Interview with Patrice D. Wilkerson – Author of “Through It All I’m Going To Make It”

THROUGH IT ALL, I’M GOING TO MAKE IT, A COLLECTION OF POETRY

Patrice D. Wilkerson
CreateSpace (2018)
ISBN 9781729638255
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (03/19)

Patrice Wilkerson is an MBA graduate who loves writing about the Lord. She has been writing poetry since she was 8 years old and loves to inspire others through words. She’s written a collection of poetry entitled, “Through It All, I’m Going to Make It,” which she published in 2010. She loves the Lord with all of her heart and encourages others to see just how wonderful and powerful He is. She is fun, patient, sweet and personable. 

Patrice is a member of the Poetry Society of Virginia, Hampton Roads Writers, Authors Den and the Virginia Writers Club.         

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Hi, Patrice, Thank you for joining us today at Reader Views! Tell us about your book, “Through It All, I’m Going To Make It.”

My book is a motivating and inspiring collection of poetry that will touch the heart, mind and soul of the reader. My life turned upside down when my father suddenly died.  Throughout my pain, I decided to turn my tragedy into triumph by writing a collection of poems in memory of my father. My faith in God gave me the strength to survive such a challenging time in my life. This collection of poems gives hope to people who suffered the loss of their father and will show how God brings restoration through hope and prayer. This collection is my poetry journey from pain to purpose for Christians who can identify with the loss of a loved one. 

What inspired you to write this book?

It was always a goal of mine to publish a book.  I would write poems here and there, but I never pursued publishing a book until I was faced with a tragedy.  My father passed away when I was 25 years old.  His passing was a complete shock because he died so unexpectedly.  I learned a lot from his passing. I learned that you should never put off tomorrow what you can do today.  I felt motivated to pursue my dreams and publish my book.  Also, I wanted to make my dad proud of me, so I dedicated my book to him.  Lastly, writing each poem helped me to cope with his loss and I wanted my book to help others who had experienced the loss of a loved one.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry since I was eight years old.

Why is poetry important to you?

I have always liked helping others. I enjoy telling a story through my poetry in hopes of helping others overcome the things that they are going through. I especially love writing Christian poetry. Writing Christian poems is way of sharing my testimony with others. I want to share with others how God has really helped me through my life, and I encourage others to see how wonderful He is. That’s the reason why poetry is important to me. It allows me to share my testimony and help other people.

How do you write your poetry – do you start with an image, an idea or something else?

I start with an idea and go from there.  I like to tell a story through my poetry.

Tell us about your writing routine.  What environment lends itself to the best writing conditions for you?

I have to be in a quiet environment in order for me to fully concentrate on my writing.

Do you have a favorite form of poetry?

I like traditional poems that are written in rhyme.  All of the poems that I have written have been in rhyme.

Have you ever dabbled in writing other forms of prose?

No, I have never dabbled in other forms of poetry. However, I would like to venture out and explore other forms of prose.

What do you like to read?  Is there one author or poet that inspires your own writing?

My favorite poems to read were written by Maya Angelou. She really inspired me to be a writer. 

What is a common misconception about poetry?

I believe a misconception about poetry is that it has to rhyme.

So what’s next – do you have another writing project in the works? 

My goal is to have another poetry book completed by the end of this year.

Do you have a blog or a website where readers can follow you and learn more about your work?

Yes, my website is http://www.patricewilkerson.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring poets?

My advice for aspiring poets is to never give up on your dream. There were times when I would submit my writing to so many magazines and would get rejected. I never gave up I kept trying. I am happy to say that my writing has been featured in over 40 magazines. This shows that I never gave up and kept on trying no matter how many times I got rejected. 

That’s amazing, Patrice!  Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your story!

Thank you.

Read the review of Through It All, I’m Going to Make It
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“Eternally Artemisia” by Melissa Muldoon

ETERNALLY ARTEMISIA

Melissa Muldoon
Matta Press (2019)
ISBN 9780997634877
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (4/19)

In “Eternally Artemisia,” Melissa Muldoon delivers a whirlwind story of everlasting soulful connections, taking readers from biblical times to the 26th century. Her story will delight fans of time travel, history, art, historical fiction, romance, and intrigue.

Maddie, an art therapist now in her forties, knows she has lived previous lives, yet the proof is always just beyond her reach.  First introduced to the works of Artemisia Gentileschi and others in a Baroque art history class, Maddie gets a feeling she has been friends with Artemisia over the span of many lifetimes, and they share a deep and cosmic connection. With a career move that takes her from New York to Italy, Maddie quickly acclimates to the country of her beloved friend. Maddie’s first venture in Italy is to host an art therapy retreat for women recovering from sexual assault and abuse. One of the women attending the retreat is Camilla, a member of the Crociani family. The noble Crociani family dates back to the 17th century during the time of Cosimo Medici’s influence in Florence. Camilla invites Maddie to a family gathering, and it is here her past starts blending into her present and future. Readers follow Maddie as she forms unbreakable bonds with Artemisia Gentileschi and finds her true love, Matteo Crociani. As Maddie is drawn into a parallel universe reliving her past and experiencing her future, she proves once and for all that true love and heartfelt connections stand the tests of time. As Maddie puts it, “Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing…to have an emotional bond with another human being so true that it survived many lives?” (p. 31).

Melissa Muldoon is in her element in “Eternally Artemisia.” There are so many delicious details that are woven so intricately into multiple storylines, and her distinctive tone sets her apart. She has truly found her niche in delivering inspiring “need-to-know” stories about women – their strengths, determination and will to “not only survive but thrive” under the most challenging of circumstances throughout history. “Eternally Artemisia” hits issues from eras long past that are still unfortunately, very relevant today, including rape and sexual abuse, the arrogance of small-minded individuals who are determined to hold women back, women’s rights in general, and the role of science and religion in our world – just to name a few. Sound familiar?

Muldoon spotlights her passion for art, history, Italy and women throughout the story. Artemisia Gentileschi was a woman truly ahead of her time, accomplishing things unheard of for women in her era.  Along with being one of the most progressive painters in her period, she may have engineered the original “Me Too” movement, standing up to her abuser and seeking justice. I did not have prior knowledge of Artemisia before reading this book and was amazed to hear her story and learn more about her from the author’s creative gift for educating her readers through exciting, page-turning narrative.

“Eternally Artemisia” will hook you from the very first page with the gruesome, yet oddly satisfying, accounting of how a pious young widow from a Jewish city beheads the general of an Assyrian army sent to destroy the city. It’s a story you won’t soon forget as Muldoon paints such a vivid representation, you halfway expect the blood to splatter all over you while reading!

Along with “Eternally Artemisia,” Melissa Muldoon has also authored two other books around distinct artistic women and their journeys: “Dreaming Sophia” and “Waking Isabella.” I’ve had the pleasure of reading all three of her novels and highly recommend them all – especially to those interested in art, history and romance – featuring strong leading ladies, of course!

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Interview with F. Scott Kimmich – Author of “The Magdalene Malediction”

THE MAGDALENE MALEDICTION

F. Scott Kimmich
Dog Ear Publishing (2019)
ISBN 9781457560569
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (04/19)

F. Scott Kimmich was born in Indianapolis and is an honors graduate of Haverford College. He is a winner of the French Government Scholarship and taught English conversation at the high school level in Chartres, France.  After a career in advertising, Kimmich is retired and lives with his wife Kate Tepper in Norwalk, CT.  They have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. 

Kimmich is the author of the Ordeal by Fire trilogy, a trilogy of novels based on the Albigensian Crusades.  The Magdalene Malediction is the final book in the trilogy.

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Hi Scott, thank you for joining us today at Reader Views!  Tells us, what is The Magdalene Malediction about?

It is the last book in a trilogy – Ordeal by Fire – set during the Albigensian Crusade, when French invaders goaded by Pope Innocent III descended on the lands to the south intent on exterminating its “heretical” inhabitants and seizing their property. Three generations of a Provençal family attempt to resist the French onslaught. In the Magdalene Malediction, the cousins Odon and Rainier along with the beautiful Miranda and the son of Robin Hood are captured by corsairs on their way back to Provence and end up in Moorish Spain, where Miranda loses her heart to a Moorish potentate. After attempting to return home, they become enmeshed in a deadly war between the Moors and the crusading Jacme I of Aragon with tragic consequences. Home at last, they find that their parents have been condemned and the story hurtles towards its end.

What inspired you to write the story behind the Ordeal by Fire trilogy?

My mother was born and raised in Provence and could sing songs in the old language which was spoken instead of French in the 13th century. One of the strong traditions in the Midi of France today is that three Maries, including Mary Magdalene, came ashore on what is now the southern coast of France. A huge basilica was built over her tomb in the 12th century. Hence the background story that Miranda was a descendant of Mary Magdalene as revealed in the second novel of the trilogy.

Another reason for writing the book was my disgust with the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan brought on by misinformation and fake news. These wars, seeking regime change, created huge casualties and suffering among civilians, showed that war against terror or against heresy is senseless and criminal. The US used torture much as it was practiced by 13th century crusaders.

In the ‘80s, Baigent’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail came out and it influenced Dan Brown’s great The Da Vinci Code. But I was more set on writing a story that was less esoteric and far more historical. If any one expects the occult, my books don’t deliver it beyond the legend of Mary Magdalene. Rightly or wrongly, I chose a different path.

What is it about this era that fascinates you?

Centuries before Hitler, the Church encouraged genocide. Thousands of so-called heretics were burned alive. The Albigensian Crusade was a lesson that went unheeded and has been re-enacted many times since. It also gave rise to the Inquisition which was the model for East Germany’s Stazis.

Finally, the eclipse of a language and its culture. is like the boom of a doomsday drum. The decline and fall of the troubadours were like withered flowers set on a gravestone. I am a hopeless romantic.

It’s obvious a lot of work was put into your novels. Tell us about the research process.

I thought I would play it safe and use Michel Roquebert’s L’Epopée Cathare (The Cathar Saga) in five volumes. I knew he had avoided all of the esoteric and occult blather that sullies much of what has been written about the medieval “heretics” widely known today as the Cathars. I also used relatively recent histories of the Albigensian Crusades written in English.

As I was finishing The Magdalen Malediction, I ran across internet articles demonstrating a split between medieval historians. There was a French camp of historiographers who questioned whether the famous ‘heresy” had been invented by the medieval church (fake news) in order to control regions and depose certain rulers (regime change) in favor of those more conducive to direction from the Church.

There were, of course, “traditionalists” who dug in their heels at such 21st century “heresy”. This camp believes that there was a Cathar heresy with a dualistic Godhead, a Good, spiritual God of love, and a materialistic God of Evil, a heresy that came from the east migrating along trade route through the Balkans and into Europe.

I found Mark Gregg’s A Most Holy War to be a well-developed case not only against the Pope-inspired Crusade, but against the existence of Cathars at all. He is backed by Bob Moore’s The War on Heresy.

Faced with these historical choices, I decided to purge references to Cathars and dualism from all my books – which required considerable rewriting.

What do you love most about writing historical fiction?

I enjoy history, it is fascinating, and it’s a lot of fun to weave my story into a given historical era or episode. The Albigensian Crusade is barely known in this country but in France, my books would be best sellers.

And your least favorite part?

I like to be historically correct and I hope the rewriting I chose to do persuades you that I am willing to engage in digging my way out of a hole.

What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

A very good question. Figures who lived 800 years ago may be fair game for fictional treatment, for putting words in their mouths, for having them perform what might in reality be preposterous. One of the characters, Arnaud-Amaury the head abbot of the Cistercian order, is someone whom few historians admire, so I have transformed him into an arch villain if he wasn’t one already. I have no qualms for having done so.

Similarly, I have created an unlikely dalliance between the Count of Toulouse and the Queen Mother of France, Blanche of Castile. In reality, Blanche bore her husband 13 children, and after he died, she may well have suffered loneliness in bed, for which the count, being ten years younger than she, would have been a godsend. They both might have chuckled over my account, whether or not they even knew each other. There were other rumors that suggested she was a merry widow.

Finally, I do have King Jacme I of Aragon acting like a blackguard. I’ve read most of his memoirs, and he is a strutting braggart in my opinion, despite his real accomplishments.

What do you like to read?

I love fiction and I believe it can add dimension to our lives. I also read history and keep up with the world, mostly on the internet. I subscribe to the Nation and the New Yorker. I like to read good political essays. I am very disappointed with the mainstream media, whose greedy corporate owners have decimated their news staff..

Which authors have inspired your own writing?

I don’t think anyone has inspired my writing, but I immensely enjoy Dickens, Hardy, Galsworthy, Shaw, Faulkner, Cozzens, Dahl, Mower, Stegner, Rushdie and Irving.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

Start early in life and keep at it.

As the final story in your Ordeal by Fire trilogy, describe what you felt when you finished writing The Magdalene Malediction.

I was sad to be leaving a family with whom I was closely attached and had played God.

So, what’s next?  Do you have another project in the pipeline?

Maybe something that took place in the South during WWII.

What advice can you give aspiring/emerging authors, based on your own experience?

Keep at it, set aside a couple of hours a day. I read a book on writing fiction by Stephen King and highly recommend it.

Scott, thank you so much for joining us today at ReaderViews.com.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you and your work!

Thank you. 

For more information about F. Scott Kimmich and his books, visit his website at www.fscottkimmich.com, and connect with him on his Facebook author page at F. Scott Kimmich.

Read review of The Magdalene Malediction
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“This is Your Brain on Depression” by Faith G. Harper

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DEPRESSION: CREATING YOUR PATH TO GETTING BETTER

Faith G. Harper
Microcosm Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781621062233
Reviewed by Araceli Noriega for Reader Views (4/19)

Dr. Faith Harper’s “This is Your Brain on Depression: Creating Your Path to Getting Better” is part of the author’s ‘5 Minute Therapy Series.’ In this volume, she sets out to destigmatize clinical depression and go over treatment options.

The author effectively presents both what clinical depression looks like at a neurological level and how the biological process translates into behavioral patterns. Dr. Harper then informs her readers about a myriad of treatments and related methodology. The appendices section includes information on books as well as online resources for further reading. Additionally, Dr. Harper shares important statistics, tips on what to ask a new provider, and basic pharmacological information on medications to treat depression. The ‘References’ section serves a as second recommended reading list for the avid readers. Using the supplemental information in these last sections, readers are able to inform themselves on treatment options while keeping a wide-angle lens on the challenge of obtaining treatment. As such, the author effectively carries out the purpose of her book.

Dr. Harper executes a balance between technically flawless writing and an unusually refreshing delivery. She transitions seamlessly between the snarky and the scientific, reinforces her points with clearly relevant examples, and maintains a compassionate tone throughout.

This book was written for a curious and open-minded audience. The reader will see adult language set in stark honesty about difficult life circumstances. This publication is for readers with busy lives, it can be read in just a few hours and it contains actionable steps to start treatment for depression.

My favorite part of the book was the opening sentence (sorry, no spoilers!). Dr. Harper disrupts all notions of what a proper first sentence for a book should be. She’s raw, unconventional, and straight-forward from the beginning of her text. There are several humorous and accurate references to pop culture, keeping a steady pace which makes for lively reading. These are all things I really enjoyed from the book, but my favorite aspect was the genuine effort which is made to destigmatize mental health illnesses as seen here:

“The big, horrible thing is that we then so often become defined by this label. It becomes who we are instead of something we have.” 

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to learn and understand clinical depression and the available treatment options. Its structure lends to a quick read with further reading if desired.

Dr. Harper, author of other books such as “Unf*ck your brain: Getting over anxiety, depression, anger, freak-outs, and triggers…with science!” and “How Not to Kill Yourself: A Survival Guide for Imaginative Pessimists”, writes a gem in “This is Your Brain on Depression: Creating Your Path to Getting Better”. By presenting a concise explanation about the nature of clinical depression in a spirited style, Dr. Harper quickly engages readers. Her compassionate delivery of solution-focused, actionable steps to treatment leaves her audience centered and filled with hope. This is the type of conscientious writing that can transform a person suffering with mental illness into someone who is thriving with it.  

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Interview with Bob Gebelein – Author of “Dirty Science”

Dirty Science
Bob Gebelein
BookBaby (2019)
ISBN 9780961461140
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/19)

Bob Gebelein graduated from Harvard with a BA in Mathematics in 1956, and then went on to have a legendary career as a computer programmer and creator of software systems.

 But the main focus of his adult life has been to create a new civilization, because of the threat of nuclear annihilation and other cultural problems. His methods were psychotherapy, withdrawal from the culture, and dream analysis. He succeeded in his quest by discovering how “human nature” itself can be changed, to compassion and altruism, to create a new kind of human being, who will then create a new civilization. He is a new civilization with a population of one.

His book, RE-EDUCATING MYSELF, describes his search and the answers that he found. THE MENTAL ENVIRONMENT describes the network of lies from which he extricated himself. His original songs, on “Uncle Bobby’s Record,” now have an international following.

Because he is writing from a new civilization, he can view the scientific establishment with some perspective, especially because he is not controlled by it. Also he brings to DIRTY SCIENCE original concepts such as “the mental senses,” “mental warfare,” and “psychological age,” which make this work a step ahead of the present culture.

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Hi Bob, thank you for joining us today at Reader Views. Tell us about your latest book, Dirty Science.

Establishment scientists are trying to tell us that there is no reality beyond the physical. They have not proved this scientifically, so they force it upon the academic community with unscientific methods such as ridicule, power politics, argument-from-credentials, and refusal to look at the evidence. This is blocking our culture from knowledge of the psychic, the spiritual, and even the mental.

What inspired you to write Dirty Science?

I have been working since 2009 as a volunteer at The Rhine Research Center in the field of parapsychology. I have learned that academic people who show an interest in the psychic or the spiritual are not just ridiculed, but they are denied publication, funding, and employment. Tenured professors are shunned.

The National Academy of Sciences in 1988 issued a report that declared, “The committee finds no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena.” They didn’t even look at the evidence. There is literally a “ton” of evidence of the psychic and the spiritual here at The Rhine Research Center. Their assertion will be recorded in the annals of folly forever, but meanwhile it has caused parapsychology to be branded as a “pseudoscience” in America.

At the same time, I realized that the prejudices of academic people against Freud, Jung, psychotherapy as education, dream analysis as education, Edgar Cayce, Richard Kieninger, and the spiritual were keeping them from recognizing my own work toward a new civilization. The realization that my own work was being shunned because of academic prejudices was the real emotional trigger that inspired me to write Dirty Science.

What exactly does dirty science mean?

“Dirty science” means the use of unscientific methods in the name of science by persons with scientific credentials representing prestigious institutions such as Princeton, Harvard, and the National Academy of Sciences.

What are the ramifications of dirty science?

We are in a political situation here which is very much like the Dark Ages, except that the Inquisition is invisible and represents an unknown power. Knowledge is being suppressed. Academic people are being held to a narrow belief system, which in this case includes only the physical. Our technological ability to destroy ourselves can lead to our extinction as a species if not modified by psychological growth and spiritual awareness.

In your opinion, how did “establishment scientists” rise to such a position of authority to be able to discount or squash another’s research entirely?

I can’t answer this question. Physical scientists venture unscientific opinions on subjects like parapsychology which are outside their fields of expertise, and these opinions are accepted universally as absolute truth within the academic community. I can only explain it as some kind of mass hypnosis.

Are there certain areas of research that are more affected than others?

Anything that is not purely physical is affected. Psychology has been steered away from the study of the mind to the study of physical behavior and the physical brain. People who study precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, energy medicine, spirit entities, reincarnation, intelligent design, or levitation are considered mentally incompetent and shunned, even though there is evidence for all these things. The argument, starting with the assertion that all these things are impossible, is that the evidence must be faulty.

Why the bias against these areas?

Establishment scientists made a gross error 150 years ago. They made Darwin’s theory of unintelligent design the basis for a religion, a belief in a purely physical reality, before it was proved. Biologists have actually disproved it, showing that new species have appeared more quickly in geological time than could be explained by the slow process of adaptation, but they can’t admit it, because their whole belief system rests upon it. And I don’t think they can ever prove that what Darwin called “random mutation” wasn’t caused by Divine intervention.

Unquestioning absolute belief in a purely physical reality has become a requirement for membership in the social group “science.”

Why do American colleges and universities go along with this?

In 2013, I wrote to the presidents and chancellors of the 137 top-ranked colleges and universities in the United States, asking them to do something to end the domination of physicalism. I received a good response, 39 replies in all. One of them agreed with me. Two of them disagreed. But generally they seemed to be unaware that there were extreme social forces silencing debate and destroying academic freedom. They were reflecting the same innocence that I had during my college days.

Can you give us examples of theories and evidence that has been rejected or hidden due to dirty science?

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  • In 1958, I dreamed of my grandmother’s death an hour before I received the telegram.
  • I dreamed that “GERALD FORD CARTER” was historically an important name and printed those words on a piece of paper, long before it was known that these men would become President. I have had a great many precognitive dreams.
  • In 1967, I discovered the self-steering process of dream analysis, and that process led me to the spiritual.
  • In 1969, I had a “death experience,” shooting up into the presence of The Light and the figure of Christ.

Billions of people worldwide have had experiences similar to mine. Recent studies done in Germany, Iceland, and Switzerland show that between 50% and 91% of people have had some kind of psychic experience. These are not just “theories.” These are first-hand evidence.

What can be done to change the status quo?

I am appealing to the intelligent reading public, first of all to learn the difference between what is science and what is not, and then to put pressure on those people who use unscientific methods to clean up their act. I offer 3 simple rules to determine whether an opinion is scientific or not:

            1. Does the person use obvious unscientific arguments, such as smear tactics?

            2. Is this opinion in this person’s area of expertise?

            3. Is this opinion backed by replicated scientific studies?

I am hoping to reach everybody who has ever been to college, is in college, or is planning to go to college. I am hoping they will confront their college, asking them whether they study psychic or spiritual phenomena, and if not, why not, and offering donations to support such studies. Briefly, I am trying to create a revolution.

How long have you been working on Dirty Science?

I first had the idea in 2012, but I haven’t spent all that time writing the book. I wrote the letter to the presidents in 2013. This became a Guest Editorial in the Journal of Parapsychology and then a short talk at the Annual Conference of the Parapsychological Association in 2014. I actually sat down to write the book in the fall of 2014, thinking I could do it in one winter. But I had to revise Chapter 1 five times before I was satisfied with it. This was a growth process which took 2 more years. The book was finished in the spring of 2017, but I took another year and a half trying to get a literary agent or publisher.

Tell us about some of the research you encountered while collecting data for your book?  Did you have trouble finding documentation in any of the areas you wanted to focus on?

Most of the research was actually done for my previous book, The Mental Environment, at the Dartmouth College Libraries. The chapters on Edward O. Wilson, John B. Watson, and the Dartmouth College textbook are taken largely from that book.

I am not really a researcher. I am a philosopher and a creative thinker. The evidence for dirty science is so blatant and obvious that it takes no expertise to be aware of it.

Who is the intended audience of Dirty Science?

As I have already said, I am writing for the intelligent reading public, and particularly those who are able to think for themselves and question “authority” (so-called). I write with a high-school-level vocabulary, so this book should not scare away anybody over the age of 14 (although some intellectuals are insulted by my simple style).

So, what’s next for you?  Are you planning a follow-up book?

This is always a depressing question. It is as if somebody is dismissing this book and waiting for the next.

Dirty Science can be, and should be, an important book. I want to reach 100 million readers with this book. My work promoting it has barely begun. I have suggested a follow-up book describing people’s experiences with dirty science, but so far I have no takers. What I would really like is a follow-up revolution.

How do you intend to reach 100 million readers?

I am affirming that 100 million people need to read this book. I am precipitating that thought into the mental environment. I am saying that this issue involves the way we are all being educated, and our culture at the very highest level, and even our chances for survival. Obviously I can’t reach 100 million people all by myself, but if every person who thinks this should be an important book can reach 2 other people who think this should be an important book, it will happen.

Do you have a website where people can learn more about you and your book, Dirty Science?

You can read Chapter 1 on my website, dirtyscience.net. I invite you to share your comments there. If you click on “AUTHOR,” that will take you to bobgebelein.com, which describes my other books, my music, and my philosophy. 

Bob, thank you for joining us today at Reader Views and sharing the message about Dirty Science.

—Dirty Science is available for sale on dirtyscience.net, amazon.com, and as Print on Demand (POD) at store.bookbaby.com. It is also available as an eBook (Kindle) on amazon.com and will be available soon as an audiobook. Bookstores and distributors can contact Bob Gebelein at dirtyscience2@gmail.com for special discounts.

Read review of Dirty Science
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“Rise the Phoenix” by Ely Page

RISE THE PHOENIX

Ely Page
BookBaby (2019)
ISBN 9781543960266
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (04/19)

“Rise the Phoenix,” by Ely Page takes off quickly with a cataclysmic event. Much of the human population is wiped out when massive earthquakes strike all over the world. A young man named Dylan was lucky to be protected in a freezer when a quake hits while he is at work. Little does he know that a higher power has plans for him to direct the battle that is about to be waged against humankind.

Dylan and other survivors feel compelled to go to an older minister’s home. The minister has been preparing for this group to join him. Visions have shown him that he needed to prepare for a journey that the survivors will take to get to a safer place. Relationships are forged as the group bonds with each other. Their journey is difficult because they are frequently under attack by evil beings. As time passes, they find themselves fighting increasingly intense battles against otherworldly creatures who hope to destroy mankind. Visions help guide this specially selected group of people. They each use whatever talents they have not only to survive, but also to rebuild the population of earth. The final battle will decide if their efforts were worth it.

“Rise the Phoenix,” tells an incredible tale that immediately had me hooked. As a fan of post- apocalyptic stories like Walking Dead and Z Nation, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the author created an epic fantasy that follows the genre but also offers something more, by taking the battles that are being waged on Earth into darker realms.

The author also has a gift for creating flawed characters that evolve as time passes and they survive challenges that are placed in their path.  The protagonists are trying to survive in a world with limited resources and the struggle felt real to me. The addition of higher beings like angels and Jesus allows for the story to have more depth than most others like it. The visions and other worldly creatures also help bring this adventure to life. The scenes are brilliantly described in vivid detail. This is especially apparent during the battles. Readers will find themselves holding their breath, like I did.

I loved reading “Rise the Phoenix,” and I regretted that the book had to end. I truly hope that there will be more stories to follow! Fans of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction will love “Rise the Phoenix” by Ely Page.

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“Making Sense of the Chaos: A Call to Action” by Bobbie Stevens

MAKING SENSE OF THE CHAOS: A CALL TO ACTION

Bobbie Stevens, PhD
Balboa Press (2017)
ISBN 9781504382205
Reviewed by Marjorine Castillo for Reader Views (4/19)

“Making Sense of the Chaos: A Call to Action” by Bobbie Stevens is a book about personal transformation that can lead to a greater good. The author provides her opinion about why the world is in the current state it is in, and how challenging the misconception that caused it can lead to a shift in the human collective consciousness. The book is organized into three sections that serve the purpose of introducing how the incorrect belief has led to chaos in the world, how she envisions the aftermath of a personal and collective transformation, and how we can work on ourselves to co-create a better world.

Overall, the chapters begin with interesting quotes that summarize the essence of the section. The writing is concise, the message is consistent, and in accessible language. I was truly excited to read the content she proposed, but the further I progressed in the chapters the more I was unsettled by the unsupported claims made in this book. I was particularly bothered by the statements that scientists discovered certain concepts even though they have existed before recorded history. I believe she has good intentions in outlining how we can change ourselves and the world, but this book provides a sense of empowerment that seems superficial once we dig deeper into the text. 

The first part of the book focuses on the what is going wrong in the world and how life as we knew it no longer exists. She claims that violence, climate change, an increase in drug addictions, corruption, and fake news have caused widespread destruction, and this is a reflection of our belief in that we are separate entities. There might be some truth to this, but the connection is explained in simplistic terms. I read it more as, “horrible things are happening because we are living in fear, we’re stressed, we don’t connect with each other, and we see no hope for a better future.” Bad things occur throughout history, people experience stress in different forms, the whole world doesn’t think in a single, unified way, and there are people who lose or gain hope at the same moment in time. What is it about this particular generation that makes this experience different? In my opinion, the book begins with a misconception of its own- that the whole world believes the incorrect belief. This is not the case, as many people around the world, for generations, have believed in the connectedness of the universe (e.g. Native American spirituality and beliefs of oneness). The author should specify who is the world that is waking up, because many have been awake for quite some time.

Fundamentally, I agree with her statements that “there is an energy that connects all of us and everything in the universe” (pg. 9). I think that a lot of good can come from this ideology and it’s important to spread the word. The problem arises when statements such as “science has now clearly proven that the entire universe (everyone and everything in the universe) is connected” are used but there is no actual evidence being presented. If the purpose of the book is to “bring us up to date in the discoveries of science,” then I expect it to deliver. Although her peak experience is valid in its own right, it is not enough to say, “I experienced this” and “discoveries in science show…”. What were these studies? Who are these scientists? How did they prove it? Another section I found to be problematic was the left vs right brain discussion, and that “a highly educated, intellectually brilliant person has not necessarily developed his/her right brain” (pg. 56). The claim is that the left brain is for logical thinking, while the right brain is for creativity. This theory is not supported by scientific evidence, and this information is widely acknowledged. This is another incorrect belief that is guiding the discussion about what people should do to improve their lives. Approaching the conversation with outdated information diminishes the credibility of one of the main arguments of the book- that people need to develop their right brain to become self-actualized.

Lastly, the section about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (not growth) explains the process of achieving self-actualization. There are certain needs that need to be met before we progress to a higher level of needs. This section brings up questions about who gets to the self-actualization level? The reality is that only some people can reach this level (e.g. rich and famous, as she mentions in one of the chapters) because others need to focus on basic survival. I could imagine a reader experiencing distress if they can’t reach self-actualization level based on the steps provided. A comprehensive perspective is lacking to help people of all backgrounds understand this. One does not simply achieve higher levels of needs. There are real barriers that prevent people from achieving self-actualization.

Despite the mentioned issues, the most informative part of the book was the part where she provides questions for people to confront their beliefs. She posed questions about different topics relating to war, religion, moral/ethics, wealth/money, relationships, sex, entertainment, medical/health case, aging and success. These questions were thought-provoking and could be used as tools to challenge people’s viewpoints.

The second part of the book was intended to give readers a vision of what the world could look like if we moved towards a collective human consciousness. It gives us hope to think that one day we can have a utopian-esque society where nobody suffers, and all is good with the world. She describes the world that she believes would be best for all people. She explains how people will begin to do yoga and meditate, develop their right brain abilities, and more people began to experience self-actualization. Again, I believe this could be a reality for a very narrow proportion of people across the globe. These statements ignore the complexity of people’s experiences, and the reality is that not everyone has the luxury of being cultural creatives. Who would have the power to set the standard? If a person doesn’t believe in collectedness, how do they fit into this world? What if more self-actualization doesn’t lead to a utopian world? Are there examples of people already living this life in “non-traditional” communities?

The last part of “Making Sense of the Chaos: A Call to Action” by Bobbie Stevens was very brief and emphasized the need to challenge ourselves. She asks us to take the 15-minute pledge to sit alone and let the universe tell us what it needs to tell us. I think doing this could be beneficial for people’s health, but I wish she would have mentioned that being in tune with yourself takes time and practice. It doesn’t just happen out of the blue and is a magically enriching experience. Challenging our beliefs can be a taxing process that shakes our core beliefs. Even if the result is positive, we must proceed with caution.

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