Blog Archives

Almost Daddy: The Forgotten Story

The prospect of Ben turning out highly successful in life looks like one any gambler would be foolish to bet against. Smart and resourceful, the high school senior in his final year also has high hopes for his future until he hits a major snag. He gets his girlfriend, who is two years his high school junior, pregnant. On her mother’s advice, they opt for an abortion. Both lovers’ young hearts cave under the pressure of their action, and they ultimately part ways. Ben is now a man secretly running from the intimidating shadows of guilt and shame. His frantic attempts to fill the gaping hole in his heart lead him down a dreary path of darkness, loneliness, and recklessness. No one understands why this once-promising young man is on a downward spiral, not even he does. But it all began after he almost became a daddy.

Almost Daddy by Gregory Mayo is a fictitious story centered on the trauma of losing a child to abortion. It’s a sensitive topic that has caused divisions in many quarters. Interestingly, Mayo doesn’t approach the issue from either standpoint we often see, the two extremes of right and wrong. He’s more concerned with pointing out the effect of the act on the people involved. To do this, he weaves a deeply touching tale.

The book takes us on a journey through the complexities of emotions and how unresolved issues can shape our lives. The prospect of dealing with the pain that comes from major negative experiences tends to chase us into the arms of escapism. We try to numb the pain or distract ourselves, but it’s buried deep somewhere, choking us ever so gently, till we begin to gasp for breath.

Mayo writes in simple, clear language but tells an intriguing story still. His work is yet another proof that great writing is not just about the words you use but how you use them. I was so caught up in the story that I felt I was reading a true story, maybe because the story felt authentic.

By making his characters come alive, Mayo ensures that you are emotionally invested in the story. I was steeply immersed in Ben’s life and followed his journey keenly. At a point, I wished I could have barged into his world and forced him to make the decision that would have changed his life. That’s was how badly I wanted to see him turn a positive corner!

I really liked the thought-provoking quotes at the start of every chapter. They are concise statements packed with profound insights relevant to the story. My favorite has to be the one from John Lennon, “one thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside.”

If there was an award for “an impressively tactful novel on a controversial issue,” I would nominate this book. Almost Daddy is an heart-felt and emotional novel. If you enjoy fresh, fact-based opinions conveyed through immersive stories, you’ll love this book.

Pages: 251 | ASIN: B08LDFDGXY

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13 Common Parent-isms

Liz Bayardelle
Liz Bayardelle Author Interview

Clean Your Plate! is a fantastic parenting guide that helps well-intentioned parents avoid troublesome mannerisms. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I think that every parent has had that “oh crap, I just became my mr” moment when something comes out of our mouth we swore we’d never say. There’s a reason for parent-isms like “clean your plate”, “get straight A’s”, or “go give your aunt a hug”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still have negative side-effects. (Kind of like how your headache medicine may get rid of your headache, but it could also cause nausea, vomiting, or spontaneous combustion.) This book goes over 13 common parent-isms and gives a research-based look at what negative side effects they could be causing and how to get the intended message across in a more positive way.

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

I think people believe there is a Don’t mistake my meaning here, there are plenty of clearly and obviously wrong ways to parent, but the only right way is the right way for you and your kids. So many parents try to parent “by the book” only to unnecessarily force themselves into something that feels unnatural and makes either them or their kids (or both) unnecessarily stressed.

What is your paring experience and how has that helped you write this book?

I’m the step-mom of a teenage girl and the bio-mom of a 5-year-old Navy Seal trainee in an Elsa dress, and a 1-year-old raccoon noise impersonator. Our household also features a cumulative 200 pounds of dog and a rabbit of unusual size.

When I was first attempting to “learn how to parent” (as if such a feat is really possible) I kept finding so-called parenting books that were so full of information yet little-to-no practical help. I knew what meconium was, but I had no idea how to bond with my baby. I could tell you all about teen hormones, but I didn’t have any clue how to handle it when my step-daughter went into her room for days at a time. I happened to be working on my PhD in business psychology at the time and realized that the most helpful information for my day-to-day parenting issues was actually coming from my PhD research rather than the parenting books I was reading.

This book is an attempt to bridge that gap.

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

The three main take-home messages from this book are to parent for the long term (not the short term), to parent for skills (not results), and to parent like you and your kids are on the same team (because you are…no matter what it feels like in the moment).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Parents mean well, we really do.

We want our kids to get good grades, stop hitting their siblings, and, yes, clean their plate at dinnertime. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

Wrong. Sometimes these harmless sounding statements don’t work. Even worse, they often backfire to cause unexpected and unwelcome side effects for us and for our kids. (Just like your prescription for headache medicine may accidentally cause vomiting or make you spontaneously sprout a leathery tail.) 
This book takes 13 of the most common parent-isms and walks you through the ways they can go wrong, why they could negatively impact your kids, and what you should say instead. 

Includes parental greatest hits like: 
Do You Need Any Money?
Get Straight A’s
Don’t Be a Quitter
Don’t Talk Back (to Your Elders)
Waste Not, Want Not
Be Nice to Your Friends
Give Your Aunt a Hug
Win Your Game Today
Finish Your Homework
Don’t Hit
Sit Still
Don’t Watch TV
Clean Your Plate

Who’s Jerry? (The Seen and Not Heard Series)

Who's Jerry? (The Seen and Not Heard Series) by [T. M. Jackson]

Who’s Jerry?, by T.M. Jackson is a heartwarming children’s story of little Imani’s experiences with her Schizophrenic mother. It shows her struggles of not understanding her mother’s behavior, and how it affected her. We get a look at Imani’s life at school and her many jumbled emotions. Then, as Imani learns about her mother’s mental illness, she begins to understand why her mother behaved in such a harsh and hurtful way. Finally, little Imani gets to spend time with her mom again, and do all the things they love.

T.M Jackson succeeded in writing about a sensitive topic like Schizophrenia without it being frightening or uncomfortable. The story was told from Imani’s perspective which allowed us to relate to her feelings and understand what she’s going through. The art all throughout the story was a great visualization of the character’s actions and emotions, it was definitely the strongest component of the book.

I am giving Who’s Jerry?, by T.M Jackson 5 out of 5 stars for its inspiring and heartfelt storyline accompanied by gorgeous artwork. The story is easy for children to understand and is a great tool for kids who may have family members with a mental illness. T.M Jackson was able to show that even if someone in your family has a mental illness, it’s not a bad thing and you can still have a great time together.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B08N5F5PT7

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Clean Your Plate! Thirteen Things Good Parents Say That Ruin Kids’ Lives

Preparing our children for their inevitable independence as self-sufficient adults is a full-time job that begins long before our kids ever realize the complexities that lie ahead of them. From managing money to teaching them how to treat others, parents have a never-ending list of skills on which to instruct children and numerous opportunities throughout each day to do so. Parenting never gets easier, but listening to and learning from others who are living the same struggles helps.

Clean Your Plate! 13 Things Good Parents Say that Ruin Kids’ Lives, by Liz Bayardelle, lays out the most commonly uttered phrases we, as parents, say to our children as they grow. Bayardelle provides sound advice for how to make some of life’s most challenging struggles go more smoothly. Many times, just stating the phrases we have been told by our parents is far from sufficient. The author gives readers wonderful how-tos in order to meet the changing needs of their children.

My own two children are grown, but I can say I would have greatly appreciated the advice on chore charts. I haven’t been as on top of chores over the years as I should have–of that I am well aware. Bayardelle’s common sense approach to the chore chart is an excellent take-away parents can put to immediate use.

I love the breakdown the author gives in each chapter. She doesn’t simply tell us the bit of advice; she analyzes the psychology behind why we say what we do to our children. In addition, Bayardelle explains what the research reveals our kids actually hear when we utter those famous words over and over. It’s a fantastic approach to parental reading. One of the most spot-on aspects of Bayardelle’s writing is the parenting-versus-reality tone she takes. Both the writing and scenarios are incredibly relatable and will be appreciated by readers in all stages of parenting.

I highly recommend Clean Your Plate! 13 Things Good Parents Say that Ruin Kids’ Lives, by Liz Bayardelle to any parent interested in stepping up their game or to anyone interested in understanding the science behind our kids’ reasoning–it’s a fascinating read, indeed. Peppered with humor any parent will appreciate, Bayardelle’s book is a must-have.

Pages: 160 | ISBN: 1950328791

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Who Says, Women Can’t Lead? – Book Trailer

This book is about a biblical topic that is probably as controversial now as it was when Christ walked the earth.

What it has to do with is whether a woman can be called by God to any of the leadership positions in the church.

The traditional perspective that a woman is to be subservient to church authority; to her husband in the home; and the conjecture to males in the leadership positions of society has permeated culture for thousands of years.

I believe there is a worldwide audience of men and women in church, the political realm, and the home that would be interested in finding out if there is an alternative view to this biblical perception that would present a convincing case by providing both circumstantial and direct scriptural evidence that would support a women’s ordination in the church, her rightful place in the home, and her capacity to assume leadership roles that have for so long been against cultural norms.

Could an argument be made that might support such by providing both circumstantial and direct Bible scriptural evidence?

Join me in the search for the truth in this matter.

We will begin a thorough study by looking at those Jews who were called to the service of the priesthood, followed by some of the other positions of leadership such as Judges, Kings, and Prophets of the Old Testament, and ending with looking at those who were called to the leadership offices of the New Testament church, while including all that is in between.

In connection with this, we will revisit the many reasons that have been used in the past to support the conjecture that only males are called, such as Adam being created first by God; Eve being formed from his rib and being made to be his help meet; the husband designated as the head of the home; Jesus only appointing males to be his disciples and the slogan that this is the way it has always been.

You’ll find this study enlightening, thought-provoking, and with the presentation of earth-shattering direct evidence that will turn traditional views about this subject on their head.

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Family Leadership in Times of Crisis – Book Trailer

Leaders have one thing in common: they come from a family. Family leadership is one of the most important concepts of life because family is the source of human ingenuity. With good family leadership, we can push for greater justice and racial equality in the United States and around the world, and maintain a more just and loving humanity. Family leadership is even more essential during times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic when this book was written. When difficult situations threaten to weaken the strength of your family, you need a solid structural foundation of leadership. Family Leadership in Times of Crisis provides this foundation through five practical principles, relevant scriptures, counseling skills/techniques, and biblical teaching to equip you and your family with the skills to successfully navigate any crisis.

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Grief Looks Different For Everyone

Lucy Layne
Lucy Layne Author Interview

Dead Mom Disease is a heart-felt memoir about the loss of a loved one and the roller-coaster of emotions that come with it. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I always wanted to be a writer, but I never wanted to be an author. I can’t tell you how many times people told me I should write a book, and my answer never changed – I didn’t want to. In college, I had an assignment in a lit class. We had three or four options of the type of project we would turn in. One of them was to write the first three or four chapters of our autobiography. That option is the only one that I had any interest in, and I didn’t even think about the subject – my sister and I had coined the term, “Dead Mom Disease,” a few years prior, and we already floated around the idea of using it for a book title. A few years after I graduated, I was offered a freelance job to edit a book. That’s what made me realize that I could absolutely write a book. I guess the only reason I never really wanted to before was because I didn’t think I could. So, was it important in the sense that I set a goal for myself to write the book, and I wanted to accomplish it? Yes. But, I never really thought of writing the book “Dead Mom Disease” as something that was important for me to do – it was more like I wanted to write a book, and it was only natural that this is the story I would tell.

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

I hope, whether it’s through my book or any other means, more people start to realize that grief looks different for everyone and that it lasts forever.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you lost your mother?

Honestly … nothing. I had all of the advice I needed. What I didn’t have was the understanding. For a while, I wished that I had listened to more people – about how time is precious and not to take people for granted. But you just can’t understand some things until you have experienced them. I was a kid. Of course there are things I would have done differently then if I knew what I knew now, but I think pretty much everyone can say that about everything.

My mom’s advice was always, “Follow your heart.” And my dad has always reminded me that “There’s a time for everything.” I have carried these two pieces of advice everywhere with me since I was a small child, and they will go with me to my grave.

What was the writing process like for you to complete this book?

Well, it was a process, that’s for sure. It was interesting, fun, sad, weird, eye-opening, educational, and so much more. While writing the book, it’s as if my mind was subconsciously aware that I was working on something, so it was bringing all of these memories to the surface. I remembered things I had long forgotten, realized I forgot things I never thought I would, it made me curious about things I never questioned before, it forced me to face a lot of darkness, and it made me so proud to hold the finished manuscript in my hand. It was something that I put a lot of effort into, and I was motivated to do it even though I had no idea what I would do once I was done writing it. It also taught me how important it is to define goals, make plans to achieve them, and hold yourself accountable. I used to wonder how people wrote books, and now I know – the same way anyone does anything … you have to start.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Dead Mom Disease is the memoir of a girl whose mom died. It’s about her life with a mom, her life without a mom, and the imperfectly perfect balance between her two lives. It’s about the world. It’s about society and culture and the way people treat people. It’s about not saying “I’m sorry” automatically when someone says, “My mom died.” It’s about how condolences don’t come in the form of words from the people who matter, from the people who mean them. They come encased in gut-wrenching tears and embraces that nuclear weapons couldn’t break. It’s about pain and grieving. It’s about life and moving on. But mostly, it’s about death and what that really means.

Nadeem’s Legacy

Sherine Anniruth
Sherine Anniruth Author Interview

Nadeem’s Journey details the touching but tragic story of how you lost your son to cancer. When did you make the choice to write Nadeem’s Journey?

During the duration of Nadeem’s illness, I used to take photos of him whenever he was admitted in hospital, be it for chemotherapy or any other health issues. I promised him that I will write a journal about his journey and use those photographs in it, for him when he recovers , unfortunately he did not recover but lost his battle. On his last admission to hospital that was 3 days before he died ,he was in the emergency department and was about to be moved to the ward, he asked me if I’m not taking a photo of him. I was in shock because the doctor had just told me that I could loose my son by that weekend and forgot about the photo, but Nadeem knew how important the photos were to me realise that he wanted me to write the journal.3 years after his death I felt like I didn’t fulfil my promise to him therefore I decided that I will write a book about his journey.

What has been the most surprising reader reaction you’ve received about this book?

I was overwhelmed by the responses that I got from many readers, who not only read Nadeem’s journey but also learnt a lot from it. Not many authors tell you exactly what a person goes through when they have cancer but this book highlighted both the physical and emotional aspects of a person going through treatment. Many readers have also stated that they will not take life for granted and will always trust their instincts. As quoted by an avid reader “One major lesson every reader can take from this book is that no amount of organization can prepare you to deal with loss. It is okay to take forever to mourn your loved one. People find it hard to come into acceptance with death. Sherine’s story is an encouragement to anyone who has lost a loved one to cancer. It is not meant to be easy and the only thing one can do is take one step at a time”

Is there anything that you see different in life now that you’ve written this book?

I do not see anything different in life since I wrote the book but I’m happy that I fulfilled my promise. Nadeem’s legacy will live on forever. I have learnt not to take life for granted, to live each day as if it’s my last and be grateful for each new day I’m here.

Do you have plans to write more books?

I have written another book called The Ultimate Love which is about my journey coping with the loss of my son, the coping skills that I used and help that’s available for those grieving. At the moment I haven’t thought about writing another book.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Nadeem’s Journey by Sherine Anniruth is the soulful and bittersweet story of a mother who loses her son.

Nadeem was just 25 years old when he died from cancer, but his mother’s determination for his memory to live forever is beautiful and raw. Reading this book really shows what a mother’s love can be, and being a mother myself, I understand how every little memory, laugh, joke, and good time that you had with your child can push you through the day.

Sherine is a very strong woman while going through the loss of her precious son. This story absolutely captures Nadeem’s spirit, he was a fun loving and precocious boy who adored his mom, and he turned into a hardworking man that still had his mom by his side.

This book will captivate you and wrench your heart. You’ll definitely need to grab some tissues as you read the tender accounts of Sherine’s life with Nadeem, and his last breaths.

Interspersed with pictures of Nadeem and his family, you’ll definitely get an idea of how much love was in this family, and how much light he cast on the world.
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