Posted in reviews

Discovering The Colosseum: Between Myth and Reality by Mauro Poma Review

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

Author Mauro Poma takes readers on an exciting journey into the heart and history of the infamous Roman Colosseum in the book “Discovering the Colosseum”.

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The Synopsis

A fascinating journey into the world of the largest amphitheater in Roman history to explore its curiosities, stories, characters, animals, gladiators, and much more. . . The author will help you discover the tricks used by the Romans to build this giant of history, describe the atmosphere of the events, the animals employed, and their fate. Who was in the audience? How were death sentences executed? What happened in the hypogeum? With a compelling style the author will also describe the great and undisputed protagonists of the games: the gladiators. Where did they come from? Who were they? Why did they fight? Why did they keep their helmets on before being killed? Where did their blood go when they died? He will also take a look at some of the mistakes in the film “Gladiator”, starting with the famous gesture of thumbs down. . . Discover the Colosseum: a monument, once abandoned, that has given shelter to criminals and prostitutes. It has been transformed into a fortress and sacred place, a bomb shelter, and huge roundabout; it has also hosted millions of spectators in its time, along with visitors, tourists, pilgrims, and the many plants that grow within its unforgettable arches.

The Review

As a longtime history buff, I was instantly drawn to this book. One thing that has always fascinated me is the line that so often blurs between pop culture and entertainment and the facts of history, and the author does a great job of really delving into the real history and culture of the infamous Colosseum. 

The author does a fantastic job of balancing the statistics and facts of the Colosseum and its history, from the hunts and how the Romans would bring in the powerful animals featured in the games, with the more personal and approachable writing style that allows the reader to feel like they are in a conversation with the author, rather than being lectured or talked to. The landmark’s history just comes to life right off the page, really allowing the reader to feel transported back to the Colosseum at the height of its power. 

The Verdict

An informative, engaging, and thought-provoking history-driven book, author Mauro Poma’s “Discovering the Colosseum” is a must-read non-fiction book. The amount of history, culture, and facts the author provides to the reader complements the author’s natural and personable writing style and encourages the reader to want to visit this landmark for themselves. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born and raised in Rome, scholar of the Eternal City, Mauro Poma is a qualified tour guide of Rome, a writer and a lecturer. He has got two degrees: one in History and Conservation of the Artistic and Archaeological Heritage and one in Political Sciences. He is the author of the book “Discovering the Colosseum”, that is the revised and enlarged English edition of “Alla scoperta del Colosseo”. He works as lecturer at Dante Alighieri association, the most prestigious Italian cultural association in the world.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mauro-rometogo/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Guns and Gods In My Genes: A 15,000-Mile North American Search Through Four Centuries, to the Mayflower by Neil McKee Review

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

Readers are treated to a journey through time as author Neil McKee highlights his family history and both the heroes and villains who comprised his family’s legacy in Canada and America in the book “Guns and Gods In My Genes”. 

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The Synopsis 

Neill McKee, author of the award-winning travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo, takes the reader through 400 years and 15,000 miles of an on-the-road adventure, discovering stories of his Scots-Irish ancestors in Canada, while uncovering their attitudes towards religion and guns. 

His adventure turns south and west as he follows the trail of his maternal grandfather, a Canadian preacher who married an American woman in Wisconsin, and braved the American Wild West from 1904 to 1907, finding a two-story brothel across from one of his churches and a sheriff who owned a saloon and dance hall, while carrying a gun with 20 notches, one for each man he had killed. 

Much to his surprise, McKee finds his American ancestors were involved in every major conflict on North American soil: the Civil War, the American Revolution, and the French and Indian War. In the last chapters, McKee discovers and documents his Pilgrim ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower, landing at Plymouth in 1620, and their Puritan descendants who fought in the early Indian Wars of New England. 

With the help of professional genealogical research, he tracks down and tells the stories of the heroes, villains, rascals, as well as, the godly and ordinary folk in his genes, discovering many facts and exposing myths. He also lets readers in on a personal struggle: whether to apply for Canadian-United States dual citizenship or remain only a Canadian.

The Review

The author has really crafted an amazing book. What immediately stands out is how unlike the typical memoir or biography style of writing this book takes. A great portion of this read encompasses a personal take on some of history’s greatest and most memorable moments through the lens of one man’s family, from the American Civil War to the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. The amount of detail and research the author poured into his family’s history was incredible to read, especially for a fan of history such as myself.

Yet what really stood out was how so much of this book also incorporated meditative, reflective moments in which the author seemed to speak to the reader, to his ancestors as he explored moments in history, and to himself. It allows the reader to really get a sense of the connection the author had to this journey and his family as he delved deeper and deeper into their history, allowing the reader to also feel more connected as well.

The Verdict

A remarkable, thoughtful, and lengthy yet engaging read, author Neil McKee’s “Guns and Gods In My Genes” is must-read non-fiction read. The amount of research, history, and personal reflection that the author shares in this journey make for a truly memorable read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing book today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, won a bronze medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, 2020, as well as other awards. McKee holds a Bachelor’s Degree, from the University of Calgary and a Master’s Degree in Communication from Florida State University. He worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. He directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos and multimedia initiatives, and has written numerous articles and books in the field of development communication. During his international career, McKee worked for Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO); Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC); UNICEF; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; Academy for Educational Development and FHI 360, Washington, DC. He worked and lived in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, he settled in New Mexico, using his varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Find him online at:

Author’s website: www.neillmckeeauthor.com/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/neill-mckee-b9971b65/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/McKeeNeill/

Twitter: twitter.com/MckeeNeill

NBFS: www.northborneofrodotolkien.org

– Blog Tour Dates

February 15th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us as we talk to author Neill McKee and celebrate the launch of his blog tour for his travel memoir, Guns and Gods in My Genes. You can also enter to win a copy of the book yourself!

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

February 17th @ Choices

Join Madeline today as she spotlights Neill McKee’s travel memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

http://madelinesharples.com/

February 20th @ Bring on Lemons

Turn lemons into lemonade by visiting Crystal’s blog today, where you can read her honest review of Neill McKees insightful memoir, Guns and Gods in My Genes.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

February 22nd @ CloudsGirls27 Reads Books

Join Melissa as she reads Neill McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://bookreviewsbycloudsgirl27.home.blog/

February 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Come by Anthony’s blog today where he interviews author Neill McKee about his memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes

February 25th @ What is That Book About

Michelle spotlights Neill McKee’s book Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

February 26th @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews & Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Neill McKee about his book Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

February 27th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Join Linda as she treats us to an interview with author Neill McKee and chats with him about his memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes. She also shares some insights about the book! 

http://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

February 28th @ Lilly’s Book Wonderland

Join Lilly as she shares her insights into Neill McKee’s fascinating travel memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://www.lillysbookwonderland.com/

March 1st @ World of My Imagination

Light up your imagination when you visit Nicole’s blog today! She shares her insights into Neill McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

March 3rd @ Joy Neal Kidney’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Joy’s blog today and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://joynealkidney.com/

March 3rd @ Memoir Memoir

Visit John’s blog today and you can read his review of Nell McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://memoir-memoir.com/

March 5th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra spotlights Neill McKee’s profound memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

March 8th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Join Kathy as she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

https://www.krpooler.com/

March 11th @ The Frugalista Mom

Join Rozelyn as she reviews Neill McKee’s fascinating memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes. You can also win a copy of the book too!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

March 12th @ Memoir Revolution

https://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/

March 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony again when he reviews Neill McKee’s memorable memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

March 15th @ My Writer Blog

Join Carole as she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes.

http://carolemertz.com/

March 16th @ Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire

Set your reading list on fire with Mindy McGinnis as she spotlights Neil McKee’s memoir Guns and Gods in My Genes. You also have the chance to win a copy of this fascinating book!

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog/

Posted in reviews

Salamis by Harry Turtledove Review

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

Two men and the neutral country they call home are caught in the midst of a legendary battle between two warring Marshalls of Alexander the Great in author Harry Turtledove’s historical fiction novel, “Salamis”. 

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The Synopsis

In 306 BC, the small, free, and independent polis of Rhodes is trying to stay neutral between the local great powers, each ruled by one of Alexander the Great’s marshals: Asia Minor, controlled by one-eyed Antigonos, and the Egypt of Ptolemaios. Antigonos’ son, Demetrios, comes to Rhodes seeking an alliance against Ptolemaios. The Rhodians, who trade a lot with Egypt, refuse his offer.

Menedemos and Sostratos take the Aphrodite to Egypt for business…and to tell Ptolemaios what has been going on. Just before they leave, they learn Demetrios has invaded the island of Cyprus, which Ptolemaios dominates. He is advancing on the southeastern town of Salamis, where Ptolemaios’ brother, Menelaos, has concentrated his forces.

After they pass on their news, Menedemos does business in the brash new city of Alexandria while Sostratos travels up the Nile to old, old Memphis to trade there, and to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ptolemaios, meanwhile, readies a fleet to rescue his brother and drive Demetrios back to Asia Minor.

Ptolemaios, needing shipping to carry weapons for the army he intends to land, coerces Menedemos into bringing the Aphrodite along as part of his expeditionary force. And so, very much against their will, Menedemos and Sostratos become small parts of one of the ancient world’s greatest naval battles. 

The Review

A wonderful deep-dive into ancient history, author Harry Turtledove has done it again with a stellar novel. The balance the author achieves with the historical background and events of the war between Ptolemaios and Demetrios and the personal relationships and struggles of the protagonists Menedemos and Sostratos is remarkable. War was an all too common event in this period of history, and getting to know the characters personally who were caught in the midst of this war was fascinating to see unfold.

The author’s use of imagery shone brightly in this narrative, with the cities of Salamis, Alexandria, and Memphis coming to life and exploring pivotal locations in Ancient Greece and Egypt. As a history fan, exploring the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s passing as his successors fought over who deserved to rule over the empire he had built was amazing, and giving the role of protagonist to a small historical figure and a fictitious character both was an inspired choice. 

The Verdict

Enthralling, action-packed, and historically driven, author Harry Turtledove’s “Salamis” is a must-read historical fiction novel. The fifth of the Hellenic Traders Universe that the author has crafted around Menedemos and Sostratos was a massive success, with an evenly-paced narrative and engaging characters that made the story come to life as one of history’s greatest battles became the stage for this plot to come to life. From the way, society ran during those days in places like Rhodes to the bond between a family being tested, especially for Menedemos, made this a truly entertaining read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed “The Master of Alternate History”. Within this genre he is known both for creating original scenarios: such as survival of the Byzantine Empire; an alien invasion in the middle of the World War II; and for giving a fresh and original treatment to themes previously dealt with by other authors, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War; and of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

His novels have been credited with bringing alternate history into the mainstream. His style of alternate history has a strong military theme.

https://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/turtledove.html

Posted in reviews

What the Wind Brings by Matthew Hughes Review

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

Three individuals in the sixteenth century find themselves brought together after a shipwreck brings escaped African slaves together with local indigenous people on coastal Ecuador to face the Spanish and become an independent state in author Matthew Hughes historical fiction novel, “What the Wind Brings”. 

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The Synopsis

In the mid 1500s shipwrecked African slaves melded with the indigenous peoples of coastal Ecuador and together they fought the Spanish colonial power to a standstill, to remain independent for centuries. The story of the people of Esmeraldas is told through the eyes of three characters: Alonso, an escaped slave; Expectation, an a-gender shaman; and Alejandro, a priest on the run from the Inquisition. With its slipstream elements this novel carries a flavor of South American magical realism tradition into a grand historical epic. Both sweeping and intimate, it is a delight to read from beginning to end.

The Review

The author does a fantastic job of crafting a narrative that draws its strength from intricate and memorable characters. The use of historical figures as the protagonists was an inspired choice and made it easier for readers to connect with the characters overall. 

What really makes this story stand out is the time period for which the narrative is based around. The setting of 16th century South America and the tumultuous time that came from the Spanish colonization efforts that resulted in conquered peoples, enslavement, and eventually rebellion and bloodshed gave readers a rarely seen point in time to learn about and connect with. The strength it took for the African escaped slaves and the indigenous people to come together and face the many obstacles they did to become an independent state are fascinating to read about.

The Verdict

A lengthy yet powerful read, author Matthew Hughes’s novel “What the Wind Brings” is a must-read historical fiction read. The way the author took in the various belief systems and cultures of those involved in the narrative and how they both clashed and came together made this a one-of-a-kind story. This is a fascinating read that will engage with readers who love history, so be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Liverpool, his family moved to Canada when he was five years old. Married since late 1960s, he has three grown sons. He is currently relocated to Britain. He is a former director of the Federation of British Columbia Writers.

A university drop-out from a working poor background, he worked in a factory that made school desks, drove a grocery delivery truck, was night janitor in a GM dealership, and did a short stint as an orderly in a private mental hospital. As a teenager, he served a year as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians.

He has made his living as a writer all of his adult life, first as a journalist in newspapers, then as a staff speechwriter to the Canadian Ministers of Justice and Environment, and, since 1979, as a freelance corporate and political speechwriter in British Columbia.

His short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’sAsimov’sThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionPostscriptsInterzone, and a number of “Year’s Best” anthologies. Night Shade Books published his short story collection, The Gist Hunter and Other Stories, in 2005.

He has won the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. His novels and stories regularly make the Locus Magazine annual recommended reading list.

http://www.matthewhughes.org

Posted in reviews

Blood and Silver by Vali Benson Review

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

A young girl must find a way to save her mother from a nefarious Madame in the town of Tombstone in author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver”. 

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The Synopsis

What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.

After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.

Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.

China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.

Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.

With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.

The Review

This was a fast-paced, intricate character study and intense YA historical read. The author does a great job of focusing on character development within the narrative, and the historical nature of the novel was very well researched and integrated naturally into the book as well. 

The story takes off immediately from the very first pages, with a murder leading to Carissa’s discovery of her mother’s condition and the lengths Miss Lucille will go to secure her business. The young woman risks it all to save those closest to her, and historical fiction and YA fans will love the intricate way the setting plays into the character’s arc and the narrative overall. 

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The Verdict

A must-read novel, author Vali Benson’s “Blood and Silver” is a truly one-of-a-kind read. The historical fiction YA adventure is filled with a gritty Western theme and does a great job of giving a voice to people who are usually relegated to background characters in the typical Western novel, making this a wonderful read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and grandchildren.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.

In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.

Website:

Amazon:

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53167218-blood-and-silver

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RealValiBenson/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Posted in reviews

The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J. Sawyer Review

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

A chapter in history get’s a secret new chapter that showcases a thrilling possible sequel to one of history’s greatest, most powerful yet most terrifying projects in the name of science in author Robert J. Sawyer’s “The Oppenheimer Alternative”. 

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The Synopsis

On the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb, Hugo and Nebula-winning author Robert J. Sawyer takes us back in time to revisit history…with a twist.

While J. Robert Oppenheimer and his Manhattan Project team struggle to develop the A-bomb, Edward Teller wants something even more devastating: a bomb based on nuclear fusion—the mechanism that powers the sun.

Teller’s research leads to a terrifying discovery: by the year 2030, the sun will eject its outermost layer, destroying the entire inner solar system—including Earth.

As the war ends with the use of fission bombs against Japan, Oppenheimer’s team, plus Albert Einstein and Wernher von Braun, stay together—the greatest scientific geniuses from the last century racing against time to save our future.

Meticulously researched and replete with real-life characters and events, The Oppenheimer Alternative is a breathtaking adventure through both real and alternate history.

The Review

A brilliant combination of true historical events mixed with alternative history, author Robert J. Sawyer has created a masterpiece of a story. Delving into the deeper character growth of historical figures like Robert J. Oppenheimer, the author brings more of a personal viewpoint of these larger than life figures. With figures like Oppenheimer and Einstein being so notable and their work making them as infamous as they are, it was fascinating to see how facing the end of the world would have brought them together in a whole new way. 

The author does an excellent job of highlighting the brilliant minds at work historically during this period of time, and the science that they both discovered and worked in. The irony of choosing Oppenheimer as the protagonist is felt in the pages of this book. While he is notorious for his quote, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, the author not only does an excellent job of exploring the man behind the legend, but giving him the chance to fight for humanity’s survival as our own solar system threatens to turn against itself. 

The Verdict

Highly scientific and creative, “The Oppenheimer Alternative” by Robert J. Sawyer is a masterful work of fiction that both entertains and educates readers on the work done by scientists, the manipulation of scientific discoveries by politics and militarization, and the work that can occur when scientists use their brilliance to saving lives rather than destruction. Oppenheimer is a truly unique and memorable protagonist and readers will love the sci-fi turn of events as the story progresses, creating a one of a kind read that readers will not be able to get enough of. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada’s best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.

Robert Sawyer grew up in Toronto, the son of two university professors. He credits two of his favourite shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Search and Star Trek, with teaching him some of the fundamentals of the science-fiction craft. Sawyer was obsessed with outer space from a young age, and he vividly remembers watching the televised Apollo missions. He claims to have watched the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey 25 times. He began writing science fiction in a high school club, which he co-founded, NASFA (Northview Academy Association of Science Fiction Addicts). Sawyer graduated in 1982 from the Radio and Television Arts Program at Ryerson University, where he later worked as an instructor.

Sawyer’s first published book, Golden Fleece (1989), is an adaptation of short stories that had previously appeared in the science-fiction magazine Amazing Stories. This book won the Aurora Award for the best Canadian science-fiction novel in English. In the early 1990s Sawyer went on to publish his inventive Quintaglio Ascension trilogy, about a world of intelligent dinosaurs. His 1995 award winning The Terminal Experiment confirmed his place as a major international science-fiction writer.

A prolific writer, Sawyer has published more than 10 novels, plus two trilogies. Reviewers praise Sawyer for his concise prose, which has been compared to that of the science-fiction master Isaac Asimov. Like many science fiction-writers, Sawyer welcomes the opportunities his chosen genre provides for exploring ideas. The first book of his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, Hominids (2002), is set in a near-future society, in which a quantum computing experiment brings a Neanderthal scientist from a parallel Earth to ours. His 2006 Mindscan explores the possibility of transferring human consciousness into a mechanical body, and the ensuing ethical, legal, and societal ramifications.

A passionate advocate for science fiction, Sawyer teaches creative writing and appears frequently in the media to discuss his genre. He prefers the label “philosophical fiction,” and in no way sees himself as a predictor of the future. His mission statement for his writing is “To combine the intimately human with the grandly cosmic.”

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Chandra Lahiri

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

Purely by accident! I have always enjoyed writing the odd freelance article for a newspaper or magazine, but never even thought about writing a book – until now! I have spent over 45 years working for a variety of companies, from transnational giants like Unilever and Nivea, to small family-owned ones like the luxury perfumer Amouage. For a third of that time, I led those companies and, eventually, specialized in turning around sick companies. I have run businesses in over 40 countries around the world, dealing in a wide variety of products. However, all my life, I have had an inexplicable passion for the Native Americans, and read, researched and watched a mountain of material. Perhaps, the Great Mystery was gently preparing me, all my life, for this odyssey and the vicarious experience of re-living parts of their history, participating in their heritage. As is my habit, I made extensive notes in my diary during the trip – not least because I wrote a daily column from the road, for the leading English newspaper in the Sultanate of Oman. On my return home, I realized I had so much material that I simply had to try and turn it into a full-length book. And, I desperately wanted more people to know the real story of these remarkable people.


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2) What inspired you to write your book?

The people I met, and their story. People like Carney Saupitty, Lisa Snell, Vernell White Thunder, Peter Catches, Mark St.Pierre and so many others. Theirs is a story of quiet heroism, of fighting impossible odds to regain their identity and proud heritage, of an elemental daily struggle. I realized they, perhaps more than anyone else, deserve a voice for the unborn generations. They must never be allowed to be forgotten or marginalized, but brought into the American mainstream instead.

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

The thing that strikes me most powerfully is the sheer apathy (at best; frequently it is outright discrimination) of America, and the world, to them. The downright untruths of Hollywood created a fantasy savage, not even a noble one, while the media stereotypes present them as hopeless, violent, suicidal substance-abusers on miserable Reservations, subsisting on Government money. I hope my book will contribute something to showing people just how shamefully untrue and unjust this portrayal this is of a truly noble people winning small triumphs on their way to recovering their civilization from genocide. History cannot be true if written only by the victors.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Strangely, it was not a conscious choice! Looking back now, it seems some sort of cosmic Force seems to have guided my life to this experience and the decision to write about it. The whole effort is as mystifying and intriguing to me as was my completely unexplainable experience on their very sacred Bear Butte. To me, it seems to be more important than anything else to disseminate a knowledge and awareness of the Native Americans, so they are never consigned to the footnotes of history.

5) For those who aren’t as well acquainted with the history of the Native American people and their history, why do you think it’s so important to understand the history of the Native American people and what they endured during the formation of the United States? What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have from a historical standpoint from that time period and the history of the Native American tribes overall?

If even a part of humanity is destroyed, all of humanity is damaged. The creation of the United States was, without doubt, one of the greatest achievements in human history, creating the most powerful military and economic entity in just a couple of centuries, something never achieved before. While admiring the people, and effort, that made it possible, it is equally vital not to lose sight of the disastrous cost of that effort. And, above all, the fact that the genocide was, in reality, completely unnecessary.
People usually think “the West had to be won” because the “savage Indians” stood in the way of “civilization”. The truth is exactly the opposite. The Pilgrims survived only through the generosity and welcome shown them by the Wampanoag. In return, the settlers enslaved these friendly people, killed their chief, and sold his wife and children as slaves for thirty pieces of silver. In later years, the children of Native nations were forcibly removed to distant Christian schools to be “civilized” – under such terrible, abusive conditions that well over half of them actually committed suicide.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that the West was “won” through the strength of American arms. In reality, the US Army lost most battles and frequently spun massacres of defenseless civilians into stories of victorious battles. Custer is the most famous such fantasy hero. In reality, about an equal number died on both sides, despite the overwhelming superiority of firepower and manpower with the Army. What actually defeated the Native Nations was the terrible scorched earth policy of General Sherman which almost entirely wiped out the buffalo, their only source of food, shelter, weapons, occupation, toys and everything else. Starvation, not bullets, brought them to their knees.

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

Its early days yet, but so far I think Facebook and Instagram have been useful in getting the word out. I have also been fortunate to benefit from the massive distributive reach of Ingram. My social media links are:
www.dawnvoyager.com
www.facebook.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains
www.twitter.com/RoadPlains     
www.instagram.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains     
www.pinterest.com/redroadacrossthegreatplains 
www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcBgnPnoXltv0baXWAM8Qw/featured?view_as=public

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

This is one of the steepest mountains you will ever climb, with huge amounts of pain – but it is worth it! Don’t lose heart and bash on. If you have something worth telling, there are people out there who are keen to hear it – it’s just a hard road reaching them! The only thing to do is enjoy the ride!


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

Whew! After working on this book for well over a year, I am now going to pause for breath and see how it works out. I would, ideally, like to do another book on the same subject, as there is such a wealth of history and heritage to write about, and so many incredible misconceptions to try and uproot. Fingers crossed!

About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

Posted in reviews

Red Road Across The Great Plains By Chandra Lahiri Review

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

Author Chandra Lahiri takes readers on a journey through the history of the Native American people and showcases both sides of that history in an honest and incredible way in the novel “Red Road Across The Great Plains”. 


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The Synopsis

A life-changing solo voyage of discovery across the blood-soaked Great Plains. A pilgrimage to momentous sites of Native American heritage. Meet the amazing “invisible warriors” fighting impossible odds to reclaim their heritage and share in the American Dream without losing their unique identity, much as their ancestors fought on the battlefields to save their way of life.

Nurturing a half-century obsession with Native America and the Old Frontier, this now-retired corporate CEO takes the reader along on his astonishing solo road-trip through haunting places of intense tragedy and stunning triumphs, through Native American spiritual experiences that shook the atheist in him, plunging into the rough and tumble worlds that were Deadwood and Dodge City, chuckling gently over modern American idiosyncrasies. Neither a “white historian” nor a “red commentator,” he visits both sides of the Native American experience and, in the most depressed Native Reservations, discovers exciting sparks of a brighter, more hopeful future emerging – a very different take on the usual Reservation stereotypes and stories of misery. This is an unusual and enthralling odyssey effortlessly plaiting space and time, easy to read, without pompous sermonizing.


The Review

Part history, part travel, author Chandra Lahiri’s novel does an amazing  job of creating a narrative that showcases the authors real life journey to these iconic, historic and sometimes tragic locations in the West and Mid-Western United States. The evenly paced read delved deeply into the violent, heartbreaking and blood-soaked history of the Native American tribes and the impact on both their culture and the white settlers as they expanded their territory further and further westward. 

From the genocide that was the Trail of Tears to the Civil War and more, the author lays out the history behind the Native American people and highlights the struggles they endured. However this history is broken up naturally by the travel aspect of the author’s journey, showcasing the modern day experiences the author had while seeing first hand the locations and the history of the United States as it settled westward. 

The novel is expertly written, with a voice and tone that speaks of personal experiences the author had on this trip with historic facts that are both known and tragically some that are overlooked or forgotten, for as the author points out in the book, history is written by the victors, but often history is only half true or inaccurate if only written by the victors. 


The Verdict

This was a brutally honest, emotional and well written historical/travel novel. An even mix of historical research, graphs and statistics that really put the history of the Native American people and culture into perspective, with the natural observations and personal stories brought to life while on a life-changing trip like the one the author experienced, this novel has something for everyone, and is not to be missed. So if you are a fan of travel stories or are just a major history buff like myself and want to experience the emotional journey of the Native American tribes of the United States, then be sure to grab your copy of author Chandra Lahiri’s “Red Road Across The Great Plains” today! 

Rating: 10/10


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About the Author

Chandra Lahiri is an “Indian from India” who lives in the Sultanate of Oman. After many years as a global CEO, he now focuses on his lifelong passion for Native American heritage. His wife is a Special Needs Educator in Oman, and his two sons live in the USA. He loves hearing from like-minded readers, at www.dawnvoyager.com

https://amzn.to/2Raojxj

Posted in Blog Tours, Interviews

Interview with Author Rina Z. Neiman

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

I’ve worked in music, fashion, high tech, and retail. Writing has always been an element of my professional career.


What inspired you to write your book?

My mother’s life inspired this book, and the understanding that her story was so deeply intertwined with the establishment of the State of Israel. Sadly, she died when I was eleven years old, and I was too young to know what questions to ask. Following my father’s death years later, I discovered her photographs and documents, most of which I had never seen before. Under pictures of best friends and boyfriends, whose names we’d never know (or how they affected her), I found an illustrated sketch book by her brother. Avraham was the uncle we never met, but knew was her best friend. The book tells the story of a trip they took to the Galilee in 1947. For the first time, I had an inside view into the most significant relationship in my mother’s life, and an intimate portrait of her as a 17-year-old. I wanted to tell not only her story, but the story of the Sabra generation, the first generation of modern-day Israelis.

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

  • We are from our birthplace.
  • The importance of family and community.
  • War is about losing loved ones.
  • Resilience in the face of adversity is key to survival.
  • What led to the establishment of the State of Israel. The events in Europe during WWII had repercussions that affected the whole world.
  • A portrait of the unique Sabra generation.
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What drew you into this particular genre?

I began this project as a straight biography, but quickly found it was not possible to corroborate particular facts about my mother’s life. It also became clear that there was a broader story to tell about the time period and her generation. I’ve always found historical fiction compelling to read, and love that it can transport you to a different time and place.  

What I like about writing an historical fiction novel is that there is a timeline of events that I was able to follow. I could intertwine those events in ways that I knew, or had to imagine, affected my mother. Here’s an example: While researching the time (1940s), and place (Tel Aviv), I came across an incident that happened in 1941 that I never knew about. My mother never spoke about it, and it wasn’t mentioned in most of the histories of Tel Aviv. Shortly after the Italians entered WWII, an squadron of Italian planes dropped bombs on my mother’s neighborhood killing 137 people. Even though I didn’t know how it affected my mother, it became clear to me that this was a scene that I had to write. What would it be like to be a 12-year-old girl caught in such a frightening event?

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

Facebook and Instagram for now, and I’m working on my Twitter presence. With my WOW blog tour, I can see how effective the world of book blogs can be.

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

  • Take classes in writing. Learn the craft.
  • Create a timeline with an outline. That’s your path.
  • Find a writing group.
  • Write THE END. Are you sure? Better check it one more time…
  • Polish your final piece.

Self-marketing is part of the publishing world now. The best way to create interest in your story is to find like-minded people, and promote to those you are connected with. Network with other writers, writing groups and organizations that may have an interest in your work.

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

I have two projects that I’m currently outlining. There is a sequel to Born Under Fire that follows Shula in Manhattan in the 1950s, and her work at the first Israeli consulate in New York. And, because it’s based on my mother, the highs are high and the lows are devastating.

The second is a music-centered novel that takes place in New York in the early 1970s.

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About the Author

Rina Z. Neiman is a writer, event producer and public relations professional. Born Under Fire is based on the true story of her mother, Shulamit Dubno Neiman, a Sabra, a musician and one of the first generation of modern-day Israelis. Rina lives in Marin County, California with her husband and son. This is her first novel.REPORT THIS AD

You may find out more about the author and her book by visiting the website https://www.bornunderfire.com/. Also, you may find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

— Blog Tour Dates

May 20th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin! So, grab your coffee and join us today as we celebrate the launch of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/REPORT THIS AD

May 21st @ Karen Brown Tyson Blog

Make sure you stop by Karen’s blog today where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how to manage time and distractions during the book writing process. If you are writing a book – or thinking about writing one – this one is a post you don’t want to miss!

https://karenbrowntyson.com/blog/

May 22nd @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog today where you can read her review about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Coffee with Lacey

Stop by Lacey’s blog again where you can read the author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about why researching primary sources is so effective.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

May 23rd @ Bri’s Book Nook

Looking for a new book? Make sure to stop by Bri’s Book Nook and find out why you need to add Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire to your reading list.

https://brisbooknook.com/

May 24th @ One Sister’s Journey

Today is a can’t miss review by Lisa over at One Sister’s Journey blog. She’s sharing her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.REPORT THIS AD

https://www.lisambuske.com/

May 26th @ Reading Whale

You won’t want to miss today’s stop at the blog Reading Whale where you can read this Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about when you can finally start writing your book after all that research.

https://readingwhale.com/

May 27th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Fill your bookshelf with good books! Stop by Veronica’s blog and read author Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about writing biographical fiction and when to dramatize real events.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

May 28th @ Helen Hollick’s World of Books

Join Helen Hollick’s Tuesday Talk over at her blog and read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about how videos can reinforce your historical novel.

https://www.helenhollick.net/

May 28th @ Book Collab Blog

Make sure you stop by Morgan’s blog Book Collab where you can find out what she has to say about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://morganbray15.wixsite.com/mysite

May 29th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

If you love historical fiction, make sure you visit Anthony Avina’s blog today where he features author Rina Z. Neiman’s blog post about how she researched her historical fiction novel Born Under Fire. You won’t want to miss this!REPORT THIS AD

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 31st @ Jess Reading Blog

Are you interested in writing history for young adults? If you are, you will absolutely want to visit Jess’ blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman talks about writing history for young adults and what grabs them and what loses them.

https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 1st @ The World of My Imagination

Come by Nicole’s blog today where you can read her review of Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

June 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Can’t resist a good book? Visit author Anthony Avina’s blog today when he reviews Rina Z. Neiman’s incredible historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Looking for your next great read? Make sure you stop by Bev’s blog today and catch her opinion on this fascinating historical fiction novel Born Under Fire.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 4th @ Amanda Diaries

Today’s stop is at Amanda’s blog where you can read what she thinks about Rina Z. Neiman’s historical fiction book Born Under Fire. REPORT THIS AD

https://amandalsanders1989.wordpress.com/

June 5th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Rozelyn’s blog today where you can not only read her review of Born Under Fire but also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

June 7th @ Bookworm Blog

Feeling bookish today? Make sure you stop by Anjanette’s Bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s powerful historical fiction book Born Under Fire plus read an interview with the author.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

June 8th @ Jessica’s Reading Room

Today’s tour stop is a fantastic guest post written by author Rina Z. Neiman about how to make stories interactive. A must-read for all the writers out there!

http://jessicasreadingroom.com/

June 9th @ Jess Bookish Life

Need a new book in your life? Stop by Jess’ blog today where she shares her opinion about the historical fiction book Born Under Fire.

https://jessbookishlife.wordpress.com/

June 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Are you doing research for your novel? Make sure you visit Bev’s blog today where author Rina Z. Neiman is talking about top 5 ways to research secondary sources.REPORT THIS AD

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Get to know author Rina Z. Neiman at today’s stop over at author Anthony Avina’s blog where he interviews the author.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 14th @ Bookworm Blog

Visit Anjanette’s blog today and read a guest post by the author who talks about making your story interactive and why adding music is so effective.

https://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

Visit Wendi’s blog at Strength 4 Spouses where you can read Rina Z. Neiman’s guest post about the importance of writing during deployment.

June 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Welcome to Strength 4 Spouses Blog!

June 17th @ 12 Books

Visit Louise’s blog over at 12 Books and find out her thoughts about Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

June 19th @ Inquiry and Beyond

Join Kathy on Instagram and on her blog PYP in Paradise as she reviews and features Rina Z. Neiman’s book Born Under Fire.

https://www.instagram.com/InquiryandBeyond/

http://pypinparadise.blogspot.com/

June 21st @ Choices Blog

Interviewing someone for your book? Make sure you visit Madeline Sharples’ blog today where Rina Z. Neiman talks about how to conduct interviews with people who are (and who are not) willing to talk with you.

http://madelinesharples.com/

June 23rd @ Strength 4 Spouses Blog

Need a new book? Make sure you stop by Wendi’s blog where she reviews Born Under Fire by Rina Z. Neiman.

Welcome to Strength 4 Spouses Blog!