American Bedu Has Been Published

I wish to share with my readers that a selection of short stories I had written have been selected and published in an Anthology which is now available through  While full details are provided below, I wish to advise that the stories I had written were cultural and cross-communication experiences culled from my former diplomatic life as well as from time spent in Iraq and in Saudi Arabia.

For more details, following is the press release and links:

Announcing the release of
Bridges: An Anthology


Bridges: An Anthology  provides a collection of short stories, narrative essays, and poems by a group of eclectic authors from around the world who range in age from ten to seniors. Their backgrounds include a U.S. Marine who was mentored by Kurt Vonnegut while earning his Masters in English from City College; a memoirist and poet who was a recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Book Award; a former American Diplomat, who now lives and writes from Saudi Arabia; a ten year old poet; and many other writers who collectively have a special flare for the written word. Their prose and poetry is sure to inspire, provoke deeper thinking, and provide enjoyment to readers.

Heather Hummel, Editor, is an author who specializes in the genre of Body, Mind, & Soul. Her work includes: Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw Hill, 2008), contributing author to: Messages of Hope and Healing and Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) – along side David Baldacci and Rita Dove.

Cover photography by Anne Cutler, Gecko Graphics

Bridges: An Anthology is now available on Amazon



About the Contributing Authors:     

Carol is a former American diplomat who after 20 years of service resigned to marry her Saudi husband. She spent most of her career in South Asia and the Middle East region as well as having traveled to more than 75 countries. She has also worked in the private sector in the area of strategic communications and public relations. She now resides in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her husband and their 3 cats.

She immensely enjoys foreign cultures, customs and traditions as well as following international affairs and current events. She is a strong advocate for the education and empowerment of women and readily volunteers her skills to this cause.

In addition to native English, Carol speaks Arabic, Hindi, Urdu and Spanish. She loves golf as well as reading, hiking, traveling and making new friends.

Carol is the Expat women mentor for Saudi Arabia and also maintains a blog where she shares her impressions, views and experiences as a woman in the Kingdom: Carol enjoys writing. In addition to her blogs, she has short stories published on

Diana M. Raab, MFA is a memoirist, essayist and poet. She teaches memoir, journaling and poetry at UCSB Extension, UCLA Writers Studio and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. She also narrates and teaches workshops around the country.  She writes a monthly column called, “My Muse” for, an online magazine for writers. She is also an active Friend of Poets and Writers.

Diana has been writing from an early age. As an only child of two working parents, she spent a lot of time crafting letters and keeping a daily journal. In university she studied journalism, health administration and nursing, all serving as platforms for her years as a medical and self-help writer.

She has one collection of poetry, My Muse Undresses Me, and her award-winning work has appeared in national publications. Her memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal was released in September 2007 (Beaufort Books). She is the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Book Award for her book, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: Overcoming Infertility and Managing Your High-Risk Pregnancy which has also been translated into French and Spanish. Visit Diana’s website at:

Heather Hummel is an author whose published work includes: Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (co-authored with Valerie Ramsey, McGraw Hill, 2008), “Heart Strings” in the Blue Ridge Anthology: Poetry and Prose of Central Virginia Writers (Cedar Creek, 2007) alongside notable authors David Baldacci and Rita Dove, and “Signs from Mima” a featured essay in Messages of Hope and Healing (Sunpiper Press, 2006).

A graduate with high distinction from the University of Virginia where she holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and secondary education, Heather is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences. She has completed two novels and is working on other non-fiction, Body, Mind, and Soul based books.

Additionally, Heather is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, and is a writing coach to aspiring writers. Heather lives with her two dogs and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Jim Kusnir grew up in New York City. A lapsed Catholic, he never realized his dream of starting his own religion. Nor did he live up to his father’s expectation that he pursue a career as a crooked cop, “for the pension and all you can steal.”  During a tour with the US Marines, he set a Corps record for continuous days on LSD (60). He later attended CCNY, where he somehow graduated with a Master’s degree in English. Mr. Kusnir was awarded a scholarship in film at London University, where he was “sent down” for refusing to participate in a seminar wherein Laurel and Hardy were being semiologicaly deconstructed by Marxists. Mr. Kusnir next accepted a two year teaching position in France. He is still being sought there by French police for assaults on snotty waiters. Mr. Kusnir, inspired by his role models, Sonny Corleone and George “Kingfish” Stevens, is ever ready to pursue a promising get-rich-quick scheme. And when he is not institutionalized, starting riots or traveling the world, he can be found at home on the couch in a deep depression.

Jeffrey S. Haynes is a writer and poet who was born in Philadelphia, PA and raised in New Market, VA. Little Odyssey is a recent piece that attempts to capture those special childhood moments that many of us can relate to. He wrote Recollection of Youth at the age of eighteen.

Haynes has completed his first novel, a commercial thriller titled, Call to Oblivion. His novel explores the extreme nature of corruption, betrayal, and violence preceding the fall of humankind as well as the prospects for hope and redemption buried within these desolate moments.

Haynes currently lives in Charlottesville, VA where he practices Real Estate and Medical Malpractice Law. He lives with his wife, Adriana, and his children, Sebastian, Cristian and Oriana.

Amanda Leahy
is the Humanities Chair at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado. CRMS is a private, boarding school that enrolls 165 students in grades 9-12. Amanda teaches Creative Writing, World Literature, and American history. When she’s not in the classroom, she leads students and brings her natural enthusiasm and athleticism to the Advanced Mountain Biking, Skiing, and Girls’ Soccer programs. Amanda and her husband, Jeff, along with their two children, Megan and Finnian, take full advantage of life in the Rocky Mountains.

Roman Mica was born in Prague in 1963. In 1968 he witnessed first hand the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia that crush the budding democracy and chilled the Prague Spring. He, along with his new wife, were lucky enough to return to his home country in 1991, and take part in the country’s transformation from communism to capitalism. He lived the sometimes painful, sometimes, funny, and always interesting birth of a new nation.

Mica’s first Book, My Training Starts Tomorrow, is available on Amazon and chronicles his journey from Everyman to Ironman. Visit Roman’s website at:

Jim Ramsey has been a writer and producer in television news and sports since 1986, working in Dallas, Sacramento and Charlotte. His flair for writing comes from being the son of an English professor, and his organizational skills are a result of being the oldest child in a large family. He is the creator and co-author of the book “Serious Slowpitch Softball,” and has had dozens of magazine articles published. Jim and his family live near Charlotte, North Carolina.

Susan E.B. Schwartz specializes in writing about the outdoors and adventure for magazines such as Climbing, Rock and Ice, Runner’s World and Outside. Her articles reflect her personal background as a scuba diving instructor, divemaster on North Atlantic shipwrecks, rock and ice climber, marathon and ultramarathon runner, skateboarder, snowboarder, and former competitive swimming coach.

A former member of the Board of Directors of the American Alpine Club, Susan currently sits on the American Alpine Club Literary Board, is a Partner to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, contributing writer to the Choate Rosemary Hall Bulletin, and a Committee member for the Mohonk Preserve (the largest outdoor non-profit in New York State). Susan’s first book, Into the Unknown (the biography of rock climbing and medical pioneer, Hans Kraus) was a finalist at the Banff Book Festival, won the 2006 Eric Hoffer Award, and was sponsored by the outdoor retailer, Patagonia.

Susan formerly pursued a corporate career in biotech venture capital and executive search. A Harvard College cum laude graduate (invited to graduate in three years), Susan lives in Connecticut with her husband and two young children. Please visit her author’s website at

L. Middle Carr rocks life as hard and as often as possible because she believes it would be a shame to waste time doing otherwise.  She lives in Charlottesville, VA with her amazing daughter. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, drinking good wine, and smiling.

Tyler Dederick is an old soul at the age of twelve. He writes poetry in memory of his mother, among other inspirations. Besides excelling in school, playing soccer, and being a Boy Scout, Tyler stays busy raising his father, Ken. They live in Connecticut.

Mandy Owens grew up in Columbia, North Carolina and currently resides in Hampton, VA.  Her rural roots had a profound impact on the subject and style of her writing.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and is currently working toward her JD at University of Richmond.

Michael Scott Stevens has four novels, numerous short stories and poems, and nearly fifty songs to his writing credit. When he’s not laying down the ink, he makes his living as a custom home builder in the Charlottesville area. Michael lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife, Brandy, and his three children, Anthony, Joseph, and Lilah (aka Misha).



Heather Hummel
P.O. Box 302
Earlysville, Virginia 22936


Women Driving in Saudi Arabia: 1990 — Are We Still There?

Saudi women driving

On 06 November 1990,  Saudi women took to the streets of Riyadh during the first gulf war in their attempt for emancipation and to achieve additional rights.  47 Saudi women took to the streets of Riyadh protesting the laws which prohibited them from the right to drive.  Sadly, in retrospect, little forward movement or progression resulted from the actions of the 47 maverick trail blazers.  Instead some were arrested and most of them had their passports confiscated.  A few were ordered to close down successful businesses they had at the time.  The families and especially husbands and fathers were impacted as well.  They were publicly chastised and presented as unable to control the women in their family. 


Women driving in the Kingdom has hit the news again in the Kingdom and stories on this subject are being picked up and posted outside of the Kingdom as well.  Human rights activities, Wajeha Al-Huwaider filmed and posted a video of herself driving along the desert and isolated streets of a small village and then posted this video up on youtube.  (    Her reason was to make a statement during the international Women’s Day that the women in Saudi Arabia and their rights and quests for further independence is not over.  There are some in the Kingdom debating on whether her actions have instead set back rights for women.


It is kind of sad and ironic when you look at it.  Here we are, 18, I repeat, 18 years later and there has yet to be real forward progress on the issue of women driving in the Kingdom.  If one reads the various Saudi papers there will always be ongoing articles indicating that the time is very near for women to be able to drive in the Kingdom.  If one does a search for Saudi women and driving there will be hundreds upon hundreds of hits over the years since 1990 – EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO.


Prohibition of women driving is not Islamic.  It is a Saudi cultural phenomenon.  In fact, I am not even aware of how the prohibition of women not being able to drive got started.  One can provide many valid arguments why they should be able to drive and some other reasons (I’m not saying necessarily valid) why they should not drive.


Most Saudi families are larger than the average western family and usually have a number of females.  When you think in practical terms and not even the “luxury, nice to have category” females need to be driven to school, to work, to appointments such as the doctor.  If there is not a husband, father, brother or uncle around who is able to drive them, then they must rely on the services of an unknown driver or taxi.  Think about it, when one engages a driver from abroad, this person is an unknown entity to whom precious female lives are being entrusted.  And what about in the case of an emergency?  What if the father or husband has a heart attack or seriously injured and needs immediate care?  Most families are reluctant to call an ambulance (that’s subject of a separate post I wrote if you want to learn why not).  Should a woman of driving age just sit by helplessly while her loving family member perishes because she is prohibited by law from taking him to the nearest place for medical care?


One will read of various proposals about “when” women drive in the Kingdom.  Some proposals state the woman must be over 35 years of age.  Others will state there will be restricted hours based on school and work schedules.  One far-fetched proposal even stated there would be “women only” roads. 


Some women do drive in Saudi Arabia and I’m not referring just to Wajeha Al-Huwaider or the 47 mavericks of 1990.  One will see many cars on the streets of Riyadh at night where even the dashboard window is so darkened it is impossible to see who is driving.  In some of these vehicles, it will be a Saudi woman behind the wheel.  In other cases, such as described in the “Girls of Riyadh” a Saudi woman will simply dress up as a young Saudi man and go “cruising” on Olaya and Tahlia Street with some of her friends.

  I think one Saudi man summed it up well when he observed Wajeha’s video on youtube by simply commenting “Are we still there?”

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