Monday, January 21, 2019

David Alan Arnold on Protecting Children from Neighborhood Crime

In this interview, David Alan Arnold talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, What Lies Above the Clouds: A True Crime Story.

“We all have to decide what kind of a world to live in.” ~David Alan Arnold

David is an aerial cameraman who films footage for such shows as Deadliest Catch, Survivor, and Ice Road Truckers, but he has also done work over major cities during his twenty-plus year career. What Lies Above the Clouds: A True Crime Story might be his second book published, but it was the book he wanted to have published right off the bat. Indeed, when he brought the manuscript to someone in the book business, the latter told him to write a book about himself first, which he did; and it was after that when What Lies Above the Clouds was published.

The book stemmed from David’s realization, around 2013, that a school bus stop in his town was being used by gangsters for such illegal activities as selling heroin and even the as-of-yet uninvestigated murder of one individual. When David originally approached the gangsters to ask them what kind of business they were doing, they told him it was a secret, and after that he would stand across the street from the bus stop when the kids were picked up or dropped off to make sure they weren’t hurt. Further investigation on his part turned up the information that the group was connected with a company which was run entirely by criminals, some of whom were on a Most Wanted list, and which was allowed to be run by corrupt local officials. Driven by a desire to keep children safe, he then gathered information for five years, and this formed the basis of his book.

David notes that people are able to get away with crimes because nobody knows what goes on, and also remarks that money is the most likely motive for police to allow Most Wanted criminals to hang out at a children’s bus stop. He notes that the gangsters involved don’t care about small children, and that, when he went up to them and confronted them, the gangsters themselves remarked that they were surprised that nobody in authority stopped them from what they were doing and that they, themselves, were remorseful and regretful about what they were doing. He also added that the media is also apparently involved in colluding to keep the crimes secret, remarking that reporters interviewed some witnesses to a crime for three hours, but that the story didn’t make the news, with what was being printed was what the police said about it.

The FBI got wind of what was going on when David met a federal agent on an airplane and told him a few things that surprised the agent, who then asked if he had any proof. “I have 23 terabytes in the overhead bin,” was David’s response. The agent then looked at David’s material, and it was after that when David, at the agent’s invitation, met with other agents, who then asked to read his book before it went public; and David obliged, with the result being the involvement of the FBI when investigating. David also remarks that the increasing scrutiny of this case will hopefully also pressure public officials into getting involved and doing what they are supposed to to protect the public.

“Everyone talks about wanting to make the world a better place,” David comments. “If you’re not willing to take a stand to make the kids on your street safer, I’m sorry. You missed your chance. That’s it.” He notes that he does things that other people won’t, and that he discovered the lines that people wouldn’t cross in the course of the past five years, as a lot of people were frightened away by the criminal activity. To those who might come across a situation similar to that which he did, he recommends documenting everything, adding that, thanks to such things as smartphone technology, it is easy to do so. He also remarks that the steps he took are available in his book, and that the things he did can also be done on social media.

Purchase David Alan Arnold's books from Amazon: 

What Lies Above the Clouds: A True Crime Story 

Help from Above: How I Went from Sweeping the Floor to Painting the Sky 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Lisa A. Sniderman on Finding Light in the Darkness of Dermatomyositis (DM) | A Chronic Autoimmune Disease

In this interview, Lisa A. Sniderman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, A Light in the Darkness: Transcending Chronic Illness through the Power of Art and Attitude.

“Who are you at your core? That part doesn’t change, even if something happens to you.” ~Lisa A. Sniderman

Lisa’s stage name is Aoede, a muse from Greek mythology and it was one which she selected so she would be reminded to be “continually inspired and to inspire.” She has been involved in music since the early 2000s and describes herself as a folk-pop artist who is also into young adult music and audio books which can be converted to stage plays.

A Light in the Darkness sprang from her experience, since April 2008, of living with dermatomyositis, a degenerative, inflammatory muscular disease whose symptoms include skin rashes and which causes muscular weakness and attack the immune system. At the time, she was six weeks away from getting married and was about to go on tour to promote her first album, and the last thing she expected, when she went to a dermatologist for a skin rash, was to be diagnosed with a serious illness. She was initially in denial, but she had no choice but to confront her condition when, in 2010, she was hospitalized for muscle weakness and subsequently confined to a wheelchair while she underwent months of physical therapy.

Lisa says her story is one of persevering through the condition by using creativity to heal and manage it and has realized that it can also help others heal and persevere through their own difficulties, disabilities, and life challenges. That said, the book sprang from her realization that she hadn’t fully processed her condition personally, instead, hiding from it behind her persona, and that personal processing produced the book as well as an understanding of who she was, now that she could no longer act the way she used to.

Lisa remarks that, in those times when she is “in flow,” she doesn’t have to focus on her condition, and this is why she enjoys the creative process. She admits that her journey is a “roller coaster,” as the condition flares up every now and then, and notes that, while we do not have any choices on what is thrown at us, we do have choices on how to act and react. As such, she chooses to focus on love and gratitude, noting that it isn’t always easy to do so and that such focus affects her relationships with the people around her and the community she is a part of, including her husband.

Where attitude is concerned, Lisa notes that she has more compassion and has incorporated her spirituality in her life more now, compared to before she was diagnosed, when she was always on “go, go, go,” mode. She learned compassion during her hospital stay after seeing fellow patients who were in just as bad a situation as she was and felt blessed because she knew she would recover, whereas the patients were unlikely to do so.

Where creativity is concerned, Lisa was still trying to find her sound and voice when she was diagnosed, and after that she had more vulnerability in her work, as she was able to tap into things which she experienced, directly or indirectly. Lisa herself only realized recently that the material she was creating was related to the journey of healing that she was on, giving as an example the protagonist of one of her own plays, which reflected the struggles that she, herself, was undergoing at the time.

Part of Lisa’s journey included a desire for her to collaborate with other artists to heal, and her invitation resulted in a play, Lights in the Darkness, which was a collaboration with some 35 artists from all over the world. Lisa admits that this would likely not have happened had she not have made herself vulnerable enough to share her own story, and she reflected that she didn’t expect the reaction that she did when she first sent out that invitation.

Lisa notes that she has had many life lessons come out of her experience which she wants to share with others. Some of these lessons are: where you are and who you are is enough; never stop dreaming; and always keep shining your light.

Purchase from Amazon: A Light in the Darkness: Transcending Chronic Illness through the Power of Art and Attitude by Lisa A. Sniderman