Mayaro Virus … as if Chikungunya and Zika weren’t enough!

Thanks to Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge for informing me of the existence of this new mosquito-borne virus recently discovered in Haiti. Mayaro is “closely related to the chikungunya virus” as we discover in this article posted in the MiamiHerald on Sept. 15, 2016: A new mosquito-borne illness has been detected in Haiti.

As most of my readers know, I contracted, and suffered from, the Chikungunya virus in July, 2014. Two years later and I realize I haven’t noticed any further symptoms of late (knock on wood!) but I do know of others who continue to have problems. And, in the meantime, Zika has also swept through the Caribbean. Now there’s another virus to be concerned about, just as I head back to Bequia for the winter. Hoo boy!

I’ve posted a number of articles previously to this blog (scroll down that page for the complete series) about both Chikungunya and Zika and will now be adding this new post to that list. Far from these viruses having run their course, I’ve found a number of readers have been making their way to my blog looking for information and clicked on these articles I’ve written after searching with phrases such as “unable to stand up properly due to chikunguniya” and “no hunger after chikungunya” and “numbness of arm chikangunya or dengue” – and that’s just in the past couple of days!! Over the two years since I began writing about Chikungunya, this topic has been among the most popular of anything I’ve posted. Obviously people are still suffering, and are still having trouble finding answers and treatment.

So I post this new information now, not to be alarmist, but so that people will become better informed as to what’s happening out there. As always, the best cure for any of these viruses is preventing mosquito bites in the first place. So if you are heading to a tropical destination be sure to use repellents and clean up any standing water where mosquitoes love to breed.

Perhaps in the long term, the experts will discover a means of ridding us of these viruses altogether. Let’s hope it happens sooner, and before another virus mutates and develops.

Betty Jane Hegerat’s GoReadMe! Campaign!

Thirty days hath September … and 30 days is the length of time this new GoReadMe! Crowd Reading Campaign will run, a campaign in which readers pledge to read at least one book written and published by the featured author then recommend that book to a fellow reader.

As Betty Jane Hegerat explains in her own blog post, this is how the new campaign came to fruition. As with the inaugural campaign I organized for Seumus Gallacher, this is not about selling books so much as finding new readers who are interested in pledging to read at least one book by a new-to-them author, then recommend that author to a friend.

And even though you may already have read all the books by this featured author, you are still most welcome to pledge to recommend those books to other readers.

The campaign, after all, is intended to raise awareness about authors you may not have thought to read books by before (how’s that for alliteration?) or who have never crossed your reading radar (just a bit of alliteration that time). These are authors I have promoted previously on my blog, Reading Recommendations – in the case of this new campaign’s featured author who I do know personally – and I’ve read all their books and highly recommend anythng, and everything, they’ve written!

So, here’s how it works: We’re looking for 50 new readers who will “pledge” to read either all of the author’s books or a specific title. Not only will these readers pledge to read the book themselves, but they’ll also agree to recommend that book to another reader who will join in on the GoReadMe! Campaign. That way, we only need to find 25 unique readers, because those new readers will find the other 25 for us. The campaign lasts a month, during which time the author, and the author’s friends, promote the campaign, and the author keeps a public tally on their own blog of the number of people who have pledged, and their names (or those who wish to remain “anonymous”), who have committed to reading a book and finding other new readers for it. Simple!

And, if friends have already read the author’s book(s) but still wish to become involved in the GoReadMe! Campaign, they can help by promoting this idea to their friends, encouraging others to become involved in reading this author’s great books!

In the end, what the “Readers” receive by pledging in this way is a warm/fuzzy feeling of not only discovering and reading a new book by a great author, but also the knowledge that they are helping to promote reading in general by becoming involved in this campaign in particular and encouraging more people to read.

By the way, I believe that the personal recommendation of a book by a friend is a much more effective way (word-of-mouth) of promoting a book than any review on Amazon or Goodreads, so that’s why I’m not suggesting that “write a review” be a requisite for readers pledging to take part in this campaign. No pressure, folks! Just pledge to read the book and find at least one other new reader. What can be simpler than that? (You may make your pledges here on Betty Jane’s blog or in th comments’ section below on this blog.)

If you wish to share this blog post on social media we won’t be averse to that! Please share the idea far and wide ad help us to reach our goal of 50 new Readers!

Here are the links to Betty Jane Hegerat’s books. All are available in print, several are in eBook format, many are available to borrow (in both formats) from Alberta libraries. Links are listed below.

Thanks for pledging and for reading!

Published by Newest Press:
running-toward-homeRunning Toward HomeAvailable in paperback

Published by Oolichan Books:
hegerat_-_crack_in_the_wall_-_front_cover_-_600x934dpi A Crack in the Wall
Available in paperback, eBook, and listed on Overdrive

delivery_cover2 Delivery
Available in paperback, eBook, and listed on Overdrive

hegerat_-_the_boy_-_cover_concept_08 The Boy
Available in paperback, eBook, and listed on Overdrive

9780889823051 Odd One Out
Available in paperback

Taking a Brain-cation …

I’ve been reading what has turned out to be a perfect storm of books that helped to redirect my thinking lately – thinking about myself and my place on this earth, my writing and what it means to me, the meaning of life, the universe and everything. You know … the big stuff.

Okay, maybe not that big, but definitely somewhere in between Stephen Hawking and Monty Python.

First up was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Right from the get-go, this novel had me reconsidering life and our interactions with other people. Then I began reading the brilliantly written Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan. **And a little aside here – they missed a great opportunity with this title. It could have been named Finnegan’s Wave. I didn’t need to read much of this memoir to realize the author has lived his entire life enjoying and perfecting exactly what he’s passionate about. And, finally, this morning I began reading At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others by Sarah Bakewell, and I have now become a born-again philosopher!

The point I’m getting at here is that each of these books has made me think – about life, the universe, etc. And since there’s an awful lot of extraneous noise and chatter going on out there on the internet, and I have a tendency to get sucked into the vortex that is Facebook (like Hotel California, you may check out but can never leave …), I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to extricate myself from social media for a while. I’ll still be checking, because that’s where most of my “news” comes from these days, but I have already deactivated one account and will consciously avoid getting involved too much in the others.

Instead, I’ll be writing to this blog, trying to catch up on posts that I’d drafted but never published. (All brilliant ideas, of course, but I had never given myself any time to develop and write out those ideas.) And I need to catch up on publishing to my other blogs all the queued promotions and reviews I’ve promised for other authors. Last count, I had over 3000 emails to catch up on, too. So … I’ve decided to take a Brain-cation.

Along with the books I’ll continue to read, and the writing I’d like to get back into again (too many stories to tell!!), I hope to concentrate my offline time in thinking about stuff. Whether anything concrete comes out of all this thinking isn’t really the point, but it might be kind of interesting to actually focus my brain waves for a change instead of having them flit all over the place like a multi-coloured butterfly: pretty, but not all that productive and with only a month-long lifespan.

Gotta go! It seems as though I have another think coming …

One Woman’s Island – and more comments from advance readers!

About the Bequia Perspectives series of novels …

Whether intentional or not, there seems to be a huge character quietly looming across your book series: Bequia, the island herself. Each book, even though different, reveals more and more about her as a character and a force. Quite cool.
~ Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, blogger


I am close to finishing preparation of the One Woman’s Island manuscript … Just waiting for a couple of recipes to come in. In the meantime, I have received more praise from advance readers I wish to share with you. This is in addition to earlier blogposts both here and here!

Susan Toy’s new novel, One Woman’s Island is: lively; startling; creepy; funny; shocking; sad; insightful – and engaging from start to finish.

~ Ann Ireland, prize-winning author of novels, A Certain Mr. Takahashi, The Instructor, Exile and The Blue Guitar

I enjoyed your book. While at first I was expecting a murder mystery with interesting characters searching for clues like the last one I read, this one was a book of interesting character development with a side dish of murders. The title definitely fits for several reasons – which you realize as you read/finish.

Joan and Solfrid were delightfully fully developed quickly even though they were not the important characters. Tex and Mariana unfolded much more slowly by design. (She did finally find that one to sit down and talk books with – much to her surprise – and so late). That mysterious story opening finally explained – after you had almost forgotten about it. Clever construction.

This with it’s theme/messages should appear perfectly timed with today’s society. In fact was having a discussion this week with a blogger about well meaning people blundering in and trying to “fix” something without having a clue about the reality of a place or situation. I kept thinking, “She needs to read Susan’s book.” Susan states it so clearly.

Between the recipes, assorted characters, and the universal timeless message, the book should be a winner for book clubs. I will certainly recommend it to a couple once it’s out.

I love your writing style and humor and really appreciate you sending me a copy to read.

Whether intentional or not, there seems to be a huge character quietly looming across your book series: Bequia, the island herself. Each book, even though different, reveals more and more about her as a character and a force. Quite cool.

~ Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge, blogger

Why Are There Still So Many People Who Don’t Have Books to Read?

Many years ago, I tried to orchestrate gathering and shipping a large quantity of books to #Bequia. The logistics, and especially cost of shipping, made it difficult, but I have considered recently doing this again, because there is so much of a need for books in SVG. And in many other parts of the world, too.

Notes from An Alien

Many organizations and individuals work very hard to get books to those who have none… worldreader

One individual is linked-to in the left side-bar—his organization is called GoneReadingyou can buy really cool gifts for readers; yet, they give “100% of after-tax profits to fund reading-related charities…”.

I have an interview with the founder of GoneReading.

Another organization I’ve written about is WorldReader (here are the posts I’ve done about them…).

Here’s just a bit of explanation of what WorldReader does:

Literacy is transformative

It increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty. Books are necessary for the development of literacy skills yet millions of people still have limited access to books.

We’re changing this.

WorldReader does its work by supplying folks with e-readers stocked with books appropriate for their age and culture

Plus, today on TechCrunch, there…

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…GoReadMe!… m’Lady, Susan M. Toy’s fabulous idea for Authors and Readers…

Thanks to Seumas Gallacher for not thinking this to be such a daft idea after all and publishing my guest post about it on his blog!

Seumas Gallacher

…from daft ideas often come the next ‘great thing… the following Guest Post from my dear friend and fellow scribbler, Susan Toy, may interest other Writers and Readers… feedback on it is encouraged… please let us know if this is sum’thing yeez could support:

GoReadMe! – an idea on Crowd Reading


Susan M. Toy.

The marvelous Seumas Gallacher posted a status update to Facebook, a joke really, that had me laughing out loud here in my little trailer …

“…thinking of doing a GoFundMe thingy for a movie about my ‘To Be Read’ pile on my ebook Reader… calling it ‘Kindler’s List’… all contributions welcome… J”

Then an idea struck me – “What if,” I thought (those great little words that lead to the beginning of many great ideas, stories and novels). And I wrote a message to the kind sir himself, running past him first the kernel of…

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Ten most common mistakes in novels

I requested permission to reblog this post written by roughseasinthemed, because there was so much valuable information included that will be of interest to all authors (and readers). roughseas is one of the very best readers I know and everyone will learn from her list of “mistakes” she’s been compiling recently. Do be sure to read the comments section as well for further lively discussion. Excellent blog post! Thanks, roughseas!

Ten most common mistakes in novels

Fascination launch! Buy for as low as $3.99

Here it is, Folks! Kevin Brennan’s announcement of the release of his new novel, Fascination! Kevin is offering an interesting method of publishing and three levels to pay for your purchase. Please support this terrific writer who I have promoted numerous times on Reading Recommendations. I have read and highly recommend all the books Kevin has previously published, so I look forward to purchasing and reading his latest. Congratulations, Kevin! And best of luck with Fascination!


Cover small

It’s Fascination’s birthday! Help me celebrate by buying a copy, won’t you?

Below are three PayPal buttons. You get to decide how much you want to pay for this book, so pick one and you’ll be taken to your PayPal account for confirmation.

If you’d like to pay more than $5.99 for the book, email me at kevinbrennan520(at)gmail(dot)com and tell me the price. I’ll then zip you a PayPal invoice that you can pay online, and I’ll send the pdf file as soon as the transaction is official. Don’t forget: if you pay more than $5.99, you’ll get your name into the Fascination Hall of Fame in future editions of the book.

By the way, you’ll see that this is tied to the PayPal account for my editorial service, Indie-Scribable, so don’t be confused by the paperwork.

Since I inscribe each copy of the book to the buyer…

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Cover reveal ~ Fascination

Kevin Brennan has revealed the cover for his new book and I think it looks great! Here’s more information about the new book’s release. (Kevin has been previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)


Cover small

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Jerome Martin on How to Use the New Media to Tell Your Story

When Jerome Martin posted a status update to Facebook saying he’d be giving a talk on this subject of using new media and storytelling at a conference, I asked if I would be allowed to post the link here on my blog. The topic sounded to be perfect for many of my blog readers. Jerome immediately gave his permission, so below is a link to the presentation he gave at the Banff Centre in April 2016.

1549330_10151948798981367_2941370190120507932_n And in keeping with the theme of Jerome’s presentation, here’s our story …

I met Jerome in/around 2009 when I was first starting up Alberta Books Canada and considering new ways of spreading the word about books, their authors, and reading in general. To say that Jerome, at that early date, had already embraced the new technology surrounding book publishing is an understatement! I hadn’t met anyone in publishing up to that point who not only knew and used the existing technology, and was so enthusiastic about its possibilities, but who was also willing to listen to new ideas, create practical apps, and encourage thinking in directions that were completely off the beaten path of publishing – so far off the path that most publishers wouldn’t even consider abandoning their old traditional methods for fear of getting lost altogether. I loved getting together to talk with Jerome whenever I was in Edmonton and run my own ideas past him, because not once did he ever say, “No, you can’t do that, Susan”, as so many others had done before him. So, for that belief in me and for discussing ideas with me, I heartily thank Jerome for that!

And here’s Jerome’s story:
Jerome Martin is a publisher, photographer, storyteller, and speaker in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He was born in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, on the edge of the Cypress Hills.

His company Spotted Cow Press publishes books, both paper and electronic, about the Great Plains of North America and its people. and his speaking and advisory work focuses on informal learning, communication and documentary photography.

Jerome’s most recent e-books are Cappuccino U: a new approach to working and learning and Golden Prairie, both available for free download at Spotted Cow Press.
(Follow Jerome on Facebook and Twitter for more information, ideas, and stories..)

Please watch the entire presentation here. Jerome’s blog post he refers to is here and in it you will find all thee links he refers to. (Here’s the link to the Banff Centre’s website he refers to as a good example of design.)

And … Jerome includes a quote from my favourite author, Wallace Stegner, at the very end of his presentation – what’s not to love about that???

Thanks, Jerome!