Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Blast: Seasons and Memories by Stanley Evans Abbott - Win a $25 Gift Card

Title: Seasons and Memories
Author: Stanley Evans Abbott
Publisher: XlibrisUS
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

My autobiography begins in 1939. It illustrates a rather exciting journey. However, writing this in my seventies, some events and parts of my life have been forgotten or just plain omitted due to the fact that I thought them either boring or unnecessary. As you read through these memoirs, you may discover a new awareness that every person has their own individual journeys and quests. May mine have an impact on you! I hope your own journey is as enlightening as mine was. “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” (Mark Twain).

I am a senior citizen who will be celebrating 71 years of life.  I live in Cincinnati, Ohio with three adopted young men.   When the book is read, one will learn what my life has become. 




Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins July 23 and ends on August 3.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Book Blast: Divine Choreography of Redemption by William E. Jefferson

Title: Divine Choreography of Redemption: Setting the Eternal Saga in Time
Author: William E. Jefferson
Publisher: Hybrid Global Publishing
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Divine Choreography of Redemption explores the story of redemption as divine drama advanced by acts and agents that transcend time and space. The novel is set beyond the Storied Sea on the ancient Isle of Estillyen, far from everywhere yet mystically near. There, a troupe of Message Makers from the seventeenth century mysteriously arrives to grapple with the theme in today's context.
At the heart of the novel, a battle brews between technology's driven existence--aided by modern devices and algorithms--and life centered in Scriptures ancient narrative. The story line begs the question: Does meaning truly abide in the saga of redemption's divine choreography, or in media's discarnate realm?


Having lived and worked in London, Moscow, and New York, today author William Jefferson writes from a Civil-War era cottage in the rural Ozarks. He is author of Messages from Estillyen : A Novel of Redemption and Human Worth, and owner of Storybook Barn Jefferson holds an MTh in Theology and Media from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Communications from the Wheaton Graduate School. 

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Book review: My Brain is Out of Control by Dr. Patrick Mbaya

Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Formats: Ebook
Pages: 76
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Tour Dates: October 23-December 15

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Although Dr. Patrick Mbaya’s illness caused a lot distress and nearly took his life, the emotional symptoms of the depression he developed helped him understand and empathize with patients and how they feel when they become ill. In My Brain is Out of Control, Mbaya, fifty-five and at the peak of his career, shares a personal story of how he suffered from a brain infection in 2010 that caused loss of speech, right-sided weakness, and subsequent depression. He tells how he also dealt with the antibiotics complications of low white cell count and hepatitis. He narrates his experiences as a patient, the neurological and psychiatric complications he encountered, how he coped, and his journey to recovery. Presenting a personal perspective of Mbaya’s illness from the other side of the bed, My Brain is Out of Control, offers profound insight into battling a serious illness.

The brain is an unbelievable thing and after reading this book it becomes even more clear. The path that Dr. Mbaya went on after his brain infection was filled with sorrow, anger and at the end triumph. It is so hard to know what someone else is going through and feeling, but after reading this I felt like I was there with him.

I felt so sad while reading this book because it must have been beyond difficult to try and adjust to all of the life changes that took place. But, it sounds like things are going well and I really enjoyed reading about it.

It is proof you can overcome anything, it just takes work sometimes. 

Dr. Patrick Mbaya is a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. He is a consultant psychiatrist and honorary clinical lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He has a special interest in mood and addiction disorders.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Interview with Mystery Thriller Suspense Author John Allen

John Allen was born in Long Beach, CA. An engineer “by education, training, and experience,” he describes himself as “a recovering engineer.”  He left engineering to become the junior partner in Allen & Allen Semiotics Inc., a corporation that his wife, Lynn, launched for their diversified home business. Their projects include designing databases for mid-sized companies. John Allen holds a BS from the United States Air Force Academy, an MS from the University of Southern California, and an MA from the University of California, Riverside.

You can visit his website at

About the Book:

Author John Allen has a theory about the creator of Sherlock Holmes:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not create Holmes. It was Doyle’s wife, Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, who gave birth to the beloved sleuth.

Allen has put his beliefs to the test, writing and publishing the first of a projected 12-novel series of Holmes mysteries titled BRIMSTONE. His detective is Louise Hawkins Conan Doyle, and Allen names her as the author of the tale he presents, set in 1879 Bristol, England.

In a previous book, SHADOW WOMAN, Allen set out to prove that Louise was the true creator of Sherlock Holmes. The inspiration for his startling and controversial theory of authorship was a 1980s essay by Martin Gardner called “The Irrelevance of Arthur Conan Doyle.” Gardner claimed that Arthur was “too gullible and to easily duped to have created Sherlock Holmes.”

Allen determined that Gardner was correct, but Gardner identified no alternative author. Allen continues, “So I decided to give it a try. I came to suspect Louise as the actual author, but I lacked the knowledge and tools to make a solid case.”

Then the Internet came along, giving Allen a valuable research tool. He became convinced that Louise did in fact create Sherlock Holmes. Allen presented his case in SHADOW WOMAN, which was published in 2017. To further advance Louise as Holmes’s creator, to give her the credit he believes she is due, he is now featuring her in a series of mystery novels, the first of which is BRIMSTONE.

As if Allen hadn’t set the bar too high already, he has added a subtext to BRIMSTONE that explores contemporary wrongful convictions through his Victorian thrillers.

BRIMSTONE brims with appeal to multiple audiences, from lovers of detective stories to those interested in justice for the wrongfully convicted. Sherlock Holmes would be proud.


I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

For money, I design custom database solutions for large companies companies. As an avocation, I work to help free innocent people from their wrongful imprisonment.

When did you start writing?

After my fourth stint as a juror for a criminal case, I became concerned that we are wrongfully imprisoning many people in this country. That prompted me to start writing my Skeptical Juror blog, which became reasonably well known among those concerned about such issues. I then wrote four non-fiction books on wrongful convictions.

After failing to prevent the execution of someone I am convinced was innocent, I fell into a blue funk. I decided to turn my attentions to something less depressing, something that had interested me for a long time. Specifically, I wrote and had published Shadow Woman: The True Creator of Sherlock Holmes (2017). In that book, I present my case that it was Louise Conan Doyle, Arthur's first wife, who created Sherlock Holmes and wrote the early adventures.

My Louise Conan Doyle Mystery Series is a fictional extension of that non-fictional work. Brimstone is the first book in that series.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

As part of my investigation into the authorship of the Holmes adventures, I wrote my own stylometric analysis program to help attribute the proper author to various works that Arthur Conan Doyle published under his name. Stylometry analyzes elements of stories to determine who wrote them. When I first ran the program, I was surprised to learn that Louise, Arthur's first wife, wrote the early Holmes adventures and that Jean, Arthur's second wife wrote the later Holmes adventures. Arthur coordinated with Louise on the first Holmes adventure and wrote two short Holmes stories on his own. He also actually wrote most of the non-Holmes works attributed to him, including The Lost World.

Upon reviewing the first results from that stylometric analysis program, I became convinced that my hypothesis was correct. That result provided me sufficient confidence to publish my findings in Shadow Woman and to continue writing about Louise Conan Doyle in a mystery series featuring her.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would travel to the Isle of Wight off the south coast of mainland England. Brimstone opens and closes with Louise living in Victorian Bristol, England. By the end of Gambit, the second book in the series, Louise ends up living with her mother on the Isle of Wight. At the beginning of Ember, the third book in the series, Louise will still be living on the Isle of Wight. It's a lovely place, and I would be pleased to visit for any number of reasons.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would work on completing Gambit. I'm currently so distracted by my database and wrongful conviction demands that I have been unable to work on Louise for far too long.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Though in Ember, the third book in the series, Louise will be living on the Isle of Wight, the mystery will involve one of the first electrified houses in England. That rather stately house will be in some majestic rural area of England that I have yet to select.

Back to your present book, Brimstone, how did you publish it?

Lynn, my wife of 22 years, started our home business, Allen & Allen Semiotics, Inc. I continued my conventional job to maintain a steady income. After she doubled her income for three years straight, she taught me how to design custom databases. I then left my conventional job to assume my role as the junior partner in A&A. When I started writing books, she added publishing to our company's product line. As I developed my writing craft, she developed her publishing craft. Our latest product, Brimstone, is our best work yet. We are quite proud of it.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Though I did not travel in preparation for either Shadow Woman or Brimstone, I did once have the opportunity to visit England. That was certainly educational and enlightening.

My challenge was not just one of location, though. The Louise Conan Doyle Mystery Series is set in Victorian England. To familiarize myself with that time and place, I watched period pieces, read a lot of period books, browsed Victorian era magazines, and referred to lots of old maps.

Why was writing Brimstone so important to you?

The prime directive of any mystery writer is to provide the reader with an intriguing mystery featuring an engaging personality. Beyond that, I hope to that the public will finally recognize Louise for her literary contribution and her brilliance. I also would like the readers to become aware of the problem of wrongful convictions. Each plot in the Louise Conan Doyle Mystery series is based on a real-world wrongful conviction from today's U.S. transported back to Victorian England. In the Author's Note at the end of each book, I explain the relationship.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

My best ideas come while I'm writing. Though I try to plot and plan before I write, the writing seldom proceeds as I plan. The plot and the characters seem to take control of my fingers and cause them to type paragraphs and chapters that surprise even me. These nearly out-of-body writing episodes are my favorite moments in writing.

Any final words?

Brimstone is now available on Amazon in print and Kindle format, and on Barnes and Noble in print and Nook format. We’re working on an Audiobook format as well. And keep an eye out for Gambit, the second book in the series. When you find yourself in the midst of Gambit, assume nothing to be true. Trust no one.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Great American Read Challenge

My aunt was telling me about this show she watched on PBS called the Great American Read. I'm not sure how I missed it but after some discussion with her we both decided we were going to try to get through this list of 100 books. I have made a list of them below and will highlight the ones I have already read. Please feel free to leave a comment if you want to join us, there is no time limit. I would love to have a group of people and be able to talk about some of the favorites. In no particular order:

1984 George Orwell 
A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole 
A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving 
A Separate Peace John Knowles 
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Betty Smith 
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain 
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho 
Alex Cross Mysteries (series) James Patterson 
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll 
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 
And Then There Were None Agatha Christie 
Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery 
Another Country James Baldwin 
Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand 
Beloved Toni Morrison 
Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya 
The Book Thief Markus Zusak 
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz 
The Call of the Wild Jack London 
Catch-22 Joseph Heller 
The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 
Charlotte’s Web E.B. White 
The Chronicles of Narnia (series) C.S. Lewis 
The Clan of the Cave Bear Jean M. Auel 
The Coldest Winter Ever Sister Souljah 
The Color Purple Alice Walker 
The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas 
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Mark Haddon 
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown 
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes 
Doña Bárbára Rómulo Gallegos 
Dune Frank Herbert 
Fifty Shades of Grey (series) E.L. James  (I only read the first one)
Flowers in the Attic V.C. Andrews 
Foundation (series) Isaac Asimov 
Frankenstein Mary Shelley 
A Game of Thrones (series) George R.R. Martin 
Ghost Jason Reynolds 
Gilead Marilynne Robinson 
The Giver Lois Lowry 
The Godfather Mario Puzo 
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell 

The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck 
Great Expectations Charles Dickens 
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift 
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood 
Harry Potter (series) J.K. Rowling 
Hatchet (series) Gary Paulsen 
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad 
The Help Kathryn Stockett 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams 
The Hunger Games (series) Suzanne Collins 
The Hunt for Red October Tom Clancy 
The Intuitionist Colson Whitehead
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison 
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan 
Jurassic Park Michael Crichton 
Left Behind (series) Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins 
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 
Little Women Louisa May Alcott 
Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry 
Looking for Alaska John Green 
The Lord of the Rings (series) J.R.R. Tolkien 
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold 
The Martian Andy Weir
Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden 
Mind Invaders Dave Hunt 
Moby-Dick Herman Melville 
The Notebook Nicholas Sparks 
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez 
Outlander (series) Diana Gabaldon 
The Outsiders S.E. Hinton 
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde 
The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan 
The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett 
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 
Ready Player One Ernest Cline 
Rebecca Daphne du Maurier 
The Shack William P. Young 
Siddhartha Hermann Hesse 
The Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut
The Stand Stephen King 
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway 
Swan Song Robert R. McCammon 
Tales of the City (series) Armistead Maupin 
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe 
This Present Darkness Frank E. Peretti 
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 
The Twilight Saga (series) Stephenie Meyer 
War and Peace Leo Tolstoy 
Watchers Dean Koontz 
The Wheel of Time (series) Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson 
Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls 
White Teeth Zadie Smith 
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 
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