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postheadericon Interview with Patrick Andendall, author of ‘Stupidparty Math V. Myth’

Patrick AndendallPatrick Andendall has always had an interest in politics and, being multicultural, he views issues from a more international perspective. In 2004, five days before the election, he flew to Cleveland and pitched in to help with the political process. What he discovered was the dissolution of the American Dream, which he writes about in his book, Stupidparty.

Educated at English boarding schools from the age of seven, Andendall went on to graduate from LancingCollege. He started by sometimes working three jobs at once, trainee Underwriter/claim broker at Lloyd’s of London, his own one man cleaning Company (cleaning the very offices of a Reinsurance Company he would transact business at) plus doing seasonal work on various farms.

Having made some windfall profits by borrowing money in order to be a “Stag” to take advantage of opportunities created by Margaret Thatcher’s de nationalization policies of the mid 1980′s, Andendall evolved into an entrepreneur with a core specialty in Reinsurance in London and New York where he looks for patterns in numbers. Self-employed in a field not normally conducive to self-employment, he is able remain in control, juggle different jobs, travel and pursue his various interests.

Ending up in New York via romance in the African bush, Andendall now lives on Long Island with his wife, two children and two dogs.

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About the Book:

Stupidparty 2Stupidparty Math v. Myth: Unmasking the Destructive Forces Eroding American Democracy relies on publicly available facts, resources and tools to deconstruct and relentlessly drill down on the numerous misconceptions held by too many Republicans. Substantiated by more than 1,500 hyperlinks to authoritative resources, readers will find:

  • Stupidparty positions defrocked on: the “Moochers”, the economy, climate change, environmental stewardship, racism, religion, “Freedoms”, guns, and ignorance-based humor.
  • The fallacy of Fox News facts exposed, documented, and explained.

Also included are 1,055 full color images and 121 graphs and charts.

Once thoughtful, discerning Americans understand the destructive forces manipulating their views, they will begin to call for a stop to the stupidity that has invaded our politics and poisoned our political process. The eradication of Stupid from the Stupidparty is the first step.

This book does not set out to destroy the Republican Party. The U.S. needs at least two parties. But by exposing the abundance of Myth with the relentless use of Math and facts, the problems and then the solutions become self-evident.

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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Patrick! Can you tell us where you are from?

I’m from England. I have lived in America most of my adult life on Long Island, NY with my family.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

I did not coin the term StupidParty. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana pleaded with his party to not become the party of stupid. I used the term because current Republican voters are sending officials who are destroying any acceptable political culture to office.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

It’s inspired by the apocalypse. There are horses representing math and science that are trampling over the negative forces of untruth. I feel like we are approaching the end of days in our political culture and I believe that if people are equipped with the facts, we can overcome it.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

The book has lots of multimedia content hyperlinked in the text and makes extensive use of color images and graphs. I think of the book as a tool kit for a voter to take out into the political world.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

I want the reader to know that the book is not a contentious treatise and that is meant more to save the current Republican party. The main message I want to present is about the need to pay closer attention to what republican leaders are saying relative to the facts.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter to write was Chapter eight and nine about the economy and 47%. These are the main chapters about Republican economic theory and how it makes the principals on which they are based seem like they have no basis in reality. Having written part of the book during 2012, when the message of both campaigns was about economics, it was satisfying to see if Republican values aligned up with the proposals they were prognosticating, especially after the gaff about the 47%. I discuss social policies implemented by Republicans which hurt the economy. One example is drug testing – which wastes a ton of money and very rarely finds people doing anything wrong.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

The reason I stopped working in the field like I did on Kerry’s campaign is because I saw it as my responsibility to combat the leaders of Stupidparty Disciples. There are many Republican voters who are very consistent voters. These people are easily motivated to vote and if we have a more responsible discourse, I believe that the Republican party will be more responsible when governing. I became successful because of Republican principals so what I want to see from this book is for the party to become smarter. Part of my target audience includes this group of voters that are ignorant about what they are voting for when they elect republicans. A simple comparison of what Republicans portend to be the main set of values they believe in does not coincide with the math created by the modern day Republican party.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I have one major pet peeve at social events. I cannot stand when I am asked to put a name tag on. I feel that it removes a fundamental part of the way people get to know one another: by introduction and exchanging pleasantries. It almost suggests that we skip right over the introduction to discuss our deepest hopes and dreams.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Both because I have an extraordinary difficult time sleeping.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My kids are math whizzes. They write because they are in school but not because it’s a passion of theirs.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Unfortunately I was never very good at remembering my dreams. I remember sensing a feeling of lucidity when I slept, but I never could remember what I did in my dreams.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

Levitation, so that I always am reminded to stay above the fray. As a political writer, this is especially important.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

In this new era of unlimited campaign contributions and Super PACs, pay careful attention to who is paying for the advertising, or supporting a bill. If it sounds too good to be true, it could be a myth.

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postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: The Art & Science of Healing & Win $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The Art & Science of Healing 3Title: The Art & Science of Healing – with Light
Author: Dr. Mark J. Rogers with Nike Azoros
Publisher: Dr. Mark J. Rogers with Nike Azoros
Pages: 442
Genre: Medical
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions but it is not a disease. Chronic pain is a genuine physical problem and its epidemic is being spread by the very treatments the doctors are prescribing. Over thirty percent of patients across the world present with back, neck, or head pain, the majority of whom are in chronic pain, but all doctors offer is a prescription for painkillers and a referral for intensive physical therapy. The patients never improve, in fact they get worse. Instead of receiving empathy and understanding they are often accused of being dishonest about the severity of their pain. Some are even sent for psychotherapy. ‘The Art and Science of Healing – with Light’ breaks that vicious cycle. Within it is explained to patients how they developed chronic pain in the first place and how to begin to heal their migraines, back pain, neck pain, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and all forms of chronic pain in general.

Doctor Mark Rogers bases the healing process on his 7 Principles of Healing Chronic Pain. His methods are all based in science, are common sense, pain free, drug free, have no painful exercises, and no ‘mind over matter’ meditations for coping because the problem is not in the mind of the patients, it is in their bodies at a deep cellular level. The 7 Principles have a conservative efficacy of eighty-five percent. As long as the Principles are followed the patient will heal. It is the medical system that is keeping patients in pain through ignoring the origin of the pain. Pain is not a mystery, it is not a disease, it means you are being hurt. Chronic pain means you are still being hurt. Written in a clear easy to read style with minimal medical jargon it is designed for patients to finally give them understand what happened to them and gain control over their healing processes so they can start healing today.

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  • The Art and Science of Healing – with Light is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter:

‘It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it – the life of that man is one long sin against mankind’

W.K. Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief” Contemporary review 1877

‘…make a habit of two things: to help; or at least, to Do No Harm.’

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, 460 BC – 377 BC

Chronic pain has reached epidemic proportions but it is not a disease. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a disease called Pain. Pain is always a symptom of another problem. Pain means you are being hurt. Chronic pain indicates you are continuing to be being hurt.

Acute and Chronic Pain

Whenever we feel pain our brain knows that something dangerous is happening and it needs to take protective action. When pain persists our brain activates our bodies systems to take the necessary steps to protect us. The overly active nervous systems cause large amounts of signals to be sent to the brain sending us into a state of hyper-vigilance, which is why the chronic pain patient becomes jumpy and has great difficulty falling asleep.

The patient is not only in pain but is tired in the extreme yet what the doctors see is that the pain is persisting when the injury should have well and truly healed. On the outside the body will indeed appear normal, scans and X-rays show nothing. The actual problem is at a deep cellular level but in the absence of any obvious reason for the persistent pain the complaints of the patient are often dismissed. The patient is offered medication for pain relief and told to exercise and have physical therapies.

When these don’t work, as in the vast majority of cases, the response from the doctor is to do more of the same. Chronic pain patients are placed on endless repetitions of ineffective treatment, yet their condition worsens. Instead of questioning the treatment it is the patient who is viewed with doubt, their very sanity is questioned and often psychotherapy is prescribed.

It is not your imagination. Your pain is real. It is the way the medical system repeatedly enforces harmful actions upon your body that keeps your pain alive. Pain is produced to protect us but the longer we feel it the more our brain and body systems become locked into a sensitised state. The 7 Principles outline in detail why and how this happens and how to reverse it so the brain and body can gradually de-activate the protective processes and instead activate the processes of healing.

Acute pain is often defined as sharp pain with a duration of less than 3 months, while chronic pain has a duration of longer than 3 months. When we take into account the belief that pain relates directly to tissue health and most tissue injuries resolve within 2-3 months, it has always been felt that any associated pain should also resolve in that same time.

Acute pain by its sharp, hurtful nature motivates us to take protective actions that will keep us from re-injury and help our tissues heal. One of these actions is the inbuilt withdrawal reflex that makes us recoil automatically away from any source of pain, identical to when you pull back your hand from a flame so as not to get burnt.

In chronic pain your withdrawal reflex has been overridden because of the constant state of stress in the body reinforcing the hypersensitive responses of our bodies systems which make certain adjustments to help us manage. These limit recovery, and they are caused by the standard recommended treatments prescribed by your own doctor yet pain patients are told they are beyond help and that they must now learn to live with the pain.

Not anymore. The 7 Principles will guide you through making re-adjustments which will faster activate healing.

My Personal Experience with Chronic Pain and How I Healed.

I had been suffering migraines since I was 8 years old. I also had ringing in my ears, known as tinnitus, and ongoing neck and lower back pain.

I had 8 successful medical clinics across Australia, and was aiming to have many more. It wasn’t because I was a dedicated doctor, it was because I was driven and determined to be successful. It would take me years to understand the direct connection that these attitudes, common to doctors, have on the way we treat patients in pain. The instant I understood the connection that behaviour changed but up until then it was all I knew.

I’m the son of a Medico. He was very successful, well respected, and my role model, but he was rarely home because he had to stay at work until he had seen his daily requisite of one hundred paying patients. That was the number he needed to see in order to maintain his doctor’s lifestyle, and it was how most doctors operated, by numbers, not by patient outcome. When I got together with other doctors all we talked about was how many patients we saw in a day, not how many we had healed. The noble dictum of Hippocrates, ‘Do No Harm’ was never discussed, it was ancient history.

Looking after those eight clinics and all that entailed, my young family, and trying to keep up a lifestyle while having regular migraines was debilitating. The tinnitus was driving me crazy and I was plagued by the back and neck pains.

When I was at medical school my neurology professors had no answers either. They all knew my father and that he was also a migraine sufferer so they said it must be genetic. Another suggestion was that there was something wrong with my brain.

For the more than thirty percent of my patients who also had at least one of the same problems the best I could do was to offer some sympathy as I handed over a prescription or sent them down the hall to the in-house physiotherapist of the clinic. The struggle with my own pain meant I often needed to race back into my room for a quick lie down before seeing the next patient. It was a vicious cycle. I couldn’t help my patients and I couldn’t help myself.

One morning I awoke with a painful stiff neck, commonly known as wryneck. As if the pain of that wasn’t bad enough on the way to work I could feel I was developing a migraine. My day was booked solid but being the newly graduated doctor I felt it was important to stay at work. The physiotherapist noticed my condition and beckoned me over. He didn’t know anything about me nor did he ask any questions other than if I had woken up that way.

Before I knew it with one aggressive action he had wrenched my neck. The misguided application of brute force was really the performance of a classic ‘magic trick’. My chronically inflamed pain nerve fibers had been shocked into submission thereby inhibiting the constant pain-inducing muscle contractions. At the time it seemed like an instant cure. I didn’t know it was only a temporary state.

I felt orgasmic relief. I let out a sigh of satisfaction and was able to get back to work and finish the day. For a few hours I thought he was a genius but the next day I couldn’t get out of bed – or the next day. The pain was so bad there was no way I could go into work. When I went back to see him again it was not for any further treatment but to confront him about his methods. I will never forget what he told me. He said,

‘If I had told you what I was about to do, you wouldn’t have let me do it.’ He knew that it was harmful, and he did it anyway. He also knew it was innately wrong to me personally, and to all humans. To protect our own necks at all costs is inherently ingrained within our natural hardwiring for the survival of our species. It is pure lunacy to allow another human being to freely attack our neck. I learnt from a horrified friend that he is still doing it as therapy to his paying patients.

He had put temporary severe pressure on the nerves and I got the equivalent release that acupuncture provides. What I now know, and what medical school never taught me, is that he had just made the pain nerves go numb only to stir later, angrier than before.

His dangerous ‘therapy’ increased the severity and frequency of my migraines. He took me from significantly injured to broken. It changed me from having frequent terrible headaches to suffering every day. I had been blithely sending off my pain patients to have twice weekly physiotherapy when I had no understanding of the consequences. I believe that in general the vast majority of medicos refer pain sufferers for such physical manipulations because they haven’t witnessed what is inflicted upon the unsuspecting.

I was twenty-six years old when I had that shocking physiotherapy experience. From then on, for the next nine years, my migraines became a daily hell that made me feel like chopping off my head.

The incident happened in my first clinic, in it, and in every clinic I opened after that, I always provided plenty of space for the physiotherapists. I mindlessly went along with the medical practice of sending pain patients to physio because it meant more income for the clinic.

It was all about the money, but it was done guilt free as nothing was taught in medical school of how to manage back pain. It was conventional medical wisdom that the physiotherapist was the appropriately trained health professional for treating pain. For the next 20 years I was reminded again and again that I was never to question the establishment, they knew best. In my mind I thought I was looking after the patients and the business, I would send those pain wracked patients down the hall to get manipulated and put into traction and was proud of it.

In 1997 the meteoric growth of my clinics was halted when the government changed the rules of how clinics could engage doctors. My multiple clinics suddenly didn’t have enough doctors and profits were negatively affected, as was everything else, from my relationships to my health. My response to it all was to keep up appearances and I did that by working harder, which in turn put more strain on my relationships and health. I couldn’t seem to get away from those vicious cycles, and a new problem arose – depression.

In Principle 3. Reduce the Inflammation I will explain how depression is one of the consequences of inflammation, but of course I didn’t know it then. I didn’t seek any help and looking back it was probably just as well. If I had followed standard procedures I would have been sent for psychotherapy and been told it’s all in my mind, or taken anti-depressants. No one knew or would have even believed that depression is very real repercussion of the spread of inflammation from unhealed injuries.

My father would say, ‘bite off as much you can chew and then work out how to swallow it’, so I did. The trouble was I had bitten off so much I was choking. I worked harder and harder, borrowed more money and then worked even harder. And my migraines were murderous. It never occurred to me to slow down or simplify anything, I was one of the many who thought that maintaining the aura of prestige was of the utmost importance.

NASA came to town

Everything changed when I was introduced to the Science of Light, phototherapy. Like most doctors I receive invitations to attend seminars and conferences, only a few of which it is possible to accept because of work, and frankly the ones to more glamorous locations get priority so as to make it feel like a vacation as well.

One such invitation was to attend a presentation by two scientists. It meant a trip interstate to a suburb of Sydney called Castle Hill. If it had been located within the city of Sydney with its beautiful harbour and exciting buzz I might have given it some thought but being stuck in a suburb had no appeal. It barely seemed worth my time so I declined, I was far too busy. The organisers had targeted me as a potential major customer because of my eight not so booming clinics. They called to ask me to reconsider and I declined again, but they persisted. I finally accepted more for the weekend away than out of any real interest in some science presentation.

It was on LASER. I knew nothing about laser therapy when I got that invitation. I knew there was a lot happening in the medical field with lasers being used in surgery, dentistry, dermatology, optical, and even the beauty industry. I couldn’t see how lasers could assist general practice patients. Back then I was just like any other general practitioner, I was unquestioning of the conventional mainstream methods but I went prepared to listen with an open mind; thankfully.

It was July 1998 when I attended that seminar given by Professor Edmund Wong and Dr Garrett Lee. They had travelled from the U.S.A to educate interested health professionals in the pain relieving benefits of Low Level Laser Therapy, (LLLT) also known as cold laser therapy.

It was at NASA that Dr Garrett Lee was introduced to laser. He worked as a cardiologist monitoring the astronauts upon their return from space missions and was involved in finding ways to help them recover more quickly from the altering effects of being in space. Zero gravity wreaks havoc on the body. When the astronauts return to Earth they temporarily cannot walk due to severe muscle atrophy. They suffer daily from nausea, are full of lymphedema, and they are in pain. The astronauts recover eventually but there is significant danger of permanent damage occurring until they do. Faster healing was needed.

Lee, while part of the NASA team, witnessed it was chronic swelling, lymphedema, causing the pain and that laser light was very effective in its reduction. The astronauts were surrounded with infrared cold lasers and the pain went away. As a result lasers were built into the space suits to prevent the no gravity lymphedema. This was over thirty-five years ago. Lee introduced Wong to laser who spent the next twenty years applying LLLT to chronic pain patients.

Edmund Wong was a professor of dentistry originally from Beijing but residing in Hawaii for over twenty-five years. He was an expert in head and neck pain, which included migraine, temporal mandibular joint disorder (TMJ), jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.

It was all interesting stuff and the science of it all was fascinating but it was of no use to me – until he said they used laser to alleviate the pain of migraine. Suddenly they had my full attention. The simple words spoken next instantly shed light upon the mystery of chronic pain.

‘An injury starts it all.’ A physical injury of any form, from a fall to a sporting accident, dental procedures, even an over-stretch could cause microscopic and/or macroscopic tears in the soft tissue. The injury for some reason has never healed so the body does what it is designed to do in such cases, it keeps on producing pain. They also emphasised that bad posture aggravated the injury, which in turn aggravated the pain.

Everything I had just heard presented as a scientific finding was also sheer common sense that every doctor knew about, yet somehow through the machinations of modern medicine it had become uncommon sense.

Throughout the presentation they explained the pure science of cold laser therapy. Albert Einstein laid the foundations of laser in his Nobel Prize winning discovery of the law of photoelectric effect. Atoms of light can be stimulated to emit photon energy in a steady beam of radiation. That’s what LASER means, Light Amplification Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There were many more Nobel Prizes won along the way as scientists worked on the law and brought LASER to fruition and enhanced its uses.

Cold laser causes accelerated recovery of injuries through the phenomenon of photobiomodulation. The light that is synthesized by the LASER device is cool to the touch, it does not cut or burn but its light penetrates into the cells just deep enough to reach the mitochondria, the energy producers within our cells. This triggers a cascade of processes that results in the acceleration of the healing of wounds through cell and tissue repair. Every word they spoke of light was true and undeniable.

I knew light was used in healing because that is how we treat babies for jaundice. Infrared ray lamps became highly popular for a while and proved to assist in healing but a few people placed them too close to the body, closer than the recommended greater than twenty-three centimetres distance. Some nasty burns were incurred so it was broadcast on television that it was dangerous.

Instead of making the minor adjustment of keeping it greater than twenty-three centimetres from the body an inexpensive and effective healing tool that recreates the laws of nature was rejected. In its place the patient in pain is given a prescription for drugs, or is sent for physical therapies.

Light is therapy. Over one hundred and fifty years ago Florence Nightingale, the brilliant nursing pioneer also known as The Lady with the Lamp, knew that the patients nearest the windows got better faster than the ones in the dark corners.

It’s been known for many decades that the human body transforms light into electrochemical energy. We need light to function, a bit like a plant with photosynthesis. All doctors know that light is essential to activate the chain of reactions within the cells that stimulate metabolism and the immune response. In spite of that knowledge mainstream medicine has so far chosen to ignore the power of cold laser therapy to heal, which is like declaring science to be impotent and even shambolic. The science of light is obedient to the laws of physics, which are the laws of Nature. It is eternal. It is irrefutable.

And so it was science, not medicine that provided me the answer to what is the source of chronic pain; an injury in the soft tissue of the body that was never allowed to heal properly.

The presentation progressed into a demonstration. Patients were wheeled in. Everyone in the audience was some form of health professional so we could all tell that these patients were clearly in pain. We looked on as cold laser therapy was applied to each patient and each one was soon able to stand up and walk with ease.

There was no evangelical zeal that we had witnessed a miracle. There was no whooping for joy, and no Hallelujahs. It was just a calm and logical explanation that the light had relaxed the muscles, stimulated the cells and reduced the lymphedema, which meant pain free movement. If applied over longer periods the results would be permanent.

I quickly stuck my hand up and said,

‘I suffer migraines can you do anything for me?’ They used me as an example of how to treat a migraine patient by applying the laser to the back of my neck.

‘But the pain is in my head.’

‘No’, they replied.

‘You think it’s in your head but the pain has spread to the surrounding scalp, from the swelling in your neck.’

I dwelt on that statement as I enjoyed the laser therapy. It felt good. It was like a massage without the pressure. A wave of euphoria swept through me as my muscles took in the laser light and relaxed. It was the best massage I never had. I could feel my muscles relaxing but I wasn’t being hurt, snapped or cracked. The light was doing all the work.

I was so excited about this life changing medical discovery that when I left for home it was with the laser kit tucked tightly under my arm.

I became my own human experiment. I had some misadventures to say the least but when I applied the laser to a certain spot, at the right hand side of the base of my skull, on the nuchal line, I felt something. The laser light had found the micro tear in my neck. I’d hit a nerve, literally. The nerve of the ice pick man, a term only migraine sufferers can understand, the nerve of sensation, the occipital sensory nerve.

When I hit that spot on the back of my neck the sensation followed the path of pain that I experienced when I had a migraine. It shot up from the back of my neck, over my scalp and up through to the front of my head, to the temple, right in the spot my head throbbed when I had a migraine. It was the moment I defined migraine as being not a head or brain problem but a musculoskeletal problem. My head flopped back and I let out an involuntary sigh of relief.

As with neuralgia of sciatica, the ligament sends nerve pain down through the sensory nerve of the leg, migraine behaves the same way. It was an epiphany. Migraine is neuralgia of the scalp. I would later patent the process of finding that sweet spot to provide evidence of diagnosis, something that had not happened before in history. When that spot is found and treated all of the muscles relax, the entire jigsaw of the superficial posterior movers, from the forehead to the toes. I was experiencing full release of body tension, and it felt wonderful.

Lady Diana

Before cold laser therapy cured me of migraines I always walked stooped over. My head would be bent down low as if I was ducking for cover. I kept my head in its ducked down position as if I was tucking in my chin.

I had often noticed photographs of the late Diana, Princess of Wales because I knew she was a migraine sufferer too. Every time I saw a photograph of her on some magazine cover I noted her stooped over posture and the angle of her head, it was like mine. Our profiles were the same. Originally it had earned her the famous moniker of ‘Shy Di’ but as her fame increased it made her look coy, other times it made her look provocative. Being a fellow migraine sufferer, I knew she was in pain.

After I had the muscle release experience from the laser I caught sight of myself in the mirror and stopped stock-still for what seemed like an age but was probably a milli-second. Thoughts of Diana’s profile rushed into my head. I sped to the computer and began searching for photographs of her. As soon as they came up it was obvious. Our profiles weren’t the same anymore. I had straightened up.

I rubbed my forehead as I thought on the seed that Doctor Wong had planted, that it all starts with an injury. In some cases it could have happened so long ago that it has been forgotten. My fingers brushed along the scar above my left eye triggering the memory of the accident I had when I was 6 years old. I was at a playground playing a chasing game with another boy. I was right behind him running fast to catch him. He pushed a swing out of his way as he ran away from me, causing it to swing up high.

Its metal corner struck me in the face as it swung back down. The force made me fall backwards and smash the back of my head onto the ground. The blood streaming from my face was what got all the attention. The trauma to my head got none. I was taken to hospital for stitches and for a while there was a real fear that I might lose my eye. Another quick search online on Diana revealed that she had fallen off her horse and hit her head when she was a young girl. On that day, looking at Lady Di, I learnt that if pain from injury alters posture then proper posture must play a role in recovery.

I darted from the computer screen to the mirror to confirm the change. Pain from injury alters posture. It might have been stating the obvious. You don’t need to be a doctor to see when someone is in pain, they walk differently and with difficulty, they sit differently, gingerly, they wince when touched, and they have a sullen look in their eyes.

It is right in front of us but we doctors are not looking at them. We are too busy looking at the screen making sure we are taking enough notes. It doesn’t matter if the patient does not get cured as long as the notes get taken, otherwise we face punishment by the medical board.

Medici, The Art and Science of Healing.

The biggest ‘discovery’ I made in that week after learning about the healing power of LLLT was that the human body is beholden to the laws of physics. It’s how and why we evolved. Science is the study of these natural laws. Physics is Greek for ‘Nature’. Applying these natural laws is the art to which all mankind should strive, especially doctors. When those laws are followed a normal body functions at its peak and is in perfectly good health.

The laws of gravity play a major role in our health. When we have correct posture we are in a state of equilibrium. When we have distorted posture as in the case of a pain patient that equilibrium is disturbed and the result is more pain.

It’s natural, it is science, and medicine is an applied science. The art of it is where the practitioner hones his or her skills in order to apply them for the maximum benefit of the patient. In the case of the pain patient no science is being applied and no art is being honed. No skills are put to use. Instead doctors are blindly following guidelines and protocols that while being profitable to their clinics are causing the patient more harm than good.

Goldman’s Cecil Medicine 2004, puts it perfectly in the next few paragraphs.

‘Medicine is a profession that incorporates science and the scientific method with the art of being a physician. The art of tending to the sick is as old as humanity itself. Even in modern times the art of caring and comforting, guided by millennia of common sense as well as a more recent systematic approach to medical ethics remains the cornerstone of medicine. Without these humanistic qualities, the application of the modern science of medicine is suboptimal, ineffective or even detrimental.’

‘The essential humanistic qualities of caring and comforting can achieve full benefit only if they are coupled with an understanding of how medical science can and should be applied to patients with known or suspected diseases. Without this knowledge, comforting may be inappropriate or misleading, and caring may be ineffective or counterproductive if it inhibits a sick person from obtaining appropriate, scientific medical care.’

‘In the pain patient any therapy must improve the underlying condition not just attempt to suppress the symptoms.’

‘To care for a patient as an individual, the physician must understand the patient as a person. This fundamental precept of doctoring includes an understanding of the patient’s social situation, family issues, financial concerns, and preferences for different types of care and outcomes, ranging from maximum prolongation of life to the relief of pain and suffering. If the physician does not appreciate and address these issues, the science of medicine cannot be applied appropriately, and even the most knowledgeable physician will fail to achieve the desired outcomes.’

Medicine does not apply any of that eloquent logic to chronic pain patients, especially if they are trying to make an insurance claim. Instead they are treated as neurotic, or downright dishonest. Modern medical methods for treating chronic pain contain zero science; and science is the understanding of Nature.

The natural laws that shaped us, that created us, are being ignored in the unnatural way medicine is currently treating pain.

Doctors are not observing patients properly and I had been equally guilty. Medicos have stopped looking at patients as people and only see a symptom to be treated in isolation. That is not medicine that is crisis management.

Another undeniable truth is money directs medical decisions. We are overly influenced by the powerful marketing of pharmaceutical companies and we want all the divisions of our clinics to be profitable so we refer patients on for physical therapy when they should not be having any.

I had long been doing all those things wrong too but once I knew they were wrong I stopped doing them. The accepted ways might have been working well for the doctors but they were not helping the patient. I decided I had to learn other things that are simply not being taught to medical students. I took myself back to medical school.

I went to see the heads of the faculty and told them I wanted to return to study anatomy. Not for the regular classes that all the medical students do, they were nowhere near thorough enough. I wanted to work one on one with their most senior professor. A deal was struck and I paid the hefty fee for the private tuition.

Once that was organised I asked my next question.

‘I think I need to learn biophysics. Please enrol me in those classes?’ They couldn’t help me. There was no class in biophysics anywhere in Australia and at the time of writing there still isn’t.

I was as driven to progress my learning as I had been previously about opening clinics. Laser could help speed up the process of curing chronic pain. My patients needed this.

‘Okay then, please direct me to someone who can teach me everything about cold lasers.’

Again they couldn’t help me. There was no one teaching anything about cold laser in the entire university. I was advised to try the Australian National University (ANU) in our nation’s capital, Canberra. It was over eleven hundred kilometres away and a twelve-hour drive from my home town of Adelaide.

I called the ANU. They had a laser department but it was mostly about surgical or defence lasers. One of the directors was a man so esteemed the ANU named a building after him, the Emeritus Professor of atomic and molecular physics, Erich Weigold. He was not the man to help me. But – I was told his son Adam was, and he had offices in Adelaide.

Adam Weigold PhD, is an atomic and laser physicist who was then working as the Australian distributor for some of the world’s biggest laser companies. I made the appointment to see him.

Whereas my anatomy tutor was the quintessential nutty professor with wild hair, in his senior years and with a narrow focus on his subject, Adam Weigold looked like a male model. He was young, good-looking and had a rare and expert breadth of knowledge on all aspects of laser. An added bonus was we discovered our sisters were good friends, by the end of our first meeting, so were we.

I began to explain to him that cold laser therapy could heal wounds and therefore ease pain. The NASA scientists had done amazing work but I needed to take it further because by their own admission their efficacy was mid-range. I wanted him to teach me more about laser so I could develop an efficient healing method using it and Nature’s laws. I sat back and waited for his reaction. I was afraid he would think I was a nut case.

I asked him, ‘Do you think I’m crazy?’

He looked at me and said,

‘Well Mark, you might be crazy but your ideas aren’t.’

He knew about light healing pain! All physicists did. The scientists were more up to speed than the doctors. Adam didn’t need any convincing that I had learnt something important. He said,

‘Mark, it’s biophysics. It’s not just light we are talking about, it is biology.’ Doctors would never have even thought about biology and physics crossing paths. I never did anyway. Adam said that scientists had been trying to introduce cold laser therapy using infrared light to medicine for the past twenty years. There had been barely any interest at all.

A few physical therapists had given it a try. They had bought tiny, low powered units of 30 milliwatts, the current models are more than ten-fold that at 450 milliwatts, and applied them for two minutes. They might as well have been shining a torch. Because of that uninformed introduction cold laser therapy had been deemed ineffective.

I knew laser light could heal. It had healed me but I didn’t want to be the medico who holds a laser in his hand and points and shoots it like an instant camera. I wanted to know everything. To get the most out of the patient I needed to get the most out of the laser. Adam made it clear that I needed to gain a better understanding of physics before I could learn anything about laser.

He guided me through quantum physics and photons, the source of light and energy. I began to understand how light could heal by the effect it has on the human body.

We cannot live without light, much like plants absorb the energy of the sun to survive, as in photosynthesis, sunlight, or the energy of the laser light. To humans it is just as essential. If the sun were to disappear we would have just a fraction over eight minutes to live. Light truly is a matter of life and death.

For the next six months I spent every morning and lunchtime with Adam going over things like the infrared spectrum, wavelengths and frequencies. Every afternoon was spent with the anatomy professor and me leaning over cadavers as I learned every millimetre of the intricate wonders of the musculoskeletal system of the human body.

Soon I had the grounding of the art of the anatomy of the body and how every ligament, tendon and muscle are all links in a chain, and any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When there is a problem in one element of the chain before too long the entire chain is compromised.

I am still no expert in biophysics but at least now have enough understanding of its laws to know its role in the health of the human body. Every movement our bodies make follows these laws, such as the law of gravity. Every movement we make follows the laws of gravity. When we work with gravity we move well and get stronger. When we attempt to defy gravity Nature bites.

Days were taken up with study and so were my nights. Every evening I scoured the Internet for anything and everything about laser to make sure the word was spreading. I didn’t care if it wasn’t me spreading it just as long as someone was. I was relieved to find there was some action. In Europe there was a lot of research and application taking place. Laser was definitely doing some good, but not enough. The efficacy, like that of the men from NASA, was averaging out at around forty percent.

Adam and I discussed in detail what we could do to increase its efficacy. Over the next few months we experimented with frequency, power density, wavelength and doses. The laser I needed didn’t exist, so we built one, and then another. We ended up building many. The advancements I was able to achieve in healing could not have been possible without the re-education I was given by my two brilliant tutors. Going back to school to get re-educated was one of the best things I ever did.

Doctors Don’t Like Change

The only thing that would impede the spread of the healing science of light would be the minefield of medical bureaucracy. I know the history of medicine and how it reacts to anything new that questions the doctors methods; badly. History is full of examples of medical hubris at the cost of the wellbeing of the patient.

In 1615 William Harvey discovered that the heart pumps blood to circulate through the body. Prior to that it was believed that the liver transformed food into blood. Other physicians criticised and rejected Harvey’s findings. Over one hundred years ago patients feared going to hospitals. So many of them developed terrible fevers and died. In 1843 the esteemed American writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes came up with the theory that it was doctors themselves who were spreading disease from patient to patient and even causing their deaths, all because they would not wash their hands. He wanted doctors to sterilise their instruments, change the clothing they had been wearing, and of course to wash their hands. There was outrage at Dr Holmes’s recommendations with one opponent, Dr Charles Meigs, claiming, ‘Doctors are gentlemen and gentlemen’s hands are clean.’

In 1849 the Hungarian physician Dr Ignaz Semmelweis also proposed that it was doctors who were causing disease and death. They performed autopsies and afterwards, without washing their hands, delivered babies. They rode through muddy streets and across manure-riddled fields and then without changing clothing or washing up would tend to wounds. When Dr Semmelweis insisted doctors implement hygiene he too was met with such derision and ridicule that he was sent to the insane asylum where he was beaten to death. His findings however formed the basis for modern medical hygiene.

In the 1950’s Dr Jonas Salk had to battle to get a decent lab and any funding to find a vaccine for polio even though the disease was crippling children at epidemic rates. When he was ready to start vaccinating he was almost shut down. According to some medical researchers he was not putting enough detail into his notes and they tried to declare his work ineffective.

In the 1960’s Professor Graeme Clark, here in Australia, was determined to find a way to help deaf people hear. He engaged in intense research in the way the brain responded to coded sound. He believed he needed to find a way to electrically stimulate the auditory nerve. Mainstream medicine thought he was just another nutty professor – until he invented the cochlear implant.

Up until 1981 if you developed an ulcer it was deemed to be your fault. You created it by stressing too much. Dr Barry Marshall, from Western Australia, couldn’t bear the dismissive attitudes of the treating doctors towards the helpless patients. He and Dr Robin Warren noticed that lab results showed that all the ulcer patients had the same gut infection, Helicobacter pylori, which meant basic antibiotics would cure them. It was simple and it was obvious but mainstream medicine dismissed his finding.

Ulcer patients continued to either have their stomachs removed or bleed to death, all because the medical elite would not concede they were wrong. In desperation Dr Marshall drank a cupful of the bacteria, gave himself ulcerous symptoms, and then cured himself with antibiotics. As a result not only are ulcers now a thing of the past but stomach cancer too has virtually disappeared. The two doctors won Nobel Prizes.

The spreading of the danger was iatrogenic, Greek for ‘born from the doctor’. The doctors were the ones spreading the epidemic. Some things never change. In the case of chronic pain it is still the attitudes of some within the health profession that is the greatest cause of patient suffering. The very people who design the medical system are the ones perpetuating the problem and this personal stake, this conflict of interest to use a business term, means the medical system is ill equipped to even begin to address let alone eliminate the problem.

The innate trust my patients had in me, as their doctor, was when my real work began. The fact that I was showing genuine interest in their history and my explanation of how cold laser was safe and non-invasive led to them asking if I would apply it to them. I started using it on patients with back injuries and as they got better other patients asked to be treated. If it weren’t for my patients trusting me not to harm them I would not have gained the knowledge I have as quickly. I could have sat in a lab for years looking at rats or monkeys but I chose to teach my patients what I had learned and they wanted to learn along with me.

Others at that presentation back in 1998 might have seen what I had seen and gone back to their regular practice and changed nothing about their approach to chronic pain. I saw it and saw the future, and I had healed myself.

Soon after I realized I hadn’t had a migraine since the day I hit that sweet spot, the site of my original injury. I recall saying out loud, ‘I think I’ve cured migraine.’ A few weeks after that I noticed the ringing in my ears had stopped. It was then I made the connection. It was perfectly clear that the laser had caused the inflammation to subside therefore tinnitus must be a by-product of inflammation. It was the most exciting time in my entire medical career to know that science continued to deliver answers to mysteries mainstream medical methods had long stopped trying to heal.

But I was not prepared for the resistance and ridicule from within my own profession. When I started using laser some doctors complained to the medical board. Physiotherapists were sent in from other practices to pretend to be patients, and then go online to disparage my work. But I was not deterred. I would let the results speak for me. My methods were achieving an average efficacy of eighty-five percent. Pharmaceutical companies become delirious with joy if any of their drugs achieve an efficacy of thirty percent. Of the patients who are diligent and follow the Principles precisely, there is one hundred percent positive resolution.

Enough about me. The 7 Principles of healing chronic pain will provide the knowledge you need to have a healthier, pain free life.

The Seven Principles of Healing Chronic Pain.

Principle 1. You are Injured

Principle 2. Do No (Further) Harm

Principle 3. Reduce the Inflammation,

Principle 4. Homeostasis, the Art of Self Preservation

Principle 5. You Need Light

Principle 6. Posture

Principle 7. Nobody Heals You but You.

Dr. Mark J. Rogers is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins February 2 and ends April 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, May 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

 

 

 

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postheadericon Abruzzo Intrigue and Corsican Justice by Bluette Matthey Book Feature

Title: Corsican Justice

Author: Bluette Matthey

Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing

Pages: 284

Genre: Travel Mystery

Format: Kindle/Paperback

In Bluette Matthey’s first novel, Corsican Justice, we are introduced to Hardy Durkin, an American tour outfitter who seems to experience a mystery at every stop.

Hardy is visiting Corsica for the first time to explore the possibility of arranging a hiking tour for   segments of Corsica’s infamous hiking trail, the GR20.  He was also seeking closure from the fact that his father was killed in a highway accident on the island of Corsica several years earlier, Hardy learns his father was actually murdered.  The truth of his father’s murder lies among arms smuggling, Russian mobsters, and judicial corruption.

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  • Corsican Justice is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Title: Abruzzo Intrigue

Author: Bluette Matthey

Publisher: Blue Shutter Publishing

Pages: 310

Genre: Travel Mystery

Format: Kindle/Paperback

Bluette Matthey’s latest novel, Abruzzo Intrigue, embodies mystery, thievery, and spiritual encounters in this entangled plot, all set in the landscape of rural Italy.

Hardy Durkin, an American tour outfitter, leads a hiking tour into Italy’s Abruzzo region where they experience the area’s culture, food, and history.  There is a good deal of exposure to the region’s religious and spiritual past, and one of the tour group members struggles with an odyssey of the soul that ends in redemption.  Some of the cast of characters are who they seem to be, but most aren’t.  A member of the group, a grieving widower, plans to steal one of the Vatican’s most precious religious relics, The First Eucharistic Miracle, from the Church of San Francesco in Lanciano.  The book is a collision of values and traditions while hiking through the oft-overlooked beauty of ancient Abruzzo.

For More Information

  • Abruzzo Intrigue is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Bluette Matthey is a third generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery with her to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, faithful dog, and band of loving cats.

You can visit Bluette’s website at www.bluettematthey.com
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postheadericon Interview with Jennifer H. Westall, author of Healing Ruby #Christian #historical #fiction

Jennifer H. WestallJennifer Westall dives into Christian characters to explore her own questions of faith. Inspired by the life of her grandmother, Healing Ruby (2014) is the first in the Healing Ruby series, which delves into the mysteries of faith healing. She’s also the author of Love’s Providence (2012), a contemporary Christian romance that navigates the minefield of dating and temptation. She resides in southwest Texas with her husband and two boys, where she homeschools by day and writes by night, thus explaining those pesky bags under her eyes.

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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Jennifer! Can you tell us where you are from?

I grew up in Alabama, but I’ve moved around a lot since getting married. We now live in Alpine, TX.

Healing Ruby 2Q: How did you come up with your title?

I based the book somewhat on the life of my grandmother, Ruby, so that part was easy. And since Ruby is learning about her gift for faith healing, but also discovering she herself needs emotional healing, the title of “Healing Ruby” seemed perfect.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

This book is so close to my heart, and I have some very talented cousins. I wanted to honor my grandmother’s spirit, and it seemed perfect to involve my family. So my cousin Amy Hobbs took the photo and designed the cover, and my younger cousin Morgan is the model. The pictures are taken at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park Museum in north Alabama.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

Ruby is a girl that speaks to all of us in some way. She reminds us of our own grandmother, or that wonderful Aunt who used to tell stories about growing up during the Depression. This book reaches out to that part of you that yearns do something great, something that matters in the lives of others.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Many! If I had to choose one, I’d say it’s that true faith isn’t believing hard enough that God is going to do what you want Him to do. True faith, the kind of faith that brings peace and joy, is the unwavering knowledge that no matter our circumstances, no matter what may be going on in our lives, whether things go our way or not, God is good, and He loves us unconditionally. All things, even those that seem painful at the time, will eventually work out for our good.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

I loved writing scenes between Ruby and Matthew. I love Ruby’s independence, and her determination to seek her own destiny. There’s one scene in particular, when Matthew is worried about her because she’s been injured, and it’s probably the first time the reader gets a glimpse of how deeply he cares for her–that was probably my favorite part; finally letting the reader in on his emotions.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

In a conversation with my dad and aunts, I discovered that my grandmother was completely different than I’d ever imagined. I’d always known she was a strong believer, and that she had struggled through extreme poverty in the Depression. I knew that she had passed down a legacy of strong-willed independence in her five daughters, and then to her many granddaughters. I had loved her immensely, and remembered wonderful times with her. But that one conversation blew my mind. Because I learned that my very own grandmother had a secret, a gift that no one in the family had ever spoken of. I still wrestle with that understanding, and I wonder what it’s like to feel the presence of God the way she did. The story just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I wrote it because I had to.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I guess it’s not a dark secret, but more of a little-known tidbit. My cousins and I were on Family Feud last year, and it was such a great experience! Steve Harvey is so much fun, and we had a blast!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would love to travel to Israel to see all the places I could from the Bible. It would be amazing to be able to walk where Jesus walked, to see the Sea of Galilee, or to dip my toes in the Jordan River.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Definitely a night owl. Do NOT speak to me in the mornings. I might bite.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

There are several members of my family who are talented writers, but none who publish their writings. Yet.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Sure! I dreamed of being a teacher, and I dreamed of being a great athlete. I got to play volleyball in college, and I’ve loved teaching and coaching. I have a wonderful life, and things turned out even better than I dreamed.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

That my boys would have a deep and personal faith in the Lord.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for spending time with me! I hope you’ll check out Healing Ruby! May God bless you!

About Healing Ruby:

Ruby Graves, a young girl in Depression-eraAlabama, faces the hardships of poverty and loss with as much faith as she can muster. At only the age of thirteen, she’s already lost a younger brother to illness, and now faces losing both her father and the boy who’s stealing her heart to illnesses as well. Armed with her beloved Scriptures, she prays daily for their healing, only to have her tender faith shattered by her father’s death.

Through her pain, she’s able to connect with her long-lost Uncle Asa, who’s mere presence at his brother’s funeral brings murmurs of a scandalous past involving her parents and a prominent local pastor, Irwin Cass. When Ruby discovers that one of Asa’a many secrets is an ability to heal, and that she may be next in line for the “gift,” she vows to find the faith that has eluded her so far, a faith that could mean never losing loved ones again.

But faith and doubt can’t reside in the same heart, not according to her father, and doubt is Ruby’s constant companion. As she struggles to find the true meaning of faith, she’s opposed at every turn by the pastor who would see her family destroyed and a community that can’t see deeper than the color of one’s skin. Through her search for a faith that could move mountains and a true understanding of her gift, can Ruby trust in a God that may require the ultimate sacrifice?

“A fast-paced story that will leave readers wondering what’s next for Ruby Graves. This soulful, often poignant novel explores difficult subjects such as death, racism and religious hypocrisy, while still remaining hopeful. One of its greatest strengths is its cast of well-drawn secondary characters, including the…vengeful preacher who tries to thwart Ruby at every turn. Ruby’s unlikely friendship with a cast-out African-American woman and her child is a particularly bright spot in this often heavy novel.”

– Kirkus Reviews

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postheadericon Talking Books with Vince Aiello, author of ‘Legion’s Lawyers’

Vince AielloVince Aiello grew up in upstate New York before moving to Southern California where he attended California Western School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in both New York and California.  LEGION’S LAWYERS is his third novel.  His earlier novels, LEGAL DETRIMENT and THE LITIGATION GUY, were both acclaimed bestsellers.

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About the Book:

Legion's Lawyers 2

Title: Legion’s Lawyers
Author: Vince Aiello
Publisher: SarEth Publishing
Pages: 296
Genre: Thriller
Format: Hardcover/Paperback/Kindle

LEGION’S LAWYERS, the latest thriller by Vince Aiello about the Legion law firm, dissects, in Aiello’s signature punchy style, the driving ambition within the firm and its deadly consequences. The firm’s head, Roger Legion, has appeared in Aiello’s previous books about the firm, LEGAL DETRIMENT and THE LITIGATION GUY. Readers have developed mixed reactions to Legion, who is both a brutal taskmaster and a great litigator. Love him or hate him, all look forward to his appearance in the story. Legion believes the courtroom is like a gladiatorial arena, where he will do whatever it takes to win.

Previous Legion books have dealt with a heist by lawyers and a terrorist attack on the CoronadoBayBridge, in San Diego. In LEGION’S LAWYERS, Roger Legion finds himself the target of a drug cartel and more than one team of assassins.

Aiello writes books that are “screenplay-ready,” with tight scenes, strong dialogue, and a three-act structure. “I am drawn to authors who have also written for the screen,” Aiello says, citing such writers as Rod Serling, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Peter Blatty.

Aiello also writes a song for each of his books, which is featured in the story. The complete lyrics appear at the end of the books.  For a scene in LEGION’S LAWYERS, Aiello composed a song titled “All I Know.” A music video is pending, but the song can be heard on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y11j7biCGus

The author’s combination of hard-boiled legal action accompanied by its own, built-in soundtrack makes for an irresistible reading, listening – and potentially viewing – experience.

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Q: Welcome to The Writer’s Life, Vince.  Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Legion’s Lawyers?

Vince: I’ve been writing books for the past 9 years. I published my first book in 2012. My first book, Legal Detriment, suffered from a series of starts and stops until one day I decided to take the process seriously. Since 2012, I have written a novel a year and expected to speed up the pace. Legion’s Lawyers is the third book I have written involving the fictional, San Diego law firm, Legion & Associates. When I wrote the first book, I had no plans to write more books involving that firm, but the firm’s main character, Roger Legion, was such an anti-hero that the readers clamored for more.

Q: I love your title. Can you tell us why you chose it?

Vince: In each of my 3 books, I share with the reader the internal dynamic of the law firm. In addition to being a place for resolution of conflicts, you have men that can be molded by the leadership of others or by a father figure. When you use legal maneuvering in a criminal setting, it creates the opportunity for wild action. In my new book, Roger Legion is the target of a Mexican drug cartel that is being assisted in their efforts by one of the lawyers in the firm. All Roger Legion knows is that the traitor is one of Legion’s Lawyers.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Vince: It’s an excellent legal thriller. The reader gets to go behind the scenes of legal strategy, drug cartel infrastructure, cadres of assassins, and the influence one man can have on many lives. I also keep my chapters short. Each one is like a scene in a movie. I am constantly complimented for it.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Vince: Because the law firm is based in San Diego, I consider that city to be its core audience, even though Legion Lawyers does go to Mexico, Vermont, and New York. I have done a series of radio interviews, signings, been a guest author on several panels, and provided a presentation to the San Diego County Bar Association. Roger Legion has fans throughout the world.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

Vince: I cannot think of another book that has a character as strong, smart, and as fearless as Roger Legion. Even if you hate him, you cannot wait for him to show up in the story. You would definitely hire him if you needed a lawyer. And he is not a criminal lawyer.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Vince: Roger Legion is sitting at his desk when he receives a phone call from an anonymous person telling him that in 2 minutes, a helicopter will land on the top of his building. The men inside that helicopter are coming to kill Legion and his entire law firm. Roger Legion is now in a race against time to save his law firm and himself.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Vince: Most definitely. If I am not writing, I am thinking about writing. My next book is a faith-based, action thriller. Then, I have another one lined up for Roger Legion. As long as I don’t repeat myself, I’ll keep going.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Vince. Do you have any final words?

Vince: I encourage everyone to tell their story. Don’t look back and wonder about ‘What if.’ Life is too short.

 

 

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postheadericon The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland Book Feature – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland

Author: Elizabeth Highland

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 370

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

1973 This is the love story of Elizabeth Highland and Timothy Blumefield. To be or not to be… that is their question. Friends for 40 years… they have lived 3000 miles apart for the past 20. Through the twists and turns of life somehow fate and destiny brings them together in an uncanny spiritual journey guided by the universe. Elizabeth chronicles their story… a tale that takes her around the globe to find guidance and inner wisdom. The Chronicles of Elizabeth Highland is a hilarious tale of awakening consciousness. SHAMBHALA

 

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Elizabeth Highland worked as both a designer and manufacturer in the sporting goods industry for twenty-five years. Her products sold in Canada, the United States, Europe, Korea and Japan. As well, she dabbled as an actor in film and improv.

Travel has always been a part of her creative inspiration. In recent years Elizabeth lived in Peru and travelled extensively throughout South America. Just back from an adventure in Istanbul, Jerusalem and Jordan, she is currently working on her second novel THE CHRONICHLES OF ELIZABETH HIGHLAND, VOLUME II… The Journey Continues.

Elizabeth holds both a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. Elizabeth presently lives in Toronto with her dog Little Bear.

 

Elizabeth is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

645

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins February 16 and ends on February 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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postheadericon I Made It – Not Without My Father by Andrea Watson

LS guestI Made It – Not Without My Father

By Andrea Watson

The Natchez Trace. Northwestern Alabama. I forced my bloody feet to carry me through Tasmanian-devil-like dustbowls. When I licked my lips, I tasted grit from the dawn of the universe. For the twentieth time, I dragged my body from whence the wind battered it, back to the grassy shoulder.

Andra Watkins 4And I kept walking. I still had five miles to cover in my 26th consecutive fifteen-mile day.

A minivan swerved toward me. A victim of the whimsy of the wind. Like me.

Or so I thought.

Until it stopped, plowed through the shoulder and skidded to a halt two feet from me.

The window scrolled from tinted to open in slow motion, while I leaned into the gale and waited to see whether the inhabitants of the minivan were friend or foe.

I waited to stare down the muzzle of a gun. Instead, I greeted a different weapon. A green book. White letters. My name.

Will you sign our copy of your book? We’re descendants of William Clark, and we believe Meriwether Lewis was murdered, and we came all the way out here in this windstorm to get your autograph, because we heard you were out here walking the Trace.

My Made It Moment blew in on the coattails of a windstorm, the instant after I wondered whether I could go on. Because sometimes, Life has a perverse sense of humor. It goes out of its way to buffet and batter our dreams, only to show us why they matter.

About the Author

Andra Watkins 3

Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from FrancisMarionUniversity. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

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About the Book:

Not Without My Father 2

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

For More Information

  • Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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postheadericon False History, Real Power by Auston Habershaw, author of The Iron Ring

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The Iron RingTitle: The Iron Ring

Author: Auston Habershaw

Publisher: Harper Voyage Impulse

Pages: 192

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Format: Kindle

Tyvian Reldamar—criminal mastermind, rogue mage, and smuggler of sorcerous goods—has just been betrayed by his longtime partner and left for dead in a freezing river. To add insult to injury, his mysterious rescuer took it upon himself to affix Tyvian with an iron ring that prevents the wearer from any evildoing.

Revenge just got complicated.

On his quest to get even, Tyvian navigates dark international conspiracies, dodges midnight assassins, and uncovers the plans of the ruthless warlord Banric Sahand—all while running from a Mage-Defender determined to lock him up. Tyvian will need to use every dirty trick in the book to avoid a painful and ignominious end, even as he discovers that sometimes even the world’s most devious man needs a shoulder to lean on.

For More Information

  • The Iron Ring is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

False History, Real Power

I’ve always loved history; the story of our species’ activities, decisions and beliefs over the vast span of time and continent is riveting, compelling, and wonderful to know. Understanding history is essential to understanding art, literature, culture, and human beings in general. No artist, in my opinion, can be ignorant of history and successfully depict human societies in any real or convincing way. This is as true of the science fiction and fantasy author as it is of anyone else, perhaps more so, as they must frequently invent new history that, in their world, serves all the same functions as real history does in ours.

The story behind this door makes what lies behind all the more tragic.

Few understand this or use it better than Tolkien. When Rohan rides to help Gondor, it’s a nice story; if you know of the relationship between Rohan and Gondor, their shared history, and their challenges, it becomes an even better story. If you know that Aragorn is the heir to Isildur, that’s fine; if you understand the significance of Aragorn as the last of a thinning bloodline that traces all the way back to the doomed kingdom of Numenor, the pathos of his duty and quest becomes that much more powerful. The Silmarilion, while not a read for everyone, establishes a mythic and historic baseline that colors the whole of Middle Earth; it has resonance in every song the elves sing, in every major conflict that develops, and in every cultural behavior of every people in that world. Even if you haven’t and don’t plan to learn about the history of Middle Earth, you are experiencing its power from the moment Thorin and company sing “Far Over Misty Mountains.”

For the rest of us writing fantasy or science fiction, we can take a lesson from Tolkien that is important to remember: Your world should be bigger than what happens on the pages. Just like you should know your characters like they’re real people, you should also know the history of your setting. All of this falls under David Eddings famous quote about writing 1000 pages about a world before you can write a story set there. This sounds like work, and it is, but if you’re a lover of history, it’s great fun, too. It’s an instance where you can take your understanding of history and try to apply some of those same concepts or, if you like, mess with them. It’s the most thorough kind of ‘what-if’ building you can do.

Take, for instance, the existence and study of magic – elemental forces contained within the fingertips of a special few. How does that change the course of history? What kinds of things does it result in or not result in? What kind of world is one where magic exists? I consider this pretty closely in my world of Alandar, which grows and changes with each passing year as I continue to flesh it out and establish its history. In The Iron Ring, my first novel set in the world, we visit the world almost three decades after the ages-long prohibition of free sorcerous study began to be relaxed. What was once a medieval world of simple people ruled over by the magical elite is beginning to shift. A middle class is being born. Sorcery is being used by the common people with greater frequency. Businessmen and entrepreneurs are taking the once-restricted arts of alchemy and thaumaturgy to new heights, a Reniassance of sorts is developing, and all of it goes back to a war. In this war there were pivotal historic figures (Landar Marik the Holy, General Conrad ‘Mudboots’ Varner, the Mad Prince Banric Sahand), famous battles (Atrisia, the Sack of Tasis, the Siege of Calassa), and events of contention still debated into the modern day (Who really killed Perwynnon? Why did Landar Marik abdicate? Did Banric Sahand really sign the Treaty of Calassa?). This, I hope, should give my world a sense of presence, of legitimacy, and of gravity. It lets me understand my characters better, and hopefully lets the readers understand them better, too.

The trick is, of course, finding a way to tell them about all this without boring them to tears. Some people, as you know, don’t really like history all that much. That, of course, is the ultimate challenge of the fantasist – to bring someone into a world without barraging them with facts like they’re studying for an exam. It is a challenge I believe I have done well at, but I could always do better. For inspiration, I need only gaze at the great world-builders: Tolkien, Martin, Herbert, Jordan. They are the framers of my own personal history, the teachers of myth that shaped my own understanding of the art, and beside whom I hope one day to be mentioned without sarcasm or irony.

 

Auston Habershaw is a science fiction and fantasy writer and author of The Saga of the Redeemed (part one to be released by Harper Voyager in February 2015). You can find links to his stuff through Amazon or Goodreads (see the links to your right!). He got second place in the Writers of the Future Contest in the first quarter of 2014 (Volume 31), so he presumably has some idea of what he’s doing (though not the *best* idea, obviously). He’s also an English professor, a pretty good storyteller, and a big time geek. This blog is for him to discuss and explore some of the crazy ideas that are usually kicking around in his head, throw out some of his homemade RPGs for people to use or see, advertise his budding writing career, and see just what this whole ‘blog’ thing is about. Enjoy!
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postheadericon Love is the Essence of Time by Samuel Douglas Book Feature – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Love is the Essence of Time

Author: Samuel Douglas

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 114

Genre: Family/Relationship

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

This book is all about love as seen through the eyes of the author. Love Is the Essence of Time explores his deepest thoughts as he seeks to relate his understanding of the most powerful word on earth. He attempts to answer burning questions that affect everything that love touches. It is one of those books straight from the heart.
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Samuel Douglas was born in the parish of St. Catherine, in Jamaica. His family relocated to the parish of Clarendon, closer to the center of the island, where he spent his childhood years.

He enjoys playing football attending church and listening to gospel music. However his greatest joy is being around people and making them happy. His goal in life is to do whatever it takes to put smiles on the faces of all the people he meets, and to brighten their days. In fact, he wrote this book about love to do just that.

Samuel now works in Canada, where he shows everyone he meets that a good smile is a sign of happiness, especially when it comes from the heart

Samuel is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins February 16 and ends on February 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

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postheadericon Guardian by Erik Williams Book Feature

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Title: Guardian

Author: Erik Williams

Publisher: Harper Voyage Impulse

Pages: 254

Genre: Military Thriller

Format: Paperback/Kindle

The heart-pounding, action-packed sequel to Demon.

A secret order at war with itself.

A Syrian official who wants to set the Middle East ablaze.

And all of them want nothing more than one unlucky CIA agent …

CIA agent Mike Caldwell just confronted a fallen angel and survived. But he wasn’t the only one tracking down Semyaza, and the demon’s escape from an ancient tomb has caught the attention of several powerful entities. Now they will stop at nothing to get Mike to play by their rules.

Mike must head out on an international mission to confront the covert brotherhood in an effort to save the world from destruction.
FOR MORE INFORMATION

  • Guardian is available at Amazon
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

Erik Williams is a former naval officer and current defense contractor (but he’s not allowed to talk about it). He is also the author of Demon and numerous small press works and short stories. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters. When he’s not at his day job, he can usually be found changing diapers or coveting carbohydrates

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postheadericon A Conversation with Eve Picquette, author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships

Eve PicquetteEve Picquette has been looking for love, joy and fun all her life. Along the way she has had lots of experiences – some with more fun than others! A licensed attorney, she served as director of risk and quality management at hospital corporations in California and Arizona for thirty years. She is also a certified NLP life coach, matrix, EFT and Angel Therapy practitioner. Eve Picquette received her MSN in community mental health at VanderbiltUniversity, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Davis.

Author of Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys -What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries and companion Mini Meditation MP3′s, she lives in Arizona, and her present happy work is teaching and advising clients regarding having more love and joy in personal and business relationships.

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About the Book:

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Title: Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries
Author: Eve Picquette
Publisher: Enchanted Eve, Inc.
Pages: 78
Genre: Self Help/Inspiration
Format: Paperback

How many times have you read or seen something that made you want to change your life and relationships – but you didn’t know how? Introduced by two angels, Hope and Impatience, Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries answers the “how” question. Eve Picquette shows readers how to:

  • Open their hearts to love
  • Shift their lives, using 10 keys—how-to-do-it ideas created with the help of angels of inspiration—to change in real and satisfying ways.

In this lighthearted, uplifting, and beautifully illustrated gift book, each chapter opens with images of the author’s angels and quotes she believes were angel-inspired sometime in history. Readers may also download companion MP3 Mini Meditations available on Amazon.com. They are “Dared to Shift” their thoughts and behaviors and these shifts will improve lives and relationships: • Shift 1: Always Connect to Love • Shift 2: Just Stop It, Really • Shift 3: It’s All About You • Shift 4: It’s Not About You • Shift 5: Give Up on the Past • Shift 6: Expect the Best Future • Shift 7: Appreciate Everything Now • Shift 8: Re-Choose Your Relationships • Shift 9: Handle Conflict with Grace • Shift 10: Love So it Can be Felt.

If you are ready to try these simple shifts, the results will amaze you. Every encouraging and comforting word in this beautifully illustrated self-help book will lead you to the path of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. A treasure to own, it would also serve as a thoughtful, caring, and loving gift.

For More Information

  • Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships: 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Eve! Can you tell us where you are from?

Phoenix, Arizona

Q: How did you come up with your title?

I wanted to dedicate it to my angels and I also knew that the angels had been telling us the same inspired ideas down through the ages – thus – Open Your Heart for Happy Relationships – 10 Shift Keys – What Your Angels Have Been Trying to Tell You for Centuries

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I had the angel portraits done by an artist to my specifications – I knew what I wanted them to look like! I also did the cover layout and picked the Storybook font – I sent Create Space the basic layout for the front and they put it together for me.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

Could you or your relationships be any happier?

Reading the book will open your heart a little and make you feel lighter and I know that at least one of the 10 shifts could make you and your relationships happier! Plus you will enjoy the illustrations and the beautiful quotations that are used throughout – so it would make a great gift!

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Love is the answer, but don’t mix it up with being an unselfish martyr – and -

There are simple tools that miraculously fix some of the automatic things we do (learned in childhood) that keep us unhappy and our relationships unfulfilling!

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

The first and ninth – the First is about connecting to love – the most important thing. The Ninth is about how to handle conflict with grace. How to keep an open heart, when you may be refused a request, criticized or attacked. I knew the ideas in this chapter could prevent a lot of pain and sadness, as they have for me.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I did not start out to write a book. I had written a few pages of relationship quick tips that I wanted to give as gifts on my website.   Then I started enjoying designing around the angels of inspiration and it just developed. I also thought it might help someone. I certainly could have used it years ago!

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I am a semi-recovered workaholic. I have to stay light-hearted.   If I don’t, I can make even fun stuff into work – from baking cookies to reading all night.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

St. Petersburg, Russia and Istanbul, Turkey – I have always wanted to see the Russian treasures of the tsars and to go through the ancient markets of Istanbul – such romance!

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I prefer banker’s hours – 10am to 2pm!

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My older brother, a physician, has written a scholarly book.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes! And I also dreamed through reading constantly.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

Perfect health – including the ability to eat everything without gaining anything I don’t want!

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you for interviewing me! These were great questions!

Eve Picquette

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postheadericon Book Spotlight: Rise by D.U. Okonkwo

RISE

TitleRise 

Author: D.U. Okonkwo

Publisher: A Few Words Press

Publication Date: January 6, 2015

Pages: 292

ISBN:   978-0993161711 (Paperback) /  978-0993161704 (eBook)

Genre: Literary Fiction

Format: eBook (.mobi / Kindle), ePub, PDF

Buy The Book:

AMAZON

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The extraordinary story of how a facially-scarred and reclusive sculptress breaks free upon discovering the true source of self-esteem.
 

Riana “Ria” Ofor is a gifted sculptress whose beautiful creations could draw crowds. But due to the childhood accident that left her facially-scarred, she avoids selling her work publicly, instead scraping a living through online sales. But when a home repossession notice arrives, both her love for sculpting, a well as her home, suddenly come under threat.

Now she is forced to step out of her comfort zone and enter the very public world of gallery showings. When she does land a gallery contract however, she finds herself the target of a rival artist after the very same contract. And with malicious lies, he intends make her regret taking what should have been his. Now, for the first time, Ria must look to find a truth that conquers all lies.
Book Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Ria appreciated the beauty of the headless female sculpture standing before her. A sculpture without its head has its own particular beauty. Strong sculpted legs, intricately crafted torso and powerful shoulders; the beauty of creation.

She squatted in front of the sculpture and ran a slender hand over its flanks. The modeling clay she had chosen had done its job; its durability ensuring the legs of the sculpture came out strong and smooth, the hips gently curved. Six weeks into the making, this piece would be larger than any piece she had previously sculpted, and certainly more challenging.

Here in her art studio which spanned the basement of her small house in London’s Bermondsey, clay statues of ancient kings and queens graced the long wooden shelves resting against the studio’s ivory walls. A small sink sat at the far end against the wall beside her large white storage cupboard, and two years ago she had bought a two-seater sofa and tucked it in the far left corner. Her small stereo, which she only put on when sketching, rested on a table beside it.

Time to begin its head, she decided, and her firm full lips curved into a smile of anticipation. Creating the head was her favorite part. If the legs, shoulders and torso possessed their own particular beauty, then how she created the sculpture’s eyes, slanted its mouth, and molded the chin brought out not just beauty, but the sculpture’s personality.

Ria got to her feet. A slim young woman with close cropped tightly curled black hair; she had a delicate oval face with a beautiful dark chocolate complexion that the faded pink burn scars that ran from the apples of her cheekbones to her collarbone couldn’t mar.

She reached for her apron and tied it around the long-sleeved white t-shirt and soft faded blue jeans she’d pulled on that morning. Sculpting was arduous and messy work, but for her, one of the perks of being a full-time sculptress was that she went to work in her most comfortable clothes.

She moved to where the armature waited atop the worktable. Shaped like an egg, an armature’s rigid metal framework ensured effective structuring of a sculpture’s head.

Collecting an armful of old newspapers from the white storage cupboard in the corner she rolled them into balls then began to fill the armature with them. Once thoroughly packed she secured it in place with a small plastic bag. Next the clay. She took a moment to relish the solid yet light weight in her hand. Then, detail by detail, piece by piece, she began adding more and more clay to the stuffed plastic bag, melding and smoothing it against the bag’s slippery surface. She hummed as she worked; following the measurements she had set out when the idea had first flown into her mind. Her deft and skilful fingers, armed with her trusted sculpting chisel, manipulated the clay.

The sharp slap of the letterbox upstairs stopped her. She stretched her arms high over her head, working out the stiffness in her shoulders caused from bending over the armature. After cleaning her hands she left the studio, heading up the pink carpeted stairs to the ground floor.

She plucked the white envelope lying on the doormat. June sunlight shone through the glass panel in the front door, and the click of women’s heels sounded on the pavement outside as they made their way to work. Once the morning rush was over and it was quiet outside she’d go for her daily morning walk and think over the next steps to completing the sculpture.

Breaking the seal of the envelope, she pulled out the letter.

Dear Ms. Ofor,

Account No: 17032007-55GM    Property: 55 Garden Mews

Please be informed that payment due on the above-referenced account

has not been met.

We have made several unsuccessful attempts to contact you.

Our records show that your account is in arrears of £11,509.

Please make arrangements to clear the outstanding amount within 28 days or the

case will be escalated to our solicitors, whereupon they may be forced to take legal

action, resulting in the repossession of the property.

If you have since made arrangements to clear the aforementioned amount, please

ignore this letter.

Ria’s stomach dropped somewhere below ground level, and the noose of the repossession notice, the one she had tried to loosen over the last six months, only tightened further around her neck, almost choking her.

She had failed.

The knowledge brought a bitter and sour taste to her mouth, salty tears to her cheeks. She had tried everything to sell her art; special offers, first buyer discounts. Everything except what you really should, she acknowledged silently, and squeezed her eyes shut. The scars have faded, she reminded herself. They’re not as disfiguring as they once were. No one will stare if you go out; no one will point or grimace. 

Face damp with tears she’d been unable to keep at bay, she looked around desperately. Her heart pounded. How would she sculpt? Where would she sculpt?

She groped her way back down to the studio, went to the storage cupboard, and then pulled out the lowest drawer. The pile of threatening letters she had received over the last nine months stared up at her like hungry wolves. A shudder raked through her.

She needed to be strong and think, she told herself. Wiping her eyes she moved to the teak filing cabinet beside the storage cupboard and placed the letter atop it, then on a deep breath then opened the bottom drawer. Art magazines and industry journals were stacked neatly inside. Please, she begged silently as she rifled through the drawer. Please still be here.

Her trembling fingers hit a cool glossy cover. Sculpting Magazine – last month’s issue. She held it to her chest for a moment, closed her eyes and attempted to steady her racing heart. Then, opening it, she flipped through page after page until she found what she was looking for: the monthly snapshot of an art agent. This issue profiled Meg Fuller, president of a boutique art agency called The Art Room. As an art agent, Meg Fuller placed artists with art galleries throughout London.

Only in Ria’s most private moments did she allow herself to imagine what it would be like to be a commercially successful artist. Then she thought of people’s stares, comments, the rejection, and she shrank into herself.

Now she looked up at the portrait of her deceased Uncle Jonas that took pride of place on the wall. After she had graduated from Rayners Art Academy six years ago he had helped arrange the financing on the flat. Located in Island Gardens, the Docklands area of East London, she had loved the small compact house on first sight.

“You helped me buy this place,” she whispered to his smiling face, still holding the art magazine. “You encouraged my love of art. You started me on this journey.”

He had introduced her to art at age ten. A successful surgeon, he had children of his own, and had therefore spent a lot of time with her and her older brother Dominic One afternoon, he had taken her and her and her brother Dominic to visit the Canbury art gallery in central London. Stepping into that gallery had been like stepping into a warm, enveloping cloud. Light poured in from the huge wall-to-wall windows, paintings graced the white walls, and eclectic sculptures stood atop tall pedestals. Uncle Jonas spoke with the other gallery visitors about the displays, all of them speaking in awed whispers and hushed tones as they studied the different artwork. Dom had been bored though. Ria smiled at the memory of him impatiently hopping from one foot to the other; desperate to leave and see the car exhibition that Uncle Jonas had promised him they’d visit afterwards.

She had not been bored, but enthralled. Uncle Jonas had asked a member of the gallery staff to answer her questions and for the next half an hour she had learned about the process of bronze sculpting. After that day she had focused more attention on her art class at school and throughout college. Her father had been dismissive of it from the start. His blunt ‘Most artists can’t afford to feed themselves,’ had only added strain to their already fractured relationship.

And now, standing in her studio years later, her father’s words now kept going around her mind. But he was wrong, she decided. And she could prove him wrong. She looked across the room at her sculpture, then at the many other smaller pieces resting on the studio shelves on the walls. “I can fix this.” Her eyes narrowed on the sculpture again. “I have to.” With her free hand she pulled her phone from her handbag beside the worktable and looked down at the art agency’s number again, and then dialed it.

A young woman answered on the second ring. “Good morning, The Art Room; Layla speaking.”

“Hello.” Be confident, Ria ordered herself, and sought to make her usual low calm voice strident. “Can I speak to Meg Fuller please?”

“Who can I say is calling?”

Ria drew a fortifying breath. “Ria Ofor.”

“Just a second.”

A moment later a different female voice spoke. “Ria Ofor?”

This was it. Throat tight with both fear and anxiety, Ria swallowed and then answered. “Yes.”

“This is Meg Fuller. I recognize your name, Ria.” The agent’s warm and enthusiastic voice eased Ria’s nerves a little. “I’ve seen several of your pieces on The Platform website but have never been able to find contact details for you. Are you calling for possible representation?”

“Yes I–” Ria had to blink back the image of the bank letter that threatened to shadow her vision. “Yes.” She cleared her throat and aimed to speak more firmly in an effort to exude confidence. “I’ve been working on a new piece for several weeks. I think it may be of commercial interest.” “I see. You have an up-to-date portfolio?”

“I do yes.”

“Good. Why don’t we set a date for you to come and meet me tomorrow afternoon? We’re in Covent Garden.”

Alarm speared through Ria. “M-meet? You mean…face-to-face?”

“That’s right.”

Ria’s hand grew clammy on the phone. “Can we…can we perhaps negotiate something over the phone…I mean instead of meeting? Maybe…maybe I can email you photos of some of my pieces?”  Please say yes.

“I’m afraid not. I always meet any new potential client face-to-face.”

Ria squeezed her eyes shut briefly.  How could she reveal her reasons for not wanting to meet face-to-face? She lifted her hand to her face, but caught herself at the last second and clenched her hands into fists.

Over eleven thousand pounds needed to be paid. She had to do what was necessary. She hoped that for once the chips fell in her favor. She drew a deep breath. “I’ll be there, Meg.”

 

Covent Garden was the heart of London’s tourist district. Its cobbled streets attested to it being one of the oldest places in the city, and its bustling market, lively street performers and boutique designer shops drew both tourists and Londoners alike. It had been years since she had been here, Ria mused as she exited its tube station. A row of rickshaws lined the pavement just outside. Some riders bargained with enchanted tourists over hire rates while others sat back to take a rest between rides. Taking a right outside of the station Ria headed towards the main square. This place still possessed so much energy and vibrancy, she admitted. She wouldn’t admit she had missed both.

“My balloon!”  a young boy suddenly squealed. A royal blue balloon flew over Ria’s head. “Mum, catch it quick.”

Startled into glancing up, Ria saw the bright blue balloon in question. She jumped up, catching its long, red string in her grasp. She held it out to the little boy.

“Thank the kind young lady, Jimmy,” his mother prompted.

Brushing his ginger fringe aside, Jimmy stared up at Ria, his large brown eyes wide. “What are those things on your face?” he asked instead.

Ria froze.

“Jimmy!” Grasping his free arm, Jimmy’s mother sent Ria a beseeching look of apology as she took the balloon from her. “Come on, Jimmy.”

Ria stood rooted in place, her body completely immobile like one of her own sculptures. Only when someone accidently bump into her did she realize she had been standing there for some time. Jimmy and his mother had long gone.

Heart pounding, she ran the back of her hand down her right cheek, over the rough texture of unforgiving burn scars. Letting her hand drop, she forced her fingers to relax. All thoughts of her impending meeting with Meg wiped clear from her mind, she spun on her heel and headed towards the tube station, thinking only of home.             

 

 

Meg Fuller ran impatient fingers through shoulder-length black hair. She rose from her desk and walked out into the main reception area of The Art Room, her emerald eyes narrowing.

At the reception desk her summer intern, Layla Banes, glanced up. “Still nothing?”

“Not a dickey bird, and I’ve already left a message.” Annoyed, Meg grimaced. “I’ll try her one more time.” Then she had cut her losses. Ria Ofor looked to be a special talent, Meg had seen that for herself while browsing The Platform website several months ago. But she liked artists who knew the importance of communication.

“I’d better head off or I’ll be late for the dentist.” Layla grimaced. “Wish me luck.”

“Always. See you in a couple of days.” Returning to her office, Meg picked up her phone and dialed Ria’s number for the second time. Six rings came and went before Ria answered.

“Hello?”

“Ria, this is Meg Fuller from The Art Room.”

On the other end of the phone Meg heard Ria’s shocked gasp. “Meg…hi.”

“Where are you?”

A pause before Ria whispered back. “At home.”

Meg waited a beat. Well, don’t rush to apologize for standing me up will you? she thought with annoyance. “We were scheduled to meet today at twelve-thirty.”

A sniffle came through the line. “Meg. Oh. I – I’m so sorry for – I couldn’t make it.”

Meg’s brows drew together. Ria sounded like she had been crying. “Are you okay?”

Another sniffle. “Yes I – yes of course. I’m fine.”

Sure you are, Meg thought with concern, and hesitated before asking, “Do you still want to meet?”

 

 

 
 
About The Author

 

 

 

 

D.U. Okonkwo

 

Born and raised in London, D. U. Okonkwo writes commercial literary fiction. She graduated from the University of Salford with a BSc in Business with Spanish which included an ERASMUS exchange living in Salamanca, Spain. RISE is her first novel.

To learn more about D. U. Okonkwo, visit her website at: www.duokonkwo.com  She is also on Twitter @duosays, and keeps a blog at www.duosblog.com
Connect with D.U.:

Author Website:  www.duokonkwo.com 

Author Blog: www.duosblog.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duokonkwo 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/duosays

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4305929-d-u-okonkwo

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postheadericon Book Blast: One Last Hurrah by Mark and Brenda Smith

One Last Hurrah

Title: One Last Hurrah … Making Peace and a Difference
Author: Mark & Brenda Smith

Publisher: MicroPress Books

Publication Date: September 21, 2014

ISBN: 978-0578150604

Genre: Inspirational / Christian / Self-Help
One Last Hurrah” allows the reader to experience a story of inspiration, inject their own experiences, unlike other books, so that the reader documents their own life story.

This is, not only, a book about a former professional wrestler overcoming loss, but his journey in finding purpose and peace. The book, “One Last Hurrah” , documents medical miracles, overcoming abuse and experiences with drug addiction. Mark and Brenda , both, come from broken homes and have found their calling in life working with youth/children for over 15 years.

Having come from divorce, Mark and Brenda had to decide if they were going to break the family cycles of abuse. They dedicated themselves to helping abused and abandoned children. They have been foster parents for several years and open their home to students who have no where to go. For them to understand their purpose, they had to go through a lot of trials. Mark has suffered mini strokes and multiple concussions from a career in professional wrestling. He had to make peace with the father that instilled a childhood of fear. Brenda witnessed Mark and his brother burying their father with shovels and the nightmares Mark would endure. Later, Mark and several of his friends would develop equipment and would be taken to Capitol Hill. He found himself working with military leaders from all over the world. When Mark wanted to give up on living, doors opened!
Book Excerpt: 

Chapter One: The Lowest Point in My Life

I walked into our apartment and called out her name. There was no answer. I began the search; I found her in our bed, face down. I knelt on the bed and gently turned her over on her back. I called her name again, and this time she began what I couldn’t decipher was laughing or crying. Whatever it was, it scared the living heck out of me.

Had I driven her over the edge? I accept total responsibility for whatever was happening to her. I know that I was no good for anyone. She would not respond to me; so I went to the other room and sat on the couch and cried. What have I done to her? Whatever was going on with her, I know I was the cause of it.

As I sat there and cried, she came walking into the room and calmly said, “We’re finished.” I looked up at her, staring blankly at this woman whom I loved (but apparently not in the way she needed to be loved). I felt like a loser, not something that a professional wrestler ever wanted to feel. I slowly got up and walked to the door. I looked back at her, lowered my head, and walked out the door.

I went for a drive to try to absorb what she had just said. Her words kept ringing in my head. “We are finished.” I can’t say that I don’t understand. I do. Our world was ridden with booze, drugs, verbal and mental abuse. I couldn’t think straight.





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Mark & Brenda Smith

God has rebuilt Mark’s life with his wife, Brenda, of 22 years. Having never thought he was worthy of being a father, Mark and Brenda have been blessed with three wonderful kids. Mark was diagnosed to lose his ability to walk by age 18. He not only beat the odds, but was invited to Spring Training with several Major League clubs and ended up traveling the U.S. working for Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling.

Brenda has been a Children’s Minister for almost 15 years and also loves to lead Women’s Bible studies. She has also been a worship leader for Women’s Ministry Events. She enjoys singing Contemporary and Southern Gospel music.

Mark, Brenda and their children make their home in Fayetteville, TN

Visit Mark & Brenda online at www.onelasthurrahweb.com 

 

Contact Mark & Brenda at:

Website: www.onelasthurrahweb.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Brenda-Smith/580166418759709

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mark_Brenda2014

 

 

Contest Giveaway

Pump Up Your Book and Authors Mark & Brenda Smith are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
  • This giveaway begins November 28 and ends on January 30, 2015.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on February 1, 2015.
  • Winner has 72 hours to reply.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
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One Last Hurrah
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postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch & Win $25 iTunes Gift Card!

ITGIRL4LIFE 8Title: ITGIRL4LIFE
Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

First Chapter:

KNOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE

Y OU ARE MAGNIFICENT. You are important. You matter.

You are special. You are a powerful presence on this Earth.

You are loved. You are worthy. You are good. You are a person of value. You have been blessed with wisdom, intelligence, grace, beauty, strength, peace, joy, love and creativity. You have talents and gifts beyond what you can imagine. You possess within you everything you need to thrive. You live in an abundant universe.

There are no limits to what you can accomplish. You are complete as you are. Start with that and keep building.

Power Statement

I KNOW WHO I AM.

“Your treasure is within.”

Power Statement

I HAVE SO MUCH GOING FOR ME.

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postheadericon Interview with Douglas Gardham, author of The Actor


Title: The Actor

Author: Douglas Gardham

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction

Format: Ebook

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It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered.

Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him, believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in.

The Actor is a gripping tale of a young man’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy. It is a story of love, hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy where The Actor learns he can portray anything he can imagine.

amazon

 
What was the hardest part about writing your book?



Understanding what the story was really about. I wrote it as one pursuing something they loved to do but wanted it to be more. Editing the original manuscript of 800 pages down to a more manageable 400 pages.

Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, can you share it?

“Good try, but you’re not getting off that easily,” Mila added. “What about your drama class in high school? You didn’t continue ’cause someone said you were good in science, right? … The sciences always win. It’s like the arts don’t matter in the real world, and it’s the only thing that’s real.”

What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?

That life is a journey no matter where you’re at in your current circumstances. Being well and mentally healthy is more important that almost anything else in life.

Who or what is the inspiration for the book?

The inspiration for the novel came from seeing the Titanic movie when it first came out. I became fascinated by what someone would go through—the ups and downs—of getting up from what they were doing and chasing a dream.

Have you had a mentor? If so, can you talk about them a little?

I can’t say I really have a mentor outside of my mother and father. My father demonstrated work ethic and commitment and to do what you say your going to do. My mother showed us the importance of family and self and you can do pretty much whatever you set your mind to.

I have heard it said in order to be a good writer, you have to be a reader as well? Do you find this to be true? And if you are a reader, do you have a favorite genre and/or author?

I don’t know whether reading determines whether you’re a good writer or not, but I don’t know how I could be a writer without reading. One leads to the other. (Good is subjective and determined by the reader.) First, I don’t know how I would know about writing without having read. Second, for me at least, learning to write happens in many ways through reading. Could one play and create music without listening to music? I suppose you could but I’d wonder how you’d even know what it is. I don’t think the converse is true that everyone who reads is a writer. I love reading that’s both entertaining and thought provoking. My reading is wide ranging. Thrillers, horror, fantasy. I do read non-fiction, mostly history. I’m fascinated by creativity and science and marrying the two together. Stephen King is one of my favorites who inspired me to write and I’ve read since high school. I love the classics—Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Melville. There’s so much.

Douglas Gardham is a writer who loves music, movies, and books. He lives near Toronto, Canada, with his wife and dog. This is his first published novel.
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postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins

Not Without My Father 3Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

For More Information

  • Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

First Chapter:

The journey is a long slog with an unpredictable number of mileposts.

One can make the trip alone, but why not share it?

As I traversed familiar mile markers and pulled up in front of my father’s house, I could predict where I’d find him.

In his recliner, his belly a shelf for a vat of popcorn. At eighty, he whiled away days feeding his face and shouting at the television. Whenever his throne was vacant, I eschewed all temptation to occupy it.

Because I imagined how many times he farted into the velvet upholstery. Sometimes while naked.

I could hear the television when I stepped from the car. “Why am I doing this again?” I whispered as I slipped through the back door.

“Andra!” There he was, sprawled in his recliner. A jagged scar played peek-a-boo through his open pajama top. “What’re you doing here?”

I opened my mouth and clamped it shut. Once I uttered my request, I couldn’t take it back.

I needed a wingman while I walked the 444-mile Natchez Trace from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. I planned to launch my debut novel and become the first living person to walk the10,000-year-old road as our ancestors did. Nobody could convince me that an unathletic woman and her mid-life paunch were incapable of walking more than a half-marathon every day for a month.

Even though my aversion to exercise was as spectacular as my father’s. I wanted my walk to redeem my novel’s hero, American explorer Meriwether Lewis, one-half of the Lewis and Clark duo. He died of two gunshot wounds on the Natchez Trace, seventy miles south of Nashville.

He was only thirty-five.

Was it suicide? Or murder? His death is one of America’s great unsolved mysteries.

To walk a forgotten highway for five weeks, I needed a wingman who could shuttle me to my first daily milepost and pick me up fifteen miles later. Someone who wasn’t busy. Someone available. Maybe this person even craved an adventure.

I scrolled through a list of prospects. My husband Michael couldn’t be absent from work for five weeks, especially since his job paid for my predilection to write. My friends all had children. Husbands. Gainful employment. I discarded people for an hour, my list a scribbled mess that highlighted one harrowing name.

Dad.

My father wasn’t doing anything. He was available to go on a five-week jaunt through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.

His stomach pooled over his thighs and his triple-chin jiggled as he leaned into his response. “Go on a five-week trip? Just you and me? I don’t want to do that, Andra.”

“Why not?” I shouted even louder to penetrate his VA-issued, circa-1980 hearing aids.

“Well.” He chewed a handful of popcorn. “Because…….I got furniture to refinish.”

“It’ll be here when you get back.”

Dad dug his fingernails into the arms of his chair. “I cain’t be away from my Sunday school class for that long.”

“God won’t care if you miss church to spend time with your only daughter, Dad.”

“Well, uh…….I……..Linda might need me here.”

Mom preened into the room with his bowl of ice cream. I never understood why she didn’t just hand him the carton. She placed the spoon between his fingers and smiled. “I don’t need you here, Roy.” Her flawless makeup matched her leotard. “I’m going to the gym. Be home in four hours.”

She flounced out the door, leaving me with my jiggly arms and red hair I forgot to brush.

I sighed and turned back to Dad. “Why don’t you want to do this, Dad? I mean, you haven’t been anywhere since your appendix ruptured two years ago. You’re just sitting here in this recliner, waiting to die.”

Dad picked at his ice cream and avoided my gaze. “Spending five weeks with you don’t sound like much fun, Andra.”

Dad and I shouted down my teens, harangued through my twenties and seethed away my thirties. For most of my life, our every interaction disintegrated into hurtful words and pregnant silences. Yet, I was willing to cast our history aside and endure his company for more than a month, while he rejected me?

Wrong answer, Old Man.

I gnawed my tongue to regroup. Dad was my last hope to take readers into my book’s world. To help my scribblings make me somebody. In a universe of words with little meaning and even less point, I believed I created something valuable, a story that could make a difference, a tale that would leave readers fundamentally altered and pining for the next installment.

All writers are convinced whatever they write qualifies, be it dreck or brilliance. Our words are sperm and egg on the page. Merge them together, and one can hold a physical chunk of the writer. It’s a shame a book can’t arrive covered in blood and filth from the birth canal, screaming and howling to breathe.

But to get anyone to care about a story, the writer must make it about the reader.

My breathing even, I flashed my most fetching smile.

“All right, Dad. Look at it this way. We’ll be riding near hundreds of tiny towns with lots of strangers who’ve never heard your stories. Think of all the junk shops and dive diners where you can enchant people. Don’t they deserve to meet you before you’re gone?”

Dad’s eyes took on a dreamy tinge. His yarns were Southern gothic legends, tales he rolled out for every stranger he encountered. I imagined myself spending the entire trip with a view of his broad back, regaling everyone but me. He must’ve conjured the same scene. “I’ll do it, Andra. If the Lord lets me live ’til March, I’ll go with you.”

Dad would be my wingman on the Natchez Trace. Visions of literary stardom floated in front of my faraway eyes. Because my secret dream was The New York Times headline:

- Debut Novelist Walks Her Way to Blockbuster Best Seller! -

I basked in the mirage of that proclamation, in the glory of staggering to my Nashville finish line with crowds of people. News crews. Fans waving my book and clamoring for an autograph.

My swelling imagination burst when Dad heaved himself from the chair, scratched his crotch and farted. “Yeah, Andra. This is gonna be real fun.”

What had I done? Besides self-scratching and legendary gas, his sleep apnea machine didn’t stifle his explosive snoring.

And the bathroom. I would have to share a bathroom with my father, whose hulking belly obscured all ability to aim. A sodden fact that seeped into my legs when I locked myself in Dad’s bathroom and plopped down on the toilet.

I didn’t want to spend five weeks with my father.

As I winced through a sink bath, I studied my face in the mirror. The beginnings of forehead wrinkles and crows feet. A hint of Dad’s bulldog jowl. I stuck my tongue out at my green-eyed self. “Welcome to Hell, you idiot.”

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postheadericon Book Blast: The Angels without Wings Series by Chris Smith

 

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AWOW Series - Scepter of Faith - Book 1
Title:  Angels without Wings: Scepter of Faith
Series: The Angels without Wings Series – Book 1
Author: Chris Smith
Genre: YA Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
ISBN: 978-1622956319
For God, we fight; all angels have heard the command. Troy Decker has heard it from his parents countless times. All he wants in life is a chance to prove himself and be granted his scepter – the first gift angels receive from God in their war against Lucifer. Standing in his way is fallen angel Kyle Downey, who used to be best friends with Troy’s parents but is now on a quest to destroy all that is good in the world.
Will Troy ever earn the scepter that God has prepared for him? And what happened between Kyle and Troy’s parents? As the War for Sins rises to heights not seen in generations, Troy must find the strength to hold his faith when demons target his friends and family. In this war, there is only one winner. Will the world fall to demons or be saved by angels?
Book Excerpt: 
 
Chapter 1, Page 1:
Not for the first time in his life, Troy Decker woke from a dream of howling demons. He paused for a moment and reflected on the scene, wishing for what had to be the thousandth time that the dream had been real. He’d prayed for the chance to go on a demon hunt with his dad so many times he’d lost count. He closed his eyes and saw the black claws slashing toward him and heard the fangs snapping at his legs. He could almost feel a sword in his hands, ready to strike the monsters down.
Hunting demons was what he’d been born to do. Most of his prayers to God included a begging request for the chance to stand before the beasts of hell and send them screaming back to the darkness. But as it was, he rubbed sleep from his eyes on the morning of May the 1st knowing he wouldn’t have the opportunity anytime soon. He’d heard so many stories from his parents about the adventures they’d had with his Grandpa John almost twenty years before, but for Troy, only his normal, dreary life lay before him, as usual.
From the look of the sun streaming through the blinds of his bedroom window, it was going to be a glorious day—or should have been, except that it happened to be Troy’s fourteenth birthday. He rolled onto his side and brought his empty hands in front of his face. Only the disappointing emptiness of his skinny fingers and creased palms was present. He closed his hands with one more wish (added to the tally of millions of prayers) that a sword or some other cool weapon was there instead. The lowest of sighs brushed from his lips before he could stop its escape.
“Good morning Troy,” his mom called as she swung open his bedroom door. “Happy Birthday! Fourteen years old… you’ll be driving before you know it.” Her smile welcomed him into the new day better than any ray of sunshine could ever hope to do. “I’m pretty sure you grew an inch last night,” she continued when Troy rolled out of bed to throw on his Nike t-shirt.
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AWOW Series - The Path To Sacrifice - Book 2
Title:  Angels without Wings: The Path to Sacrifice
Series: The Angels without Wings Series – Book 2
Author: Chris Smith
Genre: YA Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: August 4, 2013
ISBN: 978-1491022399
For Troy Decker, the world of angels has always been a familiar mystery. Robes, halos, and wings have filled his dreams since he was old enough to crawl. But it wasn’t until the last year that he truly felt like he was one of God’s chosen angels.
He’d thought only a miracle would allow him to receive his scepter. And he was one hundred percent correct. When God granted Troy his scepter, he never dreamed it would be for saving ones of his closest friends. But with many things in his angel life, Troy had to sit back and trust in his faith. Not only in God, but in himself and his family and friends.
Unfortunately, peace rarely finds Troy. With his first gift from God in hand, he must concentrate on the second gift; the robes of an angel – granted for an act of sacrifice. Hindering his progress is a former friend of his parents, Kyle Downey. Kyle is the leader of a group of fallen angels and his sinister plans for Troy bring howling demons and monsters stampeding into the War for Sins.
Can Troy follow the path God has set in front of him? How will he know what to sacrifice to receive the precious gift? And why, more than anything else in the world, does Kyle Downey want Troy to fall?
Book Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1, page 1:
For the first time in his life, Troy Decker was on a demon hunt with his dad. Not that it looked to be particularly exciting or dangerous, but it was better than mowing the yard or picking up his room. All they were doing at the moment was staring at an abandoned warehouse near a neighborhood of small, shabby houses on the southwest side of Oklahoma City.
Troy had been shook awake on the fine spring morning to his dad hovering over his bed with a look of confused determination on his almost always calm face. The normal, perfectly straight part, on the right side, split his brown hair. Barely a sparkle of the yet risen sun filtered through the blinds of Troy’s bedroom.
“Get ready,” his dad had whispered. “You’re coming with me today. Don’t wake up your mom. Bring your dagger. You may need it.”
“It’s Saturday,” Troy had responded as he swiped sleep residue from his eyes and stifled a yawn while he pulled the small sheath, which held a dagger sharp enough to slice paper without trying, from under his pillow. “Where are we going?”
“Have a job to do,” his dad had given as a cryptic response.
So Troy had rolled out of bed, wolfed down an energy bar, offered by his dad, and shot out the door. Not until they were five minutes down the road did he find out where they were headed.
“Nylla?” Troy scrunched his face. “How big of an infestation is it?”
“Big enough to warrant our attention,” his dad had answered never taking his piercing eyes off the road. “We’ve been noticing some activity in the area for the past month. Demon numbers have been increasing all over the place.”
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AWOW Series - Love's Sweet Sword - Book 3
Title:  Angels without Wings: Love’s Sweet Sword
Series: The Angels without Wings Series – Book 3
Author: Chris Smith
Genre: YA Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: February 21, 2014
ISBN: 978-1494324575
A ghostly smile haunts Troy Decker’s dreams. A smile of love and sacrifice. A smile that brings heart wrenching waves of guilt. For God, we fight. Troy has long heard the ancient command to God’s angels. His parents have whispered it in his ears with each step. But the last five months have taken a toll on his faith. The War for Sins has raged from one bloody battle to another at the hands of fallen angel, Kyle Downey. Angels have been killed and hordes of demons torn from the depths of hell.
With the help of his friends, Troy struggles to fight the nightmares of the past. Lurking behind a wall of agonizing blame, his dad stresses the importance of the gifts granted to angels by God. Troy has his scepter and robes, but an act of love stands in the way of his sword – the third gift. His eyes often land on his friend, Angela. On her blonde hair and pink angel marks. On the way her smile leaves him breathless with delight. Each heartbeat brings a vision of drawing her slowly into his arms and softly kissing her lips.
Can Troy put the past behind him? What will he need to prove to God in order to be granted his sword? Or will Kyle Downey ravage the world and bring an end to the War for Sins?
Book Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1, Page 1:
For the first time in his life, Troy Decker was on a demon hunt alone. He’d walked and jogged over four hours to find the street where he was standing. Dark houses lined the neighborhood with only a few overhead lights sparking any hope in the gloom. Troy pressed with the Spirit and approached his target with a determined grin on his narrow face.
It was the eve of his sixteenth birthday, but the normal time of celebration for most teenagers was only another shadowy day to Troy. The last five months had been the worst of his life. Demons filled his dreams whether he was awake or asleep. Howling and cursing, the monsters ate tiny chunks of his soul with each passing minute. Troy shook his head as the memory of the lion-like beast threatened to creep into his thoughts and send a quiver of pain shooting through his chest.
Quickly, he reached into the pocket of his Nike athletic shorts and withdrew the picture he always had stored somewhere close.
On it was a chubby, white haired baby with a giant toothless grin. Holding the laughing boy was the prettiest woman in the history of the planet.
Dirty blonde hair hung past her shoulders and fell perfectly across her thin back. A pointy chin was nuzzling the baby’s cheek, but everything paled in comparison to the smile.
The love of the Lord thrived in the lifting of her mouth.
Troy swallowed an unbidden sob as he peered at his mom. She’d been dead now for over five months. Killed by the poison of a sinna demon’s barb. And it was his fault. Every time he looked at his dad, that fact screamed into his face with thundering certainty.
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AWOW Series - Hunting Halos - Book 4
Title:  Angels without Wings: Hunting Halos
Series: The Angels without Wings Series – Book 4
Author: Chris Smith
Genre: YA Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publication Date: October 2, 2014
ISBN: 978-1500750237
The past lingers on Troy Decker’s every thought. Losses have piled into the shadows at his heels. The War for Sins has taken a devastating toll on his life. And now, Lucifer has his eyes set on Troy’s very soul. With his chief fallen angel, Kyle Downey, spreading violence and discord around the globe, Lucifer has set plans in motion to end the War and bring a reign of terror upon the Earth.
For Troy, that means he must rush to receive his final two gifts from God. Gifts that will make him a fully-fledged angel and give him the power to resist Lucifer and all his demons. The granting of his fourth gift – a halo – looms as he struggles to stay one step ahead of Kyle and his Dark Hearts. A simple act of redemption stands in Troy’s way for this blessed sign of an angel. In a race against time, Troy must find the correct path to follow, not only in the eyes of his loved ones, but also for himself… or risk losing everything he knows and loves.
Book Excerpt:
 
Chapter 1, Page 1:
For the first time in his life, Troy Decker was hunting a human. Or a man who appeared to be human, at least. He’d been dogging the man’s trail on and off for two weeks. Watching and waiting while reading all the news on the mid-term Senate race in northern California.
Mrs. Chelsie Elliott was the front running Democrat in the Senate race, but her aide and assistant was Troy’s true target. The man was tall and thick. Broad shoulders stretched the expensive three piece suit flashing in the California sunlight. A blood red tie tucked crisply behind the shiny buttons. Neatly cropped hair was parted on the left. Soft grey eyes smiled warmly wherever he happened to look. But a menace resided under the glitzy exterior.
“We can’t do this alone,” Mrs. Elliott chanted into a microphone behind a wooden podium. “Each of us has a responsibility to turn this country in the right direction. And I’m here to make sure we steer this great ship back on the correct path.”
Troy shook his head as a gust of hot wind brushed across his face. He was mixed with a crowd of eager voters, but without trying he picked out several staged crew members of the candidate who had been placed to start the cheers and rousing ovations at the right spots of her speech.
For twenty minutes, Mrs. Elliott blared from one wrong doing of her opponent to the next – never actually discussing any plans to truly help her future constituents’ lives. Troy lingered at the edges of the crowd after she finished and kept his eyes on the man who was constantly scribbling notes to hand to the soon-to-be State Senator.
As Troy walked to the rented car, a half a block down the street of the small town he’d driven to that morning, his scepter glowed to life in a peaceful hum against his chest. The foot and a half long golden rod had been gifted to him by the very hand of God nearly three years ago. The memory made a smile lift instantly.
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Chris Smith
Chris Smith ignited his love of stories on his sixteenth birthday when his parents gave him a leather bound copy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Every year since, he has picked up the book and fallen into the world of hobbits, wizards, warriors, and orcs. To him, it’s a birthday present that will continue to be given each and every year for the rest of his life.
He began writing at the age of nineteen as a way to purge his mind of cascading plots and reveal the untold stories of characters who follow him around in his day-to-day life. To date, he has written fifteen novels falling mostly into the young adult, fantasy genre; but he has delved into suspense, crime drama, and post-apocalyptic categories as well.
Currently, Chris is in the middle of writing the Angels without Wings series. The books are young adult fantasy with Christian themes of faith, sacrifice, love, redemption, and forgiveness. Being the father of three young boys is the most important aspect of his life. Worlds of fun and adventure revolve constantly under the roof of their home in Mustang, Oklahoma.
Contact Chris at:
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Contest Giveaway

Pump Up Your Book and Author Chris Smith are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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postheadericon NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER RELEASE DAY BLITZ

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We’re happy to be hosting Andra Watkins and her NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER Release Day Blitz today!

About the Book:

Not Without My Father 2

Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

About the Author:

Andra Watkins 4

Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

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postheadericon COLLEGE FOR CONVICTS BOOK BLAST

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We’re happy to be hosting Christopher Zoukis and his COLLEGE FOR CONVICTS Book Blast today!

About the Book:

College for Convicts

Title: College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons
Author: Christopher Zoukis
Publisher: McFarland and Company
Pages: 300
Genre: Social Sciences/Education

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Provide education to prisoners and they won’t return to crime. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, yet incarcerates about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners with about 2.3 million men and women in U.S. facilities. Examining a wealth of studies by researchers and correctional professionals, and the experience of educators, this book finds an irrefutable conclusion: the likelihood of an undereducated prisoner returning to crime is high, but recidivism rates drop in direct correlation with the amount of education prisoners receive, and the rate drops dramatically with each additional level of education attained.

Presenting a workable solution to America’s over incarceration and recidivism problems, this book demonstrates that great fiscal benefits arise when modest sums are spent educating prisoners, instead of dedicating exponentially higher resources to confining them. Educating prisoners brings a reduction in crime and social disruption, reduced domestic spending and a rise in quality of life.

Book Excerpt:

Hundreds of articles and studies about prison education, and many papers presented at academic and professional conferences, almost all come to the same conclusions:

  • Prison education reduces crime,
  • Prison education reduces recidivism, and
  • Prison education will make an enormously positive impact on our national economy.

This is an idea that evokes a lot of controversy, because most people are more concerned with educating their own children than educating prisoners. And the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell because most of the public is unaware of how it can impact our economy and the safety of our communities.

Let’s understand from the start: the concept of educating prisoners is not a “bleeding-heart, humanitarian, feel-good-for-the-imprisoned” kind of cause. On the contrary, it is an issue with huge impact upon the economic stability of our country, the protection of our communities, and a higher quality of life for law-abiding citizens.

Consider this: the US accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, but it holds 25% of the entire world’s prisoners. There is something wrong with this picture. With our prison population now at 2.3 million, we, as a nation, incarcerate far more people per capita than any other country in the world – almost double the next closest nation. Our state and federal prison population has increased almost ten-fold since 1970 and this explosive growth not only creates an untenable financial burden for state and national budgets, but also creates an impossible situation for our judiciary overburdened by high recidivism rates. In some states, like California, prisons are so overcrowded that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state had to reduce their prisoner population by tens of thousands because the state’s system was “incompatible with the concept of human dignity”.

The growth rate in federal prisons is even worse than that of the states. While state prison populations dropped in 2009 and 2010, federal prisons are bursting at the seams, and federal prison budgets are increasing by 10% a year to accommodate the ever-growing prison population. Lawmakers are calling for the creation of a second federal “supermax” similar to “the notorious Florence ADX in Colorado – a place where solitary confinement has been raised to a torturous art, and prisoners seldom, if ever, see another human being. Conditions at this ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ are so harsh that the European Court of Human Rights initially refused to extradite terrorism suspects to the United States lest they end up in ADX”.

Hundreds of studies and all the research in the field of criminology affirm that prison education is the least expensive and most effective solution to overcrowding and strain on the budget caused by recidivism. Nevertheless, despite overwhelming evidence, policy makers and the general public still do not support funding post-secondary higher education in prisons. Year after year, even the most basic correctional educational programs are further reduced. Computers are not allowed. The result? Increased prisoner unrest and violence, and even more money spent for additional security.

Today, higher education for prisoners is almost non-existent. And, as we shall see, our failure to invest in opportunities for correctional college education weakens the very fabric of our society. With proper implementation, the impact of prison education can be enormous – not just on prisoners, but on our entire society and our nation’s prosperity. Let us hope that greater understanding will result in wise legislative action for our common good.

“In response to the American public’s growing fear of crime and the call for more punitive measures…, many legislators and policymakers have promoted building more prisons, enacting harsher sentencing legislation, and eliminating various programs inside prisons and jails. But more than half these prisoners are in on drug charges and another 10% on immigration violations, so that more than 72% of our incarcerated population are offenders with no history of violence. With re-arrest rates averaging around 67% to 80%, it is clear that incarceration alone is not working”.

In the opinion of Chief Justice William Ray Price of the Supreme Court of Missouri, “We may have been tough on crime, but we have not been smart on crime.” He noted further, “For years we have waged a ‘war on drugs,’ enacted ‘three strikes and you’re out’ sentencing laws, and thrown away the key to be tough on crime. What we did not do was check to see how much it costs, or whether we were winning or losing. In fact, it has cost us billions of dollars and we have just as much crime now as we did when we started.”

Despite all the studies that confirm society and the nation as a whole will reap significant benefits, the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell. The public appears to have a visceral, but understandable, reaction against the idea of higher education for prisoners. Why, people ask, should Americans pay to provide a college education for prisoners when so many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens struggle to send themselves or their children to school? It doesn’t seem fair. Honest people have to pay to receive an education; why should prisoners get it for free?

And besides, say some of the opponents to correctional education, if we provide a learning environment for prisoners, perhaps prison will seem less terrible and serve as a less effective deterrent to crime. However, the deterrent argument fails, because people do not decide whether or not to commit a crime based on the program opportunities available if they are caught and sent to prison.

Others believe that people who commit a crime have chosen to limit their opportunities and freedoms, including access to valuable privileges like education. Therefore, handing it free to people who break the law feels wrong, feels like a slap in the face of justice.

These are legitimate concerns, but there are strong, legitimate solutions.

Make no mistake. Despite the fact that I am a prisoner myself, I do not dispute the concept of getting tough on crime. I do not advocate creating a cushy environment for prisoners. And I certainly do not propose taking privileges from deserving, hard-working people to pamper prisoners. That is not what educating prisoners is about.

So why, then, should we care about educating prisoners, educating people who didn’t care about the victims they hurt, the communities they impoverished, and the society they endangered?

We care, very simply, because they get out.  Almost everyone who is locked up now is going to be set free one day. If we treat prisoners like animals the whole time they’re locked up, that’s what we’ll get when they’re back on the streets: wild, dangerous animals. But if we educate these people, give them some positive reinforcement, and introduce the idea that they’ll have something to offer society when they return to their communities, that’s what we’ll get when they are free: people who have something to offer society.”

About the Author:

 Christopher Zoukis

Christopher Zoukis, a 28-year-old writer who is incarcerated at FCC Petersburg (Medium), is an impassioned and active advocate for prison education and prisoners’ rights in this nation’s prison systems, a noted legal commentator and practitioner, and a prolific writer of books, articles, and legal treatise.

Criminal Justice Books

Mr. Zoukis is the author of College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland and Company, 2014), United Blood Nation: The Story of the East Coast Bloods (Headpress, 2015), the Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2014), and Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security (Sunbury Press, 2012).

Legal Articles

In addition to his books, Mr. Zoukis is also a contributing writer at Huffington Post, Blog Critics, and Prison Legal News, and is a New York Journal of Books authorized book reviewer.  His book reviews, articles, and essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, Midwest Book Review, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, AND Magazine, AND Society, along with content being syndicated by the Associated Press, Google News, Yahoo News, and the FedCURE News Network.

Writing Awards

In 2011, Mr. Zoukis’ creative work won PEN American Center Prison Writing Awards for his screenplay “Healing Bin Laden” (Drama-Second Place) and his short story “Jesusland” (Fiction-Honorable Mention).  And in 2014, Mr. Zoukis’ Directory of Federal Prisons e-book won the prestigious Independent Book Publishers Association’s Silver Benjamin Franklin Digital Book Award.

Websites and Legal Writing Commitments

In addition to his award winning writing, Mr. Zoukis is the founder of PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, and a former editor of the Education Behind Bars Newsletter.  He is a contributing writer at Prison Legal News and the Huffington Post, along with being a former staff writer at the State and Federal Criminal Law Review, The Update: Federal Criminal and Immigration Law, and the Texas Criminal Law Review.

Legal Projects

Currently, Mr. Zoukis is engaged in a number of larger legal and non-legal projects.  On the legal side, he is currently suing the Federal Bureau of Prisons over their refusal to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD), lack of adequate dental care for federal inmates, and is assisting several inmates seeking treatment for Gender Identity Disorder (GID) that is in line with prevailing community standards of care and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Professional Standards.  Mr. Zoukis is currently assisting two transgender federal inmates in suits against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (along with counseling and handling administrative remedies for half a dozen others), and is litigating on behalf of both prisoners in the Virginia State Supreme Court in an effort to effectuate name changes.

Writing and advocating for prison education and prisoners’ rights isn’t all that Mr. Zoukis has been doing behind bars.  He has taught a popular course to over 100 fellow prisoners entitled “Writing and Publishing”, and regularly advises fellow inmates and prison consulting groups about matters surrounding Federal Bureau of Prisons’ policy and the federal regulations governing it.

Mr. Zoukis has become successful in the administrative and regulatory prison litigation realm and is now a sought after consultant on a number of matters (both in-prison and out-of-prison).  Following his release from custody in 2018, he plans to go into the prison consulting and litigation field.

Non-Legal Projects

On the non-legal side, Mr. Zoukis’ literary team — which is headed by Rachel Sentes of Gal Friday Publicity, Greg Aunapu of the Salkind Literary Agency, and Dr. Randall Radic of Middle Street Publishing — are currently pitching several of Mr. Zoukis’ novels and nonfiction works to publishers in the United States and Canada.  Two such titles are Mr. Zoukis’ Facing Federal Incarceration book, and his debut science-fiction novel Hamish.

Legal Credentials and Associations

Mr. Zoukis holds numerous legal credentials as to paralegal studies and certification.  These include the following credentials from the Blackstone Career Institute:

  • Diploma in Paralegal Studies (with distinction)
  • Advanced Certificate in Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Advanced Certificate in Civil Litigation
  • Advanced Certificate in Business & Corporate Law

He is also a graduate of the Long Ridge Writers Group and graduated from Global University’s Certified Minister Certificate Program.  Mr. Zoukis is currently enrolled at Adams State University, where he is nearing the completion of an additional Paralegal Certificate, and his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology (with an emphasis in criminology) degree.

Mr. Zoukis maintains strong ties with the prison, prison education, legal, and writing communities through his memberships with related organizations, several of which include:

  • American Bar Association, including:
  •      ABA Criminal Justice Section
  •      ABA Section on Litigation
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Correctional Association
  • Correctional Education Association
  • National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
  • National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association, including:
  •      NLA Appellate Defender Section
  • National Writers Association
  • National Writers Union
  • PEN American Center
  • Pennsylvania Prison Society
  • Society of Professional Journalists

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postheadericon Release Day Blitz! ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch

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We welcome Tamara Branch as she celebrates the release day of her YA/Self-Esteem book, ITGIRL4LIFE!

ITGIRL4LIFE 8

Title: ITGIRL4LIFE
Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

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ITGIRL4LIFE is available at Amazon.

Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Book Summary:

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.

Excerpt:

YOU have IT. IT is the GREATNESS you were born with. IT is that unique special something that is all yours. Nothing and nobody can take IT away from you. IT is not something that you have one day and lose the next. IT is not fleeting. IT is not temporary. IT does not depend on the judgment or approval of others. IT is here to stay. Your job is to tap into IT. Your ITGIRL4LIFE adventure starts NOW. It’s about loving yourself, being authentic, taking charge and making a difference. You will need a great attitude, an open mind, the desire to grow and expand, the courage to create the life you want and the willingness to be your best self.

Are you ready? Your special something and so much more is right this way.

About the Author:

“I believe in the power, beauty, strength and amazing potential of girls. I believe girls deserve to feel extraordinary. I believe that when girls shine their light, they are unstoppable!” - ITGIRL4LIFE by Tamara Branch

Tamara Branch is from New York, born and raised in the Bronx. She is thrilled to share her first book release, ITGIRL4LIFE, kicking off the ITGIRL4LIFE self-esteem movement to empower girls to stand up, stand out and shine bright in the world.

Tamara has worked as a professional model and actor for almost two decades. She strutted down the runway for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Christian Dior, acted in a few independent films, co-hosted PBS New York’s education series, “What’s up in Technology” and appeared T.V. commercials and print ads for Levi’s, Old Navy, Hershey’s, Colgate, Kellogg’s Special K, Revlon, Hanes, Nike and many others. A Penn State alumnus and lifelong student of personal development, Tamara is deeply passionate about uplifting the human spirit.

After graduating from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying under Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and some of the top health and wellness experts in the world, she was inspired to raise the bar on her own ‘self care’ and support others in living more vibrantly. She is an abstract artist and teaches a dynamic dance class, where she gets to fuse her varied background, having trained in everything from jazz, ballet and modern to Afro-Caribbean and Salsa.

Tamara was recently asked to become a Female Visionary Author guest blogger for The Brave Heart Women Global Community. She’s a SAG/AFTRA member since 1998, a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.

Tamara currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband of seven years and offers ITGIRL4LIFE workshops to assist girls on their self empowerment journey.

Her latest book is the YA/self-esteem book, ITGIRL4LIFE.

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