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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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.

Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah by Neil McKee Blog Tour & Review

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

A journey of self discovery leads to fascinating discoveries in author Neil McKee’s “Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

Finding Myself in Borneo is an honest and buoyant chronicle of a young Canadian man’s adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). Travel with Neill McKee on his unique journey through vibrant Asian cultures as he learns the craft of teaching, the Malay language and local customs, and gains many friends in his small community. He climbs the highest peak in Southeast Asia–Mount Kinabalu, has a love affair, and navigates Borneo’s backwaters to make his first of many documentary films. McKee travels by freighter to Indonesia, where he discovers the scars of that country’s recent genocide, a contrast to his hilarious motorcycle journeys in Sabah with his American Peace Corps buddy. They make a hallucinogenic discovery–North Borneo is, indeed, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famed Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings! The enterprising duo establish the North Borneo Frodo Society, an organization Tolkien joins.

McKee’s second Sabah sojourn and other return trips offer the reader the opportunity to match the early anecdotes to what in fact happened to the land and people who touched his life, and he theirs.

The Review

What a fantastic read! The honest, personal and intellectual journey of a young man in the late 60’s, early 70’s leaving behind his life in Canada to travel to a lifelong dream location of Borneo was so unique and wonderful to read. The author does a marvelous job of painting a picture of the experience, from the first weeks and the personal experiences that came with it, to the students and teachers who he got to know in his teaching role within the country.

Political upheavals, spiritual melting pots and cultural barriers all play a central role in both the author’s life and the novel. Even book lovers and fantasy fans will love the psychedelic discovery of Tolkien’s real world Middle Earth. Rarely do fans of the genre get to experience moments like that, making this memoir feel personal to both the author and reader.

The Verdict

This is a fantastic read everyone can enjoy. Filled with a wonderful blend of history, various cultures and languages and a great story of self discovery, the author has created a reading experience like no other. If you haven’t yet be sure to get your copy of Finding Myself in Borneo by Neil McKee today!

Rating: 8/10

Neill McKee’s

WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah

 Tour Begins January 28th!

 

 

 

 

·         Paperback: 260 pages

·         Publisher: Nbfs Creations LLC (January 8, 2019)

·         Language: English

·         ISBN-10: 1732945705

·         ISBN-13: 978-1732945708

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1732945705/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0%20/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

 

Finding Myself in Borneo is an honest and buoyant chronicle of a young Canadian man’s adventures during 1968-70, while teaching secondary school as a CUSO volunteer in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo). Travel with Neill McKee on his unique journey through vibrant Asian cultures as he learns the craft of teaching, the Malay language and local customs, and gains many friends in his small community. He climbs the highest peak in Southeast Asia–Mount Kinabalu, has a love affair, and navigates Borneo’s backwaters to make his first of many documentary films. McKee travels by freighter to Indonesia, where he discovers the scars of that country’s recent genocide, a contrast to his hilarious motorcycle journeys in Sabah with his American Peace Corps buddy. They make a hallucinogenic discovery–North Borneo is, indeed, J. R. R. Tolkien’s famed Middle-Earth of The Lord of the Rings! The enterprising duo establish the North Borneo Frodo Society, an organization Tolkien joins.

McKee’s second Sabah sojourn and other return trips offer the reader the opportunity to match the early anecdotes to what in fact happened to the land and people who touched his life, and he theirs.

 

 

 

 

About the Author:  

 

Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked internationally for 45 years and became an expert in communication for social change. He directed and produced of a number of award-winning documentary films/videos and multi-media initiatives and authored numerous articles and books on development communication. During his international career, McKee worked for Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO), the International Development Ressearch Centre (IDRC), Canada, UNICEF, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Academy for Educational Development, Washington, D.C. and FHI 360, Washington, D.C. 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. 

Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah is Neill’s first Memoir.

 

Find Neill Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1839945.Neill_McKee

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/MckeeNeill

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

 Website: https://www.neillmckeeauthor.com/

  

———-Blog Tour Dates

 

Launch Day – January 28th

 –Neill McKee launches his tour of “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!

 

Tuesday, January 29th @ Selling Books

Learn more about Neill McKee as he is interviewed by Cathy Stucker at Selling Books. You won’t want to miss this insightful interview about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. https://www.sellingbooks.com/

 

Wednesday, January 30th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto couldn’t wait to get her hands on Neill McKee’s memoir about his travels and finding himself! This busy farmer seldom leaves the farm and enjoyed every moment she experienced reading “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. Find out more in her book review at Bring on Lemons today! http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

 

Thursday, January 31st @ Breakeven Books

Don’t miss a very honest book review about Neill McKee’s “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” https://breakevenbooks.com/

 

Monday, February 4th @ Author Anthony Avina

Author Anthony Avina reads and reviews “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” – by Neill McKee. Readers won’t want to miss this adventurous and soul searching memoir! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

 

Wednesday, February 6th @ The World of My Imagination

Nicole hosts a special feature with author Neill McKee about his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

 

Friday, February 8th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples hosts Neill McKee today as he pens today’s guest post titled:  Living in and learning about a very different culture”. Find out more about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”. http://madelinesharples.com/

 

Monday, February 11th @ Book Santa Fe with Elizabeth Hansen

Young reader and reviewer Elizabeth Hansen shares her thoughts after reading about Neill McKee’s memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”.
http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

 

Wednesday, February 13th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha

Shreevarsha reviews the insightful memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about McKee’s journey. http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.co.at/

 

Friday, February 15th @ Bring on Lemons with Tricia Schott Baldwin

Avid reader, constant dreamer, and occasional traveler Tricia Schott Baldwin reviews “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Tricia shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons – will this be a lemon or sweet sweet lemonade? http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

 

Saturday, February 16th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole discusses “3 Things on a Saturday” with Neill McKee. Learn more about McKee and his memoir “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah”.

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/

 

 

Tuesday, February 19th @ Jarry Waxler’s Memoir Revolution

Memoir expert and educator Jerry Waxler pens his review of “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” by Neill McKee. Readers and memoirists alike won’t want to miss this insightful post and review by Waxler. https://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/

 

Thursday, March 7th @ Kathleen Pooler

Neill McKee finds himself penning today’s guest post “Becoming a memoir writer after retiring from another career.” at Kathleen Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey – don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about McKee and his exciting tale “Finding Myself in Borneo; Sojourns in Sabah” https://krpooler.com/

The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence and Calmness by Jonas and Nils Salzgeber Review

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

In the age of the internet and growing technology, authors Jonas and Nils Salzgeber have brought the ancient philosophy of Stoicism to the modern age and have found a way to show readers how to adopt this philosophy to everyday life in their novel, “The Little Book of Stoicism: Timeless Wisdom to Gain Resilience, Confidence and Calmness”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
– Epictetus, Stoic philosopher

Where can you find joy? Gain strength? How should we face our fears? Deal with the death of a loved one? And what about those reoccurring depressing thoughts?

While traditional schooling doesn’t address such questions, it’s exactly what ancient schools of philosophy were all about: They taught you how to live. Even though these schools don’t exist anymore, you and I and most people are in as much need of a philosophy that guides us through life as we ever were.

This compelling, highly actionable guide shows you how to deal more effectively with whatever life throws at you and live up to your best self.

A mix of timeless wisdom and empowering advice, The Little Book of Stoicism will point the way to anyone seeking a calm and wise life in a chaotic world.

The Review

This is one of the most comprehensive and in-depth guides to Stoicism I’ve ever read. Readers will be delighted to read everything from what Stoicism is, the history of the philosophy in our world and over fifty different practices that anyone living the Stoicism philosophy can use in their daily life. They even go in depth into what negative influences often cause people to fall off of the philosophical path of Stoicism.

One of my favorite moments came from the history part of the book. As a history buff myself, it was fascinating to read about all of the infamous philosophers who adopted this viewpoint, most notably Zeno of Citium. The father of Stoicism, this philosopher’s story of moving to Athens, studying under Crates the Cynic, and developed the philosophy many know and practice today. The Ancient Greek world and it’s influence on philosophy has always been a great subject for me to study, and the author’s attention to detail in this arena blended well with the message they were getting across.

The practices the author’s give readers was great to read as well. My favorite would be practice 15: Forget Fame. This practice is so relevant in this age of digital and social media, especially as an author who’s book sales are dependent on being active via social media. While it’s important from a business point of view, from a philosophical viewpoint it makes sense to put what other’s think of you out of your mind, as it limits us and forces us to do things according to other’s standards rather than our own. 

The Verdict

This is a must read for any readers who are fascinated with philosophy and in particular Stoicism. It’s incredibly detailed and delves into every aspect of not only the history of Stoicism, but the practices that will help us stay on that path. It’s a truly fascinating and one of a kind read, so if you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of The Little Book of Stoicism by Jonas and Nils Salzgeber today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Authors

Hey, we’re Nils and Jonas Salzgeber and we’re on our journey to live a great life and become the best versions of ourselves.

And yes, we’re struggling a lot. This is part of the game of life. Just get up, rub off the dust, look ahead and keep on moving.

That’s sort of our motto. You won’t be perfect. Ever. But you can try to be the best you can be. And you certainly can get better at taking the hurdles of life.

Author: Jonas Salzgeber (that’s me)

Author blog: www.njlifehacks.com

Book page: www.njlifehacks.com/the-little-book-of-stoicism/

Excerpt: https://s3.amazonaws.com/njlifehacks/The+Little+Book+of+Stoicism+-+Free+Sample+Practices.pdf

Publisher: Indie

Genre: Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Self-Help

On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other by Stephen Parkes Review

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

Readers get a dark, heartbreaking and emotional roller coaster of a story as the man readers met in The Soldier faces a criminal trial for a crime he committed while in the throws of addiction, and in the process highlights some of our world’s most difficult and inescapable truths in author Stephen Parkes novel “On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other”. Here is the synopsis. 

The Synopsis

The stakes couldn’t be any higher. Stephen Parkes, a former Airborne Ranger and law school graduate, has been charged with a brutal crime. A career prosecutor has made him an offer of thirty years in return for a guilty plea. He has a hanging judge and his own public defender wants him to die in prison. The circumstances have never been grimmer.

So, he decides to take matters into his own hands. He drops more than eight feet into a noose. His heart stops beating. His lungs stop breathing. 

But, somehow, Stephen Parkes lives. 

Fresh off his own gallows, his problems are only beginning. Parkes is as guilty as sin. The case against him is perfect. Undeterred, Parkes fights back, hoping to be set free. The odds against him are impossible.

Set against a background of horrid child abuse, pitiful drug addiction, and brutal crimes, On A Cold Day In Hell provides a scathing indictment of the American judicial system, demonstrates the emptiness of mandatory minimum sentencing, and gives a first-hand look at the consequences of the unthinking cruelty payed out to a minor child at the hands of a Catholic priest. 

Part jailhouse lawyer, part convict and all human, Stephen Parkes stands his ground and makes his own case for freedom, which can only be found On A Cold Day In Hell.

The Review

This was a dark look into the troubled life of Stephen Parkes. Written both eloquently and with wit, the author brings readers into the harsh reality of his life, which many across the world can relate to. A history of abuse, drug addiction and mental health problems plague this man, which turns him to a life of crime. While readers will be able to see that the crimes themselves were inexcusable, the author’s first hand account and painful ordeal showcases a true injustice in our society. Rather than help those suffering with addiction or mental health, it is more common to just throw them in jail with no means of helping or changing their lives around for the better. It showcases a never ending system of violence, abuse and addiction both within and outside of the criminal justice system.

It was interesting to see the perspective of the man underneath the criminal persona given to him in life. A highly intelligent man with a knowledge of the law himself and a former Army Ranger, the hardships and mental strain of childhood trauma and the resulting mental health problems that arose showcase a man divided between himself and the addict that took over his life. It’s a story of fighting for the truth and finding ways to help those who suffer rather than punish and then throw away, forgotten and abandoned as they were in life.

The Verdict

This was a powerful read that any true crime, non fiction and criminal justice/mental health advocate would be interested in. With bits of humor, a use of imagery that really brings the cold reality of life in prison and the affects of abuse/addiction on anyone in this world, and a compelling story that also touches on the struggle with suicidial thoughts that often plague those who have lost all hope, and the need to help those going through that kind of pain. It’s an emotional and heart pounding read that you should check out for yourself, so be sure to read On A Cold Day In Hell: A Legal Thriller Like No Other” by Stephen Parkes today.

Rating: 10/10

The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace by Stephen Parkes Review

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

Author Stephen Parkes takes readers on a grueling, personal journey through his training with the US Army Rangers and the affect it had on his life going forward in the novel, “The Soldier: An Airborne Ranger’s Fall From Grace”. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

2LT Stephen Parkes is about to enroll in a soldier’s school. Between 1977 and 1995 its syllabus killed nine men. Graduation is anything but certain. He grabs his rifle and engages the most brutal fifty-six days of his young life; controlled starvation and sleep deprivation, a hundred pound rucksack and a five hundred mile walk. By parachute, helicopter or fast-moving jet, it’s a character defining journey through dense mountain forests and high desert plains, neck deep in salt water marshes and soaked to the bone in cold open seas. It’s July 1st 1986, welcome to Ranger school. 

On the other side of the world a cold war rages. Minefields, Morlocks and a long way from home, follow Lt. Parkes as he walks combat patrols inside the Korean demilitarized zone. The rules governing the Joint Security Area are clear, but Lt. Parkes has orders to follow. Join him as he breaks every United Nations regulation in the book and invades Panmunjom with a platoon of soldiers packing heavy weapons. From here, Parkes’ character flaws catch up and events grow complicated, grim and more dangerous. 

Recruited into the 75th Ranger regiment, 1LT Parkes arrives at Ft. Benning and learns everything there is to know about mortars, and lies. He gets honest and makes promises. He exits Jumpmaster school with a clean slate bound for the great Northwest and duty with the 2nd Ranger battalion and men of unparalleled principal. Meet Lieutenant Pete, a young officer of uncompromising bearing and unbreakable constitution, and Captain Mike, a soldier destined for greatness on the world’s stage, and LG, perhaps the most dedicated Ranger of all times. But here Parkes does not belong.

The promises he made are broken. His perception of self barely rises to worthless. He seeks that which he thinks he deserves … ugliness. Five years soldiering had seen hardship and risk, but no one had actually fired a weapon at him. All that’s about to change.

The Review

This was a truly gripping story to read. This memoir and true crime style novel focuses on the intense physical and mental toll training in the US Army Rangers can have on an individual. Not only will readers see through the author’s eyes how painful and difficult the journey can be, (from forcing trainees to strip any ranks they’ve earned from their military clothing, throwing mock grenades into cabins, etc), but readers will also see the great deal of mathematics, science and physicality that these officers in training must go through when preparing for their future missions and jumps from high altitudes. 

After leaving school behind, readers are taken to the harsh and tense area between North and South Korea, and the infamous DMZ. Seeing the author’s struggle through addiction while undergoing the grueling training was tough, but also getting to see through the author’s eyes the true nature of military life and the intensity of missions that they undertake was just as exhausting and emotionally driven as anything else. This is the perfect read to showcase the struggles and difficulties military training, and in particular Army Ranger training, can have on individuals and how it affects their lives after service. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel. The author’s personal journey highlights this struggle in a powerful way. While a short read, hearing the author’s tale and getting a glimpse into the life an an Army Ranger was eye opening to say the least. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “The Soldier” by Stephen Parkes today!

Rating: 10/10

You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand Blog Tour & Review

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

One woman’s journey to traverse the highest peaks in all 50 US States leads to a nearly decade’s worth of stories and memories in author Jane T. Bertrand’s You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

ITCHING FOR A CHALLENGE when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

The Review

This was such a unique and inspiring book to read. This nonfiction, sports and senior travel novel showcased not only the sport of high pointing and the various goals, classifications and challenges that go along with it, but it showed the strength and resilience it takes to complete such a task. Despite many challenges and alternate hiking routes/mountains that needed to be taken, the goal was the pursuit of this challenge, and showcased how anyone labeled a senior citizen can still accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. 

Although a fairy short read, the amount of detail and the writing itself was brilliant in this book. Breaking each chapter down by the mountains climbed and the difficulty of the climb itself, to bringing in memories of family and friends, as well as the travels themselves and the companions who joined her, made this not only an inspirational story and unique take on high pointing in general, but a personal story at that. This allows readers to connect with the author in a whole new way, and made this quite an enjoyable experience. 

The Verdict

Overall I loved the tale. A true story of overcoming the odds and adversity as a strong and powerful woman tackles an often overlooked sport and challenges herself to this task, readers who enjoy hiking, high pointing and stories of fighting against all odds will absolutely love this tale. If you haven’t yet, grab your copy of You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America by Jane T. Bertrand today!

Rating: 10/10

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Walnut Park Press (November 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1732847703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1732847705

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Started-after-Highpointing-across-America/dp/1732847703/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20

Itching for a challenge when she turned 60, Jane Bertrand set out to reach the highest point of each state. Her strategic mistake was to start with the easiest ones, leaving the most strenuous for the end of this decade-long quest. She recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to join her in making this the experience of a lifetime.  

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About the Author:  

Jane Trowbridge Bertrand is a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. A Maine native, she moved to New Orleans over 40 years ago where she and her husband Bill raised their children, Katy and Jacob. Her recurrent travel to Africa in connection with international family planning work generated many of the frequent flyer miles that made this highpointing pursuit possible.

(Longer “about” from her website if you prefer:)

Jane Bertrand traces her love of hiking back to Girl Scout Camp Natarswi, located at the foot of Katahdin in Maine, the Northern terminus for the Appalachian trail.

After attending college out of state, she would return annually for her two-week sacrosanct vacation in Maine.  Over the years she would continue to climb Katahdin, first with her sisters, later with her own children, and finally with adult friends who shared her love of the mountain.

Yet not until age 60 did it occur to her to expand her annual expedition up Katahdin to a quest to reach the highpoints of the 50 states. When she started this project of “climbing a mountain in every state,” little did she realize that the Highpointers have a Club, Foundation, website, and annual convention.

During most of her adult life, Bertrand stayed in shape by jogging three times a week, but she was no elite athlete. When at age 60 she began her highpointing pursuit, she got off to a lackluster start, achieving only 11 high points in the first six years, and almost all of those were “easy.” As she advanced to her mid-sixties, the race against time begin. Despite minor setbacks with runner’s knee and bunions, she pushed ahead – her interest in highpointing evolving into an obsession and finally an addiction. As she faced mountains of increasing difficulty – that she had unwisely left to the end – she accelerated her exercise routine in hopes of meeting the challenge.

Initially, she assumed that her full-time job at Tulane University, both teaching classes and traveling to Africa in connection with her international family planning work, would be a deterrent to reaching the highest point of every state. Midway through this journey, she realized it was actually a facilitator, as she traveled through different Delta hubs en route to her work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Over the course of this decade-long pursuit, Bertrand recruited over 50 family members, colleagues, and childhood friends to accompany her on this journey. They ranged in age from 4 months to 71 years. Some she hadn’t seen for over 40 years, others she met on the day they highpointed together. 

 Bertrand initially ruled out any mountain that would involve technical climbing requiring a harness, rope, ice axe, or helmet. But as the remaining mountains on her list increased in difficulty, she had no choice but to bite the bullet and harness up.  Her story describes the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment of pushing harder and reaching further than she expected possible. Yet it also recounts the humbling experience of getting lost more than once and dragging down the final miles, even after successfully summiting one of the hardest mountains – with every muscle in her body screaming “this is why 69-year olds should not be climbing Mt. Hood.”

Jane Bertrand received her B.A. (French) from Brown University in 1971, her PhD (Sociology) from the University of Chicago in 1976, and her MBA from Tulane University in 2001, Bertrand has lived in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband Bill Bertrand (also a Tulane professor, affectionately known as the “Cajun Chef”), where they raised their two children, Katy and Jacob. She has come to love her adopted city: the jazz, the food, the beauty of Spanish moss and tropical plants. She is also a member of the all-female Krewe of Muses, a group that parades every year during Mardi Gras. 


Find Jane Online:

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1785116.Jane_T_Bertrand?from_search=true

 Twitter:  @JaneBertrand8

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

 Website:  https://www.janebertrand.com/

Motivational and Inspirational Books for the New Year



———-Blog Tour Dates

Launch Day – 1/7 -Jane T. Bertrand launches her tour of “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

(interview questions sent; need responses)

Tuesday, January 8th @ Fiona Ingram

Fellow author Fiona Ingram reviews the adventures story of Jane T. Bertrand’s experiences highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Readers won’t be disappointed in Ingram’s review or Bertrand’s memoir!

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 9th @ BOL w/Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto couldn’t wait to get her hands on Jane T. Bertrand’s story about highpointing across America! This busy farmer seldom leaves the farm and enjoyed every moment she experienced reading “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Find out more in her book review at Bring on Lemons today!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 10th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker

Learn more about Jane T. Bertrand as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker at Selling Books. You won’t want to miss this insightful interview about Bertrand and her memoir “You Started What After 60? Highpointing Across America”.

https://www.sellingbooks.com/

Friday, January 11th @ Breakeven Books

Don’t miss a very honest book review about Jane T. Bertrand’s “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

https://breakevenbooks.com/

Monday, January 14th @ Look to the Western Sky with Margo Dill

Author, Editor, and Reviewer Margo Dill shares her thoughts after reading the inspiring memoir “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand.

Wednesday, January 16th @ Author Anthony Avina

Description:Author Anthony Avina reads and reviews “You Started WHAT After 60?” – by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers won’t want to miss this adventurous memoir about highpointing across America.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Friday, January 18th @ BOL w/Michelle DelPonte

Michelle DelPonte offers her point of view after reading “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Find out what this Wisconsin wife, mother, and autism advocate has to say about Bertrand’s recount of her adventures!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 22nd @ Book Santa Fe w/Elizabeth Hansen

Description:Young reader and reviewer Elizabeth Hansen shares her thoughts after reading about Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in “You Started WHAT After 60? Highpointing Across America”

http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

Thursday, January 24th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples

Description:Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples shares her review of “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Readers at Choices will be thrilled by Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America!

http://madelinesharples.com/

Wednesday, January 30th @ To Write or Not to Write with Sreevarsha

Sreevarsha reviews the inspirational book “You Started WHAT After 60?” by Jane T. Bertrand. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about Bertrand’s adventure highpointing across America later in life.

http://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.co.at/

Tuesday, February 5th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Description:Nicole reviews and shares her thoughts after reading the thrilling account of Jane T. Bertrand’s adventures in highpointing across America in “You Started WHAT After 60?”. Join readers at World of My Imagination and find out more about this great read and inspirational author!

https://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com/