Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Am Blessed!

"Stand Your Ground" by Don Troiani.
Used by permission.
This week I was humbled and honored to receive the endorsement below from a good friend who is one of my biggest supporters. He has blessed me so much by embracing this series enthusiastically and recommending it to his circle of family and friends wholeheartedly. Bless you, John, you encourage me more than you know! Thank you!

“We have given this series to all of our family so that they will understand the foundation of this country and the freedoms they enjoy. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. You will relive the sacrifices, romances, and pain experienced by past patriots. You will understand what you have benefited from when you experience this trip through history as written by Joan. It is historically accurate fiction, and a very engaging and interesting read. I can’t wait for the next book to come out!” –John E. Anderson, SGM Ret, U.S. Army Intelligence & Communications Command. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Register to Receive Free Chapters!

Concerned about the continental drift taking place in this country today? Worried about the upcoming election? Ready to revolt? Then return to the days of the Continental Congress, when our Founders arrested the downward slide and set America on a new course. Join the rebel spy Oriole’s elusive band and start your own Revolution! 

Just click on the link and register to receive free chapters of the new Heritage Edition of Daughter of Liberty weeks before the release date. You’ll receive an email with a PDF of Chapter 1, and then for every additional 25 registrations, we’ll release a new chapter, which you’ll receive automatically. Spread the word and share The American Patriot Series Facebook page to release chapters even faster! The person with the most referrals will win a free copy of Daughter of Liberty!

And be sure to watch for announcements about drawings for a free book and signing up to receive free chapters of Book 2, Native Son!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Full Cover and New Endorsements

We just finished the full cover for Daughter of Liberty, and it’s attached so you can see what the back and spine will look like. Isn’t it gorgeous? Our 17th Light Dragoon is now on the back to stand in for Jonathan Carleton, courtesy of Don Troiani. Marisa also adjusted the color for print, and I love the way it just seems to glow. So what do you think? Share your feedback!

A couple of days ago I got some wonderful new endorsements in from a couple of my reenactor buddies, Kris and Laura Supinger. This mother-daughter duo invited me to participate in Prairie Days last September at Shawnee Prairie near Greenville, Ohio. And what a time I had!

Below are their endorsements for the series, and I send many thanks and hugs to them for their kindness! I’m looking forward to joining you ladies again in full 18th century regalia this coming September for Prairie Days. Can’t wait!

“The story jumps to life from the first sentence to the last, leaving you begging for the next book to be published. You become involved with the characters and their personal struggles. The American Patriot Series gives an interesting perspective on the history of the time when our country was young, and not only from the usual aspects of the battlefield, but more of what it was like for those left behind waiting to know what was happening to their loved ones. For people who are re-enactors, the series is a great jumping off point to build their own characters. I’ve used the main character, Elizabeth, to help create my own re-enacting character.

“The characters make the time real to the point that you can almost feel yourself with each of the characters, either in Ohio with Carleton or with Elizabeth waiting for him to come back, while watching the war go on outside their windows. I couldn’t put my copies down when I got them and can’t wait for the next book in the series. This is definitely a must-have for anyone who loves history.”
—Laura Supinger, 18th century re-enactor

“These books are a great addition to any library. They give a unique perspective on what life would have been like for our Founding Fathers. The American Patriot Series is great for anyone starting out with only a little knowledge of history and wanting to get their feet wet. The story will keep readers’ imagination and make them want to learn more on their own while waiting for the next installment. The characters grab the reader’s imagination, bringing to life an era most people know very little about. The relationships between all the characters make readers feel as if they are within that circle as well, making them long for the next book, hoping their favorite character comes out on top.”
—Kris Supinger, 18th century reenactor

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A New American Revolution

Patrick Henry Protesting Stamp Act
You know . . . I now fully understand how our Founders felt when they were dealing with the unfair taxation, restriction of trade, and violation of personal rights, privacy, and property George III imposed on them. As a small business owner who’s simply trying to stay afloat when the money coming in isn’t equal to the expenses going out and I find myself negatively impacted every single day by the failed policies of a government I’m increasingly coming to view as the enemy, I’m on the verge of agitating for a new American Revolution.


I’m not smiling.

I had planned to do this post on how I use calendars to plot out the action of my stories, and I’ll get to it eventually, but there’s something more important weighing on my mind right now. Excuse me if I sound just a bit radical.

It seems like every other month I get a notice from my friendly state revenue office or county assessor demanding yet another report, with corresponding tax assessment and bill. Another arrived today, one that somehow I’ve never received before and am apparently delinquent in. Don’t know how I passed under their radar scope—it wasn’t intentional; I didn’t know this one existed—but they’ve found me now. Every time I turn around there’s more tax paperwork and another bill. But as they point out, your tax preparer or accountant will have the info. Yeah, and I have to pay him to figure it up.

What makes it worse and lit the tinder to this tirade is that at this time of year I’m slogging through the process of putting together everything needed to file my taxes. I just finished figuring up and sending out the 1099s, which have to be mailed by January 31. I have to pay for the forms and envelopes and do all this work to help the government tax anyone and everyone I ever employed in any capacity whatsoever. And then I have to pay my accountant to filter through all the paperwork, crunch all the numbers, and determine what I owe the government or, if I’m lucky—or unlucky, since it means I had a loss—what the government owes me. The amount of time and money we Americans spend working for “our” federal, state, and local governments, only to then pay for the privilege, is enraging.

I could be investing all that time and money in growing my business. And putting a few people to work. Multiply that by all the other businesses in this country, most of which have whole departments dedicated to handling the taxes necessary to maintain this bloated superstructure we call the U.S. Government.

That’s just wrong.

The form I received today is the “Tangible Personal Property Schedule for Reporting Commercial and Industrial Personal Property (with “Due March 1” in big, bold red letters at the top). I’m advised that:

“In accordance with state guidelines [their emphasis] and in an effort to comply with a recent federal court ruling [my emphasis], we must request the following information regarding your business personal property. [Business personal property??? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?] Please submit a depreciations schedule/current fixed asset listing or small business item listing. See brief definition below.”

There follows a whole page. Plus another legal-sized page printed front and back with instructions. What I’m thinking isn’t fit to print.

For my business license—which the previous county clerk told me I didn’t need, but the current county clerk decided I did and fined me for being in arrears—just figuring out what category a publishing house belongs to was mind boggling. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.

Here are the instructions on this form.

“Report all personal property owned by you and used or held for use in your business or profession as of January 1, including items fully depreciated on your accounting records. Do not report inventories of merchandise held for sale or exchange or finished goods in the hands of the manufacturer. Personal property leased or rented and used in your business must be reported on Part III of this schedule and not in this section. A separate schedule should be filed for each business location. List the total original cost to you for each group below by year acquired in the REVISED COST column. If COST ON FILE is printed on the schedule, you need only report new cost totals resulting from acquisition or disposition of property in the REVISED COST column. Alternative Reporting for Small Accounts—If you believe the depreciated value of your property is $1,000 or less you may use the small accounts certification (reverse side) as an alternative to reporting detail costs below. With this certification, subject to audit [my emphasis], your assessment per this schedule will be set at $300.”

Did you understand that? You have to supply an itemized list of everything you own that you ever use for business, down to the paperclips and staples, so they can tax you on it. And I already paid almost 10% sales tax on all of it!!

This includes: “Group 1. furniture, fixtures, general equipment, and all other property not listed in another group. Group 2: computers, copiers, peripherals, fax machines, and tools. Group 3: molds, dies, and jigs. Group 4: aircraft, towers, and boats. Group 5: manufacturing machinery. Group 6: billboards, tanks, and pipelines. Group 7: scrap property. [Oh, they don’t actually tax you on that, but you have to report it anyway!] Group 8: raw materials and supplies. Group 9: vehicles. Group 10: construction in process.” Nicely: “If your personal vehicle is being used for business less than 50%, please note that on the schedule and do not report it.” Huh??? Ah . . . how do you report something without actually reporting it? Sorry. I’m an editor . . .

Now, you can get around doing an itemized list if you file the small accounts certification. But what do you bet the odds are that they’ll audit you? Plus you have to check the box that verifies: “By checking the box at left, I certify that the total depreciated value of my property (all groups) is $1,000 or less. I understand this certification is subject to penalties for perjury and I may be subject to statutory penalty and cost if this certification is proven false.” Proven false. Nothing said about making an honest mistake. Irrelevant anyway since you’d be ahead of the game to ignore this option and invest the time and effort up front to inventory everything you own in order to make sure you didn’t miss something they might penalize you for.

Can you believe this??? George III had NOTHING on the U.S. Government. Our Founders must be turning over in their graves. Believe me, I’ve studied the truly objectionable British policies that finally drove our Founders over the edge, and we would have been better off just goin’ with it. Whatever. They’re 3,000 miles away across the ocean. What can they really do? Give ’em their pound of flesh, make an appearance of compliance, do what you gotta do . . . and then go on about your business. What they don’t know won’t bite ya.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to paying for essential government services. In fact, I’m glad to. Our lives are a whole lot better for police and fire protection, good roads, schools, communications systems, and many other real benefits our tax dollars provide. But things have gotten waaaayyyy out of hand. I want value for my money. I don’t want it to go into somebody’s pocket under the table or to pay for a bloated government bureaucracy that stifles incentive and growth and drags people down instead of lifting them up.

What bothers me the most is that a whole lot of precious blood was shed during the Revolution, and we’re in a worse situation now than our ancestors even envisioned then. Our government makes British rule in the 18th century look like an amateur act. And they’re right here in our laps! You can run, but ya can’t hide.

Well, honey, we can sure vote ’em out and keep on doing it until the representatives we put in Congress and the Oval Office sit up and take notice and begin doing what we elected them to do instead of taking advantage of their positions to line their own nests and/or advance agendas the majority of us don’t agree with.

It’s past time for a new day to dawn. I don’t know about you, but TEA Party, here I come!

What’s your opinion? Leave a comment and let’s talk!

New Release for Rita Gerlach!

Releasing today from my good friend acclaimed novelist Rita Gerlach, is Before the Scarlet Dawn, Book 1 in The Daughters of the Potomac Series, a timeless tale of love and betrayal, loss and redemption set against the backdrop of the American Revolution.

“…a big, beautiful, well-told story of love, faith, and the struggles of war that changed lives...and  hearts.
                                    ~ Author Loree Lough ~

Eliza Morgan faces the hardships of colonial life when she leaves behind all she has in order to follow her heart and the man she loves into the Maryland wilderness. On a windswept night in April of 1775, Eliza sat at her father’s bedside hoping he would recover. Forced to leave the home she grew up in, Eliza grows desperate. She could marry her former suitor, but cannot bear the thought of a loveless marriage.

Instead she falls in love with Hayward Morgan, the condescending son of a landed gentleman. When Eliza learns of his plans to leave England and build a life in the Maryland frontier, she decides to present a proposal of her own.

On Sale: February 1, 2012. Read Chapter One for free!

Available from online booksellers and at fine bookstores everywhere in paperback and e-book formats.

Book 2 ~ Beside Two Rivers ~ Fall, 2013
(The story of Eliza's daughter, Darcy)

Book 3 ~ Beyond the Valley ~ Spring 2013
(Sarah, an indentured servant's story)

Rita Gerlach is the author of four inspirational historical novels, including Surrender the Wind, the American Christian Fiction Writers book of the month.