Interview: Author Zaheen Nanji + Contest!

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Wednesday, December 17, 2014 0 bookish peeps...

About the Book


What if you could look good, feel good, and most importantly, end the mind chatter about your weight and how you look!

With these revolutionary insights to weight loss, you can! And best of all, you can kiss dieting goodbye forever.

No matter what sort of history you have with weight gain and dieting, you can attract your ideal weight. And it's easier than you might imagine. If you want to stop struggling with your weight and start attracting your ideal body instead, this is the book you've been waiting for.

purchase-from-amazonThis book is based on the latest scientific research and real life experience of people who have lost weight and maintained their ideal weight. It reveals the 8 secrets to attracting your ideal weight and includes inspiring success stories, helpful self-assessment questions and fun food experiments.

Interview with Zaheen Nanji

Q: What inspired you to write the book?
I have been successful in maintaining my weight, and people who knew me asked how I did it or what my secret was. They were prepared to hear a name of diet or that I exercise every day. I never did any of those except for exercise 3 times a week on my elliptical. My answer to them was simple – I changed my habits and changed my relationship with food. They were shocked with my answer. So I set out to find people that had lost weight and maintained it and what I found were 8 common themes which are outlined in the book.

Q: What advice can you give their families?
Teach your children how to listen to their bodies and know when they are satisfied. I teach my own daughter that if you have eaten until your stomach feel uncomfortable against your ribs than you ate too much. So now she is learning how to listen to her body. Eat what is closest to God. What I mean is eat what is whole instead of highly processed. Get back in the kitchen and cook as a family.

Q: How does this book benefit individuals struggling with weight loss?
This is not your typical diet book. I don’t tell you how many calories to eat. The reason that individuals gain weight is because after a diet or weight loss program they go back to their old habits and behaviours instead of breaking those patterns. They go back to their old triggers that cause emotional eating. They have not learned how to listen to their body. They have not learned how to build resilience in this area. In fact, my book is like a pre-requisite course for individuals to read before going on a diet. My book has also been labeled as “ The Psychology Handbook for Weight Loss”.

Q: Does this book cover food addiction?
This book covers the understanding behind food addiction – which is secret #2 –Every Negative Behaviour Has a Positive Intention. What this means is we have to become aware of the reason or the gain we are getting behind an addiction and deal with that rather than the addiction itself.

Q: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In the process of writing this book I learned how others had started listening to their body for symptoms when they eat a certain food that does not agree with them. Similar to people who suffer from allergic reaction which are physical manifestations, naturally thin people and those that have maintained weight for a long time explained that we have similar internal symptoms – these are not life threatening but in time they do affect our bodies and health. For example, for the longest time I suffered from bloating, gas and abdominal cramps when I ate icecream or drank milk. I felt my stomach was inflamed. However, I never associated it with that food because it would occur hours later. Once I consciously started becoming aware of what I ate and how I felt after, I started eliminating that food because it didn’t agree with me.

Q: What do you think will surprise readers the most?
What will surprise the readers the most is first the size of the book – it’s more like a handbook and I intentionally did that because I want my readers or individuals to refer to it like a handbook. The other surprise is that I’m not telling you to restrict your calories or go on a diet. I’m just showing you how to start changing your behaviors so that you can build your resilience reflex when it comes to
attracting your ideal weight.

Q: The title of your book what does it mean?
I like the word attract because it puts you in control. Once you start changing your behaviors and mind set, you automatically become a magnet that will attract your ideal weight.

Q: How long did it take to do the research, write the book, and have it published?
It took me about a year to do the research and four months to write the book.

Q: Describe your book in 3 words.
Behavior weight loss

Q: Who is your intended audience?
People who have struggled with their weight for a long time

About the Author

Zaheen's love affair with the written word began at an early age. As a teenager who stuttered, it was easier to write well than to speak smoothly, but that wasn't what inspired Zaheen to write. What motivated her was the fire in her belly burning to reach out, connect, heighten her understanding, increase her knowledge and help others to do the same.

Her first co-authored book: Unlock the Power of YOU: 12 Keys to Health, Happiness and Success wasl released by Aviva Publishing, NY in December 2012.

She is also a co-author of, The Confident Woman,  an upcoming anthology.

Contest Details

This Giveaway is open Internationally.
PRIZES 1 Winners will each receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash. 1 Winner will receive a one on one weight loss strategy session, Kindle copy of the book and weight loss CD.

Note: If you are having trouble with Rafflecopter you can enter by leaving a comment on one of participating sites page.

You can start entering the contest now.

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Head to another CONTEST HERE!

Interview: Author Roch Zahradnik

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Friday, November 28, 2014 0 bookish peeps...


1. What inspired you to write LAST WORDS?

The story started out as a “what if…?” What if a big-time police reporter were forced to do the dull work of obituaries, always dealing with the dead but never pursuing the why of their deaths.

2. The main character, Coleridge Taylor, mentions music often, are you a fan of the same bands Taylor references? What are your top 3 favorite songs from the 60s and 70s?

I like most of what Taylor likes, though found out about a lot of the groups later than he did. I was in high school from 1974-78. My group of friends and I thought we were mired in a musical wasteland, disco on the one side and hair bands (Styx, Foreigner, Kansas) on the other. Punk had not reached Poughkeepsie, so I did not become a fan of that music until I reached college, when I discovered the Talking Heads, the Police, and the Ramones. I also became a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, who was neither punk, nor hair band, just real. My three favorite songs:

1. Thunder Road
2. Pyscho Killer
3. Sweet Jane (with the Intro)

3. How would you describe your journalism experience compared to Taylor’s?

Taylor obviously came up earlier than I did at a different time for newspapers. I started in the suburbs, while he’s always been in the city. He’s covered police stories far more than I ever did. Much of my career was in media and business journalism. I think Taylor is a much more tenacious reporter than me, braver even, doing anything to get the story. That’s what’s important to him. Other things have always competed with journalism in my life, including writing fiction.

4. When Laura and Taylor go out for drinks, the song “Gloria” by Patti Smith is playing in the background. What made you choose that song for them?

I loved Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” and I wanted to have Patti Smith singing a song from ’75 that she did sing and most readers would know.

5. What challenges did you face as you were writing LAST WORDS?

The first challenge was working full-time for a good chunk of the period I was writing the novel. There were days I might write half a page. That would get me down. I thought I’d never finish. The second was thinking that since I lived through 1975 I wouldn’t have to do a lot of research. I was wrong about that. It was all the little details that needed checking. Like when did the cost of a pay phone or subway token go up.

6. What scene was your favorite to write? Why?

The last, and not just because I was at the end. At that point I was really flying. You can see it all coming together. Second would be a scene early in the book when Taylor visits the makeshift homeless shelter.

7. Taylor carries a hefty literary name being named after the English Romantic poet Samuel Coleridge. What inspired you to connect Taylor to the English Romantic poet?

Taylor has a poor relationship with his father, an alcoholic English professor. His father gave him that name, and Taylor hates the ornamentation of it. Doesn’t much like his father either. Journalism is pretty much the opposite of poetry. I liked the name for all the contradictions it implies. I’m a huge fan of Morse and really wanted to go the one-last-name-only route, but didn’t want to be too much of copycat. This was my compromise.

8. Taylor works as a journalist in LAST WORDS. What was one of your favorite stories you covered as a journalist?

Covering the Cannes Film Festival. Stars. Glitter. Movies. Business. All wrapped into one two-week long party. At another time, I co-owned a weekly newspaper. Being the news outlet and voice for a community was a real kick, though there were a lot of different stories in there.

9. What makes 1975 so unique? What characteristics and traits define that time period in your perspective?

The year 1975 and the city of New York intrigued me because of the very striking parallels to America today. Then as now, an unpopular war was finally coming to its sad end. A major institution, the city itself, tumbled toward bankruptcy, threatening a cataclysm on the entire financial system. This as banks and ratings agencies ignored the warning signs or willfully misled the public. I chose this time period for the differences as well as the similarities. Solving a mystery in 1975 required good old-fashioned legwork and serious brainwork, rather than science fiction-like instant DNA typing and surveillance video available from any and every angle. Taylor has to find a pay phone when he needs to call someone. There’s something satisfying in that for me.

10. Is there any research that didn’t make it into LAST WORDS that you wish you could have included?

I learned a lot more about what a terrible beautiful mess Times Square was at the time than I could fit in. Some was cut; some I couldn’t even use. Things like the signage, the history of some of the restaurants. I could have written pages alone on the Horn & Hardart Automat and bored everyone but myself.

11. How would you characterize Taylor and Laura’s relationship? What keeps them together through all of the danger they face in LAST WORDS?

I think they are falling for each other in the midst of danger and a mutual love for breaking news. Laura may have the Columbia degree, but she loves Taylor’s street smarts and instincts for getting the story. Whether their work will be enough to keep them together is a question for the next book.

12. Did anything surprise you as were writing LAST WORDS?

Characters who came out of nowhere and became interesting and important.

How grim 1975 really was. Time has a way of mellowing things. I remember the mid-Seventies as a difficult period, but I was a kid so I wasn’t really plugged into how terrible things were in New York and the country. Gas shortages. Inflation. Unemployment. Crime. The South Bronx burning.

13. Taylor’s character faces his own pride along with other villains throughout LAST WORDS. Would Taylor consider his pride a virtue or vice? Why?

It’s a thin line there. His pride drives him to get good stories, the big scoops. When it drives him to the sins of hubris, he’s in trouble.

14. If you could go back in time, when and where would you go? Why?

I’m obsessed with time travel stories. In fact, I’m writing a time travel novel for middle graders. It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to, the time of Christ. His life affected all of Western Civilization, the entire glove. I’d like to see what really happened during that period. Either that or my own childhood, to see everything I’ve forgotten.

Read the Excerpt

The orderly rolled the gurney onto an elevator. Taylor stepped on, too. The orderly read his press pass. It expired in three months, and if Taylor couldn’t get back on the police beat by then, he’d lose it and all the access it gave him. Doors all over the city would slam shut. The thought chilled him.

“Coleridge Samuel Taylor.”

“Just Taylor.” He hated the literary ornamentation of his name.

“Name’s Jackson.”

The autopsy room looked like any operating theater with its silver-domed lights, trolleys of medical instruments and glass- fronted metal cabinets. The acrid smell of disinfectant was even stronger here.

A second orderly came in and helped Jackson shift the wrapped body onto a table, both of them grunting.

“Jesus, this body is frozen stiff,” Jackson said.

The second orderly shrugged and left, as if moving bodies was his only job.

“You said he died of exposure, right?” Taylor leaned in.

“Yeah, but he feels like ….” The orderly frowned. “The last time a body came in frozen solid like this was when a jumper went into the Hudson back in January.” He pulled the sheets open near the neck. The corpse was still dressed and the orderly fingered the material of the outer clothing. “The coat and sweater are cold but not frozen.” He slid his hand inside the sweater. “The undershirt feels like it’s iced right to him. The skin is frozen.”

“That doesn’t make sense.” Taylor looked from the orderly to the body on the slab. “It’s like he froze from the inside out. Or his outer clothes were put on after he froze.” He made a note of this. “Be interesting to hear what the pathologist makes of it.”

“Not much if he thinks he’s cutting a homeless boy. How are you going to do a story on a dead nobody?” The orderly sighed and turned away.

I’ll find out what makes him a somebody. Getting frozen in your underwear and dressed by another person might do the trick.

“You gotta be a big somebody to get your death notice in the papers here.”

This victim’s story already bothered him. The boy was going to disappear. Taylor was watching it happen. No last words for the family. No notice taken anywhere by anyone. It had happened before, with Billy. This was going on now in Taylor’s city. There was no excuse for it.

“When did the body come in?”

“Night watch. Three, four in the morning.”

“You’re just now rolling him in?”

“No room at the inn. Kept the body outside in the ambulance.”

“What if they got another call?”

“Couldn’t. No one to replace the driver’s going off shift. Poor bastards had to take a cab back to their house. These budget cuts are just crazy. So we kept him cold out there. The guys just came back to get their wagon.”

“Where’d they pick him up?”

“The Meatpacking District.” Jackson looked at the body again. “I’ll tell you one thing. I doubt they’ll be cutting today. It’s going to take a whole shift to defrost him. Very strange. Or plain bad luck.”

Only the facts interested Taylor. They’d explain how this boy froze from the inside out, the cause and effect. Nothing unlucky. Nothing strange.

Jackson pulled off the sheet. The dead boy wore an army field jacket similar to Taylor’s. Threads hung at the edges of the rectangle above the left breast pocket where a name patch should have been.

“Whatever the name tag said, it wasn’t this kid’s,” Taylor said. “He’s too young for the military.” Could be the father’s, Taylor thought. Or maybe the boy bought it at the Army-Navy. Taylor would check all that out. The jacket had seen a lot of wear and tear. Some of that might be from life on the street.

“Now that I think of it,” Jackson said, “it looks like the one I got when I fought in Europe. You don’t see these as much. Thing never was warm enough.”

Jackson was right. The boy’s jacket featured lapels instead of a circular collar and the fabric looked thinner. The kid wore dungarees, patched the length of both legs, more patches than jean material really. The “V” of a blue sweater, probably wool, showed under the jacket.

Jackson nodded at Taylor’s jacket. “You a vet?” 


“Just like the look?”

“No.” The implication stung, as if his was a fashion statement. His brother, trained to fight somewhere cold in Europe, was ordered to Vietnam. Billy didn’t need the heavy jacket, or didn’t want to pack it, or had wanted to leave something behind with his older brother. Taylor wasn’t sure which. He gave it to Taylor and never came back. Maybe because of the question, the teenager became his brother Billy for a moment. Another kid forever lost to his family. The boy was the same height, though slighter and younger. What was younger when you were dead?

The orderly was saying something, forcing Billy’s face to fade, replaced by that of the dead boy. This face was smooth, without lines, and the nose straight. His lips were full, almost pouting, and his gray eyes looked directly into the bright overhead lights, unblinded and blind. His hair was thick, long and clean, which was odd. If this kid was homeless, it should have been matted and dirty.

“Look at this.” Jackson pointed to the jacket’s right sleeve.

More than twenty national flags were sewn down the outside of the right arm of the field jacket, from the shoulder to the cuff. France, Italy, USA, East Germany, Canada, the USSR, West Germany, Red China, and countries some Taylor couldn’t identify.

Taylor walked around the table. “Same on this side. No unit or rank. Those were cut away a long time ago. Just more flags. It’s like the UN.”

Thousands of army field jackets hung in the closets of New York vets, the families of the dead and even ex-hippies, but none would look like this one. Taylor knew people would remember it. This was starting to look like a story he could follow.

Jackson left the room. Taylor checked the boy’s left hand, leaned in to get closer and used his Bic pen to lift the fingers. They were smooth, almost feminine, with telltale signs of civilized living—clean, well-trimmed fingernails. Not a speck of dirt under any of them. The fingers on the right hand were the same. This kid wasn’t homeless, or hadn’t been for long. The field jacket would lead to someone who knew him, who could tell his story. He listed the countries of the flags he could ID and descriptions of those he couldn’t.

“I thought we were rid of you, Taylor.” Dr. R. Martin Quirk, the assistant coroner, stood inside the door. Taylor looked from Quirk’s long face to the stubby fingers that seemed imperfect instruments for prodding inside bodies, even dead ones.

“This kid wasn’t homeless,” Taylor said.

“What do you know? Don’t turn this John Doe into another of your page one specials. I’ve got six homicides in the cooler, bodies piling up in the emergency room—high priority, cops shooting civilians—and five accidentals, old people who froze to death in their apartments. I’ve got to cut them all anyway. They won’t let me put ‘unpaid Con Ed bill’ as cause on the death certificate.”

“Will you at least check the ‘missing’ list?”

Quirk always claimed to be overworked, but he was just plain lazy.

“That’s a cop’s job.”

“They won’t.”

“I’m not their master, thank Christ. Why don’t you do it? You’re the reporter.”

Taylor decided not to disabuse him of that notion. From his jacket’s right pocket, he pulled out and opened the collapsible Polaroid he carried for capturing a scene when a click was faster than taking notes. A snap-flash and Taylor held the instant photo, a black square until it developed. In two minutes, chemicals and metals would resolve into a color picture of the dead boy’s face. He needed it to track down who the kid was.

“I’ll call you to get cause of death.” He put the developing picture in his coat pocket next to his wallet and went straight through the double doors without glancing back.

Why didn’t the boy show the wear and tear of rough living? He might have been a recent arrival on the street, a runaway who didn’t bargain on the freezing weather and died almost as soon as he ran. A sad story. Newspaper readers loved sad stories, even if they said they didn’t.

About the Book

In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. In LAST WORDS by Rich Zahradnik (Camel Press, $12.49 paperback; $4.95 Kindle), Taylor searches for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing

sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to learn Voichek’s secret put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn’t wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline, in Rich Zahradnik’s LAST WORDS.

About the Author

RICH ZAHRADNIK is the author of the Coleridge Taylor Mystery series published by Camel Press. He was a journalist for 30-plus years, working as a reporter and editor in all major news media, including online, newspaper, broadcast, magazine and wire services. He held editorial positions at CNN, Bloomberg News, Fox Business Network, AOL and The Hollywood Reporter, often writing news stories and analysis about the journalism business, broadcasting, film production, publishing and the online industry.
In January 2012, he was one of 20 writers selected for the inaugural class of the Crime Fiction Academy, a first-of-its-kind program run by New York’s Center for Fiction. He has been a media entrepreneur throughout his career. He was the founding executive producer of, a leading financial news website and a Webby winner; managing editor of, and a partner in the soccer-news website company Goal Networks. Zahradnik received his B.A. in journalism and political science from George Washington University.

mercy by bj daniels

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Monday, September 15, 2014 1 bookish peeps...
Title: Mercy
Series: Beartooth, Montana #5
Author: BJ Daniels
Pages: 352
Rating: 3.5/5
Cover rating: 3.5/5

For U.S. marshal Rourke Kincaid, there's the law…and then there's his law. When the two don't agree, he always trusts his instincts. A killing spree has gripped the Northwest, showing a strange connection that only he sees, and now the old rules of justice no longer apply. Forced to turn rogue, he goes deep undercover to track his mysterious female suspect to a quiet, unassuming café in the wild, isolated mountains of Beartooth, Montana.

But encountering Callie Westfield complicates his mission in ways he never expected. As suspicious as she seems, her fragile beauty and sexy charm get to Rourke. Then the gory crimes begin anew. With his heart suddenly at war with his instincts, he has only two options. Either turn Callie over to the law, or put everything—including his badge and his life—on the line to protect her.

My 2 Cents:
I have read her Atonement novel and really enjoy her book. And with Mercy I think it was enjoyable as well. When it is a romance, I expected romance in it. And the relation between Rourke and Callie is sweet and I think I liked all the scenes which gave me some time that made me hold my breath and I felt like my cheeks burning and red! The misunderstanding between Rourke as he suspected Callie as the serial killer somewhat gave a perspective that he had to put aside his feeling and focus to his job. He is attracted to Callie making his job much harder. But Callie sure has her own charm as well. There are so many twists and turns in this book. It's too complicated to explain but it's a fantastic book and will keep you turning pages faster than you can expect. All in all I think this book is a worth reading for your bedtime reading or while having coffee during weekend breakfast. Enjoy!

dash of peril by lori foster

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Friday, April 25, 2014 1 bookish peeps...
Title: Dash of Peril
Series: Love Undercover #4
Author: Lori Foster
Pages: 480
Rating: 4/5
Cover rating: 4/5
A no-nonsense female cop reluctantly teams up with the one man who makes her lose control in a deliciously sensual new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster.

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret "Margo" Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6'4" of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own.

Beneath Margo's tough facade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he'll have to prove he's all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter

My 2 Cents:
Lori Foster has done it again. I like all her previous books in this series. The plot however seems a bit predictable to me. I can second guess what is coming. Maybe I should blame that I know her writing style already. Margo is a good character and she did her part quite well. On the other hand, Dash is killing me. At some points, I think he needs to stop being needy and naughty. Margo is a also a strong character and she is independent. What can I say? She's a lieutenant! But maybe there was some parts I like when I felt my cheek blushing when Dash kind of making Mango let go of her guard. They are perfect together. Although I have a complaint that the story in some way kind of not that real. It looks like it was just have to be made up to bring these two people together. But that was like a very very small complaint. but the best part I think would be when Foster brought up all previous characters in this book. So that every time I read about it, it would remind me of good stories about them in previous series. I think, this book is totally good, a really good story for your leisure read.

the collectors of dying breaths by m.j. rose

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Tuesday, April 15, 2014 0 bookish peeps...
Title: The Collectors of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Pages: 384
Rating: 3/5
Cover rating: 4.5/5
Summary:A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

My 2 Cents:
Frankly speaking, it took me quite some time to finish the book. I think the story is like being dragged a bit. Or maybe I just didn't find enough interest in it to enjoy it. It lacked the suspense and a solid story that I like and left some holes that bothered me. The characters quite shallow, not well-developed or just awkward. Description of science, theories sometime quite extravagant for me, as well architecture and surroundings, the general story line tended toward a weak excuse to write a weird and quite awkward romance novel. Perfume making is quite weird with manipulating  body perfumes and there was a lot of incidents quite interesting but I cant really connected to it, just saying that awkward sex scenes and all. But I have to admit that my enjoyment reading the book is because how amazing things that so awkward can be very interesting to other people.

For me, this book is suitable for person who love thrills, mystique and sex with extra punch of chills.

About the Author

M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of fourteen novels and two nonfiction books. She is a founding board member of International Thriller Writers and founded the first marketing company for authors: Rose lives in Connecticut with composer Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled dog, Winka. To learn more about M.J. Rose and her work, visit her website at:

interview: author Dr Eric Leuthardt

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Friday, March 21, 2014 0 bookish peeps...
“Great science has the capacity to do great harm,” - Dr. Leuthardt.

Hi! Am very honoured to have author Dr. Leuthardt with us today. Please enjoy my interview with the very wise person with interesting mind. ;p

Darlyn: Eric it seems you do a lot of different things, could you tell me about them?

Eric: I guess that is true.  First and foremost, I am a neurosurgeon.  Additionally, I lead a center that delves into how the brain encodes information and develops advanced neuro-technologies.  All these efforts have led me to starting several companies and being recognized as a prolific inventor.  My newest hat is now a fictional author of the novel RedDevil 4 - a story that incorporates all those experiences into a futurist vision of where those efforts may end up.

Darlyn:  With all these things that you are doing in medicine, science, and business, is there a unifying theme that links them all together?

Eric: Absolutely- it’s about creating the future.  I think being a futurist is not simply about prognostication - trying to see what’s coming.  It’s about seeing what the world can be and making that happen.  Fundamentally it’s about having a vision and a plan. All the things that I am doing are in various ways fitting into that plan.  When I started working on creating neuroprosthetics I looked at it strategically. I had to think about the science, the economics, and the social implications of unlocking the mind with brain computer interfaces.  If I was going to make that happen I had to create the technology then I had to convince the scientific and medical community that this was meaningful - hence the lab and research.  Beyond that, I also had to convince the market that neuroprosthetic approaches also made sense.  That led to my first company, Neurolutions.  Finally, I wanted the world at large to really think about what a world with neuroprosthetics looks like, which was the founding notion for my novel, RedDevil 4.

Darlyn: Tell me more on how the idea for how RedDevil 4 originated?

Eric: As a neurosurgeon, scientist, engineer, and inventor who has dedicated a lot of his time researching, developing, and testing brain computer interfaces, I wanted to imagine what the world would look like if we were successful; if brain computer interfaces became as common as cell phones in the human population.  I wanted to imagine the impact that it would have on modern society ranging from pop culture to the constitutional amendments. Fundamentally I believe human nature won’t change.  People will still be complex, selfish, sometimes noble, and often conflicted. Our fundamental needs and drives for self-preservation, esteem, recognition, socialization, and companionship will be largely the same.  What will change will be the technological manifestations of those human drivers.  There will be new capabilities that will lead to different, sometimes fascinating and sometimes horrifying, actualizations of our fundamental neurobiology.  I wanted to explore the new strengths, weakness, and unforeseen dangers in this new future.

Darlyn:  RedDevil 4 is intense, at times it really scared the hell out of me. What are some of the themes in the book and how do they mesh with your vision for the future?

Eric:  First and foremost, the book has to be a good story – a really good story.  Beyond the philosophic foundations, I wanted to have something that people found viscerally interesting, something that held them and captivated them both intellectually and emotionally.  Also, some of the scenes that are jolting are intended to never let you forget some of the cautions that I have about neuroprosthetics.  I think the notion of losing one’s autonomy is something that we as humans fundamentally fear.  So in the scene when one of my characters has his body taken over and he watches his hand prepare the scissors that are about to mutilate his lover – that is a scene that will stick with you.  The fear of “possession” has been with us since the dawn of time.  RedDevil 4 takes that concept to a new level in a modern technological context.  The other theme that moves through my book is how we deal with our creations.  Whether it be father and sons, our technical inventions, or the things that we make by accident, that relationship has always been fraught with peril.  Where Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein, highlighted the danger of human arrogance, my approach was to highlight the danger of complexity.  What happens when the technology we create becomes so advanced we cannot foresee, not what we will create, but what it will create?

As far as how this meshes with my vision for the future,  My hope is that in the context of a hold-on-tight thriller people cannot help but explore these questions in their own terms.  Something that can be talked about by everyone. It’s a story that some people will see as fantastic – what if in the blink of an eye you can truly experience any world that you want (just plug in). It’s also a world that some will see as dystopic – what if a piece of technology could take over your body.  My hope is that it will start a debate.  It will also inform us of a coming world where we can decide what are the limits, what are the boundaries of what is OK and not OK.

Darlyn: Are there some important influences that shaped your thinking behind the book?

Eric:  There were several writers that strongly influenced my style and vision for the book. Growing up I read everything by Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert.  Their ability to mix psychology, cultural motifs, and technology forever changed my perception of the world.  They created utterly realistic worlds that had such deep insights into our own human condition.  Similarly, I wanted create a world in RedDevil 4 that was vivid, that you can feel and taste, yet something that a person today can relate to.  Later in life, when I read Michael Crichton's works, I wanted to create something that could talk about complex scientific ideas, but have it be widely accessible.  Just as Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park captured the public’s imagination and fear of the impact of genomics, I wanted RedDevil 4  to tap into a similar fundamental fascination and anxiety about science’s dawning capability to penetrate the most core aspect of being human – one’s thoughts.

Darlyn:  So what’s next?  Where does the technology and fiction go from here?

Eric:   In a certain sense, the fiction precedes the technology.  What I mean by this is that fiction, if successful, influences the society’s imagination. It channels resources and efforts of the entrepreneurs and young scientists and engineers to see if that fantasy is possible.  Most often it is.  To draw on several historical examples, the notion of a ray gun far preceded the discovery of a laser, and people fantasized about flying to the moon as far back as 400 years (Johannes Kepler’s Somnium,1634).  The point here is that science fiction invariably focuses our scientific and technical efforts, because society  - as channeled and expressed by the artist - have determined that it is something interesting and worth pursuing.

I am fortunate in that I get to play in both camps.  From the futurist standpoint, RedDevil 4 was my first foray into what the world looks like when neuroprosthetics becomes ubiquitous and how it sets the stage for artificial intelligence. In my next work, I am also interested in the promise and peril of pervasive artificial intelligence.  What does the world look like when synthetic intellects are as common as laptops.  How does that change things?   Even now with IBM’s push to make it’s AI, Watson, a utility service we see that that world is on the horizon.

In the here and now as a scientist and entrepreneur, I am working to invent the technologies that demonstrate the value of brain-linked technologies to society.  My company Neurolutions is creating a brain computer interface for patients who have suffered a stroke and lost the function of their hand. By putting on a simple head cap and donning an exoskeleton for their paralyzed limb, they can regain simple control of their hand after a few days of training.  Not only will this be game changing for the management of stroke, but it will fundamentally prove that brain computer interfaces are moving into reality as a mainstream technology.  Beyond that, I think the next steps are to contemplate how these approaches can be used to enhance and augment the lives of normal people.   In the short term, using signals directly from your brain to control devices like a smart phone - the ultimate hands free set.  In the long term how can we amplify things like attention and memory to improve human performance -- I guess making the ultimate electronic version of an espresso.

Darlyn:  Do you think that people will really want to alter their brains?  Is that a realistic consideration for the future?

Eric: I remember as a child how people with tattoos were considered fringe and plastic surgery was something done for women with mastectomies or done secretly. The idea that a person could change their body was considered strange.   In the past twenty to thirty years there has been a large shift in the notion of our bodies and their malleability.  Rather than accepting what you have been given, people are coming to a different conclusion – I can change myself.

The way people change themselves thus far is mainly cosmetic. People embroider their personal styles on their skin. Sometimes hidden, sometime visible, approximately 15 to 25% of young adults now have tattoos.  Over 50% of the population has a body piercing of some sort. Beyond either personal or social statements on their skin, people are having almost every part of their body surgically altered for aesthetic reasons.  The growth of plastic surgery is projected to quadruple by 2015 to 55 million cases in the US.

Beyond this being an interesting bit of trivia, it’s telling us something fundamental - that people (the younger generation especially) will change themselves to suit their interest.  The idea that people will alter their bodies will not be constrained to cosmetics.  If there is a potential benefit of some sort in a self-modification, whether real or perceived, people will try it.  Today we already see people alter their eyes to get better than perfect vision.  And why not?  It’s easy, low risk, and it improves the convenience of your life.  Simple, right?   As technology continues to evolve and makes functional modification of our capacities a low surgical risk with clear benefits, people will adopt the changes.  So what could we modify?  One could imagine that if brain computer interfaces become small, negligible in terms of surgical risk (like getting one’s ear pierced), and gave you the ability to manipulate your environment with your thoughts alone, then widespread adoption would become inevitable.  RedDevil 4 imagines all sorts of scenarios of what people could enhance or alter; ranging from the ability to have tattoos that change with your mood, to hyperconnectivity to your motorcycle, to enhanced cognitive abilities.

Making it personal, one has to ask themselves - If you could have small implant that could allow you to access the web with your thoughts alone - would you? If you’re a lawyer and other lawyers have the ability to access any legal file with the speed of their thoughts, would you feel pressured to also get one?  If you are an investment banker, and the current gain of having a ten millisecond time advantage over another trader is a million dollars (per millisecond), any interest in getting an implant?  With technology moving at an exponential pace these are possibilities that are no longer fancies of the imagination.  They are likely realistic considerations.  Once realized, just like Lasik today,  the question will not be a grand consideration, it will simply be “and why not?”  The world of RedDevil 4 shows that.  Imagine after some low key surgeries you could then  communicate with other people’s minds, share thoughts, have virtual experiences of any type as if they are really happening,  and download memories – quite literally your imagination is the only limit. With that type of upside, people would overwhelmingly be interested.

About the Book

Imagine a time when every neurological ailment can be cured, people paralyzed by accident, injury or stroke can walk once more, electronic devices are driven by our minds, and every wish can be manifested simply by thinking.  With the emergence of brain-computer interfaces, people will be able to perform well beyond the limits of their physical bodies and enjoy experiences that extend to the heights of human imagination.  It may sound like science fiction but the neuroprosthetic revolution is almost here. The next great technological shift is already being reflected in our popular entertainment—television shows “Almost Human,” “Person of Interest,” and “Intelligence,” which features a former Special Forces operative who has a microchip implanted in his brain. No one knows better how close we are to making this a reality than neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer Eric C. Leuthardt, author of the futuristic thriller REDDEVIL 4.

Like the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, Leuthardt creates a fully imagined world in this adrenaline-pumping thriller. In Leuthardt’s world, electronic devices are vestiges of the past and brain-computer interfaces, implanted in the doctor’s office, rule the day. For aging detective Edwin Krantz they are a necessary annoyance, until he and his partner, former navy SEAL Tara Dezner realize that a series of horrifying murders committed by leading citizens for no apparent reason might have a connection. They turn to renowned neurosurgeon Hagan Maerici for answers.

Maerici is nearing a breakthrough in artificial intelligence and realizes that someone may be tampering with the computer systems implanted in the brains of prominent people. Dezner and Krantz need his help to solve the riddle behind this rash of killings but soon find the neurosurgeon is a riddle himself.  Could he be somehow responsible? As the detectives dig they discover a long-buried mistake made by Maerici, a mistake that could have devastating consequences to millions of people. With time ticking away, can they overcome the spiraling dangers from a dream of artificial intelligence that has gone horribly wrong and avert disaster by learning the devastating secret behind REDDEVIL 4?

About the Author

ERIC C. LEUTHARDT M.D. is a neurosurgeon and biomedical engineer as well as a recognized pioneer in neuroprosthetics. He is widely published in scientific journals and has received a number of scholarly awards in recognition of his contributions Dr. Leuthardt is the director of the Center of or Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University School of Medicine, where he researches brain-computer interfaces. He is ranked as one of the most prolific inventors in the world, with more than 800 patents either granted of pending. REDDEVIL 4 is his first novel.

atonement by b.j. daniels

Written by Darlyn Azlinda At Monday, March 10, 2014 0 bookish peeps...
Title: Atonement
Author: B.J. Daniels
Pages: 235
Rating: 4.5/5
Cover rating: 4/5
Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets? Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. It's been one year, and Sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn't save his twin brother, Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant…with Ethan's baby. At first, Dillon can't decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn't die in that car crash, then where is he—and why is he hiding?

Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth—anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa's unborn child.

My Two Cents:
This is my first book of BJ Daniels, and I like it. The story is like something like revolves around us. It might be fantasy but it could be a reality of life. This could happen in real world.

I always have a thing for twins. I love it since I watched Full House Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen. But that was girls, and to have male twins, are even better!LOL.

At first, I thought the story would a typical love story and everything related to it. But this was much more. There’s intriguing elements in it. Mysteries and thrill are also included in the story line. I bet this is not just a romance book, but a thriller romance. The characters are natural and not so trying too hard, if you know what I mean. They played their roles effortless, like every word the author wrote seems natural to me. Of course, I love the Tessa’s character the most. She’s strong-will, independent and even she has her soft part, she tried to not make it shows. Being pregnant while all that situations and trauma happened made me saluting her.

Other secondary story of Nettie and Frank is a bonus to me. They are sweet couple and they are some desserts you don’t want to miss for your dinner. I hope that is not a very bad to picture them. Wink.

All in all, I love the whole package of the story. The ending is so-so for me anyway. Maybe just because near at the end of the story, I can guess what is coming? However, that doesn't mean the ending is bad, but kind of acceptable. Hope you all will enjoy it too.

About the Author

B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, ODD MAN OUT, received a 4 ½ star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and two Springer Spaniels, Spot and Jem. When she isn’t writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.
twitter: @bjdanielsauthor

Please join us on BookTrib for an engaging Live Chat with Western Romance author B.J. Daniels on March 10 @ 4 PM ET. B.J. is the writer of the Cardwell Ranch series and most recently, Atonement. Daniels draws inspiration for her novels from the beautiful natural surroundings in her home state, the Big Sky Country of Montana. Her stories are a mix of romance, suspense and of course, cowboys! Bring your questions to the Live Chat and please feel free to share this invitation on your social media pages!

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