Blog Archives

The Fabric of Our Lives

Stephen Trigwell Author Interview

105 Steps is a memoir of not just the time your wife was in the hospital, but of your journey together in life, with all the ups and downs it took you on. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It’s often said that just before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. With my wife on life support in ICU, I knew regardless of the outcome, my life would also never be the same. As a songwriter, words and tunes have always been my chosen outlet, however sitting bedside and faced with losing my wife, I felt compelled to remember and relate every moment we shared together. The recollections, dates and experiences constituting the fabric of our lives together seemed to write themselves and, at times, I felt like it wasn’t me actually writing, I just painted the picture, immersed in and reliving each moment of our 51 year relationship. The journey we were on was too big for a song so 105 Steps was born and written in 6 weeks (on my iPhone), because I couldn’t bear to lose one single valuable memory.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

I tried to be as honest as I could. My fear and vulnerability was exposed in the front pages when I wrote;

“Imagine yourself standing before a wide, deep, dark river. It’s night time but, for some unknown reason, you know you must cross the river. You are alone and afraid. A large, white stepping stone slowly rises from the deep and you step out. It’s firm and solid. Another white stepping stone appears in front of you. It too, is firm and solid. You take it. Then another, and another and another. The river is wide but your path is now long. You turn around to see how far you’ve come. There are no stones. There is only one stone, the one you are standing on”.

Readers familiar with ICU and long hospital stays will understand the metaphor of the river and the stones. After my fear had been exposed and, with nothing to hide, the words flowed freely. That one paragraph (above), was difficult to write, but established the parameters for the rest of the book. Emotionally, the time of most anguish and mental trauma was when we were, as a family, called into a meeting with Doctors, expecting we would have to make a decision on whether my wife might live or die.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

“Never lose your childhood innocence”

… always a font for bravado and courage, often a call to not be afraid to “step up to the plate”. Told to me by Carlos Santana, but (loosely) a famous quote by Federico Fellini

After knocking on various doors (no particular person but thru books, meditation) … I came to understand that Space, Time, Energy and Matter are all manifestations of the same thing. This realisation freed my mind and opened up a lifetime source of creative positive energy and thinking. I could believe in and mould my own future.

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

There is always hope, and Love is the solution. We only have control over our own thoughts but, with that, comes great power. Power to only hold positive thoughts, positive images, positive outcomes. Power to refuse to entertain negativity. The human brain will manifest whatever is held within it and doesn’t differentiate between good and bad. No matter the adversity, readers can create their own future, readers can mould and manifest their outcomes. No matter how bad things appear, a positive outcome can always be had if readers nurture their thoughts in a sea of love and have faith.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

The cauldron of hospital ICU is an unlikely setting for this enthralling love story but, in a raw and emotional outpouring, 105 Steps delivers so much more than a simple love story.

Steve sits bedside with his wife Glen, as she lies unconscious fighting for her life. Forced to face the prospect of a future without her at his side, he recalls their entire lives together, from the moment they met. In remarkable colour and detail, Steve cleverly intertwines a memoir and their 51 year relationship with the tension of real time hospital drama as it unfolds.

Beginning in the 1970’s, the story follows a young, long haired, guitar playing dreamer on a spontaneous and eclectic backpacking journey through Africa, the UK, Europe, Australia, Hawaii, mainland US, Canada and Mexico in a coming of age. Steve finds first himself, then faith and positivity, belief and, finally the love of his life and their place together in the Universe.

Besides telling a story of how love unfolds, 105 Steps reveals how life really is what happens to us when we are busy planning other things. Steve’s desperation as he diarises the events surrounding his wife’s condition is palpable but, through all of this, 105 Steps leaves an indelible feeling of positivity. It’s a tense but heartwarming tale of how adversity can galvanise an entire family to find love, strength and courage.

A seemingly ordinary life becomes a remarkable journey when juxtaposed against the tension of ICU and illustrates how life can be joyful … if you want it to be.

105 Steps will show you how the power of positive thinking and prayer really can make a difference.

105 Steps

When Stephen Trigwell’s wife falls ill, the life his family has always known is forever changed. Their lives are consumed with doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, and an overwhelming sense of fear. In March of 2021, Glen Trigwell was diagnosed with an aneurysm that required immediate surgery in order to set a stent in place. From that day forward, Stephen Trigwell made the decision to document the events that followed not only for his family but for his wife’s sake as the months that followed proved to be a time she may just lose. This memoir was written so she would know the love, care, and time that went into her experiences.

105 Steps is the true story and memoir of Glen Trigwell’s journey as documented by her husband, Stephen. Her shocking diagnosis in March of 2021 took their family down a frightening road. The aneurysm that changed their lives would pull them even closer together as they watched Glen fight to regain her life from this beast.

Stephen Trigwell’s writing is raw, open, and honest. He gives readers a deeply personal look into his family’s life as they cared for Glen from the beginning with her diagnosis through the moments from which they begin to believe she may never recover. Readers will feel each and every triumph and the devastating lows along with Stephen as he recounts each moment of her hospital stays and the harrowing days following her surgeries.

It’s difficult to say that I loved a story like this one because it’s true and painful, but I truly do. Trigwell has given readers an amazing gift with this account of his wife’s experience. I can see how his willingness to share his family’s pain and joy will help others living through the same type of challenges. His generosity is amazing and appreciated.

105 Steps, by Stephen Trigwell, is for anyone who wants to read a heartwarming and touching story about real unconditional love. The Trigwell family’s story is as inspiring as it is amazing and goes a long way to making so many feel less alone in such trying circumstances. I highly recommend Trigwell’s work to any reader looking for a beautifully-written true story of love, faith, and the determination to overcome the most incredible odds.

Pages: 222 | ASIN : B0B21XQFZ6

Buy Now From Amazon

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

Author Kaleb Thompson’s Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a poetry collection that aims to inspire others, offering sanctuary to readers going through life’s crises. This collection is based on religious beliefs and seeks to glorify God and exalt the human spirit. The writer captures the universal experiences of despair, stress, and not knowing where to turn while offering religious-based solutions to navigating these dark times in life.

These poems contain powerful and evocative images; the opening poem describes a peaceful place “my life will soon leap into.” I feel, at times, these poems would benefit from being simplified. Some lines are so long that the rhyme scheme is partially lost or muddled. Nonetheless, there is a promise of healing within these poems through moments of original phrasing and Thompson’s positive, supportive messaging. One message that stood out to me is that we are not who we were in the past, our future can be different, and we have the power to change our lives.

The poem “Blame” really struck me. The lines “A mature young man in the midst of grown adults who don’t know how / and when to grow up is not only surprising, it’s disturbing.” I see this attitude almost every day, at work, in stores, and even at children’s sports games. How can children learn to live in a Godly way when the example set before them is the exact behavior they are told to correct?

This collection is for those passionate about their religious beliefs and who have a strong faith background. The poetry is religious; there are explicit calls to prayer, alongside a sense of owing life’s successes to God. Through God, readers will find a path to overcoming anxiety, fear, a broken and troubled spirit, and an uplifting message of hope. The uplifting energy of this collection and Thompson’s attempt to reach out to the downtrodden are admirable.

Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a collection of poetry that will help guide readers into the light from the darkness that has built up inside them. This inspirational anthology will give readers hope and encouragement to find the best inside of themselves with the help of God.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B09PSTJPH8

Buy Now From Amazon

Where’s My Monster?

There is a family of monsters, the Archon Family, and they are very hungry. There are five of them, Mamma, Papa, Calvin, Aurora, and Bryce. This family does not eat food, instead, they eat fear. To find their food they hide in children’s rooms and scare them as they come yelling “BOO.” They do this to a little boy and he runs away. But the monsters are still hungry so they wait for another child to come in.

Lucy is curious and decided to investigate these monsters, but she brings a candle with her to light the way. When she enters she is not afraid of the monsters, they are afraid of her! Then something amazing happens, the monsters are no longer hungry. The warmth and light fill them up and no one is afraid anymore.

Where’s My Monster written by Wendy Monica Winter and illustrated by Yulia Popova is a delightful picture book with an important message for children. The message that love is stronger than fear is present and illustrated in a creative manner that will engage young children.

Yulia Popova’s watercolor illustrations are vibrant and memorable. The image of Aurora is my favorite with the little bows tied below each of her five eyes. Aurora is the first one to go to the light and exclaim how it is comforting to her. The joy and innocence that radiates from this illustration are magical and children will pick up on it right away.

The quote from Martin Luther King Jr at the end sums up the story perfectly. Love will drive out darkness, you can not find light from more darkness and hate. Winter has taken this concept and created a children’s book that they can relate to and understand the message. Facing hate and darkness to show others how fulfilling it can be to live in the light, to show kindness and acceptance, is an extraordinary message. This beautifully written story is presented on a level that even preschoolers and kindergarteners can grasp the concept.

Where’s My Monster is a well-crafted picture book combining a meaningful message and remarkable illustrations. The combination makes this a perfect book for teachers, schools, and caregivers. With a secular approach, it is sure to be a welcome addition to help teach kindness and compassion.

Pages: 56 | ASIN : B09MSX18JW

Buy Now From Amazon

Suspicious Eyes Taints The Heart 

In Suspicious Eyes Taint the Heart, a collection of poems is divided into five parts. First, author Elsie Asiata explores a myriad of themes that have permeated her life. Beginning by introducing her infancy, Asiata’s verses paint the image of a headstrong child who suffered from absent parents and violent turmoil during a large part of her childhood. Next, lacking close friends and family support, the poem references multiple suicide attempts and an abysmal feeling of despair.

The second part, in contrast, shows a grown-up, mature poetic persona who is freed from the ghosts of her past and sailing through life while experiencing healthy friendships and enjoying casual sexual encounters. However, it ends on a dark note with an account of failed love and single motherhood.

Section three focuses on religious revelation and how the author returned to her faith after struggling with it during her distressing early years. The fourth part is a touching personal testimony on how she overcame her troubles and learned self-love and assertion, which she found through religion. Finally, part five ties up the book with more verses on her relationship with the sacred.

This emotional book is a quick read that will certainly resonate with women who have faced the romantic, familiar, and social hurdles imposed by a patriarchal society. The pains experienced by her as a child are consistent throughout part one, but especially and vividly captured in the first section’s final poem, A Life Is Slipping Away. This poem is an account of a traumatic experience that enticed a morbid train of thought and probably one of the most impacting pieces of poetry in the collection.

The thought-provoking poems are written really well, capturing the author’s emotions at different stages in her life. While reflecting on her past, there is a slight judgemental tone towards her prior promiscuous behavior while still accepting that it is part of what made her who she is now.

Suspicious Eyes Taints The Heart is an empowering and inspirational collection of poetry that will take the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. The author shares all the pain and joy of her struggle with her traumatic past and finding salvation with God’s love.

Pages: 74 | ISBN : 0645286036

Buy Now From Amazon

NO ONE walks alone!

Author Interview
Nina Norstrom Author Interview

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters is a very personal story for you. How hard was it to put this story out in the world for people to read?

Firstly, you must know that I grew up in a house full of secrets. Whatever went on in the family, we were taught to keep it in the home. So, as an adult and a single parent, I was compelled to live a secretive and private life. I made a practice to rarely reveal what was happening in our lives. Even back then, those that knew of me had very little knowledge about me.

Secondly, for many decades, my journey with toxic relationships was deep seated, raw, and buried inside me. What you have to realize, I kept it all in a diary. Never realizing I was exactly telling a story about our life that would one day become an opened book to others. Unknowingly, this writing was a healing medium that many may have called writing therapy.

Initially, during the editing phases, all I could do was cry, cry, and cry while trying to relive those painful and hurtful events. There was an instance, I recall when the editor and I had bumped heads; since I could not break through those raw emotions to express my thoughts clearly and precisely. It was extremely bad that the publisher had to intervene. After the conversation with her, she had me to take four days off to recover from that ordeal.

Finally, once we’d gotten back to the writing, I still couldn’t break through those unsettling emotions. It was then I came up with a conclusion to take the portion out. Therefore, I wrote in its chapter titled, Finding Peace and Comfort.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

Truly, there were many challenging moments. The pain was just overly great and hurtful, I wanted to scream in an octave range; to the top of my lungs. But, I’ll share with you these crucial ones . . .

The challenges surfaced when writing about the guilt and steps taken into being someone’s mistress. Knowingly, the pain I had ‘cause another with the interference I’d made in their lives. And how horribly I’d abused myself by giving up my self-worth; self-dignity; and all those other self-dimensions one possesses. Through it all, I’ve come to realize we can be our worst abuser.

The most sharpening and piercing piece was writing the horrible news about my child. Being that parent and having to watch one so young go through a grown folk’s disease ─ can be the most devastating experience ever endured. It even breaks my heart (now) to write it here. You know, life can be so unfair? Yes, then again, whoever said life was fair?

You have to remember, I was reared in a Christian environment. So, once I let go of my religious and spiritual beliefs, there I was holding on to that poison of unforgiveness. It took decades to find my way through the darkness that kept me in a fixed space with an inability to move forward.

Finally, those years of experiencing losses took its toll traumatically, and overpowered me mentally. I had become a basket case. Surprisingly, I didn’t see that until it was on paper! To become housed living inside a world of trauma was not only terrorizing, but horrifying. Perhaps, that may be difficult for one to understand what it’s like − unless he or she has walked that journey.

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

Unfortunately, that’s a tough question, I can’t clearly say there is one thing but many . . .

It’s story speaks about the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff life throws at us. Not only that, it was raw and canned. Thinking about relationships, there’s no way to prevent an engagement with them. Every integral piece is a vital part of living, period.

Ultimately, it’s message will reveal the importance that life brings many challenges; with each there are lessons learned along the way. And with each relationship, one can learn to recognize whether it has a toxic or non-toxic impact. Flipping through those pages, it illuminates the beauty of love, compassion, courage, determination, and strength.

As an end result, I can only hope readers reach an enlightening height from the lessons learned while walking on the journey. And realize that the engagement of toxicity affects everyone in one form or another. But, know when walking, NO ONE walks alone!

What is a common misconception you feel people have about toxic relationships?

In many cases, it could be that some feel they’re making the wrong choices or poor decisions when it comes to unhealthy relationships. However, they fail to realize you don’t chose a toxic person, they chose you.

In another instance, some are failing to realize the dangerous effects their interactions play out. But first they must understand what is a toxic relationship? “A toxic relationship occurs when two or more people interact in a way that is detrimental to their life.” Or, “Anything that is poisonous and capable of causing sickness or death.” In either case, all one has to do is think about how deadly COVID-19 has impacted our lives, daily. With that in mind, it’s evidence that a toxic relationship becomes nothing to play.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Website

Allowing us to learn lessons, let go of toxicity, and gain insight, relationship can play a powerful role in our lives. They are formed with people, alcohol, animals, battlefields, diseases, drugs, environments, and even our emotions. Whether toxic or nontoxic, relationships are an integral component of daily living. Author Nina Norstrom lost her child to a disease, but that wasn’t the only toxic relationship she endured. In this book, she explores the effects that her relationships with grief, pain, trauma, and forgiveness have had on her life. This tale exposes a mother’s struggle to escape her world of toxicity, her journey out of the clutches of diseased relationships, and the shoe prints the experiences have left on her family’s history. This story in its raw form projects a remarkable voice to the heroic fight, courage, and bravery gained when striking back to wipe out toxic relationships. Its message reveals that life brings many challenges and that each challenge provides lessons to be learned. This book is not intended to be a blueprint for dealing with diseased relationships. It’s about the shoe prints: those symbols of life’s journey that are left by our experiences. “Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter” is an insightful and inspiring personal story of one family’s journey through toxic relationships.

Christianity A Flawed Religion

Christianity A Flawed Religion provides an argument on how Christian dogma keeps humanity in bondage to sin and a suffering world, and how to fix it. This insightful book provides readers with author Warren William Luce’s wisdom and thought-provoking arguments about Christianity and its tenants. This informative book presents details of the philosophy behind why Christianity, like many other religions, is flawed in some aspects. Among the chief reasons for this logic are the arguments of Trials and Tribulations, Change, Excommunication, and how man has inserted their views into the word of Christ. Luce presents a well-thought-out thesis for the arguments made and does a great job of expanding upon those ideas.

The beginning of the book entails a broad view of Luce’s life. It goes into detail about his upbringing, his family life, time in the war, and living a nominal Christian life– that is, being a Christian in name only, instead of abiding by the true teachings of Jesus. Among many arguments made, the details that hindered Luce’s belief in Christian doctrine consist of questions, the validity of his own beliefs, and how professing Christians in the world today do not mirror the Christians found in early church accounts and biblical scriptures. The book closes with a charge from Warren, asking who it is you believe: Christian theologians or Jesus. And if it is Jesus you profess in creed, then to live through the example He set, and the way of life He paved according to the Christian scriptures.

Luce has written a compelling book that brings up good points and ideas to support his argument that Christianity is a flawed religion in some ways. However, it seemed as if the views in this book were relatively negative, but ended with a challenge to the reader, and had plenty of scriptures to support the claims made. I would recommend this book to anyone who might be interested in exploring religion or challenging their own viewpoints of Christianity.

Christianity a Flawed Religion: How Christian Dogma Inadvertently Keeps Humanity In Bondage to Sin and a Suffering World and How to Fix It is a thoughtful book that will interest readers of religious dogma, spiritual texts, and philosophical non-fiction.

Pages: 248 | ISBN : 9781716028793

Not a Blueprint; It’s the Shoeprints That Matter

Relationships play a significant role in human experiences throughout life’s journey. Nina Norstrom, in her memoir Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matters refers to the toxic relationships she lives, endures, and learns through as a daughter, mate, mother, and working woman. The reader is taken on the author’s journey as they follow the shoeprints she leaves along her life path and those left behind by many others in her life. By going along with these shoeprints, the by-products of her life, readers learn about her battle against toxic relationships in various forms.

There are seventeen chapters in the memoir, which begin with an account of the author’s life. In the first nine chapters of the book, the author describes her experiences and struggles with domestic violence, both as a child witness it and in her own personal relationships. Throughout the remaining chapters, the author vividly recalls, her experiences while dealing with the toxic relationship with cancer that invades the life of her angel, her daughter.

In addition to expressing the author’s diverse emotions, the book pays homage to Nina Norstrom’s daughter, who tragically succumbed to a diseased toxic relationship in her life. My experience as a reader was emotional, and I commend the author for being open about her feelings while letting the readers inside the usually restricted area of a person’s psyche. The poems written for the departed soul of her daughter are beautifully expressed, seeping out the multitude of emotions of a parent. Moreover, the other feelings expressed in the book, whether it’s grief, anger, or resentment towards certain people, fate, or God, are raw and genuine.

This inspirational non-fiction story recounts Nina Norstrom’s journey of grief, guilt, and anger at God, to the path of finding peace with the will of God. Apart from providing solid shoes with which one can walk the hard paths of life, God also accompanies His children as they leave their shoeprints along the life journey. In the end, four appendices provide support resources, centers, and reading materials for those who are caught up in toxic relationships and would like support.

Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoeprints That Matter is a deeply personal memoir that is recommended for those who want motivation from a genuine account of a battle with toxicity and self-reflection in the aftermath of trauma.

Pages: 179 | ASIN : B016X198SO

Buy Now From Amazon
%d bloggers like this: