La Vie En Rose by Susie Kelly

 

Thoroughly entertaining observations about life in France.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a real fan of Susie Kelly’s style of writing I couldn’t resist downloading this book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription, and was not disappointed.

Yet again she managed to entertain me thoroughly with a completely new selection of her blog posts written about her observations on life in France. I have to say right now, if you are thinking of moving to France, or are coming on holiday here, this is essential preparation reading, I kid you not!

As an expat, living life day to day in France I could immediately laugh, agree, and sometimes commiserate on Susie’s reflections on the way ‘real life’ is over here. Yes, it is wonderful, no I would never go back, however, sometimes the ‘French way’ of life and doing things is totally mystifying.

One lovely observation I had to agree on is that it is rare to see a child misbehaving, or a parent rising their voice to them, they seem to know what is expected of them from an early age, and this is lovely to observe.

Some of her comments on shops, their opening times, and repair policies couldn’t help but make me smile, yes you get used to life here, but every so often some things do seem a little strange – to say the least.

There are so many interesting topics to read about, and on a personal note, I have to thank her for giving an explanation to something I have seen many times, yet never used, in the last chapter. At least if I have to use one in future I will know what to do, and if you want to know what it is, then read the book – you will not be disappointed!

A thoroughly entertaining book which captured me from the moment I opened it, until the very last word.

About the author:

Susie Kelly was born in grey post-war London, and spent much of her childhood and young adulthood in the beautiful country of Kenya.

She now lives in south-west France with a menagerie of assorted animals, and is passionate about animal welfare.

Her first book “Best Foot Forward” was published by Transworld Publishers in 2003, followed by “Two Steps Backward” in 2004, and “A Perfect Circle” in 2006.

Since 2011 Susie’s books have been published by Blackbird Digital Books, whose theme is strong, adventurous women living life to the full. Blackbird Digital Book people love birds and animals, travel, history, romance, natural health and environment, resourcefulness, humour, the surreal and magic.

If her house caught fire and she could only save three things (apart from her animals, of course), they would be courage, compassion and a sense of humour.

 

About the Book: Living the French dream – vineyards, sunflowers, lavender fields, glasses of wine and platters of fromage. French ladies slender and chic, French men wearing berets and riding bicycles with baguettes clamped under their arms when they are not flirting outrageously, and all the while the sun shines down benevolently upon uniform rows of ripening vegetables.

Dreams are strange and unpredictable, and sometime so is la vie en rose.

A pick from some of the best bits of the popular travel author’s blog diaries reveal the minutiae of expat day to day life in rural France. A must-read for Susie Kelly fans and anybody thinking of, or dreaming of, moving to France.

 

Available from Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vie-En-Rose-Notes-France-ebook/dp/B073BNJDR5/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Safari Ants, Baggy Pants & Elephants: A Kenyan Odyssey by Susie Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it a good idea to revisit your childhood? For Susie Kelly it definitely was as you will discover in this fantastic book. I first became a fan of Susie back in the UK when I read of her move to France, and her adventures and exploits since. In 2014 she released I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry, a poignant memoir, which included her wonderful childhood in Africa, and this is its long awaited sequel.

In this book we join Susie, and her husband Terry, as they take up an invitation from her old friend Vivien, owner of As You Like It Safaris, to go on a safari, and enjoy the experience through her beautifully descriptive writing and wonderful photographs.

And so, leaving her animals in France, under careful supervision, in August 2015, Susie and her husband Terry set off for an African safari. More than 40 years after leaving Africa, many things have changed, including Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya, which through her eyes as the plane landed now resembles a space station.

Immediately feeling like she has come home, Susie straight away treats the reader to the full African experience, as she  vividly describes the sights, sounds, and if possible the smells of this amazing continent.

After meeting other safari members, and a well-deserved sleep in the Nairobi Serena hotel, Susie, Terry and their group start their safari by making their way to the Amboseli National Park 140 miles south of Nairobi, and Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. I cannot begin to describe how much Susie’s writing and reminiscing brings this book to life. Not only is the reader treated to stunningly vivid descriptions of the animals and scenery, but also the native tribes and the people who are guiding them. At this point I have to say that Susie has taken some amazing photographs throughout the safari adventure and they complement this book beautifully.

The safari group stayed at some wonderful and famous places, from the Mount Kenya Safari Club, with its touch of celebrity lifestyle, to camping in tents for an ‘Out of Africa’ experience in the Masai Mara. However, these were no ordinary tents, in fact it is only their canvas walls which gives them their name. These were beautifully furnished, double lined, insect proof rooms, on raised platforms with double and four poster beds, and they were situated on the bank of the Olare Orok river, so Susie and Terry could sit on the veranda and watch the hippos in the water.

Being an animal fanatic I enjoyed learning so much about African wildlife from this book and also the incredible people who care for, and protect it

After a childhood spent on this vast continent, time spent in England, and 20 years in France, Susie has used her own unique style of writing to bring together her African safari, and past alive, and has generously shared it with her readers.

Whether you are looking for a book about Africa, love wildlife, or are addicted to memoirs, I guarantee that you will not be able to put this one down!

For those who would like to join Susie’s safari and watch Africa come alive, Susie has produced a special slide show album of her visit for her readers to enjoy http://tinkerbelle.jalbum.net/Safari%20Ants,%20Baggy%20Pants%20and%20Elephants/

 

About the Author: Born a Londoner, Susie Kelly spent most of the first 25 years of her life in Kenya. She now lives in south-west France with her husband and assorted animals. She believes that her explosive temper is a legacy from her Irish-American grandfather, but has no idea who to blame for her incompetence as a housewife. Still, she’s very kind to animals, small children and elderly people. Susie particularly enjoys exploring the road less travelled, discovering the lives and events of lesser-known places. Susie has a rapidly growing fan base. All 5 of her popular travel books have dominated Amazon’s UK paid French Travel Bestsellers, achieving the straight flush #1, #2, #3, #4 and #5. Her remarkable memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry reached #35 in the US Top 100; in 2016 her story of running holiday gites in France Swallows & Robins: The Laughs & Tears Of A Holiday Home Owner reached #9 in the Australian Amazon Top 100 and was a non-fiction finalist in The People’s Book Prize. Prior to publishing with Blackbird, Susie was with Transworld who sold over 50,000 of her titles in the UK.

 

About the Book  The long-awaited sequel to Susie Kelly’s US Amazon Top 40 ranking memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wish-Could-Say-Was-Sorry-ebook/dp/B00CS8YG34/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-6 described by BookBub as “A Child Called It meets Out Of Africa in this stunning memoir of a woman’s 1950s childhood in Kenya. Filled with candid humor and insights, this authentic tale captures one woman’s incredible coming-of-age journey.”

More than 40 years after leaving Kenya, Susie unexpectedly finds herself returning for a safari organised by an old friend.

With her husband Terry, Susie sets off for a holiday touring the game reserves, but what she finds far exceeds her expectations. In this, her seventh, travelogue, she takes readers from five star hotels to luxury tents in the wilderness, and to poverty in Nairobi’s slums, describing a journey of joy, excitement, discovery, nostalgia, of new friendships and encounters of the very close kind with Kenya’s majestic wildlife. Forgotten memories come flooding back as she revisits the scenes of her childhood and adolescence, so movingly portrayed in her popular memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry, many of them changed beyond recognition.

Written in her characteristic laid back style, this is a travel tale that will appeal to all those readers who have enjoyed Susie’s previous books, as well as anybody who has lived in or dreams of visiting Kenya, the magical land Susie still thinks of as ‘home’.

‘Vivid, moving, entertaining. Anybody thinking of taking a safari holiday in Kenya, or who would like to take an armchair safari to Kenya, should read this book.’

“Hemingway wrote:’I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.’ That is how I feel about Kenya. You feel at once insignificant and amazing, just for being here. This magnificent, beautiful country, birthplace of mankind, owner of my heart.” Susie Kelly, 2017

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Safari-Ants-Baggy-Pants-Elephants/dp/0995473579/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-2

and kindle format https://www.amazon.co.uk/Safari-Ants-Baggy-Pants-Elephants-ebook/dp/B06XZPJP8Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1496753364&sr=1-2

 

My Good Life in France by Janine Marsh

A thoroughly entertaining story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do people really buy a house in another country on impulse, or is it just something TV shows fool you into believing? Well, the author Janine Marsh certainly did just that on a wet and windy February cross channel day out with her husband Mark, and Dad. Timing can be everything in France, and if you miss that all important long lunch time they have, then anything can happen!

Thus began their adventure as the townies Janine and Mark threw caution to the wind, and jumped in with both feet, buying and renovating a run-down French farmhouse. So what made these sensible people with their feet firmly on career paths do such a rash thing? Well, quite simply it was the love of France and everything (well almost) French.

Throughout this enthralling book you will, like me, fall in love with the North of France, the Seven Valleys region, its coastline, seaside and country villages, the gastronomy, its people and so much more. This book isn’t just a wonderful way to enjoy experiencing someone else’s life in another country, or your adopted country if you, like me are an English expat, it is a way to get a real feel for what living in France is really like – warts and all.

For me it was interesting to read how one of my favourite online magazines came to be The Good Life France, and I can imagine it will be an inspiration to those out there who want to do what Janine did, turn her back on a very successful career, only to develop another one in totally different surroundings, living the good life in France.

It is amazing also to read about the transformations in a person when they live in another country as well, without really noticing it many of us (I hold my hands up to this) manage to acquire many more pets and livestock than we would ever have imagined in the UK, somehow it just doesn’t seem so difficult. We learn new skills and evolve in ways we could never have dreamt possible, simply because anything seems possible, we feel free.

For me, every page of this captivating book held something different to learn about, food, history, renovation, quirky sayings, and not least the enormous differences between our two cultures, even though we are only separated by the English Channel. In it I also found the answer to one of those things which always puzzles me in autumn, namely, why the French always pick mushrooms using wicker baskets, and this, as usual, is obvious when you know the answer.

So whether you are considering moving to France, wonder if people really do buy ruins in the middle of France and do them up, want to leave everything behind and start anew, are fancying going on holiday to the North of France, or you are just looking for a totally riveting read, I can highly recommend this book.

About the Book: 

One grey dismal day, Janine Marsh was on a trip to northern France to pick up some cheap wine. She returned to England a few hours later having put in an offer on a rundown old barn in the rural Seven Valleys area of Pas de Calais. This was not something she’d expected or planned for.

Janine eventually gave up her job in London to move with her husband to live the good life in France. Or so she hoped. While getting to grips with the locals and la vie Française, and renovating her dilapidated new house, a building lacking the comforts of mains drainage, heating or proper rooms, and with little money and less of a clue, she started to realize there was lot more to her new home than she could ever have imagined.

These are the true tales of Janine’s rollercoaster ride through a different culture – one that, to a Brit from the city, was in turns surprising, charming and not the least bit baffling.

Available from Amazon.co.uk in paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Good-Life-France-Pursuit/dp/1782437320/ref=la_B071Y4RTMM_tnr_p_1_367666031_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494405332&sr=1-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Good-Life-France-Pursuit-ebook/dp/B06XT53MFQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494405332&sr=1-1

and also Amazon.com in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Good-Life-France-Janine-Marsh/dp/1782437320/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494405671&sr=8-1

and Kindle format  https://www.amazon.com/My-Good-Life-France-Pursuit-ebook/dp/B06XT53MFQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1494405671&sr=8-1

 

At Home in the Pays d’Oc by Patricia Feinberg Stoner

 

 

 

 

 

 

People change, and Patricia’s husband Patrick, otherwise known as Himself, proves this by holidaying, and then buying a maison secondaire in the Languedoc region of France, after stating emphatically just after they met that he doesn’t like France.

This is a beautiful area with something new to admire around every corner, fantastic villages, breath-taking views, wonderful architecture, and gastronomy, whatever you like, it is here. However for confirmed urbanites Patricia and Himself, visiting this amazing region, enjoying the social life, and owning and renovating their second home in Morbignan la Crèbe was fine, as long as they can return to their London flat.

As we join Patricia and Himself on their French adventure, the real life dramas of being an expat in France open up to us, including ‘friends’ both English and French, the French system and the little idiosyncrasies which make living in this wonderful country such a challenge – sometimes. Of course we also share with them the wonderful events and meals they join in as part of the Morbignan community, and the friendliness of their French neighbours, well most of them…

Sometimes though we can find our lives changing just like that, other changes come more subtly, such as the ones which took place after a little stray brown and white dog, who came to be called Purdey came into their lives. Dog lovers will understand how important the needs and happiness of our canine companions can be, and so they found themselves spending more and more time in France.

The author Patricia, in this captivating book takes the reader on a voyage of discovery, a celebration of the years her and her husband spent enjoying their French home, both for holidays and all the time. Living a life others only dream of is wonderful but are they still living there? You will have to read this enthralling story to discover the answer…

About the Author:

Patricia Feinberg Stoner joined the Liverpool Daily Post as a graduate trainee in 1969. Quickly discovering she was a terrible reporter, she switched to feature writing and since then her career has revolved around the written word, as a journalist, advertising copywriter and publicist.

For many years she was international press officer for Granada Television, leaving to set up her own publicity business, The Good Word.

Now retired, she devotes her time to writing short stories and poetry (mainly humorous verse) which have been published in various print and online anthologies. She is the leader of the creative writing group Arun Scribes.

Patricia lives in West Sussex with her husband Patrick, who is currently writing the science fiction series ‘The Jabberwock Continuum’, and a lunatic Brittany spaniel who loves cats. She is also a volunteer with WADARS, a local animal rescue charity, and donates the profits from ‘Paw Prints in the Butter’ to their cause. She welcomes visitors to her Facebook page Paw Prints in the Butter and to her blog: http://www.paw-prints-in-the-butter.com

About the Book: This is the story of how a small brown and white spaniel turned the lives of two English holidaymakers upside down. Patricia and her husband Patrick are spending the summer in their holiday home in the Languedoc village of Morbignan la Crèbe. One hot Friday afternoon Patrick walks in with the little dog, thinking she is a stray. They have no intention of keeping her. ‘Just for tonight,’ says Patrick. ‘We will take her to the animal shelter tomorrow.’ It never happens. They spend the weekend getting to know and love the little creature, who looks at them appealingly with big brown eyes, and wags her absurd stump of a tail every time they speak to her. On the Monday her owner turns up, alerted by the Mairie. They could have handed her over. Instead Patricia finds herself saying: ‘We like your dog, Monsieur. May we keep her?’ It is the start of what will be four years as Morbignanglais, as they settle into life as permanent residents of the village. “At Home in the Pays d’Oc” is about their lives in Morbignan, the neighbours who soon become friends, the parties and the vendanges and the battles with French bureaucracy. It is the story of some of their bizarre and sometimes hilarious encounters: the Velcro bird, the builder in carpet slippers, the neighbour who cuts the phone wires, the clock that clacks, the elusive carpenter who really did have to go to a funeral.

 

At home in the Pays d’Oc is available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Pays-dOc-accidental-expatriates/dp/0995746206/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1491749051&sr=1-1

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.co.uk/Home-Pays-dOc-accidental-expatriates-ebook/dp/B06XQLJDWN/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1491749051&sr=1-1

 

 

Diary of a Drug Addict by Stephen E Crockett

 

You see them on street corners, hiding in doorways, furtively watching, waiting for their next fix, selling drugs, or perhaps they have just had a shot.

When you see drug addicts or alcoholics on the streets, or in the dark corners of bars, do you ever wonder why, and how, they became addicted?

What made this person take that particular route through life, and at what stage couldn’t they say no?

Perhaps you walk by pitying them, looking on with distain, smugly thinking that you will never be in their position, you would never become an alcoholic, or a drug addict. If you do, just stop and think. Who are you to judge? There is a very true saying “You cannot judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” As we go through our lives we make decisions, some very minor, or so we think at the time, however, everything we do comes with consequences. The face we put on to the world is not necessarily the person within, many of us hide behind masks. Sometimes this is done in the knowledge that we want to be deceptive, mislead, and bend a person to our will. However for many others it is a necessity, the only way to deal with the demons within, self-preservation.

Stephen Crockett life changed at a very early age, when he could no longer endure being surrounded by religious fanaticism, made to attend church, and being beaten if he asked questions.

It was in his 18th year however, just before graduation that his drug and alcohol abuse really took hold. Stephen had tried drink and marijuana before, however, whilst his fellow class mates were getting ready for the graduation photo, Stephen was sitting in the car park, passed out drunk. He missed his graduation ceremony because he was in hospital, recovering from asphyxia, and acute alcoholic poisoning.

Missing that ceremony seems to be a turning point, in his own mind he became invisible, unworthy, from then on he began his quest to blending into the background, suffering tremendous feelings of disappointment in himself, and depression.

His decision to leave the countryside for the town opened his eyes to a whole new world, and he became addicted to Heroin, the mother of all illegal drugs, which claims more lives than all the others put together. Stress and depression become his monsters in the closet, as trapped in his miserable existence he turns to drugs and alcohol. Soon he becomes part of the underground scene, dealing drugs, and living from fix to fix, in a drugs and alcohol induced haze.

This book, and its companion ‘Black Tar’ has opened my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. Stephen has a very frank way of writing, and in his own unique no holds barred style, he talks openly about the addiction he has had for decades.

What will the future hold for you if you go down the same route? Well, as Stephen so graphically explains, you will lose everything – no not just physical things, but yourself, self-worth, friends, and so much more.

So what has become of Stephen now?

Is he drugs free, and if so how did he do it?

Find out by reading his compelling story – I guarantee you it will be an eye-opener!

 

.From the Author: I have been writing for publication since 1996 and published the Bible based “The Prophet Code” in 2001. I followed that with “Bible Prophecy” in 2006 and then turned my attention to autobiographical truth-based fiction novels. My subjects and themes are drawn from many sources and each is blessed with its own sense of psychological horror. For your benefit, I am going to list my books in publication date order starting with “The Dark Man” which was published in 2010. “Black Tar: For the Love of Heroin” was published in 2012. “Ocular: The Monster in the Mirror” was published in 2013 and “Knob Hill: The Grey House Murders” was published in 2014. “The Island” was published in 2015 while “Ouija: The Devil’s Doorway” and “Diary of a Drug Addict” were published in 2016. “The Puppet Master” was published in 2017. All of these books are available on Amazon.com in the Kindle bookstore as Kindle ebooks. Just use your Kindle Fire or other reader and do a search on Stephen E Crockett. Download e-books at rock bottom prices.

About the Author:
The books authored by me and presented here represent my work in the adult horror genre. I believe that one of the writing requirements that sets me apart from other authors is my desire to write about subjects that are drawn from real life experiences. Every story is drenched with its own truth. Its own pain and loss, and on certain levels these stresses are horrible to deal with. I have always been willing to take the steps necessary to make sure the truth is never forgotten.
I have sacrificed everything to write. Friendships, relationships, marriages. Physical jobs that would lead to more creature comforts than I have enjoyed in the past. You’ve got to be a little possessed to live like this. But all artist are willing to endure these sacrifices. I’ve heard it said that writers are like doctors. We don’t have a plan B. Writing is how we are going to spend our lives and we know it from an early age.
When you start early, write all the time and save everything you write, you never lose anything. You may not know how your subjects are going to develop but everything you have captured stands ready to be a part of one story or another.
Eventually, characters from one file are joined with dialogues from another, backgrounds and environments from yet others, all coming together on the blank pages of a manuscript and that is where the magic happens. Writing has been an obsession that I have fed every day of every week, month in and month out, for as many years as I can remember.
I have been blessed with a keen sense of imagination and creativity and I thank the good Lord daily for blessing me with these skills and giving me my entire life to perfect them. I allow them to work their magic with the material I am always collecting. They draw from my reservoir of pain and loss to create story’s that are compelling, dramatic, mysterious and in some cases deadly. All of them are available as ebooks for you to read on your Kindle reader right now. Enjoy.

Available from Amazon in Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Diary-Drug-Addict-Stephen-Crockett-ebook/dp/B01MYX17O0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1488910986&sr=8-3&keywords=diary+of+a+drug+addict

To find out more about this author, his life, and books follow this link http://www.englishinformerintheuk.com/full-article/Interview-with-Stephen-E-Crockett to his exclusive interview in the English Informer in the UK  magazine.

 

 

Tau Bada: The Quest and Memoir of a Vulnerable Man by John E. Quinlan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever dreamed of doing something different, going to exotic places, stepping right out of your safety zone and taking the bull by the horns?
Do you wonder if people really do just change direction, start new businesses in different countries, juggle their lives, just like that? Is it possible?

Well, in this incredible biography the author takes the reader on his remarkable journey. After the end of his marriage he gets on his motorbike, leaves Grosse Point (a suburb of Detroit) and begins an adventure which takes him from the American West, through to Australia/Papua New Guinea.

An established CEO- entrepreneur, the author is not afraid of taking risks, and going with the flow. This bravery takes him on travels to amazing places, where he forges forward with the courage of a true entrepreneur.

On his odyssey, he finds new love and is never afraid to go with the moment, something I truly admire.

The book is beautifully descriptive and I especially loved his account of his life whilst he was running his South Pacific fishing business, which gave some fascinating insights into what life is really about living on-board ship. His first impressions and dealings with the South Pacific island natives and his business dealings with them are interesting, and the great thing is, that whatever the outcome he brushes himself off and starts again.

Juggling life between his business interests in Grosse Point and other part of the world is difficult at times, emotionally and financially draining, however, he copes with everything and is an inspiration to those of us who would love (or imagine they would love) to walk in his shoes.

He was known as Tau Bada, ‘big white man’ by the native farmers of Papua New Guinea where he worked hard to build them a sustainable living through the selling of coffee and chilies.

Travel lovers will thoroughly enjoy his accounts of his visits to different places, and wish they were a fly on the wall watching him meet people from many nations. It is an exciting way to really learn what it is like to live amongst various peoples and learn their customs.

This book is truly an awe-inspiring quest of discovery for one man, re-evaluating his life, taking on challenges, dealing with the consequences and all the time living life to the full. Whatever your dreams and ambitions, I would highly recommend this book, it is inspirational, informative and very thought provoking.

 


About the Author: 

John E. Quinlan founded Growth Strategies Global L.L.C. (GSG), headquartered in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in 1986. As managing director, he has designed the firm to operate from a unique philosophy that balances his broad range of experiences in upper management with tested management consulting practices, underpinned by behavioral science knowledge.

Mr. Quinlan has provided integrated financial, operational and change management services to U.S. and international companies. He was a founding CEO of a publicly traded financial services company. The successes and failures he experienced during that period played a major role in creating the foundation and operating philosophy of GSG. He has been an advisor to for-profit, non-profit and municipal organizations and has extensive experience in executive coaching.

He holds a BA in Economics from Albion College in Michigan and a Master of Science in Organizational Development from the American University, Washington, D.C.

 

About the Book: 

Tau Bada: The Quest & Memoir of a Vulnerable Man is a true-action story about money, new love, cultural challenges, the essential messages of the American West and of the South Pacific, and, throughout, a personal trek of self-discovery. In the dangerous, laughable and profound experiences of Tau Bada are revelations that connect the vulnerabilities in us all. The question is, as the author says: ”What was risky, and what was I fearful of? Was it the untraveled asphalt and concrete roads or the uncharted inward journey? There were no maps for the latter.”

Available from:

Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Tau-Bada-Quest-Memoir-Vulnerable/dp/1634139569/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486463901&sr=8-1&keywords=tau+bada

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Tau-Bada-Quest-Memoir-Vulnerable-ebook/dp/B01NA0575Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1486463901&sr=8-2&keywords=tau+bada

and

Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tau-bada-john-e-quinlan/1125366418?ean=9781634139564

 

Okay, Okay by Fred Krebsbach

 

In November 1968, Fred Krebsbach had just turned twenty-one, he had finished his education with a tech degree in engineering, and was looking forward to a bright future. However the US military had other plans, the war in Vietnam needed soldiers and he was called up for draft.

Before leaving for basic training, his uncle Gene, a WWII veteran advised him to take something which would give him comfort, with him, and he chose his First Communion rosary, something which would sustain him through the months of conflict.

After he had completed his training, he left his homeland for the Tan Son Nhut Republic of South Vietnam. Thus began his tour of duty in that hell hole, where for nearly seven long months he served as an M-60 machine gunner.

The author freely admits that he was changed in irrevocable ways, and reading his story, how can he not have been. Fighting the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Army under terrible conditions, losing many of his ammo bearers to booby traps, and for me, one of the saddest things was that they never said hello, because then they would never have to say goodbye…

The detailed descriptions of army life in Vietnam, and how he survived it, is absorbing reading. I was amazed to discover that captured, and rehabilitated Viet Cong, were used by the army as Tiger Scouts, and sent out in front of the soldiers to find the booby traps, punji pits, daisy chains and explosives set by their ex-comrades.

The author says that hearing WWII veterans say that they wish they had talked to their family more, has been an important factor in his decision to writing this book. I can understand this as my own Granddad was a WWII veteran who was lost, presumed dead. In fact my Grandmother was told he was dead by the British War Office. Then he turned up in Australia a couple of years after the war had ended. Apparently, he had been taken there, having been released, he had been tortured, and it was that long before they could discover his identity. I remember, he never, ever, talked about his experiences.

It must have taken a lot of courage for the author to put these words down on paper, to search is memories, trace people, and diagnose the effect on his life of those months.

Yes he came back alive, and despite sustaining injury, in one piece. However the man who returned was totally different from the ‘boy’ who left his home to fight for his country.

He married Marcia, has had children, and grandchildren, he was one of the lucky ones, thousands did not. Because of this, he wanted to put pen to paper to explain in real terms the true cost of war, both mentally and physically.

Thank you Fred.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Book: Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one year old Fred Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. He figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Fred faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants, and the jungle itself. After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Fred doesn’t know what it was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary! Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Okay-Fred-Krebsbach/dp/0989671011/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484740731&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/okay-okay-fred-krebsbach/1117164622?ean=9780989671019

 

Making The Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir by Jonathan Sanger

Who cannot remember watching the award winning film called The Elephant Man, and, if they are truthful, the horrific fascination, and strong emotions it evoked? This is quite simply an incredible film which chronicles the life and experiences of John (Joseph) Merrick, cruelly labelled ‘The Elephant Man’ because of deformities which started to materialise at about 5 years of age, and which he had to live with throughout his short life.

Written by the producer, Jonathon Sanger, this book tells the story of how this film, the first he ever produced, came to be.

From the moment he first read the script Jonathon immediately felt strongly that it was a story which had to be told on screen. With the backing of Mel Brooks who helped finance the film through his new company Brooksfilms, The Elephant Man got the green light and the search for production staff and actors began.

Jonathon’s enthusiasm for this story was infectious, and with the creative and artistic talents of David Lynch as Director, it is fascinating to discover how the film was shot and how they came to cast so many famous actors, and talented artists.

Anyone who has seen it cannot fail to be moved by it. Unusually, for the time it was filmed in black and white, which dramatically adds to the atmosphere. I can imagine anyone interested in the film industry will be fascinated to reading how, through diligent searching and an eye for detail, Jonathon and David managed to find the cobbled streets, and hospital buildings, needed as sets, and learn how with special clever photography they ensured the perfect ambience needed to recreate Victorian London at that time.

Jonathon has, throughout this book been extremely frank about the relationships between production staff, cast members, actors, and crew, in the making and filming of The Elephant Man which is refreshing, and this honesty gives the reader and any would-be member of the industry a glimpse into what life in this line of work is really like.

The impact of this film continues however, past its premier, in that not only has it received many awards, but it has also affected how people perceive disability, and has helped organisations which work with people suffering from disabilities.

Since this, his first production, Jonathon Sanger has produced and directed many films, and also given other film professionals the chance to direct their own films through the Chanticleer Film company.

The testament to this film, and why this book was written has been summed up by the man himself, as he says in the preface, when asked what his most challenging accomplishment had been as a film producer, “it was my first film as ‘producer, The Elephant Man, that set the bar high enough that I felt I could accomplish anything.” After reading this statement, who could resist such an amazing story?

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Author: Jonathan Sanger, an Academy Award-winning producer, film, theater and television producer and director, media advisor, and entertainment financial consultant, has lead initiatives in every sector of the entertainment industry. His writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias and filmmaking handbooks. He lives and works in Los Angeles and New York City.

About the Book: The true story of John Merrick has captured the imagination of generations of audiences, critics, actors, and filmmakers.

In 1988 I received a screenplay about a hideously disfigured man-John Merrick, the Elephant Man-who refused to fall victim to despair and instead exemplified human dignity. The story was so gripping, so moving, the moment I finished the screenplay I began to read it again. I had to produce it. John Merrick’s story needed to be told.

The story of how I got this movie made-the whole, unvarnished, hair-pulling, stomach-churning, adventure-is itself a study in the triumph of dignity over fear. This is the story of my journey to share my love and admiration for John Merrick with the rest of world. It is a story within a story, with scheduling conflicts, location issues, special effects nightmares and many risky decisions. Assembling a team that included executive producer, Mel Brooks, new director, David Lynch, and actors John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, I stared adversity in the eye and found a way to persevere and overcome my fears. I hope you enjoy this story, my story, of the making of this inspiring Oscar-nominated, award-winning film.

Available from:

Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Making-Elephant-Man-Producers-Memoir/dp/1476666628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484393622&sr=8-1&keywords=making+the+elephant+man

and Kindle format https://www.amazon.com/Making-Elephant-Man-Producers-Memoir-ebook/dp/B01N94T2N0/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=

Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/making-the-elephant-man-jonathan-sanger/1123796281?ean=9781476666624

and as a NOOK Book http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/making-the-elephant-man-jonathan-sanger/1123796281?ean=9781476627311

 

 

You Don’t Die – You Just Change Channels! by Chuck Swartwout

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I just loved this book, it is written in such a friendly chatty manner that it draws you in straight away. When I read in the introduction this 94 years young author saying “When I tell you that I am 94 years old, you may think that I’m either nuts or a dreamer to think that I can accomplish all that at an age where some people don’t want to commit themselves to buying green bananas.” I just knew it was going to be interesting.

Like most people, as a young person, Chuck Swartwout never considered growing old, however, years later after the loss of his much loved wife of 54 years, Gretchen, he found himself re-evaluating his life, questioning if his good luck at various times, was luck and not something else, and this fuelled his fascination in the afterlife. Thus began his quest for knowledge.

He has had an incredibly interesting life and career, and because of this, and his fascination in so many different things, the world we live in, the spirit world, religion, space, and everything in between, he decided to write this book. However, this is no ordinary book, the author doesn’t tell you what to do, how to think, and what is right. No, this is a ‘feedback book’ written to provide you with information, varied and unbiased, on space, the universe, the spirit world, mediums, religion, near death experiences, after death communication, the future, God, and so much more. Chuck Swartwout wants to hear from you when you have read it, he cares what you think. He wants to hear your thoughts on the subjects he has brought up. He personally believes there is an afterlife, but he wants to hear what you think about the subject. Why, because he plans to write at least one more book and wants more information, this man has a real thirst for knowledge, one I have never seen paralleled.

I am interested in near death experiences, after death communication and the spirit world, and my husband has a deep love of science and space, all through this book, I found myself reading passages out to him, I couldn’t help myself.

Chuck Swartwout strongly believes that we must end all wars and that communication is the key. Included in the books is a lovely letter from one of his granddaughters who is in the Peace Corp in Peru, in which she clearly illustrates how the differences portrayed in the various parts of the world, be it everyday tasks, or pleasures, such as dancing, are not different, they are just other way of doing the same thing. Communication is key, whether in this world or the next.

The author believes that this is so important that not only does he want to write more books, he is also looking for billionaire sponsors for a new project he is proposing. This project is about communication with the spirit world, and has the tentative name Spirit Lab. You can read more in Appendix 1.

The front cover picture is a copy of an original watercolour by his beloved wife of 54 years Gretchen, whom he firmly believes he will be reunited with in the future. Reading this book has opened my eyes to many things and taught me so much, I hope his belief that they will be reunited is true and look forward to reading the sequel.

 

About the Book: When Gretchen Swartwout died suddenly in 2006, Her husband of 54 years, Chuck, was not quite ready to call it quits. He combined his deep Christian faith with his decades of experience as an engineer and creative problem solver to produce this “common sense” analytical exploration of the idea of heaven and a life a er death. From interpreting scripture to testing the work of “mediums,” this book explores the afterlife in a way it’s never been done before.

Available from Amazon in Paperback format: http://www.amazon.com/You-Dont-Die-Change-Channels/dp/1519619375/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak: Leaving High Tech for Greener Pastures by S.A. Molteni

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I loved this book!

Having enjoyed reading ‘Her Name Was Half Calf’ I could not resist reading the story of how the author transformed from I.T. Geek to Farm Girl. This story, and the lessons she has, and is still learning about the variety of animals and birds she and her husband look after, make this a very entertaining story.

I personally loved the way that it is written truthfully to enable those who would like to make the transition themselves to get a realistic feel for what it is really like on a farm, and those of us who have followed their dreams like she did, can enjoy the feeling that we are not alone.

Humorous, entertaining, very sad at times, but most of all addictive reading.

 

About the Author: S.A. Molteni is a retired systems engineer. She is also currently a hobby farmer, avid traveler and an author of several award-winning short stories. She lives on a small homestead with her husband and a menagerie of farm animals.

About the Book: Have you ever wanted to ditch the nine-to-five job and move as far away as possible from the rat race?

Have you ever just wanted peace and quiet in a rural setting away from the sprawl of suburbia?

Have you found yourself daydreaming about pasture lands and farm animals on a daily basis?

That’s exactly what the author found herself contemplating – more often then not – while working at a high tech job in Seattle.

With her husband 3,000 miles away in Florida and the passing of her father, she knew it was time to make some serious changes in her life. She was ready for an adventure, but little did she know what lay in store for her at the ‘fixer upper’ farmhouse she and her husband would soon become the owners of.

S.A. Molteni has spent over thirty years in the Information Technology field working for various Fortune 500 companies. During those years, she and her husband had always dreamed of living on a farm once they became retired from the rat race.

This collection of essays follows the author in her sometimes humorous transition from “I.T. Geek to Farm Girl Freak” and depicts the lessons that are learned along the way once farm animals become a large part of her life.

Available from Amazon:

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/I-T-Geek-Farm-Girl-Freak-ebook/dp/B00VZI0BUK/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8

Paperback http://www.amazon.com/I-T-Geek-Farm-Girl-Freak/dp/150842005X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=