Posts tagged ‘andre le gallo’

Desert Nomadic Values and Religion—Guest Blogger, Andre Le Gallo

99755-guest2bblog-2 My guest blogger this week is author and retired CIA officer, Andre Le Gallo.

He studied the Middle East at The School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and lived in Muslim countries. We have reviewed all three of his books on the Middle East: The Caliphate, Satan’s Spy, and The Red Cell.

Readers of this column know we don’t follow the news. However, it was hard to miss exposure to Bill Maher’s recent comment about terrorism when he referenced so many bad apples demanded an examination of the orchard(at the 3:13 point in the video). Killing in the name of religion isn’t good for anyone. Christianity and Judaism can both be

Andre Le Gallo

Andre Le Gallo

criticized for imposition of outdated traditions on their members today although we’re not aware that either endorse homicide or human sacrifice in the 21st Century. There is definitely a need to be selective about which of the ancient values to observe today.

Therefore, it seems relevant to hear from a man who has earned the right to speak on the topic.

Welcome, Andre!


The discussions on Islam generally miss the point that it is not, strictly speaking, a religion any more than the iPhone is just a means to call your mother. Unlike Christian religions which focus on the individual’s belief in and relationship to God, Islam is a complete package governing every aspect of life on earth.

Islam set itself up as a new and improved version of the two previous monotheistic religions, Judaism and Christianity, whose prophets Islam folded into its own traditions. Islam acknowledged the previous two religions as foundation stones but also claimed that they had been superseded by the latest revelations. If Judaism was the 1.0 version and Christianity the 2.0 version, then Islam was supposed to be the new and improved 3.0 version. The other two were obsolete and no longer supported by God.

It is noteworthy that the Prophet was not only a religious leader; he was also a warrior, a merchant, an administrator, a judge, and a diplomat. An Islamic Republic is a state governed ultimately by “experts” who claim to represent God’s will. Governing with and through man-made laws is not part of the Islamist vision. In his book, What Went Wrong, Bernard Lewis recounts how early Muslim diplomats to Europe felt nothing but pity for countries that had to rely on their constitutions and statutes, all written by men, when they had Holy Law direct from God. Unlike Christianity’s now well-established principle separating religion from government, as in “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”, Islam draws no separation between the two. This is not to say that Christianity’s path was without martyrdom, usually caused by others unlike the current Muslim experience, and violence. However, it evolved through the Reformation and the Enlightenment two hundred years later. Since the Islamists’ credo is that their religion’s core value is the eternal truth of the revelations contained in the Quran, the path to changes and adjustments, other than to cut out all changes to Islam’s original values, faces an internal roadblock.

Islam’s true believers are not content with simply worshiping Allah and leaving others to worship in their own way. Their intent is to spread their beliefs to all walks of life from justice to finances to equal rights for all.

A set of values compatible with seventh century desert nomads is irreconcilable with Western democracies of the 21st century.

Le Gallo's books are available on Amazon.

Le Gallo’s books are available on Amazon.

Guest blogger, Julie Medina — Book Cover Designer







Our guest blogger today is Julie Medina of Garland, Texas. AYearWithoutKilling- FINAL

She designed the cover for my third novel, A Year Without Killing, and I thought

it would be interesting to hear about her work and how she views book marketing.




Ever get that question?

I do, sometimes, when people ask me what I “do” and I say I do book covers (and book interior layout).

Sometimes I get a half-blank look with the question: “What kind of book covers?”

Then I like to say: the kind that jumps on you in a bookstore, the kind that stands out from the crowd and  makes you want to pick it up and read it.

It’s the weirdest thing. You see, I believe that for most people their first interest in a book is sparked by looking at its cover. Have you ever been in a bookstore, looking for a book on architecture, for example, and out of the corner of your eye a book in the Thriller section gets you to look twice?

Something in the combination of Look and Title on that cover jumped straight past your eyes and into your brain. A face, a landmark, a flower, a mood, something someone is doing –  yes, even a color.

And now you want to know what this is all about.

Someone is shooting holes into a calendar?? Who does such a thing?

Is this some kind of a countdown to off your Husband or your Wife?

Why does someone not kill for a year? Why have they killed before, and who?

Can’t speak for other people but that is pretty much what happens to me when a book cover jumps past my eyes and into my brain. That is how I like to design covers, with that extra little burst that takes them straight there.

When I begin a project, I like to learn a little about the story, the people that live in it — perhaps some pivotal moment in their lives.

Andre Le Gallo was very specific with what he wanted on the cover of his Red Cell.RedCell

In this case I tried to accommodate pretty much what the described.

Other authors are wide open and I have only the title and a brief synopsis on the story.  I think those are actually my favorite covers. Those give me complete creative freedom and I love that. Of course sending those covers to the author for viewing is a nail-biter every time. High stakes gambling in Las Vegas couldn’t be anymore exciting when the dice roll.

Washboard RoadI drew four aces with Heartsongs From a Washboard Road by Roger Summers and won the Jackpot with CrissCross by Dale Fowler.CrissCross

Designing a book cover (or an entire book) is a little like having a baby. You worry, You want it to be beautiful and perfect and you want everyone to love it. It has to be romantic, scary, funny, dramatic, melancholy, dark and brooding or the conveyor of hope and love, all depending on the story, and it has to almost tell the entire story in one picture.

On most projects I sift through thousands of photos until just the right one grabs my attention.  The mood, colors, and themes combine into an image or images that I think will work.

Playing around with pictures in Photoshop produces crazy good effects sometimes and can change everything about any photo and give it an entirely new “feel.” A good example for this is the Compost Pile by Stephen Woodfin. [The two photos on the left were combined to make up the final cover image.]

COMPOST CompostPile

GIRL-webAnd then, when I think the cover is what I had in mind, I send it off to the “Parent”, the author, and wait.

No problem, I check e-mail only like every 20 minutes or so! No, I do not pace!

My clients report success with every project. We work together. We don’t stop until the author is as pleased with the cover. Until then the motto is: nothing is chiseled in stone, everything and anything can be tweaked and changed.

How did I get into this crazy, exciting world of book publishing?

Thanks to my friend and former boss, Caleb Pirtle of Venture Galleries, who kept telling me that I could forget about commercial advertising now and dig deeper to find that artist he knew was in there somewhere. I hope I have succeeded.

When I was young, I dreamed of being the one who wrote the books. Well that plan did not work out. But I found something equally great. I am the one who puts a story into a picture for all the world to see.

It does not get any better than that.

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