Thursday, May 30, 2019

Blog Tour & Spotlight: Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley (A memoir must read!) @esart #memoir


Author: Carol Es
Publisher: Desert Dog Books
Pages: 356
Genre: Memoir/Biography

Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is a guided tour through a Tilt-A-Whirl life that takes so many turns that you may find yourself looking up from the pages and wondering how the hell one person managed to fit them all into 40-odd years. And many of them are odd years indeed. From a rootless, abusive childhood and mental illness through serious and successful careers in music and art, much of which were achieved while being involved in a notoriously destructive mind-control cult. Carol Es presents her story straight up. No padding, no parachute, no dancing around the hard stuff. Through the darkness, she somehow finds a glimmer of light by looking the big bad wolf straight in the eye, and it is liberating. When you dare to deal with truth, you are free. Free to find the humor that is just underneath everything and the joy that comes with taking the bumpy ride.

Illustrated with original sketches throughout, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley is not just another survivor’s tale, it’s a creative perspective through moments of vulnerability where the most raw and intimate revelations are laid bare. As an artist and a woman finding self-worth, it’s truly a courageous, relatable story that will keep you engaged to the very end.



Too bad I’d just finished restoring my 1970, racing-green Volkswagen Karmann Ghia to its original, stock condition, because that car accident I wasn’t a little fender-bender. I was knocked unconscious, and the car was totaled. It looked like an accordion. You can’t drive an accordion. Since it wasn’t my fault, at least I got a decent settlement. But I don’t think I cared about having a big wad of money, or even mustering the wherewithal to set myself free of the shoe garden. Aric was gone and losing him made my heart ache like nothing I’d ever felt before. I was in pain every which way.
The days floated through me, and I through them; seemingly moving in slow motion, or in every other frame of a motion picture. Some other me found an apartment in Van Nuys—a two-bedroom, mid-century triplex on Tilden Avenue. I had enough money to live there without working for months, and eventually to furnish it. These are things I’d normally be happy about, but I felt nothing. Isolated, I crept about the empty apartment like a ghost, passed through Jell-O walls, west of Woodman.
While the apartment came to me on the cheap, the money would run out eventually. The place formerly belonged to Royce, the guitar player of my band at the time. He moved to the apartment underneath, and the landlord let me in on the same low rent. We rehearsed in one of the garages that came with our apartments. A sweet deal. Our bass player, Camacho, used to jam with my brother. Royce and Camacho were both special and skilled musicians, and especially original. Our band, The Column, had its own sound, southwest-funk, or a “swampy R&B.” Our music motivated me to stop drinking for a while.
When I had to start working again, I found a job at Moorpark Pharmacy in Studio City, a family-owned business. I worked behind the film counter selling greeting cards and knickknacks. The location brought regular celebrities in, and I had a little rapport with Natalie Cole, Billy Barty, and a couple others. I used to play a game with the stocking guys and guess what types of medications different customers were picking up. We’d goof around as much as possible. It wasn’t a job with much potential, but that was okay with me. I enjoyed it. I only wanted to stay away from my parents and stop working for my dad, if possible. That was difficult. He paid under the table. Always a dangling cash carrot. If I really wanted to build a life away from them, I had to work elsewhere for less money.
The pharmacy didn’t pay great. I needed to find a roommate for the other bedroom, a good match came in my drummer friend Thad. It was Thad, along with his girlfriend, Tanya, who really helped me make the difficult break from Raven, before I moved back to my parents’ house. Tanya, in particular, tried pulling me back on lines into the org. Though I had a bad taste in my mouth since the auditing I’d done with Vicky at the Advanced Org—considering how grim things were for me at the time—taking Scientology courses to improve my life was not off the table for me anymore.
Thad, my drummer brother from another mother, was a perfect fit for the Tilden Avenue place. He had to leave CC anyway; it was time for the big renovation there. Everybody out! The timing couldn’t have been better. We’d stay up and talk drums for hours. I always loved that he respected me as a musician, not simply Raven’s protégé. Tanya came over on the weekends. She was sweet, and someone to whom I could relate. The two seemed happy together. Both of them were raised in a Scientology family like many other young Scientologists that Vicky introduced me to. Once those two became more prevalent in my life, so did more Scientologists: Tanya’s group of friends and Thad’s musician friends, etc. They all seemed to have their shit together. Their families too. They seemed sane compared to my family, though anyone’s would. The desire to better oneself began to rub off on me, and there was no doubt I needed and wanted control over my life. Haunted by death and failed relationships, losing my brother to drug addiction, a job with no true future, I started gravitating back to the idea of officially practicing Scientology. Maybe it would help.
The transition began with Tanya becoming my FSM (Field Staff Member). These are Scientologists who try to get new or fallen people into the Church and onto their next service. They are akin to sponsors, only they get a 10 percent commission on everything you do in Scientology for the rest of your days. I do not believe Tanya’s purpose was financially motivated, but what do I know? She seemed to care. She came over after work nearly every day, and we used Scientology books and techniques. We mostly used the Ethics Book. Of all of them, it has the most tangible and applicable exercises. Working with her, I climbed out of a dark place and gained some self-respect. I saw that being an enemy to myself wasn’t getting me anywhere. The information in this book actually helped me, and it would later become my go-to book for solving just about every problem I had.
During the first couple of months we hung out, Tanya also brought with her the Scientology community newspaper, Needs and Wants. It mostly listed classifieds, and she encouraged me to find a better job. In fact, she sort of pointed out that I might have been contributing to the country’s drug consumption problem by working at a pharmacy, which distributes sinful psychiatric drugs. This set off alarms in my mind. Not because it sounded like her views were kooky, but because I believed that psychiatric drugs were bad. By then, I blamed psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies for ruining my mother and taking her from my childhood. I also blamed them for the underlying cause of Mike’s drug problems, since he’d been given Ritalin as a child. I’d read in one of the Scientology magazines (Advance!, Celebrity, Freewinds, Impact, etc.) that drug addiction and having been prescribed Ritalin were related. I blamed any and all of these medications for most of the world’s evils.
Hubbard felt that people with “psych” histories were ruined beyond repair. While you train to be an auditor, you view scores of technical films, most of which are propaganda about how dangerous psychiatry is: 1950s-style reenactments of crazy, high-voltage, electroshock treatments performed on patients screaming for their lives. Time and time again I saw people over-drugged and drooling in dirty gutters, lobotomies performed with ice picks, and illustrations of inhuman practices used in the beginnings of psychiatry by uneducated “doctors” who didn’t know what they were doing. This would scare the shit out of anyone. These films make the whole psychiatric field look barbaric.
According to Hubbard, and Scientologists worldwide, psychiatrists are wicked beings who have been trying to ruin thetans for trillions of years. Most of the Scientology community are terrified of psychiatry on a very visceral level. They’re portrayed with the power of darkness equal to that of the Devil himself. I was petrified of being in a room with even a social worker, because they train in the world of psychology, which is essentially the same thing. I didn’t want to be affiliated to it in any way and definitely didn’t want to contribute to it. In my mind, I had to quit my pharmacy job immediately.
As Tanya kept bringing me different issues of Needs and Wants, I saw an ad that stood out every time I came across it. Save people’s lives! Help them recover from drugs and alcohol. These words really appealed to me. I thought, If I can’t get my own brother off drugs, maybe I can get a hundred other people off them. I wanted to feel useful and have a purpose, as I’d always felt useless. After some thought, mixed with a dash of desperation, I called the Narconon Rehabilitation Center.


Self-taught artist, writer and musician, Carol Es is known primarily for creating personal narratives within a wide spectrum of media. A native Los Angelina, she often uses past experience as fuel for her subject matter.  Writing on art, her articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Whitehot Magazine, and Coagula Art Journal; her prose published with small presses — Bottle of Smoke Press, Islands Fold, and Chance Press among them. Additionally, she makes handmade Artist’s books which have been acquired for such collections as the Getty and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Carol is a two-time recipient of the ARC Grant from the Durfee Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner, and a Wynn Newhouse Award for her art. She’s also earned grants from Asylum Arts and the National Arts and Disability Center/California Arts Council for writing. In 2019, she won the Bruce Geller Memorial Prize (WORD Grant) from the American Jewish University.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Book Feature: A Water Lily Blooms by Sylvia S. Mader

Inside the Book:

Title: A Water Lily Blooms
Author: Sylvia S. Mader
Genre: Coming of Age
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

An attractive young woman lies critically injured and comatose in a hospital bed far from home. Images come and go as she struggles to regain consciousness. Is that a tall, dark man beckoning her from a distance? Will she reach him? Or will her life be cut short, denying her a second chance for happiness? How did she get from being a happy, promising young pre-med student to here? And like this?
This coming of age tale follows the struggles of a driven but naive high school graduate. Andrea Bradford leaves her peaceful Martha’s Vineyard home for college, wanting to be a physician — a true professional, just like so many boys in her class. But once at college, she begins suffering the anxieties of homesickness, a blistering schedule, constant disagreements with her mother, and the uncertainty of a possible stage career. Meanwhile, several romances awaken her pent-up sexuality and introduce her to inter-racial realities and even the lure of New York high society.
Episodes of confusion, disappointment, elation, tragedy, and reconciliation all shape Andie, as she grows to become a mature, competent woman by the end of this truly “American” story.



Sylvia Mader is the author of “Inquiry Into Life, 16th edition;” “Biology, 13th edition” and “Human Biology, 16th edition,” making her one of America’s most successful college textbook authors of the last twenty-five years. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, who taught community college students and wrote most of her textbooks while raising two beautiful children. She lived on Martha’s Vineyard for nearly twenty years, and is now a grandmother, living in Hollywood, Florida. This is her debut novel. She is currently working on a second one.

Tour Schedule

Monday, May 6
Book featured at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, May 7
Book featured at A Title Wave

Wednesday, May 8
Book featured at The Dark Phantom

Thursday, May 9
Book featured at The Zen Reader

Friday, May 10
Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Monday, May 13
Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Tuesday, May 14
Guest blogging at I'm Shelf-ish

Wednesday, May 15
Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, May 16
Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures

Friday, May 17
Guest blogging at The Writer's Life

Monday, May 20
Book reviewed at Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm

Tuesday, May 21
Interviewed at Straight From the Author's Mouth

Wednesday, May 22
Book featured at Lisa Queen of Random

Thursday, May 23
Interviewed at The Literary Nook

Friday, May 24
Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity

Monday, May 27
Interviewed at Inkslinger's Opus

Tuesday, May 28
Guest blogging at As the Page Turns

Wednesday, May 29
Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, May 30
Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Friday, May 31
Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

Blog Tour & Spotlight: Fid's Crusade by David H. Reiss

FID'S CRUSADE by David H. Reiss, Scifi/Fantasy, 232 pp., $14.99 (paperback) $4.99 (Kindle)

Author: David H. Reiss
Publisher: Atian Press
Pages: 365
Genre: Scifi/Contemporary Fantasy

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.
Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.


Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I’ve seen in years. His title character’s crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin’s Prepare to Die!.” – Hugo award-winning author Tim Pratt



“I’m fine,” I informed Starnyx as soon as he answered his highly-encrypted phone.
A swarm of medical automatons surrounded the gurney on which I was reclined, a humming and swirling dervish of blades, clamps, sponges and other surgical tools focused upon the stump of my shoulder. A surgical laser was carefully burning away flesh in a pattern that would increase the efficiency of repairs performed by the medical nanites once my right arm was reattached.
The blended smell of disinfectant and cooking meat had been disturbing at first, but I was beginning to get used to the odor.
“Okay…?” Eric yawned. “Where are you?”
“I’m back in Boston,” I winced; a more significant cocktail of painkillers was now coursing through my veins, but some discomfort remained. “I’m sorry, I forgot that you were asleep when I left.”
“Nah, it’s almost morning. I can wake up. What’s up?”
“I ran into some minor trouble on my way home,” I forced a chuckle. “It will probably make the news and I didn’t want you to worry.”
“Hold on, let me get to a computer.” I heard tired, uncoordinated movement over the connection.
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Using my neural connection to the surgical control computer, I ordered one of the robots to add another dose of topical anesthetic. “Really, I’m fine.”
“So, what happened?” Eric must have reached his desk, because I could hear the clacking as he typed on his keyboard.
“I ran into the Brooklyn Knights.”
“I think I’ve heard of them. New guys, righ—” he paused mid-question and fell silent.
“So, you’re fine then?” Nyx asked, patiently.
“Absolutely,” I affirmed.
“I only ask, because the first hit I get on recent news of Doctor Fid is shaky cel-phone footage of you with your arm cut off,” he explained. “And I’m pretty sure you had both arms earlier tonight.”
“Tis but a scratch?” I tried.
“Christ, Doc,” he sighed, “I’m not doing Monty Python bits with you. Let me get dressed, I can be up in Boston in a few hours.”
“Thank you,” I smiled gratefully. “But, really, don’t bother. I’ll have my arm re-attached by then.”
There was another long pause.
“How?” Starnyx sounded exasperated.
“Medical nanotechnology. I’ll have function back in eight hours.” Which was a good thing, since my civilian persona had a face-to-face meeting with the Governor of Connecticut this afternoon to discuss opening a new research facility in Middletown. “In twenty-four hours, I’ll be good as new.”
“You’re a scary man,” he chuckled, relieved. “Okay, I get it. You’re fine.”
“I am.”
“Keep out of trouble, Doc, I’m going to get back to bed. Stay in touch, yeah?”
“Of course.” It was an odd feeling, having someone who cared for Doctor Fid’s wellbeing.
He hung up, and I closed my eyes to think.


While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.
(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

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Friday, May 24, 2019

Book Blast: The Prison Planet Handbook by Denis Goodwin

Title: The Prison Planet Handbook
Author: Denis Goodwin
Publisher: XLibris
Genre: Reference
Format: Ebook

Who are we, and where did we come from? When we turn to the information provided to us, we find a mud pool of possibilities. Is this intended to subvert our built-in guidance systems? We also discover that people who are adept at researching big-picture science are offered special jobs conditional on being sworn to secrecy. What is behind this strategy? Sometimes, the reality prescribed to us doesn’t fit with or explain what we experience. So if you too know something is not quite right, wonder what else is out there, what the bigger picture is, who benefits with us excluded from it, and are ready for changes on earth, the bottom line is here.




Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 20 and ends on May 31.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway