Sunday, October 31, 2010


Authored by Sandy Cohen

Travel along with Manny Markovitz and his guide, Abis -- part Native American, part madman -- as they take you on a wild, always funny, sometimes poignant journey from the wilds of Greece to the bogs and barrier islands of south Georgia, USA in search for Abis's boss, Willy Love. Enter with them into a world of imagination, wild adventure and absolute delight as Manny wakens back to life and love after a great personal tragedy. Perhaps you will, too. Critic Erwin Ford calls Revelations "a Candide for the 21st century."


"I love it! And I'm jealous. . . you're quite a writer. Such pure, unadorned dialect; good strong story. Your characters live."
-- Janice Daugharty, author of Earl in the Yellow Shirt (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize)

"Moving . . . powerful. . . ."
-- Elizabeth S. Morgan

"A fine prose-poem."
-Wayne Brown, author of On the Coast (winner of the Commonwealth Prize)

About the author:
Before Revelations, Sandy Cohen published two books in Europe plus stories, articles, poetry, and essays in journals and magazines in the United States, Canada, China, Germany, England, and Greece. His work, critical and creative, has drawn praise from, among others, Norman Mailer, Bernard Malamud, Patrick White and Isaac Beshevis Singer. He has been a professor, jazz musician, bookbinder, actor and, for almost two decades, a humorous commentator on public radio. He appeared in his own mini-series for public television and in a feature film, Do Not Disturb, filmed in northern China, where he lived for a year. He currently resides in southwest Florida with his nearly-perfect family.



Monday, November 1
Book Reviewed at Five Monkies
Tuesday, November 2
Interviewed at Five Monkies
Wednesday, November 3
Guest Blogging at
Five Monkies
Thursday, November 4
Book Spotlight at
Review From Here
Friday, November 5
Guest Blogging at
Lori’s Reading Corner
Monday, November 8
Guest Blogging at
Thoughts in Progress
Tuesday, November 9
Interviewed at
Pump Up Your Book
Wednesday, November 10
Interviewed at
Thursday, November 11
Interviewed at
As the Pages Turn
Friday, November 12
Interviewed at
Monday, November 15
Book Reviewed at
Tell Me a Story
Tuesday, November 16
Guest Blogging at
Tell Me a Story
Wednesday, November 17
Guest Blogging at
Divine Caroline
Thursday, November 18
Book Reviewed at
Stiletto Storytime
Guest Blogging at
The Book Faery Reviews

Monday, November 22
Book Reviewed at
My Reading Room
Tuesday, November 23
Interviewed at
My Reading Room
Wednesday, November 24
Book Reviewed at
Emeraldfire’s Bookmark

Sunday, October 24, 2010


When I read a book, or when I’m thinking of reading a book, I find that I would love to know more about the author.  What do they think about? Why should I care about what they have written? What insights can they give me about their process, characters, and reasons for even putting their words on paper and sharing with others? Here are some questions I have asked some of my favorite authors. I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I have.

Why should I read your book?
            I hope people will see it as a bona-fide alternative example of spiritual fiction about the human condition and our relationship with our Creator. It’s not just another sensationalistic story about some crazy people and some guy from outer space or something who thinks he’s God.

Do you listen to music while you write, or do you require total and utter silence?
            Not total and utter. Some sounds of nature, birds, the wind, rain, things like that are nice. Or even the normal sounds of people going about their business—not everybody’s lawnmower at once, not the sound of them drilling for gas in my back yard. I never listen to music when I write.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
            It came to me as I was finishing another novel, one that is, as yet, unpublished. It is a fairly common notion that the material world­, the cycle of birth and death in the world, is a prison in many ways—that spirituality, not just any kind of spirituality, mind you, but that the success of spirituality is freedom from this prison. This crazy prison.
            Not entirely sure why my allegorical prison became a skyscraper. But it seemed to fit nicely with the different planes of existence that are manifest in creation, the different levels of existence.
            Of course, as I explain in the author’s note at the beginning of the book, George, the character, George, has to dwell in the same conditions, have the same problems as the other prisoners or patients, just as did Lord Jesus, Lord Buddha, Kabir, and so many other Holy Men throughout history.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
            I don’t feel at home in this world. So I’m seeking a better one. I’ve been convinced that this is not our real home. It’s the only subject I’m interested in, although genre can change. Genre is just backdrop.

How long have you been writing?
            I’ve been writing all my life. Mostly songs. I’ve written a whole lot of songs. Want to make a book of them also. For the last five years or so, I began to focus on prose, to the frustration of my musician companions to some degree.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
            I like this question. I’m going to sound like a snob here, though it isn’t my intention. I feel that writing, art, music, all the arts, that their main purpose should be to elevate the human spirit in some way. Not just entertainment. I can feel the pies, the rotten vegetables, hitting me in the face as I say it. Boos and catcalls too.

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?
            Only in the sense that, just like the poor folks in my book are spiritually rescued by George (I’m not giving anything away here, that information is right up front in my story) I was and am spiritually rescued by my spiritual Master, Ajaib Singh Ji, who has, to my deep despair, left the world physically.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
            The questions keep getting better here.
            I feel I have achieved them personally, but that is so subjective. I know some people have gotten a lot from the story, but it’s just been published. I guess that if anyone at all gets any hope or inspiration from it then my intentions are achieved. Numbers aren’t important in that regard, but of course they come in handy in terms of getting paid for my work and being able to do more work. And to get published again, perhaps.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?
            Sol Wachtler’s book, After the Madness: A Judge’s Own Prison Memoir, was a kind of catalyst. Otherwise, I did mostly internet research­—there’s a whole lot of material on the prison/mental facility phenomenon.
            But I did do a nine week stint in a state hospital “drug ward” myself as a very young man. After the first couple of weeks of virtual imprisonment, we got to wander all around, visit the crazies, act ridiculous. We were just confused teenagers, you know.

What was the hardest part of writing this book? 
            Dealing with the idea that I didn’t know if my own spiritual Master would approve of it.

What inspires you?

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
            I always used to say I was an artist trapped in a blue collar body. I’ve worked in welding, shipbuilding, mechanical maintenance, farming, construction. As of this writing, I work in a retail furniture store. Had to get out of industry for my health.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
            Well there’s three subjects really. There’s prison, your can explore that quite easily by becoming a criminal. There’s mental illness, you don’t want to go there. And there’s spirituality, that takes sincerity, just like I wasn’t being in the three sentences before this one. Spirituality is not for the faint of heart. I’m being sincere now.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
            In terms of books dealing with spirituality, it’s old fashioned, as opposed to new age. There’s a lot of fluff out there, from self-made spiritual guides, etc. My book shows spirituality as a gift from God. Duck, here come the rotten vegetables again.

What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
            There’s no question but what promotion seriously cuts into writing time. I’m not sure what to do about that. Anyone want to do my promotion for me?

What projects are you working on at the present?
            I’m working on an earlier novel re-work, re-polish, about a multi-faith spiritual community, and I’m working on a new novel which I do not care to disclose much about yet. I will say that both of them are primarily rural settings. I can only stay in the city for so long.

What did your character do that totally shocked and surprised you and caused you to revisit your book?
            The hardest thing for me was to portray George as a fully enlightened God Man and at the same time as a destitute with a severe mental illness. The whole concept of a man who is also God or conversely, God becoming a man is a miraculous thing quite beyond intellectual understanding. So when George would do something very human-like, it would kind of freak me out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires BLOG TOUR

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires - Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient

The Civil War Draft Meets Immigrant Coal Miners

Fourteen-year-old Katie McCafferty risks job, family, and eventually her very life to rescue a lifelong friend. Disguised as a draft resister, Katie infiltrates a secret Irish organization to prevent bloodshed. Tragedies challenge her strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience. Can Katie balance her sense of justice with the law?

Call Me Kate is suitable for readers from eleven to adult. The story is dramatic and adventuresome, yet expressive of daily life in the patches of the hard coal region during the Civil War era. This novel will appeal to readers of the Dear America series, as well as more mature readers who will enjoy the story’s rich context and drama.

"The writing style employed in the book entertains, educates and communicates to the reader a general understanding of the hardships of life in the anthracite coal fields of northeast Pennsylvania in the nineteenth century and Irish-American history." - Bill Strassner, Museum Educator, Eckley Miners’ Village

"Call Me Kate absorbs the reader into a tightly woven narrative of tumultuous times in the anthracite region. Through Kate, the reader becomes a participant in that story." - Ruth Cummings, Museum Educator, Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum

"The Lackawanna Historical Society is always pleased to see new and creative ways to promote an interest in our local history. A young adult historical fiction like Call Me Kate is a wonderful example of this! We are delighted to know that local authors are using their heritage to develop new publications." - Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus, Executive Director, Lackawanna Historical Society

This review is from: Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires - Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient (Paperback)
I found Call Me Kate a very interesting book, not only because it is based on the author's ancestors, but it opened my eyes to the upheaval over "Lincoln's War" by the northern states. I had no idea that the North was so adamant towards the war. This was a great way to learn about the Civil War era without reading a dull history book!

The deplorable conditions of the mines in Northeast Pennsylvania, where this story opens, creates a dramatic background to the plight of the people and the lengths they went to stay out of the war.

Young Katie McCafferty is one of three daughters who gets herself involved, initially unintentionally, while off working to help her family financially after her father's injuries. The lengths she went are difficult to comprehend when you remember this is during the Civil War times where I only remember men going off to war.

Katie's ingenuity and intensity, as she worked along the men, was part of the reason things happened as they did, and I found it very interesting. She looked at the situation from a different perspective than the men, which was refreshing.

Definitely a good book to bring history to life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

God's Vacation

Authored by Michael Davis

What happens when God develops a split personality, takes a vacation, is reborn as Spencer Perry, Gabrielle/Gabe Stevens, and Vrum, ends up in San Francisco, and forgets who S/he is?
Hell breaks loose!
Spencer Perry becomes Chairman and CEO of the
Global-Government and Business Alliance, and the most
powerful man on Earth. His government rules with an iron fist;those close to him call him Father.
Gabrielle Stevens gets a sex change and becomes Gabe. He lands a job at Upside Down Books, meets Carlos Martinez, and falls in love with a beautiful Jewish woman named Naomi Peterson. They join the revolutionary movement to take on Spencer Perry's fascist regime.
Vrum, a member of a race of androgynous aliens called the Ekawa, discovers the Focal Point is located in San Francisco and travels across the galaxy to bring Gabrielle and Spencer back together, but fails. The problem is, they don't want to be God.
Legend says there's another way to put God back together, but it's a long shot. If 144,000 people can become wholly enlightened at the same time, they can insist that God become whole, and S/he must comply.
GOD'S VACATION is a fast-paced, off-beat dystopian thriller set in 2031 when global warming has wreaked havoc and outsourcing has left most people jobless and hungry. It is complex, political, philosophical, psychological, and satirical. It is a new take on an old story. It is timely and empowering.

About the author:
Michael Davis is a retired educator. He was a political columnist and served two terms as a city councilman. He has studied western and eastern religions, mysticism, psychology and the occult. He and his wife live in northern California, where he is currently working on another novel.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Questions regarding to my book, Rachel’s Children: Surviving the Second World War:

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you believe you achieved them?

I felt compelled to write about the time of World War II, in part because I was a child during that time and lived in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese military. My purpose in gathering the stories of other children and their experiences was to illustrate the need for an end to wars, in light of the horrors perpetrated on non-combatants as well as the military.
There has been a growing volume of books which deal with that time, and I wanted to tell the story from my perspective as presented by the stories.
The test of whether my goal has been achieved will be the reactions of the readers of the book.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

I met Walter Falk, who now lives here in Greensboro, whose name was given me as one of the children in the Kindertransport, a rescue operation for (mostly) Jewish children in Germany and Poland, sending them to Great Britain, most of them to England but also to other countries in the British realm. Once the war began when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the program was ended. Walter and I have become friends and after getting his story, detailed previously in a feature by one of the writers for the local newspaper. We now meet occasionally and share our stories and also current activities. He is in his mid-80’s and remains active and interested in news events here and elsewhere in the world. His wife died a few years ago, and he lives alone in his home.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Making decisions about what to include. I found a number of collections of stories told by those whose childhood was spent in the midst of that difficult time. At first I extracted some of their experiences, but then realized these stories had already been made public, so I took them out of the book and simply summarized their circumstances. Instead, I was able to get stories from those I knew personally for the most part, and made their experiences the relevant ones. I still had to decide what to include and how to use them. The book took such a long time to write chiefly because of these decisions.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Aside from the sense of accomplishment in fulfilling my goal of writing about the children of that war, I had a variety of other good feelings in writing it. I felt strongly about making a case for never having another war, a hope that so far has not been fulfilled. Another major enjoyment, or at least satisfaction, was using my poetry as commentary on events and situations described. There are times when poetry can speak to deeply emotional conditions of hardship better than prose, whether in narrative or in historical detail.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This review is from: Musical Chairs (Paperback)
Through the palpable voice of a runaway teenage girl, Musical Chairs delivers a powerful punch and ultimately inspiring portrait that transcends every parents' nightmare. With a raw terrible beauty and razor-sharp prose that often lifts the reader toward a magical dreamscape, Jen Knox not only re-creates her troubled youth, but brings her childhood self back to independent life. The author, Jen Knox, recedes, and this little skinny waif, Jenny begins to breathe in the rarefied atmoshere of a dark Salinger tale. Sometimes reminiscent of Holden Caulfield, with mascara and bubble gum, Jenny, no matter how much booze she consumes or 'dances' she performs, is always an innocent child. Vulnerable in a world of menace and mayhem,, Jenny never succumbs to a seemingly insurmountable fate. Mental illness,the great crippler is also the last great frontier. Hers is a desperate need to overcome who she is, and the intelligence of her quest to understand her rebellion. As a parent, and father, I could not understand the crime which drove her out of the house. Though emotionally vacuous, her father did not deserve that fate. Except, isn't that the ultimate expression of teenage angst? Haven't so many of us left home in all but the body?
Jen Knox has created Jenny, a tough kid out of dark streets around the glitter of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, who only bends but never breaks.She is uncompromising and brutally frank. Yet her intelligence and grit take her on an outer journey exploring inner worlds. That dynamic makes Musical Chairs a noteworthy, controversial, exceptional but disturbing work of fiction-- it is about coming of age and alienation, isolation and the need to be recognized. Usually told from a male perspective, Musical Chairs lifts gender related issues toward a more balanced presentation. The heroine here is also the author whose child within, we hope, has finally found safe passage and a happy home.

Robert Rubenstein
Author, Ghost Runners
Now on Amazon


David Housel, retired (2006) Athletic Director at Auburn University, posted this review on Amazon today:
If "South Wind Rising" is any indication, we are in for many more great books by a new name to the literary scene, Frederick W. Bassett.

For a first time effort, this is exceptional--for a writer of any degree of experience, this book would be exceptional. For it to come from a first-time author it is especially remarkable and holds out the hope/promise of many more to come. Let's hope he is as prolific as he writes.

"South Wind Rising" is a coming of age story in a more simple time, but the trials, tribulation, angst, hope and wonder of that terrible yet wonderful time of change is effectively captured in this much here as in any book you will read for a long time.

Loving told, beautifully written. These characters will stay with you a long time---and in each of them, you will find a bit of yourself.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We are living in a time of crisis...

We are living in a time of crisis and many of us feel powerless over the anxiety, confusion, and despair that this can trigger. Yet, according to Ronald Alexander, Ph.D., not only are we not powerless over the impact of crisis, we can transform its effects so that we arise from it stronger and more aware. He offers a complete program for doing this in his new book, WISE MIND, OPEN MIND: FINDING PURPOSE & MEANING IN TIMES OF CRISIS, LOSS & CHANGE (New Harbinger Publications, September 2009, paperback). In this groundbreaking book Alexander, a pioneer in contemporary psychology, shares his innovative program for using mindfulness meditation, creative thinking, and cutting-edge positive psychology tools to transform times of crisis into opportunities for greater personal awareness, clarity, and creativity. Alexander is available for interview. Here’s just some of what he can discuss:
CREATIVE TRANSFORMATION: A THREE-STEP ART. Alexander offers an original three-step plan for achieving creative transformation in the midst or wake of a crisis. It includes, Letting Go, Tuning Into your Core Creativity, and Moving Forward. In the first step you learn to let go of resistance to change, in the second you learn to tune in to your soul’s deep wisdom; and in third you learn how to move forward based on your newly acquired insight. Alexander offers step-by-step mindfulness meditations for moving through each of these stages.
A PRIMER ON MINDFULNESS MEDITATION PRACTICE. Mindfulness practice is an exciting new area that blends the best of East and West. By adapting ancient wisdom practices of mindfulness and meditation to positive psychology and the therapeutic process it offers powerful tools for transforming difficult emotions and becoming more aware of oneself and the world. Alexander explains how and why these techniques are so useful in overcoming crisis.

YOUR WISDOM COUNCIL. Alexander recognized that even with powerful mindfulness tools at your disposal, getting through a crisis still requires a support system comprised of caring and wise individuals. It’s why he offers step-by-step help for building a “wisdom council of support” and explains the roles that each member should play. They include: peer, educator, coach, and dharma teacher.

CULTIVATING A WISE MIND & MINDSTRENGTH IN DIFFICULT TIMES. In Buddhism a wise mind is a state of consciousness that allows you to observe your thoughts without becoming emotionally invested in them.  Alexander explains: “In wise mind you stop running with your thoughts wherever they take you and find yourself sitting with a sense of serenity and clarity, observing what your mind churns up and easily discerning its qualities, setting aside what’s unwholesome and taking delight in what’s wholesome.” Wise mind results from building mindstrength, the ability to use mindfulness to master thoughts, beliefs, and emotions and tap into the core creativity that empowers you to take positive and wise action. In WISE MIND, OPEN MIND, Alexander shows you how to cultivate mindstrength and achieve wise mind.
FOUR MYTHS ABOUT MINDFULNESS. Myths about mindfulness abound. Alexander debunks four of the most common ones: Practicing mindfulness meditation will conflict with my religious beliefs; I’m too restless and busy to learn to be quiet and practice any form of meditation; If I practice mindfulness it will put out the fire of my ambition and creativity; and If I practice mindfulness, what I’ll discover will be so upsetting that I’ll be paralyzed with fear.
About Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change -  In his groundbreaking book, Wise Mind, Open Mind pioneering psychotherapist, Dr. Ronald Alexander shares his innovative program for using mindfulness meditation, creative thinking, and positive psychology to transform times of crisis or change into opportunities for greater personal awareness, clarity, and creativity.  His original three-step plan includes, learning to let go of resistance to change, learning to tune in to your soul’s deep wisdom or core creativity; and then learning how to move forward based on your newly acquired insight.
Ronald Alexander, Ph.D. is the author of the widely acclaimed book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisis, Loss, and Change. He is the Executive Director of the OpenMind Training® Institute, practices mindfulness-based mind-body psychotherapy and leadership coaching in Santa Monica, CA for individuals and corporate clients ( For full details about the Wise Mind, Open Mind virtual blog tour, visit

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wonderful, suspenseful, well-written, touching, book..."

This review is from: GHOST RUNNERS 
Berlin 1936

Robert Rubinstein's "Ghost Runners" is a fictionalized account of the plight of the only two Jews on the American Olympic team sent to Berlin in 1936. Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman (called Joshua Sellers and Bobby Gilman in the book) were removed from the relay team at the last minute, probably because of the antisemitic tendencies of Avery Brundage and the team coach. Their adventures and disappointments form the frame of the story, which is set against a backdrop of American and German antisemitism and its political effects on sport. The great strength of the book is its wonderful treatment of the contemporary atmosphere in Brooklyn & Berlin, which gives a very authentic feel for the time. The characters are very vividly drawn as well, so much so that they almost beg for some kind of movie treatment. Rubinstein is obviously aware of the historical backdrop to the 1936 games, including the elaborate staged pageantry, the (temporary) fakery on the part of the Hitler regime with regard to the German Jews, and the American pretense that these games were taking place in a "normal" setting, at a time when Dachau and other incarceration camps were already in place. Rubinstein is very much concerned with the American corporate involvement in the process of German rearmament and the sympathy of Brundage and other Americans for Hitler's new "World Order". While there can be no doubt that such sympathies existed, both in the U.S. and other democracies, Rubinstein's chilling portrayal of a "Himmler Circle" involving top American industrialists, is a bit overdrawn. To be sure, there
were prominent American antisemites (Ford, Coughlin, Lindberg) who viewed the Nazi regime favorably during the 1930's and others who saw the opportunity for profits in the context of a growing German economy that was being transformed. There is little evidence, however, for the kind of Nazi-American corporate plot that Rubinstein advances and the success of Hitler at home and abroad was a much more complex story. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful, suspenseful, well-written, touching, book, and it is highly recommended.

Severin Hochberg
Teaches at George Washington University and was formerly a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The views expressed here are his own.