Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Book Review: Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned To Live Free by Jennifer B. Monahan #reviews @spiritevol

July 31, 2019 1 Comments
Author: Jennifer B. Monahan
Publisher: Spirit Evolution
Pages: 234
Genre: Memoir


When Jennifer Monahan announced her intention to leave her well-established career as a business strategy consultant and give up her rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco to do a global walkabout for an undetermined amount of time, her friends and family thought she was insane. But Jennifer was excited about taking the time to truly explore and immerse herself in a variety of cultures, so their skepticism didn’t faze her; plus she was used to traveling alone as a woman with only one carry-on bag. What she didn’t count on was discovering all the excess baggage she had been carrying with her from her past.

WHERE TO? chronicles one year of Monahan’s life, primarily in the Guatemalan jungle, but also in Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. Living in a thatched-roof hut in a tiny village, Monahan connected with local shamans and participated in their ancient rituals, became fully integrated into the daily life of a local family, and ultimately faced down some of the greatest losses and long-buried pain she had experienced. WHERE TO? shares the six steps she took to heal and courageously create the life of her dreams and includes a workbook for readers to do the same.


I simply love memoirs, but Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned To Live Free by Jennifer B. Monahan is one of the best I have read in a long, long time. I think perhaps because Jennifer is a shaman; that's what really drew me towards reading this book.

It starts out with ditching her consulting job to find herself. In her words, "I had taken a big leap into the unknown by quitting my well-paying consulting job to focus all of my time on my shamanic and coaching business, Spirit Evolution, knowing that if I didn't at least try to live my life purpose work I would always regret it." Whoa. Let me tell you something - this woman has chutzpah. I was particularly fascinated in how she relates to animals - they are more like guides in her life giving her advice in different ways. I've never tried to do that. I consider myself to be quite spiritual - always looking for more to this life we live - but she opened up my eyes to the animal world more than I ever imagined.

Monahan's journeys take her to places you and I probably have never been, but they were part of her journey to get to know herself and to help deal with her pain and loss. Coming face to face with her 'baggage' wasn't probably in the cards so she thought, but that's what happened.

Reminds me of a trip my daughter took to Hawaii. Flew all by herself from Virginia to visit her first cousin. She had so much going on and confronted her own 'baggage' on the way and while there, but it opened up her eyes to what really was going on in her life that she was struggling with.

Sometimes we have to take a trip out of ourselves to find out what's inside our own selves. If it takes ditching the familiar and embarking into the unfamiliar, maybe that's what we all need - to get out of our comfort zone in order to learn more about ourselves.

Compelling and gut-wrenching...Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free is an informative and eye-opening read. I have to give it 5 stars!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Book Trailer Teaser: Dreams That Never Were by Greg Messel @gregmessel #booktrailer #bookteaser

July 03, 2019 0 Comments

Inside the Book

Author: Greg Messel
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing
Pages: 296
Genre: Historical Fiction
“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why? I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?” — Robert F. Kennedy

June 5, 1968:  Senator Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for President and victorious in the California primary, was mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan as he exited the ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  Innocent bystanders were also wounded, including young and idealistic Alex Hurley, a San Francisco reporter.

Swept up in the turbulent events of 1968, Alex is captivated both by the Presidential race and by Vietnam, where he had recently been a war correspondent.  His time in Vietnam had cost him his marriage and bitterly separated him from his own family.

Recovering from his wounds—physical and emotional—a new and surprising love restores his hope.
Part political thriller, part romance, Alex Hurley’s story in “Dreams That Never Were,” captures the turmoil of the day, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and America’s wrenching response to it. This novel is the latest historical fiction from award winning author Greg Messel.

Dreams That Never Were is available at: 
You can also watch the book teaser at :

Monday, July 1, 2019

Interview with Jennifer Chase, Author of Little Girls Sleeping @jchasenovelist

July 01, 2019 0 Comments

At last he stepped back and admired his handiwork, perspiring heavily through his shirt from the effort. Exhilaration filled his body, keeping his muscles flexed and his heart pumping hard. He leaned against the shovel, a smile forming on his lips as he waited for his pulse to return to normal, and marveled at the unmistakable outline of a freshly dug grave.” 

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

Welcome, Jennifer! Is your new crime thriller based on a true story and if not how did you come up with the idea?

Jennifer: Little Girls Sleeping is not based on a true story; however, there are definite true-like aspects to the novel. The main character, Katie Scott, comes home from Afghanistan where she had served two tours as an Army K9 handler. She had taken time off from her current position as a police patrol officer to serve her country. After arriving home, her uncle wanted to keep her busy until she figured out what she wanted to do and to settle back into civilian life. And her uncle just happens to be the sheriff, so Katie helps out with administrative duties at the department where she stumbles across a cold case of an eight year old girl—Chelsea Compton—who had disappeared without a trace four years earlier. This one case ultimately alters Katie’s path as it reminds her of a close childhood friend that disappeared from camp. This case sets her on a wild journey of investigation and an encounter with a killer that she’ll never forget.

Can you brief us on who the main characters are?

Jennifer: Detective Katie Scott is a determined investigator working for the local sheriff’s department trying to balance her previous military life with being back home again. Through some political interventions, her uncle, Sheriff Scott, manages to cut through some red tape and bring home her partner, Cisco, an eighty pound black German shepherd.
Katie’s homecoming wouldn’t be complete without running into her long-time childhood friend Chad Ferguson, a local firefighter. Sparks begin to fly between the two which in turn causes some interesting complications.
Sheriff Wayne Scott, the town sheriff and Katie’s uncle, runs the police department in town with integrity and honesty. When it becomes known that a serial killer is on the loose and preying upon local little girls, he must make some decisions that will forever change everything at the department and ultimately divides the town.
Deputy Sean McGaven is a deputy sheriff that has been assigned to work with Katie on the investigation. It proves to be a bumpy and often strained relationship between the two.
A clever and cunning killer identifies himself as someone who wants to protect young, innocent girls from the evils of the world. He would rather have those little girls sleep peacefully forever than be exposed to many of the unspeakable things happening in society. 

You have a background in forensics which I know must have come in handy! Can you tell us about that?

Jennifer: Yes, I love forensics and it does help with the stories I write whether it’s physical or psychological evidence. Many years back, I experienced a text book psychopath that moved in next door to me, threatening to kill me repeatedly, and let’s just say many of my experiences with him are just as scary as anything you’re going to read in a novel. This experience exposed me first hand to this type of person and from it I went back to school and obtained my degrees in forensics and criminology. I’ve never looked back or questioned if this was what I wanted to do. I enjoy learning about new forensic technologies whenever I can. With every book I write, I love to incorporate forensics and take readers on an adventure into the criminal mind. 

In your studies of the criminal mind, what did you find the most fascinating?

Jennifer:  As a criminologist, I find it fascinating what makes someone commit a specific crime while someone else, thinking about committing the same crime, doesn’t take that extra step into criminality. There are definite lines crossed as well as the lack of impulse control. Although not always the case, I find it most interesting when someone who is defined as a serial killer can live a “normal” life while searching, abducting, and killing victims. Many researchers and detectives try to find the “links” to figure out what makes a serial killer tick, when in fact, there are so many aspects, but in the end every case needs to be sorted through individually. There are no shortcuts or a recipe for a serial killer—each case is unique.    

While writing your book, did you find yourself thinking about it during off times when you weren’t writing?

Jennifer: Absolutely! Writing serial killer thrillers can be intense, so I try to balance my day with healthy breaks. No matter how hard I try to take that relaxing walk at the beach I find my mind wandering back to the book. Maybe I’m thinking about the ending or tweaking a scene. Whatever it may be, when I’m in the middle of writing a book, it’s always on my mind.

What is next for you, Jennifer?

Jennifer: Little Girls Sleeping is the first book in the Detective Katie Scott series. There are two more books scheduled at this point. I’ve just finished the second installment and I’m outlining the third. I’m very excited! It has been loads of fun spending time with this character and all her adventures.
I do have two other series, the Emily Stone Thrillers and Chip Palmer Forensic Mysteries I’m currently outlining more books to come.

Inside the Book

Little Girls Sleeping final
Title: Little Girls Sleeping: An Absolutely Gripping Crime Thriller (Detective Katie Scott Book 1)
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 377
Genre: Thriller/Crime


He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?

Compulsive and gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Katie Scott’s first case will have you on the edge of your seat and gasping with shock.

Readers love Jennifer Chase!

‘WHAT A FANTASTIC READ! OMG! I just finished reading this book! It was an absolute thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read!… I couldn’t believe who the serial killer was; I thought I knew but was surprised! I could not put it down… BRAVO JENNIFER!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘GREAT!!! Thoroughly enjoyed!!! Jennifer Chase has become one of my favorite crime thriller authors. She totally captures you from beginning to end!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Fantastic read! The author kept me hooked from the first page till the last. I truly thought I knew the serial killer… Boy was I wrong. This is a fantastic read, it kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire time. Well done!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow!… Such a gripping tale… I couldn’t stop reading and found myself daydreaming about it while I was supposed to be working… A gripping thriller with multiple twists and turns. A must read!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Great book. I really liked it! Would like reading more of her books! This book keeps you involved and unable to put it down!! Great!!!!!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Action-packed… An adrenaline-packed book from start to finish. ’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Wow… This book will take you for a ride. Have you soaked right in till the end! Absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read another from this author!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘This is one of the best books I have read in a while.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars 

‘From beginning to end this is a non-stop thriller.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Real page turner. I read this book in two hours. I could not put it down. I never guessed who the killer was until he was revealed. Mind blowing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘Captivating from beginning to the last page. A “who did it” crime mystery that keeps you guessing, and then changing your mind!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

‘I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. I could not put this book down. A real page turner full of suspense!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars



A Conversation with Patrick Stull, Author of Encounters #interview #art #photography

July 01, 2019 0 Comments

American artist Patrick Stull has spent the last eighteen years mostly creating imagery about the lives of women. He searches for what lies beneath the surface of his subjects, empowering each one he encounters. He has recently ventured into the realm of surrealism, creating powerful imagery that reflects on our humanity while dealing with the meaning and power of art. 

His latest book is the fine art photography book, Encounters.

Visit his website at

Book Description:

With photography at its base, Stull offers a nuanced explication of his encounters to allow the viewer an opportunity to form a relationship with his art. While looking within ourselves, exploring our own feelings, he hopes that he will inspire greater humaneness in response to his art.

ENCOUNTERS is the second in a series of six large-format books in which artist, photographer and author, Patrick Stull explores a wide range of experiences. Using light and the physical body, the written word and his artistry he creates imagery that examines aspects of the lives of women.

Compiled over the last 18 years, the images in ENCOUNTERS, Stull says, are meant to “inspire and challenge the observer while always empowering the subject.”

Stull brings a powerful sense of the surreal and the spiritual to his work as he plots a course along the many paths of the human experience. His imagery runs from the ghostly and ephemeral to the flowing and fiery.

As much as he concentrates on the human form, Stull never forgets to focus on the humanity of his subjects. His choice of the coffee-table style book format draws the viewer into an experience both intimate and universal.
Stull’s first book in his series, titled EVOLVE, was published in 2006. A third book, titled HIDDEN DIMENSIONS, is completed and awaiting publication. Future titles in the series include DHARMA, BEING DIFFERENT, and YOGA, A HEALING MOMENT.
Stull hopes that his readers come away from the book with “a love for art and a respect for the female who gives us life and challenges us to be better human beings.

First, I have to say, this is a huge book! Women seem to play an important role in your photography. What is it about women that makes your photography portraying them so unique?

Patrick: Women allow me into their lives in the most intimate, artistic ways. Then I use light, the camera and other elements to present their bodies and talents, while sharing their stories.

I haphazardly fell into photographing women, working with them and explicating their
lives and bodies with the camera. Photographers dedicate their lives to many different areas of interest. I have spent almost two decades working with women, in all stages of life and in many circumstances. Women are the most amazing and fascinating subjects. They inspire me to continue my work. If they trust you, they allow you to enter their worlds of fashion, their moments of creating new life, their pain of being raped, the challenges of being a female dancer or performer and the misogyny to which they are subjected.

Of all your photography, what would you say is your very favorite?

Patrick: This is a challenging question. It’s like asking me to choose between my children.

My portrait work is the most exciting thing for me to create. A portrait is more intimate than photographing any other part of the body. Portraits allow me the privilege to peer into a woman’s soul. She exposes herself in a way that’s most intense. The face, the eyes, skin and hair tell all. If I had to choose the one image that has penetrated my artistic being, it would be the family portrait of three females, together. The image is a side perspective of mother, daughter and granddaughter.

The power of the image is that of presenting the passage of time, allowing one to connect to the process of life. The viewer journeys from youth to the aging matriarch. Everyone that views the image has different reactions. Some see it as confrontational, others love its power as I do. No matter what, the image penetrates my being and has a disruptive humanistic message that connects me to women, my nature and my ultimate purpose, that of discovery.

And what a stunning cover. Why did you choose this particular photo?

Patrick: The cover of a book is one of the most difficult things to decide upon. I think I had at least ten of them during the process. I wanted something that was mysterious like a woman’s personality.

Have you always had an eye for beauty through the lens of a camera?

Patrick: I think I was born with an interest in visual composition. My relationship to the camera began in my late teens. As long as I can remember, I was fascinated and intrigued by its magic and power. Needless to say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That said, my focus is to present something captivating and it is up to the audience to determine “beauty”.

What message are you trying to convey with your photography that you hope people will ‘get’?

Patrick: I would like the viewers to reflect on their humanity, the power of art and a woman’s uniqueness. Photography stops time, unveils our natures and most of all offers a voyeuristic relationship to the world. Encounters, as with any art, is about the viewer. It is what they bring to the viewing experience as their eye’s transverse the images. The reality and power of the images, hinge on how emotionally they impact the viewer’s psyche. My wish is that the viewer acquires a deeper appreciation and respect for their own humanity, their bodies and this amazing creature we call female.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

I created Encounters to share my love of photography, the written word and the female form. The book is a labor of love – a letter to all from which I hope to inspire motivation toward a greater sense of our humanity – in thought and in our daily actions toward one and other. With the greatest respect, please enjoy.

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