Why do you write?

I wrote a similar blog post on July 9th, 2014, with the exact same title, but it seems like the right time to remind Authors of these thoughts of mine …)

Why do you write?

That’s a simple enough question, isn’t it? Why do you “create” could also be asked of all artists – musicians, visual, photographers, sculptors, authors … What is is that makes you want to create something? It’s a question every creator should ask themselves from time to time, but especially when they’re down, after having checked non-existent sales for the umpteenth time, or when reading lackluster reviews.

Why did you get into this in the first place?

If it was with a plan to write the next big bestseller and make untold fame and fortune then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell to you.

But if it was for the sheer joy of creating something, of using your imagination, or your experience or your skills, to form something tangible out of your vision … well, then! Now you see the ultimate value that no one – and I mean NO ONE! – can ever put a monetary value on or judge in any way to make you feel less than you should about realizing your dreams.

I’m asking this question, Why do you write?, because there are far too many authors out there who are agonizing over the $$$ (or £££ or €€€) and the numbers of copies sold and not considering what it is about writing and creating that got them into this in the first place.

And it all had me remembering a song written by Michael Burton, Night Rider’s Lament. The chorus pretty much sums up what I’m trying to say here … (Lyrics)

Here is my Calgary pal, Tom Phillips, accompanied by Shaye Zadravec (with the very talented Mr. Dwight Thompson on guitar in the background!), instead. Great song! And there’s a bonus – Tom yodels, too …

So … don’t tell me why you write. But be sure to tell yourself – over, and over, and over again.

Dylan Hearn’s Pay It Forward for self-published authors …

This morning, I received an update from Dylan Hearn’s blog, Suffolk Scribblings. In Pay It Forward – an update, Dylan has followed through on his earlier promise to “support my fellow self-published authors by buying their books and promoting those that I enjoyed both on this blog and through leaving reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.”


After having bought and read them, Dylan has listed a number of Authors on his blog post whose books he now recommends.

I had commented on one of his first blogs on the subject, even reblogged on this blog, then promptly forgot about the idea (beacause that’s the way my brain seems to be working these days …). I have, however, continued to promote Authors and their books over on my other blog, Reading Recommendations, and I have been reading books by these Authors whenever I have a chance. A few of these books I have purchased, but most have either been free downloads or gifts from the authors themselves. I have always rated these books on Goodreads when I finish reading (mainly because I’m taking part in a reading challenge there to complete 175 books during 2014) and sometimes I have also written a review, when the book struck me as being particularly good. Occasionally, I have included that same review on Amazon.

If I am really impressed by a book, I write to the Author directly and tell them how much I enjoyed reading their writing. That’s what I would hope a Reader would do for me, if they were equally engaged when reading my books. With a few of these Authors, I’ve now struck up a much deeper friendship than what we had after I promoted them on my blog. And that friendship has become a two-way street as these authors continue to promote me, my blog and my books through social media and to their friends. A few have even paid me the honour of asking that I read an advance copy of their new books, or beta-read a manuscript, or even write a blurb or intro for them. I’ve been more than happy to do so, because I know they will do the same for me, when the time comes. (And if I actually ever get back to rewriting that second novel … tap, tap, tap!)

So, returning to Dylan’s Pay It Forward idea … I’ve decided to make a list of the self-published Reading Recommendations Authors whose books I’ve read and enjoyed immensely – and there’s the key word … IMMENSELY! I don’t want to play favourites among the RR Authors, but I have discovered a number deserve a bit more of a shout-out, as well as a pat on the back for having done such a good job in self-publishing. Because I, too, am a self-published Author and I know what these people have all had to do to get their books out there for Readers to read.

So, without further ado and in alphabetical order, here’s my personal list of GREAT AUTHORS!! (All links take you back to their RR promotion pages.)

Tim Baker
Kevin Brennan
Robert Chazz Chute
Michael Fay (I enjoyed Michael’s stories so much that I published them!)
Demetra Angelis Foustanellas
Seumas Gallacher
Dylan S. Hearn
Thomas Wharton

These are all self-published Authors whose books I have had the pleasure of reading. I still have a few unread eBooks on my eReader to get to that were written by other Reading Recommendations Authors, so I have no doubt I will be adding to this list at some point. And, after having read through the complete list today of all the Authors I have promoted on my blog, I see a number of traditionally published Authors whose books I’ve read and equally enjoyed. I think I may need to put together another list in the very near future …

What about you? Are you a blogger, either Author or Reader, who is willing to Pay It Forward by purchasing books (perhaps beginning with those written by Authors I’ve featured on my Reading Recommendations blog … Hmmmm?) and reviewing those that you really have enjoyed reading?

We Authors truly do depend upon your opinion – and your support!

Papaya Leaf Juice … right under our noses!

The other day, I posted Chikungunya – you cannot begin to imagine … to explain what it is we’ve all been going through while suffering from this mosquito-borne disease with the funny name. I had been led to believe there is no cure for the virus, and while that still may be true, we’ve heard from several people now that they have been drinking juice squeezed from papaya leaves – a fruit tree that grows quickly and is predominant throughout the tropics. This juice helps to speed up the healing process and alleviate some of the more nasty symptoms. So Dennis decided to give it a whirl.

We read all about it online at this link.

I’ve now consumed two doses of this foul-tasting liquid (yesterday and this morning), and according to the others who have taken it, I should be noticing a difference within the next day or two. Unfortunately, we don’t have a juicer and the blender died on us, so Dennis had to “juice” the leaf using the food processor. It was a long slog, but it finally worked and I was able to drink at least an ounce of juice each time.

Here’s the photo proof:




So here’s hoping all that work to extract such a little, tiny amount of juice was worth it. I’m cautiously optimistic at the moment that I’m beginning to feel better …

Chikungunya – you cannot begin to imagine …

Some friends and blog readers know that I came down with a mosquito-borne virus, Chikungunya, shortly after I returned to Bequia in July. This virus had been moving through the community at a fast pace until now, just about everyone on the island has either been suffering with it or is attending to someone who is suffering with it. The only doctor on the island was run off his feet seeing and treating patients, although other than recommending Paracetamol for fever and pain, and Histol for the rash, there was nothing more he could prescribe. Rest, and when you think you might be getting better, more rest. A friend who had spent the winter on Bequia didn’t come down with Chikungunya until the day she went back to Canada for the summer. Somehow she had managed to protect herself from mosquito bites until that last week, but then she was hit by it hard and it’s really affected the quality of her life.


Here’s what happened to me … I returned to Bequia on July 14th and must have been bitten that night (the virus takes 5 to 7 days to incubate), because I began feeling achy joints and feverish on the 19th – and Dennis had just left that morning for his trip to Canada. I went to bed early that night and did not have a good sleep, so not only was I not rested on the Sunday morning, but I could barely move around the house on my own, let alone make something to eat. One of the other symptoms though is a lack of appetite. I received a lot of sympathy from Dennis’s staff of gardeners and housekeepers, because they had all suffered with the virus at one time or another during the spring. At least I knew they knew I was here alone and offered to help me, if I needed anything. The fever only lasted two days and I have never even felt headachy since then. But the joint pain has increased steadily over the weeks to the point where it has been debilitating at times. I had the full-body rash, as well, but that went away again within 24-hours. What a sight, though! Red splotches over my entire body! Funny that it wasn’t itchy, either. Just unsightful.

I’ve had Dengue Fever before. In fact, Dennis and I both had it at the same time, and it was all we could do to get out of bed for a glass of water. Thank goodness the cats insisted we get up to feed them! Dengue is known as “break bone fever” because you feel as though your bones will crack if you move in the slightest. But what I remember vividly of that illness was the incredible head-pounding headaches and high fevers we suffered. I did not, thankfully, experience anything like that with Chikungunya. And Dengue only lasted about 2-3 weeks for us (although it is possible to catch Dengue a second or third time).

It’s the pain in my joints and the bones themselves that is making Chikungunya unbearable for me, and for everyone else I’ve spoken with who has had this. I’m now into the fifth week since I contracted it, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. I sometimes feel better and think it’s going away and then it just hits me twice as hard the next day. Sometimes my fingers are swollen and cramped up so badly that I can’t even type. (I have not been able to write with pen and paper at all!) Other days, it’s my knees that won’t work properly and I can’t get out of bed or stand up from a chair without help. Always, always, though, I have had an unbelievable pain in my right bicep that is not in the joint and not in the muscle, but feels as though it’s right in the centre of the bone. Of course, I’m right-handed, and I don’t have enough strength in this arm to lift and carry, or even to just do small things, like brush my teeth or hair. It’s difficult to dress myself (so I remained in pajamas most of the time, until it felt a little too much like I was lounging around the place …), or to hold and drink a glass of water, and definitely impossible to write. The pain is much worse at night when you would think that relaxing and sleeping might help. That’s when the numbness in my hands begins and it’s near impossible to get settled into a comfortable position let alone fall asleep. Even then, if I move the wrong way, I scream out in pain, waking up Dennis and the cats (although I’m now not screaming in sheer agony the way I was the first few nights …). Sometimes a hot water bottle helps, but generally I just have to hope I’ll fall asleep deeply enough that I won’t be restless at all. Taking a couple of Gravol sometimes help, but is no guarantee I will sleep.

The other problems I’ve noticed is that I’m not steady on my feet, but I also can’t sit for long periods of time, either. I need to get up and walk around just to increase the circulation again and to stop the numbness in my hands. And then there’s the lack of any exercise, because I just haven’t got the energy, and that lack of exercise is causing my calf and arm muscles to waste away. It’s becoming noticeable. And why-oh-why is this not causing my butt and thigh muscles to waste away, I ask you???? There is no justice!

The worst of it is that my mental capacities are strained. I’m lethargic and I find I’m forgetting more than usual, am not able to concentrate or even focus on anything, and this is the most I’ve written at a stretch that is more than a Facebook status update or short email. I can read, thank goodness, but I’m not sure I’m really retaining all that much.

It’s been a very frustrating 5 weeks, let me tell ya! And when I speak with others, that’s what they all say, too. We’re more incapacitated than feeling really sick. But we’re angry with feeling this way for such a long time. (Some have had these same symptoms I describe for 12 weeks or more already.) And, especially knowing that there’s really nothing we can take to alleviate the discomfort, we’re angry. The ONLY consolation we have is in knowing we can never catch Chikungunya again.

And, fortunately for me, Dennis has never caught it. He’s been looking after me all this time, since he returned from Canada. I would not have been able to survive on my own, that’s for sure. Those cats still need to be fed, regardless of how bad we may feel!

So that’s my Chikungunya story and an explanation as to why I’ve been so quiet on this blog of late. Today I have to say I feel a bit better than yesterday, but even while typing this, I’ve had to be careful of my right arm and the way I hold it. It’s beginning to become painful again now, so I will quit this. My right thumb is going numb, too. I just hope I’ll be able to fly back to Canada again at the beginning of Sept. I can’t imagine travelling anywhere, let alone on planes, feeling the way I feel right now.

Here are links that you might find interesting. And, please note, this virus is only transmitted by two varieties of mosquitoes that thrive in tropical climates. Let’s hope, for everyone’s sakes, that it does not begin to mutate in any way and spread even further than it already has!

From Wikipedia

Canadian Travel Advisory

Caribbean 360

So Your Friend Is an Author…


Thanks to The Story Reading Ape for reblogging and bringing Chris McMullen’s blog to my attention. If your friend is an author, here’s how you may support him or her when they’ve published a book. Reading, comments and reviews are always welcome, but Chris suggests so many other ways you can do your part to support your friend, the Author.

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:


Amazing, Isn’t It?

Yes. It is.

How many authors do you actually know?

Now your friend is one.

The key word there is friend.

This was your friend before. Becoming an author doesn’t change that.

Sure, you can tease your friend about this, if your relationship ordinarily involves teasing.

But your friendship is based on more than just teasing:

  • You support one another. Even if one of you writes a book.
  • You’re honest with one another. Even if you think the book isn’t quite, well, you know.
  • You know each other well. How to get on one another’s nerves. How to put things gently. So you can figure out the right way to share honest feedback.
  • You motivate one another. So in addition to honest feedback, you’ll provide encouragement, motivation, and direction.

Your friend wrote a book. That’s a huge accomplishment. Treat it as such.

There are some things you…

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Now Available! … a new novel by Tim Baker!!

My good friend and fellow author, Tim Baker (previously featured on Reading Recommendations), has already written and published six novels that are all set in the Florida community of Flagler Beach on the Palm Coast. I have devoured every one of these suspense/thrillers and not only love Tim’s writing, but also the characters he’s created (some recurring) and his descriptions of life in a tourist beach town. I was honoured when Tim asked me to read an early manuscript of his next book, titled Eyewitness Blues and I’m happy to tell you now that this latest publication is every bit as good – no, it’s even BETTER! – than the other novels! I highly recommend reading this new book and suggest that, if you haven’t already read Tim Baker’s other novels, you go back and read them all, right now! You will not be disappointed! (And here’s a little hint as to one of the reasons why I think the new novel is so good – it offers more IKE!!!)

Now, Dennis and I don’t often agree when it comes to books we both enjoy reading, but I have to tell you that Tim Baker’s novels are an exception – Dennis has become as big a fan as I am. He can’t wait to read this next book!

Eyewitness Blues is now available to purchase from Amazon!
And in Paperback from Createspace!


Martin didn’t exactly witness the murder, but he knows who pulled the trigger – so reporting it to the law and using it as his ticket into the witness protection program isn’t wrong.

Is it?

Martin sings like the proverbial canary, but when mob boss Don Gammino learns that his right-hand man has been named as a murder suspect he decides to teach Martin a new tune.

After barely escaping alive, Martin finds himself in the Florida bedroom community of Flagler Beach where his only protection from Gammino and his goon squad is in the form of a wheelchair-bound bookie and an ex-Navy SEAL, named Ike, with a penchant for bending the rules.

Martin’s in a tropical paradise surrounded by people but he still feels alone in the world.

Life isn’t easy when you have the Eyewitness Blues.

10481665_4345109243023_8120177804618256457_n Originally from Warwick, Rhode Island, Tim Baker enjoyed a 25-year career in Architecture and Engineering, followed by short stints in the natural gas industry, construction and ice cream sales before moving to Florida in 2006

An avid dog-lover, Tim was a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, raising and socializing potential guide dogs. Tim has studied and taught martial arts, and he is also a certified SCUBA diver.

In addition to writing Tim is also a disc jockey on WQFB – 97.3 FM “The Surf”.

Being a native New Englander, he is a lifetime member of Red Sox Nation.

Inspired by his interest in Karma and the unexplained forces of the universe, he made his first serious attempt at writing in 1988 when he began a novel entitled, Full Circle, a story about the far reaching effects one man’s actions can have on people he has never even met. Unfortunately, without the use of a computer or even a typewriter he shelved the project due to the difficulties of trying to construct a novel completely by hand.

In early 2007, a bizarre dream inspired his first novel, appropriately called Living the Dream, and he has been cranking out books non-stop ever since. Tim writes fast-paced, off-beat crime stories set in Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, full of colorful characters and loaded with unexpected and often humorous twists and turns. He has also co-written two zombie novellas and written a few short stories for horror anthologies.

Currently, Tim is enjoying life in Palm Coast, Florida.

Published works;
Living the Dream – Aug 2009
Water Hazard – Nov 2010
Backseat to Justice – July 2011
Pump It Up – Aug 2011
No Good Deed – May 2012
Unfinished Business – Aug 2013
Dying Days – The Siege of European Village (co-written w/Armand Rosamilia) – Dec 2012
Dying Days – Siege 2 (co-written w/Armand Rosamilia) – Dec 2013

Next Scheduled release – Eyewitness Blues – Aug 2014

To contact Tim or find out about upcoming works please visit his website.
Amazon Author Page


Here’s an initiative that I think has a great deal of potential and is worth your consideration, if you are an Indie Author. Sign up on the Published Indie Authors blogsite if you are interested in participating or wish to receive more information.

Do YOU provide Author Promotion and Support Services?


From The Story Reading Ape who is compiling more resources for authors and helping to promote themselves and their work. Reading Recommendations is proud to already be listed in Authors’ Resources Central!

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:

And would like to be included in my blog


I would like to expand the following resources

Author / Book Promotions

Having them as Guests on your blog


notifying your followers and visitors when books are on promotion.

Book Reviewers

Posting your reviews on your blog

AND other places like

Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc.

Beta readers

Please state preferred genre.

Proof Readers

Please state preferred genre.

Professional Book Editors

Please advise editing type and preferred genre.

In all cases, please provide the following:

The name and FULL online address of your blog.

The link to any terms/conditions and application form.

The link to any charges/fees applicable.

Your photo and / or Logo.

To avoid disappointment

DO NOT leave the information in the Comments box below


tsraauthorarticles (AT) gmail (DOT) com

(address given this way to avoid spamming programs…

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Goodreads Giveaway – a BIG success!!

Well, I am one happy author/publisher today after my third Goodreads Giveaway ended successfully with an extraordinary number of entrants – 1457!!! Thrilled, as a matter of fact, as it doubles the total number of entrants for the first contest I held last Sept. Here are the stats for each of the 3 Giveaways:

From Sept. 1-30 – 762 entered, 10 winners – Available to readers in Canada, US, UK, Australia
From Dec. 10 – Jan. 16 – 130 entered, 5 winners – Available to readers in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland
From June 16 – Aug. 4 – 1457, 5 winners – Available to readers in Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa


Readers, if you entered any of these contests but did not win a print copy of Island in the Clouds, please send me a private message, if you’re interested in reading and reviewing the eBook version. And, if you’d still prefer receiving the print copy, watch for future giveaways on Goodreads.

Authors, if you are not listed on Goodreads already – what are you waiting for??? I have found the exposure I’ve received for myself and by books to be incredible, not to mention again the success I’ve realized in participating in their First Reads and Giveaway programs, as outlined above. The way I look at this is, every new entrant to a contest or every new reader who adds my books to their “to-read” lists is someone who might not otherwise have heard of me or my books. So, essentially, Goodreads is one of the best means for authors to find new readers! Do consider setting up your own Giveaway on the site (print books only eligible at the moment) and I promise that I will help you promote your contest to my readers and friends, if you send me the link.

Thanks, Goodreads! For providing authors with an effective way to promote our books!

It Was Much More Than an Interview – It Could Save a Life


Read about the terrific interview Tim Baker held with Mickey Jones on The Surf 97.3 Friday evening and consider helping Mickey if you are at all able to do so.

Originally posted on blindoggbooks:

On Friday August 1, 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing Mickey Jones on my radio show (as I warned you about here).

If you don’t know who Mickey Jones is – look here. If you don’t know about my radio program on 97.3  The Surf – look here.

Anyway – about the interview…

Just prior to calling him, I played the song Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers to get the listening audience primed – since Mickey was the drummer on that track.

secret agent manI called Mickey and we exchanged pleasantries off-air while the song played. Mind you – Mickey couldn’t hear the song so he had no idea what the audience was hearing.

When the song finished I brought our mics up and welcomed Mickey to the show, telling him that we had just played Secret Agent Man.

“That’s a good song,” he said. “Let…

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