Friday, December 18, 2015

Laura Newbury on How Angels Help Us Heal Ourselves and the World

Laura Newbury talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his latest book, An Angels' Guide to Working with the Power of Light.

“It is important for us to ASK the Angels for help as they have no free will to intervene in our lives (unless exceptional circumstances) without being invited. They need us to ask and we must not feel greedy or selfish to ask.” ~Laura Newbury

Laura lives in Stirling, Scotland and grew up in the Quaker faith, where the practice is for a group of people to gather in a circle and for anyone within who feels inspired to take charge of the meeting. Angels weren’t particularly emphasized when Laura was growing up, and she had believed that angels communicate only with mystics and the like, but one day, when Laura was out with her four-year-old twin sons, one of them got lost while they were in a park, and Laura then began to frantically look for him. It was then that she called out to the angels to surround and protect her missing son, and she heard a reply, like a clear echo, that told her “twenty minutes,” and she just knew that everything would be fine by then. Laura then returned to her friend’s house, at the latter’s suggestion, and while there, she experienced a connection between herself and her then-lost son as well as a feeling of peace, despite her frantic feeling. As expected, after 20 minutes, her friend returned to the house with her missing son, and told her that, when the boy had been found, there were several young children standing around him, as if protecting him.

Laura didn’t think much about that incident until, eight years later, the same son got ill, which came at a time when she was experiencing terrible headaches, and one night, while she was feeling tired and in despair, she was “inspired” to write a letter to the angels. She received a reply in the form of a voice that said all would be well, and when Laura asked who was speaking the voice said that he was her son’s guardian angel, a red angel. Laura began writing “thank you” letters to the angels after that, which she placed in various locations around her house, and as she wrote those letters, she realized she was receiving replies from the angels, and one of the messages was, “Write a book… write a book.

Schutzengel by Bernhard Plockhorst
According to Laura, the word “angel” comes from the Greek word aggelos, which means “messenger.” Laura noted that angels are a part of just about every faith on Earth, and while angels do act as messengers, they also have other functions, such as protection and healing. The angels themselves have told Laura that they are manifestations, or the loving arms, of God, and that they carry out God’s will, abiding in the dimensions between the physical realm, which is where humans live, and the heavenly realm. They can appear as a physical being, but not necessarily in the stereotypical form of them being winged and human-like. She gave an example where, before she had all her extensive angelic experiences, she saw a large figure at the top of a mountain bathed in light, a being which had light strands radiating out from it, but she didn’t recognize it as an angel until much later.

Colors have a huge significance where angels are concerned, as these relate to the vibrations associated with the colors, and which seem to be associated with the various chakras of the human bodies. Red, for example, is the color of the archangel Metatron (an archangel in Judaism, known as the Recording Angel or the Chancellor of Heaven - Wikipedia), who guarded her son and who brought her to her present path of angelic communication. Laura explained that Metatron is the archangel who looks after gifted children and is also the archangel of sacred maths and geometries, which, given her sons’ penchant for mathematics, seems to make sense. Deep emerald green with a pinkish hue at the edge of the green is the color of the archangel Raphael, who is the archangel related to healing. Where chakras are concerned, the color green is associated with the heart, and given that most healing takes place in the heart it follows that Raphael also be associated with the color green.

Abraham and the Three Angels by Ludovico Carracci
Laura communicates with the angels visually, such as when she sees colors associated with a person’s angel, but she also hears voices and words that she describes as “loud thoughts” which she knows are from angels because they are different from how she would normally think or how she would normally write. When she wrote the book, she saw the words appear in front of her, as if on a screen. She said the angels gave the book’s contents word by word and phrase by phrase, so that she never did know the entire sentence she was writing before she actually finished them.

Laura notes that finding a quiet place is very important when enabling angelic communication. Quieting one’s mind and taking four big, deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and then exhaling through the mouth, creates a physiological state that’s receptive to talking to angels. That said, the angels can still send people messages even in the loudest of environments, if necessary. Being in nature also helps, as Laura states that the angels have told her that all life is sacred and appreciating the beauty of Nature and of the Earth creates a state of gratitude wherein the connection is made that much easier.

Laura notes that a lot of people are seeking spiritual guidance in today’s troubled times, and that the messages of angels are full of love and guidance on how to send light out into the world. She notes that the consistent message from the angels is that, if people can get in tune and follow their gifts, they can send out peace which radiates and helps others. It is the perpetuation of this that will create peace throughout the world.

An excerpt from the book, An Angels' Guide to Working with the Power of Light, as quoted by Laura:

They say the universe is in support of life and founded on love. Fear and negative happenings come from misalignment in some way. It happens when thoughts turn from love to fear. Events occur as a result and things get worse until someone comes along to change the pattern. This creates a knock-on effect and other effects come back into their natural alignment. Your prayers go out, and even if you do not know exactly where they will go, they will arrive and help change events. You’re all connected and your consciousness is connected with all that is happening in your world. Prayers, therefore, affect everything, and the world is saved, heart by heart and soul by soul, and the power comes from the individual and the power is love. Love is the only power and love does not coerce.

It was while she was writing the book that the headaches that Laura had been experiencing for so long finally disappeared, and this she attributes to her connection with the angels. After that, she was given methods on how to heal pain and was told to go out and teach these, which is the new path that she is now presently on. Laura remarks that she now has the strength and courage to walk this path due to her healing and angelic support. Laura notes that it doesn’t matter if you believe in angels or not, but if you is true to yourself and follow one’s own gifts and heart, and also be inspired by that which makes one feel joy and happiness, you will radiate a lot of the universal energy and will help others as well.

Laura is in the process of writing a book in conjunction with the angels of the Earth, which she says is about the environment and how we humans can cooperate with the spiritual guides of the environment to save our planet. At present, the rough title is A Devas’ Guide to Earth Healing: Messages for Our Times.

A special message from angels to people as delivered to Laura:

"We love you all and take great delight in communicating on things both great and apparently small. But nothing is too small for us angels and we urge you to keep asking, for our power to help is unlimited and you are not being greedy or taking another person's share by asking us. This is limited human thinking. As long as you keep a loving heart and have the good of all the world as your aspiration, then nothing can be too big or too small to ask." ~Angels' Message to People

Laura Newbury’s book, An Angels' Guide to Working with the Power of Light, can be found on and other major online bookstores. She also has a Facebook page for the book, Here is the publisher's (6th Books) page for the book.

READ: Stirling Observer article (May 20, 2012) Angel Experience Sparks New Book

Purchase the on Amazon: An Angels' Guide to Working with the Power of Light by Laura Newbury

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tony Fairfax: US Presidential Election Trend Analysis

Tony Fairfax talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, The Presidential Trend: The Remarkable Voting Predictability of the Office of President (Includes: 2016 Election Analysis).

“I was forced to, compelled, to come up with my own theory on this because no one had written about it.” ~Tony Fairfax, on writing The Presidential Trend

Tony started out as an electrical engineer who worked for a manufacturing company and an engineering consulting firm, and then became an entrepreneur, starting a business with a few other people during a recession period in the US economy. After the business closed down, Tony, as a consultant, connected with a local university and was involved with a redistricting project, which is one wherein political boundaries are redrawn throughout the United States. This began his career as a mapping and demographic consultant, which is what he is doing up until today as an expert whose testimony on demographics is recognized in federal courts.

Tony’s interest in the presidential trend he writes about began when he read a census report that had a graph that led to his investigating the topic. The major trend he talks about is the increasingly linear trend of popular votes for the Democratic presidential candidate from 1972 to 2000, despite the voter turnout percentage differing from election to election, while during that period, the popular votes for the Republicans and independents combined fluctuated. Tony remarks that, after investigation, the trend actually began in 1968, when the electorate "fractured" between Democrats and non-Democrats, and that the trend makes sense when core base voters - voters who would vote Democrat, Republican or for their candidate, no matter what - are considered. This increasing linear trend, according to Tony, is due to the increasing population of Democratic core base voters and generational perpetuation of loyalty to the Democratic party.

In 1968, a certain section of Democratic voters peeled away from voting for a Democratic president, and this section never came back to vote for a Democratic candidate except during 1976, which is a year that doesn’t fit the 1972 - 2000 trend.

Where the Republicans and independents are concerned, a trend doesn’t exist but a mirroring type of voting pattern does. Mirroring occurs when, say, a hundred people vote for two candidates, and if all of them vote, and if one person gets 70 votes, the other person will get 30 votes. This mirroring comes from the non-Democratic party voters and means that, if a Republican candidate gets a lot of votes, the independent candidate will get fewer votes, and vice versa. The only time this mirroring didn’t happen was in the 1992 election, due to then-candidate Ross Perot being unable to make inroads into the Republican core base voters.

Tony notes that the linear trend might have stopped at 2000, but he says that there is still a trend in the form of the Democratic popular vote percentage, which deviates only around 2.6% from the trend line. The trends are more visible at the national level, and while these exist at the state and local levels, these aren’t as visible because people change locations, from city to city or from state to state, throughout the year. The Democrats, because they have most of the so-called minority vote, have an advantage in the coming decades because of the increasing percentage of the minority population in the United States.

To a Republican candidate, Tony would advise him or her to attract voters from the Democratic electorate, particularly given that the Democratic electorate is larger than the non-Democratic electorate. To a Democratic candidate, Tony would advise him to go after progressive policy issues.

The journey Tony took while writing the book was one wherein his original hypothesis, that the trend was disrupted by the war that took place in 2000, was proven mistaken and made him focus on the role of demographics and base voters where the trend is concerned. He also notes that the journey is still ongoing, which could be the potential topic for another book. He had actually came up with a companion book to The Presidential Trend which is a condensed version for individuals to be able to grasp all of the features of the trend in one or two reading sessions.

Tony Fairfax’s book, The Presidential Trend: The Remarkable Voting Predictability of the Office of President (Includes: 2016 Election Analysis), can be found on and other major online bookstores.

Purchase on Amazon: The Presidential Trend: The Remarkable Voting Predictability of the Office of the President (Includes: 2016 Election Analysis),

Friday, November 27, 2015

Belief Coach Mark Speaks Inspires People to Be Achievers in Life

Coach Mark Speaks talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Repeat After Me.

 “Learning is a lifelong event, and you gotta always, constantly be learning.” ~Coach Mark Speaks 

Belief Coach Mark Speaks
Coach Mark was born in Jamaica and came to the United States while young. He might not have been an avid book reader in his childhood, but even at a young age he had an entrepreneurial mindset. By his own admission, he worked on a number of business endeavors in college, and before graduating, he and a roommate set up a nightclub, which might have had a lot of potential but became a serious financial drain for them. The nightclub stint, however, gave him experience in design, which he turned into a viable multi-million dollar business

Coach Mark admits that his success wouldn’t have happened had he not looked around and seen people who might not have had products as good as his but who were apparently doing better, and then told himself that, if they could do it, so could he. Since then, he had studied success and successful people, and credits being an avid learner for ten years as being part of his success, noting that he has well over a thousand paper, audio, and ebooks in his library. He notes that age and background aren’t barriers to achieving success, citing such examples as Grandma Moses, who achieved success in her seventies, and Whatsapp founder Jan Koum, who was an immigrant who was financially strapped when he and his family arrived in the United States.

Once he got enough passive income to live on, Coach Mark then focused on helping others become successful. His goal is to enable people to believe in themselves, focusing on particular aspects of people’s lives that they want to achieve success in. Repeat After Me is the result of a years-long desire to write a book, but it wasn’t until he thought of writing about success that he actually did so. Coach Mark wrote and designed Repeat After Me to be deliberately easy to read, not intimidating, and easy for people to digest, particularly since he noted that a lot of people don’t pick up book after leaving high school or college.

Coach Mark included other reference books in the chapters on purpose, rather than place these all in the back of the book, as he noted that most people don’t read the material in those parts of the book, to make it easy for people to refer to those references. He sees positive affirmations as being very important to a person achieving his goals, as these reprogram a person’s mind to lean towards success. Coach Mark noted that people, due to the environment and the people around them, engage in negative affirmations, which are detrimental to their succeeding, as they are flooded with negative affirmations throughout their lives, usually because people impose their own negative beliefs on others. He believes that the only way to get answers, and thus results, is by asking questions, hence the importance of questioning oneself.

Coach Mark would love for his book to be read all over the world to help people develop themselves, as an entry-level book to success, and he wants to touch lives all over the world. He loves to learn, remarking that it is a measure of how successful his life is that he finds it difficult to name something he doesn’t like to do, and would like to travel to Africa and South America.

Coach Mark Speaks’ website for his ebook, Repeat After Me, which you can get for free at no cost, is

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lynn Jackson on Writing Child of Darkness & Lost in Darkness of The House Dorstanton Vampire Book Series

Lynn Jackson talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her books, Child of Darkness and Lost In Darkness of The House Dorstanton Book Series.

“When I get started on my book, I don’t wanna stop.” ~Lynn Jackson

Lynn used to run a rescue farm for horses and other animals, including a manatee and an elephant. She’d lived on that farm for the past seventeen years and along with her husband and son, have contributed much to the welfare of abused animals. At the time of her interview with AuthorStory, she and her family were moving to a new home.

Lynn admits she hates to read, particularly since she says she doesn’t want to be influenced by other authors, although she admits to being influenced by the black-and-white, classic horror movies she saw as a child which never quite scared her. Lynn loves artwork apart from writing and she admits that, if she could write twenty-four hours a day, she would do just that.

She started out by writing children’s poetry and has moved on to other genres from there. Her goal in life is to write a hundred stories and she has so far written about a dozen with ten more stories in the pipeline as of this writing.

Lynn remarks that living on a farm and dealing and interacting with the animals there can bring up a wide variety of emotions that she can put into her book, and that some of the names for the animals in her stories are actual names of animals on the farm. Of all the characters she had written out, Lynn found that Jason of A Midnight Howl, really appealed to her, so much so that her hands were shaking when she was writing out a particularly intense scene. She admits to having “fallen in love” with her creation due to his being a character who was funny and plucky and one who also had to fight for what he got.

Lynn created The House Dorstanton series of books in which Child of Darkness and Lost in Darkness are the first books of a big story where vampires and all sorts of fey creatures, such as elvens and trolls, live side-by-side with mortal human beings like knights and wizards. She also doesn’t focus wholly on the main characters but also on other events, in other areas, and lands, particularly since she wants to keep things interesting and unpredictable for the reader.

The House Dorstanton series actually started around the mid 1990s, but it took a long time for her to get the series done because she would write other books while she was also working on the vampire stories, saying that there were times that a book “tapped her on the shoulder” and demanded that she write it.

The research that Lynn did for the series was based on the need for her to bring the world in the books to life, such as weapons and the way of life in the kind of era where the story would take place or is inspired by. She keeps notes on the world of The House Dorstanton Series because of the many characters and places involved.

She admits that she had experienced paranormal activity throughout her life and she once lived on a farm that has the reputation of being one of the most haunted in America, although these experiences have yet to reflect in one of her books. If and when she writes a book on ghosts, these supernatural experiences would definitely find a place in the story and characters. She doesn’t have any particular person in mind when she writes her books, but she does keep their age level (adult, young adult, or children) in mind.

One of Lynn’s future stories is about Pit bull fighting, with which she hopes can make people realize the evils of Pit bull fighting. She would like to go one of these days to Las Vegas for the excitement, as well as to Africa to see the animals there, especially the elephants.

Here is Lynn Jackson’s web page for her books, Child of Darkness and Lost in Darkness

Purchase Child of Darkness & Lost in Darkness of The House Dorstanton Book Series on Amazon.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Marivi Soliven on the Journey of Filipino Immigrants in The Mango Bride Novel

Marivi Soliven talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, The Mango Bride.

"Filipinos are a lot more than pansit, lumpia, and Manny Paquiao." ~Marivi Soliven

Marivi was formerly an instructor of English at the University of the Philippines, and she moved to the United States in her thirties after she got married and as such her sense of identity as a Filipino was already fully-formed. She remarked that she had to change her way of thinking when she got to the United States, since her first job as a caregiver and personal assistant to a disabled professor was disparate from her previous work as an educator and her later jobs as an interpreter and an advocate of anti-domestic violence.

Marivi was aware that becoming an immigrant is a long process, and she also mentioned that the sense of dislocation, of being removed from one’s roots, was part of her experience as an immigrant, and is most likely the same kind of experience that other immigrants go through.

Marivi wrote the book because she simply wanted to tell the story of Filipino immigrants in the United States, rather than to appeal to any particular audience, but she notes that it would most likely appeal to those who have moved to an unfamiliar country from the place they grew up in. She chose a mango for the title because that fruit is synonymous with the Philippines. She noted that she wanted to give an alternative view of immigrants, in general, other than the commonly-held image of foreigner who is seeking a better life as they can’t survive on what they would earn in their home country. She notes that some Filipinos, herself included, who emigrated didn’t know how to operate a washing machine (like maybe what's in most walk-in DIY wash services) when they first arrived in the United States, because in the Philippines, such chores are handled by the household help, or at least in middle- and upper-class families.

Some of her experiences went into the book and the places mentioned are likewise drawn from her own life. Her main character, Beverly, is “at least 95%” based on real life. For the character of Amparo, Marivi drew on her memories of her own mother and her aunt. In writing the book, she needed to do some research on police procedures and Google Maps, and asked friends in Manila to take pictures of places mentioned in the book.

Marivi admits that she had read the works of a lot of authors, such as Hemingway and Karen Christence Dinesen (aka Isak Dinesen) and some of them definitely influenced her writing style, particularly Jhumpa Lahiri when it came to how to present Tagalog conversations in her book, and as she has occasionally watched Filipino soap operas, she remarked that the overall frame of her story is based on similar contexts.

Marivi notes that food is a metaphor for love, and that she deliberately wanted to highlight the Filipinos’ love for food in the book, particularly since a longing for food is central to Filipino immigrants, and for her, smelling Filipino dishes bring back memories of her past. She also compared Thanksgiving with Christmas and pointed out how during one Thanksgiving with a Filipino family, the turkey was a centerpiece that nobody really bothered with, as they were focusing on Filipino dishes like lechon.

Marivi would advise immigrants to be patient, as it takes time to understand how they would fit into the society they are entering. For those who are native to the countries where Filipinos emigrate to, she would like to point out that Filipinos are a lot more than the stereotypical association with pansit, lumpia and Manny Pacquiao, although she does admit that this kind of global “branding” is also due to Filipinos tending to easily blend into the mainstream societies they emigrate to and leave their mark on the local culture.

Marivi likes cooking and yoga and would like to be able to travel to different places and countries in the future, such as Angkor Wat, some parts of India, as well as Batanes and Sagada in The Philippines. Marivi remarked that she enjoys speaking to readers and invites them to contact her through her website or through her e-mail address, marivisoliven17 at gmail dotcom for a Skype book club visit. She’s pleased with her involvement with ACCESS Inc., an organization involved with giving legal aid for survivors of domestic violence, of whom Anne Bautista is a legal director who has been doing this kind of work for over ten years.

Marivi has another book featuring Filipinos who migrated to the United States in the 1930s. The website for her book, The Mango Bride, is

Purchase on Amazon: The Mango Bride by Marivi Soliven

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Kiyoshi Shimada of Happy Science: Basics of Exorcism by Master Ryuho Okawa

Kiyoshi Shimada talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book, Basics of Exorcism: How to Protect You and Your Family from Evil Spirits.

“Be open to what you live for on this Earth.” ~Kiyoshi Shimada

Kiyoshi Shimada has been a staff member for Happy Science for twelve years and had been involved with Happy Science for ten years prior to that, and over the course of time, he has been called in to help people who have been afflicted by evil spirits. According to him, Happy Science is a religious organization that believes in the Origin of Life, which is also known as God the Father or the Eternal Buddha, and that all religions can be united to avoid all the conflict and dissent among these. Likewise, according to him, Master Okawa has spiritual abilities and spiritual wisdom, the lessons of which he is passing on to people.

Kiyoshi related that Buddha himself encountered evil spirits during his meditations, which he overcame through enlightenment and by spreading enlightenment with others. The Buddhist methodology focuses on self-reflection, as, since like attracts like, someone with negative energy vibrations will attract negative beings (such as evil spirits) and negativity, while someone with positive energy vibrations will attract positive beings and positivity. Kiyoshi noted six factors which attracts evil spirits, which are:

  1. Greed - desire for something one doesn’t deserve
  2. Anger - particularly uncontrolled anger
  3. Ignorance - of what is good and what is bad
  4. Pride/conceit - “I am always right”
  5. Doubt - doesn’t believe in anyone else
  6. Wrong view - belief in something wrong that causes disharmony

Evil spirits, according to Kiyoshi, are beings that once lived on Earth, has had more negative impact on the world than positive impact, and have passed away, which means that it’s not just criminals who become evil spirits. Evil spirits draw their energy from negative energy, which can come from such emotions as fear, hate and sadness, and as this comes from people they would work to influence the living away from positive energies. He noted that evil spirits could also be passed on through those who are already affected by these, and that one’s ancestors who were subject to their influences in the past could seek help from living kin to get to the higher spiritual realms. He also noted that evil spirits located in particular places, such as cemeteries or where someone committed suicide, might also possess a person. He also remarks that, according to Buddhist belief, people are reincarnated time and time again until they learn the lessons they need to learn before moving on, and that self-reflection is important to learning these lessons.

Kiyoshi notes that people who engage in negative emotions are more likely to be possessed or affected by evil spirits. The symptoms of a possessed person are:

  • Having a negative/pessimistic /angry world view
  • Feeling like one is not in control of oneself (e.g. looking into the mirror and realizing that “that’s not me”)
  • Feeling unnecessarily cold/chilly, with occasional goosebumps
  • Having a heavy feeling on one’s shoulders
  • Time inversion, wherein one is active at night and sleeps by day
  • Hearing voices whispering in one’s ear (this is an indicator of a serious possession)
  • Wanting to commit suicide or to kill someone else (a red flag)

Kiyoshi remarks that the best way to avoid evil spirits is to achieve a correct way of thinking to create positive energy in the first place. The corrective actions that need to be done to exorcise an evil spirit, however, are:

  • Recognizing that an evil spirit is in action
  • Empower one’s life with positivity, serving the Truth, understanding one’s attachments and distinguishing between good and bad
  • Self-reflection, to bring one’s energy to positive levels, rather than to stay in negative levels
  • Smile and exercise one’s body to maintain one’s body fitness
  • Focus on work

Kiyoshi notes that Happy Science offers prayers or sutras for people to recite to expel evil spirits. He believes that teaching others to be positive and knowing the Truth will make people happier, and doing so is his favorite thing to do, and he dislikes making people unhappy. He is also looking forward to achieving enlightenment in the future.

The website for Master Ryuho Okawa’s book, Basics of Exorcism: How to Protect You and Your Family from Evil Spirits, is,

Purchase on Amazon: Basics of Exorcism: How to Protect You and Your Family from Evil Spirits

Saturday, October 31, 2015

John Cairney and His Book about Immaculate Innings in Baseball History

John Cairney talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball.

“I think it’s really human interest stories of the pitchers that make it compelling to all of us.” ~John Cairney 

John is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, which he acknowledges may be surprising to some, as Canada isn’t known for baseball. He played baseball as a child, has been a long-time fan of the sport, and developed an interest, in his 30s, in the history of baseball. He admits that, as an academic, he wondered if he had it in him to write a non-academic book, and had always been impressed by writers who can write out stories that can pull in people who aren’t interested in the topics, and this book was an opportunity to explore such territory.

A perfect, or “immaculate,” inning in baseball is when a pitcher strikes out all three consecutive batters, who are retired in nine strikes during that same inning, and this is a feat that has taken place only seventy-seven times since the 1880s, when major league baseball was established. His interest in immaculate innings began when, on July 21, 2013, he heard on the radio that Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Steve Delabar had pitched an immaculate inning the previous night. He then realized that there wasn’t much on immaculate innings. He was drawn to Steve Delabar’s story and wondered what other human stories lay behind other immaculate innings, and from there he went into researching for the book and wrote about it.

During the course of his research, John did a statistical analysis of immaculate innings and has realized that the main players involved in an immaculate inning are the pitcher, the batter and the back catcher. 14 immaculate innings were recorded from 1889 to 1963, a period of seventy-four years, while from 2011 to the present, 2015 season 14 immaculate innings were recorded, and John remarked that, after statistically looking into such factors as increased pitching specialization, this increase in immaculate innings can be attributed to that more games than ever are being played nowadays compared to before, and the greater attention given to the biomechanics, training and nutrition of modern-day athletes. That said, John notes that perfect innings “elude the numbers,” i.e., are unpredictable, which is what makes them a topic of interest.

Where researching for, and writing out, the book was concerned, John enjoyed the process and the challenge of creating a non-academic work, and he admits that doing so improved his technical writing, as he had to pay particular attention to the prose, which isn’t a concern when writing technically. He didn’t interview people personally while doing research for Immaculate, and hopes to do so in the future. In spite of that, John noted that he has become more aware of the human aspect of baseball in the course of writing the book, and he mentioned a story when a batter hit a ball hard enough for her to score a homerun but broke her leg during the early part of her run around the bases, which she needed to do to officially complete the home run. Despite the competitive nature of the game, members of the opposite team actually carried her around the bases so that she could touch these and thus officially get her home run registered.

John likes spending time with his family and doesn’t particularly like doing accounting work. In regard to future books, he hopes to write about one topic of interest being the rituals associated with baseball.

John Cairney’s book, Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball, can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Mosaic Press.

Purchase on Amazon: Immaculate: A History of Perfect Innings in Baseball

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dr. Ramani Durvasula on Surviving a Narcissist in a Relationship (Should I Stay or Should I Go?)

Dr. Ramani Durvasula talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her latest book, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist.

“Stop thinking that you’re not enough.” ~Dr. Ramani Durvasula

Ramani has had a lot of experience with narcissists, either through her patients or through her own experience, and this is what enabled her to write the book about having a relationship with a narcissist and giving a strategy for people to deal with them. According to her, a narcissist is a person who lacks empathy and is very entitled, grandiose, arrogant, doesn’t care about others’ feelings and always puts themselves first. She notes that this is more and more common with social media to enable them to get validation.

The book outlines thirty characteristics to identify a narcissist, with one of these being that a narcissist would tell another everything about themselves in detail but who wouldn’t listen if that other person talks about themselves to a narcissist, and another example being that of a hair-trigger temper when relating to others, such as having a temper tantrum when they deal with service personnel and don’t get what they want. That said, narcissists are very seductive and charming and can get into relationships easily.

Although the book focuses on narcissism in relationships, Ramani also mentioned, during the interview, that narcissism also is around in other spheres of life, such as in work, with a narcissistic boss. One example that she gave of a situation with a narcissistic boss is that everything one says at work is either ignored or denied, which ties up with the phenomenon called “gaslighting,” wherein one’s experience is denied, resulting in a loss of control, fear and depression. To people who have narcissistic bosses, Ramani advises getting to know what one’s job function is and then documenting all of the things that happen. She also decries that present HR procedures actually enable a narcissist rather than their victim, as narcissists have no hesitation making a lot of legal noise, whereas their victims are unlikely to.

Where the reaction to the book is concerned, psychologists who have worked with narcissists have remarked that the book is spot on, while the narcissists who have reviewed the book have hated it. Writing the book was difficult for Ramani because of her immersion in the difficult topic, and she remarked that doing so was like getting into a relationship with a narcissist, which left her psychologically exhausted. Writing the book also enabled her to to create a far greater state of grace and forgiveness for herself.

Where the release of her book is concerned, and compared to that of her previous book, Ramani is focusing more on marketing it through social media, remarking that grassroots is everything, and is thus working to market the book “from the bottom up,” rather than “top down.” She’s looking forward to this as this is a cause she is passionate about, as well as the sparring that will inevitably take place. She remarked that the topic is enormous and that this is applicable in more areas than just intimate relationships, and that there is looking forward to its international development.

Ramani’s advice for someone who is presently in a relationship with a narcissist is to stop thinking that one is not enough. This is particularly applicable to women, who are trained to believe that, if they take care of others, everything will be fine. She notes that, if a person went to a bank that just kept on taking that person’s money without giving it back, that person would no longer be a customer of that bank. She notes that, in relationships, people should always get something back, and that being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being in a relationship with a bank that gives nothing back.

Ramani wants to open a national conversation about narcissism, particularly with today’s children, who are growing up in an environment where technology enables narcissism. She is also working with others to create a series of retreats where people who have been damaged by being in a relationship with a narcissist can get back on their feet. She’s presently considering writing a book, with a colleague, on how popular media fuels such relationship myths such as “beauty and the beast,” where the “beast” becomes a “beauty” through the loving efforts of someone, and is also considering other topics, such as the psychology of women traveling alone.

Ramani loves to travel, as just going to another place “reboots” her, and she dislikes wasting time with people who don’t listen or who aren’t engaged, as she values her time with others, as well as making others do something they don’t want to do.

Ramani Durvasula’s website for her book, Should I Stay or Should I Go?, is

Purchase on Amazon: Should I Stay or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff on Rosemary, the Missing Kennedy

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her latest book, The Missing Kennedy.

“I learned that love and gentleness really was a wonderful way to be with anybody, no matter who you were.” ~Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff’s aunt, Sister Paulus, cared for Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of American President John F. Kennedy, for some thirty years, and it was during this time that Elizabeth began visiting Rosemary, starting at around four years old, which grew into a solid friendship. Sister Paulus, who was called the “Zippity Nun” for her positive and energetic nature, was Rosemary’s main caregiver and related to Rosemary better than anyone else, being able to calm Rosemary as well as do things that others couldn’t make her do while also loving and caring for her. Indeed, Sister Paulus would remark that the favorite times in her life were when she was with Rosemary.

Rosemary’s situation sprang from an attempt to find a solution to a medical concern. Rosemary had always been socially naive and had had trouble reading and writing since childhood, which would, today, most likely have been a diagnosis of dyslexia, despite the fact that she could do three-digit sums quickly. In the 1940s, such distinctions of mental concern didn’t exist, and were lumped together as “mental disease,” and mentally ill patients were shunted into attics and institutions where they wouldn’t be seen by the public in general, places where they were vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse.

Rosemary’s mental condition came out during her teen years, with one symptom being the violent temper tantrums she would throw, and it was during this time period that Rosemary was brought to a doctor for diagnosis. The doctor prescribed a lobotomy, which was the popular treatment of the day to correct such concerns, and Rosemary’s father agreed. Rosemary’s mother, Rose, had no say in the matter, for she was raised in a Victorian environment, where wives obeyed their husbands implicitly. (Today, lobotomies have fallen out of favor within the medical profession as a valid medical procedure and have been replaced by drugs designed to deal with mental concerns.)

A lobotomy consists of the doctor going into the patient’s brain with a spatula and then cutting away at the connecting parts of the prefrontal cortex. Rosemary was awake throughout the procedure and encouraged to sing, and the doctor stopped only after she could no longer sing, which was a sign that the procedure was completed. Rather than heal her, however, the procedure only exacerbated Rosemary’s condition, so much so that she was sent to an institution where she could be better cared for. Her father, Joe, was the one who gave the green light for the operation, and he was apparently so stricken with guilt and shame at what had happened that he forbade anyone in the family to have any contact with Rosemary. (The latter condition was actually standard for anyone institutionalized, as it was felt that contact with their family would be too much of a stress on the person institutionalized.)

It was thus only after Joe became incapacitated from a stroke that the rest of the family learned about Rosemary, as Sisters of St. Coletta, the institution that was caring for Rosemary, needed coherent instructions from an immediate family member. It was shortly after Joe’s death that Rose was reunited with Rosemary, which began dramatically, when Rosemary screamed and pounded on Rose’s chest as she expressed her feelings about not being able to see her family for two decades, but which then settled into a peaceful relationship, one where Rosemary was able to socialize with others, and which resulted in a positive change in her personality as well as a modicum of a regular life. It was also during this time that she formed a close bond with her siblings, Eunice Kennedy-Shriver and Ted Kennedy.

It was after reconnecting with Rosemary that Eunice Kennedy-Shriver began the Special Olympics, as she realized that people like Rosemary weren’t as healthy as normal people because of their relative lack of exercise. Ted Kennedy likewise began lobbying in the Senate for legislation to aid those with a disability after reconnecting with Rosemary. Eunice’s son, Anthony, also became involved when he set up Best Buddies, which pairs able-bodied students with the disabled.

Elizabeth revealed that Rosemary was “a knockout” when she was younger and maintained a striking appearance throughout her life. Rosemary loved ice cream, dancing, music, eating out, dressing up in pretty clothes and roses.

Elizabeth is a writer and is also in a dream group, which studies dreams. It was after she had a dream after asking, “What book should I write next?” that she decided to write the book, after a great deal of initial personal reluctance, particularly since her own family had had experience with mental issues (Elizabeth’s uncle Nick suffered from depression, while her aunt Zora suffered from schizophrenia). She eventually decided to write it by staying true to who she and Sister Paulus were, attempting to empathize with everyone involved, and in the course of her research learned that the younger Kennedy generation, such as Anthony, were curious about their Aunt, and this encouraged her. Writing the book was an emotional process for Elizabeth, admitting that she cried as she relived the tragic moments of Rosemary’s life. The process has also made Elizabeth more empathic, more aware of others’ circumstances and actions.

Elizabeth loves reading, writing, being in Nature and events with family. She would also like to travel and visit the various Presidential libraries (she already visited the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum during the course of the research for the book). She feels that family history is exceptionally important, as it helps explain who we are and how connected we are with each other, and that people should look into their own lives for stories.

Elizabeth would like others to know that ordinary, everyday people could create extraordinary things through small acts of love and kindness, and that empathy is “the way to go” with anyone who is different. She is presently working on a middle-grade novel, a picture book and an idea for a novel in the works.

Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff’s website for her book, The Missing Kennedy, is

Purchase on Amazon: The Missing Kennedy

Friday, October 16, 2015

Uma Girish on Losing Her Mother to Cancer & How She Got Back on Her Feet

Uma Girish talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her latest book, Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss and Life’s Detours.

“The treasures in our lives are buried in the traumas.” ~Uma Girish

Uma had always been a storyteller since she was a child, and it was no surprise that she loved reading books. Even from a young age, she would write essays, and in those times when her father would give a cash prize to the best essay written by one of his four children, she would invariably win the prize, much to her siblings’ dismay. Those beginnings have led her to writing short stories and essays which, as of today, have been published in seven countries and which have won her several awards.

Uma taught business English in India, and her plan, when she and her family relocated to Chicago in the first half of 2008, was to teach English as a second language. Given that the economy wasn’t good at the time, she was forced to take part-time jobs, since there were no openings at the jobs she wanted.

It was in January, 2009, she learned that her mother had cancer - a disease Uma’s mother would die from in eight months’ time. Prior to her mother’s death, she admitted that she was a “normal person” in that she was concerned with raising a family, going to work, paying the bills and such. The news, the subsequent period of dealing with cancer, and her mother’s subsequent death plunged Uma into despair, but it was from that experience that she was “reborn” into the person that she presently is.

Uma remarks that she had three questions that needed to be answered after her mother died:

Who am I?
What is the meaning of this life?
What am I meant to do with this life?

It was in the process of finding out the answers to these that Uma realized that her purpose was to serve others.

Uma noted that nobody knew how to deal with grief, and dealing with the effects of her mother’s loss, as well as the subsequent loss of her father over a year later, gave Uma an understanding into what grief was, through her actually venturing into that territory and getting in touch with teachers who could help her out and heal herself. At that time as well, she came in contact with people who were, like her, at a crossroads in their lives, and it was through that process that Uma realized that helping others deal with grief was her calling. She spent two years after her father’s death undergoing what she called an “apprenticeship” in dealing with grief, which healed her. Since then, she has since become a Grief Guide and a Bereavement Volunteer at a hospice, reaching out to others and guiding them through their time of grief.

One of the things that helped Uma out greatly through the experience was that she had kept a highly detailed journal throughout the course of her mother’s illness, which provided a lot of detail that helped her write the book out. Uma notes that journaling gave her a good way to express herself and to get all her negative emotions out of her system as well as to see her progression through the process, and because of this Uma requires that all with whom she works with during her grief counseling maintain their own journal.

Another thing that helped Uma out through not only her mother’s treatment and the stresses attendant to relocating was her service in her part-time work at a retirement community. It was there that she encouraged seniors to tell their stories, which she found new and fascinating, as she didn’t grow up in the United States. She would type up these stories onto a website, and as she did so she realized that the themes of loss, pain, forgiveness, separation and betrayal are common to human beings.

At the time just before she wrote the book, Uma was between writing projects and thinking about what to do next. Uma focused on the writing, and it was after she received the contract for its publication she realized that the story in her book was bigger than her own personal story, as it dealt with grief and loss, which, she mentions, are common aspects of the human experience, and that people from around the world could get something from the book and connect with the story intimately.

Uma notes that grief is a universal experience, rather than the isolated, personal experience that people think it is, and that, in this moment, there are millions of people around the world who are experiencing grief. She then challenged people to what they can do, to reach out to others who are likewise feeling grief, and to help them better get through their own experience.

Uma believes her story is global, and that her book can touch people throughout the world. She encourages people to see, after reading the book, what threads of her story resonate with themselves and their experiences. She is presently working on her next book, which is a collection of essays about life and life’s lessons.

Uma loves to read and hates to shop, admitting that the way her husband shops is more like how a woman does compared to herself. She hopes to be able to conduct teacher workshops on a cruise in the future, as this is on her bucket list.

Uma Girish’s website for her book, Losing Amma Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss and Life’s Detours, is It is also available on Amazon, and in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Purchase on Amazon: Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss and Life’s Detours

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gordon Tredgold Shows the FAST Way to Succeed in Any Business or Company

Gordon Tredgold talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his latest book, FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results.

A more successful world is a better world to live in.” ~Gordon Tredgold

Gordon has a degree in mathematics and began his career in 1986, working in IT, and over the course of the next three decades, proved his worth at handling projects and solving problems, specializing in projects that people thought difficult, and thus didn’t want to handle. He liked handling such projects because these allowed him to break the rules, and as a result, was able to bring about change when and where it was needed. While handling such projects, he learned what caused failure, which are a lack of focus, a lack of accountability, a lack of simplicity and a lack of transparency.

Where failure is concerned, Gordon quoted some interesting statistics:

  • 60% of IT projects fail
  • 80% of all businesses fail within eighteen months (from Forbes magazine)
  • 90% of solopreneurs fail
  • 42% of solopreneurs fail because there is no market for their product (from a Fortune magazine article)
  • 95% of product launches fail
  • 24% of businesses run out of money to support themselves before they turned a profit

Gordon points out that these failures most likely stemmed from making basic mistakes, and the book, FAST, is essentially a distillation of what he learned from what causes businesses to fail and what enables them to succeed, be they multibillion-dollar businesses or small businesses, and to avoid the negative impact of failure. He wrote the book essentially as a way to create a legacy for himself, by creating a way by which others can achieve results and success more than he could by either helping them out or giving seminars

Gordon remarks that he can explain things in a way that people can easily understand, thus making the lessons within his book understandable and actionable. As an example, he mentioned that he brought up the case of a USD 50B utility company that wanted to reduce expenses at a talk he conducted in Morocco, and he was able to break down the problem, which was related with system testing, so that members of the audience who had no background in system testing were able to easily home in on the best way for that company to reduce expenses. He keeps his explanation simple and understandable because he wants to give his readers as much information and tools as possible so they can get whatever job they are working on done.

Where success is concerned, the four components that Gordon espouses are:

F - Focus: what are you trying to do?
A - Accountability: who is going to do the work?
S - Simplicity: how are we going to approach the work?
T - Transparency: “how far;” honesty in how well one is doing, and the visibility of the work involved.

Gordon also gave further explanation on terms that are often confused with each other
Simple and easy. Gordon gave an analogy from boxing, in that, if he went up against Manny Pacquiao, his simple plan would be to rush over to where Manny Pacquiao was, once the bell was rung, and then knock him out with one punch. Chances are, however, such a plan would not be easy to accomplish.

Effectiveness and efficiency. Gordon gave the analogy of a car stuck in mud, with the driver running the engine and the wheels so that the latter spin quickly. The car delivers the power to the wheels efficiently, enough that the wheels spin quickly, but the effectiveness of the action is questionable, as the car is unlikely to get out of the mud and moving forward, which is a measure of how effective a car is.

Accountability and responsibility. Gordon gave the analogy of a soccer team, wherein the manager is accountable for the team’s performance, which includes hiring the people he needs and calling the plays to be run, while the players are responsible for the actual plays that will be executed.

Gordon’s favorite success story was when he dealt with an entrepreneur whose business was making USD 20,000 a month. Gordon was brought in to enable that company to generate double that amount. He noted that the company didn’t know how much profit they were making, and that, if they doubled their revenue, they could also be doubling their losses. He also noted that, if the company were making only 5% profit, this would be a net income of USD 1,000 a month, which is equivalent to that of a basic job in the United States, whereas if, by properly selecting the components of their product, they generated 50% profit they would have a net income of USD 10,000 a month, which would be more along the lines of what a business should make. Although, after all was said and done, revenues initially dropped to USD 15,000 a month , the company was making 50% profit, or USD 7,500 a month, which was a decent number for a business.

To leaders, managers or company owners who are doing an existing project, Gordon advises that they rate themselves, on a scale of zero to five, with five being the best, on each of the four FAST principles, and then pick on that area with the lowest score to work on first. to leaders, managers or company owners who are just starting out in a new endeavor, Gordon advises starting on Focus to aim at the right target.

Although Gordon admits it would be nice to make money out of selling a million copies of his book, his intention is more aligned with his desire to create a legacy for himself by reducing the rate of failure in business, as he believes that a more successful world is a better world to live in. He is also presently working on two follow-up books to FAST, which he’s initially calling FASTER and FASTEST, both of which focus more on people, as well as a version of FAST which is aimed specifically at entrepreneurs.

Gordon is an avowed rugby fan, as he used to play it in his younger days. He hates routine or mundane activities that he’s not allowed to improve upon, and hopes to become the CEO of a major corporation where he can efficiently apply all the techniques and lessons he has learned in the past three decades, or to become the manager of a football team.

Gordon Tredgold’s website for his book, FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results, is

Purchase on Amazon:  FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Steffany Irawan on Translating Daughters of Papua into English

Stefanny Irawan talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about being a translator and one of the latest novels she translated, Daughters of Papua.

“You gotta stay true to the nuance of the work, the language, but you need to transfer that to the new language that you’re working with, in the translated one.” ~Stefanny Irawan, on translating native language books

Stefanny grew up in East Java and attended college at Surabaya where, because of her love of reading and language, she majored in English literature and got hooked on theater, which she continues today. She began to write seriously during the last few years of college, which resulted in a collection of her short stories being published in 2006 by an Indonesian publisher, after which she became a translator. She acquired a Fulbright scholarship that enabled her to earn her Master’s degree in Arts Management from the State University of New York, in Buffalo, and is presently a teacher at Universitas Kristen Petra in Surabaya, where she teaches introduction to creative writing, playwriting and stage production. She is also the managing director of the college theater at that university.

Stefanny was inspired to become a translator after reading both good and bad translated works, with the good translations reminding her of the wonders of the different languages used in the world, powerfully breaking down language barriers and enabling people to enjoy great works. Bad translations, on the other hand, keep her mindful of the importance of her job as a translator and encourages her to do her work well. Indeed, after reading some badly translated works, Stefanny told herself that she could do a lot better, and this is what helped drive her to become a translator.

Stefanny sees her work as building bridges between cultures, between Indonesia and the English-speaking-and-writing world, and becoming such a bridge, being a cultural ambassador, is something she is passionate about. She chooses to translate works that are compelling to her, be these due to the issues covered or the stories themselves or the characters involved. Stefanny admits that idiomatic expressions are challenging, since an idiom in one language may not exist in another language. Nuance is also a challenge, as this likewise has to be transferred in the translated work.

Stefanny acknowledges Lian Gouw of Dalang Publishing as a mentor when it comes to translating, and she has had several discussions with her when it comes to staying true to the original work while being able to accurately deliver the original work’s intent.

Stefanny has translated around half a dozen works, including Daughters of Papua and the English book version of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, and while she was translating the latter book she realized that the story of the book is a lot bigger than the musical, with more emphasis on the character of the Phantom. Daughters of Papua made her realize just how hard are the lives of the people of Papua, particularly the women, with the violence they endure.

Stefanny is also an author in her own right, and she finds it most difficult to translate her own work, as she admits that the first person she must please is herself. Interested as she is with women’s issues, such as violence against women, she hopes to work on more books that deal with such. She feels honored to have translated Love, Death and Revolution by the acclaimed Indonesian author Mochtar Lubis (1), and hopes to work with the Indian author Jhumpa Lahiri, whose work she admires.

Stefanny believes that “practice makes perfect,” particularly when it comes to translating, and encourages would-be translators to read a lot and to translate a lot, as translation is a never-ending learning process. She also recommends networking and finding a good mentor or mentors, people who care about one as a person and as a translator.

Stefanny loves being involved in theater production and, while it’s part of her job as a teacher, dislikes students who are hard to get through to. She hopes to own a theater company that will feature plays that present Indonesia in a way that not only Indonesians but an international audience will find meaningful and, perhaps, even thought-provoking. Steffany Irawan can be contacted through

(1) Mochtar Lubis was a co-winner of the 1958 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication. In 2000, he was named as one of the International Press Institute’s 50 World Press Freedom Heroes of the past 50 years. (source: Wikipedia)

Purchase on Amazon: Anindita Siswanto Thayf's Daughters of Papua

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Anindita Siswanto Thayf Reveals the Plight of Women in Daughters of Papua Novel

Anindita Siswanto Thayf talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her novel, Daughters of Papua.

“I believe that those who want to change can transform themselves, and this includes the people of Papua.” ~Anindita Siswanto Thayf

Anindita was raised in a multi-ethnic family, as her mother was from Sulawesi and her father was from Java, in a nation where there are over three hundred different ethnic groups. She loved to listen to the stories her mother read to her as a child, as these exposed her to worlds that she wasn’t aware of, and also read stories as a child. She began writing short stories in junior high school and then became an online writer before getting a full-time job as a writer.

Anindita’s interest in Papua began when she read two articles, one of which described the beauty of Papua and the other describing the negative impact of a mining company in that place. The two faces of Papua fascinated her, and she then felt that she needed to bring the story, and the issues within, out into the world, issues such as domestic violence, environmental pollution, alcoholism and other issues related to the impact of capitalism and modernization on a previously non-capitalistic society. She then did research on the situation and got in touch with several native Papuans to get the information she needed, and it was from this that she was able to write her book.

For Anindita, writing the book from the viewpoint of one of the main, narrative characters, a seven-year-old girl named Lexie, was the most enjoyable part to write, while writing from the viewpoint of the other two main, narrative characters - a dog and a pig - was more difficult, as she wanted to balance their natural behavior within the story. Writing the book made Anindita realize that progress has its dark side, and she admits that, even though she isn’t a Papuan, she is particularly affected by the issue of domestic violence as a woman.

Having her book published and translated was “a dream come true,” for Anindita, and as an author, wants her book to be as widely read as possible. She hopes that her book will help raise awareness about humanity and dignity, particularly for women. She is interested in history and philosophy, and is presently writing a book on the latter.

Anindita loves writing, and she admitted that she would feel uncomfortable if she didn’t have anything to read. She hopes to set up a small bookstore or book cafe, where anyone can come in and read.

Anindita Siswanto Thayf’s website for her book, Daughters of Papua, is

Purchase the paperback on Amazon: Daughters of Papua by Anindita Siswanto Thayf

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dr. Jalaja Bonheim on Making Peace with Ourselves and the World

Dr. Jalaja Bonheim talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World.

“The heart will never say, ‘I want a big, new car. I want a big, new house.’ Those kinds of things come from the mind.” ~Jalaja Bonheim

Jalaja Bonheim is the daughter of two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who grew up in a family of intellectuals in Germany, and as she was surrounded with literature during her childhood it seemed only natural for her to study literature, which culminated her getting her doctorate in German and English literature, and this discipline gave her a good foundation from which she wrote her books (The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World is her fifth book). Her involvement with spirituality, sexual wholeness and feminine empowerment began when she went to India to study Indian dance in her 20s, and this exposed her to spirituality and the need for feminine empowerment. Because of this, after she arrived in the United States in 1982, she began working with women who were in dire need of feminine empowerment, be they in the United States or in the West Bank, and as a result founded the Institute for Circlework as a way to support this work. Circles are a method Jalaja developed and as she noted, circles are non-hierarchical, which means that everybody is equal and visible, which enables communication.

From a very young age, Jalaja wondered where violence and warfare come from, particularly after she was taught European history which is, essentially, a series of wars and conflicts over several centuries. She studied various Western psychological traditions as well as various spiritual traditions, and she combined this knowledge with what she learned doing Circles work that the ego has both personal and collective aspects, and that all of the violence stems from the collective ego, of which there is presently little understood about the latter. She also notes that conventional knowledge judges the ego as bad, which is a hindrance to understanding it, as these form barriers to respect and curiosity - two qualities necessary to understand something.

According to Jalaja, the ego is the individual self, and that the ego has enabled us to survive, and if we regard Nature as sacred, then the ego, as a part of Nature, should likewise be held sacred. She notes that the ego is now in need of healing and transformation, as a lot of the ways in which the ego has been conditioned by the collective past is no longer working, particularly the viewpoint of “us” and “them,” which might have worked before but which is presently backfiring.

Jalaja describes three different types of ego in her book. The first kind of ego is the heart-centered ego, which is the kind of collective ego present in the tribal groups that humans have lived in for millennia, and this is typified by her story of Carl Jung’s meeting with an Amerindian, who remarked that the whites think too much with their minds, whereas his tribe thought with their hearts. The second kind of ego is the control addicted ego, which is typical of the civilizations that have created great empires and which is typified by dominance of their particular civilization over others, and even over Nature, and symptoms of this include increasing complexity of society and the inability to calm one’s mind. The third kind of ego is presently emerging, the planetary ego, wherein all humans identify as being citizens of Planet Earth, and that we only survive as members of a planetary community. A practical person that she is, Jalaja has included exercises in the book that readers can do to understand the workability and practicality of the concepts within.

Although this is Jalaja’s fifth book, it was the hardest one for her to write, particularly since she wasn’t clear, at the start, what the book was about, particularly as the ideas came from her intuition, and translating these intuitive concepts into concrete, conscious concepts was one of the challenges she encountered. Writing about the stories, on the other hand, was easy for her, as she admits she loves telling stories, which, she notes, are the most ancient way in which humans learn.

She would like the book to be read by thought leaders who are committed to peace and transformation, particularly the average person, who can become a thought leader in their own right, thanks to connectivity. With regard to future topics, Jalaja admits that she’s got a lot of ideas, and that writing about Circle work is one that presently interests her.

Jalaja loves to dance, and she uses this in her Circle work as a way to connect. She dislikes doing her taxes, as this is indicative of a complicated world. She is also interested in creating Circles using the Internet, and experiencing the love and connectedness of a huge group of people online, from all over the world.

Jalaja Bonheim’s website for his book, The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World, is

On Amazon: The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World