Learn more about Global Ministries’ work in Costa Rica, including news, events, and resources. Mission Musings: Volunteer candidate Nicholas Gibbons, who plans on serving in Guatemala, offers a reflection. The Gettysburg Battle occurred July 1-3, 1863 as Confederate forces moved in to Pennsylvania to face the Union army. Just as the Gettysburg leaders faced unexpected logistical, staffing, and other challenges, we have to be ready to deal with economic, social, technological and global changes even before we know exactly what they will be and how they’ll affect us. Our tour concluded at the Gettysburg Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. My thanks to The Conference Board for arranging this trip and providing an extraordinary learning experience. However, I wonder what would happen to our organizations if we took a page out of the book of the country of Bhutan. What would happen to our organizations if we started to care not only about the bottom line but also about our organizational GNH?
In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday on February 12, 2009, the David Wills House in downtown Gettysburg will celebrate its Grand Opening.
David Wills’ home was not just the center of Gettysburg -- it was the center of the immense clean-up process after the Battle of Gettysburg and where President Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address. Joe started to further his life-long interest the Civil War in 1999 when he and his wife began participating in Civil War dancing and living history events at the prompting of local friends.
Joe holds the distinction of being one of only four individuals who hold dual licenses for leading tours on both the battlefields of the national park and in the town of Gettysburg itself. What began as a way to not focus on his work with the Social Security Administration has become very connected to it for Joe. On November 19, 2008 Gettysburg celebrated the 145th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Dedication Day. Smith got his first taste of the LLI in 2006 when the CEO of Swagelok had an idea to get all of his top employees on the same page so they could work better as a team. Today on The Writing Well I am delighted to feature debut novelist Liz Lazarus of Atlanta, whose new psychological thriller, Free of Malice, is generating a lot of buzz, especially among book clubs.In her author bio, Liz shares that her novel was inspired by an actual foiled attack when she was a college senior at Georgia Tech nearly two decades ago. Liz: Writing this book was always on my “bucket list” but I had some great career opportunities that I chose to pursue first.
Liz: I learned so much about the criminal justice system during my research and had the great fortune to consult with a few criminal defense attorneys regarding the story.
I heard you say that it was easier to get your pilot’s license than to navigate book publishing. Liz: Yes, getting my pilot’s license was one of the other “bucket list” items I completed, and it’s true, it was easier. One of the more interesting features of your book marketing is that you actually have a song that you co-produced which is the theme song to your book. Liz: Free of Malice just launched in late March, so I’m still promoting the book – doing radio shows, podcasts, visiting book clubs and other groups.
A native of Valdosta, Georgia, Liz Lazarus graduated from Georgia Tech with an engineering degree and went on to a successful career at General Electric before joining a consulting firm.She lives in Atlanta, is engaged to fiance, Richard, and is a partner at a consulting firm focused on strategic planning.
Anne: As a lover of historical fiction, I am a big fan of the subject matter for both your first book, The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress, and Flight of Dreams. Anne: What research sources did you draw upon to give your story authenticity and to put people in the time period of the Nazi Reich’s rise in the 1930s and to feel as though they were on board the Hindenburg? Anne: Point of view and characters are really critical components of telling a powerful story. Anne: What advice do you have for other authors, who are looking to tackle larger-than-life historical events in their novels? Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader.
Today, The Writing Well is celebrating Earth Day a few days late with this insightful interview with Atlanta urban designer Ryan Gravel, author of Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities, a book that will inspire anyone who has grown up in the sprawl of America’s suburban areas where communities were designed around cars instead of people.
Ryan: There were several things I wanted to accomplish — one, I am fascinated with the role of infrastructure.
A new generation of Los Angeles residents have rediscovered their river and are fighting to make it part of a more sustainable future for Los Angeles.
Ryan: I had a good editor at a high level and she helped me edit — we cut a good 100 pages out of the book. Ponce City Market, photo credit: Sarah DorioWhile I was in the middle of it I said there was no way I would write another book — it was so much more work than I ever thought it would be. RYAN GRAVEL is the founding principal of Sixpitch and creator of the Atlanta Beltline, the reinvention of a 22-mile circle of railroads that began as the subject of his master’s thesis. Atlanta suspense writer Susan Crawford has a knack for putting her readers inside the minds of her troubled characters. Susan: I thought it would be interesting to write a story that deals with a shattering event and the results that follow – like a broken window with fractures running away from the break.
Susan: What I enjoy writing most in this type of story is the characters and developing them in such a way that they almost have to do the things they do in the book.
Writing a thriller with a surprise ending (in this case a couple of twists at the very end) cannot be easy, no matter how creative you are. Susan: I try to keep possibilities open – to have characters who aren’t all good or all not good, so the reader will think, Hmm. Susan: It’s almost impossible to get through life without some kind of psychological issue unless you live in a box, which would create even more psychological issues, actually! Susan grew up in Miami, Florida, where she spent her childhood reading mysteries in a hammock strung between two Banyan trees.
Staff rides represent a unique method of conveying the lessons of the past to modern Army leaders.
The principles of leadership and Army values transcend technological advances both inspiring and instructive to cadets and Army leaders.
Neither side expected that the massive battle that followed would be the largest, most lethal conflict of a four-year war. As we broke into groups at key battlefield sites, we tried to apply what we learned to our daily work. The key is to make sure those on the front lines are trustworthy and devoted to the mission as opposed to their own success. As I heard it read by one of the participants, I was moved by the simplicity of what he said and the wisdom and humility of President Lincoln’s remarks.
Bhutan is tiny mountainous country about the size of Maryland located between India and Tibet. The speech transformed Gettysburg's community from a place of devastation to the symbol of our nation's new birth of freedom. This is an annual observation of the day that Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the National Cemetary.
She was living off campus when she was jarred awake by the sound of her bedroom door crashing open. Just a few years after the incident, my employer offered me an expatriate assignment in Paris, France, so I moved overseas for three years, which was a fantastic experience, both professionally and personally. Your story tackles the legal questions about self-defense — whether you can legally shoot an intruder if you are not in imminent danger (i.e. I’d have to say that one of the most interesting parts of my research was the whole jury selection process. The reason I say this is that there is very clear instruction when learning to fly a plane, both in textbook application and in maneuvering in the air.
Early on, I ran a few giveaways, which increased exposure for my book and provided some advance reviews. How did this come about and do you think it has added another dimension to your story for your readers?
You see, the young, black lawyer character in my book is loosely based on my best friend from college, Thomas Barnette. I do have an idea for another book that is alluded to at the end of this one (no spoilers!).

Which character (and point of view) do you think is the most compelling in Flight of Dreams and why? But with four children and a very busy life I often skip the blogging in favor of working on my next book. She’s the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (Doubleday, 2014) and the upcoming FLIGHT OF DREAMS (February, 2016). It is the foundation of our culture, our social life,  I am fascinated with that relationship.
Were you surprised by how residents of Atlanta have embraced the Beltline — did it become something much bigger than you thought it would ever be? The other thing that it’s allowed me to do is travel and share our story nationally and increasingly internationally. Photo by Ryan Gravel.movement in the 1980s to reclaim this concrete channel as some kind of life-affirming waterway. We have a lot ofThe Beltline in Fall by Linda Coatsworthconversations with the Atlanta Beltline Project around equity, affordability, environmental justice, mobility and all these things, and it’s great and it’s right and we should. It was really redundant — partly because I was shifting things around and saying things twice. But, I learned a lot and I became a better writer so I think the next book would not be so torturous.  I love the idea of writing a children’s book. I want to pitch ideas for what that means and host forums and discussions about everything from storm water to automated vehicles — that is, start a real civic dialogue around the infrastructure that we build and that it matters.  One of the projects I am doing is called the Atlanta City Design for the City of Atlanta.
A designer, planner, and writer, he is increasingly called to speak to an international audience on topics as wide ranging as brownfield remediation, transportation, public health, affordable housing, and urban regeneration.
The accident in the first chapter is the catalyst for the rest of the book, the incident that eventually brings to light things that had been traveling under the radar.
What do you consider the best part of the writing process in this type of story — what element or aspect is the most challenging but also the most gratifying when you get it right? Edward, for example, has expensive tastes and likes to live big – he wouldn’t easily adapt to changing his lifestyle to accommodate a flagging economy and a failing company. How do you piece together the ending in a way that keeps readers guessing?  What is your own process?  Do you find beta readers a helpful tool to check your story line and make sure that the plot is doing what you envision? Your first book dealt with mental illness in that your main character suffered from bi-polar condition. I think many mental illnesses are the result of horrific experiences – normal reactions to abnormal situations that change the lens through which we see the world.
Place figures into The Other Widow in that it takes place in Boston during the dead of winter. Senior Cadets at Notre Dame participate in a Staff Ride to Gettysburg, PA to recount the events of the famous Civil War battle. A staff ride brings history to life as leaders walk the terrain that previous generations of soldiers contested. We’d have expected too much if we thought that by studying Generals Meade and Lee and their teams, we’d have a sure fire blueprint for success. The strongest leaders admit when their plans fall short, learn from their errors, and move forward. It is famously isolated and insular with aspects of modern life such as cell phones and television only recently introduced. It is now also the place where corporate executives from around the country come to put the finishing touch on their leadership and executive presence skills through LLI offerings. When I returned to the states, I had the chance to pursue my executive MBA at Northwestern, which was another great opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up.My career continued to flourish, but didn’t really allow me the time to do the research I needed for the book.
It’s almost more accurate to call it de-selection as both sides do their best to rule out jurors who would be damaging to their case.I was able to gain a “fly on the wall” view of the process as I tagged along with one of the attorneys and found it fascinating. And, the support staff at Goodreads could not be more helpful—they are top notch.  I’m a strong believer in knowing and segmenting your target audience. But, when strangers write such positive notes on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m really blown away. We met our first day at Georgia Tech when we both got lost trying to find the civil engineering building and we’ve been close ever since.
I’ve received quite a few comments from readers like, “can’t wait for Liz’s next book.” I didn’t expect that reaction at all but take it as a huge compliment. And how?” writes The New York Times Book Review, while People Magazine described Flight of Dreams as “an enthralling nail-biter…[E]verything points to the inevitable disaster – but you’re still on the edge of your seat.” Below, Ariel shares her journey recreating the last moments on board the Hindenburg, her love of history, and the one thing every aspiring writer needs to do.
She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus) and a black lab who is, thankfully, a girl. During our meeting, I asked him about his writing journey, including his goals for writing Where We Want to Live and what he’d like to be doing in five years. I see it as an under-the-radar kind of tool for social and cultural change, which is exciting. I see that not only are people fascinated by what we are doing, but they also are doing some pretty interesting things themselves.
And they’ve been working at it a long time, but just within the last few months they’ve made enormous progress. I think we have those conversations around all the infrastructure that we build — all the big highway interchanges, all the things that we do — the big chunks of projects we spend money on.You look at all the big highway projects — we are spending billions of dollars on massive interchange reconstructions and highway widening and managed lanes, and all those are only for people who drive cars. I would advise writers to get a good editor — someone who can see your story with a broader perspective.
The Carter Center had seats for 470 people, and I thought there is no way we are going to fill it up but we had people sitting on the steps, which was pretty amazing. I found these observations true when reading Susan’s debut novel, The Pocket Wife, and just as true after devouring The Other Widow, where Susan explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity.The Other Widow opens with Joe telling Dorrie, a married co-worker with whom he is carrying on an affair, that “it is no longer safe” —moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. You have three strong female characters — and plenty of intrigue given the opening chapter and death of the cheating husband. With these two books under your belt, what kind of brand are you building in the literary world?  What authors do you most admire and why? Favorite authors – Margaret Atwood because she always hooks me right away and pulls me into whatever she’s writing. Maggie, for example, has PTSD because she nearly died, because she was in a war zone, because she couldn’t help her friends.
What is your connection to Boston and what aspects of the city did you most enjoy bringing out into the setting of the story?
The accident that sets the stage for the story happens on one of my favorite Boston streets, Newbury, and, as Dorrie stands in her living room, staring at her husband in the middle of the night and wondering who he is, I picture my old friend’s house in Jamaica Plain.
Tactics, strategy, communications, use of terrain, and leadership dimensions are examined and applied to contemporary military realities. At one point, I wondered if the story would still be relevant, but the truth is that it has only become more newsworthy over time.
What was the most surprising aspect of the law that you uncovered while researching this question for your book?
For example, one of the questions they asked the potential jurors was if anyone was a supervisor. For traditionally published authors, once the galley is complete, the publishing house takes over.
How important is it for independent authors to know who their readers are and reach them online?
Back then, I had no idea that Thomas was such a talented signer—he kept that part of his life hidden.One day after we had graduated, he played a CD for me in his car and the man’s voice was amazing, kind of a Seal meets U2.
It’s a dual narrative about the last days of Anastasia Romanov and the woman who became her most famous imposter. The other thing is I know the reason it [the Beltline] is happening is because the people in Atlanta fell in love with this vision for their future. They are not for people who walk or ride trains, or ride bikes or move around in other ways. The City of Atlanta is only a tenth of the regional population and they are going to more than double in size in the next 20 years so where is that population going to go?  How do we protect things like the tree canopy and neighborhoods so that we become more of who we are and not less, and we still like it at the end of the day?

Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage.The story unfolds in the aftermath of Joe’s death through the vantage point of Dorrie, “the other widow,” his wife Karen and Maggie, a troubled war-veteran and insurance investigator, who is dealing with her own demons after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s invested over half her life in a relationship and will ignore the obvious when it comes to her husband’s infidelity.
She empathizes with everyone, which makes her conflicted because she’s always pulled in different directions. People are often judged for being different, for seeing things differently, so basically they’re stigmatized for having difficult lives. A pivotal scene in the book takes place in the Park Street Station at the corner of the Boston Common, where I used to catch the train, and when Dorrie’s friend confesses to meeting Samuel for drinks, they are in the Copley, a hotel where I’ve stayed on occasion.Q.
An anonymous letter links these deaths to the murder of a man who dies in the driveway of his North Georgia Mountain home as his pregnant wife dresses for a neighbor’s surprise party. As a means to heal, she began writing about that night and the changes to her life.At a time when college assaults are at epidemic proportions (a recent Association of American Universities survey of 150,000 female college students found that 23% had experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact),  the timing has never been better for this story. I finally decided to take a leave of absence from work to write the book which finally allowed me the time to put the thoughts that had been swirling in my mind to paper. At first, I couldn’t understand why that would matter until my lawyer friend explained that they were looking for people with leadership experience as they would likely be nominated as jury foreman. They have a “flight instructor” to steer the content editing, copy editing, layout, cover design, printing, distribution, etc. There are a few groups that have really “taken” to the book.Book clubs – I’ve had a few book clubs tell me that they had the most vigorous debates after reading Free of Malice. This really tries to tell the story of the role of infrastructure in our lives and that it matters,  and that we might want to think more carefully about it.
Another thing I wanted to accomplish with the book is to put the Beltline in a much larger context– that this kind of change is happening everywhere. I can tell when I read it that the first two-thirds of the book has been reworked — a lot of chapters shifted around.  Between first pitching the book and the final format a lot of those pieces have been moved around a lot to frame this larger story. We are just now starting this — it’s going to roll out over the course of the spring,summer and fall. Of course a hallmark of this author is her lyrical prose that sweeps you into the minds and hearts of her characters, even as the tension in the story builds and takes you closer to a shocking conclusion.Below, Susan discusses The Other Widow, including her writing process and how she tackles surprise endings, which her latest book certainly delivers.
Samuel’s secretive nature and frequent absences become more suspect in light of the recent death of his wife’s lover. She’s juggling all these aspects of her life, but because she’s ruled by her emotions, nothing is exactly secure. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle, although I don’t like to wrap things up too neatly at the end, so there are usually a couple of pieces out of place. What do you most want readers to leave with after reading The Other Widow?Susan: Apart from a compelling, overwhelming urge to read more things I’ve written,J I’d like readers to leave The Other Widow feeling a little less judgmental, a little less inclined to label people.
Care about the economic development but also care about the cultures, the environment and the governance unique to your organization. Free of Malice poses the question of whether shooting the would-be attacker as he was fleeing the property would be deemed self-defense in today’s criminal justice system. It also led to my career transition, as I became a partner in a consulting firm once I had completed the novel. Here’s one quote, “Our book club read this first novel by Liz Lazarus and this was by far one of the BEST discussions that I have ever experienced!!!
It would be sort of a visual addendum to Where We Want to Live.I also would love to do an Instagram book of other people looking at infrastructure in a similar way or targeting these projects.
If you are a fan of thrillers that are both character-driven and incredibly well written, you won’t want to miss The Other Widow or Susan’s book launch next Tuesday at Eagle Eye Bookstore in Decatur, Georgia.
These three as well as all the other characters are likely to react in certain ways to obstacles thrown in their paths. She was drawn to Joe because he saw her not in terms of what she was doing, but of who she was; he touched her on a deeper level. In her gripping novel, which is half who-done-it, and half hypothetical courtroom drama, Liz takes the reader on a suspenseful journey of self-discovery and empowerment of the victim even as readers second-guess who is behind the attack.“As a long-time courtroom and Law and Order junkie and major fan of Perry Mason, I could not put this book down,” writes one book club fan. The best description I can give is that this book was a calling, and I feel like it unfolded at the right time.
The twists in this book will have you second guessing until you get to the end.”Attack survivors – because part of the book is based on a true event, when I was attacked in college, I wrote about the after-effects to heal. Ironically, right after I took my leave of absence from work to write my book, a check arrived for some salary I had deferred and it was the exact amount we needed for the CD.
If people fall in love with the places that they live in, they would be much more careful with some of the decisions we make.
This is part of a much larger cultural movement — in 30 years, we will have completely reshaped the way that we build cities.
It will support some communities — it will expand economic development in some communities but it will do the opposite in others.
That would be a cool way to organize people who are into the future of city-building and graphically hold it together across a lot of different photography.I have talked to people about doing an online show about infrastructure where we would share stories — such as the work going along the LA River and talking to people who can envision what that space might become. There have been a few coincidences, or “G-d-winks” as people say, that have led me to believe that I choose the right path. The biggest pro to traditional publishing is that you are “pre-qualified” meaning that the quality of your work is not put into question. So when you asked earlier, why so long to write the book, co-producing Thomas’ CD was another worthy diversion.In my novel, the lawyer character takes the stage at Eddie’s Attic, one of the many Atlanta locations that I feature. I would like to shift the public dialogue so when we make these big public investments that we would have that dialogue.
I think that would be a lot of fun and I think you could do it in a way that would be really interesting for an audience. Because there is large variation in quality in the “Indie” or self-published world, I’ve had to make an extra effort to prove my work is of high quality, even though I paid for rounds of professional editing and layout.I wrote a blog called “The 12 Steps to Self-Publishing” that has a lot of useful tips I learned – it’s on my website if you’d like to read more. Hugh Courtney, Vice Dean of Programs at the Smith School, in forming the partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation in 2010, this was not the first time I had brought a group of executives to Gettysburg National Park, so I knew the lessons we taught can be impactful. Since you asked, my top 3 are (1) buy your own ISBN so you control the distribution (2) pay for a professional editor – it’s worth it, and (3) print on demand with a source like CreateSpace so you can make corrections because there will be more typos than you can possibly imagine. That said, we haven’t diligently approached that group yet so maybe it’s just a matter of time. The transition between things and the logic had to be rewritten several times and it was painful, but I think it was the right thing to do. Thomas also sang at my launch party and we are planning a few joint events throughout the year.
For example, the Beltline is in the middle four chapters but previously it was told more piecemeal across the book. Kiss me, like the words to an old song or a curtain flapping in a breeze or sun on a tiled floor.
Like a memory just out of reach.  I think Maggie has the most memorable voice because she is a veteran struggling with PTSD. Lee’s pre-Gettysburg headquarters prior to the battle) for informal discussion and more networking. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 13 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS, PhD, and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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