Monday, January 16, 2012

For the Love of All Debuts at #1 for Hot New Releases in Amazon's Literary Criticism and Theory

I've never thought of myself as the kind of person who's inclined to bare her soul to the world, yet, lately, it seems like that's all I've been doing. First I gave a series of intimate interviews, and then, when Mark Miller invited me to write a narrative essay for his One series for Trestle Press, I asked if I could co-author an essay with my boyfriend, Scott, about our relationship. Though this is not normally the sort of writing I do, I just knew, deep in my bones, that telling our story would help us in our discovery of each other, and would inspire others towards reflection about their own relationships and the kinds of relationships they want to have. 

I'm thrilled to announce that no one has thrown tomatoes at me! The story debuted at #1 for Amazon's Hot New Releases in Literary Criticism and Theory, and I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that my friend, Paula Todd King, wrote a beautiful blog entry, "A New Beginning," about the piece.

What a lovely reception for a new work, and especially for one so close to my heart.

The essay, "For the Love of All," is just over 5,000 words and costs 99 cents in the Amazon Kindle store. I leave you with the opening paragraph:

We are soulmates. We dream together. We feel each other’s joy and pain. We share the same visions in meditation. If one of us falls ill, the other intuitively calls to see what’s wrong. If one of us has an amazing day, the other is lifted, also, before knowing why. Together we are one, and because of this, we are also one with the world, with all of creation. Just as an individual is a microcosm of  being, we are a microcosm of connection. We love largely, openly, bravely — every day conquering the fear that comes with relinquishing ownership of our own hearts. Yet, we are unique and special only in the way that all other human beings are. What we have, others have had. What we have, you can have. What we possess is the inalienable right of all: unconditional love.

Wishing you all beautiful lives, joyous love, and open hearts --

Just Who Is Jessica Chambers, Anyway?

In her own words: 

Soon after Jessica was old enough to walk and talk, her parents realised two things.

The first was that she had an incredibly vivid imagination. Unlike many small children, she was content to spend hours at a time amusing herself, inventing ever more dramatic games of kidnap, runaway orphans and wicked stepmothers. When she wasn’t playing, she could often be found listening to an audio book, Roald Dahl, perhaps, or her favourite Enid Blyton, becoming lost in the tales woven by others. Even as a child, Jessica cherished a dream that one day she would be a writer herself. Always a shy person, she revelled in the ability to escape into another world, something that remains true to this day.

The second thing which gradually became apparent to her parents was that there seemed to be something wrong with her sight. She was forever tripping over toys left lying around on the floor, or being chided for sitting too close to the television (“You’ll get square eyes if you don’t watch out.”) It took several years of appointments with specialists, of brain scans and visual tests, but   when Jessica was five years old, experts diagnosed her as having Retinitus Pigmentosa, a degenerative disease affecting the retina.

At school, Jessica’s teachers did everything in their power to make life as easy for her as possible, including providing her with a CC TV and computer. However, as she approached her ninth birthday, her sight had deteriorated so severely that the teaching staff no longer felt equipped to meet her needs. It was decided that she should transfer to Dorton House, a weekly boarding school for the visually impaired. For Jessica, this was a dream come true. Having devoured all the boarding school stories she could lay her hands on, from Billy Bunter to Mallory Towers, she couldn’t wait for her own adventure to begin.

Of course, her time at Dorton House wasn’t quite the round of classroom pranks and midnight feasts she had anticipated. Nevertheless, her nine years there were extremely happy. In addition to the standard subjects, she learned to read Braille and to use a computer with speech output, was introduced to talking kitchen scales and white canes, and mastered countless every day skills to help her adapt to life as a visually impaired person. Outside of lessons she tried her hand at horse riding and archery, fell in love, and had her first painful dose of heartbreak. When she left at eighteen, she did so not only with top grades in her exams, but most importantly with the encouragement of her English teacher, which gave her the confidence to pursue a career as a writer.

Perhaps as a result of going away to school, spending more time in the company of her peers than her own family, Jessica developed an intense interest in people. Everything about them fascinates her. She loves to observe the ways in which they interact, their steadfast loyalty and tendency to hurt those closest to them, their capacity for both cruelty and kindness. It’s this understanding that makes her such a skilled writer. In the words of multi-published author Molly Ringle, “Jessica has an amazing talent for creating true-to-life characters, throwing them together in a gorgeous setting and letting the sparks fly.”

This insight into the best and worst aspects of human nature comes to bear particularly strongly in her novel “Dark is the Sky”, soon to be published by All Things That Matter Press. An emotional read fraught with tension and unexpected twists, the novel follows a family’s struggle to come to terms with the past. Twelve years after tragedy tore them apart, the Camerons reunite for the first time since that terrible summer’s day. Far from being allowed to lay their ghosts to rest, however, a shocking revelation almost destroys them for a second time.

Want to know more? Keep up to date with all Jessica’s news, including the release of “Dark is the Sky”, by joining her Facebook fan page
or subscribing to her blog.
For more information about Jessica and her novels, visit her website

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just who is Salvatore Buttaci, Anyway?

The "Just Who" Tour continues. In his own words, I give you Mr. Salvatore Buttaci:

A retired teacher since 2007, I spend much of my leisure time writing and submitting my poems and stories for publication. It’s not something new to me. I’ve been writing and promoting my work since my first publication in 1957 at age 16. It was an essay entitled “Presidential Timber” which was published in the Sunday New York News.

Writing has always been my favorite pastime. I enjoy the excitement of writing down the first draft. I even like the work required, delivering that first draft to a final one after revising and editing. With every completed poem or story, article or novel, I feel a grand satisfaction. Ironically, though I love words, I cannot adequately express the joy that writing brings me. That unexpressed joy seems to be the driving force that keeps me writing. A strong believer in a God Who gives us all certain talents to use and develop, I thank Him for His gift by writing everyday.

I had spent a good number of happy years teaching writing skills to middle-school and college students. To become writers, I explained to them, they needed to learn the skills of language, make use of the imagination, practice writing daily, build their own self-confidence, and submit their work for publication. Many of those students are still writing today. I meet them on Facebook all the time.

Of course, I follow my own good advice. I know that the writing craft, like any craft, requires knowledge, practice, and action. I keep myself involved in writing projects so that I am always learning, practicing, and promoting my work to those I feel confident would enjoy reading my poems or stories in journals and on the Internet, as well as those book buyers who are looking for their brand of reading pleasure.

In addition to writing, I am an avid reader of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I believe reading and writing go hand in hand. After all, I never met an author who seriously claimed he or she never spends any time reading a book. As for readers, I have heard many speak of the book inside them they hope one day to write.

Some of my other interests include studying languages and history, doing volunteer work at church, and spending as much time as I can with my wife Sharon, my life’s greatest inspiration. Since my retirement, the two of us live in “Almost-heaven” West Virginia and are loving it.

What do I most love to write? Inspired by the comic books of my 1950s youth, I have been writing flash fiction for more than half a century. Short-short stories under 1,000 words appeal to me, just as they appeal to so many readers out there who search the Net or for flash collections and anthologies. Flash fiction reflects our modern times in the sense that society moves at a faster pace and readers looking for a complete story can find it in as little as three pages of a book. It is the quick read, the fast tale, one of many desserts in a literary buffet. And because the stories are short-short, a reader can return to them and re-read them again and again.

In 2010, All Things That Matter Press published my first collection of short-short stories Flashing My Shorts. The book, as well as Kindle edition, contains 164 flash-fiction stories that run the gamut from A to Z,  adventure stories to zany stories and all other genres in between.

In 2011, ATTMP also published my second flash collection 200 Shorts.

I know there are many flash collections out there. I also know how difficult it is for book buyers to decide which of those collections to purchase. As the author, I suppose it would be politically incorrect for me to climb up on a soapbox and try to persuade you to buy my two books. However, judging from customer comments and reviews at and elsewhere, I would say you would not be disappointed. The stories will stay with you long after you have read them. I wrote them all with that intention in mind.

200 Shorts Kindle Edition: Print Edition: 
Barnes and Noble Nook Book: 

Flashing My Shorts
Amazon. com Print Edition: Kindle Edition:    

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Seeking Shulman

On 1/9/12 at 7 pm EST, I will have the honor of conducting a Tiferet Talk interview with Jinen Jason Shulman about consciousness; the nature of existence; and healing the mind, body, and spirit. Shulman is the founder of both Enlightenment Online and A Society of Souls training in Integrated Kabbalistic Healing, IM/personal Movement and the Work of Return. Shulman, who has been authorized to teach the Dharma as well, is on the faculties of the New York Open Center, the Esalen Institute, and the Omega Institute. He's also a member of the Professional Advisory Board of the Center for Spirituality and Psychotherapy of the National Institute for the Psychotherapies. Shulman is the author of The Instruction Manual for Receiving God and Kabbalistic Healing: a Path to an Awakened Soul.

A true seeker and an expert in many fields, Shulman also writes poetry, composes music, paints, and studies physics. He has released three CDs: The Great Transparency, Unlock My Heart, and Buddha-Cloud. To hear "Wisdom Way," one of Shulman's unreleased songs, which can only be heard on the Enlightenment Online WEB site, click here: 

Jason's teachings help students accept imperfection and restore their egos to a healthy state through honesty, acceptance, and awakening. To listen to some of Jason's lectures, click here:

Until Monday, I will leave you with a few "seed passages" from Shulman's The Instruction Manual for Receiving God:

"We need only embrace ourselves in conscious awareness, with deep knowledge and without judgment, to feel God" (Shulman 16).

"Being with God is a nondual state. This means it can never be achieved by choosing only one side of reality in reaction to a less preferred condition or state" (Shulman 56).

"The ego likes to think it can achieve a state called 'enlightenment,' and then its work will be finished. But 'awakened' just means you'd better roll up your sleeves and pay attention, because life continues to happen" (Shulman 70).