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First Chapter Reveal: Am I Going To Be Okay? by Debra Whittam

Am I Going to Be OkayTitle: Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storm of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief
Author: Debra Whittam
Publisher: Turning Point International
Pages: 253
Genre: Memoir/Women’s Psychology/Applied Psychology

Am I Going To Be Okay? is an American story with a universal message. Ms. Whittam traces her history in the form of stories about her all too human, and sometimes unhinged family; she throws a rope to the little girl living there, and in adulthood, is able to pull her out to safety, bit by bit.

Her history is peopled with folks from a different time, a time before therapy was acceptable, 12 steps unimaginable and harsh words, backhands and even harsher silences can be spun to appear almost normal. She writes of a mother who would not or could not initiate love nor give it without condition, and a father, damn near heroic at times, abusive at others, a survivor with his head down and his sleeves rolled up.

Ms. Whittam approaches her past with the clear-eyed tough but sensitive objectivity necessary to untangle the shame from the source. She speaks of the people that affected her life so deeply with an understanding of their time and place in American culture; a family not far removed from immigrant roots when men carried their own water, emoted misplaced anger, and with fresh socks and food found on the trail, were confident, unflinching and at that same time tragical- ly failing to the little ones they ignored.

Like many of us, details notwithstanding, Whittam responded by numbing, running and gunning. Alcohol gave her hope, soothed a crushed soul for a time and wrecked her on a train, until finally she had the courage to accept it wasn’t working for her anymore. It was time to stop drinking and take inventory and accountability. It was time to accept, forgive and move forward. She healed where she was broken.

It is in the telling of this story that Whittam teaches us the difference between just surviving and surviving well, the importance of shared introspection and a careful eye on the wake we leave behind in our actions. Her story is a guide to surviving abuse and addiction. It is also about witnessing and dealing with the shrinking faculties of aging parents in the unavoidable circle of life. Finally, she offers a realistic sense of hope, forgiveness and a life we can shake hands with.

For More Information

  • Am I Going To Be Okay? Weathering the Storm of Mental Illness, Addiction and Grief is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Chapter One

The Driving Lesson

“Am I going to be okay?” It was the summer before I started kindergarten. I had just turned five that June and was sitting in the back seat of our neighbor’s 1961 Buick listening as Gladys tried to teach Mom how to drive. Mom was crying and struggling with the stick shift attempting to drive down a long, lonely stretch of road aptly named Thousand Acre Road. We were about a mile from our house just outside of our village of Delanson, New York, but it seemed as though we were in the middle of nowhere. “Am I going to be okay?” It was the first time I remember hearing those words. It would not be the last.

Mom was 4’ 11”, weighed 105 lbs. and was petrified of being in that driver’s seat. She needed to sit on two large phone books to see over the steering wheel and to reach the pedals even though the long, bench type front seat was pulled as far forward as possible. Gladys, who was a large German woman, was pressed up against the dashboard and now was more ornery than normal. Mom was begging Gladys to stop the driving lessons. She didn’t want to do it anymore.

Gladys was a part-time nurse at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady and had very little patience. I can’t imagine how she became the choice to teach Mom how to drive but here we were idling on this dirt road waiting for something to happen. Mom continued shaking and crying each time she stalled the car, trying unsuccessfully to get it into first gear. Gladys firmly commanded her to stop crying, let out the clutch, push on the gas, and “drive the goddamn car!” This only caused Mom to escalate into a higher level of panic. She looked over her shoulder at me with tear-filled eyes, pleading for help, “Debbie, am I going to be okay?”

“Yes, Mom,” I said in the most reassuring voice my five-year-old self could come up with. “Isn’t this fun?”

“Oh, for Christ sake, Judy,” Gladys bellowed from the passenger side, “Let your foot off the clutch, push on the goddamn gas and drive!” She didn’t want to remain in that car much longer either. I took in the tension of that scene, wanting to be as calm, clear-headed, and loving as I could be. I knew Gladys’ harsh ways wouldn’t work. Interestingly, most people Mom was surrounded by were like Gladys – Dad, my aunts and uncles, and friends – all impatient with her fears of everything.

“Mom, you are going to be okay,” I encouraged her as I repeatedly jumped up from my seat and leaned over the long, hard ridge along the back of her seat. My stomach ached from balancing on it so I could show her the gears and pedals. There were no seat belts in those days so I was free to see and be a part of the drama unfolding before me.

Mom was in her early twenties when I was born. At this point, five years later, she realized if we waited for my father to drive us anywhere, like to the movies to see Disney’s Cinderella, it wasn’t going to happen. Dad had far more important things to do. He felt his time would be wasted doing something as silly as a movie. She and I were on our own to see the “magical world of Disney” or any of the rest of the world at all. She had never wanted to drive, ever. I remember thinking if I could drive at the age of five, it would’ve been fine with her. Mom’s desire to get out of town for the 25-mile drive to Schenectady motivated her to overcome her anxieties get off the sofa and learn to drive. We were both excited to plan a trip to “the city” for a movie at Proctors theater with lunch at Carl’s Department Store afterward. It was a very high society thing to do back then. Plus what motivated Mom most was my aunts could all drive, and she wanted to keep up with what they were doing.

It was second nature for me, even that early on, to reassure her that everything was going to be okay. The reality was, with Mom at the wheel, we were not okay at all. I was sure from my perch balancing on my stomach that I had a far better view of the road than she did.

Mom was peaceful, calm and content only when she was lying on her right side on the left corner of the sofa. Any plans or action much more than that could cause her anxieties to rise dramatically, sometimes even bringing her to the point of blanking out.

It took every kind of fortitude for Mom to stay in the car and attempt again and again to make it move forward. Her anxieties were equal to a commander of a shuttle about to blast off . This car was way too much for Mom, and she wanted to be at home on her sofa.

Gladys had been our next-door neighbor for three years now, ever since we moved into the three-bedroom ranch home my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles worked hard to build in 1959. She had talked Mom off the ledge many times before this. Once, I got my finger stuck in the front screen door of our house. Mom screamed and ran to Gladys’ house, leaving me stuck in the door. Left there to fend for myself, a pattern that followed throughout my life, I had a twinge of panic that she just might not come back. I jiggled the handle of the metal door and finally got my finger out by myself.

I was crying when Mom and Gladys found me sitting on the front porch sucking on my finger. I wasn’t as upset about the pain of my smashed finger as I was scared and needed my Mom. As the two of them walked across the grass between our houses, there was no more panic in Mom’s eyes. They were giggling and looked like there was some inside joke. Mom looked at me and said, “Oh stop crying. You’re fine.”

She and Gladys went inside the house as I sat there on the cold cement, confused. That didn’t seem very nice. I needed someone to tell ME that everything was going to be okay. I still wanted to be taken care of. It was ever so subtle but the message was clear. It was almost as though I had done something wrong. Shame and subtle ridicule was the sound of Mom’s reassurance. Most problems I encountered in my young life, either physically or emotionally, were either because I had done something wrong, or there was something wrong with me. Those were the choices. Let the ridicule begin.

Cheryl Huber, a Buddhist monk who has a monastery in Northern California, travels sharing experiences of how to meditate, and has written a wonderful, easy-to-read book aptly titled, “There is Nothing Wrong With You.” In this book, she begins with a litany of assaults which many of us heard from our early years that remain with us, intruding on a daily basis, such as: “What is wrong with you? Didn’t I just tell you not to do that? Don’t look at me that way! Stop crying! You are so dumb! Why didn’t you already know that? Who doesn’t know this?” This speaks to our inner self-hate monitor which was at the beginning of a time that we can’t really pinpoint and seems to have no end. It is the time when our self-image, our core beliefs, are planted, nurtured and bear fruit in our anxieties, addictions, and actions.

However, back on that day of the driving lesson, I took in every look on Mom’s face as she struggled through the hell of those moments. Here she was trembling with fear behind the wheel of this monster moving vehicle and enduring being bellowed at by Gladys. “Can we just go home?” she asked. She was finished for the day!

From an early age, I was intensely aware of her every worry, every fear. It became a normal part of my life. I took in every look on Mom’s face, every choking catch in her throat. I wanted to rescue her, help her, and make her fears go away. I wanted to make her happy. Years later, I had more of a love/hate relationship with that part of her, but at the time, her survival was my main concern.

I kept reassuring her, “Mom it’s going to be okay – just let go of that pedal thing, push on that pedal over there and the stick thingy does an H. First, go up on the top – on that side of the H.” I pointed to where she needed to have her hands and feet to make the car move and not stall. I had paid close attention to Dad when he tried to teach Mom to drive many times before. In Dad’s car, Mom needed three phone books and chunks of wood taped to the pedals in order to see over the steering wheel. Dad wouldn’t let her move the seat forward. He refused to be smashed up against the dashboard. My guess is Gladys took over those lessons when things with Dad didn’t go so well. But, at least, I learned. He was my role model for everything, like being strong, courageous and powerful. I wanted to be just like him.

I watched how he did most everything and I still have many of his mannerisms and sayings today. “Shit or get off the pot” is one. It flows right off the tongue. So, in that car with Gladys, it was now my turn to help Mom…to be the one who saved her with kindness and patience. She paid attention to me when I did that.

“Yes, Mom, you are going to be okay.” It was exhausting work to reassure her since these emotional upheavals happened often. I don’t remember hearing her say those things back to me. But, she must have.

Finally, figuring there was no other way out of this mess, Mom shored up the courage from somewhere, managed to push on something right, and the car moved forward without stalling. I softly said, “Yea, Mom!” She turned to look at me, and her body relaxed just a little bit. I was relieved to see her less terrified. Mom was going to be okay, and I was, too.

Mom smiled with pride as she continued driving 20 miles an hour down the road. Then, Gladys said, “Jesus Christ, Judy, you need a five-year-old to get you to push on the goddamn gas.”

Mom did eventually learn how to drive and passed her driver’s test after two attempts. The one and only time she ever got drunk was at the celebration party the neighbors gave her the following weekend. It was as though there was a collective, “ Thank God, the driving lessons are over.”

Mom and Gladys remained good friends until Gladys passed away in 1999 from Multiple Sclerosis. Mom visited her often through her last years bringing baked goods and helping Gladys as best she could, and as much as Gladys would allow.

Mom never touched a cigarette to her own lips denouncing Dad’s smoking as a filthy habit. Yet, she held many a cigarette up to Gladys’ lips when Gladys could no longer maneuver her fingers on her own. These two women were always there to support one another.

Mom continually asked whoever would listen in any given situation, “Am I going to be okay?” It bothered the hell out of all of us. However, when I was that young, being able to help my Mom feel better was one of the first thrills of my life. It was gratifying to hear her say, “Oh, Debbie, thank you. I don’t know what I’d do without you!” In that moment, she needed me.

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First Chapter Reveal: Mirror World by John Calicchia

Mirror WorldTitle: Mirror World
Author: John Calicchia
Publisher: Psychangel Books
Pages: 404
Genre: YA Fantasy

What would you do if you saw the future apocalypse of the world in a mirror? Would you try to save the world and those you love, or die trying?

Welcome to my life, this is the vision of the future I’ve been cursed to see. – Cailyssa Larkin

When Cailyssa Larkin looks in a mirror she has an ominous feeling that someone is watching her. Stranger still, she has visions that foretell the future. While visiting her Uncle Spencer, Cailyssa gazes into a mirror and sees a dark future that only she can change. With the future of her own world hanging in the balance, Cailyssa bravely enters the portal to the Mirror World. Here, the Dark Lord controls all the mirrors and bends reflections so all creatures see evil within themselves. With her sister Terry, her mysterious best friend Daemon, and a host of weird and wonderful creatures, Cailyssa embarks on an epic quest to overcome the evil forces trying to destroy her world. She can only defeat the Dark Lord by finding her true self and discovering the family secret that has led her to Mirror World.

This book, written by a psychology professor, integrates famous psychological studies in the story. Readers will enjoy learning important life lessons through the psychological concepts illustrated in the book.

For More Information

  • Mirror World is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

Chapter 1: Trouble in the Morning

OK, calm down. You can’t smash it into a million pieces without cutting yourself, and then you’ll really be in trouble.

“I hate you, I hate you, and I hate you!” I hissed at my reflection in the mirror. “Why do you always have to give me a hard time?”

I stood in front of my bedroom mirror, unable to move, transfixed by the image that stared back at me. It really freaked me out. It looked like me—but it wasn’t me. There was just something wrong with it. Was I going crazy? I found it difficult to move. A tap on my shoulder made me jump, and I shivered as I looked away from the mirror.

“Caught ya lookin’ in the mirror!” My little sister said as she danced happily behind me smiling broadly. “Hey, Lyss, no uniforms today at school, remember? Can I borrow your green headband? It will make a perfect match to my awesome shirt.” Terry paused and tilted her head to the side. “Lyssa, you all right? You look like crap.”

“Terry, thanks a lot, not everybody can look like you in the morning.”

Terry was a freak of nature and an amazing athlete. She had piercing blue eyes, the most gorgeous, silky red hair, and perfect skin that never needed a drop of makeup. Every morning she ran a brush through her hair, quickly washed her face, and she was ready to go.

“Lyssa, you know I think you’re gorgeous. The only reason I said you look like crap is because of your eyes. Were you crying?” Terry said softly as she warmly placed both her hands on my shoulders. “C’mon, you can tell me. I heard you yelling at the mirror when I walked in. When you do that I always know it’s ’cause you’re scared or worried. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know,” I said, glumly shaking my head back and forth. “Remember I told you the strange feelings I get sometimes when I look in the mirror: like it’s not me or that maybe someone is—I know this sounds crazy—looking at me?”

“Yeah, Lyssa, I remember. Just the other day I had the feeling that somebody was staring at me, and sure enough, when I turned around, it was creepy Randle from the back of math class. Isn’t it weird how you so know somebody is staring at you? But really, Lyssa, the mirror?”

“Yes, Terry. But here’s the thing—and promise not to tell anybody; you’re the only person I’ve ever told about this. It’s getting worse. A lot worse! Before you came in the room, I couldn’t move away from looking at the mirror. Am I going crazy?” I covered my face with my hands, determined not to let Terry see me on the verge of tears.

“Listen, big sister, you are definitely not going crazy! You must just be stressed out. You need to take some time for yourself. All you ever do is look out for your friends and try to help everybody. You have the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met, and I think at times you need to be a bit more selfish. Take care of yourself too!” Terry said as I stood up and gave her a hug.

The problem with hugging my little sister was that she started out soft, and then she always tried to squeeze the stuffing out of you, to make it funny at the end. She let go of me before I exploded and spun around so fast that her ponytail lightly brushed across my chin. It made me laugh. Before she left my room, she paused at the door, spun around, and smiled. Her fingers pointed toward me, thumbs up, in what she called her six-gun position.

“Hey, Cailyssa, I forgot to show you the cool slogans I added to the front of my volleyball shirt!” Terry slid across the room and quickly opened her jacket to display her shirt. “Block This” was written in all caps across the front of her shirt with a fat marker, and “You Wish You Could Hit Like a Girl” was on the back. I laughed harder this time.

“Hey, Lyssa, we need to talk more about this mirror thing. You and I! After school! Froyo at our favorite place…yogurt beach!” Terry said as she ran down the stairs to catch breakfast before school.

Terry was just what I needed this morning. She came into my room, listened to me complain, and wrapped an enormous bubble of happiness around me—just like she does to everyone. I wish some days I could be more like that. Why do I often feel like I have the weight of the world on top of me?

“Honey, stop talking to yourself. You’re going to be late for school. Come down and eat breakfast. I made pancakes and don’t have time to drive you if you miss the bus.” That was my father talking. The sound of his voice and the thought of a hot breakfast relaxed me, but I still wanted to take my hairbrush and give the mirror in front of me one good smack! Caught up in a whirlpool of thoughts, I headed downstairs for breakfast.

“Good morning, honey,” my mother said. “You look great today! Is that a new outfit?”

Silence.

“Lyssa, I said you look great today. Didn’t you hear me?”

I was about to make a sarcastic reply, but I bit my tongue just in time. It wasn’t my mom’s fault that I was in a conflicted mood today. She was just trying to be positive and lift my spirits when it must have been obvious to everyone that I wasn’t too cheerful.

“Uh, yeah, mom. It’s a new outfit.” There was no use commenting on the part about looking great; we both knew that wasn’t true today! “Mom, I just want to eat breakfast and go to school, please.”

I was still worried about the mirror thing, and I really didn’t want to talk or listen to my parents this morning.

My father looked at me with a raised eyebrow, recognized it was best not to disturb the peace, and quietly said, “Your mom’s right; you look great today.”

“Thanks, but I really don’t want to talk this morning,” I grumbled. I gave them both a hug and then decided to bury my face in pancakes and bacon. Isn’t it amazing what food can do? I ate, felt a little better, did a quick mental checklist that everything I needed was in my backpack, and headed for the front door.

Then I saw it in front of me. It was like a vision from heaven. It was golden, it was sweet, and it had the most incredible smell. I couldn’t resist. I ran toward it, wrapping my arms around it, and buried my nose in the softest, most perfect spot imaginable.

“You are the best dog in the whole world, Cali,” I said, nuzzling the fur of my golden-retriever puppy.

She looked at me with adorable chocolate-brown eyes that shone like pools of endless love. Her happiness to see me spread into my body, and all of a sudden, I felt how much I loved this furry critter. The only thing better than getting love and attention from one dog is getting it from two dogs.

“I love you, too, Bentley,” I said as my Bernese mountain dog plowed into me, knocking me over in his excitement to see me. Dogs are proof that God loves us, I said to myself.

Both dogs attacked me with a love fest of licking, sniffing, and snuggling. It was simply the best feeling in the whole world. With dog-infused love, I quickly hugged my mom and dad good-bye and went out to wait for the bus with my kid sister, Terry. Usually I drove to school, but my car was in for repairs, so that meant we had to catch the bus. “Please,” I thought to myself, “please don’t let Billy be on the bus.”

The feelings of elation I had felt a few moments ago with Cali and Bentley evaporated immediately as the bus pulled to a stop.

A sick feeling crept into my stomach as I saw the side of Billy’s face in the window. Reluctantly, and with an odd feeling of premonition, I walked onto the bus and made my way to an empty seat. No sooner had I sat down than I heard the most disgusting sound in the universe.

“Here’s Kissa Larkin, stuck on the bus. Where is your boyfriend, Daemon?” Billy Bloomfield yelled as he stood up.

“Billy, just leave me alone today. I don’t feel like dealing with you! BTW my name’s Cailyssa, pronounced K-lyssa, not Kissa.” I said it as politely as I could, but underneath I was seething, and I deliberately avoided any eye contact.

“What’s the matter, Kissa, you too good to talk to the rest of us, or do you miss your boyfriend?” Billy taunted as he made a kissing face to the rest of the bus and finished with an obnoxious burp that seemed to last for minutes and vibrate every window on the bus.

Billy was one of the worst bullies in the entire school, and most people were afraid of him. Not me. First of all, we used to be friends before he became a bully. And I especially dislike boys who like to bully people in front of a crowd to make themselves feel good. Oh yeah, I hate when he calls me stupid names like Kissa. As Billy was still laughing about his own stupid joke, I saw him actually pick his nose and wipe it on the seat in front of me. He continued to laugh, and his chins were shaking up and down as the spittle flew out of his mouth.

I looked across the aisle and saw my little sister’s hands ball up into fists. That could mean only one thing.

“Billy, why don’t you shut up and eat some of the jelly doughnut that you dropped on the front of your shirt,” my little sister howled.

Now let me tell you, my sister has a pair of lungs and can out scream a crowd at a Patriots game. So the entire bus turned around and looked at Billy’s shirt. Sure enough, right in the middle was a huge splat of jelly and a trail of crumbs from the doughnut that had fallen from his mouth.

“Shut up, you little pimple, before I squash you,” Billy yelled back.

Of course he didn’t do anything. Although my sister was a couple of years younger, she had that if-looks-could-kill face on, and Billy sure didn’t want to risk getting his butt kicked by a girl. My sister, Terry, was pretty much not scared of anything, especially Billy Bloomfield. Terry’s nickname was Tink because her favorite hat had a picture of Tinker Bell on it. The hat said “Don’t even Tink about it!” Not many kids could get away with wearing that hat at her age, but the hat was a perfect description of my sister’s personality. You don’t mess with Terry or Tink! Nobody ever gave her a hard time about the hat—or about anything else for that matter. Everyone loved my sister. She was totally out there—smart, athletic, bold, loyal—and had so many friends. She’s so different from me, I thought as I looked at her.

When Billy turned to yell at my sister, the squashed blob of doughnut on his shirt became visible for the whole bus to see. Half the bus started yelling and pointing to the doughnut on Billy’s semiwhite T-shirt. When Billy realized he had become the brunt of everybody’s humor, his face turned bright red, and his whole huge body trembled with embarrassment and anger.

“Thanks for doing that, Tink, but I don’t need your help,” I said to Terry.

“I couldn’t help it! When I saw him making fun of you, I wanted to punch him so bad.” My sister tried her best to whisper this; of course Terry’s voice is completely incapable of whispering, and everyone around us heard and began to giggle. Billy was too busy trying to clean the doughnut off his shirt to hear what we were saying.

I whispered, “Let’s just leave Billy alone. If he gets too upset, he might just explode here on the bus and splatter us with the food and the disgusting things that are in his stomach.”

We both laughed, and I looked down at my little sister, thinking how much I loved that she stood up for me. The bus finally arrived at school, and I made sure to get out of my seat quickly before Billy could block the aisle. Believe me, you don’t stand close behind Billy Bloomfield’s butt—unless you are able to hold your breath for a very long time.

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Interview with ‘The Emerging Sensitive’ Maria Hill

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

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

For More Information

About the Book:

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

Praise for The Emerging Sensitive:

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

–Ane Axford, Sensitive Leadership

For More Information

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

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

When I am not writing I am usually working on my website, Sensitive Evolution. It is a large website and so takes quite a bit of my time. I also enjoy being outside in nature, which I find refreshing. I also enjoy travelling when I can.

What do you find fascinating about your genre?

I like self help because it is a wonderful way to help others feel better about themselves. We live in a very critical world – sometimes too critical and unrealistic in its expectations – so if I can help people be more grounded and compassionate in their self perceptions I am happy to do so. I think that the world is gradually becoming more compassionate and I am happy to do my part to make the world a kinder place.

When was the adrenalin rush – writing that first chapter or the last and why?

I would say the last chapter gave me the adrenalin rush. Since The Emerging Sensitive is my first book I did not know how long it would take. I think all first time authors stick their tow in the writing waters without fully knowing what they are getting into. So completing the book gave me a lot of satisfaction.

What is the most important thing about your book that we as a reader should know?

The Emerging Sensitive helps highly sensitive people gain perspective on their trait, their history and how changes in the world are creating new options for them. It is a very positive and optimistic book about the future for sensitive people. It is also a good book for people who work or live with a sensitive person who may be struggling finding a direction in life.

Can you give us an excerpt?

Here is a sample from the section on the sensitive trait.

Why Sensitivity Is Important

Sensitivity gives you the ability to connect with all creatures and beings

in your environment. You can listen to the world from your inner being

and connect beyond the spoken word. You can see the real being in

others, human and animal. You hear with your nervous system what is

said and unsaid.

 

The highly sensitive trait is a gift for energetic intelligence. The

fundamental orientation of HSPs is energetic, which means that they

listen to what energy tells them and then form their goals. Non-HSPs

form their goals differently—perhaps based on more external factors like

tradition, cultural values, goals, and incentives.

 

Looking at individual characteristics of the sensitive person is helpful.

However, the real magic of sensitivity comes from the combination of

the characteristics:

  • The HSP’s sponge-like nervous systems make them present,

which sometimes feels awful in a world that seems to be stuck in

the past or focused on the future. It is one of the reasons HSPs can

feel so alone. Being alone with the world’s energy gives them a

window on the magnificence of life, which puts them in touch

with awe and therefore gratitude. It lets them invite others into a

new world beyond the mundane and seek new solutions. It brings

out their creativity.

  • Being present means being present to everything, which is like

having a live thermometer as part of your nervous system. HSPs

feel the immediacy of the pain, joy, yearning, and unmet needs in

others and themselves. When you feel so much, you become

tender to life in all its forms. It brings out your conscientiousness

and desire to make life better.

  • Being present with their energetic intelligence gives HSPs a level

of intimacy with the world that puts them in a different place,

often creating distance with others and loneliness for themselves.

It lets them observe subtle distinctions about other people which,

when revealed, can cause others to feel understood or

uncomfortable and exposed.

  • Since HSPs experience the entire disharmony in the world,

harmony is what they naturally seek and what informs many of

their choices. The drive for harmony is behind their

conscientiousness.

  • Gentleness is a precursor to delight because to be gentle is to be

open to wonder. Wonder leads to questions, which leads to new

ideas and creative solutions.

  • The desire to put a smile on someone’s face is an important

motivator for sensitive people with a “positive valence.” When

you take in all of the world’s energy, the only direction possible is

a constructive one because you cannot knowingly contribute to

the world’s pain.

  • Being present to all energy means that you search for the sweet

spot in meeting the moment: the right solution, the best choice,

because your nervous systems tell you how important it is.

  • Being present and conscientious activates your creativity so that

you can find the best solutions in any situation.

 

Each of the characteristics of the “DOES” model provides highly

sensitive people with an important talent for energy sensitivity, and

HSPs may be pioneers in the development of more sophisticated human

intelligence through their sensitivity. Being energy sensitive lets you see

beyond the many narratives about social roles and social identity as well

as the “shoulds” and “oughts” that occupy our social space, as Dr. Aron

says. This ability lets you develop a big-picture perspective that can be

useful and freeing. It lets you see beyond created differences of sex,

race, and religion to a larger transpersonal and inclusive view of others.

It lets you see yourself in others.

What’s next for you?

I have developed some courses that supplement the book, The Emerging Sensitive, so I will be getting them off the ground. In addition, I have some new books in mind, but first I will take a breather.

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Cover Reveal: WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir by Janelle Jalbert

WINGDOG cover reveal banner

We’re thrilled to be hosting Janelle Jalbert’s WINGDOG: SOUL PUP A MAGICAL MEMOIR Cover Reveal Today!

About the Book:

Wingdog 2

Title: WINGDOG: SOUL PUP, A MAGICAL MUTT MEMOIR
Author: Janelle Jalbert
Publisher: Synchron8 Publishing
Pages: 359
Genre: Memoir

It’s love at first sight…for both of them. An abandoned yet tenacious pup with one blue eye and one brown eye beats the odds and is enlisted as one woman’s WINGDOG. It’s a role he takes seriously, but he knows that his human needs more than just another set of eyes and ears. He must show her how to laugh and how to love again. His loyalty knows no bounds, and he takes his duties seriously riding shotgun as the pair travel life’s highway.

A dog may be man’s best friend, but the truth is…A WINGDOG is truly a woman’s gift.

For readers who enjoy contemporary canine classics such as MARLEY & ME, THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN, and A DOG’S PURPOSE, Janelle Jalbert’s ‘Magical Mutt Memoir’ combines the best of these storytelling traditions. Told as a memoir – adhering to how events unfolded – one woman seeks establish a new life after moving across the country from California to North Carolina.

Her chance at a new normal arrives in the form of Goose, a pup that melts not only her heart but also the hearts of everyone that he meets. As they travel coast-to-coast and places in between, the bond that the two share proves that love and loyalty can transcend even the greatest of obstacles.

WINGDOG: SOUL PUP is a heart-warming, emotional – and oftentimes comical – tale of how one pup becomes the consummate WINGDOG only to transform into the ultimate Soul Pup.

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  • WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

First Date

Yes, I slept with him on our first date. It felt so good to have his warm body against mine. He was gorgeous and sweet as slumber set in, and I couldn’t help but curl up closer. We were already doing our own version of spooning, just hours after meeting. Everything was once again right with the world thanks to his warmth by my side. It was a case of love at first sight that grew deeper in the darkness of the bedroom around us.

I couldn’t help but run my fingers through his fur as his brindled coat rose and fell with deep, sleep-filled breathing. His fur was the perfect texture, not too course but without fluff. The hairs behind his bouncy ears were already my favorite, so silky fine. He sighed as I continued rubbing up and down his side before once more scratching behind his ear. With the ear rubs, he pushed closer into me. His sixteen pound body firmly tucked at my hip.

Ah, I’m home.

I wasn’t sure if it was my thought because it could have easily come from the pup at my side. For the first time in weeks, I began to doze off, peaceful and content. The neighbor problems that plagued my previous weeks faded away with his comforting presence.

Sometimes it does all work out. Bad things can lead to great opportunities.

The stress of moving from California to North Carolina evaporated. The distress that plagued me eased. It was what I’d been craving: a chance to forget and to enjoy life again. It was what my soul needed. I sighed and let go. All was good, at last.

* * *

The day started like most of late when I got sidetracked by my inbox after clicking on the message. A small, brown puppy snuggled face-to-face with a tabby kitten appeared. The expression in the picture wasn’t curiosity. It was more like a big brother protecting a younger sibling. The other picture was of the same puppy looking up at the camera. His brown ears were as big as his head. The look in his eyes was that of questioning intelligence, and only the slightest hint of his blue left eye opposite the brown one showed. He seemed to know it was not simply a picture being taken.

It took less than thirty seconds. I was in love.

Immediately, I hit reply. He’s adorable. I’d love to meet him!

With that, a flurry of emails was exchanged. I rushed out into the silvery, fall day, filled with clouds. I stopped at the ATM before getting on the highway for the trip down to Rock Hill from Charlotte. It felt odd to pull money out to buy a dog. Granted, I rescued pups before, but this felt different. Then, it hit me. There’s something not all together right about exchanging money for a living creature’s spirit, and that thought caught me off guard.

“What’s that all about?” I muttered as I turned down the onramp to Highway 85, heading south. I shook off the feeling with the thought that it helped pay for his care rather than buying him per say.

As I made the transition to the 77 near uptown Charlotte, I started thinking of names for the pup. Angie named him ‘Ace of Spades’ or Ace for ease, but that wasn’t right. I knew that instantly. My dogs have always named themselves. He’ll let me know. I thought, but still names flitted through my mind.

What do I want from all this? That made me laugh. It’s a dog adoption, not a marriage. The truth was already apparent. This was going to be bigger than a simple custody transfer. The anxiety over recent events with neighbors at my apartment complex threatened to rear up again. I needed someone…something…to help watch my back. I wanted a right-hand man…a wingman…or, in this case, a ‘wingdog’.

That’s it! Goose. Like the wingman in Top Gun, he’d be my extra pair of eyes and ears. I loved it immediately and settled on it before remembering that the dog does the choosing.

“Okay, just keep it in mind,” I mumbled as I got off the highway and made a convoluted trip to the apartment. I texted Angie from the parking lot because I couldn’t make sense of the numbers in the complex, so she agreed to bring him down to meet me. I waited in the car for a few minutes, laughing at myself for having a bit of ‘first date’ jitters about meeting a puppy.

They seemed to appear out of nowhere and stopped at the end of the walkway.

I got out, and as soon as I cleared the bumper, he spotted me. It was magic – a connection in an instant – as he leapt towards me despite his leash. His eyes lit up like I’m sure mine did. With a big smile and open arms, I walked up to him at Angie’s side and said hello. He barely reached my kneecap, but his eyes were wide and bright. I dropped to my knee. Given my earlier thoughts about marriage, I chuckled and shook my head to clear the whole proposal analogy from my head. He nuzzled into me immediately and toppled me onto my rear.

Who are YOU? I haven’t seen you before. He did a once over with his nose. Yep, you smell nice. You’re a good one. How ya doin’?

I smiled ear to ear as I situated myself, sitting cross-legged so the little guy could sniff away at will. If that isn’t an enthusiastic yes, I don’t know what is. My heart swelled as his furry little body shivered with excitement. His wild tail matched the leaping in my chest. I looked into his wide, trusting eyes: one brown, the other blue. It was a match. You choose me too! I thought as I wrapped my arms around the brindled bundle showering me in warm wet pup kisses.

“We found him on the highway. He was in bad shape, but we nursed him back to health. He’s been dewormed too.”

He sat listening to the conversation like he would chime in at any time, sneaking glances at me as Angie debriefed me about his circumstances.

How could someone be so evil to such an adorable boy?

“Several people have come to look at him, but the brindle coloring gives the impression of a pit bull.” Angie sighed. “He’s incredibly friendly, but the people who’ve come to see him have scared him as well as my husband and me. It’s like he knows they’re not right. My husband and I figured they were looking for fighting dogs, or even bait dogs, when they start asking about his bloodlines.”

A chill traveled down my spine at the thought of people looking to sacrifice a loving creature for a blood sport.

Angie continued, “That’s why we’ve been saying that he’s a Jack Russell mix. We’re not sure though, and we can’t keep him anyway.” Angie went on to explain about their impending move as Goose scanned the yard of the apartment complex.

Hold on. His name isn’t Goose yet. I thought as my mind and heart made the leap. He gets a vote. Remember?

“He’s big into sticks,” Angie stated as she reached up into the branches of a small, almost bare tree near us and broke off a branch for Goose. He immediately plopped down to tackle his new toy. “I was going to name him Lucky, but that’s too common. So, I thought that the Ace of Spades is a lucky card. That’s how he got his name.”

I noticed that he wasn’t too fond of the name either, since he didn’t even twitch when he heard her say it. Good boy! You’re definitely a smart one. I thought. I could tell Angie was stalling a bit with her continued chatting.

“He’s still damp. I was cleaning the bird cage in the bathtub, and he jumped right in too. He loves water.”

“Perfect! I’m a surfer girl who needs to be around water all the time.” I said with a laugh and smile. “Yeah, I know Charlotte’s not near the ocean, but we’ll be at the lake a lot.” I felt like I was selling myself to win favor.

“He loves going for rides too. My husband has to take him every time he goes to the store or wherever.”

“That works out perfectly too. Though I am teaching online classes fulltime, I’m a bit of a road warrior right now with a side gig as a motorsports reporter. That’s what brought me to NC. We’ll be going to California in a couple of weeks for the Phoenix race, Thanksgiving, and Champ Week. He’ll get the ride of his puppy life.”

Angie’s shoulders slumped as we transferred his things to the car, and I handed Angie a hundred dollars for both the pup and all of her supplies. There wasn’t much: a used cat collar, a small leash, some food and a bowl, but it was a start. The supermarket dog food was going to be replaced immediately.

You’ll be eating way better than that. I vowed silently. I could tell that Angie was both happy and sad. I passed the test. He was going to a good home, but it meant that he was leaving her.

Whether it was Angie’s demeanor or plain puppy energy, he grew restless, starting to explore the yard as much as he could while still on a leash. After Angie ran out of things to chit-chat about, I opened the passenger’s side door and cradled him in my arms. His warmth traveled to my core as the soft bundle of brown, black and white fur rested close to my heart. A sigh escaped as I held him to my chest before placing him on the seat.

Shotgun! He perked up and sniffed the interior, which was already filling with the smell of kibble.

His investigation stopped abruptly and he stared at Angie and me. He knew something was different. This wasn’t a casual, meet-someone-on-a-walk encounter anymore. It was a strange new car. He looked at Angie. Thank you. I’m happy. She’s a good one.

Angie sighed.“Bye, Ace. You’re a good boy.”

He seemed to smile as he stretched, puffing out his puppy chest. Then he got distracted by the straw to my iced coffee. He was at ease, and inside of two hours, I became a pup mom. Life wasn’t going to be the same again.

About the Author

Janelle Jalbert

Janelle Jalbert had two light bulb moments at the age of 10. One involved teaching. She began teaching her stuffed animals daily lessons after school. The other was the result of an obsession with reading. Just like her dad, Janelle loved to plow through books like any child racing to the presents under a tree on Christmas morning. Her favorite YA series featured a main character that aspired to be a writer, and Janelle exclaimed “I wanna do that!”

Flash forward to a decade or so later, Janelle pursued her love of teaching, but her passion for writing remained a glowing ember. It took a car accident to get Janelle writing once again. She wrote and published Success Skills for Middle and High School Students (2001) to help her students with their major educational transitions. Not one to do the same old thing as everyone else, Janelle had a hint of things to come when she was looking for a “different” topic to focus on for her master’s thesis. She was drawn to Magical Realism. Years later, she blended her love for helping others and creative entrepreneurialism with her writing and contributed a chapter to Conscious Entrepreneurs (2008). It was another hint of what was to come for Janelle with the theme for her segment in the anthology being a call to take charge of your life by becoming the star of your life by step into your own spotlight.

It sounds simple enough, but Janelle’s journey towards fulfilling her early dream was not that straight-forward…for either better or worse. After transitioning from the traditional classroom to online teaching and moving from K12 to university teaching, Janelle decided to pursue a doctoral program. While juggling teaching, studies, and growing a college admissions counseling business, Janelle had another light bulb moment during a trip to a NASCAR race weekend in Fontana.

Janelle and her sister were always around cars and loved racing. One of their rituals was making the trek to racing events in Southern California. That morning in the spring of 2009, Janelle watched people walking in and out of the garage as practice sessions were going. Again, she heard the voice “I wanna do that!” Given that she was teaching English and doing studies in education, it was a fleeting moment that she quickly forgot.

Three months later, after covering graduate schools in the Los Angeles area for examiner.com, Janelle got a wild idea. She asked her editor in education for the sports editor’s contact information and pitched him the role of Southern California Motorsports Examiner. Not only did she land the position, she was also named NASCAR Truck Series Examiner. By the time that NASCAR returned to Fontana that fall, Janelle was working the garage as a reporter and photographer. In fact, it wasn’t until she was halfway through her first morning there that she remembered what happened during the spring race. It was a little bit of magic, a touch of nerve, and some talent that had Janelle smiling that October day. Janelle went on to travel the country covering motorsports, including moving to North Carolina for an extended period, while still teaching and pursuing graduate work.

The unlikely fairytale story did not an easy happily-ever-after ending though. As her fortieth birthday approached, the rumblings of a major life change began. Even though Janelle loved teaching, she realized that education was not where she needed to be. Then the universe reaffirmed her belief when her teaching position was phased out. Though Janelle was already growing a small business startup, she struggled to find her footing.

Months later, Janelle walked out of a local restaurant and was hit with a story idea that grabbed her. She hadn’t worked on fiction since she was a teen, but the story kept screaming to her. Another voice gave her pause though. “You need to do it in 30 days.” It seemed illogical and even melodramatic. (No, it wasn’t a NANOWRIMO challenge either.) Still, she began drafting. It flowed, even if it wasn’t in linear fashion, and Janelle felt the fire back in her life.

Then, Janelle learned why there was a 30-day warning. She was about 90% done with the draft when her father went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery days later. Though he pulled through the procedure, doctors explained that he had multiple advanced cancers. In the weeks that followed, Janelle finished the draft while her dad battled cancer. He was too ill to read it and passed on New Year’s night. The person who gave Janelle the love of the written word was gone, but life was to take a few more turns.

By spring, Janelle pursued writing in all types of formats, from copywriting and ghostwriting to other genres, to pay the bills. In March, she submitted to Flash Fiction Magazine and was published on the first attempt. A month later, she took another leap and pitched a book to another publisher. The topic was rejected, but they asked if she had any expertise in the other areas that they were seeking. By the end of the week, Janelle had a book contract to write Wine for Beginners. While drafting that book, Janelle also asked to contribute on a regular basis to Flash Fiction Magazine which led her to develop a collection of stories.

Within months, Janelle finished the draft of Wine for Beginners. After finalizing the submission, she poured a glass of bubbly and went to celebrate with her mother and sister. The elation did an immediate 180. Instead of toasting for a much needed celebration, she was helping her sister prepare to go to the emergency room. Less than 12 hours after pouring the glass of bubbly, Janelle’s sister lost her fight with complication from a life-long disability.

So, Janelle’s still working on that happily-ever-after ending. In November 2014, Janelle publishing a collection of flash fiction title Flash 40: Life’s Moments. Wine for Beginners was released in 2015, and the novel, Triangulating Bliss, which rekindled Janelle’s writing passion is due for release in the Fall of 2015.

Janelle currently resides in Southern California, with her pack of pups. When the dogs allow, Janelle regularly returns to her second home of sorts in North Carolina. Her interests are diverse and keep life interesting by giving her experiences that make great stories. More than likely, you can find Janelle enjoying a good wine with friends, feeding her wanderlust beast, or giving into her guilty pleasure of a HEA story in film or written form.

Her latest book is the memoir, WINGDOG: Soul Pup, A Magical Mutt Memoir.

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Interview with Mike Hartner, author of ‘I, Mary’

Mike HartnerMike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

His latest book is the historical romance, I, Mary.

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About the Book:

I, MaryMary Crofter’s first trip on the water was just after her first birthday, when her parents came from her birthplace in Kilwa to Portsmouth. She’s been on several trips from Portsmouth to London and other places since. She loves the water and the water seems to love her. Can she survive on the water? Will people ever take seriously a GIRL as a sailor? Will she ever come off the water? If she does, will the lure of the ocean draw her back?

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Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

My latest book, I, Mary is the third book in The Eternity Series. This is a series about individual stories and how they connect in this huge world of ours. Think of it as a modern retelling of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales with a global perspective and a time frame that began in 1588 with Walter Crofter’s birth in I, Walter and will continue through until it reaches at least present day.

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

Perhaps that I am a retired geek. I’ve worked with every stage of networking, and maintaining, computers for close to thirty years.

Q: What scares you the most?

When my wife or son are in danger or sick.

Q: What makes you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m watching and observing the good person that my son is becoming. I’m even more certain he gets it from his mom.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Being a father and husband.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Marketing… in this day and age, marketing.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

Paying the bills associated with writing, and having readers who enjoy reading the books.

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

I, Mary came out in July 2015. It is the third in a series of books called The Eternity Series. I, Mary is the final book in the Crofter Family trilogy, and to my knowledge, is the only family trilogy in the series. It is the story of Mary Crofter.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

Writing more; relaxing my wife; cheerleading my son.

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

I believe that my books are making a statement. Not just about characters, but about people and attitudes. I think it’s important to never judge a book by its cover. And I think that statement is evident in the strength of some of the characters in my books.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

As a friend, Rachel Thompson, would say: “Write what scares you,” and “You don’t need anyone’s permission but your own.” I would add, “Write what you know best.”

 

 

 

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Coke…It’s The Real Thing by Dr. Gabrielle Francis

cocainekkCoke…It’s the Real Thing

By Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of THE ROCKSTAR REMEDY

Within a few minutes of entering the backstage of this show, the manager gave me the low down. The lead singer had been on a coke binge for several weeks.   It had taken its toll on the rest of the band and the tour. It was now about 3 days since the singer had done any Cocaine, but he was very edgy and having meltdowns on everyone around him.   It was my job to help him relax.

I entered his dressing room and he lay down for his treatment.   He told me that he was extremely agitated and tense all over. His facial muscles were so tight he was worried he wouldn’t be able to sing well.   I started to massage him and could feel the tension.   As I was working, he reached over to his jeans and pulled out a container with some Coke and a Coke spoon. He gave each nostril a little snort and lay back down.   I told him that this would counteract all the relaxation of the massage.   He reported that he was suffering from insomnia on this tour and said he needed just a wee bit of blow and coffee to give him energy for the show.   Hum, I wonder why you are having sleep issues? But what a great remedy…Coffee and Cocaine, the all-natural replacements for sleep!

He made me promise to not tell the band.   He had no idea what was coming for him.

“She don’t lie,

She don’t lie,

She don’t lie…

Cocaine.”

Eric Clapton

The show was terrible.   He was exhausted and his voice was hoarse. The band was furious with him and laid into him for ruining the concert.   He stormed out of the after party early and went back to the hotel. By the time the band and I arrived at the hotel, he had destroyed his room. Apparently, he got in a fight with his wife on the phone and decided to take it out on the mirror and lamps.   The band was asked to leave the hotel that night and was forced to sleep in the tour buses. The manager and band were furious and began a fistfight with the artist and hotel manager.

I was actually secretly happy. This was the first and only time in all my rock n roll history that I actually saw a hotel room torn up. This really was Rock n Roll! A sigh of relief.

The tour ended after the incident.   A Drug Intervention was held a couple of days later with the lead singer.   He was asked to go into treatment by the band, the manager, and his family.   Surprisingly, he agreed.   He admitted himself into a 28-day treatment program to detox from drugs and alcohol.

The manager asked me to be part of his post treatment support.   After he left the inpatient treatment, I helped him with Acupuncture for the cravings, Detoxification for the years of abuse, and nutritional support to rebuild what was left of his adrenal glands. AA and NA were a great support for him. He took a year off to mend his relationships and get his health back.

 

About the Author

Gabrielle Francis

Dr. Gabrielle Francis has been practicing natural medicine for more than thirty years.

She is a Naturopathic Doctor, Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, and Licensed Massage therapist. Dr. Francis currently practices in New York City as The Herban Alchemist. She also operates Backstage Alternative, which is her natural medicine road show that provides chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and herbal remedies to performing artists on tour.

Dr. Francis received her formal medical training at National College of Chiropractic and at Bastyr University. She has extensive training in Alternative Cancer Therapies, Environmental Medicine, Functional Medicine, Mind-Body medicine, and Bio-Identical Hormone therapies. Following her formal medical education, Dr. Francis travelled extensively to various parts of the world studying medicine with indigenous healers in countries such as China, India, Thailand, Bali, Brazil, Morocco, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Egypt, and Mali.

Stacy Baker Masand is a health, fitness and lifestyle editor whose work has appeared in magazines such as In StyleMarie ClaireSelfShapeFitnessDuJour and Women’s Health. She’s co-author of New York Times bestseller Your Best Body Now. Stacy is currently developing projects for both small and big screen.

Their latest book is the health/wellness/rocknroll book, The Rocstar Remedy.

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About the Book:

The Rockstar Remedy

Title: The Rockstar Remedy
Author: Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand
Publisher: HarperCollins Wave
Pages: 330
Genre: Health and Wellness/Rock n Roll
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Known as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” to some of the most famous bands in the world, Dr. Gabrielle Francis shares her unique holistic prescription to achieving health and balance—even when you don’t live like a saint!

As a Holistic Doctor to the music industry’s elite, Dr. Francis has helped rock stars repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional overindulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. Being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, overeating, drinking and managing physical and mental stressors aren’t lifestyle habits unique to the music industry; they are the same challenges faced by all of us, every day.

In The Rockstar Remedy, Dr. Francis shares her unique strategies designed to be incorporated into your hectic lifestyle. Her programs are customized to meet you where you are at, whether an experienced health enthusiast or a beginner. Completing the 21 day detox will give you a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for life, while looking and feeling your personal best. She explains how health is not a destination, but exists on a spectrum, and the simple act of making better choices every day—even if they’re not the best choices—helps us achieve balance in both mind and body. With tips for improving energy levels, easy food guidelines and a simple no-starvation detox, Dr. Francis offers a simple, effective plan for staying healthy and happy amid the chaos of our daily lives. Her popular “Harm Reduction Techniques” and “90/10 Rule” make it easy to celebrate life with occasional indulgences while maintaining good health. This is not a temporary fix; this program brings long-lasting, life-changing results.

Now you can reach for the stars too!

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Book Excerpt:

The year is 1984. I was fresh out of massage school… a ripe 19 years old. My cousin worked for Belkin productions, the company that promoted Rock Concerts in Cleveland. One day she called me and said, “ Cuz, such and such, the biggest name in rock n roll at the time, is coming to Cleveland and they want massages. I volunteered you.”   I was in a state of shock, but gladly accepted the offer. Weirdly enough, I was not nervous or overly excited.   I felt I would be great for the job.

I arrived at the coliseum with my massage table in check, but I was secretly looking forward to the massive parties back stage.   To my dismay, the backstage seemed quite quiet. All the artists were in their private dressing rooms and keeping to themselves. I was taken to the catering hall and noticed that there was a completely organic and vegetarian spread.   In those days this was very rare and unheard of. Whole Foods was not a household name. I also noticed there was not an ounce of alcohol backstage. The most intoxicating beverage I could find was Coca-Cola. Wives had taken the place of the groupies. The Myth was shattered!

The first artist I worked on was the Saxophone player. He had the spiritual name, given to him by his Guru, on the dressing room door instead of his real name. When I entered his dressing room, I felt I had entered a Temple. It was lit with candles, incense permeated the air, and a picture of his Guru stared at me throughout the entire massage. I worked with most of the band that night just doing massage to get them ready for the marathon show. There was a medical doctor backstage giving them B12 shots to boost their energy for the big performance. Each artist was so thoughtful and down to earth. I was taken by their humility and realness. It was an ego-free zone.

They put on a super 4-hour show that night. I watched from backstage and I could see what an amazing dynamic a rock concert was. The band gives energy to the audience. The audience gives love and more energy to the band. The band gets high on the energy from the crowd. And it seems like it can go of forever. The only thing that made the band come off the stage was the venue saying that they had to go.

I will never forget that night as I saw the power of music to elevate the energy of a theater to a higher vibration.   It is no wonder that some people feel that going to a concert can be like a religious experience. I decided Rock’n’Roll would be one of my religions too! It would blend very well with my Catholic upbringing. Catholics revere saints. So, why not add a few like Jimi Hendrix, Patron Saint of the Wa Wa Pedal; Santana, the Archangel of Long Instrumental Grooves; Keith Richards, Holy Father of the Rhythm Guitar: and of course Our Lady Madonna.

After the show, that band asked me to tour with them as a massage therapist. I had to say no because I was very committed to the idea of finishing medical school.

I regretted that decision for a very long time. Luckily, I had the chance again almost 17 years later…

Read on…. BUY the ROCKSTAR REMEDY

 

 

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The Crumbling Pageant Book Blast – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!

This Crumbling Pageant banner

We’re happy to be hosting Patricia Burrough’s book blast today!

 

This Crumbling Pageant

Title: The Crumbling Pageant (Volume One of the Fury Triad Series)

Author: Patricia Burroughs

Publisher: Story Spring Publishing

Pages: 607

Genre: Dark Young Adult Fantasy

The people of Ordinary England are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside–the world of the Magi. Their cathedrals are temples to the old gods. They are ruled not by poor mad George, but by the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. The wars of the Magi, however, are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the Dark daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her unchecked. Unless Persephone Fury’s powers are concealed, she’s marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her power.

But these are desperate times, and this frightening daughter must make a good marriage. On the night of her debut, her world crumbles around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free. That can only happen, though, if she embraces the Dark magic within her.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices. Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

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Book Excerpt:

Inside this rustic cottage she heard nothing but—

Her heart stopped.

She was not alone.

Whoever was with her was as still and watchful as she. Her fingers longed to flex in defence, but she kept them still. Was it someone she could overcome? With her magic tingling in her veins and her rage at what had been perpetrated upon her, she knew she could. She could overcome anyone who dared stand in her way.

She allowed her eyes to open completely and, after a moment, saw beyond the feeble light from the small window and into the gloom of the dark corner. Another blink, and shape emerged. Long legs stretched forward. Elbows were planted on the arms of a chair. Long, pale fingers steepled and glittering black eyes stared over them at her. A predator, watching. Waiting.

She shot up, the pain in her right shoulder tearing through her. “How dare you!”

His wand flicked out, aimed at her heart, though beyond the movement of that one agile hand, the rest of his body remained as still and dangerously relaxed as before. “Quite easily,” he purred.

Her purple gown, once a source of horror and then of wondrous pride, now was ripped open with a bandage and too much skin showing beneath it. She covered herself with both hands, enraged. “What sort of blackguard watches a young lady sleep?” she demanded, her heart pounding. “And… and…” She found herself unable to voice her shock and alarm at being faced with a wand again, much less the sort of man who would possess one.

A shudder of revulsion rippled through her.

“I’ve not been watching you sleep. I’ve been watching you awaken.” The wand twitched. “Consider carefully any move you make, because if I even suspect that you are about to attack me again, you will be chastened. Again.”

Chastened? Was that what he called it?

His voice was silky and menacing in the gloom. “Unless you’d like a wound in your left shoulder to match that on your right?”

She drew back in fear, despite herself.

“Ah, so we have an understanding.”

He twirled his wand through his slender, nimble fingers and then back into his palm again.

About the Author

Patricia Burroughs

Patricia Burroughs had insomnia throughout her entire teen years. This meant she read books in the middle of the night, and slept during class in the middle of the day. Unless, of course, she was hiding a novel inside a physics textbook. Who needed physics? She believed in magic. Eventually she turned her propensity for daydreaming and scheming into storytelling, which manifested in award-winning screenplays and books. She still can’t sleep at night, but now it’s her own characters keeping her awake.

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