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    Ex libris Florida

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000

    FIGHTING BACK WITH FORCE: David Green, a retired police lieutenant in Tampa, can tell women how to defend themselves against sexual predators but with the hope they'll never have to use the information.

    His book, NOT AT THEIR MERCY, is a straightfoward how-to guide for self-defense; in fact, it's alarmingly blunt. "Women who are prepared will stand a better chance to escape with their lives," he writes. "They know fingernails serve as self-defense methods more effectively by being pushed into eye sockets as opposed to scratching the skin."

    His methods are harsh; they're meant to "fight fire with fire." Green knows most women aren't going to wrestle their attackers down with their sheer brute strength, so he teaches below-the-belt tactics to break free. The book helps women prepare both physically and mentally, and includes photographs that clearly diagram each method. To order NOT AT THEIR MERCY ($14.99 plus $5 shipping and handling), visit

    * * *

    CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?: Tampa's Tom Bunevich has rubbed elbows with a lot of athletes: He was a sports collectible show promoter throughout the 1980s and '90s, and has sold more than $2-million in autographed items. His book, SIGN THIS: THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT YOUR SPORTS HEROES AND THE SPORTS AUTOGRAPH INDUSTRY, offers his perspective on the personalities of the more than 200 famous athletes he has encountered and an insider's glimpse into the autograph business. Bunevich lists his top 10 "good guys" (including Lee Roy Selmon and Muhammad Ali) and his top 10 "jerks" (including Darryl Strawberry, Pete Rose and Errict Rhett), and writes of his dealings with hundreds of other sports figures. Former Bucs running back Errict Rhett is "a classic case of letting success go to one's head," Bunevich attests. And Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson, he writes, is "the most arrogant athlete" he's ever met. SIGN THIS provides a look into the side of sports heroes many fans never see -- the business side. Copies can be ordered at

    * * *

    A REALITY OF THEIR OWN: Mike, Ken, Steve and Glen are four regular high school students -- perpetually tardy, fun guys. But just before graduation, each of them has a vision of a dark figure not unlike the Grim Reaper, and they soon learn their destiny: to protect Earth, and their home planet, Magi, from impending doom. INNER REALITY, by local author C. L. Carson, concludes in a battle between good and evil, and its end is just the beginning of a darker story soon to come (Carson is currently working on INNER REALITY II). INNER REALITY is easy to get into; the author pulls you in with natural dialogue, likable characters, and all the trappings of a good sci-fi story. Visit to order the book for $14.95 plus shipping.

    * * *

    HE'S GOT A STORY TO TELL: Days after becoming a Green Beret, 19-year-old Mike Yon was wrongly accused of murder; thirteen years later, he's ready to tell the story. DANGER CLOSE is Yon's unique life story from his fairy-tale childhood to the fateful, fearful night that changed the course of his life. It offers insights into the military while retaining its human interest. Winner of the William A. Gurley award for creative non-fiction, Danger Close was included on the National Public Radio Talk of the Nation's Summer Reading List. Yon, who lives near Gainesville, is working on his second book now. Danger Close, available through Apple Pie Publishers, can be ordered for $19 from

    * * *

    WHO'S IN THE BOX?: Self-proclaimed mystery addict Elaine Viets brings us her latest book, DOC IN THE BOX (Dell, $5.99), in which her heroine, six-foot-tall newspaper columnist Francesca Vierling, sets out to learn who is shooting all the bad doctors in St. Louis. Viets, a native of St. Louis, now lives in Hollywood, Florida, where she, too, is a six-foot-tall newspaper columnist. The difference between her and Francesca, she says, is that Francesca "gets the last word with her editor." Viets is president of the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and was voted Florida Author of the Year for her mystery THE PINK FLAMINGO MURDERS. Visit her web site at

    * * *

    INVOKING FLORIDA: Not everyone is as lucky as we Floridians: Some people can only dream of and read about our beautiful state. So it stands to reason that lots of books invoke the name and imagery of Florida, like the novel, THE SAILOR'S WIFE, by Helen Benedict (Zoland Books, $24). Benedict, who teaches at Columbia University in New York, writes the story of a woman who drifts aimlessly after graduating from high school in Miami and ends up in Greece. It begins: "At night she dreams of supermarkets. Florida supermarkets." Publix, anyone?

    A HOUSE NAMED BRAZIL, by Audry Schulman (William Morrow, $23), is the story of an uneasy relationship between a 19-year-old woman and the mother who abandoned her four years earlier. In the spirit of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the story weaves through generations of an eccentric family. The house the family lives in, which is, as the title suggests, named Brazil, is in the Florida swamplands.

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