Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mom’s Choice Award: Winning Author Featured at Book Expo America 2012

A Song in My Heart - Including CD with Original Musical Score

Author and Songwriter, Roma Calatayud-Stocks will be signing her award-winning historical novel, A Song In My Heart, including CD with original musical score, at the Mom’s Choice Award booth at Book Expo America on June 6, 2012 – 3:00p.m. (Booth # 2267-2268) The book received the award in the Multimedia Experiences category, as well as recipient of a 2012 Midwest Book Award in the Arts category, and Finalist in several other book award competitions and categories including Historical, Multicultural, Romance, and Cross-Genre Fiction (International Book Awards).  
A Song in My Heart is an in-depth exploration of character, celebration of art and culture, and a musical journey.  

KirKus Reviews: "Well-written, the story is compelling  . . . this novel deserves to find a larger audience. The historical aspect is well researched and true to the period. The novel’s grand ambitions are evident in its packaging—it is both book and musical composition (CD included). The author intends this to be the first in a trilogy, and she has created enough momentum to build on. An auspicious debut."

Jim Barnes, Editor, "Reading this book will put a song in your heart, and take you back to a time when classical music was the pinnacle of popular culture and entertainment. A talented composer herself, author Calatayud-Stocks shares her knowledge and passion for art and music with this compelling historical novel and accompanying original soundtrack CD. How refreshing this is-longing for a world of fine art and music with substance? A Song in My Heart is a great place to start."

Chan Poling, Emmy award-winning composer: "I have arranged and played many styles of music over the years. Roma's music has touched me always. Her new collection of songs for her story,  A Song In My Heart, are once again beautiful and lushly romantic, evocative of another time and place."

A Song in My Heart introduces us to Alejandra Stanford, the protagonist born into a privileged bi-cultural family in Minneapolis of 1902. Growing up, she and her artistic family experience the intermingling of American, Hispanic, and European cultural influences, as well as national events that challenge their lives; yet, Alejandra finds that music is the perfect expression of her own artistic inclinations, emotions, and ambitions. As a young pianist and budding composer, “Ale” is inspired by legendary composers and resolves to become a symphonic conductor despite the obstacles.

John Watson Milton, Award-Winning Author: “Calatayud-Stocks takes the reader on a compelling journey, from Minnesota and New York to México and across the continent of Europe, spicing her narrative with details that speak to her own powers of observation. It is a sparkling account, and we look forward to the sequel that is sure to follow. I enjoyed it immensely."  

Author and songwriter Roma Calatayud-Stocks holds bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota. After additional studies at the University of St. Thomas, and in line with her twenty-year work experience and life passion of honoring world cultures through history, music, and the arts, she turned to a professional career in music composition and historical fiction writing.

Ms. Roma Calatayud-Stocks is available for interviews, speaking engagements, and Arts Educational workshops on: Music history, Classical, Popular, Latin Music, Cultures, Music, Art and Traditions from Around the World, and Writing Historical Fiction.

Print Book/CD Package Featured at Book Expo America and available from Ingram, Baker & Taylor: ISBN 13:978-1-592983957 or Beaver’s Pond Books – 1- 800-901-3480

E-Book Available June 6, 2012 – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or!/RomaStocks

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Hip, Funny, Irreverent Take on the City of Angels

G.J. Prager’s The Lesson Plan chronicles the story of Robert Klayman, a substitute high school teacher in Los Angeles who is facing a mid-life crisis after failing to achieve any hopes of a high salary, successful career, or life; this is a man who never got his “piece of the pie.”  Klayman “got down to business” and “thought up a career path you can’t find in one of those self-help guides at the local bookstore,” making the decision to become a private detective.  

Although it is an overtly suspenseful detective story, interwoven is the story of a mid-life crisis and portrait of life in Los Angeles. Prager’s observations are startlingly insightful, and through Klayman’s thoughts and musings, readers are left with deeper messages about life and humanity, for example:  “Life can play clever tricks on us mortals who wait desperately for dreams to come true, realizing only too late that it’s an end game and much too short at that.  Reaching middle age without accumulating a formidable bank account can leave a man bitter and emasculated, ruminating on every lost opportunity that ever came his way.”  Klayman stumbles through life, trying on careers, personas, and women—all in an attempt to find a deeper meaning and a sense of self. With each new job, Klayman tries to “find himself,” adopting personas that range from Humphrey Bogart to Jay Gatsby.

Prager offers perspectives on life in Los Angeles through his astute assessments, revealed through the musings and conversations of Klayman, who ruminates that it is a “cold hard fact that a man’s self-respect starts at around two hundred grand a year in the City of Angels,” his sardonic comment that he joined “AA… Actors Anonymous,” and his reflections that he lives in a “mindless” city where he is “just going through the motions” and “Everyone’s grabbing a piece of the pie and leaving me with nothing but crumbs.”  Prager interweaves Albert Hammond’s cynical lyrics to “It Never Rains in California” with the thoughts of Klayman, another broken Californian—which inevitably becomes the theme song readers will associate with the hero.

Klayman gets swept up investigating a criminal drug ring that is working out of the Los Angeles Unified School District, following a teacher, Ms. Briggs, who is murdered one week subsequent to her request to be transferred to another school.  Klayman believes Ms. Briggs came too close to the truth for the comfort of the well-respected man who lies at the center of the intrigue.  The Lesson Plan offers both an intriguing plot and the artistic rendering of a man flailing in his mid-life crisis, seeking desperately for a meaningful identity.  

Through his deep assessments of humanity and the city of Los Angeles, Prager offers readers insights and themes that are thought provoking and lend to the strength of the novel, coming to speak for both a generation and a city.

G.J. Prager currently lives in Los Angeles. A New York native, he's worked as an actor in film and on the stage, and teaches drama and literature at a Los Angeles high school. 'The Lesson Plan' is his first novel.

Acting Career

During the 1980’s, Prager worked in New York in the off off Broadway productions of ‘Beirut,’ ‘Line,’ ‘The Quare Fellow,’ and ‘Dial M For Murder.” In Los Angeles he co-starred as ‘Phil’ in ‘Hurlyburly,’ a play by Tony award winner David Rabe. Robert Koehler in the Los Angeles Times wrote of Prager’s performance – “There’s an immediate aura of devastation that hangs around Jerry Prager’s Phil”...Prager’s portrayal of Phil “makes for a  truly wonderful performance to witness. At times the whole drama is in Prager’s body, the ego and id duking it out to the finish.”

Prager went on to star in the Los Angeles premier of Rabe’s ‘Those the River Keeps.” The L.A. Weekly wrote “Prager’s performance carries the evening...”

Film Career

In 1984 Prager starred in an indie comedy called ‘Heaven Only Knows.’ He played a jaded stand-up comedian on a weekend respite in upstate New York who falls in love with a female seminarian on a mission to become an Episcopalian priest. In 1989, he played a businessman in a sci-fi movie called ‘The Suckling,’ a cult favorite these days, noted for being on some critic’s list of worst sci-fi movies. In 2010, Prager co-starred in a full length indie called ‘Notes From the New World.’ The film is adapted from a Doestoyevsky novella, and it is currently making the rounds of film festivals around the globe. It has already won best adaptive screenplay and best suspense movie in two different festivals across Europe.

Writing Career

G.J. Prager began his writing career in 2001 when he began work on ‘The Lesson Plan.’ He is currently writing a sequel to it, and has completed the manuscript for a coming of age novel called, ‘Street Shine,’ that takes place in New York in the late nineteen sixties.

The following is a review by Grady Harp, one of the top 50 reviewers for
“G.J. Prager is a name to watch. THE LESSON PLAN may be his first novel but it is so successfully written that it suggests we have a new burgeoning talent among us! On the surface this novel seems to be a first person narrated story shared by a frustrated Robert Klayman who is unemployed, living from paycheck to paycheck by serving as a substitute teacher in Santa Monica, California to pay the rent in a shambles of an apartment he shares with his faithful cohort dog Homer, unattached to a significant other and ever obsessed with physical attractions/encounters, whose dream it is to become a Private Investigator. But there is so much more. 

At story's beginning Klayman is working an assignment for one detective Cal Keller - following a blonde woman who Klayman succeeds in tracing only to be conked out when he discovers her dead, bloody body. Cal dismisses Klayman for a botched case forcing Klayman to continue his substitute of a life as an oncall teacher replacement. But Klayman's school jobs happen to introduce him to a fellow substitute teacher Sheila with whom he not only finally relates but also beds, only to be asked by the woman to drive to Arizona to deliver a package to her son who has been taken from her by her ex-husband. This leads Klayman into a quagmire of new problems - drugs, a shooting, being chased by police - until he escapes back to Santa Monica and the presumed boring quiet of his substitute life only to have eyes for a voluptuous student Maria who he involves in his pursuing a discovery that there is a drug ring active in the school system. It is this back and forth slamming from the boring life of a substitute teacher enhanced or compounded with an almost inadvertent entry in the role of a PI that drives this little novel home. 

Yes, this is a solid and well constructed story that once started makes the reader stay with it until the end (even an all-nighter in this reader's case!). But what the too brief synopsis does not reveal is a writer who happens to be one of the best to describe the Southern California life - weather, traffic on the freeway, loose livers, drugs and other digressions, and the apparent inability to follow a dream successfully. In the author's words: 'Life can play clever tricks on us mortals who wait desperately for dreams to come true, realizing only too late that it's an end game and much too short at that. Reaching middle age without accumulating a formidable bank account can leave a man bitter and emasculated, ruminating on every lost opportunity that ever came his way. Nothing I ever did made me money; lady luck's a discriminating bitch that won't invite just anyone up to her room.' And in addition to being a painter of landscape and figurative canvases as well as anyone writing today he maintains an extraordinarily fine-tuned sense of humor, no matter how desperate a situation he is describing. Readers will attach themselves to this social malaprop and see the madness of the world through his distorted vision, identifying with those contemporary frustrations and maladjustments he somehow survives, and stand and root for him all the way: there is a dollop of Robert Klayman in each of us - at least in Southern California. Think of his circle: Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, Matt Groening, Evelyn Waugh - and add a comedy vein of gold. Welcome G.J.Prager!”

- Grady Harp, April 11

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Writing Courses Offered by Colleges

Students looking for colleges with great writing programs have a wide variety of options, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Although students may have a set preference for a writing program, they can vary significantly and it's important to ensure that the program suits ones needs.

Going to a traditional college or university may not be a feasible option for aspiring writers. Many people who wish to earn a degree may live too far from a traditional school or have work or family obligations that prevent them from receiving further education. For people in the situation, online education may be a viable option. A great place to start looking for online programs would be Accredited Online

College students also need to consider other factors associated with the school, such as the location, class size, faculty, and cost before applying to the program. CollegeTimes recently shared what they think of as the top programs.  Here is a list of great writing courses offered by colleges across the country:

  • Emory University – Emory University is often considered one of the best schools for writers. Emory’s programs are highly flexible; the only required course for Emory’s English majors is poetry. English majors at Emory can also double major in creative writing through their undergraduate creative writing program. Their highly regarded creative writing program offers instruction on various genres of literature, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, play writing, screenwriting. Writing classes are also highly personal, as classes keep the limit of 15 to 25 students.
  • Hamilton College – Hamilton College is known for its high-quality options for English majors. Their academic quality and highly regarded writing center are both great resources for writing students. Hamilton College also allows their English students to concentrate their studies on either English literature or creative writing. Their creative writing program consists of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting courses.
  • Johns Hopkins University – John Hopkins University is one of the most highly regarded universities in the nation and their English department has a long history of producing successful writers. Although the university offers courses in creative writing, the focus is more on literary writing, critical analysis, and education of literature in order to improve writing skills. The programs at John Hopkins University are best for students who want to become masters of the English language, but not for those who would like to have the opportunity to take part in writing workshops. The school also boasts a highly regarded faculty and small classroom settings.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology – While Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is most well known for its engineering and computer science programs, it also offers a unique writing program that prepares students for their careers. Instead of having a single English department, MIT has two different departments that cover writing and literature individually. Their writing program instructs students on creative writing, science writing, and digital media. Faculty within the departments consist of people from a variety of fields such as historians, scientists, biographers, novelist, and more.
  • New York University – New York University (NYU) is another acclaimed institution whose English program has a variety of concentrations students can take. Creative writing graduates from NYU look forward to a prestigious career as their program is highly regarded with award-winning faculty and a variety of courses.
  • Washington University – Washington University’s creative writing programs offer unique courses like the short-short, sudden fiction and microfiction, literary journalism, and stories from the suburbs. The program also emphasizes the use of workshops and critical reading in order to produce writers who are experts in the craft. Washington University's Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is often ranked near the top of collegiate MFA programs each year.
  • University of Iowa – The University of Iowa’s creative writing MFA programs are often labeled as the best to study fiction writing and poetry. The school has successful graduate and undergraduate writing tracks for its students. Core subjects include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting, translation, and new media, so students looking for diverse experiences will find something in their program.
  • Columbia University – Many great writers have come from Columbia University's writing programs. Langston Hughes, J.D. Salinger, Eudora Welty, and Hunter S. Thompson are just a few examples. Columbia is generally known for its journalism program, but they also have a great program for creative writing. The program has intensive writing workshops and seminars, studying literature at a writer's perspective. Their graduate MFA program is often the best range programs every year.
  • University of Michigan – The University of Michigan also offers undergraduate writing programs for their English majors. Faculty encourages students to practice creating effective analytic arguments while also encouraging creative writing.
  • Colorado College – Colorado College’s English program allows students to concentrate in various subjects like creative writing for film studies. Their creative writing concentration allows students to review each other's work and collaborate on projects. Those within film study focus on story development and film writing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Reveals a Complete Guide for Gold Investing

Don Durrett’s How to Invest in Gold and Silver has arrived at the perfect time, because individuals are beginning to realize the importance of gold & silver as a hedge against uncertainty. In a national economy that is plagued by a severe financial crisis, the time has come to look at gold and silver as an investment alternative. Currently, less than 2% of Americans own gold or silver, therefore, help is needed to show people how to navigate this opportunity.

From guiding investors on portfolio management and when not to trade, to educating them on the types of risks they should and shouldn’t take, and How to Invest in Gold Silver is a full-fledged reservoir of relevant advice that seeks to instill confidence in the investor. Don Durrett covers an array of investment categories, including, but not limited to, bullion and coins, Exchange Trade Funds (ETF’s), put and call options, and mining stocks. One undeniable strength of the book is its clear explanations detailing how to invest in each investment category.

Also, this book is especially worthwhile because it is not coming from the perspective of a financial analyst or an industry insider. Instead, Durrett is a real world investor just like the potential audience to which he is catering. He has been investing in gold since 1991 and in silver since 2004. As a testament to his abilities, his objective is to attain a five hundred percent return when he cashes out—for his mining stocks. There is enough information in this book so that you, too, can achieve this goal. Another inside fact he shares as a stock trader, is how to identify relatively low-risk, high-reward gold & silver stocks.

The key, Durrett explains, is not to purchase an assortment of subscription services and newsletters, but to learn “how” to identify the right stocks; this is essential to successful investing. Although Durrett touches on many different aspects of stock trading, How to Invest in Gold and Silver is primarily geared for beginners and intermediate investors. He states in his introduction that this is the book he would like to have had when he was starting out.

Overall, Durrett’s text is clear and easy to follow. He writes in a style that is easy to understand, and his years of experience as an accomplished author show through. For beginners, How to Invest in Gold and Silver is a real treat from a real-world investor who has been through practical situations, and as such, is an ideal fit for guiding you on your journey to investing in gold & silver.

Don Durrett has created his own unique rating system for valuing stocks. With this rating system you can have a goal of returning 500% long term on your portfolio. Don will teach you this rating system in his book and on his web page. It will take about 1-2 years to master the system if you are new to mining stocks, although you can you use it immediately. With this system you will be better at valuing stocks than most professionals who have been doing this for decades.

Don is currently using this system to identify 10 baggers, and for re-balancing his portfolio. He always knows the upside potential of every stock he owns. From his system, he feels that his analysis is as good or better than any professional. Using his ten step approach, you will feel very confident in your stock selections. 

Find out more:
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Baseball, Meet Mystery and Romance

Last of the Seals

The Last of the Seals: A Sam Slater Mystery by Greg Messel is a page-turning novel, chronicling the story of Sam Slater, a minor league baseball player who becomes a private eye after the San Francisco Seals are disbanded to make way for the Giants.  This first installment establishes Messel as a master of the mystery adventure genre, proving that he is as talented at keeping readers in suspense as he is at capturing their emotions, as he did in such novels as The Illusion of Certainty.

Slater’s new career immediately launches him into the middle of a mystery; his best friend and would-be business partner was murdered just before delivering photos to a client, making it evident that someone definitely did not want the photos to be seen and would go to any lengths to suppress them.  As Sam begins to unravel the mystery, he is threatened and bullied and someone leaves an ominous message for him at his apartment.  The only bright spot for Sam is his new girlfriend, Amelia, a glamorous TWA flight attendant, who is endangered by Slater’s new career.  When it becomes evident that the mob is involved in his partner’s death, Amelia and Sam must flee San Francisco together.

As the story unfolds, Messel keeps readers on the edge of their seats, anxiously turning pages.  Messel captivates readers with his colorful cast of baseball players, TWA flight attendants, mobsters, socialites, philanderers, and murderers.

The Last of the Seals interweaves the story of Sam and Amelia’s romance, as well as a nostalgic account of life in the Bay Area in the 1950’s, into the series of mysteries that Sam must solve.  This spellbinding story will inevitably leave readers anxious for the next release in the Sam Slater trilogy, The Deadly Plunge, which will be available in early 2013.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fact or Fiction? - A Stark Portrayal of a World Gone Wrong

“On the title page it is stated that, “The book is meant to be a warning of what very well may happen if policies, laws, and business directions are not changed quickly.” I think that this book would be a relevant read to anyone who has ever pondered what the effects of sending jobs offshore may be and to those that have fears about the future of the world. Hughes does a great job of presenting a detailed account of just how everything may unfortunately play out. The writing is interesting and will definitely get the reader’s attention and open their eyes to changes that need to be made. For those that are up-to-date on current events, the scenarios presented in the book will hit all too close to home. Hopefully the events that occur in the fictional “Infinite Exposure” will not become a reality in the not-too-distant future.”

- Kam Aures of RebeccasReads

“CIA operatives, al- Qaeda terrorists, Neo-Nazis, unscrupulous IT consultants and bumbling bankers are all expertly portrayed in Roland Hughes’ timely novel Infinite Exposure. Hughes, whose previous works have been in the IT field, has taken his intimate knowledge of the computer world and weaved it into a book that takes the reader into a frightening realm of possibilities where nuclear war is just one computer keystroke away.”

- Ellen Feld

Roland says, “There is no ‘main’ character.  There are multiple stories here, all with their own set of characters, mostly ensemble.  The book was primarily written to make people think about those things they take for granted in their daily lives.  

How would your life change if all credit cards and ATM cards were suddenly unavailable for months?  What if all banks had to halt operations until they could complete a ground-up hand count audit of who had how much?  In truth, the main character is the reader who is sitting back watching their life be destroyed on CNN.

People need to ask their bank or financial institution where their data center really is.  If it isn't in a NATO country, they had best move their money.  It isn't a question of IF, but a question of WHEN this attack will come.  Some of the smaller follow on scenarios have already had dry runs.,2933,487184,00.html

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in VMS platforms. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems originally created by Digital Equipment Corporation (now owned by Hewlett-Packard).

With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on OpenVMS systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of OpenVMS in industry.

Mr. Hughes' technical skill sets include the following tools that enable him to master and improve OpenVMS applications: DEC/VAX C, DEC/VAX C++, DEC BASIC, DCL, ACMS, MQ Series, DEC COBOL, RDB, POWERHOUSE, SQL, CMS/MMS, Oracle 8i, FORTRAN, FMS, and Java, among others. Being fluent in so many technical languages enables Hughes to share his knowledge more easily with other programmers.  

Global Talk Radio Interview

To read Roland's non-fiction books, please visit

To read Roland's blog, please visit

Ford Model’s Short Life Changes Thousands


Imagine getting a phone call notifying you that your daughter is dead. On Memorial Day of 2008, Lynda Zussman received that call.  As a teenager, exactly eight years before her death, her daughter, Lauren had a near-death experience while partying at Lake Havasu, after which she resolved to transform her life, emerging from her troubles triumphantly.

As an adult, Lauren lives a healthy, holistic lifestyle and garners tremendous success as a Ford International Model and Life Coach. Lauren’s life demonstrates the power that sobriety and determination gives her, overcoming her depression and loneliness to live a healthy life that served - and continues to serve - as an inspiration to others. At the time of her death, Lauren was planning a bright future with Alex, her boyfriend, with whom she shares a blissful Memorial Day weekend leading up to the fateful morning when Lauren, due to an unknown heart condition, collapse, ending her life of hope and success far too early.

Throw Me the Rope: A Memoir on Loving Lauren  is an account of Lauren’s life, how she empowered herself to achieve tremendous success in her young life, and her death, interwoven with deep meaning and the lessons that Zussman learned from her daughter. It is a touching story that is inspiring and heartbreaking, certain to become a treasured part of readers’ libraries everywhere.

"Lauren was a light force because I remember the day we met. I was struck by her joy field."

- Oprah Winfrey

"Lauren was a gifted healer who got sober at 18, and dedicated her short life to love and service - showing all of us how to 'live it and give it'. A breathtaking Ford International Model, she radiated pure light from within...a woman of great dignity, spiritual power and grace."
- Dr. Donna Gaines - Sociologist and Spiritual Leader

"Lauren Zussman was a human angel who shared her light with the world. She inspired my sobriety, my spirituality, and my passion for life. Together we're on a mission to inspire and empower women. Lauren's angel wings will always lead the way."

- Gabrielle Bernstein - Author- Adding More ING to your Life.

Discover more: www.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Clever Book Reveals Evils of Censorship

The Right and the Left disagree on almost everything. However, they should be able to agree on the danger of censorship. Using satire, cartoonist and animator, David Germain, addresses the issue of censorship in his book, Jesus Needs Help.

While the title may cause alarm for some, a deeper look into the content of the book is thought provoking. The comic is an entertaining fusion of humor and the deeper meaning that lies just beneath the surface. Centering around a group of censorship monkeys, the cosmic ramifications of Jesus Needs Help are clear: there will be many "monkeys" who take offence at something until the concept of free will gradually erodes. In other words, God's free will is like beautiful artwork and what makes us different; therefore, "Let God's Free Will Sound From Every Mountain, Every Valley, Every Sea, and Every Field."

Jesus Needs Help is about freedom of expression. As Jesus Christ is ready to recite the Beatitudes, or the Sermon on the Mount--from the Gospel of Matthew--he is bombarded by a group of monkeys whose combined goal seems to be the destruction of self-expression. The Victorian Era Monkey is the first to confront Jesus, demanding to see the Beatitudes stating, "We don't want to needlessly upset anyone by violating traditional values." The monkeys range from Psychologist Monkey, who thinks Jesus is advocating mass clinical depression, to the Horrible Mother Monkey, who concerns herself with matters not pertaining to her--and manages to always lose her children--the Preacher Monkey, American Monkey, Black Panther Monkey, the Feminist Monkey, the Scientologist Monkey, Not Muhammad Monkey and the Nazi Monkey.

In a nutshell, we live in a world of extensive free will and freedom of expression. Each of these monkeys seeks to create a more uniform and conformed world. The monkeys attempt to implement adherence to everything, from scientology to the Nazi Monkey, who uses force and "Nazi-like Tactics To Enforce Their Wishes Onto Any and All Speech or Art."

Jesus Needs Help features Jesus surrounded by these eccentric monkeys, until God realizes that even his Son does not deserve this. Ultimately, Jesus is able to recite the Beatitudes as part of His Sermon on the Mount, while the monkeys' punishment is to be jailed in heaven. This is bad news for them because "there is no censorship in heaven."

David Germain's Jesus Needs Help is engaging, meaningful, and a page-turner that readers can devour within a half hour. It's a must read, highly recommended.
Keep an eye out for his next book featuring the Censor Monkeys due out this year.

Find more about David:

Radio Interview -

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Book for Golfers: Caddy Tales by Scott Werner

Caddy Tales by Scott Werner is a must-read for every golfer.  Werner draws on his experiences caddying for celebrities, millionaires, billionaires, and sports legends to offer his readers a collection of stories that will keep them laughing and smiling from cover to cover.

It is a fast and engaging read, told from the perspective of a caddie, sharing the best anecdotes and quotes that Werner has collected over the years.  Among the stories are: one of the rare occasions that Werner was not tipped, but got a great story instead; a tale of karma when a caddie informed his players what they should have tipped him; and a golf glove with a unique and hilarious history.

Golfers will be unable to keep from laughing reading the priceless quotes like “I would not have had to hit this ball out the sand if it had not bounced in here” and “I play right-handed; I can’t hit this shot left-handed; I’m not amphibious.”  The questions that Werner has been asked over the years are equally hilarious, including such preposterous queries as “What do I have to shoot today to break 100?” and “If I did not miss that putt, I would have scored one less, right?”

Readers are given insight into the world of caddies, from lingo that they use to how they spend their time in the caddie shack waiting for their “loop” assignments.  Werner sheds light on the culture of caddying from the perspective that golfers never see as guests at a country club or course.  Finding out what goes on behind the scenes will elicit more than a few laughs.

Werner’s passion for storytelling is certain to entertain and delight his readers.  For anyone who has ever spent time on a golf course, Caddy Tales is the perfect read.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It’s Never Too Late to Become a Writer

I want to tell you about a late-blooming author, Behcet Kaya. Like many authors, he has dreams of a literary agent selling his novel to a major publishing house, seeing his screen-play adaptation produced as a major film, and selling an Everest-sized pile of books.  However, his becoming-a-writer journey is a spellbinding tale.

Behcet was born in northeastern Turkey. Growing up in a very small village with long-held traditions, his rebellious nature emerged at an early age. By the time he was ten, he had read, in secret, all of the Turkish translated stories of Mike Hammer. In addition, he read several of Dale Carnegie’s works, and all of Yashar Kemal’s novels. His world burst out beyond that of his small village, and he yearned for a more western way of life.

Defying his father, who wanted him to remain in the village to work and support his large family, Behcet left home at fourteen and travelled first to Istanbul and soon, on to London. In London his obsession was to complete his high school education and then a college degree in engineering. He supported himself by working full-time and earning scholarships from Inner London Education Authority. His creative side, however, began emerging when his drama and literature teacher cast him in a play in which his performance awed the audience. His insatiable appetite for literature widened to include the classics of Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, and the Russian masters.

While at Hatfield Polytechnic, Behcet made his first visit to the US as an exchange student with the British Universities North American Club (BUNAC). He made the move to the US in 1976 and became a US citizen in 1985. While living in Atlanta, Georgia, he followed his creative yearnings, attending the Alliance Theater School and studying at the SAG Conservatory of Georgia, which earned him his Screen Actors Guild card. In 1994, Kaya and his wife moved to Los Angeles, where he continued his studies at the Roby Theater Company and the Shakespeare, A Noise Within Theater Workshop.

Along with acting, writing also became a natural outlet for his creative yearnings. He has published several short stories, two novels, Voice of Conscience (2009) and Murder on the Naval Base (2011), and is currently working on his next book, Erin's Story.

Murder on the Navel Base is getting positive reviews from influential and objective sources. Richard Blake, a Top 500 Amazon reviewer, says, “Kaya is destined to be recognized for his outstanding ability to incorporate word pictures that breathe life into his characters, and drama into his plot, bringing suspense and tension to the cockpit of a F18 flying in formation, in courtroom dialog, or in the privacy and intimacy behind closed doors. Kaya provides all the elements of legal maneuvering, psychological twists, and page turning action that leads to an unexpected crescendo for a spectacular finish.” Joanna W. Simm, another Amazon reviewer, says, “The tightly plotted storyline has more than a shade of Top Gun about it, but the style of writing is infinitely more literary. There is excitement in spades, with twists and turns of plot and high flying action adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat, but where the author really excels is in his understanding and portrayal of human relationships.”

The book has three main characters. Lieutenant Anderson Garrett Belguzar—an ambitious young man from a humble background who has reached the height of success, yet luck has him connected to the wrong types of people. He is betrayed by the most important people in his life—his wife and his best friend. When the two are found murdered, he is the only suspect. Bevin O’Hara Belguzar—wife of Lt. Belguzar—is a beautiful, fiery, ambitious, unscrupulous, greedy, clever attention seeker. Charles McPhearson, III is the former best friend of Lt. Belguzar and comes from a powerful background, is both charming and sexy, but he lacks the skills and motivations of his friend, Anderson.

Beginning with a blurry account of a cold-blooded shooting of a couple, singled out while having dinner at an officer’s club, the prime suspect is apprehended hours later while apparently attempting to flee the state. With over a dozen eye-witnesses collaborating the incident, little was left in the puzzle for the military investigators to piece together; especially once it was determined that the two victims were in fact the perpetrator’s wife and the man with whom she was having an on-going affair. After the shocking beginning of the novel, the reader is taken on a journey throughout the life and career of the characters while interlacing the technical jargon and vernacular of naval flight training and the nuances of the military lifestyle. Combined with a steamy undercurrent of lust, love, sexual fulfillment, jealousy, and primordial desires of the cast of characters, the human condition of married life versus the structure and demands of military careers are juxtaposed against the strength and will of personal upbringing and ethical behavior.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

A Peek into the Mind of a Schizophrenic Author

I recently had the opportunity to interview a self-taught writer, painter, and musician about his writing. Vincent MaCraven is a paranoid schizophrenic. His love for the written word started more than twenty years ago, reading the classics, books on religion, philosophy, and metaphysics. His favorite authors range from Dostoevsky to Hess, Rand to Sartre. Vincent MaCraven resides somewhere in New Jersey.

Paranoid schizophrenia is often misunderstood. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a type of schizophrenia that can be managed with proper treatment. Many people with this type of mental illness can live happy and healthy lives. MaCraven includes a short story in his book called A Case of Madness that deals with the mental illness.

MaCraven boldly states that he has no formal writing training. He simply loves a good story. It is his heart’s desire that his readers are entertained, yet provoked to ponder such themes as mental illness, religion, isolation, perseverance, horror, love, and more. He expects and appreciates honest feedback about his writing. One Amazon reviewer states, “This book is written from the heart, plain and simple. The author may not have formal training, and may not know what a prepositional phrase is, but he knows how to tell a story, and his words really paint a picture for the reader.”

Tales from the Mind of a Schizophrenic is a collection of thirty stories that explore the human mind and the human experience.  In A Case of Madness, Macraven uses his own experiences with schizophrenia to portray what being schizophrenic is like, bringing the textbook definition to life, helping readers to understand what “psychotic reactions characterized by withdrawals accompanied by a presence of hallucination, delusions, and progressive deterioration” are like from the perspective of those afflicted.

His character, Jimmy Minesad, is a paranoid schizophrenic who exhibits all of the classic signs of schizophrenia.  Jimmy has trouble distinguishing his friends from those who are not, withdraws from society, distrusts and suspects all around him, and has an imagination that has a force completely beyond his control, in which “a single thought could escalate into a series of mind-bending delusions that sends the ill one to another sphere in the cosmos,” with a single thought, setting delusions and hallucinations in motion.  Macraven invites readers inside Jimmy’s mind; “Welcome to Jimmy’s world, a world in constant motion, and a world forever changing in his mind, a world not for many but for an ill few.”  As his planes of consciousness begin to shift during a dinner party, a stunning rendering of what happens within the mind of schizophrenics unfolds for readers, as he “loses his sense of self completely” and his mind becomes “a landscape for paranoia and insanity.”  

This powerful portrayal of schizophrenia allows readers the unique opportunity to go within the mind of the schizophrenic and brings them to a point of understanding and acceptance, rather than condemning the illness.  The thirty stories that compose Tales from the Mind of a Schizophrenic each shed light on a different aspect of the human soul and mind, giving readers an appreciation for the emotions of others and helping them to feel connected with humanity.
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