Dances with Dependency


 

Dances with Dependency

Author: Calvin Helin

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

Author Calvin Helin brings to light in this book the reasons behind why indigenous people are falling into the same mind set as Americans resulting in losing their independent drive to create a financial environment and atmosphere free of government and family dependency and bail outs. Focusing on the fact that many indigenous people and American baby boomers will be retiring quite soon, and elaborating on how this will drain the American finances in the health care system, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and pension. The author relates the history of his family, his people and how it all came to this point that indigenous people have received unequal treatment and endured hardships that are resulting in losing their original mindset of independence and self-reliance and going towards the main culture present in America: enlisting in the welfare system, using government resources and hopefully able to receive money for their basic needs. Beginning with a description of the Demographic Tsunami the author relates through historical references why the concurrent situations and political constraints. The plight of indigenous people has been difficult as author Calvin Helin takes the reader on a canoe ride back in time recreating the events the led up to the issues, causes, lives traditions of a people caught between two major forces: The government as the primary source of wealth and enforced economic isolation. The author discusses in detail how the federal government has all the wealth in the form of transfer payments or to individuals in the form of Welfare. Let’s understand this novel in several parts. We are talking about indigenous people and how they’ve become isolated, dependent on the government and the many bureaucratic handouts to survive losing their ability to be self-reliant. Next, I will discuss the numerous problems faced by these people and finally the numerous solutions offered in order to impart to the reader the author’s vital and important messages.  The primary purpose is to discuss the problems faced by indigenous people, the author’s heritage being part of the Tsimshian Nation, their rich culture, spirituality and artistic traditions that help this nation together for so many years. Yet, this nation pales in comparison to the past and has forgotten the traditions of their ancestors that so greatly need to be remembered and revered. Pursuing welfare and government transfer payments rather than living independently on reservations, caring for their own needs, being self-reliant seems to be a way of the past but not the present. Discrimination was prevalent even during his grandmother’s reign as Chieftain as they were treated as second-class citizens.

 

Part of the problem stated by the author is the population growth of indigenous people adds to the societal trends and drain on the economy. Many are going to retire and unless the government of Canada pushes the age to past 65, the system would be heavily drained and many the national debts increased. Pension concerns, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and many other programs provide a safety net for those retiring and the elderly. How dies this affect indigenous people? As a result of pushing the age of retirement past 65 the work force would not be as depleted, more people would work and less would count on the government to pay their way. He continued by sending a clear message to the reader that the government is making it too easy for these people to use the system as a crutch rather than increasing the amount of jobs, allowing them to own their own businesses and restoring their self worth and dignity. He continues by discussing four distinct waves. The first wave describes and deals with how these people were more attuned in the past to honor their environment, live off the land and not be dependent. He refers to it as the “Golden Era,” where the people were self sufficient, self-reliant and more disciplined. Imagine being able to sustain a society and people without welfare, unemployment insurance and no government transfers, bailouts or payments? Just think about that!

Next, the author discusses the second wave of development. He states that this is the undoing of these people by the Europeans as a result of the canoe heading right into a huge storm head on. All to often other cultures and people impose their values, customs and mores on others unable to fight back creating a society that fits into the systems, status and financial structure although foreign to many, easily created and implemented in others. As a result the old traditions, way of life were set aside and the nation became devoid of is own past and learned to live by those imposed in the present. Remembering that indigenous people did help the settlers become self sufficient, protected them and gave them sustenance, it seems wrong that their land, people and lives were ravaged, depleted and forced to change their way of life. Passive behaviors became the norm as result of the aggressiveness of the Europeans. Wrong, but nonetheless true.

 

The third wave adds to the continuation of the colonial storm and sends that canoe even further inside from one hundred years ago until the present. Solutions sought by the Europeans focused on starting a series of legal and political developments targeted at taking down the traditional societies. Like a house of cards each one coming down and being dismantled along with the ideas and doctrines associated with indigenous people only to be indoctrinated with the European ways, culture and customs. Once again the indigenous people were caught in a spider’s web with no release where their own culture and practices were forbidden. The final stage of this third wave deals with something most prevalent today: The Welfare Trap. The author is concerned with the end result for the indigenous people which was economic isolation and still caught in the same tangles many Americans face: using Welfare as their escape instead of working and becoming self sufficient. Allowing the government to take control of the way you live by paying your way is not what anyone should want as their only way to sustain themselves. The culture and ways of life and beliefs of these people should not have been set aside or disregarded for the self -preservation of others and their financial gain. As a result these people became economically dependent on the welfare system losing their self- reliance and independence.

 

The solution would be to acknowledge the reality of the situation and how this has isolated these people and created a system not relying on transfer payments, welfare and understand what detrimental factors are caused leading them to a life that was anything but like their ancestors which was described in the first wave. The solutions are still coming. Creating necessary programs and reforms. The money should not be handed over to a Chief just because it is demanded. The solutions are summarized and stated on pages 260-264 for the reader. Explaining why change is necessary and how the author elaborates nicely the many programs that the Canadian government needs to create and implement to reinstate these people’s independence.

 

Finally, the fourth wave deals and explores other solutions that may undo this economic crisis. As the author summarizes his findings he creates viable solutions in the last chapter that will not only life? What was necessary and needed is for the indigenous people to be able to take ownership of their own business, economy and become more self-reliant people.

 

Well written and definitely thought provoking and mind stimulating once again author Calvin Helin gives the reader a lot to think about, understand and learn about indigenous people, his culture and the reason why we need to find better solutions that become ensnared in the Welfare Trap and Economic Dependency.  Once again as in The Economy Dependency Trap the author has written an outstanding book that allows the reader to really understand the plight of these people and why the Canadian Government and the American Government need to open their eyes and create better solutions to for people to be more self reliant, independent and programs that will not drain our economy and enlarge the National Debt.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

http://www.livelaughlovetoshop.com/forum/topics/dances-with-dependency

http://nurtureyourbooks.ning.com/forum/topics/dances-with-dependency

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People of the Forest reviewed by fran lewis


People of the Forest

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

From the author of best selling novel Nu –Del Daughter of the Forest comes a new breakthrough novel that intertwines two different worlds. One filled with hard working forest people that live off the land, having many mates to care for, families that work together to fend for each other and protect against the tribes that attack and ravage their women; the other a world filled with modern technology and a man who spent years frozen in a cryo chamber along with 300 other people and a transport vessel that causes him to crash land and wind up in a world he never expected to see or ever learn about. What happens when the present meets the past you won’t want to miss reading People of the Forest by innovative and outstanding author Ray Shoop.

What would happen if you were frozen in a cryo chamber for over twelve years and thawed out like a piece of meat waiting to be roasted or broiled? Your job is to take your transport with 300 colonists and bring them safely to a new colony that they could inhabit hoping that the ship lands safely and the advance team left provisions and supplies for housing and more in order to colonize the planet in the solar system. A seeding colony is what it would be called hosting those in the cryo chamber on their transport, hoping to expand and create more life on these planets in the solar system. But, the transport becomes defective and the end result is catastrophic as Dan, Cowboy his partner and the android that runs the mission lose more than just the transport vessel when it explodes and everyone near and dear to Dan perish. Why, that still remains to be seen. The shuttlecraft is defective and even trying to repair and fix with the help of his trusted Droid Sarno, the end result is a crash landing on a planet that will take Dan on the journey of a life time that he will never forget.

In another part of the solar system we find Nu-Del and her tribe. Her father and his four mates, her family, the many children and siblings as they prepare for the men to go a huge hunt and what happens just might collide Dan and Nu-Del’s worlds as one. Nu-Del has premonitions and as she is weaving and working she hears a loud noise in her head warning her that trouble is imminent but pushing it aside for the time being until she is sure of the danger and when it will arrive before telling her people. Nu-Del has four mothers, adopted sisters and brothers and lives in the forest with Transoni, her mate, and his three other mates and their families. Becoming part of their tribe, but not a welcome member, she assimilates quite well and is now called Nu- Del. Her adopted parents Sel and Cordac expect her to do her fair share of work just like the rest of their children. In a society that allows men to have more than one mate, Nu-Del learns a lot about the culture and ways of all of the tribes she encounters. Not so different from some other countries that still have concubines and first mates and more, she learns how the mating process and more. When Nu-Del’s senses that there is danger will she use her special gift to safe her tribe? Will they listen and protect themselves and fight back even though they are not a tribe that fights and kills? But, for right now she pushes all fears aside.

But, the hunters of her village leave and danger arrives as her village is ravaged and many of the female gathers are captured by the Dumeasets and taken to live in their communities. Not able to fight back and having to go willingly seemed unfair and Nu-Del did the unthinkable to save the life of her own. She killed the enemy without regard for herself or the punishment to follow. Although she was only doing what anyone would think was right, it was not allowed and she suffered the consequences.

As the hunters returned and learned of the fate of their village and their loses lost, preparations had to be made to find a new location and decisions about Nu-Del would be made once they settled in their new location. However, while Nu-Del awaited her fate Dan, our space explorer was learning about the planet he landed on and learning many other hard lessons about life. Realizing that he had to fend for himself even with the help of the Droid, he set out exploring the planet only to encounter dangerous animals, creatures and contract many different illnesses along the way. Becoming weak, sick, hungry but determined to explore and find out more about this world, he stumbles upon some ashes, dead bodies of creatures and more surmising that this planet might have had living creatures or humans on it and possibly still does. Knowing that if the Home World his world commission found out and he informed the Seeding Commission of his findings he knew it would restart the cycle over again with scientists, explorations, diggers and more creating havoc on this planet. But, what he finds first was the most valuable as he landed and found the Advanced Team’s huts with their equipment, food and more but not realizing what the fate of some of them were and that several were living among the People of the Forest who he has yet to encounter.

But, as Dan is becoming more acclimated to his new environment Nu-Del learns she is to be banished from her village for three short cycles and has three days to prepare and then must leave an live on her own. When Dan finds himself all alone and having to fend for himself he soon realizes the difficulties faced living on this new planet. Finding the bones and remnants of past people civilizations and he comes upon Nu-Del only to hide his presence even though she knows he is there. Then, Dan gets hurt and the two worlds collide and Dan comes face to face with Nu-Del who tends to his wounds and brings him back to life. But, something even more remarkable happens as Dan and Nu-Del realize that there is more of connection than first realized as she learns of the fate of her parents, who she really is and her link to the advanced Seeding Group whose hut he found after landing on this planet.  Dan suffers many injuries and Nu-Del or Laura as she was called in her previous life like an angel of mercy or kindness renders him help and brings him back to health. As they listen and learn about each other’s lives, pasts and hopes for their futures, Dan learns about Laura’s new life living in a tribe, being one of many mates and hoping to find out about her past and her family that she lost when captured by the tribe she lives with. Had she not been banished maybe the ending would have remained the same as the beginning. As Transoni her mate, contemplates his loss of Nu-Del he defies tradition and goes in search of her ignoring the fact that she has been banished and to have no contact with her tribe. Finding her and what happens next will not only endear you to the People of the Forest but to Dan who comes from a life light years ahead of these primitive but intelligent people, as they try and merge two worlds, free those enslaved by the Dumeasets and create a colony for these people to live in.

Torn between two worlds and reunited with some from her past, Laura/Nu-Del has many life altering decisions to make after helping her people adjust to their new site, new life, customs and surroundings that would change them forever. Some will decide to remain captives and others will decide to forge ahead. Transoni, Nu-Del’s hunter will have to decide whether to return to his band, start his own in order to provide for so many mates, children and more or to go it alone.

Author Ray Shoop brings to light some very important issues in this outstanding second novel in his series about the Forest People. Understanding differences of others, working for a common goal and solution and helping people of different cultures to survive, thrive and learn new ways are just some of the lessons learned in this book. Added to that is loyalty, trust, understanding, caring and friendships that develop among people whose goal it is to survive in a world even there’s that has their own brand of terrorists who invade and take what does not belong to them because they are more powerful in strength. What will happen to those that decide to leave the band? What will happen to Nu-Del, her birth mother and the rest of the band? Will she return to her people and help them and give up her past life and her heritage to remain in her tribe although she might not be wanted there? What happens you will have to read for yourself? The final outcome has not been decided as we wait for the final chapter or sequel to be written and the fate of all of these people to be decided. Let’s not forget our loyal Droid Sarno who keeps our Lieutenant centered, on course and provides the much needed common sense and intelligence to keep Dan alive.

Can Transoni and his tribes learn to plant, farm and live without meat as a basic staple? Can Nu-Del find happiness without her tribe and with Dan? Will Dan return and complete his mission and report his findings to the Home World? What will happen to these people and their colony when they find out about them? Will they invade and create havoc and destroy what they have started in order to do experiments, dig and have scientists explore the land and the people? These answers and others will come when our brilliant author writes the sequel. The characters are well-defined in a fast paced plot that keeps the reader engrossed, immersed and transfixed from the start when Dan crashes and lands and suffers the hardships of the new planet, the creatures that want to eat him for three meals, and his courage to survive, as he Nu-Del and so many more keep the reader riveted to the pages of this book which I read in one day. This is one book that I would definitely recommend to readers.

I give this book Five Perfect Shuttlecrafts without defects and one extra Sarno to keep it running.

Fran Lewis Reviewer:

www.gabina49.webs.com

Zaftan Entrepreneurs reviewed by author fran lewis


 

 

Zaftan Entrepreneurs

Author Hank Quense

 

In the real world there are many who look to milk the resources of others for their own benefit not so different in the fantasy world created by author Hank Quense on his favorite planet Gunderland in his latest best selling novel Zaftan Entrepreneurs . A mining expedition of aliens travels the planet in order to explore the countryside using robots. As these robots find Gundarland they discover a land filled with priceless minerals and rare elements. Launching their robot explorers the Zaftans show little if any regard for the land and property of the inhabitants and destroy much of it and anger those living there. The Zaftan entrepreneurs are not different from those in our world today.  Our entrepreneurs in this novel have one specific goal and that is not to start their own business but to explore, steal, damage and take over the private property of those inhabiting Gunderland and of course extract all of the exotic minerals and their rare elements for their own profit and purposes. Captain Yunta  the head of this expedition has only one purpose in mind: To Advance her rank to CEO no matter how she has to get there. Our very own just do the same thing in more subtle ways.

 

Leslie Higginbottom  the constable of Skensfirth approaches MacDrakin Gemseeker a citizen and hot guy according to her standards,  to help her find out what the Yuks a rowdy group of citizens might be up to she enlists his help to patrol the perimeter of the town but before she does she is  kidnapped by  some slimy looking squids. But, this planet is inhabited by many mixed races consisting of some humans, half-pint politicians, dwarfs, elves that are the shop keepers and our Zaftan Robots and their leaders who want to extract all of the valuable minerals and gems on Gunderland where the minerals lie. The robots invade destroying property, killing many of the inhabitants but not without a fight from those living there. Captain Yunta faces many adversaries in these people hoping to complete her mission before her ship has to return and the fuel supply is depleted. Reminders of the Gold Rush where people wanted to pan and mine gold to increase their wealth or countries today fighting to control oil prices and more. Invaded countries are nothing new and the motives certainly stay the same. But, in our story the primary goal is to get these valuable gems and extract the expensive minerals from them in order to make the Zaftan’s rich and of course the Furshtanker corporation who is behind this entire attempt coup. Of course the fact that there are inhabitants on this planet created the problems to start since they normally invaded places that were devoid of any people, dwarfs or anyone else and these inhabitants have knowledge of early technology and some intelligence making them harder to combat and fool.

 

 

When the emissary from Zaftan 31 shows up unannounced the President, Treasurer and Defense Minister meet with Shtap to discuss the Zafan’s proposal to supposedly help them understand how to rid the planet of pollution in return for allowing them to deplete their planet of minerals for their own private use. Supposedly stating that they would respect the property and rights of others was just a ruse to get them to agree. Sending ten Zaftan Robots to Gundarland creates not only devastation and destruction but loss of native lives. Creating treachery, assassinations and more are a way of life for these Zaftans and help them gain status among their kind. Where does that leave our constable and our MacDrakin in this mix, well although attracted to each other things get complicated when poor Higginbottom, our constable is instructed to protect these robots at all costs placing a strain on her relationship with MacDrakin .

 

Enter the world of author Hank Quense. You would think that this fanstasy world that he created would be different from the reality we face each day. Not so! Inhabited with many different races such as our world is today, the dwarfs, elves, half-pints, humans and Yuks face the same prejudices, problems and strives we do in our so called real world today. As the Zaftons meet with the incompetent President at the capital called Dun Hythe in Gunderland, we learn that his primary goal is to make sure he has his daily nap and that his Chief of Staff handles all other matters. Added to that he has his own form of in fighting in his cabinet between the Defense Minister and the Interior Minister who want to take over the turf and control of the other at any cost. No one seems to be too concerned about the taxpayers or the citizens except our worn out and frustrated constable Leslie Higginbottom who faces even more dire problems. Told and instructed by the politicians to protect these Zafton Robots from harm no one takes into account the devastation and destruction they are causing as they case the planet and pilfer their minerals for their own gain. Promises seem to go out the window and the Mayor learns that these robots and their leadership cannot be trusted, but he still succumbs to their demands and thinks they will hold true to their promise to rid his planet of pollution. Let’s not forget class or caste systems that play a part here too. The Yuks are poor and every looks down on them even though they are smarter than the rest. But, let’s not forget our Zafton Leader Captain Yunta whose mood swings caused by triple PMS. For those of you that experience this once a month it’s bad enough. Imagine enduring it at three times the pain. OUCH and UGH! So, what is going to happen and what is the fate of our dwarf, Mackrakin and our Constable. That remains to be seen.

 

 

But as the robots wage a war on the people in Skensfirth poor Higginbottom is faced with a two- fold dilemma. How does she protect the natives and their property when told not to harm or stop the robots from exploring and looking for minerals, and how does she stop them from fighting back? Does she arrest everyone that kills or hurts a robot to protect their land and property or does she look away? What will happen between her and MacDrakin ? On top of that neighbors are arguing and forming their own vigilante committees to take matters in their own hands. I bet you thought this only happened in the real world! From here on things change and the Yuks team up with our MacDrakin and what happens next sends the reader, the town, the robots and our Captain on a robotic downslide, a native uprising and giant war that will keep the reader fixed to the printed page until the very end. The characters might be pure fiction but their attitudes and actions quite real as one woman dwarf/human takes on a whole town, the robots and more to prove she’s got what it takes to protect her town, her people and their property and make her late father proud. Leslie HIgginbottom: What a Woman and What A Way to Go! But, it’s not over yet as MacDrakin  enlists the help of his friends the Yuks, the old militia and more to wage a war that you won’t forget. Loyalty, trust, deceit, friendship and more when the aliens from Zaftan take on the inhabitants of Gunderland and learn a lesson they will never forget. Will Captain Yunta rise to CEO or will she get some rotten apples under her tree? Will the Zaftan’s learn not to mess with the inhabitants of Gunderland? Who wins? Who loses and who are the real entrepreneurs, decide for yourself as author Hank Quense takes you inside the world of the amazing natives of Gunderland and with an ending filled with twists, turns, clever maneuvering, and descriptions of the details and characters so vivid you feel like you are there, once again author Hank Quense takes the Sci Fi World by storm with his great new novel for all audiences to read. This book would make a great-animated movie. Can’t wait for the next chapter in this great Trilogy.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

This book gets Five Higginbottoms and one MacDrakin for extra measure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delirious reviewed by author and reviewer fran lewis


Delirious

Author: Daniel Palmer

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

Appearances can be deceiving. Often what really is might not be. What you think if happened can all be one illusion created to distort your mind and soul with the purpose of manipulating the outcome for someone else’s benefit or pleasure. Betrayals can destroy your spirit, trust and motivation creating a negative outlook for someone with a fragile persona. Eddie Prescott was world-class software engineer whose life spiraled out of control. A self-made man who worked his way up without any parent or government bail out or help, Eddie feels life is not worth living and there is only one way out.

 

Charles Giles is a brilliant young man who invented a product called InVision. Selling his startup company to a huge firm in Boston was supposed to be lucrative for both the company and him. As Senior Director of SoluCent he was on top of the world. Feared yet respected by his Magellan Team, Charlie carried a heavy gavel that strikes when necessary and tolerates no faltering, errors or mistakes when it comes to InVision. But, Charlie Giles will learn the true meaning of deceit, lies and betrayal as someone manipulates him into believing a lie which sends a chain of events in motion that will rock his world with results more catastrophic than a 9.0 earthquake on the Richter scale.  Charlie Giles is about to enter a world similar to that of living in the Twilight Zone.

 

As Charlie takes the first step in his downfall, he never realized that information given to him was a lie. Rather than think it through he blindsides himself by entering a corporate meeting thinking one think only to humiliate himself as a result. What makes InVision so marketable: Imagine having one piece of software that is the perfect digital all in one encompassed package with every piece of software you can imagine. Guarding his invention, the plans and everything involved with InVision, Charlie becomes the target of someone’s diabolical scheme and warped mind.

 

 

Delirium is defined as a sudden, severe or rapid confusion due to changes in brain function caused by physical or mental illness caused by an infection, poison or acid-based disturbances. Charlie’s world transforms and turns inside out as his realities become vague and confusing and his personality distorted and the euphoric life he has lived: Disappears.

 

Through the voice of a narrator who vividly describes the events as they happen the reader takes this declining fall along with Charlie from the top of a huge mountain to the bottom of small hill feeling the bumps, twists and turns long the way with Charlie allowing the reader to understand his compulsion for order, structure and his relationship with others.

 

 

Creatively setting the stage author Daniel Palmer creates a Charlie’s’ past and shares it with the reader. As Charlie’s presentation at this meeting leads to his being terminated at his job, he encounters another set of problems that lead him back to his family. His brother diagnosed with Schizophrenia, equally as debilitating as delirium, has many of the same symptoms that Charlie thinks he now exhibits as he replays the events that turned his life upside down. Notes that he does not remember writing, files that were given to him by some unknown person who everyone thinks does not exist, a presentation with his name on it that he claimed he received from an unknown source searches on the net and emails that he never remembers making or doing. Is he losing his mind or is someone cleverly manipulating events to let him think so.  Naivety gets in the way and do does Charlie’s pride as he falls pray to one man’s lies and more deceits someone has definitely orchestrated the events as graphically and artistically as a conductor of a symphony orchestra. Someone is Gas lighting Charlie! Meaning: Manipulating the events and situations in his life slowly and methodically trying to drive him insane with psychological mind games.

 

Vivid descriptions of the characters and events help you picture them as our main character interacts with those in his company, family and one doctor he hopes will help him find some answers. Dr. Rachel Evans is working with his brother Joe helping him works through his illness and cope with daily life. When Charlie seeks her out for some answers to questions about himself, why does she listen? But, things will not get better but more complicated as Charlie’s mother has a stroke and his priorities need to be readjusted as his relationship with his brother Joe, takes on a whole new complexion.

 

Schizophrenia runs in his family, yet is it part of his genetic makeup? Can Charlie really be losing his sense of reality or is someone controlling the events? Delirious or stressed out? Yet, he goes about trying the many fragments of a huge puzzle that has pieces so small they do not fit perfectly together. Methodically analyzing each event and finding more notes on his word documents and in his home, Charlie our techno genius needs his own program to solve his problems and find his way back to the top. Abandoned by his parents in two different ways he now faces his biggest challenge besides having to care for his brother: His Survival and Sanity! As one message sends him over the top and two brothers come face to face with truths they do not want to bear and one man’s life will take another downward spiral as many of his former co-workers are murdered and Charlie is thought the guilty party?

 

As the author allows the reader to enter the mind of Joe, through his blog, you begin to understand the torment, stress, fears and hope that this man has endured and his moments of lucidity as he describes his feelings, his therapy and hopes for the future. As Charlie’s mind unravels and he is faced with many unanswered questions that lead everyone to believe that he is insane. Even with the help of his brother and an FBI agent circumstances still point that he is a danger to himself and others and needs confinement. Hearing voices, notes that he claims no knowledge of writing, ex-partner who stole money from his company and was fired, who could be responsible for orchestrating his downfall. Eddie Prescott is presumed dead. So, why does he hear his voice loud and clear while confined at Walderman? Living the same life as his brother Joe, Charlie comes face to face with his own fears and begins to understand his brother and what he faces daily. But, what happens next will change everything and as his world falls about like a fragile piece of porcelain dropped on the floor and crumbled into minute pieces, Charlie faces his biggest challenge.

 

Laws to be followed, doctors responsible and threats directed in just the right places. But how could someone orchestrate a plan so devious, clever and diabolical that one man was convinced he was hearing voices, writing notes and killing former co-workers and claiming he is innocent. When faced with the possible truth and who might be behind these acts of murder, violence, his demise at work, Charlie enlists the help of four people he hopes he can trust. The end result will not only surprise the reader and make you wonder if an invention like InVision does really exist or will be the new wave of the future: How great that would be! When the answers are no longer vague and the end result is clear, who remains standing, who will survive? Or are we all just plain Delirious of author Daniel Palmer’s debut novel that will keep you enthralled, entranced and totally intrigued until you turn the last page and find out the startling truth. Charlie Giles is a great character and Joe is really quite remarkable. Both Joe and Charlie learn the true meaning of loyalty, trust and family in this outstanding must read novel.  Let’s hope the sequel brings these two back together again and I hope to get on the author’s list to review it first.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview with author Ben Lieberman


I would like to introduce the author of a great debut novel, Odd Jobs author Ben Lieberman has agreed to interview with book reviewer and online interviewer Fran Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to discuss your career and this outstanding novel with me.

Brief Bio:

Ben Lieberman earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland and further developed his writing skills through courses at Columbia University, NYU and writers workshops. His professional career in bond trading brings a fresh perspective to fiction by harnessing the cynical, volatile and cutthroat nature of the trading floor. Ben currently resides in Chappaqua, NY.

“Working in institutional bond trading for several ambitious entities exposed me to a competitive and urgent environment. While my novel has nothing to do with finance, I applied the often-ruthless nature and created an exciting crime thriller.

People who read the novel often ask how much of this is from my own personal experiences. I usually say for sure one thing – I never killed anybody. I leave the rest up to them.”

 

Fran: Give our readers just a short summary of this great book to entice them into buying it for themselves and for others.

 

Ben: ODD JOBS is a crime thriller about a college kid, who like many of today’s students, has to pay his way through school by taking whatever job comes along.  One of those jobs is working for a mob-owned meat factory.  It pretty much stinks, but what stinks even more is that during this time, he learns who killed his father.  Now he has to even the score or die trying.  What would you do if you found out who killed your father?  What if that person was killing and ruining other families… could you sit still and watch?  What if going to the police was not only ineffective but it was virtual suicide?  How would you stop him?  The different crazy jobs, situations and misadventures will have the reader laughing, but the hazard is real and Kevin Davenport is in way over his head in this gritty faced paced thriller.

 

 

 

Fran: How did you create the character of Kevin?

Ben: In creating any protagonist the first thing an author has to do is to create a character in conflict.  I think back on my college days and remember those days as a reflection point facing multiple crossroads.  In creating Kevin’s character and his circumstances not only is he at a difficult point in life, but also then I played the game of what-if.  What-if Kevin wasn’t rich?  What if he had to struggle to pay his way through school?  What if he didn’t have a father?  What if the father was murdered?  So on and so forth.

Fran: What made you decide on a Kosher Meat Factory as his main source of income?

Ben: The meat factory is a smelly, bloody place owned by a crime syndicate.  It’s a foreshadowing of the events that take place in Kevin’s life.   And, even though the novel is about murder and revenge, the story does have a “sense of humor” that runs through it and the strange world of working at a meat factory lends itself to some naturally comical moments.

Fran: What type of research did you have to do in order to learn about the inner workings of a meat factory and what goes on behind the scenes?

Ben:   Fiction often reflects reality.  While some of the jobs in the novel were researched, the meat factory was created on paper from my first-hand experience.

Fran: Have you ever been inside a meat factory and actually seen what is done there? Is so what did you observe and what were your reactions to what you saw?
Ben:

Ben: Yep, I’ve been inside a meat factory.  I actually worked in one.  It was a difficult and tedious job.  There was little room for any creative expression except for figuring out ways to “cheat the system” and play jokes on one another.  I remember how some of the workers would slow-up production during the day so they can get some overtime.  It’s a rough life in the meatpacking factory.  For me, it was just an “odd job”.  At the end of the summer, I went back to school.

 

 

Fran: How did the idea for your plot originate? Why did you decide to focus on a college student that needed to live from hand to mouth by taking Odd Jobs?

Ben: Kevin worked at a lot of strange, funny and dangerous jobs to get enough money for college.  The jobs are characters in and of themselves.  I always found it fascinating how many people have really strange jobs in their background but even more interesting is the pride they have looking back at what they overcame.  Personally, I find it nearly unbelievable the jobs I was willing to do.  But, there is a lesson attached to every job I ever did.  And, it appears…a book!

I decided on a college kid who needed to live hand-to-mouth because working in the financial world, as I do, I know that, in light of the economic picture, the kids today are in for a lot of that kind of living.  My novel is contemporary and I believe I capture the times within the pages of ODD JOBS.

Fran: How did Kevin develop the trust of some of the other workers in the plant? What was special about his relationship with Sev?

Ben: Trust developed when Kevin represented Kosher World Meat Factory in a boxing match.  It’s a huge source of pride to win one for your factory.  Up until then, Kevin was just a lowly college grunt that was a target of jealousy and resentment.

 

Fran: What pitfalls did you face when writing this novel? Did you have any stumbling blocks when creating the plot line and making sure it was face paced?

Ben: Stumbling blocks/pitfalls: The protagonist, Kevin Davenport.  He unintentionally came across as unsympathetic in the early drafts simply because I was trying to create a flawed character and failed miserably.  I was trying to avoid the typical ‘great at everything hero’ that is so common now.  But I went too far.  My editor and publisher told me that they didn’t like Kevin, therefore didn’t care about him.  OUCH!!!  It was time for adjustments.  After seeing and hearing Kevin from this perspective and making time consuming changes, he ended up in the right place: likeably flawed.

Maintaining pace: I was always proud of the pace of the story but it got markedly better after editing, rewriting, more editing and more rewriting.   The final page count of the novel is down about 140 pages from the original manuscript.  As my editors repeatedly told me, I had way too much script-like dialogue.  Ah-h-h editors: A love/hate/love relationship.  Believe me, cutting out full chapters at a time really hurt.  It was like being stung by swarm of bees.  In the early stages of the editing and rewriting process, my mind wasn’t as “open” as it is now to editorial suggestions.  Somewhere along the line my editor threatened to blow my brains out if I didn’t stop arguing and starting listening.  In the end it all worked out: I’ve been getting great reviews, won the Tommy Award, got endorsements from Donald Trump and James Patterson.  My heart skips a beat whenever someone says that ODD JOBS is fast-paced and that they couldn’t put the book down.   I did a tremendous amount of work on ODD JOBS (so did my editor).  I love that novel as if it were my child!  Actually, I think I understand what it feels like to delivery a 10 lb. baby.   It’s painful!

 

Fran: Kevin is a dynamic character who wanted to seek revenge for the death of his father and sister. How does he come to deal with the truth behind the death? Why did he go to such extremes for revenge?

Ben:  He went to such extremes because conventional methods weren’t working.  His father was killed working within conventional methods.  Kevin concluded that using the enemy’s strengths against them was the only way he could compete.  In addition, the same person was ruining other lives and sitting on the sideline was not an option for Kevin.  Something had to be done.

 

 

Fran: Who is Rocky and why was she such a great support for him?

Ben: Rocky is a woman who sees the real Kevin Davenport.  While those at New York State University see Kevin Davenport as a small time crook, Rocky can see Kevin’s real self and real potential.  Kevin never fully understands why Rocky would choose a guy like him, but the reader comes to see both characters for what they truly are and why they get along so well.  While Rocky and Kevin have their differences they are also alike in many ways.  Both are good but scarred people.

 

Fran: What other avenues did Kevin explore and how did he manage to stay afloat? Who were his major allies and why did they stick with him?

Ben: Kevin fought his enemies with their own weapons, so to speak.  Conventional methods were not going to work so Kevin was willing to deal drugs, become a bookie and immerse himself into organized crime.   Kevin also had some childhood buddies and a few close friends who became invaluable allies.

 

Fran: As the plot unfolds even further we learn much more about Kevin, Sev’s past and many other characters in this novel. How does Sev prove to be a true friend to him and why does Kevin depend on him for his survival?

Ben: Sev is the ultimate leader.  Sev has no official title in the workplace or the outside world for that matter; yet, Kevin observes that people listen to Sev because they ‘want to’ and not because they ‘have to’.  As is the case with many mentors, Sev sees a lot of Kevin in himself.  Sev’s life was knocked off course and he doesn’t want that to happen to Kevin.  Ultimately, that proves impossible but in the end, Sev is responsible for Kevin’s survival.

 

Fran: Kevin crosses many fine lines when things come full circle. How did you decide on the final outcome and will you bring him back again in another novel?

Ben:  The final outcome developed because just when you think you have nothing to lose you discover you have a lot to lose.

The readers like Kevin.  I like Kevin.  Kevin would like to have another “novel” adventure.  So I think we’ll be hearing from Kevin Davenport again.

 

 

Fran: The ending was quite profound and quite different from many endings of books that I have reviewed. Where do you see him headed and will he succeed at what he has decided to do next without the help of any counseling or program to deal with his anger and losses?

Ben: That’s a great question. I suspect that Kevin will succeed professionally but he will have difficulties socially.  Counseling can be instrumental, but there are still very real and lingering issues that will make it difficult for him to get close to people.

 

Fran: Will his friendship with Loot and Carey continue or will he totally divorce himself from his past and develop a whole new life?

Ben: Again, speculating.  Kevin is flawed but he is loyal.   It would be out of character for him to “dust” his friends.   I particularly like Loot and Carey and I don’t want to dust them either.  One reviewer put it this way “Loot is a hoot.”  It’s hard to give those kinds of character (and friends) up.  Right now, it’s my opinion that wherever Kevin goes Loot and Carey will follow.

 

Career and writing questions:

 

Fran: When did you decide to write this book and from start to finish how long did it take for you to complete it?

Ben: After taking several writing classes and workshops in 2004 I decided to write a novel.  It took another of six years to complete.  I had a day job and according to my editor, I’m a slow, stubborn learner!

 

Fran: How much of what you have written is realistic or based on real life incidents?

Ben: I get asked that a lot because of the first person narrative.  ODD JOBS is by no means a memoir.  I never killed and I was never a bookie but I did work in a meat factory.  As far as feelings, thoughts, desires and the like, you have to reach inside and visit some pretty dark places and recall some events that you would rather allow to lay dormant.  But you need to do that to create an effective character.

 

 

Fran: What issues did you raise in this novel?

Ben: Oh things like:

How far would you go if you knew your father’s killer?

When you believe you have nothing to lose is that accurate?  Could there be more?

What does it take to be able to embrace your situation…good or bad?

What does it take to change a negative into a positive?

 

Fran: What kind of feedback have you received from your readers? What have they said about your novel?

Ben: The feedback is, how can I put this?  Exactly what every author wants to hear.  Readers are consistently telling me they read it in two days and couldn’t put it down.  But the biggest thrill – readers are actually quoting the book.  And you know what?  I am going to enjoy the moment because it’s short-lived.  I’m working on another book and I know the editor is going to blow my head of this time around.  She’ll probably call me up and ask me if there is nothing that I learned from the rewriting of the first book.

Fran: Why are book reviews vital to the success of a novel? What are ways have you promoted your book?

Ben: The publishing world is out-of-order at the moment.  Around a million books were published in 2010.  Everyone is vying for position in a crumbling industry.  The “traditional” review system that used to dictate how many books bookstores would order doesn’t work anymore because bookstores are having their troubles.  Yet, Fran, what is very important, almost essential, are reviews from people such as yourself.  It is obvious that you love books, tolerate nicely us authors, and care about the industry.  You spend much of your time posting your detailed reviews and this truly helps both the reader and the author.   I’m doing what authors need to do to promote their work.  I Facebook, Twitter, run advertisements, go to tradeshows, book fairs, do readings, carry books in the trunk of my car, my briefcase and my coat pockets (never know who you’ll meet that’s looking for a good book).  Basically, I’m working closely with my publisher and PR specialist to develop a long-term plan.  I plan on sticking around, so this will not be the last book you’ll read by Ben Lieberman.  I’m actually holding up James Patterson as my guidepost.

 

Fran: How important or helpful is a publicist? How did you or do you get endorsements for your novel?

Ben: In the fewest words possible: VITAL.

I got endorsements from people who knew people, who knew people.

 

Fran: What advice would you give a new author? How did you get SterlingHouse to publish your book?

Ben: First – “will it” to happen and fight through the rejection.  Ask for feedback along the way.  I did this to view how the piece was being interpreted but equally important, to put pressure on myself to finish.  By seeking feedback enough people knew the project was started, so not finishing the novel simple wasn’t an option.

Get yourself a great editor and you will most likely end up a good writer.  SterlingHouse’s editing staff is awesome.  Find someone like them.  See rejection for what it is: Maybe your work is being rejected because you sent it to the wrong type of publisher or because the publisher’s line is filled or because your work isn’t ready to be published.  You need to be honest with yourself regarding the marketplace and the quality of your work.  If you are a serious writer; you will find a way to make it happen.   I was lucky: I got an introduction to SterlingHouse, finally they moved forward with offering me a contract (I think they just wanted to stop the needy whining) and they kicked me repeatedly in the butt to help me create a work that entertains the reader.  By the way, entertaining the reader is the primary goal of a writer.  They are our first responsibility.

 

Fran: What is your next project? Will you include the same characters or will it be an entirely different plot and new ideas?

Ben: My publisher is probably going to cringe at this, but I’m working on two novels at the moment and I have a shot at being one of three writers on a screenplay.   Same characters, different plot line in one manuscript and new characters and new genre in there other.  The movie script is “top-secret” and I am keeping my fingers crossed on that project.

Fran: What other marketing strategies have helped promote your novel?

Ben: Hiring a PR specialist, creating a PR and promotion plan, conducting a viral campaign, continuing with public appearances (I don’t care where I have to go or how many people end up in the audience) and picking the brain of my publisher every chance I get.  (She’s been in the industry more years than I’ll bet she is willing to admit to.)

 

Fran: What else would you like to add to this interview or share with our readers?

Ben: Well, like me think.  How about: PLEASE…please…please…buy a copy of ODDS JOBS.  Did that sound too needy?    To answer that question visit:Liebermanbooks.com

 

Fran: What about your novel warrants a five star review?

Ben: The novel is fast paced, interesting, unique and sometimes funny.  I listened to the readers and gave them what they wanted.  They are the ones who gave me a five Stars.  I am humbled and grateful.  I’m planning on improving with every novel I write.

 

Fran: One last question: What makes your novel stand out above the rest?

Having an endorsement from James Patterson and Donald Trump on the cover of the book doesn’t hurt.  Either does winning the Tommy Award for Excellence in Writing.  For that matter, the cover of the book is fantastic.  (Thanks Nicole)  And, great editing (thanks Megan).  Writing this book took teamwork and everyone gave their best…. and it shows.

 

 

Thank you for agreeing to this interview and I hope that many people will join in the discussion after reading your book or want to read your book as a result of this online interview. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing your next novel.

http://coldcoffee.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

 

press release

face book

twitter

stumbleupon

 

http://reviewabook.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/885820-interview-with-author-ben-lieberman-join-in-the-discussion-fran

http://nurtureyourbooks.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=15148&uid=155091741301

http://www.livelaughlovetoshop.com/forum/topics/interview-with-author-ben

http://angiesdiary.com/?p=8942

I would like to introduce the author of a great debut novel, Odd Jobs author Ben Lieberman has agreed to interview with book reviewer and online interviewer Fran Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to discuss your career and this outstanding novel with me.

Brief Bio:

Ben Lieberman earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland and further developed his writing skills through courses at Columbia University, NYU and writers workshops. His professional career in bond trading brings a fresh perspective to fiction by harnessing the cynical, volatile and cutthroat nature of the trading floor. Ben currently resides in Chappaqua, NY.

“Working in institutional bond trading for several ambitious entities exposed me to a competitive and urgent environment. While my novel has nothing to do with finance, I applied the often-ruthless nature and created an exciting crime thriller.

People who read the novel often ask how much of this is from my own personal experiences. I usually say for sure one thing – I never killed anybody. I leave the rest up to them.”

 

Fran: Give our readers just a short summary of this great book to entice them into buying it for themselves and for others.

 

Ben: ODD JOBS is a crime thriller about a college kid, who like many of today’s students, has to pay his way through school by taking whatever job comes along.  One of those jobs is working for a mob-owned meat factory.  It pretty much stinks, but what stinks even more is that during this time, he learns who killed his father.  Now he has to even the score or die trying.  What would you do if you found out who killed your father?  What if that person was killing and ruining other families… could you sit still and watch?  What if going to the police was not only ineffective but it was virtual suicide?  How would you stop him?  The different crazy jobs, situations and misadventures will have the reader laughing, but the hazard is real and Kevin Davenport is in way over his head in this gritty faced paced thriller.

 

 

 

Fran: How did you create the character of Kevin?

Ben: In creating any protagonist the first thing an author has to do is to create a character in conflict.  I think back on my college days and remember those days as a reflection point facing multiple crossroads.  In creating Kevin’s character and his circumstances not only is he at a difficult point in life, but also then I played the game of what-if.  What-if Kevin wasn’t rich?  What if he had to struggle to pay his way through school?  What if he didn’t have a father?  What if the father was murdered?  So on and so forth.

Fran: What made you decide on a Kosher Meat Factory as his main source of income?

Ben: The meat factory is a smelly, bloody place owned by a crime syndicate.  It’s a foreshadowing of the events that take place in Kevin’s life.   And, even though the novel is about murder and revenge, the story does have a “sense of humor” that runs through it and the strange world of working at a meat factory lends itself to some naturally comical moments.

Fran: What type of research did you have to do in order to learn about the inner workings of a meat factory and what goes on behind the scenes?

Ben:   Fiction often reflects reality.  While some of the jobs in the novel were researched, the meat factory was created on paper from my first-hand experience.

Fran: Have you ever been inside a meat factory and actually seen what is done there? Is so what did you observe and what were your reactions to what you saw?
Ben:

Ben: Yep, I’ve been inside a meat factory.  I actually worked in one.  It was a difficult and tedious job.  There was little room for any creative expression except for figuring out ways to “cheat the system” and play jokes on one another.  I remember how some of the workers would slow-up production during the day so they can get some overtime.  It’s a rough life in the meatpacking factory.  For me, it was just an “odd job”.  At the end of the summer, I went back to school.

 

 

Fran: How did the idea for your plot originate? Why did you decide to focus on a college student that needed to live from hand to mouth by taking Odd Jobs?

Ben: Kevin worked at a lot of strange, funny and dangerous jobs to get enough money for college.  The jobs are characters in and of themselves.  I always found it fascinating how many people have really strange jobs in their background but even more interesting is the pride they have looking back at what they overcame.  Personally, I find it nearly unbelievable the jobs I was willing to do.  But, there is a lesson attached to every job I ever did.  And, it appears…a book!

I decided on a college kid who needed to live hand-to-mouth because working in the financial world, as I do, I know that, in light of the economic picture, the kids today are in for a lot of that kind of living.  My novel is contemporary and I believe I capture the times within the pages of ODD JOBS.

Fran: How did Kevin develop the trust of some of the other workers in the plant? What was special about his relationship with Sev?

Ben: Trust developed when Kevin represented Kosher World Meat Factory in a boxing match.  It’s a huge source of pride to win one for your factory.  Up until then, Kevin was just a lowly college grunt that was a target of jealousy and resentment.

 

Fran: What pitfalls did you face when writing this novel? Did you have any stumbling blocks when creating the plot line and making sure it was face paced?

Ben: Stumbling blocks/pitfalls: The protagonist, Kevin Davenport.  He unintentionally came across as unsympathetic in the early drafts simply because I was trying to create a flawed character and failed miserably.  I was trying to avoid the typical ‘great at everything hero’ that is so common now.  But I went too far.  My editor and publisher told me that they didn’t like Kevin, therefore didn’t care about him.  OUCH!!!  It was time for adjustments.  After seeing and hearing Kevin from this perspective and making time consuming changes, he ended up in the right place: likeably flawed.

Maintaining pace: I was always proud of the pace of the story but it got markedly better after editing, rewriting, more editing and more rewriting.   The final page count of the novel is down about 140 pages from the original manuscript.  As my editors repeatedly told me, I had way too much script-like dialogue.  Ah-h-h editors: A love/hate/love relationship.  Believe me, cutting out full chapters at a time really hurt.  It was like being stung by swarm of bees.  In the early stages of the editing and rewriting process, my mind wasn’t as “open” as it is now to editorial suggestions.  Somewhere along the line my editor threatened to blow my brains out if I didn’t stop arguing and starting listening.  In the end it all worked out: I’ve been getting great reviews, won the Tommy Award, got endorsements from Donald Trump and James Patterson.  My heart skips a beat whenever someone says that ODD JOBS is fast-paced and that they couldn’t put the book down.   I did a tremendous amount of work on ODD JOBS (so did my editor).  I love that novel as if it were my child!  Actually, I think I understand what it feels like to delivery a 10 lb. baby.   It’s painful!

 

Fran: Kevin is a dynamic character who wanted to seek revenge for the death of his father and sister. How does he come to deal with the truth behind the death? Why did he go to such extremes for revenge?

Ben:  He went to such extremes because conventional methods weren’t working.  His father was killed working within conventional methods.  Kevin concluded that using the enemy’s strengths against them was the only way he could compete.  In addition, the same person was ruining other lives and sitting on the sideline was not an option for Kevin.  Something had to be done.

 

 

Fran: Who is Rocky and why was she such a great support for him?

Ben: Rocky is a woman who sees the real Kevin Davenport.  While those at New York State University see Kevin Davenport as a small time crook, Rocky can see Kevin’s real self and real potential.  Kevin never fully understands why Rocky would choose a guy like him, but the reader comes to see both characters for what they truly are and why they get along so well.  While Rocky and Kevin have their differences they are also alike in many ways.  Both are good but scarred people.

 

Fran: What other avenues did Kevin explore and how did he manage to stay afloat? Who were his major allies and why did they stick with him?

Ben: Kevin fought his enemies with their own weapons, so to speak.  Conventional methods were not going to work so Kevin was willing to deal drugs, become a bookie and immerse himself into organized crime.   Kevin also had some childhood buddies and a few close friends who became invaluable allies.

 

Fran: As the plot unfolds even further we learn much more about Kevin, Sev’s past and many other characters in this novel. How does Sev prove to be a true friend to him and why does Kevin depend on him for his survival?

Ben: Sev is the ultimate leader.  Sev has no official title in the workplace or the outside world for that matter; yet, Kevin observes that people listen to Sev because they ‘want to’ and not because they ‘have to’.  As is the case with many mentors, Sev sees a lot of Kevin in himself.  Sev’s life was knocked off course and he doesn’t want that to happen to Kevin.  Ultimately, that proves impossible but in the end, Sev is responsible for Kevin’s survival.

 

Fran: Kevin crosses many fine lines when things come full circle. How did you decide on the final outcome and will you bring him back again in another novel?

Ben:  The final outcome developed because just when you think you have nothing to lose you discover you have a lot to lose.

The readers like Kevin.  I like Kevin.  Kevin would like to have another “novel” adventure.  So I think we’ll be hearing from Kevin Davenport again.

 

 

Fran: The ending was quite profound and quite different from many endings of books that I have reviewed. Where do you see him headed and will he succeed at what he has decided to do next without the help of any counseling or program to deal with his anger and losses?

Ben: That’s a great question. I suspect that Kevin will succeed professionally but he will have difficulties socially.  Counseling can be instrumental, but there are still very real and lingering issues that will make it difficult for him to get close to people.

 

Fran: Will his friendship with Loot and Carey continue or will he totally divorce himself from his past and develop a whole new life?

Ben: Again, speculating.  Kevin is flawed but he is loyal.   It would be out of character for him to “dust” his friends.   I particularly like Loot and Carey and I don’t want to dust them either.  One reviewer put it this way “Loot is a hoot.”  It’s hard to give those kinds of character (and friends) up.  Right now, it’s my opinion that wherever Kevin goes Loot and Carey will follow.

 

Career and writing questions:

 

Fran: When did you decide to write this book and from start to finish how long did it take for you to complete it?

Ben: After taking several writing classes and workshops in 2004 I decided to write a novel.  It took another of six years to complete.  I had a day job and according to my editor, I’m a slow, stubborn learner!

 

Fran: How much of what you have written is realistic or based on real life incidents?

Ben: I get asked that a lot because of the first person narrative.  ODD JOBS is by no means a memoir.  I never killed and I was never a bookie but I did work in a meat factory.  As far as feelings, thoughts, desires and the like, you have to reach inside and visit some pretty dark places and recall some events that you would rather allow to lay dormant.  But you need to do that to create an effective character.

 

 

Fran: What issues did you raise in this novel?

Ben: Oh things like:

How far would you go if you knew your father’s killer?

When you believe you have nothing to lose is that accurate?  Could there be more?

What does it take to be able to embrace your situation…good or bad?

What does it take to change a negative into a positive?

 

Fran: What kind of feedback have you received from your readers? What have they said about your novel?

Ben: The feedback is, how can I put this?  Exactly what every author wants to hear.  Readers are consistently telling me they read it in two days and couldn’t put it down.  But the biggest thrill – readers are actually quoting the book.  And you know what?  I am going to enjoy the moment because it’s short-lived.  I’m working on another book and I know the editor is going to blow my head of this time around.  She’ll probably call me up and ask me if there is nothing that I learned from the rewriting of the first book.

Fran: Why are book reviews vital to the success of a novel? What are ways have you promoted your book?

Ben: The publishing world is out-of-order at the moment.  Around a million books were published in 2010.  Everyone is vying for position in a crumbling industry.  The “traditional” review system that used to dictate how many books bookstores would order doesn’t work anymore because bookstores are having their troubles.  Yet, Fran, what is very important, almost essential, are reviews from people such as yourself.  It is obvious that you love books, tolerate nicely us authors, and care about the industry.  You spend much of your time posting your detailed reviews and this truly helps both the reader and the author.   I’m doing what authors need to do to promote their work.  I Facebook, Twitter, run advertisements, go to tradeshows, book fairs, do readings, carry books in the trunk of my car, my briefcase and my coat pockets (never know who you’ll meet that’s looking for a good book).  Basically, I’m working closely with my publisher and PR specialist to develop a long-term plan.  I plan on sticking around, so this will not be the last book you’ll read by Ben Lieberman.  I’m actually holding up James Patterson as my guidepost.

 

Fran: How important or helpful is a publicist? How did you or do you get endorsements for your novel?

Ben: In the fewest words possible: VITAL.

I got endorsements from people who knew people, who knew people.

 

Fran: What advice would you give a new author? How did you get SterlingHouse to publish your book?

Ben: First – “will it” to happen and fight through the rejection.  Ask for feedback along the way.  I did this to view how the piece was being interpreted but equally important, to put pressure on myself to finish.  By seeking feedback enough people knew the project was started, so not finishing the novel simple wasn’t an option.

Get yourself a great editor and you will most likely end up a good writer.  SterlingHouse’s editing staff is awesome.  Find someone like them.  See rejection for what it is: Maybe your work is being rejected because you sent it to the wrong type of publisher or because the publisher’s line is filled or because your work isn’t ready to be published.  You need to be honest with yourself regarding the marketplace and the quality of your work.  If you are a serious writer; you will find a way to make it happen.   I was lucky: I got an introduction to SterlingHouse, finally they moved forward with offering me a contract (I think they just wanted to stop the needy whining) and they kicked me repeatedly in the butt to help me create a work that entertains the reader.  By the way, entertaining the reader is the primary goal of a writer.  They are our first responsibility.

 

Fran: What is your next project? Will you include the same characters or will it be an entirely different plot and new ideas?

Ben: My publisher is probably going to cringe at this, but I’m working on two novels at the moment and I have a shot at being one of three writers on a screenplay.   Same characters, different plot line in one manuscript and new characters and new genre in there other.  The movie script is “top-secret” and I am keeping my fingers crossed on that project.

Fran: What other marketing strategies have helped promote your novel?

Ben: Hiring a PR specialist, creating a PR and promotion plan, conducting a viral campaign, continuing with public appearances (I don’t care where I have to go or how many people end up in the audience) and picking the brain of my publisher every chance I get.  (She’s been in the industry more years than I’ll bet she is willing to admit to.)

 

Fran: What else would you like to add to this interview or share with our readers?

Ben: Well, like me think.  How about: PLEASE…please…please…buy a copy of ODDS JOBS.  Did that sound too needy?    To answer that question visit:http://Liebermanbooks.comLiebermanbooks.com

 

Fran: What about your novel warrants a five star review?

Ben: The novel is fast paced, interesting, unique and sometimes funny.  I listened to the readers and gave them what they wanted.  They are the ones who gave me a five Stars.  I am humbled and grateful.  I’m planning on improving with every novel I write.

 

Fran: One last question: What makes your novel stand out above the rest?

Having an endorsement from James Patterson and Donald Trump on the cover of the book doesn’t hurt.  Either does winning the Tommy Award for Excellence in Writing.  For that matter, the cover of the book is fantastic.  (Thanks Nicole)  And, great editing (thanks Megan).  Writing this book took teamwork and everyone gave their best…. and it shows.

 

 

Thank you for agreeing to this interview and I hope that many people will join in the discussion after reading your book or want to read your book as a result of this online interview. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing your next novel.

http://coldcoffee.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

 

press release

face book

twitter

stumbleupon

 

http://reviewabook.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/885820-interview-with-author-ben-lieberman-join-in-the-discussion-fran

http://nurtureyourbooks.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-author-ben

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=15148&uid=155091741301

http://www.livelaughlovetoshop.com/forum/topics/interview-with-author-ben

http://angiesdiary.com/?p=8942

 

I would like to introduce the author of a great debut novel, Odd Jobs author Ben Lieberman has agreed to interview with book reviewer and online interviewer Fran Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to discuss your career and this outstanding novel with me.

Brief Bio:

Ben Lieberman earned a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Maryland and further developed his writing skills through courses at Columbia University, NYU and writers workshops. His professional career in bond trading brings a fresh perspective to fiction by harnessing the cynical, volatile and cutthroat nature of the trading floor. Ben currently resides in Chappaqua, NY.

“Working in institutional bond trading for several ambitious entities exposed me to a competitive and urgent environment. While my novel has nothing to do with finance, I applied the often-ruthless nature and created an exciting crime thriller.

People who read the novel often ask how much of this is from my own personal experiences. I usually say for sure one thing – I never killed anybody. I leave the rest up to them.”

 

Fran: Give our readers just a short summary of this great book to entice them into buying it for themselves and for others.

 

Ben: ODD JOBS is a crime thriller about a college kid, who like many of today’s students, has to pay his way through school by taking whatever job comes along.  One of those jobs is working for a mob-owned meat factory.  It pretty much stinks, but what stinks even more is that during this time, he learns who killed his father.  Now he has to even the score or die trying.  What would you do if you found out who killed your father?  What if that person was killing and ruining other families… could you sit still and watch?  What if going to the police was not only ineffective but it was virtual suicide?  How would you stop him?  The different crazy jobs, situations and misadventures will have the reader laughing, but the hazard is real and Kevin Davenport is in way over his head in this gritty faced paced thriller.

 

 

 

Fran: How did you create the character of Kevin?

Ben: In creating any protagonist the first thing an author has to do is to create a character in conflict.  I think back on my college days and remember those days as a reflection point facing multiple crossroads.  In creating Kevin’s character and his circumstances not only is he at a difficult point in life, but also then I played the game of what-if.  What-if Kevin wasn’t rich?  What if he had to struggle to pay his way through school?  What if he didn’t have a father?  What if the father was murdered?  So on and so forth.

Fran: What made you decide on a Kosher Meat Factory as his main source of income?

Ben: The meat factory is a smelly, bloody place owned by a crime syndicate.  It’s a foreshadowing of the events that take place in Kevin’s life.   And, even though the novel is about murder and revenge, the story does have a “sense of humor” that runs through it and the strange world of working at a meat factory lends itself to some naturally comical moments.

Fran: What type of research did you have to do in order to learn about the inner workings of a meat factory and what goes on behind the scenes?

Ben:   Fiction often reflects reality.  While some of the jobs in the novel were researched, the meat factory was created on paper from my first-hand experience.

Fran: Have you ever been inside a meat factory and actually seen what is done there? Is so what did you observe and what were your reactions to what you saw?
Ben:

Ben: Yep, I’ve been inside a meat factory.  I actually worked in one.  It was a difficult and tedious job.  There was little room for any creative expression except for figuring out ways to “cheat the system” and play jokes on one another.  I remember how some of the workers would slow-up production during the day so they can get some overtime.  It’s a rough life in the meatpacking factory.  For me, it was just an “odd job”.  At the end of the summer, I went back to school.

 

 

Fran: How did the idea for your plot originate? Why did you decide to focus on a college student that needed to live from hand to mouth by taking Odd Jobs?

Ben: Kevin worked at a lot of strange, funny and dangerous jobs to get enough money for college.  The jobs are characters in and of themselves.  I always found it fascinating how many people have really strange jobs in their background but even more interesting is the pride they have looking back at what they overcame.  Personally, I find it nearly unbelievable the jobs I was willing to do.  But, there is a lesson attached to every job I ever did.  And, it appears…a book!

I decided on a college kid who needed to live hand-to-mouth because working in the financial world, as I do, I know that, in light of the economic picture, the kids today are in for a lot of that kind of living.  My novel is contemporary and I believe I capture the times within the pages of ODD JOBS.

Fran: How did Kevin develop the trust of some of the other workers in the plant? What was special about his relationship with Sev?

Ben: Trust developed when Kevin represented Kosher World Meat Factory in a boxing match.  It’s a huge source of pride to win one for your factory.  Up until then, Kevin was just a lowly college grunt that was a target of jealousy and resentment.

 

Fran: What pitfalls did you face when writing this novel? Did you have any stumbling blocks when creating the plot line and making sure it was face paced?

Ben: Stumbling blocks/pitfalls: The protagonist, Kevin Davenport.  He unintentionally came across as unsympathetic in the early drafts simply because I was trying to create a flawed character and failed miserably.  I was trying to avoid the typical ‘great at everything hero’ that is so common now.  But I went too far.  My editor and publisher told me that they didn’t like Kevin, therefore didn’t care about him.  OUCH!!!  It was time for adjustments.  After seeing and hearing Kevin from this perspective and making time consuming changes, he ended up in the right place: likeably flawed.

Maintaining pace: I was always proud of the pace of the story but it got markedly better after editing, rewriting, more editing and more rewriting.   The final page count of the novel is down about 140 pages from the original manuscript.  As my editors repeatedly told me, I had way too much script-like dialogue.  Ah-h-h editors: A love/hate/love relationship.  Believe me, cutting out full chapters at a time really hurt.  It was like being stung by swarm of bees.  In the early stages of the editing and rewriting process, my mind wasn’t as “open” as it is now to editorial suggestions.  Somewhere along the line my editor threatened to blow my brains out if I didn’t stop arguing and starting listening.  In the end it all worked out: I’ve been getting great reviews, won the Tommy Award, got endorsements from Donald Trump and James Patterson.  My heart skips a beat whenever someone says that ODD JOBS is fast-paced and that they couldn’t put the book down.   I did a tremendous amount of work on ODD JOBS (so did my editor).  I love that novel as if it were my child!  Actually, I think I understand what it feels like to delivery a 10 lb. baby.   It’s painful!

 

Fran: Kevin is a dynamic character who wanted to seek revenge for the death of his father and sister. How does he come to deal with the truth behind the death? Why did he go to such extremes for revenge?

Ben:  He went to such extremes because conventional methods weren’t working.  His father was killed working within conventional methods.  Kevin concluded that using the enemy’s strengths against them was the only way he could compete.  In addition, the same person was ruining other lives and sitting on the sideline was not an option for Kevin.  Something had to be done.

 

 

Fran: Who is Rocky and why was she such a great support for him?

Ben: Rocky is a woman who sees the real Kevin Davenport.  While those at New York State University see Kevin Davenport as a small time crook, Rocky can see Kevin’s real self and real potential.  Kevin never fully understands why Rocky would choose a guy like him, but the reader comes to see both characters for what they truly are and why they get along so well.  While Rocky and Kevin have their differences they are also alike in many ways.  Both are good but scarred people.

 

Fran: What other avenues did Kevin explore and how did he manage to stay afloat? Who were his major allies and why did they stick with him?

Ben: Kevin fought his enemies with their own weapons, so to speak.  Conventional methods were not going to work so Kevin was willing to deal drugs, become a bookie and immerse himself into organized crime.   Kevin also had some childhood buddies and a few close friends who became invaluable allies.

 

Fran: As the plot unfolds even further we learn much more about Kevin, Sev’s past and many other characters in this novel. How does Sev prove to be a true friend to him and why does Kevin depend on him for his survival?

Ben: Sev is the ultimate leader.  Sev has no official title in the workplace or the outside world for that matter; yet, Kevin observes that people listen to Sev because they ‘want to’ and not because they ‘have to’.  As is the case with many mentors, Sev sees a lot of Kevin in himself.  Sev’s life was knocked off course and he doesn’t want that to happen to Kevin.  Ultimately, that proves impossible but in the end, Sev is responsible for Kevin’s survival.

 

Fran: Kevin crosses many fine lines when things come full circle. How did you decide on the final outcome and will you bring him back again in another novel?

Ben:  The final outcome developed because just when you think you have nothing to lose you discover you have a lot to lose.

The readers like Kevin.  I like Kevin.  Kevin would like to have another “novel” adventure.  So I think we’ll be hearing from Kevin Davenport again.

 

 

Fran: The ending was quite profound and quite different from many endings of books that I have reviewed. Where do you see him headed and will he succeed at what he has decided to do next without the help of any counseling or program to deal with his anger and losses?

Ben: That’s a great question. I suspect that Kevin will succeed professionally but he will have difficulties socially.  Counseling can be instrumental, but there are still very real and lingering issues that will make it difficult for him to get close to people.

 

Fran: Will his friendship with Loot and Carey continue or will he totally divorce himself from his past and develop a whole new life?

Ben: Again, speculating.  Kevin is flawed but he is loyal.   It would be out of character for him to “dust” his friends.   I particularly like Loot and Carey and I don’t want to dust them either.  One reviewer put it this way “Loot is a hoot.”  It’s hard to give those kinds of character (and friends) up.  Right now, it’s my opinion that wherever Kevin goes Loot and Carey will follow.

 

Career and writing questions:

 

Fran: When did you decide to write this book and from start to finish how long did it take for you to complete it?

Ben: After taking several writing classes and workshops in 2004 I decided to write a novel.  It took another of six years to complete.  I had a day job and according to my editor, I’m a slow, stubborn learner!

 

Fran: How much of what you have written is realistic or based on real life incidents?

Ben: I get asked that a lot because of the first person narrative.  ODD JOBS is by no means a memoir.  I never killed and I was never a bookie but I did work in a meat factory.  As far as feelings, thoughts, desires and the like, you have to reach inside and visit some pretty dark places and recall some events that you would rather allow to lay dormant.  But you need to do that to create an effective character.

 

 

Fran: What issues did you raise in this novel?

Ben: Oh things like:

How far would you go if you knew your father’s killer?

When you believe you have nothing to lose is that accurate?  Could there be more?

What does it take to be able to embrace your situation…good or bad?

What does it take to change a negative into a positive?

 

Fran: What kind of feedback have you received from your readers? What have they said about your novel?

Ben: The feedback is, how can I put this?  Exactly what every author wants to hear.  Readers are consistently telling me they read it in two days and couldn’t put it down.  But the biggest thrill – readers are actually quoting the book.  And you know what?  I am going to enjoy the moment because it’s short-lived.  I’m working on another book and I know the editor is going to blow my head of this time around.  She’ll probably call me up and ask me if there is nothing that I learned from the rewriting of the first book.

Fran: Why are book reviews vital to the success of a novel? What are ways have you promoted your book?

Ben: The publishing world is out-of-order at the moment.  Around a million books were published in 2010.  Everyone is vying for position in a crumbling industry.  The “traditional” review system that used to dictate how many books bookstores would order doesn’t work anymore because bookstores are having their troubles.  Yet, Fran, what is very important, almost essential, are reviews from people such as yourself.  It is obvious that you love books, tolerate nicely us authors, and care about the industry.  You spend much of your time posting your detailed reviews and this truly helps both the reader and the author.   I’m doing what authors need to do to promote their work.  I Facebook, Twitter, run advertisements, go to tradeshows, book fairs, do readings, carry books in the trunk of my car, my briefcase and my coat pockets (never know who you’ll meet that’s looking for a good book).  Basically, I’m working closely with my publisher and PR specialist to develop a long-term plan.  I plan on sticking around, so this will not be the last book you’ll read by Ben Lieberman.  I’m actually holding up James Patterson as my guidepost.

 

Fran: How important or helpful is a publicist? How did you or do you get endorsements for your novel?

Ben: In the fewest words possible: VITAL.

I got endorsements from people who knew people, who knew people.

 

Fran: What advice would you give a new author? How did you get SterlingHouse to publish your book?

Ben: First – “will it” to happen and fight through the rejection.  Ask for feedback along the way.  I did this to view how the piece was being interpreted but equally important, to put pressure on myself to finish.  By seeking feedback enough people knew the project was started, so not finishing the novel simple wasn’t an option.

Get yourself a great editor and you will most likely end up a good writer.  SterlingHouse’s editing staff is awesome.  Find someone like them.  See rejection for what it is: Maybe your work is being rejected because you sent it to the wrong type of publisher or because the publisher’s line is filled or because your work isn’t ready to be published.  You need to be honest with yourself regarding the marketplace and the quality of your work.  If you are a serious writer; you will find a way to make it happen.   I was lucky: I got an introduction to SterlingHouse, finally they moved forward with offering me a contract (I think they just wanted to stop the needy whining) and they kicked me repeatedly in the butt to help me create a work that entertains the reader.  By the way, entertaining the reader is the primary goal of a writer.  They are our first responsibility.

 

Fran: What is your next project? Will you include the same characters or will it be an entirely different plot and new ideas?

Ben: My publisher is probably going to cringe at this, but I’m working on two novels at the moment and I have a shot at being one of three writers on a screenplay.   Same characters, different plot line in one manuscript and new characters and new genre in there other.  The movie script is “top-secret” and I am keeping my fingers crossed on that project.

Fran: What other marketing strategies have helped promote your novel?

Ben: Hiring a PR specialist, creating a PR and promotion plan, conducting a viral campaign, continuing with public appearances (I don’t care where I have to go or how many people end up in the audience) and picking the brain of my publisher every chance I get.  (She’s been in the industry more years than I’ll bet she is willing to admit to.)

 

Fran: What else would you like to add to this interview or share with our readers?

Ben: Well, like me think.  How about: PLEASE…please…please…buy a copy of ODDS JOBS.  Did that sound too needy?    To answer that question visit:http://Liebermanbooks.comLiebermanbooks.com

 

Fran: What about your novel warrants a five star review?

Ben: The novel is fast paced, interesting, unique and sometimes funny.  I listened to the readers and gave them what they wanted.  They are the ones who gave me a five Stars.  I am humbled and grateful.  I’m planning on improving with every novel I write.

 

Fran: One last question: What makes your novel stand out above the rest?

Having an endorsement from James Patterson and Donald Trump on the cover of the book doesn’t hurt.  Either does winning the Tommy Award for Excellence in Writing.  For that matter, the cover of the book is fantastic.  (Thanks Nicole)  And, great editing (thanks Megan).  Writing this book took teamwork and everyone gave their best…. and it shows.

 

 

Thank you for agreeing to this interview and I hope that many people will join in the discussion after reading your book or want to read your book as a result of this online interview. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing your next novel.

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The Great Snowball Escape: What Good Can Come Out of A Snow Day? Find out after you read this great book !


The Great Snowball Escape

Author: J.D. Holiday

 

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

Growing up can be difficult enough for kids today but falling prey to a bully’s wiles makes it even harder as Wilhelmina Brooks finds out when her cousin, Bud comes to live with her. Bud’s amusement is at the expense of the others. Wilhelmina, who prefers begin called Wil, takes the brunt of his escapades as he insults her friends, takes ownership of her old sled and becomes the class terror in her second grade class. Even worse, he ruined her Christmas vacation by putting gum in her hair, taking her new sharpener and just being plain old MEAN! What can she do when her mother insists that she has to be nice to him, looks away from his pranks that are not funny and ignores the fact that he is angry at his present situation and more? Poor Wil! Is she going to survive living with Bud? Will he ever learn his lesson or will he become the terror of the second grade and the entire neighborhood? Author J.D. Holiday brings to light the issue of bullying and harassing other kids in her outstanding chapter book: “The Great Snowball Escape.”

 

To escape means to want to get away from it all. You might want to go on a vacation, trip or just take a walk to clear your head. But, poor Wil, wants to escape her house, her school and her life just to get away from Bud, her mean cousin whose pastime is picking on kids smaller and weaker than him and creating havoc in the second grade and more.

 

Snow days are every kids dream. A day off from school to play outside, building a snowman and even better throw snowfalls or snowball fights are every kids and even adults idea of fun. But, when Wil and her friends decide to build a snowman in front of her house, what happens disrupts everything and she gets sent to her room as once again she and Bud cannot work or play together.

 

Wil’s mother wants her to understand that Bud is going through a difficult time and needs understanding. But, how much can she endure and will she have to take before someone realizes that she is only 7 years old and cannot be expected to understand or withstand everything her cousin dishes out. So, when her mother insists they make peanut better cookies together, will they succeed or will they get into a flour and sugar throwing war? Will they be able to work together and finally go outside to play? This reviewer will not divulge that secret to you. You are going to have to read the book yourself.

 

But, what happens when one bully meets another bully? Who wins or who backs down? While sledding down the huge hill where her friends were, they encounter Drew and his mean dog. Drew thinks that he has the better of Bud and Wil and wants Bud’s sled. What happens next will definitely surprise the reader and one bully might learn a serious lesson from another and two cousins just might become friends.

 

But, there is more. On the way home Bud and Wil encounter her friends who are gathered around Suzy whose cat, Mimi is missing. Added to that someone destroyed his or her snowman and everyone thinks it was Bud. Just how this story ends and if they find Mimi will not only endear you more to Wil, but will teach children a lesson in loyalty, trust and friendship that every kid needs to understand and learn. Will they get the cat back? Who gets blamed and who really did take it? Who destroyed the snowman? Will Bud and Wil ever see eye to eye and become friends? Author J.D. Holiday has created two characters that are not so different. Wil just wants to be understood and have her mother understand that having Bud stay with her caused some major changes in her life. Bud, just feels like an outcast and might be using his outbursts, and pranks to get attention and tries to get sent home to live with his Dad. Both Bud and Wil need the adults to understand them. Wil’s mother makes one statement that I feel says it all: Treat people the way you want to be treated. Now, if everyone did that maybe there would be no wars, fights or hate in the world. Just what positive things can come out of snowdays: Read this great children’s book and learn for yourself as Wil and Bud teach not only themselves but adults so really important lessons in friendship, understanding, communication and teamwork. This is definitely a FIVE SNOWMAN BOOK! Let’s hope the author brings Wil and Bud and her friends back in another novel.

This book should be in every school library, guidance counselor’s office, public library, police youth groups, public libraries and of course my own.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

The Absent Traveler reviewed by fran lewis


Title: The Absent Traveler and other stories

Author: Randall Devallance

ISBN: 978 0984510528
Publisher: Atticus Books

 

Charles Lime is a total misfit living in a world of his own creation. As the author relates the life of this man caught up in a dead-end job, working for meager wages we meet this college age man who lives his life in a fantasy world created by the books he reads and the world he imagines in his mind. Charles Lime is not a success in any definition of the word. Living in a one room basement with few if any modern conveniences, he trudges through life, fixating on the things he wishes he could have and those he imagines he does. Charles Lime is someone grasping at life and groping for one small twig or piece of something to hang on to that would bring him some joy or success. Happiness is within his realm of hope but his life has little purpose as he stagnates in his career, does not take any unnecessary chances nor attempts to change his status quo.

 

Charles takes many journeys to fare off places within his mind, his dreams and vivid imagination as he immerses himself into the books he reads, articles in magazines, and wanders the globe to many foreign lands allowing himself to feel the essence, ambiance, and terrain of these places he visits as an Absent Traveler on a journey that he might never realize on his own. Taking a chance, changing his routines, or allowing himself to understand the lives of others in other places would warrant Charles having to confront dangerous situations, override his boredom and require planning, work, creativity and other attributes Charles might have but refuses to explore and remain dormant. Yet, Charles is quite astute on his assessment and descriptions of the world as the author narrates his view of the many people he encounters at work, at the local diner or even on the street. Allowing the reader to see the world through the eyes of the character from glasses that are often clouded and vision that needs to be sharpened, the reader realizes that Charles need to illuminate his dull world in order to free his vision of the cataract or cloud covering it to see the world in a more positive way.

 

Tech Mart is a stopgap for most working there, except Charles Lime. Consumed by the attention devoted to his complaints, the job itself and his no way out situation, Charles is freely not that different from many young people today caught in a rut hoping for not a government bail out but a parent bail out and some simple guidance that would lead them to eventual success. Added to the mix of this interesting novella, is one young lady named Jasmine who gives the character and the reader a glimmer of hope that he might risk attempting a relationship with her or at least try a date. But, there is much more that is blocking his path. His parents are disappointed in him and although his mother would support his returning home and going back to school to advance himself, his father expresses his negative feelings, letting Charlie know that his career choice is a dead end, his life has little purpose or success and that a person’s worth is defined by the material things and the size of his bank account and nothing more. Plus, finally taking a chance with Jasmine does not exactly pan out the way he expected it to as she has a career and life of her own and Charlie is not part of her future plans. Charlie needs to become more self-reliant and create a better place for himself by not listening to others, leaving Tech Mart and deciding on a better path of his own and not being so complacent.

 

Reality blends with fantasy as the end of the story reveals much about Charles, his dreams, his relationship and his fears when one incident changes everything for him and his world is turned around leaving him with his book. What happens at the end and where he winds up you will have to decide for yourself. Just what Charles has in store for him, does his life come together or does fall apart. Where does Jasmine wind up and whether they ever connect you will have to read for yourself. The ending will give the reader much pause for thought and the final outcome you will have to determine for yourself. One man torn between his life and his dream of what he would like life to be. Charles Lime: Absent Traveler: Absent in Life or Just Starting to Live

 

This is one book that really holds your interest throughout. It is a different kind of story with a character that you either understand or sympathize with or hope finds his place in the world before it’s too late.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

 

Short Stories: Reviewed by Fran Lewis

 

The author includes an array of short stories that are sure to get the reader’s mind thinking. Would you leave everything you know and have for a violinmaker? Would you move across the ocean with a man you hardly know? One young woman gave it all up to move to Italy and live with a man she felt would make her happy? But, will she make the right decision as one other young man tries to convince her to stay in a story titled: My Second Breakup. Next, the author recounts a strange tale of a young man named Nigel Moon whose memory about a special day eludes him. Entering his apartment unknown to him he faces a man we shall call The Haberdasher who insists that Nigel enlisted his services to fit him for a new tuxedo for a special day that he cannot remember. When trying to convince the man that he might not have brokered his services, our Haberdasher becomes violent and the end result will certainly make the reader think before hiring this man’s services in story two by our creative author titled The Haberdasher. Next The Inquisitor where Inspector Klein becomes enamored with a woman who is applying for American citizenship. When becomes too friendly he retreats and realizes that he must keep a professional distance and has to adhere to the tests time limits. The story reminds us of the detachment many government workers show when dealing with the public. Our inspector soon regrets his cold demeanor as you see at the end of this story.

 

A young man is rejected by the Peace Corp to be hired by an organization called the Harmony Brigade in a country that is not on the map and by people who might not really exist or do they? Read Her Majesty’s Royal Mechanic to find out the fate of one young man who was hired to deal with the country’s economy but found himself smack dab in the middle of a problem involving a simple flat tire that needed to be executed. Why and the end result of this terrible predicament will definitely make you smile and wish that the answer to our money problems was a simple as printing more or as much as you need. Read this story and find out how the leaders solve their problems. There might be a job at the NDRIF waiting for you.

 

The Appearance and Coincidence is a unique story that the reader will enjoy dealing with the many people living in a community and the result of a hat that blows and a wind that creates many unfortunate situations. The final three stories are Decline and Fall, Fort Maple view Musical and The. Each of these stories deals with a writer whose goal it is to make money and to recreate history in their own way. Fort Mapleview is about a man who wants to resurrect a small town and bring it out of darkness and into the light. The town’s people and the local officials prefer the town and its history to remain status quo but when one man named Fingle with the help of another named Sump collaborate you won’t believe what happens to this small town and its citizens. You need to read the story for yourself to see what one man does to put this small town on a bigger map. Next, Edwin Block has been enlisted to write the novel: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but can he do it and will it sell? Edwin Block is a New York Times bestselling author and what he does to get the job done will not endear you to him but will make you wonder about the publishing industry and the success of this man. Mr. Sams his editor only interested in money and the benefits they reap presents a second story and finally Malcolm Bowles learns the fate of his novel after too many rejections and gives up on more than just his writing. The final story is title THE and it is really one mans rise to fame and downfall in life. Each story reverts back to our main character Charles Lime as each main character struggles to find himself and seek out a better life.

 

The characters in all of these short stories are not heroes that are not rich nor do they have anything more in their lives than Charles Lime our protagonist in our novella. Each character seems at a dead end job, or dead end life feeling that there might be something better out there but not knowing what. The girl in the first story thinks moving to Italy is the answer as our young man feels working for the Supreme Leader of an unknown country is his calling in life. Different in flavor and storyline yet the same with a strong feeling of hopelessness delivered in each plot and disappointments too as our author reminds us that there are not easy answers to life and everyone needs to work at it in their own way. Excuses are not acceptable and the end result is yours to bear and yours alone.

 

Stories that really make the reader think and will definitely elicit much discussion and varied viewpoints. Great for book clubs and discussion groups.

 

Fran Lewis: Reviewer

 

 

Amazon posted with five stars

 

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