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J.R. Alcyone Author Interview

J.R. Alcyone Author Interview

Five Fathoms Beneath follows Ambrose as he must deal with the emotional and untimely death of his father. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing novel?

Without giving away too much personal information, I have experience with both cancer and bipolar disorder. That said, an author who chooses to write about mental illness is taking on a great responsibility–how we depict illnesses in fiction impact how people view those illnesses in reality. That led me to do research, and early in that process, I came across an article about the high incidence rate of suicide in the medical profession. There’s relatively little written on the topic, which isn’t surprising when you consider a mental illness diagnosis can adversely impact a doctor’s career. As someone outside the profession, however, I could write freely about the topic, without anyone assuming I was writing about myself or a colleague. And so I came up with the idea of writing a story about a family of medical doctors who deal across the generations with suicide and mental illness, especially depression.

This book deals with mental illness is a passionate and understanding way. Why was this an important topic for you to explore?

At the beginning of, “The Fault in Our Stars,” in his Author’s Note, John Green writes that it’s a fundamental assumption of our species that made-up stories matter. I think Green is absolutely correct because fiction informs how we view the world, and consequently, as writers, we not only have the power to entertain, but we also have the power to explore deeper themes and potentially change the world in a positive way.

We’re almost two decades into the supposedly “progressive” and “woke” twenty-first century, and mental illness is still being used as a pejorative or as a way to fear monger. And that’s even by people who frankly should know better. The stigma attached to mental illness dissuades people from seeking help. Not seeking help costs lives. And that’s something which impacts us all — whether it’s on the personal level when someone in our family is suffering, or on the societal level when we lose our best and brightest. We all should care about mental health because mental health is something which impacts us all.

My hope is Five Fathoms Beneath causes people to pause, rethink what mental illness looks like, and gets them talking about mental illness and suicide prevention.

Ambrose is a unique character that I liked watching change over time. What were some ideas you wanted to capture while creating his character?

I didn’t intend for Ambrose to speak for everyone with depression because depression exists on a spectrum and besides, everyone’s experience is unique and different. That said, with Ambrose’s character, the reader gets some insight into how a depressed person thinks. For example, when he snaps at his patients, it’s not because he’s an inherently bad person, it’s because he’s overwhelmed, exhausted, and struggling with his mental health. Ambrose also accurately depicts why it is difficult for members of certain professions to get help, and the serious impact and far-reaching effects an illness like depression can have on a person’s marriage, family, and life.

Beyond that, much of the novel deals with Ambrose trying to figure out where he fits in the universe and in the grand scheme of life. Ambrose wants to do good and be a hero, and he struggles with who he is and who he wants to be. In the end, he finds his way of being a hero in a way which plays to his own strengths and in a way which is his uniquely his own.

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

I’m currently in the process of brainstorming a sort of prequel to Five Fathoms Beneath, based around Ambrose’s father.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterWebsite

Five Fathoms Beneath by [Alcyone, J.R.]

If Ambrose Serafeim’s life is not quite perfect, then it’s very good–he lives in picturesque Western Australia, he has a lovely fiancée, and he is well on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a physician. Brose owes no small part of his station in life to his famous father, Alec, a gentle and idealistic pediatric heart surgeon who lives by a simple moral code–do good and be good. Brose believes in his father and that code the way he believes in absolutes like oxygen or gravity. But when Alec shatters Brose’s perfect world by acting in a way Brose can neither forgive nor understand, Brose is left foundering amidst an existential crisis and clinical depression, unsure not only who he is, but who his father was.

That is until a catastrophic injury in a running race changes everything.

The road from that catastrophic injury leads Brose to the same heart-stopping precipice on which Alec once stood. Facing the possible end of his marriage and having seemingly lost his career, will Brose repeat his father’s terrible mistake, or will Brose blaze a new path forward, one where he finally realizes his potential to help others?

A twist on Loren Eiseley’s famous essay, “The Star Thrower,” Five Fathoms Beneath blends a realistic medical backdrop with a dash of magical realism to tell the heartbreaking yet ultimately life-affirming tale of a man’s quest to find his life’s meaning.

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The Gift of Tears – Trailer

Jacob is a healthy fourteen-year-old from Massachusetts, an athlete who lives and breathes for baseball, football & hockey, when he is stricken by an awful and mysterious illness. What begins as a typical childhood malady swiftly proves to be anything but routine. Jacob’s folks, Keith and Alethea, the busy parents of four other children, find themselves thrust headlong into the trial of their lives. Their entire world is suddenly torn asunder.

From his doctor’s office, Jacob is rushed by ambulance to an Intensive Care Unit. What began as an average-every-day cold has graduated to pneumonia. But this is no ordinary pneumonia. Three days later Jacob is on life support. Within a week, his death is all but imminent. Nothing can be done. Doctors struggle feverishly to solve the mysteries Jacob’s body hurls at them, while Keith and Alethea, shell-shocked by the suddenness of it all, lean on their faith and on the army of supporters who have come to their aid – to pray with them, to cry with them and to hope with them.

Jacob’s father, a faithful man, a Gulf War veteran and a career prison officer, has been hardened over the years and has lost some of his faith in the goodness of humanity. The outpouring of unfettered love and kindness that he experiences from his family, his friends and from strangers during Jacob’s ordeal, however, lifts him, nourishes him and opens his heart. Through social media, Jacob’s plight touches the hearts and draws the hopes and the prayers of thousands. The army becomes legions. It almost seems as if there is purpose in what’s happening. Somehow Jacob’s illness seems to serve as a vessel for love and for goodness in the hearts of people.

Weeks pass as the whirring machines stream life into Jacob’s ravaged body, which has been whittled to the bone by the sinister disease that attacked him. Jacob’s lungs are obliterated by the savage pneumonia, the likes of which the medical staff at the renowned Boston Children’s Hospital have rarely seen. All appears lost as his parents cling to the promise of their faith. Keith does what no parent should ever have to do as he writes his son’s eulogy in preparation for, and in acceptance of, the inevitable.

The love of Jacob’s Army, though, stretches across the country until it finds a deeply spiritual man half a nation away who contacts Keith to share a powerful experience which overcomes him when he prays for this groaning family, and this dying boy, who he had never met or known. Then…things change.

Take the incredible and heart wrenching journey with Jacob and his family through the pages of The Gift of Tears. Feel the love and the goodness in the human heart. Ponder the mystery of faith. Join the brotherhood of community and the fellowship of hearts. Experience the embrace of healing. Hold their hands. Love with them. Laugh with them. Cry with them.

Believe in hope. Believe in healing. Believe in miracles.

Believe.

Available to order wherever books are sold.

Life Interrupted: It’s Not All About Me

Dealing with a disability or other debilitating disease is hard to begin with. When you don’t get the help that you need to deal with the changes your life is taking, it can cause irreversible harm to your relationships. Self-care is important; and is a burden that should not be placed on the people you love. It is alright to ask for help, but ultimately you are responsible for your own actions, how you deal with your situation, and making sure the people you love know you care about them. Chris Tatevosian gives readers an honest look into his life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and how he let his attitude destroy his marriage. He shares his insights into what went wrong with his “it’s all about me” mentality; and how he learned to overcome that and build healthy relationships in life.

Life Interrupted, It’s Not All About Me by Chris M. Tatevosian is a short read of less than 150 pages. It is however, filled with deep topics covering depression, anxiety, abuse and recovery. That is a lot of emotional energy packed into a few pages. Chris Tatevosian’s purpose in writing this book is to help others avoid the mistakes he made. He is very honest about the mistakes he made and offers the reader ideas on how to avoid making the same mistakes. There is a good mix of positive and humorous stories mixed in with the challenges, so it is not an all-out depressing book. He talks about the good times and bad with his ex-wife. Hearing about the struggles to get disability and social security is relatable to many with disabilities of all kinds and he explains how the stress impacts both the people in the relationship, not just the one with the disability.

At times the book feels like it is a personal journal where Chris is just writing out bits and pieces of his memories. I feel this is important though to the reader because you see him before MS took away his independence. You see him as he was, and it helps to understand why he became so bitter and fell into the “poor me” attitude that eventually ruined his marriage. Letting others see this makes it more real and relatable. In the end this book is not just about him complaining about all he lost due to MS, it is about how he learned to adapt and how he learned from his mistakes. This is a good book for people that are struggling and feel alone and feel that they can’t ever change the situation they are in. You may not be able to change your disability or disease, but you can change your attitude and how you relate to the people in your life to make your situation a little better.

Pages: 148 | ISBN: 1606045636

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A Family Project

Deborah Dolan Hunt Author Interview

Deborah Dolan Hunt Author Interview

As a mother daughter writing team it must have been a lot of fun writing together. What was the collaboration like between the two of you on this book?

It was a wonderful experience to write this book together. We collaborated from conception to completion and divided topics based on our areas of expertise. This also turned into a family project with my son Brian writing the piece on Cycling, and my other son John writing the piece on Journaling, and my son’s girlfriend Jaime writing the piece on Meditation. We all participated in the review and editing processes and that was quite helpful and exciting.

What do you find is a common misconception people have about essential oils?

I find that some people do not really understand the potential benefits and precautions of essential oils and how they should be used. For example, most should not be applied directly to the skin and there are recommended guidelines for dilution and use in aromatherapy and topically. I believe that many individuals are familiar with lavender and rose oils, however, are not cognizant of the number of essential oils. We included 20 of the most common ones but there are many more that provide myriad benefits.

Will you write more books in this field?

Although we do not have a specific book project planned at this time we do plan to do so in the future. This first book was intended as an introduction and overview of the various self-care practices and we plan to expand on these concepts and include additional topics in future books.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Essential Oils, Teas, & Self Care by [Hunt , Deborah , Hunt , Meaghan ]There are many potential health benefits of essential oils, herbal teas, and self-care practices. This book will provide information about various essential oils, herbal teas, and other self-care practices along with recommendations for use and precautions to follow. It is important to note that this book is informational and is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Please consult with your healthcare provider to discuss potential benefits and risks before incorporating any of these self-care measures.

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Midwife of Normandy

Clare Dupres, ambitious young Huguenot midwife living in turbulent 17th century France, struggles to save her family and career from the terrors of tyrannical King Louis XIV.

On the brink of womanhood, she records in her journal the grand plan for her perfect life–marriage to the man she loves, renovation of mysterious Maison Dupres as her home, and a rewarding profession. The key to her plan lies in “the magic elixir,” her ancestors’ secret formula for pain-free childbirth, which she offers solely to wealthy aristocratic women.

But King Louis’ increasing pressure on Huguenots to convert to Catholicism shatters Clare’s dreams. Her lover forced to flee France, she is compelled to marry his boring brother. Then she is banned from practicing midwifery. Yearning to continue her profession coupled with fear that her children will be kidnapped by Papists, Clare tries to convince her stubborn husband to move to England, but he is blind to the growing menace. When danger lurks in the form of the King’s dreaded Dragonnade soldiers, she must summon all her strength and determination to save her family.

Can Clare succeed in getting her family safely out of France before it is too late?

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Real Feelings and Emotions

Kim Nugent Author Interview

Kim Nugent Author Interview

Did I Say Never is the emotional journey you took when you became a step mother to a special needs child. What was the inspiration that made you want to put your experiences into a book?

Truthfully when I began to reflect on our journey, I just kept thinking I wish there had been a book to help me. If we can help one family or a teacher or a caregiver by sharing what we learned, it was worth putting pen to paper.

I appreciated your candor and openness in the story, and it helped me fully understand your struggle. Was there anything that was difficult for you to write about?

Yes, any time I had to write about Brooks being injured or going back to the hospital was painful even at an older age of consuming nuts and bolts at the sheltered workshop. It literally makes me cry.

Do you find that there is a common misconception people have about special needs children?

Maybe not common misconception but as far as we have come in the area of disabilities, we have a long way to go. People feel uncomfortable around people who are different from them so they tend to avoid getting to know them. Special needs children have real feelings and emotions but they may express them differently.

I felt like this book was about family, devotion, and working through struggles. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

First, I truly want readers to use the book as a resource guide and ponder the questions for their family to consider what is best for them. Second, I hope they look at the milestones proactively and develop a plan for what they want as a family. Third, look for the angels in your life that can help. Finally, realize you are not alone even though there will be many days you think you are all alone.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent's Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Dr. Kim Nugent is the best-selling author of Did I Say Never. Kim shares her personal 32 year spiritual journey, a true story, filled with sorrows and joys, challenges and tears that unfolded during her marriage and life as a step parent. The intention of the book is to provide ideas, questions, resources and heartfelt encouragement for parent’s to help their special needs child or adult so they achieve their full potential and improve the overall quality of their life.

Kim never thought she would marry again and for sure not to a man who had children.
Little did she know that her life would change –in unimaginable and dramatic ways, and this is where the story begins!

Did I Say Never is an emotional journey of love, frustration, and overwhelm. Kim step-by-step describes the details of each step she took on the path and talks about the Angels that appeared just at the right time to guide and uplift her.

While Kim does not have all the answers for you and your family, she knows the struggles, pains, joys and victories. Kim offers remarkable disability resources and questions for consideration for you, your family, teachers, and caregivers.

Have you ever felt completely lost, confused or extremely overwhelmed about what to do next with your disabled child or adult? Have you ever felt clueless as to what questions to ask next or what resources might be available to you? Then grab a copy and don’t let anyone stop you from “designing your life without limits”! Did I Say Never is a must read.

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Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Have you ever wondered what Chakras are and how they can impact your well-being? Teresa McCallum has written a book that is the culmination of years of research, personal experiences, and learning from experts. McCallum is a registered nurse that has spent many years working in the mental health field and has the educational background to back up her findings using these non-traditional methods. In Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art you will discover what the seven Chakras are, where they are located, how to determine if it is blocked, deficient or in excess of energy and how to correct it so you can bring your body into balance. In addition to providing readers with information on the Chakras and how to balance them, she gives readers real life examples and stories. Many from her own life as a nurse, and her own personal experiences.

Walk through any book store or brows online and you will find thousands of self-help books.

One of the different aspects of this book over others on Chakras is the incorporation of art in all stages. Teresa McCallum offers up methods to incorporate specific forms of art for each Chakras to help you find balance. From working with clay to dance and performing arts, there are an abundance of suggestions on how to use art forms to focus your mind and body to heal your Chakras. There are examples of art, and there are diagrams and instructions for the recommended yoga poses. It is all organized with plenty of quick reference charts to refer back to. I particularly love the silhouettes drawings of the yoga poses, they are simple and uncomplicated and make it easy for me to see how the pose is done. For more complicated one there are instructions as well as recommended breathing techniques to go with them. I found most of the stories helpful in understanding the purpose of each of the Chakras, though a few felt drawn out longer than needed. You can tell the author has a great passion for helping others and the people she chooses to include in this book mean a great deal to her. Sharing of her personal struggles, especially her cardiac arrest, make her relatable because she shows how her life took such a drastic downfall and what she needed to do to heal.

Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art is a great reference for those new or old to the study of Chakras and self-healing. It is inspiring to learn to detect all the symptoms in your body and trace them back to an origin. What I appreciate the most in this book, is that Teresa McCallum doesn’t promote ignoring traditional medicine and the advice of doctors. She encourages the use of Chakra balancing in addition to getting medical treatment when needed. It is refreshing to see that the two worlds can be combined. I recommend this book for anyone curious about Chakras and how this can improve their day to day life.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B079P9B6Y6

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High-Functioning Alcoholism: Live It Sober

High-Functioning Alcoholism: Live It Sober4 Stars

High Functioning Alcoholism: Live it Sober by Gray Nomad is a non-fiction book on how to recognize high-functioning alcoholism in yourself or someone else. There is also a short fiction piece with the purpose of illustrating how widespread high-functioning alcoholism is within people. The piece shows anyone, of any status, can be a high-functioning alcoholic. The book also contains some tips on managing high-functioning alcoholism. Nomad stresses the importance of seeking professional help if you suspect an alcohol issue and the importance of education. Furthermore, the book provides concrete examples of high-profile people who had issues with high-functioning alcoholism.

This book is an informational introspective work. The short story produced by Nomad unquestionably opens your eyes on who could have a high-functioning alcoholism issue. The book is short, about 40 pages, and it’s all focused on education and awareness regarding the safety and hazards of consuming alcohol. What I enjoyed most about this work is that it gives examples of how to safely enjoy alcohol.

One of the more important aspects I got out of the book was the author’s mention of talking with children and teaching them about alcoholism at a young age. Teaching is a type of intervention, which is an essential part of preventing future issues. Conversations about sensitive and taboo topics like this one are crucial, which is why a book like this is great. Nomad uses their knowledge of the health science field and their personal experience to bring you in.

There are a few grammatical issues that could use some polishing. However, it does not take away from the overall message or enjoyment of the book. The book is well written and informative which left me wanting more after 40 short pages. It’s informative and interesting. However, I think more information and a more in-depth look at the case study could increase awareness on the topic. I believe it would give more potency if there were more details, especially with high profile cases and the case study.

Overall, this book was enjoyable. It is a quick, compelling read. The purpose is to “wake up” someone to the dangers of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and it does just that. There is good, solid advice on not only how to recognize the dangers of alcohol consumption but also tips on managing high-functioning alcohol issues, the importance of educating others and talking about this subject, and the importance of talking to professionals.

After reading this book I had to reflect on my own life to see if I was a high functioning alcoholic! I did have a glass of wine last night. Oh no! (You’ll be happy to know that I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not. Thanks Gray Nomad!)

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to know more about alcoholism. As a person who is concerned with people’s health, this is a good read. It gives you a glance into the world of alcohol abuse and how it is more pervasive than one might think. Nomad makes a significant contribution to health services and humanity.

Pages: 39 | ASIN: B01N95RT4E

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When The Patient Is Not The Sick One!

Vera Mortina: When the patient is not the sick one! (Dangerous Doctors Series) by [Markov, Dimitri]

Dimitri Markov Author Interview

Vera Mortina is a medical fiction novel about a sordid doctor that begins work at a medical practice where strange and deadly things begin to happen. The tag line, ‘when the patient is not the sick one’, is chillingly appropriate. What was your inspiration for Dr. Vera Mortina’s character and her troubled disposition?

I interact with a number of professionals who have rather troubling dispositions, some are physicians, some are nurses, administrators, patients, lawyers and others. How little do we really know about those “difficult” people we have to work with every day? This led to a fictional account developed on the theme of Dangerous Doctors.

There was a lot of time spent crafting the character traits in this novel. What was the most important factor for you to get right in your characters?

The most difficult and yet the most crucial characteristic of Dr Vera Mortina was to convincingly portray how she could function so well as a medical professional and yet be so dangerously disturbed. How she could create such a believable façade that even her partner wanted to get closer to her, and not run away. Her partner was so skilled in his profession, yet he was really blind for a long time, he was drawn to Dr Vera like a moth attracted to the candle light.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists present themselves as you were writing?

I conceived the general outline and worked on the development as a thought project for a long time before writing it down and developing from an outline. It all revolved around Dr Vera, and she led me to uncover some of the dangerous things she was really up to.

Vera Mortina is a part of your Dangerous Doctors series. What will the next book in that series be about and when will it be published?

At this point, my writing efforts are going to frequently revisiting the writing of the other three Dangerous Doctors, to refine the presentations and address many of the questions you asked above. This includes the theme of excess commercialization of in vitro fertilization clinics in The Surrogate, how the paranoia of aging could effect a physician in Her Charm was Contageous, and the relentless desire for immortality and money in a biotech researcher in BloodBird. Fostering believability is always an issue.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Vera MortinaChosen in a rush, Dr. Vera Mortina joins a small medical group, but without adequate exploration of her rather unusual background. Her sudden arrival is accompanied by acrimony, odd and disturbing idiosyncratic behaviors, and the unexpected deaths of several patients and staff. The closer Dr. Richard Bates looks into Vera, with her violent thoughts and bizarre hobbies, the more imperiled his own life becomes.

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The Capabilities Of The Mind

Bloodbird is a futuristic novel that explores the possibilities of technological and medical advances. What is your experiences in these fields? Have you always been interested in science and medicine?

I have always been interested in science and medicine. As a practicing physician, I see medicine as it exists and can envision much of where it will be going. Transplant medicine is a very interesting field, with lots of hope for the future. Who knows what is not transplantable today will be done in the future. Certainly, none of the characters in BloodBird could envision the apparent ancillary, unintended and unanticipated transplant which seems to have occurred to Karolena, nor the rather weird transplant that Blutfink ended up getting in the ending. Did Blutfink get his wish granted? Only he will know.

BloodBird is an interesting look into where medical and technological research can expand. What is one medical advancement we have today that you only thought would be science fiction?

Computer chips that are implanted in the brain that are triggering movement of artificial limbs, and maybe facilitating sight.

There is a lot of time and care spent with descriptions and building the setting and tone of the story in Bloodbird. Was this out of necessity to develop the depth of the story or was it something that happened naturally as you were writing?

Both. I felt that the changes in transplant surgery, in medicine, and even in the basic fabric of society needed fleshing out for the reader to appreciate what the near future could bring, and what it would be like to actually live among Karolena and the other characters. Some things changed a lot, but others not at all.

Karolena develops an interesting ability to see events from the past and into the future. Why do you think this ability was important to tell the story? Was there any other abilities you might of used?

Karolena was loosing her sight, and the VAA area of the brain is actually involved in certain aspects of vision, so there is an element of medical plausibility here. Seeing out of the past or into the future is not currently associated medically with the physiologic function of the VAA or of any known function of a body structure, but there is much that we do now know about the capabilities of the mind. BTW, BloodBird was initially titled Second Sight.

Here is a question for YOU the readers. The author would like to ask whether any readers have speculated on the origin on the book’s title? Please post your responses in the comments section below.

Author Links: Amazon Author Page

Karolena Kreisler, a young German ex-pat surgeon in North Carolina, develops a worsening of her chronic liver disease, complicated by an unusual loss of vision. She elects to undergo an experimental transplant when a donor “miraculously” becomes available, which seems life and vision saving. Karolena soon develops an unusual ability to “see” events, past and future, and this haunting ability drives her to the truth behind certain high income business ventures at her hospital. The action takes place in the not too distant future, giving the reader a glimpse of what life, research and medicine could soon be like. This is futuristic medical fiction at its best, and will appeal to anyone who has contact with healthcare professionals. Nurses, office staff, paramedics, administrators, doctors and most of all patients will recognize all these characters, their bizarre actions and perhaps relate to their sometimes irrational, emotional behavior. You will be left wondering which parts are fiction, what actually occurred, and what the author left out.

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