Archive for February, 2019

Inside the Book:

Title: Fuji, Sinai, Olympos
Author: Michael Hoffman
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
Genre: Essays
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

Travel companions on my journeys are four in number: Odysseus, Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn and Basho.” (Travel) “He walked in priestly garb. Arriving towards evening at a town or village, he’d chant sutras until passersby gave him, or flung him, enough money for a flophouse bed, a little food, a bath and enough saké  to induce a measure of forgetfulness. ‘A beggar,’ he admonished himself, ‘has to learn to be an all-out beggar. Unless he can be that, he will never taste the happiness of being a beggar.’” (Walking) ‘“The pleasantest of all diversions,’ said the fourteenth-century Japanese priest Kenko,“ is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.’ Reading is inseparable from reverie. ‘Sitting alone under the lamp,’ I was soon not alone at all, but hosting, I venture to say, as vivid and varied a company as ever gathered under one roof. (Genji, Myshkin and Jones) “Everest is nothing, mere seismology.” (Fuji, Sinai, Olympos) 



Michael Hoffman has lived in Japan since 1982. His columns appear regularly in the Japan Times, irregularly elsewhere. His previous books include “In the Land of the Kami: A Journey into the Hearts of Japan;” “Other Worlds; Little Pieces: This Side of Japan;” and “The Coat that Covers Him and Other Stories.”



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Inside the Book:

Title: From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed
Author: Douglas Baign
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
Genre: Biographies/Memoirs
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed tells the story of a disturbed adult in therapy seeking to understand and prevent his desire to commit suicide. Douglas starts by knowing that it has something to do with sex but soon discovers that he can’t talk about his sexuality without first discussing his religious beliefs and drift away from strict Christian Fundamentalism.The overlapping issues dredge up a confused morass of anger and love, abuse and sex.



10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Author Or The Book.

  1. Writing this book was definitely a form of therapy. I was going through normal talk therapy while writing it anyway, but there were several times when I had to lay aside the book while I worked through issues.  Once done, I incorporated them into the book.
  2. The entire process was emotionally grueling.  I wept several times while keyboarding and talking or writing about it now still brings an ache to my heart.
  3. The abuse and self-abuse the book describes was actually much worse in reality.  In fact, my editor refused to work with the original manuscript because she thought the material was too sensationalist. I had to censor it quite a bit before editing even began than we toned it down further at least twice more before the final draft.
  4. The 1975-80 dates are real, as are the love letters and I still have the pen-and-paper originals. Yup. I really did cart all this stuff around every time I moved (lots) for 30 years under the theory that I’d need it someday to write a book.  I did and I did.
  5. I keyboarded everything from 1975-80 into the computer to use as reference material.  This ran into a hundred pages or so, which means I was very selective about what actually got included.  That material still exists, so I suppose I could use it somewhere else. But it’s doubtful
  6. I tampered with most dates written after 2000. I wrote this material piece-meal, one entry at a a time in no particular sequence then shuffled the pieces into different pictures as I drafted.  I tried tracking this but gave up, and simply re-dated everything once I completed a draft.
  7. The only person in my family who knows I’ve written this book is my wife. She commented that she was glad she didn’t play a large part in the book and that I respected her privacy when she comes on stage.
  8. The book contains several ‘easter eggs’ – hidden puns or references. Sorry!  I won’t tell you what they are. My test readers caught most of them but there’s at least one they didn’t catch and it may well stay hidden for a looong time.
  9. I prefer to stay anonymous for two reasons.  The most important is that the book is deeply personal and discusses my mental illness. I don’t want to be pointed at or singled out as crazy. I have enough problems dealing with crowds as it is now. Secondly, these are real people in the book.  There’s no reason to violate their privacy.
  10. I avoid participating in writing groups partly because I’m crowd adverse and partly because I don’t feel like my viewpoint is close enough to share.  BTW, the success of the writing classes I took as an undergrad depended more on the teacher and on my fellow students than on the subject studied (poetry, short story…).


Coming from a long line of teachers, Douglas Baign has a Masters degree in Education but spent his career testing and documenting low-level software. He likes looking at anything basic then challenging assumptions. Doug also has a BS in Cognitive Psychology and a deep and abiding interest in History and Physics.

Douglas’ super-power is breaking things, especially computer code, but he prefers to create books, poetry and music. He also enjoys travel and photography.

Tour Schedule

Monday, February 4

Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric BookaholicTuesday, February 5

Book featured at Lover of Literature

Wednesday, February 6

Interviewed at As the Page Turns

Thursday, February 7

Guest blogging at The Literary Nook

Friday, February 8

Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

Monday, February 11

Book reviewed at A Title Wave

Tuesday, February 12

Guest blogging at Bent Over Bookwords

Wednesday, February 13

Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, February 14

Book featured at The Zen Reader

Friday, February 15

Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity

Book reviewed at C’est La T

Monday, February 18

Guest blogging at She Writes

Tuesday, February 19

Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, February 20

Book reviewed at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, February 21

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, February 22

Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf

Monday, February 25

Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Tuesday, February 26

Guest blogging at Inkslinger’s Opus

Wednesday, February 27

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, February 28

Book reviewed at I’m Shelf-ish


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RievesImageDwaine Rieves was born and raised in Monroe County, Mississippi.  During a career as a research pharmaceutical scientist and critical care physician, he began writing poetry and creative prose.  His poetry has won the Tupelo Press Prize for Poetry and the River Styx International Poetry Prize.  His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review and other publications.  He can be reached at www.dwainerieves.com.


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shirtless Men Drink Free. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: The book is a work of literary fiction, which I began as a form of a really long poem, one that played out on the stage belonging to a success-driven Atlanta family in 2004.  I like to say the book is about “souls and the bodies that won’t let them go,” which is a perhaps an all too nonspecific way of saying the book is about three Atlanta professionals who change their lives in response to the death of their parents.  The book deals with a deep need for personal and family redemption, a need that I think pervades the lives of so many Southerners, myself included.

Q: What do you think makes a good literary fiction? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: Literary fiction lies at the opposite reading pole from twitter messages.  That is, literary fiction is created to provide more than a single, focused message (“dumb as a rock” as Trump said not so long ago in a twitter dart directed to a former cabinet member).  There are so many great examples of literary fiction—As I Lay Dying loomed in the back of my mind while working on my Shirtless novel.   I (along with most of the world) find much of Faulkner challenging, but I don’t think literary fiction has to be challenging.  For example, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is delightful, readable literary fiction and a post-hoc inspiration for my Shirtless novel.  I’ve often wondered whether all poetry should be called “literary.”  I doubt it, but I also suspect some bumper stickers and twitter messages actually could be called “literary.”  A major purpose of art, I think, is to help create empathy.  Perhaps empathy-making distinguishes  “literary” from “non-literary.”  Hmmm…sounds ominously all too political.

JPGFrontFinalCover300Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I started Shirtless Men Drink Free much as I start a poem—with images and mystery.  I was naïve though, in that I didn’t really appreciate how such an unstructured approach to a novel was a sump of time, angst, pain, frustration and rare joy.  It took over twelve years to finish the novel—that is, to get to the point where I felt the story had told itself.  In the process, I completed three novels, trashing each after multiple re-writes.  Ultimately, a very gifted editor by the name of Billy Fox helped steer the narrative along a plot line that got the story to where it was supposed to go.  The lesson is—when you’re lost or down-and-out, get help!  There’s great value in recognizing when you need help, especially if the help must be a rescue-effort.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A:  I did many character sketches for my characters.  I even collected their pictures (fusing clipped headshots from magazines and newspapers with character profiles).  I learned the kind of underwear they prefer, who wears pajamas, who does yoga in the nude.  Intimacy was essential and, thankfully, the characters had little modesty—probably because they knew these details might never make it to the page.  I still admire their bravery.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A:  The Shirtless novel has a trio of key characters, one of which is pivot point for the entire story.  Jackson Beekman is a derivative of a man I encountered one evening in a gym steam room—a towel falling provocatively, heat unbearable—even to a politician.  Combining this situation with Talk Radio chatter and a star-speckled Alabama night produced the cauldron for Shirtless Men Drink Free

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A:  Eudora Welty said plot was emotion acted out.  I believe that’s true, but I also believe emotion evolves from a disturbance of some sort—a catalyst that actually causes the emotion.  In short, something has to happen to create an emotion and to portray it, even if that “happening” is simply a change in a character.  In my Shirtless novel, the catalysts are the deaths of parents, one due to cancer, the other suicide.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A:  Shirtless Men Drink Free is set in an Atlanta of 2004.  This setting was a natural because the initial image for the story was gifted to me during the Talk Radio I listened to while driving across Alabama in 2004.  If you remember, 2004 was a presidential election year and, largely thanks to the threat of the homosexual agenda, George W. Bush was re-elected.  Of course, things turned out very differently for the gubernatorial candidates in Georgia—that’s the lesson within Shirtless Men Drink Free.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A:  I have to say the final theme of the novel didn’t solidify until twelve years after I started the novel—and after trashing so many novels before the definitive story appeared.  This theme—the need to know, to understand, to matter—pervades most of my writing, especially my poetry.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A:  In poetry, I definitely think craft can devitalize an original work.  The devitalizing risk is there also for prose, although I think prose is probably less vulnerable to “over-crafting.”  That said, I remember how Gordon Lish turned some of Raymond Carver’s work into far more adventuresome creations with what I sometimes view as “over-editing.”  Still, I think having an engaged, concerned editor is a gift from heaven!  The writer can always take or leave the editing suggestions. 

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A:  Creation of a novel that speaks to the authorial “self”—that’s three things, isn’t it?  Yes. A 1) novel that 2) speaks to 3) the “self.”  Remember the critic Cyril Connolly said something along the lines of,  “Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.”  On this point, I definitely agree with Mister Connolly.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A:  I think most writers of creative projects adore doing “homework”—otherwise, they wouldn’t persist with writing.  Isn’t that fascinating—someone who enjoys “homework.”  The key here is that the “homework” is defined by the writer—not demanded by a teacher or other outsider.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A:  I’ve taken innumerable poetry workshops and several workshops in fiction—all geared to the working woman/man.  By which I mean that I didn’t start writing until I was nearly 40—late.  Thank goodness there are card-carrying writers in this world who get early starts.  I’m not one of them—I came from a world where survival depended more on physical work than meta-physical creation.  My calluses have colors.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Write whatever gives you the greatest pleasure.  Share the work.  Treasure your critics and learn to make the best of their offerings—never underestimating the value of the “self” within your work.

About the book:

In Shirtless Men Drink Free, Doctor Jane Beekman has seen her dying mother’s soul, a vision above the bed—a soul struggling with a decision, some undone task, something in this world too noble to leave.  The question that lingers—why?—prompts a shift in the doctor’s priorities.  In this election year, Jane must do what her mother, an aspiring social activist, would have done. Soon, Jane is embroiled in the world of Georgia politics, working to make sure her dynamic younger brother-in-law Jackson Beekman is selected the next governor, regardless of what the soul of the candidate’s dead father or that of his living brother—Jane’s husband—might want done. 

Indeed, it is a mother’s persistence and a father’s legacy that will ultimately turn one Beekman brother against the other, launching a struggle with moral consequences that may extend far beyond Georgia. Set amidst 2004’s polarizing election fears—immigrants and job take-overs, terrorists in waiting, homosexuals and outsider agendas—Shirtless Men Drink Free makes vivid the human soul’s struggle in a world bedeviled by desire and the fears that leave us all asking—Why?

Engaging, beautifully written and resplendent with realism, Shirtless Men Drink Free is a standout debut destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  A meticulously crafted tale that showcases an outstanding new voice in Southern fiction, Shirtless Men Drink Free has garnered high advance praise:

“This is brilliant and rare work, as attentive to an absorbing plot as it is to a poetic, chiseled cadence.”—Paul Lisicky, award-winning author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship

“These characters are all too real. Rieves, as Faulkner, McMurtry and Larry Brown, writes people and story that will worm, burrow into you.  Change you even.” Adam Van Winkle, Founder and Editor, Cowboy Jamboree

“Vividly sensuous, this novel is full of textures, sounds and smells.  Rieves tells a terrific story with the sensitivity of a poet.” —Margaret Meyers, author of Swimming in the Congo

Published by Tupelo Press joint venture partner Leapfolio, Shirtless Men Drink Free will be published in trade paper (ISBN: 978-1-946507-04-4, 326 pages, $16.95) and eBook editions.  The novel will be available where fine books are sold, with an arrival on January 22, 2019.


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3D-bigTitle: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery

Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA


Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM

Website: https://www.jeanpaulpaulynice.com/

Genre: Self-help/Inspirational

Publication Date: February 28, 2019

Price: (print, ebook, audio)

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $6.99  

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $9.99

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

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Title: The Lady With the Purple Hat

Author: Otilia Greco

Publisher: iUniverse

Genre: General Fiction

Format: Ebook

Ten years ago, Daisy left her husband, Bernard, to create a new life for herself. But now as their divorce proceedings continue to drag on and Bernard battles terminal cancer, Daisy determines she would rather be his widow than his ex-wife and decides to play with fate.

After she dons an outlandish large purple hat to disguise her face, Daisy glides through the hospital corridors, hell-bent on poisoning her husband to accelerate his death. When she finally arrives at his door and opens it, she is shocked to see a woman sitting by his bedside. With her plan foiled, Daisy rushes out of the room as she transforms from the hunter into the hunted. Still obsessed with ending Bernard’s life, Daisy retreats into her memories, unaware that a surprise is waiting in the shadows. Now only time will tell if fate will intervene to save Daisy or if she will lose her soul to the dark side, where it can never be retrieved.

In this contemporary thriller, a woman intent on ending her husband’s life is propelled on a journey through her memories that leads her to an unexpected truth.



I have been a fan of thrillers for as long as I can remember, and it seems like I have just about read every plot twist there is. Was I wrong! This novel took me to places that I hadn’t been and I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough to find out what was happening. A book I would highly recommend!


Otilia Greco was born in the Swiss Alps; was educated in Switzerland, England, and Paris; and is fluent in six languages. She graduated from Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and developed an appreciation for history and cultures.

Otilia and her husband worked internationally, lived for several years in California, and now reside in Switzerland. This is her third book.

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