Friday, January 10, 2020

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Book Review

Over the years I have read Susan Jeffers little book several times and recommended it to others. Recently I was working on a project and wanted to reference the book so my daughter sent me a "quick read" copy.

I was surprised how good it was, all the essence of the book in a quick and easy to read format.

The book first discusses fears and the various kinds we can be beset by. The biggest fear "I can't handle it" is at the base of all our major fears. Possibly you were brought up by caring, well-meaning relatives who always told you to "be careful" or "Take care", this could be ingrained in your thinking, actions and life.

You have to learn whatever happens in your life "you can handle it", and then there is nothing to worry about. Fear never really leaves us, even well-known actors and speakers are still fearful going on stage, but they have recognised the feelings as excitement and energy for the job in hand, and welcome it knowing they will give a better performance.

The more often you do the things feared, the fear will lesson, until you try something new and have to become accustomed all over again. However with each new challenge you become stronger.

What the author shows is how to use the fearful feeling to enrich our lives. We can learn to turn the pain into power. You can also learn about no-lose decisions and gain confidence as they are only steps until the next decision. Susan suggests saying yes to life and experiencing many new things and enriching your life.

I first read the book when I was working with a young girl who was going through a rough-patch, it helped her enormously; that was 40 years ago.

So are there things you would love to try or do, dreams you have almost forgotten. Take inspiration from Susan Jeffers and give it a go. Travel to distant places you have always wanted to visit. Make new friends, new choices, don't let your fears delay you. Learn to paint or dance or sing; cultivate a garden or even start your own business, find a more fulfilling job or change careers. Anything is possible with the right mindset.

A job for life is a thing of the past. Where will your new confidence take you? Make your life zing and every day a joy to be alive, learn to overcome the obstacles life brings like ill-health, or loss of a dear one, become strong again.

You CAN handle it!

Best Wishes for an exciting future.
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Book Review of Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

At once engaging and cleverly creative, Ricardo Alexanders' Bollywood Invasion enrapts readers with a fun and fantastical coming of age story, set in a well posed merging of reality and fiction which surpasses the reaches of time and continents.

Instantly the story draws you in, as initially, we meet John Palmieri living in modern times in Brooklyn; he's a nerd and Beatles lover in high school and unsatisfied with his lower middle class existence. Things start with him in the throes of a dream, once again being bested by his arch-enemy Frank Castellano. He loathes Frank, who seems to have so much more than John; smarter mouth, bigger house, more friends, better stuff, including, the attention of the girl he secretly loves -Samantha.

The real adventure begins when fate crashes into his life, via an accident, knocking John unconscious. When John awakes, he finds himself in a parallel existence, where he has been transported back in time to late 1950's, India. He wakes up as eighteen year old Raj Scindia, a prince in the Indian royal family. Naturally, he's initially confused by his sudden transportation to a completely foreign life and culture with many humorous moments ensuing as he tries to wrap his head around what has happened to him.

Meanwhile, as John acclimates to his new life, he realizes he suddenly has the life he has always dreamed of, a life which now includes money, wealth, eager women and extensive privileges. However, as well as being rich and privileged, the prince whose life John has taken over, also includes several unexpected issues such as being engaged to a young lady through pre-arranged marriage, having the reputation of being a spoiled, adulterous scamp, as well as being a second year student in a mechanical engineering college. Ultimately, deciding to make the best of his new circumstances, John plays his privileged new life to the hilt; he fakes being psychic and parties not really taking his new life too seriously until he meets the best friend of his promised fiance, Ankita and falls instantly head over heels for her which within his new culture gives rise to many issues. While looking for ways to win her over, John forays into the world of music by joining a local band and uses his extensive knowledge of Beatles songs to propel his group "The Beetos" to "Beatles" status making him and his group rock stars, thusly creating a parallel universe with the Bollywood version of the Beatles. Consequently, their new found fame comes with unexpected repercussions, as the story progresses with scenarios that parallel events that really happened with the famed Beatles.

Definitively, Bollywood Invasion proffers readers a compelling read that entertains the imagination with a unforgettable journey into adulthood. This was a winning combination with its twisted melding of Beatlemania, romance, drama, humor, fantasy elements, and intriguing characters, especially Raj/John who seems to a loosely posed reincarnation of John Lennon. This would make a worthwhile read for fans of fantasy or YA reads.
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Dancing With Death Book Review

Offering an intensely evocative and aptly titled narrative, Dancing with Death both guides and inspires, armchair adventurers as well as venturesome travelers to the jungles, seas, people and cultures of the world's "roads" less traveled within the beautiful panoramas of Latin America. Co-authored by co-adventurers Jean-Philippe Soulé and Luke Shullenberger, this dynamic read memorializes not only their experiences during their expansive sea kayaking journey, but also serves to help bring awareness to the cultures and history of the seldom seen or noted native peoples they encountered.

From the start, the story treats the mind to the emotions and visages entwined in this thrilling narrative which memorializes the unforgettable and awe-inspiring expedition by sea touted as a one of a kind undertaking. Author, guide, and adventurer Jean-Philippe Soulé accompanied by fellow adventurer and able friend Luke Shullenberger find themselves and their kayaks sorely tested by weather, tides and their bodies as they paddled thousands of miles braving often life-threatening conditions including near drowning, malaria, shark attacks, crocodiles, guerrillas, armed bandits and corruption during their one of a kind undertaking. The overall journey spanning three years, 3000 miles and seven countries included Baja, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The expedition fully titled as the Central America Sea Kayaking Expedition 2000, but also known as the CASKE2000, was a quest intended as an effort to connect with, learn about and preserve in writing the history of the self-reliant, indigenous peoples and their respect for and relationship with the earth.

Overall, the book provides an absorbing view of life for the two sea bound kayakers. Readers are made privy to the challenges, successes, and failures of their journey supplied via their intimate thoughts and experiences through the inclusion of their alternating journal entries, of which I found did well to enhance the read by providing deep insight and focus to emotions with differing perspectives concerning the elements of planning, preparation, and embarking on the expedition.

Altogether, I did enjoy reading Dancing with Death. The book was easy to engage with and well-organized. I found the narrative an intelligently composed chronicle and compelling read that riled the senses with descriptive exposition and well-organized literate visions of superhuman determination, extreme traveling adventure, fraught with kayaking adventure, spine-tingling moments, exotic environments and intriguing people and cultures.

I also enjoyed their close up encounters with wildlife which made for particularly exciting reading especially the section on playing hide and seek with giant sea turtles. Additionally, aside from portraying a phenomenal travel super-adventure, included in the book are some of the most stunning photos that I have seen, as well as the additional perk of a fantastically organized website where you get to experience even more details of their journey. However, the very best aspect of the book is the inspirational tone of the whole book. The authors, although faced with the adversity and danger of their expedition, did not quit. They simply followed their dreams, a must I think, for all travelers. I definitely and heartily recommend this for fans of travel books.
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Shows How to Self-Publish Your Book for FREE on Amazon KDP

It is now possible to publish your eBook or print on demand book on Amazon's KDP platform for free. This is an excellent deal as Amazon sells 70% of eBooks and 50% of print books plus the royalties are favorable to authors. However, setting up an account, formatting the book and uploading your manuscripts can be a daunting endeavor. "How to Self- Publish a Book in 10 Easy Steps" offers the guidance and reasoning what to put in all those little boxes. Knowing the why and how makes the process a viable and rewarding experience.

What makes this book worthwhile is the fact that the author formulated this book when uploading an earlier version on the discontinued CreateSpace to the new KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Thus. Beth Whittenbury encountered and solved the same problems you'll face in uploading your book. And her roadmap lays out the process in an orderly fashion beginning with the decision, do you want to be your own publisher? There's pro's and con's and you have the information to make a rational choice.

Next is obtaining the ISBN, which not only identifies your book but also its format and publisher. This section also identifies the author, page size, format, and medium, either an eBook or paperback. Other classifications are the primary subject category, target audience and if known, the publishing date. ISBN numbers are obtained through the site and prices range from $125 for one to $29.50 each when buying ten.

Next step is registering your book with the Library of Congress for a PCN (Preassigned Control Number) which assist libraries locating where your book is shelved. This chapter also covers how to cross-reference your PNC with your ISBN and the process for sending a copy to the Library of Congress. Beth also discusses whether to get a copyright on your book.

In setting up your KDP account, she suggests keeping Amazon KDP as your printer, not your publisher. This maintains your rights. This section also identifies the country where you work, your tax information, your bank routing information for royalty payments, and your Social Security Number or EIN.

Once you have set up your KDP account, you can start uploading your manuscript into the KDP system. The book provides instructions on what information goes into which boxes. For instance, you might have other contributors such as an illustrator or co-author. There are boxes for those. Other boxes include language, book title, keywords, subject category, and publishing rights. One of the more important entries will be the description box as this will appear on the Amazon book page and is the one that potential readers use in evaluating your book and making purchasing decisions. Look at similar book descriptions to help in writing this sales piece and selecting strong keywords. This description and its keywords are also part of the search parameters buyers used to find a book on a particular subject.

Once you've filled in the boxes in the Print Option section, you can start loading your manuscript. First, you'll need to load a free Word template for the trim size you have chosen. This is a complex procedure and Beth leads you through this process with detailed step-by-step instructions. She also cautions about choosing a font size and that using the default font of Garamond 11-point when writing your manuscript will probably save you formatting work later on.

The next section explains how to format your title page, colophon page, dedication page, and acknowledgment page. The colophon page is also known as the Copyright Page or the Edition Notice. While the KDP template gives you the minimum notifications for what goes into the colophon page, Beth suggests. adding the Library of Congress Number, a disclaimer and your imprint. This will make your book appear more professional.

The Author's Biography goes at the end of the book. Here you may want to add links to other books you have written or a link to Amazon's "Write a Review" page. When you are satisfied with the manuscript, you've entered the KDP template, consider converting that Word file into a pdf file. This is especially prudent if you have photos or illustrations, or if it is a really large file.

We've now come to the book cover section. Here Beth discusses whether to go with a free cover set up by KDP or paying a designer to create one. Going the free route is discussed in detail from selecting a photo from KDP Image Gallery to designing the graphics for the title, sub-title and author's name. The back-cover information is also discussed including book description, author's picture, and bar code based on your book's ISBN. The spine layout is also covered and includes the book title and author's name printed vertically.

The final section is "Paperback Rights and Pricing." Here you'll choose which territorial rights you hold, your primary marketplace, the list price of your book, and any expanded distribution such as bookstores, libraries, and online retailers. Beth suggests when selecting a price, you survey those of other books in your category and not to price it above the average. Basically, royalties are calculated at sixty percent of list price minus printing cost.

Another consideration is the determination of pricing in foreign countries. Foreign sales through Amazon receive a sixty percent royalty and those sold through other channels are calculated at forty percent. Before publishing your book, obtain a proof copy as, some errors won't be prevalent in the electronic previewer, but show up in the actual, physical, proof copy.

Once you are happy with the proof copy, you can click the Publish button and your book should appear on Amazon within seventy-two hours. Of course, now the hardest part of being an author begins, promoting your book.


Should you also want to publish an eBook edition, Beth's book also takes you through those steps. While basically the same as the paper book process, they differ in some ways. As such, she walks you through them in Appendix A of her book. First, log into your account and just to the right of your book cover, click on the blue words "+ Create Kindle eBook." Many of the boxes have already been filled for you. Make sure they have the correct information. Her book goes on to explain where the information would be different. These include the Age and Grade Range Box and the Pre-Order box.

The Manuscript Box has several choices that must be addressed. One regard is limiting sharing this book with others. You will also need a new ISBN for your eBook edition. In addition, options for your cover are less than for your print book with regard to font type and color.

After you've uploaded your manuscript and cover, you can preview it on your computer or on your Kindle device. Your text may not look the same as it does on a printed page. This depends on the digital device used to read your book's pages and some devices may cut off in places you didn't intend.

If you want KDP to be your exclusive eBook publisher, join KDP Select. The KDP Select benefits include being available on Kindle Unlimited and receiving a seventy percent royalty versus thirty-five percent. The book covers additional benefits.

Pricing of your book follows the same principles as on the print version. Consult pricing on similar books. Foreign pricing and sales conversions are done based on the country's daily exchange rate.

The Matchbook provision allows paperback purchasers a price break on your Kindle edition. Beth highlights the pros and cons of this option. Another optional program is book lending which allows buyers to loan your eBook to friends and/or family for up to fourteen days. If you opt for the KDP Select program, the seventy percent royalty, you are automatically locked into a "Yes" on these options.

The last item is the Terms and Condition Box and must be agreed to before submitting your eBook. Once satisfied with your answers loaded in all boxes, click on the "Publish Your Kindle eBook" button and your book should show up on Amazon in seventy-two hour.

The final section in the book covers the next steps, tips, and tricks. These include how to order author copies of your book, determining the number of books sold and royalties received. It also covers how to change the text on your submitted book, creating your author central account and your author profile. With your Author Central account, you are able to track the sale of your book. Customer reviews are also covered in this section and you can comment on reviews,

When your book gets ranked one hundred or lower in your book's browse-category, you earn the honor of an Amazon bestseller. Beth shows you how to choose the best browse-category for your book and how to navigate this maze to get on this list.
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Book Review of The Dumb Class by Mike Hatch

Author Mike Hatch delivers originality and spunk with his The Dumb Class: Boomer Junior High; a retrospective coming of age story that unflinchingly provides readers with a gritty, humorous, and boldly creative romp through life with a group of Junior High school friends.

Taking place in the 1960s, the story follows "baby Boomer" friends Bill Jones, Eddie, Jeff, and Harley through their formative years in Boomer Junior High school. Events are detailed by Bill Jones who is also the story's protagonist. As a whole, the teens are a cast of tenacious, drinking, smoking, sexing and scheming set of youth whose friendships and wit carry them through many escapades and life experiences. Jones, in particular, makes for a captivating character to follow. He has wit and a peculiar charm and albeit. Although in the lowest of the class designations in the junior high school, "the dumb class" he seems to be one of the smartest and conniving.

Instantly intriguing from its outset the story draws your attention along with piquing the interest with an opening scene of a crudely humorous debate about the female anatomy, being held by the group of friends, which serves to bring the diverse main players into focus and sets the tone for the story as one replete with humor, raw depictions of life and teen behavior. As the story progresses, it follows their adventures, experiences, and explorations fueled by raunchy desires, cursing, teen angst, drugs, alcohol as well as other diversions like revenge. As characters, their unique personalities and interactions drive the story forward, while heralding authenticity via infused bits of historical and cultural references.

Overall, I found that The Dumb Class: Boomer Junior High offers not only an entertaining read but a multifaceted look at the cultural and sociological avenues of life that teenagers of the 1960's encountered and explored. As a matter of fact, I personally found the story to be a somewhat reminiscent combination of Stand By Me, Grease and Porkies. Just a word of warning, this is an adult-themed read as the level of sexuality in this book is quite graphic especially for fourteen and fifteen-year-olds. However overall, I enjoyed the read and kudos to author Mike Hatch, who did well in portraying his tale. He artfully brought this memorable coming of age story to life with humor, well-fleshed characters and era-appropriate vernacular. I do recommend this book for mature readers who enjoy dark themed humor.
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A Valuable Review of "Alternative Investing: Making Money Outside the Stock Market"

During the economic recession in September and October 2008, most investors lost a lot of money due to a huge banking crisis which caused the stock market to crash. For those with most of their money in the stock market, the crash became a catastrophic nightmare. In many cases, people lost everything, not just in the stock market, but in most other investments as well.

In 2012, financial investigator, Robert Cancellaro published a book that challenges what most investors would say, "Nope". "Bad idea", "Won't work." Alternative Investing: Making Money outside the Stock Market introduces a revolutionary idea that "collectibles" are better investments than traditional investments, like the stock market. Collectibles have no financial ties to the stock market, but they have the financial strength to make money.

Cancellaro investigates seven categories of collectibles that have historically gone up in value. The following categories are known as tangible assets - items you can hold and definitely hold onto autographs, postage stamps, precious metals and coins, comic books, sports cards, and investment-grade wine. Why did the author choose these "misfit" collectibles as investments? Answer: They have consistently outperformed the S & P 500 by a large margin.

All seven categories include their own lists of specific items that have consistently increased in value over their lifetime and have held steady appeal to those who have bought them. However, before you buy anything, it's important to learn as much about collectibles as you can. The Internet has an endless number of resources; the most important ones are included in Cancellaro's book. In addition to the Internet, you can visit and search libraries or bookstores to look for books that contain general information and price guides.

The keys that drive collectibles' values are based on the fact they are tangible. In other words, it can be touched, making them a part of the law of low supply and high demand. So, the items in Cancellaro's list are hard to find yet they are popular and many people want them, which increases their value. For some collectibles, their conditions are extremely important; the better the condition, the more valuable it might be. The items in Cancellaro's lists are expensive. If you want the item, you may have to pay a lot, but its value will most likely go up over a period of time. Above all, time is your most important ally because the longer you keep it the more value it adds to your collectible. So it is important to protect your collection safely from the elements and stay in the same condition you bought it.

Autographs, postage stamps, precious metals and coins, comic books, sports cards and investment-grade wine can become part of your investment strategy. You should not always trust the stock market; it can go up just as much as it can go down, whereas collectibles' values have remained more stable. Obtaining information is a must for buying trustworthy collectibles that keep their value. Not only is it a sensible and clever move now, but it will also financially protect you against the next stock market catastrophe or world financial crisis. Also, Cancellaro lists specific recommendations on what to buy in all seven categories. When the economy sinks the next time, don't squander your money in the stock market. So, choose carefully, buy and keep an alternative investment.
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