Seriously! Are We There Yet?! - Book Review

 

BOOK SUMMARY

"Seriously! Are We There Yet?!" is a personal growth guide and reminder of the joy of living life as it was meant to be. It's a motivational self-help book offering wisdom that's not sugar-coated; rather, it speaks to what is and to objectively seeing things for what they could be in a digestible colorfully uplifting - yet practical - read.

This book - written with a nod to Dr. Seuss - is the perfect gift to give to yourself and to loved ones from age one to 101 (or more). It's the much-needed encouragement to live in the moment and to enjoy the journey with all its winding and bumpy roads.

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Seriously! Are We There Yet?!  by by Paolina Milana & Joe Edwards is an insightful little book about self-reflection; one that prompts us to understand that the experiences we encounter along the journey of our lives are not in vain. Our experiences have helped shape us to become the persons we are today.
  
We tend to spend too much time looking for the next big thing, thinking that until we become superstars or bestselling authors or renowned artists, that's the only time we have 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 in life and be truly fulfilled.
Life is not a race, so slow down and enjoy precious moments, because you only get to live once. So rather than run it like a race, eager to get to the finish line, why not take it slow, savoring every move and turn, turning mistakes into lessons and not regrets, and believing that whatever you're doing right now 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴, no matter how mundane you think it is.

The truth is, life may not be turning out the way you planned it, but even the little that you're doing right now counts. Who, what and where you are right now is exactly who, what and where you should be, now.
    
It's a great graphic book that at first glance seems geared towards kids, but the words in it have never rang truer for all adults. A really quick read too!🔥


GENRE: Graphic Literature/Self-help
COARSE LANGUAGE/GRAPHIC CONTENT: None
MATERIAL CONNECTION: Provided to me by publisher via Netgalley





Interview with Andrea Cannon, Author of 'Climb'

 Nov. 17, 2020

I was privileged to invite Author Andrea Cannon for an interview to discuss her latest book Climb and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!

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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?

Climb tells the story of twelve-year-old Abby Fellows as she struggles with the grief of losing her mother to cancer.

I wrote this book because I wanted to explore the wide range of emotions that can be overwhelming when we are growing up and experiencing tragedy at the same time. 

I see the current trend in bookstores with fantasy and dystopian and sci-fi books, which are great. But I think there is still an audience out there that wants to read realistic fiction - the kind of books I grew up with - like Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?

I guess my target audience is middle-school aged kids, but I like to think this book will appeal to readers of all ages. It explores real emotions and life events that so many people experience.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?

I want my readers to understand that loss and grief and hardship are not the end of their stories. Everyone will go through hard times in their lives, and with loving people around to support them, they will get through it.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Editing. Definitely editing.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?

I think the biggest lesson for me was realizing my own process. I want desperately to be a plotter, but my brain does not cooperate. So I have learned to let my ideas bloom before I start trying to wrestle them into an outline.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  

I absolutely love traditional books - the way they smell and feel in my hands. But an e-reader is beyond convenient. I probably spend equal amounts of time reading both formats.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?

I haven't really found my niche yet. I've tried my hand at lots of genres - children's fiction; romance; literary; short fiction. For now I am going to keep writing where inspiration leads me, and hopefully I'll find my niche in time.

What books and authors have most influenced you?

I am a sucker for classic literature. Mark Twain, George Orwell and Jane Austen are authors that I read a lot. But I also love a lot of current writers, for example Karen McManus and Nora Roberts. I also follow a lot of bloggers that have books coming out.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?

I think the most important thing for people to know about me is that I am a Christian. My faith is the foundation and inspiration of my entire life.

Do you have any more books in the works?

I am currently working on a novel that is a little bit literary, a little bit dystopian, and a lot girl power. It's about knowing what you want and fighting for it, no matter the consequences.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I feel the best way to read reviews - good and bad is with an open mind. Every reader is different, and every person is entitled to his or her opinion.

How can readers get in touch with or follow you (website, personal blog, social media handle, Goodreads)?

Readers can find my short fiction and poetry at ajcannon.medium.com.
I post book reviews and randomness on mywhateverblogsite.wordpress.com.
You can also find me on Goodreads.


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Andrea Cannon is an accountant turned author. She lives in the woods of East Texas with her husband, their dogs, and all the woodland critters. Climb is her first published children's book. 


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Interview with Mike Meier, Author of JoinWith.Me

 Nov 16, 2020

I was privileged to invite Author Mike Meier for an interview to discuss his latest book JoinWith.Me and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!


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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?
JoinWith.Me is a cautionary tale about our increasing fusion with technology as a society. The idea of this book came to me years ago when I was working for an internet marketing company. I was well aware that Google, Facebook, and the like track every keyboard move you make, then sell the data they have collected about you. Thus, I only worked in “incognito” mode in the Firefox browser; cleared the cache and cookies off my computer several times a day; and used a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Once, while working in incognito mode in the Facebook account of a customer, there was a pop-up by Facebook, suggesting that I connect with someone. There was a picture of the Mexican gentleman who had painted my house a few years earlier. We had never communicated over the internet. How is this even possible? At that moment, I felt as if the internet were a living human being that was spying on me. That was when I wrote the first draft of this story.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?
I’m sure everybody has moments when the internet appears overbearing and maybe even overwhelming—pop-up ads that remind you of what you were looking at earlier; YouTube suggestions that are right on point; and websites welcoming you back. That is the target audience for JoinWith.Me: everyone who has the uneasy feeling that this merger of technology with human life may get out of hand.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?
JoinWith.Me is a cautionary tale about our increasing fusion with technology as a society. There may be unintended consequences if we don’t control the technology that surrounds us. That’s why I quote Goethe’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (better known to most Americans as the Mickey Mouse Fantasia story) at the beginning: “Wrong I was in calling Spirits, I avow, For I find them galling, Cannot rule them now.”

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I’m now preparing my next book for publication (Palmetto Publishing, January 2021), “The Love Hex or Nicest Flings in Mexico.” I started that story in the early 1990s. Then life got in the way. Years later, I wrote a little more after the Olympic skier I met on a plane suggested that someone has to die in the story. Off and on I added a few ideas. Several years ago, I sent a draft to my old friend Thomas to hear his opinion. When my regular job came to a standstill with COVID-19, I finally had time to focus on the story and finish it.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?
Absolutely. First of all, I learned that writing a long story is hard work that requires dedication. I have forgone many events and social activities to concentrate on writing (and rewriting) JoinWith.Me. It took me more than a year. As for what I have learned about myself…well, I never thought I could do it. I completely lacked the confidence until I started. What helped me a lot was to frequently request criticism. Frequent criticism is crucial to writing a story that others can follow and enjoy. After all, a story is written for an audience. For example, the original ending of JoinWith.Me was much more downbeat, but each critique I received suggested that the audience would not accept that. So I changed the ending about a dozen times until I found one that is acceptable to me and the audience (I hope).

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?
I am old-fashioned in many ways. Thus, I refer to myself as a dinosaur. I do read eBooks occasionally, but I strongly prefer traditional paper because I can mark it up, reread something, or just fold the page where I’ll continue next time.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?
I don’t have a niche genre (yet). I create stories. The stories I have completed so far are in different genres (Sci-Fi, Comedy, Thriller), but all have a dramatic story at the core. If I were forced to pick a genre, it would probably be “dramatic stories with occasional humor sprinkled in.”

What books and authors have most influenced you?
Number one on that list is “The Tripods” trilogy of John Christopher (Sci-Fi). I read those books when I was very young (and actually reread them not too long ago). But I also enjoy dramatic stories that are at times humorous (such as Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”... even though it was decades ago that I read it, I can still cite from it).

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?
That there is a lesson for every aspiring writer in the fact that I finished JoinWith.Me: If I can do it, anybody can. Few people have faced as many obstacles in finishing a book (or story). If you want to put a story to paper (or computer), let nothing hold you back.

Do you have any more books in the works?
Yes, my next book, a Rom-Com, will be published in January, “The Love Hex or Nicest Flings in Mexico,” based on a screenplay I wrote. I’ll probably turn some of my other screenplays into books.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
That’s a fact of life—we have to deal with the opinions of the people who surround us. Sometimes those opinions are negative (for whatever reason). When I receive negative criticism, I try to figure out if there is something I can do better. Later I may decide to discard the criticism. I’m glad I carefully reviewed the first critique of the first draft of JoinWith.Me from “the Dr. Phil of script analysts,” Mike Cheda. It was only one paragraph, but he basically told me that my protagonist was such as wuss that nobody would want to read about him. I took his suggestion to heart and completely rewrote the first draft. I’m glad I did.

What is the cover of the book about?
The cover represents a stylized siphonophore, the Hula Skirt Siphonophore to be exact. In fact, “Siphonophora” was the original title of the story, but most people could not pronounce or understand it. Siphhh…what? So I changed it to something simpler, JoinWith.Me, just like the creature’s website in the story. I searched for a living organism that could symbolize the future of humanity. I first found slime mold, single-celled organisms that congregate and form a single body. By the way, slime mold is smarter than you think; it can move toward more fertile ground, move out of the sun, and grow back together if separated. But slime mold does not sound very exciting as the future of humanity. Then I found the siphonophores, sea creatures that consist of other animals that connect to function as a single organism—a so-called colonial organism. Curiously, a siphonophore does not have a brain. It is largely unknown how they function. I just added an electronic circuit around it on the cover to allude to the fusion of biology with technology.

How can readers get in touch with or follow you (website, personal blog, social media handle, Goodreads)? 
I create a separate website for every story I finish, and there is always an email link. For example, https://JoinWithMe.tv has a link to my email.

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Mike Meier grew up in a blue-collar housing project in Germany. On his own since his teens, he has lived in several different countries, including Argentina and Japan, and has worked jobs such as washing dishes, repairing bicycles, and painting homes. When he is not writing books or award-winning screenplays, you’ll find him playing Latin and Flamenco guitar in the Washington, DC area. He holds a master’s degree in political science, as well as a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws. Mystery is in Mike Meier’s blood—his grandfather was the 1930s traveling magician and fortune-teller known as Wladi-Kami.

Amazon/Bookstore Link: https://amzn.to/35CrdBP

Video Links:
Trailer 1:
https://youtu.be/-phCm-voV9g
Trailer 2: https://youtu.be/-phCm-voV9g





Interview with Trish Ahjel Roberts, Author of 'Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings'

 Nov 8, 2020

I was privileged to invite Author Trish Ahjel Roberts for an interview to discuss her latest book Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!


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What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?

"Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings" is a roadmap to a self-actualized life. I started writing the book as part of a wellness retreat I was planning. I named the retreat "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" because I love the butterfly's story of transformation. Before you can get outside the butterfly's chrysalis, or cocoon, you have to imagine life on the other side. I wanted to teach my retreat participants how to get out of their own way to become more joyful and fulfilled in their lives, like butterflies. I actually woke up in the middle of the night with ten of the chapter concepts. The retreat ended up getting cancelled because of COVID, but my signature work was born.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?

Anyone can benefit from the wisdom in the book, but it is my unapologetic love letter to Black women. It will appeal to women who are looking for healing, inspiration, personal growth and happiness. I really hope that means all women.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?

I want my readers to know that we are the architects of our own lives. Many times we feel controlled by circumstances, but when we look closer, we find options. I want my readers to find joy, fulfillment and ultimately, freedom.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I had to relive difficult times in my life in order to share my story. Some of those writing sessions were really draining, but it was important to let my readers know that, like them, I've been through stuff. Ultimately it's my most challenging experiences that have helped me expand my knowledge and compassion.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?

Because this is my first memoir, it's really allowed me to stand in my truth and authenticity. I've learned how courageous I can be. I found my voice.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  

I love paperback books and audiobooks. I'm not a fan of electronic books at all, although I appreciate that they don't leave a carbon footprint. I also don't really like hard covers. I like my books soft and squishy! I'm working on the audiobook for "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" now. I can't wait to release it.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?

I'm an independent author, so I've had the luxury of writing in different genres. My current title is a self-help memoir, but my first book was a romantic drama. If I could choose a name for my genre, I would say "inspirational." Whether I write self-help, memoir, young adult or adult fiction, or even a cookbook. My goal is to inspire my readers.

What books and authors have most influenced you?

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Alex Haley, "Beloved" by Toni Morrison, and "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston were a few that had a big impact on me. There are so many more. I love to read. I could go on forever.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?

It's never to late to change your life. I quit my job after twelve years as a financial advisor and launched my business to write, coach and teach yoga and meditation full-time. Even if it's baby steps, never stop working toward your dreams.

Do you have any more books in the works?

I'm releasing "12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey" on 11/11/2020. I'm working on two offerings for 2021: the self-help memoir, "Raising Caterpillars: A Black Woman's Guide to Inspired Parenting" and the young adult novel, "Butterfly Squad."

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I definitely read my book reviews. When I published my first book back in 2015 most of my reviews were 4- and 5-star, but I got one 3-star review. I didn't like it, but it wasn't really bad. I've never gotten anything lower than that, so I'm grateful. "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" currently has a 4.9 star rating on Amazon. I'm really proud of that. I also got a 5-star review from Indies Today. When I get great reviews and compliments, I accept them with grace, gratitude and honor for my many teachers.

Your first book was under the name "Trish Ahjel" and your new book is "Trish Ahjel Roberts." Why the change?

Using my full name is part of my own personal growth. When I wrote my first novel, I used my middle name to create some space between me and my role as a corporate employee. By the time I wrote "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis," I had made the decision to work for myself, find my freedom and stand in my truth with my whole name. I'm so grateful

I see you're a blogger. What do you like best about blogging?

I love blogging because it gives me the opportunity to inspire folks on a weekly basis, and it's always current. Either I'm discussing relevant topics in the news, or I'm writing about events in my life. At the end, there's always inspiration. Words are so important.  We all need to be encouraged and inspired, especially during difficult times.


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Trish Ahjel Roberts is a blogger, self-actualization coach, yoga and meditation instructor, reiki practitioner, retreat organizer and founder of HoneyButterflyz Wellness & Transformation. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the Metropolitan College of New York and an MBA from Long Island University. She has ten years of Buddhist study at Kadampa Meditation Center in Atlanta, GA and twenty years of yoga experience. She lives with her daughter and their dog in Atlanta, GA. She believes movement and nature are therapy and loves hiking, running and hot yoga. https://honeybutterflyz.com. 


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