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Interview with Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of ‘Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!’

Lisa Tillinger JohansenOur guest today is Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of the nonfiction book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!  Lisa is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!

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Stop the Diet A

What made you decide to become a published author?

I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. I work as a health educator and teach and counsel clients on a variety of topics including weight management, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease and more. In my practice, I see so many people who have questions about diets, weight loss, healthy eating and overall nutrition. I help them and wanted to help people outside of my client base. So I wrote my first book, Fast Food Vindication, which was a success and won several awards. And I followed that with my now bestselling book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!

Would you consider your latest book, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!, to be a one of a kind? How so?

I do. There really isn’t a book quite like mine that looks at the pros and cons of dozens of good, fad and bad diets and ultimately provides the reader with a healthy eating plan for life. It’s a one-stop reading experience for all those who are looking for the right diet, weight-loss and management plan with tips and resources to adhere to it for life.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I like to write on the couch in my family room with the TV on and my dogs cuddling next to me. I use a laptop computer and have my research in bins on the floor by my feet. It’s perfect.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

A writer shouldn’t give up. Keep at it, don’t get discouraged and figure out a way around any obstacles in your path. I also think it’s very important to have an editor take a pass at your book. No matter how good a writer we may be, there’s always a way to make it better and objective eyes will help us do that.

What inspires you?

My clients inspire me. I’ve worked with a lot of them for many years and it’s great to see them lose weight (if needed), lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and more. There’s nothing more gratifying than helping people.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

The power of social media in getting the word out. So thank you for giving me this opportunity.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Real life experiences abound in my books. And stories about my less healthy-eating husband are sprinkled throughout.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love to travel and take every opportunity to do so. I just got back from a trip to Spain and Portugal which was fantastic. Next I’m off to Iceland and Norway. I can’t wait!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on my outline and research for my next book. I don’t take too much time off between books.

About the Book:

Stop the Diet 2Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J. Murray Press
Pages: 350
Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

For More Information

  • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.



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Talking Books with Political Author Patrick Andendall

Patrick AndendallPatrick Andendall has always had an interest in politics and, being multicultural, he views issues from a more international perspective. In 2004, five days before the election, he flew to Cleveland and pitched in to help with the political process. What he discovered was the dissolution of the American Dream, which he writes about in his book, Stupidparty.

Educated at English boarding schools from the age of seven, Andendall went on to graduate from Lancing College. He started by sometimes working three jobs at once, trainee Underwriter/claim broker at Lloyd’s of London, his own one man cleaning Company (cleaning the very offices of a Reinsurance Company he would transact business at) plus doing seasonal work on various farms.

Having made some windfall profits by borrowing money in order to be a “Stag” to take advantage of opportunities created by Margaret Thatcher’s de nationalization policies of the mid 1980’s, Andendall evolved into an entrepreneur with a core specialty in Reinsurance in London and New York where he looks for patterns in numbers. Self-employed in a field not normally conducive to self-employment, he is able remain in control, juggle different jobs, travel and pursue his various interests.

Ending up in New York via romance in the African bush, Andendall now lives on Long Island with his wife, two children and two dogs.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

A book is a package of ideas that can be marketed to niche audiences. When done right, you can reach many more people than you can with Tweeting or using Facebook. I actually started out as a volunteer going door-to-door to talk to voters but realized my Stupidparty 2message had no chance competing with the money behind radio and TV pundits.

Would you consider your latest book, to be a one of a kind? How so?

Some political narratives are depressing, but I think my effort to highlight some of the outrageous elements of the Republican Party come with humor. As one reviewer put it, “It is possibly the funniest book with an agenda ever published.” The book uses analytical and quantitative precision to eviscerate some of the fallacious myths held by certain leaders of the Republican Party.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My writing sanctuary is located in my hometown on Long Island. I like coffee shops with character: lots of seating options, a good view, and not too big.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

They should not be stubborn about the editing process. Hire a great editor, one who asks the right questions, and listen to him or her.

What inspires you?

My immediate family inspired me through the writing process. They are the set of ears that I use to keep myself honest about my writing.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

How hard it is finding book promotion tools that work for a specific book. There are lots of services, tools and strategies but not all of them work for every book. We’ve been experimenting with different ideas looking for the right combination. Once we find that I have no problem doing even more marketing.

Why do you love to write about politics?

For what I write about there is no shortage of stupid ideas, stupid statements or obvious pandering. The Internet also makes it easy to disprove and discredit these public statements. Politics is all around us and as such the success of political policies and initiatives has a profound impact on our lives and wellbeing. Unfortunately not everyone recognizes the importance of this.

Youre concocting a recipe for a best selling book. Whats the first ingredient?

The first ingredient is time. Time is important because the rest of the ingredients—the various types of content and design elements—need to marinate and become stirred in the right way before it is truly ready to be published.

Whats one fun fact about your book people should know?

The book is like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart….but in print. More than 1,500 hyperlinks take readers to the facts that substantiate or refute statements made in the book. It also has 1,055 full-color images and 121 graphs and charts.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

The genesis of the book was my volunteer work for the 2004 Presidential campaign. I flew to Cleveland, camped in some motel, and pitched in to help in the poorer urban neighborhoods. That experience demonstrated that that one very real myth about our democracy is that everyone has equal access to voting. Poorer communities had fewer voting machines and had to wait in line longer. After that election, I started to become more active online so that I could get the word out to the public about how important it is to vote.

Whats next for you?

More blogging, more advertising, more tweeting and perhaps another book for the 2016 election. I hope your readers follow along at stupidpartyMathvMyth.com by joining our mailing list.

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Interview with Gary Rodriguez, author of Escape Through the Wilderness

Gary RodriguezWe welcome today Gary Rodriguez, author of the teens/children’s book, Escape Through the Wilderness.  Gary talks about becoming a published author, what he’s learned along the way, and his new book.

What made you decide to become a published author?

When it comes to sharing my thoughts and ideas with a general audience, public speaking has always been my preferred method of communication. But when more and more of my friends and business associates started to ask me questions about public speaking, I decide to answer their questions in book form. Specifically, they wanted to know how to develop and deliver more effective talks and presentations. So my writing career was launched with three self-published books on public speaking. My journey as a writer then took a sharp turn a little over a year ago when I decided to write my first novel.

After writing and self-publishing three books, I decided to use a publisher to produce and market my first novel – escape through the wilderness.

Would you consider your latest book, escape through the wilderness, to be a one of a kind?


Escape Through the Wilderness 2How so?

Well without tooting my own horn, here’s what a reviewer recently wrote about my book:

“Masterfully crafted by Gary Rodriguez, ‘Escape Through the Wilderness’ tells the gripping story of four teenagers whose rafting accident forces them to fight for their survival and defy all odds to come out alive. Taking the book’s premise directly from his own military experiences, Rodriguez constructed the narrative to turn young readers into admirable leaders and explore issues related to faith, abuse and forgiveness.”

Frankly, I’m not aware of other adventure novels targeting young readers that teach important leadership principles in a wilderness setting. Students who read the book find it exciting, inspirational and instructive. It’s gratifying to share leadership principles in a way that’s easy and fun for students to absorb.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

Much of escape through the wilderness was written at Starbucks. I like the environment and the coffee nearby. Unlike some writers, I don’t need a quiet setting to write. I have the ability to stay focused even in, what some might call, a noisy setting.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned there was a mistake on page 9 that I had to pay to get corrected (my error). After what seemed like a thousand proofreads by multiple people we all still missed one. The lesson is this. You can’t proof your script too many times.

Why do you love to write adventure novels?

Writing an adventure novel is exciting and a lot of fun. I love dreaming up and developing the characters and inserting them into a thrilling story. Adventures are exhilarating and it’s a blast to come up with various twists and turns that readers are not expecting. When I wrote escape through the wilderness, I was always considering the following questions:

What’s the worst thing that could happen right now? What could be the biggest twist, or the most unexpected event right now?

Then I’d insert that into the script to keep readers on their toes and to keep the story from becoming too predictable.

What’s next for you?

I just finished chapter ten of the sequel to Escape through the Wilderness. I’m hoping for a release date in the summer 2015. I’m having so much fun writing again after a short break to focus on other responsibilities.

About the Author:

My name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I’m the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution.

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season.

As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

Over the past few years, I’ve written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel.

My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness.

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About the Book:

Title: Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodriguez
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: 254
Genre: Teens/Children
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

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Interview with ‘Daughter of the Fallen’ Madeline Wynn & Win $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Madeline WynnMadeline Wynn holds a master’s degree in procrastination. When she’s not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.

Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.

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About the Book:

Daughter of the Fallen 2Most sixteen-year olds aren’t worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May’s biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can’t tell if it’s trying to possess her… or protect her.

May’s thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced. She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can’t stop.

As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth– and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

(For readers who enjoy: teen paranormal romance, teen horror, teen romance, nephilim, demons, YA, YA horror, YA paranormal, YA romance, ghost stories)

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Thanks for joining us today, Madeline. Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into the YA paranormal genre?

Madeline: I’ve always loved a good ghost story, so when I moved to New England I decided that I’d go ahead and take a ghost hunting class. I was obsessed with all of those shows on TV, so I figured it would be fun. As it turned out, it scared the hell out of me. Not so much the whole, dead Aunt Mary hanging out on the staircase part, but the demons in the attic part.

By the last week of class, sleep and I were no longer on speaking terms. So I decided to go ahead and try and write a novel about all of my worst fears and the book was born.

Is writing what you’ve wanted to do all your life?

Madeline: Yes and no. I originally wanted to grow up and be the ruler of a small country, but that hasn’t really worked out.

I’ve been writing all of my life, so it’s become a part of me more than a profession, per se.

I would love to know more about your character, May Krieg. Would you like to tell us about her?

Madeline: She’s a teen who feels a bit like an outsider. She lives in a wealthy suburb and she’s the girl who has to shop at second-hand stores and doesn’t have the money to drop on weekly manicures and things, but she’s quirky and always the first to volunteer to work at a soup kitchen or make lunch for the homeless.

She’s also a bit naïve and can be a bit too quick about drawing up assumptions about people. That being said, even though she’s not in with the popular kids, she’s extremely devoted to the friends that she does have and would walk through fire for the people she cares about.

Who is Jack?

Madeline: He’s the “it” boy. He’s got the money and the looks and the charm to rule the world.

But on the inside he’s broken. His mother has passed away and his dad is never around, and throws money at him in the hopes that it will replace any actual parenting that he should be doing. He’s left to his own devices all the time, so he has become very self-sufficient but also a bit cold on the outside. He’s slow to warm up to people because on the inside he’s worried that they’ll just abandon him the way his parents have.

What are you working on now?

Madeline: The sequel to DAUGHTER OF THE FALLEN. The book ends on a hook so I have to make sure readers aren’t left in the dark for too long!

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and readers?

Madeline: Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to reach out!


Madeline Wynn is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!



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Interview with William R. Leibowitz, author of Miracle Man

William LeibowitzWilliam R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man. Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

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About the Book:


The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero.

Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.

So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?

As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.

Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.

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Q: What made you decide to become a published author?

A:   I had a story to tell that was very important to me for a variety of reasons. Miracle Man chronicles the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history, from the time of his birth and tragic childhood through his extraordinary Miracle Man Pacific Book Awardsaccomplishments in curing diseases. The book is a psychological thriller with a fast paced twisting plot that’s full of surprises and drama, as Austin battles abandonment and betrayal and the myriad powerful forces (external and internal) that seek to destroy him.   In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to create a modern day believable ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’. I thought that such a person could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent). I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertainment context, certain spiritual and humanistic messages that mean a great deal to me.

Q: Would you consider Miracle Man to be a one of a kind? How so?

A:   The plot in Miracle Man has never been written before and I also believe that my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is truly unique.

Q: What inspires you?

A:   One of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life and that inspires me. As the story of the protagonist, Robert James Austin, unfolds throughout the novel, I think the reader will come to appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death. Robert Austin should have died as a new born, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways. His life was not expendable. We all are bombarded every day by statistics of death –how many people died in the latest war, or from famine, or epidemic or other manmade or natural cataclysm. People’s lives are jumbled together by the media as meaningless numbers. But what I want the reader of Miracle Man to think about —is the individual. Has anyone ever thought how likely it is that the person who would have cured cancer was killed in a Concentration Camp? That’s why Miracle Man begins with the quotation from Scriptures – “To destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, and to save one life is to save an entire world.”

Q: What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

A: I learned how difficult it is to break through to the mass market and to create mass visibility for a book.

Q: Why do you love to write thrillers?

A: The thriller genre allows me to tell a fast paced surprise packed story that offers the reader plenty of twists and turns, but also supports psychological tension and complex character development.

Q: You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

A:   A premise that is original and really interesting.

Q: Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

A:   Yes. In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is “Big Pharma” which views Austin as their enemy since he cures diseases and thereby makes many of their “cash-cow” drugs obsolete. In short, Austin is bad for their business. Like Austin, I find it incomprehensible that virtually no major disease has been cured in over 50 years. How can that be the case when so much money has been spent over the decades on research? Simply put, there’s a lot more money in treating symptoms than there is in curing diseases. Austin realized that Big Pharma has no interest in curing diseases. It just wants to keep on selling expensive symptom treatments –and as we know, many people are on ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life. Austin wanted to change that. Worth thinking about I believe.

Q: Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

A: Art, architecture and music.

Q: What’s next for you?

A:   Readers have been calling on me to write a sequel to Miracle Man and the ending of the book does hint at one. I’ve begun to sketch out the plot line. The sequel will definitely have lots of surprises as the saga of Robert James Austin continues.


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A Conversation with Tara Edin, author of ‘Moonflower: A Memoir of Healing’

Moonflower banner

Tara is an incest, rape and sexual assault survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a Reiki master, and an author.

As a rape and sexual assault survivor, who struggled for many years, yet came out on the bright side, one of Tara’s goals is to help fellow survivors feel less alone, less crazy, and more inspired.

Tara spent much of her life feeling “wrong” and being quiet due to some very tough circumstances that shook her to the core. After a spiritual awakening on one of her darkest nights, Tara began to embrace her own power to transform past trials into dreams come true.

Moonflower 2Writing her story has helped Tara retrieve her voice and find additional creative outlets. Publishing her book has simply made her story available to those who may benefit from it.

These days, Tara puts most of her energy into raising her two children, enhancing her creative life, and living her best life ever. But because she is a Survivor, Tara will always walk a healing path—healing for herself and for others.

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  • Visit Tara Edin’s blog.

Connect with Tara on Facebook and Twitter

What made you decide to become a published author?

I thought my story would do more good published rather than sitting on my computer hard drive. I had originally begun writing my feelings in a journal format at age 16. It was a cathartic vehicle for my emotional suffering after being raped. In the following years, I explored the idea of sharing it but stopped and started many times, still unsure of myself and my story’s significance. Eventually, I stopped questioning the Universe’s nudge to finish it and resolved to see it through. If anything, I intended it for my children and their children to read much later in life as a record of where their mother/grandmother had been in her life. Sometimes I simply thought of tucking it away in a drawer indefinitely—completely safe but not very helpful. We are all here on Earth to learn and to help each other heal through our work. This story is part of my contract on Earth, and this gift can only provide assistance when shared.

Would you consider your latest book, Moonflower: A Memoir of Healing, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Most definitely! I am a survivor several times over, kind of like a cat with nine lives. I’ve literally defied the odds in so many aspects of my life—both bad and good. Moonflower is not your conventional memoir.

What inspires you?

Honesty inspires me. It requires courage to live and write honestly, so I am inspired by those who do so with integrity. On the flip side, things like injustice or ignorance inspire me to make a positive difference in the world, however big or small my efforts may be. If one life is touched or one mind is opened, then I will have achieved a fraction of my purpose on Earth.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I realized my book has the potential to help people for years to come. What a great feeling that is!

Why do you love to write memoirs?

Memoir has been the genre of my healing stages for the past 22 years. It was my therapy and my lifeline, which is why I loved writing it. Also, my introspective nature keeps me reflecting on and retelling life events in my own head. I feel a greater sense of ownership of my thoughts and experiences when I record them on the page rather than floating around in my head. I can make better sense of it all through the written word and quiet reflection.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

It has been 20 plus years in the making!

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

My book is based on my real life experiences.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Right now, my passion is being a loving wife and mom to my husband and two young children. They are my heart and my joy. I also love to cook vegan-ish meals and desserts. I’m always searching online or experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes. To date, one of my masterpieces is my vegan gluten-free chocolate-chip cookies. When my kids gobble them up, I feel like a million dollars. I also enjoy belly dancing and miss my days being in a professional dance troupe. I feel that dance will be re-entering my life in the near future. Everything has its own time.

What’s next for you?

My plans are to put some love into my blog and social media to help spread the word about my book and other interesting topics.

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Interview with Stephanie Macneil, author of Parker



ParkerTitle: Parker
Genre: Young Adult
Author: Stephanie Macneil
Publisher: iUniverse
EBook: 226 pages
Release Date: November 20, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-47596-038-9

The secret came out a few years ago: Parker Knight is gay. Now Parker is sixteen, and everyone has either embraced it, does not care, or has forgotten—everyone except for Dylan Baker. He is determined to make Parker’s life miserable. Parker really thought killing himself would make everything better. If he was dead, he would not have to get kicked around by Dylan and his friends anymore. He would be free. Now, after a failed suicide attempt, Parker just wants to get through the last few months of tenth grade and stay as far away from Dylan as possible. What’s worse is Parker is secretly in love with his best friend, Liam Eriksson. But luckily, Liam doesn’t know this. Parker does not want to risk losing the friendship by telling him his true feelings. But as a tragedy overshadows his already complicated life, Parker soon discovers that the truth has a habit of surfacing in unexpected ways. Parker is the poignant story of one boy’s struggle for acceptance as he reaches out for hope, life, forgiveness and Liam.


Can you tell us what your latest book is all about? 

Parker is the story of a 16-year-old boy being bullied at school by an old friend Dylan because he’s gay. He faces torment and hate every day and that eventually led to attempting suicide. Parker is deeply in love with his best Liam, but must keep it a secret so he doesn’t lose him. Parker is a coming of age about a boy who learns to be strong.How did you come up with the idea? 

I didn’t intend to write Parker, it just sort of happened one night at 2 in the morning. But I wrote down the first thought that Parker ever said in my head to me, which is still the first line of the book, and then I just took it from there.What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book? 

Not a lot of research had to be done. I think the only thing I did research was about comas. I’ve been the introverted, scared kid who doesn’t feel like they belong or fit in anywhere. That was the easy part.Can you give us a short excerpt?

This excerpt comes from when the Knights and Liam visit Parker’s grandparents in Kelowna. Parker is feeling overwhelmed by not being out as gay to his grandparents, and continuing to hide his feelings from Liam.


When I walk back into the room, Liam is sitting on the bed. I sit down beside him. “I’m sorry about before,” he says.

I look down at the floor. “I’m sorry, too.”

“It’s just that we don’t really talk about it.”

“What’s there to talk about?”

“I don’t know. You never talk about anyone you like, or stuff like that.”

“That’s because there is no one.”

“Okay, well if you ever want to, you can.”

I want to. I love you. I dream about you when I’m awake and sleeping. I watch you from the corner of my eye. I need you. When you’re gone, I miss you. I want to touch you. I want you to touch me. You’re the only one. I can’t breathe around you. I can’t speak around you. I can’t think around you. You captivate me. You thrill me. You fascinate me. Love me back. Don’t leave me. You make me feel alive when I’m dying. You save me.

I don’t say any of these things.

“Okay, thanks.”

I hate lying to him. I want to tell him it’s him and it’s been him forever. But I want him to feel the same way, and that is a dead dream. I might as well save myself the humiliation and awkwardness and hope that I just get over him.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” he says, standing up and grabbing his bag.




Stephanie Macneil was born in Ottawa, Ontario, but now lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Her goal is to become a screenwriter. Parker is her first book.

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Interview with Diane Doniol-Valcroze & Arthur K. Flam, authors of ’41 Strange’

Diane Doniol-ValcrozeDiane Doniol-Valcroze was born in Paris, France. As a young girl, she developed a passion for writing from her father, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, co-founder of the New Wave magazine CAHIERS DU CINEMA, and from her grandfather, French filmmaker André Cayatte (original THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES). She earned a B.A. in English literature from the SorbonneUniversity, and an M.F.A. in film from New YorkUniversitywhile apprenticing on the Lauren Hutton show. She has co-written screenplays for such films as Lionsgate’s PENNY DREADFUL, starring Mimi Rogers, and MGM’s HIT AND RUN, helmed by Enda McCallion and starring Kevin Corrigan. 41 STRANGE is her debut book. She lives in Los Angeles.

Arthur K. FlamArthur K. Flam was born in New York City and graduated from JohnsHopkinsUniversity with a B.A. in writing, and from New YorkUniversity with an M.F.A. in film. He served as Editor-in-Chief of Johns Hopkins’s oldest literary magazine, ZENAIDA, and worked as a journalist for the BALTIMORE CHRONICLE. He started in the film industry as an assistant on Abel Ferrara’s vampire film, THE ADDICTION. He has co-written screenplays for the films PENNY DREADFUL and HIT AND RUN. 41 STRANGE is his first book. He lives in Los Angeles.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

DDV: I’m a screenwriter and the chance to do something very personal was very appealing and liberating.

41  Strange 2Would you consider your latest book, 41 Strange, to be a one of a kind? How so?

AKF: After doing research, we realized there wasn’t an e-book yet that was devoted exclusively to short-short stories of the strange and horrifying. It was exciting.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

DDV: In a corner away from windows and outside distractions!

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

AKF: I don’t think a writer should compromise on the prime content of a book; for instance, the end of a story, which carries the point.

What inspires you?

DDV: Film is a major inspiration. Especially Tod Browning’s Freaks and The Unknown.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

DDV & AKF: It’s a long process! Patience is truly a virtue.

Why do you love to write suspense-horror stories?

DDV: Hopefully to shock, shake the reader!

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

DDV: 357 Mad Dog Hot Sauce. A killer sauce that takes your breath away…

AKF: The cob with no corn.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

DDV & AKF: The “41” comes from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Cary Grant is attacked by the airplane at Prairie Stop on Highway 41.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

AKF: I hope not. That might be gruesome!

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

DDV: Film noir. Alpine skiing.

AKF: Film noir. Chess. Biathlon.

What’s next for you?

DDV & AKF: Among other things, the next volume. Thanks for having us!

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Interview with Thomax Green, author of ‘The Shu: The Gnostic Tao Te Ching’

Thomax GreenOur guest today is Thomax Green, author of the spiritual, the shu the gnostic tao te ching. Thomax was born in 1972. After waking from a coma 10 years ago, he says he “was finally freed of the devilish manifestations that plagued me with a life of sorrow.” In addition to being a writer, Thomax is a visual artist. His media includes painting, drawing, and photography. He has published a previous novel titled “C.O.W.:   Creatures of War.”
His latest book is The Shu: The Gnostic Tao Te Ching.

Visit his website at www.thomaxgreen.com.

What made you decide to become a published author?

It wasn’t a decision it was in my blood and I have to do it.

Would you consider your latest book, the shu the gnostic tao te ching, to be a one of a kind? How so?

Yes, it is the first book with real answers to the questions we have all asked since the dawn of time. Plus 50% of the The Shuroyalties are going to UNICEF to help children in need. No other book really gives that much back.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I have an at home office where I write, but half of writing is reading and I have a library in my house for that.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

As far as self-publishing goes don’t assume that once it is published your work is done. There is so much more to do than just that. When dealing with New York don’t be a needy writer you’ll just annoy people.

What inspires you?

Beauty and love. I have no biases when it comes to beauty and love. I see beauty and find love in everyone.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

That there is a strong interest in it being published in different languages in other countries.

Why do you love to write spirituality?

I love to write in many different genres but this book has a special place in my heart because it can really change the world for the better.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Give people what they need.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

After you have read my book your biases about your neighbors will be gone. Love is more powerful than anything.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

This will sound weird but there is a part in the book where I detail how desire can imbed negative emotions in people. That lesson was taught to me by the Virgin Mary.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I really am a jack of all trades. I love everything creative. I hope artists will always prosper.

What’s next for you?

Right now I am trying to persuade DC Comics to pick up a couple of stories I am writing and I am also writing a book about Amelia Earhart.


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Interview with Meryl Ain, co-author of THE LIVING MEMORIES PROJECT

Meryl AinOur guest today is Meryl Ain, co-author of the non-fiction book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last. Meryl wrote her first poem in the third grade and has been writing ever since. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and often writes about families, parenting, children, and education. After she lost both her father and mother within a year-and-a-half, she decided to research how others keep alive the memories of their loved ones. She enlisted her husband, Stewart, and her brother, Arthur Fischman, to join her in researching and writing The Living Memories Project, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/. Meryl earned a BA from QueensCollege, a MA from ColumbiaUniversityTeachers College, and an Ed.D. from HofstraUniversity. She began her career in education as a social studies teacher before she became an administrator. She and her husband Stewart live on Long Island and have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

Her latest book she co-authored with Steward Ain and Arthur M. Fischman is the nonfiction, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last.

Visit their website at www.thelivingmemoriesproject.com.

The Living Memories Project 7What made you decide to become a published author?

When my mother died after a brief illness in 2006, I was bereft.

Although I knew she had lived a long life, there is never enough time with a loved one. In thinking about how best to remember my mother, I recalled advice she gave me more than once, “Get yourself a project.” So I decided to write a book — interviewing people about how they keep alive the memories of their loved ones. In doing so, I was hoping to get ideas to help heal myself.

I enlisted the support of my husband, Stewart, and my brother, Arthur, to research and write the book. Together we captured the stories of 32 individuals who created tributes – big and small – as living memorials. The project proved to be therapeutic and cathartic; not only did it give us wonderful material, but it turned into an inspiring book and an amazing tribute to my mom.

Would you consider your latest book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last to be a one of a kind? How so?

Absolutely. When I was grieving, I searched for a book that would provide me with hope, comfort, and inspire me to action. The books I found discussed the stages of grieving, and the feelings associated with them, but they did not provide me with what I was looking for. I believe our book is unique. It begins with the notion that there is no such thing as closure. Those we love are with us forever, although they are not physically present. Through the stories of those we interviewed, we learn many different ways to keep alive the memories, passions, values, and traditions of our loved ones.

What inspires you?

The 32 people we interviewed for our book inspire me. They all transformed their grief into meaningful action and living legacies. For example, Liz and Steve Alderman established the Peter C. Alderman Foundation to honor the memory of their 25-year-old son, who was killed on 9/11 at the WorldTradeCenter. The foundation trains doctors and establishes mental health clinics on four continents to treat victims of PTSD.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned that there is a tremendous thirst to speak about grief, loss, and death in our society that is not being met. We have been truly gratified that so many people have told us that The Living Memories Project is exactly the book that helped them move beyond mourning, and that they welcome participating in discussion about the topic. People tell us that they appreciate its upbeat and hopeful approach. All of our events have been well attended, and people have used words such as “uplifting” and “enjoyable” to describe them. We recently had an event where singer/songwriter Jen Chapin, the daughter of folk rock icon Harry Chapin, spoke about how she carries on her father’s legacy of music and eradicating hunger. We are glad that we have enabled people to confront and discuss these issues, using our book as a catalyst.

What’s next for you?

We hope to do a sequel. We are asking our readers to share their own stories of how they keep the memory of their loved ones alive on our website, http://thelivingmemoriesproject.com/


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