March 2017 Review Issue
Author Tells All
David L. Workman
David L. Workman, Publisher
As much as authors dream of having their books published, many don't realize the bigger picture of what's involved. For an advance preview of the entire process, from creating a noteworthy book cover to finding an audience and reviewers, David L. Workman's book tells it like it is, enlightening his readers on the rest of the process, and should be consulted before a single self-publishing thought crosses an author's mind.
In a relatively short presentation, Workman, the author of Letter from Alabama, covers all these topics based on his own experience, synthesizing some seventeen months of insights on how he produced and marketed his book.
The cold, hard facts are couched in his own experiences, which make his insights both palatable and specific: "The reality is: if you don’t work to make your book visible, readers and buyers won’t find it. So many books are published—thousands upon thousands of them each month in the United States alone—that an indie book will be lost in the masses unless you’re committed to marketing what you have written and published. I was about to find out how committed I was."
From family support to helpful guides to writing and publishing, choosing an Amazon book category that isn't overloaded with competitors yet remains true to one's book, creating author pages on Amazon and in other places to cement and spread one's image, understanding web hosting and website design options to build one's own website, and assessing the results of a paid book promotion campaign, An Author Tells All covers all the bases. It truly provides much information that otherwise would only be gleaned from trial and error.
Loaded with screen shots, examples, and many specifics, An Author Tells All is one of the best books an aspiring writer on the cusp of self-publishing could obtain. It should be required reading for any such audience. Its clear path to success and its wise insights will prevent many a marketing error and save much money.
An Author Tells All
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Man Who Sent the SOS
Bear Notch Road Press
ISBN 978-0-9975704-0-3 $22.95
e-ISBN 978-0-9975704-1-0 $ 9.95
Paul Amirault was a man obsessed with history (the Titanic's history, to be specific), but his spiritual memoir takes the form of contrasting 'memories' between the author and one "Jack", and so the result is a far more revealing and thought-provoking a blend of genres than one might expect from a tale of events affecting the sinking of the great ship.
From the start, The Man Who Sent the SOS is a vivid, unusual read that opens with a skinny-dipping episode among children which gives the author a startling vision of a sinking ship. It was an experience quickly forgotten; but the ghostly ship vision returned years later, and its haunting impact could not be set aside as it appears "...in such stunning detail, I could actually make out the rivets."
"Jack", in contrast, is on the Titanic, experiencing every moment of its sinking and the culture that the ship's crew and passengers embody. As the story moves from his childhood to the decisions that led him to the Titanic, readers gain a feel for the peoples and interactions of the times.
Under another hand it would have been all too easy for these changing narrators to be confusing; but Amirault clearly labels each chapter's narrator, place, and time; and thus it's easy to move between the decades and different approaches.
From the Titanic's trappings and physical features (including the Marconigraph and hydraulic tube) to past-life regressions, hypnotherapists, questions of belief and reality, and a startling journey backwards in time, The Man Who Sent the SOS will sail beyond new age audiences to intrigue readers of Titanic history, memoirs, and scientific and historical investigations.
It's an amazing journey that ultimately comes full circle, it offers some startling new ideas and revelations on many levels, and thus The Man Who Sent the SOS is especially, highly recommended reading for a wide audience interested in historically-based stories that move in unique directions.
The Man Who Sent the SOS
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Anthony Paustian, PhD
A Quarter-Million Steps: Creativity, Imagination and Leading Transformative Change blends business and success stories from the Apollo Moon Program with insights from the author's own life. The result is a bigger-picture survey of what types of actions make for lasting changes and create foundational principles. The book offers an encouraging set of tools for setting and reaching goals.
At first this may sound like many other inspirational approaches, but A Quarter-Million Steps holds an important difference in that it focuses on more than tools, telling how to craft and stay true to a mindset that embraces and creates them.
Personal conversations with astronauts who traveled to the Moon contribute to an analysis of these steps towards greater achievement and how they were accomplished, covering many pitfalls along the way, such as how literal thinking can lead to incorrect perceptions (yet, is encouraged by the facts and rules taught in schools and emphasized throughout life).
A new set of rules and approaches to critical and constructive thinking are advocated and outlined, with chapters emphasizing that ideas "...aren't static; they require continuous imagineering...think of it as the daily pursuit of perfection." Where other books lightly touch upon this ideal, A Quarter-Million Steps shows how to take steps to continuously improve thinking processes to make important connections between new ideas and new opportunities.
Formulas for daily activity, the "purple people eaters" of ongoing distraction in life, how poor (and smart) decisions are made, and numerous examples from NASA achievements, various businesses, and psychological principles, such as how to understand and assess personal bias, adds to a book that goes beyond a light inspirational read to delve into the nuts and bolts of fine-tuning creative processes.
A Quarter-Million Steps is highly recommended not just for business or self-help readers, but for artists, thinkers, creators and inventors, and any who want to place themselves in these categories.
A Quarter-Million Steps
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Table Against Mine Enemies
Larry M. Goldstein
Gefen Publishing House
A Table Against Mine Enemies: Israel on the Lawfare Front provides a focus on a new military weapon, law, and offers an intriguing survey of how legal actions and international legal processes can become an effective way of voicing and reinforcing military objectives. At the forefront of this new weapon is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; but if readers anticipate that A Table Against Mine Enemies will be about courtroom proceedings alone, they'd be mistaken.
The book explores the stories of soldiers in the Israeli, UK and US armies and the efforts of international courts to provide pointed and personal observations of the relationships between legal and battlefield conflicts. Examples of 'lawfare' range from disputed territories and blockades and their management and attacks to computer attacks, the differences between traditional war and lawfare, and how law determines the development and deployment of unmanned fighters.
Perhaps even more importantly, specific discussions relating to the use and misuse of law in military operations and battlefield choices make for thought-provoking ethical, moral, and strategic observations that use the four fundamental laws of legal war to consider the revolutionary nature of this new weapon and its impact.
While the focus here is upon Israel and its regional conflicts as they pertain to lawfare, A Table Against Mine Enemies holds far-reaching implications and information essential to anyone interested in military and legal connections and affairs, and should not be limited to Middle East studies alone. Readers of military affairs and ethics will find it equally compelling, with personal stories cementing the impact and effects of lawfare both on and off the battlefield.
A Table Against Mine Enemies
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Victor Chiu, Publisher
ISBN: 978-0-9949115-0-6 (hardback) $22.99
ISBN: 978-0-9949115-1-3 (paperback) $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-9949115-2-0 (ebook) $ 9.99
Wall Street Kitchen: The Recipe Behind a Housewife's 1,000% Stock Return is quite a departure from the usual business or financial advice book for several reasons.
It comes not from a financial advisor or professional investor, but from a housewife who gained do-it-yourself knowledge and a winning stock strategy, then dished it up to her family along with her good home cooking. Son Victor Chiu absorbed her "ten commandments of investing" and the basics she learned about stocks, and presents her secret recipes for success alongside some of her most notable dishes.
Readers should anticipate an unusually homespun, modest discussion that doesn't diminish the fact that Chiu's mother has become independently wealthy through her winning approach.
Mom began her career with a Dell laptop given to her so she could watch Korean dramas. If this fact makes it seem like her approach will be simple, be advised that there's nothing magic about her formula for success. Any reader who absorbs lessons from Wall Street Kitchen can easily duplicate her success.
The tone is decidedly chatty and casual here, so business readers who want impersonal approaches would be advised to look elsewhere. Chiu literally invites readers to sit around the family table with a cup of Oolong tea while learning about his family's immigrant experiences and roots, so there's more transpiring here than business alone.
The savvy reader will immediately understand that personal connections are part of what makes a business work, and will find that Chiu's seemingly casual approach to his subject belays a deeper perspective that is more inviting and revealing than formulas alone could offer.
As he gives the details of his mother's investments and their logic, his mother adds her clarifications in italicized print throughout. The gems begin to coalesce into concrete observations based on the history of stock markets and how investors make meaningful choices (and money) in them: "I went back as far as I possibly could and found that through every recession, no matter how big, no matter how small, the markets always emerged triumphantly. Can you follow me on this train of thought? Markets have always existed for two reasons. They exist to fund projects companies want to undertake. And they exist to create wealth for stockholders like you and me. If companies ever stopped wanting to do things, markets would no longer exist, because it would not be much of a market with only shareholders offering investment funds to nobody."
There are many, many stock market books in print; but most are weighty, potentially confusing affairs that offer little appeal to ordinary individuals with modest to no prior familiarity with the stock market. By adding a more personal tone to the discussion of serious financial options, Wall Street Kitchen opens the dining room door to everyday people and lures them in with recipes for financial success that touch upon such important topics as how to tell facts from opinions in financial news reports, how to recognize and ignore wishful thinking or panic impulses, and how to find and apply solid data during the investment process.
Wall Street Kitchen
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Print: 978-1542454476 $14.95
Ebook: 978-1370872497 $ 2.99
The Grandfather Paradox begins with mutiny aboard the spaceship Tachyon, where Captain Andu Nehrengel finds himself stranded on a dangerous planet filled with fierce beasts and strange women, alone for the first time in his world-hopping explorations.
Gone is the comfort of technology, and newly present are mysteries that eventually lead him on a time-travel odyssey back to 19th century Earth, accompanied by a beautiful companion charged with finding her own heritage and place in an unfamiliar land and time.
As the two confront a time before electricity and a place where forces are gathering to battle, each discovers a new challenge. For Andu, this involves the special uncertainties of affecting his own past and its possible impact on his future. It even means encountering Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) and revealing information about his impossible circumstances.
His clone companion Alpha (newly renamed Margaret, for this world) faces different choices: love, commitment, and a journey that takes her far from the one man who knows who she really is.
Fans of time travel odysseys will find some different twists and facets to The Grandfather Paradox, which begins as a sci-fi space opera with a mutiny and challenges to survival on an alien world, evolves into a time-jumping leap into Earth's past, and then centers around historical facts and flavors ranging from riverboat journeys to war. Where other time-travel novels would focus on the journey into the past and the efforts of characters to return to their futures, The Grandfather Paradox offers much more satisfying details about the history and challenges of the times and the conundrums revolving around romance, paradox, and lifestyle choices.
By mid-book, readers have moved far from the sci-fi alien world setting. While this might disappoint those who anticipated a predictable time-travel novel, readers who seek more complex and changing scenarios and who read both sci-fi and time-travel literature will appreciate The Grandfather Paradox's unusual complexity and appeal as it moves between three very different worlds.
Readers who want more historical detail than a casual time-travel adventure usually provides, and who want their time-jumping action to begin with an interplanetary encounter, will find The Grandfather Paradox a delightful read with several unexpected twists and turns that takes the main theme of time travel and adds more to the story than most timeslip novels would offer.
The Grandfather Paradox
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PO Box 2586, McDonough, GA 30253
Rites of Heirdron is Book 1 of a powerful fantasy telling of a prince betrayed, a planet laid to waste, and a series of political alliances and special interests that don't bode well for the world. It's a recommended pick for readers of military sci-fi and stories that embrace interplanetary conflicts and political systems.
A young bastard prince is tasked with putting together clues about how his world has been broken and how a shattered people can be put back together again - but like Humpty Dumpty, the task seems impossible, with pieces widely scattered and no clear template for restoration in sight.
If this sounds like a typical one-dimensional fantasy, be advised that Rites of Heirdron is far more complex than a simple plot overview could provide; and this is because it juxtaposes many different concerns and interests as well as different methods of problem-solving and viewing the world.
What happens when left-brain thinking, for example, encounters information beyond its ability to analyze? The clash between linear beliefs and thinking processes and the type of perception that comes from accepting a bit of magic and psychic influence on the world makes for one of the many engrossing sub-plots in Rites of Heirdron: "In most cases, the pursuit of knowledge is paramount. However, in dealings of faith, trust in those who’ve come before you. Greater men have forfeited their lives pursuing that which is forbidden. Your analytical mind is in conflict with your faith."
Another facet (picking just one of many) is the prince's love for a special woman who is one of many in his harem: an unusual love which defies the rules. The story of their evolving romance is just one of the threads that links the story with diverse pieces of personal and political intrigue.
No light affair, Rites of Heirdron's dual focus on changing worlds and hearts moves deftly from personal to political realms, incorporates a quest that could change everything, and tasks its characters with growth and purpose beyond their familiar upbringings. It's a recommended pick for readers who like their sci-fi spiced with more than light romance, but who want that romance wrapped in the heavier cloak of sacrifice, duty, and life-changing decisions.
Rites of Heirdron
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Black Rose Writing
Billed as a 'cyberpunk mystery', Touch No One is no simple genre read, but hosts a satisfyingly powerful blend of detective mystery investigation, futuristic settings, vividly evocative descriptions, and a story line that is supercharged with atmosphere and action. It's everything one could wish for in an edgy and powerful read, which excels in its sense of place and character: "I stood before my wall-length window, which looked out onto the Casino Node. The town was a kitschy nightmare collision of columns, arches, and pilasters that would have called to mind great ancient empires if it all wasn’t offset by neon and undermined by tacky pirate ships, mermaids, and scaled version wonders of the world. The moon was rising above the Statue of Liberty in the distance as she bore her eternal light for the hopeless gamblers below."
Bots that are servants and best friends, currency that is 'dark', human enhancements that change the very nature of casual interactions, let alone investigative processes ("She subvoc’d something to my enhanced reality mod, and I accepted the incoming. I was pretty sure she didn’t come to the steps of Muscovite Med to give me a virus or to spoof me for her own ends."), and an attention to detail creates a gritty, personable and compelling detective protagonist on the cusp of one of his most challenging confrontations. All these lend to a story line where the unexpected and the original are woven into every line.
The cyberpunk genre typically focuses on a high-tech society rich in technological advancements embedded into the very nature of human reality; but Touch No One takes this concept and its science a step further in seamlessly integrating them into a gumshoe detective's investigations.
Readers should anticipate vivid lingo that can give pause for thought without losing its audience: "I couldn’t tell if we had just waded into a forest of coincidences or if he was playing mind games, if he knew what I knew but was just waiting to goad or guilt me into acknowledging it. “The Grand Poobah himself and one of his Cyborgis Yeltsins land in the middle of Kunstler Park, do a quick extraction, and then they ghost.”
Metallic arms, Babel translators, and haunting images ("The ship was aloft, floating toward white volutes of cloud that looked like smoke blown from the lungs of a sky god.") permeate a story line that twists and turns with the intricacy of a thriller spiced with high-tech wonders.
The style and nature of Touch No One is that of intricacy, not ease. For that reason this cyberpunk masterpiece is highly recommended not for the casual sci-fi reader unfamiliar with the genre or seeking easy an adventure story; but for the cyberpunk enthusiast who wants a superior production steeped in the devices of detective and sci-fi, holding the kind of technological overlay that is at once delightful and thought-provoking - and very highly recommended as an outstanding, visionary production.
Touch No One
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The enigmatic Menders (he actually has many names, but this is his primary one) lives on the planet Eirdon. He's an assassin who is very, very good at his profession. Summoned to the queen's chambers, he anticipates commendation and reward of the coveted position of Court Assassin; but instead he is assigned to guard and train a newborn princess - a babysitting role which seems vastly below his abilities and contrary to his goal of becoming the greatest assassin who ever lived.
Viewing his career as over and his 'reward' as exile, Menders is angry and confused and deems his job unworthy of his special abilities. But guarding and guiding the child proves to be more than challenging because Princess Katrin is no ordinary child, and it soon becomes evident that the role she's prophesied to play in the kingdom is one that will require every ounce of his abilities if she's to live to grow into her own special powers.
Weaving Man is no simple, linear read but features a host of characters who hold their own strengths, flawed personas, and confusion about their roles in their kingdom. Menders has never failed a mission in his many assignments - but this, his most important position yet, is about to challenge everything he knows. Tove Foss Ford weaves a delicate plot and series of events to both highlight the challenges and enlighten readers about the emotional processes each character goes through to achieve their goals.
In effect, assassin Menders has become an instant and unwilling father. As he faces injury and possible blindness, madness, nightmares and waking dreams, his world coalesces around his duty to Katrin and his special function of keeping her safe. As years go by, the atmosphere of the kingdom is deftly honed and refined, and readers drawn into Menders' story and Katrin's coming of age will find that the looming prophecy and maelstrom of danger that descends upon the world makes for a compelling read.
Part of the reason for this strength lies in Ford's ability to easily juxtapose emotional reactions and logical rationales and thought processes with an attention to environment that gets right down to the smoke, dust, and unwashed bodies of this kingdom. Readers receive an extra dimension of reality as they experience its tastes, smells, and textures; and they become involved in the reason why Katrin's people only live in and know about a small section of the greater planet they reside on. Readers should thus expect a good degree of attention to detail which may belay staccato action in favor of lengthy description at points; but all to good purpose.
The result is a multi-faceted story that goes beyond palace politics, re-careering, a child's coming of age, or a distant queen/mother to create a complex world of evolving purposes and ever-present dangers.
Fans of Patrick Rothfus will find much the same attention to slowly building superior characters, setting, and story in an approach that bodes well for the potential of more books in the series.
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Finlee Augare Books
ISBN: 978-1-943080-22-9 (print)
ISBN: 978-1-943080-23-6 (e-book)
Xenogeneic: First Contact is an unusual twist on the usual alien "first contact" story in that the aliens that come to Earth have done so because they were the losers of their first civil war in a distant star system, and have arrived to take over Earth. This is the story that evolves through aerospace engineer Dr. Elena Sweetwater Pyetrov's efforts as she faces a showdown with the Special Committee Responsible for Alien Programs and opposition to her plans of exploring space and searching for her lost father, who vanished 18 years earlier while searching for extraterrestrial life.
Her dreams of following in her father's footsteps, and perhaps finding out what happened to him, directly conflict with political forces and the Evangelical Ministry on Alien Mythologies, which consider her efforts a waste of time and money, but Elena's determination to follow her father means that she needs to undertake a big trip to the Jovian moon Europa.
It's prophetic that one of the committee members mentions that "Sometimes science wanders into places that do more harm than good, like the atomic bomb" because that is precisely what transpires. Elena's determination lands her in the lap of an alien conspiracy and a plot to kidnap humans to use them to genetically adapt to the otherwise-inhospitable Earth atmosphere in preparation for a takeover.
In this case, it's a blessing that Elena is so determined. If she can either find ways to cooperate with the Knoonk or escape alien capture, she could become the savior of the human race, and its only option for survival.
Xenogeneic: First Contact's focus on this process of discovery, cooperation, and ultimate transformation on all sides makes for a first contact story that juxtaposes the concerns of humans and aliens for a fine contrast in perspectives and desired outcomes. Readers should anticipate a healthy dose of confrontation, torture, violence, and a repeated theme of responsibility that runs through these encounters, from the responsibilities of a government for its people to broader issues of safety and choice.
Trained to explore, Elena wants nothing to do with romance, but there's a touch of it - perhaps alien-manipulated - in the story. Taught to survive and learn, Elena extends her dual concerns over learning and safety to a team challenged by alien experimentation and deadly purposes. Unexpectedly charged with saving the human race, the dilemmas and changing choices Elena faces are deftly portrayed and become the novel's focal points, elevating it above competitors who would make the experience of first contact with aliens the entire focus of the story.
Lance Erlick's ability to inject the qualities of stubbornness, determination, and human perseverance into an action-packed story lends an ethical and psychological focus to his sci-fi drama that will especially satisfy readers who like their stories complex and driven by more than alien environments and challenging encounters.
Xenogeneic: First Contact
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the Story of Your Health
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD
Change the Story of Your Health: Using Shamanic and Jungian Techniques for Healing discusses alternative medical traditions that inject spirituality into the overall fields of physical and mental health, and comes from a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst who has used these techniques, in conjunction with Western medicine, to help his own physical ailments and those of his clients.
While a growing number of alternative medical books add a spiritual dimension, what is unusual in Change the Story of Your Health is its blend of specific Jungian techniques with shamanic approaches usually regulated to new age audiences; all this bundled with an attention to physical and personal health challenges that range from the effects of aging to sexuality and serious health ailments.
Chapters advocate a series of practices designed to manage and mitigate these various obstacles to mental and physical health, and so readers receive the tools and specific exercises to incorporate new lifestyles, exercise, meditation and reflective strategies into their overall health routines.
The focus is on identifying blocks to health, more fully understanding one's current state of health and the keys to maintaining or improving it, and on applying journaling and dialoging techniques to expand self awareness and tap inner resources for healing.
An affinity for self-examination, self-directed exercises, and Jungian and shamanic approaches alike will be a prerequisite for successfully utilizing this book. Readers determined to take charge of their path towards optimal health will find Change the Story of Your Health contains a treasure trove of step-by-step processes designed to lend insights into and modifications of overall health and approaches to life.
Change the Story of Your Health
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Future of Democracy
The Future of Democracy: Lessons from the Past and Present to Guide Us on Our Path Forward appears in its third updated edition to examine the foundations of democracy, its development throughout human history in various societies, and how it can be either strengthened or weakened. The timing for publishing this third updated edition couldn't have been better in the aftermath of America's latest elections, which have renewed interest in many Americans over the democratic and voting process.
This is not to say that most Americans don't know about democratic principles: these are taught in school beginning at a very early age. But, for many, interest peters out as home, financial, health and family concerns take center stage over the years following graduation. When events spark a renewed interest in this process and its history, then The Future of Democracy should be high on one's reading list.
More so than most competing discussions, it synthesizes centuries of democratic principles and experiences into a lively history that is both readable and scholarly. While synthesizing a sweeping history from 6000 BC to modern times into a single, accessible volume might seem a daunting (or even impossible) goal, Steve Zolno achieves this with an inviting discussion of rules honed, lessons learned, reasons behind periods of stability and instability in democratic countries, and the lasting impact of revolutions.
This sets the stage for a contemporary examination of the foundations of and enactment processes of basic democracy, juxtaposing the effects of international economic and political forces, rules of power distribution and engagement, the presence or absence of democracy in various societies around the world, and differences between U.S. viewpoints and models and those of other nations.
Under Steve Zolno's hand, democracy is viewed as not just a political process, but a social process, as well. It's the added focus on the social impact of political institutions and applications that keep The Future of Democracy an unexpectedly lively production (unexpected because so many competing books about democracy tend to be dry, challenging reads).
Steve Zolno holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Science and a Masters in Educational Psychology, and is a management consultant, as well. Perhaps it's this background that lends so well to a discussion that is especially accessible to lay audiences who might not ordinarily choose a political history and discussion of democracy were it not for recent events, and who will find The Future of Democracy especially accessible: a recommended read whether the viewer is looking for a refresher course, an introduction, or a renewed connection between political and social perspectives.
The Future of Democracy
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Harold Lewis Longaker
Napoleon Avenue Publishing
5500 Prytania St. #411, New Orleans, LA 70115
Many books have focused on the nature and enactment of equality to the point that its counterpart, inequality, is bereft of analysis. Inequality: Darwinian Evolution and Disparity in the Wealth of Nations fills a gap in the literature by focusing on how cultural diversity and evolutionary processes have led to imbalances and imperfections, and discusses the path to becoming rich and how organisms and economics coalesce during the journey to wealth.
Chapters stress that the concept of human equality is itself false, and devote attention to creating a Darwinian evolutionary model that emphasizes this fact. The first prerequisite readers should thus have for a full appreciation of Harold Lewis Longaker's book is a prior basic working knowledge of Darwinian logic and perspectives. Such a background will lend a fuller appreciation as to why Inequality represents such a revolutionary reconsideration in contrast to traditional social and economic analyses and ideas of wealth.
The concept that wealth is a biologically adaptive evolutionary process may seem strange to most; but as Longaker makes his points and draws connections between biological, economic and social processes, readers gain insights based on combination of analysis of transition points, the world human history of making a living, and a better understanding of relationships between labor, status, and the notion of a sociobiological entity's origins and connections to culture.
It should be advised that Inequality: Darwinian Evolution and Disparity in the Wealth of Nations is not a light approach for a general-interest reader, but a scholarly, multidisciplinary inquiry suitable for college-level readers interested in better understanding the influences on institutional transitions and concepts of acquiring and managing wealth.
By applying modern evolutionary theory - a concept too often limited to the sciences - to factors of social change, influence, economics, and individual choice, Longaker offers the opportunity for a closer inspection not of ideals but of natural processes. Because this perspective is pointed, valuable, and weighty, it requires many hours of slow and thoughtful pursuit.
Inequality: Darwinian Evolution and Disparity in the Wealth of Nations is highly recommended reading for college-level audiences who would apply Darwinian principles beyond scientific processes, and who seek a greater, wider-ranging understanding of the concepts of equality and inequality and how they operate at both the sociological and economic levels in communities, individual lives, and society as a whole.
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Lies They Tell
In some ways, The Lies They Tell seems another cross-country travelogue, presenting Tuvia Tenenbom's travels through America to take the pulse of the nation's people - but given the timing of this publication and the national disconnect between peoples across the country, his examination could not have arrived at a better time.
The Lies They Tell is more than a travelogue of places adventures: it's a close inspection of American media, mental illness, stark differences between black ghettos and gated white communities, and the types of disconnects between not just classes, but different groups of people.
Even more important to note: it's an intense encounter with these enclaves and encampments because Tenenbom does more than just observe: he engages. One wouldn't think that an award-winning journalist with advanced degrees, honors, and a political column would be open to making the kind of journey that brings him into contact with robbers, skinheads, rednecks and drug dealers. That he was often a participant in their rituals also adds a level of depth and revelation no dispassionate journalistic approach could have achieved.
The author moves far from his comfort zone in the interests of probing the origins of a wide range of belief systems and approaches to life as he asks questions about the dangers America faces, and their origins.
From college students and politicians to crime lords and the racism of Jewish peoples, The Lies They Tell is a powerful and lively survey of what makes America a diverse and passionate a force in the world. It's recommended as a 'must read' for any who would begin to understand the schisms that divide our country today and their impact on the global community.
Very highly recommended for political and social issues readers alike, The Lies They Tell will captivate general-interest audiences with its impression of a light travel piece, but then will amaze with its questions and insights.
The Lies They Tell
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Just Talent: The Millennials Redefining Talent & Human Capital
P.O.D.S. Coaching, LLC
Not Just Talent: The Millennials Redefining Talent & Human Capital Management goes beyond most books that would define 'millennials' as a specific age group with somewhat different approaches to life: it maintains that these millennials, by redefining values and talent in business settings, are changing the nature of how business is conducted.
Where other business books adopt a general approach to discussing millennial influences in the workplace, Not Just Talent delves into specifics. It moves deftly from the definition and management of 'talent' and specific levels of engagement from HR administrators to managers, to the concept of "encouraged intrapreneurship" as a method of attracting visionary employees who are motivated not just by pay levels, but by the kinds of business environments that are designed to support opportunities for creativity and alternative applications of business structures and workplace culture.
Leading companies around the world have successfully adopted this concept, but its specific applications to and meaning for millennials is discussed here as one of the strategies that businesses can employ to identify shared needs, cultivate employee motivation, and build not just engaged employees, but visionary managers.
Part of the reason why this global perspective can be offered here is because author Philipe Bruce was born in The Republic of Togo of West Africa, is a business development coach with degrees from University of Nebraska, Bellevue University, and Peru College, and thus incorporates a global experience and attitude to the challenges facing the American workforce.
Many books discussing millennials in the workplace offer general perceptions, but because Philipe Bruce's book comes from real-world success stories, it asks some powerful questions: "Technology and innovation if left like they are go obsolete after a certain time period. It needs to be leveled up, it needs to be recharged. These two elements are crucial for the sustenance of valuable creativity and the resulting intrapreneurship organizations need to make the best use of the talent they have at hand. So how do you upgrade the level of creativity in the organization?"
The answer is obvious: business managers and owners should start here; with this book.
Not Just Talent: The Millennials Redefining Talent & Human Capital Management
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Joseph is Dead Ministries
4141 SE Jackson St
religious inspections and Biblical insights have helped readers
wide range of aspects of Jesus' life and times, so it's surprising to
rather large omission in the literature surrounding Jesus: his
Paul Schulz's Joseph is
Dead remedies this gap in knowledge with a focus on some
facts: "Jesus had a family, too, and its members were
influential people in
the Gospels. Inexplicably, they are mostly ignored by Bible expositors.
no one has noticed that one side of His family embraced Him, and the
completely rejected Him. Jesus had twelve apostles, including three
brothers, yet His own brothers were not among
happened to create these
situations, and truths about his family makeup and their influence and
participation in his life and crucifixion, make for a powerful analysis
a 'must' for Christians who would better understand the relationships
Jesus' family on earth and his family in heaven.
the fact that Mary was
Jesus' only pure-blooded relative and that Joseph vanished from the
after Jesus begin his ministry to God's understanding of family
and their impact ("God understands that family members do not
always see eye
to eye. Even Jesus didn’t take it upon Himself to preach to His kin
proper time for His ministry. He knew that His rejection by His
hometown was not
about Him, but about them. When the time comes for us to speak
to those who are familiar with us, if we experience rejection, we can
comforted by Jesus’ example. It’s not about us, so we can choose not to
personally. We are to avoid drama, not embrace it. It’s critical that
know God's priority for them is not to preach to others, but to love Him."),
chapters use Scripture to draw important links between Jesus' ministry,
families on Earth and in Heaven, and issues of family honor as Jesus
his special mission.
is unexpected in this
scholarly study is the depth of psychological depth and insight which
compliments Christian history and considerations of Jesus' life: "Jesus
four brothers, and they did nothing because of fear of being associated
Jesus. They resisted God's call and wanted their life to be expedient.
wanted His brothers to follow Him because of His deity, not because
ride His coattails and make life easier for Him. The moment of truth
Do they stand with their mother and believe her story and the miracles
performed, or do they try not to inflame a bad situation and stay
will wipe out their illusion of His will, as He does for many believers
trust in their perceptions. They hoped that Jesus would be accepted and
family honor would finally be realized in
Joseph is Dead beyond a religious inspection alone
to include elements of
psychological analysis and understanding as the account moves from a
consideration of Jesus' family relationships and their interactions to
evolution of dysfunctional teachings of the times (and different
interpretations of events today) that stray from God and Jesus'
Dead combines a scholarly tone with
insights that directly link
Biblical passages and messages to contemporary life issues and
concerns: "My intention is not to make things up, but to help
connect the reality of who these people were and the glorious grace
on them. I have come to understand that my words are worthless unless
some attachment to what matters, which is why it's important that we
to what actually happened in the resurrection, so it will power our
its publishing date
coinciding with Easter and the special importance of this date to
there is no better book to read for Easter than Joseph is Dead,
sweeping story of family relationships, political and social struggle,
and redemption that embodies the central message of Christian faith as
surveys pieces of the Scripture that create a very different story line
those commonly analyzed, ultimately considering family actions,
and the lasting promise of God and his son.
$12.95, Kindle $4.99
on the Mountain
will appeal to readers of spiritual fiction and spirituality, those who
philosophical parables, and new age audiences; especially those
new era of despair and hopelessness. It offers a message for each of
readers in the form of the fictional prophecy of an Ancient One who has
sleeping for 1,000 years, and whose awakening will lead the city people
oppression and pain to confront their demons and solve their
is the basic message of
a newly-awakened Ancient One who uses the lives of disparate
chronicle how this kind of awakening spirit moves differently in and
for each of
the beginning, Light
on the Mountain's atmosphere is ethereal and winding. There's
a sense of
uplifting energy and upward movement to the characters as they explore
awakening means to them, and there's also a survey of God's will,
answers and the forms they take, their impact, and a message of hope
streams from the Ancient One to mankind as a whole: "Know each
is born into
this world so they can reach higher. Here there is an opportunity to
Each is a soul who must travel through the many worlds to find
completion...Accept the Light and make your life an hour of
generalities of this
light and its bringer lend an 'everyman' feel of universality to the
considers the different effects of transformation on a disparate group
individuals. How soldiers and messengers react differently to these
and insights, for one example, is gently crafted into a story that
meaning for any spiritual thinker who could take virtually any
in the world and compare it to the enlightening force described in Light
difference lies in its
presentation: where other spiritual disciplines might detail a singular
enlightenment, Light on the Mountain contains a
that includes the perspective of the light-bringer as well as those
additional note is the
political impact of this spiritual force on the kingdom, and the issues
control and authority it raises: "...the Governors feared the
recognize them as the real source of their problems; revolt and take
was rightfully theirs....by each hour the situation grew more serious.
Governors sent a dispatch to Rado, "Events are growing worse. Quickly
Light and extinguish."
thoroughly appreciating this tale is a desire to question life's
meaning. Readers with such an interest will find Light on the
may look like a light read, with its fable format and 99 pages, but
powerful message that's particularly meaningful in these
a parable of hope and an
affirmation of the power of Light in the face of personal, political,
darkness, and its ability to both enlighten and entertain makes for a
combination that considers possible paths to a better
D. Paul Schulz
Joseph is Dead Ministries
4141 SE Jackson St
Milwaukie, Oregon 97222
Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
9780991577521 Paperback: $12.95, Kindle $4.99
The Industrial Diamond Murder
Softbound -- Amazon Createspace - $11.99
eBook – Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing - $6.99
Website/Ordering Link: www.jmmutter.com
At 2 a.m. the thugs find a teacher and work him over for not making interest payments on his gambling debt, dumping him in front of the E.R. after threatening him with further retribution if he doesn't quickly find a way to come up with the cash. How can he? But, then - how can he not?
Thus opens the dilemma posed in BOB The Industrial Diamond Murder, which immediately segues into the first day of a new assignment at Strella, an industrial diamond firm where consulting team manager Bob stumbles upon a dead business executive.
Magically, the entire firm seems to have disappeared into a ‘critical’ Executive Committee meeting. Circumstantial deduction would have it that the meeting members knew who did it. Bob can't prove that, but his team is put directly in the line of fire to solve the murder and he enters a world where he is out of his league and inexperienced, his reputation and his life on the line in more ways than one.
Bob has been floundering in both his career and personal life for some time. Perhaps a murder investigation is just what he needs to get back on track, and maybe company politics and interactions are about to get far more exciting than what a consultant usually encounters. As Bob becomes more personally involved with both the murder and his team members, explores a new romantic relationship, and probes ever deeper into the structure and subterfuge going on at Strella, he and his team make some startling discoveries that provide unexpected insights into not just the murder, but business operations and connections to the D.C netherworld of intelligence agencies and contractors.
Who actually controls the investigation, who holds the key to its success, and the threat that evolves from Bob and his team's relentless pursuit of the truth makes for a multi-faceted, winding story of espionage, duplicity and danger that embraces industrial diamonds, local politics, the complicated milieu of D.C., and black agencies and dark firms alike.
What do cars, transit systems, industrial interactions, murder, women and Bob have in common? The setting and progression of BOB The Industrial Diamond Murder are quite different than either the usual murder mystery or business novel and will attract audiences from both genres with its exquisitely complicated, twisting plot which is both unpredictable and compelling.
BOB The Industrial Diamond Murder
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Michael Weisberg, MD
9781483419978 $1.99 Kindle
Although The Hospitalist is fiction, its premise and tension offers much food for thought about the modern healthcare system as it combines a social commentary with insights on how doctors become thwarted by medical systems.
Diagnostic challenges, a schizophrenic patient who is only one of a number of ticking time bombs, the rigors of being an overworked gastroenterologist, and doctors who never really take care of patients are all powerfully presented in a medical novel that satirizes medical practices, insurance processes, dreams corrupted by the medical field, and more.
One of the unexpected pleasures in The Hospitalist is that its back cover blurb suggests a Robin Cook-style thriller and medical mystery; yet readers who enter the story anticipating action and entertainment will instead find the action takes place on a different level than a thriller usually offers, with the entertainment quickly turning into a social inspection of the medical system and how physicians and patients navigate its complex corridors.
There's suspense, humor, numerous characters and special interest groups, pointed commentary, and powerful reflections on work, ethics, and choice throughout the story line. As Aaron faces the temptation to return to being a healer without all the financial and political pressures of being a physician, he asks and faces some hard questions about doctors, patients, and their regulated environments.
Anyone with an interest in the medical community will find The Hospitalist a different kind of read that doesn't dilute its impact with casual tension, but probes for the deeper cancer at the heart of organizational processes. By choosing a fictional format, The Hospitalist makes far more of an impact in exploring these various pressures and the real-world special interests affecting a wide range of doctors, patients, and those who interact with them.
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Music and Mayhem Press
Natalie's Dilemma is the seventh book in the Frank Renzi series, and though prior familiarity with the characters and scenarios of the other books will lend an easy familiarity to this continuing story, this is not a prerequisite in order for newcomers to find it accessible and involving.
New Orleans Detective Frank Renzi is recovering from the death of a fellow investigator, former boss and cherished friend. At the same time, in Venice, Natalie thinks she has escaped her criminal past at last. A Mafia-organized diamond heist and the kidnapping of a young child leads an agent to forcefully engage her services as a spy, with the child's life hanging in the balance. Natalie and Frank both confront some difficult choices. Renzi faces the conflicts involved in apprehending Natalie, while she in turn realizes that if she flees to save herself, a child will die.
Readers will find that, like the other books in the series, the gritty atmosphere of place and a murder investigation come vividly to life through Frank's gruff demeanor and perceptions: "Feigning innocence, Ace said he had no clue why they had any interest in him. Frank told him to cut the shit and tell them where King Rock was. Ace claimed he hadn't seen him for weeks. They searched the apartment, found nothing to indicate King Rock had been there, and drove back to New Orleans. Because Rocket Man had fed him a load of crap."
Natalie presents quite a different character and situation. The descriptions of her tightrope walk between a savvy small child and danger deftly capture her experiences and the dangerous path she walks: "Colors were harmless enough, but others might not be. She wanted to talk to Pak Lam and formulate an escape plan, but not in front of Bianca. She sat on one of the easy chairs, took the iPhone out of her purse and composed a text. New plan is good, but guard is posted at the door. She hit send. “What are you doing?” Bianca said in Italian, pointing at the iPhone. “Sending a note to my friend.” “That man at the store where I ate my ice cream?” The words chilled her. Bianca was far too observant."
It's no easy task taking two very different characters, settings, and atmospheres and weaving them together, but Susan Fleet has done it before in her prior books, and in Natalie's Dilemma she poses an especially well-done story line that successfully intersperses the emotions and perspectives of individuals who each face the different, challenging implications of their actions.
In a way, Natalie's Dilemma is also Frank's dilemma; for their seemingly disparate choices pose similar quandaries. With its sporadic gun battles, cat-and-mouse games, themes of rescue and entrapment operating on different emotional and physical levels, and a series of murders and narrow escapes, Natalie's Dilemma will delight fans of intrigue and thrillers, and is especially recommended for audiences who seek added special flavor of ethical dilemmas in the course of their crime read.
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People's Lives Matter
What leads a person to join civil rights causes, fight for the underdog, and join movements that acknowledge and validate the injustices that plague lower-class American lives? What would lead a tireless, passionate woman to become disillusioned with this process; and what impact will this have on an idealistic young family member generations later, who cultivates her own convictions that all people's lives matter, and decides to actively support her conviction?
All People's Lives Matter provides an engrossing portrait of poverty, rebellion, and idealistic efforts on the part of a middle-class white girl whose family legacy of strong women who made a difference in life weighs heavily on her shoulders. Though her parents encourage her to follow in their footsteps, they didn't anticipate that the cause their daughter would choose would be one destined to both reflect the activist roots of her family and simultaneously break with tradition, exposing family deceptions that have long been hidden.
America is the land of the free, with justice for all - or, is it? As various characters in All People's Lives Matter interact with the authorities and structures that glue all levels of American society together, it becomes evident that, on many levels, all people's lives aren't equal, and don't necessarily matter.
Choices are made on different sides; and how poverty, conspiracy, bribes, and even murder evolve makes for a gripping plot that presents powerful questions to its readers and makes potent demands upon its different characters, forced to consider the nature of their own options, choices, and battles.
All People's Lives Matter is a microcosm of social injustice and struggle in modern-day America. It should be high on the reading lists of anyone who would read about struggles for justice, peace, and the pursuit of happiness in this country.
All People's Lives Matter
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Atheist and the Parrotfish
Evolved Publishing LLC
The Atheist and the Parrotfish is difficult to neatly categorize and changes its perspective in a delightful manner; much in the nature of the parrotfish in real life, whose development involves several dramatic changes in color.
For twice-divorced kidney specialist Cullen, this involves life-changing moves in his relationships with people and with God. Enter his cross-dressing transplant patient Ennis, who suddenly begins to exhibit the characteristics and persona of his female organ donor, displaying a knowledge only she could have known.
Suddenly Cullen's world is challenged by more than angst and alienation as it's presented with proof of a soul's existence and all the religious challenges and realizations that comes with such proof, leading Cullen himself to move from atheism to a form of parrotfish behavior at one of the biggest pivot points in his life.
As Ennis confronts his alternate transgender personality and inherited soul, he and Cullen move on parallel paths of self-discovery and catastrophic enlightenment that challenge any potential for peace and bring both to the crushing edge of insanity.
One striking aspect of Richard Barager's novel is its delicate ability to weave medical intrigue with the tone of a Robin Cook thriller into the bigger picture of social and religious inspection. His characters consider miracles, personal transformation, and sexual revelations as concurrent pieces of a process that stymies not just their personal growth, but the foundations of their set belief systems.
As events spiral beyond their control, readers are introduced to a questioning process that challenges them to consider the disparate paths of personal change and the possibilities of medical and religious realms intersecting in unusual ways. All these facets, especially the winding commentary on transgender identity and evidence of a soul, could easily have become confusing, especially when given an added shot of intrigue and the elements of a medical mystery; but under Barager's pen the logic of events and the evolution of personalities and new beliefs are impeccably drawn, and fascinating.
This is not to say that The Atheist and the Parrotfish is an undemanding read: in fact, it demands of its readers a level of flexibility that involves different considerations of God and medicine. Those who enjoy a mix of medical thriller, social inspection, and an ethical and moral conundrum will find this that The Atheist and the Parrotfish pairs all these elements with powerful psychological insights that lead readers to become unexpectedly moved by the plights affecting two very different lives.
The Atheist and the Parrotfish is especially recommended for readers of medical thrillers who demand an extra level of spiritual and moral inquiry from their fiction reading.
The Atheist and the Parrotfish
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Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959)
David J. Castello
533 Church St., Suite 356, Nashville, TN 37219
9781483578620 $17.99 paper/$2.99 Kindle
The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) tells of twenty-one-year-old U.S. Army combat medic Steven, who escapes death during World War Two after he discovers an immortality formula during the liberation of a concentration camp.
He begins consuming the formula, finds that his aging process has been halted, and then realizes that all his dreams are possible - forever. The formula also endows him with supernatural powers and special talents as well as the terrible burden of prophetic visions of the future. These lead him on a religious journey to discover the truth about the celestial origins of Jesus and Steven's own evolving role as a possible second messiah.
With so many events and subplots taking place, it's difficult to easily categorize The Diary of an Immortal. Readers move from the legacy of World War II and Hitler's experiments to a scenario in which Steven is transformed and given a new mission in life in a saga replete with political overtones, spiritual insights, and elements of new age thinking, fantasy, and horror.
Most political, social, and romantic scenarios in life are dictated by the promise of "as long we live." But Steven's life is now endless - and so are possibilities and dilemmas, as a result. With immortality a certainty, wherein lies in the meaning in a life without death?
Under another hand, some of the juxtapositions of history, social commentary, and spiritual and personal parts could have received a more casual coverage. One of the points to note in David J. Castello's novel is its attention to detail, which may stymie readers who expect nonstop action and an ongoing focus over the science and challenges of immortality versus the underlying history that created this scenario.
Readers who enjoy depth, however, will appreciate the injection of detail that explains the moral dilemmas Steven newly faces as an immortal.
This caution aside, The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) is a powerful story of a man grappling with immortality, presenting a progression of characters who each find their lives and values challenged by an encounter with Steven and the possibilities of an immortality option that revises and eliminates death from life's bigger picture.
The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959)
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Can a teenage daughter's blossoming career and life affect and change her father's downward spiral? Can her ideals turn him from a company doctor accused of corruption to someone with a greater purpose in life?
The Game Changer asks these questions and more as it tells of Henk van Wijnen-Swarttouw, whose self-made life and questionable ethics go awry and spiral into public attention just as his daughter graduates high school, begins a sabbatical, and uses her newfound freedom between schools to craft both her art and her ideals, bringing father Henk along for the ride.
As if this weren't challenge enough, Julia becomes embroiled in an affair and a psychiatrist enters the picture, determined to break any unhealthy bonds between father and daughter. Issues of art, obsession, and social revolution coalesce into an explosive set of encounters that change all characters in unexpected ways.
Readers should be aware that The Game Changer is no light story: juggling four underlying themes in one novel is no easy task, and under a different pen, the result could have been chaos. But as Dave Dröge offers subplot after subplot and deftly ties together the strings of disparate lives, purposes, and perceptions, the psychology of a world outwardly affected by burglaries and intrigue (and inwardly motivated by ego, greed, and struggles to survive) makes for a winding, compelling atmosphere that leads readers to wonder where it's going, and to delight in the routes it chooses.
The foundations of this saga are solid, and The Game Changer's complexity and evolution make it a recommended novel for those who enjoy their psychology complex and their social issues realistic, with a dash of intrigue thrown in for good measure.
The Game Changer
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Bolton is a
few years shy of thirty,
happily married, and secure in the knowledge that she is adopted, until
a TV reality show encourages her to locate her biological father, only
to find out that she has a large, very different kind of family on the
other side of the country.
What prompts a 'good girl' to consider dark behaviors under different conditions? Did Marianna have this dark side to her psyche before; or did it develop in response to her encounters with her 'other family' and their very different values? More importantly: once she lets the beast out, can she return to her old life, if she so chooses?
In some ways Her Other Family is a real surprise as Marianna takes a nearly 180-degree turn in the course of her life and in her personality. As the story line progresses, readers learn that what has initially seemed the structure and focus of her life actually has been only part of her persona.
The transition from building one kind of character into a personality facing some of the biggest changes of her life is well done, leading readers through an unexpected series of choices as Marianna's history and rationales are slowly revealed.
Readers who enjoy psychological depth to their novels and who appreciate receiving many unpredictable twists not just in a story line, but in a protagonist's psyche, will find Her Other Family a well-done, powerful tale that excels in the kind of psychological depth that's hard to find in a typical novel of a young woman's changing path and choices in life.
Her Other Family
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978-0692826218 $12.99 for print and $5.99 for ebook
Odyssey Greene's erotic experience opens a romance that centers upon her dreams and the reality of relationship with her husband, so in a matter of a few pages readers learn a lot about a passionate Christian woman whose submissive attitude limits her life and options even as it provides stability and a home. Though she has a say in decisions, her husband has the final word in their lives - and she knows how to get much of what she wants despite this disparity in their relationship.
They love each other, they have a young child, and yet Julius is angry, violent, and frightening, too many times. All this is about to change even as Odyssey struggles to make their eight-year marriage continue to work while asking herself why she chooses to stay with him.
The foundation has been laid for an illicit affair when a sexy lieutenant enters her life and provides her with options and attention she's not experienced before; but what about her strong moral and ethical sentiments? At what point does personal salvation and pleasure override family commitment even when the choices seem clear?
As Odyssey fine-tunes her rising feelings, her husband's abusive actions force her to realize that her choices and options aren't as concrete as she'd thought, and readers become immersed in the story of how a woman begins to emerge from a centrifuge of abuse that has slowly consumed her life: "...as she stood there looking at her husband, at the man she laid up with day in and day out for the last eight years of her life, a feeling so true, so powerful and real came over her and she began chuckling. “I hate you.”
A final proofreading or better editing will undoubtedly make many of these otherwise-striking sentences seamless in this work in progress ("I hate you.” She said shaking her head."), but the overall result is a fine saga of passion, growth, revelation and mortal and ethical challenges that lead a committed family woman to question her future course of action in both romance and family ties.
As Odyssey moves from devoted wife to consider other options, Tessa Stone clearly outlines the logical course of this growth process and successfully navigates her story beyond that of a passionate affair and into a carefully considered account filled with psychological depth and detail, making Illicit a recommendation for romance readers seeking both spicy scenes and thought-provoking, life-changing stories of already-strong women on the cusp of transformation.
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Train and Other Stories
H. Arlo Nimmo
Night Train and Other Stories opens with 'Tinfoil Angels,' a powerful saga of the start of World War II for America, with the invasion of Pearl Harbor and its impact upon a young boy. As the protagonist experiences life on an army base and forms an obsession over collecting tin foil 'for the cause,' his life some sixty years later comes full circle as an obsession turns into memories of the war years that reveals an unexpected consequence of his tinfoil collection efforts.
'Loss at Sea' is the second story in the collection and brings readers to Hawaii, where the protagonist conducts graduate studies in anthropology and, inadvertently, human psychology as a professor changed by a summer in Tahiti becomes an object of fascination. A ship's loss at sea again changes the professor as the protagonist/observer looks on and marvels at the impact of life's events.
As readers wind through Night Train and Other Stories, they come to realize that these vignettes are slices of life that transcend either autobiography or literature, presenting a relentless train ride through connections lost and found.
These stories capture marvelous slices of life that depict the intersection between personal experience and lives changed by circumstance and political affairs. They chart solitary journeys, encounters with other cultures, small acts of kindnesses between strangers, and conundrums of survival, duty, and choice.
With the relentless staccato progression of a rail ride, Night Train and Other Stories takes ordinary encounters and considers the roots of their happiness and sorrow, paralleling their lasting impact with past and present evolutionary processes. Readers of short stories who enjoy vignettes that pack in-the-moment emotion into deeper considerations of social justice and political affairs will find these well-seasoned stories just the ticket.
Night Train and Other Stories
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Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel
Curtain Call Press
978-0-9984830-1-6 $3.99/Free with Kindle Unlimited
Author Erin Bomboy trained as a classical ballet dancer before entering the field of competitive ballroom dancing, so the scenarios and feel of these different dancer's worlds are realistically portrayed and vividly alive in a manner no outside author could achieve in both this ballet novel, The Piece, and her ballroom dancing story The Winner.
The Piece provides many details on behind-the-scenes ballet dancing challenges which range from eating disorders to impossibly grueling dance training and routines: issues outlined in many ballet novels and well familiar to any aspiring ballet dancer who undertakes the profession.
But the focus on young Elinor's efforts to be a winning dancer despite the fact that she doesn't hold the skills to be a star juxtaposes nicely with her emotional growth as she learns better control of not just her body, but her feelings and interactions with others.
From the opening paragraph, the young dancer's love/hate relationship with ballet is strikingly outlined: "I measured time by the color of my leotards. In ballet, the days were interchangeable: class before rehearsal with only performances to liven up the monotony. To create beauty, I committed to boredom, finding pleasure in doing the same thing over and over until it matched an ideal that didn’t exist."
Where other dance novels would observe the progression of training and present chapters as a series of grand jetés leaping towards the final conclusion, The Piece takes its time to explore characters, motivations, and dance challenges in a manner designed to appeal to both newcomers to the dance floor and those already well versed in its demands.
Elinor is a "shattered angel" who is in love with a married man: a move that is headed for disaster on more than one level, and she toys with failure as she makes choices that involve a gentler form of self-inflicted 'cutting' with a very controlled, conscious purpose in mind: "I wasn’t going to carve words into my skin or burn myself. Life was too long for such permanence. I didn’t want to do anything that would worry others, their whispered conversations and gentle interventions a precursor to a regimen of drugs that would render me fat and docile."
Readers who anticipate a gentle story of evolving ballet prowess and the world of ballet pressures will find many unexpected facets in The Piece, which crafts a captivating story of a young dancer's love for a sad, manipulative, angry man, reasons for abuse, and her rationale for staying: "Love was supposed to be like dancing. Transcendence through the pain and pleasure of passion.”
Can Elinor evolve her true artistic talents in the face of such a relationship? The Piece is a powerful blend of dance and love that is a compellingly vivid story highly recommended for romance readers seeking more depth from their stories than most romance genre novels offer.
The Piece: A Contemporary Ballet Novel
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$14.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle
What happens when a sociopath decides to become the most famous killer in history, challenging the fame of Jack the Ripper and other serial murderers? What happens when his heroes serve as goals, to be superseded by a greater achievement? A dangerous manhunt and story of madness lead an FBI agent and his wife on a deadly hunt which becomes more personal when the elusive killer targets his hunter.
An affinity for gruesome murders and a man's evolving mental disorder which produces a penchant for serial killer history will lend to an appreciation of this murder investigation, which alternates between the killer's perspective and that of his pursuers. As "Breedlove" alternates between personas and a savvy investigator narrows the search to identify him, not only do the bodies pile up, but the killer's deft ability to pit various FBI forces against one another through careful doubt and sly maneuvers makes for an engrossing cat-and-mouse game that couples a fast-paced series of events with vivid encounters not only between killer and prey, but between investigators.
This attention to dual subplots adds an extra, unexpected dimension to Serial K, creating a story that is replete with tension and psychological depth. Between setups, traps, savvy perceptions, and deadly games, Serial K offers a series of scenarios that are satisfyingly unpredictable and lend to some vivid associations.
with powerful forces pulling characters in different directions at any
given point in the story line, Serial K is a
satisfyingly absorbing read for any interested in murder investigations
and mysteries that hold no obvious path to easy resolution.
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Beauty Tells Me
Three stories of three different people linked by music - an opera-loving teenager, a middle-aged country music has-been, and a retired violinist - join two novellas that also feature very different dilemmas in What Beauty Tells Me. At first glance these worlds seem disparate and distant from each other; but one of the special attributes of What Beauty Tells Me is an attention to detail that weaves together the connections between seemingly-isolated individual lives to form a greater perspective on the mechanics of choice and the impact of decisions.
An introductory novella, The Innocent Alone Crave Justice, opens this collection, while the title novella sums up the end. The opening story revolves around a military traitor consigned to prison for his actions and the protagonist's discovery, years later, of proof of the man's innocence. Now what? The ethical dilemma and considerations of this discovery are precisely outlined: "It has been asked whether the youngest lieutenant-colonel in the army, the brilliant head of the Section of Statistics, intended to keep secret his discovery in order to profit from it later. To that I can reply in the negative. First, I will freely admit my ambition, but I can assure you I was not overly concerned that the ass to whom I reported would be able to out-maneuver me and claim the credit for himself."
The process through which the protagonist makes determinations about who is the traitor and how circumstances evolved (and what to do next) makes for an intriguing read.
This introductory piece segues into other individual processes of growth much like a play or an opera's drama, with each story adding a chapter to a bigger picture of challenge, recovery, and reinvention. Each character has the potential for building or rebuilding his or her life; and each stands at a pivot point where something (or someone) enters their staid existence to change their perceptions.
Subtle romances, deep disguises, and the pursuit of happiness and personal profit all coalesce in stories that are slices of life when taken individually and part of a larger image when pieced together - a picture that chronicles the costs of dedication, passion, purpose, and lives divided by misery and love alike.
Readers seeking literary pieces that excel in subtle drama, thought-provoking scenarios, and characters forced to confront their own choices, promises, and actions will find the blend of psychological, social insight, and interpersonal interactions in What Beauty Tells Me are impeccably drawn, revealing approaches that take historical fact and inject personal insight into wider-ranging stories of hope and revelation.
What Beauty Tells Me
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We Never Had
A Vireo Book | Rare Bird Books
Josh is out of college and drifting - and not just in his work life, where he's stuck in a dead-end job in Los Angeles as a high school tutor, barely making ends meet. His dreams of being an actor are over, he's in a dysfunctional relationship with woman, and life seems to hold an endless series of obstacles and disappointments.
Under another author's hand, What We Never Had could have all too easily descended into depression and angst; but by starting at the bottom and working his way up, Zach Wyner instead presents an ultimately positive vision of how purpose, direction, and achievement take place in life. His portrait of newly adult Josh and the paths he chooses to find his purpose offers a compelling portrait of a young man at a crossroads who can only see one linear direction on his road.
Part of the reason why What We Never Had is so compelling is Wyner's language and description, which deftly captures fragile moments in life and philosophy and analyzes their underlying logic and outcome: "... it wasn’t as if you were looking for an LA bar scene aficionado. The chief qualities you sought were curiosity and tolerance, someone who might be initially charmed by your savvy, experience, and history of moderately self-destructive behavior, but someone who would ultimately inspire transformation, cure you of your penchant for dive bars. You knew that you’d miss it terribly— the singular excitement of embarking on a night out as a single person, drinking and driving through a make-believe realm of endless possibility. But you wanted love. And in none of your fantasies was the recipient of your love a party animal. She wasn’t supposed to know the bartenders by name or get copped rounds on the house. You wanted a novice, someone comfortable amongst the corrupted, but willful and ambitious enough to resist their traps."
It's this almost poetic ability to capture and analyze the moment and the fragments of life that pass through crisis, relationships, choices, and consequences that keep What We Never Had alive and moving through a post-college world where one door has shut and the next remains ajar, facing both possibilities and the unknown.
Readers with an affinity for humor, poetic language, and an unusual narrative approach that uses the form "you" to capture life's subtler nuances will find this novel to be unerringly precise and pointed in its protagonist's journey through the netherworld that often represents the post-college condition.
What We Never Had
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Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel
Curtain Call Press
978-0-9984830-4-7 $3.99/Free with Kindle Unlimited
The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel takes place during one of the most prestigious ballroom dance competitions in the U.S. and profiles two former co-workers and friends who face more than dancing prowess in a contest that tests their morals and ethics as well as their resiliencies.
Chapters alternate between Nina and Carly's lives and perspectives as the competition and its temptations unfold. The technique of dual narrators and viewpoints emphasizes the disparate lives and approaches to the competition and paves the way for an evocative, absorbing consideration of the different ways men and people in positions of power control women and those who rely on them for emotional and professional support.
These underlying themes take the ballroom competition scenario and place it more than a cut above the usual story of dancers striving for success, considering the fundamentals of ambition, achievement, and the contrasts in experience between a young, budding dancer on the cusp of her career and an older one who is about to participate in her last professional competition.
One might expect that a prior affinity for dancing in general and ballroom dance in particular would lend to an appreciation of this story; but in fact The Winner holds no prerequisites to prove educational, enjoyable, and engrossing.
Women who love dance stories will be the primary audience of The Winner, but it holds potential to reach beyond the "leisure beach read" audience. By having the focus on not just dance's demanding routines, exercise, and hard work but on each dancer's ethical and personal dilemmas, The Winner evolves into a winding saga of dance partnerships and human relationships where everyone has a lot to win or lose: "Knowing the weight of Trey's burden intensified my role in the partnership. If I wasn't good enough, then a whole lot of people lost. And they were going to lose a lot more than a shiny medal."
The Winner: A Ballroom Dance Novel
Return to Index
Beat on Ruby’s Street Barnes
& Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ Kobo:
1958, and preteen Ruby lives
in Greenwich Village with her Beat Generation artist parents when she's
off the streets on her way to a Kerouac poetry reading by police who
trying to steal fruit from a fruit cart. Things quickly go downhill,
Ruby had the best intentions, and the sassy girl finds herself suddenly
a very different life. Ruby
has always held high ideals,
gained from her parents ("I guess you could say we’re trying
to break out of
the old world and start a new one. But that’s not something you can
explain to a
social worker or policeman. They think the old world is just fine."),
now these ideals have to live, thrive, and grow far from their familiar
zone origins. As
Ruby and her friends challenge
authority, face the consequences of their ideals and determination, and
social norms with revolutionary thinking and perceptions, readers are
into the sentiments and political and social struggles of this bygone
through Ruby's first-person observations. What
makes The Beat on Ruby’s
Street a standout from many is its attention to capturing the
conflicting atmosphere of Beat Generation idealists and their clashes
traditional thinking patterns. Characters on both sides are clearly
along with how they perceive the world and the reasons behind their
choices. These disparate sides weave nicely into Ruby's evolving sense
herself and her place in each of these worlds. From
her urgent need to see
Nell-mom and Gary Daddy-o married to her changed relationship with her
and her new living situation, Ruby not only defies the norm, but
that's expected of her from both beat and traditional
are the facets that make
The Beat on Ruby’s Street a compelling read for
preteen through adult
readers. The story of a sassy, determined young protagonist who
world against all odds makes for an absorbing, vivid story that's hard
and It Grows on Trees! It's
Only Money and It Grows on
Trees! represents economics wrapped in a different cloak:
that of a 139-page
introductory story for kids that goes far beyond a discussion of
planning and moves deftly into the realms of underlying attitudes about
scarcity, austerity, hoarding, and social responsibility. The
tone and approach of It's
Only Money eschews the usual historical and economic treatise
evolution to adopt a satisfyingly different dialogue that uses a
format to help all ages understand the foundations of money and the
behind its acquisition and use. The
setting for this story is a
classroom where a teacher encourages students to learn about money
Chapters juxtapose lofty ideals about money with down-to-earth
young characters who learn about the evolution of financial systems
survey that excels in adopting a realistic, chatty tone as it explores
interactions between young students: "Amal spoke up. “Gandhi
teaches us that
wealth is responsibility. We may pursue wealth, but we must do so with
values. Greed is wrong. It’s like what David said—we must develop
develop our wealth.” “So, why does he look like such a dork?” asked
human rights issues and ways
in which those from different cultures and religions are taught about
dissimilar family approaches to borrowing and managing finances,
interact in an unexpectedly personal manner in this story, injecting
element and social concerns into the bigger picture of money management
other books would
depersonalize this process, Cara MacMillan excels in returning the
elements of interaction, lifestyle contrasts, and social interaction
subject that too often is presented as a cut-and-dry series of
formulas and theories. In short: the human piece of the financial
returned to center field. The
underlying wisdom (that how
money is perceived translates to making different choices in how it's
draws important (and too seldom seen) connections between financial and
wisdom. In contrasting student viewpoints and different perceptions
use of money, MacMillan provides much food for thought in a survey that
used for personal pursuit as well as classroom discussion. While
It's Only Money is
directed to elementary readers and above, many an adult will want to
for its clear connections between money and human lives, its simple
of financial terms and approaches that are too often overly complex in
discussions, and for its satisfying injection of moral and ethical
considerations surrounding money. All these include facets make It's
Money a unique standout highly recommended for all ages: a
financially savvy book that's sorely needed in today's
Finds a Home Lucy
puts her paws on her
basket and views an amazing world just outside of hers, and so she
the side and enters a forest where she embarks on a search for home,
encountering many new animals and strange things. Lucy
Home is a fun picture book story of
a little kitten who samples
a variety of homes in the course of her quest, finding that each forest
abode holds something both alluring and dismaying. Each
animal is generous, but
as their homes ultimately fail to appeal to her, Lucy begins to despair
tragedy hits and spirals her into danger. Will she ever find a place
call her own? Cute,
drawings by Bryce Westervelt of very simple, appealing animals
heart-warming story line based on the real 'Lucy,' who is part of the
family, providing young picture book readers and their read-aloud
parents with a
simple saga of a kitten discovering its place in the
very young will find it a
charming, gentle animal story with a message about where 'home' really
Dragon Moon Press
978-1988256184 $13.95 paper; $2.99 Kindle
The Beat on Ruby’s Street
Return to Index
Cara MacMillan, MBA
Halcyon Consulting Publication
978-0-9939863-1-4 $11.99 Print/$2.99 Kindle
It's Only Money and It Grows on Trees!
Return to Index
Lucy Finds a Home
Return to Index
Beat on Ruby’s Street
& Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/
It's 1958, and preteen Ruby lives in Greenwich Village with her Beat Generation artist parents when she's grabbed off the streets on her way to a Kerouac poetry reading by police who think she's trying to steal fruit from a fruit cart. Things quickly go downhill, even though Ruby had the best intentions, and the sassy girl finds herself suddenly leading a very different life.
Ruby has always held high ideals, gained from her parents ("I guess you could say we’re trying to break out of the old world and start a new one. But that’s not something you can explain to a social worker or policeman. They think the old world is just fine."), but now these ideals have to live, thrive, and grow far from their familiar comfort zone origins.
As Ruby and her friends challenge authority, face the consequences of their ideals and determination, and juggle social norms with revolutionary thinking and perceptions, readers are brought into the sentiments and political and social struggles of this bygone world through Ruby's first-person observations.
What makes The Beat on Ruby’s Street a standout from many is its attention to capturing the dual and conflicting atmosphere of Beat Generation idealists and their clashes with traditional thinking patterns. Characters on both sides are clearly portrayed, along with how they perceive the world and the reasons behind their actions and choices. These disparate sides weave nicely into Ruby's evolving sense of herself and her place in each of these worlds.
From her urgent need to see Nell-mom and Gary Daddy-o married to her changed relationship with her parents and her new living situation, Ruby not only defies the norm, but everything that's expected of her from both beat and traditional societies.
These are the facets that make The Beat on Ruby’s Street a compelling read for preteen through adult readers. The story of a sassy, determined young protagonist who re-creates her world against all odds makes for an absorbing, vivid story that's hard to put down.
and It Grows on Trees!
It's Only Money and It Grows on Trees! represents economics wrapped in a different cloak: that of a 139-page introductory story for kids that goes far beyond a discussion of financial planning and moves deftly into the realms of underlying attitudes about scarcity, austerity, hoarding, and social responsibility.
The tone and approach of It's Only Money eschews the usual historical and economic treatise on money's evolution to adopt a satisfyingly different dialogue that uses a storytelling format to help all ages understand the foundations of money and the psychology behind its acquisition and use.
The setting for this story is a classroom where a teacher encourages students to learn about money basics. Chapters juxtapose lofty ideals about money with down-to-earth observations from young characters who learn about the evolution of financial systems through a survey that excels in adopting a realistic, chatty tone as it explores interactions between young students: "Amal spoke up. “Gandhi teaches us that wealth is responsibility. We may pursue wealth, but we must do so with the right values. Greed is wrong. It’s like what David said—we must develop ourselves to develop our wealth.” “So, why does he look like such a dork?” asked Sean."
From human rights issues and ways in which those from different cultures and religions are taught about money to dissimilar family approaches to borrowing and managing finances, students interact in an unexpectedly personal manner in this story, injecting the human element and social concerns into the bigger picture of money management choices.
Where other books would depersonalize this process, Cara MacMillan excels in returning the personal elements of interaction, lifestyle contrasts, and social interaction into a subject that too often is presented as a cut-and-dry series of dispassionate formulas and theories. In short: the human piece of the financial equation is returned to center field.
The underlying wisdom (that how money is perceived translates to making different choices in how it's used) draws important (and too seldom seen) connections between financial and worldly wisdom. In contrasting student viewpoints and different perceptions about the use of money, MacMillan provides much food for thought in a survey that can be used for personal pursuit as well as classroom discussion.
While It's Only Money is directed to elementary readers and above, many an adult will want to pursue it for its clear connections between money and human lives, its simple explanations of financial terms and approaches that are too often overly complex in adult discussions, and for its satisfying injection of moral and ethical considerations surrounding money. All these include facets make It's Only Money a unique standout highly recommended for all ages: a well-rounded, financially savvy book that's sorely needed in today's world.
Finds a Home
Lucy puts her paws on her basket and views an amazing world just outside of hers, and so she scampers over the side and enters a forest where she embarks on a search for home, encountering many new animals and strange things.
Lucy Finds a Home is a fun picture book story of a little kitten who samples a variety of homes in the course of her quest, finding that each forest animal's abode holds something both alluring and dismaying.
Each animal is generous, but as their homes ultimately fail to appeal to her, Lucy begins to despair when tragedy hits and spirals her into danger. Will she ever find a place she can call her own?
Cute, full-color, large-size drawings by Bryce Westervelt of very simple, appealing animals accompany simple, heart-warming story line based on the real 'Lucy,' who is part of the author's family, providing young picture book readers and their read-aloud parents with a simple saga of a kitten discovering its place in the world.
The very young will find it a charming, gentle animal story with a message about where 'home' really is located.