My Awfully Wedded Life – An Interview with author Jimmy Hyten

February 12, 2013
  • You’ve written a book entitled “My Awfully Wedded Life” tell my readers a bit about your book.  Sure has an intriguing title!

hytenfrontcoverofficialThanks! Oddly enough, my current wife came up with that title. My book is the story of my previous marriage. My goal was to tell a relationship story from the male perspective. There are all kinds of stories out there from women about their marriages and failed relationships but rarely do you hear about those same stories from a man. That was my intent.

The book can be purchased here:

  • What was your motivation in writing this book?

I had just left from another frequent argument with my ex-wife and I caught myself wondering how many other people deal with this frustration all too often. Using writing as a creative outlet, a story about what had just happened turned from one page to fifteen. I wanted to share my story to see if men and women could relate.

  • You mention that most men are “very stupid and immature in every sense of these words.”  Care to share a few examples from your book?

I, of course, say that with the best of intentions. What I mean by that is when in a relationship, so many men are naïve. I openly admit that I can be very immature, especially when I am upset. One example is grocery shopping – I turn into a small child when grocery shopping because I don’t want to be there, I whine, I complain, and if I am asked to help pick out food, I play games. Instead of getting chicken, I will pick up pig feet just to be a pain. Another example is when I would argue with my ex-wife, I would deliberately press her buttons driving her to such frustration she felt the only logical response was to throw a steak at me. I don’t think I am the only man to do things like this. That is what I mean, very stupid.

  • You start your book with some harsh words toward women.  Who do you think is your book’s audience – stupid men or emotional women?

Ha, that is a little bit of a loaded question; both genders can be stupid and emotional. It wasn’t so much harsh words toward women as much as it is preparing the reader for what is to come. My point was to tell women reading it that men are men. Don’t try and change us, it will just end in failure and annoyance.

  • What do you hope the reader will gain from your book?

hytenprofile2I really hope the reader will not only understand where I am coming from but also be able to relate to my situation. I think so many couples go through what I went through and their relationships end the way mine did and a lot of times no one talks about it. I didn’t filter anything.

  • How, by the way, did you go about selecting the stories and ideas included in your book?

I wrote the stories as they occurred. If something stood out as being abnormal or just plain crazy and I caught myself wondering what the hell I was doing being married, that was normally the indicator that it would make a good story.

  • A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book?  What is unique about your book that would cause the media to consider a story about “My Awfully Wedded Life”?

I would have to say that it isn’t your typical, run of the mill self-help book. I am not trying to teach people how to have successful relationships. It was a creative outlet for me during situations in my marriage that had me thinking, “what the hell was I thinking.” I want people to read it and laugh because it’s funny but also because they can relate. I wanted to write exactly what happens in almost every marriage or relationship but no one ever talks about. I guess if I had to pick two things they would be that this book offers a glimpse into my life as a married/divorced man but from a perspective that isn’t normally seen, a guy’s perspective. The second thing would be that this book isn’t for one particular audience; it’s for every single person, whether they are single, married, divorced, young, old, it doesn’t matter.

Jimmy’s website is here:

An Interview with Gina London on her new book – “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me”

February 12, 2013

1. Gina, you’ve written a book entitled “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me” tell my readers a bit about your book.

ginalondonauthorprofilepicWith pleasure! Set in Paris, Tuscany and even the good old U-S of A, Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me, chronicles the hilarious adventures in parenting and life overseas between me and my young daughter, Lulu.

It’s for anyone who’s raising a child now, has raised one already, or was just once a child themselves.  If you ever believed you could conquer the world with a cardboard sword, this book is for you.

The book can be purchased here:

2. The title is charming and I sense there is a story behind it. Please share.

The book grew around a collection of Lulu quotes that I began compiling when she was just three. Almost all kids say silly things, but as a former journalist, I think I was compulsive about maintaining a journal of my own daughter’s quips!

The book showcases and builds stories around some of the best.

Like, when Lulu earnestly asked me one morning, “Can I wear all your jewelry when I’m bigger and you’re dead?”

Or like her funny, but more than accurate, observations about the country we currently call home including:

“Italy is the place where everyone smokes and parks on the sidewalk.”

And when Lulu announced that she no longer wanted to grow up and become a big girl, my husband and I were perplexed.  We asked her why and she uttered the book’s title words, “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me.”  In that phrase, I think, she perfectly expressed the innocence, sweetness and too-fleeting nature of this time in every person’s life.

3. What was your motivation in writing this book?

As a journalist, I wrote thousands of stories for CNN and the other news outlets I had worked for.   From hurricanes, to politics, to the tragedy of 9/11.  They all had one thing in common: they were other people’s stories.

My husband and I moved to Paris when Lulu was just an infant and to Tuscany when she was three.  Our lives were filled with all the normal misadventures of taking care of a child – compounded by the extra nuttiness that comes from doing it internationally with different languages and cultures as the backdrop.

And then when Lulu became a chatty preschooler, adding her non-stop commentary to all the things she saw and experienced in these exotic settings, I realized I had an amazing story unfolding before my very eyes and ears that was closer to me than all the others.

4. You write stories from “that time in her life.” When did you first think of capturing such a precious time?

londonfrontcovercropIt’s cliché, but I know now it’s also very true: Kids grow up so fast!

I realized as my daughter began to express herself in such unique, funny and sometimes brutally honest ways, that “that time in her life” was the most innocent and yet also the most fleeting.  These moments slip through our hands unless we do something to help us remember them, hold on to them.

I’ve captured those charming moments now forever in this book.

5. What are your three favorite chapters and what makes them so?

Hmmm. Of course, I love every chapter as each captures a unique moment in parenting by highlighting Lulu’s eccentric behaviors, a cultural tradition new to us as Americans living abroad, or by vividly detailing an event.  But I especially enjoy these three:

Chapter Six, “Showdown at Storytime” is the play-by-play of the daily match-up of wits between my four-year-old and me, otherwise known as bedtime.  Read how Lulu transforms into a tiny Turkish carpet-dealer and gets the best of me every night.

Chapter Nine, “In Pursuit of Pumpkin Perfection” takes you on a winding tour, first through the bustling streets of Paris and then to our bucolic country home in Tucany – searching for what you might think would be an easy find: a pumpkin ready to be carved into a proper Halloween Jack-o’-lantern.  It wasn’t easy to find at all, and neither was negotiating France and Italy’s takes on a largely-American candy-grabbing holiday – and our Italian experience  was extremely surprising but, in the end, gratifying!

Chapter Nineteen, “Mark Twain Said it Best”  is chock-full of… let’s call them “choice words” from both Lulu and me.  The Twain quote I reference in the chapter title alludes to what those words may be by saying, “Let us swear while we may, for in heaven it is not allowed.” Yes, this chapter explores every less-than-saintly parents’ nightmare when their precious angels begin repeating some of the more colorful words they realize they have been saying in front of their children. And now, my daughter Lulu is learning naughty words in Italian as well as English! Whoops!

6. What do you hope the reader will gain from your book?

I truly believe that everyone who reads this book will do so with a smile on their face. Not only do you get to meet one little girl who personifies what joy in life is all about, but the book will inspire you to really listen to the children in your life and remember and reflect about your own experiences during “that time in life.”

7. How, by the way, did you go about selecting the stories and ideas included in your book?

I selected a handful of funny moments and conversations, like picking out favorite colorful pictures from a beloved family vacation photo album to France and Italy.

Our best stories are usually those that begin as simply unfolding moments over time.  When you look back  upon them, you can better see the patina and warmth surrounding them.  Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me is a collection of the small humorous moments with a child that make life so rich in sum.

Cherished memories are what are made while you’re busy just living life.

8. A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book?

Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me is much more than a humorous memoir.  It’s also part travel guide, with vibrant descriptions of Paris and Tuscany.  And finally, the book is also largely inspirational – encouraging us all to see the world delightfully fresh through a child’s eyes.  Again!

For information about Gina London and her book visit here –

The World’s Worst Networker: Lessons Learned by the Best from the Absolute Worst – An interview with Tim Houston

January 17, 2013
  • Timothy, you’ve written a book entitled “The World’s Worst Networker: Lessons Learned by the Best from the Absolute Worst” tell my readers a bit about your book.

0303-TImHouston-EDIT1-336x420The World’s Worst Networker chronicles the kind of people that give networking a bad name!  It takes an uncensored, humorous look at the way some people conduct their business networking, both online and offline and helps the reader to learn from and how to avoid their various flubs, faux-pas and fiascoes.  Here’s a link to my site:

  • What was your motivation in writing this book?

For almost 20 years, I have attended thousands of networking groups, various Chamber of Commerce events, trade shows and seminars. At each one, I have always encountered some people who were very bad at networking. Many of them would try to sell their products or services within the first 30 seconds of meeting them.  Others would say or do things that were inappropriate. I called these people “The World’s Worst Networkers.”  In more recent years, the same mistakes which were being made in the real world were also happening on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

After each encounter or experience, instead of complaining I would ask myself a question: “What could I learn from them so I didn’t make the same mistakes they did?” So out of every negative experience I had, I always found something positive that I learned and more importantly, could share with others to help them to avoid being one of “The World’s Worst Networkers.”

  • You start of with a WARNING: This is not the typical “how-to network book” – how did you get the stories that you share?

In sharing my experiences with others —  some of which are considered the world’s leading experts in the fields of networking, marketing and relationship development —  I learned that they too had stories and experiences about their encounters with some of “The World’s Worst Networkers.”  Whenever we shared out stories, instead of it just being a complaint or a “war story”, I would always ask them what did they learn or take away from the experience.  Very often, they would pause and think about it and then share the lesson that they learned.  In some cases, they would also confess that at one point in time, they too did some of the things that some of “The World’s Worst Networkers” do and how they changed their course.

When I decided to write this book, I went back to them and asked if they could share their stories and experiences with readers around the world and they gladly accepted the invitation. The book has contributors from the U.S., Europe, Australasia and the Middle East. While some of the contributors are very well known and others may not t necessarily be household names, each and every single one of them is among the best networkers in the world.

  • You have several sections in your book, the first being “The Most Unwanted List” which of those stories was hardest to live through?

There are so many good and funny stories in the book that it’s hard to choose just one that was the “toughest” to live through.  From my own experiences, I’d say one of the toughest that I had to live through (and still encounter at many events) is what I called “The Outsourced Networker who is on “The Most Unwanted List”.

In brief, these are the people who think that they can have others do their networking for them. What they don’t realize is that people do business and build relationships with other people, not with companies. The Outsourced Networker uses a revolving door approach to their networking by sending a different person to represent their business at every event. The results are usually disastrous: the public’s perception is that the company has a high-turnover; there’s no accountability and no opportunity to build a relationship with one person.  The worst part about it all is that it’s not just the “big companies” that do are guilty of “outsourcing” as some small businesses try to do it as well, as I chronicle in the book.

  • Since you share disasters, what did you hope to accomplish by writing about what not to do?

I remembered something that Jim Collins wrote in his book Good to Great: great companies not only have a “to do” list but also a “stop doing list. In that same spirit, The World’s Worst Networker helps the reader learn the definitive ways of how not to network through the real, uncensored, funny and sometimes scary accounts of our networking experiences.

  • A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book?

First, while there are so many good books, programs and organizations that teach people “how to” network effectively, this book is very unique in that it’s the only one currently in its genre that takes a contrarian approach to the subject. As one reviewer on Amazon said, “Learning what not to do and how not to behave can sometimes provide better insight than ‘how-to’ instruction.” Lastly, this book is designed for the networking newbie and the veteran alike and the lessons learned can be applied to online or offline networking efforts and can be used by a variety of people, ranging from the business owner, college and graduate students and the everyday person, anywhere in the world.

The book can be found kindle version here: – or paper version here:

An Interview with Shalimar Ali and her new book – The Vampire Dancer Saga Part 2

December 27, 2012

The_Vampire_Dancer_Saga_Front_Cover_JPGLately several of my friends have asked me to review their books of help them with promotion via an interview.  I have to admit this book takes an unusual slant on the world of dance…yet having seen the book I have to admit it’s rather interesting.  Here’s the interview.

1.    You’ve Written a book – The Vampire Dancer Saga.  Seems a strange approach to a book that chronicles dance – how did you come about that approach and title?  My home was invaded by 3 bats.  Mind you, I am terrified of mice, rats and birds – so a “bat” is like a deadly combination of a flying rat.  Triple the terror to me.  But one of the bats got caught in a mouse trap and was injured.  I asked my grandkids to dispose of him outside and they felt sorry for him and thought he showed pain in his eyes.  That incident made me also feel sympathy towards the injured creature and inspired me to think about bats as Vampires.

2.    What is your background as an author?
I finally got my first book published in 2011 “Learn to Belly Dance Textbook & Certification Program” after 15 years of rejection from publishers.  Following the “bat” invasion this year, I published The Vampire Dancer Saga in July 2012.

3.    You book is interesting and you certainly take your readers on an exploration of dance.  Why dance and why vampires?  Most of my favorite movies and TV shows are about dance, sci-fi or vampires.  I am a die-hard fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Charmed, anything by Joss Whedon (Firefly, Dollhouse, Serenity), Star Trek, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Star Trek, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars.  You see this LOVE reflected in my books

4.    When you wrote your book, what did you want the audience to gain?  Please don’t’ forget about dance history and the previous dancers who made it shine.  Like Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, etc.

5.    You reference many dance celebrities in your book.  Which dance celebrity most resonates with you and why?  I grew up with Michael Jackson.  I was totally engrossed with him from the time they began back in 1969.  So much to the point, then when he died, it was like having a distant family member die.  It took me a long time to grieve over Michael.

6.    What do you see as the three primary benefits one would have by reading your book?  Going on a fantasy journey through time.  Learning about Dance History.  And sharing my vivid imagination about “what if” these dancers participated in this wild adventure.

7.    A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of the book you wrote?  Please imagine this book as a movie or TV Show.  Dance is like a Vampire, in that dance never dies!

The book can be purchased here –

An interview with the author of Analyzing Jesus: Questioning The Doctrine of Christianity – a new controversial book by Bashiek Dorsey

December 26, 2012

Here it is – Christmas time – and what crosses my path but a book that some would call heresy.  If you’re a devout Christian – Analyzing Jesus – will rock you and potentially strengthen your faith or wobble it.  The book can be found on Amazon here.  In the description the following words are shared:

analyzing jesusAnalyzing Jesus: Questioning the Doctrine of Christianity may be one of the most compelling arguments ever written in support of the belief that Jesus of Nazareth may have never existed as an historical person. While currently pursuing his B.A. in Science and Religion, Dorsey, began composing Analyzing Jesus before graduating Liberty University’s Willmington School of the Bible. Dorsey’s extensive research skillfully challenges the “Jesus Defenders” of our day with many of the Bibles irrefutable contradictions, inconsistencies, myths, fabrications and forgeries.

Analyzing Jesus not only offers an in-depth study on the Christian doctrine but also gives attention to the pagan origins of the resurrection. As Dorsey brilliantly lays out the facts, opinions, and arguments, amongst some of the world’s most influential scholars, evangelist, historian’s and theologians; he also, exposes the hidden manipulation that is associated with organized religion and its goal to constantly control what we are to believe. So could it be true that the Jesus story is one of the greatest myth’s ever told? You decide!

The interview with Dorsey follows.  Feel free to ask questions or respond to this blog interview on what I think will be a hot topic!

1.     You have just written a book – Analyzing Jesus: Questioning The Doctrine of Christianity – tell my readers what inspired you to write such a potentially controversial book.

Well Chuck, what inspired me to write such a controversial book on such a controversial subject is simple—Christians deserve to know the truth, not my truth, not his truth, but “the truth” about their religion and its history. It wasn’t long ago that prior to it being called the Holy Bible the ancients called it the Helio Biblia, the Book of the Sun. This is because Sun worship was an ancient pagan practice in ancient Egyptian, Asian, and Indo-European cultures centuries before Christianity immerged as a religion. But when it did flourish as a religion the emperor Constantine who was a sun-worshipper himself in 321 A.D issued a decree making Sun-day the official day of rest; which is the main reason why Christians go to Church on Sunday and not Saturday.

So make no mistake about it when Jesus is being referenced as the “Son of God” he is really being cited as a personification of the “Sun.” This is why we are told “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun” (Matt. 17:2). Moreover, Christians deserve to know that the Gospel’s were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but by anonymous authors who never met Jesus. Also, nowhere in the New Testament do we read “I, Jesus write these things.” In fact, no one including Paul has ever laid eyes on the alleged God-man—Jesus Christ.

2.    Give my readers an insight into your background.  You were once a Christian songwriter?  Seems like going from songwriter to skeptic is a massive stretch.  Share with us your journey.

Sure, for 21 years of my life I always strived to be the Christian God wanted me to be. I’d go to Church, study what I once believed to be the word of God and diligently helped spread the message of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t long that I started my own independent record label called God Musiq. The puissance of my desire to write songs for Christ was truly amazing. As a result, to really show my dedication to God I took it upon myself to enroll in Bible College so that I could become more effective in the kingdom (as Christians say). I also, wanted to be more knowledgeable in the Bible and its history. This way I could teach it in my music and to people more effectively. Little did I know my faith was about to change—forever!

3.    In your bio on Amazon it says, “It was during my enrollment in Bible College that I seriously began to question the Christ figure. Did he truly walk the earth or was he just a myth?”  Tell us the story of how your transformation came to be.

Yeah, during my enrollment in Bible College we learned so much from Apologetics, Systematic Theology, Christology, Hermeneutics which is the art and science of interpreting scripture, and Church history including the rise of modern Roman Catholicism. But it wasn’t until we began to study The Case for The Resurrection of Jesus resurrection of Jesus by Dr. Gary Habermas & New Testament scholar Michael Licona, who both admit that “Although, other religions contain ‘resurrection accounts’, there are excellent reasons for accepting the story of Jesus resurrection while rejecting others” (pg. 89).

Surprised, I was then curious to know what other religions contained resurrection accounts. It wasn’t long before I would learn in my own personal time of study that the resurrection story is really an ancient pagan myth that originated in Egypt. In fact it can be found in the Pyramid Text written on the pyramid walls of the last king of the fifth dynasty, Unas (B.C. 2375-2345) over 2,000 years before Christianity.

In these texts we learn about the Resurrection and Ascension of a Deceased King, named Horus. In fact, in Egyptian mythology Horus can always be seen with a “sun-disk” around his head identical to many ancient paintings of Jesus. Lastly, the original manuscript of Mark’s Gospel did not contain a resurrection account of the risen Lord. Chapter 16 originally ends at verse 8. This has been the most ignored “addition” to the Jesus story. Learning these things and more were the beginning stages of how my religious to non-religious transformation came to be.

4.    You know that publishing a book like “Analyzing Jesus” had to have some repercussions when it came to the education you were receiving.  What response have you received from the academic community?

You know Chuck, so far no one from the academic community has tried to challenge my knowledge or discredit my work. But I’m sure they will and honestly I look forward to it because I can support all of my arguments with conspicuous facts, references and explanations to help sustain, serve and defend the belief that Jesus Christ may have never breathed, one single breath, on the face of this earth. Even Paul admitted that he was “sent not from men nor by man…” (Gal 1:1). He also admitted that “he received his message from no human source” (Gal. 1:12). So was Jesus not a man? Was he not a “human” source? This is why there is so much debate over Paul’s letters because many scholars have come to believe that Paul was a Gnostic and was not referring to a historical Christ. In fact, Paul is severely silent on just about everything the Gospels tell us about Jesus and in my book Analyzing Jesus I discuss this at length.

5.    Share with my readers some of the challenges (if any) that have arisen as a result of your written and very public challenge to the life and existence of Jesus.

One of the main challenges I face is constantly having to explain to Christians that the intent of my book Analyzing Jesus is not to hinder anyone’s faith in Christ or God. As paradox as this may sound my goal is not to stir up controversy; but rather to truly help educate Christians on what they’ve been taught to believe. But because I challenge the existence of a human Christ some Christians simply do not care to learn about some of the Bibles most irrefutable contradictions, inconsistencies, myths, fabrications and forgeries. Instead, they’d rather graduate to new levels of blind faith.

6.    “Analyzing Jesus” is seemingly well thought out – yet there have to be many in the academic community that would refute your challenges to Jesus.  What type of challenges have you received relative to your new book?

Well in my book I make it clear that if Jesus wasn’t God and if God wasn’t Jesus, then Christianity is idolatry, therefore we must develop the habit of examining what the scriptures say of Christ. Because to be Christian we must believe that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh and this is what creates the challenge. But we must ask ourselves if Jesus was God why would Jesus say: “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mk. 10:8)?   If Jesus was God why would God be “seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1)? After all aren’t we told “God is not a man…” (Num. 23:19)? These questions and so many others I address in my book Analyzing Jesus. I also debunk the doctrine of the Trinity and expose how it was formulated which is another challenge I receive from Christians who try to explain away the deity of Christ.

7.    Several quotes on your Amazon site share that your book took them away from Jesus or Christianity. What was your intent when writing the book?  

Good question Chuck I’m Glad you asked that actually. I make it very clear in my book that the intent of its pages is not written to undermine the Christian faith nor cause disbelief in God in fact it’s quite the opposite. My primary objective is to pass along the knowledge and information I carefully researched over the past 24 months of my life. Which pertains to the life of Jesus Christ did he or did he not exist? Therefore, my hope is to help enlighten the mind of another especially Christians because again they deserve to know the truth about their religion.

8.    How has your research and the resultant effort in writing your book changed your faith or religious belief or both?

Honestly, at first it changed me for the worse. I was upset because I felt I had been lied to, I felt deceived and bamboozled. I was a Christian for 21 years of my life, very active in the Church and really did whatever it took to spread the message of Jesus Christ to my friends, family and strangers. But it wasn’t until I came to the realization that God, or the Creator (as I like to call it) cannot be fully explained or completely understood nor conformed into a “religion” and I truly believe that’s the beauty of it. Because everything is not meant for us to understand, however, something’s are. I also believe that the search for truth takes you wherever the evidence leads you, and therefore I was led to Analyze Jesus and Question the Doctrine of Christianity.

9.    What three things do you wish your readers to gain from your book?

If there were three things I’d want my readers to gain from my book it would be to inherit knowledge, logic and truth about early Christianity, the organic meaning of Christ, and the hidden manipulation that is associated with organized religion

10.    A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book?

I would want them to know that in my book Analyzing Jesus I can confidently uncover all the loopholes in the Jesus story, how it was formulated, how it was fabricated and even worse how it was forged.  I would also want them to know that you can now purchase my new book Analyzing Jesus: Questioning the Doctrine of Christianity on and send any questions you may have to me on Twitter @Analyzing Jesus. Thanks


An interview with Gwendolyn Taunton on her new book – Melpomene

December 21, 2012

melpomene_coverAs many of my readers know, from time to time I deviate from my traditional blogs on business and social issues and open the doors to my readers of new works that expand horizons.  This is true for an interview I offered about a new book – “Melpomene” – the link to purchase the books is here.

  • Gwendolyn, you’ve written a book entitled “Melpomene” tell my readers a bit about your book.

Melpomene is my fifth book and the second one I have written under my real name. Named after the Ancient Greek Muse of tragedy, Melpomene is a thematic anthology of poetry/prose. The focus is on the tragic elements of life and the style of the content is centered on the type of poetry written by Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Blake – namely the French Decadent/Symbolist art movement and the Fin de siècle (End of the Century).

Melpomene is therefore concentrated on works which have quite bleak ideas, but yet remain beautiful and haunting in their imagery. Overall the intention is to convey beauty in a context where it is not normally unexpected.

  • What was your motivation in writing this book?

Melpomene started as a personal interest project. Over the last couple of years I have been working with non-fiction and am mostly known for my essays on Perennial Philosophy. However, my earliest writing was in the format of poetry/prose and the first time I was published was as a poet in the ‘New Zealand Collection of Poetry and Prose 2002’. So with Melpomene I wanted to return to my literary roots.

  • Your book is segregated into four sections – Book of Magic – Book of Sorrow – Book of Fate – Book of Death.  Tell my readers about the significance of each of the four sections?

I selected these sections as being representational of the cycle of time itself, because the passage of time is the factor which causes the greatest element of tragedy in human existence. The first section – Magic – is symbolic of the creation of life. Also included in the Book of Magic are the poems/prose/fiction pieces with supernatural themes. As time passes, tragic experiences become inevitable (thus Sorrow is the second principle). Towards the end of the life cycle Fate plays its hand and individuals become aware of their inevitable end – which for all humans is the final section; the Book of Death. The tragic element in the Book of Fate is that one has an expectation of what lies ahead.

The Book of Death is of course the final end of the cycle of existence, which is why it is also the principle cause of tragedy.

  •  Which of the four sections mentioned above is most significant to you personally and why?

The Book of Death is personally the most significant for me, and my own writing ‘The Dance of Kali’ is included in this section. It is especially significant to me not so much because it is the end of the life cycle, but because of what it means symbolically. My piece is symbolist fiction, and it is inspired by a combination of Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’ and Rimbaud’s ‘A Season In Hell’. The symbolism I have employed in it is that Death represents a metaphysical and tautological truth which lies shrouded in esotericism, as one of the greatest mysteries of human experience – because it can only be normally experienced once. I have approached Death as being the mirror image of Life, and contrasted the symbolism of both with anthropomorphized concepts found in philosophy and art – Truth and the quest for Beauty. ‘The Dance of Kali’ does not symbolize physical death, but rather the progress of an initiate in the mysteries towards enlightenment and knowledge.

  • What do you hope the reader will gain from your book?

I would hope that they enjoy the book and discover more about the new and emerging writers. When I was putting the book together I was surprised by some of the talent that was submitted, and I am quite convinced that some of the writers will go on to achieve greater things. I would like to see the readers continue to explore their works and help support these aspiring authors.

  • How, by the way, did you go about selecting the poetry that is included in the collection?

A large amount of works were submitted and it was very difficult to choose which ones should be selected. The main criteria I used was the emotional response elicited by the writing, and whether or not genuine feeling was expressed in the text.

Out of the classic works which were selected, most of them were popular favorites. One of the lesser known pieces I included was William Blake’s Book of Thel. This I included because of its early use of Symbolist technique and its metaphysical approach to life. With the exception of this, all the poems by Baudelaire, Blake, Poe, Dickinson and Verlaine are the more well-known pieces.

  • A number of my readers are in the media, so as we conclude this interview – what two things would you want them to know about the uniqueness of your book?

The main thing I would like to reiterate with the uniqueness of this book is that because it is approached thematically, it provides not only the option to revisit classics by favorite authors, but also the opportunity to explore the works of  new writers who will surely go on to achieve fame in their own right one day. Melpomene provides a fascinating opportunity to read some early pieces by authors before they reach the pinnacle of their career.


Anne Bruce, Best Selling Author, recommends SECOND CHANCES – Chuck Gallagher’s new book on Transforming Adversity into Opportunity

November 6, 2010

Chuck Gallagher’s book, Second Chances, offers every reader hardhitting, no-nonsense life tools that each of us can manifest into the power of choice intelligence and its many benefits. This is not another, “Here’s my story and what I’ve learned” book. It’s much more. It’s a book that says “Take what I’ve learned and apply it in your life. You will transform your destiny to a higher level of consciousness through better choices and higher purpose!” It’s a call to action that doesn’t mince words.

Chuck brilliantly demonstrates in this book that life is full of grit that can become imbedded in our soul—just like the grain of sand that embeds itself within the oyster’s shell—the grit of life, its challenges, heartbreak, and pain, also can be transformed into a beautiful pearl within us all.  Second Chances guides the reader through Chuck’s personal story of triumph to finding his or her own rare, one-of-a-kind pearl within. Chuck’s story illustrates how imprisonment of the soul can take place behind bars or outside of them. It’s a choice we can make and then change the trajectory of life when we make it.

As Chuck says so eloquently in this book, “You may make a mistake, but you are not a mistake.” Not to read Second Chances, in my opinion, would be a mistake I strongly recommend avoiding.

Anne Bruce
International speaker and bestselling author of
Discover True North: A 4-Week Approach to Ignite Your Passion
and Activate Your Potential; Be Your Own Mentor;
How to Motivate Every Employee; Speak for A Living; and more.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Two of Chuck Gallagher’s new book described as inspirational and groundbreaking!


I was at a breaking point, feeling that I had no control and no value. In my current state, I was useless to my partners; in fact, I was a severe detriment. Everything my wife and I had worked for was about to vanish; only she didn’t know that. Furthermore, the career that I had worked so hard to craft was going to disintegrate in just a matter of hours. I had no control. I was powerless. The only rational action I could think of was ending my life.

Thank God for that major phobia of mine─fear of pain. The problem with suicide was that everything I thought of involved pain. I even considered jumping off the building, but the distance between the leap forward and the final impact caused me some serious worry. What would I be thinking during those few seconds? More importantly─“Good Lord, that would hurt!”

At 7:11 p.m. that evening, I grabbed the Yellow Pages and began calling clinics─anyone who I thought might help me. Frankly, I don’t recall what I was looking up. I do remember that there were no listings under “suicide”─in fact, that wasn’t a category. So I looked up physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, anything that started with a “P”. Honestly, I don’t remember who I did call─a proctologist, as far as I knew. The only thing that flooded my mind was I needed help.

“You’ve reached the office of Drs . . . Our office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Our office is closed. But if you’ll leave your name and number, we’ll be happy to call you first thing in the morning. Have a nice day!” Somehow, when you’re thinking of ending your life, “have a nice day” just doesn’t seem appropriate. And unfortunately, that’s the message I got over and over.

Calling became an obsession. It was the one thing I could do, one action that I felt in life I had some control over. “Just one more dial,” I would say to myself as I pressed the buttons on the phone, listening to the ring, hoping for an answer.

“Dr. Benson’s office.” That was the second time that day I was stunned. After getting recording after recording, I was somewhat unprepared for the possibility that someone would answer. Yet someone did.

“I need to talk with someone. I’m from out of town,” I somehow stammered.

“Actually, our office is closed. I was just walking out the door and thought this was my wife. Give us a call in the morni . . . ”

Before he could finish his sentence, I blurted, “I’m thinking of committing suicide!”

Silence─then the voice said, “Let’s talk.”

For the life of me, I can’t recall what was said between us as I lay on that lonely hotel bed. We could have talked for two minutes, twenty minutes, or two hours. I just don’t remember. What I do recall is that this total stranger, a man who I had never met, took the time to help me see past the grand illusion I had created and uncover the real me inside.

That night was the darkest night of my soul. That call that I shared didn’t make it better. It didn’t eliminate the consequences. It didn’t remove the pain. Rather, it gave me hope, hope that if I could make poor choices that would, most certainly, bring painful consequences, I also possessed the power to make positive choices with positive results.  His comment to me still resounds in my heart today. He said, “You have made a terrible mistake, but YOU are not a mistake! The choices you make moving forward will define your life forever and provide the foundation for your children’s lives. Think carefully as you make this choice!”

When he said to me, “YOU are not a mistake,” it hit me─while the past cannot be changed, the life we are given and the choices we make moving forward are the only things that count. I felt a burden lifted. I could not change the past; all I could do was face the consequences. It was within my power to make good choices, now and in the future, that would produce a fruitful outcome. That was my destiny!


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