The Essence of Neverland is a bold and imaginative tale of pirate battles, formidable fairies, territorial conquests, and unexpectedly, the power of community. In this continuation to the timeless fable of Peter Pan, author Juna Jinsei thoughtfully ushers the Lost Boys into their darkest era yet – the death of Peter Pan. The painful absence of the infamously green-tighted trickster is being felt all across Neverland, leaving friends and foes alike grimly fearing for the future of the lands. As the disruption of harmony begins to threaten all walks of life, age-old enemies must contemplate rewriting their own roles in history, lest all of Neverland become a fairytale entirely.
I feel obligated to admit that Peter Pan was a staple bedtime story in my childhood home. While my father enjoyed boastfully voicing out the comical mischief between Peter and the pirates, I personally always loved the popular legend for its emotional tone. There was something whimsical and charming to the tale, always gently reminding me to appreciate my youth and my family. Even as a child, I recognized that the adventure was steeped in wisdom and parables. In this particular imagining of life in Neverland, author Jinsei beautifully explores many of those same wisdoms, delving into the emotional grips of desiring a place to belong, and missing a home you may never return to. Jinsei ponders these perennial truths through her work with such charm that I read several passages aloud to my partner, wanting to share the touching eloquence of the lessons.
Even with its strong repertoire of life lessons, this novel is admittedly a little dark at times. Jinsei unapologetically crafts the characters to feel authentic to their human nature, respectively. Captain Hook’s surly, albeit loyal, band of pirates are burdened by grief, consumed by thoughts of revenge. The once crafty and playful Lost Boys have grown old and jaded, nostalgically wishing in vain for the return of their impish flying companion. Even the council of magical fairies, as hopeful a creature as one could imagine, have become nervous for the future and harmony of Neverland. In the beginning chapter, Peter Pan’s unexpected death is a severe moment, paving the way for a few other harsh and unfortunate occurrences throughout The Essence of Neverland. Jinsei has an undeniably natural hand for the “twisted fairytale” style, and I loved the boldness of this rendition.
Still, despite the reoccurring macabre tones, The Essence of Neverland remains persistently hopeful and surprisingly lighthearted. Jinsei’s illustrative writing style really shines through the four brave children that serve as the main protagonists. Hailing from various backgrounds and regions, they each find themselves being summoned to the Mother Fairy, the eternal essence and spirit of Neverland. Although they’ve each suffered great losses at tender ages, they bravely begin their journey of growth with such earnesty and ambition that it’s impossible not to root for them whole-heartedly. My kudos to Juna Jinsei for such sincere writing!
Pages: 377 | ASIN: B015QV5C3M
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, bedtime story, book, book review, books, captain hook, childrens book, coming of age, community, ebook, ebooks, fairies, fairy, fairy tale, family, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, Juna Jinsei, kids, kids book, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, life, literature, love, magic, mystery, neverland, novel, peter pan, pirate, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, The Essence of Neverland, thriller, writing, YA, young adult
Sam Moses, a man comfortable with the echoes of death created by the sounds of gunfire, is haunted by the terrible demons of his past. Bad luck seems to stalk the man as he tries to find his way past tragedies that changed his life forever. But Sam Moses is determined to become the man he believes he was meant to be and fights for a life that leaves death and violence behind. To have the life he wants Sam must learn the ins and outs of relationships, stability and how to build a life where he settles down for good.
Vengeance is Mine, written by Kwen D Griffeth, is the third installment in Sam and Laura’s Story. This novel takes you on a more personal adventure as Sam re-enters his life back in the town of Missouri. Old flames, new friends and a thirst to belong will set the tone for the final installment of the series.
Vengeance is Mine takes a step back from the gunfire and instead focuses on the foundations of who Sam truly is. Learning to settle into a life where he isn’t chasing death can be challenging at times and this is where we really get to see Sam’s character come to light. A group of people will begin to fulfil Sam’s life with a new meaning and acceptance that he has not experienced before. I appreciated seeing a side of Sam that was raw, emotional and at times surprisingly gentle.
Laura’s character progression throughout the novels shows us her growing from a girl to woman to finally someone who has dealt with great heartache. In Vengeance is Mine we see a woman who desperately wants to settle into a normal life but needs time to accept the pain and heartache she has been dealt. Her relationship with Sam is complicated as she feels resentment at the decisions that seemingly made her feel alone in the most difficult time of her life. A section of the novel talks about parts of life being heavy but also light, for example having a baby is a “light and happy” occasion but also can be seen as “heavy” as someone’s life is now consumed by responsibility and questions as to what the future may hold. I feel as though this accurately depicts the relationship of Laura and Sam as they wind through life towards a hopefully happy ending. Will they finally leave their old demons behind and begin a life together?
Vengeance is Mine also explores old characters and where they have come after the pains and challenges they have experienced. Opal has grown into a beautiful young woman, Pickles is catching the eye of ladies in town and Ellen is back after helping saving Sam’s life. The reader will be treated to the development of many favorite characters which will make you feel more connected than ever and invested in their fates!
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a heartwarming story line and a feel good finish to an excellent series. I thoroughly enjoyed all three installments to the series and highly recommend reading the three books as a whole.
Pages: 288 | ASIN: B00VFLO3DI
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, baby, book, book review, books, civil war, ebook, ebooks, faith, family, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kwen griffeth, literature, love, mystery, novel, old west, publishing, reading, religion, review, reviews, romance, stories, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, vengeance is mine, war, west, western, writing
“The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. That means he must use violence every day of his life if he wants to eat and live another day. He can never wake up one morning and say to himself, “I no longer wish to eat mice and snakes; I want to eat seeds and nuts like the cardinal. No, he cannot do this and why? Because he was created in the image of a hawk.”
“I don’t see…”
“Sam, I know your father taught you this, but you have forgotten. The hawk was created in the image of a hawk. What image were you created in?”
Sam whispered, “God, I was created in the image of God.”
The Amish elder smiled, “Yes, you were created in the image of God and as such you were granted the ability to choose. You can choose to do right or wrong, good or bad, be peaceful or violent. You can even choose to eat mice and snakes if you like.”
Posted in book trailer
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, book trailer, books, cowboy, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kwen griffeth, literature, love, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, thriller, vengeance is mine, war, western, writing
Your heart will be racing as you read the latest in the Sean Kruger series The Imposter’s Trail by J.C. Fields. Our beloved Special Agent with the FBI is supposed to be living out his golden years with his new wife and child while teaching the next generation at university. However, if there’s one thing Kruger can’t escape it’s his own skill. When a culprit Kruger feels responsible for losing six years ago pops back up on the radar, our favorite agent can’t help but be pulled into the chase for this deranged murderer. What begins as a chase for an escaped serial killer evolves into a terrorist plot that only Fields could concoct. Will Kruger make it out of this one alive? Or will this finally be the end of Special Agent Sean Kruger?
Fields does a great job with his descriptions as usual. It is easy for the reader to picture either characters or settings in their mind. It is easy to get inside the mind of our protagonist, but we can also get inside the mind of our insidious imposter. Fields spares nothing in mapping out the thought process of this murder and what drives them to do what they have done. The story itself is gripping as we follow Kruger on his hunt while taking blows along the way. This installment hits closer to home than ever for our agent, and we read on with anticipation as to how he will react when all that is sacred to him is threatened. The action is well paced without being over the top or unbelievable. Even the relationships between all the characters are realistic. This is hard to do when you have a continuing series and when you have a cast of characters that can be as large as the one in this story.
A large cast can be a blessing or a curse, depending on who you ask. Having to keep all of the characters traits in line while remembering what importance they play in the story can be a detriment to some writers. Fields has done this before, however, and it’s easy to see that there are no characters created purely for convenience. Even those who do not last more than a paragraph are supplied with a backstory and meaning, even if it is only brief. This is a good tactic to take as it makes each person in the story meaningful to the reader.
When you’re looking for a novel about subterfuge, action and gripping human emotion, anything by J.C. Fields is a good choice. We are not let down with The Imposter’s Trail as we follow Kruger on his quest for personal redemption while he puts his life on the line to correct a mistake he made years ago. It’s not necessary to read the other books in the series which is a benefit for those who might be picking up this book without knowledge of the previous installments. Readers will still feel engaged and knowledgeable enough about the world and its inhabitants without feeling overwhelmed or clueless. The only real question we are left with is: what will happen to Special Agent Sean Kruger after this?
Pages: 280 | ASIN: B073V7V6FQ
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, detective, detective book, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, FBI, fighting, goodreads, jason bourne, jc fields, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, love, mystery, mystery novel, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, sean kruger, special agent, stories, suspense, the imposters trail, thriller, urban fantasy, writing
Evolve Like A Butterfly – A Metamorphic Approach to Leadership by Mayur Ramgir covers a broad spectrum of areas relevant to the task of a leader. Supported by illustrations and quotes, advice is given on risk taking, adapting to change, accepting feedback and good communication. It also looks at the conditions in which innovation, incubation and prototyping can occur. Ramgir reveals the secrets to motivating others whilst continuing on a path of self-development, and shares tips on creating a legacy through leadership succession.
The book can be read cover to cover or dipped into as a reference guide for specific advice.
The author engages the reader with a warm and welcoming tone from the start. He then describes his mother’s own leadership journey and invites us to consider the definition of a leader before we move on to more complex considerations. It is a useful resource for anyone starting out in leadership or those wishing to transition to a more ethical approach.
The butterfly metaphor is used initially to good effect, although it is not evenly referenced throughout, it is revived at later points and thus not lost entirely.
Hidden in the book are useful nuggets of advice which may not be found in your average book on leadership in business from a mainstream perspective. Ramgir emphasizes the importance of remaining connected empathetically to the work force so that there is less chance that this bond is severed in times of change or difficulty. He also looks at what areas of self development might be needed for a good leader; and points out how important it is to learn from one’s own failures whilst forging an individual path.
The author suggests that ‘character’ is vital in order to lead an organisation or team through crises and adversity. However, he does not really flesh out what he means by the term which readers may understand in slightly different ways, in particular across cultural divides. Perhaps ‘tenacity’ or ‘staying power’ would be suitable descriptors of the qualities he intends to present.
Ramgir does not shy away from offering solutions to challenging issues such as the potential pitfalls of moving from being a member of a peer group to leading those peers; or managing the ups and downs of different points in the business cycle and consideration of the timing of risk taking.
While some sections seem to repeat themes such as communication and motivation, the additional detail reiterates the importance of these key skills in different contexts.
This is a useful reader for students and established leaders in business as well as those concerned with social good; it is relevant across the private, third and public sectors.
This book is an inspiring read and goes far in providing sound advice to current and emerging leaders. It is a recommended read for anyone passionate about safeguarding the future of the organisation and people with whom they work.
Pages: 250 | ISBN: 154428585X
Tags: amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, books, business, corporate, culture, development, ebook, ebooks, Evolve like a Butterfly, goodreads, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, leader, leadership, learning, literature, management, Mayur Ramgir, money, non fiction, publishing, reading, review, reviews, self development, self help, self imporvement, workforce, workforce management, writing
“What is the matter with you? We do not need his money!” She stood behind him; her hands on her hips.
“It’s not about the money.”
His voice was calm. He could have told her what day of the week it was with the same level of excitement.
“Then why? Why must you go back and try to get yourself killed? You have responsibilities here!”
Sam stopped brushing and seemed ready to turn and face her. He then thought better and did not. He returned to brushing the horse.
“Samuel, you turn around and face me! You tell me why I have to get ready to mourn a second man in my life. You tell me what I’m supposed to tell our children!”
His turn was powerful and deliberate; he faced her, “Our children, Laura? It wasn’t that long ago you told me in no uncertain terms they were your children and I was a bad influence. You share them with me only when it suits you. They are our children if you think you can use them to your advantage.”
“Is that why you’re doing this? To punish me for what I said?”
“Laura, please. Do you really think that little of me? I gave the man my word. I promised him I would avenge him if this happened.”
“You promised? You promised? You also promised my husband you would look after us. I know Wiggins was your friend, but he is cold and dead in the ground. There is nothing you can do that will change that.”
Sam’s’ brows furrowed, “And how is that different from William, your husband? Is he not also cold and dead in the ground?”
Laura stepped forward and took his free hand. She placed his hand on her chest, between her breasts, “Does this feel like it’s cold and dead? Do you not feel the love that surges through my body with every beat of my heart? Tell me what I have to do to keep you here? What must I do to change your mind?”
Sam Moses was in a quandary, a crossroads. He had followed the beautiful Laura Stoddard and her children to Missouri in order to care for them as he had promised the dying William Stoddard, the husband and father. He was determined to keep his word.
Now, he had received notice a friend had been murdered. A friend whom he had promised to avenge if such a thing happened; now, it had. Avenging his friend would most likely kill him but he had given his word.
Now, after living most of his life being beholden to anyone, he must choose, which promise is the higher calling?
Posted in book trailer
Tags: a higher calling, action, adventure, amazon, amazon book trailer, amazon ebook, author, book, book review, book trailer, books, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, kwen griffeth, literature, love, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, thriller, war, writing, youtube
In this captivating tale of cosmic design, Angels’ Whispers, author J.F. Cain chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate yet necessary forces, Angels and Demons. As intelligent as they are graceful, Angels have been metaphysically observing mankind for an eternity, lovingly tending to humanity’s journey towards spiritual awakening. The recent advent of free will has brought with it the potential for deviance though, and the balanced tides of spiritual harmony hangs in the balance. As the fallen angel Lucifer schemes to lure society towards the err of self-indulgence, the philosophically pragmatic Angel Aranes, the most superior of celestial beings, must challenge her own age-old wisdom and routines for the sake of serving not just humanity, but all intelligent creation.
The first title from the War Eternal series, Angels’ Whispers delves into the popular and alluring trope of angelic and demonic forces at constant odds, a concept explored by literature and media since the earliest eras of civilization. Although the splay of archangels and demonic characters may be ancient in a scriptural sense, Cain brings a playfully crisp air into the work, using an intensely illustrative style to make the story feel modern. Main character Alex Meyers is a cocky young entrepreneur, chock-full full of cynicism and self-conflicted inner monolog. He’s as well-intentioned as he is troubled, and that struck me as oddly endearing. Finding himself on the receiving end of an Angel’s attention, he struggles to explore his own convictions, all while being thrust into the throes of the eternal power struggle between these all powerful creatures.
In a style oddly comparable to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Cain writes densely, wasting no opportunity to develop a particular scene with lush descriptiveness. The grandiose and mystical surroundings of the Elether, the metaphysical plane of the Celestials, is the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous amount of attention Cain has poured into the setting. I absorbed the rich details, easily imagining them with all the vividness of a wide-screen cinematic. This would seriously make one hell of a movie!
I loved the intelligent yet candid way that Angels’ Whispers scrutinizes the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book, making use of an enormous splay of theological and philosophical knowledge. It was fascinating to read about the various ideologies of so many influential individuals and cultures in such a condensed form, and I found some of the sentiments to be deliciously thought-provoking! I can’t even recall the last time I had been prompted to explore my own thoughts on religion so earnestly, so I appreciated the casual way that Cain wove that into the story. The intellectual sparring between Celestial beings was enthralling in that same way, and maintained a strong presence through the book. It felt reminiscent to me of the zesty energy of a passionate debate between two best friends – engaged and impassioned, but respectful and surprisingly explorative.
Without spoiling anything, I’m still happy to say that this first title sets up beautifully for the next work. I’d recommend it to fellow readers with a love for the supernatural and philosophical niches. I’m looking forward to the next title of War Eternal, which will surely follow up on the consequence to life’s most powerful forces – love, death, and ultimately, free will.
Pages: 355 | ASIN: B06Y4XDY8T
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, angel, angels whispers, author, book, book review, books, celestial, demon, demonic, devil, ebook, ebooks, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, god, goodreads, humanity, interview, jf cain, journey, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, love, Lucifer, magic, mystery, novel, paranormal, philosophy, publishing, reading, religion, review, reviews, romance, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, soul, spiritual, stories, supernatural, suspense, thriller, tolkien, urban fantasy, war, war eternal, writing, YA, young adult
Legacy is the second installment in the Descendent Darkness where families are torn apart, truths exposed and the Gaston family finally learn the dark history of their past. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?
The first major point I wanted to drive home was the fact that, at least as far as this universe is concerned, a vampire’s greatest strength lies in its ability to mentally dominate people, to confuse them, and even to turn them against one another. This is a key element of the vampire’s strategy when it comes to trapping the Gastons and their allies. Before they can figure out what’s happening, the vampire already has its pieces on the board and in motion, and they have no idea they’re being manipulated until it’s much too late. I felt that this element gave the story something of a unique twist compared to other works I’m familiar with in the genre.
Once again the beautiful bond between siblings Mike and Holly Gaston continues to grow deeper. What was your inspiration for creating the kind of relationship that Mike and Holly have?
I deliberately tried to steer away from themes that I feel have become overused in the genre. A prominent example of one such theme is the underlying love story. It goes something like this:
- Guy and girl fall in love.
Vampire sets its sights on the girl and tries to make her his own.
Guy sets out to the stop the vampire and save his lady love.
The old Hammer film “Dracula has Risen from the Grave” is a notable example of this basic storyline.
I set out to work the male/female dynamic in a different way here, and the most natural, alternative approach to take was a sibling relationship. You still have a strong bond of love to work with, but it’s different than romantic love and this difference allows you to work the story in ways you otherwise couldn’t. Also, since you’re dealing with two people who grew up together, you have all sorts of potential for backstory, which I make heavy use of in Legacy. In this episode of the story, you see more of what has made Mike and Holly as close as they are. As Holly herself thinks of it, they’re survivors, knitted together rather like people who have been through the crucible of war together.
The supernatural creatures in the story were vicious, twisted souls that were really brought to life in vivid detail. What was your method for creating such scary creatures and scenes?
Basically, I took the most frightening elements of vampires as I’ve seen them portrayed in the past and lumped them together. Also, I removed their humanity. In many stories, especially those that have come out in the last twenty-five years or so, vampires are portrayed as people who suffer from a disease; essentially still human but subject to dark impulses that they can’t control (the TV shows Dark Shadows and Forever Knight are examples of this). In this story, however, vampires are pure, demonic, unredeemable evil, hearkening back to Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Count Dracula, and to the vampires we see in the 1972 film The Night Stalker and the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot.
Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?
The third book, Redemption, is the final book in the series and brings the story to a definitive conclusion. The second part of the vampire’s scheme for revenge plays out, leading to a confrontation that many of the novel’s characters will not survive. Readers will find the Gastons pushed to the limits of their endurance. The history of Clarke’s Summit and its curse is fleshed out more fully, and we learn more about the nature of the enemy; there are actually two types of vampires, and the distinctions between them are discussed (this touches on your previous question about how I visualized them for this story, and why they are so twisted). We also see why Mike and Holly are so important in the vampire’s plans.
In short, everything comes full circle. The major themes of this novel are sacrifice and, as the title suggests, redemption.
Wherever they were when it happened, the residents of Clarke’s Summit, Virginia, knew that something had changed. All throughout the town and its surrounding area, doors were locked and curtains drawn. The night had become their enemy, concealing something darker than itself. A madman’s desperate act of devotion has unleashed a horror in their midst, a fear they had hoped would stay buried forever.
Now, as darkness falls again and his family is torn apart, Mike Gaston will finally learn the truth. The truth of what really happened to his mother and all the others in 1982. The truth behind the nightmares.
The truth of his family’s legacy of evil.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: aj macready, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, author interview, book, book review, books, descendent darkness, ebook, family, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, horror, horror book, horror novel, interview, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, legacy, literature, love, magic, mystery, novel, paranormal, publishing, reading, review, reviews, romance, stories, supernatural, thriller, urban fantasy, vampire, writing, YA, young adult
Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale is a frank autobiography centered around the theme of the pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life. What was the inspiration that made you want to write a memoir?
I was inspired by two of my children and some of my patients. My oldest daughter, Keeley, once presented me with a book that asked questions about me. The idea of the book was to have it for the grandchildren in posterity. I liked the idea of leaving something for the grandkids but didn’t like the venue. I didn’t think that telling them my favorite color was particularly pertinent to letting them know who I was. Then my son Chandler, several years later, prospering greatly in both his business and personal life in his mid-thirties asked me, in somewhat of a despondent tone, “Is this it?” He was kind of like the hero in the Myth of Percival who after garnering great fame as a killer of Dragons asked a similar question. I translated my adult children’ questions into “Who am I?” and “What is it [life] about?” My patients also played a role in that I often use stories from my life to illustrate points I am trying to make and also to normalize rather than pathologize the struggles they are having. In turn, they have found these stories very helpful and even entertaining and often suggested “You should write a book of these stories.” These three factors percolated in my mind for several years until one day they bubbled up and I just started writing.
There is a lot of reflection on life events in this book. Is there anything that was hard for you to write about?
My relationship with my first wife, Jane, and my own struggles in relationship. My first wife came to fight mightily with mental illness and I was extremely concerned with writing anything that might upset her. However, when my editor received the manuscript she noted immediately the presence of the absence of much to do about that relationship. I explained the problem and she respected the restraint feeling that many people make the book the all of everything without concern for its impact on others. At the same time, she pointed out that the readership would have a difficult time in empathizing with either Jane or myself with such sparse information. I was thus pushed to confront this issue and did so after several sleepless nights by writing the chapter on Jane and then sending it to her with complete and total veto power. To my surprise she responded with praise for the chapter, thought it was beautifully written and wouldn’t change a word. That felt so healing.
Other chapters that were difficult to write were the ones several reviewers have picked up on including yourself. Those are the chapters on the kids. They were indeed somewhat of an afterthought in that they were written later after my kids asked me why there wasn’t much on them or the grandkids in the book. On thinking about this, I did think it was an oversight driven by the difficulty in deciding what to write and the impact this could have on them. At the same time, even though somewhat an appendage to the book, I decided to go forward with it in that I thought, particularly as a family therapist, that there were valuable lessons to be learned within them for both adult children and parents. So, though I agree the book may seem to lose focus in these three family related chapters, I still thought they added to the lessons I wanted to share with readers and pertained to my ongoing hatching and self-discovery, as well as sensitizing me to the shadow my history cast on the lives of my offspring. In addition, with these chapters I was able to discuss the challenges of the life cycle and I older readers, those from my generation, have expressed particular appreciation for them.
Finally, just writing about my romantic relationships and failures in them were difficult to write because I find them embarrassing and felt some shame about them, particularly in that I’m a marriage and couples’ therapist. Yet, I didn’t feel I could tell my story with integrity and walk the walk of my talk if I avoided them. As I note in the book, you can’t lead a self-examined life if you cheery pick what you look at.
In this book we get to witness many peoples lives, loves, and tragedies. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
First, that we are all human and imperfect and to be okay with this. In saying this I don’t mean to imply we should shrug them off as “typically human,” but recognize the losses, or mistakes and/or harm we have done and to learn about ourselves and grow from them. I believe it is incredibly important for people to keep learning and growing till death do us part and that if we stop doing so we are more likely to become despairing as we’re caught in the smothering quicksand of stagnation. Second, that we have to live our lives, there are no short-cuts and that the attempt to not deal with our lives through avoidance and denial only leads to bringing about that which we fear. Finally, I wanted to posit a belief I’ve come to as a therapist and as a human being in the last several years. It was a realization that struck me as as an epiphany. That is, “Each of us is as happy as we can stand.” Isn’t that a concept worth thinking about? Here I’m not talking about people with psychotic illness or intense mental illness of any kind, but more so what I call the normal/neurotics who have been primarily affected by issues of nurture rather than nature that comprise the majority of the human race. The ultimate limiter of our happiness is we ourselves. We are each encompassed in habituated mental/emotional states that resist change, even when or perhaps even especially when, those changes are for the good. I won’t rewrite the book here but the how and why of this alone, in my view, is worth the read.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I don’t know the answer to this although it is a question I have been asking myself. Writing is hard for me. I don’t do it for fun unless I feel inspired, then it is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. So, I’ve been looking inward, trying to discern what is moving out of sight within the fathoms below. It has not yet come into view but I do feel its stirrings.
If you’ve ever wanted to read someone’s diary, be a fly on the wall during a private exchange, or wondered what someone, possibly your therapist, really, really thinks, then Hatching Charlie will roundly satisfy that curiosity. It’s a fascinating read if you just leave it at that, but, in doing so you’d miss a rare invitation to be guided through elements of your own personal story on a parallel plane. An emotionally charged, inspirational, thoughtful and humorous book filled with wisdom, psychological insight and relationship truth Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale is both an autobiography and a quest story. In spellbinding fashion, it interweaves the incredibly interesting life journey of Charles McCormack with his becoming a counselor and psychotherapist. Born into an abusive home and spending early years in the racist Jim Crow South where he witnessed segregation first hand, Charlie at age eleven is then involuntarily exiled to a Catholic boarding school in France even though he doesn’t speak the language. There he is again abused. Cut off from family and friends, isolated from those around him and under the rule of sadistic authorities Charlie spirals downward in the grip of anxiety and depression. Disoriented and confused he feels a determination to make sense of his life, his world, his relationships, and his place in them, core questions that will shape the rest of his life. But the going is not easy. Charlie acts out, flounders, is a mediocre student, fails high school, is expelled from college, and goes on an odyssey to Mexico where he meets a psychologist turned auto-mechanic who plants an idea in his mind. After this encounter, Charlie pursues a career as a counselor and psychotherapist. He returns to school, finds he’s a natural, and eventually earns a master’s degree in psychology and then another in clinical social work. Subsequently, working on a long-term psychiatric locked door inpatient unit he suffers PTSD following the suicide of a patient, begins writing, becomes published, and encounters career success. He is invited to join the faculty of the Washington School of Psychiatry, promoted to Senior Social Worker of Long-Term Adult Inpatient Services at a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, is named the Clinical Social Worker of the Year in Maryland, and writes a book on how to treat “difficult to treat” couples entitled Treating Borderline States in Marriage: Dealing with Oppositionalism, Ruthless Aggression and Severe Resistance that is well received. Yet, as his career is evolving his personal life is disintegrating. He is forced to confront mental illness in his own family, divorces twice, suffers a return of anxiety and depression, and leads him to question the impact of his early relationships on his own capacity for love and loving, and of being a father and grandfather. Throughout his journey Charlie repeatedly travels to his own interior, his internal world, where he continues to grapple with those early questions, “What is life about? What’s the point? How can one be happy? How can one be secure in relationship? What is love? What is loving?” In so doing Charlie “truly covers the full gamut of human experience – warmth, love, friendship, loneliness, unhappiness, violence, despair: life and death.” (Literary Titan) His insights and answers will surprise you. “Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale” is an inherently fascinating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read from beginning to end.” (Midwest Book Review)
Posted in Interviews
Tags: amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, author interview, book, book review, books, Charles C. McCormack, daughter, dragon, ebook, ebooks, facebook, family, goodreads, grandchildren, Hatching Charlie A Psychotherapists Tale, human, interview, kids, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, life, literature, love, memoir, mental illness, myth, non fiction, nonfiction, novel, patient, percival, psychologist, psychotic, publishing, reading, relationship, review, reviews, romance, romantic, son, stories, therapist, twitter, writing
Joe is an average kid on spring break when he’s abducted by alien spies. This sets off a series of events that are both fun and entertaining. What was the initial goal when starting this novel and how did it change as you were writing it?
EDWARD: It started out as a 14 page script; typed on loose leaf paper, back in high school when I was big into super 8 film (before VCRs or home computers were invented). Then it sat until I decided to convert it into a book (the iMac was invented but the iPod wasn’t.) and then it sat until two years ago when Al and I decided to give the self-publishing world a go. I figured if I was only able to write one book in my lifetime, (and it seemed to be taking that long) I would make it the book I’d want to read, so my target audience was one. And I’ve been my own best customer. There was pressure to follow market criteria for a successful book; a dazzling cover, writing to a customer base, grammar and punctuation, but I don’t do well that way. I’m a little rough around the edges and unrefined and my story is too.
ALLEN: As this was an idea Ed had back in our school days, I think we both wanted to maintain as much of our original “fun concept” and yet bring it a more grown up feeling. We wanted others to fall in love with Joe as we had over the years.
It seemed like you had a lot of fun writing this book. What was your favorite part to write?
ALLEN: As part of our process we would both send each other changes we wanted and Ed would choose what he thought was best. I would open up his changes and often be laughing out loud minutes later. Ed always had the better sense of humor. For me the beginning is the most fun to write as it is the most important part, without a good start readers won’t keep reading.
EDWARD: The most fun and most frustrating was weaving Poe’s ‘Raven’ into a chapter, but I also enjoyed turning the play by play of the Ali/Fraser, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ into a diplomatic fray. Unfortunately Longfellow, Tennyson and Whitman took a beating too. Sometimes things don’t work out well like my attempt to turn a car chase into a foxhunt but that did spawn the British/Aussie feud between the helicopter pilots. I also enjoyed paying homage to all the sci-fi I grew up with by weaving a lot of trivia into the book, the numbers 42, 2001, 1999 and terms like space seed, Thunderbirds, and countless more.
Joe is an interesting character, that encounters many odd situations and aliens. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
ALLEN: I have always felt we took the best of both of us and smashed it together to create Joe. So he is truly an average earthling. Other characters developed by trial and error. Whatever seemed best to throw Joe into some crazy situation seemed the direction that the other characters went. Then we tried to keep them as believable as possible.
EDWARD: I always found that ordinary people in extraordinary situations make the best stories. I also figured if we gave any character a name, they needed an idiom, because all people have their little quirks and it seems to make them more real. Other than that the characters drove the story, I was along for the ride and didn’t really know how it was going to turn out at times.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
ALLEN: We have a book in screenplay form coming very soon called “The Pen”. It is about a Squire helping his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections of a damsel, while they defend the land from a ruthless enemy from the Knight’s past. Squire helps his Knight win the affections.
EDWARD: I always have a bunch of half started storylines on my computer, but we are halfway through the first draft of what promises to be a more traditional sci-fi serial that Al developed (sorry Poe I took another shot at you in this one too). The Arturo Express (as mentioned in JOE) is beginning to form. And I’d love to write a Dr. WHO script.
It starts out with a very contrived first chapter setting events into motion for our hero, Joe, as he is accidentally abducted by alien super spies. They screamed like girls because the war is cold. And yet the book still continues with no well-defined antagonist, as a thief in the night complicates things further when data, the super spies are after, is stolen. This brings in the detective force with the android advantage. Soon after you fall into a precipice of idiocrasy, only to find that a painstakingly slow chapter ensues until we meet several minor characters one of which has a chapter named after him. A massive chase begins with Joe as the objective, and an old lady hits on a south of the boarder inamorta. A supplemental chapter is added because I couldn’t resist a childish bathroom joke. This just in! Joe finds out, that after her boyfriends, he’s not frightening. A quick night on the town with a montage is followed by mimosas and tomato juice. While Henry sits in the park. Intellegence? I dare say not. But there is a house party that leads into a musical interlude of Peer Gynt Suite I. Repetitive redundancy repeats itself with another chase of the same alien through the same town again…because…why not. And then we get to the last chapter which ends the book.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, ali, alien, allen petro, amazon, amazon books, amazon ebook, author, author interview, book, book review, books, dr who, earthling, ebook, ebooks, edward szynalski, facebook, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, fraser, goodreads, iMac, interview, J.O.E., just an ordinary earthling, kindle, kindle book, kindle ebook, literature, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, Rumble in the Jungle, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, screenplay, script, self publishing, space, space adventure, stories, thriller, twitter, urban fantasy, VCR, writing, YA, young adult