Friday, November 28, 2014

Would a Maharajah Sleep Here? by Stephen and Leanne Troy

Title: Would a Maharajah Sleep Here?
Author: Stephen and Leanne Troy
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 324
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Inspired by a movie, television show, book, or stories from friends, we may find ourselves daydreaming about trips to exotic locations with exciting adventures. For some lucky ones, these dreams become reality. Would a Maharajah Sleep Here? presents firsthand stories of luxury travel and discovery by two fun and experienced travelers. Authors and travelers Stephen and Leanne Troy provide accounts of historic exploration, luxury hotel stays, and encounters with interesting people around the world. Each trip is private and planned in great detail to make sure each and every adventure is unique and experienced in five-star luxury. Chronicling their exploits at the end of each day, the Troys describe checking into the finest hotels in the world and getting whisked away for incredible tours of some of the world’s greatest treasures. In addition to personal anecdotes, this travelogue shares information about sites, history, culture, and food in countries around the world. The Troys reveal the good, the bad, and, of course, the fun and funny events that they encountered on their trips around the globe.

Stephen Troy earned a BBA from the University of Miami in Florida. He is the founder, owner, and CEO of AeroFund Financial. He is also the author of Business Biographies: Shaken, Not Stirred … With a Twist. He and his wife, Leanne, have visited six continents and more than forty countries. They have three children, two grandchildren, and live in Carmel, California.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Four Noble Truths by J.D. Buxton Book Feature

Title: Four Noble Truths
Author: J.D. Buxton
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 397
Genre: Action/Adventure
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Dragon is a handsome, passionate and deeply devoted young man with a hidden, horrible past that haunts him into his present life. After suffering unimaginable abuse in a child pornography ring in Taiwan and an addiction to Heroin, Dragon’s only light on a path of darkness is his love, Raven, who more than fulfills his physical and emotional needs. United by the organization that found and ultimately saved Dragon, he and Raven happily bask in the love of an adopted family of lost souls touched by similar pasts that includes their mentor Sensei, and Wax and Sarge, Dragon’s right-hand men. As they execute their missions to explore the underbelly of the world of human trafficking and the sex trade, and serve the purpose of the organization: to right the wrongs, they have no idea the path they are on will lead them to unlock the door to their freedom. In this compelling story about redemption, love and fate, a young man, his love and his devoted team embark on a dangerous journey to execute vigilante justice for one purpose; to seek out and eliminate the perpetrators of the very crimes from which they all suffered.

 J D Buxton was born and raised in Southern Ontario. After graduating from college, she pursued a career in sales and marketing and lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta where she raised her family. She is married with three children and currently resides in Southern Ontario where she enjoys all things equine, country and western music and home cooking.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Writing, Caregiving and Alzheimer's Disease by Barry Tutor


Like most, I knew about Alzheimer’s disease. It causes old people to forget. When my relationship with this disease began, it highlighted how little I knew. Following my widowed mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I researched this disease to gain insight about my new role as her caregiver and decision maker. What I learned and experienced during her affliction still left me somewhat unprepared for what was yet to come. Sixteen months following my mother’s diagnosis, my dear wife and best friend was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Though now I was familiar with this silent killer, my wife’s diagnosis set into motion many changes and challenges in our lives. Someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every sixty-eight seconds. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top-ten causes of death that is on the increase and has no means of prevention and no possible cure. Given these facts, support for those afflicted relies on increasing levels of caregiving as the disease progresses. Let me explain something about this “old folk’s disease.” Alzheimer’s affects more than just parents and grandparents. It is also the disease of siblings, spouses, and children. Alzheimer’s forces many families to decide between home versus institutional care. An estimated fifteen million caregivers provide some level of care to the Alzheimer’s victims still living at home. No matter what level of care you are providing, the importance of preparation is paramount. Arming yourself with knowledge begins that preparation process. I was unprepared for the roller-coaster ride my life became as the sole caregiver for two Alzheimer’s victims. To meet their varied challenges, I adapted and developed multiple techniques for targeted personalized care. If only I knew then what I know now. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I hope to better prepare you for your caregiving journey.

Purchase your copy:

Trafford Publishing

Writing, Caregiving and Alzheimer’s Disease
When you become a new author questions always arise from interviewers, publicists and readers: “Why did you write this book” or “What was your inspiration?” While I would have enjoyed writing about wizards, superheroes, spies or master detectives I chose instead to write Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To about the true heroes that often go unnoticed in the world of Alzheimer’s care. This is a world I know far too well as I have faced the horrors of Alzheimer’s twice; my late mother lost her battle in 2010 and my wife is currently in her fourteenth year fighting the disease. What sets my book apart from most who have authored similar books; I cared for both of them on my own and simultaneously until I was forced to put my mother into Alzheimer’s assisted living in 2007 because, even though I am talented at all things caregiving, I could not be in two places at once.

At present, there are some 5 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States and most are cared for by approximately 15 million caregivers. What do the majority of these 20 million people have in common? When the newly diagnosed receives the bad news, they are essentially cast to the wolves with little more than a patient starter pack of medication and instruction to go to the Alzheimer’s Association website for assistance.

In Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To I assist caregivers in recognizing many aspects of caregiving and planning that are often overlooked when assuming the responsibilities of another adult’s life as the disease takes over. Along with addressing the activities of daily living I make the reader aware of facility planning, financial and legal preparation, hospice care, psychological issues, clinical trials, and evaluating institutional care facilities should home care become unrealistic or impossible. In my interactions with other caregivers, both professional and volunteer, I found that I was not alone in my “seek, and ye shall find” instructions from the diagnosing physician. While I am an experienced computer user, it dawned on me that so many of the people that receive this diagnosis and the “instructions” may not be computer savvy enough to access the necessary information for what’s next.

One of my inspirations for writing Never Giving Up & Never Wanting To came from another author. A few months after my mother was diagnosed my wife and I attended a health fair where an independent author was speaking about her husband’s diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s and his care. Being fairly new to Alzheimer’s care, like most others in my situation, I welcomed the chance to gain more information from someone who had been there before. By the fourth chapter, I realized this woman did not author a book about Alzheimer’s care but instead penned a book about Alzheimer’s care in Fantasyland. I occasionally think back to her book having spoken with hundreds of other caregivers, watched over my mother until her death and while I stand watch over my terminally ill wife of nearly 32 years and feel this woman must have had it pretty easy in caring for her Alzheimer’s patient.

 I did not set out to write the next bestseller but instead an unvarnished, no holds barred look at the real world of Alzheimer’s caregiving. While I would like to sell many copies; becoming the next longtime resident of the bestseller lists; I am a realist that understands that nobody, let me repeat nobody, expects this disease to come barging into their lives until after losses begin.

 When I began my “career” as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I knew little more about the disease than it causes old people to forget things. In that regard, I feel I was as informed as the average person that has not experienced Alzheimer’s or the caregiving involved. Every 68 seconds someone receives the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It is imperative that the potential Alzheimer’s patient, as well as his or her caregivers, understand the disease, caregiving requirements and how to plan for the future.

 The purpose behind my book is to help current caregivers, especially those who are new, potential caregivers of which there are many and the Alzheimer’s patient who may not fully understand that Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative neurologic condition that is always fatal and there currently exists limited treatments to assist them through the course of the disease. I have written my book with an “I have been there, so I know what I am talking about” attitude. I wish for the reader to come away with an appreciation of what my wife and I lost when Alzheimer’s invaded our lives, but also the level of care that I render everyday from a knowledge-base of observation, in-depth research and the love and respect that I have for my best friend.


As a lifetime problem-solver, I faced the challenges of caring for my two AD victims by researching the disease and developing caregiving skills to assure their comfort and care.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How Many Drafts Are Enough by David Brody, author of The Oath of Nimrod

Title: Oath of Nimrod
Author: David S. Brody
Publisher: Eyes That See
Pages: 283
Genre: Historical Suspense
Format: Paperback/Ebook

 A mysterious race of North American giants. An ancient Hebrew inscription in a Cherokee burial mound. A blood oath made by blindfolded Freemasons. Are these three historical oddities the reason the CIA is trying to brainwash historian Cameron Thorne and his fiancĂ©e Amanda Spencer-Gunn? The answer lies buried in the legends of the Knights Templar, within the rituals of the secretive Freemasons and, most significantly of all, inside the bowels of the Smithsonian Institution. The problem for Cam and Amanda? If they go rummaging around the Smithsonian, they may find themselves buried alongside the ancient giants.

For More Information

  • Oath of Nimrod is available at Amazon.
How Many Drafts are Enough?

Hemingway famously once said that he never finishes a novel, he only abandons them. At the other extreme I have heard of authors (Robert B. Parker is one) whose first draft is, but for the proofreading, the final version. So how many drafts are enough?

I think for a novel of any complexity, the author should plan on four or five drafts before moving to the final version. I think of writing as a bit like sculpting—we start with a lump of clay, give it rough shape, rework it with an eye toward scale and proportion, add the fine details, and then finally polish and buff it. The analogy is not exact, but each draft of the novel should likewise move toward a more polished version of itself.

So why can’t most authors, like Parker, simply pound out a final draft? I think the reason is that most writers don’t know exactly where their story is headed. Unlike a sculptor with a clear vision in his or her head, most fiction writers approach a story by creating three-dimensional characters and setting them loose under a set of challenging circumstances. These characters do amazing, startling, infuriating and brilliant things, most of which the author never sees coming. Our characters are like teenagers—we give them life, but we have no control over them beyond their early, formative years. Once the wild ride is over, the author needs to go back to the early chapters of the story and realign these sections with the ending. This process, in turn, can lead to a few more flashes of inspiration which change the later chapters. It is at this point where most authors share their manuscripts with trusted readers, who, with fresh eyes, suggest insightful and appropriate modifications.  It is only now, after four or five drafts, that the story truly comes together and is ready for polishing and buffing.

I enjoy the Spenser novels as much as anyone, but I think on this question Hemingway is more in the right. Every draft makes the story better, and even the most talented of writers should not expect to begin the polishing process before they have worked through a handful of drafts.

For More Information
David S. Brody is a Boston Globe bestselling fiction writer named Boston's "Best Local Author" by the Boston Phoenix newspaper. A graduate of Tufts University and Georgetown Law School, he is a former Director of the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) and is an avid researcher in the subject of pre-Columbian exploration of America. He has appeared as a guest expert on documentaries airing on History Channel, Travel Channel, PBS and Discovery Channel.
Contact David.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spin: How Words Become Reality by author Glenn Bassett

WordplayTitle: Wordplay
Author: Glenn Bassett
Publisher: Organization Diagnostics
Pages: 270
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 WordPlay lays out the functions of language as the foundation of what is loosely called mind. Studies of language in primitive cultures by anthropological linguists demonstrate the existence of a basic set of words called semantic primes in every cultural setting. Language is extended and elaborated on the foundation of semantic primes to construct a mental map of the perceived phenomenal world. Once in place, a rich culture of language is passed on from each generation to the next by example. Words ultimately become so ubiquitous and necessary that they take on a reality all their own. Mental maps become more real than the reality of direct experience. Establishment of a critical capacity for knowing truth demands a study of psycholinguistics. The fund of social psychological research made available through research over the past century offers a window on the way words are used to captivate, illuminate, intimidate, inform and imbue us with intelligence. WordPlay is a compilation of the most salient research that pertains to language use. It is a layman’s introduction to psycholinguistics. The emphasis is on how words shape behavior and become the substance of the mind. This is knowledge of those habits of mind that can interfere with straight, clear thinking. It is antidote to functional social ignorance of our rich language culture.

For More Information

SPIN: How Words Become Reality

Words and language are so integral and indispensable to ordinary living that it is difficult to find some perspective on their use.  The remarkable thing about them is the simple reality of meaning that can be conveyed in spoken or written words.  This is not to overlook the prevalence of misunderstanding in their use.  But erroneous comprehension of meaning can be full of seeming reality.  Words have a life of their own under just about every circumstance imaginable.  Original language, those words and their usage patterns learned during infancy and early childhood,  establish personhood and community membership.  Lacking language, one is barely, if at all, human.

Linguistics, the study of language, takes a variety of forms.  It is the study of syntax, the structural devices used to achieve relative clarity of meaning.  It is the analysis of the physics of sound or the anatomical structures that allow the voicing of words.  It is the analysis of cultural influences on both syntax and word meaning.  Psycholinguistics uses scientific method to analyze the processes through which children acquire language.  Much mystery about these processes remains, nonetheless, and complicated, high flown theory abounds in the field.  Endless controversy pursues the questions of whether language is genetically pre-designed into the human brain or is largely or even wholly a cultural overlay on the un-programmed brain.    The greatest part of the literature of linguistics is philosophical argument based on arguments (grandly abstract words) that only a select few find meaningful.  Some linguistics are about the mechanics of use and acquisition of language, others are obscure , vague exercises in philosophical speculation.  As in many other realms of human activity, speculation is more interesting and popular than mere mechanics.  Those who argue for innate, even instinctive forces as ground-springs of language disparage the use of culture to explain something as awesomely mysterious and powerful as language.  

The present book seeks to find a middle ground where the useful  demonstrations of words as reality makers from can be found in the lore of social psychology, the social sciences and everyday experience of language in use.   Taking perspective on language requires first that one discover how words exert authority over him/her, and how they are used to attempt control over the events of his/her life space.  It is essential to gain a grasp of the tricks that words and word users play on us.

Part I examines the variety of ways that culture shapes language.  The common failure of many words to translate from one language to another offers illustration of cultural shaping of language.  The importance of words to understanding the most elementary aspects of cultural life demonstrates the centrality of words to thought processes themselves.   Words permit the identification and specification of discrete elements of the perceived world.  The written word further transforms one’s world view by extending knowledge beyond personal memory and reshaping the brain to flow through the fingers on a keyboard into symbolically coded form.

Part II is a summary of what is known about the tricks the brain and perceptual processes commonly play on us.  The locus of language in the brain and hemispheric specialization of language has potential to split word use away from other forms of experience.  Humans may, more often than they know, be of two minds.  Habits of conformity to authority have the power to evoke automatic behaviors  that are beyond conscious control.  Psychological self-awareness can permit reestablishment of personal choice in action and reshaping of the public persona.  Awareness of emotional processes permits use of emotion for intentional and productive ends.

Part III looks at the way words are employed to create a desired or preferred reality.   Alternative realities can be imagined or invented.  Social influence may be used to shape the perception of reality to the purposes of the influencer.  Simple influence is exercised routinely through the use of value loaded “power words”.   The welfare of society as a whole can be shaped by the words that drive governmental policy and decision making.

Part IV scrutinizes the power of mathematics and scientific method to create wholly new realities that go beyond  perceived experience.  The far-reaching influence of philosophy and philosophers to structure understanding of nature and society arises out of a constant invention, construction and revision of language at its far limits.  Unrealities like abstractions and essences can often take on a more urgent sense of reality than physical reality itself.  Science and philosophy are the incubators of new language as well as both great and weird ideas.

Part V accepts the fact of words as mystical icons and argues the importance of discriminating between spiritual and empirically real phenomena.

This is a pragmatically founded but intellectually rounded explication of applied social science and sensible linguistics.   It is intended as a tool for advancement of personal understanding of language phenomena, not as an argument for any linguistic theory or structure.  

Dr. Glenn Bassett is Professor Emeritus of Management and former Dean of Business at the University of Bridgeport.  A graduate of Berkeley and Yale, as well as a former corporate staffer at General Electric, Dr. Bassett’s career has focused on applied Social Psychology.  WordPlay is the result of exended research into the science of psycholinguistics. He is the author of numerous articles and published books, including The Managers Craft.

For More Information

Finding My Voice by author David Bernstein

Title: I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You're Old Author: David Bernstein
Publisher: Dynamic Learning
Pages: 202
Genre: Health/Fitness
Format: Paperback/Ebook

 Life is an aging process. Each of us will go through it in our own way. How we lead our lives when we are old, particularly as we near the end, is, I believe, worth pondering. In this way, "I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News: You're Old" serves as a guide for all of us as we age, providing topics for contemplation and discussion with friends, family and colleagues. "You're Old" uses real patient experiences to explore what happens as we age-physically, mentally, and socially. The book also examines the tremendous abilities of medicine today as well as its limits, and the social issues that adults in America face as they age. Each chapter concludes with Notes on Living Longer, and a resource section, providing topic-specific information on organizations, websites, and other expert sources that can help the reader better understand and prepare for the prize of surviving youth and middle-age: becoming old. "You're Old" is written for the aging and the aged, their children, and younger people who aspire to grow old. It is written for the physicians, nurses and other providers who care for the elderly. The experiences explored in this book include the "good news and the bad" as the inevitable ravages of age intrude into the lives of Dr Bernstein's patients. From the most mundane situations to the truly sublime, the tales illuminate the emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of aging along with the diverse strategies people use to adapt to its realities.

For More Information

  • I've Got Good News and Some Bad News: You're Old is available at Amazon.
Finding My Voice

I have and always will identify myself a physician.  I do have other skills and identities such as; I consider myself an athlete, a leader, a philanthropist and an award winning published author.  In 2007 when I started writing my book I've Got Some Good News and Some Bad News YOU’RE  OLD; Tales of a Geriatrician I had to decide how I was going to present my subject matter. I knew I wanted to write about my experiences as a geriatrician and the valuable lessons I have learned from my patients along the way.   I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to present the information.  I started writing a book proposal to help me outline my ideas and organize my thoughts, but that did not give me the voice I was seeking.

The first story I wrote was about elderly adult drivers and the need for family members along with health care professionals to become involved in taking away keys of those who are at risk for harming themselves or others. As a completed the chapter, I had not discovered the voice that was going to be heard prominently through my book.  As I started my next story, I put myself in the mode of storyteller. This role is very effective when I tell my patients about real life events to motivate them to make changes in their lives, or understand the consequences of the decisions they were making. When I shared my writing samples with my small circle of advisors and my writing coach, I discovered through their observations that they heard my voice telling the story. It was at that moment that I truly understood how my voice was going to sound throughout my book. I owed a debt of gratitude to this  circle of critics, particularly Martha Murphy my writing coach.  Martha was the one who influenced me the most when she said, "David, I hear your voice throughout the entire story."

Once I found my voice, each time I sat down at my computer to write, two things would come to mind. First, I was writing my book for a large audience; baby boomers.  Every time I started writing I would think about what my former high school classmates would like to know about getting older. Second, I wanted to deliver my message as if I was just talking to a patient sitting in my office or a good friend on the golf course or a dinner party.

Finding my voice was a critical element in the development of my book.  It allowed me to be genuine and authentic as I presented my stories, philosophies, and the lessons I delivered in my book.

David Bernstein, MD is a highly respected physician who is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics practicing in Clearwater, Florida. His 30+ years of experience have provided him with opportunities to observe and empathize with thousands of adults as they age. His compassion and ability to see the souls of his patients has compelled him to share his stories in his book “I’ve Got Some Good News and Some Bad News You’re OLD: Tales of a Geriatrician What to expect in Your 60s, 70s, 80s and Beyond” Dr. Bernstein has served as chairman of his hospital’s Pharmacy and Therapeutic committee for 20 years helping to improve patient safety and outcomes. During this period of time, he also served on the board of the local Jewish Family service and as chairman. As an associate clinical professor in the department of medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, he has taught the skills he has acquired over the years to first and second year students. Dr. Bernstein has been a nursing home medical director for 20 years. He was responsible for addressing administrative and quality assurance issues. “When you give, you get back” he says about what his patients have told him and taught him about life and aging. His writing style of telling stories about his patients allows the reader to understand the complex emotions and struggles of growing older and losing independence. He lovingly tells these stories adding his own insights about this complex process. Dr Bernstein is an avid public speaker, addressing various medical topics with his colleagues and with the community at large with a focus on families facing the complex problems as they near the end of life. For More Information

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Behind the Taffeta Curtain by Verne Castress Book Feature

Title: Behind the Taffeta Curtain
Author: Verne Castress
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 102
Genre: Women's Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Clair, a small-town girl attending Iowa State University in 1940, has her palm read for a laugh—and gets a surprisingly specific prediction about her career, marriage, and children. She laughs it off, with no idea of how accurate it will turn out to be. After a failed romance, she hastily marries a man named John, has two children, and very soon finds herself miserable. John is not only abusive and controlling, but also a compulsive gambler. In an effort to support their family, Clair finds work in a nearby department store, and her career in fashion begins. In the sixties and seventies, Clair works her way up through the industry, chipping away at the glass ceiling of a field with far fewer women executives than the ad firms of Madison Avenue at the time. As an executive buyer for numerous retail conglomerates, she travels the globe searching for innovative fashions and meets regularly with iconic designers such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. Among the fashion elite living the high life, there are steamy affairs, drugs, and suicides, as tragic elements mark the lives of these women in fashion whose insecurity remains hidden beneath their stoicism. This novel tells the story of Clair’s journey through the fashion world, a single mother contending with the conniving wiles of men and women and facing obstacles in the devious, behind-the-scenes political struggle of those climbing to the top.

Verne Castress retired following a forty-five-year career as a fashion executive, for which she traveled the world in search of innovative fashions for the American market. The mother of two adult children, she currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Tom is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 10 and ends November 21.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, November 24.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Interview with Randy Coates, author of More Precious Than Rubies

Title: More Precious Than Rubies
Author: Randy Coates
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 174
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

 Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind. Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong. Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you listen to?

I do not always listen to music when I write; however, it does not bother me when I am writing.

Listening to classical music is my preferred choice since rock and pop music causes me to pause at my writing to sing along to the lyrics. Interesting, no? That my writing sometimes gets interrupted while I sing to other people's writing.

Do you have any suggestions for upcoming writers?

I would encourage upcoming writers to be patient with their writing. Often, I have come to a standstill with a piece of work. My creativity simply stops flowing. However, I know the work is good and I do not want to abandon it.

I would suggest that writers do not throw their work out in frustration when they hit these kinds of obstacles. Instead, they should put their work aside. Experiences have shown me that my creativity gets rejuvenated and I always return to these projects.

I've heard many writers suggest that they force themselves to write everyday.

I've tried this and it does not work. If one does not feel inspired, he tends to write sloppily and without emotion. I would suggest to write when an idea comes to you and is so pressing that it won't leave you alone, even in your sleep

What is it you like to do when you are not reading/writing?

This is a good question since reading and writing take up much of my life.

I am a teacher which is really the profession that is making me money at the moment. So, of course, most of my days are spent instructing students.

I travel about twice a year, usually to places where Spanish is spoken (e.g., Mexico). I study Spanish to improve my grasp of the language.

I watch a lot of DVDs, mostly classics, since I rarely like what is on television.

Is there an author/authors that have inspired you?

Edgar Allan Poe is my favourite author. Since he wrote in the 19th century, his writing technique is out-of-date now. However, he is the foremost writer in my life who taught me the beauty of words and how stringing together a number of words can create a stunning passage.

My favourite modern-day  author, although he is dead now, is Ray Bradbury. I always overlooked the notion of science fiction in his stories in order to be captivated by his characters. To me, characterization is the most important concept of any form of art. If the characters do not grasp me in some way (e.g.,make me cry}, then no other aspects (e.g., suspense) will appeal to me.

Bradbury always made me feel for his characters and I always try to follow his examples in my own writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up, I wanted to be a writer and an actor, in that order.

As university approached, I still held these ideals; however, my mother thought they were unreachable and steered me towards teaching. The fact that she had a cherished brother who was a vice-principal probably had something to do with that.

Interestingly, a huge part of teaching involves writing and acting. Have you ever tried to be animated in front of 30 students when you're feeling down? Bring on the acting!

How do you/would you react to a bad review of your book?

I am in the company of writers when I say I have received, and will continue to receive, bad reviews of my writing.

I always prepare myself for bad news, sugar-coated as "creative criticism" sometimes. This way, when the good news arrives, I am ecstatic .

I sometimes let my friends read my material and invite them to give me advice. Having the people closest to me do this is good preparation for withstanding the reviews of the professionals: the people who get paid for critiquing.

Also,when I receive bad reviews and they cause me to feel depressed, I remind myself of how fortunate I am about other things in my life (e.g.,being healthy).

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Darkest Side of Saturn by Tony Taylor Book Feature

THE Darkest Side of SaturnTitle: The Darkest Side of Saturn
Author: Tony Taylor
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 492
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON
It’s 1997 at a mountaintop observatory in Southern California where spacecraft navigator Harris Mitchel and astronomer Diana Muse-Jones discover a dangerous asteroid which may hit the earth within two decades. As the asteroid tumbles through space towards an uncertain impact, Harris and Diana fight bitterly over how to announce their discovery. When Harris goes public to a skeptical world—at the cost of his and Diana’s careers—he sends their already turbulent relationship into a blaze of conflicting passions. As his notoriety builds, a fanatical preacher and his unhinged followers stalk him while an obnoxious radio personality provides disruptive help. Harris becomes an unwilling Pied Piper for his own overzealous followers hungry for belief and eager for guidance into an uncertain and tumultuous future. In this science fiction drama the characters battle each other in contests of Damn your world view! against a background of hard science, religion, romance, metaphysical speculation, and the forces of nature versus human passions and dreams. Meanwhile an asteroid hurtles through the solar system and global salvation or disaster hangs in the balance. “A courageous and visionary work … an instant classic.” —BlueInk Reviews
Tony Taylor spent a long career navigating NASA spacecraft—including Voyager, Cassini, Mars Polar Lander, Galileo, and MESSENGER—to every planet in the solar system. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and earned an MS in physics from the University of Arizona. Tony and his wife, Jan, live in Sedona, Arizona.

Four Before Their Time by Timothy Spillane Book Feature

November is "National Prematurity Awareness Month" (Nov. 17 is "World Prematurity Day").There are nearly a half million babies born prematurely in this country every year. 

Title: Four Before Their Time
Author: Timothy Spillane
Publisher: Skitterbird, LLC
Pages: 342
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Anne had it all. She was a physician, an Army officer, and a great wife. She'd be a great mom, too. But the joy of pregnancy is short-lived after an ultrasound reveals that Anne isn't just pregnant, she's really pregnant - with quadruplets! Now her dad, Tim Spillane, is a grandfather four times over, and much too soon. Just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, Anne delivered, and not one of Tim's grandkids weighs more than half a mug of coffee. So underdeveloped that even calling them babies feels wrong, the odds of just one of them surviving - let alone all four - are heartbreakingly low. And even if the children pull through, they face the likelihood of disabilities so severe that they'd have no real quality of life. It all seems hopeless until Tim's wife observes that just seeing the quads is like "being allowed a glimpse into the miracle that grows in a mother's womb." Four Before Their Time is the true story of four babies surviving on a razor's edge, one mom's overwhelming and guilt-ridden entrance into parenthood, and an entire family's experiences with extreme premature birth. It will take all the faith, hope, and resilience the Spillane family can muster - along with more than a few miracles - just to get the quadruplets home.

For More Information

  • Four Before Their Time is available at Amazon.
Tim and his wife live in Chester County, PA and are the parents of three daughters. They became grandparents when their daughter, Anne delivered quadruplets in April, 2010. A graduate of Colorado College (1979) with a degree in English Literature, Tim returned to school to earn his Masters of Public Health from Drexel University in 2005. He has worked in residential construction for more than three decades but is now focusing full-time on his writing. He currently serves on the executive board of Graham's Foundation, an organization for parents and families going through the journey of prematurity. For More Information

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Way to Financial Independence by Pearl Iseabell Roberts

120064-ROBE-soft-LSI-111512.indd Title: The Way to Financial Independence
Author: Pearl Iseabell Roberts
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 48
Genre: Business/Economics
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON 

The way to financial independence is like building a house. You can't build unless you have a solid foundation. You need to have the desire, the determination, and the goals to become self-sufficient. Be confident in yourself and be motivated. Let's name some of the building materials that you will need: education, as much as you can get, and the learning process never stops. As I converse with people, I find myself saying, "I didn't know that" While learning how to manage your money, also pay off your debts. Have a budget and saving plan. Be disciplined in spending. Don't be wasteful. Take time to get the best for your buck. Learn how to invest. Know what you are investing in and how it will make you money. Do not do risky investment, and do not gamble and be responsible. Learn everything that you can about finance and save, save, save.
 Pearl Iseabell Poole Roberts is a born again Christian. I am a widow. I was married for thirty-eight and a half years. I am the mother of three children. My oldest son Walter Leon Roberts is deceased. My second son is Brian Keith Roberts. I have a daughter, Paula Lynette Brown, a son-in-law, Otis Tito Brown and two grandsons, Otis Tyree Brown and Omarie Thomas Brown. I am a retired licensed practical nurse. I worked as a nurse for forty-five years. I worked for one of the largest hospital in Philadelphia, PA and for several nursing agencies. When you retire, you should retire from something to something. So your life will be full. The things that I didn’t have time to do when I was working, now I can do them. I like spending time with family and friends. I am active in my church and other ministries outside of my church. I like to read, watch movies, travel, and play games. I enjoy listening to gospel music and bowling, just to name a few.

Guest Post from Natsuya Uesugi, author of grydscaen


Title: grydscaen
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Author: Natsuya Uesugi
Publisher: Xlibris
EBook: 288 pages
Release Date: July 21, 2011

 Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the first volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.


The grydscaen series which is set in 2055 in the near future is a microcosm of today’s society. Technology is pervasive and infiltrates the day to day lives of the people recounted in the book. The lead character of grydscaen is Ameliano “Lino” Dejarre who is the son of the Viceroy of the Pacific Territories and a prince. Lino is a clandestine psychic operative of the Psi Faction who’s job is to fight against cyber terrorism and the infiltrations of the Atlantea Federation which dropped the nuclear bomb called the Dionysis Effect on the Pacific Territories.

Lino and the psychic operatives of the Psi Faction are set against the Packrats which are seen as cyber terrorists by the government. The grydscaen series makes a commentary about freedom and anti government actions. Today we have activists and hackers standing up against oppression in various countries. I think that grydscaen gives voice to that fight and shows how things could happen in a world where there are less freedoms and the government rules everyday life.

Psychics are oppressed in grydscaen and I wanted to make a commentary about marginalized groups in society such as the transgender and gay community. LGBT youth also have to face bullying in schools and can have a difficult time adjusting to just being who they are. I wrote grydscaen to provide positive role models to today’s youth and show them that they can be different and still be respected. Bullying is a big problem today in person and online. I remember being bullied in high school for just being who I was and who I liked. This shaped who I am and I wrote grydscaen because I wanted to give back and let gay and trans kids know that they can be accepted for who they are.

The other topic that I touch on in grydscaen is mental health. There is stigma about mental illness that is pervasive in society. One of the grydscaen characters named Sati Ima has schizoaffective disorder but he is a pilot in the military. He just needs to take medication and otherwise he handles his symptoms. There are many people who deal with depression and other mental illnesses that take medication. There should be no stigma to that. I wanted to shed light on this and make it clear that people with mental illness can lead full and fulfilling lives and they should be treated with dignity and respect.
Grydscaen deals with difficult themes all rolled up into a science fiction backdrop. I also talk about LGBT homeless youth in the series as one of the characters Rom who is 16 years old lives on the streets. I wanted to detail the plights of homeless youth and give them a voice that is often not heard. Many people think this is just a problem in the inner cities but there are many cities where gay kids come out and tell their parents and then they are kicked out on the street, or for some reason or another they are running away from abusive situations. Homeless youth need a voice and I just wrote a grydscaen short story which is available on the grydscaen blog called “A Storm’s Coming” which is about Rom the homeless LGBT youth.

Grydscaen makes a commentary about life and marginalized groups in society. It calls for equal rights and equality like the marriage equality initiative that is getting media now. When I was in college I wished that I had strong LGBT role models that I could look up to who would have helped me find out more about who I am. I wrote the grydscaen series to provide this voice for those that might not feel that they were worthy of having a voice or had no means to speak up. Grydscaen shows that a gay teenager can have a position of power and rise up and make a change in his environment for the better. Lino is that character and the grydscaen series revolves around him. I wanted to give him a voice and tell about his struggles and his triumphs. Grydscaen is about respect and being recognized for your talents. I wanted to give back and grydscaen allows me to do that.

There are currently 4 books published in the grydscaen series: grydscaen: utopia, grydscaen: beginnings, grydscaen: retribution and grydscaen: war with a fifth book grydscaen: alliance due to be published this year. I hope that you would take a look at grydscaen and the positive message that it brings for today’s youth.

For more on grydscaen visit