Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Spotlight: Cathead Crazy by Rhett DeVane

My friend Rhett DeVane has a new book out. I'm so excited for her. Every book of hers I've read, I have loved. Here's more about her latest Southern fiction release.

How does one middle-aged woman juggle her roles as wife, mother, coworker, and caretaker and resist the urge to drive, one-way, from town? Hannah Olsen daydreams of such an escape.Hannah belongs to the sandwich generation, one of many women wedged between nurturing children and caring for aging parents. Her elderly mother Mae-who lives nearby in an assisted living facility-is at times profound and funny, or bullish and ill-tempered. Hannah balances her reality with Mae's often demented view, with hilarious and bittersweet results. Though Hannah allows her two siblings to contribute, she shoulders the majority of Mae's care as they negotiate a maze of hospital rooms and rehab units. Cathead Crazy is the poignant, amusing, and truthful story of one woman's determined journey through love, loss, and the surprises of mid-life.

"In 'Cathead Crazy,' Rhett DeVane tells Hannah’s story with grace, sweet-and-sour reality, humor during hard times, and a heaping helping of the down-home Florida Panhandle lifestyle. Immensely readable, this novel is about a family caught in the crosshairs of the difficult choices everyone with aging parents will ultimately face. Even so, there are still good days, laughter and memories that will serve well for a lifetime.

Rhett DeVane knows the territory, and she has made of it a moving story with realistic, multidimensional characters with universal cares and needs who try their best to navigate life without going 'cathead crazy.'

The eight recipes, including 'Ma-Mae’s Buttermilk Cathead Biscuits,' are a mouthwatering extra treat."

--Malcolm's Round Table


As a native of the South, Rhett DeVane pens fiction that draws readers into the region--its people, its color, its flavor. She is the author of four southern fiction novels set in the Panhandle of Florida: The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate, Up the Devil's Belly,Mama's Comfort Food, and Cathead Crazy.

Rhett coauthored a political drama, Accidental Ambition with retired state of Florida senator Robert McKnight.The novel won a Premier Book Award for 2010. A vampire parody, Evenings on Dark Island, was coauthored with Larry Rock.

Humor provides a continuous thread in all of her writing, regardless of the genre. Rhett seeks to tell stories with heart, in ways to entertain and uplift. In her words, "I try to shed a little light in this dark world."

Come join Rhett on the front porch. You'll feel as if you're among friends. She'll save you a rocker, a cathead biscuit and a glass of sweet tea.

Visit Rhett's website for news of upcoming releases and a taste of the Deep South at its best.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review: Banana Split by Josi Kilpack

Sadie Hoffmiller needs this vacation. The last year and a half of her life has been one non-stop trial and tribulation, and after Boston, everyone hopes the time away will help her.

When she discovers the body of a young woman near Anahola Beach, her time off goes out the window; especially when the woman's son finds her and wants Sadie's help to figure out what happened to his mother. 

I haven't read any of the other culinary cozy mystery novels in this series, but I kept hearing about them. So, when Tristi Pinkston emailed me to see if I was interested in reviewing this book, I hopped at the chance.

Sadie's previous adventures in crime solving--and especially her time in Boston--have left her afraid and triple-locking her doors. Even being in paradise hasn't been the ideal medicine.

Invited by the Blue Muumuus to go snorkeling, little does Sadie know how much this dreaded trip is going to change her life. After a panic attack, she discovers the body of a known drug addict. The official investigation seems to be going in one direction, but after meeting the woman's son, Charlie, she's not so sure the police are looking at it the right way. For Charlie's sake she works to uncover the truth.

Banana Split is a page-turning read with a sea full of twists and turns. Just when you think you've figured out what happens, another clue leads you in a new direction. I honestly didn't see the ending coming.

Kilpack masterfully creates wonderful characters whose lives you soon become invested in. I can easily see why this series is so popular. Cozy mysteries are always fun, especially when you have a reluctant sleuth. Sadie definitely fits this bill. In addition, the reader will sympathize with her desire to get well again, while they applaud the support given to her by her family and friends. I also love how the author includes recipes from the story in her book.

My one tiny nitpick is that the events in Boston are kept so secret in this novel.In the previous book, Pumpkin Roll, she found herself involved in another mystery that based upon the references made to them in Banana Split, caused a good deal of Sadie's distress and was a reason her family encouraged her to go on this vacation. It's frustrating to know Boston played such a huge role in Sadie going away, but never really knowing even the tiniest part of why. It's the only aspect of the book I was disappointed with, and I would definitely read more from this author, but I came away feeling gypped.

If you like cozies with great characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing, you'll want to pick up a copy of Banana Split by Josi Kilpack.

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain (March 6, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1609089030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609089030
  • SRP:  $18.99

  • I received a FREE paperback of this book from the author or her representative in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

    This is the twenty-first book I've read the for the following challenge:

    It is the fourteenth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the sixth book I've read for the following challenge:

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Book Review: No Bells by F. M. Meredith

    Long the butt of the police department's jokes, Gordon Butler never seems to catch a break. He gets sent on the oddest calls and manages to end up in some rather strange situations. It looks like his luck might be changing, though.

    A routine traffic stop introduces Gordon to Benay Weiss, a local hair stylist. He thinks he's finally found the love he's been seeking. But when Benay's best friend, Geri, is reported missing and then found dead, Benay soon becomes a prime suspect. Gordon puts his job on the line to prove her innocence.

    I've read all the books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Gordon has been my favorite character since he was introduced. I am so thrilled No Bells spotlights this great character.

    The point of this series and what F.M. Meredith has always done well, is to show how the job impacts family life and vice versa. Even though we've gotten some glimpse of Gordon's personal life in previous books--the way his marriage broke apart, his falling in love with a fellow officer, and his living with Detective Doug Milligan--the reader didn't get a chance to see a whole lot of Gordon outside of his job. This book changes all that. In addition, we get to see Gordon from his own point of view. He knows the guys laugh at his expense. He knows they don't think he's the brightest bulb in the box. You don't ever see him stick up for himself or try to change their opinions.

    In No Bells, we see Gordon going against the advice of his peers when he decides to try and prove his girlfriend's innocence. The evidence against Benay is mounting, but he just can't believe she's guilty. The reader has to keep turning the pages to see if Gordon is rewarded in the end.

    This book has a lighter tone than some of the other books in this series. There's action, but it's not constant. The main focus is on the murder investigation of Benay's best friend instead of there being several different cases to be solved, as in some other books in the series. We still see a lot of the regulars and their lives, but Gordon is definitely the focus.

    I'll definitely be waiting in line for the next Rocky Bluff P.D. book when it comes out next spring. While you don't have to start at the beginning, all of them are great reads. No Bells will stay a favorite of mine since Gordon is so much a part of it.

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Oak Mysteries (March 12, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1610090861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610090865
  • SRP:  $12.95

  • I received a FREE electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The author is a former client of Pump Up Your Book. She paid me to create a book trailer for No Bells. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

    This is the twentieth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the thirteenth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the sixth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the fifth book I've read for the following challenge:

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    First Chapter Review: Healing Music by Carolyn Huebner Rankin

    Here's another book I've been dying to read. I reviewed Falling Through Ice last July, so when this book by the same author was offered to me, I jumped at the chance.

    TITLE/AUTHOR:  Healing Music by Carolyn Huebner Rankin

    BLURB:  Healing Music is the story of Carolyn Rankin's healing journey through the crippling effect of Degenerative Bone Disease. After years of pain, loss of mobility, and hopeless diagnosis Carolyn experienced restorative correction and healing at the hands of God and some very skilled and special physicians. During her recovery and rehabilitation she also experienced something quite supernatural and unexpected; Healing Music from heavenly sources.

    COVER: Nice. Simple. It like the color scheme.

    FIRST CHAPTER: The book opens with Carolyn's visit to Dr. Paul Hansen, where he breaks the terrifying news that she has Degenerative Bone Disease and most likely will be in a wheelchair in less than 10 years. She had just turned 28.

    The story then moves backwards in time to what led her to seek out Dr. Hansen's help in the first place: extreme pain that was so crippling she often couldn't move for days.

    KEEP READING:  Yes. First of all because I am interested in what happened in Rankin's life after reading Falling Through Ice, but also because the author creates a page-turning story right from the beginning. The reader can imagine how devastating the news was to Rankin when the diagnosis came at such a young age. The doctor leaves her with little hope, and it's obvious from the incidents that happen prior to the diagnosis that she has a serious condition. I'll definitely be picking this one up again in the future.

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Crossover Publications, LLC (August 15, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 098196575X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981965758
  • SRP:  $12.95

  • I received a FREE copy of this book from the author's representative in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review. A full review will follow in the future.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    First Chapter Review: The Kensei by Jon F. Merz

    This is where my book reviewing world started to get messy. I agreed to review this book and it arrived a few months later. It's now been in my TBR Pile since January of last year, nagging at me with, "This guy was kind enough to send you his book. Why haven't you read it yet?"

    Simple answer: I let myself over commit. I swore I wouldn't, but I did. I'm human. I also have over 300 FREE books on my Kindle right now. Someone please stop me.  LOL!

    I am keeping a light schedule this summer so I can try to plod through my pile. Keep your fingers crossed.

    TITLE/AUTHOR:  The Kensei by Jon F. Merz

    BLURB:  Meet Lawson. A cynical, wise-cracking vampire charged with protecting the Balance between vampires and humans, he is part cop, part spy, and part commando -- James Bond with fangs. Lawson mixes shrewd cunning with unmatched lethality to get his job done. He tries his best to dismantle conspiracies, dispatch bad guys, and live long enough to get home. In The Kensei, a battle-weary Lawson heads to Japan for a little rest and some advanced ninja training. But he no sooner steps off the plane than lands in the midst of a Yakuza turf war orchestrated by a shadowy figure known as the Kensei. With the help of Talya, a former KGB-assassin, Lawson must put a stop to the Kensei’s organ trafficking networks, prevent the creation of an army of vampire-human hybrids, and save his own skin in the process.

    COVER: Fabulous! Lawson, a vampire dressed in black (no shockers) with a gun in one hand and a sword in the other, blood splatters dotting the forefront. In the background, a busy city--where one would expect a man such as Lawson to be.

    FIRST CHAPTER: Lawson has just arrived in Japan for some much needed R and R. Soon after arriving, however, that thought is thrown from his mind when he notices a killer in his train car. A fight ensues, and Lawson knows his vacation is bound to take a turn for the worse.

    KEEP READING:  Definitely. While I don't read a lot of vampire novels, Lawson reminds me a lot of my favorite vamp, Angel. Charged with protecting the Balance between vampires and humans, Lawson is a smart guy full of attitude. His language is rough and he doesn't take any crap. All the poor guy wants is a well-earned vacation, and now this killer has screwed it up.

    I didn't know this book was part of a series, so it will be interesting to see how much back story the author works in as I continue. What I feel Merz does well is not only paint a fabulous picture of who Lawson is, he provides the right amount of setting detail so the reader can see Japan through his eyes. The only thing I didn't like is the number of words I had no idea how to pronounce. I know nothing of Japanese culture or martial arts, so I stumbled over many words in the first chapter. There's a glossary in the back so the reader can learn what the words mean, even though some of them are explained during the story. I just wish I knew what I was saying because I often read aloud.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Original edition (January 18, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0312662238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312662233
  • SRP:  $14.99

  • I received a free paperback of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review. I more complete review will follow in the future.

    Monday, April 23, 2012

    Book Review: A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case

    When Nathan Stanley, a prominent businessman, is murdered on the front steps of his home, detective Catherine O'Brien and her partner Louise are given two days to solve the case. The investigation turns up a long list of suspects with a variety of motives for wanting Stanley dead. Even the chief of police is on the list. Can Catherine and Louise figure out who killed Stanley and why?

    In this first book of a planned series, Stacy Verdick Case, creates a Cagney & Lacey type of detective mystery for readers to enjoy. Catherine and Louise couldn't be more different from each other. Catherine is a mess all the time and her mouth shoots things off before she has time to think. Louise never has a hair out of place and carefully plots out her every move. Their witty banter adds a great deal to this light mystery that will have you laughing as you dig deeper into the investigation.

    Case does a superb job of creating her characters for A Grand Murder. They definitely make this a fun book to read. I liked the relationship between Catherine and Louise, just as much as the relationship between Catherine and her husband Gavin. They both added a personal element to a story that mostly takes place on the job. The introduction of Digs, who has a crush on Louise, made for several funny moments, as did the character of Mel. The plotting out of the murder investigation could have used a tiny bit of work, though. In one spot, the detectives opt to visit the murder scene because of a lead, but that lead is never followed through. The author does wrap up the loose ends nicely, but it kept bothering me they quickly abandoned a lead they felt was promising without any explanation.

    The book could use some editing. There were places like "break" instead of "brake" and "innocents" instead of "innocence" that should have been caught by a good editor. I also found it unnerving that the Author's Notes were used not only to thank her supporters but to stick it to those who tried to discourage her and "one finger salute" the agent who didn't like her work. I feared posting an honest review might lead to my being bad-mouthed here or elsewhere online. It almost prevented me from posting a review at all, which would be a shame because I enjoyed the book overall and would definitely recommend it, in addition to wanting to read the next book in the series.

    If you want a light mystery with engaging characters, you'll want to pick up A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case. It's definitely worth reading.

  • Paperback: 224 pages

  • Publisher: Before The Fall Books (August 9, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0983713707

  • ISBN-13: 978-0983713708

  • SRP:  $14.95

  • Also available for Kindle and Nook.

    I received a free e-copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

    This is the nineteenth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the twelfth book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the fifth book I've read for the following challenge:

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    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    $10 Amazon Gift Card Winner!

    Congratulations to Kaerah L., the winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card featured during Pump Up Your Book's 5th Anniversary Hoedown.

    Thanks to all who participated. Look for more reviews and giveaways soon.

    Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Interview with Siobhan Couture, Contributor to Pearls of Wisdom

    An oyster can’t produce pearls without first suffering with a grain of sand. Each of the authors in Pearls of Wisdom: 30 Inspirational Ideas to Lead Your Best Life Now gives guidance to readers on how to turn their own grains of sand into pearls.

    Each chapter contains a new voice and a fresh idea for a positive life change. With each chapter as diverse as the cast of authors who have come together to create this unique book, there is certain to be an idea to inspire and uplift you.

    Pearls of Wisdom contains the greatest ideas of today’s top self-help authors, combining traditional and new techniques, affirmations, theories, meditations and practices to lead readers from the struggles they deal with in their current situations to a higher, enlightened life; not merely an existence.

    For anyone who has asked the question;

    “am I really living the best possible life I could be?”

    Pearls of Wisdom grants the answers for any of life’s questions, straight from the hearts and minds of the masters of self-help themselves.

    The Contributing Authors on the Tour

    (left-right) Stacy Goforth • Liz Byrne • Susan Barker • Kelle Sutliff • Renee Baribeau • Sheila Pearl • Asia Voight • Tami Gulland • Kelle Sutliff (bottom row) Lisa Merrai- Labon • Siobhan Coulter • Chantal Herman • Marcelle Charrois • Marcelle Charrois • Glenyce Hughes • Stephanie Bennett Vogt • Michelle Manning-Kogler • Susan McMillin • Craig Meriwether • Leslie Gunterson

    Siobhan Coulter (pronounced She-von) is an Australian psychologist, intuitive energy healer, mother of twin boys and has been living in Singapore since 2007. She is passionate about past life regression healing, connecting to her power through her inner bliss and naturally birthing twins. Siobhan is delighted and proud to have her message recognised and published beside today’s most accomplished self-help authors. Additionally, Siobhan is adapting her chapter into a children's picture book, to empower kids to enjoy their Inner Bliss from an early age. Visit her online at   and Facebook

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in the small country town of Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. My primary school only had about 200 kids, so it was a great place to grow up with lots of rain, a close community of family and friends, and lots of opportunity for family time. Of course, as soon I was grown I couldn’t wait to spread my wings and discover the world!

    When did you begin writing?

    When I look back at my life I have always written, and always from the heart. I have a ritual I follow where I connect through my heart to the topic or person I want to write about. No one taught me this, it was just something I always did and still do. So as a child whenever I wanted to write on a card or send a letter to someone, that’s what I would do. The recipient would usually end up in tears being overwhelmed by my sentiments and love. I deemed the card a success if I got tears!

    So writing from the heart has always been in my blood, but now it is happening in a different way. Now instead of connecting with others I am connecting to my higher self and my guides and I am writing about the wisdom I have learned so far on my life’s journey. Hopefully my chapter in Pearls of Wisdom will connect readers to their inner bliss so they can feel their Soul’s Joy, rather than reducing them to tears.

    How did you get into this collection of inspiration with folks like Jack Canfield?

    In 2011, all the thoughts and concepts I had been percolating in my head for the last few years, finally came together and formed a short story. As soon as I had written it, I turned to my husband and said "I don't know how or when, but this is going to get published!" I just knew it. So I shared it with a few friends and one sent me a link to Randy Davila, the CEO of Hampton Roads Publishing who was running a tele-class on getting your first book published. After the course, Randy invited the participants to submit a chapter to be considered for Pearls of Wisdom. So I submitted my story and it was accepted as a chapter. It has been an amazingly easy journey and a tale of simply knowing.

    What is your chapter about?

    In my chapter I express the simple truth that by Being You and doing things you love to do, will activate your power and connect you to your Inner Bliss – your Soul’s joy. When you connect to your inner bliss, you let it glow from every pore of your body; letting your power, your happiness, and your light shine out and illuminate the world. I like to call it “Glowing from the Inside-Out” and it’s what I think life is all about!

    What kind of wisdom do you have to offer the reader?

    The wisdom I share in my chapter comes the lessons I have learnt along my spiritual journey of nearly 20 years. It has been a journey of connecting to my power and becoming empowered to be the person I truly am – not the one I thought I should be. So the journey is really only just beginning, so stay tuned I am sure I will have more to share in the near future.

    Most people know about Jack Canfield from the Chicken Soup books and Marci Shimoff from her Happy book … How would you like your readers to think of you? What is your “signature niche”?

    Glowing from the Inside-Out – it’s what life is all about! By just Being You and doing things that you love to do, you connect to your inner bliss - your soul's joy. When you start letting your soul's joy shine out from you, you begin to Glow from the Inside-Out. You feel complete, joyous and free.

    The publisher promises that the authors such as yourself are “up and coming” leaders in self-help. How does the publisher know this and what is your expertise in “self-help”?

    After nearly 20 years of following my intuition and higher guidance, I am stepping into my power and am ready to share my message with the world. My skills, talents and experience are broad and varied. I am a registered psychologist in Australia and am also an intuitive energy healer. Before I had my twins and we moved to Singapore, I was in private practice specialising in past life regression and supporting others to connect to their empowerment. Also as a mother of twin boys, I am very passionate about naturally birthing twins.

    What is your most central and compelling “pearl of wisdom”? 

    It is time to start consciously connecting to your soul's joy and start to live as your soul on the earth plane. Your soul is so joyous, so let it shine out from every pore of your body. Not only will you feel amazing and illuminate the world around you, but you will also inspire others to do the same. So live a life of love and joy today.

    What do you think makes this book unique and who would want to read it?

    Pearls of Wisdom is unique for two reasons. Firstly, each chapter contains a truly inspirational idea to change your life. The ideas are diverse, as are the authors who come from all areas of the globe. Secondly, Pearls of Wisdom is not an ordinary book. It contains the energy and love of great change. It is no coincidence that the book is being published now and people are being drawn to it. Pearls of Wisdom is part of the great shift of 2012. It is exciting, it's inspirational and it's time to live your best life now!

    We often hear that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – how does that proverb apply to the 30 authors in this book?

    I am just one author and I know that I have put my best inspirational ideas into my chapter plus all my positive and joyous energy. But Pearls of Wisdom has 29 other authors too and I know all of them have focused their loving energies into their chapters as well. So just imagine how amazing the energy of the book is, now that all these energies are combining and beginning to reach out to others. As a whole, Pearls of Wisdom will touch the lives of many and will inspire change like never before.

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

    Pearls of Wisdom can be purchased from my website soon as the shop is currently under construction. However books can be purchased directly from me, so just email me through my website and I will send you a signed, advanced copy with a special bookmark designed just for my chapter. The books are also available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in the USA and Canada.

    What is up next for you?

    I am currently working on two books, firstly I am adapting my chapter into a children’s picture book, to empower kids to enjoy their Inner Bliss from an early age, and secondly I am writing my pregnancy and birth story of my identical twin boys called Naturally Birthing Twins. 2012 will also see me running workshops in Singapore, on Connecting to Inner Bliss and Glowing from the Inside-Out, as well as setting up a private practice with a wonderful friends and powerful Reiki healer. We are currently offering joint or separate healing sessions so we can give clients a super-charged energy and healing session. We are also planning weekend Healing Retreats to Bali.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    I hope that people enjoy reading Pearls of Wisdom and my chapter. I hope it connects with something deep inside each of them which enables them to live their best life now. We are all on the same path albeit at different location on that path, and if the wisdom I have shared assists another to move forward on their path, then I am living my life well. I look forward to connecting with the readers as they connect to their Inner Bliss and begin to Glow from the Inside Out and illuminate the world. Let the light show begin!

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Interview with Kenny Scudero, Author of Comfortably Awkward

    Comfortably Awkward is Kenny Scudero’s debut self-published novel. He is a twenty-two year old author from New York City who looks forward to a bright future in writing. Kenny recently graduated from St. John’s University where he majored in Sport Management. At St. John’s, Kenny was Sports Editor for the University newspaper. After graduating from St. John’s, Kenny had trouble finding a job and wrote Comfortably Awkward based off that frustration. He is currently working on his second novel.

    You can visit Kenny’s website at for more information.

    For Albert Ferenzo, life is a series of ironic events that may or may not have a reason behind them. While struggling to find a niche for himself, Albert blames the corporate world for hindering his dream of making money and living a prosperous life. After playing the good guy his entire life, Albert decides that the only way to get ahead in the world is to be the bad guy. Albert questions his own fate as he drives himself to insanity in an effort to find happiness. The destinies of Albert and everyone around him intertwine as he finally realizes what life is all about or at least, he thinks he does in this revolt against normality.

    1) Who is your favorite character?

    My favorite character is Albert Ferenzo, from my debut novel Comfortably Awkward. Albert is a kid out of college looking for his place in the world. He did what he had to do through his whole life to get to where he was but then he hit a dead end. He couldn't find a job and grew angry with the corporate lifestyle which he was trained to live in since high school. Strange, awkward, ironic things are always happening to Albert and it always seems like the world is against him but he is smart and he eventually figures out what he needs to do to be happy in life.

    2) Why is he/she your favorite?

    Albert is such a great kid. All he ever wanted to do was to make enough money to support his girlfriend and whatever family members need help. Albert is like me in many ways, especially when things get crazy in the book. He's my favorite character because he does things that I would not be capable of doing in real life. Albert is all about justice and doing the right thing. His courage is something that I admire and I wish I had.

    3) How did you come to create him/her?

    When I couldn't find a job after college, I created Albert Ferenzo. I thought about what I wanted to do with my anger and frustration and that mindset turned into Albert's mindset. I thought about all of the times I could have said something back to someone in an argument or times when I would have liked to have done something different in my life and I made Albert do all of those things. As I went through stages and began to figure out what I needed to do with my life, Albert did the same and I always seemed to be a step ahead of him. Or was he a step ahead of me?

    4) When did he/she first enter your mind?

    When I thought about all the people who discouraged me in my hopeful professional career, I thought about what I could do about it. I didn't want to care about struggling and having a job and responsibilities. I wanted to stop caring about everything and just live life for the moment and enjoy myself. That's when I started writing about Albert Ferenzo. He was living the life I wanted by not letting every little thing get to him and learning to enjoy life one moment at a time.

    5) Where was he/she given life in the creative process?

    Comfortably Awkward is my debut novel and Albert fit perfectly with the story and what I was going through at the time. In a way, I think Albert made me realize what I should have been doing with my life. More importantly, I think Albert Ferenzo is the perfect character for today's world. Everyone is struggling with the economy the way it is and people need something to believe in. They need faith and hope and I think Albert brings all of those things to life in my book. Albert is a modern character who I think can relate to anyone at any point in time.

    6) What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?

    I love Albert's ideas, his courage and his ambition. He believes in the right things and wants good people to be rewarded and bad people to be punished. It would be nice to have more people like Albert Ferenzo, in that sense. On the other hand, Albert is too indecisive and he is constantly second-guessing himself. He has great ideas and he runs with them most of the time, but the second someone puts him down, he begins to wonder if he is doing the right thing or not. If you read my book, you'll understand Albert's transformation throughout the story and I think you'll be rooting for him until the bitter end.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Interview with Thomas Waite, Author of Terminal Value

    Thomas Waite is an author, entrepreneur and consultant whose writings, in addition to his novel Terminal Value, have appeared in such publications as the Harvard Business Review and The New York Times. Mr. Waite has been featured in a wide variety of media, including CNN Money and a number of cable news programs. As an entrepreneur, he founded and co-founded two companies, including one that was sold to an Internet firm. Mr. Waite has consulted to dozens of technology corporations and other companies, and serves on the Board of Directors of others. Mr. Waite attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and Oxford University. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

    Where did you grow up?

    I was born in the seaside town of Ipswich, Massachusetts – once home to the authors John Updike, Adele Robertson, and John Norton and the poet Anne Bradstreet.

    What is your fondest childhood memory?

    Dad owned a boat and I grew up spending a lot of time on it, and at the beach. My love of the ocean continues to this day, and I now own a boat of my own.

    When did you begin writing?

    I read a lot as a child and used to make up stories that I would either describe verbally or jot down. In high school my favorite classes were always literature – and besides the classics, other authors, such as Kurt Vonnegut, that were considered avant-garde at the time, captivated me. But my interest really accelerated when I took creative writing courses in college.

    After college I turned to writing non-fiction – at first as a “ghost-writer” for others and then under my own by-line. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but my business career was very demanding and I never seemed to have the time. Then after selling my company, that changed and I finally had the time to devote to writing Terminal Value.

    Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

    I wrote the bulk of Terminal Value during the day after I had sold my company. Later I was too busy and finished it during the evenings and weekends.

    What is this book about?

    Terminal Value is a thriller intended to provide an insider's look into the excitement of a technology start-up, the anticipated riches of an initial public offering, the gut-wrenching murder of a friend, and the dark side of corporate America.

    One reviewer wrote “Please don’t go into business, proceed with your MBA, sell your company, or complete your next deal until you’ve finished this book. Terminal Value peers into the psyches of those with the wrong kind of ambition, allowing a rare glimpse into the dark side of IPOs, acquisitions, and the secret world of high finance, all wrapped in a turbo-timed thriller!”

    So in addition to writing a novel that is a fast-paced, exciting story that both entertains and educates readers, I am also conveying the message that we need more honesty and ethics in business today.

    What inspired you to write it?

    Terminal Value is inspired by my experience in business. While the story is completely fictional, I could never have written it had I not personally experienced some of the events that occur in the novel (of course excluding, among other things, murder!). The characters are basically composites of people I have encountered in business, though again it is completely fictional. For this novel, there was a story in my head that literally just had to get out. While writing Terminal Value, I felt like I was taking notes while a film was playing in my head and turning it into a book.

    Who is your biggest supporter?

    I can’t say it is one specific person. I would have to say my friends and family.

    Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

    I am not a member of a critique group, but I have a number of writer/editor friends that I shared the manuscript with, as well as a professional editor before the novel was published.

    Who is your favorite author?

    This, of course, is perhaps the most difficult question for any author to answer and I love many of the world’s greatest writers. For Terminal Value, given the subject matter, I was influenced by certain novels such as Michael Crichton’s Disclosure and John Grisham’s The Firm. It’s flattering and humbling that so many reviews have compared Terminal Value to these other works.

    Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

    I do not have an agent. For an unknown novelist, it is almost impossible to find a literary agent who is willing to take you on given the state of publishing today. I don’t think having an agent is necessary, but I certainly think a great agent is very helpful. They have the connections and knowledge that others don’t.

    Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

    It was certainly bumpy. First, I was told that no one would be interested in this subject matter – from a literary agent who shall remain nameless! Second, I discovered that my first publisher really didn’t seem to understand the e-book market well – which, of course, has become critical. Third, like other authors, I found one of the most difficult things to be able to finally “let go” and declare the novel finished. Even when you receive the proofs before the book is printed, you still want to change it.

    Overall, I would say that you really have to believe in yourself, overcome obstacles such as agents who aren’t interested or publishers who aren’t likely to serve you well, and find a few great people you trust to help you see it through to completion.

    If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

    I would have learned more about the electronic distribution and marketing of novels today in advance of the publication of Terminal Value. I have learned a lot in a very short period of time, and in retrospect I would have organized the launch differently.

    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

    Readers can find me at My book is available to purchase at the following locations:


    Barnes and Noble:



    Books a Million:

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    Yes, I have a website with a lot of information about Terminal Value, as well as other sites/social media venues. They include

    Twitter: @thomasjwaite
    Amazon Author Page:

    What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

    The best investment was probably establishing and keeping up-to-date a large network of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, clients and alumni over many years. They have turned out to be a great source of both buying my novel and recommending it to others.

    I also orchestrated a campaign that included an outreach to my personal network, advertising that ran at the New York Times and The Boston Globe, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and an extensive social media and virtual author tour campaign through multiple channels that has served me well.

    What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

    For writers, I would say that the most important thing I learned was to follow your instincts. I shared some of the manuscript with others and their opinions varied widely. In the end, you need to be true to yourself and produce the novel you believe in.

    What is up next for you?

    Marketing my novel, of course! But seriously, given the encouragement I have received to write a sequel, I am starting to sketch out another novel. I also continue to work as an entrepreneur – right now I am providing advice to start-ups.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    For readers, I would urge you to consider trying out new authors and genres – they may just surprise you. I sincerely hope that you enjoy my novel and I thank you for your time!

    Interview with Jessica Chambers, Author of Dark is the Sky

    Jessica Chambers has been inventing stories even before she was old enough to hold a pen. She has a passion for writing contemporary novels packed with emotion, complex relationships and often a touch of mystery.

    Visually impaired from birth, Jessica currently lives with her family and Staffordshire bull terrier in the English town of Windsor. In addition to devouring fiction of all genres, she loves watching TV quiz shows and admits to being extremely competitive when it comes to a game of Trivial Pursuit.

    Her latest book is Dark is the Sky.

    You can visit her website at

    Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

    I’m the author of two women’s fiction novels, Voices on the Waves (published 2010) and Dark is the Sky (published 2011. Currently I live with my family in the English town of Windsor, most famous for its castle and nearby Eton College where Princes William and Harry were educated. I’m a supporter of Liverpool Football Club, obsessive watcher of TV quiz shows and huge dog lover, with a special place in my heart for the crazy Staffordshire bull terrier we rescued from Battersea Dogs’ Home a couple of years ago, and who is now most definitely master of the house!

    When did you begin writing?

    I’m not sure exactly when I started putting my ideas down on paper, but I’ve been inventing stories for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was content to spend hours at a time amusing myself, spinning ever more dramatic games of kidnap, runaway orphans and wicked stepmothers. When I wasn’t playing, I could usually be found reading, becoming lost in the tales woven by others. One day, I vowed, I would be an author myself.

    Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

    Oh, I’m a real morning person where my creativity is concerned. I have the most energy when I first wake up, and consequently get the majority of my writing done before lunch. From then on, my brain becomes increasingly sluggish, and by the time evening comes around, it’s as much as I can do to slump in front of Coronation Street!

    What is this book about?

    I think of it as women’s fiction with an edge, as it blends emotion, complex relationships and mystery. Twelve years after tragedy tore their family apart, the Camerons are reuniting for the first time since that fateful day. They hope that they will at last be able to put the past behind them and lay their ghosts to rest, but of course, nothing is ever that simple! Some wounds run too deep to heal, and some secrets are too destructive to remain hidden. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, and the truth about what really happened on that long ago summer’s afternoon finally emerges, family ties are tested to the limit.

    What inspired you to write it?

    Like many of my ideas, this novel began with a single character, this time with a vivid picture of a handsome, dark-haired young man. Immediately, I knew several things about him. I knew he was dangerously sexy, a magnet for women and more than a bit of a rogue. I also knew he was dead. This raised a number of questions. How did he die? Was it suicide, or murder, or merely a tragic accident? What part did his family play in his death? And as I unraveled the answers to these questions, the story gradually emerged.

    Are you a member of a critique group?

    I am. A few years ago I joined The Next Big Writer, a wonderful online community of both published and aspiring authors. Definitely one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only have I made some lifelong friends who have supported me on my publishing journey, the feedback I’ve received on my work has been invaluable in helping me become the writer I am today.

    Who is your favorite author?

    Oh, I’m a total book addict. I’ll read any genre from women’s fiction to crime, paranormal to historical. As far as adult authors go, my favorites would have to be Penny Vincenzie, Jilly Cooper and Philippa Gregory. For young adult, I love Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins and Jennifer Donnelly.
    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
    Dark is the Sky is available from Amazon in paperback or on Kindle, as well as from Barnes and Noble for your Nook.

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    Yes, it’s at: My blog can be found there, as well as more about me and my books.
    There’s nothing I love more than discussing books with fellow addicts, so feel free to connect with me on:

    And Goodreads:

    Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

    I do indeed. It was enormous fun to put together, and I’m thrilled with the way it has turned out. You can take a look here:

    What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

    Oh, without a doubt, it would have to be my book trailer. I only uploaded it to YouTube recently, but already it has received some great comments and impacted on my sales. I just think video is such a creative way of introducing readers to your books.

    What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

    Write for yourself and from the heart. Chances are, if it’s the kind of novel you would want to read, others will enjoy it too.

    What is up next for you?

    I’m currently straying into the unknown and attempting my first young adult crime novel, a story of friendship, sexual identity and abuse in its many forms. Think the grittiness of Melvin Burgess meets the powerful emotion of Jennifer Donnelly. With dark secrets, a twisted love triangle and a mystery to solve, it’s proving enormous fun, if harrowing in places.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    Only to say thank you so much for having me here today, and also to everyone who has been kind enough to buy Dark is the Sky. Your support means the world to me, and I only hope you have as much fun reading it as I did during the writing process.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Guest Blogger: Christopher Profeta, Author of Life in Pieces

    An unemployed stay-at-home dad who opens the paper one morning to find he is running for congress; a young man struggling to hold onto a life that is slipping away while meeting the love of his life; and a crazy old man who couldn't care about any of this all cross paths in Christopher Profeta's debut novel, Life in Pieces, to show that we are never too old to come of age.

    On Target by Christopher Profeta

    Since the release of my debut novel, Life in Pieces, several people have asked me if the main character is at all based on me. True, he is unemployed and I work part time, nights and weekends. True, we are both stay-at-home-dads. And true, we both have been known to lose our temper when faced with the stresses of such a situation.

    But I have never opened the paper to read an article in which I learned I was running for congress.

    Still, the idea that so many people think this character is a fictional version of me is interesting. As a result, I thought it would be fun to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences as a stay-at-home-dad.

    When I’m at home with my kids during the day, the afternoon hours can sometimes drag. When I feel like we’ve learned all we can from “Mickey Mouse Club House,” that my two and three year olds have learned how to count backwards from one hundred by intervals of 7 while skipping all prime numbers in order to help Daisy Duck get to the carnival on time, we like to go out to Target for some more interactive fun.

    We used to go down to our public library, but since I’ve racked up a considerable amount of fines by turning in The Very Lonely Firefly and Horton Hears a Hoo months after they were supposed to be back, I have a growing fear that I am no longer allowed to set foot in there. Instead, we spend a lot of time sitting in the Target book aisle reading board books, being very careful not to bend the spines or chew on the pages too much. Now that my molars have come in, though, I usually don’t do too much chewing anymore.

    When we’ve read as much as we can, we go over to the toy aisles and play with the full sized Buzz Lightyear and Sheriff Woody dolls still in the package. My daughters love to pull the string and press the buttons to hear their favorite catch phrases, and I’m always amazed that they never tire of the limited selection of expressions they get without pulling the hidden plastic tab that releases the full capabilities of the toy’s arsenal of slogans. After about forty five minutes, some cranky elderly worker will walk past us with a dirty look, and I’ll round up the girls and move down to the wall of giant TVs.

    On the way, we stop in the camping section, grab a folding chair, and set it up right in front of some TV showing scenes from various children’s movies, then sit and enjoy the show. The Target Team Members don’t like that too much either, but when they threaten to get a manager, I tell them I’m planning on buying one of the more expensive televisions, and I just need to test it out first, like trying on a pair of pants. When they attempt to remove us anyway, my youngest daughter does that thing she’s done ever since she was born where she screams with a volume and tone that an adult might if they were being assaulted in a dark alley behind a thumping night club, and they usually leave us alone pretty quickly.

    The Target Team knows that cry well, as I will often unleash it on them when some old woman in front of me in the checkout line is holding things up with her expired coupons, or when the pharmacy is giving me a hard time about some prescription not being covered by my insurance. There’s nothing like that child’s scream to get people moving.

    Eventually we’ll get tired of the electronics department and head over to play fashion show with the clothes. We load up the cart and head to the dressing room where I end up playing ring master to two girls trying on frilly dresses and leopard print pants in a two foot by two foot room for about twenty minutes.

    By the time they get tired, it’s time to go home and start dinner. Despite the best efforts of the Target employees, with their dirty looks and shaking heads as I leave the store, I do not feel bad at all for not buying anything. I leave there with happy kids, and you can’t put a price tag on a satisfied child.

    When I think about the realizations the main character in Life in Pieces comes to in the end – that family is more important than anything; that the stresses of life are what make it enjoyable; and that there’s nothing wrong with doing whatever you have to do to get by – maybe we are more alike than I realized.

    Chris teaches writing at Macomb Community College and Davenport University. He has had various works published in the Foliate Oak online literary magazine, one of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He attended school at Wayne State University where he was awarded two Loughead-Eldridge Scholarships in Creative Writing, and at Michigan State University where he was a winner of the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. He lives in Clawson, MI with his wife and two kids.

    Facebook: Christopher Profeta Fan Page
    Twitter: @ProfetaChrisJ

    Buy links:


    Lulu ebook

    Lulu hardcover

    Book Spotlight: Expedition Beyond by Roger Bagg

    Desmond (Des) Alexander Cox leads a small expedition into a newly formed vertical crevasse near the magnetic North Pole, where he falls, is lost, and emerges into a new world topsy-turvy to ours supporting the theory of how the planets and universe formed advanced by a leading astrophysicist named Anderson.

    Read an excerpt!

    “Des,” the village elder seated cross-legged next to him begins with faltering English and a serious, almost painful expression:
    “We do not…know time.”

    Here, they couldn’t watch the sun rise and set, nor the planets move through space, nor the stars light up the night. Whenever their sun peeked out from under clouds, it was always directly overhead—it never seemed to move. Apparently, there weren’t any seasons to their years, nor would they even know what a year was, so how could they possibly know time?

    “I gave you the watch,” Des replied.

    Itar opened and proudly displayed the pocket watch.

    “With the watch, you know time,” Des explained.

    Itar closed the cover. “Des, we do not…know time,” he said hesitantly.

    “With the watch, I can teach you time.”

    This circuitous conversation made Des tired, and now he also felt somewhat nauseated.

    “Des, we know time.”

    First, Itar doesn’t know, and now he does?

    “How do you know time?”

    Itar folded his arms and rocked. “The time-keeper.”

    Des folded his arms as well, and the two men sat silently, unable to communicate. He doesn’t know time, but he does know time. He has a timekeeper. Itar looked discouraged, which was how Des felt, too.

    Then it dawned on Des: Not ‘know,’ but ‘no’—We do not have any time.

    He touched Itar on the shoulder. “No time?”

    Itar said, “No time, yes.”

    “Why no time?”

    Itar sighed.

    “The beasts return.”

    Read the reviews!

    "Be on the lookout for not only Expedition Beyond, but any future novels by Roger Baggs. They’re sure to be entertaining and a good way to spend some time."

    --The Tavern's Vault


    Roger Bagg was born in Baltimore, Maryland and does have a birth certificate from Baltimore City Hospital. He is a practicing veterinarian near Boulder, Colorado and jointly owns a small animal hospital. His outside interests include camping, hiking, jogging, skiing, hunting and most other activities except skydiving and bungee jumping. He is a motorcycle enthusiast owning both a Kawasaki and a Yamaha.

    You can find out more at

    Saturday, April 14, 2012

    Promo Day is Coming Saturday, May 19th!

    -For immediate release-

    THE event for the writing industry is back!

    Promo day is an annual event for people in the writing industry dedicated to promoting, networking and learning. This years event will take place on Saturday 19th May 2012 at the brand new website

    The online event organized by Jo Linsdell has evolved since its humble begins on the writers personal website and grown into a world recognized event attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe.

    The 2012 event promises to be the best yet with the launch of the new website and internationally renowned workshop presenters. The program is filled with fabulous and knowledgeable presenters and workshop topics are ones you can sink your teeth into. You'll be sure to come away with valuable connections via the networking areas and have opportunities to promote your own work and services throughout the day.

    This unique event is completely free to attend and registration is now open via the website homepage. Once you're signed up you will be emailed the password to gain access to the forums where the conference takes place.

    Since its inception in 2007, Promo Day has been incredibly successful and is a 'must-attend' for everyone in the writing industry.


    Jo Linsdell
    Founder and Organizer of Promo Day

    Friday, April 13, 2012

    First Chapter Review: For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar

    It's been a while since I posted one of these, so now seems like the perfect time to change the format a bit.

    Aaron graciously sent me this book months ago, despite the fact that I hadn't reviewed the other book he had sent me before--FireSong. This man has the patience of Job, so he is to be commended. We  know each other online from the MurderBy4 blog, which I visit from time to time. Wish I had more time to visit blogs like that one, since I would love to write a mystery one day.

    TITLE/AUTHOR:  For the Birds/Aaron Paul Lazar

    BLURB:  What happens when a parakeet named Ruby gets an unexpected mind-meld with Marcella Hollister's quarrelsome mother, Thelma? After Thelma is kidnapped from her hospital bed, Marcella must find her -- somewhere in the tall pines of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park. With the help of her Native American husband Quinn and bizarre "tips" from Ruby, Marcella butts heads with quirky bird psychic Earl Tiramisu, much to the chagrin of the FBI, who wants her to stay out of the investigation.

    Why is Tiramisu asking questions about Thelma's past and the money she's been spending? The FBI agents hint that it may be related to an unsolved fifty-year-old bank heist, but Marcella can't believe her annoying, but honest-to-a-fault mother could be involved.

    Across the rugged Adirondack park landscape, a brutal scenario evolves, where the good guys aren't what they seem, and only Ruby's newly acquired talents provide slim hope for survival.

    COVER: This is a neat cover. Based upon what I know from the first chapter, the rustic landscape is perfect. The orange bird ties into the title, and according to the blurb I know it has something to do with the plot. Except for suffering from looking way too computer generated, I like it.

    FIRST CHAPTER:  Driving down a remote Adirondack dirt road, Marcella and her husband, Quinn, are looking for a hotel. They're lost, they're sweaty, and Marcella thinks her hubby is a bit of a control freak. Snoring in the back, oblivious to all the bumps in the road is Thelma, Marcella's mother. This doesn't look like a good way to start their adventure.

    KEEP READING:  Definitely. Lazar manages to give the reader a lot of information in this first chapter without making her feel overwhelmed. Within a few pages, we learn Marcella is a bit of a cheapskate and a control freak. Her husband calls her babe, a lot. He's the calm and patient pitter to her hyper and impatient patter. There's even a hint that the relationship with her mother might not be perfect.

    The author does a fine job of describing the setting and painting a picture for his reader, so that she feels like she is riding in the van alongside Marcella and Quinn, having her own teeth rattled going over each pothole.

    My tiny nitpick, and it's really more a pet peeve, is that the main character's name isn't made known to the reader in the first chapter. You know it's Marcella from the back cover blurb, but Quinn only refers to her as babe, so you don't know her name until the second page of chapter two, when her mother talks to her. Here I am supposed to connect with this character on some level, and I don't even know her first name. Why does it bother me? I guess it's because I like to remember people's names and for them to remember mine. Silly? Yes.

    I plan to catch up on my reading in July when we go down to North Carolina. I might have time to finish this before then, but I definitely want to read it soon.

    Paperback: 242 pages
    Publisher: Paladin Timeless Books (November 15, 2011)
    ISBN-10: 1606191667
    ISBN-13: 978-1606191668
    SRP: $16.95

    I received a free digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this first chapter review.

    Thursday, April 12, 2012

    Interview with Olakunbi Korostensky, Author of Intuition Involution

    Olakunbi Korostensky, ND is a former Naturopathic Doctor and Psychologist of over 30 years, who has dedicated her life to spiritual consciousness and its integration into daily living.
    As an entrepreneur with a multifaceted enterprise, Olakunbi primarily works as a spiritual and intuition coach. She perceives herself as an “Inner Flame Rekindler” and a vibrational healer whose direct approach to accessing inner wisdom has been widely sought out by many from all walks of life. Her extensive skills and knowledge comprise of alternative and holistic mind, body and soul disciplines.

    She is the proprietor of the residential Awaken Women Retreat Wellness Centre. The Centre provides women with day spa facilities, offers holistic approaches to health, life issues and wellness, and energy balance workshops. The Centre which also offers weekend retreat programs for spiritual awakening and developing the intuition in both the English and German languages is the headquarters of the Awaken Women International Community (AWI™).

    In February 2005, after a near-death experience that heralded several changes in her life, the dedicated Naturopathic doctor and Psychologist decided to close down her private practice of over twenty three years and stepped on to a new path.

    In October 2006, she organized and called to life the Awaken Women International Conference (AWIC™) in Switzerland. In 2007, she founded Awaken Women International (AWI™), an offline and online membership community for women, promoting feminine excellence for a life of true dignity and sustainable happiness.,
    Olakunbi Korostensky ND also runs a coaching website. “Embracing Changes - The Intuition Way”:

    Her other activities include being the president of the non-profit Foundation Attitudinal Healing which she founded in Switzerland.

    When did you begin writing?

    When I was 13 years old, due to my inner yearnings, I wrote a short story about a little girl in search of her place in the world. Although the story was never shown to anyone I kept it. After that as a teenager I kept a journal until the age of 27. Later on I wrote some articles for a number of local magazines and women communities. I have always felt a strong pull to write for women and it is still what I love doing.

    In my former private practice, I wrote several short texts on women’s health and managing everyday stresses. The texts were made available to my former patients

    Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

    As writing is a joy, I write when I feel the urge to write. This tends to mostly happen when I'm in a contemplative mood and inwardly connected to put my insights and thoughts into words. This can happen any time of the day.

    What is this book about?

    The book INTUITION INVOLUTION is a reminder and a strong prompter to integrate intuition into everyday living for a clear, harmonious path in life and a renewed balance in our world.

    The book explains why women are primarily endowed with a stronger intuition than men, and how women can learn to apply intuition conscientiously to help them overcome self-doubts and easily find the answers to any life’s situation.

    The pointed message of Intuition Involution is that each one can become mistress and master of his or her life when we decide to embrace our entire being and integrate all the abilities we were born with fully into our lives, instead of continuously experiencing struggles, fear and disquietudes.

    What inspired you to write it?

    A rude awakening jolted me into writing INTUITION INVOLUTION. After a near death experience in 2005, Ipractically had to retrace my way back into this life to reclaim my being. Since then my life has never been the same.

    I knew then that I was going to write a book but wasn’t sure what it was going to be about. As time went by, I started jotting down short texts that flickered sporadically through my conscious mind. Then one summer day, while sitting outside on my sunny terrace, I heard a clear voice say: "You have all those scraps of texts, now go and start putting them together. You are to write a book on intuition." And the rest is history as they say.

    Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

    Right from the onset of writing the book, I felt the “unseen” guidance that surrounded me. It was with the full support of that guidance which I implicitly trusted that the appropriate help came when the time to publish the book approached.

    I did some research consistently asking for guidance and tuning into my intuition for direction. I then signed up with a company that took care of all the publication procedures. I believe that this rendered things easier for me and prevented me from making great blunders which might have made me procrastinate on publishing the book. Overall, apart from some minor issues, I feel that engaging the support of a hired help has made the road to publication quite manageable.

    Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

    The book INTUITION INVOLUTION can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and several other online retailers.

    Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

    To read more about the book and download a complementary audio recording of the first chapter read by me, please go to  

    Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

    The video trailer used to launch the book can be found at

    What is up next for you?

    I’m currently considering a number of other works, which are still in the early stages, so I’d rather not divulge any information for the moment. It suffice to say that INTUITION INVOLUTION is not going to be my stalemate on the topic of Intuition.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    It is important to always listen to your inner guidance, the intuition, especially as a new author. It can take some time to grow into deciphering the information you receive and putting them across succinctly. But that still, small voice will guide and prompt you well for clarity and certainty of your new path.

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Interview with Andreas Dudas, Author of Do You Dare To Be Yourself?

    Andreas, writer, speaker, entrepreneur and owner of the BE SHiRO, a group of companies dedicated to empowering individuals to reach greatness through authenticity and promoting the sustainability of our planet through the development of renewable energy. Andreas has worked for over 20 years in top executive positions across various industries and in more than 25 different countries, mostly in developing and emerging markets. His career has taken him to Latin America, the United States, the Middle East and throughout Asia. Apart from his extensive involvement in top management positions he acts as mental trainer and motivational speaker and has added his vast life and leadership experience to empowering thousands of people for living and leading authentically. Andreas studied at various international universities and holds an MSc in civil engineering, an MBA in leadership and cross-functional teambuilding, and an MSc in logistics and supply chain management. Furthermore, he has a degree in international conflict management and holds a diploma in mental training and coaching.

    Visit Andreas online at

    Where did you grow up?

    I grew up in Switzerland where I attended all my elementary schools and also the university.

    When did you begin writing?

    I started writing in 2005 when I had this first idea of revealing all my insights on authentic leadership to a larger audience.

    What is this book about?

    Do You Dare To Be Yourself? is completely different from other “self-help-books”. Do You Dare To Be Yourself? can be described as Who Moved my Cheese meets If Life is a Game, These are the Rules. It is not a self-help book or how-to book. Instead it combines elements of leadership, self-help, and spiritual wisdom genres in a compelling narrative.

    Based on my fascinating real life experiences gained all over the world and written in a fable form Do You Dare To Be Yourself? tells the story of the polar bear, Robin, as he journeys to his own authentic self. The polar bear is a metaphor for power, strength, resilience and emotional stability - traits found in people following the transforming power of being authentic. His coach, a wise eagle, called Alva accompanies him on all his journeys so as to provide mental techniques, advice and moral support.

    What inspired you to write it?

    Do You Dare To Be Yourself? has been written with a clear intention to empower individuals for finding meaning and purpose through an authentic life, and to empower leaders to gain (reclaim) credibility so as to win people’s hearts and meet successfully the challenges of the 21st century. For people feeling that they would like to change something in their lives or careers the book will be definitely a wake-up call empowering them to move out from the comfort zone.

    People who have been following my life journey know: I have always been facing the question of how people can be themselves. It started early in my childhood when I faced a lot of criticism and flak from my peers. My entire life has been characterized so far by being forced to live authentically and to prove to the world that is a tough but a very rewarding journey. Many things during my life inspired me to write this book. However, one of the key experiences which also created the polar bear as a metaphor and symbol for developing a thick skin against scoff and criticism you often face when starting your journey to your true self was the following:
    Shortly after taking my MBA in 1999 I came back from Norway and started a job as a consultant with a renowned management consulting company. During a first assignment with a large blue-chip company I was involved in a heavy cost-cutting program and was even appointed as a leader of a small team. To be frank, at this point in time I had never been working as a consultant and I had no clue on how to run such a program. However, I had to make do with what I had learned so far and prepared very well for the kick-off meeting. The next day I had to give a workshop to 20 very experienced controllers and to explain book-keeping procedures, which I had never done before. So, I had a really hard time and a bad case of stage fright. In spite of this, the workshop in the morning went without a hitch, mostly because I was a gifted speaker and able to elicit good ideas from all the controllers. However, the unpleasantness began in the afternoon when I had to teach some corporate finance to my audience. I really struggled to add any real value to the people. When I finished my short lecture the group looked at me for a full minute in perplexed silence and then the chief controller exploded: “You management consultants are all alike. First, you come to our company without anyone asking. Only our CEO wants you here. Then we spend half a day explaining to you how our business is run, and when all is said and done you show us something you don’t even know how to do it yourself.”

    After hearing this I was completely devastated and left immediately the room. Outside I met one of my more experienced colleagues and told him my experience. His reply was simple and straight: “If you want to survive as a consultant you have compromise yourself, follow your orders and develop a thick skin like a polar bear.” I personally never agreed on this but from that day I started to use the polar bear as a symbol for being strong and resistant against any criticism, but mainly within the framework of fighting against all the hardship and pain when following your heart and being truly authentic. More about this experience can be read in chapter 25 of my book.

    How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

    The book is completely different from other “self-help-books”. It is not a self-help book or how-to book. Instead it combines elements of leadership, self-help, and spiritual wisdom genres in a compelling narrative.

    Based on my fascinating real life experiences gained all over the world and written in a fable form the book tells the story of the polar bear, Robin, as he journeys to his own authentic self. The polar bear is a metaphor for power, strength, resilience and emotional stability - traits found in people following the transforming power of being authentic. His coach, a wise eagle, called Alva accompanies him on all his journeys so as to provide mental techniques, advice and moral support.

    Do You Dare To Be Yourself? is a life changing book and touches the emotions and hearts of readers, which is the ultimate key ingredient for making real changes in your life and becoming an outstanding personality. Moreover, Do You Dare To Be Yourself? offers frank thoughts, vivid examples, concrete advice and mental techniques on all aspects of life and leadership journey: taking risks, staying grounded, making mistakes, overcoming fear, strengthening self-confidence – and much more.

    What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

    The narrative is based on the experiences I gained during my private and business life all over the world. Do You Dare To Be Yourself? is so authentic that readers identify easily themselves with the main characters in the book. This allows not just to rationally understand what it means to follow the true calling but people will also feel deep in their hearts what they have to do. The book will both encourage and empower people to move out of their comfort zone. Furthermore, they learn how to identify, regain their true self. Furthermore, some very powerful mental techniques will help them to overcome fears and doubts on their journey towards a more fulfilled life.

    Where can readers purchase a copy?

    The book can be ordered in any bookshop or on lulu. From mid-March the book will also be available on Amazon and all other online retail book shops. The book will also be available as eBook very soon (available in all formats such as kindle, Sony, Nook, etc).

    What is up next for you?

    Currently I am setting up a detailed agenda for delivering key note speeches and seminars on Do You Dare To Be Yourself? across the US. The first speeches and seminars are planned for August this year and will run into 2013. More details on dates and locations can be soon retrieved from my website. Apart from these activities I am supporting various business schools and colleges across Europe for setting up a mentorship program for their students. I would also like to do this in The US.

    Furthermore, I have started to write a new book on “the deeper meaning of life” which is due to be released in Europe in 2013, later in the US. I am also planning to write a new book with the probable title “do you dare to be yourself: chapter 40”, which will be a continuation of the polar bear’s journey and one on “re-empowering female leaders for saving our planet”.

    In the meantime I am also pretty busy with running my three companies headquartered both in Switzerland and India.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    Take your current age and deduct it from the average life expectancy (it amounts to 78.3 years for Americans). What is left are the years remaining for living up to your full potential. How many years do you have left? Do you really live your life? Do you express all your talents, dreams and values on a daily basis? Life is too short for not living authentically, and it costs far too much to not follow your heart. Life is by far too short for worrying, being scared or having doubts! Start now the life you really deserve. Forget about complainers, show-offs or hypocrites trying to derail you. Live now your unique individuality driven by a deeper meaning and leading to joy, which will in turn leave your legacy on this planet. Years ago I was involved in a bombing attack in Asia and luckily I survived, but I saw many people dying. One important lesson I learned then was: “When facing death, you have nothing to lose. You take risks, because you realize just how useless it is to live in constant fear or to strive for false security. The future and the past have no meaning. Your worldly possessions can no longer help you. The only thing that matters is the here and now. Live each day as if it was your last !” (also a short excerpt taken from my book)

    My biggest vision is to build peace on our planet earth through empowering millions of people to live an authentic life, which is the basis for emotional stability, a high degree of self confidence and sustainable happiness. Do You Dare To Be Yourself? shall boost momentum and shall be a real wake-up call for many of us!