.

Published by I-65 North, Inc.

President Donald J. Shrek

Re: “How to Find a Good Leader”,  November 3, 2018, Peggy Noonan)

For those of you (Trump Haters and Never Trumpers) still angry and confused by the election of Donald Trump, perhaps you would be enlightened by the animated movie, “Shrek”.

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Shrek is an ogre who lives in a swamp. He is crude, smelly, rude and uses ear wax for candles. He likes his life just the way it is. Because the cowardly prince, Lord Farquaad, has confiscated his property—Shrek has to bargain to get his swamp back.  The deal is that Shrek must rescue the Princess Fiona who is under the spell of an evil witch from a remote castle guarded by a fire breathing dragon. He dons a helmet and sets off with his donkey to rescue the princess.

Shrek and Donkey locate the castle, cross a rickety bridge over burning lava, and find the princess. Fiona is anxiously waiting for a gallant hero, but Shrek is not gallant, shakes her roughly and simply says Lets go! Fiona who was expecting something more, protests-- I am awaiting  a knight so bold as to rescue me. Should this not be a wonderful romantic moment?  You should sweep me off my feet and take me down a rope to your valiant steed!  You could recite an epic poem, or ballad…..

She continues to complain upon hearing the dragon roar:  You didn’t slay the dragon?  But this isn’t right! You were meant to charge in, sword drawn, banner flying.  That’s what all the other knights did.

Shrek, sarcastically:  Yeah, right before they burst into flames.  (Think all other Republican Congresses and Presidents!)

After a harrowing escape from the dragon and crossing the lava, Fiona insists that Shrek remove his helmet so that may share “true love’s first kiss”.  Reluctantly, he takes off the helmet. A shocked Fiona exclaims, You’re…an ogre!

Shrek replies: Oh, you were expecting Prince Charming?

Fiona:  Well, yes, actually.  This is all wrong.   You are not supposed to be an ogre. 

And so, this the lesson of Donald J. Trump.   Sometimes we don’t always get the leader that we expected or imagined.  The hero who is brave enough, bold enough and persistent enough to save the day--or the country—may not meet the highest standards of probity, eloquence and political correctness.

Or, you can refuse to be rescued by an ogre.  You can return to your lofty tower prison and wonder why your country was lost to socialism, mob violence and poverty.  You will compromise with the dragon and the evil witch as you “work together to get things done”.   There you will sit, waiting, growing old and demented, softly humming:  Someday my prince will come, someday I will find the one…….   

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Post was jointly conceived and written with my wife, Martha.

For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Just When I Thought It Couldn't Get Any Worse!

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First it was blackmail. Now they have stolen my identity! I spent the morning filing a Fraud Alert and updating my LifeLock information.

Apparently, the bad buys got my name, Social Security number and date of birth off the dark web. That’s all they needed to get new credit cards.

Fortunately, thanks to an alert vendor and LifeLock, the fraud was detected, and the cards shut down before the bad guys had a chance to activate them. Let’s just hope there isn’t more that I haven’t discovered yet!

If this happens to you, immediately contact one of the three major national credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Whichever one you contract, that credit bureau will notify the others. The fraud alert puts lenders on notice that your personal information has been compromised. Because of the fraud alert, new lenders must take extra steps to determine that they are dealing with you—the real person.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Will Stealth Voters Determine the Outcome in November?

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The pollsters could be surprised again by stealth voters this November?

Who are these stealth voters? They are the secret  balance of power opposed to our dysfunctional national government and especially to the current radicalized misbehaving Democratic party, and by extension they support Trump. Unseen, they could tip the scale in Trump’s direction. They are people who do not wear Make American Great Again hats. They don’t put signs in their yard or bumper sticker on their cars. They are stealth, because they don’t want to be attacked, ridiculed and intimidated by the radical mob. But, they vote. THEY VOTE!

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

While the Cat's Away, 2004 production

This treat is for former Juris, Inc. team members and those familiar with the company prior to its purchase by LexisNexis.

In 2004 I underwent the first of a couple of major surgeries. The video jokingly depicts what can happen While the Cat's Away. It was written, produced and performed by the Juris, Inc. team to welcome me back. What can happen when the boss is away? A lot!

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

I Stand Corrected

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In my prior post updating readers about the attempted blackmail, I said that the men I knew didn’t spend their time viewing porn. But, it depends on your definition of porn. My wife reminded me about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Playboy magazine, Hustler, etc. and “it was not just for the articles”. As she pointed out, there was a time when Hugh Hefner was celebrated—even among the liberal Hollywood crowd.

And, women are reading—Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, etc. with articles like 50 Ways to Seduce a Man, and lots of info on looking sexy and hot.

Yes, men do like to look at beautiful women and women aren’t exempt from looking and thinking about men. I think God made us that way.

The Internet porn I was talking about in my prior post seems different from the magazines. Not sure what makes it different. I suppose it is the anonymous side of it—something doable in secrete. Whereas, the magazines are on store shelves. That must be a validation of some sort. Apparently, the Internet is different enough that someone would be willing to pay a blackmail demand to keep from having their Outlook contacts know they watched a porn site.

To read my original post go to Attempted Blackmail. For the follow-up go to Blackmail Follow-up.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Blackmail Follow-up

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Well, nothing happened. The day I was supposed to be exposed came and went with no mega email burst to all my contacts. I say nothing happened, but I changed a lot of passwords and I started using a password system, Dashlane, to protect myself. And on day two, the blackmailer dropped his price from $6000 to $1000—still wanted payment in Bitcoin.

I have also learned from law enforcement that this scheme is rather common. I wonder just how many people are taken in and actually pay up. I guess it doesn’t take many to make the blackmailer happy. It is a poor commentary on society, that the assumption is a lot of people are secretly watching porn. I should add that the “Me Too” movement promotes the idea that all men are lecherous dirty old men. If we are not molesting women, we are in a dark room somewhere watching porn.

I think that is a bad rap. At least in the circle of my friends and business associates. It is a stereotype that places men in a guilty until proven innocent position—as our new Supreme Court nominee is discovering. It appears there is no equal footing when it comes to the issue of innocence or guilt. Maybe in such matters, it was always one sided—just the other way around. But either way, the presumption of guilt is dangerous and destructive for society.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Attempted Blackmail

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September 7, 2018, I received a blackmail message. I might not have taken it seriously, except that the opening sentence read “I am well aware that xxxxxxxx is one of your passwords.” AND IT WAS! That got my attention. The blackmailer demanded $6,000 to be paid in Bitcoin. I was given one day to comply, or the blackmailer would expose my “misbehavior” to all my contacts.

According to the blackmailer, I had visited his or her porn site and the blackmailer had used my computer’s camera to record me. Luckily I’m not guilty so I knew it was a scam. I reported the blackmail effort to the FBI and my local authorities which happens to be the Williamson County TN Sheriff’s Department. According to Officer Carter, the scammer gets email addresses and passwords off the dark web and broadcasts blackmail messages assuming that some of the recipients would actually be guilty of frequenting porn sites and would pay up to avoid the embarrassment of exposure.

The Web is a dangerous place. I receive hundreds of emails every single day. Most are deleted without ever being opened. Emails from an unknown source can include all sorts of devilment. And unfortunately, some who are up to no good have learned to disguise themselves as a source you are familiar with.

The best practice is to conduct yourself as if the world is watching at all time. Don’t send an email you would not want others to read. Don’t go to places you would not want others to know you frequent. In short, always conduct yourself as a gentleman or gentlelady.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Succeeding for the Long Haul

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The young Nashville based management team of Lonely Planet has been studying my book, The Language of Excellence. The picture was taken on September 5, 2018 when I met with them to discuss the book and answer questions. At the point in the discussion pictured, I was explaining that anyone can be accidentally successful. You can have your Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame. But you cannot accidentally succeed for the long haul. Long term success is not achieved by accident. Tom Peters and Nancy Austin in their book A Passion for Excellence say it this way:

“…there are only two ways to create and sustain superior performance over the long haul. First, take exceptional care of your customers (for chicken, jet engines, education, health care, or baseball, etc.) via superior service and superior quality. Second, constantly innovate. That’s it.” “There are no alternatives…”

It seems simple:
      Customer Care
      And Constant Innovation
Yet for most companies it appears too difficult. History is littered with the bones of short lived enterprises.

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The Lonely Planet team studied The Language of Excellence to learn management and leadership concepts required for long term success. Including concepts like the model for Excellence: 

I told the team that it was not enough for them to study the book. “To lead you must become a teacher. When all members of an organization understand the implications of important management and leadership concepts, magic happens within that enterprise.”

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To read what business leaders are saying about The Language of Excellence go to http://www.tomcollinsauthor.com/reviews-the-language-of-excellence. For more about The Language of Excellence at a discounted price for bulk purchases go to http://www.tomcollinsauthor.com/language-of-excellence/. For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com.

Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Wind River Mysteries

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In a prior post I mentioned that while recovering from knee replacement surgery, I read the first fifteen Margaret Coel novels set on the Arapaho Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. The Wind River mysteries might never have been told except for an incident that occurred when Ms. Coel first set foot on the reservation. To hear the surreal story of that first visit to the reservation in her own words go to the following website:   http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/160133/9fa7a260a9/458451033/99855a255e/.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to TomCollinsAuthor.com. Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and Smashwords.com. 
Published by I-65 North, Inc.