Articles for the Month of July 2015

Annie and Me, A Shared Journey Home by Rich Okun

515suuwUD4L__AA160_Firstly I must say that this is an absolutely beautiful book, although it covers a very sad subject, the passing of the authors much loved cat Annie with Cancer, the sadness is somehow transformed, beautifully and sensitively into a celebration of the life of a very special cat, and the bond they shared.

After Annie was diagnosed, the time they spent together created an extraordinary healing time somehow, and Rich recounts this through his poetry.

Running through the book is a strong vein of happy memories, and magical moments which have been captured forever. The day he first set eyes on her, her favourite things, her little foibles, and mannerisms, all the special things which they shared and these will live eternally in this heart, as well as this wonderful book.

I, like many others have lost beloved pets and these poems touched my heart deeply, the tears were flowing freely as I read it. Beautifully written, the tears were for the memories his words brought back, of animals I had watched go over the rainbow bridge, and miss so much.

It is evident that the author’s heart and soul is poured into this collection of poems, however, Rich Okun’s talent do not stop at his writing, as he also illustrated the book. Through his words and art work, he has captured the very essence and soul of Annie throughout her life, from a tiny kitten through to the end…

A beautiful book which I will treasure forever.

About the Author: Rich spent his life in various corporate positions and after many years and different careers; he now devotes his focus to creative passions. Having spent a lifetime studying many different ancient spiritual belief systems he was inspired to action when a new puppy, Maya, came to town. Rich lives in Connecticut with his wife, Maya, and four cats.
short Author’s interview

Rich defines himself by his spiritual interests and values. He has been artistically inclined all his life, and at 6 years old, was one of the youngest members of the Art Student’s league of New York (across from Carnegie Hall). However, he always used his art only for spiritual pursuits. Rich carved stone, painted, wrote poems and stories and many other creative passions – all for the give away, His life changed that hot summer’s day while walking Maya, when he heard the answer to the questions he had always asked.

a little story:
My daughter had asked me to perform her up-coming wedding ceremony that was to take place in September of 2011. I was fortunate to be able to become a Justice of the Peace to do this – Then, in July of 2011, while walking Maya, and while thinking intently about the content of my upcoming wedding speech …

“I am and have been like Tevye (the father in Fiddler on the roof) always talking to God/Spirit – sharing a joke, a prayer, and having a conversation especially while in nature, everyday of my life, and like so many other people, I ask spirit ‘what am I here for? What should I be doing with my life, how can I help?” – I always wanted to hear a great big booming voice come down from above maybe James Earl Jones saying – “Just do this Rich” but I never heard any thing back. This did not deter me from continuing to ask. That day I heard a whisper – it was telling me to further develop this format (quote/poem-story/illustration/) but to use Maya as my muse and do it for children to be able to learn about spiritual matters much earlier in life and to closen the relationships between family members. Make it so parents can use it to discuss these matters with their children – help to awaken children sooner in their lives – I was taken aback as I also had a chill (on a very hot summers day) which usually indicates some connection with spirit.” says Rich.

a year later, after closing the online bead store, I decided to listen…The result is this book, The Sun, the Moon, the Stars and Maya a unique format that wants to help – there will be many more books to come. Rich has also authored and illustrated several more traditional children’s’ stories using Maya as the main character – all with an eye towards making the spiritual more accessible.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
Maya says in reply:
I like it here,
it’s so nice and warm
I feel I could disappear,
turning it into an art form

It’s only when,
we feel the pull
overcome, the now and then,
and stop the bull

The single most important guiding principle that he has and tries to live is the Golden Rule. Rich has a strong desire to make a difference and believes he can help people to feel and deal better during these challenging times of stress and anguish.

His path to get to this book is a 61-year journey of taking every circuitous route. There are so many wonderful things that have influenced his life in such mystical ways and after having experienced so much magic, he felt compelled to help.

About the Book: This is a book about love and healing – it is not morbid although the subject matter can be challenging.

During the writing of this book, my only intent was to be single minded and focused on caring for my dying cat, and observing what was happening – All my life I had been angry and afraid – I didn’t know it but this had stemmed from my issues with death and dying and my issues surrounded my mother dying when I was young. While writing this book, my fears and angers dropped as Annie helped me to form a new relationship with death and dying and life. I hope that this book can help you too as many of us have difficulties with this subject. Whether it is a beloved pet, or human, the experience is the same. In words and pictures, let this story find the hole in your heart, and fill it.

Available from Amazon:

The Amateur Authorpreneur by Sarah Jane Butterfield.

51JUi7GmvVL__AA160_An insight into Authorpreneurship.

 Whether you are writing a book or have been published a while, if you are at a loss how to manoeuvre in the social media worlds of Twitter, Facebook and Google this book has the answers.

Why use hashtags and @’s, why are they there, what purpose do they serve? Why share? Why give your books away free?

Are you considering if you should perhaps have a website or write a blog? Don’t know where to start, or which way to turn.

If you need answers to any of the above questions and many more you didn’t realise you wanted to ask, then this is the book for you!

About the Author: Author Sarah Jane Butfield was born in Ipswich and raised in rural Suffolk, UK. Sarah Jane is a wife, mother, ex-qualified nurse and now an internationally published author. Married three times with four children, three stepchildren and two playful Australian Cattle dogs she an experienced modern day mum to her ‘Brady bunch’, but she loves every minute of their convoluted lives.

Sarah Jane, the roving Florence Nightingale, fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and went on to use her nursing and later teaching qualifications to take her around the world. She is now an international best-selling author of three travel memoirs set in Australia and France. In addition, she released Book 1, The Accidental Author, from her new ‘What, Why, Where, When, Who & How of Book Promotion Series’ for aspiring and debut self published authors in February 2015 with Book 2, The Amateur Authorpreneur due for release in May 2015.

Glass Half Full: Our Australian Adventure, her debut travel memoir, and the sequel Two dogs and a suitcase: Clueless in Charente, are regularly found high in the Amazon rankings. Categories include Parenting, Grief, Christian faith, Step-parenting, Travel and France. Her new release Our Frugal Summer in Charente promises to be just as entertaining.

About the Book:

The Amateur Authorpreneur is a beginners’ guide for authors who intend to develop their writing into a business, addressing the important task of book promotion and marketing. We look at laying the foundations of the authorpreneur book promotion toolkit, building a fan base on social media and much more.
You’ve written a book or you plan to – what do you need to consider?
What does it offer readers?
Why will they buy it?
Where are your readers?
When will you publish it?
Who are you?
How do you promote it!
Find out how to take the business of being an author up a gear to become an authorpreneur.
The Amateur Authorpreneur will describe, using the What, Why Where, When, Who & How template, the process of taking the first steps into combining the craft of being an author with the business of marketing your work.
Here are some beta reader comments:
“Aspiring authors will feel reassured that whatever their age or IT ability all of the skills needed to become an authorpreneur are achievable.”
A non-author beta reader said,”I have discovered skills and tips that now helps me in both my personal and professional social media interactions”
An avid reader who enjoys the work of indie authors was,”amazed at what’s involved behind the scenes.”



The Lazy Cook (Book One): Quick and Easy Meatless Meals by Susie Kelly

51TzZT8RqiL__AA160_Great, simple recipes using fresh ingredients.

Roll over Delia Smith, here comes the next food goddess.

If you’re a normal human who would love to eat good fresh food from around the world which is quick to prepare and packed with flavour, then this is the book for you!

No fussy weighing, no rigid rules just delicious meat free recipes (fish and seafood is included). There are plenty of vegan and gluten free recipes, and the author has also taken the time to put notes on the bottom of others as to how they can be adapted.

What I loved about this book is that it embrace the wonderfully friendly character of this well-known author, making you feel as if you are sitting in her kitchen and she is telling you about each dish and its origins whilst it is being prepared.

Susie Kelly’s memoir’s and travel books have given her fans many insights into her varied life in her own very entertaining way. This new book not only offers a wide range of flavoursome recipes using fresh ingredients, it is also interspersed with interesting stories as we meet the characters who, and situations which have inspired them.

This cook book I know will become one of my all-time favourites. I know this because the recipes kept calling to me to try them as I read it. Well, tonight I will try the first one and I am looking forward to having my taste buds awakened to new flavour combinations and ideas.

Can’t wait until book two….

About the Author: Born a Londoner, Susie spent most of the first 25 years of her life in Kenya. In 2014, her memoir I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry about an abusive childhood growing up in post-war London and Kenya, was a US digital bestseller. 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. Susie Kelly is the Patron of the 2015 Charroux International Literary Festival.

About the Book: Let’s face it, most cook books are selling a dream: mouth-watering recipes, styled to within a pea’s hair, then photographed in the kind of pristine kitchens that very few of us own. More of us have kitchens like Susie’s, veering towards the chaotic rather than clutter-free.  So settle down with the bestselling travel author in the kitchen of her French farmhouse and enjoy this no-fuss, no-nonsense collection of wholesome, fail-safe, quick and simple meat-free recipes.

Susie makes no claims to being a cooking queen. She admits that over the years she has made every cookery mistake possible, including pouring hot oil back into a plastic bottle and watching the bottle melt and flood most of the kitchen. Then there was the great icing sugar misunderstanding….  but in The Lazy Cook she has put together an irresistible collection of the tasty, comfort-food recipes that are enjoyed by her family and friends, spattered with generous blobs of anecdote and humour.

One of those rare cookery books that won’t be left on the shelf, but will mature with well-thumbed age as its pages become patterned with stains of food, wine, cream, butter and all things delicious.


Available from Ammzon in Kindle format

and Paperback


Money Farm by Ruby Allure

61TQKbnklXL__SL300_I reviewed this book as an audiobook at the request of the narrator, Helen Lloyd. It is also available as an eBook.

Gillian’s world is turned upside down when she is unexpectedly ‘released’ from her job. Her government funding is revoked after the board decides they did not like a paper she wrote on ‘Reactants, resistance, reflexivity and reversal in times of financial and social hardship.’

All of a suddenly her secure life has gone. What will she do? All around her people are getting into debt, being encouraged to spend more than they have, buy things they don’t need. Possessions are everything, all that matters. Why? How had the world gotten into this state, and why didn’t the powers that be want to hear what she had to say?

Not taking her redundancy laying down Gillian’s resolve hardens as she actively strives to understand the financial system and money handling. Living on her savings whilst looking for a job, she soon discovers that it won’t be long before she is homeless.

But what about M.O.N.E.Y? The people who work for M.O.N.E.Y live at the Money Farm, which was a series of huge walled islands, linked by bridges, which has been in existence for over 200 years. Gillian becomes obsessed with the M.O.N.E.Y concept. Who are these people, how are they chosen? M.O.N.E.Y is totally self-sufficient, secretive, she has to know more.

How do you become part of M.O.N.E.Y, this amazing organisation whose employees themselves are intriguing?

Then, one day she follows a M.O.N.E.Y employee out of a shop and asks the man the leading question “How do I become one of you?”

This simple question, and his reply changes her life forever.

As she trains and is inducted into the world of M.O.N.E.Y, Gillian soon discovers that she has in fact been chosen. Her militant nature and questioning attitude allows her to think outside the box. However, I wondered, as the story progressed, did M.O.N.E.Y have any idea of what her impact would be?

This was a fascinating book, deep and very thought provoking, it made you wonder…

I will certainly be looking out for more very interesting books by this talented author.

The Narrator, Helen Lloyd.

Helen Lloyd narrated this fairly long audiobook brilliantly. Although a story, the content was very intense and thought provoking, however, her lovely smooth voice was very easy to listen to and I thought it was just perfect, a fascinating book wonderfully narrated.

About the Book:

How do you feel about the value of your life being based on the amount of money sitting in your bank?

If we are all inter-connected by money, then why do so few people pay attention to how money works? Fear and denial are perfect for generating debt and that is what the world is run on.

Now imagine, if in the future, one financial institution became so powerful that it could choose to eradicate the present monetary system. Then what happens?

M.O.N.E.Y. is that institution, an institution that chooses absolute self-sufficiency, no debt and reconditions its people into making them the ultimate they can be – an elite force of great minds focused on building the new system – the new M.O.N.E.Y. The thing is for the world to accept their conditions they intend to intentionally throw everyone into complete financial collapse. So what happens when the Brave New World becomes our financial reality?

About the Author: Ruby Allure is dedicated to writing inspirational, humorous and metaphysical fiction novels.
She writes for adults, teenagers and children with the intention to provide stimulating mental landscapes. Ruby Allure’s blog:

Available from Audible as an audiobook

and Amazon in Kindle format

Between Two Worlds by Christy Santo

51wXY+ELZ-L__AA160_The story in this book is intriguing.

Can we be two places at one time?

Is it really possible to observe yourself from another dimension?

The story begins in Indiana, with the main character, a graduate student called Rebecca Harrison attending a Halloween party in 2006. However as she leaves the party, the nightmare begins….

Suddenly she is transported back in time to 1983 where she finds herself in her childhood home town of Fanwood, New Jersey. This is only the beginning though. She still has her own name, a local address, although not her childhood one, and people recognise her as an adult!

How can this happen?

How can she be there, and, since she is, is it possible she is also living there as a child, with her family?

What will happen if their paths cross?

Evidently, she has an established life and friends, however deep down she knows something is not right, and then there are the strange dreams.

Confused and unhappy Rebecca craves to know the truth. She is desperate to discover if she can return to 2006.

Will she be able to?

To find out, you will have to read the book!

I found this a fascinating story and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page.


About the Author: Christy Santo was born and raised in Fanwood, New Jersey. In 2002, she moved to Bloomington, Indiana. She is a co-owner in her family’s internet business that had its start back on Thanksgiving Day 1998. Christy Santo is currently working on her third book.


About the Book: It is 2006 and Indiana University graduate student Rebecca Harrison attends a Halloween party. Unknown to her she will have her world turned upside down when she leaves it. An unexpected accident rips her from 2006 Indiana and abandons her in 1983 Fanwood, New Jersey her hometown. She struggles to relive the past and exist as another woman with the same name and birthday as her. Can she find a way to return to her present time or will her past become her future?

Available from Amazon:

in Paperback

and Kindle format



Rampage: A Jason Scarsdale Novel by Alan Brenham


NEW RELEASE – Another superb masterpiece from Alan Brenham.

Set in Austin, Texas, this story begins with Justin Wayne Cooper a.k.a. Mad Dog, repaying a debt by destroying a grave in the Heavenly Garden Memorial Park. Waiting in the car are Rastaman, and Runt. Fresh out of prison Mad Dog is on a mission to right some wrongs done to Snake, his cellmate. Impressed by his prison tales and hardness, the other two have become willing accomplices. At first it’s all a game, a good laugh, an opportunity to get some ready cash, but then the stakes get higher, and when the killings begin, they suddenly realise how Justin got his nickname…

In Alan Brenham’s first book, Price of Justice, we met widower, Detective Jason Scarsdale, his daughter Shannon and Dani Mueller. After the events in that book ex Austin PD Crime Analyst Dani moved back home to her family in Garmisch, Germany. However, three years on, Jason and Dani still have a very strong transcontinental relationship, and very soon Shannon and Jason are due to visit Dani and celebrate Shannon’s birthday at the same time.

However the holiday isn’t here yet and arriving at work, Jason, who has transferred back to Homicide from the Sex Crimes division, is called into his superior’s office and informed by Sargent Kipfer, that he has a new partner, a very attractive divorcee called Tatum Harper.

Soon a reluctant Jason, and his new chatty and very keen partner are trying to discover who the reckless killers are, and what links the crimes together. Whilst in the background, Jason’s relationship with Dani has taken a strange turn which gives the story an intriguing subplot.

Despite the clues and evidence coming together, nothing will stick, the death toll is rising. Who is the mysterious MD?

If you like reading crime thrillers then you will love Rampage. They say write about what you know and this action-packed plot has been very cleverly written, and has the great attention to detail I have come to expect from Alan Brenham. With his lifetimes experience as a Texas law enforcement officer, criminal prosecutor and defense attorney, the author’s in-depth knowledge, and understanding in these fields enables him to take his lucky readers on an unforgettable journey into the dark criminal underworld, its chilling inhabitants and the people who protect us from them.


About the Author: Alan Brenham is the pen name of Alan Behr, a Texas criminal law attorney and former law enforcement officer.

His first crime novel, Price of Justice, won several awards including best in police/crime fiction. A second novel, Cornered, was released by Black Opal Books on Amazon on July 13, 2014 in print format. A third novel, titled Rampage, is expected to be released on July 4, 2015. He’s writing his fourth and fifth novels, with more to come.

He was born in upstate New York, in the small Catskill Mountains town of Delhi. He worked as a Texas law enforcement officer for over seventeen years and as a criminal prosecutor and later criminal defense attorney for over twenty-five years. Today he lives in the Austin, Texas, area with his wife, Lillian.

About the Book: The stakes soar, both professionally and personally, for Austin PD Detective Jason Scarsdale as he finds himself in a race against time to hunt down a vicious gang hell-bent on murder. Realizing that his new partner, the attractive divorcee Tatum Harper, could be trouble in more ways than one, he tries to run her out of Homicide. Will their partnership destroy his romantic relationship with long-time girlfriend Dani Mueller? Will they both survive the harrowing face-off with the increasingly unhinged gang leader?

Available from Amazon

in Paperback

and Kindle format