Not Without My Father Release Day Blitz banner

We’re happy to be hosting Andra Watkins and her NOT WITHOUT MY FATHER Release Day Blitz today!

About the Book:

Not Without My Father 2

Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace

Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

About the Author:

Andra Watkins 4

Andra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

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Darla M. GreseAbout the Author
Darla M. Grese is a twin sister who lost her better half to side effects from prescribed medication. As a U.S. Navy Veteran, she is an advocate of Veteran X and Veteran Hope programs that address mental illness, PTSD, and unintentional addiction issues. Both programs are sponsored by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center and focus on Veteran recovery and independence. She raises money for “Team Kelli” and annually participates in the Out of the Darkness Walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach ( While continuing to bring awareness to this cause, being a loving parent is her favorite passion and the main focus of her life. Darla’s love for the arts has been expressed as a talented actress with appearances in The F.B.I. files, The New Detectives, Diagnosis Unknown, Wicked Attraction, Discovery Channel’s The Haunting, and the movie Atlantis Down. She currently works full time as a respiratory therapist at a trauma center in Norfolk, Virginia.


Her memoir, Sister Surrendered, is her latest release.
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Sister Surrendered 2

About the Book:

When you’re a twin, loneliness is somewhat unfamiliar because you’ve always had each other. So when a twin passes, the other is left unprepared. Our loyalty was steadfast and our devotion to one another, solid. Our love was unconditional no matter what the circumstances. I’m so grateful every day for the memories of the joy and laughter that we shared together. I know the bond that Kelli and I shared is impossible for anyone to replace. This memoir has become something so much more than initially intended. It’s become a documented journey barely scratching the surface of the love between two sisters. And surprisingly, it’s also become an outlet for me to speak candidly and honestly about my struggles with the cause of Kelli’s death. This is a love story turned tragedy. An exposure of one of the greatest healthcare failures killing Veterans and civilians, and a cry for help to remedy the fiasco. I’ve stressed about who I would mention in this book, nervous that I would hurt someone’s feelings by not mentioning their names. But I’ve realized that it’s impossible to do. Kelli had so many great friends, some I’ve never even met. I need each person to know who has taken the time to reach out to me in whatever capacity that if it weren’t for your heartfelt show of support and love, I don’t know that I would be able to muster the energy to even get up each day.

Kelli, we did it.


For More Information

  • Sister Surrendered is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Visit the book’s Facebook page.
  • Recommend at the book’s Goodreads page.
  • Read Chapter One and Two here.



Sister Surrendered 2EXERPT 

Kelli again became depressed, withdrawn, aggressive, and sometimes paranoid. Living with her became nearly impossible. Thomas had to stop letting her work at his tackle shop which tore him up, too. Her skin became yellowish, the whites of her eyes almost golden. It was heartbreaking.

This time I drove to the VA with Maureen in tow and stormed into the Chief of Staff’s office. Maureen tried stopping me as I ambushed my way in but she couldn’t. The secretary informed me that I needed an appointment but I insisted otherwise. The Chief overheard our conversation and agreed to meet with me. I tossed a bag of empty pill bottles in front of him and educated him on what was happening. I made him aware that his doctors were, from my view, killing my sister. He assured me that he was going to call a meeting with Kelli’s team of doctors, which per her records I’ve reviewed, he did do. Our meeting however was not documented though, and the dispensing of pills continued. One hundred and twenty Valium and sixty Klonopin were dispensed in just one day!

I was forced to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I sold our house, a house that we had loved. It was our home. I just couldn’t bear to watch her die in it. In front of me, us anymore. I felt helpless. I remember standing in the kitchen for the last time, alone. It was empty with only the memories I would carry for us. I couldn’t reach her. I didn’t want it this way. I wanted my Kel back. I stared into the space recollecting the good times; Kelli on top of the refrigerator patiently waiting for the first wayward passerby to cross in front of her. She would leap off and jokingly scare the daylights out of them. I could smell the eggs and bacon that we’d fry up on Sunday mornings before game time. I could taste the Navy black coffee that we’d sit around and drink as we plotted out our day. I missed her, I missed you. Do you know how much? Do you Kelli? Locking our home for the last time hurt. It was utter anguish.

I moved to an apartment in Virginia Beach while Kelli to Newport News. We were now living about thirty minutes away from each other. A distance that felt much further. Fortunately, Kelli had a roommate that would keep me updated daily. Unfortunately, Kelli was sliding. Even though she and I weren’t living under the same roof anymore, I was constantly plugged into what was going on. My mind constantly occupied with simultaneous worry and hope. It was pure torture.

I noticed over time that Kelli was going to the VA rather frequently. More and more as time passed. And shortly thereafter, white plastic bags full of pill bottles were being sent to the house in startling quantities. Kelli was also changing, becoming more withdrawn, reticent, and appearing extremely depressed. And as more pills arrived, the worst things became. Even getting the attention of her friend and supervisor Thomas who knew Kelli incredibly well. She was often calling in sick to work, sleeping excessively, becoming irritable, and spent little time grooming herself. She even started staying in rundown hotels. Sometimes for several nights in a row which was really distressing and scary. I tried to reach her but it would just turn into a rambling argument. Kelli even turned aggressive at times, going nose to nose with me screaming like we were two strangers. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I had never experienced anything like this with Kelli. Even her daily functions crumbled. I remember vividly at one point during breakfast when her face just dropped directly into her cereal bowl. After this had gone on for several months, I deliberately approached Kelli with a more stern demeanor.

She was sitting in the kitchen. Her spirit gone and her eyes empty. We both cried as I begged her to get help. She admitted that she was addicted to the pills that the VA was dispensing, specifically Klonopin and Ativan. Thinking back to that morning nearly sixteen years later, it still drives a sharp pain deep into my chest. A stifling heartache. That was just the beginning of a nightmare that I would never wish on anyone. My twin sister, my pillar of strength, my idol of certainty, my other half, was changed forever. I know you were in there. Behind that curtain of intoxication. I know you Kelli.

I convinced Kelli to check into the hospital to detox from the pills. I even drove her to the VA where she was admitted to the inpatient psychiatric unit. Saying goodbye to her as two heavy doors slammed in between us is a memory that would forever haunt me. A wall that should have never been. I sat in the parking lot of the hospital and sobbed, not being able to convince myself to drive away. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t in the cards. I was the one who was supposed to fold under pressure and collapse, not Kelli. I wasn’t strong enough for this, not this, not Kelli.

Once home, I immediately went into detective mode scouring through Kelli’s bedroom. I found bottles of pills from the VA hidden everywhere. There were bottles in socks, clothes, pockets, a Kleenex box, and stuffed under her mattress. Kelli hid them in places that most would never think to look. But I was her twin and knew her best. I left nothing unturned, no corner and/or crevice unexamined. My goal was to ensure that when Kelli returned home, the house would be poison free. By the time I finished tearing up her room, I accumulated a mountain of bottles. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was no wonder why Kelli couldn’t hold her head up. My friend Maureen, there with me, was dumbfounded. While we sat there in awe of what we were seeing, the phone rang. I shot up quickly because I knew that it was Kelli. And I was right, it was her, crying and hardly able to speak. I cried as well while attempting to comfort her. Making certain that she knew that everything would be okay. She begged me to come the following day for visiting hours and of course I said yes. The thought of her sitting in that locked unit made me cringe. I hated it. Every f-ing second of it. I hardly slept that night. Constantly thinking and wondering about Kelli and how she was doing. I counted down the minutes until I could go to her, just sit with her. My Kelli. I couldn’t help but think back to our childhood, boot camp, and every other aspect of our lives together, good, challenging, hard, rewarding, enduring. Enduring. Kelli, damn it, you had it, you had the secret, you loved life and it loved you back, ughhhh! I wondered how an individual like Kelli who was so strong, brave, determined, and solid could fall from grace so rapidly.



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Lorene J. Humpal author of Sleep with Angels

Sleep With Angels

Please tell our readers a little about yourself?
I am musically talented. I’ve been into music since age 5, when I started piano lessons and singing in cherub choirs. I sang at my first funeral at the age of five and have sung at many wedding & funerals since then. The organ is my biggest love; I have a Rogers Organ with a Midi-Box in my home. I played the church organ for over 20 years, and played the piano and the French horn in marching and concert band. I sang for 20 years with Sweet Adeline’s (Barbershop Harmony) and with the Glee club and Choir. I was a choir director, and wrote and conducted a Christmas Program for our church children. I’ve given voice lessons to local children. Music makes a difference in every aspect of your life

What are five things readers may or may not know about you?
Tim Janis is my favorite musician and allowed me to use the name of one of his songs, “Sleep with Angels”, as the title of my book. I love to fish out on the Pacific Ocean, my husband Richard and I spent two summers out on the ocean fishing for salmon. My previous careers were in business management, accounting, and credit managing. I love to write and I am considering another book. I love Wisconsin Badger football games, and for many years my husband and I have made the drive on the I-90 to go see the Badgers play. The biggest thrill was when Bucky Badger kissed me on the cheek.

How difficult was it to write Sleep with Angels?
It was very hard to bare my heart and soul for everyone to read. It was always hard to talk about my family because there is such a huge difference between the mother who raised me and the one who gave birth to me. I always refer to my mother who raised me as Mother, while my biological mother is just Margaret.

What was the most difficult scene to write?
Six months oldThere were several scenes I struggled with. One was my mother’s revelation about my birth. I was one person before being told and became another person afterward. The Willow River Baby drowning also broke my heart. We put up a marker for her and try to put flowers there when we can. The last scene would be anything with Margaret, as Margaret’s treatment toward me was hard to put into words.

Tell our readers a bit about your journey to getting published?
I must have written my book a dozen times before I was satisfied with it. I was turned down twice and re-wrote before meeting Tracy Ertl who agreed to publish the book.

If you could have dinner with one person (real or fiction) who would it be and why?
It would be Jesus, because throughout the entire ordeal he was always there for me. He has looked out for me since the day I was born.


Thank you for sharing your story with us and our readers. How very heartbreaking but healing your story must have been to write.



A wayward beauty’s baby girl goes missing during the Great Depression—31 years later, a wife and mother discovers the truth about her origins

Sleep With Angels

Sleep With Angels (TitleTown Publishing, July 28, 2014) by Lorene Joyce Humpal is a true crime memoir steeped in faith and charged by the difference one choice, one chance can make in someone’s life. A  young mother longs to return to a careless life of beer halls and boys after giving birth to a daughter. She ultimately reveals her profound lack of maternal instinct when her baby girl disappears and she expresses no worry concerning her daughter’s possible abduction and death. Though she claims a nurse abducted the newborn, the anonymous nurse and the stolen infant were never discovered by the police.


Thirty-one years later in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lorene is finally told a family secret: the loving mother and father who had raised her on discipline and firm principles of Christian morality weren’t her blood-relatives. Lorene’s mother had rescued her from a wealthy family and a group of irresponsible teenagers who were determined to drown her when she was a baby. Her abduction was her salvation—she was the missing baby from so many years ago. Heartbroken and confused, Lorene struggles with her present reality and her past’s remaining mysteries, seeking the truth about her paternity and her relationship with another abandoned infant who’d met a much darker fate.


This is the true story of a woman’s life after narrowly escaping certain death, and the anguish that comes with learning that life isn’t always what it appears to be. Sleep With Angels explores the true beauty of maternal love, the power of holding on to faith, and the precious gift of life. It has all the suspense of true crime and all the touching recollections of a memoir—Lorene’s story inspires and entices at turns, providing her readers with the inextinguishable hope that even in the darkest of times, an angel is watching.

 Buy Links: 







Lorene Joyce Humpal resides in Seattle with her husband and enjoys spending time with her two adult sons. She has a profound appreciation of life, as she knows her own was spared against all odds. Sleep With Angels is her first book.



Sleep With Angels

By Lorene Joyce Humpal

$14.95, 6.20” x 8.97”

Paperback, 9780991069934

EBook, 9780991069941



Please help spread the word on this amazing story of maternal love, faith and secrets!!




“My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq”
ALL I COULD BE (1)So without further ado…..
MBA&M: Welcome, Miyoko! Please tell our readers a little about yourself?

Miyoko 1MIYOKO: Usually, the first thing I tell people is that my name is Japanese.  My father is full Japanese-American, born in Hawaii.  He went to the same school as Secretary of Veterans Affairs (and retired General) Eric Shinseki.  My mother is Czech-American, born in Iowa, where I was also born and raised.  From that combination, I learned in early childhood to eat with chopsticks and squeeze out a beer barrel polka on the accordion.

I’ve been a story teller all my life, writing for school publications, including my university’s newspaper (Iowa State Daily), where I studied journalism/mass communication and psychology.  I’ve contributed poetry, essays and devotions to various anthologies but my latest is, of course, my memoir “All I Could Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq,” released this past May by History Publishing.
I joined the active Army at age 18, for a 3-year contract.  Then I re-enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard for 5 years while attending college.  It was my senior year that I was deployed to Iraq.  And that set my life on a new course all together.  Returning home, I had no desire to cover breaking news.  I didn’t want to write war stories; I wanted to pen mine.  So I got a variety of part-time jobs: modeling, acting, marketing, I even delivered newspapers for a summer.  In between, I worked on my book.  I was diligent, but it was still a long process to compile, edit and solicit publishers.
MBA&M: We understand you where in the Military, thank you for your service to us and to our country! Can you tell our readers some of the challenges faced by women in today’s Military?
MIYOKO: I think one major challenge for women entering military service at a young age (or any age, really) is to find a way to fulfill the “soldier role” without losing their own identity.  What I mean by this is, for a man entering the military, many of the “desirable” masculine traits–toughness, brutality, physicality–are celebrated.  A man doesn’t lose his identity by being hypermasculine.  A woman, however, may feel as if she is losing a part of herself if some of her natural personality–sensitivity, compassion, femininity–are suppressed because leaders or male comrades view these traits unfairly as weaknesses.  The truth is that men are not exclusively one way and women another.  We’re different blends of all traits.  And the effectiveness of any team is maximized when people are allowed to let their unique traits and talents shine.  Diversity is strength when it’s applied to the same goal.
With media attention on sexual assaults in the military, this is clearly another challenge for women in the military–to remain physically and emotionally insulated from harm, to be allowed to perform their job duties without harassment or prejudice, to feel comfortable reporting inappropriate and criminal behavior to their leadership knowing that action will be taken to persecute sexual perpetrators.  In an environment where young women soldiers are accustomed to taking orders, in the matter of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) women must be empowered to take charge, especially in the realm of mental health treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which often results from a sexual assault, especially when it occurs during a deployment when other traumatic incidents have likely been experienced.

MBA&M: “All I Can Be: My Story as a Woman Warrior in Iraq” we understand is your story, how hard was it to write this compelling tribute to women who serve their country?
Baghdadi Girls School

MIYOKO: At times, writing my story was very difficult.  In order to describe some of the events in Iraq, I had to put myself back there emotionally and envision the people, the smells, the fear, the heat and the sweat.  The gift of re-visiting those sands of time was being able to critically examine details I did not have time to reflect upon at the time and form, ultimately, my own truth about them.  It was an opportunity for me to take all the pieces of an incoherent and chaotic experience and say, hey, this is what it was for me.  Of course, I recognize that years from now my reflection may be different but that’s all a part of the healing process.  I don’t believe a soldier ever completely returns home.  It’s a lifelong process of steps that occur while the rest of post-deployment life moves forward.

MBA&M: What was the most difficult scene for you to write?

MIYOKO: The most difficult scene to write was the convoy I was on when another of my company’s convoys (on the same road) was ambushed and through the radio transmissions I could envision the scene of chaos, destruction and death of my friend, Specialist Aaron Sissel.  I felt completely helpless as my vehicle was too far away to reach him in time.  Aaron was a great guy and an admirable soldier–kind, hard working, patriotic–and only 22 when he was killed.  I was 26 at the time, hardly much older, but I still felt like he was just a kid and never got the chance to get married, have a family and do many of the other things in life that we not only take for granted but sometimes complain about.  I try to remember him and his complete sacrifice because I think it pushes me to live my life to the fullest and that is one of the ways that I can honor him.

MBA&M: We understand the sacrifices you made for your fellow countryman,and your extraordinary service, but if you could change anything about your sojourn into a combat zone, what would it be? 

MIYOKO: Since I was in college while I was in the National Guard, I focused on my schoolwork first and my military career second.  While other soldiers went to summer training schools to advance in rank, I took summer classes.  The result was that I earned 2 bachelor’s degrees and had a fantastic college experience.  I didn’t just “make the grade” or get my necessary credits, I got a superb education.  Simultaneously, my military career was stagnant.  I don’t know if I could have balanced a rigorous school schedule with additional military training, but if I could change anything I would have tried it so that I could have been a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant when I deployed.  Being in a leadership role would have driven me to be a better soldier, lead by example, and influence others in a way that might have improved their deployment experience.

MBA&M: How hard was basic training? 

MIYOKO: Basic training wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t overwhelming for me.  Everyone was miserable and time passed pretty quickly.  We were busy all the time, so there wasn’t any chance or anyone to complain to.  I knew when I enlisted that I wasn’t going to give up.  So I think I took it one moment at a time.

I had the benefit of playing Varsity sports in high school.  I was already physically fit and accustomed to being on a team so that was a good foundation to have for the physical training aspects of basic training.  I also grew up spending a lot of time outdoors–camping trips, tending a garden, yard work–so braving the elements for road marches or our field exercise was not entirely new to me either.  I wasn’t afraid to get dirty or yelled at.  In fact, in most situations I smile.  That’s my signature move.  So the drill sergeants sometimes called me “Private Smiley” because no matter what, I was able to find some happiness.
MBA&M: What do your regret most about your time served, what was some of the things you missed most while you where in the military? 

MIYOKO: There is very little I regret about my military service, or my life in general.  I do think that one aspect of young adulthood I missed because of my service was being sort of carefree, fun, exploratory and optimistic.  I started working at age 14, so had some level of responsibility and commitment at a young age.  Then in the Army, life was rather serious and paying attention to the details was critical.  I couldn’t let my mind wander on a firing range or while driving a 5-ton vehicle.  I didn’t stroll across the grass on a college campus in bare feet, playing frisbee between classes, or soaking up sun rays.  I didn’t spend hours getting ready for formals or wear fun lipstick colors.  I do all that now though.  It’s never too late to have fun, even if I’m not “young” anymore.

MBA&M: What do you most want people to understand about life in the military?

MIYOKO: The military, at least the active duty, is not a job it’s a lifestyle.  When a woman or man signs an enlistment contract she or he signs away the choice to decide where to live, what to wear, the length of the work day, the extent of the job duties and all the creature comforts of civilian life.  She or he agrees to give up everything including life, by the order of a squad leader up to the President, in order to defend the Constitution and the American way of life.  And she or he does that voluntarily.  No enlistment bonus or college loan repayment benefit can “buy” that.  It’s a loyalty and sense of duty that lives in the heart.  That’s how I define a soldier–by the condition of the heart to put the mission first.

MBA&M: What is your advice to anyone who is thinking about joining the military?

MIYOKO: 1) Do your homework.  Learn about the branches of service, the jobs, the qualifications and the fitness standards.  Research an initial enlistment contract and ask a recruiter (and someone that is currently serving in the military if possible) to explain it so you understand exactly what your commitment to the military is and what its responsibility is to you.

2) For women, make certain you can pass the physical fitness standards well above the minimum requirement.  It’s a more challenging environment for women than men, and fitness is highly valued.  If that part of your job is mastered, you’ll be able to focus on the other challenges better.
3) For single women, examine your sexual values and dating rules and set clear guidelines for yourself.  This area is also more difficult to negotiate for women than men, so having a plan is a smart approach.  When you’re assigned to your first unit, identify other women, especially in leadership roles, that are willing to mentor and support you in this area.  Work to establish a network of trustworthy women friends.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where they may connect with you and where they may purchase “All I Could Be”?

MIYOKO: You can find me on Facebook, Twitter (@MHikiji), Pinterest, Goodreads, Google + and Tumblr (mhikiji).  My website and blog are at

Thank you, Miyoko, for spending time with us and our readers today! Also, for your sacrifice and time served for your country!



Miyoko Hikiji, an Iowa native, served in the active duty Army from 1995-98 as a supply clerk and armorer in Air Defense Artillery, stationed at Fort Polk, LA and Fort Bliss, TX.  She returned home after completing her initial enlistment, joined a transportation unit in the Iowa Army National Guard (became a qualified truck driver) and began her studies in journalism and psychology at Iowa State University. 

After September 11th, 2001 Miyoko was mobilized for the Force Protection Security team at Camp Dodge for six months.  She resumed her studies afterward but was mobilized again in 2003 and deployed with the 2133rd Transportation Co. for over a year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Miyoko completed over 70 supply convoy, security and raid missions throughout the northwest quadrant of Iraq.  Simultaneously, she worked as the unit correspondent and administrative sergeant.

Miyoko earned two B.S. degrees from Iowa State University in 2004—journalism and mass communication (with a public relations emphasis) and psychology.

            Miyoko is a passionate veteran’s advocate and takes special interest in supporting and mentoring veterans through the transition period after deployment.  She is outspoken on the present issues of MST (military sexual trauma), PTSD and suicide.  Miyoko believes that veterans should educate the non-uniformed public by sharing their experiences in any number of art forms and that all military-connected persons have a story to tell.

Website and Blog:


  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Chronology Books; First edition (May 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933909587
  • ISBN-13: 978-193390958




This inaugural account, during the onset of the Global War on Terrorism, by a female National Guard soldier provides evidence of the vitality of female fighters.


It pays tribute to the two soldiers in her unit that lost their lives, and shows how love can be more vital in the desert than in water. This story exposes the comradeship, intimacy, cowardice and humor of soldiers…more

and at Amazon at





(Sponsored by the author)

We are offering 1 lucky comment a print copy of “All I Could Be” by Miyoko Hikiji. Open to US residents only! Giveaway will run from October 23 until October 30,2013.

*Tell us your thoughts on women in the military(Nothing offensive,please) Or let the author know how much you appreciate the service/sacrifice she gave to us and our country*



We hope you have enjoyed your time with our guest Miyoko Hikiji today and will please spread the word!


Thanks everyone!!

We hope you have




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The Story Behind The Story                  


I have no training as a writer and the story Coming Through the Fog was an emotional, all consuming, financially training account that played out over a 13 year process from diagnosis to Functioning Recovery and independent living. I have 3 storage containers with information, medical, psychological, educational and the training that I took to understand the disability and how my daughter presented. Heather’s Occupational Therapist, Sue Kratz, continued for years to encourage me to write Heather’s story and I had many failed attempts.

In the spring of 2012 a good friend of mine, Cheryl “Smitty” Smith a 30 year retired school teacher familiar with Heather’s story  and my inability to get it on paper, gave me a cassette tape recorder with a bunch of tapes and said, “Tell me Heather’s story. Nine months later, Coming Through the Fog was published.

Though it is Heather’s story, we walked this journey together. She understands how difficult the journey was and feels as strongly as I do about the need to reach out and help other families.

Reading Coming Through the Fog will make it easier for others to navigate the world of autism spectrum disorders and provide tools inspiration and hope for their journey.

Respectfully Submitted,


Tami A. Goldstein, WLMT, CST

Author – Coming Through the Fog

Thank you, Tami, for taking a few moments of your time to visit with us and our readers and giving us a brief glimpse into your world!


Coming through the fogABOUT COMING THROUGH THE FOG


A mother tells the journey of her daughter’s recovery from Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder to Functioning Recovery and independent living, giving tips to parents on how to navigate the medical and educational domain. This story is an example of the unique obstacles facing a parent raising a child with Autism. The challenges they face getting supports. What is Sensory Processing Disorder, CranioSacral Therapy and Bio-Medical Therapy, and what roles they play on the road to Functioning Recovery and independent living? See actual projective trials pertaining to sensory supports. Is educational discrimination the reason there is difficulty getting help in school? As this story unfolds it provides useful tips to other parents to help them on their journey with their child. This story is notable because this mother’s daughter was successful overcoming numerous obstacles while providing useful tools, inspiration and hope to others.









This journey begins with a mother’s love for her daughter. After learning her daughter was on the Autism Spectrum Tami began to tirelessly educate herself in the sciences of: Behavioral Health, Child Psychology, Human Anatomy, Occupational Health, Pharmacology and Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and has been a parent advocate for her daughter since 1997.


In 2002, as her knowledge and passion grew, Tami began reaching out to other families in need of help. In 2005, Tami founded the Rock County Autism Support Group and she is the community resource liaison for the SPD (Sensory Processing Disorders) Parent Connections Support Group of Rock County and the surrounding areas. Since 2005, Tami has been State and National Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and in 2013 she certified in CranioSacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute in Florida.


Tami currently has two offices where she facilitates CranioSacral Therapy. Approximately 38% of her clientele are children, teenagers and young adults on the Autism Spectrum or with other neuro-developmental delays. When asked to lecture, Tami uses her personal experience, extensive knowledge, and dedication to help others learn about and understand the medical and educational aspects of Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders and SPD.


You can view his website at


His latest book is the autism awareness book, Coming Through the Fog.


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Thanks everyone!




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Revived by Grace

Emma Clay

Metokos Press

Christian Memoir

Revived by Grace


Emma Clay lived a life of rebellion, led astray by her own desires and her attraction to an indulgent life and a difficult man. This book is her memoir, telling the powerful story of her downward decline and the way God brought her back to himself through his love.

Moving between personal storytelling, Biblical reflection, and political application, Revived by Grace is a book that speaks to the wounded place in all of us that can be healed only by the grace of God.





Emma Clay is a writer who shares her own experiences about her encounters with self and her bad decisions. She shares how she transformed a life that seemed hopeless and seeks to give answers to your own questions. She is dedicated to sharing her true stories with others, in the hopes they will avoid the same pot holes, pitfalls, and detours in their own lives.

She loves people, and her need to share this love will hopefully encourage others to find their own way.

Her latest book is the Christian inspirational memoir, Revived by Grace.

Visit her website at

Connect with Emma:




Revived by Grace Tour Page:

Pump Up Your Book Presents Revived by Grace Virtual Book Publicity Tour




“My Thoughts” on this title coming soon at


Once again,thank you for spending your time with us today!










About the Author

Janice Romney is an acclaimed speaker and inspirational voice for women. Since 2004, she has mentored women in crisis from spousal/partner abuse and taught high school students the risks of teen dating violence. She lives in New Mexico. For more information, visit


Author reveals impact of domestic violence on women, children

Janice Romney shares a story of hope, faith and love in moving new account

MORMON COLONIES, Mexico– Author Janice Romney has penned the true, harrowing account of how domestic violence impacted her life and shares a uniquely inspirational story of a family’s decision to unite and find healing through the power of love in her new nonfiction, “Beyond the Power of Love: A Woman’s Journey through Betrayal of Religion and Spousal Abuse” (published by iUniverse).


Domestic violence occurs in every segment of today’s society; no group or community is immune from it. According to Romney, more than one in four young women are the victims of it and 30 percent of girls between 15 – 19 who are killed are murdered by their boyfriends. These sobering statistics, combined with the author’s own personal experience, were a powerful catalyst for writing “Beyond the Power of Love.”


With a resounding theme of empowerment, “Beyond the Power of Love” looks at the emotional and physical effects of abuse as well as the suppression of women using religious indoctrination. Romney also discusses the long-term impact of domestic violence on children who grow up witnessing it.


Beyond the Power of Love

By Janice Romney

Hardcover | 5.5 x 8 in | 228 pages | ISBN 9781475959284 |

Softcover | 5.5 x 8 in | 228 pages | ISBN 9781475959277 |

E-Book | 228 pages | ISBN 9781475959291 |

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble


Book Description(Amazon)

November 29, 2012
Some of Janice Romney’s earliest memories bring back painful images of sexual abuse, and the guilt and turmoil from that abuse at age five carried throughout her life. In Beyond the Power of Love, Romney narrates her life story from the perspective of a mother and woman who lived through abuse, divorce, marriage, transformation, and fallen dreams—only to discover the healing power of love.

In this new revision of her earlier book, Beneath Wings of Angel, she provides firsthand insight deep into the heart of a disturbing and terrifying world of abuse. She shares a journey filled with heartbreaking challenges as she moves from domestic violence to freedom. Even with its difficulties, however, her story is one of great healing, faith, and love.

Buy Links:



BEYOND THE POWER OF LOVE by Janice Romney is an amazing Memoir. *Revision of “Beneath Wings of an Angel,published in 2004* It is the story of one woman’s struggle with spousal abuse,the power of religion,childhood abuse,her triumph and though it all, the power of love.

A powerful,compelling story of sexual,physical and mental abuse,ending the cycle of abuse and most of all the healing power of love. Abuse does not only effect the person, but the children involved also. A heart wrenching story that is not only powerful,but healing though faith,education,family and prevention. If you know of someone in an abusive relationship,please check out the resources this author has included. “Beyond The Power of Love” is not only an adult,young childhood situation but also teenage abuse as well. A must read! Be warned you will need tissues handy. This author did an amazing job of pouring her heart out,which I am sure was hard for her to describe some of the things she went through to get to where she is today. I was crying from the beginning to end. A powerful lady,with a desire to STOP the cycle of abuse,one person at a time. A powerful,powerful story! I would highly recommend “Beyond the Power of Love” not only for readers who enjoy Memoirs,but to readers who enjoy an awesome read,and for anyone who knows someone who is or has been abused.  Received for an honest review from the author.



REVIEWED BY: AprilR,(Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More)


Let’s end the Cycle of Abuse!

Please help spread the word on this power,story!

Well worth the buy!




Pump Up Your Book

Join Cynthia Dagnal-Myron, author of the memoir/autobiography, The Keka Collection, as she tours the blogosphere April 1 – April 26, 2013!






The Keka CollectionThe Keka Collection is a compilation of blog posts from “Keka’s “Blog, once one of the most popular blogs on Open Salon.









Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star.  She is also the first black woman to become a rock critic for a “major metropolitan daily,” and her articles appeared in Rolling Stone and Creem, under the tutelage of  legendary rock critic Lester Bangs.


But one day…she just walked away from all of it.  And never looked back.


This is her story, as told via Keka’s Blog, at Open Salon.


Her current book is The Keka Collection











The Keka Collection Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule



Before and after tour:

Monday, April 15


Guest blogging at Confessions of a Reader


Reviewed at Cheryl’s Book Nook



Wednesday, April 17


Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews


Pump Up Your Book Presents The Keka Collection Virtual Book Publicity Tour



Thank you everyone!







Now readers,set back an enjoy our chat with this author and her amazing story of life in INDIA….

Without further ado, welcome SANDRA!!

sandra-bornstein-pressMBA&M: Sandra, please tell our readers a little about yourself?


After graduating from Highland Park High School, I attended the University of Colorado. I was lucky to meet my future husband within months of starting school. We married young and I followed him back to Chicago so that he could attend law school. I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

While living in suburban Chicago, I had four sons.  While raising my family, I earned two graduate degrees. One was in Education- Instruction and Curriculum from the University of Colorado-Boulder and the other was in Jewish Studies from Spertus College. I am a licensed K-6 Colorado teacher with a K-12 linguistically diverse education endorsement.

I have taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses.

In 2010, my husband’s international job created a once in a lifetime opportunity to live in India. I fulfilled three passions – a desire to travel, a zeal for writing, and a love of teaching. My Indian adventure became the backdrop for my book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir.



MBA&M: I understand you had some unexpected events which caused you to have to move to India, but why write “May This Be The Best Year Of Your Life”?MAY THIS BE


For decades, I wanted to write a book. I couldn’t decide on a genre and I procrastinated. A memoir was never part of my initial list.

My husband and I have always maintained a low profile. We purposely avoid being in the public eye. When President Obama visited India, one of my eldest son’s friends asked if I wanted to be interviewed by an American television station. I declined. I wasn’t ready to go public.

I vacillated between my desire to publish a memoir and to maintain my family’s privacy. I was willing to let go of our anonymous status when I realized that I had an incredible story to share. Now that I had an engaging message, I could not resist writing about my adventure or the lessons that I learned.



MBA&M: How hard is it to write a memoir? Does it require an inner strength to write?


Even after I decided to go public with my story, I had some reservations. How much of my private life was I willing to reveal? What parts of my story would engage others? Would the events that I wanted to write about flow together in an organized fashion?


As I mapped out the key strands, I had to face both the pleasant and the unpleasant aspects of my story. I had to come to terms with my shortcomings and be painfully honest with what I wrote. In some respects it was cathartic because I was able to look at the “big picture” by first analyzing different segments of my journey. After I had a vision of the big picture, my writing allowed me to put my frustrations into perspective.



MBA&M: The culture shock must have been tough, what was the biggest shock to you? Why?


As soon as my husband and I left the airport, my senses were overwhelmed. Our assumption that our driver would be fluent in English was incorrect. His weak command of the language forced us to focus intently on his broken English as we struggled with the ill effects of jet lag.


Even though it was the middle of the night, horns were blaring nonstop. Every time our vehicle approached an intersection, the driver beeped his horn. Most people were sleeping, despite the pervasive noise.


The air had a foul smell that at first was unrecognizable. We eventually saw small fires burning garbage everywhere and cows, sheep, wild dogs and chickens roaming the streets freely. Manure was an obvious byproduct that was rarely cleaned up.


The darkness was not able to camouflage the sporadic heaps of debris and garbage that lined the roadway and sidewalks. In some places the litter appeared to blend in with the rundown and dilapidated buildings, but seemed out-of-place adjacent to modern and sleek buildings.


The drivers on the road did not appear to follow any rules. Red lights were ignored and most vehicles-large and small-weaved back and forth with little warning. Rear lights were reserved for only a select number of vehicles. Our driver came too close for comfort when he came upon vehicles with no lights.


By the time I reached our apartment, my senses were on high alert. Exhaustion took hold of me and the symptoms of culture shock were abated until I awoke later that day.



MBA&M: How hard is it to get accustomed to a different culture, the people, their customs, economics, their faith, and yours?


There is a distinct difference between visiting a country and living in a country. Being a visitor is a temporary situation that requires respect for the culture and a limited amount of indoctrination. However, when you relocate to a new country and become an expat, it is vital to become acclimated to the new environment.


It was a challenge for me to adapt to life in India since it was very different from my American background. So many things were foreign and strange. My initial reaction was to be unreceptive to what I observed. Slowly, I learned that I had to have a more flexible attitude. As long as I lived in India, I would have to realize that most things would be totally different from my suburban American life. Embracing my new adventure helped me overcome my trepidations.


MBA&M: What was the hardest thing for you to get accustomed to? Why?


I lost my freedom to come and go as I pleased. I was dependent on others to get me from point A to point B. I did not have a car and could not drive myself anywhere. Instead, I was limited to foot power and hiring others. Most rickshaw drivers, private drivers, and taxi drivers had a limited command of English. Oftentimes I found myself in vehicles that took circuitous routes to get to a destination or that admittedly got lost along the way. Inflated fares naturally followed. This only added to my bewilderment.



MBA&M: You taught at a boarding school, correct? How hard is it to teach at a school different their an America? What credentials did you need?


To my surprise, none of my American credentials were checked. In the US, teachers undergo several levels of scrutiny before they are hired at a public or private school. In the US, fingerprints, background checks, and employment verification are standard procedures. In India, my word was taken at face value. The school did not even ask for a copy of my college transcripts or my Colorado teaching license.


The international school followed a British curriculum that was very different from my American training and experience. Fortunately, my director allowed me to take a hybrid approach. I followed the mandated curriculum, but infused several American theories and methods into my

lesson plans. I was also provided an opportunity to share my literacy expertise during a primary faculty meeting.


This was an amazing opportunity that I thoroughly enjoyed. I realized that my efforts would be limited since my time at the school was short termed. Nevertheless, I wanted to model quality instruction. I have recently learned that some of my American methods are still being used in the 5th grade.



MBA&M: Where you alone in India or did you have family, friends, etc. with you?


My decision to travel to India was predicated on my husband’s job with an Indian based company. The initial terms of his employment called for approximately 6 months in India and the remainder of the time traveling in the US and the UK. My husband and I felt that the new position was a wonderful opportunity that would allow us to see more of our eldest son who was already working in India.


As a result of this business arrangement and the fact that our eldest son had been living in India for years, I retired from my teaching position at a local community college. In January 2010, I traveled with my husband to India.


I interviewed for teaching positions in India and accepted a position at an international school. In the meantime, the terms of my husband’s employment started to change.


I did not anticipate living by myself when I accepted the teaching job. Due to a number of unexpected twists and turns, I ended up living on the school’s campus by myself.



MBA&M: Sandra, please tell our readers where to connect with you and where they may purchase your title?


I’d be delighted if your readers would visit my website- The site includes general information, a photo gallery, a video book trailer, and an active blog


Readers can also join me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Goodreads.

Thank you Sandra, for spending time with us and our readers today. What an amazing story!


May This Be The Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir
by Sandra Bornstein

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478198052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478198055

Book Description(From Amazon)

Publication Date: December 3, 2012
Based on a private journal, memories, and a blog that chronicled her adventure to India, Sandra Bornstein wrote May This Be the Best Year of Your Life to serve as a resource and guide to help others overcome the challenges of living outside their comfort zone. When her husband accepted a job that required extensive international travel, the author was living her version of the American dream in Colorado, never imagining she would be faced with several dilemmas that left her feeling uncertain. After a series of events, she found herself in a life altering experience that placed her alone in a three-hundred-square-foot dorm room while teaching at a renowned international boarding school in Bangalore. This compelling, honest, and edifying memoir shares everything she learned about perseverance, travel, education, faith, and family. Had Sandra never resided in India, she would have missed out on an experience that ultimately enhanced her resiliency, confidence, and passion for life.

Excerpt(from the author’s website)

Sandra Bornstein Book

Ira was going to India. He didn’t have the official offer yet, but somehow I knew that it would soon become a reality. He would leave . . . and what would I do? I tried to envision different scenarios.

I could travel as Ira’s companion.

Yeah, right! This was possible—only if I was independently wealthy.

Or maybe I would just stay in the United States and he’d travel back and forth.

More daunting was the idea of living and working in India. Ira and I could follow in Josh’s footsteps. Josh, in his 20s, dived head first into Indian culture. Ira and I were in our 50s.The whole idea seemed insane. Tossing away an established American life and relocating to a Third World country didn’t seem logical for a middle-aged couple. When Josh had accepted a job in India, I wept for days. I feared that our family would become fragmented and that our moments as a cohesive family would become distant memories. I couldn’t say anything because it was, after all, his life. But now Ira and I were potentially causing an irrevocable schism. Living halfway around the world from most of our immediate family seemed ludicrous.

By far the safest choice for me was staying put and not going anywhere. Ira was free to pursue this job, and I could continue my life as if nothing had changed. But I would have a part-time husband; each of us would need to fend for ourselves when we weren’t together. This alternative position was equally unsound. As a married couple, we derived our happiness and security by living life together. If I wanted to live a separate existence, I would ask for a divorce.

None of the options fell under the category of “the secrets of a successful marriage.” But I felt I would be selfish if I told Ira that he could not pursue this fascinating career path. Just like Josh had chosen his way years ago without any interference from us, I didn’t feel comfortable telling Ira not to take the job.

Too many sleepless nights went by without any resolution, and the lack of rest began to play tricks on me. One minute I felt that an Indian adventure was something to look forward to—a new challenge for the next stage of our lives. And in a blink, I’d change my mind and feel like our cat, Chloe, who likes to hide under the bed. Whenever Chloe doesn’t want to be bothered or is afraid that we’re going to take her for a much-dreaded car ride, she positions herself under our bed, knowing that she’s out of harm’s way. Unlike Chloe, however, I had nowhere to hide.

This wasn’t an easy time for Ira either. Some days the Indian company led Ira to believe that a contract was in the offing, while other days he felt that the deal was sinking like a ship. This went on for weeks as the structure of the job changed and the anticipated time that Ira would need to live in India fluctuated. The company treated Ira as if he were Geppetto’s puppet, controlled by the whim of the puppeteer. Oftentimes he was told that someone would call at a specific time but the phone never rang. He would wait and wait. Without seeming too impatient, he eventually sent e-mails to a contact person in India who then provided an excuse. Some were ridiculous, some seemed genuine. But all of them became old after months of the same act.

Frustration mounted whenever promises were made and broken. Words such as “tomorrow,” “later today,” or “we’ll call soon” turned into triggers that created skepticism. We learned that these words simply meant “an unspecified time in the future” and weren’t an actual promise. Ira and I could only chuckle and make bets about when the next stage would occur.

Ira remained intrigued over the prospect of being the legal head of a legal process outsourcing (LPO) company. Over the years, he had watched as the cost of litigation skyrocketed. By using qualified lawyers and legal assistants employed at a lower hourly rate, clients could decrease their costs. Ira was excited to take over the reins of India Sourced Technology’s (IST) LPO it was still in its infancy. IST was one of India’s largest companies and a global leader in technology with revenues in the billions.

After months of discussion, negotiation, and uncertainty, Ira received a written contract in December 2009. I felt like I was acting in a Disney World commercial when I asked, “How does it feel to be the new delivery head of the IST LPO?” Ira hadn’t won the Super Bowl, but he was beaming when he said, “I can’t wait to mentor hundreds of Indian lawyers and also have an impact on the legal profession.”

Now I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my life:

What was I going to do?


May This Be the Best Year of Your Life is available on Amazon.




Please check out “Our Thoughts” on this title!



(Sponsored by the author)

A special surprise!!

Our gracious guest is giving away a print copy of “MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE” to 1 lucky commenter. Open to U.S. residents only. No P.O. Boxes,please. Giveaway will run from today April 3 until April 10,2013.

So get to commenting and spread the word.



Thank you everyone for supporting us and our guests! We and the guests so appreciate your support!