Author - John Coyne

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Peter (Of Peter, Paul & Mary) Gives His Support For MorePeaceCorps
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On The Eve Of The Great Peace Corps Rally
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Literary Agents Not In New York — For You!
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In The Loop With Al Kamen On The New Peace Corps Director
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The Peace Corps Picks Up On Peace Corps Writers
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Talking with Matt Davis about His Peace Corps Book
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Malawi RPCV John Shannon Talks About "Palos Verdes Blue"
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Don't Let Larry Leamer Down!
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Our RPCV In Cairo
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What! More Peace Corps? Branding the Peace Corps

Peter (Of Peter, Paul & Mary) Gives His Support For MorePeaceCorps

[Thanks to great Peace Corps Veteran Geri Critchley, and thanks to Peter Yarrow, we have Peter’s recent letter to Rep. Nita Lowey in support of MorePeace Corps.] Dearest Rep. Nita Lowey, This is a personal message to you from your buddy, your long time  supporter and your friend, Puff’s “real” daddy. In the vote coming up  next week on Peace Corps funding, we have a SERIOUSLY IMPORTANT  opportunity to send a message to our nation, and nations beyond, that could greatly help  to rejuvenate the spirit of humanity, morality and generosity in America, so  absent from our policies, our funding and our actions, during the Bush years. We cannot lose this special opportunity,  and I’m relying on you, as one of my favorite and most respected members of  the House, to “hang in there” for doing the right thing, as you have in the  past. Though I fully expect that you’ll . . .

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On The Eve Of The Great Peace Corps Rally

This Friday morning, this morning before the big RPCV rally in Washington, D.C. at 2 p.m. in Freedom Plaza (14th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW) to support “Obama’s Peace Corps Vision” the question– which we have never answered–remains: What Has The Peace Corps Done For America? In 2011, the Peace Corps will be fifty years old. This agency is generally seen as the shining achievement of Kennedy’s brief presidency. But what is the legacy of those Volunteers? What lessons can America, and the rest of the world, learn from Volunteers who have served overseas over the past five decades? In the first days of creating the Peace Corps, John F. Kennedy remarked to Harris Wofford that he saw the real benefit of the agency to be in how these former Volunteers would vote on foreign affair issues once they returned home. Kennedy envisioned hundreds of thousands of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers contributing to American society, not only in how they . . .

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Literary Agents Not In New York — For You!

Here’s a true story. Most of the time when publishers think a book will be a hit, they are dead wrong. Last year I tracked ten books that received six-figure advances. A friend, who is in the publishing business, checked on these books a year later and not one had earned out its advance. So publishers don’t know what will work, what won’t. They just think they know. The truth is: I don’t know either! So, give your book a try. Here are a list of agent NOT in New York City, for those of you who would rather deal with an agent closer to home. I don’t know any of these agents, so I can’t recommend anyone to you. I suggest that before sending them anything, that you write a ONE page letter saying who you are and what you have written. Agents are only interested in finished manuscripts. (If you have clips, . . .

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In The Loop With Al Kamen On The New Peace Corps Director

RPCV Al Kamen (Dominican Republic 1965-67) of the Washington Post  has been tracking the search for a new Peace Corps Director. Here’s what he had to say today in his In The Loop column. “There’s word the administration is looking to name a new Peace Corps director soon. Early chat had been that James Arena-DeRosa, formerly the agency’s New England regional director, was a leading contender for the job, but he seems to have faded. The front-runners now, we hear, are Frank Fountain, a senior executive at the Chrysler Group, and Aaron Williams, now a top executive with the Research Training Institute. Fountain was a volunteer in India, Williams in the Dominican Republic.”

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The Peace Corps Picks Up On Peace Corps Writers

We are happy to see that the Peace Corps has finally followed the example of Peace Corps Writers (and now PeaceCorpsWorldWide.org) by interviewing Peace Corps writers. They have gotten around to interviewing Kris Holloway (Mali 1989-91) in their World Wise Schools section of www.peacecorps.gov. We interviewed Kris back in, I think, 2006. This interview by Amy Clark on the Peace Corps site is well done.  Take a look. By the way, trying to find World Wise Schools on their site is no easy task. Here’s the link to Kris’ intereview. http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/stories/stories.cfm?psid=681

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Talking with Matt Davis about His Peace Corps Book

An interview by John Coyne (Ethiopia 1962-64) At 23, in 2000, Matt Davis as a PCV went to a remote western Mongolian mountain town to teach English at a local college. What he found when he arrived was a town — and a country — undergoing change from a traditional, countryside existence to a more urban, modern identity. The story of his Peace Corps years is told in When Things Get Dark which is scheduled for publication in 2010. Matt’s book is not only about the Mongolians he meets but his own downward spiral into alcohol abuse and violence — a scenario he saw played out by many of the Mongolian men around him who were having a difficult time adjusting to the rapid change in society. Matt’s own struggles eventually culminate in a drunken fight with three Mongolian men that forces him to a Mongolian hospital to have his kidneys . . .

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Malawi RPCV John Shannon Talks About "Palos Verdes Blue"

[Reporter  Melissa Heckscher of the Daily Breeze newspaper  in California just published this article on RPCV mystery writer John Shannon that I thought you’d like to read.] John Shannon’s (Malawi 1965–67) latest mystery thriller, Palos Verdes Blue, is about a private detective who finds himself caught in a race-fueled turf war on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. John may specialize in fiction, but San Pedro-born novelist Shannon is as much a journalist as he is a mystery writer. To research each of his 11 Jack Liffey mystery novels, Shannon dove into the underbellies of Los Angeles, exploring topics ranging from the sex trade in Koreatown to the riots in South Central. So while his stories are fictional, their backdrops are often based on stark realities. “Almost all of my books have some underlying factual basis,” said Shannon, 65, whose most recent work turns the spotlight on the South Bay. “I thought, ‘If I’m going to keep . . .

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Don't Let Larry Leamer Down!

Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965-67) author of Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach has put out a call on today’s Huffington Post calling all RPCVs to rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. (14th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW) on June 13th (Saturday) at 2 p.m., in support of “Obama’s Peace Corps Vision.” Joining Larry Leamer and hundreds of other RPCVs will be, Leamer writes, “former Senator Harris Wofford, a lifelong champion of volunteering, speaks from the depths of his great heart. You will be there listening as Tim Shriver, the CEO of Special Olympics International and the son of Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver, speaks with passion of a world of challenge and diversity. You will be there listening to the incredible list of speakers of all ages and backgrounds who will be presenting their own testimonies. You will be there listening to . . .

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Our RPCV In Cairo

We had one of our website  reporters in Cairo yesterday to cover the President’s talk at the university and we received this report a few hours ago. • It is difficult to start to describe yesterday because so many descriptions come to mind. “Wow” seems to be a good starting place. Then comes “proud” quickly followed by “emotional.” So let’s start with “wow.” Even though there is some disappointment that Obama didn’t provide more concrete policy proposals on the peace process, almost universally Egyptians that I spoke with, saw on TV last night, or read on their blogs gave this speech a big thumbs up. Of course, there was pride of place–Egyptians were excited that Obama chose Cairo as the venue for this speech. After the speech pride gave way to the feeling of a personal connection with the American president. He used verses from the Koran, he spoke about things that mattered to . . .

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What! More Peace Corps? Branding the Peace Corps

With all this talk about rallying the RPCVs to call congressmen and congresswomen, I dug up an interview I had done a year or so ago with John Bidwell (Mali 1989-91). John is married to Kris Holloway (Mali 1989-91). They met in the Peace Corps and later married, and a few years ago Kris wrote a wonderful book about her work with an African woman who was her mentor in Mali. The book is entitled Monique and the Mango Rains. When I interviewed Kris for PeaceCorpsWriters about her memoir, I came to know John, and the work he has done to market and promote the book. John has his own firm–Bidwell ID–that he started  in 1999 and he works with clients nationwise to improve their brand. Many of these firms are cause-driven organizations, much like what the Peace Corps is, besides being a government agency. Branding–for those new to the term– is the process of . . .

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