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Writing Lets Me Share That Feeling

Author Interview
James Murdock

Spirit contains short poems, a few are written in a unique narrative form that explore family relationships and provide commentary on religion, political situations and current events. What inspires you to write poetry?

My inspiration occurred 20 years ago. I hurried onto the trail to Philbin Beach. I was late for sunset. The people all left when the sun went below the horizon. I always loved the time after, when the sun’s rays shown on the underside of the clouds. The water slowly turns from blue to grey to black.

I thought I was the only one on the beach. Then I saw a woman, maybe 30 years old, in a long dress standing right up to the water. She said nothing, looked around her , then back to the ocean. She walked into the water up to her chest, looked back again and went under completely and stayed under.

I realized what was happening and ran into the water, found her, pulled her up and out of the water and onto the beach.

She opened her eyes and said, “No one cares! No one!”

“I care”, I said. “I am your golden retriever. I will never stop you from going back into and under the water, but every time you do I will come in after you, pull you out and revive you.” She stood up glaring at me. “We can do this all night” I said.

She turned, walked then ran into the water up to her chest, stopped and then went under. I started after her, stopped and counted to 50. Then I went in, found her, pulled her out and onto the beach. After a moment she looked up at me.

“Are you ready to go home?” I asked. “Yes”, she said, “Yes, I am!”

Ten years later I was on the trail to Philbin Beach with my eight year old granddaughter, Ashlyn. A woman was leaving. We passed each other on the trail, went a short distance then at the same time paused, turned around and looked at each other. She walked back up and said to Ashlyn, “You know this guy?” “He’s my Papa”, said Ashlyn.

“A long, long time ago your Papa saved me. I was very sad, all alone, no one cared. I came to the beach and went under the water. Your Papa came in after me, pulled me out.

“No one cares I said, no one.”

“I care your Papa said. I’m your golden retriever I will never keep you from going in the water but every time you do I will come in and pull you out.”

“I was still so sad. I went back into the water, looked back at him and went under, But he didn’t come. Now I was not just sad, I was scared. Did he lie? Did he just leave? Oh

my God, oh no. Then his arms were around me. He pulled me out, carried me onto the beach.”

The woman knelt down to Ashlyn. “When Papa waited something happened to me. I wanted to be saved.”
She stood up, smiled, turned and walked away.

Ashlyn reached over, took my hand and touched it to her cheek. We turned around and walked to the beach.

My favorite poem from this collection is ‘Facing The Storm’, because it’s short but potent. Do you have a favorite poem from this book?

I have a number of favorite poems. The one that has meaning for me personally is a Loving Lament. I have always felt nature, before me, around me and within me. Writing lets me share that feeling and invite others to ride along with me. I would like to believe that I’m starting down that road by the publication of this book.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in your poetry?

Those themes are: (1) diving deep into present beauty and brutality; (2) the joy of children, seeing through their eyes and feeling with their hearts; (3) sailing solo but never alone; (4) how otherwise good and kind people become cruel and violent.

When and where will Spirit be available?

Spirit will be released in June 2022 in both hardcover and paperback formats. Hardcover editions can be bought wherever books are sold. Paperback editions will be available through Amazon only.


Book Review Icon

Our lives are shaped by our beliefs and experiences and how we approach each challenge that crosses our paths. Some of us just live these experiences, and others turn them into works of art. Author James Murdock has done just that with his collection of poems and unique narratives. From family relationships and commentary on religion, political situations and current events, Murdock gives readers some truly amazing food for thought.

Spirit, by James Murdock, contains just over 100 pages of short poems–some which rhyme, some free verse, and a few are written in a truly unique narrative form. Murdock’s poems cover a wide variety of topics and provide something for every reader to ponder. I was especially taken with his very honest and open takes on religion. I feel as though many readers who consider themselves religious but don’t affiliate with a particular church will relate to Murdock’s words. His words resonated with me.

I typically lean more towards narratives, but Murdock’s poetry fascinates me. I enjoyed the organization of the book and the way topics and lengths varied greatly from one page to the next. He offers readers brief reprieves from some of the more thought-provoking pieces and includes a nice amount of humor throughout the book. His extremely short commentary on Twitter made me laugh out loud and came at just the right time in the reading.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Murdock’s selections that veer from the typical rhyme and free verse. Written in a format that combines his own words and those from Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” his lengthier selection “Howie & the Gettysburg Address” takes the reader on a journey into one boy’s attempt to recite the renowned piece. Readers will feel every ounce of anxiety and pressure alongside Howie right to the poems quite abrupt and fitting end.

Murdock’s words are beautifully penned and provide a wide variety of topics that will fascinate readers of all genres. I highly recommend Murdock’s work to any reader looking to explore poetry for the first time. Spirit offers readers a spectacular opportunity to glance into the life of the author and at the same time empathize with a wide array of experiences.

Art of Telling Publications, LLC | ISBN 978-1-7348447-3-3

The Angelic Realm: Discovering The Spiritual World and It’s Healing Powers – Trailer

Become inspired as this book reveals mystifying and unusual encounters outside the realm of normal existence. You will become fascinated by the way spirits try to make contact with their loved ones here on earth as I take you into the Angelic Realm with my visits, spiritual encounters, along with the messages and the signs that are being revealed to me to deliver to others. The stories and revelations are heartening and enlightening that will provide a sense of hope and healing of one’s heart, mind and soul. As my journey takes me to seek out and understand my enhanced abilities in this uplifting and powerful book that will bring joy, peace and comfort to those who seek it. My hope is that my experiences can bring reassurances to those who are seeking answers and for those individuals who have had spiritual encounters along with visions that scientifically cannot be explained.

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Sailor’s Psychology

Sailor's Psychology:: A Methodology on Self-Discovery Through the Tale of a Semite in the Squall by [Litvin, Chester]

Sailor’s Psychology: A Methodology on Self-Discovery Through the Tale of a Semite in the Squall by Chester Litvin, PhD is a study in the fragmented identities of humans. Litvin uses the metaphor of sailors to equate to anyone on any sort of journey or voyage, either physical, spiritual, or psychological. Litvin examines many psychological splits present in people. He also explores self-awareness, finding completeness and wholeness of the human spirit, and provides navigation to sailors on how to get there.

The book appears to be a companion book to Litvin’s Escape from Kolyma: Aborigin is a Bear Region. It delves deeper into the story of Professor Stepan Kryvoruchko, PhD and the other characters from that book, and uses those characters to teach readers about the human psyche. In Sailor’s Psychology, Litvin refers to Kryvoruchko’s story often, so I think it would be beneficial to have knowledge of the aforementioned book before diving into this one. Without previous knowledge of the characters, readers may find themselves lost.

Litvin writes about a myriad of issues, but one thing that I picked up on in Litvin’s work that felt very poignant and important to our current society was his thoughts on religion. Litvin explained that very religious people felt as if they were the protectors of their own religion. They felt the need to hang onto tradition and preserve and protect the principles and belief system of their religion. In doing so, they ostracize new people and create an us vs. them mentality. This causes a rift between the very religious and those who are on the perimeter questioning whether to join or not. This system leaves out anyone who is forward thinking or looking for spiritual growth beyond the concrete dogma. The walling off of new parishioners by religious leaders was one of many self-contradictory practices that is examined.

Outside forces as well as personal ones are explained as the source of pscyhe fragmentation. Internal elements, both conscious and subconscious contribute to the wholeness, or lack thereof, of a person. Interpersonal relationships, family history, and other contributors are also at play. Litvin explains how Kryvoruchko’s family history of Nazi domination led to his multitudes of fears. He also explains that Kryvoruchko was self-aware enough to recognize and diagnose those issues and face them head-on.

This is a book that I think may be taken best over time, such as in a Psychology class or an extended study. As a study taken a section at a time, the load of the book would seem less daunting. It is heavy, complex and will take some thought to digest.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B0792Y9K3V

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Given To Me By Spirit

Jon de Graaff Author Interview

Jon de Graaff Author Interview

Friends of the Tsar is inspired by your personal experiences and your family history. Why was this an important book for you to write?

The diversity of my knowledge, which was given to me by spirit, was something too important to have lay dormant. The knowledge I accrued from many camping and four wheel driving trips was gained through life and death situations I encountered. If, by getting this information out to the world could save just one life, then I will have had good reason to write it.

The many miracles that kept my family and I safe on these learning adventures were so profound in that they were logic-defying, and I thought what better way to tell of my miracles than through an Australian character who entertained the Zuckschwerdts, my grandparents, with the narratives while snowed in.

What were some things that you felt had to stay true to real life and what were some things you took liberties with?

I felt that the horrific conditions in which my grandparents were successful in decamping from Russia had to stay true to life, also their personality.

I took liberties with the negative aspects of their plight because it would have been too depressing for a reader to continue reading. Too many family members were murdered by the Bolsheviks.

I also wanted to honour them with an acknowledgement of their plight after which they were positive in the rebuilding of their future together.

I felt like faith and family were important in the book. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this book?

The pivotal themes I wanted to capture were miracles, spiritual awareness, hope, danger awareness in nature, remembering ones heritage, and faith and family.

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

My mother, on the other side, wants me to write children’s books. My previous vocation as artist allows me to illustrate the books myself, and my eagerness to encourage young people to speak up when put in danger, especially when dad’s driving is too scary, strengthens my resolve.

It won’t be until this time next year that a book would be ready for publication, should I decide to do so.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Website

Friends of the Tsar: Miracles from Petrograd to the Outback by [de Graaff, Jon]

1917–The Russian Revolution. Danger and chaos abound, and the aristocratic Zuckschwerdt and Orloff families are desperate to escape to safety. Enter Blue, an Australian cattle-breeder with a big heart. Blessed by a heap of miracles from the Outback and beyond, he shares his gripping adventures with the snowed-in families. Blue has survived everything from bushfires to crocodile attacks.

With wolves and winter nipping at their heels, the Zuckschwerdts prepare to depart for the lucky country. Plunged into hostilities and espionage in Petrograd, they make a break for the high seas, only to find themselves in a deadly game of bluff with a German U-boat skipper.

Blue is in a predicament of his own when three of the Orloff daughters fall for his red earth charms. Will he find true love with one of them? And will his Aussie anecdotes help the family understand that awareness and preparation can spell the difference between life and death? As miracles begin to unfold, the Russian refugees discover the power of faith.

Inspired by Jon de Graaff’s personal experiences and his grandparents’ family history, ‘Friends of the Tsar’ is a thrilling tale. Spiked with humorous twists, tragic turns, perilous encounters, and life-saving lessons of survival. It offers spiritual insights into forgiveness and unconventional love.

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Seven Ghostly Spins: A Brush with the Supernatural

Seven Ghostly Spins: A Brush with the Supernatural by [Bossano, Patricia, Gerard, ft. Kelsey E.]

Patricia Bossano and Kelsey Gerard’s Seven Ghostly Spins is an amazing collection of paranormal stories, some based on true events. Each of Bossano’s stories takes on a life of its own and features vivid characters engrossed in intricate story lines with the perfect blend of suspense and mystique. Featuring varying story lengths, Seven Ghostly Spins contains seven stories ranging from the story of a little girl who dies tragically in a theater during its construction phase to the more lengthy tale of a young man torn between helping a friend beat a drug induced mania and the fear of further enraging him. Each with its own unique set of characters, Bossano’s stories never fail to engross readers and transport them directly into the setting.

Perhaps the most touching tale in Bossano’s collection is that of “Alison.” Bossano tenderly relates the story of Alison’s fall from the scaffolding where her father is working to build the Egyptian Movie Palace in 1924. The first-person account is moving while at the same time beautifully tragic. Alison sees her own death, and readers are offered a look at the events leading up to her final moments through the little girl’s eyes. Bossano’s conclusion to the short story is especially lovely considering the present-day accounts of sightings of the little girl’s by theater patrons.

The short story entitled “Abiku” is the longest in Bossano’s collection of ghostly tales and is woven from an entirely different fabric than the others. Featuring more of a paranormal vibe, the status of main character seems to fluctuate between Matthew and Sophie. Matthew is a tragic figure who is not strong enough to stand up to the friend who is slowly but surely losing control of his morals. Sophie, the ultimate heroine in the tale, is burdened by the gift of visions. Bossano succeeds in making both Matthew and Sophie highly relatable characters despite their unique situations.

Gerard’s “She Caught a Ride,” is frightening in many aspects. The idea of initiating freshmen members of a volleyball team by forcing them into facing the ghost of a fifteen-year-old girl is one that chills readers to the bone. The fear of each one of the girls is palpable as each is eliminated from the task and a single girl is left standing to face the grave in the headlights. Gerard taps into that overwhelming sense of terror and manages artfully to grab the reader by hand and jerk them headlong into that dark and ominous graveyard scene.

Patricia Bossano has done it again. Her writing always takes hold of the reader and forces them into realms from the first paragraph. Gerard, an author previously unknown to me, has definitely captured my attention. The team of Bossano and Gerard cannot be beaten; their works tap into the dark side of one’s imagination and leave the reader hungry for more. I highly recommend Seven Ghostly Spins to any fan of the paranormal and, especially, readers looking for tidbits of ghostly truths.

Pages: 175 | ASIN: B07GGRNMT7

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Between the Ticks of the Clock

Between the Ticks of the Clock by [Barnes, J.H. Carpenter]

Between the Ticks of the Clock by J.H. Barnes is a spiritual novel that evokes the senses of mystery and redemption. It’s an introspective story that helps frame theological and societal questions within a framework particular to the dredges and monotony faced in daily life. This is accomplished through the perspective of the novel’s main character, Jamison Haro

ld Donovan, an executive working for a business known as Omni Cron Corp. Donovan is placed within the confines of a failing marriage and a dreary workplace. However, it becomes clear that these factors are minute points in a grander tale. This banal existence is quickly juxtaposed by a spiritual experience, where Donovan comes to grips with forces higher than himself and where he leaves the event a changed and more enlightened individual. From there, the novel examines Donovan’s growth and his spiritual enlightenment while at the same time highlighting the challenges and responsibilities that come with such an awakening. Between the Ticks of the Clock is unique in its pondering and musings, and as the novel progresses, it ascends to newer heights and different dimensions than one could have anticipated.

More importantly, Between the Ticks of the Clock is written in a literary style incredibly suited to its plot. The diction is easily digestible and the first-person narrative helps place the reader within the shoes of Jamison Harold Donavon, allowing us to experience some of the spiritual revelations he faces. This is coupled with emotive word choices that help paint clear imagery and scenes for the reader. J.H. Barnes does a wonderful job in setting the scene. All of this is framed within a writing style that is introspective, ethereal, and lithe. When taken as a whole, one is left with strong themes and feelings of wonder, of spirituality, and of internal pondering once the book is put down. However, there are moments where this style of writing can lead to some confusion. Points of discussion within the novel are often interjected with additional ideas or flashbacks that might hinder some comprehension of the overall idea. Yet, this stylistic choice helps remind us that the story is based around the perspective of Donavon, and this free-form stream of consciousness helps remind the reader that these experiences are still derived from a human perspective and thus creates a sense of immersion.

Overall, Between the Ticks of the Clock by J.H. Barnes is a lucidly written novel that provides readers with hard-hitting questions about life, religion, and their place in the modern world. It is an incredibly deep story, filled with important ideas and concepts.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B07GC8GSZK

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Longevity: The Wardens Of Time

Noah Thomas is a scrawny seventh grader who is bullied to the brink in his new town. Friendless, except for sassy tomboy Wendy Sherman, who seems to lend him the confidence he needs to stand up to his oppressors. Upon stumbling into a bookshop one afternoon while on the run from some teenaged tyrants, Noah is hurled into an unexplainable adventure. Noah learns that the bookshop does, in fact, lead to the Akashic Records – a place that holds all spirit lives recorded in tablets of light. With this new found knowledge, Noah begins to grow in wisdom and confidence to face his fears. His biggest challenge comes in the form of five demonic spirits that he accidentally lets loose from a lost tablet. Will Noah succeed with the help of his guardian angel cat he calls Keeper, or will all Hell’s henchman prevail?

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