Tag Archives: non-fiction

Travels With Maurice: An Outrageous Adventure in Europe, 1968 by Gary Orleck (Book Spotlight)

TRAVELS WITH MAURICE by Gary Orleck

 
“‘Travels with Maurice is a gem of a book that just sneaks up on you with its greatness. While the title makes you think it’s a travelogue or road trip book (and we’ve all read enough of these), Travels is so much more.” – Michael Berman
 

 
Book Description:

“Every Women Wanted to Be with Him Every Man Wanted to Be Him”― Gary Orleck

A simple “thank you” led to the trip of a lifetime, along with an unbreakable friendship of two opposites. See them come of age while rubbing elbows with the rich and famous like the Shah and Queen of Iran, The Who, Paul McCartney, Brigitte Bardot, and even Shirley Temple Black. An unbelievable story, yet it’s true because nobody could make this story up. Find out things the rich and famous do not want you to know.

 
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Meet the Author: 

Author Gary Orleck

​I grew up in Lincoln, R.I. which is a blue-collar town, went To Babson University School of Business, and graduated with a BSBA in 1966. I worked my way around the USA for six months.

Two years later, I traveled with the son of the richest man in the world – covering 19,988 miles, twelve countries, and ten weeks.

Then, I went to work at Broadway Tire Inc. Twenty years later, I bought the business. I then owned and operated it for thirty more years before retiring in 2016!

In Between, I met and married my wife Ronna and had two beautiful children, and now I have five grandchildren!

The love of travel remained with me, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited 75 countries – each in a unique style – all my own way, using much of which I learned in my travels with Maurice in 1968. 

 
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Ashes To Ink: A Memoir by Lisa Lucca (Book Showcase)

 
 
“Lisa Lucca weaves the past and present into a vividly written and important story with many layers: family secrets, fathers and daughters, love and sexuality, and at the core, forgiveness. What touched me most was the call to action to become the love of your own life. Read, learn, and become!” — Laura Munson, New York Times bestselling author and founder of the acclaimed Haven Writing Retreats.

“In this raw and gripping memoir, Lisa Lucca has perfectly captured the unique ripple effects of life with a gay parent. With little representation in popular media, people who grow up with (or find out about) LGBTQ+ parents/caregivers are often left to wonder if there’s anyone else who really understands. Ashes to Ink is proof we are not alone, and that love truly does win.” — Jordan Budd, Executive Director of COLAGE, National LGBTQ+ family organization


“Fresh, warm, sassy, and smart… Lisa’s voice is a delight! I was enchanted by this book.” — Alexia La Fortune, Author of Sex, Love, and Spirit


Ashes to Ink… a power punch of a book written by the glorious Lisa Lucca. Filled with rage and anger and sorrow and more unleashed anger…and much humor and love…human emotion in each chapter. Lisa’s memoir is all about LOVE, the wanting, the needing, the longing, the acceptance, the fear of love, the need for love. From a parent whose lifestyle flattens her to the seeking of love with men who challenge her (unconsciously) to finding the right one. This is a memoir about family – the down and dirty – about love, about searching… and forgiveness. This book is filled with so much truth, so many untamed feelings, so much rawness… a memoir that gives you ample time to hold your breath and exhale. Read it, devour it, allow yourself to creep into the uncomfortableness. Life is filled with discomfort and unease – Lisa gives us all the rare opportunity to see ourselves in the dazzling, and magnificent mirror she holds up for us.” — Amy Ferris, Marrying George Clooney, Confessions from a Midlife Crisis

 

 
Book Description:


Acceptance struggles to emerge from a cocoon of family secrets . . .

After her parents’ divorce in 1974, Lisa Lucca’s idyllic Midwestern childhood is shattered when she learns her father is gay. Sworn to secrecy, she begins carrying the emotions of her family like a cracked bucket, making a mess as she embarks on a life of rebellious choices.

Decades later, faced with the aftermath of her father’s death, Lisa revisits the complicated relationship she had with him, delving deeper into the stories she’s held about love, sexuality, and the family she comes from with a shimmering clarity that arises from her grief.

A story of heartache and the power of forgiveness, Ashes to Ink shines a light on the challenges of living true to who we are, especially for single parents.

 
 
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Meet the Author:
Author Lisa Lucca

 
Lisa Lucca’s work has been published in several publications and anthologies, most recently in Crone Rising. She is the co-author of the epistolary memoir, You Are Loved, with her partner, Mark Mathias, a love story she will continue telling in her next book.

She shares a home with Mark in the high desert of southern New Mexico where she continues her work as a life coach, and hosts a weekly public radio show, Live True, bringing insightful and engaging interviews to her listeners. The show streams globally at lccommunityradio.org where the shows are available in the archives.

connect with the author:
 website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Cerebral Palsy: ‘A Story’ Finding the Calm After the Storm by Ilana Estelle (Book Review)

 
Living with cerebral palsy is enormously difficult. But what if you never knew you had it? This is the incredible story of Ilana Estelle.

Born the second of premature twins, from a young age Ilana knew she was different, but for all the wrong reasons. A child of the 60s, Ilana experienced first-hand the way that disability was so often brushed under the carpet and not spoken about. Her constant physical and mental struggles made her feel isolated, alone, frustrated, and misunderstood… it took 46 years for her to find out why.

Part memoir, part motivational guide, Cerebral Palsy: A Story is Ilana’s open and honest journey from an angry, confused child, knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what, to the ‘real’ her – a courageous woman using her experiences and lessons to create inspiring messages about mental and physical health, positivity, resilience and change. 

 
 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm After the Storm informed me about 11 secondary conditions connected to CP (cerebral palsy). The memoir also gave me facts that escaped me until now. For example, 800,000 individuals have CP, and 10,000 people are born with it each year. Ilana Estelle also explained how the brain is affected in those with cerebral palsy. There are physical limitations. People also face emotional and mental roadblocks. 


She went in-depth on how emotional stress can affect a CP’s immunity. A positive attitude, surrounding yourself with positive people is vital for a CP person’s overall health. Ilana Estelle gave examples of how to achieve a happy mind, cope with stress, and live a healthier life. 


There were many sections in Cerebral Palsy: A Story: Finding the Calm that could apply to those not living with CP: foods to maintain good high blood pressure, foods that alleviate arthritis pain, and parenting tips. At times, these areas seemed to deter away from the topic at hand—cerebral palsy. While I appreciate the extra health tips and her parenting advice, I wanted more about her journey in life with CP. 


Ilana Estelle discussed the misdiagnosis at the age of 2 (2.5). She spoke of the lack of family support  (often) and felt guilty and depressed about failing in life. She also emphasized what she learned in the process. 

  • know your limitations
  • ask for help
  • gain knowledge about your condition

To parents, she stressed having a sit-down and make sure all siblings are aware that people with CP need patience, understanding, compassion, and assistance. 


While Ilana Estelle has struggled in life and will as she continues her journey in this world, I’m pleased to see she’s not bitter or angry over what’s occurred in the past. She’s working hard to achieve a happy mind. Peaceful soul. 


You can’t change the past, but your actions today can pave the road for a better tomorrow. 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
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Meet the Author:
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Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.

That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experience that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with an inspiring message advocating resilience and change.

Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and well being. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing to tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside. Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.

Connect with the author: 
website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ pinterest ~ goodreads

 
 

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Rebel Correspondent by Steve Procko (Book Spotlight / Guest Post)

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Content Rating:  PG

 
​​​
Rebel Correspondent is the true story of a young man who joined the Confederate Army days after his eighteenth birthday and served bravely until the war ended. Wounded twice, he emerged a changed person. But he wasn’t just a returning veteran; he was also a writer.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Arba F. Shaw was a fifty-seven-year-old farmer. On a chilly December day in 1901, he put pen to paper to write his memories of being a Rebel Private in the 4th Georgia Cavalry (Avery), C.S.A. He completed writing his account in February 1902. His local newspaper, the Walker County Messenger, in Lafayette, Georgia, published his account in more than fifty articles from 1901 to 1903. Then it was all but forgotten. Until Now. Rebel Correspondent presents Arba F. Shaw’s account word-for-word, as first published in the Walker County Messenger almost 120 years ago. Procko annotates Shaw’s account with in-depth research, verifying it and uncovering the back story of his life and the lives of his Rebel comrades. Procko’s research offers a historical perspective on the many places and events Shaw so richly described.

 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Steve Procko never thought of himself as a Civil War history buff, let alone a biographer. He does love history, however, particularly learning about the small, everyday events in the lives of little-known people and the small towns they lived in.

A documentarian and cinematographer, Steve was sleuthing stories for a documentary series he has developed, “There’s History Around Every Bend,” currently available on YouTube, when he came across the writings of Private Arba F. Shaw.

The down-to-earth accounts of the everyday life of a lowly private just struggling to survive one of the greatest events in American history fascinated Steve. As he read the series of articles, mostly unread since they were published in a small, north Georgia newspaper in 1901-1903, he began to realize that this was a remarkable cache of history.

A native of Florida, Steve, with his Lauren and their dog Rigby, splits his time between a mountain log cabin nestled next to Stanley Creek near the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, and a home in Ocala, Florida.

He opened a commercial film production company with a partner in 1984. In 2003 the company became Steve Procko Productions (SPP). His Emmy-award-winning financial literacy program Talkin’ Money Minutes is available on over 100 Public Television stations nationwide. SPP has also won three additional Emmys over fifty Addy Awards, Telly Awards, and two Promax awards.

When he’s not behind a video camera or researching the archives for his next documentary or book, Steve explores remote areas throughout the United States and Canada as a fine art photographer. He has had work displayed at The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, as well as solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. 

Steve’s second book, Captured Liberty, another Civil War story about nine POW Union officers and their amazing escape will be published in 2022. He also plans to develop documentaries about The Rebel Correspondent and Captured Liberty.

 

Connect with the Author:  Author Website ~  Twitter Facebook Instagram

 
 
 
 
By: Steve Procko; Author, Rebel Correspondent – RebelCorrespondent.com
 
 
I love detective work. Tracing history’s mysteries and sleuthing anecdotal stories to separate the wheat from the chaff has become an obsession, and for me, Rebel Correspondent is one of those stories.

So why write a book based on the 120-year-old writings of a Confederate private in a time when this country often feels more divided than ever? Because factual history, regardless of the point of view, is important.

When Arba F. Shaw sat down and began writing his account of his experiences in the Civil War, he must have known that if he didn’t do so, those memories would be forever lost.

In the first place I will say that it was a hard task for me to leave a pleasant home where peace and abundant comfort were takin in exchange a miserable out door life where I was liable to be killed any day, but it was a task that for the sake of honor I could not shirk from and now l am glad I performed it”, said Shaw.


He was writing of things that had occurred more than thirty-five years earlier, but they were clearly events deeply burned into his mind. Shaw memories were sharp. They had not faded in over thirty-five years–his account of events were proven to be incredibly accurate.

In the 150-plus years since Arba became a lowly private, tens of thousands have followed as young adults who enlisted into the conflict their country found itself engaged in at that particular moment—all of them driven by honor and duty. This is not a book arguing the reasons why Civil War came to be or why today we still haven’t quite finished the argument.

This book is a story of survival. It was the underlying theme then, and it has resonated through every war and conflict this country has found itself in ever since.

 

 
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Why I Do VFX: The Untold Truths About Working in Visual Effects by Vicki Lau (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

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From the city of Singapore to working on over twenty Hollywood blockbuster films and TV series such as “The Walking Dead,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Aquaman,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” comes one of the first books of its kind in the visual effects (VFX) industry.

With a unique blend of self-help, career strategy, and memoir-like elements, Vicki Lau speaks to the core of what it is like to work behind-the-scenes on some of your favorite Hollywood titles, covering strategies employed in order to maneuver her way into the upper echelons of the industry.

You will learn:

  • Detailed breakdowns of day-to-day studio activities
  • How industries and events impact your life and career prospects as a VFX artist
  • Key strategies and insights on dealing with Hollywood politics
  • Precise predictions on VFX job displacements and new high-growth skills
  • Self-clarity on your ambitions in life and what the VFX industry truly offers

Why I Do VFX is a must-have for anyone seriously considering a fulfilling life and career in Hollywood, film, and the arts.

After all, why spend a decade of your life uncovering the truths about this industry when you need only read this book to answer your own question:

Do you really want to do VFX?

Foreword by Leif Einarsson (VFX on “Stuart Little,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming”)

 
 
 

 

BUY THE BOOK
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Meet the Author:

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Vicki Lau is a VFX artist/generalist, virtual reality (VR) developer, TEDx speaker, entrepreneur, and educator from Singapore who broke into Hollywood as an outsider. She has worked with over 20 studios and filmmakers on major productions such as AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (Season 4), “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Aquaman” and teaches over 80,000 students worldwide.

She is a winner of the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars Editor’s Choice Award and nominated finalist of the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars Global Award for Achievement and WinTrade Award for Women in Tech. Vicki is also a bodybuilder.

 

  1. In your book you mentioned the term “returnlancers”. Tell us more about this – how did you come up with this idea?

I did officially coin that word in the book, haha. Anyway, returnlancers are basically what one would refer to as “serial freelancers” or people who freelanced at a studio and then return to that studio again (and again) in the future for different project(s).

 

I’ve personally returnlanced before and this phenomenon is fairly common in VFX – where, after getting a project with Studio A, Studio A may let you go but then call you back months later for a different project. Generally, if you had maintained a good working relationship with that studio, you’ll get future work and projects from that studio – hence, becoming a returnlancer.

 

Since there wasn’t exactly a term that existed to describe this phenomenon (other than calling them “freelancers who return to that same studio again in the future”), I figured that returnlancers would be a fitting and descriptive term to describe VFX professionals who make a career out of frequenting studios they had worked at previously.

 

 

  1. What is your writing schedule?

I generally do my workouts first before writing (just because my gym isn’t open 24 hours) and that would depend on the time I get up. Basically, my writing schedule varies depending on what time I finish my workout and/or if there are any events or meetings I have to attend first before writing. It’s purely based on convenience for the most part – i.e. I don’t believe there is a special hour or time of the day to write (it really depends on what else you have going on and any other things you need to do that has a closing time, for example).

 

  1. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I am probably too familiar with my writing and quirks to be able to see them as what would be considered as interesting quirks – to me, these quirks are very normal. I suppose I will say that I am very particular with my contractions in my book: if it’s meant to be “I’ll” rather than “I will” because it rolls off better (or has a more or less authoritative tone of voice), then it will be written in the form that fits the context of the sentence best.

 

Alternatively, I am very particular with my use of the words “always” and “never,” and if I know for a fact that there is even a slight chance that the scenario I am describing could play out differently, I would say “most/less likely” rather than “always/never,” to be very accurate in my statements.

 

I’ll probably wait till I have more books down to make a call on what my quirk(s) could potentially be, but there you go.

 

  1. What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

Getting pulled away from writing to do other tasks or attend meetings/events and the like, for sure. The process of writing and getting the book published isn’t as much of a challenge as it was to be called away to tend to other types of work I had to do, et cetera.

 

Also, waiting on platforms to complete their part of the job (for example, approving or reviewing a book/audiobook) was a challenge. I am not a fan of long wait times.

 

  1. What is the last great book you’ve read?

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve read a book I genuinely wanted to read (you know, ignoring the mandatory textbooks you had to read whilst in school) – my schedule simply doesn’t allow me to spend the time to sit and read a book. I suppose then I would say that the last great book I’ve sought after and read was Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. I believe I read that when I was 20 and it was a copy from the school library. I had even borrowed a bunch of Nietzsche’s books not for the assignment but because I’ve always wanted to read them since I was exposed to his works years prior.

 

  1. What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t actually remember – mainly because after that supposedly courageous thing was done, I just move on to the next thing. I suppose if I had to pick one that I can recall, it has got to be asking a guy I had a crush on out and then later asking to kiss him (this was back in Singapore so I was probably 18 or 19 at the time), haha. I was such a geek back then (probably still am today).

 

Connect with the Author:  
Website ~ Instagram Goodreads
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 

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