Author Interview with Jonas Salzgeber

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I started reading voraciously as a young adult. I really enjoyed reading about things and improving myself as a person. I wanted to get better. My brother Nils was very similar in that aspect and at some point we decided to start a blog. So I began writing articles. People enjoyed it and we continued.

What inspired you to write your book?

I was hooked with Stoic philosophy. It was intriguing how your mindset can help you in daily life. I was struggling with destructive feelings and Stoicism helped me immensely. I devoured countless books on the subject and felt there’s something missing. A book that simply explains this wonderful philosophy. I knew the topic, had an idea for a book, and started doing more research explicitly for the book.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

There are simple strategies that can help you deal more effectively with life’s challenges. Whatever life throws at you, you have the power within to make the best with it. You just need to bring in the necessary awareness to observe your thoughts, the willingness to reflect upon your actions, and the decisiveness to choose to change what’s not helpful.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I read mainly nonfiction. I want to learn and get better every day. So, that’s what I write about. Sure, I like to sprinkle some storytelling for the taste.

You spent some time in your book exploring some of the early philosophers who brought Stoicism to life. Of those philosophers, which would you want to speak with if given the opportunity and what would you ask them if given the chance?

Marcus Aurelius. I’d ask him about being a Stoic in heart and at the same time being Roman Emperor leading wars where thousands of innocent people die.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Probably Facebook. But we’re not big into social media. What helped us most getting readers was organic search traffic that grew over time. And word of mouth.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

The inner resistance that’s holding you back is something all creators experience. Everybody needs to go through this fight between your ears. There’s no way around. “What is to give light, must endure burning.” This quote by Viktor Frankl has helped me in countless moments of darkness. It’s supposed to be hard.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Haha. I don’t know what the future holds in store for me. Sure, we have projects lined up. The next book? I don’t know yet. Maybe something with my brother about powerful mindsets to adopt for a calmer and more resilient life. But that’s really just a fleeting idea.

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Short author blurb:

Jonas Salzgeber is the author of The Little Book of Stoicism and blogs for a small army of remarkable people at njlifehacks.com. He’s an expert in Stoic philosophy and passionate about self-made dark chocolate and buttered coffee with collagen.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NJlifehacks

Website: https://njlifehacks.com/the-little-book-of-stoicism/


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Thad Saves the Galaxy: An Epic Space Adventure by C.T. Fleck Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A carefree young man seeking adventure and purpose in life finds his world turned upside down when an alien woman named Zinka draws him into a galactic battle like no other in author C.T. Fleck’s novel Thad Saves the Galaxy: An Epic Space Adventure. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

When adventure calls, sometimes it’s best to send it to voicemail 

If Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a bit of Dude, Where’s My Car? sprinkled in sounds like a good time, you’ll love Thad Saves the Galaxy!

When an alien named Zinka drops into Thaddeus Kinglsey’s life, he finally gets the adventure he’s been waiting for. Zinka is an exiled Aldinian who is being pursued across the galaxy by the evil tyrant Derask. She crashed on Earth and needs help repairing her ship. Thad jumps at the chance to do something extraordinary and begins an adventure he will never forget. Unfortunately, Derask learns of Thad’s involvement and destroys the Earth to punish him.

With the Earth a smoldering cloud of dust, Thad and Zinka begin a quest across the galaxy to put an end to Derask’s tyranny. This dynamic twosome recruits a colorful cast of characters to their cause: Tik, a mighty Tauran with a penchant for mind altering substances, Pangaea, a sarcastic humanoid who is more then she seems, Danny, the only other Earthling left who happens to be a dreadlocked pot dealer, Leonidas, a lovesick Voltan hero, and Preet, the shapeshifting Queen of the Mercenaries. But they need more than a gang of friends to defeat Derask. They need ships, and lots of them.

Can this oddball team find a way to take down the galaxy’s most powerful dictator? Does ‘winging it’ ever really work? Can you find love on a planet full of mercenaries? These questions and more are answered in this whimsical romp across the Milky Way.

Thad Saves the Galaxy is a humorous galactic adventure with a vibrant cast of human and alien characters, space battles, and outrageous fun.

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The Review

This hilarious dark comedy and sci-fi parody is brilliantly executed. The author does a fantastic job of world building and creating a mythology that readers can instantly get sucked into. Awakening the hero within this week smoking, carefree and comical young man, Thad becomes the hero nobody asked for, or quite frankly wanted. Yet his odd way of looking at life and humor amazingly compliment the more tragic and emotional story elements introduced throughout the novel.

The twists and turns this story take will certainly keep readers on the edge of their seat as they explore the Milky Way Galaxy in a whole new light. A more adult take on the classic sci-fi and space epic adventure genre, readers will laugh and cry as they follow Thad as he tackles themes of racism, homophobia, gender equality and the inherent battle of good vs evil, all the while he smokes weed and finds new and hilarious ways of getting into trouble. 

The Verdict

This is a must read sci-fi adventure and dark comedy like no other. A humor filled adventure that blends elements of Seth MacFarlane’s recent space epic show The Orville with George Lucas’s world building in the Star Wars universe and the humor of a Seth Rogen film. You are not going to want a single second of this hilarious book, so be sure to pick up your copy of Thad Saves the Universe by C.T. Fleck today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

C.T. Fleck is the pen name of Corey Hofecker. After dropping out of college, for the second time, he discovered the joys that are inherent in both reading and writing, and that his previous distaste of said subjects was just a lack of freedom to read and write what he truly wanted. Being a firm believer that there is beauty in the absurd, he quickly became obsessed with the sci-fi genre. In it he saw the vast possibilities and the probability of how weird our universe can get. Corey lives in rural West Virginia where he occupies his time with reading, writing, video games, and tabletop RPGs. He is an unashamed feminist of sorts and an avid supporter of LGBTQ+ rights.

Guest Post: International Book Fairs 2019 by Kotobee Blog

It is my pleasure today to share a link to a recent blog I befriended, Kotobee Blog. A great blog for any book lover, they recently reached out to me to share with you guys their comprehensive list for 2019 of book fairs from around the world. Each month has several book fairs happening in various parts of the world, and will give each and every one of you a chance to meet fellow book lovers, authors and publishers alike. You can check out the list using the link below. Please go check out this list and be sure to follow this incredible blog as well. Thank you to Kotobee Blog for sharing this list with me and my readers here on Author Anthony Avina’s blog.

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https://www.kotobee.com/blog/international-book-fairs-2019/


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Interview with Author Stephen Parkes

1.Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get into writing?

These days my wife and I live on a small hobby farm/ranch in rural South Dakota. It’s a very quiet place and my closest neighbors are miles away. We have about 12 acres in alphalfa and grass and we rescue animals of all sizes and shapes, turning some of the critters over to an agency that specializes in placing abandoned animals in forever homes across the upper mid-west.

We do keep some of the animals we find, though. Presently, we have fourteen pets including dogs, cats, horses and cows.

I’ve been writing most of my adult life. I earned a law degree in 1994. That education forced me to become a researcher and a writer. The work which followed that education just made my skills better.

Writing nonfiction seemed a natural fit with the types of writing I had long been doing.

2. What inspired you to write your book(s)?

I like to tell stories and I had a couple of good stories to tell. Writing books fulfills this desire of mine.

3. What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book(s)?

The two companion books, The Soldier and On A Cold Day In Hell, ultimately, lead to a single conclusion, that other people are capable of great acts of compassion and charity for even the least among us.

Same goes for a couple of short stories I wrote, Beyond The Tolbooth and The Devil’s Agent.

4. What drew you into nonfiction?

I find reality far more interesting than worlds imagined.

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5. What is one of the biggest issues facing prisoners and the criminal justice system today in your opinion?

The U.S. Department of Justice informs that the U.S. recidivism rate, the rate at which criminals re-offend following their release from custody, is 77%. In other words, more than three-quarters of all criminals are re-arrested for a new crime less than five years following their release. This is appalling, and considering that crime is a choice, leads to the inescapable conclusion that the single biggest issue facing prisoners today is their inability to stop committing crimes. With exceptions made for the chronic emotionally and mentally disturbed, and casting aside ignorant notions concerning wealth, education, skin color, ethnicity, business acumen, or privilege, this alarming statistic is occasioned universally by a criminal’s apparent lack of conscience. They simply do not care. Unless criminals grow a conscience while they are in prison, they are coming back. And this regardless of wealth, education, skin color, ethnicity, business acumen, or privilege.

Did you know that there are prison programs that match convicts with rescue animals? Did you know that some of these programs maintain a zero% recidivism rate?

The problems governing federal and state penal institutions are many, including, but not limited to, overcrowding, lack of financial resources and lack of empathy training.

6. What social media site has been most helpful in developing your readership?

I do not use, nor do I find it desirable or necessary to use social media for any aspect of my personal or business life. I have zero social media footprint.

7. What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting out authors out there?

If you’re going to write nonfiction, before you begin you must become a subject matter expert.

8. What does the future hold for you?

Hope.

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.

Interview with Author Lorna Brown

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I always wanted to write, I don’t remember a particular time when the feeling came to me- it was always there. I started my first book at around 11 and it was an orphan Annie story that really disappointed me for the lack of originality. I thought ‘I have nothing to write about’ and I believe that’s when the yearning for travelling came. I talked about that all the time. After studying psychology and working for a year, I left Ireland. I worked in Australia, Japan, Boston and traveled South East Asia and New Zealand for three months alone, and South America for six months with my husband who I met in Japan. Eventually I came back to Ireland and I was nearing 30 when I finally started writing full time, with my husband’s support.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

This collection has been a while in the making. I’d been writing novels, breaking every rule in the book too as I tried to figure it out, and when I moved the States with my husband and three daughters, I started writing the stories. I wanted to write about how society views certain people, which make it difficult for them, like Lou and dyslexia, or Marcus marrying and trying to hide that he was gay, or Ester getting it wrong when her friend moves in with an older man, all these mistakes we make about people because it is impossible to know the whole truth about anyone. After I knew the characters, I put them together in the village I grew up.   

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I think through all the stories is the idea that we never truly know what’s going on with other people, while also addressing the fact that society can be tough. ‘In Taste of Salt’, when the group of kids come into the room with Lou, I write, they didn’t really know him but it was easy to forget this, to accept their wariness as reasonable, because there is the idea that we become how society views us. It is so hard to break from the mold. But there is also through the stories an idea of second chances, or being able to rise above it, and I think the ending of ‘White Trout’ is good for that.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I started short stories because I wanted to understand them and see how it was done. It took a good while for me to learn what they were about and how to write them.  This year I finished my second collection ‘It Is Good We Are Dreaming’ which is about that moment when people realize something about their live never known before, or that moment when we are forced to grow up, and I loved writing the stories, as well as the stories of Treading The Uneven Road, because they really made me look at the world around me. Writing a novel is a lot more insular I think. At least I tend to focus on the world I am creating, but when I am working on a collection I really look at what’s going on around me. The second collection most of the stories are taken from news articles and my ideas of what was behind them while Treading The Uneven Road was more about society and its biases.  

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Hard one, I like Dick for his dreaminess, but I really like Patrick from ‘Amends’ for his sense of humor. Eilish is a funny one, so stern and upright, but there is some softness to her that I’d like to see, Ann, would be interesting, I’d imagine sitting in her small kitchen with the view of the bay and that I wouldn’t get a word in edgeways. I’d probably ask her if she wished she’d knocked on that hotel door. (You have to read the collection to get see what I mean)

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I really don’t like social media, and I don’t use it much. But I love all the reviewers, such as yourself, who have been willing to review my book after my request with a synopsis. It’s fantastic that you spend time helping authors get known. I have to give it to the book bloggers sites.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

To accept feedback with gratitude because it is impossible to get better or learn without it. To be able to erase your words, none written is a waste of time. They lead to the destination, but not all are meant to stay. Read and write as much as you can and believe in your talent and ability no matter what anyone says, or how long it takes.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have a lot of projects on the horizon. Fomite has my second collection. It Is Good We Are Dreaming. I secured an agent with my novel, Patient 55. But I finished my re-write of Hinterland soon after and we both agreed it was a stronger one to start with. It took eight years for me to get all the pieces right for Hinterland.  I was glad that he thought it stronger because I’d like to think my books get better with each one. I recently finished my latest novel Our Wandering, and I was planning to write a short story collection with Irish folklore in present day setting. I love doing short stories between novels. They are so different. But with the Government shut down and everything that’s happening here, I realize I need to write something about that. I’m reading now and in the planning stages. I write a lot and am always thinking of stories.

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Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

TRIGGER WARNING: THESE POEMS IN THIS BOOK DEAL WITH THEMES OF ABUSE, SELF-HARM, MENTAL HEALTH AND OTHER STRUGGLES. READ WITH CAUTION IF THESE THEMES TRIGGER YOU.

Author and poet Robin Williams returns with a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poetry that touches the soul and lays it bare for all to see in her book “Dear Nobody: a poetry collection”. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

From the letters addressed to no one, comes a strong collection of poetry. With themes of heartbreak and love, to the far less tread upon mental health and trauma, is a work of art you won’t want to put down. Take the road less traveled and read a broken girls words to the world.

The Review

Poet Robin Williams has a beautiful and clear way of showing the world a visual representation of the pain and anguish many struggling with mental health and traumatic experiences have to undergo on a daily basis. From toxic relationships and abusive situations, to feelings of loss and desperation, the author does a marvelous job conveying these strong emotions in a way that elicits both an emotional response and wakes the reader up to the hidden struggles many face in isolation.

The poems in this book will speak to everyone. Whether you are looking for a poem that speaks to the pain you are feeling from a breakup or the powerful and overwhelming feeling of love, to the seemingly hopeless feeling that overwhelms us at times and the need for hope in an all too often hopeless world, these poems are sure to bring a tear to your eye and capture the emotional essence that only true poets can do.

The Verdict

Overall this was a fantastic poetry collection. A story of one woman’s struggles laid bare for all to see, this novel showcases some of life’s toughest challenges, especially in this modern world where issues of online bullying, self-harm and hopelessness are far too common. The author is a master poet and world class writer that everyone should pay attention to, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Dear Nobody: a poetry collection by Robin Williams today. 

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Rating: 10/10

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About Robin Williams

My name is Robin Williams. I am an 18-year-old introverted author living in southern Pennsylvania.

I’m an activist for equality between men and women, a fighter against global warming, a member of the lgbt+ commmunity, and a privileged voice for the minority.

I write for myself and for others about things I have gone through, and about things the people around me have gone through. My most highly praised piece is titled “Racism is Over” and tells stories of the racism POC still face today. As I interviewed those for the poem, my heart stung as I saw how blind I was to the discrimination, and I made it a priority to use my voice when they cannot.

I’m a survivor, and so are you. Keep fighting.

Treading the Uneven Road by L.M. Brown Review

Author L.M. Brown delivers a powerful collection of short stories that explores the connected lives of several people living in a small village in Ireland during the 80’s and 90’s in her upcoming book, Treading the Uneven Road.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author L.M. Brown delivers a powerful collection of short stories that explores the connected lives of several people living in a small village in Ireland during the 80’s and 90’s in her upcoming book, Treading the Uneven Road. Here’s the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The stories in this linked collection are set in a small village in the Northwest of Ireland in the early 1980’s and 90’s. A by-pass around the village has rid them of their once busy traffic. The residents feel forgotten by the world. The need to reach out and be heard is explored in every story, from the young woman who starts to have phone conversations with her husband’s gay lover, to the dyslexic man who confronts his cruel teacher years later. 

The collection is not only about the characters need for salvation but it is about a society that is unraveling. In Amends, we hear about the Bishop who has fathered a child. A priest is beckoned by a dying man to be mocked. The world inside and outside the village is changing. In every story the characters need to make a choice on how they might carry on.

The Review

This is a fantastic short story collection. Filled with heart, passion and fantastic character development, the story flows naturally and makes for an even paced series of stories that build this village’s life in unique ways. Exploring this unique time period and showing off some of the many problems people living in Ireland faced on a daily basis was an inspired choice, highlighting the changing world around them and how some people accepted this change, while others fought it wholeheartedly. 

From the hostility towards anyone who comes out or is found to be gay in a very religious community to the trouble that comes from  parenthood and how some people aren’t made to be mother’s or father’s. Exploring marriages, friendships and everything in between, this emotional roller coaster of a short story collection is truly unique and brings some heartfelt struggles to life.

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The Verdict

This upcoming collection is a must read 2019 book. An interesting journey of individuals with their own personal struggles and how those struggles affect others really shone brightly in the novel. Amends in particular is one short story you won’t want to miss, as the story takes readers into shocking directions and forces the reader to ask themselves how our elders prejudices affect us, and how they can affect others. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder your copy of L.M. Brown’s “Treading the Uneven Road” today (or grab your copy of the book if it’s already released)!

Rating: 8/10

https://www.amazon.com/Treading-Uneven-Road-L-Brown/dp/194438880X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1548732149&sr=1-1&keywords=9781944388805