Monthly Archives: March 2016

Book Spotlight: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone by Patrick Barnes

Inside the Book:

Title: The Avocadonine and Spring Stone
Author: Patrick Barnes
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Pages: 334
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Book Description:
Praised by many as one of the best YA fiction books you’ll ever read.
Rey Naresh, a likeable kid worth rooting for, is going into the ninth grade at Pemota High.  He’s not sure what to expect being fresh off a visit with a gypsy who may or may not have been psychic, but he’s hoping in ninth grade he’ll get to meet his crush, the pretty green eyed, Christy Lane.  He’s wanted her to notice him since sixth grade and keeps a letter to her in his backpack.  The school bully, Huxley Core, and his friends, who call themselves Nadine’s Puppies, threaten to publish something about Rey in their libelous newsletter.  As Rey looks up at the stars one night he realizes he will have to confront Huxley and be man enough to make Christy fall for him.
One day, on the bus, fellow ninth grader, Ryan O’toole, says to Rey that there’s something wrong with something the students are drinking and that electronics are making a humming sound when he’s near them.  It sounds to Rey like looney toons, but are other students having a similar problem?  Rey and Christy unite and embark on a quest that seems to have to do with mind control by an evil administration and provides a quandary for philosophical thought.  A mystery seems to have taken hold of Pemota High, one that may stretch back generations to a malicious woman and a story of her relationship with a student named Spring Stone.
Book Excerpt:
“Der,” Huxley straddled the bench and sat down next to Joe, “It’s your
newsletter.”  Huxley was tired of talking
about the newsletter.  He didn’t write
the articles, didn’t come up with the ideas, and didn’t care whether or not
people came up to him in the hall and said, “Funny article Huxley.”  The newsletter was getting old.
Above them the branches of Douglas Fir Trees blew in the wind which was
strong today.  Acorns like big
caterpillar cocoons fell on the grass.
The Smokers Corner was inhabited by three others on this after school
smoking session.  Sarah Wein was sucking
on a Marlboro.  Her boyfriend Jonas
Wilson was with her.  And their friend
Jared McCurry had joined the smoking session.
The three of them were seniors and had no interest in the affairs of the
ninth graders.
“Huxley, I read about this,” Der said.
“You got your switchblade?”
Switchblades were legal in Pemota, but carrying them concealed was
not.  Huxley had sent away for his.  He slipped through the school’s doors each
day switchblade in pocket, unbeknownst to the authorities, because Pemota High
never had or would need metal detectors.
“Is this the PTSD thing?”  Joe
asked, as he stomped on a cigarette.
Der had learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from The Deer
Hunter.  He found it on the internet and
learned it was caused by intense fear and anger under helpless conditions.  Der thought it was possible to institute the
disorder without a combat circumstance.
Huxley and Joe strongly disagreed.
“Der,” Huxley chided, “That’s for people in Vietnam.”
“This will be like Vietnam,” Der said, “Just do what I say.”
Huxley and Joe looked at each other.
Joe gave a shrug and that was enough for them both to know they would go
along with what Der had in mind.  Der
pointed to the wide arcing sidewalk corner, “Stand there, pop it out, and show
it to them.”
Joe said under his breath, “That’s what she said.”
Huxley laughed at Joe’s favorite thing to say.  It never seemed to get old.  Christy and Rey were approaching
cautiously.  Then Christy stopped.  Huxley was standing there with a switchblade
in his hand.  He held his hand knuckles
up.  Then he dropped the switchblade to
his side and started doing Karate like movements with it.
Rey looked at Christy noticing she had turned bright red.  “Huxley, if you hurt us you’re going to
jail,” she screamed.
“Tell them if they ignore the insults they can gain entrance to Harper
Way,” Der said.
“If you ignore the insults you can gain entrance to Harper Way,” Huxley
said adding a few Karate chops.
Normally, Huxley didn’t intimidate Rey.
But normally, Huxley didn’t have a switchblade in his hand.  A thick powerful wind shook Rey and Christy’s
T-shirts around as they pushed forward but going nowhere.  The Douglas Fir Trees shielded the Smokers
Corner.  Rey thought the smartest
decision was to go back to the school.
He could sit with Christy and wait for a ride, but then Christy would
have to meet his Mom, and that would surely be embarrassing.  He also didn’t want to look like a “pussy” as
Huxley had called him in front of both Christy and Huxley.
“What do you want to do?”  Rey
“They won’t do anything,” Christy said.
She put her hand on Rey’s back and pushed him forward with her.  She walked forward determined.
On the Smokers Corner, Der had taken Huxley’s place on the bench.  “Verbal assault,” he said quietly.  “It’s what PTSD was made for.”
“You sure, Der?”  Joe asked.
Der nodded then called out: “Hey Christy.  Did you hear David Benson has a horse named
Christy?  We all sit around wondering if
you like to hang out in his stable.”
“That ponytail is like a mane,” Joe joined in, “You can just hold on to
it and go for a ride.”  Joe found this
comment extremely depressing as he did think Christy was pretty, and would
barely acknowledge it to himself.
“Christy, let us take turns.  Let
us ride you like you’re a pony.”  Der
stood up at that point, and threw his arm forward like he was punching
them.  “Rey, is that your bitch, because
I’ve seen better looking horses at the Kentucky Derby.”
As they approached, Huxley rounded the arcing corner doing karate
moves, keeping them aware of the switchblade.
Christy had tears in her eyes Rey noticed.  He put his hand on her back briefly.  His heart was doing jumping jacks, his face
was blushed, and he felt sweat seeping out of every pore in his body.
“Aw, the stable masters come to give the horse a pat on the back.  To be a beastiality loving stable master from
Mexico.”  Der looked at Joe who seemed to
be speechless.  “Rey when you ask her for
her number make sure it’s not her racing ID.
I’m sure she’s stamped somewhere.
They’ve got her on file at the racing bureau.  You can probably get her number there.”
Christy and Rey were feet away from Harper Way and in twenty more yards
would be free as flying sparrows.  Rey
was dying to stand up for her.  Sarah
stood up for them instead.  “Jesus Christ
guys, leave them alone.  They didn’t do
anything to you.”
Der paid Sarah no mind.  “Does
your sister ride you at home?  Is that
why you hate her so much?  Does she pull
on the reins and dig her spurs into your sides.”
Christy was growing more and more infuriated.  She began to feel like she was going to
explode and that her whole life would be ruined if she didn’t say something.
“Hey Christy,” Huxley said, sounding very uncharacteristically
serious.  “What’s it like to always be
second?  What’s it like when everywhere
you go you’re just a reminder of Brianna? She’s cooler, smarter, prettier.  You’re just the little sister that’s always
about to cry.”
Christy turned to Huxley, her hands balled into fists.  “What’s it like to always be first
Huxley?  What’s it like to have a sister
that’s dead?  What’s it like to have no
one to stop you from messing up your life because no one cares about you?  What’s it like …”  She stopped when she saw Huxley’s facial
For Rey everything seemed to stop in that moment.  Then time got reinstated.  Huxley’s smile was gone, and he started to
walk towards them.  Christy and Rey saw
his cold vicious eyes and they ran.  They
were at the end of Harper Way, when Huxley started to give chase.
For More Information:
The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author


Patrick Barnes lives in Charleston, South Carolina.  The Avocadonine and Spring Stone is his second book.  It has been awarded a five star review from Readers Favorite, and a four and a half star average among critics on  He has a Bachelors Degree in Film and Writing from the University of Massachusetts and a Masters in Library Science from the University of South Carolina.  He has won first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing at the Yankee Penn Journalism Conference, and has worked as a Librarian at the Folly Beach Public Library.  When he’s not writing, he likes to walk on the beach with his dog, and watch movies.
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Book Feature: Risen by Thomas Barr JR

Inside the Book:

Title: Risen
Author: Thomas Barr Jr.
Publisher: Printhouse Books
Publication Date: January 15, 2016
Pages: 188
ISBN: 978-0997001624
Genre: Urban Fiction
Book Description:
The growth of “Mega churches” has risen considerably in the 21st century as compared to the past. Miami Urban Chronicles Volume I: Risen, seeks to set forth a fictional biopic of the rise of spiritual leader Yahweh Ben Yahweh of the Liberty City based movement the Nation of Yahweh, “Ben Yahweh’s.”
Chauncey Miller, the main character in the story is determined to be a success. He uses his natural skills of cultivating relationships and influence to draw his followers. Despite his meager rural southern background he dreams big and takes risks head-on in realization of his goals. It is significant in modern 21st century times that individuals take control of their life’s path. The urban youth particularly need to realize by making deliberate decisions concerning their life they can live their dreams.
Chauncey meets a mentor whom cultivates his ideology and sharpens his mediation skills in working with people. He harnesses his skills by working with the youth ministry of a local church. As he attends college he learns the basics of economics and administration in his courses. He understands education is just one tool that can help him along his path. Individuals must utilize opportunities as they present themselves along life’s path. The main character seizes upon this truth and follows it down the rabbit hole in a manner of speaking.
In most communities the Church is a place of worship, fellowship, family, communal meetings and refuge. Individuals seek comfort in its walls and the main character leverages this in amassing followers. Modern successful pastors have PhD’s and fancy seminary school training. The main character can be viewed as the progenitor to the modern “Mega church” system. He is of the conviction that god must call a person to preach which is a spiritual mission.
The main character takes this mission on as any other profession and is determined to be a success as a spiritual leader, messenger of god, as well as a successful business entrepreneur. The main character goes from city to city while growing his followership and refining his professional talents. In addition his studies have led to him evolving his religious convictions.
The story enthralls with the turmoil of power, beliefs, sex, control, and all the human pitfalls that too often affect successful professionals. In desiring success and wealth upon any career path it is important to maintain composure. Chauncey, although a spiritual leader, is in realization of this truth.
In paralleling the lifestyles of the larger community many individuals become disillusioned and pigeonhole themselves. Only in selflessness can individuals walk a blemish-less path. Particularly urban youth must learn the lesson in traversing modern life goal paths in reaching their dreams.
This chronicle wraps with Chauncey answering to the communal guidelines of this prescribed society. All must answer to the allegations of their fellow community members and none is an exception to this rule. In acquisition of success and goal setting humility can be a lifesaver.
Book Excerpt:
Chauncey Miller was a
Carolina native that grew up in the south and knew the hard work of the tobacco
fields.  Raised in a Christian household
he was fascinated with the bible and studied religion with a fervor.  Little did his contemporaries know that he
would rise to the level of a spiritual leader commanding a multi-million dollar
enterprise.  They surely wouldn’t realize
that he was a megalomaniac capable of manipulating a band of killers.
It’s a sunny afternoon in
1976 and Chauncey was on the corner of 125th Peachtree Street in
Atlanta, Georgia.  He had a stack of
paper leaflets, as he is approached by pedestrians he offered a flyer to a man
dressed in a black suit.  The man took
the flyer and read it, mouthed the words soundlessly.        
“Do you believe in god,”
asked the man in black.
“Surely I do,” responded
Chauncey sternly. 
The man continued to look
at the flyer; he wore iron rimmed glasses and had shiny black shoes. 
“I’m a history professor
at the local community college and would like to have you join one of my focus
group,” he asked. 
The man stood and looked
Chauncey in the face awaiting an answer to his inquiry.  Chauncey had not expected such an immediate
attention to himself and paused in response noting the man’s patient nature.
“I’m not sure what focus
groups do but if you give me the address I’ll check it out,” said Chauncey.
The man pulled a business
card from his blazer and handed it to Chauncey as pedestrians ushered pass them
on the street.  No one seemed to notice
the exchange between the two men and was oblivious of them obstructing the walk
way as they chatted. 
“Don’t worry you’ll find
out when you show,” the man replied. 
He placed the flyer
Chauncey had been passing to people on the street in his coat and continued on
his way.  Chauncey looked down at the
flyers he had been passing out for the street team company. He had been working
for the company weekends and at afterhours bar locations.  Exhausted he read it. It said, let me tell you why the white man is the
devil.  Come hear CL Cayman speak truth
to power at White Hall located on Jackie Robinson Avenue.   
Chauncey never took
notice of the leaflets he passed along to pedestrians and this one had a very
inquisitive message.  He wondered about the
thoughts of the gentleman in which he had just met, had the message affected
him so profoundly?  He took the business
card from his pocket looked at the address and contemplated the location.  He had seen the address before on something
he read at home and could not recall it do to his momentary failing
The stack of leaflets sat
on the sidewalk near a lamp post.  A gust
of wind arose that blew some of the top flyers into the street.  The sudden barrage of papers broke his
thoughts and he scrambled to grab them as people continued to bustle past.
“Get out the street,”
yelled a disgruntled driver.
blew his horn as he drove past and Chauncey continued to pick up the flyers
ignoring the outburst.  Chauncey had
hardened his feelings to ridicule and he believed with his ability to project
an icy persona could ward off potential personal threats.  He had developed this ability while in grade
school and used it throughout his young adult life as he entered his college
years.  As a youth he had dealt with
bullies and experienced being singled out for jokes among friends in the
decided he would attend the focus group the following day after his last class
on campus and find out more about the strange gentleman that intrigued him on
their meet.
Claude Donors was a tall
wiry light skinned complexioned man with green eyes in his sixties and did
social research on religions in historical contexts.  He was an eccentric man with a direct
nature.  Chauncey’s curiosity of the
gentleman had led him to the campus upon the issued invitation.  Chauncey entered his office at the university
and was immediately stopped at the door by Donor’s secretary. 
“I’m sorry sir do you
have an appointment?”  She inquired. 
The young woman was very
pretty and Chauncey noticed that she had a curvy figure.  He could see that she was highly educated by
the way she addressed him.  She was
smartly dressed in a business suit.  She
smelled of light perfume and mints.  Her
hair was penned up into a bun and she sat positioned at her office desk.  He quickly handed over the business card
given him and she looked at the back of the card for a moment.
“Have a seat Dr. Donors
will be with you in a minute,” said the young lady. 
Chauncey took back the
card he had given the girl and looked on the back of it as she did, his
curiosity peeked.  Let this man pass, it said written in a very legible hand written
signature.  He had not noticed it the
entire time he had possession of the card and was surprised at himself for not
realizing that fact.                
    As he sat awaiting Dr. Donors he noticed the
office was cozy and decorated with plaques along the light blue colored
walls.  The carpet smelled as if it was
freshly vacuumed and it being in the late evening not much pedestrian traffic
came in or out.  He noticed the young
lady pick up the phone a number of times and she talked for just a few minutes
on each instance.  He assumed it was
Donors and thought if he made the right decision in coming.  Just as the thought popped in his head Donors
brushed by him.
“Let’s go young man,
we’re late.” He said. 
Chauncey was out of his
chair and behind Donors as he strode down the hallway taking giant steps to
quickly reach his desired location. 
“My focus group is
designed to record the assumptions, thoughts and impressions of religion on the
average working class individual,” he said as they walked. 
“By the way what’s your
name?” he asked turning to look at Chauncey.
“Chauncey Miller,”
Chauncey replied.
“Well Mr. Miller you
should find this to be very interesting,” he said as they entered a room with
about seven people sitting around a circular table.  Upon introduction by the four males and three
females it was noted two were teachers, one was a factory worker, two were
students, one was a paramedic and one was a shop keeper.  The questions posed to the group were
designed to elicit discussion and all responses were recorded by the professor.
The first question posed
was do you believe in god followed up with what do you think about
religion.  All the participants believed
in god but it was interesting to see their apparent ambiguity in the actual
practice of religion.  As the professor
guided the group’s discussion a light bulb went off in Chauncey’s head.  He had wondered throughout his life what his
purpose was in this world.  He had
attended college and taken on various odd jobs to support himself in the
city.  He’d bounced around in search of a
career interest to no avail.  He was
articulate and well regarded for his ability to persuade others.  In observing the professor’s research he saw
a need and an opportunity that could possibly be exploited.  He decided from that instance he wanted to
know more about the professor and the purpose for his work. 
The session ended after
about an hour of discussion and all the participants departed leaving Chauncey
along with the professor in the room.  As
the professor put the finishing touches on the session notes Chauncey broke the
silence which permeated the room after the last departed guest.
For More Information:
Risen is available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and Goodreads
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads

Meet the Author

Born in Lake City, South Carolina home of the 2nd African American astronaut, killed on the Challenger space mission, Dr. Ronald E. McNair.  I was the grandson of a share cropper whom taught me about hard work and education.  At age 17 I began college at Bethune-Cookman University and graduated Cum Laude with honors.  While in college I was inspired to write when I read the novel, Black Boy by Richard Wright.  I began writing short stories for campus publications and won a $500 dollar publication contest in a local campus circular.  I Entered the Air Force after college and spent two tours of duty in the gulf during the Persian Gulf War.  Upon leaving the Military I went back to school and completed graduate school at the University of Akron in Ohio earning a master of public administration.  I began a career in government as an Intern with the Ohio legislature and later became employed with the Florida Senate as a legislative assistant.   I currently work for the City of Miami as a civil servant in administration.
See website for more details.
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Book Spotlight: A Northern Gentleman by Lane Everett

About The Book

Title: A Northern Gentleman
Author: Lane Everett
Publisher: Senior Prospect Publishing Co.
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Format: eBook / Paperback (US Only) / PDF – 298 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Buy The Book:
Discuss this book on our PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads
Book Description:
Handsome and quick-witted Drucker May is miserable in the privileged life that he leads working at a bank in Atlanta. So he runs away. He wants to find what it is that he’s really supposed to do with his life and he wants to have a good time doing it.
Because the year is 1890, the people who he meets after he leaves Atlanta have no easy way to find out who he really is, allowing Drucker to reinvent himself in each stop that he makes along the way to California. As he travels, he explores late 19th century America as well as his own identity – both real and mistaken – all while solving a mystery, falling in love and getting caught up in a wild west caper gone awry.
This story isn’t just a rollicking ride from one town and one mistaken identity to the next, though. It’s the tale of a man trying to strike a balance between his responsibility to his family and his desire to be his own man. Alternately moving and laugh out loud funny, A Northern Gentleman chronicles the adventures that unfold when one man decides to leave his boring desk-work behind to seek out the life he’s meant to lead and to find that special something that his life has been missing.
Book Excerpt:
I. Atlanta
Chapter 1
There’s a photograph that’s kept upstairs in the same wooden box that holds the invitation to Grandmother’s wedding and some yellowing stationery that is all but illegible, and an election-year button that used to be blue and bears a name that used to be important. The photograph is black-and-white and there’s an inscription on the back of it, in looping longhand, in dark ink. Five words, each character tied together by a dragging pen as their author noted what the photo captured: Atlanta Southern National Bank, 1890.
The picture is a portrait, though there’s no one in the photograph. There’s a desk, but no one sits behind it. There’s a window, but no one looks through it. Instead, what must have been the golden light of a low and setting sun streams through the window onto the lonely desk. And somehow, though the sloping curves of human flesh are absent, and in their place only the severe angles of lifeless wood appear, the photograph becomes a portrait nonetheless. A portrait that, even without eyes or lips or teeth, captures the stilted smile of capitalism begging the question of the hour: Isn’t there something more than this?
The desk didn’t always sit unmanned, and to glimpse this particular photograph is to witness a ship without its captain. With a broad body of dark wood, the desk was itself both ocean liner and iceberg. It was a vessel on which one could have enjoyed a comfortable cruise up the corporate ladder; yet, simultaneously, it formed a ruinous blockade against all that stood beyond the door. And though its home in the office of the vice president of Atlanta Southern National Bank should have made it a vehicle of transport to the highest ranks of economy and society, to its owner it was a slave ship.
When the desk belonged to Atlanta Southern National Bank’s vice president, Drucker May, the desk sat squarely in the middle of an office that was regal in its décor. A green rug lay underfoot, gold cresting marked the line where wall ended and ceiling began, and a garish bronze sculpture of a tufted eagle perched above a second doorway.
In an office quite remarkable for its ornamentation, that second door was perhaps the most notable sign of prosperity. Though the door itself was unembellished, confederate in its colorlessness, its value was inflated greatly by a single fact: it led directly to the bank president’s adjoining office, which was twice the depth, thrice the length, and many multiples as lavish as its neighbor. The desk there was no dowdy brunette, but rather a brilliant blonde, painted in gold leaf, and more like a banquet table than a workstation. Next to it, Drucker’s mahogany steamship was reduced to tugboat. It was as if the bank’s own vault had been emptied and its content melted and molded into the shape of a desk, behind which sat the bank’s president, a king on his throne, presiding over business.
Daily, the door that joined the offices would swing open, and the booming voice of the bank’s president would rouse Drucker from his daydreams. The accuracy of a clock could be measured against the precisely timed roar that each day at half past one prompted a dozen bankers to rush to the threshold of the ornamented office. Drucker was among the crowd, though he was never the first to arrive, which the president was pained to notice every time.
This daily assembly was brief and usually followed by a demand that some item or other that the president had misplaced be found before the hour was up, inevitably prompting a scramble.
The lengthier congress would follow each day at three. One financier would read aloud from the newspaper. Another would recite notes from a pad—covered in his own scribbles—on the availability of silver or the latest blustering of William Jennings Bryan, at which all in attendance would groan in unison. No matter how little there was to say, the meeting would always manage to drag on for an hour.
For Drucker, the afternoon assembly was a prime opportunity for him to do what he was best at: daydream that he was somewhere else. As his eyes wandered to the windows, his thoughts drifting in the same direction, he would lose himself in a world where the memories he had mingled with the ones he had not yet made, where he could be anyone, do anything, live anyplace. Though he was careful to keep a straight face so as to appear engaged, in his mind he was running, arms flailing, through a meadow of tall grasses, never looking back as the banality of a life spent behind that wooden desk grew smaller and smaller in the distance behind him.
Outside the boardroom’s window, the sun shone brightly over Atlanta’s verdant Peachtree Street. There was one tree in particular that had the same branch structure as the one Drucker used to climb as a boy, when Atlanta was nursing its burn wounds and the talk of rebuilding, like the lemonade he would gulp on blistering afternoons, was endless. These days it seemed that the only thing endless was the daily midafternoon summit, and so Drucker allowed himself to drift back into the comfortable memory of what it felt like to perch in the highest branches of the tree.
“Drucker!” The voice was sweet but sharp, the last syllable pronounced fully, unlike when his mother called his name, dropping the final ‘r’.
“I brought you a glass,” called Lucy.
“Just one?” asked Drucker, looking down through a leafy web of foliage below him.
“Yes. And a peach.”
“Throw it up here,” instructed Drucker. “The peach, not the glass,” he added slyly, “I’ll have the lemonade when I come down.”
Even through layers of leaves and branches he could see her frowning. “Ten minutes,” she sighed. “Or I’ll climb up there and get you. Your mother wants you to know that dinner is at six, and if you’re late, you won’t be served.”
Drucker reached out his hands, beckoning for her to toss up the peach. Lucy was more than a governess to Drucker. She was an ally and a friend, and he had no doubt that his mother had instructed her not to give him the peach, but she had snuck it to him anyway. “Toss it,” he urged. “C’mon, toss it up here.”
Toss she did, but the arch of the fruit’s trajectory was short of where Drucker could reach, and Lucy threw up her arms, waving him off from the catch. “No, no! You’ll fall!” she called up to him as the peach thumped back into her outstretched palms.
“Aw, Lucy,” he teased, “I thought you could have thrown it better than that!”
“You know I could have thrown better than that.”
“Or forgot that you couldn’t throw it better than that,” he taunted from a dozen feet off the ground.
The playful exchange delighted nine-year-old Drucker, who prided himself on keeping pace with the twenty-six-year-old blonde who had lived upstairs for as long as he could remember. Drucker considered her a best friend, and it had never occurred to him that she felt any different than he, or that the fact that she was paid to look after him was the reason they spent their days together. Though to his mother she was one among a crew of employees who flitted about the property, gardening and cooking and generally serving as directed, to Drucker she more than took the place of the sisters and brothers his parents never gave him, and she lavished on him the attention and affection his parents similarly failed to provide.
A slap on the table ceremoniously ended the meeting. The men rose to their feet and shuffled papers and murmured to one another, their voices blending into a single sustained note. It was not unlike the drone of the meeting itself, which was little more to Drucker than a continuous low-pitched whine.
Back at his desk, Drucker eased into his chair, reclining for a few moments before hearing footsteps approaching his door and, on cue, straightening his spine. He glued his eyes to the front page of the newspaper that lay across his desk. Not a sentence was familiar, though the meeting had been dedicated to hashing through each and every headline.
“Hello, Drucker. I’m sorry to interrupt.”
Drucker looked up from his display of feigned diligence. The interruption was, in fact, not an interruption at all, as the scene in which Drucker was consumed by work was no more than a show, performed for the benefit of his one-man audience.
“I just spoke with Hank,” continued the bank’s president before Drucker could get a word in, “and I’m more than a bit concerned. Another five accounts have moved over to Georgia Consolidated Bank, and Hank expects the Langdons will move most of their assets by the end of the year. That damn bank hasn’t been operating six months, and already we’ve lost a dozen of Atlanta Southern’s…” he hesitated, grasping for the right word.
“Richest sons of—” Drucker tried to offer.
“Beloved patrons,” the bank’s president cut him off, giving Drucker a stern glance.
Drucker smirked but returned to the question at hand. “Five more accounts,” he mused.
“Since March, no less. At this rate we’ll be sucked dry in a matter of months,” the president replied, gravely.
“Well,” said Drucker, feeling apathetic, “I’d say it sounds as if this calls for a detailed discussion in tomorrow’s afternoon meeting.”
Sarcasm was always lost on the bank’s president. “Forget the meeting,” said the president, waving a dismissive hand. “This is a project for you.”
He looked down at Drucker’s desk, which was artfully staged to look like the station of a diligent worker. “You’re very busy, I know, but we’ll just have to find someone else to take the rest of this.” He motioned toward the stacks of financial records and yellowing newspapers on Drucker’s desk, all of which had been carefully arranged to look worn out from frequent and heavy use.
Drucker admired the scene he had crafted. “It is tiring,” he said. This was the truth. He couldn’t fight the sedative effect that all things banking had on him, even the relatively exciting prospect of the bank’s demise.
“Good then, it’s settled,” said the president. “You’ll be in charge,” he added, gaining momentum, “of making sure that Atlanta Southern doesn’t see the—suffer from the—well, that we don’t…” Momentum halted. He stammered through a long sentence that ultimately went unfinished.
“To be clear,” said Drucker, “you’re telling me that you’ll give all my work to someone else in exchange for me coming up with a plan to stop our accounts from moving to our competitor?” It suddenly occurred to him that this was a disadvantageous trade. He had made a practice of doing practically nothing all day, and suddenly here he was being asked to barter it away for a nearly impossible task.
The president nodded. “Precisely. This will look quite good for the board review, too.” It was widely known that the president intended to step down by year’s end, and the board would soon be appointing his replacement. Despite Drucker’s lackluster performance at every element of his job, the president threw the full weight of his portly existence behind the naming of Drucker as his successor.
“Or, I suppose, it could look quite bad for the board review. That is, if Georgia Consolidated continues to steal our customers,” Drucker replied evenly.
The president cringed deeply. “It could, yes, if you fail. But if you fail, I suppose we all shall. And if there is no bank for me to preside over, there will be no bank for you to preside over.”
A glum thought, but for some reason it delighted Drucker. “Well, when you put it that way,” said Drucker, “you give me no choice.”
Another glum thought, but for some reason it delighted the president. “Good, then it’s settled. I’ll tell Hank. I’ll tell him I’ve put you in charge, and that Atlanta Southern is in good hands.” He paused to consider his last statement and then added without humor, “It’s sink or swim now, Drucker, but you’ll keep us afloat. Won’t you?”
“Yes,” said Drucker quietly. “Of course, I will, Father.”

About The Author

Author Lauren Tanick Epshteyn, using the pen name Lane Everett, has nurtured a life-long love of the written word. At 10 years old she knew that someday she wanted to be a New York Times best-seller. A voracious reader, Lauren loves American Historical fiction, making it easy and interesting to research the 1890’s for her debut novel A Northern Gentleman.

The novel follows Drucker May who abandons his privileged life, embarking on a series of adventures allowing him to reinvent himself at every stop while searching for the life he’s always longed for and discovering the man he’s meant to be.

Her writing has been formed through writing education attained through Brown University (Providence, RI) creative writing courses, plenty of writing on the topic of American Government during her undergraduate education at Georgetown University (Washington, DC) and plenty more writing on the topic of American Business History, her chosen field of concentration for her MBA at NYU (New York, NY).

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In the Spotlight: The Bipolar Millionaire by John E. Wade II

The Bipolar MillionaireTitle: The Bipolar Millionaire
Author: John E. Wade II
Publisher: Sunbury Press
Pages: 164
Genre: Memoir

John E. Wade II, retired CPA, author, investor, television producer, and philanthropist, reveals in his memoir, The Bipolar Millionaire, his personal struggle with bipolar disorder and how he has succeeded in living a balanced and blessed life, despite his mental illness.

Wade takes the reader through his family experiences, political aspirations and beliefs, spiritual journey, relationship trials and errors, all while battling mental illness.

Through his religious beliefs, personal perseverance, and the help of friends, family, and his mental health professionals, Wade lives an active, creative, and successful life.

His memoir doesn’t end with contentment at achieving a balance in his life, however. Instead, Wade expresses a determined vision for the future, aiming to assist humanity in what he describes as achieving heaven on earth through his writing, political and spiritual endeavors.

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Book Excerpt:

I was struggling and dropped into a walk from the jog required of fourth classmen. It was an autumn day in 1963, just a month after I’d had a near-fatal attack of meningitis, and I was still fighting to regain my strength. Panting for breath, I was confronted by a first classman. He asked very directly why I wasn’t jogging. I quickly replied that I had a medical excuse, knowing full well that the excuse had expired. He ordered me to produce the excuse, which I did. Noting its date, he nonetheless allowed me to proceed.

Soon, I was in the academy hospital, lying flat on my back in an almost catatonic state, unable to cope with my mental torment. Although this severe depression, the first in my life, was not diagnosed at the time, it must have been my first bipolar episode, possibly having been triggered by the recent attack of meningitis.

My mother and Carol, my then-girlfriend, came to try to revive me, but I don’t remember responding. Years later, Carol told me that I asked her to help me kill myself, but I have absolutely no memory of making such a request.

Until this illness I had been a model cadet. I had prepared physically according to academy guidelines, so the transition to basic cadet summer was rigorous but easier than it would have been without vigorous training.

One other thing that helped me during basic cadet summer was the stream of daily letters from Carol. My fellow cadets were jealous, partly because of the letters, but also because of the picture of her I had in my room. Even though it was black and white, it was clear that she had blond hair, a sweet smile, and a pleasing, pretty face. That face helped me get through the rest of what we all had to endure to complete our training.

Each week we were given certain “knowledge” to learn, such as types of aircraft or chains of command. I always spent part of Sunday afternoon memorizing the information so that I could recite it during Monday’s meals. The upperclassmen pointedly asked several questions of each basic cadet, which kept us from finishing our entire meal. The first classmen took turns performing the interrogation, but as the questions were considerably shorter than the answers, they always had plenty of time to eat. I always felt I was short-changed because I was the only one who knew the trivia from the first day it was due, and yet I didn’t get a chance to eat more than the other basic cadets.

At the end of basic cadet summer, all the cadets were subjected to a physical fitness test, and I scored the highest in my squadron. At about the same time, we also went on a survival exercise in the mountains for which we were organized into small groups with twenty-four hours’ worth of food and about a week’s time to find our way back to the academy. The experience was particularly taxing for me. I became so obsessed with saving my food that I still had some left when we got back to the academy.

After the final tests, those of us who successfully completed basic cadet summer became fourth classmen. My personal excitement was not long lasting, however. Although I had scored high marks on the physical tests, I was disappointed with my first academic grades, which included some Bs, as I was used to all As in high school. When I asked a first classman for his opinion, he said I did just fine considering that I came from a weak high school.

Basic cadet summer had ended—then the meningitis hit. I’ve since read that physical illness can trigger the onset of bipolar disorder, and although the diagnosis was not made at that time, I believe that is what had happened. My father eventually was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder also, so it appears that I was genetically predisposed to the condition, as is often the case.

I had entered the academy in June 1963, and I received an honorable medical discharge that December; whether I was right or wrong, I considered the situation a great disgrace. It was definitely a life-defining event for me, and I was overcome with depression.

But, there was another aspect to my failure at the Air Force Academy that I didn’t disclose to anyone else until years later: part of the reason I attended the academy was that I had presidential ambitions, which I knew would be shattered by the stigma of mental illness. I internalized and brooded over that stigma for the next forty years.

To make matters even worse, when I finally got home I also lost my girlfriend.

It was quite a shock to me and had a negative effect on my confidence with the women I would date for most of the rest of my life.

I have often wondered what would have happened had I not had the meningitis and bipolar episode. What aspects of my life would have been altered? It’s a haunting possibility to consider.

Still, even though the realization of some of my dreams has eluded me, I have had and am having an interesting, fulfilling life in spite of bipolar disorder, and I invite you to understand its role as I work toward what I believe is my destiny.

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First Chapter Reveal: From Ashes Into Light by Gudrun Mouw

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From Ashes Into LightTitle: From Ashes Into Light
Author: Gudrun Mouw
Pages: 240
Genre: Literary/Visionary Fiction
Publisher: Raincloud Press

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

For More Information

  • From Ashes Into Light is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.


Ruth Gutherz –  Salzburg, Austria


November 10, 1938, Kristallnacht, night of shattered glass, broken bodies and broken faith. We are propelled into a chaotic world. Our Salzburg home has been torn apart.

I stare at drawers emptied on the floor, papers thrown about, clothes everywhere and my 12-year-old mind cannot comprehend.

“Papa, where are Oma Gutherz and Onkel David? Did they go to the doctor? When will they be back? Who made this mess?”

We have just returned from visiting Stefan and Anna Richert, and Papa wants to go back to the Richerts and make inquiries. Mother nearly yells, “Josef, they should be taken away? An old woman taking care of her son sick in bed? This I cannot believe.”

“Esther, believe it. Haven’t we been trying to convince you, Stefan and I? The Nazis have no mercy. We are lost.”

The pain in my father’s voice shocks me. I think, how can Papa say lost? Grandmother Gutherz and Uncle David must be somewhere.

“What are we going to do? Josef, we have to do something!” Mother stands in the midst of our ransacked apartment. Forgetting danger, she begins to cry loudly.

“Quiet. Please, be quiet,” Papa whispers. Mother chokes back sound. “What do you think we can do, Esther? Don’t you understand what’s been happening since the Nazis took control?”

Before returning to the Richerts’, Papa warns, “Keep it dark, stay still, don’t open the door.” He points to an overturned lamp and pictures from the walls smashed on the floor in a pile of splintered glass. “The place has been well gone over. It’s unlikely anyone will be back here tonight.”

Mother and I huddle on the divan, afraid to talk. I hug my knees tightly. Forehead presses bone. Mother makes suppressed noises, and her thick body heaves. How can I help? What can I say?

When Papa returns, he whispers, “Stefan went to the Gestapo. He said he wanted to report breaking and entering and destruction of property. The Gestapo told him they already knew and not to bother about it. To cover himself, he pretended to be pleased saying. ‘Good, good, they got what they deserved.’ Then, he heard someone give an order to send a telegram to Vienna about ‘Salzburger Jews taken in protective custody.’ Stefan thinks Vienna is their immediate destination, but someone else told him that those arrested would eventually be sent to a camp in Germany near Munich. He and I agree. We need to leave as soon as possible. He will take care of the business and send us money.”

We wear extra clothes, bring food and a few valuables that hadn’t been found. We walk inside dark pockets of night, hiding in the shadows of tall buildings. We peer in every direction as we hurry over cobblestones and past street lamps that glare down from building fronts. At the plaza, I linger by the bronze horses that rear up from the fountain’s base. I have always loved the one on the right with his back to the cathedral. His forelegs kick above the water, head pointing up, mouth open as though about to make a loud, defiant noise.

I reach into the pool, trail fingers in the water, touch a smooth leg. “Goodbye, be brave,” I whisper, echoing the words of my classmate, Rolf, who told me more than once, “Ruth, be brave.” Mother grabs my arm.

“It’s not safe,” she says.

We arrive at the edge of town where Stefan Richert leads us inside the back of one of our Gutherz trucks, loaded for Vienna deliveries. He directs us to the right of a dresser, beyond tables and chairs and behind a bookcase. Mr. Richert has taken over our family’s furniture business because of the Nazi requirement that all Salzburger enterprises be judenrein, free of Jews. Jews are no longer allowed to own businesses.

“You know the work and the customers,” Papa had said to his friend and partner as they shook hands over the change of ownership. “You are an honorable person who will carry on the business with its tradition of quality now that my family and I have become one of the displaced.”

We conceal ourselves in the space Mr. Richert created at the back of the truck bed. He will drive us to Papa’s sister’s house in Vienna himself. Will we ever see him again, I wonder, after tonight?

Sitting on the floor at the back of the truck bed, I settle into the constant motion of wheels rolling over concrete. I go into a mournful trance, my parents sitting quietly next to me in the dark. I no longer ask questions but try to center myself, so I won’t lose my balance again as I had at the first sharp turn, jolting into a dresser corner tied to the truck wall. I listen to creaks, anticipate the changing directions and shift my weight accordingly.

During a long, straight stretch of road, I reach in my coat pocket and find a feather. I smooth the frayed ends stroking the softness. I found this treasure long ago at my aunt’s weekend home near the Wienerwald. I remember the unusual, bright colors like an evening fire. My fingers follow the spine to the delicate tip over and over.

Suddenly, as if from behind my eyes, I see the feather radiating light, and the light is so powerful the furniture all around begins to shimmer. I look at the shadowy figures of my parents. Mother leans against Papa. They don’t seem to notice anything.

Light continues to shine, growing more intense, causing solid surfaces to appear fluid. Light burns warm, within and without, and the brightness explodes.

I am floating on air, above the truck, and through the roof I see below that my parents’ eyes are closed. I see myself sitting near them with the feather still in my hands.

I am looking with bird eyes and flying with wings outstretched. Wind carries me. I experience a strong current beneath.

After what could be a short or a long time, I have a distressing premonition. I falter, my body trembles with a sudden chill. I find myself back in the truck.

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Book Spotlight: The Emerging Sensitive by Maria Hill

The Emerging SensitiveTitle: The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World
Author: Maria Hill
Publisher: BookBaby
Pages: 150
Genre: Self-Improvement

Having only been given a name for their unique nature a few decades ago, highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are finally able to identify their traits and connect with one another in new and beneficial ways. In her book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World, Maria Hill illuminates the path to self exploration and discovery for HSPs. Drawing on work of HSP expert Dr. Elaine Aron’s “DOES” model, Hill paints a vivid picture of the world as seen through the eyes of a highly sensitive person. She traces the roots of HSPs back to the earliest civilizations by following the evolutional framework of Spiral Dynamics as laid out by Don Beck and Chris Cowan. In doing so, she reveals the shifting roles of highly sensitive people in societies throughout the ages and exploring what the future holds as the culture shifts to a more HSP-friendly stage. Along the journey, Hill provides key insights and tools like the Whole Self framework of Bill Plotkin for highly sensitive people to take control of their lives and embrace their sensitive natures. With the guidance and resources contained within this book, HSPs can begin to discover and nurture their true potential.

Praise for The Emerging Sensitive:

“The Emerging Sensitive is an essential resource in supporting highly sensitive people in showing up in relevant ways, and not at a cost to them. The culture we live in has created many challenges to sensitivity and those who are more highly sensitive. Connection has created pain and therefore avoidance for many highly sensitive people. The cost to being present has been the sensitive self. But, it is changing. It needs to change further. I believe our culture will change the more highly sensitive people can join in and offer themselves genuinely, without compromise. I believe strongly in changing the way we all use sensitivity, and this book is a solid contribution to that effort. It is full of great resources to help a spectrum of highly sensitive people in finding their place and bring their gifts to light.”

–Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership

For More Information

  • The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:


Hundreds of highly sensitive people (HSPs) have told me about their yearning to live fuller lives. They feel left out, distrusted, and at a loss for how to make a place for themselves in the world.

HSPs suffer from complicated challenges. Some of the greatest needs of highly sensitive people are safety and a belief that they can find a place in the world for themselves. Highly sensitive people often feel unwanted and without a social home because they are outsiders. As a result, they live with an unwelcome absence of place, which comes from just being who they are.

Some challenges of highly sensitive people are easier to handle than others. For example, stress levels are something a large number of HSPs learn to manage early on. Many of us know that we must slow down, take good care of our health, meditate, and reduce stress as much as possible. Even if we do all those things, we have no guarantee of the life we imagine and truly deserve. Goals like finding suitable work and relating to non-HSPs can be difficult to realize. We are different creatures. The world has not accepted us—yet!

The good news is that the world is changing, albeit slowly, and we now have the opportunity to take our place. This book will help you understand the special times we live in and embrace a well-deserved opportunity to become a part of the world. I hope it offers you a new vision for what is possible for you.

Being sensitive does not mean having purely soft, gentle feelings, although tender and empathetic feelings are an important hallmark of highly sensitive natures. HSPs have a unique nervous system, which takes in the complexity of the world, and as a result we can easily notice lots of unmet needs and want to address them. Because of our humanitarian instincts, we often focus on ignored issues in the world, which can make us seem like troublemakers.

When we evaluate ourselves by the embraced values of Western culture, we have a hard time situating ourselves in a world that devalues sensitivity. As a result, we may have difficulty discovering a positive vision and path for ourselves.

The challenges facing highly sensitive people are so complex that finding a way to make sense of it can be daunting. Highly sensitive people are gifted but often do not receive the support they need to bring their gifts into the world. The purpose of this book is to help highly sensitive people understand themselves better, come to terms with their outsider status in a positive way, find a new path for themselves that will work, and create joy.

The book is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1: Understanding The Highly Sensitive Trait:

◦           The biological difference of highly sensitive people and the implications of that difference physically, emotionally, and experientially.

◦           The ‘DOES’ Model Of Highly Sensitive People created by Dr. Elaine Aron, which defines the key ways highly sensitive biology results in different ways of thinking and processing information for highly sensitive people.

  • Part 2: The Importance And Value Of Frameworks:

◦           What frameworks are, why they are important and how they help us make sense of the world better.

◦           The evolution framework, the insights it offers highly sensitive people and how it can be used to make processing information easier.

  • Part 3: Getting A Handle On The World:

◦           The structural reasons you feel out of sync with the world and find it hard to thrive.

◦           How the world is changing and why it provides fresh opportunities for highly sensitive people that will make life more fulfilling.

◦           New fields and opportunities for highly sensitive people to do work that suits their natures.

  • Part 4: Claiming Agency:

◦           What is “agency” and why is it hard to claim agency as a highly sensitive person.

◦           Skills and tools that highly sensitive people need to harness their sensitivity for positive results

◦           Questions to ask to start investigating new possibilities for your life.

  • Resources by section to help you investigate new ideas, opportunities, and skills.

I hope you find the book uplifting and helpful.

About the Author

Maria HillMaria Hill is the founder of HSP Health and Sensitive Evolution. She is a lifelong explorer of the sensitive experience and the challenges of bridging the difference between sensitive and non-sensitive people. Her interest in wisdom traditions, and new developments in the understanding of patterns of human behavior and living provides a unique perspective about the value of the sensitive trait and the needs of highly sensitive people.

Her latest book is the self-help book, The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World.

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