Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Germany Kent, Author of You Are What You Tweet

twitter book, how to tweet, you are what you tweet, germany kent

Today we are interviewing author and social media expert Germany Kent about her new book, You Are What You Tweet | Harness the Power of Twitter to Create a Happier, Healthier Life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Germany Kent is a Best-Selling Author, former award-winning university administrator and corporate executive. Currently a personal development coach, and motivational speaker. The native Mississippian has lived in 8 states, traveled extensively and believes everyone has a divine purpose in life and should dream more than others think is practical.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

You Are What You Tweet is written to offer a  source of wisdom and support to people interested in increasing their online authority.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

You Are What You Tweet will be most appreciated by those looking to expand their social media presence on their journey to self-discovery.
germany kent, social media expert, author of twitter book
Social media expert and author Germany Kent.
What inspired you to write a book that helps people become Twitter-savvy?
So many people have asked me how to get started on Twitter and how to build an audience, etc. I thought it might be helpful to put together all of the information that I’ve shared and everything that I’ve learned with hopes that it might help many more people discover their Twitter power.

When did you first get interested in Twitter?

I became interested in Twitter in 2012 and my fascination with Twitter has grown over the years. I see Twitter as a wonderful communication tool that allows you to connect with all types of people all around the world.

What are the strengths of Twitter compared to other social media platforms?

In my opinion it is easier to connect with people on Twitter who are very relevant to your message. Secondly, Twitter limits your conversation to 140 characters with each Tweet, which allows you to keep Tweets short and sweet and also allows users to stay focused with a target message for each post.

What is one of the biggest challenges for people starting out with Twitter?

The biggest challenge most people face when starting out on Twitter is a lack of direction. Twitter can be overwhelming at first, but for those who are willing to implement a few tips and tactics, such as those found in You Are What You Tweet, they will soon find Twitter very resourceful and rewarding.

How important is it to use hashtags when tweeting?

Using hashtags on Twitter is extremely important for your Tweets to be found by others. Utilizing hashtags on Twitter is like the equivalent of the coast guard finding your small boat in the middle of the ocean; they allow your voice to be heard and your messages to be found. 

How do you think reading You Are What You Tweet will impact people?
Those individuals who desire to become social media savvy will benefit greatly from this Tweet Book. The key to being influential on social media is sharing good content and having a real connection with others. Reading and understanding the principles in You Are What You Tweet will equip readers with effective tools and daily habits for a positive social media experience.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

Next up, I plan to tackle dating with a few tips and tricks.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I threw my total self into writing You Are What You Tweet. For 9 months, I have totally focused on the book, blocking out instagram, facebook, cell phone noise, etc. Feels like I’ve carried a baby to full term with this project. I’m so happy that others are getting to experience this labor of love that I’ve poured my heart into.

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Raqee S. Najmuldeen, Author of Entries in: Art and Design

art & design, raqee s. najmuldeen, design vs redesign
Today we are interviewing Raqee S. Najmuldeen, author of Entries in: Art and Design.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm an Iraqi lecturer teaching Graphic Design at Faculty of Fine Arts in University of Baghdad. In addition, I'm photographer and image maker. As a university lecturer, I am at the peak of academic excellence as I have a responsibility of modeling and bringing up tomorrow’s esteemed professionals.

Did you always know you wanted to get your PhD?
Since I was studying M.A in Baghdad, the idea of completing my graduate studies overseas was running at my mind, first to improve my English language and second to develop research skills. I was able to publish a paper in an international journal, but this was when I was studying in Malaysia.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
To improve a good understanding and to update some of mysterious concepts and terminology of Fine Arts, Design and Photography.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The book directed toward Art and Design students, researchers and lecturers in the Arabic world; the book covers a lot of English literature I encountered during my studies at University Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia. 

What inspired you to write a book about Art and Design philosophy?
What inspired me is the need for such topics, particularly what was written in the Arabic language is a bit rare compared to what was written in English. In addition, what was written in Arabicwas  mostly not based on Art and Design literature. In the beginning, the book was my website blog, and then I decided to embed all the essays into a hardcopy book. 

How did you select which topics to cover in your book?

I chose topics that have not been covered by authors previously and topics that have problematic idiomatic. Some of the topics are: creation, mind mapping, magical realism, design vs redesign, design vs art, teaching design criticism, environmental art, green design, research in design, ethics of design, creative integrity, jealousy in art and design.

Your book is the first book by a University of Baghdad lecturer to be printed in the United States and be published and distributed by Amazon. What made you decide to share your book to audiences in the United States?
Let's talk first about Arabic presses and publisher houses. There is no law that protects Arabic printed text as it is available in English text; there are no rights of the authors' the publishing house gives around 50 hardcopies of the book to the author for free and take all the profits from the book sale. The problem is that most authors are not looking for profit but are looking for only personal fame and publicity rather. Second thing is that the printing with US presses is really different from what is in the Arab presses; the US presses use the latest printing technology available, so an author may find quality in paper, colors, and binding. I decided to share my book on Amazon not only to audiences in US but to the whole world, the Arabic intellectual must get used to Amazon either as a reader to purchase books and/or as a writer to share his/her thoughts to audiences.

Did you face any issues getting your work printed with an English printing press since your book is in Arabic?
I did since the English printing press, publishing and marketing are set only for Latin books and do not support non-English books, such as Arabic language books, which read from right to left. There were many issues, such as Arabic fonts, margins, binding and book cover, how to make a book that can be read from right to left. It was a challenge. But as I'm a graphic designer who is equipped with a lot of experience, I managed to handle those issues successfully, thank Goodness. 

The book cover features three unique images. What can you tell us about these images? Why did you select these images?
Most of book covers designers use free heavily used images and common windows fonts which are the two big mistakes. In my cover, I meant to use images that are not common in Google images. Each image represents a different concept, one refers to Graphic Design and Fine Arts, second refers to Industrial Design while the third refers to Painting.

raqee s. najmuldeen, graphic design, mind mapping, design vs redesign
Author Raqee S. Najmuldeen

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
I think the reader will be influenced from the third page of the book, which initiated the words of the sarcastic writer Colin Wright, whom distinguishes Art from Design by saying the difference between them is like the difference between masturbation and sex! The book is biased slightly toward Design, giving it a bigger role. Considering Art is a part of Design and Design makes use of Art, this idea will shock the reader like a cold shower because most scholars believe that art is the highest concept rather than design, but this book contradicts this assumption and thus will have an impact on the reader.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

In fact, I'm thinking to write an English book about the relationship among Graphic Design, Advertising and Photography.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I invite all specialized readers to read my book as they will find comprehensive information and general information about Art and Design as well as get exposed to ideas that are absent in other literature. The book will not allow the reader to be bored.

More Information 

Buy the book on Amazon 

Audrey Burke-Moore, Author of The Choice: Weighted Letters

the choice, weighted letters, audrey burke-moore
Today we are interviewing Audrey Burke-Moore, author of the adult fiction novel The Choice: Weighted Letters.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Writing is a very beautiful talent, and I am honored to have the passion of the craft. I am an avid poetry writer as well and I try to include a bit of creative arts such as poetry or songs that are written for the book in every book I write.

Describe the plot of The Choice: Weighted Letters in a few sentences.

Keith, Chery, Austyn and Kayla of The Choice face what could be a life altering situation. Both stories pose the question to the reader “What would you do if?”. Experience the love felt as children grow into a love that could kill as adults. Take a journey with fate and chance to see which one wins.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
The reader that loves a true love story with a twist. The reader can place themselves in every character’s position to see how they would react if placed in their shoes.

What inspired you to write stories about the power of love?
I feel love is the most powerful element we have in life. Love gives you an often indescribable feeling. I love it love wins, but sometimes in life, it doesn’t.

Tell us about the relationship between Cheryl and Keith.
Keith and Cheryl met as children, but they had a heavy gravitational pull towards each other. You can only deny your feelings for someone for a short forever until the feelings you’re hiding resurfaces.

Did you draw upon your own relationship experience when writing your book?

Sometimes, but I like to pick little pieces from my past and mix it with the feelings felt in my present to create a story.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

One of my favorite authors was Maya Angelou. I loved her books and her poetry.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
I believe I have grown in my writing quite a bit since first publishing my work.

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?

Yes. I am from the south and most of my characters are based in or surround the south. I have been experimenting with creating characters from all parts of the US and even including some from other countries.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
Over the next ten years, I would love to have about nine or ten books written under the Choice Series. I love to write and create stories. I also have a passion to help kids find their creative side especially when it comes down to bullying at schools and on social media.

Is there any part of writing you don't like?
I love the whole adventure writing can take you on.

Have you ever had writer's block?
Yes! Mostly when I am excessively tired.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper?

I use a computer because it is easiest for me when I edit and submit my manuscript to my publisher.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I am currently writing my next Choice Series book called the Transient: Phobias.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I love conversing with the readers. At times, I will leave a story open at the end to allow the reader to suggest a new beginning to my end (a continuation of the story just read). That means, the readers would predict what should happen next.

An excerpt from The Choice: Weighted Letters:
“What’s wrong Keith?” she asked. I was at a loss for words, in disbelief at the way things were playing out. I thought to myself, she is leaving for college tomorrow and she decides to do this now! I wanted to grab her and tell her how much I…I. “Keith, kiss me” she said. “Cheryl, why…are you playing with me?” She came close to me, and we stood face to face, she told me, that after all these years, that if I didn’t have feelings for her, then she would graciously walk away. “Seven years Cheryl, for seven years I have watched you grow from that frumpy little girl, to this beautiful woman that stands in front of me. You are a constant thought in my mind, but I am not willing to risk this friendship. It takes a strong person to resist someone he loves.” “Keith, you love me?” asked Cheryl. I looked at her and finally admitted my true feelings for her.
More Information
Check out the book's website
Buy the book on Kindle
Buy the book in paperback

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sir Winston Rutherford Yates, Author of The Haunting Of Debishire Manor‭

the haunting of debishire manor, haunting book, murder mystery book, knight author
Today we are interviewing Sir Winston Rutherford Yates, author of The Haunting Of Debishire Manor, a murder, mystery story with a supernatural theme.

Book Blurb

Everyone is suspect after Sloan found his way home one dark and stormy night, for his grandfathers ninetieth birthday, only to find that he had been murdered by somebody in the manor. His death brings about a series of hauntings exposing deep dark family secrets, and leading Sloan into a love triangle between the woman he loves, and the woman that loves him. A strange caretaker, a massive treasure, a supernatural struggle between good and evil, and the discovery that someone is buried alive in the family graveyard, all add up to a story full of humor, suspense, and terror. This book will take you on a series of turns and twists, while the surprise ending will send chills up and down your spine. Read this book at your own risk, but hurry, for with every second you take, someone is gasping for air beneath a tombstone in the family plot, of Debishire Manor.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born in a comparatively small setting along with an older sister and a younger brother.‭ My‬ father passed at an early age while my mother passed later in life.

I was adopted twice,‭ ‬once by a near relative,‭ ‬who passed a year later,‭ a‬nd the second time by Lady Yates of Monte Vista.

Growing up we never had as much as the other kids about the shire,‭ ‬but we did have adventure to keep us busy.‭ ‬And busy we were‭!

I wrote this book in the midst of my many adventures, one of which caused me a severe chest wound when during the rescue of two children,‭ ‬an undetermined beast subdued me and attempted to cut out my heart with its razor sharp teeth.‭

During my recovery I was to be Knighted on September‭ ‬30th,‭ ‬in the year of our Lord‭ ‬2005,‭ ‬therewith the title,‭ ‬Sir Winston Rutherford Yates‭ ‬.

Describe‭ ‬The Haunting of Debishire Manor‭‬ in a few sentences.
It is a story about a dysfunctional family living in a manor high atop a hill, that get caught up in the murder of their grandfather. His death brought about a series of haunts and uncovers a family secret that could destroy them all.

Who do you think would most appreciate‭ this book?
I think it would be appreciated by young to middle aged readers.

What inspired you to write a story about a manor with a mysterious,‭ ‬murderous history‭?
‭ I grew up in a haunted house and wanted to tell a little about what I went through in a way that would interest the reader.

Who was your favorite character to write in‭ ‬The Haunting of Derbishire Manor‭?
Sloan was the character that most suited myself and I put myself into him more, but Nicole was hands down my most favorite character to bring to life.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process for‭ ‬The Haunting of Debishare Manor,‭‬ from the initial idea to the finished book‭?
Each book I feel it is important to have an idea where I want to go with my story, but as I create my characters, they take on a life of their own and sometimes that life guides where the story goes. The love relationship of Sloan and Nicole, was one of those such cases. I had not intended for this to have happened, and suddenly, their it was, and they fell in love.

In addition to writing fiction,‭ ‬you also write non-fiction.‭ ‬Can you tell us a bit about your non-fiction works‭?
‭ One of my non-fiction books is titled, How to get out of debt, the Christian experience, this book is my personal experience with how God brought me out from under a hundred and fifty-thousand dollars of debt in a very short time, and brought me to being totally debt free for the first time in my life.

Do you have a different process for writing‭ ‬non-fiction compared to writing fiction‭?
‭Non-fiction is so much easier to write, especially if it is about something you have lived through, and it takes less creative energy. I don’t really get into non-fiction as deep as fiction, when I write, it’s a totally different animal.

How long have you been writing‭?
‭I have been writing for about twenty-five years or so.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started‭?
‭I think I’ve learned to give my characters stronger personalities, and to add more detail to my characters world.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style‭?
‭Thus far, Steven King has had the most influence upon my writing,

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years‭?
‭ I have several more projects for the future and I hope to see one of my books translated into a major motion picture someday.

Writing can be a difficult,‭ ‬time-consuming pursuit.‭ ‬What motivates you write so prolifically‭?
‭I’m not sure, but sometimes I think you just have to express yourself, and this is my way of doing that. Besides, it’s a real joy.

What do you have in mind for your next project‭?
‭I am trying to get my children’s books into print, and maybe finish up the series.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book‭?
‭Yes, I think you can write a perfectly good story without the use of profanity, so I do, and I hope you will enjoy my books. Thank you.

Sir Winston Rutherford Yates Bibliography
The Haunting Of Debishire Manor
The Men and Machines Of World War II
Don't be afraid of the dark
How To Get Out Of Debt: The Christian Experience
Helpful Tips On How To Write

Monday, April 27, 2015

Dan Alatorre, Author of Savvy Stories

savvy stories, dan alatorre, parenting book, parenting humor, fatherhood book

Today we are interviewing Dan Alatorre, author of "Savvy Stories: Funny Things I Learned From My Daughter."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a Best-Selling author and humorist; my brother points out that a humorist is a writer who’s not funny enough to call themselves a comedian. Gotta love family. I turned my sights on fatherhood in “Savvy Stories,” and the results were hilarious. I was just a normal guy until I became a first-time dad at the age of 47 - when most of my friends were becoming grandparents or sending their kids off to college! Some will argue that I was never a normal guy, but nobody will argue that the addition of a bouncing baby girl changed my life. My comedic debut book "Savvy Stories" tells humorous tales about a loving dad who sees the magic in children, and isn't a bumbling stooge about changing diapers like some TV sitcom. I followed up the success of "Savvy Stories" with the even better sequel "The TERRIBLE Two's," and my inspirational book "The Long Cutie," which deals with life affirming stories about people with a rare heart condition.

I also write short stories about parenting and family humor that appeal to everyone. My unique and hilarious short stories include “The Short Years,” “Night of The Colonoscopy,” and “A Quick Trip To BuyMart.” 

My success has been widespread and varied. I became a bestselling author (it was a slow sales week at Amazon) and I have achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies (can you believe that?). But I have always been a writer.

I wrote cartoons as a kid, created a newspaper at my grade school, was co-editor of my high school newspaper… I had a desire to tell unique stories in an amusing way. I’m glad my smart aleck sense of humor has found a productive outlet. I’m sure my sarcastic mouth could have just as easily gotten me killed and buried in a shallow grave.

Currently in the works are “FOURthcoming,” the conclusion to the Savvy Stories series, “Chase Me Until I Catch You,” a nonfiction romance short story, and “The Adventures Of Pinchy Pinchy Crab And Ramon D’Escargot,” a children’s novel, and others.

I live in the Tampa area with their dog and cat, and an occasional armadillo (“but we’re working on evicting the @#$% armadillo!”)

Describe your book in a few sentences.
“Savvy Stories” is a heartwarming comedy about a 47 year old man who discovers that he is about to become a father for the first time, and after getting over the shock of having a baby in the house, learns to see life through the eyes of a child. He comes to appreciate and enjoy the many hilarious things that all kids say and do, and creates a lifelong daddy-daughter bond that every parent can appreciate, and that every dad of a daughter should strive for. After all, men were little boys once; we know that territory. Having a little girl is uncharted water. We feel sure we’ll screw her up.

Who do you think would appreciate your book?
I’m surprised anybody does. Oops, did I say that out loud? I meant to say everybody does! This is a book that men and women both enjoy. The parents in the story are real, not idealized; they do real things like shop at Publix and Target, and they do a lot of stuff that we can all look back on and laugh about. Like when the kid discovers a Sharpie marker and writes all over the cabinets. Most of us have kids or were kids once, so we know there is a lot to laugh about. Women have said they appreciated the viewpoint about babies from a dad, and men have said the book was like I was writing about them. Pretty much everybody agrees it’s funny, even people who haven’t had kids. And more than a few have given it as a baby shower gift. When’s this interview coming out? It makes a great Mother’s Day gift, too! And Father’s Day!

Was there an epiphany that revealed you had to write a book about your fatherhood experience? Or did you gradually come around to the idea of writing your book?
There were two.
First, that kids are flat-out freaking hilarious if you are paying attention. Not just my kid, but every kid. A hundred times a day there are amazing moments that come and go so fast - and we’re too busy to take note or to remember it later. I just happened to write some of it down.

Second, they grow up fast. I was 47 when Savvy came along. We had infertility problems so we were especially appreciative to be having a baby at all, but also because I was older I had a different vantage point than most dads at age 22 or 25. My father and my brothers came to me and said, “We missed it, we were working. Take time to savor every moment because if you blink twice you’ll be walking her down the aisle.” Strangers would come up to us in grocery store after a particularly grueling night – I’m sure our weary expressions said it all - and they would tell us, “Enjoy these moments, even the difficult ones.” It sunk in. So I knew that it all happens fast. It doesn’t seem like it when you’re up at 3am feeding a cranky kid who won’t go back to sleep.

But we made that our time. We found ways to make it fun and special, and to realize that one day she’d be off to college and I’d wish I could have another moment with her like this, just me and her, at 3am playing a game of peek a boo. On that day, I’d wish I had this day back. So I learned to love those times. I could never have figured that out when I was twenty five.

As I posted about this stuff on Facebook, friends were constantly telling me it was hilarious and that I should write a book. I resisted, but at some point you have to trust the people in your life who have your best interests at heart. So I wrote a book - and it became a bestseller.

How do you think the perspective of fatherhood that you share in your book is different from other portrayals in the media?
Most dads on TV are bumbling stooges. Mine wasn’t; was yours? Still, it’s rare to see a man step up and say “I can be a great father and learn about gymnastics with my daughter and take her to dance lessons because I love her.” I can make time to blow bubbles on the back porch. It doesn’t cause your man card to be revoked. 

Also, in the book you see some very real, very personal moments. The first week of Savvy’s life was the longest week of ours. We spent five days in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) worrying that our newborn daughter might die. It was touch and go for a while, and it was extremely difficult to write about. Chapter two gets a lot of people crying. But because we put that honesty out there, readers said “Okay, I can trust this guy.” Then they were better able to laugh with us, too.

Do you think your experience of being a father is different, having had your first child at 47, than it would have been if you’d had your first child at a younger age?
There is no doubt. I have a nephew whose son is a year older than my daughter. Our worlds are just so completely different. He’s a good guy and a good dad, but it’s a different perspective from what I’m looking at now that I’m fifty. And it should be. He’s building a career, I’m 20+ years into mine and established. He and his friends still party and go out to bars. My wife and I have friends over to the house and are lucky to stay up past 11pm. Okay 10:30.

Humor is a large part of your book. Has humor always been a part of your life or did it develop as you got older?

I came from a large family – seven kids – and I was next to youngest. So to get noticed, you had to stand out a little. Growing up, I had a sibling who was an athlete, another who was a scholar, another who was a musician; I was the smart aleck, and it got positive attention if it was funny. So I always appreciated that and did a lot to get that recognition, even at school. I wasn’t a class clown, because my parents were very strict and because nuns in general have no sense of humor. I mean zero, zip, nada. I wasted some of my best stuff on those old hags! Look at these knuckles - those are ruler marks, and they’re still visible all these years later. But I could usually get out of trouble at home if I could get my mom laughing. That’s a huge ace up your sleeve as a kid.

How would you describe your writing style? Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
I have what I’d call a lazy writing style. (My author friends would say there’s nothing lazy about me, that I’ll bang out 3000 words in a day or write 110,000 words over seven weeks, but that’s different.) I write most of my stores the way people talk, complete with an occasional run-on sentences and stuff that seems to go around in a few circles before making its point. In a comedy, you can do that. Readers get it, that’s part of the joke, the way Mark Twain used to ramble on, or Bill Cosby in his old LP recordings. There’s some deeper satisfaction to not requiring a joke every 90 seconds like a sitcom and just letting a laugh build – and I have no grudge against sitcoms; done well, they’re great entertainment. In my dramatic stories, my style is very different; it’s tighter, but my characters still talk the way normal people talk. They argue, they are sarcastic with each other, they joke around. I usually end up with one outrageous minor character in each book that people just rave about. We all have that one friend who says and does things that are a riot. A character like that is the salt in the soup: you want just enough to bring everything to life.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
If you get a writer to be honest – and that’s hard to do because they are shy, sneaky types – but under cross examination they’ll admit they’re like the kid who wants to be a firefighter and a police officer and an astronaut. Writers have a dozen ideas they’re working on. I have the final book in the Savvy Stories series written, called “FOURTHcoming;” a sci-fi thriller “The Navigators,” and a paranormal mystery “An Angel On Her Shoulder.” Those are finished, they’re just being edited and maybe need a few final tweaks. I have Dr. Seuss-like kid’s book written called “Stinky Toe” and we are looking at illustrators for that.

In process I have a romantic comedy called “Poggibonsi” about a man who has a midlife crisis while on a business trip to Italy - and it’s a scream. Some of my funniest characters are in that story. It’ll be finished in about two months, maybe less. Upcoming we have “The Water Castle,” a fantasy about a young lady who discovers a portal that takes her back in time; there is a sequel to “The Navigators,” a mystery thriller called “The Kill Club,” a romance called “Chase Me Until I Catch You,” and maybe most importantly, a book series for authors that shows how to market a book. Those are all in various stages of being written. Like I said, a firefighter and a police officer and an astronaut… It’s a sickness.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I’d like writers to know that my first bestseller was a cookbook, so remember to be open to trying new things. From that experience I learned things about marketing a book that benefitted me greatly and, combined with my sales management experience with Fortune 500 companies, I was able to launch a string of bestsellers. (My marketing book will show new authors some of the things they need to do to be successful.) I’m proud to say I’ve helped several authors take their books from ideas to reality. One friend released her book in February and has already sold over 2000 copies and has 30+ positive reviews. It’s a great book, and I played a small role in helping it get to many people who have enjoyed it and who are now fans. 

I’d like readers to know that I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to share my stories with so many people around the world who have enjoyed them. One friend says that if you read a few paragraphs of Dan’s work, you’ll read the whole book. I write stories that anyone can enjoy, and I like hearing from fans. It is deeply moving to read a letter from Spain or somewhere that says they read my book and fell in love with my daughter. Or that a book I wrote changed their life. It is amazing to be on the receiving end of that, and I will work hard to continue to earn it each and every day.  

An excerpt from "Savvy Stories":
The other family sees me piling the prepared meals into my cart, and has obviously noticed that I’m getting food that’s below my kid’s eating age. That is, I’m buying stuff for a 9 month old – mostly pureed – instead of the stuff with big chunks.  
“Excuse me,” asks the woman, her man behind her and the kid in the shopping cart. “Can I ask you a question?”  
“Sure,” I reply, smiling. Usually I would have ignored them because I’m not there to make friends or defend my purchase selections – which I agree is rude and unsocial; but I have experienced the Publix Meltdown twice by now and I need to be able to buy groceries somewhere. I can’t afford to scratch Target off my list, too.  
But for some reason, I am feeling friendly and confident today, so I turn to engage these nice folks in conversation.  
“Well,” she begins, “I notice you are buying foods for a child younger than this one…” She gestures to Savvy, who is enjoying playing with the stuff I’ve thrown in the cart. “May I ask you why?”  
She was about as polite as a person could be while questioning your nutritional decisions for your kid, but what she was really doing was asking why I’m buying stuff that’s mostly pureed for a kid who has teeth.  
“Yeah, I’m getting these partly because I’m lazy and partly because she likes them… she can eat them quickly and easily without spitting up; unlike the chunkier stuff, but…”  
Here comes the payoff.  
“She’s getting all the right nutrients and I figure it’s not going to affect what college she goes to.”  
The dad is doing an end zone dance behind his wife, smiling from ear to ear; the mom is displaying a look of passive acceptance. I suppose this is what they had been discussing – arguing, for those who’ve been married a while – and he agreed with me, which made it 2 to 1, and since she was outnumbered, she agreed to get the stuff that their kid could actually eat.

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon
Visit Dan Alatorre's Author Page

Marian Miller, Author of Light on Water

light on water, marian miller
Today we are interviewing Marian Miller, author of the young adult romance novel Light on Water | A Visionary Novel for Young Adults.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Marian Miller has a doctorate in psychology, and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She has more than 25 years experience in the mental health field, many of those years spent working with children and adolescents. Vulnerable children in particular, have always held a special place in her heart. She has found her healing work with young people inspiring – particularly their resilience, courage, and hope for the future, captured in Light on Water.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences. 
Sequestered since birth, Evie is a black girl whose ability to heal others has been carefully concealed. When her gifts are unintentionally discovered, her life spirals out of control.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Young people 14-24, the spiritually minded; those interested in metaphysics, single mothers, multicultural families.

What inspired you to write a story that features a girl who can heal people with her touch?
To find a way to convey hope and healing, to encourage young people to embrace all aspects themselves and to express and cultivate their talents.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Evie.
Evalyn is compassionate and sensitive—particularly to others in pain. She is creative,  imaginative, and mischievous, and friendly.  She loves ketchup, ballet, and her mother—not necessarily in that order.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Ben—the extremely wealthy, but lonely boy with mental illness, later healed by Evie. 

As a young adult novel, many of your readers will be adolescents. What issues does your book touch on that adolescents can relate to?
School, teachers, food, clothes, laughter and jokes, sports, video games, music. Tumultuous and chaotic emotions, teen romantic relationships filled with jealously, confusion,  angst and passion.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
A combination of James Redfield, Stephanie Myers, Octavia Butler.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
To be able to write everyday, full time! To inspire others, to sell a successful book series. 

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Book 2 – Wind in Fire.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
This novel takes the reader on a thrilling, exciting adventure with characters you’ll enjoy getting to know. The story will leave you breathless, yet filled with hope.

An excerpt from Light on Water:
The moonless night is filled with sinuously moving shadows. The agonized panting of the couple running through the wooded undergrowth reverberates through the stillness. In the distance, the agitated sound of barking hounds. Exhausted, she slows. He knows she is near the limit of her endurance.
“Please,” she gasps, struggling for breath. “Go on without me. I’m only slowing you down."
Ignoring her pleas, he half drags, half carries her, hoping he has enough strength left for both of them. They can’t stop now—to do so would mean capture and, if not physical death, it would mean death of life as they know it. They are so very close to freedom.
He drops the pack from his shoulders, rifles through it for money and passports, which he stuffs into his jacket pockets. He reaches deep into the bottom of the pack searching for the key. The cool metal slips through his fingers into the thick undergrowth. Swearing, he drops to his knees, frantically searching. Unhampered by darkness, she spots it easily, hands it to him.
The barking of the hounds is much louder now. The trackers are closer. Despite the darkness, through the periphery of the trees she can see the lake clearly. “We’re almost there,” she murmurs.
Soon they hear the low, rhythmic sound of lapping water. In the darkness, the endless black ink of the lake spreads out towards an unseen shore. The barking fades, as do the other night sounds. He steps to the edge of the water, feels it flow over his feet, beckoning, calming, welcoming. He knew this moment would come.
Everything he has learned, believed and hoped for is riding on this inevitable moment. She turns toward him, hesitantly, an unspoken question on her lips. Although he can’t see the expression in her eyes, he knows they are filled with fear. She can’t swim.       He lifts her into his arms, feels her relax. He presses his lips to her forehead. If his life should end with hers, so be it. After all, the best things in his life began with her. 
Inhaling deeply, he feels the familiar energy surge through him. Carefully edging forward, he steps up and onto the surface of the water.
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Silvia Perez Arvelo, Author of Perlita Comes to America

perlita book, bilingual children's book, latina protagonist
Today we are interviewing Silvia Perez Arvelo, author of the children's book Perlita Comes to America.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Silvia is married to Miguel Arvelo for over 26 years and is the mother of 3 beautiful daughters; Stephanie Marie, Ashley Kristine and Alexandria Nicole.  She still lives in the United States and continues to love it.

Silvia is passionate about seeing girls and women of all ages thrive and succeed.  Where some see difficulty, impossibilities and defeat she sees, opportunity, possibility and determination. She believes that dreams do come true for those who believe. Dreams are still achievable even if destiny has you living in a country that is not your country of origin.

Her desire is to encourage all the Perlita’s in her life time to go for their dreams. To strive for all they hope to become and to see doors of opportunity where others may only see misfortune and missed opportunities.
Silvia is a certified Life Breakthrough Coach and founder of Women’s Empowerment Services. She is also Co-Founder of a Non-Profit Organization called Latinas of Legacy.

perlita book, bilingual children's book, latina protagonist
Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
The book is about a young girl whose life is disrupted by moving away from everything that is familiar to her.  She is about to enter a whole new world, culture and language and with that she faces some challenges.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Children between the ages of 7-9, parents, grandparents and children who have experienced a disruption to their regular routine and surrounding.

What inspired you to write a story about a young girl who immigrates to America?
This is my story!  As I see more and more children enter the United States with hopes for a better life and opportunity I wanted to let them know that although it may be tough at first, life will get better and you will adjust and more importantly succeed.

I wanted to impart hope and encourage others!

Your book is unique in that it’s written in both Spanish and English. Did you grow up speaking both languages? Or did you learn one at a later period than the other?
My first language is Spanish but I quickly learned English and now English has turned into my first language.  I even think and process things in English.  Most young immigrants gravitate to the new language and due to school activities and friends, your new language quickly becomes your preferred and language of choice.

I wanted the book to be bilingual for several reasons.  First, I wanted grandparents to be able to read to their grandchildren in their first language.  Secondly, I wanted to give children the opportunity to learn a new one by seeing them side by side.  And lastly, I wanted Hispanic children not to lose sight of their roots and first language.  It’s very easy to forget how to read and write it.

perlita book, bilingual children's book, latina protagonist

Tell us about the protagonist, Perlita.
Perlita is a child that desperately wants to adjust and connect.  She wants to make new friends and start her new life in the United States.  Life threw her a curveball and now she wants to start her new life.

She is a sweet girl who is eager to learn all she can about her new country’s language and culture.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for children moving to a new country?
One of the biggest challenges is learning the new language.  Schools have gotten a lot better in assisting in the assimilation process however; making friendships without being able to communicate is a challenge.  Also, understanding the culture in general is a great challenge.

What are your goals as a children’s book writer for the next ten years?
My goal as a writer is to produce several more volumes on Perlita’s challenges and ways that she overcame them.  I want to show children through my work not to give up hope but to be persistent and be determined to succeed at everything that you set your mind to do.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Perlita needs to go to school and I need to get her there :)

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

Yes, I want them to know that this book will take them through a range of emotions but will teach them about empathy for people that may not be the same as us.  We can also learn from other cultures and expand our own knowledge of foods, customs and new cultures by embracing and getting to know our new neighbors or classmates.

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Paul Barufaldi, Author of DUALITY | The World of Lies

Samsara, Magnetosphere, paul barufaldi, duality, the world of lies, duality book
Today we are interviewing Paul Barufaldi, author of the science fiction novel DUALITY: The World of Lies.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I spent the past 13 years living abroad in Beijing, China.  I lived in the old city and taught English for living.  It’s a tale itself, but one probably too sordid for the telling.  Now that I’m repatriated, I figured I would try my hand at the craft of writing.  I’ve had these ideas kicking around in my head for so many years and they were long overdue to put into print.  That’s the focus of my life: getting WOL published and conquering another manuscript.  It’s addictive, and I like it, so I’m determined to keep this momentum going.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
The World of Lies follows two stories from several different characters perspectives.  First we have the star-crossed duo of Aru Psyron and Li Meiyang of The Kinetic Dream trespassing into the fiery depths of the Red Star itself and the realm of ascended master and Emperor, Lord Logos.  Then we follow the tale of young Gahre of the sequestered lands of the Pangea on the Blue homeworld of Occitania. Disgusted by the repression of knowledge at the hand of the government, he sets out to uncover the truth by sheer force of will under his own two feet.  All of these stories are overshadowed by the Ascended Masters of the Blue and Red Stars and who straddle the line the between existence and non-existence in a silent game of chess the beings of the Taiji are only left to guess at.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

I imagine hard-science readers and out-of-the-box cosmologists would enjoy this work, but I tried to write it on a level that will also appeal to a more general audience.

What inspired you to write a sci-fi novel with dual story arcs?
I think it’s an interesting device that makes for a more diverse reading experience.  I also experimented with changing character perspectives with each chapter.  I know that’s against all the perspective advice for new authors, but I think I’ve made it work, and it’s a lot of fun to get into different character’s heads and see their often drastically differing take on events.

Was it challenging to write two stories that are separate yet complementary?

No, it’s actually a lot easier!  In the manuscript writing phase I found that going back and forth kept my writing fresh.  It prevented me from burning out and writing stale material, which is a common pitfall when composing a single drawn-out continuous story.

One of your story arcs involves a monk on a journey through exotic lands. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about what he encounters during this journey?
He traverses between natural wonders like one move through a dream, and meets some very colorful characters along the way.

Who was your favorite character to write?
I’d have to say it’s Li Meiyang.  She is very outspoken…. Or maybe “mouthy” would be the better term.  She’s equal parts insightful and sarcastic, domineering and demure, clever -and at times profane.  Writing chapters from her perspective was definitely the most fun.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I’m already at work on the sequel: DUALITY: Soul Splitter -which picks up right where WOL leaves off.  Readers can expect to see a lot more development in the series primary story arc as Gahre and his counterpart (?) fully come into their own.  There’s going to be a lot more action in this novel, including an epic rampage across space, and of course there will be a lot more mystery and intrigue, particularly as the crew of the Kinetic take on an ancient machine lord. The source of evil in the Taiji becomes more apparent and an Ascended Master will be revealed.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Yes, they can get it free.  I’ll be doing a Kindle free giveaway soon.  Just stay tuned to my blog or Amazon author’s page.  I’m keeping the price low and just trying to get it out there, since it’s my first novel and thus have no following of readers. So far I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, and I really hope this book offers something unique to each and every reader.

An excerpt from DUALITY | The World of Lies:
The compass led him to the ridge of a grand caldera. He could see the full span of it that covered hundreds of kilometers, coated in lush greenery, plains and herds of grazing animals. In no time he was among them. At its center he came upon a crystal lake teaming with fish so enormous, the meat of one alone fed him for days. The predators did attempt to stalk him, wolf and leopard, but perhaps he was just a curiosity for these creatures that had never before seen man. He called out in warning when he sensed them, and hearing his voice they dispersed and went on their way and he on his. Gahre already had the peculiar habit of talking to animals, and he found himself putting to daily use. What's more he seemed to understand their answers, in squawks or squeaks, growls or snorts. He understood them clearly, because he was himself close to nature and understood them in the context of their natural habitat and as caring about the things animals cared about, like food and safety.
The caldera rose to its rim and he saw the first bare rocky ground of the badlands emerge under his feet soonafter. It was a barren range but easy ground to cover. The landscape had a painted feel, and the clear nights painted in cosmic clouds above it imparted in him a deep spiritual appreciation for this world of sparse grass prairies and jutting rocky spires that grew into mountains as he wore on. Firewood was in short supply and nights were cold. He could barely stomach the dry salted duck at times and he craved green vegetables, but what those rations failed to provide in satisfying his palette they made up for by providing the raw energy it took to traverse this rugged ground. Where the sands turned red, he imagined this was what the terrain of the bloodmoon Oberion looked like, a pale dusty dead world.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

Shana James, Author of Deferred Consumption

deferred consumptioin, shana james, the consumption series, romantic suspense novel
Today we are interviewing Shana James about her romantic suspense novel, Deferred Consumption. 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from South Carolina, but I’ve lived in six states, including Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California and now New York where I live in Brooklyn.  I work, professionally, as a marketing and public relations professional, which I’ve done for many years, but I’d really love to make writing fiction my full-time career. So, I’m totally immersed in that effort, now. 

I’m a graduate of the University of South Carolina, which I’m very proud of, and I’m still hoping to finally finish my Master’s degree at Quinnipiac University. I love, love, love to travel!  If I could spend the rest of my life traveling and writing novels, the first half will not have been spent in vain. I’m loathe to admit it, but I guess I’m a “foodie”.  I love trying new dishes and new restaurants.  Especially when I travel.  I have a deep love for knowledge, just in general, so I read scores of articles and other writings and soak up documentary after documentary about the history of the world, how various industries were started, trends ignited. I am rarely “bored” because there’s just too much to be curious about in the world! 

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.

A young, Manhattan investment banker is engaged to be married to her gorgeous tennis star boyfriend. She faces a nearly unthinkable tragedy as a wealthy, Russian psychopath with terrorist ties, one of her firm’s clients, seeks to make her his. This, as she discovers an evil plan that could deal another devastating blow to America.  She literally crosses paths with a mysterious, young venture capitalist who helps her seek justice and find healing so she can begin her life anew. Things get really crazy!

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

The book contains a lot of suspense, but it is definitely a romance novel, as well.  I think, so often, we expect only women to read romance novels, but I think Deferred Consumption is a great balance of both, so I think both women and men could enjoy it.  If I may say so myself, the pacing is nice and balanced and the romance is really just a glimpse into the relationship ups and downs of my heroine, Heather Rangel.

What inspired you to write a book about an engaged woman who seems to have everything until another man enters the scene determined to pursue her relentlessly?

I’ve lived in New York City for not quite two years and it’s a very…interesting…city, to say the least.  The aggression that many of the people here exhibit is something that I haven’t found anywhere else in the country and it’s very intriguing to me.  How and why it’s so prevalent in such a large population.  So, I tried to use the NYC aggression to power my antagonists. Their wealth only magnifies the aggression, which I hope readers will be able to feel. 

When I started the novel, I knew how I wanted it to end, but that this guy would pursue her this way was not something that I originally set out to write.  It just sort of happened!  I didn’t do an outline for the book and it was so enjoyable to let the story unfold each evening.  When Vitya Ivanov started his quest to have Heather, it just made the whole story come together.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Heather.

Heather Rangel is a tough young woman who has spent much of her 20’s pursuing her career.  We meet her when she’s in a good relationship with her fiance, Brody, but for many years she was a loner who wasn’t really sure she’d ever find true love.  She’s very smart and very savvy about how she carries herself and the decisions she makes.  How they will affect her future and her finances.  She’s originally from Connecticut, but she loves New York City very much. She enjoys the tempo of the city.  She’s ready to get married and even though she’s invested a great deal of time and energy into her career, she’d be willing to give it all up for the right guy because she is weary of the cutthroat nature of the banking industry.

Who was your favorite character to write? 

My favorite character to write was David Schwartz, another villain in the story.  I don’t think I included him enough, but he will definitely have a bigger presence in the follow-up.  At least for now he will.  Funny things happen on the way to “The End” when you don’t use an outline!  But, David Schwartz is another example of that ever-present, ever-intriguing New York City aggression.  He’s rude and brash, but he’s the type of character you tend to keep your eyes on because you just don’t know what crazy thing he’s going to say next. 

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style? 

I absolutely love James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Tami Hoag. 

Have you ever had writer's block?

I haven’t really had writer’s block, more writer’s fatigue.  My job is very consuming and it’s sometimes a task to get the laptop out and get to work.  But, as soon those words start flowing from my fingertips, the fatigue just melts away.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?

I use a laptop and I tip my hat to those writers who can write a novel by hand. I can’t even imagine!  But, it sounds so noble. My other is actually working on a non-fiction book that she’s writing by hand.  I’m glad I didn’t inherit that from her!

What do you have in mind for your next project?

My next project will be a follow-up to Deferred Consumption and it should be available by late July, early August.  I think readers will like Deadly Consumption even more than Deferred Consumption!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I’d like readers to know that I tried to give them a story that was vivid and exciting.  It’s a story that is entertaining and funny, and it may just give you a few ideas for how to spice things up in the bedroom.

An excerpt from Deferred Consumption: 

He was mere inches from Heather’s ear as he snapped his teeth for the added, intimidating effect. She was furious, but even the few minutes she’d been in his presence told her all that she needed to know. He was a maniac and she had to choose her next words carefully.  She slowly composed herself so she could respond. Countless eyes peered at her from various corners in the massive lobby.  
“I’m sorry, but I haven’t had the pleasure of learning your name.” She went in to the lion’s den. 
“Ivanov. Mr. Vitya Ivanov,” he responded in his gruff, deep accent glaring longingly, menacingly at her with his cold, grey eyes. 
As soon as she heard his last name, she felt a chill race along her spine.  Vitya Ivanov was a wealthy entrepreneur, indeed, but he was also a suspected terrorist supporter alleged to have funded several bombings and kidnappings across the globe.  She couldn’t believe he was standing in the lobby of the firm. She also couldn’t believe that David Schwartz had decided to meet with him.  
Simply allowing Ivanov to invest his money with Laverna wasn’t a crime, but it certainly wasn’t wise. It would definitely draw undue scrutiny from the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government arms. Each anxious to bring Hiram Schwartz down for what he’d done to their buddies decades earlier.  Uncle Sam could hold a grudge for a long time. Even the slightest impropriety could send an army of investigators crawling through every nook, cranny and corner of Laverna. Searching for anything that would allow them to shut the firm down.  She couldn’t understand why the younger Schwartz would take the risk.
“Mr. Ivanov, allow me to apologize for Mr. Schwartz’s oversight. We take very good care of our clients here at Laverna and I’m positive he will be mortified at having missed your appointment. I would be more than happy to sit down with you in my office so we can discuss your needs. I assure you, you’ll be in good hands.” She strategically offered herself on the altar to soften the blow to the firm. 
He, in return, offered up a deep belly laugh. 
“I am sure I will be in good hands with you, MS. Rangel.” He undressed her with his eyes.  “However, I am no longer in the mood for this and I have other appointments that I must keep. But!  I will definitely be back so I can get into your…good hands,” he mocked.  His minions laughed heartily. 
Heather fought to maintain her composure, feeling cloaked in by her limited options for dealing with the psychopath. 
“Here’s my card.  Have your scheduler contact my assistant to book an appointment and we’ll take it from there,” she responded. Doing her best to not have security drag him from the premises. 
“I will, indeed, krasotka,” he responded. He allowed his eyes to crawl the length of her body once more for good measure.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Shannon Webster, Author of Game On

game on, shannon webster, esports book, video game memoir

Today we are interviewing Shannon Webster, author of the esports book Game On | How I Became a Nintendo World Championships Finalist.

Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Nebraska but now reside near Mount Hood, Oregon. I have a degree in Business and am a small business owner. Reading is my favorite pastime and I am always lost in a good book. I've often considered becoming a writer and Game On is my first attempt at writing a book.

Describe your book, Game On, for us.
When I was a teenager I entered a national video game tournament called the Nintendo World Championships. I won the city tournament in Denver and went on to compete at the NWC Finals in Hollywood. The book is my story of how I first became interested in video games and later my experiences competing in the tournament. More than video games, it's a coming of age story.

How did you get interested in video games and becoming a video game champion?
I didn’t start out wanting to become a video game champion, it just sort of happened along the way. I go into it in more detail in my book. I can tell you that home video games were a new experience back in the 1980s and there was a lot of excitement around the new technology. Video games had become such a craze nationally and me learning about the 1990 Nintendo World Championships and giving it a shot was just my way of being involved in that growing frenzy.

What made you decide to write a book about your Nintendo World Championships experience?
Well as you can imagine, my experience in the NWC is a memory that I treasure. During the months and years after the tournament I would often replay the experience in my thoughts so I could relive the events and how I felt at the time. Several years back when I was in college, I sold my NWC cartridge and the buyer had a lot of questions about my participation in the event. At that point I went ahead and typed out most of what I had experienced and sent it to him. After that, the story just sat on my hard drive. It has now been 25 years since the experience so I thought that it would be a good time to publish the story. So I went back and rewrote and added to the story I already had.

What was the writing process like?
It took several months to write my story when I was in college. I didn’t have time to give it the attention to detail that it deserved. So in my recent work on the story, I’ve spent another several months adding in detail and sharing more of my emotional experience before and after the tournament. It is a short book. However, it’s my story just as it happened. I didn’t embellish or add in anything to pad the page count.

Ultimately you didn’t become the Nintendo World Champion, any regrets?
At the time, I was really let down that I didn’t win the final tournament in Hollywood. I had spent so much of my emotional energy on being a competitive gamer. But looking back now, I think that in a way I’m glad that I didn’t win the final tournament. To be the Nintendo World Champion would be way too much pressure! In the years following the tournament, when I would play games with others, I always felt I had to live up to my status as an NWC Finalist. If I was competing against other gamers and I beat them seven out of ten times, I would feel disappointed in myself for not being even more dominant. If I were the Nintendo World Champion, I would feel the need to be absolutely perfect at all times and who needs that kind of pressure?

What has playing video games taught you?
If you want the short, clich├ęd answer; it’s to dream big. It amazes me how in childhood everything seems possible. Kids tell themselves “when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut” or other such lofty goals and it all seems perfectly reasonable. When I was a teenager and I was talking my mother into taking me to multiple video game tournaments she never told me “now son, the chances of winning something like that is very unlikely.” Instead she indulged me and I felt that I really had a shot. It didn’t occur to me that doing something on that level was supposed to be close to impossible. As we grow up we start to realize how difficult things really are and that maybe being an astronaut isn’t a real possibility. However, as I found out when I was younger, if you truly believe in yourself and show faith in yourself you can achieve what you want if you persist. So I guess that video games taught to me that I don’t have to settle for mediocrity in life.

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