Blog Archives

What It Takes To Survive

Mr. J. Peters
J Peters Author Interview

University on Watch is your true story detailing the obstacles you faced in academia and how you were forced to overcome your disabilities while facing bias and ignorance from people at the university. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I fell in love when I was in college in New London with language. If I was ever going to put process the trauma and move towards healing I needed to recapture the events in the book through the very words that were so precious to me years ago.

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

The impact of a major mental health disorder on a person’s life. Specifically, for young people alone and isolated from supports, and other vulnerable people. They needed to know what it takes to survive, and the various threatening intersections there are in the health and healing.

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

Always keep in mind your behavior and the goals that you are setting out to accomplish. The behavior has a direct impact on us and the outcomes in life. Sometimes, without doing everything we can do to keep moving is all we have to hold on to in our darkest hours.

You are a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Has your time helped others informed the development of your book?

Without the clinical language, I wouldn’t’ be convinced I had what it took to write the book. Prior to healing and becoming a social worker, I had only one lens through to see the world. Back then, I also felt a certain way about my grip on the world (shame, guilt, all of it). The point is without a whole new way of understanding the world, what else was I offering but a closed-off and a non-illuminating text.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

University on Watch is a story about youthful hope, yearning for more, and triumph over failures and mistakes beyond our own control and doing. The book is a native story to New York state, but couldn’t be more otherworldly, at times supernatural and grippingly suspenseful as the book unfolds. The crisis in the academy, or New London University, is one that goes to the very epicenter of higher learning and education. This crisis is also conjectured, created by the mind of Jacques Peters, a student rejected from the graduate school in English at New London University.Jacques Peters will do everything in his power to uncover the reason for his rejection from graduate school. Meta-power, a word Jacques Peters believes is behind the root of power in the English department and the reason for his rejection becomes the point of departure for a quest into the very root of power in New London. During this quest, Jacques stops at nothing to hold university officials, department offices, and the community accountable for terminating his education prematurely.
Mr. Peters will travel across New York State, visiting friends, loved ones, and old schoolmates from his High School days at Wales. Through his journey, Jacques will undergo another transformation while contesting the admission decision to the very end, putting his health and life at risk forever.

First Generation Father

First Generation Father: How to Build a Healthy and Happy Home When You Come From a Broken One by [Anthony Blankenship]

In First Generation Father: How to Build a Healthy and Happy Home When You Come From a Broken One, Anthony Blankenship displays his diverse writing skills. The author’s writing will have one virtually wear his shoes and experience the things he went through. Not only is he skilled with his narration, but he is also great when driving a point home. Anthony Blankenship will give stories and tales of his experiences, but at the end of the paragraph, there will be a life lesson or life hack that the author will have shared. Reading this book was a delight. It enables you to see life from the eyes of different people and helps you understand the different types of families that exist.

In the introduction, the author explains in detail what a first-generation father is. He explains that a first-generation father is any man who grew up without having to experience the love and guidance of a father. One thing I have to applaud Anthony Blankenship on is how great he is when explaining unfamiliar terms and new words. The author goes into detail and even gives examples whenever he talks of a subject or a term not many are familiar with. Reading about and understanding all the terms associated with broken unhappy homes, trauma, and childhood depression was interesting.

Anthony Blankenship’s story is not entirely sad. A huge part of his narration was agonizing but one could see the light at the end of the tunnel. The author writes extensively about his childhood and time growing up, talking about family members and everyone he interacted with. Reading about his past was intriguing. Anthony Blankenship is so good with his words that one can tell how emotional he was when going through the experiences and when recounting them. I appreciate the positive tone in the author’s text. Anthony Blankenship had a ray of hope and positivity even when talking about sad events. He has a way of encouraging his readers and people that may be going through the struggles he went through.

First Generation Father is a great book for fathers that want to be the best version of themselves and young men who are yet to experience fatherhood. There are tons of lessons for males and wise words that will guide them as they lead their homes. Every child deserves a happy home and as the author writes, no one should be stigmatized for coming from broken homes. There are a dozen lessons for both parents and children. The language used in the book is easy to understand and the stories told compellingly. First Generation Father is a nice quick read that will have you appreciate the work present fathers do.

Pages: 204 | ASIN: B08JNN82PP

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A Key Enigma For Our Time

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Larry Lockridge Author Interview

The Cardiff Giant follows an investigative reporter searching for the missing Cardiff Giant where he wades through some wild theories to get to the truth. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

The plot was conceived in a eureka moment when I visited the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. The sculpture of the Cardiff Giant is so crude (quite unlike Marcia Scanlon’s projective cover design) that it seemed preposterous to me that so many people, including the scientific community of Boston, could have fallen for the hoax—that it was an ancient human fossil. This set me to thinking about human gullibility in general, certainly a key enigma for our time. The fictional circumstance came to me right then and there, as I peered at the homely Giant laid out in a shallow pit: what if this large piece of gypsum were to disappear? Would people, with their various belief systems in place, jump to conclusions, especially that the Giant has been reanimated and is roving the community? In short, yes.

Jess Freeman is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Jess Freeman, the investigative reporter, occupies the middle between his gullible new acquaintances and Thor Ohnstad, the relentless skeptic. In the beginning he wishes to set aside his own humdrum skepticism for the greater excitement of belief in something exotic or paranormal. Three encounters with the thudding Giant suffice to make him, if only in some measure, a believer also, hopefully setting aside his investigative objectivity. The novel takes an added and, I hope, deeper twist when it is revealed that Thor Ohnstad, hardly an exemplar of the Enlightenment, is psychologically deranged. The novel avoids any simple conclusion that the faculty of reason can always prevail against passionate and misguided commitments. Jess Freeman, himself for a time deranged by sexual jealousy, comes to recognize in Thor Ohnstand his unnerving double.

I felt like this novel was high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

Yes, there are key themes of social import that I explore in THE CARDIFF GIANT. The novel ends when a redneck marries a transsexual! The theme of sexual identity is high on the list, but beyond this is human identity itself. The important characters (there are only seven) define themselves in terms of their ideological commitments. The New Age believer in prior lives, for example, knows herself to be one-fourth Native American and is attempting to become one-hundred percent. The believer in kabbalistic numerology is attempting to expunge her one-half non-Jewish parentage, an odious father, and become wholly Jewish. In the end, these characters settle for the identity they already have and put aside their stretchers. E.g. The believer in kabbalistic numerology reverts to mainstream cultural Judaism. But the phantasmagoric ending unsettles any easy fallback that everyone, including Jack Thrasher himself, has settled into a comfortable, recognizable world.

This book is part of The Enigma Quartet. What can readers expect in the next book?

The four novels of THE ENIGMA QUARTET are described in full on my website, from which I draw a bit here. I’ll say something about all four. (The first chapter of the novel set in Cyprus is found in the back matter of my Giant and is an overture to the novel as a whole.) They do not have recurring characters or plot strands but are united in how characterization relates to plot structure and in recurring themes. THE CARDIFF GIANT satirizes human gullibility. THE GREAT CYPRUS THINK TANK satirizes utopian ideals. OUT OF WEDLOCK satirizes the nature versus nurture controversy, centering on human identity. And THE WOMAN IN GREEN satirizes key aspects of American history. Whatever these shifts in emphasis, human identity is the largest thematic connection. And in each I launch a small cast of singular humans confronted with puzzles or enigmas who set out to resolve them. They suffer entanglements within the ranks and external threats but ultimately prevail in their quests through buoyancy, pluck, and affection. THE ENIGMA QUARTET is a testimony to human resolve and intelligence, despite a large dose of counterevidence. As Malachy McCourt writes of THE CARDIFF GIANT, “this fierce, upbeat novel is a timely restorative in a dark season.” I’d like to think this true of all four.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Cardiff Giant, set in Cooperstown, New York, has up its novelistic sleeve Puck’s profound declaration, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Jess Freeman, investigative reporter, arrives on the scene to look into the weird disappearance from the Farmers’ Museum of a huge human figure. He had been unearthed in the late nineteenth century near Cardiff, New York. Jess confronts locals and outsiders who all have a theory, including that the giant has been reanimated and is lurching throughout the community. They are enmeshed in self-punishing belief systems such as alien abduction, astrology, kabbalistic numerology, New Age rebirthing, and religious dogmas reduced to literal absurdities. The fast-paced action centers around episodes where they pay a sorry price for their beliefs. But skeptics don’t fare much better, susceptible as they are to mental disorders that show the faculty of reason is fragile indeed. These characters group and regroup, with romance always on their minds, and finally come to recognitions at once surprising and moving.

Patterns Are Inevitable. Growth Is Optional

Matt Norman
Matt Norman Author Interview

Four Patterns of Healthy People helps readers build better behaviors in order to reach their full potential in both life and business. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Seeing people grow beyond unhealthy patterns has been the most rewarding part of my career. As a leadership speaker and coach, it’s clear to me that everyone gets into patterns of thinking or behaving because of their family influences or as a way of adapting to their life circumstances. Every day, those ways of thinking and behaving get repeated until one day they are often no longer helpful. Whether it’s a new relationship, a job, a new phase of life, or a trial we’re facing, we realize our old ways of thinking and behaving don’t serve us well. At that point, we can either self-confront and grow, or remain stuck. That’s why I thought this book was important to write – to help people and organizations thrive by identifying and improving patterns that need to change.

What do you feel is a common misconception people have about success in life?

People often associate success with gratification or comfort. The truth is, success is more about joy, meaning, and purpose. And those things come from doing hard things – like working hard, enduring suffering, having difficult conversations, and thinking critically. This never ends in life. Those who stop growing and doing hard things may achieve a level of pleasure but miss out on true joy, meaning, and purpose.

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

Patterns are inevitable. Growth is optional. Growth requires the ability and willingness to self-confront patterns in how you think, relate to others, view yourself, and operate your life. That’s painful work but it leads to the greatest joy and impact.

Do you have plans to write more books on this topic?

Yes, my next book will likely be related to influencing others to grow in positive ways.

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Identify Recurring Patterns to Grow Beyond What Is Holding You Back from Success and Fulfillment!
Your most powerful work is overcoming the mistakes, flaws, and wounds you have internalized throughout your life. Are you ready to harness that?
Recurring themes of conflict, cognition, addiction, time allocation, and situational responses become patterns that affect your decisions, both positively and negatively.
Once you are aware of these recurring patterns, you can use them to place emphasis on the positive impact and minimize the negative.
Understanding these patterns is step one to becoming a healthier version of yourself.
Do you believe that you can change patterns in how you think and relate to others to have a more fulfilling life?
You can.
In 2002, Matt Norman suffered from debilitating panic attacks that sidelined him from business meetings, making it difficult for him to interact with others. Once he learned to recognize the patterns that were causing his anxiety, Matt was able to overcome it. Now, he is a leader in the industry that mentors others on how to do the same.
You have a choice.
You can stay stuck in the same recurring patterns or you can identify and confront those patterns in an effort to grow.
Your brain will remind you of trauma and past experiences to keep you in the same pattern of survival, “Be careful, you got hurt last time!”
It makes you resist change because it might be risky! As a result, you remain in fixed patterns that can limit productivity and be downright debilitating.
This is the brain’s natural reaction, but that does not mean you have to be locked into this limiting behavior. You can create new connections in your brain that encourage new thoughts and actions.
Don’t you think it’s time for you to grow and lead a more fulfilling life?
You’re the reason Matt wrote this book. His passion is to show you how to recognize recurring negative patterns that are holding you back and help you embrace the growth that will carry you to new heights!
Matt Norman is President & CEO of Norman & Associates. Through Norman & Associates, he helps people think and work together more effectively. Matt’s coaching has helped Fortune 100 corporations, non-profits, and entrepreneurs change the way they engage with their employees and clients.
If you’re ready to begin identifying the recurring patterns that are holding you back, confront them, and advance to a healthier and more fulfilling life, then you’re in the right place.

Choose Your Stories, Change Your Life

John Sautelle’s Choose Your Stories, Change Your Life is a book that will help you reflect on your life, the decisions you make, and the path you take. The author writes about basic things that people indulge in daily. As he discusses the various topics, the author created characters and gave them traits that defined their personalities to help the reader understand human behavior. I enjoyed reading about the characters and had a few that I considered favorites at the end of the reading. John Sautelle’s characters appear real in every sense and even had me compare some of them to characters I know in real life.

John Sautelle’s narrates the stories engagingly, making the reader feel like part of the discussion. The conversations among characters are interesting and feel authentic. Looking at the characters, one gets to understand why people around us tend to behave the way they do. Some people are easy to talk with while others have some unique traits that need a little understanding. On working with difficult people, the reader learns that the only way that you can make one change or improve their behavior is by tenderly communicating. There are different ways of communication and the channel one uses can determine the outcome of a conversation.

The reader also gets informed about being responsible for whatever they do. Making plans is one thing but fulfilling them is a different story. Many people get to write down their goals, but how many actually achieve their set targets? The author helps you understand why you do not see through the annual resolutions you make, and how you can change that. As an adult, the author reminds us that to be successful you have to be committed. Fate may have something in store for you but be the one to choose your dreams.

Choose Your Stories, Change Your Life is an invigorating self-help book that will help you on your self-improvement journey. Through the characters George, Lili, Jan, and Stefan, the reader gets to experience real challenges that people face. I appreciate the author’s characters selection as each of them was unique. Some characters teach one about patience, others about having a forgiving heart, while others make one feel confident with themselves. You need to take your time when reading this book as the author has several vital teachings that can help you navigate the challenges you face in life. The book makes you understand that life is a process and you need to take one step at a time.

Pages: 80 | ASIN: B076CKL2NH

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The Most Important Asset

Mari Ryan
Mari Ryan Author Interview

The Thriving Hive provides readers with guidance on creating a work culture that is both satisfied and motivated. Why was this an important book for you to write?

All too often we hear about employee disengagement and high turnover rates. Both of these issues cost employers millions of dollars a year. When employees have an experience at work where they feel connected to the purpose of the organization and feel they are cared for, they are more likely to both be engaged and stay with the organization. In writing this book, I hoped to show leaders and managers that they can create a workplace where both the employees and the business thrive.

What do you find is a common misconception leaders have about employees roles in companies?

In many organizations, employees are treated as assets that are there to be used up and discarded. Without your employees, you can’t achieve your business objectives. Employees are an asset, but need to be viewed as the most important asset of an organization.

You are a workplace well-being strategist and CEO of Advancing Wellness. How has your experience helped you write this book?

I’ve spent my entire career in business, with experiences in organizations from some of the largest, most notable companies in the world to very small businesses. I’ve seen the good, the bad and, yes, even the ugly.

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

The one thing I hope readers take away is that they can influence their own organization to create a workplace where well-being is a core value and that caring for their people is a key priority.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Mari Ryan, a workplace well-being strategist, tells a simple, yet insightful story in The Thriving Hive: How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results. A first-time CEO realizes her organization is no longer attracting and retaining the kinds of employees they need to remain competitive and keep their customers happy. She seeks help from a mentor, the retired former CEO. With his unconventional insights, he introduces her to two very different beehive workplace cultures and how they deal with adversity.

Replete with interesting characters, the parable takes you on a journey as the bees experience hive-threatening situations. The story looks at the organizational behavior, how leadership and their management teams can create workplace cultures that diminish or support the well-being of their employees. You’ll meet the management teams and worker bees that represent typical employees in any business.

Readers join the CEO in learning about:

o Putting employee wellness first to revitalize a company

o The economic benefits of a people-centric workplace

o Creating a workplace culture with organizational behaviors that encourage organizational well-being

o Implementing structural adjustments that support employee engagement

o Strategic viewpoints and tactical practices for enhancing employee well-being

This is a quick read for anyone who wants guidance for creating a culture of well-being, purpose, vitality, and satisfaction, for an all-encompassing employee experience.

A Symbol Of New Beginnings

Lili Naghdi Author Interview

Lili Naghdi Author Interview

On Loving follows Rose who must deal with a storm of emotional chaos involving family, secrets and another man. What was the source of inspiration for the journey that Rose goes on in this book?

As a family physician, I’ve had a true chance to work with different people, men or women, at different stages of their lives and this gave me a chance to get more familiar with humans’ emotional changes and the way they affect people’s lives. People that I’ve come to know and worked with always inspire me. An important lesson I’ve learned during all these years of practicing was that self-awareness and self-scrutiny are the hardest tasks to get through in life and people who have the chance to achieve them are, indeed, the luckiest people alive. Rose is an accomplished woman, modern and respected. A woman with a good career and education who has a wealthy family with all the possibilities in front of her, but she is still missing something, and she doesn’t feel complete. She needs to know her roots and she needs to go through her personal growth to become satisfied with herself. Falling in love and what comes next gives her this opportunity to know herself, her strengths, her weaknesses and how to overcome her fears and open her heart to embrace her life at every stage of it. She learns that being a woman is a privilege and something to be proud of.

Rose is an intriguing and thoroughly developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character?

“Rose”, a symbol of new beginnings, hope and resilience, was the name I chose for this main female character. The year is 1972 and the world is changing. She is a modern and educated woman with the respect for her fellow human beings. She is a strong-willed character, but weak and fragile at the same time during the challenges she faces while taking many steps of her love-driven life journey. As in real life, being a professional particularly being a physician, doesn’t protect her from the devastating and destroying effects of tragedies she endures in her turbulent life. She is a human being with all the flaws and faults, beauties and capabilities possible. She falls, she breaks into pieces, but she stands up again and moves on in her own ways. The title is chosen in a loving memory of the late, controversial Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, who was also a modern woman with her modern ideas much ahead of her time in a society that discriminated woman and criticized her for her ideas and the way she expressed her emotions. Just like Rose, she was a free spirit who explored her emotions and as a poet she brought them to life by writing beautiful poetry that showed the delicate soul of a young woman in a modest and pure manner. I intended Rose to represent such a woman, but in another type of setting, a surgeon with a good knowledge about literature who learns how to analyze her emotional journey and connect to her inner being to become a better person.

This novel is emotional and explores the meaning of love in new ways. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this book?

“On Loving” is a love story, but more importantly it is a story about love itself: its psychology, its physiology and the research behind it. The concept of conditional versus unconditional love has been explored in depth in this story. Both main male characters were following their own agendas representing these two concepts from the beginning till the end. Valuing and getting to know your emotions (including love, anger, fear, jealousy, etc.) by working to achieve self-awareness was another main point I was intending to explore. Unfortunately, unknown or miscomprehended emotions can make us vulnerable in life and be the main source for depression and anxiety disorders. Rose, on the other hand, explored the real meaning of love (both of the above concepts), depression, bereavement and their inevitable consequences all through this story. Being a physician with the knowledge of these mental health issues never made her immune to these unfortunate consequences. In fact, she was missing the signs for years and this is what we see in real life of many people including health care professionals.

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

I am working on a new story which is also about women’s related issues and the issues I work with as a physician. The title, “Greeting the Sun Again”, has also been chosen to honor Forugh Farrokhzad, the late Iranian poet, and it has been taken from the title of her popular and famous poem called, “I will Greet the Sun Again”. Just like “On Loving”, It is a love story twisted with literature, history and everyday life realities. I’m expecting it to be out by next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | FacebookWebsite

On Loving by [Naghdi, Lili]In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.

Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.

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Toxic Relationships

Diane Pomerantz Author Interview

Diane Pomerantz Author Interview

Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a candid retelling of your life and the many trials you faced throughout. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was an important book for me to write Lost in the Reflecting Pool for several reasons. On a personal level, writing was a way for me to process some very difficult, and traumatic times in my life. The act of writing itself, allowed me to gain enough distance and perspective to gain understanding that I don’t think I would have otherwise gained.

Equally important, my book covers many issues that are of particular relevance to women and men in terms of toxic relationships, narcissism, trusting the red flags that one sees early on in relationships and I think that it is important that these are important issues for the general population to be aware of as they enter into relationships.

You wrote about a relationship with a man that you struggled to break free of; what is one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning?

Trust what I saw – and to not ignore what I saw.

The book is a memoir about many difficult things in your life, but the story is ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

I hope that people will take away from my story that it is possible to change to course of one’s life even when things feel as if there is no way out – things can get better. Developing a support system is essential. When in a toxic relationship make sure that one does not allow oneself to become isolated from all other supports (friends and family).

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

I am currently working on a psychological thriller, Call Me Angel which should be available late 2020 and I am working on two children’s books.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Twitter

Lost in the Reflecting Pool: A Memoir by [Pomerantz, Diane]

When Diane, a psychologist, falls in love with Charles, a charming and brilliant psychiatrist, there is laughter and flowers—and also darkness. After moving through infertility treatments and the trials of the adoption process as a united front, the couple is ultimately successful in creating a family. As time goes on, however, Charles becomes increasingly critical and controlling, and Diane begins to feel barraged and battered. When she is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Charles is initially there for her, but his attentiveness quickly vanishes and is replaced by withdrawal, anger, and unfathomable sadism. What Diane previously thought were just Charles’ controlling ways are replaced by clear pathologic narcissism and emotional abuse that turns venomous at the very hour of her greatest need.

A memoir and a psychological love story that is at times tender and at times horrifying, Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a chronicle of one woman’s struggle to survive within—and ultimately break free of—a relationship with a man incapable of caring about anyone beyond himself.

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