Robert Eggleton: The Man Behind a Landmark Story to Combat Child Abuse

roberteggleton

Child abuse is not only tragic, but complicated. It sullies all economic classes and cultures with no easy answers. Author Robert Eggleton, a child advocate of many years, has been in the trenches fighting this social ill for decades. His debut novel, a science fiction comedy entitled Rarity from the Hollow, evolved from his experiences, and he donates half of the sales proceeds to the West Virginia Children’s Home Society. I’ve read it and it’s not only outstanding but well-worth reading. You can find the review I wrote a while back here.

I’m honored that Robert agreed to an interview that will not only educate readers to the depth of the problem, but show this cultural warrior’s dedication to do whatever he can to combat this serious societal problem.

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MF: Your career as a children’s advocate and counselor gave you first hand knowledge of the problems depicted in “Rarity from the Hollow.” At what point did you get the idea to incorporate your decades of experience into a story?

 RE: The characters in Rarity from the Hollow are more real than not. They are based on people that I’ve met during over forty years in my role as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state. The concept of sensitizing people to the huge social problem of child maltreatment through a comical and satiric adventure demanded that I use realistic characters. During my career, most of my jobs required the production of written materials – service models, policy, research…. In 2002, I went to work as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was my first job that my longstanding need to write was not, in part, met by performing within my scope of employment. – nonfiction published by public and private agencies in the field of child welfare, much of which is now archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Part of my job at the mental health center was to facilitate group therapy sessions. In 2006, I met the real-life Lacy Dawn, the protagonist of my stories during one of those group psychotherapy sessions. She was an eleven year old empowered survivor of extreme child abuse and spoke about her hopes and dreams for a bright future. Although I’m not sure that it was a conscious decision at the time, I incorporated my experiences as a children’s advocate in her story because that is what I know best about life – hopes and dreams for the future despite any adversity.

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MF: Those of us who are horrified by child abuse usually don’t want to read about it. While it’s a necessary component of the story, it nonetheless may be preventing some from reading it. Is there anything you’d like to say to these folks?

RE: Yes. While I believe that readers of my novel will become increasingly sensitized to child maltreatment, it is a fun read with tragedy amplifying the comedy and satire, as stated by some of the book’s reviews:rarityfrom the hollowcvr

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holly-by-robert-eggleton/

“…I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go…if it does not make you think, you are not really reading it….”  http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html

“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…” https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow

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MF: Your career must have been tremendously painful at times. How did you cope with it?

RE: I can’t remember a day since I entered the field in 1973 that I didn’t take work home with me, emotionally. For example, many tears were shed on one investigative report that I will never forget writing – “Daniel’s Death, West Virginia’s First Child Maltreatment Fatality Report.” I had to write that report at home because I didn’t want to become a mess at work – the West Virginia Supreme Court where everybody was dressed up as emotionally detached professionals. Despite the conviction of the parents, the term “murder” was edited out of my report, and I now agree that it became a more effective product because of the great editing. My state established a child fatality process, in part, as a result of this report.

A very short time after entering the field of child welfare, I focused on effectiveness of my work. This coping skill served me well as it increased over the years. All of the tears in the world will do little to help needful children, and my internalization of this fact kept me strong. That’s why I didn’t want Rarity from the Hollow to be a depressing or an emotionally draining story. I could have written another novel like Push by Sapphire, which I watched in 2009 as a movie backed by Oprah: Precious. But, I didn’t feel that this masterpiece was effective as a social change agent, so I wanted to produce a novel that people would enjoy reading, not just one that was merely meaningful.

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MF: What do you think is the underlying cause of child abuse? Is there one thing that could greatly improve the situation?

RE: Rather than causation, let’s look at some of the correlates of child abuse:

  • undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues experienced by parents, such as Bipolar Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, or PTSD;
  • addiction or substance abuse by parents;
  • lack of economic opportunity within geographical areas, including when children are sold or traded by their parents as a source of income;
  • lack of support services for struggling families, especially including when children have mental or physical disabilities, such as ADHD, mental retardation, or demanding physical handicaps;
  • cultural or subcultural values, including sexism, within, as examples, religious cults or organizations that demean the value of women and children or which protect those who use extreme corporeal punishment or hide offensive behaviors of its members, such as sexual abuse;
  • insensitivity to the issue of child abuse, or failure to enforce existing laws, such as mandatory reporting by professionals involved with children;
  • failure to perform ethical duties by professionals, including intentional disregard by law enforcement, doctors, teachers, or religious leaders because they don’t want to get involved in potential child abuse cases;
  • parents who were abused as children and as a generational effect due to lack of treatment for the parent as victims;
  • parental stress related to bills and inadequate income – the parent simply losing self-control and later regretting and hiding the child abuse for fear of losing custody;
  • the natural mistrust felt by children when considering telling on adults who maltreat them, especially relatives or those adults in positions of authority.

This list is not exhaustive and I’m sure that you, Marcha, can come up with additional correlates. Several of these issues were addressed in Rarity from the Hollow. However, I do want to emphasize that there is nothing that blames or that is preachy in my story. Child abuse is not a simplistic good vs. evil issue, although the last item that I want to add to the list is PURE EVIL! During my career, I have met child abusers who have no identifiable redeeming quality and to qualify their abusive behaviors with a mental health diagnosis diminishes the significance of their evil.

The one thing that I think would help decrease child abuse is the belief that it is preventable. Being a parent is a tough job and “it takes a village” to raise a child. While some people might object to funding community-based supports for needful children and their parents, it costs a lot more in the long run if we close our eyes and ears to ignore this huge social problem.

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MF: Dot Com’s artificial intelligence evolution was hilarious. Did you have an underlying message in mind with regard to where AI could possibly go?

RE: While I’ve appreciated compliments by book reviewers who have spoken about my wild imagination, I want to confess that the fantastical means employed by the alien in my story to treat the parents were based on today’s medical reality. Dwayne, the abusive father was a war damaged Vet experiencing anger outbursts and night terrors. The mother was a downtrodden victim of domestic violence who had lost hope of ever getting her G.E.D. or driver’s license, or of protecting her daughter. Diagnosis and treatment of these concerns affecting the parents, as representative of many similarly situated, was based on emerging technologies presented at the 2015 World Medical Innovation Forum: https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/ . Yes, in real life, like in my story, patients have been hooked up to computer technology for medial diagnosis and treatment.

Additional exciting research was presented at that Forum and may one day may revolutionize psychiatric treatment. Most relevant to my story were: (1) smart brain prosthetics, wireless devises being tested for potential to relieve depression, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder…neural engineering to manipulate brain signals; (2) sophisticated imaging systems that are minimally invasive to brain circuitry for diagnosis (3) and, healing the brain with neuromodulation and electroceuticals to treat depression and schizophrenia. http://hitconsultant.net/2015/04/30/tech-revolutionize-neurological-psychiatric-care/ I expect that medical science will continue to evolve and hope that it prioritizes treatment of those who most inflict injury on others.

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MF: What drew you to writing? Is writing fiction something you’ve always aspired to or did it develop later?

RE: Writing is a compulsion for me. It doesn’t have to be fiction, but I couldn’t stop no matter how hard that I tried.

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MF: Do you have any plans for a sequel to “Rarity from the Hollow”?

RE: The next Lacy Dawn Adventure is titled “Ivy.” It’s about an alien invasion of Earth, exploitation for mineral content, and the primary weapon used by the invaders is the addiction to a drug that causes narcissism or extreme ego centrism.

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MF: You have a definite knack for dry humor. Any thoughts toward writing a book that lacks the darker elements?

RE: As a debut novelist, I’m still working on finding the compromise between aspiring to achieve literary excellence as avant garde and mainstream consumer expectations. Perhaps because this project is also an effort to raises funds to help abused children, yes, I have recurring thoughts about writing a book that lacks darker elements. I very much appreciate your finding that: “I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” But, some of these children will not live to see the future if more is not done to help them now, and I want to contribute.

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MF: I suspect that most intelligent people at one time or another have thought that some people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce. What are your thoughts on the matter?

RE: I try to stop myself from getting emotionally involved in should or should not type of issues. I’m sure that you noticed that the political parody in Rarity from the Hollow, unlike Animal Farm that you compared it to, was not preachy. I don’t know the answers to the most important questions that humans ask, and whether or not to reproduce given the totality of circumstances is one of life’s most important questions. If you remember, Lacy’s cousin in Rarity experienced a preteen pregnancy, an occurrence that may be correlated with human misery, but the baby became the pride and joy of the entire extended family.

I respect an individual’s right to self-determination, including about reproductive rights. For example, abortion is part of the animal kingdom and not unique to humanity. From rabbits living in overcrowded warrens, to orcas off the coast of the state of Washington aborting sixty percent of pregnancies, or Canadian caribou…while grief is impossible to measure, only humans seem to face such moral dilemmas about reproduction as you presented to me as a question.

As a notation about my personal values, although the National Organization for Women was established in 1966, I live in West Virginia and it wasn’t until 1969 or so that I participated in its first march in my state, one of the very few males to attend. I believe that this affiliation sums up my thoughts about reproduction and most humans.

Increasingly, medical sciences have presented findings that help us understand ourselves, including those of us who have mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities such as Downs Syndrome, and other, sometimes genetic, problems that could be passed on to offspring. Other fields have also presented information about cultural, religious, and sociological practices and beliefs that could be regarded as harmful to humanity if passed on to offspring. For example, Rarity presented the issues of immigration, extreme capitalism, and consumerism and its impact on the exploitation of one geographical area by members of a more aggressive geographic area –  beliefs, values, and practices that could be passed on to offspring, as well.

I believe that for me to express that a person with Downs Syndrome, for example, should be prevented from getting pregnant would be the same as saying that a very wealthy, greedy, dishonest, and exploitive member of the “High Class” should be prevented from getting pregnant because both scenarios present risk to humanity. Plus, there are no absolutes in life. The baby born with Downs Syndrome might experience a wonderful life that fills others with meaning and happiness. The baby “destined” to become a spoiled rich kid might, instead, turn out to become a great philanthropist.

All that said, in answer to this highly philosophical question, I respect the opinion of anyone who takes the time to educate oneself about the issues and who doesn’t propagandize or lie to promote one side or another.

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MF: If you were king of the world for a day, what message would you deliver to the people of the planet?

RE: As King of the World for a day, my message would be:

Life is short, the blink of a cosmic eye from one generation to the next. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel so that it ends at your correct destination.

Thanks, Marcha, for providing me an opportunity to tell your readers a little about myself and my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow.

MF: You’re certainly very welcome, Robert. I’m touched and impressed by your knowledge and dedication as you continue to do what you can to combat this horrific practice.

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Here’s a short book trailer video:

Rarity from the Hollow is available at most sales channels, including K-Mart and Books-A-Million, and is also available electronically. Half of all proceeds are donated to the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. You can pick up your copy on Amazon here.

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What do Wacky Sci-Fi, the LSAT, and MCAT have in Common?

I certainly never would have thought avant garde science fiction and entrance test preparation manuals for law or medical school would have anything in common–until I came across author, Jay Cutts. Our “meeting” was in a somewhat notorious manner, in that he gave one of my books a rather scathing review, replete with a grammar lesson about the use of periods. However, after my initial tantrum, I had to admit he was correct, so subsequently edited the book accordingly, sent him the revised copy, and he generously improved the book’s rating. It was during this correspondence that I discovered that, in addition to being a grammar Nazi, he was a fellow author as well as a professional editor.  After sampling his brand of humor in his novels on his website, I wanted to know more about him, so asked him for an interview. Indeed, he is as diverse and unconventional as I suspected. To wit:

MF: I find it fascinating that your writing spans such diverse writing skills, i.e., editing study guides for the LSAT and MCAT versus the wacky humor of Death by Haggis and Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom. Conveying facts and editing are left brain activities while fiction falls more on the right. Which talent were you aware of first? Does one come more easily than the other?

JC: Yes, it’s true that I’ve edited and/or written thousands of pages of science and logic! Actually, it feels to me that real creativity requires both some “organizing” skills and some “wild fantasy” skills. The trick is to keep my imagination from going crazy when I’m writing non-fiction stuff. My publisher has to make sure I haven’t included bizarre aliens in my test prep materials. In the LSAT book I did include a logic dialogue between my dog (Baxter) and the neighbor’s dog (Beardsley). I finally confessed to my editor but she said not to worry. All authors do that. Of course, the dialogue was pure fiction because Baxter NEVER talks to Beardsley, stuck-up little mutt that he is.

MF: I can see that. And cats are even worse. Tell us about your educational background. Where did you go to school, what did you major in when you were in college, etc. If you were to go back to school now, what would you study?

JC: I went to the University of Michigan, where I tried to major in (in chronological order) chemistry and/or cooking, psychology, anthropology, and linguistics. I eventually managed to complete the linguistics degree. Many  years later I got a masters in special education.

If I were to go back to school now, I would be anxious for summer vacation to come! I have always loved summer vacation more than anything.

If I had to take classes, they would be in dance and jazz piano.

MF: I can relate. Summer was always my favorite, too. Who are your favorite authors? Whose work do you enjoy most and why? Did any one in particular influence you more than the others?

JC: Terry Pratchett is my favorite. He has a wonderful sense of humor, a great imagination and really captures the human condition. I’ve never read anyone else with his combination of qualities. I also like Kage Baker, Jasper Fforde, Connie Willis, and Douglas Adams. I once read a Terry Pratchett novel in Slovak. It’s amazing how well he writes in Slovak!!

MF: I’m impressed that you can read Slovak! What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had? What did you learn from it? Has it affected your writing in any way?

JC: I once cleaned houses. It affected my writing in that my hands were too sore to write!

MF: Harsh detergents can do that. Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea for them? Do they have a hidden message?

JC: Death by Haggis had a very interesting genesis (as explained in its intro.) I have an old friend, Terry Boothman, who is a great writer with a wonderful sense of humor. We often email back and forth a dozen or more times  a day with riddles and jokes.

At one point I suggested to him that he send me the first line for a novel and that I would write back. Continuing in that way I figured we could complete the book in a couple weeks. He did send me a wacky first line and I responded.

I found that every time I tried to develop a plot, he instinctively destroyed whatever I had started. That made for an amazing challenge. Eventually he dropped out of the project and let me finish it myself. The basic plot and characters of the story, however, were set in those early exchanges that were random and chaotic.

I wrote Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom because one of my Barron’s (test prep publisher) contacts said they were now publishing YA fiction. I asked him if he had a particular request for a type of story that he thought could sell. He said I could just write whatever I wanted.

A year later I sent him the result, which he said was very nice but they don’t really publish sci fi. Oops.

In any case the character of Annie was inspired in part by my granddaughter and I hope some day she will read it!

MF: For what it’s worth, I gave a copy of it to my granddaughter for Christmas and I hope she’ll read it, too! Maybe even give you a review, since she’s an aspiring author herself so should appreciate the concept of reviews! What is your life like outside of writing?  Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

JC: When I’m not writing, I sometimes take a three minute break for a sponge bath and to open a random can of, hopefully, food from the kitchen.

Just kidding.

I like to dance (especially with my sweetie), play the accordion and piano, garden, travel, study strange languages, go to meditation retreats and roller skate with my granddaughter.

MF: My paternal grandfather was a linguist, but he had the ill-grace to die before I was born. Supposedly, he spoke nine languages. You’re a brave soul to roller skate, which I gave up in 9th grade after breaking my tailbone. Who (living or dead) would you like to invite for dinner? What would you like to know about him or her?

JC: I would invite the living. It’s hard to know what to cook for the dead. They are so picky. And I hate it when the food dribbles out of their mouths like that. Yuck.

MF: There’s that logic side of yours coming out again. Switching to the creative, is there any particular song you’d pick to go with your books?

JC: House of the Rising Sun. Three drunk guys once paid me $20 to play it on the accordion on the streets of Tempe, Arizona. I have a feeling that the next day, they wondered what happened to all their money.

deathbyhaggisNo but seriously folks, I did produce a trailer for Death by Haggis and it has some cool detective-y music. It’s on youtube here. If the book is ever made into a movie, it could have some eery Scottish music in it. And of course some Greek music when the hero arrives in the Aegean.

I’ve never thought about music for Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom. It’s about teens so I suppose it would have to have some godawful rap music in it. Just sayin’.

MF: Will there be a sequel to Annie Gomez and the Giant Foot of Doom or Death by Haggis? If so, do you have anything you’d like to tell us about it or a target day for its release?

JC: I don’t have plans for sequels for either. I’m waiting for all you fans to beg me desperately to write more.  In the meantime I’ve been very much enjoying writing short stories. I’ve poured my heart and funny bone (assuming one can pour a funny bone) out into them.

I’m thinking of publishing a collection of short stories woven together by an overall story, possibly based on a Time Lizard, who may just happen to have appeared – though not identified as such – as a character in Annie Gomez.

MF: Some of these characters who just appear are among the best. Anything else you’d like to tell your existing and potential readers and fans?

JC: Eat a nectarine. Half a peach, half a plum. It’s a hell of a fruit. And never run for a bus. Just stroll, jaunty jolly. (Shamelessly quoted from Mel Brooks’ 2000 year old man.)

Other than that, if you like humor in your sci fi/fantasy and admire writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, please do browse through my website at cuttsbooks.wordpress.com

I also send free short stories monthly to my Twitter followers. I’m at @jaycuttsbooks.

Thanks for allowing me to do an interview. I enjoy being in touch with readers and writers!

MF: Thank you, Jay, for sharing your wit! I hope my blog readers check out your books, which can be found on Amazon by following these links:

Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom

Death by Haggis

Calling All Bibliophiles!

2017 WC&BE Badges

Whether you’re an avid reader, an aspiring writer, or published author, there’s something for you at RRBC’s Writers’ Conference and Book Expo. It’s open now and will be online until October 30.

Come meet dozens of outstanding authors, many of which are award winners, learn about their often amazing backgrounds, and explore their many books. Most of us are sponsoring a giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our author page! Be sure to stop by my Author Page for a chance to win an 8 gigabyte USB card preloaded with the Star Trails Tetralogy, including my latest release, “The Terra Debacle.”

Don’t miss the raffle, which has some spectacular prizes. For only $5, you get a chance at a virtual gift basket worth approximately $100 in gift cards! You can sign up here.

While you’re there, be sure to check out my Astrological Services page to discover how astrology can be a writer’s best friend, whether it’s timing a book release or rounding out a character.

Hope to see you there!

Interview with Ted Weimann, Author of “Paradox: Fascinating Anomalies of Science”

webTedTed Weimann is obsessed with science and shares what he learns generously in his recent book, Paradox: Fascinating Anomalies of Science from Quest Publications. If you want a crash course on the hottest topics in science today, I highly recommend this book, as you can tell from my recent review. Ted’s enthusiasm and love of learning comes through in his writing, thanks to his ability to synthesize the information and then explain it in a way a person of average intelligence can understand.

Ted was gracious enough to grant me an interview, which gives us further insights into his brilliant mind and his ongoing quest for knowledge, fueled by his “Question Everything” attitude.


MF: What motivated you to compile Paradox’s rich collection of modern research?

TW: The thrill of learning about these fascinating topics.  I so thoroughly enjoyed the dark energy / center of the universe enigma over the years, that I began noticing other paradoxes.  They’re interesting.  For instance, who would have thought that France will experience a higher sea level rise than Iceland when the Greenland Ice cap melts?  But with the reduced gravitational attraction upon the North Atlantic Ocean because all Greenland’s ice mass is gone, and with the resulting glacial rebound, France actually will.

Something else I didn’t include in that section because I didn’t think about it at the time, is when that part of the North American Plate glacially rebounds, Iceland’s continental rift will likely increase.  As you know, Iceland is practically split in half because it straddles two tectonic plates that are moving apart from each other.  Its western half will experience some glacial rebounding when Greenland does.  Since its eastern half is on the Eurasian plate, that part of Iceland likely won’t, or if it does, will to a far lesser degree.  An increase in Iceland earthquakes may be in their future, perhaps even their volcanic activity will increase. We could talk all night about this one topic and all its implications.  Scientists could research it for years.  I find that pretty cool.


MF: Which part of Paradox is your favorite section?

TW: It’s changed over time.  First it was the section on dark energy.  And then it was black holes.  When I calculated the compression of a neutron star down to a black hole, I made mistakes.  Catching those mistakes was fun, and humbling.  And then I realized that the neutron star would start rotating faster than the speed of light.  Since I knew that this could never happen, I started researching the ways in which this violation of physics was avoided.  One of those ways is the decoupling of the magnetic field-lines when they cross the light cylinder.  I had never heard of a light cylinder.  That was another cool concept I got to research.

Plate tectonics made a run for the number one spot, but I’d have to say the chapters on the evolution and devolution of the human brain are my favorites.  So many questions remain unanswered.  Like how will our intelligence change in the future?


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MF: Tell us about the research/facts presented in your book that surprised you the most.

TW: Probably the agricultural paradox.  I knew farmers produced more calories, yet had poorer nutrition than hunter gatherers, but I didn’t realize how much poorer their diets were.  I had always been led to believe that hunter gatherers lead such difficult lives compared to farmers.  And that’s not necessarily the case.

I also didn’t know that farmers used to live with their livestock.  Living in these cramped, filthy conditions is how their diseases evolved and became our diseases.  That was interesting.


MF: Do you have a particular source you trust more than others?

TW: The source I use the most, not necessarily for writing books, but for medical research, is pubmed.org.  I’ve been researching medical studies on their site since practically day 1.  But, as discussed in my chapter on the obesity paradox, the reliability of medical studies is far lower than it should be.  So, they’re not my answer to your question.

I’m sorry but, I don’t have any one source to hold up for you.  My thanks go to the majority of the experts that take the time to answer questions from me and I’m sure many other people.  Sometimes it was research for this book, but often I simply read about their research and had a question about it or its implications.  And most of these experts took the time to help me.  So, thank you to them.


MF: What do you think the next major technological breakthrough will be (that’s revealed to the public)?

TW: I might have to go with batteries.  I’ll be surprised if we don’t have vastly superior batteries 10 or 15 years from now.  And that simple advance will have profound changes upon the planet.  Think transportation, renewable energy, climate, and the lives of people around the world currently without power.  We’ll all benefit with that one, seemingly simple advance.


MF: If you were the one controlling the purse strings to a big chunk of grant money, which branch of science would you reward it to? Why?

TW: Renewable energy.  We’re making good progress and I believe we’ll get to where we need to be, but the sooner we get the cost of renewable energy lower than fossil fuels, the better off our climate, and everything tied to it, will be.

Where my passion lies however, is the likely extinction many large mammals will face, regardless of climate change.  Because of greed, religion and superstitions, the mega fauna that we all love are in serious danger.  I’d like to get Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Jeff Bezos and others together with the purpose of talking them into purchasing a huge track of land in the US and turning it into an African savanna.  I believe that’s the only chance elephants, giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, and others, will have in the long term.  It might even turn a profit someday.


MF:  What percentage of critical medical knowledge do you think is being withheld from the public?

TW: Nearly 50% of all medical studies go unpublished.  To answer your question though, we’d have to define critical.  To me, all well conducted studies are critical, because they contain knowledge we need.


MF: Do you have any particular method for recognizing “fake science?”

TW: For me, I’d say it’s a combination of intuition and reason.  For example, I just had lunch with a friend who’s an avid hunter.  He was showing me photos and telling stories of his wild hog hunting trip, when he said the local experts he was hunting with told him that he should dodge a charging pig to the right, because they can’t turn to the left very well.  I told him I didn’t believe that.  Rationally, it didn’t make sense to me on an evolutionary basis.

If your gut feelings send you signals, or if the media headline seems a little too dramatic, question it.  Do your research.


MF:  What do you like to read in your spare time? Strictly nonfiction or do you ever take a break with fiction? If so, which genre?

TW: I was in my 30s when I read my 3rd fiction book, Jurassic Park.  The first two were The Little Engine that Could, and Bugs Bunny adventures, or something like that.  My 4th was Jurassic Park in Spanish, Parque Jurasico.  I started reading The Destroyer, a comedy/ adventure series during my recoveries from my spinal surgeries.  I’ve now read about 100 of them.  I also enjoy some comedies like The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and A Dirty Job.  In that book, the author has a hilarious comparison of an alpha male versus a beta male.  When I’m healthy though, it’s pretty much non-fiction for me.  I like to learn about the world around me.


MF: Do you have any other books planned or in-work at this time?

TW: I did have one I would love to write, but I knew I’d never pull it off.  I wrote all the living presidents, requesting interviews with them and their spouses, as well as access to the medical records of the presidents.  Of course, none granted me such access. My idea was to conduct a small sample study on the effects of the extreme stress of the presidency on health and aging.

Imagine how much I would have learned in the process.  That, would have been fun.


Yes, learning should be fun. I know it is for me, but far too many find it an unpleasant chore. Just think what the world would be like if we could find a panacea for this crippling attitude. Thanks to people like Ted, however, who shares these delicious brain candy tidbits so generously, hopefully others will find the intellectual stimulation as fun and interesting as the next computer game. -MF

You can pick up a copy of Paradox: Fascinating Anomalies of Science from Amazon or the publisher.

 

 

Robert Kimbrell Blog Hop!

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Robert Kimbrell recently sat down for a brief interview and was asked four questions.

1. Tell me a bit about your childhood in Ohio.

If one knew me growing up, I was a boring only child. But I’d like to say it was very interesting to be inside my head.

My father was abusive to my mom and me, so as you can imagine the atmosphere was always tense. I had to learn to use my imagination so I had a place to escape to. I was nervous and anxious all the time, even into young adulthood. I mean, to grow up always afraid of making your father angry or seeing him become violent towards your mother really does something to your psyche. Those who have grown up in an abusive atmosphere know what I’m talking about. I’ve never used what happened then as an excuse, but looking back I recognize how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go.

2. I’m sure what happened to you framed, so to speak, your writing and creative process. Your book is called Vigilante Annie Scarlotte, and it is about a woman who becomes a vampire. Tell me about Annie.

You’re right. Now, when I hear of kids being abused or neglected- I cringe. Or when I catch a news story about a woman whose cowardly husband abused her, I boil, as I’m sure others do. I want to take action. That spark is what is behind Vigilante Annie. She has been blessed by a unique ability, so she decides to use it to take action. For reasons that will be explained in the next book, Annie must have fresh human blood every so often, or she’ll become ill again and die. So the premise of the story is simple: to justify killing others for their blood, Annie chooses the truly evil among us as her victims. As you can imagine, Annie battles with the morality of doing what she has chosen to do.

She questions her fate, her purpose, and begins to be taken over by this vampire within her. She has a sexy Italian boyfriend who is hiding things, an old friend Elisa who has been silent for some time, and a father-figure named Larry whom she decides to tell her secret to. Like I said, the premise is simple, but the plot and chaotic start to Annie’s bloodsucking life isn’t simple at all.

3. Do you have anything new you’re currently in the midst of writing?

Actually, I have several in the works. The next Vigilante Annie book is the biggest, it will be available in ebook and print, just like the anthology. There is not yet a release date set. I actually have a couple erotica titles and a couple shorts that will actually give some backstory or sidestory in the world of Vigilante Annie.

4. So what is the next Vigilante Annie book going to be about?

The next Annie story is going full fantasy. In the middle of recovering from her injuries, Annie is being taken to the underworld. There she will meet others like herself and other diverse types of beings. The plot I cannot reveal just yet, but Annie is being brought there for a specific reason. For anyone who has read up to now, you’ll know Annie will meet her brother and have to face her mother for abandoning her as a child. Anyone wanting more info can visit the website www.VigilanteAnnie.com.

Thank you.

Thank you!

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Book Blurb:

Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie’s predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2dGCki4

Author Bio:

An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.

Connect with Robert Kimbrell:

Twitter:  @VAAuthor

Website:  www.VigilanteAnnie.com

RRBC Spotlight Author Blog Tour: Yvette M. Calleiro

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It’s an honor to host the first day of this week’s RRBC Author Spotlight Blog Tour featuring Yvette Calleiro. She writes young adult fantasy and paranormal books that sound absolutely intriguing!  I love the cover you can see above. Yvette is a born writer who has found inspiration for her stories in her dreams. Now those dreams are manifesting again in her latest book, “The One Discovered.” I can really relate to Yvette in that her story has expanded to several books as her characters took over. I love it when that happens! Read on to learn more about this amazing, up and coming author!

 It Began with a Dream…

by

Yvette M. Calleiro

What better way to share with you this journey that I’m on than to begin at the beginning.  I am an avid reader and have been since as far back as I can remember. As a child, I used to love writing, but I stopped writing as I grew older and life became more cumbersome. About six years ago, I rediscovered my love for writing, and my life has been a whirlwind of enjoyment ever since!

I woke up one morning from a dream that was so intense and so vivid that I was emotionally distraught.  I can’t really share the dream with you without giving away a major event in my first book, but I will tell you that it involved a girl whose life was forever altered by a tragic event, and she was being forced to make a choice in that very emotional moment.  I woke up before she made the choice (which was extremely irritating).  I felt her angst, her pain, and her utter turmoil.  I lay in bed processing it all and then ran to my office to write it all down (I now keep a journal by my bed for such moments). I just wrote the dream. Nothing more. It was just that powerful that it had to be given life.

At the time, I was co-teaching with a dear friend, Armando. I was also heavily absorbed in PC and Kristen Cast’s world in their House of Night series as well as Cassandra Claire’s Mortal Instrument series.  Armando loved to share with me tidbits of Wicca and history as I spoke to him about the novels that I read.  I fell in love with many aspects of Wicca, and somehow my dream kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts.  I finally accepted that this dream was an untold story that needed to be shared, and I would pull my favorite ideas from books new and old to create their story.  After all, all stories are ideas that were born from somewhere!

What came first was what they looked like. I could still picture them from the dream. I’m old-school and had to write it all out in a journal first.  Their physical characteristics, their personalities, their power(s)…all of that came easily.  Their names, on the other hand, took a while.  I even had the background story lined up before their names were known to me!  It was that background story which allowed the characters to whisper to me what their names would be: Sofia, Rafe, Angel, and Ar’ch (pronounced ar-rick). I shouldn’t have favorites, but I can’t help it. Ar’ch was definitely my favorite at the beginning!  It’s not a common name (actually, it’s never been used as a name).  But it’s perfect and it’s his, and it fits the story line beautifully!

Once I finally allowed myself to listen to my characters’ voices, the whole story wrote itself (well, the basics were at least born).  Still, there was a lot of research that I had to do. Anyone who knows me knows that my absolutely worst subject is History, but I wanted to loosely base the back story on a few historical events.  Granted, I’ve had to “slightly alter” those events to incorporate my Diasodz, but it was important to me that it would make sense if it were real. I also researched Wicca and nature’s elements and their properties.  I’m sure that there will be naysayers who can point out that one thing or another isn’t authentic, but – hey – it’s MY world!   I want it to be as realistic as possible, but I can’t help it if the Diasodz have their own ideas on what is real and what isn’t.

The journey of writing The One Discovered was so fulfilling, and I knew I had to share this world with readers. I tried going the traditional route.  Apparently, they weren’t too interested in my query letter.  My family and the few friends I shared it with kept encouraging me to publish it.  One friend in particular, Rob, became my first true fan! He’s more into sci-fi and super heroes than paranormal, but he became hooked with my characters and their story.  His eagerness to know more and his passion about my story kept me going at many times throughout this journey.  He has a way of saying something or asking me a question which then causes a whole new character or story line to be created. In fact, because of Rob, one of the characters from book one was saved. I had plans on killing her off, but he told me that he thought she was awesome. The very next night, that character told me off (hehe) and a whole story line for her was created! So, if you also fall in love with Mel, you can thank Rob for saving her! 😉 I thank him all of the time because she’s become my new favorite. 🙂

I finally decided to self-publish. It’s been two years since The One Discovered was released, and I still feel like I am in unknown territory.  Self-publishing, blogging, creating a web site, having a Facebook author page, and connecting through Twitter…. It’s overwhelming, nerve-wrecking, and exciting all at the same time!  Originally, I thought there would only be four books in this series, but as I am currently writing book four, I know there will at least be one more after this one (possibly two).  I hope you’ll stick around to fall in love with my Diasodz and the journey they must endure to save us mere humans from a life not worth living…

Yvette Yvette is the author of the young adult fantasy/paranormal books, The One Discovered, The One Enlightened, and The One Betrayed.

 Follow Yvette on Social Media:

Twitter: @YvetteMCalleiro

Facebook: http://facebook.com/yvettemcalleiro

Website: http://yvettemcalleiro.blogspot.com

 

BLOG HOP: “MIRROR OF OUR LIVES: Voices of Four Igbo Women”

Book Cover

In Mirror of Our Lives, four Nigerian women share the compelling tales of their troubled lives and failed marriages, revealing how each managed to not only survive, but triumph under difficult and repressive circumstances.

Njide, Nneka, Miss Nelly, and Oby relive their stories of passion, deceit, heartaches, and strength as they push through life—each on a unique journey to attain happiness, self-respect, and inner peace. But none of the women’s journeys is without misjudgments and missteps.

Njide falls in love at first sight, marries Tunji too quickly, and is dismayed when Tunji shows his true colors. Nneka once thought that she and Oji were the perfect couple—until Oji traveled to the United States. Miss Nelly is a kind and good natured woman who allows everyone to take advantage of her—even her husband, whom she married only for his name. But everyone wonders why Oby and Mat even married at all, for their marriage was a battle from the very beginning.

The tales in Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women will inspire women around the world to never give up, to discover a sense of worth, and most of all, to learn to love themselves above everything else.

Background To The Story:

It is important to give a brief background information on the history of this book. In my culture, it is a great luxury for a woman to be educated. This situation is still prevalent in certain parts of Nigeria, especially in the North, where the people are Muslims. In the South, women education has made a very deep inroad. It was a battle that the women themselves fought and won. Today, in our Universities, the population of the women is more than those of men. But there was a time, when, even in the South, the choice to educate the kids in a family, fell on the male children. The male child was always chosen over the female child, and the female child was bundled off into an early marriage. Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women, is the story of the victory that education has given to four Igbo women. It is also the story of what education can do for women, especially , women in the Muslim areas of Nigeria where education is still tabu for the women to attain happiness, self-respect and inner peace. But none of the women’s journeys is without misjudgments and missteps. You can also read the reviews on the book on Amazon.om and on Barnes & Noble.

An Interview with Adebowale On Mirror of Our Lives

(1) Your debut novel, Mirror of Our Lives, focuses on four Nigerian women who went through hardship but triumphed under such difficult and repressive circumstances. Is it right, therefore, to say that you are a female rights campaigner, or a feminist?

JLB: Thank you Adewale for your interest in my book, Mirror of Our Lives. Right now, I am writing you from California, where I am performing the “Omugwo” for my daughter who recently had a baby. When I sent you a complimentary copy of my book last April, 2012, I sent copies also to as many Nigerian newspapers and magazines, as I could find. Since then you are the second newspaper to show interest. Thank you very much for this. To answer your question, I do not like to be hedged into any type of category. I am for justice for all, for each person to be treated humanely, and for the disadvantaged to be given the opportunity to excel.

(2) One of the characters in the book is Njide. How much of your real self is reflected in Njide’s life?

JLB: One thing I learnt in my writing class is that no writer writes from a vacuum. You write from what you know, from personal experience, and then go from there to create a world, or in this case a situation that does not only reflect your personal experience, but all other experiences similar to yours. I am not totally Njide, but Njide lived a lot of my personal experiences, as well as the experiences of other women I have come to know.

(3) If Njide’s life is part of your story, then the other three characters — Nneka, Miss Nelly and Oby — must also have a link with you; can you share this with us?

JLB: Just as I said in my answer to your second question, after writing about Njide, I found it easy to fictionalize the experiences of other women I know. The names I used are not the names of the women whose stories I told, and the stories I told did not reflect the experiences of any particular woman. I wanted any woman who read the story to relate to it, and many women whom I know who read the story have called to tell me that the story of one of the women or the other is the story of their lives. This is what I wanted, to tell a universal story.

(4) In your opinion, do you think the average woman is getting her credit in her contribution to societal good?

JLB: In my opinion, women are doing better today than they did in the past, but that is not to say that they are getting the credit they deserve. I would like to see very hard working women given recognition based on their work. We see a lot of women today, especially in our society getting on based on who they know, and not on their contribution in their areas of specialization. God fatherism in whatever shade or colour, to whom ever uses it, male or female, should not be condoned in public service. We see a lot of this happening in our country.

(5) Mirror of Our Lives is an interesting read. When next is the public reading another story from you?

JLB: I am working on it.

(6) The book is actually published by a foreign publisher; was there a reason why you didn’t approach our local publishers?

JLB: There were two main reasons why the book was not published by a local publisher; first, I wrote the book while I was still living and working in the United States, so I was more familiar with the publishing scene of the US. Secondly, if you notice, the book is a self-published book. I did not want to suffer any rejection on this book as I did in my other attempts to publish. I believed so much in this book that I wanted it out by all means, and iUniverse provided me the opportunity  to self-publish.

Author Pic

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Joy’s Bio

Joy Nwosu was born in Enugu, Anambra State of south-eastern Nigeria. Her parents were Charles Belonwu and Deborah Nwosu. She is the fifth in rank of the seven children of her parents. Joy was born into a music family.

Joy, now retired, was a music teacher, trained in Santa Cecilia, Rome, and obtained her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Michigan, USA.

She has written and published extensively on national and international scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Her short story I Come from Utopia was published in African Voices, Spring/Summer, 2007, pg. 18, and her first English novel; Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women was published in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Contest in 2012. She has also two books published in the Italian language.

Joy is a trained musician, and taught music for 35 years.  She writes, performs, and record folk songs.

Her new book: The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies, which has just been released, is a journey into the mysteries of life and death of the Igbos of Nigeria.  She loves reading romances and mystery stories.

Websites:      http://sbpra.com/joylobamijoko/  Mirror of Our Lives …..

                         http://sbprabooks.com/JoyNwosuLoBamijoko/ Legend of the Walking…

Buy Mirror of Our Lives…Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Our-Lives-Women/dp/1450278965

Barnes & Noble Link

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mirror-of-our-lives-joy-nwosu-lo-bamijoko/1102630079?ean=9781450278966

Link to my Blog:       jinlobify.Com

Face BookLink: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lobamijoko

Link to my LinkedIn Book Add

http://goo.gl/fT1P2O

Trailer: Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women

https://youtu.be/UhSyMaUz0Uk

Twitter Handle:         @Jinlobify

Interview with Author/Historian, Augustine Kobayashi

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Augustine Kobayashi

What better way to commemorate Memorial Day than with a history lesson?

Tokyo-born Augustine Kobayashi, author of “Japan’s Pacific War”, earned postgraduate degrees in modern international history and Byzantine history at Leeds and London Universities in the U.K. In the following interview he shares insights that convinced me that what’s needed in politics today is more attention to historians and less to lawyers, businessmen and career politicians. Historians possess a perspective that could work through differences in a diplomatic fashion while never forgetting the fact that future generations will be affected by those decisions. Most of what we see today are those seeking only to expand their own wealth and power. The few who know anything about history only use it to further their own agenda, not improve the human condition.

MF: What motivated you to research and subsequently write your book, “Japan’s Pacific War”?

AK: I had been writing some historical articles for Historical Quest ezine, and I got some responses from readers for my article explaining how Japan’s war in China in the 1930s and the Pacific War were linked. Many reacted saying that they had no idea how the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) directly led to WW2 in Asia. I felt that we have a knowledge gap in this area of 20th century history, and thought that I could make some contributions to fill it. As for the American side of the story, there are many excellent books out there, so I decided to tell Japan’s story, from a Japanese perspective. When I was a student back in Leeds University, UK, I did research on Anglo-American relations in the 1920s, including some naval strategic discussions, such as how Japan’s stance in the world stage might affect international politics. In a way, this current book of mine is the fruition of my past historical studies.

MF: What surprised you the most regarding Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor? Do you think they were realistic in their expectations of the outcome?japan_for web

AK: In hindsight, Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor is incredible, but, having gone through Japanese history of the 1930s, I have found that it is not really so surprising. Given the pre-WW2 American isolationism and Eurocentric tendency of the USG(overnment), giving strategic and diplomatic priorities to the solving of European situation, if they didn’t think that the USA would react by mobilizing the whole economy for war to crush Japan no matter what, it is understandable that they miscalculated this way. This is the time before TV or the Internet. People were not well informed and the Japanese public knew nothing about the outside world. The Japanese military basically thought that the US would be too busy fighting Germany or even be defeated and all they had to do was to immobilize the US Fleet a while, pick off Western colonies in the Western Pacific one by one and hold out until the European war was settled in favour of the Berlin-Tokyo Axis. If Germany had won, these expectations would have been deemed as quite realistic. Ironically, they attacked Pearl Harbor just when Germany tasted her first defeat in front of Moscow.

MF: As a student of Byzantine history, what is the most important lesson you believe it holds for those of us living in modern times?

AK: Things change. The secret of longevity of the Byzantine Empire was its ability to reinvent itself every now and then after crises. So much so that, even though it’s real designation should be the ‘Roman’ Empire, modern historians, who are so fond of the Classical image of Imperial Rome, feel uncomfortable with the designation ‘Rome’ and use ‘Byzantine’ instead for the empire after the 4th or 5th centuries. But this is precisely the point: it changed its shape and cultural characteristics so much to cope with the changing political, economical and military environment surrounding the empire, after several centuries, it was almost unrecognizable. So, the lessons for us are: be flexible and accept changes. Rely on your ingenuity rather than muscle power.

MF: A common saying is “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” What is your favorite example of a culture or country failing to learn from previous civilizations?

AK: There are so many, it is difficult to single out a favourite one. As I live in Japan now, I’m concerned with China at the moment, as she seems to be in danger of repeating Japan’s mistakes in the 1930s and the 1940s. Given that China was the chief victim of Japan’s aggression in those decades, it would be so ironic. Hope the Chinese are capable of learning from others’ mistakes.

MF: The world today has a lot of problems. Based on your studies, what do you think is the most important thing world leaders should do to avoid another World War?

AK: Do not let others fear you too much. A cornered beast tends to lash out, which was the case for Japan in 1941; and I suspect that that is what is happening with the Islamic militants right now. The Byzantine Empire fought a devastating war with its rival, the Persian Empire in the 7th century, which in turn led to the Islamic Arab conquests. The Persians started this war as they were so worried over the reviving power of the Byzantine Empire (in 476AD, they had gleefully been watching the fall of the West; but now alarmed by the Byzantine reconquests of North Africa and Italy in the 6th century).

Christianity as soft power of Rome, its spread among small countries and ethnic groups geographically surrounding Persia frightened her leaders. Persia attacked Rome when internal power struggle at the capital Constantinople momentarily paralyzed the Byzantine war machine as a heaven-sent and only opportunity to strike. In modern times, in WW1, both Germany and England were motivated by the need to weaken their rivals before they became too strong. Japan’s war in China in the 1930s was partly due to a resurgent China and thus Japan’s fear of losing their top dog status in Asia. As for solutions to this problem of power imbalance, I don’t really know. Probably we have to find out by working patiently through diplomatic effort.

guscropMF: What are you finding in your current research into Syriac Christianity and its spread into Persia that relates to modern tensions between Christians and Muslims?

AK: Persia’s state religion was Zoroastrianism at the time, but Christianity was gaining ground. It seems that Jesus’ saying that he came to fulfill old religion applied to Persia also! When you realise that Judaism had also been strongly influenced by Persia, which released Jews in captivity and allowed them to return to Jerusalem, you can see that Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians were not that very different. And Persia can be a very tolerant place for different religions.

But inevitably, religion and politics cannot be separated completely; conflicting socio-economic and political forces often clashed along religious lines, causing internal instability and external wars. As in my answer to question No.5, as Rome’s power grew, Christianity was seen as a threat by the Persians. At this stage, Roman Christianity became a political religion, which forced a political response from Rome’s rival(s). I think that today’s problems we have with Christians and Muslims are fundamentally the same: they are not really in conflict in terms of religion, but, whenever communal tensions arise and political conflict develops, they unfurl their respective banners and try to protect themselves by rallying around them. Some hotheaded young men often employ rhetoric of religious mission etc., but they do not really represent what should be the majority view.

MF: Do you think it will ever be possible for those two religions, which actually have similar roots, to make peace with one another?

AK: The answer should be yes. Different religious communities usually live in peace side by side most of the time anyway. It is a time of political tensions when religious communities are pitted against one another. The Coptic Egyptian Christians, for example, had lived in a relative calm for nearly 2,000 years until very recently. They should be able to go back to that, normal state. In Syria, sadly, the Christians appear to be being exterminated or displaced permanently, but, once a politically stable Syria could be achieved, Christians and Muslims should be able to live side by side again. But so long as political forces exploiting religious differences remain too strong, it might be a while before that could happen.

Pick up your electronic copy of “Japan’s Pacific War” on Amazon here.

Paperback: https://www.createspace.com/6222626

Read more about Augustine: http://www.quest-publications.com/authors/kobayashi/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15168533.Augustine_Kobayashi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/augustine.kobayashi

Publisher’s Book Link: http://www.quest-publications.com/books/japans-pacific-war/

Interview with Multi-genre Author John Reinhard Dizon

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John Reinhard Dizon is one of my favorite authors and definitely one of the most versatile. His literary repertoire includes thrillers, family sagas, historical settings, steampunk, sports, suspense and techno-horror to name a few.  His latest release, Both Sides Now, is a romantic comedy, and I must say that I have a bit of a personal interest in this book since I designed both the interior and the cover plus my daughter is the model on the back. While formatting the interior, I gleaned enough of the story’s basics that I’m looking forward to reading it properly in the near future.

I interviewed John a few years back, but in view of this new release, I thought it was time for a rerun with some specific questions directed at him about this latest work. While he dubs it a romantic comedy, it struck me as much more substantial, especially with its unique setting and situations. So let’s see what he has to say.

MF:  The protagonist in your latest novel, “Both Sides Now”, is an intellectual wrestler. You are a highly intelligent person and were a wrestler in a “previous life”, which explains the authentic feel and terminology of the sport. How much of this story is autobiographical?

JRD: Actually it’s far more biographical. Hans “The Great” Mortier was one of my mortierWorld Wide Wrestling Federation childhood favorites. There was a major roster change when Vince Mc Mahon bought the Company from his father at the end of the Sixties, and the stars from the old regime were swept under the rug. Mortier was not a German professor, so that is all ‘what-if’. However, a large portion of the story is going to be instantly recognizable to fans of the era. The novel is as much a testament to the era as it is to Hans Mortier.

MF: Ray Karpis, quite a shady character from the early 20th Century, has made an appearance in two of your books, this latest one as well as “The Triad.” What do you find most appealing about him?  Did you ever meet him?

TheTriadCover1 copyJRD: As a criminologist, I have to say that Alvin Karpis is my favorite gangster. He was the last of the Public Enemies but was so elusive and shadowy that hardly anyone knows of him. I wrote Both Sides Now before The Triad and paid homage to Karpis by naming the Lou Thesz-based character after him. Outside of his autobiography and the Public Enemies biography and movie, there is almost nothing out there about Karpis. Hence The Triad. I think I did a good job of bringing his personage to life. He was considered a genius, loyal and generous to a fault, and very much in touch with the modern world and technical developments. Like most of the great gangsters, he would have been a tremendous success in society and the real world had he not gone the wrong way.

MF:  You do a great job of capturing the flavor of other eras as well as places.  You’ve lived through quite a few yourself, but when you get beyond your experience, what’s your favorite research method for your stories?

bothsidesnowcover6.jpgJRD:  The Internet usually helps you find the resources you need to make your story work. Only in this case, as you mentioned, I lived through most of this. Ergo, it was mostly a matter of documenting my recollections. I spent a lot of time in the NYU neighborhood, Soho and Greenwich Village, so most of what I did was pull up addresses. I read hundreds of wrestling magazines so was familiar with the old-time arenas. I was also a paralegal, so that helped me make the courtroom drama all the more realistic.

MF:  You’ve certainly held a wide variety of jobs, which undoubtedly contributes to your writing. Authenticity is important if you want to be taken seriously as an author and when you can say, “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt” the details bring the story alive. As far as the plot itself, do your stories reveal themselves as you write or do you know what’s going to happen, start to finish, when you first sit down to write them?

JRD:  Many times the characters end up helping write the stories, as Sabrina Brooks does in the Nightcrawler series. She just makes things happen around her. In this story, Ray Karpis greatly influenced the conflict in the storyline (pun somewhat intended). He becomes the voice of reason, letting Lucien clearly see all the possibilities if he chose that direction in life along the road to wrestling superstardom. I think it also lets the reader see ‘both sides now’ and will stimulate discussion as to whether or not Lucien makes the right choice.

MF: Ethical dilemmas make great material because the reader is forced to think.  You have a huge list of published work. How long does it take you, on average, to finish one of your novels?

courthouse1JRD:  It varies, considering how complex the story is. The action/adventure stories move along pretty quickly as there’s the adrenaline rush that keeps you writing. Historical fiction such as this takes a bit longer because you have to authenticate your work. Getting names, places and events wrong will leave your story dead in the water. The courtroom storyline in this novel took almost as much research as all the wrestling background. It probably took the better part of a year to put it all together.

MF: Wow! That’s so true, though, if you want to be taken seriously as an author. When a reader stops to roll his or her eyes because something is inaccurate it pulls them out of the story, which is the last thing an author wants to do. Of the numerous books you’ve written, do you have one particular character who’s your favorite? Why?

JRD:  I’m having to go with Sabrina Brooks, aka the Nightcrawler. Every one of her novels is an adventure in itself. She’s a beautiful woman who moonlights as a crimefighter, who seems to target the Russian Mob. She’s the CEO of a chemical company, which means she doesn’t have to do this but does anyway. She’s very compassionate and is a churchgoer, which makes her all the more unique. Her personal relationships suffer greatly as she gets beat up, and the Nightcrawler’s successes come at the expense of her personal life. I enjoy writing her story as much as people love reading it.

MF:  Multi-dimensional characters are essential to a good story.  So what’s your favorite part of the writing process? Which part is the most difficult?

JRD: It’s the dialogue. It may be my strong point as a writer, and it helps me develop the characters and give the reader the best insight as to the speaker’s personality and motivation. The reason why reality TV shows get over is because people want to see their heroes behind the scenes. In literature, the author allows readers to listen to the characters giving up their innermost hopes and fears. The most difficult part is bringing it all together, making the story plausible. You do your homework, you authenticate your background, you flesh out your characters, but your audience has to buy your story. That’s the make or break part, and I think I make that happen every time.

MF:  Yes, you certainly do! When did you decide you wanted to be an author?

JRD: I was writing dialogue for my stick-figure cartoons when I was six. I was fascinated by TV and the movies and wanted to tell my own stories. Many people will say my entire life was about turning my fantasies into reality.

MF: So obviously you were born to write, which isn’t surprising considering how prolific you are.  You’ve worn a variety of hats over the years in a wide variety of jobs and places. What can we expect from you in the future? At what stage is your next novel and when do you expect it to be out?

JRD:  The Blight is about a decorated fire team of Navy SEAL commandos working as an elite unit for the St. Louis PD. They are taking on a mass murderer intent on destroying the ‘social blight’ plaguing the city. Kirsten Streicher is a typical JRD bad-ass female protagonist. Only her team is heavily impacted by the madman known as X, and the writing is on the wall as their group is slowly disbanding. Kirsten is forced to move forward with a whirlwind romance beckoning, though she feels compelled to bring the killer to justice before her career comes to an end. As usual, there’s lots of social issues and moral conundrums discussed, and the standard JRD reflections of current-day controversies. I’m hoping to release it by Summer 2016.

MF:  Sounds like another winner! Is there any particular author or authors who have inspired you the most?

JRD:  Shakespeare, Ian Fleming and Robert E. Howard. The Bard for his conciseness and verbal dynamism, Fleming for his ability to take the reader to a myriad of locations, societies and situations, and Howard for his gift of lurid description and breathtaking action. I hope my readers see my work in a favorable light in comparison.

MF: From what I’ve read, I believe you can rest assured that they will.

You can pick up a copy of Both Sides Now on Amazon here.

Connect with John Reinhard Dizon:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/johnreinharddizonUSA

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/John-Reinhard-Dizon/e/B00DU9JNUQ/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JohnRDizon

 

 

Roy Huff: Mastermind behind the Everville Epic Fantasy Series

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Roy Huff is a prolific writer who has just released the fourth volume in his Everville fantasy series entitled “The Fall of Brackenbone”.  As I write it’s already number one in various categories in six countries & ranked number 60 in all books in the US and Canada. The boxed set is currently #1 in anthologies in the paid Kindle Store. Clearly Roy’s a gutsy, off-the-scale intelligent guy who’s not only well-traveled but has accumulated a plethora of college degrees as fodder for his popular books.

MF: The creative writing bug didn’t bite you until later in life. At what point did you decide to become a serious writer?

RH: I was writing a paper for an English class, then the feedback I received was very positive, so I decided to turn the assignment into an actual book, and then soon after that a series.

MF: Did discovering your creative writing side come as a surprise?

RH: I had other creative talents such as drawing and singing. My father had drawing talent as well, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. What surprised me the most is how fast I’m able to write off the cuff. Last week Saturday I wrote 40 pages alone. I’ve written countless 30+ days, all with no outline.

MF: Does your scientific background inhibit or enhance your creativity?

RH: I certainly think my science background provides added background when I am writing, and it definitely helps with my speed.

MF: Tell us a little about Everville. What was your original premise? Did you expect it to grow into a series?

RH: So Owen Sage is a college freshman who is pulled into the fantasy world of Everville in book #1. He learns of how his world and the others are connected and works with various races and creatures across time and space to stop whatever dark force comes his way. After a few chapters through book #1, I decided to turn it into a series.

MF: Who’s your favorite character other than your protagonist and why?

RH: I still like The Keeper. His wisdom is great. He is a fatherly figure that I think most people will enjoy.

MF: Of the four books in the Everville series which title was your favorite? Which was the most challenging to write?

RH: I liked the last two books the most. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there are a few sub plots that carry the story into unexpected directions. I was really pleased when I finished writing it.

MF: Do you plan to continue adding to Everville or start another story line? If so, can you tell us a little about it?

RH: There will be 4 more books in the series. In each story, Owen must pass the test of one of the Pillars of Truth. This will continue, but the details remain yet to be written.

MF: What part of the writing process is your favorite? Least favorite?

RH: I like it most when I actually sit down and start writing. The writing flows. The thing I [like] least is actually sitting down and starting. It’s always that first step that’s most difficult, especially when you have a million things going on.

MF: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RH: Just start writing. Write as consistently as possible. Try writing everyday, even if it’s just a paragraph or a page. Do it first, before you start watching tv or doing something else, but take a nap first. Get a little rest and refresh your brain. Don’t let fear of not being good enough keep you from writing. You can learn along the way. Failure and bad reviews can teach us, but if you never actually sit down and write, you will never get anything written.

MF: What’s your favorite activity when you need inspiration?

RH: I like daydreaming or sleeping. Both are very productive when it comes to creativity. I do enjoy watching tv or movies or using random word generators at times, but sleep and thinking are the most effective.

MF: Is there anything you want your readers to derive from your stories besides enjoyment?

RH: There are some points of wisdom that can be gleaned from the story, but I’ll leave that to the reading.

MF: Among your many travels do you have a favorite place? What about it enchants you the most?

RH: Hard to say. I love London, Vancouver, Kobe, Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco. All great places. I plan on traveling much more when I have the time.

You can find out more bout him on his Amazon page bio. His book are currently on sale on Amazon so grab one now!

Connect with Roy:

Blog http://www.owensage.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/EvervilleFans

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/evervillefans

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Roy-Huff/e/B00BCX199A/

 Buy links:

Everville - 6

The Fall of Brackenbone Worldwide

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00WWO1CC2

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Everville:  Books #1-3 Boxed Set

US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013HWFNYU/

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B013HWFNYU/