Tuesday, September 25, 2012

BLOG TOUR: The Madman Theory w/Harvey Simon

About the Author

Harvey Simon is a freelance writer living in Washington, DC. His articles have appeared in The Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, the History News Network and elsewhere.

Before moving to Washington, he was a national security analyst at Harvard University, where he also wrote about other public policy issues.

The Madman Theory (Sept. 18, 2012, Rosemoor Press) is Simon’s debut novel. Its release coincides with the 50th anniversary of the most dangerous event in U.S. history – the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Simon received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

About the Book
THE MADMAN THEORY is an alternate history novel about the Cuban Missile Crisis. On September 17, Rosemoor Press will publish this fresh take on the crisis by Harvey Simon to coincide with the 50th anniversary the following month of the most dangerous week the world has ever known.

In this retelling, Sen. John F. Kennedy loses the 1960 presidential election to his young opponent, Vice President Richard M. Nixon.  Two years later the Soviets are caught building a secret nuclear missile base in Cuba and President Nixon faces the same decision Kennedy confronted – whether to bomb the launching sites and invade the island.

As the confrontation between the US and its nuclear foe spirals out of control, Pat Nixon struggles to reconcile her strong sense of a wife’s proper role with her marriage to a man who abuses her and has thrust her into a public life she despises and the two confront their longstanding grievances.

Q & A w/Harvey
What exactly is the madman theory that gives the book its title, and what inspired you to make it into a full-length novel?

I wrote The Madman Theory because I was interested in exploring what would have happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had Kennedy lost the ’60 election.  Richard Nixon would have been president and would have had the chance to employ his actual philosophy about foreign policy, which he really did call his madman theory.  He believed that if he could convince Soviet leaders he was a madman – that he was unstable enough to unleash nuclear war–that there’d be no war.  The other side would be so traumatized they’d back down from any aggressive action that could threaten the U.S.  I wrote the novel to explore how that might have played out.

How much of your book is based on fact?

The Madman Theory is based in fact, as much as any novel can be.  Everything in the novel after the 1960 election is, of course, straight out of my imagination.  But in imagining what would have happened had Kennedy been defeated, I relied completely on the historical record.  I tried to imagine this period as it really would have been, had Nixon been elected.  The details are accurate right down to the look of Air Force One – a plain silver fuselage–and the color of the presidential limousine–black, not Kennedy’s dark blue.

What about the characters? Are they real or imagined?

I did not invent any major characters for The Madman Theory.  The people around Nixon could very plausibly have made up a 1960 Nixon administration.

Is there really a place like Mount Weather?

Mount Weather is quite real.  It is believed to be the “secure, undisclosed location” Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  It was built during the Eisenhower administration as an alternative White House in case of nuclear war.  The Madman Theory's descriptions of the shelter rely on the limited reporting done about the facility and a visit to the underground alternative Congress, built about the same time under a resort in West Virginia.  But there is much that is still unknown about Mount Weather and I had to extrapolate from what I knew to describe some of the shelter’s further recesses.

Does your novel have any relevance to the presidential election?

One inherent message in The Madman Theory is that presidential elections have huge consequences for our lives in ways we can’t fully imagine. With the November elections approaching, the book underscores the importance of everyone’s vote and the critical need to carefully evaluate each candidate’s views on foreign policy.

Are you suggesting who people should vote for this year through the book?

The 1960 presidential contest was between a candidate with no foreign policy experience–Sen. Kennedy–and Vice President Nixon, who had met more foreign leaders and had traveled the world more than any other vice president.  Yet Kennedy saw us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Does that mean you should vote for the least experienced candidate?  Of course not.  So The Madman Theory won’t help you decide how to vote in November.  But it will impress upon you the importance of your choice.

Do you see any parallels between the Cuban Missile Crisis and current events? What about Iran?

The decision about whether the U.S. or Israel should bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities has parallels in the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is at the heart of The Madman Theory.  We are all trying to imagine the possible consequences of a strike against Iran, just as President Nixon, in my novel, tries to think through the ramifications of possibly destroying Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Is it really plausible to base your novel on Kennedy losing the 1960 election?

The 1960 presidential election was the closest in American history, up to that point.  A number of states tipped to Kennedy by razor-thin margins.  It wouldn’t have taken much at all to tip that balance the other way.  In The Madman Theory the balance shifts when President Eisenhower disregards Vice President Nixon’s seemingly inexplicable recommendation that the president refrain from campaigning vigorously on his behalf.

If Nixon had been elected instead of Kennedy, isn't it possible the Cuban Missile Crisis might never have happened?

This is a real thicket.  In reality, Kennedy botched the Bay of Pigs invasion, a 1961 attempt to overthrow Castro.  If Nixon had been elected, instead of Kennedy, maybe the invasion would have succeeded.  Then the Cuban Missile Crisis would not have happened.  But in The Madman Theory, the ’61 invasion is not the disaster it was for Kennedy, but doesn’t succeed in overthrowing Castro either.  To add another wrinkle, some argue the Missile Crisis came about because the Soviet Union perceived Kennedy as weak.  With Nixon in the Oval Office, things would have been different, they claim.  But I believe this argument ignores Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s primary motivations for building a secret nuclear missile base in Cuba.

We never hear about the Bay of Pigs in your novel. But you refer to something similar at a place called Trinidad. What's that all about?

President Kennedy changed the landing site that the CIA proposed for the 1961 Cuba invasion from Trinidad to the Bay of Pigs.  This was one of many changes he approved to make it less likely the invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles would be traced back to the U.S.  In The Madman Theory, President Nixon approves the original Trinidad landing site.  So instead of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the novel refers to the Trinidad invasion.

Do you plan to write more books? If so, can we get a sneak peek into your next novel?

I have a few ideas for another alternate history novel, which I’m not yet ready to disclose.   I’m also toying with the idea of writing short stories based on current events.  But that’s all I can say for now.

To learn more about Harvey Simon, visit: 

BLOG TOUR: Flawless w/ Shana Burton

About the Book
The ladies of Mount Zion Ministries are back, and “Flaw Less” picks up where all of the drama of “Flaws and All” left off! While the bonds of their friendship couldn’t be tighter, life around the ladies is slowly unraveling.
Newlywed Lawson Kerry Banks has the man she loves, Garrett, and the man she has a love-child with, Mark. When a new woman enters Mark’s life, Lawson’s jealousy not only threatens her walk with God but may cost her marriage as well. First Lady Sullivan Webb has struggled to get her life and her marriage back on track after her affair is exposed on the Internet. Doing the right thing proves to be harder than Sullivan expected when she finds herself led into temptation once again. Kina Battle thought her troubles were over once her abusive husband was dead and buried, but her troubles take on a new face when she finds herself drawn to the last person she ever thought she’d be attracted to. After years of heartbreak and disappointment, Angel King has finally met the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, she is engaged to someone else. When an injured soldier enters her life, Angel can’t help giving him all her attention and medical expertise, but will h e capture her heart too?
The ladies have all overcome their share of obstacles, but nothing like the challenges facing them now. Friendship, love, and laughs won’t be enough this time. Only God can save them now.

Purchase the Book Online at:



About the Author
Shana Johnson Burton is a two-time Georgia of the Author of the Year nominee and is the author of Suddenly Single, First Comes Love, Flaws and All, Catt Chasin’, and Flaw Less. She lives in Georgia with her two sons. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, dancing, and traveling. She is currently working on the third book in the “Flaws” series, Flawfully Wedded Wives.
Contact the Author:

Book Trailer:

Book Review
Coming Soon! 

For More Information

Visit the author online at:

View the blog tour schedule at: 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)

About The Author
Elizabeth Chalker is still in the furnace of life’s' calamities and fighting the good fight of faith and endurance, keeping her eyes on the prize of heaven. Before serious, physical illness devastated her body, Elizabeth was on the fast track as a successful psychologist and addictions specialist, working with violent juvenile offenders and their families, near completion of her third graduate degree. Her life is a testimony of faith that is steadfast and remains no matter the seemingly dark, unjust, and treacherous circumstances of life. She resides in Lighthouse Point, Florida. Elizabeth continues to minister to those in need and aspires to show God's glory through every breath she takes.

This is a real life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well.

About the Book
Foreword by Pastor Charles Carrin and Dr. Corey Cameron

You—one person—an individual, can literally change this whole world with love. By focusing on love, making a choice to love, feeding all that is positive, good, and of the light with exuberance and abundance instead of feeding the negative and evil things of the darkness. You can literally change the world and yourself. One relationship--one interaction--one decision at a time.

If you are experiencing the dark night of the soul in affliction year after year, it will present you, as it has me, with opportunities not found in most other life circumstances.

This is a life story of being in the fire, where I currently remain, where my heart for the Lord has become increasingly insatiable. A deepened intimacy has developed and continues to grow even through this very moment, and will continue beyond. As you read, this is my hope and prayer for you as well.

Book detail:
ISBN-13: 9781612151205
Publisher: Xulon Press
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Pages: 470

Author Links:
Book Website: www.elizabethchalker.org
Personal Website:www.helpelizabeth.net

Book Trailer:

Connect with Elizabeth:
http://www.publichealthalert.org/pdf/2010/2010_06.pdf (this is a link to Public Health Alert medical paper, the issue has some of my story, photos, and a letter to President Obama). I am happy to send a hard copy of this issue too? 

For Book Ordering:

Author Interview
Q: What motivated you to begin writing?

: I began writing as a catharsis to everyday life. Also, as an avenue to share raw insights, emotion, and to inspire and encourage others.

Q: What is your favorite genre to write? Why?

: My favorite genre to write is non-fiction. I believe there is more than enough to share about real life, our raw human expressions and dealings, events that happen in life, ponderings of our hearts and minds, to fill volumes without the necessity of fantasy. Our authentic lives hold many and continuous unfolding stories that we each want to share, and that we desire to have heard. When we share from an altruistic place, we make ourselves more vulnerable and hence, relatable to others. Such is an opportunity to connect with each other and share in all of the stories life affords.

My personal favorite subject in non-fiction is of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. He is my compass in life and my core. From this place, I exist and all of life is staged upon this foundation.

Fiction has its place of course; I personally have the drive to write non-fiction.
Q: How have other jobs and life experiences influenced your writing?

A: Other jobs and life experiences have largely influenced my writing. Currently, I am in the challenge of a life-time in enduring and persevering through serious physical illness that has no cure in the natural and is potentially fatal, yet causes a very slow, agonizing death rather than a relatively quick demise.

Before becoming debilitated to the point of being mostly bed-ridden, I worked as a Psychologist in the fields of Forensic and Sports psychology. My work was with violent juvenile offenders and their families. Additionally, I worked with athletes helping them hone their skills and on and off the playing fields. [I helped] them to raise their confidence and play whatever sport it was, with passion rather than intensity, a life skill as well.

Working in both arenas afforded me the opportunity to see diverse aspects of society and opened my eyes to the deep need we all have to be loved, to be understood, to be cared about. No matter the population, whether gifted athletes or youth who lived in battlefields and committed violent crimes as a means to survive…the core need of each is the same.

Nevertheless, writing with different lenses; the lenses of talented athletes or that of sitting in a court room testifying on behalf of a teenager who has never known the love of another human… inspiration and self-analysis presents in profoundly deep measure.

Having serious physical disease with no cure, no answers and no means to receive necessary medical treatment, has deepened my relationship with God and the intimacy in relationship. Such has poured out and into my other relationships and given me a deeper compassion for individuals. Living with these diseases, where I am not able to simply think them away or ‘push through’ as if they did not exist, has truly humbled me and deepened my character as a person, all of which is reflected in my writing and influences the perspective I have on the world around me.

Q: What is the aim of Hanging On by the Scratch Marks My Nails Left Behind (Raw Faith)?

A: I have several aims of my book. One is to inspire individuals to self-examine and find their core; to realize that we are all children of God and therefore, one in Him. We tend to see as if from under a quilt as it is being made, where all that is seen is a bunch of haphazard threads from our view. God’s view is from above where everything comes together and forms a beautiful and complete picture. Another aim is to encourage individuals to seek love and extend love.

One of the most important aims of the book is to strengthen anyone who reads it, to cause him/her to embrace all of who he/she is, the parts we deem ‘dark’ and unacceptable as well as the parts we see as praiseworthy and pleasant.

Most importantly, my hope is that the reader will embrace intimacy with God and realize that raw expression of heart, no matter how unacceptable to the world, is honorable in the eyes of God and welcomed.

We live in a world where appearances are most important and true character; integrity, honesty, ethics, service…are balked at and mocked in exchange for superficial ‘wealth’ that only breeds hate and egocentricity. I pray that the God inspired messages in my book will lend ‘permission’ to the readers to step up within themselves and fully own all of who they are and share such with others, while also serving as a soft cushion for others to share.

Q: What was your experience like with your publisher?

A: I had a wonderful experience with my publisher. [They were] very helpful, patient, generous, humble, with expertise and leadership for guidance.

Q: Where do you look for inspiration when you are struggling?

A: Mainly I look to God. I see Him everywhere; through nature, other people, and the trials/triumphs of life.

Q: What are some activities that you are involved in aside from writing?

A: Currently I am fighting for my life and doing all I can to promote my book in order to have some income for life-saving medical treatment. Due to severe limitations from physical illness, I am not able to participate in much of life. Nevertheless, I do all I can and push to do more. Encouraging others and giving to my loved ones in all the ways I am able…sharing my relationship with Christ wherever I can…to God be the glory.

Review Coming Soon!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Author Harvey Simon to Visit the Hideaway on 9/25/12

Just had a great interview with author Harvey Simon. His debut conspiracy theory thriller, The Madman Theory will be released tomorrow, September 18, 2012 and it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Cuban Missile Crisis.  Harvey will be stopping by The Author’s Hideaway on September 25th! Don’t miss this interview or a the chance to learn more about this former Harvard University national security analyst.

The Madman Theory - About Me: