Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cats Creep the Fire To Art

In his latest book of collected poems Cats Creep the Fire to Art (World Audience Publishers, New York, 2008), Mathew Ward has strummed a personal note on various aspects of human life ranging from religion, art, and history to death, depression, women, and self. And there is a separate section Australia that shows glimpses of life in Australia as the author has experienced, especially in his younger years.

Ward’s mode remains nearly the same throughout the six sections of the book, having a feel of a kind of detachment and distance from the scenes or situations in the poems. He does dare talk about the ‘personal’ when he writes about more personal aspects of life, like that of aging in the poem A Valediction: On Approaching Thirty in the Final Days (page 119). What he also does frequently in many of the poems is using allusions, Dickens’ Magwitch for example in the aforementioned poem, which demands a well-read reader to better grasp the message(s) in his poems. This is more the case when he writes about religion and history. To understand Ward, therefore, one has to have basic background knowledge of these subjects.

The section Australia will presumably be enjoyed better by Australian readers, those who have witnessed the ever-bright sun which Ward mentions (sometimes with repugnance) or the shore and Newcastle Show which linger in the poet’s memory. A more enjoyable section for this reviewer is Art and the Metaphysical. Here, the poems sound more musical and have a broader meaning for all readers; for example, the poems Regeneration (page 63) and Spider (page 65); and this makes the section more appealing for any creative soul as the poems’ rhythm resonates with their message(s). The poems in the section Women relate to the section’s theme very indirectly.

At quite a few places, Ward uses stylistics, like shape poetry of a few lines within in a poem, making eye-catchers. The variety of themes prevents building up of monotony and only a few poems are long enough to be divided into cantos. On the whole, Cats Creep the Fire to Art suits the taste of readers who don’t mind thinking awhile over a poem or even give the latter a second read to grasp the message(s) therein.

ISBN: 9781934209226

Book Link:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Zone Tennis

Whether you are out on clay or green, playing tennis involves a lot of mental energy and control, besides physical strength and stamina. Jay P. Granat’s Zone Tennis (World Audience Publishers, New York, 2009) is a rather short but enjoyable book with valuable information, tips, and advice for tennis players – beginners especially – on developing the skills to play in the ‘zone’, i.e. a state of mind that allows playing with optimum calmness, concentration, and control. In its two divisions, the book imparts information on two main kinds of game: ‘Inner mental Game’ and ‘External Mental Game’.

The first part of the book, telling about inner mental game, concerns psychological aspects like motivation, confidence, relaxation, thinking, emotional states, optimism, and even less thought-of factors like ‘wonderful dreaming’. The author gives brief guidelines on inner psychological states and their desirable form/level for playing tennis in the zone. The second section takes practical performance on the court and gives useful advice on what to consider and how to practice important factors. Here, Dr. Granat also mentions a few top ranked tennis stars, pointing to their main strengths or qualities. Most part of the book treats single game but the end has a few important guidelines about doubles and issues like selecting the right coach and communicating with your game partner.

Zone Tennis is an enjoyable work about the psychology of tennis in particular but can also be read with interest by any sports enthusiast as Dr. Granat tells how tennis has so much common with other sports, chess, baseball, and boxing to name a few. It is certainly an important book to read for beginner tennis players or those who have been playing tennis for a while and need to get a better grip of the game’s less conspicuous nuts and bolts. Dr. Granat also shares his website and article links that will help tennis players and enthusiasts in playing and/or understanding the sport of tennis better.

ISBN: 978-0-9820540-9-3

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) by Chynna T. Laird


Not Just Spirited: A Mom’s Sensational Journey With Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD) by Chynna T. Laird
With a moving and insightful Foreword written
by Dr. Shane Steadman

A powerful story of a mother’s determination to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment for her daughter.

An inspiration for families, teachers and professionals everywhere!

”Chynna's memoir is sure to encourage other parents
to advocate with the same determination
for their sensational children.”

~ Carol Stock Kranowitz, author of The Out Of Sync Child

Offers encouragement and insight to any parent, caregiver, teacher or therapist who cares about, or cares for, a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

AVAILABLE: November 1, 2009

What would you do if your child suffered with something so severe it affected every aspect of her life?

And what if your cries for help fell on deaf ears at every turn? You'd follow your gut and fight until someone listened. And that's what Chynna Laird did. When she was just three months old, Jaimie's reactions to people and situations seemed odd. She refused any form of touch, she gagged at smells, she was clutzy and threw herself around and spent most of her day screaming with her hands over her ears and eyes.

By the time she turned two, Jaimie was so fearful of her world they spent most days inside. What was wrong with Chynna's miracle girl? Why wouldn't anyone help her figure it out? Jaimie wasn't "just spirited" as her physician suggested nor did she lack discipline at home. When Jaimie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at two-and-a-half, Chynna thought she had "the answer," but that was just the start of a three-year quest for the right treatments to bring the Jaimie she loved so much out for others to see. With the right diagnosis and treatment suited to Jaimie, this family finally felt hope. Not Just Spirited is one mother's journey to finding peace for her daughter, Jaimie. As Chynna says often, "Knowledge breeds understanding. And that's so powerful."

CHYNNA TAMARA LAIRD – is a psychology student, freelance writer, and author living in Edmonton, Alberta, with her three daughters [Jaimie (almost seven), Jordhan (five), and baby Sophie (seventeen months)] and baby boy, Xander (three). Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder and other special needs. You’ll find her work in many online and in-print parenting, inspirational, Christian and writing publications in Canada, United States, Australia, and Britain. In addition, she’s authored a children’s book, and a reference book about the Sensory Diet coming in early 2011.

Please visit Chynna’s website at to get a feel for her work and what inspires her.

Now available at fine e-tailers including,, and Ask your local bookseller!

Loving Healing Press books are distributed by Ingram, New Leaf, Quality Books and other wholesalers.

For review copies or to interview the author, please contact Loving Healing Press, Inc. or Tollfree 888-761-6268 USA/CAN.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Press Release: Ring of Fire by Noelle M. Kalipetis


Contact Noelle M. Kalipetis:

Ring of Fire by Noelle M. Kalipetis

Immediately Available via Web


Noelle Kalipetis’s novel, Ring of Fire (, $16 print/$7 download), follows the trials of Lana Williams, a young girl whose dismal life is set aflame with the discovery of her own fantastic powers. From smoky visions in mirrors to fighting back against the school bully, Lana’s magical abilities seem unreal, a dream come true.

But then truths start creeping out of the shadows: Lana and her new friend Mike are not the only ones with these intriguing talents. The Light Ones, human beings who also possess supernatural powers, want to use Lana to battle the Dark Ones, a race similar to humans with one glaring exception: they need to drink blood, anyone’s blood, but most especially the blood of a Light One. Neither side is what it appears to be, though; unwilling to be used in some sinister ploy, Lana gives up her powers and returns to obscurity.

The flames of the past, however, will not let her walk away so easily. After ten years, Lana’s shut-in life is ripped wide open, throwing her back into the conflict that has raged for more than two millennia. Aided by Lunetta, the quirky yet noble ancestor with a penchant for Bon Jovi tunes and matchmaking, Lana finds love in unexpected places and comes closer to achieving a destiny sewn into her bloodline since the time of Pompeii. But the questions remains: will she survive?


“I read this novel in about a day on spring break because I just could not put it down. The author truly creates a captivating and exciting world full lovable and intriguing characters. The plot is enticing and keeps you guessing[;] it develops so that the outcomes are surprising but not ridiculous. Bringing my two favorite genres together, magic and vampires, Kalipetis grabbed my attention and held it.”

--“pellegrinis” on

“Pick up this book! Kalipetis creates a world unlike anything I've ever read. It combines the mystery of ancient magic and the tempting lust amongst vampires which works so well together. I thought I would have gotten confused by the two different worlds, but it was perfect…I just kept turning page after page because I was desperate to know what happened. I have already re-read it & can't wait for the series to be complete.”

--“Valerie Saggau” on

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The 5-Second Inventor

Attractive design, durability, affordability, and marketing are all important features of a commercially successful product. But above all of them comes the creative idea – the birth of a product in one’s mind. Ideas are the most precious asset of people; we all have great ideas, but not many of us pursue them to make them become real products – those sold in markets. Ken Chuah’s recent book The 5-Second Inventor tells readers how to benefit from your potentially successful ideas by turning them into commercially viable products – your very own inventions.

Ken’s book points to the commercial success achieved by “inventpreneurs”, people who invent, manufacture, and distribute their products without taking the traditional routes to success in business. Ken gives examples of famous inventpreneurs who earned both profit and reputation by developing their ideas. He also tells his own success story while showing the core elements of successful business using modern inexpensive channels of promotion. The book is particularly meant for helping people with a limited budget to start and promote their own businesses.

The 5-Second Inventor also extends the topic of developing ideas into products and promoting them to doing business overseas. The author himself travels to China off and on and considers China as the business center of the world. Thus he gives practically useful advice on cultural differences, emotional intelligence, and consideration of a number of other factors that determine how far you succeed in cashing your ideas. The book includes a glossary of terms related to the business world and an index of key concepts in the chapters. For anyone, interested in setting up his/her own business, starting with a single idea, and going all the way to a big name and income, The 5-Second Inventor is a recommended read.

ISBN: 978-160844-064-1


Monday, September 28, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Here is a book that has taken a grand question and makes sure to possess the attention of its readers for a topic that has been central to humanity for ages – the meaning of life. Professor Terry Eagleton, an acclaimed British literary critic of our time, discusses whether it makes a good question to inquire about the meaning of life. Critically looking at language’s own limitations and the reifying character of the mind-language-tradition interface, Eagleton warily attempts to present a perspective on the meaning of ‘meaning’ and how it might lead to meanings of life – ‘meanings’ because stamping a single meaning onto the somewhat misleading singular term ‘life’, in itself, is a potentially erroneous approach.

Given the transitory nature of the experience of life, Eagleton allows the validity of multiplicity as well as elusiveness of meanings while acknowledging the importance of well-thought and rational views, whether in philosophy, literature, or other systems of meanings. A point worth-noting (and appreciating) is Eagleton’s ‘floating’ position on the topic he writes about; while we know the author as a Marxist critic, his personal viewpoint doesn’t show in his commentary on the nature of meaning and its alleged inherent versus derived characters in human language. Still, he does not leave his readers disorientated as he finishes his book with a chapter on the core values that stand as best candidates for life’s dominant meanings.

The Meaning of Life comes as a work of serious thought, one which puts the question of life in the background of its ethical significance. In an age of terrorist violence and nuclear weapons, carrying the force of destroying the planet and wiping out its life forms, we do need to consider what life means for us – not as a group of people but as a species on the whole. It is Eagleton’s aesthetic cum ethical venture to remind humans about the question for their species while they are encircled in the web of technological advance and commercial enterprise. It is a fresh start for human thought and hopefully will be carried farther to a meaningful conclusion.

ISBN: 978-0199210701


Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Teach English

Jeremy Harmer’s How to Teach English is an invaluable guide for English teachers, particularly for those who have not undergone any special training in English teaching. This book covers all the important topics that relate English teaching classes at various levels as well as the main elements of English grammar and some effective methods teaching them to students.

Harmer’s attention to the extra-linguistic features that help in engaging students’ interest is the most appreciable aspect of his book. Teachers can gain some truly valuable tips here on, for example, how their dress and voice influence the attention of their students; how to plan lessons; the pros and cons of different English teaching approaches, and much more. The exercises included with the text to illustrate the topics are simple and easy to use in any English teaching class.

How to Teach English also includes a special chapter What If? to guide teachers on how to handle the commonly experienced difficulties with students in a class. What, for example, can a teacher do if the students are uncooperative or if the students keep using their native language(s) in the class instead of speaking English. The author has also provided a brief list of helpful resources for teachers of English. For all the latter, Jeremy Harmer’s How to Teach English is strongly recommended.

ISBN: 0582297966


The Labyrinth

Shackled in a dreary room in one of Chicago’s mental hospitals, a schizophrenic child’s life had crossed the way of eternal darkness. Wounded and nearly abandoned, this kid couldn’t foretell then that he was to attain freedom from the dismal scene of the mental hospital, get back to school, go to fight in a war for his country, get married and sire kids, and found his own publishing company in the heart of the world’s publishing center. This child was Mike Stefan Strozier and The Labyrinth (World Audience Publishers, 2006) is his memoir.

Reading the book’s subtitle – schizophrenia, homelessness, war, alcoholism, and divorce – did at first induce some apprehension: was it going to be another gloom-and-doom story? But it was amazing to find the episodes of Mike’s troubled past free of self-pity. Instead, you find the writer’s success in stepping aside from the negativity so frequently associated with the bitter memories of trauma. With time, the account of his life’s most challenging phases show Mike as a man growing in strength while his trial changed its guise. There was pain, a lot of it, but there also was a characteristically human tenacity that took the throes one after the other, without cringing. The Labyrinth goes to show how tolerant the human spirit is!

Something worth-noticing in the book is that Mike has chosen not to causally or – for some part – chronologically connect the choices he made in his adult life; one reason perhaps being that he didn’t have many of them. But this is also how he proves his writing talent, i.e. by engaging the readers’ interest in the immediacy of his episodic narrative. And it works in preventing The Labyrinth from sounding too egotistical.

There is some limitation, however, with respect to the book’s audience. This reviewer feels that The Labyrinth is about the phases of a man’s life, which would be of little interest to many women. The interesting question that strikes the mind, therefore, is ‘who is Mike’s Ariadne?’ Or did his magical thread come out of the blue?

ISBN: 978-0978808662


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Write a Suicide Note

In an exceptionally daring work of cultural criticism and probe into multicultural identity, Sherry Quan Lee takes her readers to the roots of emotional trauma experienced by a woman of color who has attempted suicide more than once. How to Write a Suicide Note (Modern History Press, Michigan, 2008) is a work of prose-cum-poetry exploring the role of cultural background in inhibiting one’s true self from expression, leading to suppression and trauma – the beginning of suicide. As the book’s subtitle serial essays that saved a woman’s life connotes, Lee’s verse becomes the medium through which she reclaims her right and will to live. Her book is, therefore, a life-loving book, and not a collection of ‘suicide-recipes’ (as the title may seem to suggest).

Lee’s remarks and questions about the experience of a Black-Chinese woman, impelled into following the white American values and lifestyle, come in a poignant tone. But, somewhat unexpectedly, there is no sickness as such, which leaves the reader depressed or queasy. One may get a bit confused at first up on making sense of the desultorily-written lines, blending surrealism with self-consciousness. However, the multiple messages on the same page get connected as you move forward through the book. Five divisions of the book present suicide notes – writings that ask question about life, ethnicity, cultural values, and the trauma associated with one’s identity as a minority member of a lower social rank.

More than anything, How to Write a Suicide Note places high value on the written word and the process of writing as pertains the expression of one’s real self. It is through this activity that lost lives and dejected spirits can return to confidence and a revived will to exist. Writing, to Lee, is just a form of life, or sometimes, even greater than life. Here is how she culminates the meaning of writing for her readers:

‘When you can, write
When you can’t, live
When you can’t live, write.’

While seriously concerned with cultural critique and emotional pain, How to Write a Suicide Note is not simply gloom-and-doom. Judging the process of writing as a form of therapy, Lee shows the intimate connection between identity and passion for art. For Lee, writing counters the darkness of social life; for other readers, it may be another activity that gives greater meaning to their lives. What is important to learn and remember from How to Write a Suicide Note is ‘don’t die by your weaknesses; live by your passion.’ It is one of those books that show you why living is greater than suicide.

ISBN: 978-1-932690-63-7

Friday, March 27, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt (, 2008) is a delightful book, truly entertaining in the light-heartedness of its party-centered clues for family and/or friends. Nancy Kruse has shared over 100 clues in different categories – all serving to heighten party celebration at home and outside. Here you learn to add fun to parties by giving clues that would lead to gifts as well as a spark for using your creativity and wit to write amusing verse for celebrations.

Though some may think of clues as rather trivial, the author tells about the significance of clues beyond that of adding amusement to gift-giving in parties; clues allow participation by most/all participants and also initiate conversations, thus playing an important social role. There are also some important considerations that must be kept in view while creating party clues: proper timing, adequate space, and the personality of the seeker – to name a few. And as the author proceeds to share the clues she uses, you come to know how giving clues enhances our interaction with people, objects, and places. Some of the funny clues also give you a good laugh!

There is one thing that that this reader felt missing in the book, namely illustrations. With some simple sketches, Treasure Hunt could have been made even more exciting a book for party lovers. For another volume, and we can’t wait to see one, the author may consider adding pictorial fun to go with the clues.

ISBN: 978-1601455659

Deadly Decisions: How False Knowledge Sank the Titanic, Blew Up the Shuttle, and Led America into War

Information has occupied the center of decision-making in human societies since ancient times. In the modern world, the political and social structure have gained immense complexity while the biological mechanism for information-processing in the human nervous system has remained more or less in place – liable to distortion, deletion, improvisation, and other errors that transform the original information in different ways, thus giving rise to what Christopher Burns terms as ‘false knowledge’. In Deadly Decisions (Prometheus Books 2008), Burns unveils and explains in detail the mismanagement of information that led to historical disasters like the sinking of Titanic, the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, and – more recently – the 9/11 terrorist attacks followed by Iraq War.

In addition to the meticulous research of the book’s author, revealing the inside story of the widely known disasters, this book explains the biological basis of false knowledge and the nature of truth systems. The latter covers the philosophical concepts of truth and its role in society as discussed by renowned thinkers and writers – Kant, Voltaire, Rousseau, Struass, and Durkheim. Burns shows the relation between information handling/mishandling, human understanding/confusion, and the combined impact of both these on human existence.

With the horrors of a potential pandemic – the avian flu – hanging like the Damocles’ Sword on humanity, receiving, processing, and presenting information with maximum accuracy has become equivalent to the very survival of our species on this planet. The need to improve our information processing systems is thus the cry of the hour and the author of Deadly Decisions daringly appears with the case file for revising our attitude toward information handling in order to avoid making disastrous decisions. The Internet is one global network of information sharing in our time and Christopher Burns is hopeful that the World Wide Web can prove a satisfactory solution for ironing out the seams in information management.

Deadly Decisions is fully referenced, highly critical, and shockingly revealing. It blows the whistle and warns humanity of future catastrophes that can be prevented by ensuring the efficiency of information handling systems. There is much to learn from this book, and a lot to discuss.

ISBN: 978-1591026600

Book Webiste:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction: A Journey to the Birthplace of Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis

Volcanism, earthquakes, and tsunamis – together they make the great trinity of natural disasters; that is how we know these violent natural phenomena, while our collective understanding of their origin has been plodding its way across time and tradition. At length, there seems to be a scientific theory that convincingly explains the nature, origin, and dynamics of the three greatest natural disasters – the theory of Plate Tectonics. British professor of oceanography Dr. Roy Chester, author of the classic title Marine Geochemistry, covers the progress of human understanding of earth’s most destructive natural hazards from ancient mythological traditions to modern scientific findings in his latest book Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction (AMACOM Books, New York, 2008).

Ancient mythological/religious traditions themselves remain rather less known and scarcely discussed in our age of scientific education, except for history buffs and the most avid readers. Not surprisingly, old beliefs about volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis regarded them as acts of the gods or supernatural forces/creatures. Even in the recorded history of academic thought, there was a general domination of religious dogma and traditional beliefs till the Renaissance. Roy Chester traces the path of human thought and understanding, over the centuries, leading to the new era in studies about earth, its age, and evolution. It is insightful as well as entertaining to read how the scientific explanations of earth’s internal forces and their manifest effects have come in a series of episodes – like a mystery novel in which missing pieces of evidence are sought after the initial investigation narrows down the range of possibilities. In the chapter New Battles, the author discusses the two main schools of thought – Uniformatarianism and Catastrophism – that contended for authority on gearing the direction of future research over earth’s structure and evolution. From thence, the really significant story of the theory of plate tectonics comes into play.

Describing some of the most notable/forceful natural events on earth, Roy Chester shows how a number of theories about earth’s interior and internal forces were conceived by different researchers. The reader is taken to high mountains and deep down into the depth of oceans for structural observation as the author unfolds the plot of the plate tectonics phenomenon, moving back and forth in time. Through Dr. Chester’s showing-and- telling, we ultimately get the complete idea of how the seemingly rigid continents ride on a more plastic layer of molten rock material underneath and the relation between tectonic activity and natural disasters. There certainly is a lot more to learn about earth in Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction: the formation and destruction of ocean floor; hot spots and hydrothermal venting systems; tectonic activity and global climate; and even the very origin of life on earth. Primarily, it is the story of the earth here that we read, also learning how earth’s matter, environment, and life are broadly related.

Thorough understanding of natural disasters clears the confusions about natural havoc wreaked on our lives and property. What is more important for the general reader is the possibility of predicting earthquakes, volcanism, and/or tsunamis in time to avoid/mitigate the damages associated with the disasters. As Roy Chester shows, it is still very hard to accurately predict future disasters; yet, extensive research has identified the more dangerous places on earth and a number of safety measures can be taken to minimize loss during a disastrous event. The final chapter of the book details the important concepts based on decades of research relating the prediction of earthquakes, volcanism, and tsunamis. It is here that the reader finds the human species face to face with nature; and gladly, we are not completely helpless here. Roy Chester makes a case for the unique human quality of scientific investigation and capitalizing on research for a safer and better future.

Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction is a complete course in the basic concepts of earth’s structure, composition, activity, and evolution. With many awesome cases f natural disasters and helpful illustrations, this is the book that will make readers better understand how physical nature works on our home planet.

ISBN: 9780814409206


Thursday, January 01, 2009

An Insomniac’s Dream

Kelly Moran’s An Insomniac’s Dream (Publish America, December 2005) is just the kind of book that matches its title throughout its content and style – a half-dreamy mode of story-telling, one which makes you question the meaning of the word ‘real’. A collection of 30 poems and 7 short stories, the book explores the paranormal phenomena by palpable characters in the stories and a number of uneasy feelings in the poetry.

In an important sense, most of Kelly’s poems are ‘versified’ flash stories, each of which ends with a twist in the last two lines. While they do vary in the themes of the stories they tell, the mode mainly remains dreamily observational. In the first few poems, the author does not use the first-person narrative and hence a distinctive kind of detachment from the scene depicted in the poem; but it’s not long that she pays her personal tribute to her near and dear ones in poems like Pink, Blue, and Yellow.

Kelly’s poetry, in part, sounds dreamy because of the ease with which she waves two contrasting impressions in a single concept. In Every Petal Falls, for instance, we read of a daisy’s ‘frail petals, and its whisper that is ‘strong as the wind’ – when the daisy speaks. Same quality repeats in the very next poem Candles Wishes where the evanescent tears and smiles in a moment of time are contrasted against the memories ‘etched in stone’. Only a few poems lack the fluidity of poetic beauty and sound rather monotonous – Keeper of Secrets, for example – and one or two are less expressive in conveying the message, like Nothing. Most of the poems in this book, however, do touch your feelings and the sensation lasts for quite a while.

The true charm of Kelly’s writing, however, is best seen in her short fiction. Each story in An Insomniac’s Dream stands as an attention-grabber, a mystery of the literary quality of good creative writing. Communicating with the dead is the main motif in most of these stories, a spooky air, hence, envelops the reader while keeping him/her glued to the sense of its words. The tale that stands out from the collection as a real gem is The Man Named Fred in which the ghost of the deceased wife of a mystery writer communicates with him and shakes him down to his last nerve. The story sparkles as a critical view on the sincerity of one’s belief in what he/she writes – an interesting challenge to all writers of paranormal fiction.

Looking at the title and cover image of An Insomniac’s Dream, if you feel attracted to take a look at the content, it is surely recommended that you do since there is much inside this short book to amuse, intrigue, puzzle, and (sometimes) haunt you with its dreamy situations.

ISBN: 1413773443

Author Website