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Two Powerful Addictions

Lewis Kempfer
Lewis Kempfer Author Interview

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life is an emotional and engrossing memoir of your life. Why was this an important book for you to write?

My entire life I’ve been depressed and often referred to as a “sad sack.” I wanted to tell my story of two powerful addictions and recovering from them, but I wanted to follow the trail back to when the problems began. I didn’t expect to go back to age 4 as the first time I felt depressed and worthless. From there, the problems just snowballed through psychological abuse, self-esteem issues, broken relationships, and finally to sex and Crystal meth addiction.  

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to share in this memoir?

I was nervous about sharing the drug addiction as very few people knew I was going through that. As I state in the book, my employer, Disney, had no suspicions whatsoever. It was quite a feat to be a hardcore user and keep my job. I’m ashamed of myself for becoming an addict, but like the childhood abuse, I feel it was thrust upon me. And in the case with meth, it’s perhaps the most addictive drug and it truly only takes one hit to be hooked. 

What do you hope is one thing that readers take away from your book?

I hope that readers will find hope in my story that recovery is possible. Yes, faith played a major role in my recovery, but as I tried to make clear, I was on a hit-or-miss basis with God my entire life. Some readers felt that my quitting meth cold turkey with God’s help made the book too “Jesus-y.” And that has been a turnoff for some LGBTQ readers. Conversely, Christian readers have been offended by the gay content. Apart from these two opposing camps, I just wanted to share hope. 

What is a piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?

I was given plenty of advice throughout my life like, “stop being depressed,” “just believe in yourself,” “have confidence,” “stop being so negative,” and so forth. What I wish I had been told was that none of the bad stuff in my childhood was my fault. Perhaps my story would not have included self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, and addiction. 

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

A horrifying childhood. A devastating disease. In his darkest despair, he finally found hope…

Lewis Kempfer nearly destroyed himself searching for something that would make him happy. His battle with self-hatred began with physical and psychological abuse from the trusted male adults in his life and continued into adulthood when the church rejected him for being gay. Traumatized and suicidal, his only salvation came from getting himself on stage.

Moving from city to city in search of fame and love, he lands in the dog-eat-dog-world of Hollywood showbiz. But a terrifying diagnosis casts a dark shadow on a promising Tinseltown career, and he falls into a downward spiral of dangerous liaisons and hardcore drug addiction. It will take a near-death overdose in his blackest hour to find strength from the last place he ever expected…

“Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life” is a raw, rapid-fire account of one man’s frightening journey to self-acceptance. From dicey sex clubs to crystal meth motels, Lewis holds nothing back in this bittersweet tell-all. His emotional tale of love, loss, and redemption will move anyone who’s ever felt alienated or outcast. It is a shockingly candid true-life story. If you like authentic narratives, stories of triumph, and surmounting the challenges of being LGBTQ, then you’ll be enthralled by Lewis Kempfer’s riveting memoir.

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life

Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Having a Bad Life: A Memoir by [Lewis Kempfer]

Trauma comes in many forms and affects more of us on a daily basis than most will ever realize. Without ever knowing it, we encounter people every day who have had more than their fair share of abuse, drug addiction, and depression. Some of those people have been dealing with that trauma from an early age–Lewis is one of them. As a very young boy, Lewis quickly learned who he could and could not trust, and he saw those around them for who they truly were. His young adult life showed exactly how much damage that abuse caused.

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life is a poignantly written memoir by Lewis Kempfer. Nowhere else will readers find a more raw telling of one man’s life. Kempfer has revealed every wound he has ever suffered and each one of the horror-filled moments he has survived from his early days in Colorado to his nightmarish life in Nashville. He minces no words and gives readers every opportunity to learn from the mistakes he has made along the way.

I can appreciate Kempfer’s story in many ways. He lays down the ugly truth of drug addiction so there is no mistaking the impact it has on the lives of those around the addict. Never does he try to sugarcoat his experience, and he is painfully honest about the ease with which he fell further under the spell. Readers need this–all of us. There is no reader who has not been touched in some way by addiction.

Kempfer’s very real battle with finding his faith is moving to say the least. He allows readers to walk along with him as he sees all sides of religion and hold his hand as he finds his own way. To say his story is stunning is an understatement. To say that it is moving is simply not sufficient. Kempfer’s life is absolutely a miracle and one of which the author is well aware.

I highly recommend Kempfer’s memoir to anyone struggling with addiction or any parent of a child who feels like they are losing the battle to find themselves. Kempfer’s road has been long, filled with the worst kind of potholes, and has nearly killed him, but his story will save someone.

Pages: 475 | ASIN: B07V2PS82D

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Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction

Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction by [Michael Surdyka]

When it comes to self-help books, nothing quite compares to Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction. Written by Michael J. Surdyka, it is as helpful as it is interesting. As a person who has experienced the ravages of addiction first hand, the author has a lot of valuable information to share. And he does so in the clearest and most coherent of ways, leaving you with insights you  wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

While he isn’t a licensed doctor or addiction specialist, the author has clearly done a lot of research, as evidenced by the large number of references cited. However, he still manages to use simple language and break down complex concepts into easily digestible bits. The flow of the book is impeccable as well; the first chapters covering what you need to know at the beginning of your wellness journey while the last ones talk about how to deal with slips and relapses.

The author even goes as far as including an appendix with the top things you need to know. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a body of text that will guide you throughout your addiction recovery, this is it. It is extremely easy to read and dives deep into the subject matter. But if I was forced to choose one thing I love most about this book, it has to be its unique approach to addiction recovery; a focus on personalized strategies and happiness. There is also a noticeable emphasis on modern treatment methods such as the use of Suboxone.

In this regard, it is ingenious and fresh, giving you more than what you would expect from a book in this niche. The various personal stories incorporated into the narrative are a good touch as well, making it personal and relatable. And as if that wasn’t enough, this book also contains templates to help you come up with your very own customized sobriety blueprint.

Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction is a very useful and practical guide to helping you, as it states in the title, conquer your addiction.

Pages: 174 | ASIN: B08LTGQ641

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The Addicted Child

The Addicted Child: A Parent's Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse by [Richard Capriola]

During these difficult times of rampant substance abuse, all parents must be vigilant. Behavioral changes can be a big indicator of substance abuse. How do you differentiate between simply using drugs and being addicted to said drugs? How do such drugs change the physiological and neurological structures of a child? How many types of addiction are there? How do you, as a parent, get out in front of it? The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is an excellent educational book that will be immensely beneficial to anyone seeking answers to these questions. It’s a succinct information resource on different types of drugs, the effects those drugs have on the brain and substance abuse in adolescence.

It is so much easier now for children to access drugs. With parents getting busier trying to make ends meet, it is also harder to keep track of the kids. This guide is therefore not only relevant but also written by an expert with vast experience and a world of knowledge on the subject. Richard Capriola’s knowledge on the subject is evident and I felt comfortable with the knowledge presented. It’s broken down into easily digestible bits of information, with easy to understand headings for each topic followed by a concise summarizeation of the topic. This makes the book handy as a reference guide as well as a primer on the subject.

This book hooks you right from the acknowledgment. The author tells a poignant story describing why he decided to write this book and goes on to share stories of parents who were surprised by underlying mental illnesses. This personal touch gives the book a human quality that puts the rest of the information into perspective.

The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is a book that goes as far as touching on the common and most popular drugs available to the adolescent and teen population. This book bravely tackles such a sensitive and often swept under the rug issue. I really appreciated the impeccable presentation of the message as well as its simplicity. Any parent would benefit from this book. Curbing this scourge is a collective responsibility and being well informed is key, and The Addicted Child gives you that key.

Pages: 125 | ASIN: B08KJHJYBY

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It Can Be You

Nikki Haase Author Interview
Nikki Haase Author Interview

Broken Melody follows Sunshine as she struggles with addiction while avoiding a dealer she owes a lot of money to. This is a change from your normal SciFi books, what inspired the change in genre?

I actually wrote this book originally when I was struggling with addiction myself. It was the first full-length novel I really took seriously, but I just didn’t publish it. I wasn’t ready yet. It was one of the few stories that my best friend Casey was actually intrigued by. The smiley face you see in the dedication page was one that she drew on the original many years ago after she ‘stole’ it from me. I re-wrote it when I got sober as a sort of therapy and after some heart wrenching events, to honor her. I only wish that I would’ve done it sooner.

I might revisit topics like this, but in different ways. The rawness of this took a lot out of me.

How much of this book was informed by real life and how much was fiction?

There’s a bit that’s embellished, but a lot of it is real. I pulled a lot, if not all, of Alana’s cocaine addiction and undiagnosed mental illness struggles from my own, first-hand experiences. However, a lot of the more ‘hardcore’ stuff, like owing the biggest drug dealer in town a bunch of money, is fiction.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about addiction?

That only ‘bad’ people can become addicted to drugs. That it’s only a certain group of people that can fall victim to it. It can be anyone. It can be you. You probably love someone who is suffering from addiction and don’t even know it. So, reach out to your friends, let them know you’ll support them, and tell them you love them.

What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m actually going back to my roots. 🙂 I’m working on the Experiment X Prequel, which is told from Jack’s POV. I don’t have a date yet though…sorry.
Broken Melody was a way to heal old wounds and hopefully help people understand addiction and mental illness without any fluff.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Instagram | Website

I think a demon lives in me. Her name is Sunshine and she wants the numbing chemicals of cocaine. She craves the sweet, disgusting taste of heroin and the sharp flavors of crystal meth. We’re often told that drug addicts are lowly humans that drop out of school, can’t hold down a job, and they always come from a life of abuse and pain. I have friends who love me, parents who care about me, and a beautiful girlfriend who I adore. I was a straight-A student in high school. I was at the top of my class. I’ve been getting high since I was a kid to self-medicate mood swings that feel like whiplash on a good day. And I’ve messed up. Big time. Now, I owe the biggest dealer in town thousands of dollars! If he finds me, I’m dead. I can’t get the money and I can only hide out for so long. I have to get sober so I can get my head straight and figure this out. All I need is one more hit.

Now It’s Inescapable

Bill Mccausland’s Now It’s Inescapable depicts the psyche of a drug-addicted physician. Through his main character, Glen, he tells a relatable tale of how easy it is to slip into addiction, especially if you’ve lived a life full of adversity.

From the outside, Glen seems to have an incredible life. With his own practice and a beautiful wife, he appears to be the epitome of health and success, a stark contradiction to his real circumstances. As we read from chapter to chapter, his life unravels right before our eyes.

The author doesn’t depict Glen in the best of light. In many ways, he seems to be the villain of the story; reckless and unaffected by the way his addiction impacts those closest to him. On the other hand, his wife Julie is painted as the ever-supportive but highly enabling spouse. However, ultimately it is revealed that the two of them have a dangerous codependency that only births destruction. Interestingly, neither is purely evil nor purely good; each one has their own demons to fight.

This story mirrors real life by attempting to explain the complex multilayered nature of the human soul. By telling the story through the main character’s perspective, the author seems to bring us so intimately into his life. We not only see what Glen does but also why he does it and the mental process that leads to his decisions. Great details are given about all drivers of Glen’s addiction, giving us a fuller understanding of him.

However, the book contains some grammatical errors and inconsistencies that make it hard to get through this otherwise interesting story. There is also a lot of use of grandiose terms and long winded dialogues that don’t feel natural.

That aside, I do acknowledge that the author does a great job of expressing important themes through the book. The outstanding ones are the role that family dynamics play in adult dysfunction and the cyclic nature of life. Ultimately, I do believe that with a little bit of polishing, this story has the potential to be a fan favorite.

Pages: 245 | ASIN: B07GC72TTL

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Broken Melody

Broken Melody by [Nikki Haase]

Broken Melody is a contemporary fiction novel that follows the life of Alana, alias Sunshine, and her assorted friends. Nikki Haase drew motivation for writing this book from Casey Clayton, her friend’s journey of addiction, recovery and death. The book is a voice for those struggling with drug addiction, depression and other mental illnesses. Alana was the perfect daughter and student, acing her grades and making her parents proud. But deep down she was fighting monsters that only she knew of.

Nikki Haase has an enthralling way of introducing fascinating characters to readers. This book is an invitation into the mind and life of a young person struggling with addiction. It is heart-wrenching to see the potential in a person slowly chipped away at.

The main theme of the book is drug addiction. Nikki Haase has captured the struggles and raw emotions that most addicts grapple with, and I appreciated the unfiltered view we’re given. Alana’s journey is a sad one, although not a completely lonely one as she has her friends like Skylar and Xavier and her girlfriend Casey. The prose captures the voice of new adult angst and gives the characters an authenticity that makes them endearing and their stories all the more tragic. I think that by the second or third chapter I was interested in Alana’s character, by the mid point I wanted to know more, and by the end I was desperate to know more. Will she survive her addiction? Will her friends stick with her throughout the process? Will Casey love her beside all her inner demons?

The author shows the importance of friendships and speaking out when going through hard times in life. The story seemed too real to be cliché and the author has done a good job of incorporating supporting themes like mental illness, love and friendship. Nikki Haase has a unique way of bringing out serious issues through humor. The other unique thing about Broken Melody is that the author shows the other side of addiction, one that most people do not know about. For instance at the end of the book, readers are introduced to the other side of Rabbit. Throughout the book, Rabbit is known to be a hardcore drug dealer but he does something at the end that surprised me. I would recommend the book to fiction lovers, people struggling with substance abuse and those living with addicts.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B2Q5YDP

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Emotionally Invested

Steve Murphy Author Interview

Steve Murphy Author Interview

I follows the story of Mark as he struggles with depression, addiction, and homelessness. Events inspired by true events, but what inspired you to write this story?

I have worked in the downtown core of my hometown for nearly twenty years. As these streets have become crowded with people in desperate situations over the last few years, I tried to make a positive impact by donating any change I had to whoever asked, every time I was asked and, participating in and facilitating a donation campaigns at work. The compassion and empathy I felt towards these people who struggle, whom are seemingly ignored by the general public, began to enter all facets of my mind. Inspired, my new poems and songs were significantly more politically themed than previous compositions (as an example). It was at this time when I read the article of an unidentified man who had died on the street across from where I work. The article stated he was mid 30-40s, just like me. I immediately wondered what other similarities we might have had, what differences could there have been for me to be alive on this street, with a job, a house and a wife; while he was alone, unknown and dead. Possible parallels were too numerous to overlook.

How much of Marks character is based on reality and how much is fictionalized?

That’s very difficult to quantify. I can say, it is a modestly fictionalized version of reality.

This novel gets to the heart of the issues people face with drug abuse and depression. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I want… not just for readers to be aware of the astounding number of people in these situations but to CARE. To be emotionally invested. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how little effect I alone have on the whole of society but, hopefully this story touches its readers and inspires them to help wherever possible. Someone recently told me the book brought them to tears and how certain moments felt like a punch in the belly. Another told me he has begun giving change when he can and not only that but, treating people on the streets with more dignity and respect than before, keeping eye contact when speaking with them. That is what I want.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

As yet untitled, I’ve begun work on the story of a middle to lower class neighborhood, on the day of a possible suicide. The story is told through a series of vignettes in the Rashomon style. Otherwise, i’m always working on poetry and writing music reviews.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | Youtube | Bandcamp

Inspired by true events, Foul Play Is Not Suspected is the tragic tale of Mark Fuller. He’s homeless, depressed and addicted to drugs as he has been for a number of years. Author Steve Murphy sympathetically details the journey Mark has endured from birth through to today. An important story that speaks to several major overlapping social and political issues. Foul Play Is Not Suspected packs a careful, emotional wallop. 20 years of lived experience downtown where he lives and works, has provided Murphy with in depth knowledge of the streets. A lifetime of storytelling through song has sharpened his use of language into a penetrating tool.

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