What to Do About Mama?

Barbara_Trainin_Blank_book_cover_65k

THE BOOK: “What to Do About Mama?”

PUBLISHED IN: 2013.

THE AUTHOR:  Barbara Trainin Blank (with Barbara Matthews).

THE EDITOR:  Edited through Sunbury Press.

THE PUBLISHER: Sunbury Press, Mechanicsburg, PA. A publisher of trade paperback, hard cover and digital books in both fiction and non-fiction. Publishes around 70 titles a year.

SUMMARY: “Fifty-four million Americans already serve as unpaid caregivers to family members, and that number is likely to grow as the population continues to age. Two-thirds of these caregivers are women — many of them in the ‘sandwich generation,’ simultaneously caring for both children and older family members. This book is based on the real-life experiences of the authors and other caregivers who have openly and honestly shared their joys and heartaches. It isn’t a book by ‘experts,’ but by people in the trenches.”

Barbara Training BlankTHE BACK STORY: “My focus has always been on journalism, nonprofit PR and grant writing, as well as editing. I’ve also written several plays, but never a book — until now. In 2011 I interviewed Barbara Matthews for a newspaper article, and she presented the idea of collaborating on a book. She was a non-writer with a work background in aging and experience taking care of her mother-in-law. At the time, I had completed three years of long-distance caregiving for my mother. My prospective author had kept a journal during the caregiving experience. Ironically, I, the writer, had not.”Barbara Matthews

WHY THIS TITLE: Self evident.

WHY SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT: What makes this book unique is that it reflects a diversity of experiences, from heart-warming to sobering to blood-curdling. Caring for an elderly parent or spouse, especially when dementia enters the picture, is a classic example of “You had to be there.” And so the voices in “What to Do About Mama” come not from physicians or social scientists, but people who were, indeed, there — at a time when someone had to be.

REVIEW COMMENTS:
“This book contains information and resources that will not only be invaluable to families but also to professional social workers. Barb Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank have identified the everyday practical issues caregivers must confront. These include the stress and emotional demands of being a caregiver, the impact this role will have on the remainder of the caregivers family, the financial implications and many other issues that we may not immediately think about when we think of what it means to be a caregiver. If you are a caregiver or are preparing to become one, or if you are a professional who works with caregivers, this book will give you valuable insights that will help you to better appreciate not only the difficulties caregivers encounter but also the many rewards which far outweigh the burden.” — Robert Burns.

“What to Do about Mama” provides a poignant and powerful look into the life of primary caregivers. It delivers a detailed look at the trials and tribulations they, the care receiver, and all others involved (or not involved) deal with each day and beyond, even after the death of the care receiver. This is a must read for all present, future caregivers, and for those who understand that “everyone is a potential caregiver”. It shares a number of perspectives and situations filled with great anecdotes, advice, and affirmation. I will recommend this at all my caregiver presentations and workshops! Thank-you Barb and Barb for your candor, dedication and your compassionate hearts.” — M. Gallardo.

“The best book I’ve seen on the challenge of eldercare, a book for caregivers by caregivers. I wish I’d had this book years ago. I would not have felt so alone and overwhelmed. Barbara Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank include their own caregiving stories as well as stories from a wide range of caregivers, offering a wealth of honest insight, helpful advice, useful strategies, and a wealth of information. I recommend this book highly as a valuable resource to help deal with a challenge that most of us will face some day.” — Diane Dreher, PhD.

AUTHOR PROFILE:  An independent writer in many different media, Barbara Trainin Blank brings sensitivity, intellectual curiosity, a clear and lively writing style, and love of words to every project. She has won praise for presenting complex ideas lucidly and for her conscientiousness, as well as for establishing easy rapport with her diverse interview subjects and clients. A graduate of Barnard College in her native New York City, Trainin Blank began her journalism career with Cosmopolitan. Since then, she has been a regular contributor to regional publications such as Business2Business, Harrisburg and Business Woman magazines; newspapers like the Patriot-News and the Carlisle Sentinel, both dailies; and national publications such as Hadassah, Naamat Woman, and the web site: citytowninfo.com . She was a longtime theater critic for the Patriot and writes an arts column for ShowcasePA and theater previews for the Sentinel. Last year, she and her husband moved from the Harrisburg area to Silver Spring, MD. The couple has two children.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “When I was a child I entertained myself while walking home from school by making up stories in my head. One of my heroes was Nelly Bly, the investigative reporter. I always listened to snippets of conversation and expanded them. Yet, my goal, far as I could tell, was to become a social worker. After starting and leaving graduate school, I felt lost–and went to an employment agency. There an astute counselor asked me what I wanted to do. Even before the question was out of her mouth, I said, “Write.” She responded, “Then why not go into publishing?” When I replied, “You can’t make a living as a writer,” she had the perfect retort: “Do you want to make money, or do you want to be happy?” Shortly after I accepted a job at Cosmopolitan magazine, which launched a career that has made me happy.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: On Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/What-Do-about-Mama-Members/dp/1620063158/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433341691&sr=8-1&keywords=What+to+Do+About+Mama%3F#reader_162006315

WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $17.96 on Amazon, $9.99 on Kindle.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR
: tblankbarb@aol.com.

Weather Report, June 9

OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOK IS “THE RIVER CAUGHT SUNLIGHT,” BY KATIE ANDRASKI. YOU CAN FIND IT BY SCROLLING DOWN DIRECTLY BENEATH THIS POST.

UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES, JUNE 9th and 12th.

JUNE 9: “What to do About Mama,” by Barbara Trainin Blank (with Barbara Matthews).

I’m always looking for a change of pace in our mix, and this book is definitely timely. Advances in medicine have led to much longer lives, which should be a good thing. The downside, however, is that many people now outlive the point of being able to take care of themselves, leaving their families to pick up the often considerable slack. In a worse case scenario, that “family” is reduced to a single caregiver, often someone already edging into early old age. Then there’s the “sandwich generation” phenomenon, where younger caregivers are forced to juggle the needs of older parents and their own children — or grandchildren.

This is no revelation, of course. Hundreds of thousands of people not only know about it, but are living it. What makes this book different is that its wisdom is delivered not from a lofty medical perspective or a college professor’s lectern, but from the trenches. The stories you’ll read from caregivers about their experiences are honest portrayals of the joys and the heartaches of becoming and remaining the lifeline for another person.

Moreover, both lead writer Barbara Trainin Blank and co-author Barbara Matthews have been in those “trenches” themselves.

June 12: Turnstiles, by Andrea Raine.

Our first Canadian author, Victoria’s Andrea Raine, shares something in common with Katie Andraski, whose book is currently featured. Both were prolific and widely published poets before turning to fiction.

But while Andraski stayed close to home with a book that was part fiction and part memoir, Raine lets her imagination wander.

Her main characters in “Turnstiles” are a prostitute, a homeless man and a misogynist.  Her gift is that she presents these individuals not as aberrations on the far outskirts of society, but people who despite their flaws are ultimately quite human.

Says Raine: “I enjoy stories that are character driven, where the reader can witness an internal change happening, and then everything else changes. These characters are transient, and — either by choice or by force — they each leave their comfort zone at some point in their journey.”

“Turnstiles” makes you care about those people. And as a bonus, the prose is as lyrical and imaginative as you might expect from a poet.

SNOWFLAKES NEWS

Melinda Inman, whose novel “Fallen” will be a Snowflakes feature later this summer, is the first of our writers — as far as I know — to plunge into the brave new world of crowd-sourcing.

And quite successfully, at least so far. Melinda has set a goal of roughly $5,750 to help defray the cost of publishing her book, and in just a week has raised almost one-fifth of that.

We’re always looking for different takes on old subjects, and “Fallen” takes perhaps the oldest story of all — Adam and Eve — and turns it into a novel.

If you visit Melinda’s Website at melindainman.com, you can read more about “Fallen” and how her Kickstarter campaign works. She is offering various incentives to encourage donations, and this would probably be of interest to any writer contemplating that path.

However, to flipflop a current cliche, Kickstarter campaigns are sprints, not marathons. Melinda has only until June 30th to raise her money.

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The River Caught Sunlight

THE BOOK:  The River Caught Sunlight.
PUBLISHED IN: 2014.
Katie A. II THE AUTHOR: Katie Andraski.
ABOUT:  Katie Andraski worked for several years as a publicist in Christian publishing, The River Caught Sunlight tells a fictionalized version of what it was like for her to promote people’s whose cause she didn’t quite believe in. She obtained stories for her company in Publishers Weekly, Newsweek, US News and World Report and The Today Show. She is also the author of When the Plow Cuts, a collection of poetry. One of her poems was included in the coffee table anthology, Brushstrokes and Balladeers. She has recently written for The High Calling and is currently a contributor to WNIJ’s Perspectives feature. She has taught composition at Northern Illinois University for twenty years. Currently she lives on a farm with her husband Bruce, two horses, two dogs, seven chickens and a once feral cat that runs the show. She blogs regularly at http://katieandraski.com https://www.facebook.com/KatiewildaAndraski?ref=hl.
THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books, Virginia Beach.
THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Sometimes a person has to leave home, even if that home is the most marvelous place she’s ever lived, even if her mother will be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her beloved farmer, a man she’s loved for years, asks her to marry him. Janice Westfahl feels called to publicize Godspeed Books, a small evangelical publisher outside Chicago, a good thousand miles away from upstate New York. The job fits her, a woman who loves God and books. But Janice finds herself working with Jeremiah Sackfield, a radical right wing activist, who toys with revolution. Even though she is a brilliant publicist, Janice feels like she is betraying herself by promoting a cause she doesn’t believe in. Like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, her brother has stayed home, furious his sister has dodged the painful months of his mother’s dying, while earning their father’s favor. When her father dies, they must settle the estate with this jealousy flickering between them.
THE BACK STORY: “This book began as a report to my boss about my tour with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. During that tour, my father died. (My mother had died five months earlier.) I traveled with them or their son Frank in the years that followed and found myself writing down my adventures. Having to promote a cause I wasn’t sure about as a Christian and grieving my parents were things I needed to work out in my writing, which took approximately thirty years. I had pretty much left the novel alone when I showed the draft to a friend. She thought this part of the story needed to be told, so I returned to the material and began to shape it. I worked with editor Helga Schier who coached me in such a way that I was able to find my character’s voices and make them come alive on the page.”
River Caught IIWHY THIS TITLE: “The title River Caught Sunlight came from an essay where I remembered riding my horse across The Normans Kill when there had been a landslide preventing a gas line from being laid across our property. It is a line from the book, where the main character walks by The Normans Kill river and grieves for her mother. The Normans Kill river figures prominently, almost as a character.”
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: If you like Barbara Brown Taylor’s lyrical prose, you might enjoy the descriptions in The River Caught Sunlight. If you are curious about Frank Schaeffer’s early years as a rabble rousing firebrand you might be interested in reading this novel. If you question Evangelicalism’s part in the culture wars, you might want find insights in this book.
REVIEW COMMENTS: “It’s odd to find my darker self fictionalized. But in another life (as it were) Katie and I traveled together when she was doing publicity work for my right wing evangelical crusades. Like all good writers, Katie has plucked her story from her life. This book has a piercing insight at its heart as humane as it is damning of religion gone off the rails.” — Frank Schaeffer, author of Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. “Katie Andraski’s writing is heartfelt and poetic, and her novel ‘The River Caught Sunlight’ is a marvelous book. Those new to TRCS will find it both easy and enjoyable to read. The story clips along at a nice pace which was refreshing, and each page is filled with rich imagery and characters that are relatable and complex at the same time. Fans of literary fiction, Christian or otherwise, should enjoy this book very much.” –Hal Fickett. “Katie Andraski is a poetic writer with a lyrically rich voice. The reader feels all the emotion of her story. Like all writers, she draws from the deep well of her personal experience. I love her heroine Janice! She is drawn so well, I wonder if Janice contains many parts and struggles of the author herself.” — Melinda Viergever Inman.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I wanted to write a book that helped my reader not feel so alone when doing a confusing job or needing to continue to work despite intense grief. I also want to entertain my reader by taking them to a different world and giving them a fast read.”
SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.amazon.com/River-Caught-Sunlight-Katie-Andraski/dp/1940192269/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8.
LOCAL OUTLETS: The River Caught Sunlight is available at Cherry Valley Barnes and Noble.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online and in all ebook formats. EVENTS: None. I do a regular feature on WNIJ Perspectives.
PRICE: $6.10 on Amazon, Regular price: $16.95 and $ 2.99 Kindle. Also, any special deals you might want to conjure up.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Katiewilda AT aol.com. @Katiewilda

Death of a Cabman

Death of a Cabman

THE BOOK:  “Death of a Cabman.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2014.

THE AUTHOR:  Nina Boyd.

THE EDITOR: Largely self-edited.

THE PUBLISHER:  I have self-published my mystery series under my own imprint, Dora’s Books, being too impatient to look for a publisher, wait two years to see the book, and then find the publisher doesn’t do much in the way of marketing.

SUMMARY: A man is found dead at a livery stable in Edwardian Huddersfield. Who would want to kill a cab driver? There are plenty of suspects, but the police fail to find the murderer. Ethel and Amelia help Ethel’s sweetheart, Constable Fred Clough, to investigate the case, aided by Gertie, the new housemaid in Miss Carlton’s house. Life-changing events in their own circumstances are the backdrop for this exciting mystery, while local suffragettes protest against the 1911 census, downtrodden daughters decide to break free, a new club for single women is proposed, and long-lost relatives are discovered. This is the third book in the Ethel and Amelia Mystery series.

Nina Boyd photo

THE BACK STORY: “I was never a writer. I always thought other people could do it so much better than me. Then something extraordinary happened. I was living alone in a small city in the north of England, and feeling unhappy about the way my life was going. I was working from home as an indexer of medical text books, so nothing was very exciting. I took a daily walk around Ripon, which is a very pretty cathedral city, with plenty of old buildings and curiosities. Then it started to rain, very hard, and I took refuge in the Police and Prisons Museum.

It was rather a dull sort of place, with a dusty waxwork sergeant inside, and the offer of being locked in a Victorian cell. None of the exhibits interested me—who knew there were so many different helmets and police whistles? Then I saw her. Behind the bars of a postcard rack was a photograph of a hard-faced woman in police uniform. She had eyes that drew me in. Clearly a woman to be reckoned with! I bought the postcard, and looked up Mary Sophia Allen on the internet. There was very little about her: certainly no biography. So I decided to write my own.

Eventually the books was published, and I found myself writing another biography, this time about a famous Edwardian anti-vivisectionist. Publishers rejected this project, because they said nobody had ever heard of her. Well, they have now! I self-published, and although sales are not in the stratosphere, at least I know that Lizzy Lind af Hageby is not forgotten.

The research I did for these two books led me to a feeling of being comfortable in the 1910s. And so Ethel and Amelia were born, and I am now working on the fifth title in the Ethel and Amelia Mysteries series.

WHY THIS TITLE?: Self evident.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT
: Beginning this book is like slipping into a warm, comfortable bath. Then, after she spends some time familiarizing you with her main characters, Boyd turns the heat up a bit. The murder victim isn’t exactly mourned by the community,. and most of the suspects are anything but solid citizens. Yet unlike the edgy sleuths who stalk through mystery novels these days, Constable Fred Clough and amateur detectives Ethel and Amelia come across not only as human, but eminently likable.  A murder gives the book its title, but Boyd also slips in a lot of period history so deftly that it’s painless. A wonderful book to curl up with on a rainy day.

REVIEW COMMENTS:
“This is another good read from Nina Boyd. The overall plot moves forward with the characters marrying, aging, dying. New characters appear. In this book my favourites are the two English Bull Terriers. The plot of this book is well crafted and the professional work of the Police, Fred and Inspector MacDuff fits well with the observations of Ethel and Amelia. This book is great for a couple of relaxing evenings.” (Lewis Thomson)

AUTHOR PROFILE
: “I started my writing life as a mature adult, beginning with poetry, which led to the publication of a prize-winning collection (Dear Mr Asquith, Smith Doorstop Books, 2010). Unable to stick to one thing for long, I moved on to biography, writing first-time biographies of Mary Sophia Allen and Lizzy Lind af Hageby; and then to fiction, where I feel at home. I live with my writer husband, John Bosley, and a cat called Dora. Currently learning Swedish and Italian, I have a penchant for reading novels written in the 1930s. There are no skeletons in my cupboard worth dusting down.”

AUTHOR COMMENTS:  “I did a great deal of research into Edwardian England when writing biographies of two prominent women. It seemed a pity not to use it in fiction; and I thought my home town of Huddersfield deserved its own mystery series. Once I got started on the Ethel and Amelia Mysteries, I couldn’t stop!”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: A portion of the book can be viewed on Amazon. (Search site under title).

WHERE TO BUY IT:

Death of a Cabman is available as a paperback and on ebook from Amazon, where potential purchasers can “look inside” the book.

PRICE: £ 5.99/$ 9.50

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.ninaboyd.com

Upcoming for June 2nd and 5th

NOTE: THE CURRENT FEATURED BOOK IS “WAITING FOR WESTMORELAND,” BY JOHN MABERRY. YOU CAN FIND IT BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.

JUNE 2: Death of a Cabman, by Nina Boyd.

One of the goals of this project was to introduce American readers to international writers, so we might as well get started. Nina Boyd has sunk deep historical roots into Huddersfield, England, and that is reflected in her current novel, “Death of a Cabman.”

For most of her life, Boyd resisted occasional urges to become a writer on the grounds that “other people could do it a lot better than I could.”But she was creative tinder, just waiting for a spark, and that came during a trip to a local law enforcement museum.

“None of the exhibits interested me,” she recalls. “Who knew there were so many different helmets and police whistles? Then I saw her. Behind the bars of a postcard rack was a photograph of a hard-faced woman in police uniform. She had eyes that drew me in. Clearly a woman to be reckoned with! I bought the postcard, and looked up Mary Sophia Allen on the internet. There was very little about her: certainly no biography. So I decided to write my own.”

That first effort found a publisher, and Boyd followed it with another biography, this one of Lizzy Lind, a “famous Edwardian vivisectionist.” These were niche books with a relatively small readership, but they were the perfect setup for Boyd’s subsequent journey into fiction writing

. “Death of a Cabman” is an excellent example. A murder occurs in this novel, and the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery until the next-to-last page, but this is much more than a simple “murder mystery.” The research skills that Boyd honed in her non-fiction writing have enabled her to create a vivid early-20th century sense of time and place, focusing on the suffragette movement, and her main characters are not only likable but fully drawn.

As for the arc of the murder plot, “Death of a Cabman” is reminiscent of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series —  the victim is a rather unpleasant character with a long list of people with reasons to want him dead. But as a reader, you may find yourself more interested in whether police constable Fred Clough will marry amateur detective Ethel than how he finds the killer.

JUNE 5: The River Caught Sunlight, by Katie Andraski.

This gracefully written, multi-layered book is actually a literary hybrid — part memoir, part novel. The elegant prose comes from Katie Andraski’s previous work as a poet, while the story is a fictionalized version of her own. Andraski summarizes: “Sometimes a person has to leave home, even if that home is the most marvelous place she’s ever lived, even if her mother will be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and her beloved farmer, a man she’s loved for years, asks her to marry him. Janice Westfahl feels called to publicize Godspeed Books, a small evangelical publisher outside Chicago, a good thousand miles away from upstate New York. The job fits her, a woman who loves God and books. But Janice finds herself working with Jeremiah Sackfield, a radical right wing activist, who toys with revolution.

“Even though she is a brilliant publicist, Janice feels like she is betraying herself by promoting a cause she doesn’t believe in. Like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, her brother has stayed home, furious that his sister has dodged the painful months of his mother’s dying, while earning their father’s favor. When her father dies, they must settle the estate with this jealousy flickering between them.”

There’s a lot going on here, and it’s even more poignant when you realize that it isn’t just made up. Moreover, the conflicts that assail Janet Westfahl about her job mirror those of many committed Christians who worry about how their beliefs are sometimes interpreted and applied in a real world setting by those whose motives are suspect.

Andraski probes this dilemma with the dexterity of a brain surgeon lancing a tumor, and one of the book’s reviews says a lot about how well she succeeds: “Like all good writers, Katie has plucked her story from her life. This book has a piercing insight at its heart as humane as it is damning of religion gone off the rails.”

That quote comes from Frank Schaefer, the real-life evangelist for whom Andraski handled publicity. The flesh-and-blood Jeremiah Sackfield.

Waiting for Westmoreland

THE BOOK:  “Waiting for Westmoreland.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2007 by Eagle Peak Press, www.eaglepeakpress.com.

THE AUTHOR:  John Maberry.

John Maberry II

THE EDITOR: Largely self-edited but also had a developmental edit by Valerie Jean.

BOOK SUMMARY:  Those seeking happiness amidst the suffering or disillusionment of day to day life will find hope in reading Waiting for Westmoreland. Those seeking redemption for past mistakes, will also find a means to achieve it. The book is the true story of a 20th century Candide — an innocent growing up in America in the fifties. As a boy, the author suffers the death of loved ones. Spending a year in Vietnam corrupts him. Then the political realities of the war and Watergate shatter his idealistic illusions about America. He searches for tools to reform the country that failed him. His quest becomes a frustrating pursuit. Finally, he meets a person who tells him about the life philosophy of Buddhism. He learns that the credit or blame for all of life’s events lies within-not from others. Looking for happiness outside oneself is fruitless. Only by taking personal responsibility for one’s own life can one be truly happy.

THE BACK STORY: For years I intended to write an antiwar screed, with the Vietnam War debacle as the focal point. By the time I got around to writing the book, it had become much more. Without spoiling the reading of the book, as I began organizing it I came to realize the connections between the circumstances of my childhood, events surrounding my prospective marriage to my third wife and the experiences of Vietnam. So it became a memoir instead, with Vietnam still playing a major part of the book and still including much discussion about the mistakes that were made before, during and after that war as well as all the fallout from it in America. I began working on it a year after retiring with the determination to publish it no later than December 31, 2007; it came out in print September 2007.

WHY THIS TITLE?: An allusion to the mistake of waiting for Godot. For more on what that has to do with the General, see Chapter 8.

WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Maberry’s book comes along at a time of close examination and myriad reflections on the Vietnam War — 50 years since the first insertion of U.S. combat troops into the conflict, 40 years since the American exit. At such benchmark anniversaries, long-buried memories tend to percolate back to the surface. As “Waiting for Westmoreland” reminds us, these memories are different for every participant. Some were devastated by the Vietnam experience, others made wiser. Those years in Southeast Asia spit out patriots and cynics alike, leaving some crippled in body and others crippled in spirit.  Still, this is not just a book about surviving Vietnam, but surviving life. In the process, Maberry melds his tumultuous outer life with his inner journey, concluding at the end that reforming oneself, rather than changing others, leads to a better world.

Featured image

REVIEW COMMENTS: “I’m apparently about the same age as the author and am always curious to hear someone else’s experience of the times I’ve lived in. In this case, Mr. Maberry and I couldn’t have lived more disparate lives if we’d tried. I don’t think I could have survived Mr. Maberry’s life and I appreciate his sharing the way his inner life as well as his circumstances have unfolded to this point. He survived things that have only scared me from a distance and he has achieved things I’ve only dreamt about from a distance. I’m so impressed with the way he has developed his life. I’m especially delighted to have read his account of his experience of the ’60s and ’70s, two decades I didn’t fit into very well. Like Forrest Gump, Mr. Maberry made me re-evaluate that era in a more favorable light. In fact, this book made me re-evaluate a lot of things. Even if this were a big book, I would highly recommend it. It would be worth your time. But it’s a small book and reads very fast. No matter what your own experience in life, I think you will find this book interesting and impressive, and it may just lead to a whole new life for you, a new awakening.” — A, Sansbury.

“This is a good book to read if you are facing challenges and you need inspiration based in hard reality. This book is not only good reading and not only filled with guts and determination, it is a book that rings true in a way that could cause readers to easily find applications to their own very real circumstances. — W. Langan.

AUTHOR PROFILE: John survived a hard childhood, war, drugs and failed marriages. Graduating with top honors from college, he went on to earn a JD at Georgetown. Overcoming a death threat from his bride’s father, he finally found a happy marriage the third time around. After spending many years writing consumer education materials and government reports, he moved on to fulfilling a childhood dream of writing, beginning with the memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland. He and his wife relocated from Northern Virginia to New Mexico in 2011. They settled into their dream house high atop a hill near Silver City, in 2013. There they pursue their own third age pursuits–quilting for her and writing for him. John says of himself, “I’m a lapsed lawyer, a former government employee, a father of two and a 30+ year Bodhisattva of the Earth.  I’m also a happy man and a funny guy (strange/weird my wife says).”

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Waiting for Westmoreland covers more time than the typical memoir. That’s because childhood behavior set up a response to events in Vietnam, which in turn led to further effects many years later. The web of causality woven through my life weren’t so obvious until I got well into writing the book. Death and disillusionment are powerful; I chose to show the suffering, the survival and the triumphs in detail. ”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: More than a chapter but less—an extended sample from more than one chapter to get a fuller flavor of the book.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Available at the Silver City (New Mexico) Library and the Fairfax County (Virginia) Library

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Almost any online bookseller will have it and most brick and mortar stores will order it for store pickup. The lowest prices in America are at Lulu.

·         Amazon author page for the US shows print and Kindle as well as more about the author

·         Amazon in most other countries it sells at least Kindle books and some have the print version as well.

·         Barnes and Noble

·         iTunes

·         Kobo

·         Lulu

PRICE: $3.99 at most outlets for eBooks; print edition cover price is $16.95 but varies with discounts offered at the sites.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: johnwfw@eaglepeakpress.com

Island Dogs

BANNER-ISLAND DOGS

THE BOOK:  “Island Dogs.”

PUBLISHED IN: 2015.

THE AUTHOR:  B.M. Simpson.

THE EDITOR: Bob Boardman.

THE PUBLISHER: Amazon Kindle.

SUMMARY: Island Dogs is a novel for the mixed and muddled masses. It is a story about five beleaguered souls who continue to hope for a better life after watching most of their dreams slip away. To try and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, they take refuge in the Caribbean. While trudging on and dealing with the troubles of life, they become a rum soaked version of the Island of Misfit Toys. Before the islands, they were the educated and dimwits. They were rich and poor. And they were socially connected and social outcasts. After landing in Anguilla, they become each other’s support group and best friends. And, for better or worse, they become the Island Dogs.

THE BACK STORY: I’ve been writing one thing or another since my early twenties, (which would be the early 1980’s). To skip a lot of my life story, I moved to Anguilla for work in 2006. In some ways the islands are like every other place in the world. What I mean by this is people are people no matter where you are. Some work hard, some don’t. Some party hard, some don’t. Some are extremely religious, some are not. Some are quite reserved and proper and some are more free spirited. And some grow and improve with age while others just never change their colors. The population of Anguilla is a lot smaller than the US, but there is still diversity, just in smaller numbers. With all that said, the islands are unique, colorful and in my heart and mind, a fantastical place. After arriving in Anguilla it did not take long for me to realize I was going to write something about the Caribbean. I didn’t know if it would be short stories or song lyrics or as it turned out to be, a novel. Almost everyone who knew I was a writer in the islands told me, “Man, you gotta write a book about the Caribbean.” I think most of them thought I would write true stories about people and experiences that touched me in one way or another. But the truth is, I like writing fiction more than writing factual. I was always pretty sure that when I wrote something, it would be a made up story, not that I don’t have plenty of great experiences I could write about. I worked hard on a construction project in Anguilla and most of us played pretty hard, too. Even though the characters and most of the places in Island Dogs are fictitious, many of them are not too far off from reality. The personalities, the scenery, the food, the drink and the atmosphere in the book are true to form in most ways. Does everyone who goes to the islands party like the Island Dogs? Of course not. I know people who go to the islands for Bible Retreats or to volunteer for agencies like the Peace Corps, but that’s not who this story is about. There are also tourists who stay in world-class resorts and dine in the high-end restaurants, never leaving the comforts of their tourist center. But the book is not about them either.

WHY THIS TITLE: It just seemed to fit.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: The starting point is a fantasy common to many of us — leave the unfulfilling job, the bills, the neighbors, the lawn that needs cutting and flee to the Caribbean, where life is supposedly like a year-around cruise. Of course, this quintet of likable ex-pats soon learn that hanging out in Da Limin Hut won’t solve their problems, just deaden them. But Simpson has breathed life and pathos into his characters as well as humor, and you will probably wind up choosing a favorite. Then pull up a barstool and enjoy the ride.

REVIEW COMMENTS: This book was extraordinary! I fell in love with the characters, the beautiful island, and every chapter in this book. The writer did a remarkable job painting a beautiful picture in my head… I felt what the characters felt, I placed myself on the beautiful island of Anguilla, and I was so wrapped up in the book that I laughed, I cried, and I was truly sad when it was over. If there was a second book I would already be halfway through it, and I just finished Island Dogs yesterday. I have never fell in love with people in a story, or their experiences as much as i did with this book. I thought it would be a nice beach read, but it was so much more than that. B.M. Simpson did a beautiful job making these characters so relatable, and making each Island Dog different. I think every person who reads this novel will have a favorite person, because you truly feel like you are there, in the moment- sipping on rum and experiencing the ups and downs and hilarious moments that life throws at you. I love it and can officially say I have a favorite book! — Erica Michele.

This book took me by surprise. Hiaasen-esque character development brings Island Dog’s personalities to life. The sometimes amusing, often disastrous search for meaning in their lives drives the principals to a wonderfully entertaining confluence. Their path to enlightenment has more twists and turns than a volcanic mountain highway. A delightfully entertaining read, I highly recommend it. — Richard W. Carr.

If you are an avid reader, let me just say this is an easy read, at no point did I want to put this book down. It has a great cast of characters that you will get to know each one individually. I hope to read more about their Island Life..(hint to the Author) Great Job and Very Well Done!!! — Marilyn Rearick.

I found Island Dogs to be an immensely entertaining read! The author hooks you from the start and reels you in to the point you can almost taste the rum punch and feel island breezes on your skin! I was sorry when it ended…hoping to read more from this talented author! — Teresa Travitzky. Hammock - Version 2

AUTHOR PROFILE: Brian Simpson was born and raised in rural Maine.  He joined the Air Force at the age of 18 and lived and moved across the U.S. and Europe. After leaving the military, he spent years living and working in the Caribbean. On the islands of Anguilla, St. Kitts and Grand Cayman, he discovered a passion for island life and formed friendships second to none.  After 30 years of writing poems, songs and short stories, he wrote his first full-length novel, Island Dogs. Today, Simpson and his wife live in Florida. They enjoy periodic trips back to the Caribbean where they visit friends, share island stories, and soak up the peaceful sun, sea, vibe and soothing breezes of the islands.  And of course, a good rum punch made perfect by a local. Brian is now hard at work on a second novel.  Watch for details coming soon.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: “Everybody needs to escape to an island now and then. Find your island.”

SAMPLE CHAPTER: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U398TAQ.

LOCAL OUTLETS: Haslam Book Store, 2025 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, FLA 33713.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: ebooks from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Island-Dogs-Caribbean-Tale-Friendship-ebook/dp/B00U398TAQ
ebooks for Nook: www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1121385126?ean=2940151227926
In Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Island-Dogs-Caribbean-Tale-Friendship/dp/0986395404

PRICE: $14.99 & $7.99 on Amazon & Kobo.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: bmsimpson@gmx.com.

AUTHOR WEBSITE: http://www.bmsimpson.com.