Behind Closed Doors delves into the dark secrets of the Shugrinsky family following the desperate path of the manipulative mother Naomi as she runs from her past demons and copes with her day to day struggles.
The first book in the Shugrinsky family saga series, The Pinning, focused on Elizabeth breaking free from her dysfunctional family; now learn more about her mother’s tragic story in Behind Closed Doors.
Elizabeth would be the first to tell you that Naomi is not an ideal mother: she is manipulative and controlling, and she appears to be unraveling fast. But Naomi has survived tragedy before, and now she’s struggling to do so again.
When her suicide attempt doesn’t extract her from her painful marriage like she’d planned, Naomi finally opts to divorce Jesse. But with her history, she worries how she will be able to keep custody of Elizabeth and Mary. And even beyond the legal matters, how can she maintain a relationship with her daughters when everything she does seems to twist into something bad?
Naomi’s story travels back and forth from the 1940s through the 1970s, building the taut and bitter web that makes up her life. All it takes is for one string to snap before her world collapses around her, and the fallout won’t just affect her…
Behind Closed Doors is filled with tragedy and suspense, yet it leaves a small ray of hope for the Shugrinsky family by the end.
Cold Coffee Book Review: ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is a stand-alone book in the Shugrinsky’s family saga. ‘The Pinning’ (first book in the series) was Elizabeth’s story. ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is Naomi’s story (Elizabeth’s mother).
Naomi graduated from Columbia Law School in the 1940s but in a desperate attempt to leave her parents’ home she marries an affluent man named Jesse. Her story reflects many women’s history in the forties who succumb to their husband’s wishes for them to stay home and raise the children.
Needless to say, her dysfunctional childhood carries over into her relationship with her husband and children. On top of Naomi’s internal struggles is her acute awareness of her husband’s drinking and philandering.
Naomi’s emotional struggles take a toll on her and whenever any form of mental illness is added to family dynamics there are repercussions. Woven into every family are secrets that stay hidden behind closed doors.
Quote from the book jacket: “A novel drenched in drama and suspense”.
I think one should read ‘The Pinning’ first and follow up with ‘Behind Closed Doors’ (or buy both together) to get a deeper understanding of each woman’s story.
I, Theodocia McLean endorses Behind Closed Doors by Carol Desforges. Review posted in August 2014.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Carol Desforges
Carol Desforges holds degrees in biology and education from the University of Rhode Island, and over the years she has worn a variety of career hats: primary and secondary educator, dietitian, nursing home administrator, home care coordinator, sales associate, secretary, and bank teller.
In the past, Desforges spent her time volunteering in her local community tutoring teens and adults, managing religious organizations, working suicide prevention hot lines, running adoption support groups, and leading Girl Scout troops. Now, she writes novels, teaches Mah Jongg, and runs statewide tournaments for the game. The Pinning and Behind Closed Doors are the first two books in her Shugrinsky family saga series.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Rhode Island and New York? I tend to write about places in which I have lived, Rhode Island and New York. I enjoy introducing the readers to these places and the idiosyncrasies associated with these regions. When I can express a thought in an entertaining fashion but get the reader to understand my point of view of or understand the point of view of one of the fictional characters in these places, I want to jump up and scream, “Hurray! I’ve done it.”
What or who inspired you to become a writer? A met a young woman from a dysfunctional family who stated that she hated her mother. I asked the twenty-three-year-old if she would feel the same way about her mother if her mom became ill or died. She said that she could never forgive her mother and would always hate her. I tried to explain to her that she might regret not having a relationship with her mother; she may never have peace of mind. I tried to explain that she could come to a resolution with her mother without “forgiveness.” The girl did not understand. I decided to write a story about a young woman from a dysfunctional family who was able to come to a resolution with her mother (and or parents). As I began to write, I became more and more excited with the process of writing. It became a catharsis for me as well.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? After I began my first attempt at writing, I showed my efforts to a librarian and a neighbor. Both felt I had some talent in writing. The librarian encouraged me to make the story into a novel. At that point, I decided to learn more about writing. I went to a writer’s conference and heard from others how difficult it was to get a publisher; however, the writing field was not as bleak as it used to be. It was becoming fashionable to be independently published when a traditional publisher was not available. I decided to take the plunge. I ordered two books on the process of writing and tried to incorporate the book knowledge into what I was putting down on paper.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I came from a very dysfunctional family. It was not difficult for me to write a story about a dysfunctional family. I had a good understanding of how a character could behave and react in dysfunction. I wanted the characters in the story to exist in the same time frame as my formative years, 1950s and 1960s. During those times, families were portrayed as picture perfect and ideal (e.g., “Father Knows Best” and the “Donna Reed Show”). Divorce was not common. Homosexuality was not open. During that era, I felt there were a lot more dysfunctional families than there were picture perfect ones. Most people relate better to some degree of dysfunction than to the world seen through rose-colored glasses. I decided to write about a parent with mental illness and introduce alternative lifestyles to a young girl. I tried to write without being judgmental.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? It depends. While I was writing the manuscript The Pinning, I came up with a title. I used the term pin and pinning so much, it was natural to incorporate it into the title. In fact, I made the ending pertinent to the title after the title was created. Using the word pin and pinning, I came up with a surprise ending in the format of O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi and left the book open ended–implying that there would be a sequel. In Behind Closed Doors, I chose the title before I wrote it. The book involves a married couple with a less than perfect hidden relationship. Also, the mother was mentally ill and her condition was hidden from her family, friends, and neighbors. She was thrown into a psych ward with locked doors (hence behind closed doors).
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I write family sagas. You often hear that you should write about what you know. I know a lot about dysfunctional families. Voila, I write about them. I have written and independently published two. I have ideas for a third the family saga novel that will mix in fantasy.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The most exciting and rewarding experience in the writing process is the aha moments–when an idea comes to mind and you feel you have expressed it well.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? The only negative experience in my writing career has been the fact that my writing does not seem to interest agents and traditional publishers; however, other readers have been very encouraging. I suppose I could pick a hot topic to research and write about and have agents and publishers banging at my door; but, I am not passionate about that.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The admiration people have for writers surprises me. Even though I see some flaws in my writing endeavor, most people appreciate my stories anyway. I did not know how to create suspense in my first novel, but no one seemed to mind it. By the second novel, I had mastered that skill and people enjoyed reading the story that much more. That was rewarding.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I hired a professional review service that was off-base. It is said that real life is stranger than fiction. Most of my stories are fiction. Occasionally, I will throw in a real-life experience. The review service told me that parts of my story were too farfetched to be realistic, when in reality, they were taken from real events. After that I decided not to hire a reviewer for a statement on the cover of my books. Although agents did not choose to look at my work, I am writing for my satisfaction not theirs.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? My advice to other authors is to try to find moral support any way you can–friends, family, and other writers–as there are too many critics that will want to put your work down. Try not to get discouraged. However, you need to listen to critiques. They can often be helpful to the writing process.
Be sure to get a good editor. Most libraries and newspapers don’t like to take on independently published authors as they are afraid those writers’ works will be error ridden or poorly thought out.
Who is your favorite author? I have several authors I adore. These names come to mind: Jody Picoult, Geraldine Brooks, and Kim Edwards.
A Flight Without Wings: My Experience With Heaven by Brian A. McLaughlin
A Journey There And Back
The following story describes my journey into Heaven and subsequent return to life, all as a result of massive head trauma sustained while vacationing in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico 21 years ago, on 9/11/1993.
It will describe visions as well as deep feelings that moved me to the core of my being. It will go on to briefly give some background into facets of my life and experiences that I had before and after that “accident” that relate somehow to the understanding and clarity that this event has brought to me and how I continue to discover the benefits of passing over to the “other side” Some things are evident to anyone who reads this and some remain relative in more obscure ways.
My hope would be that my words and experience with an afterlife will comfort those people who struggle with a fear and concern, either for themselves or someone close to them that has made this journey on their own. I have kept this to myself for all these years initially out of fear of accepting it, and then out of my inability to accurately describe the sequence of events and the meaning of it all.
My best guess and my overwhelming belief is that this journey of mine represents the exact path and result of nearly everyone who has left us. I was “blessed” with a return ticket and a feeling that it is my onus to share what so few get to experience.
Cold Coffee Book Review: Author Brian A. McLaughlin answers one age old question in this short book chronicling his experience when he died and went to heaven.
This reader is impressed by the fact that Brian isn’t a particular religious man even though his roots are Catholic with a keen interest in the Mayan culture. Like so many raised in a particular faith he longs to know the truth. When faced with truth he struggles for a deeper understanding which leads him to share the gifted insights acquired through his own journey from earthly ties to heavenly peace.
Throughout mankind’s history humans have been given insights and experiences that leave them asking “Why Me?” This book reveals the answer, but the reader has to be open to receive it.
As with all my reviews I like to quote a passage that brings understanding to the author’s writing style and mind set. I quote Author Brian A. McLaughlin in the hopes that you will read this book and pass it on to a friend, relative or stranger who wrestles with and even fears what lies beyond life here on earth. “I did have an overwhelming feeling of peace that suggested was the norm for anyone there. Same goes for the journey itself. I didn’t take the trip with anyone else but felt that this path had been travelled countless times before me and ALL the same. I could talk to someone who has lost a loved one and say with confidence that I know the path they were on, I know where they are, and I know how they are feeling right now. I realize that this may open for debate the existence of a hell, but that could be argued as existing in our lives here on earth.”
I, Theodocia McLean endorse A Flight Without Wings: My Experience With Heaven by Brian A. McLaughlin as a gifted journey to light the way for others. Brian accepts his gift with humility and extends its message with compassion. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on May 22, 2015.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Brian A. McLaughlin
Author Brian A McLaughlin is a native of Long Island, NY where he has spent most of his life taking advantage of its proximity to the ocean. He completed 10 years of private school before finishing his last two years and graduating from Bay Shore High School in 1971. He and his wife Lin met there, in high school, and married in 1984 and have travelled extensively throughout the world since. He has been in Mexico for a total of years where they learned Spanish and started learning Mayan. He was seriously injured there in 1993 and died in a hospital in Cancun, at which time he experienced what is called a “near death” event. After almost 20 years of denial he came to grips with the reality of it, and has now decided that sharing his experience might help those who thirst for the truth about what happens when you die.
He has lead an interesting, varied life through some college, many different career choices, much travelling, and a “better than most” marriage. He considers himself “happy”, and even with the limitations that severe head trauma placed on him, he remains surprisingly approachable and engaging. He has embraced the peace and clarity gifted to him through his experience.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Bay Shore? Although we have travelled more than average people, we settled in Bay Shore where we grew up. It remains comfortable to us, and we love the proximity to the ocean. Publishing and releasing a book from here feels like we’ve done it among family and friends.
What or Who inspired you to become a writer? I always tried to challenge myself with the use of the English language. I like listening to someone speak who has a good command of the language, and writing appealed to me as a way of memorializing those words.
When did you begin writing with the intention of being published? Actual date? On Sept. 11, 2014. The 21st anniversary of my accident in Mexico.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I suspect that my environment and upbringing played a role in how I interpret life in general. Everyone has issues stemming from childhood, or other events in life that would contribute to their overall perception and opinion. I can’t say that I used any of that “to my advantage”. It simply is part of the way I see life.
Did you come up with the title before or after you wrote the manuscript? The title was conceived right after describing the accident and death experience, but prior to sharing parts of my life before and after that.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? The genre description varies from person to person. Some readily call it NDE (near death experience), while others categorize it as memoir, or bio, or metaphysical studies (Midwest book review). I’ve called it a death experience and how it impacted my life after returning. (Dr. Penny Sartori – One of the world’s leading experts on NDEs described it in detail after reading my book and reviewing it – a copy of it is available). Before writing, I hadn’t read any accounts of NDEs… in fact I didn’t even know what NDE stood for. The most valuable part of this book would be the change in clarity that this event brought to my life and how any of us can embrace that clarity in recognizing different opportunities that often come disguised.
What was your inspiration, spark, or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you’re seeking promotion for? The inspiration would be from my wife, Lin, who has stood by as I’ve made this journey and has endured much of the same trials and limitations as I do even today. She had read about other accounts maybe in an effort to understand what challenged me every day and strongly suggested that I write this book and tell my story – in my own words.
I was resistant, but after speaking with Dr. Frank Maurio, PhD (Neuropsychologist and author of “The Strength Within” on another family matter, I was convinced that this was the right thing to do (light bulb moment).
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing/publishing process? I wrote this book in an effort to share an experience which I found most comforting. I was hopeful that others might broker some of the same comfort in dealing with grief and even how they might approach life after reading it. I could go on and on about how I used the clarity and understanding. I was given from this experience to grab hold of life’s opportunities and parlay them into success and happiness.
It is very rewarding to hear people’s reactions and read reviews that support this hope although I never intended for this book to be a “self-help” book. The style I used to write this book was meant to be truthful, relatively simple, and not embellished or exaggerated. The 20k words in the book are the same 20k words that I typed out on my computer without any interpretation from other writers or editors. I’m sure I made some mistakes and lost some readers because it wasn’t as “entertaining” as they had expected.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don’t give up. Learn to use social media to your advantage… it’s inexpensive and gets results.
Who is your favorite author and why? I seem to gravitate to Nelson DeMille as I find his writing to be compelling and interesting, yet I’ve also read Steven Tyler (“Do the noises in my head bother you”) which I found to be very interesting but very hard to stay with.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Yes… There is. This book should be read by anyone who has wondered about death, either for themselves or someone close to them. It will answer the questions about where you go… who to follow… will you be alone?
It may also inspire a change of outlook on life, as I’ve experienced, in recognizing opportunities that may even come from those ones you’ve lost. Mine did…
I was slow with work for about six months when I was trying to figure out what to do. Should I sell my business? Should I pursue building business? Should I retire? I asked my departed father who had sent me back from the afterlife: Give me some sign Dad… What should I do? No answer… well, no obvious answer anyway.
Weeks later, I had occasion to be speaking with a neuropsychologist with whom I had briefly spoken with before on a family matter. I took an appointment with him rather than cancel at the last minute, thinking I might add some background or insight into the matter he was evaluating.
When I saw him, he indicated that he didn’t want to discuss any other family, and just wanted to talk to me about writing a book on my experience (!) I bluntly told him that I was not a writer and wouldn’t even know where to start. He said that he could sit and listen to me all day as he appreciated the style which I spoke with, and it would translate well in script. He promised that he would lend any expertise that he could. He believed me and my story and strongly suggested that others would as well.
I thought about it for a while, then realized that I had been asking my father for some sign… an obvious one, to direct me to where I should place my efforts. Well with that aforementioned “clarity” and “understanding”, I decided to seize this opportunity however disguised it came to me. That neuropsychologist has since recommended my book to some patients that came to him for grief counseling and continues to do so.
It has also been used for the same reason by a couple of State appointed counselors who have shared its value with me, which I find most rewarding. Some people have requested time with me to explain some of the “lessons” to be learned in the book, as I tried very hard to keep it short and sweet.
One of my hopes would be that with some validation, an organization like Hospice might consider my contribution of volunteering to speak to any patients that might benefit from the knowledge, experience, and clarity contained in my book. I have but one book at the moment: “A Flight Without Wings” which, when featured in this interview might help build that “validation” I spoke of before.
The stars are infallible; one’s true destiny cannot be altered. Or can it?
A descendant of presidents John and John Quincy Adams, and the black sheep of her family, astrologer Evangeline Adams flees provincial Boston in 1899 to launch her business in New York City. On the train ride, she casts her own horoscopic chart. Her findings–death on November 10, 1932 and an unusual intimate union–alarm her. Soon after, she meets actress and suffragist Emma Sheridan-Fry, and she spends the rest of her life torn between society’s restrictions and the trail-blazing nature that made her one of the most prominent female businesswomen of her time.
Peopled with real historical figures, including J.P. Morgan, King Edward VII, Enrico Caruso, Rudolph Valentino, Charles Schwab, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Sheridan-Fry (who was known to have been a “companion” of Evangeline’s) and occult figure Aleister Crowley, Evangeline The Seer of Wall St. immerses readers in a New York populated with the Wall Street wealthy and the downtrodden, all of whom visited Evangeline’s Carnegie Hall office.
Cold Coffee Book Review: “Six thousand five hundred and seventy days remain in my life, according to my astrological calculations.” This is a quote from Evangeline Adams who becomes famous as the seer of Wall Street. Not only is she a descendant of President John Quincy Adams, she one of America’s first female entrepreneurs.
Author Clint Adams has learned through thousands of hours of research and development that he is not part of Evangeline Adams’ lineage. His diligent research births this incredible historical fiction based on facts that he presents extremely well while telling Evangeline Adams’ life as an American astrologist.
Evangeline navigates adversity at the threshold of the Twenty Century in American society where women just acquired the right to vote, where women were not acknowledged as business professionals and where astrology was kept in the shadows due to “witchcraft” references by the religious and sometimes elite.
To help you understand that Evangeline is not a fortuneteller here are a couple of quotes from Evangeline herself as she explains differences between astronomy and astrology to a judge.
“Astronomy is the study of all objects outside our world. It, too, is a science. Astronomy, you could say, came from astrology. Yes, you are correct when you mentioned interpretation. Astrology is the oldest, most ancient, of all sciences.”
“Yes. Astrology is the science which describes the influence of the heavenly bodies upon mundane affairs, upon human character and life. To be most clear-cut, it is a mathematical or exact science deciphered via astronomy, which describes the heavenly bodies and explains their motions, etc.”
If you have an interest in history as it relates to the mindset of the most powerful people on Wall Street and on the world stage this is a must read. Learn how astrology influenced the business decisions that have affected trade, commerce and currency, influence and wealth in America and around the world.
Real life influential people including J.P. Morgan, King Edward VII, Enrico Caruso, Rudolph Valentino, Charles Schwab, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Emma Sheridan-Fry (who was known to have been a ‘companion’ of Evangeline’s) and occult figure Aleister Crowley sought the expert advice from “Evangeline: The Seer of Wall St.”
Get to know Miss Evangeline Adams’ life, business, relationships, romance and internal struggles for answers of her own. This is an interesting quote from Evangeline. “What can be understood is what the stars have in store, the free will we possess and how it affects our destiny. But the ways in which the Almighty intervenes is a concept that left even me baffled. Speaking to clergy had led me nowhere, since every member I’d ever sought out had refused interaction with me. This was what upset me most, for my beloved astrology to be confused with demonology, in addition to me time and time again being written off. How very unfair.”
I, Theodocia McLean endorse ‘EVANGELINE: The Seer of Wall St.’ by Clint Adams for his ability to bring the reader into this period of time in U.S. History where Evangeline’s services were not commercial entertainment, but surprisingly essential and routine for our country’s, and the world’s, most influential people. I was given this book to review in a PDF format. The review was completed on June 22, 2015.
How in the world did fear ever become so popular, especially when it never should have existed in the first place?
Why were we put here to do what we want, if we end up being too afraid to do it? In DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN, 13-year old Miguel Estes feels that being “scared to death,” and having “the life scared out of me,” are no longer just tired, old expressions.they’ve become part of a world-wide epidemic. Now rid of the fears that once paralyzed him, Miguel decides to help others eliminate theirs; he founds F.A.A.T. (Fear Ain’t All That), an after-school group with his eccentric but wise Aunt Shirley.
In its first meeting Miguel befriends Samantha, a girl diagnosed as having an exotic variety of phobias, fears, and anxieties. With a fierce determination, Miguel helps Samantha rid her life of one debilitating fear after another. Together, Miguel and Samantha learn much about life, fear, and death. Revelations from Aunt Shirley, and recurrent dreams of his brother Jorge (who already lives in heaven), also remind Miguel that “heaven is a far better place than here. It’s nothing to be afraid of; it’s the perfect place to be. Everything about it is perfect.”
After undergoing a radical transformation, a stronger-than-ever-before Samantha, grows to be ill. As her condition worsens, Aunt Shirley informs Miguel that the greatest lesson he can possibly share with his dear friend is to help her be unafraid of going to heaven. Of course he’s uncertain about accepting this task. But, paradoxically, it ends up being Samantha who teaches Miguel. Prior to leaving, Samantha feels only joy, excitement, and relief about her upcoming journey; Miguel, due to Samantha’s experience, becomes unafraid of his own mortality. Samantha, now completely fearless, moves on; although left behind, Miguel celebrates Samantha’s life as well as her death.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN is the sequel to FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT, two multicultural fear-eliminating novels for teens.
AUTHOR INFO: Born in Oakland, California, Clint Adams, now lives in Viareggio, Italy. Having authored numerous academic publications while at the Washington Post and McGraw-Hill, Clint now actively markets his two fear-eliminating novels for teens, FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT and its sequel, DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN. Before writing, Clint was a professional actor with over 100 credits in TV, film, and theatre. Clint earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of California at Berkeley, and his master’s in marketing from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University.
How in the world did fear ever become so popular, especially when it never should have existed in the first place?
Why were we put here to do what we want, if we end up being too afraid to do it?
For some who read FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT, learning to exist without fear is an option. For twelve-year old Miguel Estes, it’s a necessity. Miguel happens to live with a fatal form of the skin-blistering disease E.B., yet believing he’ll have a future is what sustains him. “The longer you keep your To Do list, the longer you’ll have to hang around to get everything done,” says Miguel’s Aunt Shirley.
Through his insightful aunt, through his dreams about his brother Jorge in heaven, and through the challenging lessons he’s chosen to learn, Miguel is able to eliminate nearly every fear within him-all that’s left is his mighty power of belief. In the end, Miguel is the ultimate victor; he realizes he’s living life the way it was meant to be lived without fear.
FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT (review): In Fear Ain’t All That, Clint Adams has crafted a beautiful, very touching book, full of wisdom about life: Becoming comfortable at being different; Dealing with anger; Staying with hope; and most important, creating one’s own destiny. I couldn’t put it down, and strongly recommend it to both young people and adults. – Carla Perez, M.D., 13-year talk show host, ABC-Radio practicing psychiatrist for over thirty years FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT is the prequel to DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN, two multicultural fear-eliminating novels for teens.
AUTHOR INFO: Born in Oakland, California, Clint Adams, now lives in Viareggio, Italy. Having authored numerous academic publications while at the Washington Post and McGraw-Hill, Clint now actively markets his two fear-eliminating novels for teens, FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT and its sequel, DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN. Before writing, Clint was a professional actor with over 100 credits in TV, film, and theatre. Clint earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of California at Berkeley, and his master’s in marketing from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University.
Just Say Mikey…an incredible journey from the insidious grips of fear…to the elation of ultimate freedom.
In today’s world, a climate dominated by technological advancements, it may be time to play spiritual “catch up.” Upgrades provide infinite options, but now more than ever people are finding one, single enhancement to be the most important they will ever implement, the elimination of fear from their lives.
Miguel, the central character in this mainstream novel for adults and young adults is unique, yet he shares a trait common to many children; a lifetime measured by days instead of years. Miguel happens to live with the skin-blistering disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, but he spends little time thinking about it. For Miguel, living with fear is far more deadly than this potentially fatal disease that encompasses his life.
Miguel happens to command an extraordinary ability to view life as few others do, with razor-sharp insights and an unwavering spiritual conviction that all things are possible to those who believe. The action in this novel revolves around Miguel’s many changes and transformations as he comes to realize that he was put on earth for a purpose, to teach others about the enormous power of belief and faith (in themselves)…just as ( Miguel believes) God intended.
Just Say Mikey is told solely through Miguel’s point of view, yet it is not a children’s (juvenile or middle-grade) book.
Opposing perspectives dominate the three main characters in this book. The protagonist, of course, is Miguel, a boy who is open to change, open to any new ways of keeping himself alive. Throughout the course of this story Miguel learns and applies these new ways taught to him by his Aunt Shirley (Kirkland), a woman who may be thought of as eccentric, revolutionary, and wise all at once. The antagonist is fear itself, personified in this story by Miguel’s mother, Shirley’s sister, Sharon Kirkland-Estes, a woman who loves her son dearly, but happens to be paralyzing him with her imposing fears and (dis)beliefs.
The geographical setting is comprised of three radically different environments within the San Francisco Bay Area, all in present-day. First is the luxurious, opulent, thirtieth-floor Nob Hill (San Francisco) apartment in which Miguel and his mother live. Second is Aunt Shirley’s serenely beautiful and sanctuary-like house in the Berkeley hills. Third is the hygienic and medicinal world of the Lucille Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University (Palo Alto/Menlo Park). Many other Bay Area locales are significantly featured: Big Sur, Bodega Bay, Golden Gate Park, Marin County, and more.
“What if time runs out?” is the question that makes 14-year old Miguel Estes sweat every night. Miguel’s certain of three things though: he’s here to learn lessons, he lives with a fatal form of the skin-blistering disease E.B., and the clock never stops ticking. In his quest to learn everything from the challenging life he’s been given, Miguel discovers who’s responsible for time being over.
My Watch Doesn’t Tell Time is the third in a series of muticultural, fear-eliminating teen novels, which includes Fear Ain’t All That and Don’t Be Afraid of Heaven.
‘The Seventh Ritual: a race for survival,’ a novel for adults based on a true story, is a remarkable journey through fear, grit, discovery, forgiveness and triumph….with a few laughs in between. (Cover copy): “You must discover the cause of your unhappiness by the end of this year…or you will not live to see the next.” Disgusted and disbelieving, 34-year old Paul Jacobson dismisses what he’s told by a Greenwich Village psychic. Only days later, while running in the New York City Marathon, Paul’s mind positions him back to a past he’s never known. This journey begins the race for his life.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Clint Adams
Along with enjoying a peaceful life in rural Northern Nevada, Clint Adams is now marketing his first historical novel, EVANGELINE The Seer of Wall St.. His first novel for adults, a thriller: The Seventh Ritual, a race for survival. After having spent over a decade prior as a teen-fiction author, Clint leaves young adult publishing with a smile on his face…and lots of good memories.
Since the publication of his first novel, Just Say Mikey in 2002, Clint Adams has conducted dozens of his No Time for Fear workshops in an effort to help teens everywhere maintain that “I can do anything” attitude. In conjunction with these events, Clint actively marketed his three multicultural, fear-eliminating novels, Fear Ain’t All That, and its sequels, Don’t Be Afraid of Heaven and My Watch Doesn’t Tell Time. He has also authored numerous academic publications while at The Washington Post and McGraw-Hill publishing, and has been a member of the Authors Guild for over fifteen years.
Clint earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in drama from the University of California, Berkeley, studied creative writing at San Francisco State University and received his master’s degree in marketing from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Nevada? I’m most proud that I’ve been at this for 20+ years, have given up a few times along the way, but I always come back. Very difficult to answer where I’m from. Born in Oakland, CA, became an Italian citizen ten years ago to predominantly market my books in Europe and now live in rural northern Nevada.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I became a writer long ago to do nothing more than get the truth out.’ My adult thriller, THE SEVENTH RITUAL, evidences this. The author, Alice Walker, inspired me a great deal because I feel that her inspiration was identical to mine — thrilled to have met her at Kepler’s bookstore in Menlo Park, CA over twenty years ago; even more thrilled to see her smile once I told her, “You inspired me to write.”
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Again, I wrote with the intention of getting the truth out, not necessarily for pleasure. Having the truth published became a necessity for me. Now, I find great pleasure in the process of writing creatively.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Absolutely. My upbringing was the sole content of THE SEVENTH RITUAL. Very little difference between fact and fiction in that one.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I’d have to say during. Just like all other writers, I assume, titles change as the project takes shape. The title never ends up being the same one I thought it was going to be. A word of advice to folks starting out: Always research (Google) prospective titles before selecting one. Makes it too difficult to put out a book with a title that already exists.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I’m now onto my third; historical fiction. After having completed 12 drafts of my current novel, EVANGELINE: The Seer of Wall St., I never would have imagined how much research has/needs to go into its development. As I mentioned, I’d also written an adult thriller, a screenplay adaptation of the same, and several novels for teens/young adults.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? Great question! EVANGELINE was always a back burner project, mainly because I’d believed for so long that I was related to its subject, Evangeline Adams. But, never did I think I’d have interest in writing about her (because I don’t do biographies)…until I’d read, what I believed to be, a fascinating tidbit about her in Wikipedia. It was indeed a light bulb that went off, telling me, “Now, there’s your story!” So, why not attempt historical fiction?
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? For this particular book, spending three years getting to know one of America’s first female entrepreneurs, Evangeline Adams.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? MANY! Without question, seeking the approval/acceptance of a/any literary agent or publisher has been the most disempowering experience of my life. I’ll NEVER do it again. The dedication in EVANGELINE reads, “To those wise enough to know that yours is the only ‘yes’ that matters.” I hope this dedication will inspire other writers to know that they need no one else to make THEIR dream(s) come true.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? I have two. The first was my years having visited students in schools to promote my books. They were brilliant! The exchanges we had were priceless and they left impressions on me that will last a lifetime. I miss those kids. The second was, inevitably, getting the truth out via THE SEVENTH RITUAL (novel and screenplay). Not only was the experience cathartic, but the horror that had lived inside me was transferred from my body to someone else’s, a stranger’s, bookshelf. The truth no longer lived inside me; it was set free.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Well, the obvious, keep going! But, going back to my current novel’s dedication, I’d tell young writers, “Don’t ever ask anyone else, ‘Do you like what I’ve written?’ If YOU like it, that’s all that matters. After 20+ years at this, the writing journey is for the writer alone. Whatever happens after publication is gravy…NOT the end result.”
Who is your favorite author and why? As I mentioned previously, Alice Walker. Or…anyone who tells a story in a voice I’ve never heard before. Don’t forget the old saying: “Every story’s already been told, but it’s the WAY it’s told that makes it new/fresh/interesting.” I’m paraphrasing, but I think you get it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Yes, don’t expect anything to happen overnight. Another thought: writing is a craft…it gets better with practice.
How many published books do you have? 6: one historical novel; one adult thriller; four young adult novels.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? EVANGELINE: The Seer of Wall St. — now out in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and non-Kindle eBook editions. Audio version to come.
An insane killer, obsessed with blood and death, seeks revenge with those he perceives wronged him.
He is now on the loose. His next victim may be Mariah.
Mariah has lost her memory.
Will she remember what has transpired in her past?
Can Mariah escape this deadly killer’s grasp?
Will she finally be safe?
Will the killer be apprehended?
Book Review: Jump right into this intense crime, mystery, thriller set in a suburb of New York as author J. E. Spina introduces the reader to the thought process of a serial killer.
“His senses were tingling with the sight, smell, and feel of blood. The silky texture of it and its coppery smell and even the intoxicating taste of it. Just the smell alone could cause desire to rush through his body causing a compelling urge to kill. He felt a thrill at the prospect of taking a life.”
Meet Mariah Michelle Hampton and Dr. Roberts as he begins the slow meticulous process of bringing her memories back while in a safe place at the Dr. Darin J. Roberts Memorial Hospital in Lindan, New York. Many people care about and are looking out for Mariah whether she fully realizes it or not.
There are so many unanswered questions like who was the mystery man that dropped Mariah off at the hospital? How did he know her taste in clothing and detail to sizes when he dropped items off for her? What happened to her and why is it that she can remember some of her childhood memories, but not the last few weeks?
Travel with Mariah on a psychic journey to recover her memories and live with the consequences surrounding her trauma and life with a maniac that might still be at large and want to finish what he started.
Theodocia McLean endorses Hunting Mariah – by J. E. Spina as the beginning of a great crime fiction series. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on January 5, 2015.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Janice Spina
Award-winning author with five published books, copy editor, blogger, book reviewer, avid reader and support of fellow indie authors.
J. E. (Janice) Spina is a retired administrative secretary from a school system.
She is an award-winning author with five children’s books, Louey The Lazy Elephant, Ricky The Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry The Crabby Crayfish, Lamby The Lonely Lamb, Jesse The Precocious Polar Bear written under Janice Spina.
Lamby The Lonely Lamb received a Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards.
Hunting Mariah is her first published novel.
She is also a copy editor, avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and supporter of fellow authors.
Janice is currently working on two more children’s books and three more novels that she hopes to publish over the next two years.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Londonderry, NH? Wherever I lived I would be proud to be a writer because this is something I love to do and I feel as if I am living my dream each day. What or who inspired you to become a writer? I was inspired by the positive things my mother said to me when I was just nine years old. I wrote her poems for her birthday and Mother’s Day. She was very proud and happy to receive them.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I began writing at age nine – poetry and then children’s stories in my twenties and thirties. I always wanted to be published but did not reach my goal until the ripe young age of 65.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I was always a shy and timid child and learned to amuse myself through writing. I think this influenced me to write more and express myself through my writing.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? I always have a title before I begin writing a story, whether it is a children’s story or a novel.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I love writing children’s books but also enjoy writing novels in many genres – mysteries, psychological thrillers, romance, spiritual and historical. I have eclectic taste in genres, reading and writing.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? My inspirations for my children’s books are my five grandchildren who I love dearly. My novel, Hunting Mariah, will be published this year and I hope to promote this book at that time. In the meantime I would like to promote my children’s books.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Becoming an author, my dream since a young child, has been the most rewarding experience with the writing process. Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? The only negative experience I have had has been being rejected by many publishers when I first started writing. I realized that I had to start by publishing my work myself. That is how I avoided the negative experience.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? The most rewarding experience has been the many wonderful people I have met online who have been supportive and have become good friends.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I have been fortunate not to have had any negative experiences but I know there will always be someone who will have negative things to say about my work. I need to develop a thick skin for such negativity and not take it to heart and let it discourage me from doing what I love to do.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Believe in yourself and follow your heart in doing what you love to do. Work hard at your craft and learn everything you can to improve and cultivate your art.
Who is your favorite author and why? I have so many favorite authors but one that I read extensively is Jeffrey Archer. He has the innate ability to create a fascinating tale involving so many creative, well defined and unforgettable characters. I also read some excellent indie authors – Paul G. Day, Mike Wells, and Richard C. Hale.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I want to thank everyone who has ever supported me and continues to support me in all my endeavors. For their friendship and assistance I am truly grateful. I feel blessed to be able to do what I love to do every day of the rest of my life, thanks to God.
Harlee Wagner didn’t expect to fall in the well when drawing water, and she certainly never expected to be rescued only to find her entire family gone. Logan Carruthers, her handsome hero, insists she rest up before she starts searching and then leads her on a trail consisting of hints and guesses. Will she find her family, or will she discover love? There’s something about his gorgeous blue eyes and broad shoulders that makes her heart flutter.
Previously released as The Well
“A lot is packed into this short book, the story moves along well and the plot kept me interested. I found it enjoyable and recommend this for a lazy day read to anyone to anyone that enjoys a clean mystery romance.” – Birdlady
“I must say that Gingers Simpson’s writing is superb. Harlee’s character is funny and her relationship with Logan’s mother comes alive for me. I have read many of Ginger Simpson’s works and I can’t believe how much she has improved her writing. I am willing to bet that if she got a decent agent she could be the next Danielle Steel.” – Carol Langstroth
“This is a fast paced mystery romance that will keep you intrigued from beginning until almost the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and would highly recommend it.” – Miskagirl
Cold Coffee Book Review: Homesteading in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1894 is getting harder every day, “Hot winds drove a herd of tumbleweeds across endless acres of sod, broken and dried by the late July sun. The devastating drought in Oklahoma continued, leaving everything parched or dying.”
A small cast of well-developed characters bring the story to life as Miss Harlee Wagner accidentally falls into the family well while gathering a bucket of water. Days later and near death, was this stunning man a figment of her imagination, or was he, her long awaited hero?
Fast-pace action, adventure, mystery and romance keeps the reader turning the pages seeking answers to this most unusual mystery. I quote a passage from the book to show Ginger Simpson’s writing style and the questions Harlee has on her mind. “Harlee took in the scenery again, but her mind wandered. Homesteads much like the one Pa had staked claim to, sat back from the trail, gardens withered, heat waves spiraling upward, and an occasional dust devil swirling in the distance. How did those twisting demons develop when the ground had turned stone-like from the absence of moisture? Could humidity cause enough dampness? Although the area hadn’t had rain for some time, some days were filled with ‘heat you could wear’, as Logan said. Today was one of those days. Harlee’s top clung to her like a second skin; perspiration beaded her forehead and dampened her hair. How she wished she had her old straw hat, but that had disappeared along with her family.”
I, Theodocia Mclean endorse Lost In His Eyes by Ginger Simpson as a warm, realistic, 1800 period romance published by Books We Love. Thirty plus books have given Ginger Simpson the notoriety that she has earned as a romance author. I invite you to read (just to name a few); Lost In His Eyes, Ages of Love, Arizona Sky, Betrayed, Dancing Fawn, Destiny’s Bride, Discovery, Ellie’s Legacy, First Degree Innocence, Hattie’s Heroes, Sarah’s Heart and Passion, Shortcomings, Time Tantrums and Yellow Moon. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on October 25, 2015.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
All of Ginger’s books are available through Amazon. Order directly from Ginger for an autographed copy.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Ginger Simpson
Ginger Simpson has been writing since 2000 and has produced many fine reads. She’s a pantser who writes when her characters speak, and plotting is as foreign to her as speaking another language. She retired from the University of California, Davis after 24 years, and moved to Tennessee to be caretaker to her autistic grandson. Time flies. That was in 2003/2004 and now Spencer is 13. She’s gone from listening to Thomas the Train in the background to being able to enjoy whatever type of music she likes.
She’s currently working on another “Sarah” story, but swears this one is her swan song. At 70, she wants to spend whatever time God grants her doing fun things with her husband, and not feeling the stress of being an author. Gone are the days of easily obtainable reviews and low overhead. Competition for everything has grown due to self-publishing, and those who think they are authors but need to go through the editing process for years to learn they truly aren’t. What used to be so easy has become more of a chore.
What makes you proud to be a writer from TN, USA? I’m proud to be an author just based on accomplishments. I never knew I could achieve. Here in TN, people kind of give you a blank stare when you announce your profession. I don’t imagine too many people my age find time to read because it seems most grandparents are too busy raising their grandchildren…at least that is the case in the area where I live. I’ve always been a people person, but in all the years, I’ve lived here, this has been the most difficult place to make new friends. I still haven’t figured out why most folks expect free copies. Don’t they realize how many hours an author toils over each story?
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I’ve always been an avid reader. I love authors who sweep me away to another time and place and put me in their character’s shoes. When I was between Cassie Edward’s captivating stories, and had read everything western by Amanda Baker, I decided to try my own hand at writing, and voila…that was the beginning of an exciting new decade for me.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2000, I wrote my debut novel, Prairie Peace, now re-released as Destiny’s Bride. I knew I wasn’t going to look for an agent (didn’t need the added stress), so I researched small publishing and found Wings E Press. I submitted the story, not expecting acceptance, but lo and behold, I got a wonderful letter saying I TOLD a beautiful story, but now needed to learn to SHOW it to the reader. That’s what I mean about self-pubbed, people who believe they can step into the author’s arena without learning the ropes. I learned tons from my first editor, and I have continued learning with each submission. Unless you go through the appropriate channels, you’re clueless to the rules of writing that apply to authors.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I grew up in a house of western lovers. There was always a John Wayne film on TV and when the radio played, it was Johnny Cash singing. We spent many nights watching The Grand Ol’ Opry, and anything western on TV. Loving the genre set in the old west era seems only logical, and I love it.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Strange as it seems…my stories come with titles and characters already named when the hero or hero pops into my head. It’s only been on the re-releases of my books that I have to come up with new titles, and that’s really hard.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I’ve written cross genres just to prove to myself that I can, but I always migrate back to Western Historical Romance. I write sweet romance with a tad of sexuality because I’m that kind of person. I prefer to leave the grinds, thrusts and groans to the reader’s imagination. I wrote only one Erotica, and that was the most difficult book ever. You either have to possess a really active imagination or be pro-active in the bedroom…neither apply to me.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? I’m always inspired when a new character shows up with an idea for a story. I’m driven by the need to find out how the journey ends.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The appreciation shown by my peers and a few nominations for best reads. I’ve never won an actual award because I haven’t taken the time to enter any writing contests, but there have been a few times when people have nominated me, and that’s a wonderful feeling. I was so shocked when Love Romances announced one of my books as a 2009 best Western Read.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Finding publishers who believe in me and have faith in my ability to succeed. I’ve been very lucky to have each publisher see the value in my stories and by far the most rewarding experience for any author after getting a nod of acceptance is holding that new book in your hand for the first time.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Until recently, I can claim only positive feedback, but the recent immergence of “trolls” on Amazon who have a need to crucify the work of authors has affected me as well. I received three one-star reviews on one book that made it very evident the reviewers hadn’t even read the book. Who does that…and why? I have no idea how you can avoid such unwanted and unwarranted unkindness.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Be yourself, and don’t ever let anyone steal your voice.
Who is your favorite author and why? Laura Ingalls Wilder has an always will be my favorite. I’ve read every “Little House” story a hundred times, and she was the true inspiration for my writing. I’m always flattered if someone compares me to her.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I’ve been doing this for so many years, I doubt there’s anything most don’t know about me. My life has been an open book.
Marty lay back on his pillow and stared at the ceiling. “It’s sort of like Lighthouse Point is loaded with deep, dark secrets.”
He and Gracie lay together in silence, and presently he sat up. “I know God’s light is brighter and stronger than all the dark secrets put together. We’re on the right track, hon. With God’s help, we’ll make it. We have to hang on with absolute trust.”
Sometimes even your best intentions are tested by things you can’t control. Just when Gracie Love and Marty need a break from the gospel music circuit, Fanny Grayson calls with a challenge that takes them back to Dinkel Island. Fanny needs help launching a spiritual retreat center on the old lighthouse property that she has purchased.
Gracie soon finds herself in the center of gossip as volatile as a thunderstorm’s damaging winds. The seller tries to back out of closing. Secret activities at the lighthouse begin to be exposed. Gracie and Marty question their commitment, and Pastor Kate Sheppard helps them stay on course.
A crime syndicate surfaces when a local businessman suddenly disappears. Will the secrets ever end?
Secrets at Lighthouse Point is a story of intrigue, challenge, and the ultimate triumph of faith, centered in Matthew 5:15: “No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Cold Coffee Book Review: Secrets are always intriguing. We all love finding maps that point to buried treasure, discovering a rare find in our grandmother’s attic, finding the perfect sea shell on the beach, a nugget of gold or a rare gem on a camping trip, an Indian arrow head in the back yard of the property we just purchased, but what if the secret exposes a criminal element that threatens property and lives?
The Secrets at Lighthouse point begins as “Gracie and Marty parked at the shed beside the lighthouse and walked up through the field toward the woods that framed the area. Gracie shaded her eyes against the sun’s brightness as a warm southerly breeze gently ruffled her hair. She became totally focused on the old weathered structure, almost as though it were a living thing, and she wanted to take its pulse and tap into its soul. Swirling gulls screamed to one another out past the promontory on which it stood. Though she couldn’t see the water from where she was, she knew the high-bluffed, forested parcel was visible from the entrance to Tranquility Bay.”
While rumors spread throughout the small community about the upcoming sale of Lighthouse landmark and surrounding property, Gracie makes plans to take her own miraculous healing journey and turn the darkness that invades this property into hallowed ground where people can come and experience healing for themselves.
What barriers both earthly and spiritual, past and present challenge a ministry that will shed light into darkness?
How does faith of a few bring light into the dark secrets that have lay buried in this land for decades and how does God’s purpose expose the evil and bring about restoration to the land, community, peoples’ lives and future visitors?
How can an old decaying lighthouse that showed the way to weary travelers who happened upon her shores for decades be transformed into a lamp-stand for God healing for all mankind?
Read Author Hugh Harris’ remarks at the end of this fictional story where he sheds light on some dark realities in America today.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse Secrets at Lighthouse Point by Hugh Harris a fictional inspirational story which runs parallel to some very real problems facing America today. I reviewed this book from Kindle. This review was completed on November 29, 2015.
Genre: Christian, General, Cultural Heritage, Religion & Spirituality, Religion Fiction
Return of Bliss (The Dinkel Island Series Book 2) by Hugh Harris
‘Whoa,’ Stan said, laughing, ‘I don’t think you got a fish at all. I’ll bet that’s an old tire somebody tossed in there.’
Within minutes they found out Stan was partially right. It wasn’t a tire, but a muddy, seaweed-laden bag of some sort. Stan got the grappling hook and they pulled it up into the boat. It was an old backpack, and it was a mess.
Dinkel Island artist Stan Grayson struggles with lingering grief after his wife’s untimely death. While fishing, he and his friend Ed Heygood find a water-logged backpack containing a large amount of money. This stirs reactions in town.
An investigation uncovers an abduction that happened twenty-two years earlier and has implications for Kate Sheppard, pastor of the Dinkel Island Wesleyan Brethren Church. An explosion and robbery bring added stress.
A visiting gospel music group provides a key to unlock the mysteries of both the abduction and the money.
Ultimately, faith and mutual support open doors to the resolution of grief and a return of bliss for Stan, Ed, Kate and others. Return of Bliss is a story of unfolding hope and joy built around Psalm 30:5, ‘Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’
Genre: Christian, General, Cultural Heritage, Religion & Spirituality, Religion Fiction
NPH: Journey Into Dementia and Out Again by Sharon French Harris With Hugh Harris
Do you or a loved one struggle with loss of balance or difficulty walking?
Are you experiencing a loss of memory and cognitive ability?
Do you suffer from urinary incontinence?
These are the three leading symptoms of a condition known as Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH). In NPH: Journey into Dementia and Out Again, author Sharon French Harris and her husband, Hugh, tell the story of her experience with this condition, and her recovery from its debilitating effects.
Hugh chronicles the various stages of the journey, while Sharon tells what it was like to experience them.
In a time when we hear much about dementia, Sharon’s story of recovery is refreshing.
Once you’ve read NPH: Journey Into Dementia and Out Again, you will want to spread this hope to anyone who is suffering from the symptoms discussed here.
Genre: Self-Help, Health, General, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH), Non-fiction, Health, Diet and Fitness
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Hugh Harris
Hugh Harris, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, moved to Virginia as a teenager. Served in U.S. Army 1956-59. Career Certificate in Watercolor from Blue Ridge Community College, BA in Sociology from Bridgewater College, and MDiv from Wesley Theological Seminary. Retired as United Methodist pastor in 1999. Professional artist and president of Watermedia Creations & More! Inc. from 1999 to 2009. Currently owns Art by Hugh Harris in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
How I Became a Writer: I have always enjoyed reading good stories, and at times did some writing. I was trained in news journalism at the Army Information School. Over the years I tried writing some non-fiction, but was never published. During the late 1980’s I had a weekly devotional column, “On the Positive Side,” published in the Mechanicsville Local newspaper in the Richmond area.
In 2012 I began attending the Aspiring Writers Critique class at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Midlothian, Virginia. There I pulled out some fictional writing I had worked on sporadically for many years, which I developed as the initial manuscript for my Dinkel Island Series of novels.
What makes you proud to be a writer from Virginia? Virginia is a state with a rich history and a variety of communities both large and small, which makes it fertile soil in which to grow the seeds of stories dealing with life in a variety of aspects. I am especially proud to represent Virginia’s coastal communities through my novels centered in a place located on the Chesapeake Bay that I call Dinkel Island.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? Throughout my life I have loved to read novels, and nurtured a faint idea that I might someday write such stories. Ideas for what later became Dinkel Island, were originally inspired by Garrison Keelor and his Prairie Home Companion stories about Lake Wobegon. Those ideas were fed by serving churches in small towns and rural areas. I was also inspired by Jan Karon’s novels centered in a North Carolina community called Mitford.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I spent twenty years writing vignettes about people and events in a small, fictional town. It was with the encouragement of an aspiring writers’ critique group that I decided to develop those stories into what became my first published novel, A Change of Heart. That was in the spring of 2012.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I was raised both in a major city, and in a very rural area, in two different states. This cultural diversity informs my understanding of people and events. I use this reservoir constantly in my writing.
Do you come up with the title before or after you write the manuscript? A title forms in my mind early in the process of imagining and plotting a story. It may go through some revision as I progress through the work.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My genre is Christian Fiction. I want to contribute to a body of literature that uplifts and inspires people, is rooted in a faith perspective, and deals with real, down-to-earth people and situations.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? There are “secrets” that underlie life in most communities, and I wanted to write a story about someone of faith who takes on a challenge that finds opposition from hidden sources. I also wanted a primary role for Gracie Love to grow out of her introduction in book two. In addition, I wanted to deal with a real social issue that may be alive and hidden in our own communities. The result became “Secrets at Lighthouse Point.”
What has been the most rewarding experience with your writing process? Without question that would be the camaraderie, growth and challenges of working with a bi-weekly writers’ critique group. In this ongoing group, we avoid isolation and provide constructive reflection and interaction.
What has been the most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? When my first novel was accepted by Tate Publishing and I had a contract. A second rewarding experience is to pick up one of my books, read it, and feel gratification at what I have created.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Rewrite—rewrite—rewrite! Strength comes through this ongoing creative process.
Who is your favorite author and why? Probably John Grisham. I like the way he allows his first career as a lawyer to inform his stories, his character development, and the way he ties his stories to real-life issues that touch people in their own lives.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us? If you want to write fiction, listen to your muse, and let your characters lead you in developing your story. Also, ground your work in research.
Please add questions and the answers to any questions that you believe your readers would like to know. Sometimes people ask me why I write fiction. I answer that fiction gives me the freedom to reflect truth in ways that will be seen more clearly and easily remembered. When asked if my fiction masks actual people and situations in my experience, I reply that I do write from a reservoir of life experiences that feed my imagination and provide a vehicle for telling a story, but story is not about real people or situations. If it resonates as real, that’s good. I have succeeded.
Josie finds herself in a tough spot and begins a deception that will have her fearing for her life while love threatens to engulf her. How can she ever get things back to normal without something disastrous happening? Then there is Rita, who has escaped a life in “The Mob” that threatens her very sanity. Watch her discover an inner strength she never knew she had. Can love find her, too? How these women meet and forge their future makes for page-turning drama. Their trials and triumphs will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Cold Coffee Book Review: Rita, Rita is a fast paced story with strong characters in realistic settings. Mentionable characters include Josie who finds herself in an unusual situation, Tony who is just going about his life as usual, Rita who just wants to start over away from the mob and Susan who has memories that haunt her and unanswered questions.
An unusual family saga that transitions smoothly with twists and turns that keeps the reader engaged. This book holds something for everyone as there are good guys, bad guys, adventure and romance that stirs the heart.
L.L. Dahl-Jensen is a new up and coming author that writes with a great story telling style. Rita, Rita is the first book in this author’s trilogy and so we anticipate more great books in the future.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse Rita, Rita by L. L. Dahl – Jensen as a suspense drama with a romantic twist. Reviewed on November 26, 2014.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author L. L. Dahl-Jensen
L. L. Dahl-Jensen is a successful career-woman, loving wife, and the dedicated mother of four wonderful, now grown children.
With two new grandchildren a boy and a girl, she tries to spend as much time as she can enjoying their company.
Being a soft-hearted animal lover, she has adopted many cats and will help any animal possible.
The source of her creativity stems from a vivid recurring dream. After many sleepless nights and abrupt awakenings, a new journey began as she recalled and wrote her visions. Writing has now become a new passion.
What makes you proud to be a writer from New Port Richey? I can’t say I’m proud but I’m very grateful to have been able to achieve what I have so far and can’t wait to do more.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I had a recurring dream and wrote it down. Later I read it to my mother and she thought it sounded like the beginning of a book or movie.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Once I had written the whole thing in first person, I rewrote it in third person. After reading it and getting some opinions from friends I decided to try to get it published.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? The only thing I can say is that my dad loved the gangster movies and we watched them together many times.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Not usually. However I think I have for the current book I am working on right now.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? ‘Rita Rita’ is a suspense drama with a romantic twist. I love writing drama with all the twists and turns to keep the readers guessing and turning the pages.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Having my kids proud of me and talking about what their mother has done. Asp being on the radio on talk shows and I hope to do T.V. next.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I haven’t had a very long career so I can’t say
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Working with the publisher. Everyone at Authorhouse has been amazing especially a man named James Raven he was so helpful.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? The only thing I can say is all the rejection letters years ago but some were very helpful and gave constructive criticism.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Keep on working at it never give up and edit, edit, edit. Have a friend help that you trust as well.
Who is your favorite author? So many talented writers out there, I don’t really have a favorite.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? This is a first of a trilogy working on book two now.
Sons Of The Sphinx (The Quest Books) by Cheryl Carpinello
When 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena, she doesn’t count on falling for him. Once back in Ancient Egypt, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do: She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb–who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic–if she is to stay alive to make it back home.
Sons of the Sphinx is based on the schism that shot through ancient Egypt when, according to historians, the Pharaoh Akhenaten turned his back on Thebes and the gods of Egypt. He built his own city to honor his god the Aten, and he insisted that the people of Egypt do the same. Along with this, he supposedly refused to send troops to defend Egypt’s borders thus incurring the wrath of the then General Horemheb. When Tutankhamen becomes pharaoh, he reverses Akhenaten’s proclamations and returns the governing center to Thebes and the worship back to the god Amun.
However, the damage has been done, and by the time Horemheb attains pharaoh status, he has proclaimed the betrayal of the Egyptian people by Akhenaten so widely and so much, all members of the family including Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun and Ay are dishonored.
The historical significance of my story is the main reason I was able to write Sons of the Sphinx. Needing to help right a wrong done over 3000 years ago and reunite the boy king with his queen (whose tomb has yet to be identified or found), allows my protagonist Rosa the opportunity to come to terms with who she is and what her place is in this world.
Genre: Young Adult, A Tween Adventure/Action Adventure/Tales & Legends from the Ancient & Medieval Worlds.
Cold Coffee Book Review: Travel to ancient Egypt through the eyes of a tenth grader named Rosa as she uses her special gifts in an attempt to bring honor to King Tutankhamen’s family. Rosa is an ordinary teen who struggles to fit in with her peers, however she must also come to term with the gift that her grandmother bestowed on her.
As it turns out, Rosa’s gift allows her to not only to hear and speak to dead people, but actually travel back to ancient Egypt. Without warning King Tut appears to Rosa in her bedroom asking for help finding the spirit of his long, lost, love Hesena.
Rosa has to fight unimaginable fears in order to travel back 3,000 years, deal with a hostile environment, and an evil Pharaoh, not to mention tomb robbers in order to connect with the spirit of Hesena all with the hopes of righting the wrongs of this ancient past.
Young Rosa has a heart of gold and the courage of a champion along with a sweet innocent inner self that inspires a touch of romantic feeling for her spirit guide. I quote a passage from the book to show the author’s unique writing style and ability to connect with young people:
“Tut, you were rich beyond anything I can imagine. It’s so unreal.” I walk around behind the shrine. “You were one of the richest pharaohs in Egypt.”
He looks at me and frowns. I see something in his eyes, briefly, that mirrors the disappointment in my dad’s eyes the day the cops brought me home. I ditched school after one of those talking ghost episodes. They picked me up at the shopping mall an hour before school was out. An hour! I have all the luck. I cough as my throat tickles in an irritating way.
“Roosa.” He sweeps his arm through theair.All this is here, with me, now, dead.”
‘Sons Of The Sphinx’ is a fast paced, historically accurate time travel adventure that will enlighten and engage the hearts and minds of readers from pre-teen to adult. Author Cheryl Carpinello has not only researched ancient Egypt, but travelled there herself. This book details the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1295 BC) and includes a map of Ancient Egypt. There is a glossary of Egyptian Gods, People, Places and Terms which is most beneficial.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse Sons Of The Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello for the historical accuracies, adventurous journey to ancient Egypt with teen tenacity and paranormal contributions. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on April 28, 2015.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Cheryl Carpinello
Although a retired teacher, Cheryl still has a passion for working with kids. She regularly conducts Medieval Writing Workshops for local elementary/middle schools and the Colorado Girl Scouts. It seems she’s not the only one who loves Medieval Times and the King Arthur Legend. The kids thoroughly enjoy writing their own medieval stories complete with dragons, wizards, unicorns, and knights!
Cheryl loves to travel, and so her other job is with a major airline. Her favorite trip was a two week visit to Egypt with her husband that included traveling by local train from one end of Egypt to the other.
Some of her favorite books are: “The Hobbit,” “The Lord of the Rings,” Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” and “The Once and Future King” by T.H. White was all written to offer hope to a world embroiled in another world war. “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens illustrates how unselfish true love enables people to offer the supreme sacrifice to preserve that love, while Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” shows how circumstances can cause people to do despicable acts. The one book that connects of all of these texts as well as a multitude of others is Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” The journey of the hero, depicted by Campbell, is a universal theme that never dies out.
Cheryl’s first book “Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend” introduces young readers to the timeless King Arthur Legend and Guinevere the girl as she struggles with growing up and fulfilling her destiny. I hope young readers develop an understanding of the girl Guinevere, how she is like them today. Everyone has to grow up; everyone has unpleasant choices to make; and regardless of when we are born or how old we are, we don’t always get our way. And when that happens, we have to accept it and move on. Good lessons for any age.
“King Arthur’s Story” is a short excerpt cut from “Guinevere” in the final editing. Only available as an e-book, it gives readers a brief glimpse into Arthur’s reasons for seeking marriage with Guinevere.
The Legend of King Arthur continues to transcend the Centuries and All Age Groups because:
(1) The Legend is packed with adventure. Tales of knights fighting knights, rescuing damsels in distress, and the quest for the Holy Grail are found in vivid detail throughout the unending array of stories.
(2) The Legend is about heroes, the Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot, Tristram, Percival, Galahad and the many others. Specifically it is about the main hero, King Arthur.
(3) The Legend is about magic and mystery. Merlyn, the most famous magician ever, lives backwards in time!
(4) The Legend is about women and love. The regal Guinevere; the mysterious half sisters of Arthur: Morgan le Fay, Morgause, and Elaine; the witch Nimue who tricks Merlyn into revealing his secrets and then encloses him for life in a cave. The one thing all these women have in common is that they are misunderstood. Writers can’t even cast them into the same mold, especially the sisters.
(5) The Legend is about Hope. Arthur and his kingdom are essentially a utopia; a perfect world, at least in the beginning. There is a definite line between right and wrong. Chivalry rules the day. Arthur is the ruler who works not for himself, but for his people. In the time period that “The Once and Future King” was written (WWII), the Legend offered a safe haven for people’s dreams. It continues to do that and that is why she loves it.
Cheryl has just started publishing my children’s picture books under the series Grandma’s Tales. The first one is “What if I Went to the Circus and Came Home with?”
She loves to hear from her readers of all ages. Please contact her and let her know what you think of her books. You may contact her through her web site Beyond Today: (http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com).
Arthurian Legend Transcends Centuries And Ages
The Legend is about Hope: The perfect world with a definite line between right and wrong, where Chivalry rules the day, and Arthur works for the well-being of his people.
The Legend offers a safe haven for people’s dreams and Speaks to Young Readers
The Legend is packed with adventure: Tales of knights fighting knights, rescuing damsels in distress, and questing for the Holy Grail.
The Legend is about heroes: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot, Tristram, Percival, Galahad.
The Legend is about magic and mystery: Merlyn, the famous magician who lives backwards in time!
What, or who, inspired you to become a writer? I loved reading stories that sent me to another place and time (and I still do). I have always wanted to create my own stories. However, I started to write in earnest after my years as a high school English teacher. I want to inspire reluctant readers to become readers.
When did you begin writing with the intention of being published? Probably about 20 years ago.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and why? Yes. As a high school teacher, I came into contact each year with students who did not like to read. I wanted to reach those students before high school in hopes of making readers out of them. I found the King Arthur Legend to be a great vehicle for this.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? A little of both. I knew from the beginning with “Guinevere” that I was going to give readers an insight into Guinevere before she married Arthur. So adding “On the Eve of Legend” just felt right from the start. With my next book I planned on titling it “Young Knights of the Round Table,” but didn’t add “The King’s Ransom” until nearly half the book was finished.
Why do you write in the genre(s) that you’ve chosen? I chose Children’s Literature because elementary school is where students become readers. Also, I still love to read that genre!
What has been your most rewarding experience while in the writing process? The creative process I go through with each story is very rewarding. I loved being able to share my journey with my students.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Learning, learning, and learning!
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Keep positive and believe in yourself, your work, and your vision.
Who is your favorite author and why? This is a hard question. Probably J R R Tolkien. He was a fabulous storyteller who managed to include morality in his books that stayed with the readers.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I do writing workshops for elementary schools and the Girl Scouts. In addition to reading, I believe that all kids and adults can learn to write. It is a matter of building confidence in the prospective writer and that is what we work on in the writing workshops. I guess that once a person is an educator, that teaching and encouraging nature stays with them.
South City Mosaic: Life On Alaska
(South City Mosaic Series Book One) by Glenn Sartori
Sit back in your favorite chair and revisit my early years with me. I have been a lifelong resident of St. Louis and grew up in the South City on a street called Alaska. My grade school adventures will make you smile…and possibly help you recall your own cherished childhood memories.
Cold Coffee Book Review: Whether you are young or old, South City Mosaic: Life On Alaska will capture your heart and mind as endearing, heartfelt boyhood memories from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade are experienced in and around Glenn’s house and loving family home on 5226 Alaska Ave.
Twenty-two life packed chapters that truly begin on April 10, 1940 when Glenn was born. Read the well placed words of Glenn’s vivid childhood memories that will take you back in time to the sights, sounds, smells and yes, tastes of a simpler, kinder and gentler life.
There are so many examples that I want to share with you, so choosing this one is difficult, but reflective of the mood and character of the stories. I quote: “In the 1940s and 50s, before electronic games and computers, collecting and trading baseball cards was a boyhood passion everywhere, and my grade school was no exception. The chance of getting a Mays, Mantle or Musial was thrilling, and to get the final card that completed your set of any baseball team, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, was a victory. Cards with pictures and stats of baseball players were the only type available, no hockey or football players. I bought mine at my neighborhood grocery store—a nickel for five cards packaged with a sheet of bubblegum. If I think about it, I can still smell the bubblegum aroma that wafted from the open package. Chomping down on the malleable pink sheet of gum filled my mouth with sugary juices. As vivid as the memory of chewing the gum is, I have no recall of blowing bubbles. Maybe I never acquired that skill set.
On many days after school, my friends and I would trade baseball cards, usually on someone’s front porch. It was always fun and a good way to complete a team. Shouts like “I’ll trade you a Duke Snider for an Alvin Dark. Or I’ll trade you a Yogi Berra for a Gil Hodges” were flying around the group. Sometimes we’d trade two for one, and occasionally three for one if someone really needed a particular player. We’d even coordinate trades between three or four kids. I loved those times. (I had a fine collection but not now. After I’d been gone from home for few years, I discovered that my dad had donated, among other things, the baseball cards to the St. Joseph’s Orphan Home for boys. Maybe they enjoyed them, traded them as I had.)”
Look at the 21 photos from those days and let your taste buds recall one or more of the included recipes that will draw you back in time. If you are young, you will learn valuable information about life for one young boy in the 40’s and 50s. If you are older, the memories written in this book will no doubt trigger some pleasant memories of your childhood.
Compare your childhood with Glenn’s, his first cigarette, first kiss and so many more firsts, which you will not want to miss. Like me you will be forced to wait for Glenn’s promised book two and three in his South City Mosaic Series.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse South City Mosaic: Life On Alaska by Glenn Sartori as a childhood memoir worth reading. Read all Author Glenn Sartori’s books found at Amazon. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on March 3, 2016.
In medieval Russia, a battlefield historian is commissioned to transport treasures from invasion-torn south to a haven in the north. Centuries later, four events occur simultaneously.
Grace Sawyer, on her summer sabbatical at the Rosanov Art Institute in Yaroslavl, stumbles upon a black stone from a medieval Russian treasure. Richard Simon, an art historian in New York, is solicited by a friend in the CIA to journey to Yaroslavl on a cryptic quest.
In Kiev, the brother of the president of the Ukraine is assassinated, and a group of men plan to violently end the Epiphany—the historic meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia.
Within a week, these events will mesh in a violent climax that echoes in the halls of the Rosanov Art Institute.
Union Of Friends
(Riverfield Series Book One) by Glenn Sartori
The announcement of Union Miller’s death arrived with the Saturday mail. That notice pushed Travis Gibbs to return to Riverfield only to discover that his best friend, Union Miller, had been dead for two years. It was an open and shut murder case—Union had stalked a woman, had killed her, and then had been killed by her husband. However, women had always pursued Union. Why stalk one? Why kill one? The search for answers propels Travis on a deceit-filled journey that ends in a conclusion he can’t believe, until violence steps into his life.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Glenn Sartori
Glenn Sartori is a lifelong resident of St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from St. Louis University with BS and MS in Electrical Engineering. In 1997 he married Rosanne and enjoy condo living in St. Louis County. They have two sons Michael and Jeffrey, both grown, live in different cities and have a family of their own.
Glenn worked in electronic design and engineering management at McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing, and traveled to many countries, his favorite was Japan. He retired in 2002, which is the same year Rosanne retired from teaching in the St. Charles School District.
In late 2002, Glenn started his second career as an author of text books. Along with his college friend, they have co-authored four engineering text books for Pearson Education Publishing Company. Glenn successfully transitioned to writing mystery novels and most recently published the first book of his memoir trilogy.
What makes you proud to be a writer from St. Louis, Missouri? We have an outstanding and supportive writer’s guild here, and living in a Midwestern town keeps you grounded. I love my hometown and am proud of its rich history.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I’ve always enjoyed writing, but my first engineering text book got me stimulated and really hooked on exploring the possibility of being a published author.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? For my series of mystery novels, I created a fictional town—Riverfield—patterned it after St. Charles, Missouri, the sleepy river town where I worked and socialized for many years.
My stable family life and my humorous adventures in grade school played a major role in writing book 1 of my memoir trilogy. My parents encouraged me to do my best, and my education spurred me on.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? In 2002 when asked to co-author an engineering textbook.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? Seeing my ideas and characters grow as I read over the initial draft and the rewrites.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Receiving emails and thank you notes from readers who have loved my books and caused them to have ideas of their own. Oh, and seeing my name in print.
How many published books do you have? I have four engineering technology textbooks, two mystery/thriller novels, and book 1 of my memoir trilogy.
Please list the titles of all your books. Besides my textbooks, they are Epiphany, Union of Friends, and South City Mosaic: Life on Alaska.
Do you come up with your title(s) before or after you write the manuscript? I come up with a draft title after I’ve outlined the plot and characters in the novel.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I am writing in two genres: mystery/thriller novels because I love to read that type of book, and now that I’ve published my first book in my memoir trilogy I realize that I have interesting and humorous life stories to tell.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book (one book) that you are seeking promotion for? Conversations with my school friends—grade school, high school, and college—made me realize I have stories to tell. I realized that I didn’t need to be famous or come from a dysfunctional family or endure a tragic event to write interesting and humorous narratives.
Positive feedback told me that I have a talent to tell stories with humor and connect with the audience.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Nothing is achieved without perseverance … so keep on writing and rewriting.
Who is your favorite author and why? Stephen King’s book – On Writing. Besides shining as a unique perspective on the writer’s craft, it’s an interesting and humorous story of his life.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? South City Mosaic: Life On Alaska is book one in my South City Mosaic Series.
Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call To Heal Our Wounded Nature by Burl Benson and Merry Stetson Hall
Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom, has woven the multi-dimensional aspects of our lives—personal, relational, cultural, intellectual, scientific, philosophical, and spiritual—into a cosmic web. Burl Hall follows the thread within this web that connects his research in these fields to his personal mystical experience. In Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature, he takes the reader with him ever deeper into the heart of divine Wisdom. Sophia’s Web encourages readers to discover how they can co-create individual, planetary and universal health. It examines Burl Hall’s individual dreams, visions, passions, and missions, in the light of Wisdom (Sophia) shared by great thinkers in all disciplines.
Key topics in the book include:
Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom
The Cosmic Web Uniting Philosophy, Religion, Science, Mythology, and Personal Experience
Our Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature
Unity within Diversity and Diversity within Unity
The Essential Power of the Feminine
The Destructiveness of Our Modern Corporate Emphasis on Standardization
Freeing Ourselves from the Dominant Patriarchal, Top-Down Social Structure
Our Current Converging Crises Calling for Conscious Human Evolution
Co-Creating Individual, Planetary, and Universal Health
Integrating Vision, Mission, and Passion
How Myths, Both Ancient and Modern, Relate to Our Lives and Our Culture
An Invitation to Become the Saving Grace You Were Born to Be
Book Review: Have you ever felt drawn into a moving thread of energy that is beyond yourself and seemingly beyond this earthly plane?
Burl Benson Hall began his journey into this universal energy thread around the age of four. His mystic guide, named “Sophia” in Greek mythology and early Christian writings, teaches Burl to experience and understand the feminine and the masculine forces that make up the energy in our universe.
Mystic, philosopher and author Burl Benson Hall brings his experiences, vision, passion and mission to heal our individual inner wounded nature, the natural world around us (our planet) and all of humankind in his book, Sophia’s Web. He transforms a complicated philosophical theory into layman’s terms using his own experiences, poetry, scripture, parables and metaphors. For an example: “She reaches mightily from one end of the Earth to the other and while remaining in herself, she renews all things….and orders all things well. Solomon 7:27, 8:1”
In her foreword to Sophia’s Web Carolyn Baker, author of Collapsing Consciously says: “Sophia’s Web is the saga of Burl Hall’s journey from fleeting visions of Sophia in childhood to a mature, surrendered embrace of the Sacred Feminine which now underpins and informs his life, his work, and his connection with the earth community.”
In my reviews I always quote passages so the reader can get a sense of the author’s style and purpose. These are direct quotations from Sophia’s Web:
“Sophia is the archetypal image of the feminine principle and thus partner to the masculine god. She is present in all traditions, mythologies, and religions-in Hinduism she is Shakti, in Egyptian myth she is called Isis. Traditionally it is in the gnostic, mystical, and alchemical traditions that the feminine face of the divine is central and present.”
“This book purpose, then is to bring peace through the integration of seemingly opposing forces.”
“In order to achieve this peace, much emotional and spiritual work is required, but in Sophia’s Web, Burl and Merry Hall tantalize us with the rewards of doing that work and compel us to embrace the journey with Sophia, “for indeed our lives and our planet depend on it.”
I, Theodocia McLean endorse Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature by Burl Benson Hall as a personal, relational, intellectual, scientific and spiritual resource for those seeking inner healing and a desire to commune with nature and deity to heal our mother earth. I purchased this book from Kindle. This review was completed on July 16, 2015.
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Burl Benson Hall and Merry Stetson Hall
Burl Benson Hall and Merry Stetson Hall are the authors of Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature.
Burl Hall is an author, philosopher (lover-of-Sophia), mystic, retired counselor, and online radio co-host of Envision This which connects listeners to visionaries of a more resilient, equitable, and Earth-friendly future.
He writes with the editorial assistance of his muse and wife, Merry Hall, a retired teacher, author of ‘Bringing Food Home: The Maine Example’, and co-host of ‘Envision This’.
Together they enjoy grand parenting; permaculture gardening at their home in Sabattus, Maine; playing with their dogs, Sophie and Kali; and meeting and profiling the amazing visionaries they interview on their radio show.
A passionate call to heal our wounded nature is vital at this critical evolutionary moment in human history. In Sophia’s Web author Burl Hall with Merry Hall is sending out such a call. Sophia’s Web encourages readers to discover how they can co-create individual, planetary and universal health. It examines Burl Hall’s individual dreams, visions, passions, and missions, in the light of Wisdom (Sophia) shared by great thinkers in all disciplines.
Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom, has woven the multi-dimensional aspects of our lives—personal, relational, cultural, intellectual, scientific, philosophical, and spiritual—into a cosmic web. Burl Hall follows the thread within this web that connects his research in these fields to his personal mystical experience. In Sophia’s Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature, he takes the reader with him ever deeper into the heart of divine Wisdom.
What makes you proud to be writers from Sabattus, Maine?
Burl Benson Hall: Actually the book originated from within me when I was living in Baltimore in the 90’s. I do find it interesting that I love to write, but struggled a lot with English classes. With writing, the passion is the subject and not so much the technique. Writing allows you to express your heart. It’s more the creativity than writing per se. Writing takes you into a deeper reality.
Merry Stetson Hall: I’ve written wherever I lived–all over the place, but living here in Maine with Burl has moved me more toward co-authoring. I did write a locally based book here, “Bringing Food Home: The Maine Experience.” That book grew out of my commitment to the developing local food movement.
What or who inspired you to become writers?
Burl Benson Hall: My heart. My passion for Sophia. The book began when I had a series of dreams in the 90’s. Then, by “accident” I began reading the works of psychiatrist Carl Jung and mythologist Joseph Campbell. I began to understand the images in the dreams of a woman/Goddess to what they were writing about. I then began to research various religions and saw where my dreams coincided with various religions across the world. This led me into understanding the unity behind the diversity of spiritual teachings and practices.
Merry Stetson Hall: Yes, my heart starts to sing a new song and I become scribe for it. Burl’s writing moved me so, but had some rough edges, so it just called out to me to begin editing, suggesting, and adding insights.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published?
Burl Benson Hall: The 1990’s. I was living in Baltimore, MD and was having dreams of this woman/Goddess. After reading Jung and Campbell alongside the scientific works of David Bohm, Fritzof Capra and F. David Peat I decided to write out the dreams while relating the dreams to mythology and science.
Merry Stetson Hall: When I was writing my PhD dissertation. I was so frustrated by the confines of academic writing, where I was supposed to pretend I didn’t have a passion for my insights that I knew that it was the writing, not the academia that motivated me.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage?
Burl Benson Hall: No. I barely passed English classes and had a really bad taste in my mouth regarding writing. I often was more of the kind of kid that English teachers would cry over and oftentimes pass just to get them out of their classroom. My desire to express was extremely intent so I wrote anyway. It was the passion regarding the subject that caused me to write. I needed to express what I was coming up with and dreaming about.
Merry Stetson Hall: I was a talented writer in school and got teacher comments like, “Bright! Write!” However, my first story about a crippled Princess who overcame her handicap got squelched by my father’s judgment. As a good little Christian Scientist I shouldn’t be writing about disease! That slowed me down for a LONG time.
Did you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript?
Burl Benson Hall: I came up with the title prior to the writing. I had begun researching mythology as per Jung and Campbell and saw the connection between the dreams and what they were writing about in their books. I realized I was tapping into what Jung called the Collective Unconscious, which is an area in consciousness that is anchored in ancient wisdom (that’s my definition and not so much Jung’s.) During my research I came across the notion of Sophia in Judeo-Christian teachings and that She was the original Holy Spirit. This caused me to see Christian as well as Jewish and Muslim traditions differently. I was distrustful of mainstream religions and the dreams helped me to understand the religions from a different way. That way was more Unitarian in that I also researched religions from throughout the world from Asia (e.g., Hindu, Oriental) to the Native Americans (e.g., the South American Kogis and the North American Keres Pueblo).
Merry Stetson Hall: “Sophia’s Web” resonated with me from the beginning. Indeed, it led me to meeting and marrying Burl. The sub-title morphed through several forms until we were both satisfied. Then, just as we were about to publish, the cover image, “Sophia-Peace Through Wisdom” by Pamela Matthews, came along. The synchronicity of it sealed the deal.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre?
Burl Benson Hall: Spirituality. It’s my passion and it’s how I see the wholeness of the planet, the cosmos and across people of different philosophies and understandings of life.
Merry Stetson Hall: Burl says it beautifully. Spirituality is the crucial link in holistic healing of body, mind and spirit…as well as of our Mother Earth.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for?
Burl Benson Hall: The passion to express myself and my experiences was extremely powerful. Also, writing was in some senses sexual. It was a birthing. It was also an intercourse in which I was expressing ideas that were seminal to the reader and would initiate a conception within her. Indeed, in that insight I began seeing the entire cosmos as being sexual as reflected in the dance of Yin and Yang of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. The seminal input of the book’s theme and thesis was ultimately seeing the unity behind the various religions throughout the world.
Merry Stetson Hall: So much light poured through me when I first read Burl’s manuscript that I was moved to edit, refine, and add to it. It resonated with me as if it came from within me, and so I have used my training and talents as a PhD in English to share his light with the world.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process?
Burl Benson Hall: Writing and being creative. Most of the time I write off the top of my head. With the dreams, I would immediately flesh out the dreams on paper. This also helped me to see the themes across the dreams.
Merry Stetson Hall: Sharing–in a way cross pollinating–with Burl. We married late in life; Sophia’s Web is our “baby”.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey?
Burl Benson Hall: Writing and creating. The thing about marketing, etc. is a drag for me. I’m not a sales person, but am passionate about the work and what it can do for the planet in general and humankind specifically.
Merry Stetson Hall: The perceptive and responsive readings and reviews of many other readers.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors?
Burl Benson Hall: Be yourself.
Merry Stetson Hall: Keep putting what you know to be authentic out there and promoting it faithfully; then leave the “results” in the hands of Universal Wisdom.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Burl Benson Hall: Joseph Campbell. His work helped pull my dreams together and helped show the cosmic aspects of the dream that we describing the depths of reality.
Merry Stetson Hall: His words helped me focus my own mission in life.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
Burl Benson Hall: One of the chapters in the Bible’s Book of Proverbs says of Sophia (Wisdom and Understanding in the English versions) “All Her Ways Are Peace.” If the book can help bring peace to this fractured world of this vs that, then I will feel as if I had done my job.