Author Interview

Author Interview: Serina Adham

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Serina Adham, author of Lulu’s Balallam-Bam-Bam Grooves, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Serina Adham drew on her experience as a dancer and dance instructor to give you this fun new adventure with Lulu and all her animal friends. She hopes that Lulu will teach children to enthusiastically follow their dreams but also consider the effects they have on others.

Adham lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to teaching dance, Adham has also worked as a jewelry and clothing designer and an interior designer. She has one fearless, dancing and singing daughter of her own.

Contact Details:

Website: https://www.adhambooks.com
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17117983.Serina_Adham


Hello, Serina. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I am looking forward to publishing many more books.

Which writers inspire you?

As far as children’s books, My favourite writers are Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton. As for adult fiction, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchet.

Tell us about your book?

It’s about a gorilla that loves to dance but is unaware here actions cause a huge disturbance in the jungle. I wanted to show children in a fun and interactive way that they can do what they love but also be thoughtful of others.

How long did it take you to write it?

This story started off as very differently, it took a year until I was happy with it and a little longer for the illustrations to be done.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes I have Three stories that are in the final editing stages, unlike Lulu they were much easier and faster to write.

They are also about life lessons but with a playful and fun theme also involving animals and a little bit of magic as well.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I have a daughter of my own and I thinks books are one of the best ways to connect with kids and teach them life lessons.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I have always been a writer but I decided to call myself a writer, about ten years ago when I realized that this is what I would love my career to be.

Why do you write?

It is the best way to bring to life all that I imagine.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hard to pin point where exactly, I grew up with an over active imagination, and so grew up with many of these characters that I later developed into stories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I love the feel of a pen in hand and pen on paper, and have this strange love for notebooks especially ones filled with my scribbles.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Terry Pratchet: Mort,
  2. Douglas Adams: The Long Dark Tea time of the soul..
  3. Ann Rice: Lasher.
  4. Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist.
  5. Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club
  6. Neil Gaiman: Good Omens

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I make a cup of tea and just scribble whatever comes to mind, otherwise I do something else creative like painting, dancing, designing or sewing. When I am being creative in another way it always feeds and refreshes my imagination and creativity.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

If you love to write, just keep writing. Don’t edit too much, do that at the end.

Write about what you love, what you know and trust your instincts, however every now and then it’s good to get some feedback from another writer maybe or editor, or life partner as in my case.

Thank you, Serina, for all your answers! 


About The Book:

There is nothing Lulu loves more than dancing by herself. With each new song, she practices the “Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves.” She slides her feet, claps her hands, and bumps her hips against a tree trunk.
There is just one problem. Lulu is a gorilla! When she stamps her feet and shakes the trees, she ends up disturbing all the other animals in her jungle home. Poor Squin Squirrel cannot even sip his nut tea without Lulu’s dancing rattling his tree home. Squin and the other animals try to tell Lulu that her dancing is disruptive, but they cannot get through to the gorilla.
Then, Lulu’s loud music and dancing ends up waking up the mighty king of the jungle. The angry lion Jhawfors then confronts Lulu with the problem. Will the animals be able to find a compromise?
This rhyming children’s tale imparts valuable lessons to young readers. Lulu does not want to stop doing what she loves, but she needs to understand that her actions affect others. Through Lulu, children will learn the importance of respect, compassion, and compromise.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lulu%27s+ballalam+bam+bam+grooves+kindle
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104433-lulu-s-ballam-bam-bam-grooves 


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

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Bolivar Beto · Fantasy

Book Review: Pangaea: The End Of Days, Revelations by Bolivar Beato

Author: Bolivar Beato
Release Date: 11th July 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Pangaea
Edition: 
e-book
Pages: 226
Publisher: Self-Published

Blurb:

At the dawn of humankind came the end of all that stood before.
This story is one such fairytale. Except it is not truly a fairytale. It is the story of Giants and Immortals, and of Earth’s greatest legend, Pangaea.
The great continent and the ocean Panthalassa were more than just the earth and the sea—they were the future. They were more than the children that ran across their playgrounds, the farmers that plowed their fields, and the sailors that travelled their waters. More than the hopes and fears of their inhabitants. And much more than the myths and legends who walked the Earth three hundred million years ago. They were a dream, a covenant made long before this universe ever took shape.
This is the tale of an end of an Age.
These are its tragic last days.
Pangaea is being torn apart by magic, and an old evil is set to return. Its greatest champions are blinded by ambition, choked by politics, and crippled by pain.
Brought together by fate, seven young heroes set out to save the world.
But what can children do against living gods?

Review

★★★

Pangaea: The End Of Days, Revelations by Bolivar Beto is a unique new fantasy read written in a different way that is sure to entertain you.

The story is written in the form of various short stories being told of the same world and ultimately coming together in the larger picture. The book was easy to read and quite quick which was a big plus. The writing was mostly simple and understandable, though I had to re-read some sections to understand the meanings of the lines. Maybe it was because of the intricately woven tale of the cosmic world which was not easy to comprehend on the first reading or maybe it was the sentence formation, I’m not quite sure. Though, I did enjoy reading the book.

It was good to read about Indian Gods in one of the stories of the Caldroun and I must say, as different as it might be from Indian myths, it was sure interesting to see them in a fantasy read from a foreign perspective.

I’d recommend this book to Fantasy readers and readers and enthusiasts of cosmic stuff. This book would highly appeal to you if you have a liking for the whole good and evil concept.


Goodreads and Amazon

Braxton A. Cosby · Science-Fiction · Young Adult

ARC Review: Protostar (The Star Crossed Saga #1) by Braxton A. Cosby

25735531Author: Braxton A. Cosby
Release Date: 26th September 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction
Series: The Star-Crossed Saga
Edition:
e-book
Pages: 312
Publisher: Cosby Media Productions

Blurb:

What Would You Choose, love or duty?

On the brink of civil war, the Torrian Alliance continues with its mission to obliterate Star-children across the universe in order to suppress an intergalactic evil. Following the recommendations of his council, King Gregorio Derry reluctantly agrees to send his only son William on a mission to restore honor to his family name. William seeks to complete his assignment, the elimination of a Star-child named Sydney on planet Earth, but when the assassination is delayed he begins to realize an emotional connection with his target. With conspiracy threatening his home planet, and a hidden menace on Earth seeking to secure a vested interest, William finds himself torn between irrevocable duty and sacrificing everything he stands for to defend Sydney. As William and Sydney struggle to overcome their impossible circumstances, they start to wonder if the connection of two Star-Crossed lovers will be enough to save them from certain doom.

Review

★★★+1/2

Protostar by Braxton A. Cosby, the first book in The Star-Crossed Saga, is a nice starting to a promising new YA series.

Overall the story was good, quite engaging in fact, and the plot was well thought out. The writing was easy and flowed smoothly making this book an enjoyable and easy read. I liked the different cosmic concepts expressed in the story and enjoyed the romantic theme as well.

The book started out with a nice opening and I was pulled into the story right from the first page. It had a nice hook and the pace was easily set in the first few pages itself.

The characterization, though, felt weak and for some reason, I wasn’t able to connect to the main leads, neither the male lead nor the female, though I did like them and cared just enough to read the entire story. The ending was good and fitting for a book that’ll soon have a sequel, so all in all this book makes for a nice read.

Though I did feel that at places (however on only rare occasions) the sentence structures could have been better and the dialogues were not right. This can be due to the cultural difference in the use of English language in American English, but I couldn’t help but noticing and mentioning it here.

I’d recommend this book to mainly Young Adult lovers but I’m sure that even Sci-Fi readers would enjoy this book.

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Fantasy · Magic · Magic/Elementals · Olga Gutsol · Paranormal · Supernatural · Young Adult

Book Review: Stories From The Witch Store by Olga Gutsol

Author: Olga Gutsol
Release Date: 20th August 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal > Magic and Witches, Humour
Edition: e-book
Pages: 114
Publisher:

Blurb:

Funny and imaginative chronicles from the life of a hereditary witch Arelia who, along with her loyal companions Cat and house-ghost Puck, moved to the small town of Burnaville to open the Magic Potions store. Here she falls into a lifetime of boredom. How have her magical powers resulted in this? What is missing from the charming life she has built?

Review

Stories From The Witch Store is a delightful young adult read sprinkled with beautiful and heart-warming illustrations that’ll win your heart!

This book is written in the form of diary entries from the perspective of the main protagonist, Arelia, the town witch. It is a beautiful, beautiful book and I’m sure that it will steal your heart with the author’s clever writing and impressive imagination. It has been so long since I’ve read such a delightful book about witches. The wittiness of Arelia and her seemingly mundane life with Puck, the house spirit, and Cat, her familiar, is outstanding and very, very funny.

Each and every diary entry is a treat to read, whether short or long. Arelia is a very strong protagonist and I was able to connect to her instantly. I liked her from the first diary entry and was in love with her adorable character by the 2nd page itself. Even all the secondary characters are well-crafted and quite relatable, especially that of Puck and Cat – they’re my absolute favourites.

I’d recommend this book to each and everyone who loves reading, especially fantasy and paranormal (magic and witches) readers.

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Poetry · Tyfany Janee

Book Review: The Invitation: To Journey Through A Conscious Mind by Tyfany Janee

Author: Tyfany Janee
Release Date: 31st March 2017
Genre: Poetry Collection
Edition: e-book
Pages: 40
Publisher: Self-Published

BlurbThe Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind, is a showcase in talent from author and poet Tyfany Janee. She’s eloquently produced the anthology through plaintive artistic angst. Injecting the essence of her soul into her prose. The diverse collection of poetry which lies between the covers is the result of an entire life’s work experimenting within her vocation.
Her work is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a succinct hint of humor as she tears away the facade from humanity. The works shed light on relative issues that we’re all faced with in our easily waywardly led astray lives, and the monotony that makes up our existence.
The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind is an ode to the beat generation of poets that carved their names in literary history. Any creative mind will revel in the inspiration that lies between these pages, it’s full of daring attitude, and celebration for the authentic. A unique look on love, that you have to dare to delve within. It harnesses true devotion, with a stark, hair raising element of modern reality.

Review

The Invitation: A Journey To The Conscious Mind by Tyfany Janee is a remarkable collection of poems that will surely make you feel one with the author’s emotions.

I rarely read poetry collections but when I do I make sure that the one I pick up is worth m y time and energy and this is where this book totally nailed my expectations. Each and every poem was concise, to-the-point and surprisingly very relatable. The language is simple yet effectively descriptive and went a long way in leaving the desired impact on me as a reader.

At first, I was a bit sceptical as to what to expect from this book, but the overall tone of the poems and the poems, in general, felt very inviting and gave a sense, for no apparent reason, that I knew the author well and grasped the gist of exactly what the author was talking about. This made the entire collection very relatable and easy to read.

I’d recommend this book to poetry enthusiasts and readers who want to read something by a promising new author.

More from the author:
- Author Interview: Tyfany Janee
- Guest Post: Tone Is Everything by Tyfany Janee

Goodreads and Amazon

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Tone Is Everything by Tyfany Janee

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Tyfany Janee, author of The Invitation: To Journey Through A Conscious Mind.

Presenting Tyfany Janee…

Tone Is Everything

Tones are categories that characterize the dimension of a given text, the emotion that must be evoked in the reader. They, therefore, define the scope and usefulness of a literary text.

The tone of a text is a particular way of telling an event. By using different methods of writing and highlighting certain themes, it is possible to provoke in the reader or spectator various emotions: laughter, sadness, anguish, terror … The tone of a text Does not necessarily depend on its genre – a novel, for example, can be comic and pathetic. In a text, one can meet the tones tragic, pathetic, lyrical, epic, comic, ironic, fantastic …

Furthermore, the tone is everything your text needs to stand out. Some Types of tone and its uses include:

  1. Tragic tone

The tragic tone is the tone of terror/fright and pity. It is a frequent tone in classical tragedy and in the theater of the twentieth century.

It is about man facing forces that surpass him (gods, fate, passions). Fate is like an infernal machine, as it has no way out for the character, usually of high rank, posed to his dilemmas. There is no happy outcome to provoke catharsis, the purgation of the passions of the soul.

Processes used: sustained register, figures of amplifications such as hyperbole, opposition figures, exclamations, apostrophes, interrogations, supplication, complaint, impotence, fault, death.

  1. Comic tone

This is the tonality that seeks the expression of laughter and entertainment. In addition to this, the comic can have a critical reach. Laughter can highlight the defects of the man to seek to correct them. In this, he joins the satirical tone.

It is a frequent tone in comedy but can be found in other literary genres.

Four types of comics play the springs of the comic: the comic situation, the comic character, the comic of words, the comic gesture.

Processes used: the burlesque (contrast between the subject treated and the style: serious subject on a vulgar style for example), parody, satire, figures of repetitions, current or familiar register, the effect of misunderstanding, Effect of rupture, exaggerations, play on words.

  1. Pathetic tone

It is the expression of suffering that inspires the reader with powerful emotions. The pathetic term comes from pathos in Greek which means compassion, pain. If the pathetic tone arouses a violent emotion, it does not contain a notion of fatality, contrary to the tragic tone that is close to it. It is also linked to the lyrical and elegiac tones that are reciprocally the expression of feelings and the expression of sentimental suffering.

It is a common tone in the great literary genres: poetry, novel, theater.

Processes used: amplification figures, lexical field of strong feelings, exclamations, interrogations, injunctions.

  1. Epic tone

This tonality seeks to provoke admiration or fright. It is used to narrate the warrior and wonderful adventures of a hero. It is found originally in the epic, then in medieval narratives, in certain theatrical texts, in certain novels, in certain historical narratives when it is a question of narrating a grandiose act.

Processes used: amplification, superlatives, hyperboles, enumerations, accumulations, personifications, intensity adverbs, action sequence, marvelous.

  1. Fantastic tone

This is a tone that seeks to arouse anguish, fear, hesitation. It is particularly present in the novels, the news belonging to the fantastic genre. It involves bringing mysterious facts into the real world.

Emotions are caused by the uncertainty in the interpretation of what is happening: is it natural or supernatural? Rational or irrational? Doubt is, therefore, the founding element of the fantastic tone.

Methods used: intrusion of the mysterious into everyday life, internal focus, narrative breakdown, lexical field of the strange, modalizers of doubt (adverbs, conditional mode), lexical field of fear, hesitation.

  1. Polemic tone

It is the tone of anger or indignation. This term comes from polemos in Greek which means war.

It is a tone that is found in debates, argumentative texts, essays, speeches. All these texts fight ideas and arise in conflicting argumentative situations. These are energetic denunciations.

Processes used: attempts at discredit (antiphrasis, litotes), marks of personal commitment, marks of emotion (exclamations, interrogations)

  1. Deliberative Tone

This is a tone of doubt, of hesitation. It is a matter of unraveling a situation involving two choices. We confront the arguments, we discuss them, and we make a choice. It is a rhetorical tone in the case where deliberation seeks to convince someone. It is found in the debates.

Processes used: presence of arguments and counter-arguments, rebuttals.

  1. Learning tone

The didactic text seeks to explain or to teach a knowledge through explanations or a morality. These are the explanatory texts, the argumentative texts, the essays, the maxims …

The methods used: an objective style, a neutral vocabulary, declarative sentences, present.

  1. Epidemic tone

It is the tone of admiration, praise, or blame. It is the art of portraiture in the novel genre, in the theatrical genre, for example. It is also the art of discourse, a rhetorical art. It can be found in poetry, in funeral orations, too.

Epidural tone celebrates qualities or denounces someone’s faults.

Processes used: image enhancement or devaluation, a vocabulary pejorative or melliative.

In conclusion, the tone consists of the attitude adopted by the author concerning a specific character, place, or development. Helping, thus, the reader to determine the feelings of the author. It is the emphasis it conveys through the solemn, the serious, the critical to the witty, and the ironic and comical. To make a literary work interesting and lively, the importance of the tone cannot be overemphasized.


About the author:

Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.tyfanyjanee.com
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17027338.Tyfany_Janee

 

About the book:

The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind, is a showcase in talent from author and poet Tyfany Janee. She’s eloquently produced the anthology through plaintive artistic angst. Injecting the essence of her soul into her prose. The diverse collection of poetry which lies between the covers is the result of an entire life’s work experimenting within her vocation.
Her work is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a succinct hint of humor as she tears away the facade from humanity. The works shed light on relative issues that we’re all faced with in our easily waywardly led astray lives, and the monotony that makes up our existence.
The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind is an ode to the beat generation of poets that carved their names in literary history. Any creative mind will revel in the inspiration that lies between these pages, it’s full of daring attitude, and celebration for the authentic. A unique look on love, that you have to dare to delve within. It harnesses true devotion, with a stark, hair raising element of modern reality.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Invitation-journey-through-conscious-mind/dp/0998889202/ 
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35674490-the-invitation


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Contemporary Fiction · Jay Chirino

ARC Review: The Flawed Ones – A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jay Chirino

Author: Jay Chirino
Release Date: 2nd November 2017
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Blurb:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

Review

The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino is a very interesting book on a subject that is not only sensitive but also taboo for many people – mental illness.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that it not only concentrates on the mental illness but it also tells us about what lies beyond the dark face of the illness itself. This book is a highly compelling and a very intelligent book.

The writing is good and it complimented the story quite well. The descriptions were painfully realistic and I was able to connect to the lead character’s angst. Reading this book made all the situations Jay had to go through, feel very… intimate and real.

The starting of the book was simple yet powerful and good. Even the Author’s Note was really good. As the story progressed I found myself unable to put the book down. It was gripping on an emotional level and that is where this book impressed me.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who likes reading as we all, from time to time, have or will come across people and/or situations where this kind of intense familiarity in regards to mental illness might prove very helpful. If you don’t want to read this book for entertaining purpose then read it for the sake of awareness.

More from the author:
- Author Interview: Jay Chirino
- Book Excerpt: The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino

Goodreads

Action · Adventure · Mystery · Phil Bradley

Book Review: Hiding In Third Person

Author: Phil Bradley
Release Date: 31st May 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
Edition: e-book
Pages: 260
Publisher: Archway Publishing

Rating: ★★★+1/2

Blurb:

Ricky, a flippant orderly befriends a mental patient at an asylum he refers to as the spa and dude ranch. He listens to the sick man, the others refer to as Mr. River, tell a dubious tale of two teenage boys on the run from an assassin.
In River’s story, the boys take refuge at an abandoned military base, BOMARC, nestled in the idyllic New Jersey Pinelands. Also trailing the boys are several cops. False identities and coded messages hinder the cop’s search.. Mr. River’s story ends in a bloody showdown at BOMARC.
Asylum doctors plan to move Mr. Rivers to a dark and remote facility. Their ultimate decision hinges on the validity of the sick man’s story. Seemingly, Ricky is the only believer and he has to risk his life to prove the patient’s story to be true.

Review

Hiding In Third Person is an entertaining yet light-hearted read.

I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from the book in terms of plot and the story, but once I started reading it I found it a very engaging and an entertaining read. The writing is good and has a nice flow to it. No complex words, no complicated sentence structures and no unnecessary detailing – in short, it was a light and casual read.

The characterisation was not great, but I did care for the main lead, Ricky, enough to finish the entire book pretty quickly. As I already mentioned, it is a light read so it worked for me.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes action, adventure or mystery and even to those who are looking for a breezy read to take a break from their usual reading genres.


Goodreads and Amazon

Bridget Nash · Dystopian · Young Adult

Book Review: Players by Bridget Nash

Author: Bridget Nash
Release Date: 11th October 2015
Genre: Dystopian, YA
Edition: E-book
Pages: 500
Publisher: Wallace Publishing

Rating: ★★★+1/2

Blurb:

Ryan Scribe is eighteen and has it made.
He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.
Then he hears a beautiful actress say, “Truth is often stranger than perception,” and he begins to look at his world with new eyes.
All it takes is one wrong question and he is swiftly banished from the only home he’s ever known. Forced to join a band of traveling players, stage actors who look like they could have stepped straight out of Elizabethan England, Ryan begins to question his life, his country and everyone around him. Can he really trust a group of actors? Will his questions land him in even more danger?

Review

Players by Bridget Nash is a unique Dystopian read with a touch of Shakespearian feel.

The plot of this book was quite unique and considerably impressive. I liked the dystopian setting, which is always the most important element in this genre, and I also liked the characters. The artistic Shakespearian touch tot he story in terms of writing as well as the concept really added a layer of positive complexity as well as a defined character to the plot.

I liked the main character of Ryan Scribe as he was very relatable and easy to like and loved reading about him and his journey. I also liked the secondary characters. but overall the story went a bit too heavy and hence I’m deduction 1/2 a star from my rating of 4 out of 5.

In spite of having liked so much, I feel that the overall story seemed a bit too heavy and hence I’m deducting 1/2 a star from my rating of 4 out of 5.

I’d recommend this book to all Dystopian lovers and the fans of Shakespearian literature.

More from the author: Author Interview: Bridget Nash


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview

Author Interview: Tyfany Janee

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Tyfany Janee, author of The Invitation: To Journey Through A Conscious Mind, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.tyfanyjanee.com
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17027338.Tyfany_Janee


Hello, Tyfany. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m a Maryland native and a Mom of two. I work full-time as Membership Coordinator/Content Marketer at a Non-Profit Association. Currently finishing my degree in Business with a minor in Marketing. I plan to pursue entrepreneurship into a Publishing and Marketing company.

Writing has always been a part of my life. I’ve been at this since the age of 13, and have written many unpublished works such as stories, screen plays or poems. I’ve been learning everything about my craft waiting for the time when I could share with the world.

Please tell us about your book?

The Invitation: To Journey through a conscious mind, it’s just that of which it states. An invitation to join and emote in the conversation. That it’s ok to “be” and have thoughts or experiences like the ones that unfold. Furthermore, in the end there’s a strengthening that can begin from it all.

It’s the invitation to celebrate oneself. Be brave and courageous to be who you. You’re not perfect. I’ve lived, laughed, loved through the good and the bad. The purpose of it all, to learn and make me better. On the social side, there will are things not fair or equal. Be the change you want to see. And on the relationship side of life, we love, lose, get played and cry the blues. It will be ok, but it sucks, I know let’s express about it. You think, does love even remember your name? You don’t fit in but like being different. It can make you feel insecure and socially awkward. There is so much in this book to speak to.

I’ve experienced some of these things and gave a voice to others that have. Just to be conscious enough and speak to the topics not many want to speak on. It’s reality, It’s someone’s reality. I came to share the story in poetic form, give to the one that needs it and maybe doesn’t even know it.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took 3 months to bring it all together. I had some older poems that fit the theme. However, there was still 70 percent of new content that I had to work on. Poems are not typically hard for me. I tend to get inspired often, and can write them without any hesitation. So, I just kept writing and judged if they fit the theme later.

Why did you choose this topic?

I chose this topic and the five themes in the book because it represented a current moment. It represented truth in this moment. Some of themes fit personally for me now or in past. Others that I’ve heard related in conversations or seen from women/men that are attributed to the joys, insecurities, struggles in relationships, lack social acceptance etc.

I’m open enough to say, I’ve been there, seen it, heard it, and I understand. To have loved and lost, have or had insecurities, struggle to find one self, battles of fitting in. Understand because that person was a family member, friend, or stranger to me.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

I’m like an old soul. So, there are many that inspired me that are not present. These great writers include Maya Angelou, Zora Neal Hurston, and Nikki Giovani. Growing-up I read books from Omar Tyree, Toni Morrison, and E. Lynn Harris.

What inspired you to write?

I read many great Authors coming up and I was always taken by the words of many of them. I probably was the only thirteen-year-old into Shakespeare. Ultimately, I wrote to express myself. In every emotion, I was compelled to write versus speaking. It was a release. I was always an imaginative child. Once I grabbed a pen and paper it became home to the constant stories I thought up.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m writing now the next book, The Road Sometimes Traveled, it contains three short stories that are tied together by a central theme of my characters dealing with secrets of their past coming back to haunt them. The cover is ready and it’s been put up on my website and all the ways to connect with me via social media.

I plan to release another poetry book in 2018, titled, RSVP: To Be Unapologetic. That book will have poems that are aimed to shed light life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. About being confident in your own skin, speak your truth, getting naked in a sense to say yes, I have flaws and imperfections. I’m human. It pulls out a chair to the table that tells it like it is. We all have our vices, mistakes are made daily. We move forward and learn, for those that are still there, you’re no less than anyone that has moved onto the next phase. Be unapologetic in being who you are.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer the longhand with a pen. I know very old school and probably double the work. But it allows me to organize my thoughts and clearly write. I start every story in a composition book. I don’t know how many words I’m writing like I would on the computer. However, I can take it everywhere and when inspiration comes that may help what I’m working on, I can jot it down.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

Books:

  1. Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume (Yes, I had to go back to childhood lol. She is an amazing writer. I’ve read more than a handful of her titles.)
  2. Never Again Once More- Mary B. Morrison
  3. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks (It’s unfair to list just one. I like anything by him.)
  4. Twilight Book Series – Stephanie Meyer (Need I say more.)
  5. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan

Authors:

  1. Kimberla Lawson Roby
  2. Mary B. Morrison
  3. Nicholas Sparks
  4. Stephanie Meyer
  5. Judy Blume

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

Poetry is a different type of process and it is technically Non-Fiction. Moreover, I believe the research comes in a way of discovery. Discovery into the feeling that has become inspired.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and embrace your style. Allow people to get to know your tone and your words to the point that they can recognize them anywhere, because you are that distinct.

Thank you, Tyfany, for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind, is a showcase in talent from author and poet Tyfany Janee. She’s eloquently produced the anthology through plaintive artistic angst. Injecting the essence of her soul into her prose. The diverse collection of poetry which lies between the covers is the result of an entire life’s work experimenting within her vocation.
Her work is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a succinct hint of humor as she tears away the facade from humanity. The works shed light on relative issues that we’re all faced with in our easily waywardly led astray lives, and the monotony that makes up our existence.
The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind is an ode to the beat generation of poets that carved their names in literary history. Any creative mind will revel in the inspiration that lies between these pages, it’s full of daring attitude, and celebration for the authentic. A unique look on love, that you have to dare to delve within. It harnesses true devotion, with a stark, hair raising element of modern reality.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Invitation-journey-through-conscious-mind/dp/0998889202/ 
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35674490-the-invitation


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Church fiction · Combination · K.M. Aul

Book Review: Synesthesia (The Senses #4) by K.M. Aul

Author:  K.M. Aul
Release Date: 31st December 2016
Genre: Christian Fiction, Fantasy
Edition: E-book
Pages: 482
Publisher: Self-Published

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

The Best Selling Christian Fiction/Fantasy Series Continues!

Time has run out. The world as we know it is coming to an end and a handful of heroes are all that stand in the way of the final darkness.

Born in an age of brutality and miracles, Eli was raised from the dead to start a new life unlike any other. His touch can heal; his pain can destroy. He has not only seen the rise and fall of civilizations, his power has been the cause of them. Prepare yourself for an adventure through time, prepare to face the greatest challenge humankind has ever known.

Review

Synesthesia by K.M. Aul is a one of a kind book which is as entertaining as it is insightful.

In spite of not being a Christian, I enjoyed reading about this story. It was intense and quite well-written. The flow of the writing was the one thing I admired the most in this book because it made the reading very easy and smooth.

Though it did take some time for me to get into the story at first, once I started to get into the flow, it was not easy to put it down. Its uniqueness is one of the biggest plus points of the book. You hardly ever get to see Christian fiction told in fantasy settings with modern characters.

I’d recommend this book to everyone interested in trying new well-written genre combinations.

More from the author:
- Author InterviewGuest Post: God, Myth and Mystery 

Goodreads and Amazon

Donnie Masters · Non-Fiction

Book Review: Start Winning With Money by Donnie Masters

Author: Donnie Masters
Release Date: 18th July 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction
Edition: E-book
Pages: –
Publisher: Masters Investment Group LLC

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!
Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.
Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.
Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth

Review

Start Winning With Money by Donnie Masters is an insightful book that has a lot to offer in terms of financial ideas, monetary strategies and capital management.

It’s not been long that I’ve started reading non-fiction, but so far I’ve read some books that shed light on some very important topics that help a person in their day to day life. One such topic is money and money management. Everyone has ideas about gaining and maintaining wealth, but often we find ourselves in tight-spots where we fail and have to face consequences. This is why I was really interested in reading this book. And to my delight, Start Winning With Money was a great read and it went a long way in decoding some of the longest standing myths about money and all the related problems.

As a newbie to business, I found this book very helpful and even quite encouraging. I found the tactics described by the author very clear, concise and practical. The methods listed in this book are not only simple and easy to follow but also seem very effective.

Another thing that I really liked about this book was that each and every chapter in this book was organised nicely and was divided into sections that made a lot of sense and also made it easy to keep a track of things. The format of the book makes it very easy to not only read but also remember the points of note.

I’d recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn not only how to get better financially, but also how to prepare practical strategies to maintain one’s wealth.

More from the author: 
- Author Interview
- Guest Post - The 4 Biggest Financial Lies Being Taught To Americans Right Now by Donnie Masters
- Book Excerpt

Goodreads and Amazon

Miscellaneous

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

Heena Rathore P.

Happy 71st Independence Day to all my Indian brothers and sisters. Today is the day of pride for our nation and on this beautiful and honourable day, I am happy to share with you all something about India’s Independence Day:

Independence Day is annually observed on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan. On 16 August 1947…

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Author Interview

Author Interview: Jay Chirino

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Jay Chirino, author of The Flawed Ones, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Jay is an author, mental health advocate and recovering addict, who spent over ten years battling his demons. Today he focuses on sharing his story and the story of others like him in order to create awareness and help eradicate the stigma that has always surrounded mental illness. He lives in Tampa, FL with Ana, his cat.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.theflawedones.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theflawedones
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/flawedones/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theflawedones


Hello, Jay. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

 

I want my stories not only to entertain, but also to inspire and to give awareness, to make the reader think and see things from an angle that maybe they hadn’t seen from before; to give a poetic light to some of the negative things in the world and explain them in a way that make them neither good or bad, just real. In essence, I want to squeeze the reader’s heart and make them feel alive.

Which writers inspire you?

I am not a huge fan of horror fiction, but when I read Stephen King’s “On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft”, I understood the hype that eternally surrounds him. The man is a flawless story teller and he knows the craft very well. I think George RR Martin is another one of those writers that excels in creating masterpieces, not only for his talent at creating incredible worlds, but also for being able to put you in the center of those worlds with his impeccable prose. I have also been reading Tom Perrota lately, his writing style captivates me as it’s smooth and fluid; you go from chapter to chapter without even realizing that he is taking you on an unexpected journey. As far as the classics, Hemingway has always been on the top of my list.

Tell us about your book?

The Flawed Ones is an immersion into the world of mental illness in a way that I don’t think has ever been done before. I didn’t want it to be a memoir, there are already enough of those out there. I wanted to shed light not only on my personal struggles, but on the struggles of different people with different levels of mental deficiencies and their everyday lives. What happens when you put them all together in one place? How do they portray their own humanity? I wanted the story to be almost poetic; sometimes bitter, sometimes cruel, sometimes funny, sometimes scary and other times inspiring. I want the reader to feel with the characters, to laugh, to cry and to understand maybe what they haven’t understood before. I want them to think about these characters when they are finished with the book, to wonder and worry about them, almost as if they were family.

How long did it take you to write it?

From the time I put the first word on the paper to the time I finished the last correction it was about one-and-a-half years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Right now I am solely working on getting the word out there about The Flawed Ones as much as I can, but in the background and I am toying with the idea of a prequel for this novel if it all goes well.

Why have you chosen this genre?

It’s deeply personal to me. I have lived and breathed mental illness since I was a child, and I couldn’t find another topic that moved me this much, in order to write an honest and provocative first novel.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I never really decided, it has always been a part of me. My mom had one of those old typewriters when I was young, and I really enjoyed writing stories on it, as it made the loud CLACK CLACK CLACK of the letters being printed on the page. When I was sad, writing always helped, when I fell in love, poetry was always there, there has been no me without writing; it’s not a choice I made, it’s as natural to me as taking showers or drinking water. Nothing brings me more peace.

Why do you write?

I write because it frees the chains of my mind and allows me to travel, to fly to unexplored territories, to islands of thought, were imagination is queen and her beauty sublime, where routine doesn’t enslave me, where I can make sense of my world by tearing it apart and looking inside, where love doesn’t hurt and hope doesn’t fade… where time slows down just enough to touch, to feel, to dance with, intricate motions in collaboration that lead me to realizations and allow me to dream, to smile, to live. I write because it brings me peace.

Where do your ideas come from?

The beautiful struggle that is life. I like making poetry out of the mundane things that we might not even be aware of; the everyday routines that we are tied to, the automatic processes that we perform without even realizing. Then, you see it written on paper in a way that even the most insignificant moment demands your attention, and you have no choice but to pay it.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

To get the ideas out of my head I need a pen and a white sheet of paper. Once the basics are down I transplant them over to the word processor on the computer and I polish it several times.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Authors: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, George RR Martin, Tom Perrota. Books: The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and The Sea, The Leftovers, Game of Thrones Vol 1.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I step away from the desk and think about anything but writing. I go out and explore, and put myself in situations that make me think- maybe sitting at a coffee shop people watching or going for a walk in the park. Once you let your thoughts roam free, the ideas will begin to flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To read as much as they can, and to be honest when they write, not holding back, finding the true story deep inside them, and not in what they think others will like.

Thank you, Jay, for all your amazing and insightful answers! 


About The Book:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

Book Links:

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35893903


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Ashlie Knapp · Romance

Book Review: Playing To Win by Ashlie Knapp

Author: Ashlie Knapp
Release Date: 12th June 2016
Genre: Romance, Sports
Edition: E-book
Pages: 225
Publisher: –

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

Spunky, quick-witted twenty-one year old Callie Thompson is a University of Oklahoma journalism student by day and Oklahoma City Thunder dancer by night. Callie hopes her connections with the franchise might get her foot in the door for a sports broadcasting job when she graduates. She just has one rule: never date the players.

Kyle Kelly is the deadly handsome and charmingly Southern Thunder man of the hour. All the twenty-six year old is looking for is an NBA championship to call his own. An unexpected meeting with an opinionated, feisty Callie, however, who is very unimpressed with his celebrity status, sets his sights toward winning two things: her heart AND the championship.

Review

Playing To Win by Ashlie Knapp is a beautifully written romance novel that’ll steal your heart.

It is an enjoyable book with a very interesting plotline. The story managed to keep me glued to the book right till the very end.
The writing was good, quite descriptive in fact, and the imagery was very vivid. The smooth flow of the writing made it a light and breezy read. As this is the first book in the series, I’m sure that I’ll be looking out for the next books as they come out.

The lead characters, Callie Thompson and Kyle Kelly, are well-developed and beautifully used throughout the story adding depth to the plot. I loved them both and was able to relate to both of them. I’ve always been a fan of Southern male leads in romantic novels (there’s just something very gentlemanly about them and their manners) and this book had exactly that, a charming southern guy as the male lead. Additionally, it was quite interesting to read about Callie, the female lead, who wants to be a sports journalist. The insights into the background were quite interesting.

The beginning and ending were perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

I’d recommend this book to all the genre lovers who love reading romance novels with good plotlines and even better characters.

Instagram


Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview

Author Interview: Kate Trinity

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Kate Trinity, author of It Is The Demon In Me, for an author Interview.

About the author:

11 countries, 2 degrees, a love of animals, and all things supernatural. When Kate isn’t writing she’s baking and loves to decorate cakes in unusual ways. Brought up around steam trains, her father was an engine driver and her mother a nurse in St. Luke’s. The eldest of five siblings and with 2 children of her own her family is a large one. After the break up of her marriage and becoming unwell Kate began to write, and never stopped. Her world is filled with gods and demons, monsters and fae.

Hello, Kate. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep writing and maybe, one day, possibly, fingers crossed, have a book made into a movie.

Which writers inspire you?

Andy McNab, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett. They all have a very different voice and unique way of approaching their story. But they all write stories that take you into the action and make you want to keep reading.Tell us about your book?

Tell us about your book?

It is the Demon in Me is the first in a trilogy about a young woman, Deanna, who has to make big decisions about her future. Only, they’re not simple decisions like where shall I go to college, shall I get a job or go on vacation this summer. They’re much more complicated than that, with much more devastating consequences if she chooses wrong. And she has the added complication of being a witch whose powers have been kept bound by her parents coven.

How long did it take you to write it?

A long time. I wrote it by hand during a time when I was suffering with depression. So, there were days when I hated the very idea of getting up and writing. On other days, it was like therapy. And then when I was done with pen and paper I had to type it up on my very ancient, slow, argumentative, computer.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m writing a script. I began writing the story as a novella for a competition and half way through realised it would work much better as a movie.

Why have you chosen this genre?

It chose me. I wrote the story as it came to me with no thought as to what genre it might fit into.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I ever decided to become a writer, I always just wrote. There was a point (quite) a few years back when I suddenly thought ‘I am a writer’.

Why do you write?

It’s a compulsion. A story begins to form in my head, and over a couple of days it grows, and then I have to write it down so I can stop thinking about it.

Where do your ideas come from?

Music sometimes suggests a story, other times it could be something I’m reading, or something I’ve seen whilst out and about. It’s often from a ‘what if…’ question that my imagination runs away with.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I used to prefer to write by hand but as my typing has gotten better it’s much easier to go straight to the computer. Occasionally I’ll make a story idea note on my phone. Or start an idea for a story with pen and paper but I rarely write the whole thing by hand any more.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Books

  • Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke
  • Smokey the Cow Horse by Will James
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Rats by James Herbert
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Authors

  • Andy McNab
  • Stephen King
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Philippa Gregory

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Music. A great way to deal with writer’s block is to compile a playlist for the scene you’re trying to write. One that makes you feel the way you want that scene to feel. Then listen to it whilst thinking about the characters in the scene. Don’t try to write it at first, simply listen and think, eventually the words start flowing again. I don’t think it’s something you can force your way through. But if it goes on and on, lasting for days, I think you have to ask yourself some questions about what you’re writing. Maybe it’s not the right thing or if the direction you took earlier in the story was the wrong one.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Learn about the story arc. It makes plotting easier and helps you get into your reader’s brain. I wish I’d known about it when I first started writing stories but it’s taken me a while to appreciate all of its intricacies.

Thank you, Kate, for all your lovely answers! 


About The Book:

A wickedly good novel about magic, curses, witches, and demons.
Born a witch, Deanna knew she had powers but not the extent of them.
Her parents and their coven bound her to keep her safe from the demons that wanted to find her.
But as her powers grew, the bindings weakened and they were found.
She must be unbound quickly as only she has the power to fight off the demons.
But what she discovers changes everything.
Her place in this world is not as she thought.
The time has come to make a decision and the lives of her family and their coven rest on it.
‘It Is The Demon In Me’ is the first in a three part series about Deanna, her family, and their true bloodline.
When your whole world changes, do you use fight or flight?


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt: Cuteness Overlord by Mike Aaron

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are featuring an excerpt from Cuteness Overlord by Mike Aaron.

Read ahead to get a sneak-peek into this unique new release.

About the Book:

Carl Shan is an underappreciated scientist who is absolutely sick and tired of it all.
His research ideas are illegal. He’s been fired. The twenty-nine year old is dumped and has been reduced to living with his parents in stupid Barnley. Furious with the way the world treats him and knowing that he should always believe in himself, Carl decides to leave it all behind. He builds a time machine to the year 2117. When he arrives, he is surprised to find his workshop a mess.
Why are the buildings in ruins and the streets empty? Also… since when did baby animals have such sharp claws?

Read the tale of a ridiculous dystopian world overrun by cute animals, where the only hope lies with a narcissist who has absolutely no interest in saving anything but his fame.

Book links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cuteness-Overlord-Mike-Aaron-ebook/dp/B072LC2RPR
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35893903


BOOK EXCERPT

If this was indeed the year 2117, then everyone he knew would probably be dead. He’d not heard of any breakthroughs in life-prolonging research in his own time and the scientists of those related fields were, to be honest, incompetent. There was no parade. Had no one inherited the house despite his mother’s many relatives? Where was his parade, and how did this terrible disuse appear? He’d expected a carnival full of pretty women of all ethnicities.

Carl left the shed only to find a garden full of knee high grass and weeds like Yerkshire fog, added to Anisantha sterillis, which he did not know the common name for. Long stems drooped at the end in measured distaste. He stepped across the stones, lab coat fluttering noisily, watching in frustration the ruins of his old house. Then he stopped and turned.
Outside the center of Barnley, fences were short and useless for blocking sight. This meant he could see through to neighbor’s houses. This was considered an indecent but popular activity, which meant that for once Carl participated in a long standing Barnley tradition.

Their houses were in ruins too. The McSultries to the right even had slight case of missing roof, and he couldn’t see nosy Bessy anywhere. Carl stepped into the kitchen where he’d been rejected blindly by Sara for a second time just a month earlier.

A stench twisted the air outside. Wood littered the floor while rotting food sat in a broken down fridge. When food rots that badly, its sight slams the gut. Still, Carl fought to pull out a carton of milk so off the cap had welded shut in despair. The expiry date was set to 18/7/2025.

Due to the stench, Carl hurried out of the house in a hurry, just then noticing a silence. It was an unpleasant sort, full of insects and wild animal calls and buzzing like his smartphone, which showed no signal. The sun stood high on the sky, as pitiful as always over the clouds of Barnley.

By that time, Carl had realized that something had gone terribly wrong in the year 2025. Perhaps a war had erupted, or an epidemic, or a nuclear blast in southern Yerkshire. Carl did not check the house for dead bodies despite the stench, or maybe because of it. His parents would have still been there in 2025 if something had happened.

A long, pleasant life followed by eventual death was what he’d expected to discover of them. With a shrug, Carl left his old house behind, pulling his labcoat about him.
As he walked down the street, Carl’s thoughts drifted to “The Notebook,” and Yerkshire pudding of a certain sort. He hadn’t been there, which he supposed was lucky for him and the world in general. Despite this reasoning, Carl wondered if they’d missed him.

Just then, a noise drifted to Carl which made him stop. Barkings, meowls, and clucks sounded in a harmony. His tut joined them. Baby animals were the last thing he needed. His kitten (with the name he’d forgotten) was thankfully out of his life.

Carl turned to the left just as the group rounded a corner and came towards him. Carl knew that a group of capons was a mew, a group of cats was either a litter or a kindle, or that a group of electronic book-reading devices had no name. He knew no name for a group of every baby animal that could be considered even remotely “cute”. Thus his mind was at a loss for once, causing him to fumble for an answer as the meowling, whining, barking, chirping, oinking, and squeaking group of animals came towards him.
The second thing that occurred to Carl as the animas walked the center of the road towards him was that all these animals should not even be travelling together. There was a grey puppy at the head.

Also, why did their eyes seem so large?

As the animals came close, a slight twinge started in Carl’s chest. It was a soft B note informing him that these animals might just be hungry and need his help. Helpless and lovely, just like him. Adorable. He remembered that a flock of finches was called a charm and smiled ruefully, watching the animals and their adorable paws, wings, eyes. Maybe they just needed food, he thought.

At that precise moment Carl noticed the bloody fangs and claws.


About The Author:

Mike Aaron is a 23 year-old, most notably known for being a failing student of business studies. His short story, ‘Homes and Humans”, was out on Storyteller magazine in June, 2017. In his free time, Mike writes news articles and volunteers for The Green Light zine and Road to Nerdfighteria.

Contact Details:

Goodreadshttp://twitter.com/mikeaaronohno
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theflawedones


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

AP McGrath · crime · Mystery · Romance · Thriller

Book Review: A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath

Author: A P McGrath
Release Date: 12th April 2017
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Romance, Spiritual
Edition: E-book
Pages: 253
Publisher: Troubador

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.
Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.
Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.

Review

A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath is an exciting crime mystery with an intelligent plot and a cast of life-like characters.

This book is an electric mix of mystery, romance, and spiritual fiction. The plot was fresh, well-built and very engaging. I was pulled into the story right from the first chapter till the very end.

The writing was good considering the fact that the prose was written phonetically from the point of view of the lead, Michael Kieh who was born and spent a considerable time of his childhood in Liberia. It added a realistic touch to the story bringing the readers closer to the protagonist in a very clever way.

The characters were all carefully constructed and relatable. I liked the character of Miachel Kieh, the protagonist and found his background very, very interesting. Even though Michael was too good to be real, the internal conflicts coupled with his personality made him a compelling lead.
I was able to relate to almost every other secondary character as well, which was a bonus.

The mystery itself was well thought out and carefully plotted. I must admit that I wasn’t able to put together all the pieces (though, I came quite close.) The author has done a good job at creating an intricate web of various twists and turns, making the ending unpredictable.

I’d recommend this book to crime and mystery lovers and to anyone who doesn’t mind reading spiritual fiction intelligently weaved into a mystery read.

More from the author: 
Author Interview: A.P. McGrath
Book Excerpt: A Burning In The Darkness by A.P. McGrath
Guest Post: A Sense of Place by A.P. McGrath

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Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt: The Flawed Ones by Jay Chirino

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are featuring an excerpt from The Flawed Ones – A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jai Chirino.

Read ahead to get a sneak-peek into this exciting new read releasing very soon.

About the Book:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.


BOOK EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1

I was stained with the color of despair, my face as white as paper and my eyes afraid. I had not been me for a while and I didn’t know how much destruction I had caused, but I had the terrible suspicion it had been a lot.

The room had nothing in it but a single-wide bed, right in center. There were no pulse monitoring devices, blood pressure monitors or any other type of triage care equipment. Behind the bed was a window that brought in enough light to see that it was daytime, but it wouldn’t be soon.  There was a small television hanging from one of the walls, but it wasn’t on. For a minute, the thought of looking for a remote ran through my mind, but just thinking about exerting that type of effort made me feel exhausted.

I sat in the middle of the bed with elbows resting on my knees and hands balled into fists, supporting my head. Mom and Dad stood next to me, pacing nervously in quiet desperation. They had not slept for days and their faces showed it. Their eyes told a story I didn’t want to read, so I kept my head down and refused to make eye contact. There was a constant static noise inside my head that got gradually louder as the minutes went by, and by now it was getting to the point of unbearable. I tried squeezing my ears shut with my hands, closing my eyes and blowing out my nose, but nothing worked. It felt like the station inside my head had lost all reception, and only the white noise remained, slowly torturing me, forcing me to surrender the rest of my sanity.

A doctor eventually walked in the room, sporting a fake smile, as if its only purpose was to sooth me. It failed.

“Hello, my name is John, I am the ER doctor today,” he said, still grinning without credible emotion. His whole expression had been programmed for dealing with the people he encountered, maybe in an attempt at making them more comfortable or at ease. He probably spent a long time in front of a mirror, perfecting it, practicing hard at masking his aversion to broken people, the reason he decided to become a doctor in the first place. Then he realized that fixing the broken meant being around them for a while, and he had no choice but to learn how to conceal his true feeling on the matter. I just hoped that his whole act worked better on others than it had on me.

“What brings you in today?”

His question was just part of the protocol; he already had the answer. His left hand had a grip on a chart that told him more than he needed to know, and I didn’t have the desire of reliving any of the details that had transpired the previous weeks. My blood would do that for me; it would give a thorough recount of the alcohol binge, the sedatives, the stimulants and whatever other substance I had put in my system without recollection. It would be a faithful witness of the accounts that made me lose total control and landed me in the hospital that day.

I kept it short and sweet to get things moving. “I have been struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, self-medicating with alcohol and drugs,” I said with embarrassment, not for telling the doctor, but for having to openly admit what I never had in front of my parents.

“I see…” Now the doctor’s fake smile dissipated; my answer was the cue that gave him clearance to stop the pleasantries and get down to business. His new face was no better though; it had morphed into somewhat of a concerned frown, eyebrows making a considerable upwards tilt where they ended, by his nose. His nostrils opened wider than normal, almost begging for more air. His eyes strained with focus as he made eye contact with nothing but the chart that he was writing on, while speaking to no one in particular.

“Let’s go ahead and run some labs and see what medicine we can give you in the meantime, to ease some of the symptoms, deal?” He looked at me momentarily and there was one more artificial grin. Before I could nod in agreement he was walking out of the room, turning this time into his true, uninterested self. As he walked past the glass wall in front of me, I saw the real ER doctor for the first time. It almost made me feel relieved to not have to live with the lie; the clumsy act that he had to put on, just for me.

A needle went in my arm and painted three vials red. There went my story, no detail left behind. Questions were going to be asked, and truthful answers were going to be given. The dark era of lies and deceptions was finally coming to its inevitable end.

Then I waited, waited for help, a knot in my throat as the walls of the room started to close in. Sobriety sank, deep in my gut. I started reminiscing without anything to blur the images, and excruciating pain bubbled up inside me. There were projections on the walls, chopped up scenes of disastrous moments that defined the surrender of my sanity, of my happiness, of my hope. I wanted to scream, but didn’t know how. I wanted to cry, but tears wouldn’t come out. I sat still in the middle of the bed, and the walls were now so close that I could touch them with my hands. Mom and Dad became dark shadows that stood still in the background. The ringing in my ears became louder and it muffled everything else. My head started pounding harder than my heart, and my desolation became intolerable.

The wait continued, the minutes refusing to move on, time becoming relative to my discomfort. Mom and Dad still stood by my side. Their pacing had continued, just a little slower. Heads down, arms crossed, I could only imagine what was going through their heads. I was well-aware of their exceptional distress, and felt immense guilt knowing it was me who put it there.

Outside the room, movement continued. Nurses and doctors did their dance as stretchers drove by and parked in empty rooms, delivering their cargo. Green scrubs would rush to hook up monitors, get blood pressure readings and insert IV’s.  An agonizing patient begged for pain killers. The loud speaker called out for a code blue in room twenty-six. Nurses sprinted past the room, almost in rehearsed formation.

I waited.

A blonde-haired woman now sat on a recliner on the other side of the glass wall, in front of the nurse’s station. It seemed like she couldn’t quite understand why she was there. She attempted to helplessly explain to the nurses and the cop standing by her that she had not meant to threaten anyone’s life. It had just been a fit of anger, like the ones she had gotten before, during her first tries at sobriety. The nurses, with their empty smiles and careless eyes, nodded and ignored her. It wasn’t a story they hadn’t heard many times before, or one that could possibly change her outcome in any way.

Seventy-two-hour psychiatric hold. We were going to be staying on the same floor.

At last someone came. They had secured a room for me to stay in. My parents got close and embraced me. Mom gave me her “it’s going to be ok” look, but the fear in her eyes said something else, something sadder. Dad walked past me and gave me two soft pats on the shoulder, then continued to walk out of the room, head down, as if my failures were his own.

As they disappeared into a corridor that now seemed five times longer than when we got there, my stomach ached the same way it did that very first day of public school, when they waved their hands in unison, and their blurry silhouettes shrank as I saw them vanish through the tears.  I had never felt more alone, more abandoned. The complete weight and heat of my burning world rested entirely on my shoulders now. Would the elevator taking me to the third floor be able to hold that much? I was about to find out.


About The Author:

Jay is an author, mental health advocate and recovering addict, who spent over ten years battling his demons. Today he focuses on sharing his story and the story of others like him in order to create awareness and help eradicate the stigma that has always surrounded mental illness. He lives in Tampa, FL with Ana, his cat.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.theflawedones.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theflawedones
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/flawedones/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theflawedones

Book links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35893903


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The 4 Biggest Financial Lies Being Taught To Americans Right Now by Donnie Masters

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author Donnie Masters, author of Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth.

Presenting Donnie Masters…

The 4 Biggest Financial Lies Being Taught To Americans Right Now

I love living in America. I really do. There are so many opportunities available to people that live in this great country. But when it comes to the public education system, and specifically the way we are teaching the current generation of students about finances, we are really screwing it up.

I am sorry for being so brutally honest, but I was a child of the public education system. The things that some of my teachers taught me about life and money were simply wrong. Sadly, we are still teaching some of the same things to today’s children.

Before I go on any further, let me say that I do not have any resentment towards my teachers. I don’t believe for a single moment that any of my teachers were intentionally trying to steer me down the wrong road, I just don’t think they knew any better.

It has taken me a lot of years, and some big financial mistakes, to finally overcome some of the beliefs that I was taught regarding money and finance. My financial education, or rather lack thereof, truly placed a mental road block that I had to free myself from before I could find success.

I specifically cover all four of these financial lies in my book, Start Winning With Money. While each of these financial myths appears to be sound financial advice on the surface, I specifically break each one down with factual evidence as to why they are not necessarily your best financial move.So without further delay, here are the 4 biggest financial lies that I was taught and are still being taught to our children today.

Lie #1 – You Must Get A College Education

The fact that we continue to expect each and every student to go to college is just plain hypocrisy. Statistically, we now know that the ever increasing amount of debt that is taken on to afford college does not offer you any better opportunity in life. Yes, a college education is required for some specific jobs. However, unless there is a huge difference in salary, the amount of debt that you must pay back over time does not warrant taking the risk for a lot of degree programs.

Lie #2 – You Must Buy A House

Your personal residence is not an appreciating asset, nor is it a good debt. Yes, there is an argument to be made about the tax savings of owning a residence versus renting, but the reality is that your personal residence does not appreciate in value any faster than overall inflation.

Lie #3 – You Must Save A Lot Of Money For Retirement

By now it is fairly common knowledge that you cannot out save inflation. But did you know that you probably cannot save enough for your retirement either? A good 401(k) plan, and aggressively saving your money will put you in a better position than most,but the only way to thrive in your retirement is to begin building streams of passive income during your working years.

Lie #4 – You Must Avoid ALL Debt

Avoiding bad debt during your lifetime will afford you opportunities that others can only dream of. However, avoiding all debt completely, could actually cost you money in the long term. For example, if I offered to to pay you $900 for $600 on the first of every month would you take it? Of course you would, and why wouldn’t you?

Not knowing the difference between good debts and bad debts is really the bigger issue at hand. Any savvy real estate investor would take the $900 for $600 deal all day long. In fact, most highly profitable businesses run on far smaller profit margins than the 50% profit margin that we just used in our example. Knowing how to make money and when to use debt properly will change your financial future for the better.


About the author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.

Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.

After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.

In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


About the book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.

Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Guest Post: A Sense of Place by A.P. McGrath

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author A.P. McGrath, author of A Burning In The Darkness.

Presenting A.P. McGrath…

A Sense of Place

The small town in south Tipperary in Ireland where I grew up had a population of 5,000 and when I was a teenager I began taking black and white photographs of local people in the places where they worked and lived. My mum knew the editor of the local newspaper – everybody knows everybody in a town that small. He liked the pictures I was taking and offered a weekly slot entitled ‘The Town and Its People’. I would approach shop owners, butchers, pub owners etc. and ask them if I could drop by someday soon to take their picture. I realised they would dress up a little and strike a certain pose, but people reveal themselves through these self-conscious acts as much as they do when they are caught unawares. These folk had a certain pride in their living or work places and I wanted to capture these spaces as much as the people themselves. I was interested in the details of the old shops that were giving way to the more modern out-of-town shopping. I liked the light and the tonality and the resonances of past times. The weekly portraits were a hit with the townsfolk. Indeed on more than one occasion I remember my mum remarking to me “Oh, I hear Mrs O’Reilly is disappointed you haven’t taken her photograph”. The townsfolk wanted themselves seen in and certain light and, in truth, I probably had my own slightly selfish reasons for taking the photographs. I knew that I wanted to leave and I was developing a skill that might get me a ticket out.

Probably all of the world’s biggest airports have a quiet prayer room offering sanctuary before a journey. A traveller might be embarking on a whole new life in a new country. Maybe he or she has planned an escape from an anxious past or is simply going on a welcome family holiday in the sun. Travel can also be a dreary necessity. We may need to make a business trip or a journey because of events that are beyond our control, as in the death of a family member or loved one. One friend told me she was about to go on a business trip when she miscarried her second pregnancy. She was in her mid to late forties and knew it was probably her last chance to give her young son a brother or sister. She entered the quietness of the prayer room and had a think and a good cry before she carried on with her journey. The prayer room had been a welcome and necessary shelter.

Image Credit: AP McGrath

In a novel, place is inseparable from character and events. Indeed it can become an effective character in itself, a protagonist or an antagonist, soaked in mood. My novel A Burning in the Darkness begins in the prayer room of one of the world’s biggest airports. There is a tiny confessional box and in its anonymous darkness a voice confesses a murder to Father Michael Kieh, but a young boy has witnessed the killer go into the confessional. Father Michael becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation because of a group of pitiless antagonists, but he doesn’t betray the identity of the young boy nor break the Seal of Confession.

Image Credit: AP McGrath

A large airport is a cinematic place. It is a frenzied cathedral dedicated to travel. It is also a lonely place. Michael is one of a number of faith representatives tending to the needs of more than 80 million passengers who pass through its gates each year, yet he rarely gets to see members of his flock more than once. His environment is constantly changing and he begins to question his faith. He is drawn to the companionship of an art dealer, Joan, who frequents the airport for business trips.

Michael grew up in Liberia in the midst of its brutal civil war. His childhood experiences shaped him and made him what he is: a good man. I wanted to explore the idea that he had the freedom to think differently from his environment. He had the ability to strike out against its dominant mood because he wanted the world to be good and not characterised by the destructive madness of war. And he had the strength of character to do it.

I studied English and Philosophy at University College Dublin, but I also trained and studied as a photographer. In the late eighties I had the opportunity to go to the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat and used my time there to take portraits of some of its people. Some months ago, after I’d finished writing the novel, I was doing a clean-out of the attic and came across the photographs which had been hidden away for many years. I was struck by the way they explore the intertwined relationship between character and environment. In technical terms the portraits are taken with a wide-angle lens so that you see both the person and the surroundings. I was drawn to the looming Soufrière Hills volcano at the centre of the island and it becomes the backdrop to many of the photographs. However, in July 1995, the volcano erupted and destroyed most of the main habitable areas, including the principle town, the airport and docking facilities. Two thirds of the population were forced to leave, mainly to the UK.

Most of the photographs were taken in parts of the island ravaged by the volcano. This area was designated an exclusion zone and it covers more than half of the island. So, there is poignancy to these photographs that capture a world now lost.

Several months before the publication of my novel I realised I had to set up a web site. I’m not a corporate person. I couldn’t see myself in a smiling brochure portrait, passing myself off as a kind of salesperson. But I could see that the photographs of Montserrat might say as much about me as they do about the people in the photographs. The quality of the relationship between the subject and the artist is crucial. The degree of imaginative sympathy for the subject is something that sets a good work of art apart from others. The ultimate skill is not in mastering the camera or a fancy ability with words; it is getting the subjects to reveal themselves – even if the subject is entirely your invention.

You can find more portraits of Montserrat on my web site: http://www.apmcgrath.com.

 


About the author:

AP was born and grew up in Ireland.

He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful teenage children.

He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

A Burning in the Darkness is his first novel.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.apmcgrath.com

About the book:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Guest Posts

Guest Post: God, Myth and Mystery by K.M. Aul

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are hosting author K.M. Aul, author of Synesthesia.

Presenting K.M. Aul…

God, Myth and Mystery

The fourth book in the Senses Novels series, Synesthesia, deals with the concepts of immortality, God and myth. The book, while part of a limited series, can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

The story begins with the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus. The Bible does not go into a lot of detail about Lazarus after he is raised from the dead. There are many stories and claims about the man and his life. Several places claim to be the final resting place of Lazarus, but nothing definitive. Synesthesia takes a different view.

In Matthew 16:28 Jesus is speaking to the disciples when he says, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming into His kingdom.” This pronouncement has been the subject of heated debates throughout the centuries. Was Jesus being allegorical or literal?

Some aspects to the story of Lazarus make it unique in all the Gospels. First, Jesus weeps when He finds out He is too late to save His friend, as though He were expecting to arrive in time to save Lazarus’s life. Second, Lazarus appears to be just that, Jesus’s friend, and possibly even someone He knew prior to starting His ministry. Finally, this is the only instance we know of where Jesus did not physically touch the dead person to bring them back from the dead.

So, if Lazarus were not only restored to life, but given a form of immortality along with it, would that make the story more or less incredible? In Synesthesia, the premise of Lazarus being immortal or, at least, having a greatly extended life is used as one of the primary plot vehicles. The other is the unique ‘disability’ that comes with this new life and the abilities which seem to spring from it.

In Lazarus’ life he encounters and we discover explanations for many of the so-called myths and mysteries history has left us:

  • Why are dragons a recurring theme in so many cultures?
  • What caused the Mayan civilization to vanish almost overnight?
  • What is the truth behind the statues on Easter Island?
  • What do the various monoliths and stone circles around the world have in common?
  • What ever happened to the Ark of the Covenant?

Ultimately, this novel is tied into the series as Lazarus and others prepare to face the greatest threat to all life on our planet. It is a story of life, death, change and challenge.


About the author:

KM Aul is the Best-Selling author of the Senses Novels series of books.

KM Aul started writing fiction at the age of six and hasn’t put the pen down since. KM’s writing consists of short stories, novellas, and even a published game. His first full-length novel, AURA was put into written form in 1988 and has undergone multiple revisions until finally published in 2015.

KM Aul’s personal life consists of his much younger bride, youngest daughter, a three-legged dog and pursuing his relationship with God. When not writing, his passion is for feeding the hungry by donating to his local food pantry. Mr. Aul spent time in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Asia and through it all, discovered that there is no country on earth more beautiful than the United States of America. Having travelled across our fair country multiple times, and meeting people from every walk of life and every circumstance, KM has found that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. The most important of these are, no matter your race, religion or country of origin, every life matters and everything you do in life has meaning.

KM currently lives on a small private lake in the beautiful state of Georgia.


About the book:

The Best Selling Christian Fiction/Fantasy Series Continues!

Time has run out. The world as we know it is coming to an end and a handful of heroes are all that stand in the way of the final darkness.

Born in an age of brutality and miracles, Eli was raised from the dead to start a new life unlike any other. His touch can heal; his pain can destroy. He has not only seen the rise and fall of civilizations, his power has been the cause of them. Prepare yourself for an adventure through time, prepare to face the greatest challenge humankind has ever known.

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Synesthesia-Book-Four-Senses-Novels-ebook/dp/B01NBQC9CV
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33776838-synesthesia


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author’s guest post on TRB, then please get in touch through email at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Aaron Poochigian · Humor · Mystery · Poetry · Thriller

Book Review: Mr. Either/Or by Aaron Poochigian

Author: Jon Budd
Release Date: 10th October 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Poetry, Humour
Edition: E-book
Pages: 184
Publisher: Etruscan Press

Rating: ★★★★+1/2

Blurb:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere. Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.

Review

Mr. Either/Or by Aaron Poochigian is a remarkably unique book that will simply blow your mind!

Initially, when I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but as I read a few pages and started getting in the flow of the writing I knew I was in for good. In spite of being written in the form of poetry, this book has all the elements that make is a complete fiction in every sense. It has a beautiful characterization adorning a dramatic storyline which is further complimented by humorous connotations,  along with some, as unusual it may seem, science-fiction details. As I said, it is a remarkably unique book.

The book is well written in the form of poetry with deliciously rhyming words and perfectly clear imagery. Moreover, beautiful characterization adorns the dramatic storyline which is further complimented by humorous connotations,  along with some, as unusual as it may seem, science-fiction details. As I said, it is a remarkably unique book.

I liked the lead characters, Zack Berzinski and Li-Ling, very much and enjoyed reading about them as well as other secondary characters as well.

Reading this book was a very enjoyable experience and I’d recommend this book to each and every reader who doesn’t want to miss out on an exceptional new book.

More from the author: Author Interview: Aaron Poochigian

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Goodreads and Amazon
(not yet available on Amazon)

Author Interview

Author Interview: Donnie Masters

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Donnie Masters, author of Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.
Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.
After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.
In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


Hello, Donnie. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I was born and raised in a little city in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia called Martinsburg. The city of Martinsburg is about 2 hours north west of Washington D.C.

I entered into the real, working world when I was 15. I speak about this in the very first chapter of my book, Start Winning With Money. I started earning money while working after school. Once I bought my own car and had to be “responsible” with my money, I began working longer and harder to buy more stuff and do more things in life. The really sad part is, I made every bad decision that a young person with extra cash can make!

I went on to work as a manager for several retail and restaurant chains before I was 25. I then decided to get some college education and was a district manager for Sleepy’s from 2010 – 2015. I left at that time and used my talents to get into an accounting role for a small business as well as started writing part time. I have more than 15 years experience in upper level management for retail and restaurant operations.

Please tell us about your book?

Start Winning With Money was written as a book that I wish I was given when I entered the working world. It contains vitally important information on managing your debt, student loans, building true wealth, and lots more. I believe that people have been misled on several widely believed money myths and need to hear the real and factual evidence speak for itself.

Most importantly, Start Winning With Money was meant to be a starting point on your financial journey. I wanted to provide a “road map” that you could follow on your way to making better financial decisions. It gives the reader a general and broad path to follow based on your life decisions.

How long did it take you to write it?

About 12 months all together. There are some very specific pieces of information that required a good bit of research. I spent 2-3 months outlining and researching, then I started writing the content.

Why did you choose this topic?

I am an accountant by trade. I handle the finances for a small, privately owned business every day as my “normal” job. After I received a lot of really positive feedback from Mattress Buying 101, my first book, I decided to write on another subject I knew about, money.

It was also important to me that I made an impact on someone’s life. I wanted to write a guide that would help the average person get motivated enough to fix the financial mess that they were in. You are talking to the guy that made every mistake imaginable after all, so if I can do this, anyone can!

Which writers in your field inspire you?

I read them all for different reasons, but Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, Robert Kiyosaki and Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets. All of them have given me valuable gems that I have used in my personal life. I believe they all have a message to share with people.

What inspired you to write?

Originally I wrote Mattress Buying 101 because I was frustrated with how the industry treated the average mattress customer. Most of the salespeople at all the mattress stores were on commission only, so they didn’t care about anything other than making a sale. We taught people to sell differently and we thrived financially, both as a business and personally, because of it.

Now I still write with the intent to educate and inform people, but my subject matter has changed as my life has changed. I provide clickable links in all my work to the articles and opinions I reference for that very reason. I do not want someone to take my opinion, but rather look at factual information and make an educated decision. I want you to know that you have more options in life and most people were probably never taught anything about money other than go to school, get a job, and be happy in your retirement 40 years later. That just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on Keep Winning With Money, which is the detailed sequel to this book. Once you have learned the basic foundation that I teach in Start Winning With Money, I believe people will need a much more detailed and step-by-step guide that will walk you through your life as things happen.

I compare the two books to road maps. Start Winning With Money gives you the general map with big highways and lots of landmarks. Keep Winning With Money will offer a much more focused and specific road to follow in order to get exactly where you want to go in life.

I am also working on my podcast coming out soon and considering exploring a book for children about money issues.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop and dictation most of the time. My thoughts can run really quickly sometimes and so my fingers can not keep up! I like to be able to type as if I was speaking to you face to face, or even better in a teaching environment. I hope my style reflects teaching and compassion.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I don’t have just 5 favorite books, I have read way too many to name just 5.

My 5 favorite authors are David McCullough for history, Stephen King for fiction, and Robert Kiyosaki for money. I love to mix in Brad Meltzer as well as John Grisham from time to time. I read on many different subjects, though not as much as I used to obviously.

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with all the research work?

Alcoholic beverages. No, I am kidding. I spend 2-3 months on the average book outline and research to support my position. Most people do not realize that it takes a lot of time to find good, pertinent information that can be used to help support a major point or validate an opinion.

For me, I love it though. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of money articles and books that offer differing opinions. This allows me to offer up what I have used in real life, as well as what the “smart people” tell you to do with your money. I believe the research makes it possible to explain this to the reader in an informed and logical manner.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Write a lot and keep focused on good content.

I literally have pages and pages of material that were edited out of 2 small books that I have published so far. I do not like a lot of what comes out on paper at first, and so I go back and work on it trying to make sense of what I am reading. I have been known to re-write paragraphs and even multiple pages that didn’t come across on paper correctly.

Remember that actionable content is king. If you are going to ask people to spend their hard earned money, then the book needs to be worth the money spent on it. Don’t just sell fluff and bluster to create pages, offer real content that people can use in their lives. Non-fiction makes you work at proving your credibility to the reading audience. I love that about it.

Thank you, Donnie, for all your interesting answers! “Alcoholic beverages” had me cracking! And it is very true about what Donnie said about actionable content being the king.


About The Book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.
Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth.

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

 Jon Budd · Historical

Book Review: The Legend of the Washo Gold by Jon Budd

Author: Jon Budd
Release Date: 17th October 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Vince Davis Trilogy
Edition: E-book
Pages: 177
Publisher: Jonathan H Budd Publishing

Rating: ★★★★

Blurb:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.
Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.
This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.

Review

The Legend Of The Washo Gold by Jon Budd is a very interesting and engrossing read.

This book is one of those rare reads that make you realise how the world can be a very difficult place to live in. That minorities are not always treated right and sometimes they have to go for extreme means to sustain and survive the cruel world that’s nothing more than an enemy to them. This book does exactly this and so much more.

The story was really good and gave a unique perspective of a small Native American Indian tribe that was not treated well and had to take up extreme measures for their survival. The writing is good and makes the reading of the book easy and smooth. The imagery was good and the overall the story was full of internal as well as external conflicts.

The characterization was good and though not every character was memorable, the important characters stood out, albeit a bit slowly. I enjoyed reading about them and that was more than enough to keep me glued to the book right until the end.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes reading historical fiction and won’t mind the tribals’ point of view.

More from the author: Author Interview: Jon Budd

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Author Interview

Author Interview: A.P. McGrath

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome A.P. McGrath, author of A Burning In The Darkness, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AP was born and grew up in Ireland.

He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful teenage children.

He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

A Burning in the Darkness is his first novel.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.apmcgrath.com


Hello, AP. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My primary ambition was to write an intelligent page-turner, character-led novel. I believe I’ve achieved this, to some extent, judging by the feedback. The numbers are not enormous, but I believe them to be genuine and that counts for so much. Do I want to become a full-time writer? I have a creative, fulfilling job as a head of the camera department in TV drama. It’s not a job that I want to give up. But I majored in English Literature and Philosophy and I’ve always been a writer. I feel encouraged to continue writing.

Which writers inspire you?

I’m a big fan of WB Yeats’s poetry, though I am definitely not a poet. I love the richness and rhythm of the words and the tension between the beauty and tragedy of our world and the hope for perfection in the next – even if this is a forlorn hope. I’m also a big fan of George Elliot, the female Victorian novelist. I love the American crime writer James Elroy. He has been a special inspiration for me. I love the comic swagger and pantomime of Raymond Chandler. Like many people recently, I’ve re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I’ve been reminded what a great book it is.

Tell us about your book?

What or who would you sacrifice everything for? This is a question at the heart of A Burning in the Darkness. Michael Kieh is a virtuous man who confronts the painful legacy of his war-torn childhood to make the world a better place. He is a full-time faith representative at one of the world’s busiest airports where he is falsely accused of murder. As a child, Michael was a witness to unspeakable horrors, but was protected from harm by a caring priest, so he knows the importance of the strong protecting the weak. But we all need a little selfishness to survive. And Michael certainly has a smattering of selfishness because he is not afraid to assert his need for love as a strong-willed lover. But the reader roots for Michael because he refuses to betray his higher ideals. I wanted the novel to justify Michael’s faith in putting the needs of others who cannot protect themselves before your own needs. It’s easy to talk the talk on this, but entirely different to walk the walk when you have to make a big sacrifice.

How long did it take you to write it?

Seven long years. Part time, of course. But I worked on it for at least two to three hours most days. I’m a bit flummoxed as to why it took so long.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m sketching out an idea for an historical novel set in 2nd century Greece. This is completely different to the setting of a busy modern airport in A Burning in the Darkness.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I wanted to write a page-turner and the crime thriller genre is ideal for this. I’s perfect for creating tension. The protagonist in A Burning in the Darkness has a real heart-breaking dilemma to solve, especially as he is falsely accused of murder. It’s not like a detective who arrives at a murder scene and must solve the crime because it is his or her job. Michael’s very survival is threatened by his profound dilemma.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’m sure it was decided for me by forces beyond my control. They struck before I was ten years old. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Why do you write?

The need to tell stories goes very deep in all of us. It’s an attempt to put a perspective on our lives and the world we live in.

Where do your ideas come from?

Interestingly, this is a question asked in the novel. In ancient times the answer might have been that ideas for stories and art come from the gods. But it’s a real mystery. In the novel the question is asked of revenge and love. Why does one person choose revenge and another love? How are those seeds planted? We can ask the question, but I’m not sure there’s a satisfactory answer.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop computer and a pen and paper. I also use the note apps on my phone for quickly jotting down ideas.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

This is a difficult question. It’s probably the case that my five favourite books re by my favourite authors. So, in no particular order:Middlemarch by George Elliot

  1. Middlemarch by George Elliot
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce
  3. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf
  4. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I take a break and hold onto the idea that it will pass.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep on writing. It takes a long time to produce a good novel. It’s a lot of hard work and you must be very self-critical of whilst holding onto the belief that you can produce a work that is worthwhile.

 

Thank you, AP, for all your interesting answers!


About The Book:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview

Author Interview: K.M. Aul

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today we’re hosting K.M. Aul, author of Synesthesia, for an interview.

About the author:

KM Aul is the Best-Selling author of the Senses Novels series of books.

KM Aul started writing fiction at the age of six and hasn’t put the pen down since. KM’s writing consists of short stories, novellas, and even a published game. His first full-length novel, AURA was put into written form in 1988 and has undergone multiple revisions until finally published in 2015.

KM Aul’s personal life consists of his much younger bride, youngest daughter, a three-legged dog and pursuing his relationship with God. When not writing, his passion is for feeding the hungry by donating to his local food pantry. Mr. Aul spent time in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Asia and through it all, discovered that there is no country on earth more beautiful than the United States of America. Having travelled across our fair country multiple times, and meeting people from every walk of life and every circumstance, KM has found that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. The most important of these are, no matter your race, religion or country of origin, every life matters and everything you do in life has meaning.

KM currently lives on a small private lake in the beautiful state of Georgia.


Hello, K.M. Aul. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I was born on the south side of Chicago. My family began a nomadic/American life when I was eight months old as my father was with the aerospace industry. I’ve lived in or visited all 48 contiguous states. At the age of 17, I met the woman who I would one day marry. We have, over the course of our 43-year marriage had three children, adopted three more and fostered another 24; I became a born again Christian in 1988. At this time, I live in the beautiful state of Georgia on a quiet, private lake with my wife and youngest daughter.

Please tell us about your book?

Synesthesia is the fourth book in the Senses Novels series but can be read as a stand-alone novel. It picks up on the life of Lazarus after he has been raised from the dead. Instead of living out a normal lifespan, Lazarus has been given an extended, almost immortal, new life. This installment in the series traces his new life through to the time where he, and others, are preparing to battle mankind’s greatest enemy.3. How long did it take you to write it?

How long did it take you to write it?

Because of the extensive research involved, it took me just over a year to write Synesthesia.

Why did you choose this topic?

There is very little known about Lazarus after his brief mention in scripture. Several locations claim to be his burial place, but there is no definitive proof. Lazarus is the only person raised from the dead by Jesus where there was no physical contact. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the man.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker are two of the authors that inspire me. While he wasn’t at all a Christian author, H.P. Lovecraft has also influenced my writing style.

What inspired you to write?

I think Robert A. Heinlein put it best, “Writing is a disease, you don’t choose it, it chooses you.” My stories, and especially AURA, the first book in the series, percolate out of me and have, ever since I can remember.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am currently working on book five of the series. This is the most challenging book yet as I have already covered the five senses we all know. What does that leave?

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I do all my writing directly on the computer, without an outline.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. The Bible – Multiple authors (inspired by God)
  2. Dune – Frank Herbert
  3. Alas Babylon – Pat Frank
  4. The Ringworld series – Larry Niven
  5. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

I don’t do a lot of non-fiction writing, but the fiction I write almost always has its basis in fact. I do all my research using both online and physical documentary sources. Most of the research is kept in note format and by date. I have also made numerous contacts over the years and have an extensive network of people from all fields that I can call on for factual data as well as fact-checking of any data I may wish to use.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Never believe the nay-sayers! You will face hardship and rejection from publishers, readers, and even your own family at times. Do not give up, ever. If the writing is in you, then you need to let it out. The world wants to hear your story; it just doesn’t know it yet.

Thank you, K.M., for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

The Best Selling Christian Fiction/Fantasy Series Continues!

Time has run out. The world as we know it is coming to an end and a handful of heroes are all that stand in the way of the final darkness.

Born in an age of brutality and miracles, Eli was raised from the dead to start a new life unlike any other. His touch can heal; his pain can destroy. He has not only seen the rise and fall of civilizations, his power has been the cause of them. Prepare yourself for an adventure through time, prepare to face the greatest challenge humankind has ever known.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Excerpts

Book Excerpt: Start Winning With Money by Donnie Masters

Today, at TRB Lounge, we are featuring an excerpt from Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth by Donnie Masters.

If you’re in to learn some really good advice about not only building but also managing finances, then read on…

About the Book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.

Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


BOOK EXCERPT

Chapter 3

You have been lied to 

Have I previously mentioned my distaste for the public school system in America yet?. One of my biggest concerns with our nation today is that children are being taught years and years of English, Math, and Science. But in most cases, our kids graduate high school without having had one class in financial management.

Over the course of your working life, you will be expected to pay taxes, fund your retirement, and take care of yourself financially. I am not sure how we can expect our children to do this when they are not being taught how to do so. Additionally, the cards are stacked against most children as no one in the family has enough wealth to manage. This simply means that there is zero education at home as well.

Since at least the 1950’s, and maybe longer, the American consumer has been fed four downright lies that have been ingrained in our culture as truth, even though logic and simple math tells us that it doesn’t make sense. These four “truths” are that you must buy a house, you must get a college education, you must save a lot of money for retirement, and you must avoid all debt.

We are going to tackle all of these “truths” head on in this chapter, but we need to break them down one by one in order to make some sense out of it all. Let’s start off with the grand daddy of them all. You must buy a house!

 

Big Lie #1 – You Must Buy a House

Most people can not just go out and buy a house with cash. They do not have that kind of money in their bank account ready to spend on a residence. In order to purchase a house then, most people must take out a mortgage to pay for their home. Since most people have to utilize a mortgage as part of the payment process, shouldn’t we start by defining what a mortgage is?

Dictionary.com defines a mortgage as:

  1. a conveyance of an interest in property as security for the repayment of money borrowed.
  2. the deed by which such a transaction is effected.
  3. the rights conferred by it, or the state of the property conveyed.

In plain language, a mortgage is a legal agreement that carries the conditional right of ownership of an asset by the owner to a lender as security for taking out a loan. In terms of real estate, the house acts as collateral for the lender. The lender’s interests are then recorded in the register of the title documents to make it public information that they have an interest in a specific property. The mortgage agreement is then voided when the loan is fully repaid by the borrower.

I believe that there are three primary reasons people are told to purchase a home. If you take this advice at face value, it appears to be solid financial advice for a lot of practical reasons. But let’s take a brief moment and really break down these three reasons that people buy a property to live in.

  • A home is an appreciating asset
  • You get to lock in your payments
  • I can sell it later on for a profit, or live in it “free” at retirement

Let’s start by talking about whether your personal home is an appreciating asset. Do you live in a single family home, townhouse, or condo? How much is your house going up in value every year?

USA Today conducted an interview with renown Yale economist and Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller. His direct quote is as follows:

“If you look at the history of the housing market, it hasn’t been a good provider of capital gains. It is a provider of housing services…

Capital gains have not even been positive. From 1890 to 1990, real inflation-corrected home prices were virtually unchanged.”

In other words, yes the house you live in will go up in value over time, but that value is merely keeping up with overall inflation. Your house is therefore NOT an appreciating asset. Furthermore, it does not produce income for you either, so we can’t even classify it as a good debt.

Now someone is thinking okay, but you get to lock in your payments for the life of the loan, right? In theory yes you do. But do you know that your payments are still going to fluctuate every year anyway? Taxes on personal property can be outrageous depending on classification of the property and home values in the area. Every year taxes and insurance cost more than the year before. So yes, your payment on the mortgage and interest will stay the same, assuming that you locked in your mortgage rate, but your escrow will constantly adjust with the changing taxes and insurance rates. This means your payments will fluctuate over time.

All right! I hear someone else saying. Enough of this craziness! At least I get to live in my house “free” at retirement or I can sell it for a big capital gain later on in my life. Sure, if you say so. But before you believe that hype, answer me a question. How do you live in a house for free? Yes, maybe after 30 years you have paid off the mortgage, but taxes, insurance and utilities will be higher than they have ever been. Not only that, but how many upgrades and repairs have you had to do over 30 years? The true cost of home ownership is very high and it is most certainly not free.

Someone else is going, “hold on a minute here.” I sold my house and got a big fat check with capital gains at closing. What can you say about that fella?

I could tell you that you would have done much better investing your money in the stock market over the same 30 years that you paid off your mortgage. Don’t believe me about that one either?

According to the Washington Post:

“The Washington Post analyzed Shiller’s data and reported that, over the past 100 years, home prices have only grown at a compound annual rate of 0.3%, adjusted for inflation. The S&P 500, on the other hand, has had an annual return of 6.5%. That’s an awfully big difference.”

I can certainly understand why many readers may need to re-attach their jaws right now. After all, I currently own a single family home, and I bet a lot of you do to. But what else am I going to do, sell my house and rent forever? No, and neither are you.

As with any legend or myth, there is some truth to this argument. The reality is, that being able to lock in your payment on an appreciating asset is a beautiful thing for your overall wealth accumulation. The problem is, that a single-family house is not an appreciating asset. So what is the best solution?

If you are going to buy a home to live in, I would suggest that you look into a 2-4 unit “multifamily” house. The reason why is incredibly simple to understand. Your private residence will now cost considerably less for you to live there, as other people will rent from you and help pay off the house. With some of these savings you can invest for your retirement sooner in life. Plus, you will build equity over time on a “good debt”. We don’t even need the house to appreciate in value to make this plan work. Let me explain this even farther.

A good debt produces income for you, right?. We have learned that part already in this book. If 3 out of your 4 units are paying rent to you then the property will produce income. This now makes your personal residence a good debt. The rent payments should cover all the mortgage due plus the taxes and insurance on the property. Having 3 paying units will allow you to live in your personal residence for next to nothing. You may even find a deal that allows you to live payment free on your personal residence. No monthly mortgage payments to live in your house, now that’s how to start winning with money!

On top of all that, you are borrowing money in a property that will go up in value over time, even if it only keeps up with inflation. The best part is, the house can actually not appreciate in value and this will still be a winning formula. Maybe your personal residence’s return on investment doesn’t beat the stock market’s return over time, but you have to live somewhere while you are alive. Why not let it be a property that works with you to achieve financial freedom long term.

So if you are going to take on all the risk of a mortgage (and a big one at that), wouldn’t it at least make sense to understand what it all entails?

 

What’s The Deal with Mortgages?

A mortgage is the most readily available home loan opportunity and what most people are familiar with. When it is truly a home mortgage however, only two different parties are involved; the homeowner and the bank. A loan is provided to the individual from the bank, with the home used as collateral for the length of the loan.

If the agreed payments aren’t made on time, the bank can then begin the foreclosure process. They use the mortgage agreement to take over full control of the house. The bank will then sell the house in an attempt to recover the loan that had initially been given to the individual. Foreclosure homes are often sold via auction, as the bank wants to get back their funds as quickly as possible. The auction process will make the house being sold sell at a steep discount to the general market. This is because all auctions are sold “as-is”, “where-is”. In other words, you are buying the property in the shape you see it with all it’s flaws.

The key factor in the foreclosure process is time. The process can be very time consuming for the bank involved. It often takes several months or up even up to a year to clear the legal system and finally gain possession of the house. Many states also have contingency plans where the homeowner can get the home back very late into the foreclosure process if they can catch up with their payments. Because of the time and money involved in the foreclosure process, most lenders prefer issuing a deed of trust instead.

 

Deed of Trust

In a deed of trust situation, a third party is involved. This third party is referred to as the “trustee”, or he who holds ownership of the home until the loan is repaid in full. The homeowner is still responsible for making payments to the bank, and once they have repaid the loan, the trustee holding the deed of trust will release it to the individual.

The bank can reclaim the house if payments are not made, just as with a mortgage. The home is reclaimed directly from the trustee however, and the long, lengthy process of a mortgage is non existent. This is because both the bank and the individual never actually held title to the home. Banks prefer the deed of trust arrangement as they can get title to the property and resell it much faster than if a mortgage is in place. A deed of trust also reduces the administrative costs (read legal fees) and length of time between foreclosure and getting the home resold.

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, lenders will desire a deed of trust arrangement while buyers will want a mortgage. Not all states allow deeds of trust and the terms can differ dramatically from state to state. As such, if a bank is pushing for a deed of trust, you should review the state guidelines with a real estate attorney to ensure you clearly comprehend the risks and whether or not a mortgage is even available in your specific state.

 

Basic Components

As with all other types of installment loans, mortgages have interest and are scheduled to be repaid over a set period of time. Most mortgages are up to 30 years, though repayment plans up to 50 years can be had. All types of real property are secured with the property itself as collateral.

A mortgage is still the primary method used to finance private ownership of residential and commercial property in the United States. Although the methods will differ in various countries, the basic components are similar to ours. These are the common terms used in mortgages and deeds of trust.

Property: The physical residence being paid for. The exact form of ownership is determined by the agreement entered into; either a Deed of Trust or a Mortgage.

Mortgage/Deed of Trust: This is the secured interest of the lender in the property, which may or may not include restrictions on the use or disposal of the property.

Borrower: The person borrowing funds to finance the “asset” and is creating an ownership opportunity in the property.

Lender: The party offering the financing money, but it is usually a bank or financial institution.

Principal: The original total amount of the loan, this may sometimes include other costs. Whenever any principal is repaid, the principal amount will reduce in size.

Interest: The profit or financial reward gained by the lender for the use of their money over time.

Foreclosure or repossession: The process where the lender has to foreclose, repossess, or seize the property under certain situations.

Other terms are more prevalent in different countries, but the above referenced terms are the essential components of a mortgage in the United States. Most governments regulate areas of the banking and lending industries within their respective countries in order to prevent fraud.

Lenders provide loan funds for properties to earn interest income, or make profit. Lenders generally borrow these funds themselves since they do not have enough capital to lend over and over again without replenishing their coffers. The price at which other lenders lend out these monies affects the cost of borrowing as well. Lenders can also sell the mortgage loan to other parties after closing on the deal.

Mortgage lending also has to take into account the risk of default on the loan. In other words, the assumed risk is the likelihood that the funds lent will be repaid as agreed. If they are not repaid as agreed, the lender will foreclose on the real estate assets as we have previously mentioned. This is not the preferable method of most banks. Banks prefer to have the interest funds to re-invest for more interest. They are not interested in a property to maintain and sell.

 

Mortgage Underwriting

Once the mortgage application enters into the final stages of preparation, the loan application is moved to a mortgage underwriter. The underwriter verifies all the financial information that the applicant has provided, and makes sure it is correct and valid. Verification of the applicant’s credit history will occur. The house is then appraised, or given a value relative to similar properties in the area.

The income and employment information of the applicant will also need to be confirmed by the underwriter. The underwriting process may take several days to complete. It is advisable to maintain your current employment and not open any new credit while undergoing the underwriting process. Any changes made to the applicant’s credit score, employment records, and/or financial information can lead to the loan being denied.

In the case of a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate remains fixed, or locked-in, for the duration of the loan. In the case of a monthly repayment plan, which most mortgages are, the payment will remain the same amount throughout the entire loan. Please note that the amount of escrow and taxes will fluctuate every year as we discussed earlier.

In an adjustable rate mortgage, the interest rate is generally fixed for a set period of time, after which it will periodically adjust up or down based on the market index. The rate may adjust monthly or annually under the terms of your financing agreement.

Adjustable rate mortgages are not to be taken lightly. Adjustable mortgages transfer the risk of rising interest rates from the lender to the borrower, and thus are largely used where fixed rate funding is difficult to obtain or prohibitively expensive. Since the risk is transferred to the borrower, the initial interest rate may be between, 0.5% and 2% lower than the average 30-year fixed rate. We do no recommend an adjustable rate mortgage for a primary residence.

The interest charged to a borrower will depend upon the credit risk and the interest rate risk. The mortgage origination and underwriting process involves checking several factors including, credit scores, debt relative to income, down payment available, and other current assets owned by the borrower. Jumbo mortgages (mortgages over $417,000 in most of the United States) and subprime lending (borrowers with a credit score under 620) are not supported by government guarantees and face much higher interest rates than standard mortgages.

Now that we have covered one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your life, buying your personal residence, let’s turn our attention to another big “truth” told in America today. You simply MUST get a college education.

 

Big Lie #2 – You Must Get a College Education

Okay, so maybe this was sound advice 50 years ago when a majority of people did not already have a college education, but it simply no longer applies in today’s society. Most people can spend a fraction of college costs on certification and/or job training and find meaningful employment. Let’s talk about student loan debt for a bit and why college is not a “good” debt.

In the United States, student loans were not even an option until the 1960’s. In hindsight, a simple law that should have opened the door of opportunity to many more students, quickly got out of control. It took less than 20 years for reality to set in about student loans.

In 1958, the United States was only 13 years removed from World War II. Within our country, there was a legitimate concern about the spread of communism and how to combat it. Most people from the World War II generation will be able to recall the legitimate fear regarding communism. At one point, the United States even went as far as having public hearings, called the McCarthy hearings. Many high profile celebrities were called to testify before Congress in an attempt to expose communism among movie studios.

In an attempt to make sure that the United States stayed competitive with the Soviet Union, especially in regards to math and science studies, Congress decided to pass the National Defense Education Act in 1958. In 1965, the Johnson administration created the guaranteed student loan, or Stafford loan program. Since 1965, the cost of a college education has outpaced inflation by more than 2 1/2 times.

According to an article entitled, “The History of Student Loans in Bankruptcy“, the cost of a higher education amended for inflation is absolutely startling. According to the author of the referenced article, Steven M Palmer, in 1980, the average cost for tuition and room and board at a public institution was $7,587 adjusted for 2014 dollars. So what’s the problem? By 2014 that same, exact education now cost $18,943; more than 2 ½ times the rate of inflation. Unfortunately, the news only gets worse as we go along.

If we continue down that same train of thought, loans are also becoming more necessary for someone who wishes to attend a college or university. In 1981, for example, someone who worked a minimum wage job could work full time in the summer and earn almost enough to cover their annual college costs. By 2005, that same student would have to work the entire year and use every penny of their earnings in order to attend school.

Between the years of 1958 and 1976, the United States government began to see a problem with their plan. Prior to 1976, student loans could be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings without any constraints whatsoever. As the economy began to sour in the 1970s however, change was enacted. The federal bankruptcy code was enacted in 1978, and the ability to get rid of student loan debt in bankruptcy was drastically changed.

The article goes on in detail, explaining that between 1978 and 1984, only private student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. As the situation continued to worsen, and more and more people were getting into debt via student loans, the government continued to restrict bankruptcy discharges.

Changes were made to bankruptcy laws in 1984, 1990, 1991, and 1992. In 1996 the federal government even allowed Social Security benefits to be considered as income towards repaying defaulted student loans. In 1998 more changes were made again. By 2001, changes were made again allowing disability and retirement benefits to be considered as repayment income.

Basically, as the United States government became aware of the problem that they created, Congress continued to modify the bankruptcy laws, to make sure that student loans had to be paid back even when someone declared bankruptcy. They began changing the income requirements for repayment as well. Ask yourself a simple question, why is this?

Now that you have been informed of this new information about student loans, it should be obvious that student loans should always be considered a bad debt. In fact, let’s continue to go into this a little deeper still. What about the fact that a college graduate will earn more money over their lifetime?

Technically, it is a true statement that a college graduate will earn more money over their lifetime of earnings than someone that does not attend college. But once again we are only being sold on part of the story. In reality, the average college graduate will not earn enough money to offset the student loan payments and interest accrued on their debt. In fact, a college degree isn’t even a good indicator of whether or not you will get ahead in life.

 

Are Student Loans a Good Indicator of Success?

There can be no doubt that members of our government were simply trying to encourage its citizens to get a better education. This is most likely the reason that the laws were passed to help ensure every student could go to college if they wished to. So how did a good idea go so bad?

After World War II, the United States government saw the success of the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill ensured that military veterans would receive their college expenses paid for by the US government. Based upon the early success of the G.I. Bill, low interest loans were made available to all Americans by 1965.

The college graduation rate in the early 1960s was only 7 to 8% by the time most of these laws went into effect. In other words, a college graduate that was looking for a new job represented only one out of twelve applicants.

By today’s standards, more than 30% of the population has at least a bachelors degree, and more than 60% has some college education, up to and including an Associates degree. At this point, the American workforce has so much education that almost everyone who applies for a job has some college education on their resume.

Based on the college graduation rate of the 1960s, the notion that higher education was better than entering the workforce straight out of high school became a common theme. Multiple generations of Americans have now been sold on this lie. At one point in time, statistics were presented that showed college graduates would earn as much as $3.4 million more in their lifetime than students who didn’t graduate with a college education.

Unfortunately, due to the rising demand that student loans created, the cost of a college education began to rise much faster than the rate of overall inflation. This meant that families began to devote more of their income just to pay for college costs. At this point in time, annual tuition has entered into the tens of thousands of dollars per year. College expenses are so high that they have even outpaced families in the upper middle class. Many more students have had to turn to student loans to pay for their education, even if their family has some money set aside.

Today, more than 71% of students are leaving school with student loans, according to studentloanhero.com. Additionally, even though the average college graduate earns $17,500 more annually than a high school graduate, loans for a basic 4 year degree are now topping $60,000. A repayment on that type of loan equals a small mortgage payment in some parts of the United States. Students are dedicating $400-600 per month on student loan payments. According to the Economist magazine, this means that a lot of students with degrees are actually, “…worse off than if they had started working at 18.”

With more and more students understanding that they are probably going to incur student loans as part of their education expenses, people have begun searching for ways to reduce college costs overall. Let’s continue to go down this path of having a higher education at any cost.

 

The Dangers of Student Loan Debt

For high school students who are searching for ways to reduce the cost of a college education, your local community college has probably been pitched as a way to reduce your overall expenses and avoid larger debts by attending a more expensive four year university.

Many, if not all, financial advisers actually flat out recommend that you complete your first two years at a community college before transferring credits to a four year university. They claim that this is a sure fire way of cutting overall college costs by as much as half, thus minimizing your need for college loans. So far this sounds like really logical financial advice.

Community colleges usually have annual tuition rates that are well below those of a traditional four year college or university, and the two year route may really help in terms of overall cost management and the amount of student loan debt when finished. So where, exactly, is the problem with this plan?

As it turns out, statistically, community college students are more likely to struggle with their student loan debts AND are also more likely to default on payment of their student loans altogether. This doesn’t seem to make any sense now does it?

According to pewtrusts.org, “38% of two-year college students who started to repay their loans in 2009 defaulted within five years…”

So the bigger question is, why do community colleges have this problem that doesn’t seem to effect major universities?

The truth is that more people simply drop out of community college than a four year program. Some statistics report as many as 38% of community college students do not finish their program. Combine dropping out of school with the fact that high school graduates have lower paying jobs in the first place and you can clearly see the problem. A lot of community college students had to borrow money to live on while they went back to school which means they don’t have extra money to repay the loans.

Even though tuition and overall costs are a lot lower at community college, the students are not as committed to finishing their degree there. Some of this can be explained by age and educational levels in the household (community colleges have older students and more immigrants), but much more of it involves lack of education about the cost of higher education.

 

Minimizing, and Managing Student Loan Debt

What do we make of all these default and delinquency rates for students trying to find a way into the working world? What do we say to high school graduates who are looking for ways to minimize the cost of a traditional college education by transferring credits from a community college?

The answer is to avoid student loan debt at all costs. It is a much better option to just work your way into better situations, promotions, and opportunities within the work force. The average person will actually do much better for not having the student loans wrapped around their neck for the rest of their life. Especially since student loans can not be discharged in bankruptcy.

If you aren’t willing to take that as an acceptable answer, please at least heed some sound financial advice on student loan debt. Below is a list of things to do or look for in order to avoid taking on more student loan debt than you will be able to handle later on.

  • Keep ALL other expenses as low as possible

Managing or reducing your overall college expenses may mean living at home with your parents and packing your lunch instead of eating on campus every day. Working part time or full time while you go to school in order to pay for it is an even better idea.

  • Constantly be looking for scholarships and grants

You can cut your college costs by seeking out scholarships and grants. Scholarships and grants provide you with financial aid that, unlike a student loan, does not need to be paid back.

If you’re a working student, make friends with the human resources department at your employer. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs or professional development benefits that can help you reduce the cost of your education.

  • Always complete your degree program

For college students who must rely on student loans to get through school, the single best predictor of successful repayment is actually graduation. Students who have completed their degree are the most likely to repay their school loans without defaulting.

“Just 15 percent of community college graduates default on their college loans, compared with 27 percent of community college dropouts,” according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

Students who spend one year or less in school are the most likely to run into repayment problems on their student debt. This is often because they can’t find a job or the job they do find doesn’t pay enough to enable them to make their student loan payments on top of life’s normal expenses.

  • Do not borrow more than is required

Borrowing more than they need is very problematic for community college students because the federal education loan programs offer the same maximum loan amount regardless of what type of school you attend.

The maximum federal undergraduate loan available each year will typically cover the cost of all tuition and fees at a community college plus a few thousand dollars available for books, transportation, and living expenses.

That extra money can be very tempting to use. Living expenses pose a major challenge for many college students, regardless of what type of school you attend. How you plan to pay for your living expenses while in college can mean the difference between manageable and unmanageable levels of debt when you finish.

Having a plan to pay for your living expenses without resorting to maxing out your student loans will significantly reduce the amount of money you need in order to complete your degree. The less student loan debt you have when you graduate, the lower, and more manageable, your monthly payments will be. Having lower payments also means you will be able to pay those loans off faster.

Before we conclude this section on student loans, I believe it is important to cover the different types of student loans and how they can impact your financial future.

 

            Not All Student Loans Are Created Equal

Federal education loans are issued directly by the federal government and they carry a fixed (locked in) interest rate, along with very flexible repayment terms. Federal student loans also have multiple options for postponing or reducing monthly payments based on financial circumstances. Federal student loans are generally low cost and lower interest loans.

Private education loans, which are not issued by the government, are issued by banks, credit unions, and other private lenders. These loans often have variable rates. Private loans are credit based loans that typically carry higher fees and interest rates than their federal counterparts. Private student loans offer fewer options for financially distressed borrowers to be able to postpone or reduce their payments as well.

One major difference between typical consumer loans (think auto loan) and a student loan is the deferment period. With a car loan, payments on the principal begin almost immediately, even if they are relatively small at first. In other words, with every payment made you are slowly paying down the total balance of the loan.

In contrast, all federal education loans and a lot of private education loans allow students to defer making any payments while the student is still in school. The repayment of the loan is then delayed for years in most cases while the student finishes their education. This comes with a cost of course, as there is not a delay on interest charges.

Except in the case of subsidized federal student loans (in which the government will cover the interest while a student is in school and are also awarded only to students who demonstrate the most financial need), interest begins to accumulate on college loans as soon as the loans are issued, even if a student is deferring payments.

This accumulation of interest may take place over months or years, quietly running up the balance on a student’s school loan debt to alarmingly high levels.

If we add up all of these small details about student loans, then we begin to understand the much larger picture. Yes, it is true that college graduates will make more money than non-college graduates. The problem with that mathematical equation however, is that we are not calculating the amount of interest and debt repayments that come out of that extra income. When you begin to peel away the layers, we get a much clearer picture.

At this point in time, it just does not make any mathematical sense to enroll in college UNLESS you have a clear path to a high paying career. The amount of debt that one must take on in order to complete a basic four year degree far outweighs the difference in income for an average degree. If you are not looking at a masters or doctorate level career, then I believe the additional income to be truly insignificant for the amount of debt that you will have to incur.

The math no longer makes sense for kids to accumulate debt in order to get a basic degree now does it? That is why America is still being sold on something that no longer applies in today’s new economy. Going to school after high school still helps you earn more money longer term. Unfortunately, the gap is closing quickly for a lot of majors. When you figure in years and years of loan payments that accumulate interest and never go away, the math becomes a lot clearer.

For further reading and research on this topic, I suggest this article. The article, by Nikelle Murphy, specifically points out 10 college degrees that are almost worthless to employers now. Not only is it a great read, but it may help you make a much better decision in life.

I think there is one more point that needs to be made at this time. The new economy that involves the Internet has also broken down the barriers between educated and non-educated citizens. Much like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did to the computer industry years ago, so has the Internet done to this generation. You literally have college dropouts, high school dropouts, and teenagers, making vast sums of money via the Internet.

While it is important to note that this path is not for everyone, not attending college and pursuing your own business via the Internet is a viable option for some people. If your long term plan does not involve traditional education than you should heavily consider an Internet based business. I specifically like creative and art driven people to consider this road of success as opposed to “graphic design” schools.

Now let’s tackle the next myth head on. That is, you must save a lot of money in order to retire.

 

Big Lie #3 – You Must Save A Lot Of Money For Retirement

How much money do you need to retire? One million? Two million? More or less than that amount?

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, has a realistic number that you can just plug in and use as a goal for your retirement accounts. The reason why is because one thing is constant in the world we live in, inflation.

Inflation is defined as:

“A sustained, rapid increase in prices, as measured by some broad index (such as Consumer Price Index) over months or years, and mirrored in the correspondingly decreasing purchasing power of the currency.” This definition is according to businessdictionary.com.

So what does inflation have to do with America being sold a big lie about saving money for retirement?

The truth is you will never be able to save enough for retirement. Even if you were to put away 20% of your before tax income from the day you turned 21, you will never have enough for retirement without generating additional income. How can I be so sure this is true? Inflation erosion.

I can hear some of you rolling your eyes already. You are probably going back in time and imagining the job you had a 21, and starting to calculate what 20% of your before tax income would have been. I will save you the math.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you earned $100,000 per year, every year for 40 years. In this example, you would have earned $4 million in your adult life. You were also one of the lucky ones, and you were able to retire at the age of 61 since you saved so diligently.

Now using these exact numbers, 20% of your pretax income would be $800,000. But let’s also assume that you invested wisely, and that you were able to grow your $800,000 retirement fund by a 250% return over the 40 years. $800,000 times 250% equals $2 million. A lot of you reading this right now are probably going that’s incredible! I agree completely.

So what is inflation erosion and what does it have to do with my retirement account you ask? Inflation erosion is a technical term based on the belief that savings are being erased faster than ever because inflation is rising faster than the average income.

So at this point, you are probably asking how I can be so confident in my mathematical calculations? As it turns out, once again the United States government is supplying all the information we need. Specifically, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics produced the following chart attempting to track inflation for just one 12 month period.

The base line for inflation is 1.8% per year for the 2011-2012 period referenced in the above chart. In reality, medical care is almost doubling the rate of inflation every year. Additionally, housing and transportation services are outpacing inflation as well. If we add in discretionary spending, such as higher education and new cars you can see why your dollar is not going as far as it used to. There is no way to “out save” inflation.

So going back to our example, you retire at the age of 61 with $2 million in your retirement account. The problem is, based upon inflation, that $2 million doesn’t go near as far as it used to. Let’s look at a really specific example.

The exact same Bureau of Labor Statistics, has a really neat online calculator. This online calculator will show you exactly what inflation has done to the US dollar over time.

For our specific example, a person working for 40 years between the ages of 1960 and the year 2000 would retire with a $2 million retirement account. However, in order to have the same spending power in the year 2000 that their money had in the year 1960 when they started saving, you would have needed to accumulate $11,522,184.30.

Yes you just read that correctly, in order to have the same spending power that $2 million had in 1960, by the year 2000 and you would have needed more than $11 million! Unfortunately, I don’t see any scenario in which this gets better going forward.

But there’s another other thing I’d like to point out as well. During the years 1960 and the year 2000, a majority of working Americans received some form of pension and will collect full Social Security payments. I want to stress to you that I’m not making a political point here, but rather I am telling you that my generation and the generations behind me will not receive pensions. They simply do not exist anymore in today’s world. As for Social Security, it’s anybody’s guess how long that’s going to stay around.

To make this new information sound even more dire, this specific data was supplied by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yes, the United States government acknowledges that this is a real mess and has zero solutions to fix it. Obama care? Trump care? Neither one will fix the mess that insurance providers, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies have created when it comes to healthcare.

Now let’s talk about your income for just a moment. Are you currently making $100,000 per year? Are you even making more money than you did last year? Are you making more money than you ever have in your life? Probably not.

According to USA Today, Americans finally got a raise in income level during the 2015 tax year. The article says that incomes rose for the first time in 8 years, meaning that incomes had not risen at all since 2007. The same article continues on stating that most Americans don’t feel like they got a raise in income because after adjusting for inflation their true level of income has not matched the levels of 1999. Depressing isn’t it?

So for 16 years straight, the average US household has made less money than before. Once again the data was supplied by our own government. The data for this specific USA Today article was supplied by the United States Census Bureau. The same government that is supposed to be guiding it’s citizens and providing a portion of their retirement has acknowledged that it is failing you.

Is Social Security even going to be available for another generation? Are we creating more jobs that pay a real living wage? Are expenses going down every year? Are incomes going up? The answer to all of those questions is “no”, and I don’t see any reason to believe they are going to be fixed any time soon.

So now we come to the fourth and final lie that is being taught to most Americans, you must avoid all debt in order to succeed in life. Debt is evil! All debt is bad! The credit card companies are ruthless with their aggressive advertising!

Do me a small favor and hear me out on this next part. It really might just change the way you look at things going forward in your life.

 

Big Lie #4 – You Must Avoid ALL Debt

Ah, yes. Stand up my Dave Ramsey loyalists and scream at me! ALL DEBT IS BAD!

What if I could prove to you it isn’t? In fact, what if I could show you documented proof that debt can actually make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams?

You have probably heard some stupid expression over the years about how 90% of all millionaires got to millionaire status by investing in real estate. Think back to where you first heard such a crazy thing. Was it a friend that said it?

At one time in life, I repeated this to people as well. In fact, just last year I wrote a blog post that referenced the fact that 90% of millionaires started in real estate. I am guessing that this expression started somewhere in the real estate circle years ago. Most likely a Realtor or mortgage broker started this silly expression trying to convince someone to buy real estate. Can you become a millionaire by owning real estate? Yes. Did 90% of all millionaires achieve their wealth through real estate? No.

According to an article, on Financial Uproar, most millionaires do in fact OWN real estate, but a good portion of them did not use real estate to become wealthy. According to their own admission:

“…90% of millionaires do not come from real estate. Most millionaires come from a combination of success at work, owning a business, and investments, mostly in equities.”

So why do we assume that people who have loads of debt in real estate holdings are wealthy? Does owning something other than your own house make sense long term? Absolutely, as long as it is purchased, repaired, maintained, and managed correctly.

The case for using real estate as part of your personal wealth building plan is a strong one as long as you follow all the rules outlined below. If you want to make money in real estate you must follow the path that many before you have laid out.

The 4 Rules of Investing in Real Estate

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Buy Below Market
  3. Use Leverage Correctly
  4. Take Every Tax Advantage

 

The cash flow on an investment in real estate must be positive by as much as possible. Simply put, the difference between what you can rent the property for and your mortgage payment must be a positive number. In order to not get into financial trouble down the line, you must be able to put this money away for future repairs and unexpected bills.

I do also want to make one more note here. There are a portion of real estate investors that believe buying the right property at any price is advisable. Based upon their beliefs, they will argue that depreciation, amortization, and the tax benefits of owning real estate as an investment, will make up for any cash flow losses. I strongly urge you not to listen to this advice.

As with any other investment, there are a multitude of general rules that are being taught on the Internet. My biggest suggestion would be to listen to someone that actually owns investment real estate as opposed to someone writing an article on it. If you simply ask for assistance, most people will be willing to share their opinions and advice about their own business.

Buying below market is paramount to making future gains on your property. Paying down the mortgage alone is not great use of your money. We have already looked at why that doesn’t work very well. If you can not add value to a property between the time you buy and the time you sell, then you must get a discount when buying it.

We have already outlined good debt and bad debt. Using debt to make money is a good debt. If you can lock in a payment on the property that offers positive cash flow, then you are making money by using debt. Leverage should never be a long term plan by itself. Use debt along with the other 3 rules to make money.

I would also strongly advise against taking large loans against the property. While in some cases you may be able to get financing up to 95% of the purchase price, I would not advise going this route. The only time that it makes sense not to use a large down payment, is when you are planning to flip a property within a two year time frame. If you are truly buying an investment property, then you probably have no plans of selling it anytime soon, so lock in a great rate with no PMI (private mortgage insurance).

You must also take every single tax advantage available to you as well. Hire a good accountant or pay for professional advice if you are in doubt about anything. The tax advantages of owning rental real estate along with positive cash flow can be simply astounding over the long term.

There are two terms that you also need to become really familiar with. I have already hinted at it, but depreciation and amortization are your friends. I will quickly define both below.

Depreciation is defined as being able to write down the value of an asset over time, based upon common wear and tear.

Amortization on the other hand, is the ability to offset your income by deducting the loan payments as they are incurred. In other words, you will be able to deduct the interest expenses of the mortgage, and a portion of the principal, against the property’s rental income.

I am going to really stress that ALL 4 of these things must be present in order to make it a good investment. If any of the 4 rules are missing in the deal, then you are taking on an extremely risky debt. Don’t do it!

Are their other examples of using debt other than just real estate to help build wealth? Yes.

Many people have borrowed money to start a business, or take their business to the next level. Remember the rule of using debt, if you can make more money by using debt than it is worth considering.

I want to also stress one key point about business loans. Borrowing money to simply increase a business’s revenue without being able to generate additional profits, is just plain stupid. In order to even consider taking on a business loan, you must be able to mathematically prove that the additional profits would be more than enough to repay the loan.

Let me say that one more time to make sure everyone hears this clearly. Before you even consider talking about a business loan, you must be able to mathematically prove that the additional profits generated would be more than enough to repay the loan. I prefer to use a calculation of 2-3 times more profit dollars for the risk of taking on a loan.

We have now clarified what the four “truths” are that Americans have been taught when it comes to personal finances. Additionally, I hope that I have also provided some factual evidence for why I believe that these four truths are not sound financial advice going forward.

So now that we know excelling at work, having a business, and making smart investments in both real estate and stocks are the key to your financial future, let’s get right into starting your own business.


Book links: Goodreads and Amazon

About The Author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.

Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.

After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.

In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


If you are an author and wish to be featured as our guest or if you are a publicist and want to get your author featured on TRB, then please get in touch through e-mail at thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview

Author Interview: Aaron Poochigian

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Aaron Poocigian, author of Mr. Either Or, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009, and his translation of Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonautswas released October 2014. For his work in translation he was awarded a 2010-2011 Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book of original poetry, The Cosmic Purr (Able Muse Press), was published in 2012 and, winner of the 2016 Able Muse Poetry Prize, his second book Manhattanite will be out in the Fall of 2017. His thriller in verse, Mr. Either/Or, will be released by Etruscan Press in Fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such journals as The Guardian, POETRY and The Times Literary Supplement.

Contact Details:

Websitewww.mreitheror.com and www.aaronpoochigian.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.poochigian


Hello, Aaron. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to find a broad audience for poetry, and snappy, un-put-down-able narrative verse is, I think, the best way do to it. Poets often complain that no one reads poetry anymore but, as I see it, the lack of interest is primarily the fault of the poets themselves who tend to alienate readers in various ways, rather than giving them something engaging and exciting. I want to engage and excite people through words—that’s my career ambition. I aspire to write poetry that is as popular in the 21st century as Lord Byron’s “Don Juan” was in the 19th. Can you imagine a literary world in which books of poetry sell as well as books by Danielle Steele and Stephen King? I can.

Which writers inspire you?

Raymond Chandler, one of the fathers of the noir crime genre, has been a great inspiration. Though he wrote in a mode generally regarded as “inferior” to literary fiction, his novels are nonetheless master-crafted—every sentence, every phrase, has been labored over and perfected. He is a consummate artist. He taught me that literature can be both popular and virtuosic.

I also find Thomas Pynchon’s early work inspiring. His “The Crying of Lot 49” was another major model for “Mr. Either/Or.” It taught me that the demands of the plot need not restrict wild creativity. The writer should never be merely telling the story—he/she should do that, of course, and do it well but always at the same time be enjoying him/herself creatively. Pynchon’s novel is a mad whirlwind of a thing, a boundless conspiracy theory. I highly recommend it.

Tell us about your book?

“Mr. Either/Or” revives the genre of the verse adventure-story (à la Homer’s Odyssey and Byron’s Don Juan) by sustaining the charge of lyric poetry through an extended narrative. I regard “Mr. Either/Or” as an “upgrade” to prose fiction in that the poetry provides a sound-track as in a film by alternating between free-rhymed lines for the exposition and the alliterative verse of Beowulf for the action scenes. The setting is not real-world New York City, but a timeless one in which fantastic things can happen (as in an urban fantasy novel). The plot focuses on legends and on what I call “American Mythology:” mole-men living underneath the New York and the Roswell Incident, for example. Best of all, the novel is in the second person: “you” the reader are the hero—you think his thoughts and encounter the world through his eyes as in a “first-person-shooter” video game.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me eight years to write “Mr. Either/Or”—two years to figure out how to write narrative in verse and about six years to write and polish the thing. I am preparing to write a sequel, and I hope it will go much faster now that I know what I am about.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on a new book of poems that aims to invest American places and characters with religious awe. We’ll see if I can do it. I am also preparing for the sequel to “Mr. Either/Or,” though I doubt there will be a sequel proper, rather another book with the same characters and setting.

Why have you chosen this genre?

“Mr. Either/Or” brings together all of my great loves—epic poetry, genre fiction (noir and thriller), action films and Americana. I really don’t know what to call it—sometimes I call it a thriller, sometimes urban fantasy, sometimes an epic poem. The “action” mode was appealing to me for a number of reasons. First, because it is the opposite of most of the poetry that is being written today—it is not static, observational, meditative. Second, the adventures of the hero gave me, I confess, a purely escapist pleasure. We writers are a sedentary bunch: we sit; we write—it’s our job. It has been good for me to get out and have adventures through my hero.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In high-school I was all about music—my band, musical theory, songwriting—but as soon as I took a poetry class in college, the rhythms and sounds of language re-focused my creative impulses. I had a sort of religious experience during my Freshman year. I was reading the opening lines of Vergil’s Aeneid in Latin—Arma virumqute cano. . . Though I didn’t know the language, I was so moved that the sky became brighter and everything became clear: I should learn the Classical Languages and spend the rest of my life writing poetry. That’s what I have done. No regrets. I guess I’m lucky in that I never had a phase when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.

Why do you write?

Whoa, tough question. At this point, I write mostly by habit. It’s just what I do every day. I also write by instinct—I feel certain that I was meant to be a writer. I can’t imagine doing anything else. There is also, of course, the fear of death. I want to be able to feel, as I age, that the best of me will live on in literature. Yes, that was a tough question indeed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Where do my ideas come from? Out of my curious mind and out of all that I have read, yes, those and out of daily experiences—the doppler sound of traffic passing in front of my house, the sheen the barista’s mop leaves on the floor at the coffee shop, out of the crazy junk in my backyard and backlot, out of the many, many places I have lived. You’ve got these lines from Yeats’ “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” running through my head:

A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I’m left-handed and writing by hand was always clumsy for me, so I took to the keyboard early on. I prefer writing on a laptop. I always have one with me. I tend to buy super-cheap crappy laptops ($250) so that I can drag one everywhere with me and not worry about it getting banged up. For “Mr. Either/Or” I created one Word.doc for each plot event and allowed myself to go crazy creatively in each file, so long as I also narrated that one plot event. I then fitted all the files together into the whole narrative and polished the transitions. That way, I found I was able to get the story told while still giving myself freedom for creativity.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. “Whitsun Weddings” by Philip Larkin
  2. “The Tower” by William Butler Yeats
  3. “Goodbye, My Lovely” by Raymond Chandler
  4. “The Crying of Lot 49” by Thomas Pynchon
  5. “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. William Butler Yeats
  2. H. Auden
  3. Philip Larkin
  4. Raymond Chandler
  5. Dante Alighieri

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I do my best not to fall into the doldrums of Writer’s Block in the first place. After I finish a poem, I do tend to feel what I call “postpartum depression” tugging at me. I then sit down at my laptop, open a Word.doc and fill a page with lines that I like, phrases, curious words. I play around with them until something happens. A number of years ago I made a promise to myself that I would write full time, 40 hours a week at least, and, since then, I have forced myself to write even when I don’t feel like it. Yes, there are occasional blessed periods of spontaneous creation, but writing is usually hard, certainly harder than just watching tv instead. All the same, we writers must make ourselves focus and do our work.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

I’m afraid that I won’t be able to give anything more than boilerplate advice: craft, craft, craft. Work, work, work. Force yourself to know boring subjects like grammar backwards and forwards, so well, in fact, that you don’t have to think about them any longer. The time you spend early on studying grammar, for example, will pay off down the line, I promise, by making you a clearer and more efficient writer. Preachy, boring advice, I know, but it’s sincere as Hell.

 

Thank you, Aaron, for all your insightful answers! I particularly agree about the need to know grammar through and through.


About The Book:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere.

Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.

 

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Mr-Either-Aaron-Poochigian/dp/0997745525/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34381389-mr-either-or


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct email: thereadingbud@gmail.com