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Higher Connections

Higher Connections: Humor and Inspiration from a Certified Public Pothead talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences of marijuana use by authors Eric and Alexandra Right. In a truthful recount of how they came to be involved with the plant, the Right’s tell of their struggle with everything in life; adolescence, religion, occupational aspirations and marriage and how it’s brought a deeper and more meaningful connection to his life and in turn both of their relationships.

Chapter 7: ‘Buckle Up- It’s Your Turn’, was a personal favorite. This is a step-by-step guide to follow in order to achieve a profound connection with someone (regardless of your marijuana stance) with a key message: TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS.

For readers who may be skeptical, this enlightening book goes through the historical purpose and use of marijuana, stemming back thousands of years and demystifies misconceptions. The Right’s use analogies to compare the feeling of a marijuana high to some of the biggest stories witnessed during the era in which the Bible was initially created; which gives this book a poetic and artful flair. Alongside this we are educated about the legislative order, ancient medicinal properties and given a comparison of marijuana to other things in our everyday environment that the health impacts of which most humans go unaware. This revealing book contains useful information like standard toxicities in alcohol or tobacco as well as the impact of processed meats and kids music.

Higher Connections: Humor and Inspiration from a Certified Public Pothead is a light-hearted read that is filled with facts and figures that is given character and brought to life by two hilarious narrators. It makes for a stereotype smashing and informative read. For curious readers or for expert Mary-Jane users, this book shines a refreshing light onto the use of holistic drugs and how adults sometimes need help getting through life in general.

Pages: 297 | ASIN: B0B7Z2MGH8

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You’re the Cake

You’re the Cake: The Guy’s the Frosting by Marcia Lite-Braus is a self-help book that emphasizes the need for you to love and care for yourself first before seeking love from others. With ten chapters telling of Marcia’s experience dating different men, this book had enough coverage to point out the psychological and emotional reasons that influenced her and many women’s choice of men.

An invaluable attribute of this book is how Marcia, in bullet form, highlighted the problem with each choice in each story, what could have been done to avert it, and the affirmations that will help you do better. Furthermore, Marcia’s ability to find streaks of humor in her mistakes buffers the painful and, sometimes, alarmingly shocking mishaps she had dating different kinds of men. For every type of person out there, Marcia shared her experience dating them. From the kleptomaniac to the criminal, Marcia’s writing style makes her stories memorable, along with the lessons gleaned from ‘not shopping the inside’ of these men.

As a single, divorced mother of one, Marcia demonstrated how many women are inclined to re-enter the dating pool with a lot of anxiety and low self-esteem, bruised from the end or failure of their last relationship or marriage. This book reassures single women how that should not be the case. It provides copious examples of how love has been misrepresented and how not loving yourself can only attract the wrong kind of people. It is even worse when you project your past trauma or lapses into your future engagements. In this book, Marcia has succeeded in describing, in simple terms, how to be less critical of self. In this breakdown of one of the most complex aspects of human relationships – finding the right partner, Marcia made her writing relatable and easy to read. The burden of building a relationship should not be on you alone. If anything, it should not be a burden at all.

You’re the Cake: The Guy’s the Frosting is a real page-turner. On the last page, you’d be left desiring more of the writing and knowing that you have learned all it takes to value yourself and be that cake that deserves the best frosting.

Pages: 66 | ASIN : B0B72HMVM2

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Some Drama And Unexpected Twists

Carol Rhees Author Interview

Joint Venture follows long-time frenemies as they discover the true meaning of family and friendship while navigating an unlikely partnership. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Several years ago, one of my close friends began describing the fighting that was going on her small hometown on Cape Cod over whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in the township. I said, “Wow, that sounds like a great backstory for a novel.” Together we developed the two main characters with the intention of writing together, but health problems prevented my friend’s continued participation. When the pandemic came, with my friend’s encouragement, I kept myself entertained by throwing myself into the small imaginary town of Poplar Town.

Alice and Helen were well developed characters that were fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

From the outset, I knew that Alice and Helen had to be more or less complete opposites who had always disliked each other, but they also needed some outside force that drew them together – for Helen needing to prove herself after having been dumped by her husband of many years, and for Alice needing to find purpose and help her son after the sudden death of her husband.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted the book to be a laugh-out-loud fun read with some drama and unexpected twists. The book is about interpersonal relationships and, for me, its primary themes are personal growth, learning to deal with conflict, and supporting your family, friends and community.

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

I am currently working on another book also set in Poplar Point, but focused on another main character. I have no idea yet when it will be available.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Long-time frenemies Alice and Helen discover the true meaning of family and friendship as they navigate an unlikely partnership and life’s second act in this hilarious and heartfelt debut.

Helen has worked hard for her success. Now, after the prim-and-proper real estate agent’s husband ditches her for a younger model, she finds herself back in her small New England home town. Smarting over her husband’s betrayal, a messy night out only brings further humiliation when Helen face-plants on the sidewalk … only to be rescued by her old nemesis, Alice.
Alice, an aging hippie mourning the death of her husband, has considered Helen her complete opposite since they were schoolgirls. Yet much to her surprise, as the town divides bitterly over whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana within its borders, she and Helen find themselves drawn into an unlikely partnership. Can this unlikely duo make a go of their joint venture without killing each other first?

A charming examination of the human capacity for growth, hope, and finding love, in all its forms, in the second half of our lives, Alice and Helen’s Joint Venture shines a light on love and friendship while delivering plenty of laughs along the way.

Winston’s Big Wind

Ever since Winston was a baby he’s suffered from significant flatulence. When he started school his flatulence, also known as ‘fluffer doodles’ or a ‘bottom burp’, were just as powerful and were making Winston feel embarrassed. One day he was walking home from school and saw a girl stuck in a hole in the ground. He jumped in without thinking and his bas blasted them back out of the hole. Winston realized he had an ability that no one else had and decided to use it to save others.

Winston’s Big Wind is a hilarious children’s book that takes something that everyone does and gives it a fun superhero twist. I loved all the different euphemism’s that were used for Winston’s explosive gas. I laughed every time. The charming sketch art that is on every other page pairs well with the story and brings a welcoming charm to the book.

I thought this was going to be a story about how to deal with flatulence, but I was delighted to find out that this story is much more than that. This comical book sets up Winston as an amiable child and an unlikely hero. I heartily enjoyed the hero origin story trope at work in this amusing children’s book.

Winston’s Big Wind is a lively picture book that will have kids laughing at the different ways to say flatulence. This book is just pure fun all around. Author Barbara Reyelts has created a great book for elementary children that are developing their reading skills as it is one story they will certainly be begging to read.

Pages: 35 | ISBN: 1639884823

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An Intensely Personal Story

Karina McRoberts Author Interview

A Man For All Seasons follows a man who has dedicated his life to helping conserve and save nature and the animals of the world. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was looking for a completely different way to present the conservation message. Instead of badgering people, I sought to create a story with warmth and humour – an intensely personal story with a main character readers would identify with. And of course, a very likeable character – Vidor’s flawed and has his share of problems, just as we all do, but he never gives up.

Vidor is a complex character that wants to be compassionate for those in need and also assassinate those that cause harm. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

As Vidor reminds Alban, “Compassion is the only fashion.” Although technically, Vidor is a monster in that he is a created being, he is not the true monster in the story. He is innocent although his creator may not have been. Vidor’s not sure. But he knows there comes a point when people become the REAL monsters. Vidor realises he must stop the monster in this story. Even so, he deals humanely.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Self-realisation as opposed to self-interest. Ignorance of the natural world and its consequence. The value of love, friendship, and redemption.

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

An exploration of animal consciousness in fictional format. Should be ready for Christmas!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Living on in his master’s castle, an ageing Vidor finds it falling down around him, but continues his nightly assignations and experiments.
Added to this is an ever-increasing stream of animal refugees. With no idea how to feed them all, he decides to go into business to make ends meet.
Helped by his wise-talking raven Alban, Vidor must thwart a greedy development company from destroying the animals’ home. But is he already out of time?
Part tender romance, part cheeky comedy, A Man For All Seasons brings feel-good in spades, shines a light on life and death with dignity, and pays heart-lifting tribute to all eco warriors, wherever they may stand.

The Comedy That Inspires Me

Grahame Fleming Author Interview

The Blood of the Bear is a humorous telling of the classic story of King Arthur and adds in more information than the original telling. What was the inspiration for writing a humorous version of this story?

I love reading books that make me laugh out loud. I love watching comedy on TV or in film. It’s always been very natural for me to want to make others laugh too. I think the humour of The Blood of the Bear exists on a few different levels. First, the lead character of Artos exists in a fairly impoverished world. I think when people grow up in a community where daily life is hard and full of toil, then a natural humour develops to help them cope with their situation. Second, I included some scenes and situations in the book that are just for fun. I’m thinking particularly of the chapter dedicated to a crime scene investigation, which I laughed at while writing, so I hope readers of the book enjoy it too. Third, I tried to create a style of humour that is heavily influenced by the comedy that inspires me; the books of Tom Sharpe, Spike Milligan, and the work of the team that were Monty Python (including the Holy Grail film). I hope if you like any of the above then you’ll also like The Blood of the Bear.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

I think it’s hard to pick one out, but there’s a small scene which is simply a conversation between the Merlin and the leader of the Rheged tribe, Urien. When I wrote it, I was pleased with the tone and the mood and as a result it probably has remained closer to its original draft rather than other scenes.

What is one thing that you hope the reader takes away from The Blood of the Bear?

I simply hope they enjoy the story and that it lightens their day. I hope they grow to love the characters enough to want to join them in future adventures.

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

No big shocks here! The Blood of the Bear volume 2 is being drafted now. I’m aiming to launch it by March 2023, a year after the original book. The story moves further south to an area stretching between Wales and the North Yorkshire Moors, and it will involve dragons!

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

An irreverant tale of an Arthurian magnificent seven setting out on their first adventures.

Swords, magic, murder, old gods versus new, some petty theft, and an unhealthy over-consumption of mead all play their part in this historical tale of a band of heroes caught up in ‘The Prophecy’.
It’s the late 5th century and the Roman legions have packed up and went home from Britannia, mainly because of the horrible weather. The land is divided amongst petty kings who wage war on their neighbours, write nothing down, and murder their relatives regularly, all in an effort to keep the dark ages as dark as possible.
Into this time of myth and legend comes Artos, a young shepherd and levy man whose life is going rapidly downhill. Almost killed in battle, encountering a banshee, and catastrophically failing in his duties to his tyrannical lord, Duncan MacForres, means that it’s finally time to (hastily) leave home for a better future, hopefully under the big city torches of Camulodunum.
Faked deaths, faked rebirths, and prophetic visions of the sword, Excalibur, help to reveal that Artos may be destined for more success than even he has imagined. On the advice of the local witch, he sets out on a quest to find the reclusive Merlin before embarking on a medieval, horse powered road trip.
If you like your witches to be essentially good with a dark sense of humour, your water nymphs to be feisty and full of their own self-importance, and your horses magically enchanted with just a touch of stubborn, then welcome to an alternative telling of the classic story of King Arthur, before he was king, and even before he was Arthur.
Will Artos get the mystical sword?
Who is Lancelot’s mother?
And why did Morganna get such a bad press from the fake news of monastic media?

The Blood of the Bear answers all these questions and more.

Acceptance of Differences In All People

Jeffrey Sotto Author Interview

The Moonballers follows a gay tennis star that feels threatened by a straight player that joins their organization. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve been part of a queer tennis league in Toronto, Ontario, Canada since 2003. Back then, we only had queer members, and I always thought it would be funny to see how the league would react when straight people started to join. I then put the idea aside as I worked on my first book. Then in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, I thought about this premise again, and started to imagine what my main character would be like – a president who wanted to keep certain types of people out; in this case, keep straight people out of a queer sports league.

Stefan wants to be the best, and when someone tries to take that spot from him, his worst side comes out. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Stefan is toxic masculinity personified; he’s the ugliness of the ego that comes out in all of us when we feel inferior to others, and must compensate by bullying. As I mentioned, I looked at Donald Trump as for inspiration for Stefan; I feel his actions are a response to a threat of being replaced as the “queen bee”; he is driven by his ego and need to feel worshipped as president of the league and the best player. In all his villanry, I tried to make his antics as ridiculously absurd and funny as possible.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to highlight the consequences of the ego’s response to feeling inferior. But I “flipped the script” by having Stefan, and the league, queer. I wanted to challenge the idea that toxic masculinity is only associated with heterosexual men. There’s sometimes a stereotype that gay men are supposed to be softer, effeminate, and ultimately weaker than straight ones. But as I’ve witnessed in my almost 20 years as part of a queer tennis league, when the competitive juices for superiority — the “need to win” — rears its ugly head, the toxicity that manifests can come from anyone despite their gender, sexual orientation, and all other parts of their identities. In other words, we are ALL toxic as*holes. Lol. Further, there is a message about the need for the acceptance of differences in all people, and the pervasive bias and intolerance in everyone, including those who insist they are “woke.”

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

Similar to the tone of my first novel, Cloud Cover, which was a lot more serious and dramatic than The Moonballers, I want to do a modern retelling of the story of Adam and Eve. In this version, the Adam character will be a middle-aged, gay, HIV-positive asexual, and the Eve character will be a young, bisexual and polyamourous woman. Being inspired by Eve’s liberated way of living, Adam will re-enter the dating world in hopes of finding love and connection. Considering the political events unfolding in the United States right now, I want to show their journey together in coming to terms with the outcomes of pursuing their own empowerment and personal freedom, despite what institutional or ideological constraints are placed upon them. This book is still in very early stages, but I’m hoping to publish it by 2026.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“MAKE TENNIS GAY AGAIN!”

Winter 2016. The Toronto Torches—aka the Toronto Gay and Lesbian Tennis League—had come to a crash under mysterious circumstances.

Spring 2020. A new queer tennis organization has been created in the nearby wanna-be-downtown suburb of Torpedo Valley. Proud and out Stefan “Steffi” Porsche relishes in his dominance as both the President of the league, and—coincidentally—the league’s best player. That is, until strapping and super talented Khalid Adam arrives. But differences threaten to disrupt the order of the gay institution: Khalid is … STRAIGHT, sending Stefan into a neurotic tizzy.

Will the hyper-competitive and heterophobic Stefan maintain his invincibility, or will Khalid dethrone him? Can Khalid—and all those outside the queer majority—be kept from invading the sacredness of the gay tennis league? Or will President Stefan succeed in his quest to “MAKE TENNIS GAY AGAIN!”?

With a colourful cast of characters, campy humour, and dramatic twists à la Pedro Almodóvar, The Moonballers: A Novel about The Invasion of a LGBTQ2+ Tennis League … by Straight People (Gay Gasp!) is an action packed and wacky sports parody about intolerance, love, and the absurdity of socio-political extremes that will hit you like a hard shot straight to the face!

The Eyes Of My Imagination

Ionel Rusanu Author Interview

Life Lottery: Pandemic Life Stories is a compelling collection of short stories that take place during the pandemic. What was the inspiration for the setup to your stories?

“Life Lottery” is not the first book inspired by the pandemic years, and it will certainly not be the last. Someone even said to me, “What came to you to write about this too?! Aren’t we fed up with the pandemic already?” Truth is, I didn’t try to capitalize on a possible opportune moment. Judging by the above reaction, I would say that, on the contrary, for some people, now is not the right time. It is true also that the pandemic gave me time and opportunity for more or less inner reflections. But it’s just the setting, the background. The book is about people; different, real or fantastic, as I saw them with the eyes of my imagination. Some stories are indeed inspired by real people I read or heard about in the news during these years. Some are just expressions of various states of my mind.

I enjoyed the varied and interesting characters in your collection. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I always try to bring to light characters that feel real. That’s why I employ a more direct writing, with less poetry or metaphors, to express their struggle through the happenings in a certain period of time in their lives.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this collection?

Mental health, in the first place. Because in the modern days is an important part of our life. In the pandemic time, even more so. Secondly, is the constant pursuit of happiness, whether the characters are from a humble background like Sveta or from the royals like Mylana.

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

My next book (written in English) is a crime and mystery novel named „Two dangerous people”. I think it will be done by the end of this year. But this year I will publish a two part Young Adult Sci-Fi saga called „Arcon Evolution,” first the Romanian versions, and hopefully will have them translated to English as well in the near future.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Is the pandemic over? Well, the stories remain…

A beggar only asks for benzodiazepines to make it through the day. A biker is unhappy with life in his polluted city. A sweet girl navigates a mean father and the possibility of his redemption after his near-death experience. A woman is beset with vivid dreams from anxiety medication. Pranksters feel the rebound of going one joke too far. A doctor needs to decide who lives and who dies at the height of the pandemic. A real prince charming meets a real princess from an alternate reality. A naïve girl has her heart broken by a false prince charming. Two beautiful women, disbelieving the reality of the pandemic, become ugly furies. A lonely druid jumps through time to help save humanity in the aftermath of a pandemic. A man is vaccinated three times and even wants to take a fourth dose because he thought he could hear and see better and his knees didn’t hurt anymore. A creature of the sea saves a young woman from human traffickers.

Enjoy this collection of life stories amid the pandemic.
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