Saturday, October 30, 2021

Children's Book Review: Frazier, the Very Special Cat, by Faye Rapoport DesPres

Based on a true story!

Frazier, the Very Special Cat is a sweet, heart-warming story for young children! It teaches love for animals, counting, the senses, and encourages discussion and problem-solving.

Frazier is a stray blond tabby not doing very well on his own, but things get worse when he gets hurt. Fortunately, the author is able to trap him and bring him to the vet. Now, all he needs is a permanent happy home...but who will want to take a chance on a one-eyed cat? Not to despair, for a fully happy ending awaits this sweet kitty!

Frazier, the Very Special Cat is Book 3 in the Stray Cat Stories series, and it is the perfect tale to read at bedtime or discuss with an adult in a home or school environment. The rhythm and repetition make it a fun read-aloud picture book. A charming addition to any child's cat bookshelf!

The book is available in Kindle, paperback and hardcover. Find out more and get your copy on Amazon


Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the memoir-in-essays Message From a Blue Jay (Buddhapuss Ink, 2014) and the Stray Cat Stories Children’s Books Series (Writer’s Coffee Bar Press). She earned her MFA at the Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College and has published creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals. A life-long advocate for animals, wildlife, and the environment, Faye donates a portion of the proceeds from her children’s books to non-profit animal rescue organizations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their rescued cats.

Connect with Faye on the Web:


Twitter: @FayeRapoDesPres

Instagram: FayeInBoston


Follow the author on Amazon and receive updates of her new books in this series. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Read an Excerpt of SPIRITUALITY FOR BADASSES by J. Stewart Dixon


Best-selling humor, self-help author J. Stewart Dixon offers a very different take on healing our Covid stressed lives with his new book SPIRITUALITY FOR BADASSES!

By J. Stewart Dixon


Stewart Dixon, award-winning, best-selling humor and self-help author of Spirituality for Badasses has a bone to pick with conventional therapy and pharmaceutical companies concerning our collective bounce back and healing from the stress, anxiety and depression of Covid-19.

Asserts Mr. Dixon in the introduction to his book: “So you see…I really do get it. I used to be depressed, anxious, too smart for my own good, opinionated and unhappy…a real loveless, badass-hole. But now I’m just a spiritual badass.   Spirituality removed the hole. I transformed. I changed. I grew up. I learned some hard lessons. And I did all this without ever losing my cool, integrity, smarts, libido, sense of humor or soul. And that’s just what this book is going to help you do. “

Kirkus Reviews – the prestigious book review media outlet wrote this about the book: “A motivational work blazes a spiritual path for those who consider themselves too cool for such things. A jokey yet earnest and useful guide to enlightenment for badass readers.”

On a whirl-wind virtual tour of radio station and podcast interviews J. Stewart Dixon has been offering his “calm island in the middle of the hurricane” solution to eager hosts such as celebrity chef Pete Evans from Perth, Australia and sportscaster i-Heart radio-DJ Ken Broo from Cincinnati, Ohio“It’s about noticing that part of you, which hasn’t changed your whole life. If you can notice and nurture this inner badass part, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its’ ability to heal, help and restore.”

Mr. Dixon knows first-hand about finding an inner badass, as he suffered from years of depression during his early adulthood. “I didn’t throw myself into spirituality to become a saint or a purist– I did it because I was hurting and in pain.  I did drugs and alcohol.  I tried therapy and Prozac. None of it worked.  I was dragged kicking and screaming into spirituality and mindfulness practices and what I found was that, lo’ and behold, this sh%# works.”

A common question Mr. Dixon receives is, of course – Why all the swear words and humor? “I love the title Spirituality for Badasses because it instantly disarms any preconceived notions about spirituality and renders it friendly, approachable and down-to-earth. I think many of us are burned out by absolute truths, cures and opinions right now. So– I’m simply offering an alternative non-pharmaceutical “cure” that worked for me.  As a bonus, I’ve thrown in some humor, and to keep it real, a few swear words.”

Mr. Dixon’s background as an engineer and business owner has also shaped his opinion about spirituality and mental health. “As an engineer most of my adult life, I’ve been hired to reduce complex systems into bite-sized, manageable portions.  In Spirituality for Badasses I do the same: Mental health and spirituality is, to say the least, complex. I spent decades sifting through and integrating it, and what I came up with – which I’m proud of and grateful for today- was a process that worked both for myself and the thousands of readers who are now finding their own inner badasses.”


“In his new book, Spirituality for Badasses, J.Stewart Dixon has written an irreverent, exuberant, free-wheeling, stream-of-consciousness saga that chronicles the spiritual journey in ways that are unique, humorous, challenging and a hell of a lot of fun.  Gone are the heavy-handed, esoteric pontifications so often included in books about “living like a spiritual warrior” and, instead, J.  focuses more on de-mystifying this eternal quest by successfully normalizing its ordinariness. So, buckle up and be prepared for a wild ride that’s readable, accessible and eminently  relatable. Two enthusiastic thumbs up! Highly recommended!”
-Chuck Hillig,  Licensed Psychotherapist, Spiritual Teacher& Author of Enlightenment for Beginners, The Way IT Is, Seeds for the Soul, Looking for God, and The Magic King 

“Spirituality for Badasses is The Way of the Peaceful Warrior for the rebels among us who are tired of sickly-sweet approaches to spirituality and have a sincere need to laugh out loud on the regular.  J. Stewart Dixon is a true original … He’s your irreverent, potty-mouthed best friend and big brother, but don’t let the humor fool you: the teachings offered here are profoundly liberating, important pointers to awakened awareness. Dixon teaches us all to en-LIGHTEN-UP with his special blend of hilarious, profound, crazy-ass wisdom.”
-Erin Reese, M.S., Spiritual Counselor & Teacher & Author of Truth Seeker: A Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Liberation & The Adventures of Bindi Girl: Diving Deep Into the Heart of India 
“Accessible. Compulsive. Irreverent. Fun. Practical- All the while lacking nothing in richness or depth.  Take an adventure with J – a spiritual guide that comes off more Han Solo than Obi Wan Kenobi on the surface – as you journey along with the R-rated spiritual everyman with a lizard draped over his shoulders on a path that winds inside and out, through valleys and up mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, as you make your way toward becoming more your badass true aware self.   This book is rich!”
-Zac Cannon, Pastor

Book Information

Release Date: January 21, 2021

Publisher:  PIE Publishing / Awakening Resource Center, LLC;

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-0-9858579-9-8; 329 pages; $15.99; E-Book, $5.99

Book Website:


I get it. I really do.

You're a badass.

Cool, hip, down-to-earth, together, sane, practical, tough, smart, confident, fringe, alternative, creative, funny, athletic. However, you want to quantify your badass-ness.

You've been this way your whole life, or maybe it took a couple of decades for you to cultivate it, or maybe it just kicked in yesterday at 3:09 p.m. Who knows...and who cares, right?

Because something is missing.

It seems that being a badass just isn't - enough.

Is it?

Let me make this easy for you. I'm also a badass...

...except that for most of my adult life I've been involved with spirituality. And maybe you can relate here - this badass has always, a slight issue: He doesn't really love spirituality, being spiritual or hanging out in spiritual circles.

No thank you.

This badass...well, eh...he loves beer.

Spirituality for Badasses and 21 Days blossomed out J. Stewart’s life as a spiritual seeker, finder and teacher. He teaches based on his direct experience, twenty-nine years of interaction with numerous nonduality-advaita-zen-unorthodox teachers, his ongoing education / certification in modern mindfulness and a degree in communications / engineering from Syracuse University.

He has been interviewed by Rick Archer on Buddha at the Gas Pump, was the meditation editor of the mind/body/spirit blog All Things Healing, was a board member of Sevenoaks Retreat Center (a nondenominational spiritual retreat center in Madison, VA) and is the owner/founder of a tech design -install firm called Charlottesville Audio Visual Services.

J. Stewart Dixon has been a very creative individual for most of his life. In addition to two self-published books, he has written and produced a rock musical, has two professionally produced and recorded CDs with his former band Alchemy and has dabbled in abstract art.

He lives in central Virginia with his family. When he’s not working or creating he can be found cavorting with the fish, bears, and bald eagles on the local rivers with a fly rod in his hand.

Visit his website at or connect with him on Facebook.

Sponsored By:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

🎈Authors To Watch🎈David Amerland Author of INTENTIONAL @davidamerland @pumpupyourbook #authorstowatch #interview



David Amerland is a Chemical Engineer with an MSc. in quantum dynamics in laminar flow processes. He converted his knowledge of science and understanding of mathematics into a business writing career that’s helped him demystify, for his readers, the complexity of subjects such as search engine optimization (SEO), search marketing, social media, decision-making, communication and personal development. The diversity of the subjects is held together by the underlying fundamental of human behavior and the way this is expressed online and offline. Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the latest addition to a thread that explores what to do in order to thrive. A lifelong martial arts practitioner, David Amerland is found punching and kicking sparring dummies and punch bags when he’s not behind his keyboard.

For More Information

Live your life the way you want to. Manage stress better. Be more resilient and enjoy meaningful relationships and better health. We all want that. Such life leads to better choices, better jobs, loving romantic partners, more rewarding careers and decisions that are fully aligned with our aims.

What stops us from getting all that is the complexity of our brain and the complicated way in which the external world comes together. The misalignment between the internal states we experience and the external circumstances we encounter often leads to confusion, a lack of clarity in our thinking and actions that are not consistent with our professed values.

Intentional is a gameplan. It helps us connect the pieces of our mind to the pieces of our life. It shows us how to map what we feel to what has caused those feelings. It helps us understand what affects us and what effects it has on us. It makes it possible for us to determine what we want, why we want it and what we need to do to get it.

When we know what to do, we know how to behave. When we know how to behave we know how to act. When we know how to act, we know how to live. Our actions, each day, become our lives. Drawn from the latest research from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral and social psychology and evolutionary anthropology, Intentional shows how to add meaning to our actions and lead a meaningful, happier, more fulfilling life on our terms.


is available at:



When did you begin writing?

I’ve always felt the need to write. I was an early, voracious reader. After a while the narratives you have inside your head begin to shape the narratives you see inside your head. When that happens the itch to write becomes strong. I wrote a full length book when I was 13. It was never published and that manuscript, written longhand, was lost somewhere between my family moving from Australia to Europe. My first published book was a short action/adventure novel called “Ninjahunter” that came out in paperback in 1999. Since then I’ve written 18 books. Sixteen on search, the web and business and two on martial arts and fitness.

Describe your writing process. When and where do you write?

I am highly research driven, even on subjects I feel I know inside out. So I start with going through all the research papers on a subject. I then read them, make questions, talk to their authors where necessary, find interview subjects if needed. I next, categorize them. This helps create structure for my book. The writing process itself is me sitting in front of my laptop each day and writing 2,000 words that make total sense. The word count is easy to achieve. The “total sense” part way less so, which is what makes writing a challenge and, retrospectively, fun. My laptop is my place so I can literally write anywhere I can my laptop down.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

My most recent book is Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully. It’s an answer to the question of “how do I behave?” when faced with the complexities and ambiguities and challenges life throws at us.

How did you get the idea for the book?

The seeds of Intentional were laid while writing and researching my previous book, The Sniper Mind  that uses neuroscientific and anthropological research to examine how critical decision making works when we are under pressure. That last book was halted by design at 440+ pages. I then found myself with a mountain of research and quotes that were pertinent to how we choose to become responsible for our actions, which means we become responsible for our life. So, Intentional was born.  

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Without fail every book will tire you out at the halfway mark. You will lose your objectivity, lose faith in your ability to write and lose sight of the need for this book in the world. Invariably, writers develop personal tricks that help them get past this slump. What was unique to this book however was the need to find ways to describe complex neurochemical and neurological processes using only words and make it as simple as possible.

Do you find it easier to write nonfiction?

I would say that I find it just as easy or just as hard to write fiction. I am, however, predominantly known as a non-fiction writer so right now it is difficult to get publishers to accept my fiction work without them seeing a complete, finished piece. I am working on that.

Do you have plans to write fiction?

Yes, definitely. I have already started several different works and I am adding to them whenever I can. This is not the best way to write anything of course, but right now, my focus is on writing non-fiction books because they sell. When I am ready to get my fiction work in front of my agent and publisher (first), I shall do so.

What projects are you currently working on?

It usually takes me two-three years to get each book to the point that it’s ready to be sent to the publisher. This means that during the research and interviews stage I juggle several projects, work on future book outlines and also keep up with current affairs as they signal emerging trends long before they become a thing. I am currently working on a project that will focus on how we learn what is right from wrong. This is all I can say about it at the moment.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring nonfiction authors?

When we first start out or when we are thinking of starting out as writers we all feel uncertainty. Our craft may not yet be fully developed or our confidence. Our voice may no have matured. Yet, these are things that come from actually writing and being a writer. If you vacillate because you don’t feel ready I can tell you that really you never, ever feel quite ready. So just put your heart and soul into whatever you’re writing without second-guessing yourself or undermining your confidence by focusing on the deficiencies you know you have. See it as part of a process of constant improvement and a journey that will only end when you decide to stop writing. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

🎈Authors To Watch🎈Lorenzo Petruzziello Author of A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE @lorenzomagnus @pumpupyourbook #authorstowatch #interview



Lorenzo Petruzziello is the author of A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE – a noir-inspired caper set in Milan, Italy. His first novel THE LOVE FOOL is a non-romantic romantic comedy set in Rome. Both books are available worldwide through your favorite booksellers.

Lorenzo holds a Global MBA in International Marketing from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. He is bilingual, raised speaking both English and Italian. He was born and raised in U.S.A. and spent his summers in Italy. He lives in Massachusetts working on his writing as a side gig to his corporate day job. He has contributed to publications on food, travel, and cocktails, including Intermezzo and  SIPthemagazine.

Visit his website at

Connect with him on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

An incompetent thief,

a hopeless bartender,

a dead stranger,

and a lonely tourist.


An incompetent thief makes another attempt at burglary. A hopeless bartender struggles to manage her last patron. The pair reluctantly work together to figure out why a man they presumed dead may have returned, while a lonely tourist inadvertently gets in the way.

“A sharp, edgy caper with a final surprise.” — Kirkus Reviews

“The many twists and turns with international touches will reward readers of noir fiction…” – Feathered Quill

A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE is available at:


We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

Thank you for having me. I first started writing when I was living in Rome for a bit. I did not go to Rome to write, but I was inspired by the eternal city, that I thought I’d take a crack at writing a story – and so I did. I came back to the US with half of the first draft of my first novel THE LOVE FOOL.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I don’t plot a whole story out – I have an idea for a scene or purpose, and branch off from there. So my stories are not written chronologically. I like to write early mornings – mostly from home. But travelling is always something that inspires me.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE is a modern story set in Milan, Italy. An incompetent thief makes another attempt at burglary. A hopeless bartender struggles to manage her last patron. The pair reluctantly work together to figure out why a man they presumed dead may have returned, while a lonely tourist inadvertently gets in the way.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I was inspired by the classic noir films I love to watch, and stories I enjoy reading. I wanted to give my readers that same emotion the audience feels when watching classic noir: paranoia, uncertainty, suspense, thrills, off-kilter romance, mystery, and questioning of morals.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

I must say I do like my main character Stef a lot. In fact, I had originally written him in my first book, but as much as I liked him, he just didn’t seem to add much to that particular story. So I took him out and kept him for later. Sure enough, he fit well into the A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE, so I decided I would give him his own story.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Keeping the intrigue going, while maintaining a bit of humor for my quirky characters.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a third book of what I personally call my Italy Trilogy. My first book THE LOVE FOOL was set in Rome. A MISTAKE INCOMPLETE is set in Milan. My third book will also be set in Italy, but I am not ready to talk about any of that yet.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

Keep writing. Even if it’s just one sentence, just keep writing. And if it’s bad, it’s OK. You can always go back to fix it later. Just keep writing.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Read an Excerpt of LITTLE GIANTS: 10 HISPANIC WOMEN WHO MADE HISTORY by Raynelda Calderon


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by reading a short collection of biographies about Hispanic women and the impact they made in the world!

By Raynelda Calderon

LITTLE GIANTS: 10 HISPANIC WOMEN WHO MADE HISTORY, Juvenile Biography, Cavena Press, Inc., 64 pp.

Little Giants: 10 Hispanic Women Who Made History is a short collection of biographies about Hispanic women and the impact they made in the world. Some of the women featured in this book are iconic figures such as ballet dancer Alicia Alonso; others are less known heroines such as indigenous leader Dolores Cacuango, founder of the first bilingual school in Ecuador. Beautiful illustrations accompany the text to bring these women to life and inspire the young generation of readers to be leaders tomorrow.

This book is a great resource to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by reading about the history and accomplishments of these courageous women and their contributions in Latin America.


“This is what every Hispanic household needs. Finally a powerful book that we can share with our next generation ( and even adults).” – Amazon reviewer

Alicia Alonso

International Ballet Legend

Can you imagine being a dancer and going almost blind all of a sudden? How would you dance if you could barely see? This is what happened to Alicia Alonso, one of the greatest ballet dancers in history.

Born in Havana, Cuba on December 21, 1922, Alicia began to dance when she was only nine years old, and she made her first presentation in the ballet Sleeping Beauty. At 16, she moved to New York, where she started to be well-known and praised

as a rising ballet star.

Just when her career was starting to take off, Alicia began having sight problems when the retinas of her eyes detached. She underwent surgery to correct the problem and was ordered to spend three months in bed. Can you imagine being in bed for three months without being able to move?

When the blindfolds were removed, Alicia was disappointed that the operation had not worked and she still could not see. Determined not to give up, she underwent a second surgery, again without success. After these two failed surgeries, the doctors gave up and told her that she would never be able to completely see again. Alicia felt very sad. How was she going to be able to dance?

Instead of accepting the medical diagnosis, Alicia went to Cuba to undergo a third surgery; this time, she was ordered to rest for an entire year! During that time, she was not supposed to move her head, laugh, cry, or eat anything hard. She had to lie completely still, like a corpse!

When at last Alicia was able to move again, she returned to New York. Although she had not yet fully recovered, she accepted the lead role in a famous production called Giselle. Her performance was a success! Although she would eventually regain her sight, she could mostly see shadow.

Alicia became one of the best dancers in history. She danced in the most famous ballets of the world and won many awards, such as the coveted Dance Magazine Award. She became a prima ballerina assoluta, a rare honor given only to the very best ballerinas. 

Raynelda Calderon grew up in the Dominican Republic, on a healthy diet of romance novels, comic strips, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books, and the strict watch of her mother. She has a doctorate in leadership in higher education and works as a public librarian.

As a librarian, working with children inspires her to write about the accomplishments of Hispanics in history. She hopes to inspire young readers to follow their passions.

Raynelda lives in New York with an untamed Shih Tzu, Toby, and a much attached Chihuahua, Maya. She spends her free time thinking (and drafting) about books to write, or painting, crocheting, or crying over abused dogs.

You can visit her website at Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

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