Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: Home Again by Michael Kenneth Smith

The nation is divided, and a bloody Civil War looms on the horizon. Two young men enlist, each with very different strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for service. They end up on opposite sides of the battle, though, in the end, they learn largely the same lessons about honor, human nature, and the horrors of war.

Before the Civil War had even begun, these young men, Zach and Luke, had already crossed paths while fishing in eastern Tennessee. After they parted ways, they never expected to later be pitted against each other in war-but, when Zach joined the Northern cause and Luke joined the Southern, that's exactly what happened. 

On the battlefields, each boy learns invaluable lessons about himself, and both contribute to the outcome of battles and, ultimately, to the war. Their lives are forever changed by all that they encounter, but their story does not alter the actual course of history in any way. 

Home Again is a rare piece of historical fiction that recounts Civil War experiences in strict compliance to recorded historic detail. Yet as historically accurate as it is, it is also incredibly insightful and compelling, and is sure to entertain both your heart and your mind.

Received for review.

I'm not a big fan of the Civil War since it was an embarrassing and disgusting part of our nation's history but this looked intriguing so I decided to give it a try.  

Although very well written and quite readable I never did connect with either Luke or Zach as characters and that took away a bit of enjoyment from reading.  They were perfectly okay characters and I'm sure they were historically accurate but I just didn't particularly care for or about either.

The story itself was very well written and showcased the horrors of the war for both sides.  The author did a nice job of staying quite neutral while telling the story so there wasn't a distinct rooting for one side or the other which was unique and rather unexpected, but pleasant.

Overall, this is a solid read for those who enjoy historical fiction set in the time period.   It is very well done and the attention to detail is apparent on every page.  I certainly recommend it to those interested in the subject.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Featured Book: Confessions of a Drag Queen Tupperware Lady by Kevin Farrell


About the book:
Kevin Farrell is a real-life, present-day "Tootsie!" Kevin has a new twist on an old Hollywood story. After a debut on TV's "Frasier," boy actor comes to California to seek his fortune in show business. A talented, well-liked working actor, he works consistently, but not quite enough to pay the bills. So following the advice of longtime friend, Kevin decided to supplement his income by selling Tupperware. In drag. It wasn't long before Kevin became Tupperware's number one salesperson in North America! This is his story. Funny, touching, outrageous, irritating moments of parties and hostesses and customers. Inspiring stories of a businessman, a son, a brother, an actor.







About the author:

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Adventures of a Lifetime by Janna Graber

From the frozen tundra of Manitoba to the humid jungles of Indonesia, the 24 true adventure tales in this unique travel anthology will transport you to remote corners of the globe - and inspire you to create adventures of your own. 

Adventure can mean so many things. For some, it means climbing the peaks of Tibet, sailing the open seas or cycling through Europe. For others, adventure is conquering a fear or pushing yourself to a whole new level. 

And for many, adventure means bravely stepping into the unknown of a new culture, language or setting. Adventure travel, in its essence, means pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone to experience something novel and worthwhile. Join the wild, bumpy ride during these 24 adventures of a lifetime. 

• Get chased by monkeys in Indonesia 
• See what happens when you're stranded in the Gobi Desert 
• Play a game of naked Frisbee with a tribe in New Guinea 
                                                      • Hang out with polar bears in the frozen lands of Manitoba 
                                                     • Say goodbye to your love on a final trip to Venice 
                                                     • Get hopelessly lost during a scary jungle hike in Hawaii 
                                                     • Stare history in the face uncovering your roots in Latvia  
                                                     • Watch over your back for hippos on a Ugandan safari 
                                                     • Attempt to sail across Australia's wild Bass Strait  
                                                     • Travel by camel with the "Blue Men" of Mali  
                                                     • Step foot in Antarctica among icebergs and penguins 
And many more...

Received for review.

This was an interesting collection of short stories that should have been more entertaining than it actually was.  I just didn't actually care about any of the people writing the stories and their messages were incredibly depressing - about dealing with grief, etc.  The stories were really less about the travel itself than about overcoming personal obstacles - which would have been fine if that was what I'd been expecting, but it wasn't.

Overall though, while I didn't feel inspired to create my own travel adventures as the book suggests I might have this was a mostly entertaining collection of blessedly short, well written stories that armchair travelers may find to be a worthwhile read.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Joyes

One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You 

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story. 

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever. 

One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

Received for review.

I've become quite the Jojo Moyes fan lately and was excited to discover that her latest book was out.  She writes absolutely perfect beach reads and this was no different.

This was such a fun book since it was written from the perspectives of all the characters in turn.  It was so unique and entertaining to read what each character was thinking and really get inside their head as the story progressed.

The whole idea of a road trip with a woman, her two eccentric kids, their dog, and an annoying rich dude was just so awesome to begin with and their adventures were so upbeat and funny.  I could seriously see this as a movie, it was that rich and entertaining, probably starring Adam Sandler.

This sweet, funny, thoroughly enjoyable read was absolutely perfect for summer and I definitely highly, highly recommend it.  This is truly a must for every bag bound for the beach this summer.


★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Featured Book: Here Comes Another Lesson by Stephen O'Connor


About the book:
STEPHEN O’CONNOR IS ONE OF TODAY’S MOST GIFTED AND ORIGINAL WRITERS. In Here Comes Another Lesson, O’Connor, whose stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, and many other places, fearlessly depicts a world that no longer quite makes sense. Ranging from the wildly inventive to the vividly realistic, these brilliant stories offer tender portraits of idealists who cannot live according to their own ideals and of lovers baffled by the realities of love. 

The story lines are unforgettable: A son is followed home from work by his dead father. God instructs a professor of atheism to disseminate updated Commandments. The Minotaur is awakened to his own humanity by the computer-game-playing "new girl" who has been brought to him for supper. A recently returned veteran longs for the utterly ordinary life he led as a husband and father before being sent to Iraq. An ornithologist, forewarned by a cormorant of the exact minute of his death, struggles to remain alert to beauty and joy. 

As playful as it is lyrical, Here Comes Another Lesson celebrates human hopefulness and laments a sane and gentle world that cannot exist.

About the author:
STEPHEN O'CONNOR is the author of two collections of short fiction, Rescue and Here Comes Another Lesson, and of two works of nonfiction, Will My Name Be Shouted Out?, a memoir, and Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed, narrative history. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, Conjunctions, TriQuarterly, Threepenny Review, Poetry Magazine, The Missouri Review, The Quarterly, Partisan Review, The Massachusetts Review, Fiction International, and many other places. His essays and journalism have been published in The New York Times, DoubleTake, The Nation, Agni, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The New Labor Forum, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Cornell Woolrich Fellowship in Creative Writing from Columbia University; the Visiting Fellowship for Historical Research by Artists and Writers from the American Antiquarian Society; and the DeWitt Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony. He lives in New York City and teaches fiction and nonfiction writing in the MFA programs of Columbia and Sarah Lawrence. For additional information, please visit:www.stephenoconnor.net

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Book: A Load of Old Bones by Suzette A. Hill


About the book:
A delightfully whimsical debut mystery that provokes nearly as much hilarity as whodunit.
















About the author:

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Guest Post: Paddy Fievet author of The Making of a Mystic

Paddy Fievet, Ph.D., author of The Making of a Mystic, stopped by to share with us an article she wrote.






About the book:

A “modern mystic,” public speaker and teacher, author Paddy Fievet reveals her dramatic spiritual transformation in her new book, The Making of a Mystic: Writing as a Form of Spiritual Emergence.

Delving into Fievet’s riveting memoir, readers discover the modern mystic within themselves as they learn how to use writing to connect with Spirit and realize their own sacred life stories.

A gifted intuitive with a Ph.D. in Metaphysics, and a member of Spiritual Directors International, the author illuminates a path to divinity and self-empowerment in The Making of a Mystic.





About the author:

Born so deep in the South that the Okefenokee Swamp was in her backyard and swatting mosquitoes was a local pastime, Paddy Fievet is a happily married, free-spirited, modern mystic who understands intuition as the language of the soul. The author of five books (three of which were previously published, WHEN LIFE CRIED OUT is currently released, and MAKING OF A MYSTIC is to be published later this year), her writing has an interesting introspective twist along with a strong mystical aspect, appealing to adventurous spirituality seekers. Like Thomas Edison, she successfully discovered 10,000 things that would not work in her life before she finally had a profound "light bulb" moment: Life is a Sacred Story.

During an intense spiritual awakening, she traveled extensively, experiencing profound mysticism in Ireland, a soul's journey in Auschwitz, the feminine spirit in Malta, and Unity while sitting in the Great Pyramid. During these and more insightful spiritual experiences, she gradually understood joy, authenticity, and love are truly experienced from the inside out. Paddy's studies include a PhD in Metaphysics with a focus on the integration of mind, body and spirit.

For more about Paddy Fievet as well as her blog of assorted spiritual meanderings, her writing groups, and speaking engagements, visit her website at www.paddyfievet.com.



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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff

Jennifer Sharpe is a divorced mother of two with a problem just about any working parent can relate to: her boss expects her to work as though she doesn’t have children, and her children want her to care for them as though she doesn’t have a boss. But when, through a fateful coincidence, a brilliant physicist comes into possession of Jennifer’s phone and decides to play fairy godmother, installing a miraculous time-travel app called Wishful Thinking, Jennifer suddenly finds herself in possession of what seems like the answer to the impossible dream of having it all: an app that lets her be in more than one place at the same time. 

With the app, Jennifer goes quickly from zero to hero in every part of her life: she is super-worker, the last to leave her office every night; she is super-mom, the first to arrive at pickup every afternoon; and she even becomes super-girlfriend, dating a musician who thinks she has unlimited childcare and a flexible job. But Jennifer soon finds herself facing questions that adding more hours to her day can’t answer. Why does she feel busier and more harried than ever? Is she aging faster than everyone around her? How can she be a good worker, mother, and partner when she can’t be honest with anybody in her life? And most important, when choosing to be with your children, at work, or with your partner doesn’t involve sacrifice, do those choices lose their meaning? Wishful Thinking is a modern-day fairy tale in which one woman learns to overcome the challenges—and appreciate the joys—of living life in real time.

Received for review.

This was an amusing read even for those of us who are not mothers.  Everyone always has too much to do and not enough time to do it in and this offers some amusing insight into the problem.  

While the time travel aspects were not entirely accurate it's a fun element and very different and made the story less traditional whiny WASP Chick Lit and (oddly) more realistic.  

I didn't particularly like Jennifer as a person and wouldn't like to know her in real life but the story was well written enough to keep my interest throughout.

Overall this is a light, entertaining read that is perfect for the beach and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Author Interview: Rev Jerry Kofi Tutu author of Spiritual Photosynthesis

Rev Jerry Kofi Tutu, author of Spiritual Photosynthesis, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My Name is Jerry Kofi Tutu. I am a TV Evangelist and host of the TV program "Amazing Grace". I have been in the ministry for almost two decades. I am married with four kids.


What do you do when you're not writing?

I work as a Surgical Technologist and host my weekly TV program.


When did your first start writing?

I have always wanted to write but I started putting action to my intent in 2011 when I started transcribing some of my TV shows. My first book was published in 2013 and I have two more books to be published this year.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Yes, the Bible and then Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich" It is my all time best besides the Bible.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

To share the revelation that I received from the Lord with others. The principles discussed in my book are principles that I have applied and seen massive results in my own life. I sincerely believe that anybody can apply these principles with great results.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite chapter is chapter 9. It is my favorite because it is the turning point where the book shifts gear from discussing the teachings of Jesus Christ in 3 parables to focusing on the seven principles derived from the 3 parables. These principles are so practical that I really enjoyed sharing it with everyone.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Take your time and pour out what is within you. You have to be in the right frame of mind.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

This is a book that teaches you how to prosper in every area of your life. Many people think about money when they hear prosperity but it is more than money. It involves a lot more than money. In my book, I teach you to become prosperous in all areas of life - family, professional. marital, financial, health and peace of mind. Basically, how to enjoy all the nine riches in life.



About the book:

We live in a universe of laws, which comprises spiritual and natural laws governed by a system of order. Spiritual law represents the fundamental patterns of nature that God has set in motion to govern the universe. To every spiritual law, there is a natural expression; and to every natural law, there is a spiritual counterpart. They are parallel to each other, and as human beings, we live in the parallel worlds of both. Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke many parables to illustrate spiritual laws by employing physical attributes and elements. In one of those parables, He likened the Word of God to a seed, and the hearts of men to the ground or soil where the seed is planted. Jesus used this parable to explain spiritual photosynthesis, which has a natural expression, whereby planted seeds use water and energy from sunlight to manufacture their food. Photosynthesis is very important to the survival of all living organisms. Without it, there would be no life on planet earth. So, if the Word of God is the seed, and the human heart is the soil, what make up the water and the light, which the seed needs in order for spiritual photosynthesis to take place?



About the author:

Rev. Jerry Kofi Tutu is a TV Evangelist and the host of the Christian television program, "Amazing Grace" that broadcasts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in the U.S.A. He is an anointed bible teacher with deep revelation insight, whose ministry has blessed thousands of people throughout the world. He is an associate Pastor in one of the fastest growing churches in the New York metropolis. As a Surgical Technologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery - NY, the number one orthopedic hospital in America, Rev Jerry Kofi Tutu combines biblical and scientific understanding to present powerful teachings that cut across a wide variety of issues. He is married to Becky Ama Tutu, and they are blessed with four children: Shardey, A.G, Nana, and Nshera Tutu.




Featured Book: One for the Books by Joe Queenan


About the book:
An absolute must-read for anyone who loves books In Closing Time, Joe Queenan shared how he became a voracious reader to escape a joyless childhood. Now, like many bibliophiles, he fears for the books that once saved him. In One for the Books, Queenan examines the entire culture of reading and what books really mean in people’s lives today. What does it suggest if a person has no books displayed in his living room? Can an obsession with reading prove detrimental to one’s well being? How useful are covers in selling books? Queenan’s many fans—as well as anyone who loves books and reading—will want to join him on his unforgettably funny and moving journey.







About the author:

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: The Pacesetter by Jerry M. Fisher

Who was responsible for the these Great American Landmarks: The Indy 500, The Dixie Highway, The Lincoln Highway, Miami Beach and Montauk New York?

Received for review.

While dryly written and quite long this was actually a rather enjoyable read.  

Frankly I had never heard of Carl Fisher before reading this but I had, of course, heard of his accomplishments - if not tying them to the man himself.  It was very interesting to read about the man behind the curtain.

Fisher was not a particularly lovely person and had quite unsavory business dealings, but he did accomplish a great deal in his lifetime and for that one can forgive rather a lot.  I really liked that the author did not try to portray a kinder, gentler version of the man and instead told his story will all his various virtues and flaws on full display.

Overall, this is a dense and dry read but if you can make it through it's a wealth of information on a virtually unremembered man.  I really appreciated the numerous photographs reproduced throughout the text which really helped to put faces to the people in the stories.  While I wouldn't rush out to get this if you are interested in the subject it is sure to be an informative read.


★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

For those who have ever lost themselves in the stylish worlds of novels like Sense and Sensibility, The Age of Innocence, Wuthering Heights, The Picture of Dorian Gray and countless others, this design book embraces the fantasy of time and place, showing you how to bring some of those elements into your own home.

Lisa Giramonti inspires a new approach to decorating: by teaching us through the lens of worlds we may already know and love. With gorgeous photographs by World of Interiors photographer Ivan Terestchenko, aspirational quotes, and tailored reading lists, Novel Interiors reveals the essence and details of interiors mentioned in great literary works. This is a stunning, photo-driven book that shares enchanting and timeless ways to live more elegantly.



Received for review.

There was no way that I could pass this up when I saw it and I'm so glad I snapped it up.  This was such a fun read and while I may not implement many of the designs it was a joy to see how others interpreted great novels as interior design options.

My favorites, of course, were the Bohemian rooms, closely followed by the ones based on The Picture of Dorian Gray.  All were beautifully done and actually looked like they could be lived in by actual humans (and animals - I loved the sprinkling of cats in the pictures).

Overall this was a quite fun read and one that would make a lovely gift for any book loving friend.

★★★★★ = Loved It



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Author Interview: Shirley Krayden author of Throwaway Wife

Shirley Krayden, author of Throwaway Wife, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Like Sarah in my book Throwaway Wife, I am a single mother and I used my experiences to flesh out her story. I have two wonderful children who are creative and supportive of my writing. They are always happy to proofread and offer suggestions and encouragement. They both love to write too.

I am an identical twin, and my twin also loves to write and be creative. When we were little some people found it hard to tell us apart. I was confused by that because I could ALWAYS tell us apart. We are very similar and yet very different people. Having a twin is a lot of fun, and I am planning on writing a future book that follows the adventures of a pair of identical twins.

I started Throwaway Wife years ago and had written about a third of the book when my computer unexpectedly crashed. I had not made a back-up copy of the story and the computer techs could not retrieve my story. I was devastated and shelved the book for a number of years, too discouraged to even try again; but the story would not die. Finally I could not keep the story inside any longer and I tried again. To my surprise, the new version was a huge improvement over the original as I changed the story and the characters.


What do you do when you're not writing?

I work as an occasional teacher teaching grades Kindergarten to eight, but for fun I paint landscapes, listen to music, read and walk in the woods. I also spend a lot of time restoring my house, and learning how to do all kinds of home repairs. As a single parent, my children also keep me busy and bring a lot of joy to my life. My sister and I have a lawn sign business where we rent out tacky signs for Birthdays and other occasions, so I have a fondness for pink flamingos. I also lead tours at a marsh and teach groups of children about all the wonderful creatures that live in marshes. I don’t mind getting dirty and I love creepy crawly critters like snakes and toads.


When did you first start writing?

I recall being a toddler, and making marks on a piece of paper, then running to my mom to see if I had made any words. When she said one mark looked like an i and another looked like an l, I was thrilled and filled the page with them. When I started school I came home after the first day and announced that I wasn’t going back there because I was furious that they hadn’t taught me to read or write! So, it is pretty hard for me to pin-point exactly when the writing began. I started very young.

I have always loved stories and story-telling and was eager to learn to read and write. I think I got my story telling abilities from my dad, because he told the most amazing bed time stories ever! Even my mother would stop what she was doing and come and listen. I wrote for a school creative writing paper in elementary school and was an eager member of the Writing Club in high school. I even wrote a perfectly awful book full of teenaged angst, drama and cliches while in high school (that I wisely burned). I took creative writing courses in college and university as well, but then got very busy and had to stop for a time…but the ideas just wouldn’t go away.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

As a child every Saturday was the day my sister and I would make the trek to the library. The librarian knew us well, and granted us the privilege of being allowed to take out as many books as we desired. We would carry our books home and spend the afternoon exploring our treasures. Favorite writers in those days were Richard Scarry with his charming illustrations and stories, Eve Titus with her Anatole series, and Marguerite Henry with her Misty of Chincoteague series. As I grew older I treasured reading books by Janette Oke, Grace Livingstone Hill and Debbie McComber for their heartwarming stories of love and faith.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

The main character in Throwaway Wife was abandoned by her husband. I drew on my own feelings of abandonment and despair that I experienced when my own marriage failed, to give realism and depth to Sarah. Like Sarah, I leaned on my faith and friendships to get me through the hard times, but unlike Sarah, I haven’t got my ‘happy ever after’…yet. When my marriage failed I needed to believe in true love and writing this book helped me heal and believe in love again. I want this book to bring hope and faith to other women who have faced similar heartache.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite part of the book is when Sarah and Daniel must set aside their differences and work together to try to save Emma. I like how the tension builds and you end up holding your breath, waiting to see what will happen next. The characters experience raw emotions and their own fear and distress cause them to lash out at one another, but in the end they realize they are stronger when they lean on each other and on their faith. I’d tell you more, but that would only ruin the story for you. While I was writing that particular portion of the book I got so immersed that I had to get up several times and walk around and work the knots out of my shoulders and neck so I would stop clenching my teeth and tensing my muscles.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Write about situations you can relate to and draw on things that have happened to you and to people you know to make your stories believable. Don’t be afraid to throw away whole chapters and try again. I learned the hard way that revision can be your best friend.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

I think that Nate’s story needs to be told. He is a very interesting character and I fell in love with him as I wrote about him. I think there is a sequel in the works.



About the book:

Throwaway Wife is a contemporary Christian romance filled with suspense, love, joy and faith, that will keep you reading until the end!

Betrayed and rejected by the man who vowed to love her forever, Sarah pregnant and alone flees to find comfort and a safe haven in the small town of Smyth’s Falls. It is a friendly little town where everyone knows each other, but Sarah is a stranger. What can she do? It is not like a lot of people are going to give a job to a pregnant stranger and how can she find a place to live with almost no money?

But then a miracle happens and Sarah finds Nate, a kind restaurant owner, who not only gives her a job, but hope for the future as well. After giving birth to a wonderful daughter Emma, Sarah starts to feel that with God’s help she can finally put her past behind her and create a good life for she and her daughter and maybe Nate as well, but then her worst fear happens…

Josh, her estranged husband shows up looking for her and he knows nothing about Emma. She had never told him she was pregnant! She knows that if Josh finds out about Emma, he will try to take away the one thing she loves most and that can’t happen.

What can she do? She is torn between two men, her daughter and what God is telling her to do. Can she trust God to help her find her way and heal her heart?



About the author:

Shirley Krayden is an author, illustrator and fine artist who lives in Ontario, Canada. She is an elementary school teacher, with a degree in fine art and a love of nature and animals. A dedicated Christian, she uses her writing to reflect the hope and joy she has found in faith.



Review: The Whites by Richard Price

The electrifying tale of a New York City police detective under siege-by an unsolved murder, by his own dark past, and by a violent stalker seeking revenge. 

Back in the run-and-gun days of the mid-1990s, when a young Billy Graves worked in the South Bronx as part of an aggressive anti-crime unit known as the Wild Geese, he made headlines by accidentally shooting a ten-year-old boy while struggling with an angel-dusted berserker on a crowded street. Branded as a loose cannon by his higher-ups, Billy spent years enduring one dead-end posting after another. Now in his early forties, he has somehow survived and become a sergeant in Manhattan Night Watch, a small team of detectives charged with responding to all post-midnight felonies from Wall Street to Harlem. Mostly, his unit acts as little more than a set-up crew for the incoming shift, but after years in police purgatory, Billy is content simply to do his job. 

Then comes a call that changes everything: Night Watch is summoned to the four a.m. fatal slashing of a man in Penn Station, and this time Billy's investigation moves beyond the usual handoff to the day tour. And when he discovers that the victim was once a suspect in the unsolved murder of a twelve-year-old boy-a savage case with connections to the former members of the Wild Geese-the bad old days are back in Billy's life with a vengeance, tearing apart enduring friendships forged in the urban trenches and even threatening the safety of his family. 

Razor-sharp and propulsively written, The Whites introduces Harry Brandt-a new master of American crime fiction.

Received for review.

You know I'm a huge fan of mysteries and crime fiction so I knew I would love this from the moment I read the description, and I did.  

The story was truly engrossing and had so many moments that had me saying "What?  But.. what?" that it had me hardly blinking as I flipped the pages as fast as I could read them.

I know it's incredibly overused but this really does have a dark, gritty, real feel to it.  You can almost taste the exhaust and feel the grime as you read.  There's an almost overpowering feeling of depression which adds such a wonderful dimension to the story.  It sounds odd, but the very darkness and weight make it just that much more enjoyable.  You can actually feel the weight lift when you put the book down and it's like you walked out of a coal mine into a perfect Spring day.

Overall, with a thoroughly engrossing mystery to solve and brilliantly written characters this is a must read for all crime fiction fans.  I definitely recommend it and look forward to reading the author's future releases.

★★★★ = Really Liked It




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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Book: The Legend of Mickey Tussler by Frank Nappi


About the book:
In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.





About the author:
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story and the thriller, NOBODY HAS TO KNOW, which received an endorsement from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille. Frank is presently at work on a third installment of his Mickey Tussler series, WELCOME TO THE SHOW, which is due out in the spring of 2016, as well as his next thriller, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER. He lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Book: The Mapmaker's War by Ronlyn Domingue


About the book:
This will be the map of your heart, old woman. In an ancient time, in a faraway land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger, Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth. On this most important of journeys, there is no map to guide her. In this tale—her autobiography— Aoife reveals her pain and joy, and ultimately her transformation. 

The Mapmaker’s War is a mesmerizing, utterly original adventure about love and loss and the redemptive power of the human spirit. Watch for its epic sequel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, in 2014.

About the author:
Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Chronicle of Secret Riven and The Mapmaker's War, the first two books of the Keeper of Tales Trilogy. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), Border Crossing, and Shambhala Sun, as well as on mindful.org, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Weeklings. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and ronlyndomingue.com.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Guest Post: Paddy Fievet author of The Making of a Mystic

Paddy Fievet, Ph.D., author of The Making of a Mystic, stopped by to share with us an article she wrote.






About the book:

A “modern mystic,” public speaker and teacher, author Paddy Fievet reveals her dramatic spiritual transformation in her new book, The Making of a Mystic: Writing as a Form of Spiritual Emergence.

Delving into Fievet’s riveting memoir, readers discover the modern mystic within themselves as they learn how to use writing to connect with Spirit and realize their own sacred life stories.

A gifted intuitive with a Ph.D. in Metaphysics, and a member of Spiritual Directors International, the author illuminates a path to divinity and self-empowerment in The Making of a Mystic.





About the author:

Born so deep in the South that the Okefenokee Swamp was in her backyard and swatting mosquitoes was a local pastime, Paddy Fievet is a happily married, free-spirited, modern mystic who understands intuition as the language of the soul. The author of five books (three of which were previously published, WHEN LIFE CRIED OUT is currently released, and MAKING OF A MYSTIC is to be published later this year), her writing has an interesting introspective twist along with a strong mystical aspect, appealing to adventurous spirituality seekers. Like Thomas Edison, she successfully discovered 10,000 things that would not work in her life before she finally had a profound "light bulb" moment: Life is a Sacred Story.

During an intense spiritual awakening, she traveled extensively, experiencing profound mysticism in Ireland, a soul's journey in Auschwitz, the feminine spirit in Malta, and Unity while sitting in the Great Pyramid. During these and more insightful spiritual experiences, she gradually understood joy, authenticity, and love are truly experienced from the inside out. Paddy's studies include a PhD in Metaphysics with a focus on the integration of mind, body and spirit.

For more about Paddy Fievet as well as her blog of assorted spiritual meanderings, her writing groups, and speaking engagements, visit her website at www.paddyfievet.com.



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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Robusta Incident by Jennifer Fales

Coffee with a double shot of voodoo and vengeance. Meet Howard Danishefsky. He's a smart-mouthed chemist working for his ex-lover turned tight-skirted, ball-busting boss, Melinda Carpenter, in the shiny downtown office of an international coffee conglomerate known as the Robusta Corporation. He has a legendary astrophysicist father in the Consortium of Evil that he's never met, a dead Russian mother who still keeps in touch, and a brilliant young daughter he loves but rarely sees. More importantly, he also has an evil genius complex that is about to go through the roof. When Howard finds himself pushed past his tolerance limit once again by Carpenter's cutthroat machinations and the Robusta Corporation's mindless culture, he takes it as his cue to "evil up" seeking revenge so nefarious it's guaranteed to gain the attention of the Consortium. What better way to do it than by adding a little "something extra" to the new coffee he's been given carte blanche to develop and using the entire office as his own personal test group? He's convinced he has it all under control, until his secret ingredient gains him the interest of a voodoo queen, an ancient professor, and a guy so far past his expiration date deodorant doesn't even stand a chance. Monday through Friday getting you down? Ever wonder how far you'd go for revenge on the worst boss, or the most miserable job you've ever had? Ever wonder what would happen if you did? Then you, my friend, need to read The Robusta Incident - and be careful what you wish for.

Received for review.

Even though I had no idea what the heck was going on for approximately ninety percent of the book this was still an entertaining read.  I didn't care about the characters or what happened to them but the story had a fun, Office Space type feel to it that kept me reading.

If you're looking for a light, fun read then this is a very good choice.  It's the book equivalent of cotton candy - I have no idea what's in it but it tastes good at the moment and that's good enough for me.


★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Featured Book: Naked Came the Post-Postmodernist by Sarah Lawrence Writing Class


About the book:
Who killed Eric Davenport? A senior mathematics professor at Underhill College has been found dead in his office, the victim of murder. At Underhill, a small liberal arts college with a pricy tuition and a pampered student body, all of the students are close to their professors. But at least one loved Eric Davenport in a deeply inappropriate fashion. Some hated him. And then there is the faculty at war with itself. And the idiotic administration. And the twin boys who live next to campus. And what’s with all those praying mantises? 

The collective work of Sarah Lawrence writing class 3303 - R, taught by novelist Melvin Jules Bukiet, here is a send-up of contemporary campus life that is also the latest installment in an inglorious literary tradition of wacky fun. And the mayhem hasn’t stopped. Soon, a student is found dead in the library, and, from the quad to the dorms, crime scenes and crises begin to multiply. A wealthy alumni donor becomes alarmed. Enter a libidinous medical examiner. Depicting rampant insecurities and raging egos, and with a cast of characters from conflicted faculty to student cliques, from hemp kids to Ugg girls and the J Crew crew, Naked Came the Post-Postmodernist takes us on a journey some may find eerily familiar. . . . 

Already featured in the New York Times (“A Whodunit Committed by a Whole Classroom”), this first example of collegiate episodic experimental fiction is certain to draw wide attention on publication.

About the author:

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Author Interview: Seth Francois author of The Business of Love

Seth Francois, author of The Business of Love, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Southern California. I have a BS in Business Management, MA in Human Resources, and I am currently working on completing my doctoral degree in Business. I have over 35 years of business experience and retiring from marriage after 25 years. I now understand self love is far more important than being in love. You cannot make someone else happy, only self. You cannot rely on love only creating a foundation of personal happiness that you can choose to share with someone else.


What do you do when you're not writing?

Usually, I write music, take short walks on the beach, meditate, and spend time with friends and family.


When did your first start writing?

My whole career involved writing proposals, business plans, policies and procedures contracts, etc. I naturally gravitated to writing "A Woman's Handbook to a Successful Relationship, The Business of Love."


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

The best book has been the Bible.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

Looking at the relationship segment, there was a need for a book from a man's perspective for a woman getting into a relationship with a man. Using business metaphors to provide insight. If you want to open a business knowing all you can about the business is helpful. This is the same with entering into a relationship with the opposite sex.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I enjoyed writing all the chapter, however, chapter 9- Relationship Tune Up- Love VS. Happiness and Preventing Conflict Zones. We are always placing blocks to our happiness foundation. Sometime we can love a person but not find the peace and happiness is needed to secure a healthy life. Understanding being happy is essential and that love is transitory at most, will help the reader find a light to secure a true connection.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Love, understand, and grow what with you write.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

"A Woman's Handbook to a Successful Relationship, The Business of Love" is a great book for all women to read entering a relationship, in a relationship, or looking for a relationship. This book should be the first book women read to enhance their chances to succeed.



About the book:

The Business of Love is a handbook to help women succeed in their relationships and provide an indepth look at a woman's readiness to commit to a healthy and rewarding relationship. As in business, certain strategies, behaviors and styles of resolving challenges will determine if one will succeed or fail.

The Business of Love will enable you to look beyond the realms of romance and fantasy to explore the truths that lies within you... "Am I really ready to be in a committed relationship?" "Is this a venture that I am not ready to commit to?" "Should I wait?" With this book, you will be inspired and empowered to know what you are really made of inside, and how you will impact your significant other. Seth Francois is a specialist in conflict resolution, group dynamics, and building trust. Seth believes if a person releases their negative ideals and perceptions, along with personal let downs, people can gain opportunity to establish successful relationships.

Concentrating on identifying significant events in our past that trigger emotional responses in our current relationships is paramount. He believes his debut The Business of Love will play a pivotal role in building a successful relationship that is solid through self-exploration, and awareness. The author has had a long term commitment to building productive relationships helping people meet their maximum potential. He has excelled at creating valuable relationships in the work environment and has received a number of awards and honorable mentions.

The Business of Love applies those successful concepts to help women increase understanding of self and understanding of how men view relationships.



About the author:

Seth Francois is a specialist in conflict resolution, group dynamics, and building trust. Seth believes if a person releases their negative ideals and perceptions, along with personal let downs, people can gain opportunity to establish successful relationships. Concentrating on identifying significant events in our past that trigger emotional responses in our current relationships is paramount. He believes his debut The Business of Love will play a pivotal role in building a successful relationship that is solid through self-exploration, and awareness. Seth has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business, Masters of Arts Degree in Human Resources, and currently in the dissertation stage in completing a Doctorate in Business, with special designation in Leadership.



Review: Expanzaramadingdong by Jason Steinberg

Welcome to Expanzaramadingdong, a phrase to say when things just don't make sense. Jason Steinberg's collection of poems will open up a world to children that gives insight to many of life's wonders, such as growing old, being a tattletale and how to avoid being a failure. A world where you don't have to be royalty to be treated like a queen, a world where you learn the dangers of being a fly on the wall, and a world where the Fountain of Youth really does exist. Jason Steinberg's fun and imaginative storytelling will provoke your mind, touch your soul and make you smile.









Received for review.

I'm not generally a big fan of poetry but when I saw that this was being compared to Shel Silverstein's work I had to give it a try.  While this is similar in style it's actually just not as upbeat and happy as Silverstein's work.  Most of the poems were actually incredibly depressing.  And the ones that weren't were obnoxious in their heavy handed political correctness.

Overall this was a mildly amusing collection of poems with quite nice accompanying artwork, but it's certainly not on par with Silverstein.  It's certainly worth a look if you're looking for something in the same vein but I wouldn't go out of my way to pick up a copy.


★★★☆☆ = Liked It




Monday, April 13, 2015

Author Interview: Alfonzo "Al" Bailey author of Trying to Keep Moving Forward

Alfonzo "Al" Bailey, author of Trying to Keep Moving Forward, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a African-American former foster child who likes to use my experience to help others make their lives better.


What do you do when you're not writing?

Politics is my first love so in my spare time I am getting caught up on local, state and national politic.


When did you first start writing?

Well I have always been a good writer. I started writing my book in early 2012.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Yes, Iyanla Vanzant because I saw my life in her books. here she was a black woman who had been trough lots of turmoil but she did her work and then took her lesson to the world to help other do their work.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

I was inspired to write Trying to Keep Moving Forward because as I looked back at my life I realized that all the pain that I had gone through could be used to help other people and that foster kids don't tell the story of getting back up after the falls in life and I wanted to share that with the reader.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

My favorite chapter is the chapter about my grandmother. Its my favorite because even when I read it after writing it it was like god guided my hand in writing it and that comes through in that chapter


What is best writing advice you can give?

Keep Moving Forward. That is my advice for everything in life. Bad things will happen, rejection will happen but keep moving forward and tomorrow will be better.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

That I have since gotten a Bachelors Degree from Cleveland State University and Masters in Public Administration from APUS



About the book:

"Trying to Keep Moving Forward" is the real life success story of Al Bailey, who made it from troubled foster child to Social Services board member and charity CEO. When his loving mother gave him up into foster care as a young child, Al was passed from home to home, making bad choices along the way, and even ending up homeless. Despite the toughest of beginnings, Al managed to turn his life around, working his way up to Executive Director of his own non-profit organization. But even here the road did not run smooth, as one bad decision cost Al more than he had ever bargained for. After a period of introspection, he serves the community again as a motivational consultant. In his first book, "Trying to keep moving forward", Al Bailey shows that as long as you keep on trying, your dreams really can come true. So easily he could have taken the wrong path, ended up dead, in prison for a long period of time or even totally dependent on the public systems, but today Al makes the choice every day to move forward on the inspirational journey to success, and wants to share his success and failures with others.



About the author:

For some, the journey of life can be a rocky road, but Al Bailey decided not to let his road define who he is today. Al had a tough start, placed in the Foster Care system as young child, by a loving mother trying to do the best she could for her son. But Al Bailey has turned his lemons into lemonade, using his real his life experiences to illustrate that he is not just another do-gooder.

With a desire to become politically active from a young age, Al ran for State School board and City Council, becoming the youngest candidate to ever run for a state level position and raising an unprecedented amount of funds – an indication of his growing support. From there, in four short years he turned his idea for a non-profit organization for youths growing too old for foster care “Social and Educational Betterment Coalition, Inc.”, into a successful company with a $750,000 yearly budget. His work has received proclamations from the Mayor, County Commissioners and other community leaders, including the Catholic Churches Social Services Arm, Catholic Charities and the Knights of St. Peter Claver African American Male Image Award.

Over the years Al has gone from a product of the Social Service system to working within the system as a top level Manager and a Board Member. Even as Executive Director, Al has made some mistakes along the way, and at one point this cost him everything, but he picked himself up and is once again a true success story, who’s goal is helping others achieve their very best, no matter what their beginning, experiences or mistakes. Al explains: “I spent ten years in the system (in 23 foster and group homes), and made some bad choices along the way, but now look at me…. Well, that’s what I want to show others. Show them that they too can make positive changes, change their life and even be a positive part of any community.”




Review: Chance Encounters edited by Janna Graber

Travel never goes quite like we expect. Planes are late, maps are misread and detours are made. When this happens, the twisting roads of travel can lead to adventures we never imagined -- and lessons we never expected to learn. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we cross paths with people who show us life from a different angle or provide kindness when it's needed most. 

Those we meet while traveling can change our journey, our experiences or even our lives. Come along with some of the world's top travel writers as they share their stories from around the globe.

* Meet three Americans who help a Belgian woman find her voice 
* Bust a move with harmonica-playing pygmies in Uganda 
* See how a former enemy can become your friend 
* Watch a Kenyan girl face a heartbreaking custom with bravery 
* Learn from a wise young monk as he hikes in Bhutan 
* Marvel at the kindness of strangers in Japan 
* Take an unforgettable elevator ride with a courageous young woman in Paris 
                                                     * Gain new understanding during an unspoken conversation in                                                                Cambodia 
                                                     * Experience Nepal through the eyes of a child 
                                                     * Take a wild ride in Turkey depending only on the kindness of                                                                strangers And many more... 

Chance Encounters: Travel Tales from Around the World includes works from the following contributors: 

• Rick Neal 
• Kimberley Lovato 
• Michele Peterson 
• Janna Graber 
• Rob Woodburn 
• Cece Romanyshyn 
• Margie Goldsmith 
• Annia Lekka 
• Christina Hamlett 
• Gabriella Brand 
• Rick Zullo 
• Peter Mandel 
• C. Lill Ahrens 
• Nithin Coca 
• Shilpa Gupta 
• Bill Wasserzieher 
• Sofie Couwenbergh 
• James Michael Dorsey 
• Rebeca Dunn-Krahn 
• John A. Kumiski 

For more information on each contributor, see http://tinyurl.com/k4q8xsx

Received for review.

I can never pass up a travel book since it's always so interesting to have an armchair adventure so I was intrigued when I saw this.  I think I was hoping for an upbeat collection of travel stories a la Erma Bombeck but this was an alternately sad and sweet collection.

Many of the stories are more depressing than uplifting, but each one is interesting and quite educational in its own way.  More than once I found myself tearing up as I read the stories and the book was quite an emotional journey.

My favorite story was Blowing the Blues with the Batwa, which was one of the very few stories that left me smiling instead of sniffling.

Overall, this is a touching collection of stories that makes for very good reading and I certainly recommend it.


★★★☆☆ = Liked It




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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Author Interview: Oliver Phipps author of Diver Creed Station

Oliver Phipps, author of Diver Creed Station, stopped by for an interview.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I'm an ex Army Paratrooper. A world traveler and a best selling author. I realize that may sound a bit boastful but you've not heard of my adventure in the Arctic Circle yet so do try to give me the benefit of doubt. My friends tell me I'm an alright guy anyway.


What do you do when you're not writing?

I enjoy traveling and playing the drums. Also riding my motorcycle and generally just spending time with my family.


When did your first start writing?

I wrote a story when I was ten years old. My mother is quite proud of it but I suspect she's just being a mother. Nevertheless it is the first story I know of for certain.


Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I love J.R.R Tolkien's work. For the most part I love the classics and I have a broad interest in subject matter.


What inspired you to write this particular book?

I've actually put this book together over a number of years and don't recall the exact inspiration. I wish I could remember it though.


What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I suppose the favorite chapter is 'Getting out of Dodge.' It's just rough and rowdy.


What is best writing advice you can give?

Write to help others. Whether it's a self help book or just to make people smile. Always write to make the world a better place.


Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

It's most likely as no other book you've read before. And the reviewers seem to love it. I'm quite fond of it I know.



About the book:

Wars, disease and a massive collapse of civilization have ravaged the human race of a hundred years in the future. Finally in the late twenty- second century, mankind slowly begins to struggle back from the edge of extinction.

When a huge “virtual life” facility is restored from a hibernation type of storage and slowly brought back online, a new hope materializes.

Fragments of humanity begin to move into the remnants of Denver and the Virtua-Gauge facilities, which offer seven days of virtual leisure for seven days work in this new and growing social structure.

Most inhabitants of this new lifestyle begin to hate the real world and work for the seven day period inside the virtual pods. It’s the variety of luxury role play inside the virtual zone that supply’s the incentive needed to work hard for seven days in the real world.

In this new social structure a man can work for seven days in a food dispersal unit and earn seven days as a twenty first century software billionaire in the virtual zone. As time goes by and more of the virtual pods are brought back online life appears to be getting better.

Rizette and her husband Oray are young technicians that settle into their still new marriage as the virtual facilities expand and thrive.

Oray has recently attained the level of a Class A Diver and enjoys his job. The Divers are skilled technicians that perform critical repairs to the complex system, from inside the virtual zone.

His title of Diver originates from often working in the secure "lower levels" of the system. These lower level areas are the dividing space between the real world and the world of the virtual zone. When the facility was built, the original designers of the virtual system intentionally placed this buffer zone in the programs to avoid threats from non-living virtual personnel.

As Oray becomes more experienced in his elite technical position as a Diver, he is approached by his virtual assistant and forced to make a difficult decision. Oray's decision triggers events that soon pull him and his wife Rizette into a deadly quest for survival.

The stage becomes a massive and complex maze of virtual world sequences as escape or entrapment hang on precious threads of information.

System ghosts from the distant past intermingle with mysterious factions that have thrown Oray and Rizette into a cyberspace trap with little hope for survival.



About the author:

Oliver served as a Paratrooper in the United States Army and studied at MSC. In the late 1980’s through mid 90’s Oliver perused his love of music. He enjoyed traveling, playing percussion and writing lyrics for popular bands. During this time Oliver also began writing short stories and articles.


After playing for thousands in the fall and winter of 1996 Oliver’s band abruptly disbanded. Oliver along with a good friend and guitarist got together to form a new band in early spring of 1997. However rather than form a new band the two put together an expedition plan to travel to Northern Canada and Alaska to prospect for gold.

Leaving in April of 1997 Oliver and company traveled up the historic AL-CAN highway. After exploring the Yukon and Northwest territories of Canada as well as the Arctic Circle the team traveled over the Top of the World highway to Alaska.

Traveling throughout Alaska, Oliver and his fellow travelers marveled at the beauty of this still rugged wilderness. As summer began to wane the team struggled with the decision to leave Alaska. However the thought of the extreme Alaskan winters motivated the explores to high tail it back to the lower forty eight just as the snows were breaking over the Brooks mountain range.

1999-2000 Oliver traveled through Asia. Oliver met and married the love of his life on the island of Java in Indonesia. After residing in Indonesia for some time, Oliver returned to the United States with his wife.

In 2004 Oliver published his first book and continues writing articles and stories under various pseudonyms. Currently Oliver and family reside happily in the U.S.