Irene Weinberg Author of They Serve Bagels in Heaven Interview

Author Irene Weinberg is taking her memoir “They Serve Bagels in Heaven” on the virtual road with My Book Tour. eBook Review Gal is participating in the tour and we’re pleased to share Irene’s author interview here!

Please tell us about “They Serve Bagels in Heaven” 

Irene Weinberg is the author of They Serve Bagels in Heaven, a 5-star rated memoir filled with humor, love and narrative flair. As Irene chronicles her healing journey from devastating loss to a renewed sense of inner strength, spiritual wisdom and passion for life following the death of her husband Saul, she also shares beautiful and important insights about healing both in heaven and on Earth. Unlike a textbook, a fantasy novel, or even a guidebook, They Serve Bagels in Heaven is a love story that spans generations, filled with thoughtful words and thoughtful thoughts that will answer your questions about what the afterlife is like, what is a soul mate, do we each have a soul purpose, how does heaven handle evil, have we lived other lives besides this one, what goes on in heaven between lives, and why each life matters. This story is a truly moving experience.

Your book is deeply personal. What made you decide to share your story with readers? 

After seventeen years of marriage, my beloved husband Saul died next to me in a tragic car accident. Before, during and after the accident, I, who did not believe in any notions of spirituality, received amazing, profound messages that contained a Directive from heaven, opening me to a profound Spiritual Awakening.

Two months after the accident, I found myself in a gallery with the medium John Edward. The incredible messages John channeled from my husband Saul to me included information that only Saul and I shared. This amazing experience inspired me to work with another medium who also channeled information from Saul to me, but this time, Saul answered questions I asked about some of his experiences in heaven, details of riveting past lives we had shared together, and gave me important insights into the cosmic importance of our everyday lives. This fascinating, exciting information prompted me to share the wisdom and insights I was learning from Saul with others, leading to my soul purpose, which was to write a book that would help people know that we do go on after death, that there is purpose to our travails while we are here on Earth – and also, as I was being pulled through the shattered window of my totaled car that night, I received the profound message to “be loving and kind to everyone.”

What would you like readers to take away from “They Serve Bagels in Heaven”? 

The sudden car accident, which left my husband instantly dead next to me taught me that I have control over absolutely nothing in my life except my attitude in dealing with whatever life hands me. Before the accident, I had a lot of control issues. After the accident, I let most of them go and I’ve continued to let them go as the years pass by. As the EMT pulled me through the window of my car, I remember thinking “I will get through this somehow, because I need to be a role model for my son. He needs to know that you can get “hit by a grenade” in life and keep on going.” Again, it’s all about your attitude.

Writing the book and receiving some harsh skepticism helped me to learn to hold on to “my truth” and to stop worrying about what others think. To this day, there are people in my life who are uncomfortable and skeptical about me, and my story. It is very challenging not to allow these people to intimidate me and for me, not to judge them. Now I see they are some of my best teachers, as they remind me to stay conscious, empowered and to hold on to “my truth.”

There were people in my life who were wonderful to me when I was suffering, but then turned on me when things started to get better. I realized then, that some people enjoy others’ suffering because they can feel powerful and become jealous when things start going well. So I have learned to BLESS AND RELEASE these toxic people from my life. (To be loving and kind to everyone, also includes me).

Before the accident, I usually took “the high road” due to the promptings of my gut; I now take “the high road” because I KNOW there is karma. I KNOW we go on, and I KNOW that certain people are placed in my life to help me learn certain lessons. I do not want to come back with lessons still to be learned. This knowledge motivates me to live consciously and to strive to “be clean” in my relationships. I have learned to be conscious about what I say and how I behave with people, because it may be our last interaction in this physical life. I have seen too many people distraught over their “shuddas, wuddas, and cuddas,” after their loved one is deceased.

What do you think makes your book different from others like it? 

Unlike a textbook, a fantasy novel or even a guidebook, They Serve Bagels in Heaven is a love story that spans generations, filled with thoughtful words and thoughtful thoughts meant to be savored.  In it the reader will find answers to questions about what heaven is like, what’s the deal with soul mates, do we each come here with a soul purpose, how does heaven handle evil and have we lived other lives besides this one we are living.  All of this wisdom is woven into a love story that is a fascinating, easy read. And it is a true story! 

How has your life changed since you’ve shared your story with others? 

Before the accident, I usually took “the high road” due to the promptings of my gut; I now take “the high road” because I KNOW there is karma. I KNOW we go on, and I KNOW that certain people are placed in my life to help me learn certain lessons. I do not want to come back with lessons still to be learned. This knowledge motivates me to live consciously and to strive to “be clean” in my relationships!

I am no longer afraid of death because I know I will cross over and continue on. Instead I am now much more passionate about LIFE.   I want to learn the lessons I came here to learn, stay detached from toxic people, and consciously be loving and kind to others and also to myself, so that I can enjoy every morsel if my life to the last drop! 

How can readers connect with you? 

My web site is www.theyservebagelsinheaven.com . 

What are you currently working on? 

I just finished recording the audio cd of my book, which can be found on Audible.com.  I am being interviewed on radio shows and by blogs, I am doing live presentations about my story, I am enjoying meeting people at book fairs and library events, and more.  I am also a businesswoman and a doting grandmother! 

What advice would you give aspiring authors? 

Follow your truth and write.  It is your own individual journey. Stay open to the possibilities! 

 

ABOUT IRENE WEINBERG:

They Serve Bagels in Heaven: One couple’s story of love, eternity, and the cosmic importance of everyday life begins with the amazing messages Irene Weinberg received from heaven during the tragic car accident that took her husband Saul’s life. Irene resides in Northern New Jersey, where she oversees business interests. She is a mother, a stepmother and a grandmother. The author invites readers to connect with her on her website.

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

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They Serve Bagels in Heaven by Irene Weinberg Book Tour

Author Irene Weinberg is taking her inspirational memoir “They Serve Bagels in Heaven” on the road with My Book Tour. Irene will be giving away an audio copy of her book and a $50 Amazon gift card.  The tour will begin on May 22 and end on May 26. Hosts are encouraged to sign up for a tour stop here. 

Review of Crazy is My Superpower by AJ Mendez Brooks

Retired WWE champion AJ Mendez Brooks has written a book that is less about her WWE career and much more about her dysfunctional childhood/adolescence. Like her mother, AJ was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of eighteen. She relates a depressingly sad story of poverty, abuse and neglect, yet manages to do it with much snark and humor.

The main focus of this book is AJ’s troubled childhood. And troubled, it was. I grew increasingly furious with her selfish, immature parents, and what they had subjected their three children to. Having had the misfortune to endure a similar childhood myself, I could certainly empathize. I liked that AJ took her troubles and, rather than turning them inward, she worked hard to achieve what she had set out to do at the tender age of twelve.

I wish the author had toned down the humor and snark several notches. She spent too much time cracking jokes and rambling on about various things that were not quite pertinent to the story. The book does become repetitive after a while. Readers are hit over the head repeatedly hearing about how tough AJ was and is, and how awful her childhood was. Too much is sometimes not a great thing and this is the case with this book.

There was one minor thing I’m confused about. Her bio (at the end of the book) states that she “studied film and television production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts before they politely asked her to go away.” Yet, she talks specifically about her inability to continue paying tuition and having to drop out. Clearly not the same and clearly another attempt to inject humor where none was really necessary.

Overall, this is a good book if you look at it as a success story – a young girl who worked hard, stayed strong and against all odds managed to accomplish what she set out to do. I like to think this was AJ’s intention. I could have definitely done without the slapstick comedy and I’m-a-big-tough-girl routines, however.

4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

 

Review of The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy

Writer and storyteller, Tara Clancy writes about her life growing up in Queens during the late 1980s. As a child of divorced parents, she was raised in three separate and very eBook Review Gal Book Review of The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancydifferent home environments, yet seems to have adjusted to it all quite well.

As a native New Yorker, from Brooklyn, I was excited to receive this book. I couldn’t wait to begin reading. I too grew up around an interesting cast of characters and was anxious to hear how Ms. Clancy’s life compared to mine. Unfortunately, as I began reading I became less and less enthusiastic.

Although the book’s cover calls The Clancys of Queens “an electric, one-of-a-kind memoir”, I found very little electricity within its pages. I felt as if I were reading a young girl’s diary where nothing of any great significance ever happened. Truthfully, I grew bored quickly. The book’s blurb was much more compelling than the book itself.

I found it surprising that Tara Clancy writes a brief passage closer to the end of the book about dating a girl in college (dismissing it as just something girls do at some point), falling in love with said girl and then coming out to her parents, yet this isn’t even hinted at in the book’s blurb. I was curious as to why she chose to keep this part of her life so low key.

I kept waiting for the parts where Ms. Clancy “captures- in inimitable prose – the rarely heard voices of New York’s working-class women,” but it never seemed to materialize. No one really stood out to me.

As much as I hate giving unenthusiastic reviews for any author, I really can’t recommend this book.

 

3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

eBook Review Gal received a complimentary ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Review of Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Cover PhotoeBook Review Gal recently hosted a stop on the Crowning Glory Book Tour and decided to go back and read Ms. Harshman’s book. Here’s the review:

 

How many of us have fantasized about being someone else, even if it’s only for a short while? Or maybe wandered into one of those hair places at the mall and thought, “if only I had the nerve!” That’s exactly what Stacy Harshman did and she’s documented her experience in her memoir Crowning Glory.

Ms. Harshman’s “social experiment” takes place ten years ago when she was in her early thirties and living in NYC. What better place to conduct her research than in a huge city filled with a variety of interesting personalities? Yet, Crowning Glory is much more than a social experiment. Crowning Glory chronicles a young woman’s struggle with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and self-esteem issues. For those reasons, this book will undoubtedly appeal to a wide range of readers.

As I read Crowning Glory, one thought kept running through my head. This woman has to have guts to pour her heart and soul out for everyone to read. Just the idea that she dreamed up this experiment and saw it through to the end is commendable. I know I couldn’t do it. Ms. Harshman and I have a lot in common and I know I’d never have been able to put myself out there like she did.

Stacy’s writing is conversational, engaging and genuine. She includes the good with the bad. Not everyone reacted warmly to her wig-changing antics, yet she leaves nothing out. She cleverly injects humor and she shares some of her heartbreak as well. Her bipolar ups and downs are raw and real. Anyone who suffers from this debilitating mental illness knows it’s a daily struggle to keep the mood swings in check. Adding a project like this to the mix had to be terrifying.

I enjoyed Crowing Glory so much that I was able to breeze through it in a day. I would have to say that it’s much more than a memoir. It’s a riveting book about finding oneself, living with our faults, celebrating our victories and keeping our (wig-adorned) heads above water.

 

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

 

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Tour Spotlight and Giveaway

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Tour Banner

Crowning Glory by Stacy Harshman Book Cover PhotoPaperback: 276 pages

Publisher: Andarina Publishing (June 26, 2016)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0997368810

ISBN-13: 978-0997368819

 

ABOUT CROWNING GLORY:

In this beautifully written, heartfelt, witty, and life-affirming memoir, Stacy Harshman tracks her amazing experiment. By wearing dramatic, identically styled but differently colored wigs for weeks in New York City, Stacy Harshman learns more about who she is and what she can find in herself as a redhead, a raven-haired goth, a brunette, and a blonde. 

After hiring a spy to document how people responded to her, Stacy realizes how her hair is woven into every aspect of her life: her self-image, her depression, and her relationships. Changing her hair changed how she approached all of them. 

By turns rapturous, rueful, and riotous, this wise and funny book charts the story of one woman’s way to shake it up, change it all, and discover something new about herself.

 

PURCHASE CROWNING GLORY ON AMAZON.COM

 

Stacy Harshman Author Photo 1ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN

Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm.  After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.

Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.

Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.

Stacy invites readers to connect with her on her website and on Facebook.

 

STACY IS GIVING AWAY THESE AWESOME PRIZES TO THREE LUCKY WINNERS:

$25 Amazon Gift Card
One Signed Copy of “Crowning Glory
One Piece of Original Artwork *see the photo below

ENTER TO WIN!

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Review of Notes From a Very Small Island by Anthony Stancomb

eBook Review Gal Review of Notes From a Very Small Island by Anthony Stancomb

 

After the author sells his successful London art business, he and his wife Ivana (of Croatian decent) decide to make a drastic change by moving to the tiny Croatian island of Vis. They purchase a villa, and with the proceeds from the sale of their business, they’re able to renovate their new home. Along the way, they meet some very eccentric, but mostly likable islanders who are quite vocal about the recent war and other matters (mostly political).

Notes From a Very Small Island is a clever blend of personal memoir, travel guide and quirky observations about life and politics. A great deal of the book centers around Croatia’s rich, often troubled and ancient history – something I had little knowledge of prior to reading this book, yet I found it fascinating. The author’s descriptions of the island of Vis were vivid enough for me to have a real sense of what it’s like to live there.

Anthony Stancomb has a humorous, interesting, unique and ever so slightly snarky style of writing. He seems to be a man who sees humor in almost any situation, which makes for entertaining reading. I wondered what Ivana thought of some of his descriptions of her and her mishaps – in particular her white dress incident. I can only assume she’s an understanding and devoted wife. Although, there were times when she let him have it right back when it was necessary, which I also enjoyed.

Adding a “cast of characters” to the story was a genius move on the author’s part. It provides the opportunity to see things from a variety of perspectives. Dario the radio show host and Karmela the housekeeper were two of my favorites. The ending is lovely, hopeful and positive. I get a sense that there are still more stories to be told here. If the author decides to write another follow-up novel I’d read it!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

 

eBook Review Gal Book Review of Notes From a Very  Small IslandAbout Anthony Stancomb

Many dream about upping sticks and leaving the humdrum of urban living for a new life of blue skies, warm sun and sparking seas – so for Anthony and Ivana Stancomb, moving from Fulham to the island of Vis, the remotest island off the coast of Croatia, was an easy enough decision. However, fitting in with not the friendliest of islands, was one of the hardest things they’d ever had to do, and it took time to win over their new community.

Under a Croatian Sun takes the reader on a journey to a bizarre, ramshackle village by the water – a place defined by its colorful and often tragic history, its unique café culture, its fishing tradition and its potent wine.

It traces their transformation from foreigners to islanders against a backdrop of feuding families, fearsome grandmothers, star-cross’d lovers, mafia-run night clubs, and the establishment of an island cricket team. A warming and amusing account of how home can be wherever you make it.

Review of Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte

Everyone has heard the warning about taking candy from strangers: Don’t do it. Strangers can be weird, devious and even downright dangerous. But is that true for all strangers? Of course not. After all, a person is only a stranger to us simply because we don’t know them, at least not yet. But what if we looked at “strangers” as people who have the ability to transform, enlighten and even entertain us? That’s what is at the heart of Margaret Schulte’s book. When you view the lives, experiences and stories of the people you meet every day as though it were candy you can begin to interact with other people in an entirely new and wonderful way.

Strangers Have the Best Candy by Margaret Meps Schulte

Strangers Have the Best Candy details some funny, touching and heartwarming stories of the people the author has come into contact with throughout her travels – simply because she was open to listening. I especially enjoyed the sweet way she recalled the road trip she took with her special needs brother. I also loved that the author mentions how people come into our lives right at the time we need them most. Call it kismet, serendipity or just plain coincidence, but it happens time and again and there’s a reason for it.  Margaret Schulte’s book is full of these uplifting tales.

Ms. Schulte clearly lives an unusual and nomadic lifestyle. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t put her methods of taking “candy” from strangers into action. As long as we keep ourselves open to learning from others, even in our own neighborhoods, we can learn a great deal. I highly recommend reading this charming and unique book. It made me want to find out more about the author and read more of her stories. It also made me want to go out and start conversations with complete strangers.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Interview with Frank Kusy Author of Rupee Millionaires

eBook Review Gal recently had the pleasure of chatting with accomplished author, Frank Kusy. Frank has over 15 books under his belt, and available on Amazon and elsewhere. His highly popular novel, Rupee Millionaires, is a favorite among readers and has earned him a great deal of positive reviews on Amazon. Frank shares some great information and advice in his interview. 

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Frank Kusy Author Photo

In your own words, please tell us about your book:

The idea for Rupee Millionaires came to me just as I was about to become one.

I was sitting at the foot of a cockroach-infested sink in a third-class rail compartment in India, and chanting with one thought: ‘I came to India to check out Buddhism and ended up making lots of money instead. What’s that all about?’

Along with that thought came another. ‘I’ve got eight years of diaries and tape transcripts spanning the whole period of the yuppie ‘90s – a time capsule of when “Greed was Good”, if you like. Surely there must be a book in there somewhere?’

Rupees has gone through several incarnations over the course of twelve long years. It started out as a first person diary – ditched when a professional scriptwriter said ‘I learnt more about you in a 30-second phone conversation, Frank, than I did from reading the whole of your book.’ Then it went up on Authonomy (the Harper Collins website for aspiring writers) as a third person novel. That worked out better…until I started getting comments that it was too “real” to be fiction. Finally, about eighteen months ago, I plucked up my courage and reposted it on Authonomy as a first person ‘warts and all’ memoir. To my great surprise, that worked best of all.

Memoirs are tricky things though. Especially when half the characters in them are frauds, villains or drug dealers. Best case scenario: none of them get to read it – they’re either dead or banged up for life. Worst case scenario: they all get to read it and they’re queuing up to put contracts out on you. But I don’t care. When the truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction, you’ve got to print the truth, haven’t you?

Rupee Millionaires by Frank Kusy

Do you have a favorite character from any of your books? 

Kevin. The character of Kevin – the guy who should never have gone to India, who was attacked by everything there (pigs, dogs, beggars, even holy men) – was so wonderfully over the top that I spent most of my first trip to India in 1985 observing and taping him. The result was my first and (to date) most commercially successful book, ‘Kevin and I in India’.

As a travel writer, how have your travel experiences contributed to your writing?

All my travel experiences have made their way into my books, notably ‘Rupee Millionaires’:

I shut my eyes and inhaled the pungent aromas of stale piss, rotting fruit, dung, and decay, over-laden (just) by the sweet fragrances of rose, sandalwood, and frangipani. It was a heady, intoxicating mix and could belong to only one country: India. My ears welcomed the distinct sounds: the jingling bicycle bells, the hooting rickshaws, the blaring taxis, and the collective roar of a thousand voices shouting at the same time. Bullock drivers demanded space, Indian housewives bargained over vegetables, touts and moneychangers haggled with tourists, and every few seconds someone wandered up to enquire, ‘Hashish? What you want? Anything possible, Mister. Change dollar? You remember me? Wot is my nem? What country you? Why you no speak me? You no like India? Why not?’

The syrup of India flowed over and around me, and I became one with the din and the smells, absorbed into the vast, heaving melting pot that was Main Bazaar. Overhead, far beyond the impossible spaghetti junction of cables and wiring, scores of wild kites soared in ever-widening circles, their distant shrieks faint over the honk and blare of the traffic below.

‘It’s mad, it’s bad, and very, very real,’ I informed Spud, leaning in to yell in his ear. ‘No escape possible, and right in your face!’

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

Yes, ever since I was eight and penned my first book ‘Jessie the Cat’. Even my mum liked it.

Where do your story ideas come from?

Most of my material has come from diaries kept down the course of 30 years travelling. But nowadays, as I’m branching out into fiction, most of my ideas are…er…coming to me in the gym, usually on the cross trainer.

You write for adults, as well as for children. Do you enjoy one over the other?

A big publishing house wrote of my children’s book, ‘Ginger the Gangster Cat’ – “too adult for children, and too childlike for adults’…not realizing that it had been written by a 6 year old inside a 60 year old body. I loved writing the Ginger books, and was surprised when so many children enjoyed them. I guess that’s a big argument for a writer never growing up. But on the whole, I prefer writing for adults, they tend to give better reviews!

What do you think makes a good story?

Hmm…that’s an interesting question. I guess a good story should have a clear narrative arc – beginning, middle and end – and you should care about the characters. A cliffhanger or big question mark at the end is a big bonus, the reader should be left thinking.

Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?

Unfortunately, not many. I’ve been mainstream published back in the 80s with my first book ‘Kevin and I in India’, and having all the marketing taken care of for you was wonderful, all I had to do were a few book signings and radio interviews. Nowadays, the writer has to be skilled at self-marketing to get anywhere – Facebooking, tweeting, social networking, blogging, and regular free/discount price promotions. It’s a time-consuming business, and takes dedication.

What are some of your methods for self-promotion?

Regular Facebook posts – I rotate my five books so as not to bore people – and of course tweets, which I still have to get the hang of! I also offer my books at a discounted 99c bargain price every few months to gain them visibility. Big mailing lists like BookBub and EReader News Today are key to a book’s success in the present market, I use them whenever I can.

What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a bit weird. I really enjoy playing bridge with little old ladies, and I spend at least an hour a day down at the gym watching a pointless game show on TV called ‘Deal or No Deal’. You can’t believe how much enjoyment I derive from watching someone opening random boxes for an hour, hoping that the last one will have a quarter of a million pounds in it!

Oh, and I do a lot of Buddhist chanting and go to regular meetings. They’re a fun bunch of people.

Who would you say has been a major influence in your life? (writing or otherwise)

My biggest influence was my mother. She brought me up single-handed when my dad died when I was two.  She read and helped with the first draft of Rupees,  which is dedicated to her, and then very sadly and traumatically she died on my wedding day. Everything I am, I owe to her.

The second major influence was an ex-army colonel turned Buddhist called Richard Causton. Tall, dignified and charismatic, he was the only man I have truly respected and the main reason I became a Buddhist.

In terms of writing,  I was eight when I first read Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, and I was so besotted with it that I wrote a sequel called Toad’s Dilemma (yes, really). The character of Toad – fat, pompous, vainglorious and Micawberish in the extreme – has always appealed to me since I am none of these things (except fat) yet somehow wish that I were. A friend sent me a birthday card recently, which said ‘Frank was always aware of his alter ego’. It had a picture of me juxtaposed against Ginger the Gangster Cat … Ginger is my interpretation of Toad! 

Do you use friends, family members or acquaintances as character models?

ALL my friends and family members, and quite a few acquaintances, have made their way into my books as either characters and character models. I’m far more comfortable writing non-fiction and am notorious for hiding my cassette-recorder under the table and taping my friends for new material for future stories. The only truly ‘invented’ characters I’ve written have been Ginger – who is an amalgam of all the bad-boy rescue cats I’ve had in the past (absolute terrors, all of them!) and his precious Persian pussycat girlfriend, Madame Frou-Frou. They collide in my maddest book, ‘Ginger the Buddha Cat.’

How do you deal with criticism?

I’m getting better at it, but it still hurts when someone reads a page or two of my books and leaves a nasty one-star review on Amazon like ‘boring, boring, boring’. Don’t they know that we writers bleed? But come on, even JK Rowling and Stephen King get these reviews, and much much worse, so I try to move on.

What types of books do you like to read?

I like books that make me laugh or think, preferably both. I read a book called ‘Lamb’ recently (by Christopher Moore) which really fit the bill, and I still return to old favourites like ‘Three Men in a Boat’ and ‘Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse for (respectively) fun and contemplation.

What would readers be surprised to know about you?

Not much really. My life is laid on the line, warts and all, in my books – particularly the opening story of my short story collection ‘He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Buddha.’

My wife says I have no shame.

If you could spend the day with a famous author (past or present) who would it be?

Jerome K. Jerome. He is one funny guy, and the reason I became a diarist.

How would you spend the day together?

The funniest episode in his ‘Three Men in a Boat’ book is when he transports a very old and very smelly lump of cheese from one London rail station to another. I would love to recreate that with him!

How can readers connect with you? 

Facebook is best, I’m on there pretty much 24/7 – mainly on the ‘We Love Memoirs’ FB group page.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Hmm….don’t write just about what you think is interesting/funny, take time to show your work to others – not just close family and friends – but writer’s groups and websites. One website I have used to great advantage is Harper Collins’s ‘Authonomy.com’. All my books have been through the mill there, and I’ve made some great friends.

Above all, keep writing – use your knockbacks as fuel to make your writing better, there is a great book in everyone somewhere!

Thanks for chatting with eBook Review Gal! We appreciate it 😉

My pleasure, eBook Review Gal, thank you so much for having me!

Rupee Millionaires is available at online book retailers

Review of Finding Me by Michelle Knight


Finding Me is an unnerving and unforgettable memoir by Michelle Knight. In Finding Me, Michelle shares her childhood abuse, her homelessness, her kidnapping and her eventual escape from Ariel Castro.

Why are some people’s lives so difficult while others’ seem to be so easy? That was the question Michelle Knight asked herself and God over and over again.Finding Me, by Michelle Knight

Michelle’s physical, emotional and sexual abuse started at the hands of her family when she was just a young child. As a teenager Michelle ran away, choosing to live underneath a bridge in a box rather than at home. However, when Michelle became pregnant and had a son, she had no choice but to allow her mother to babysit while she searched for a job. It was when Joey was under her mother’s “care” that social services stepped in and removed Michelle’s son from their home. It broke Michelle’s heart to lose the only person she truly loved,  and the only one who loved her unconditionally.

In Finding Me Michelle Knight tells the story of how Ariel Castro kidnapped her. At the time of her kidnapping, Michelle was distraught and exhausted. She had been walking for a long time in the heat trying to  reach the destination that was set up by social services to see her son. She began to panic when she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to make her appointment in time. Ariel Castro offered to drive her so that she wouldn’t miss seeing her son, and since he was the father of her friend, Michelle accepted. He asked Michelle if she thought Joey might like having a puppy. Michelle wanted to give her son a surprise, so she allowed Ariel Castro to coax her into his home. As soon as she entered his home, however, Michelle found herself being shoved into a locked room. It was with a heavy heart that Michelle realized that her being there had nothing to do with choosing a puppy. But what Michelle didn’t realize was that she was about to become a sex slave and be tortured for eleven years, by a sadistic monster.

During Michelle’s captivity  two more girls were brought into Ariel Castro’s home and chained. Michelle tried to comfort them even though she herself many times felt like just giving up and dying. It was the hope of possibly being able to see and hold her son again that gave her the strength and endurance to fight to stay alive.

I found Michelle’s story so disturbing that I had to put the book down several times. It was heartbreaking to read about a caring young woman who was made to suffer horrific abuse, just because a man thought it was his right to inflict harm upon her.

In 2013 all three girls were rescued. Michelle Knight realizes that she will never be able to forget her past, but she is determined not to allow the abuse that she had suffered to define her. Michelle feels that she has been saved to be a voice for those suffering in captivity and for their grieving families. Her message is clear,  keep looking, never give up, and don’t lose hope.

I highly recommend giving this memoir a read. Michelle’s message should not be taken lightly. Anyone can become a victim, no one is immune, so stay alert.

5 out of 5 stars, Review by Peg Glover