FTL Publications is delighted to announce that Thunderbirds: Countdown to Action! by Joan Marie Verba, is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient in the Young Adult: Fantasy, Myths & Legends category, and an Award-Winning Finalist in the Fiction and Literature: Young Adult Fiction category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is known for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. Countdown to Action! was named among the best in family-friendly media, products and services for 2009. Joan Marie Verba, author of Countdown to Action!, says, “I’m proud to have received this award. It is my goal to write family-friendly stories which can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I’m so pleased that the Mom’s Choice Awards® committee has recognized these efforts.” A complete list of recipients can be found at:, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalists of THE NATIONAL “BEST BOOKS” 2008 AWARDS (NBBA) in late 2008. Verba, says of this award, “I’m thrilled to have received this recognition for my first Thunderbirds™ novel. It’s a tribute to the Thunderbirds™ series that the novel did so well.” A complete list of the winners and finalists of the National “Best Books” 2008 Awards is available online at

Countdown to Action! is a novel based on the Gerry Anderson production, Thunderbirds. The story tells how former astronaut Jeff Tracy, with the help of his five sons and trusted associates, put together a rescue organization to help people in danger who otherwise could not be helped by conventional rescue organizations, using their fleet of five ultra-high-tech Thunderbird air/space craft. Verba, a long-time fan of the series, says: “These stories of disaster and rescue really resonate with people.”
FTL Publications, which published Countdown to Action!, is a Minnetonka-based small press which has the only current license, and the only license in the world, from Granada Ventures in London to publish novels based on the British television series, Thunderbirds. The second novel in the series, Action Alert!, was published in November 2008. The third novel in the series is scheduled to be published in summer 2009.

Thunderbirds TM & © 1964, 1999 and 2008 ITC Entertainment Group Limited. ‘Thunderbirds’ is a Gerry Anderson Production. Licensed by Granada Ventures Ltd. All rights reserved.

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 1/31/2009 8:59 PM


As a formerly overweight person, I find that I have moments of what I call “food nostalgia.” I had one of those moments today when I went grocery shopping. As I entered the store, there was a table, and on the table were about a dozen round cakes, cut in half, and promoted as “half cakes.” They looked delicious! This brought back all the memories of happy times when I would see such an item in the grocery store, buy it, and spend the afternoon happily eating it and enjoying every lucious bite.

On the other hand, in the time of my life when I was doing that, I was obese.

Therefore, I don’t do that anymore. I walked past the cakes without taking one and bought the groceries I had planned to buy, nothing else. But I still have these nostalgic feelings from time to time, remembering when I would happily eat all I wanted. Fortunately, memories can be enjoyed without adding pounds.

Bottom line: been there, done that,  moved on.

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 1/27/2009 7:33 PM


1. I have had asthma, eczema, and allergies all my life. In particular, I have had food allergies (primarily nuts, peanuts, and coconut), since infancy.
2. I hate going to the gas station. Therefore, I only drive when necessary. I will be happy when someone makes an affordable electric car that I can just plug in…at home!
3. I love St. Paul, Minnesota. I lived in Ramsey county for a while in the 1980s, and would love to buy a home there someday.
4. I have been a DC Comics fan since the 1960s. I started on Superman and Batman, and they still interest me, but my favorite DC Superheroes are the Legion of Super-Heroes (and my favorite there was Ferro Lad).
6. I never wear makeup. Can’t stand the stuff.
7. I was an overweight child and teenager. However, I lost weight in 1979 and have kept it off since then.
8. I took organ lessons when I was in high school but haven’t played since my freshman year in college. I may go back to that someday.
9. I watch TV nearly all day. The first thing I do in the morning is turn it on and the last thing I do at night is turn it off. I watched TV while doing math homework in high school and that never prevented me from getting all A’s. I have a lot of favorite TV shows, including Thunderbirds and Star Trek.
10.  I have very little interest in fashion, or clothes, or the latest trends. I wear what I think looks good, but I pay little attention to “designer labels.”
11.  I hate being cold. I feel cold at any temperature below 70 F. I love 90 F days and I hate air conditioning! Why do I live in Minnesota when I hate the cold? Because I feel that the advantages of living in Minnesota outweigh the weather disadvantages.

Posted by Joan Marie Verba at 1/24/2009 3:21 PM