Voices of Cancer by Lynda Wolters – Spotlight and Giveaway

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“I don’t know what to say” and “I don’t know what to do” are common responses to a life-threatening diagnosis. Voices of Cancer is here to help.

Every cancer story is different, but there is one commonality: both patients and the people supporting them often struggle to properly articulate their wants and needs through particularly challenging and in many cases, uncharted territory. Lynda Wolters knows firsthand: she was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal mantle cell lymphoma in August of 2016.

Voices of Cancer offers a candid look into the world of a cancer patient, informed by Lynda’s own story and conversations had with dozens of patients weighing in on their needs, wants, and dislikes as they navigate the complex world of diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. With comprehensive and accessible insight from people who’ve been there, Voices of Cancer helps educate, dispel fears, and start positive conversations about what a cancer diagnosis truly means, while shining a light on how best to support a loved one on their own terms.

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Voices on Thoughtless Words

There is no perfect thing to say to someone with a devastating disease, but honest conversation and true statements are better than fluffy words that are best suited for use as a slogan. It’s okay to let the patient know you don’t know what to say. It’s okay to let them know you are afraid of offending them or making them feel sad with your words or your personal fear of what they are going through. And it’s okay to just sit with them, cry with them, listen to them vent, or just share space.

Some of my most comforting times were when people just shared space with me. Every time I was hospitalized, my dear friend Michelle would bring all her “gadgets”—cell phone, laptop, etc.—and work from my hospital room. Sometimes staying an hour or more, often not speaking but just sitting with me and working on her laptop, she shared space and her love.

About the Author:

Lynda was born and raised in a tiny farming community of 400 in northern Idaho. She worked on the family farm, with her first job being picking rocks out of the fields and ultimately graduating up the ladder to driving a grain truck and combine during harvest. Following high school, Lynda continued her education in Las Vegas before she moved back home to Idaho to raise her three sons.

Lynda still resides in Idaho with her husband and their peekapoo, Max.

Lynda has worked in the legal field for 30+ years and enjoys ballroom and swing dancing, horseback riding, kayaking, and river rafting. She has a heart for people and enjoys regularly volunteering. She spends the bulk of her spare time reading and writing.

Lynda was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) in August 2016. She touts herself as being a thriving warrior of the disease.

Lynda has completed two books of nonfiction: Voices of Cancer, released in October 2019, and Voices of LGBTQ+, released in August 2020.

The Placeholder, Lynda’s debut novel, was released in November 2022.

Lynda has published the following articles: Navigating the Workplace with Chemo Brain, February 23, 2020, Elephants and Tea. and When Masks Weren’t Popular, March 24, 2020, Patient Power. She has spoken on several podcasts, been a guest on a local talk show regarding Voices of Cancer, and given interviews for other outlets and print.

Jane Brody wrote up Voices of Cancer in the New York Times, her article entitled What to Say to Someone with Cancer, on January 13, 2020, with a follow-up on January 20, 2020, entitled, When Life Throws You a Curveball, Embrace the New Normal.

The Chinese translation rights of Voices of Cancer have been purchased by a grant to offer the book to medical students in Tawain.

Lynda donates Voices of Cancer books and a portion of its proceeds to Epic Experience, a nonprofit camp for adult survivors and thrivers of cancer located in Colorado.

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An Eye for the Highest and Best by Dr. Nancy-Angel Doetzel- Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dr. Nancy-Angel Doetzel will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Living in this world of such disruption and uncertainty can result in us facing despair. How can we attune to the rainbow after a storm, and create hope and happiness? How do we develop an eye for the Highest and Best, when faced with what appears to be the worst? What steps should we take to reconnect with our ability to be resilient?

In this book, Dr. Doetzel shares some important insights gained from her own experiences of teaching university, battling cancer, being a journalist, travelling worldwide, dealing with grief, and facing the global pandemic. Along the way, she introduces her readers to fresh ways of viewing their lives, by applying an Appreciative Inquiry lens that inspires the practice of a more conscious way of living, resulting in discovering serenity.

Readers may start to re-examine their own challenges, while discovering their own gems that warrant gratitude. The reflective questions and stories suggest ways of removing blocks to happiness and constructing healthier relationships.

The book is also an ideal tool for educators to apply to teaching Appreciative Inquiry as a qualitative research methodology.

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While attending a church service in a Mexican Cathedral, Angel’s phone had fallen out of her purse. Reaching for it later, intending to make a call, she suddenly notices it was missing. Frantically, she rushed to the hotel front desk to inquire how she could contact the Cathedral. When she arrived, the hotel clerk was holding her golden cell phone, while still looking for an identification on it.

After identifying her cell phone, the clerk told her the story of the person who had turned it in. The lady had picked up the phone in the Cathedral, under a bench. She then noticed a hotel key in the phone case slot, which matched her own hotel key. So, when she returned to the hotel after mass, she gave the cell phone to the front desk attendant.

Angel believed having her cell phone returned by someone staying at the same hotel and attending a common church service, was a miracle in action, and she was tempted to share the story with the police officer, after he checked for her phone.

About the Author:

Dr. Nancy-Angel Doetzel has been teaching in the Sociology Faculty of Mount Royal University since 2006, and as a seasonal sessional instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary since 2005.

An award-winning scholar, journalist, and musician, she won a Distinguished Dissertation Award for her doctorate dissertation, leading to the publication of her two books: Cultivating Spirituality in Education: Synergizing Heart and Mind and Old Heart Child’s Eyes: A Diary of Miracles.

In 2017, her students at Mount Royal University honoured her with a Teaching Excellence Award. In 2018 her students also acknowledged her for promoting wellbeing and good health within the classroom, and for being a good mentor. She received her MA, HBA, HBSW, and BA degrees from Lakehead University.

She received her PhD from the University of Calgary in 2004. She studied Intuitive Medicine in Vancouver and received a professional certification (I.C.A.D.C) from the Canadian Council of Professional Certification. She also was awarded a Broadcasting Radio and Television diploma from Confederation College. She encourages her students to examine the world through different lenses, exercising altruism, promoting social justice, and learning to be a good sociologist.

Her Mount Royal University blog is titled, Debunking Deceptive Myths. In addition to her recently published books, she has also authored and published eight scholarly articles in her field.

In February 2020, the Calgary Herald, rated one of her books (a pre-amble to this one) as a local best seller. She is currently conducting research about complementary medicine and continuing to teach at Mount Royal University.

Aside from teaching and conducting research, Dr. Doetzel has hosted a radio show “From the Heart,” airing on AM 1140 High River, for the past 10 years. She has recorded four albums of her own original songs.

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Happiness Mountain by Amal Indi – Spotlight and Giveaway

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Happiness is the most important experience that we as human beings seek throughout our entire lives. Yet there is no one clear definition of happiness in the world today.

How, then, can we expect to be happy to our fullest if we do not know what happiness is?

Everyone has happy moments in life. Suppose you are awake sixteen hours a day after eight hours of sleep—how much time are you truly happy in these sixteen hours?
If you are happy only 20 percent of your day, you will not feel truly happy in life.
If you are happy 50 percent of your day, you will feel like you have an OK life.
If you are happy 60 percent or above, you are living a happy life.
If you are happy 80 percent and above, you’re living a phenomenally happy life.
What if you could change the times that you are not happy to happy moments?

If you want to get better at something, you must study and become proficient in that subject. You do not know what you are missing if you do not learn. The same principle applies to happiness. If you want to be happier, study what happiness is. If happiness is important to you, master it.

By knowing happiness, you can consciously live a happier life. You can minimize the external factors impacting your happiness. You can get happiness under your control.

Irrespective of where you are in life today, by reading this book and following the happiness definition, philosophy, and methodology, you or anyone can live a happier life.

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The Happiness Philosophy

We as human beings find happiness in different ways: money, family, travel, meditation, exercise, material things, alcohol, pets, work, etc. We look for happiness from various activities while living busy lives with work, family, and other responsibilities. We all have times when we are unhappy and suffering while doing daily activities. We tend to look at happiness and daily activities as distinct moments of life.

Daily life is a collection of experiences from when you wake up to when you go to bed. By changing the philosophy of happiness to make every experience a happy experience, you can genuinely live a happier life. If you make every experience happy, naturally your whole day will be happy. If you focus on happiness daily, your entire life will be happy. You do not need to wait for something to happen or some future activity to be happy. You set the intention to be happy in the present moment, in every experience.

To live in this new happiness philosophy, you need a good understanding of happiness. Happiness Mountain’s happiness definition, philosophy, and methodology will help you with that. Why is a methodology critical? A methodology can be followed by anyone, and they will gain results. You do not have to reinvent a methodology for happiness. Instead, follow the Happiness Mountain methodology with ease. Irrespective of where you are in life today, by reading this book and following the happiness methodology, you or anyone can live a happier life.

About the Author:

With over 20 years of experience working for financial institutions as a Solutions Architect, Amal set out on a mission to find true happiness. After researching happiness for many years, he is ready to share a definition, philosophy, and methodology for happiness so that anyone can follow and find true happiness with inner peace, joy, and fulfillment. He has written an incredible book called “Happiness Mountain – Make every experience a happy experience”. Amal is also a father of two kids and lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Amal’s mission is to heal the world and allow everyone to enjoy true happiness.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Searching for Home by Margaret G. Hanna

Thanks for joining us on our 16th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

In 1912, Mary Louisa Appleton is 27 years old and a domestic servant in Cornwall, England. She sees no future there, so she accepts employment with a family returning to Alberta, Canada. It is the land of unlimited opportunity, or so she has heard.

Once in Canada, Mary faces the dilemma of all immigrants – where does she belong?

She is conflicted: her body is in Canada but her heart is in England. She longs to return to England but wars, marriage, children, the Dirty Thirties, and economic circumstances conspire to keep her in Canada.

Then she faces a crisis, and she has to decide. Is “home” where her heart is, or where she resides?

Searching for Home is the story of the author’s maternal grandmother as she struggles to find her place in Canada.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: The Thong Principle – Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Say by Donalee Moulton

Thanks for joining us on our 16th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

The Thong Principle has little to do with beachwear and everything to do with effective communication. It’s about ensuring messages are successful for the sender – and the receiver.

The book delves into the elements that comprise successful communications – conciseness, clarity, concreteness, and much more. It also puts those elements into context. Communications that miss the mark confuse and annoy. They fail to deliver their message. They damage our credibility and erode goodwill.

The Thong Principle overflows with real-world examples to help us understand why we fail to get our messages across as intended.

Then it explains how we can anticipate, identify, and correct errors and oversights. This is both at the highest level – including building and maintaining trust – and down in the weeds where even one word makes a difference.

The Thong Principle will draw you in and keep you reading with examples, exercises, and information that resonates.

It’s also funny. Laughter and learning are wonderful partners.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Travellers With Two Hats by Renee Duke

Thanks for joining us on our 16th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

Back in seventeenth century, a Grand Tour of Europe was a rite of passage for the offspring of the rich. By the 1960s and 70s, it was fast becoming one for those of lesser means too. Being of lesser means, the peasantry couldn’t tour it quite as grandly, but it was definitely the ‘in’ thing to do, and is still a popular way for young people to assert their independence and kickstart a lifelong love of travel.

Climates—both natural and political—have changed a lot since the author and her best friend made their trip, but copious notes were taken, and the resulting travel memoir reflects their impressions of that part of the world at the time they were roaming around it.

Both now freely admit they were a spoiled, naïve, pair, and ill-equipped to handle even the physical rigours of such a venture, let alone all the annoying travel disruptions, communication difficulties, unexpected expenses, and various other problems that arose.

Still, they managed. Albeit not always (make that, seldom) with forbearance and aplomb.

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The Museum of Failure: What Can We Learn From It? by Jillian Haslam

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Museum of Failure: What Can We Learn From it?

The Museum of Failure, as the name suggests, is a museum housing a collection of products and services that fell flat on their face as far as their success with the public goes.

Established in 2017 in Sweden, the concept was the brainchild of Samuel West, an organisational psychologist (not the actor) who was inspired by an even more bizarre concept during his visit to Zagreb, Croatia – the Museum of Broken Relationships.

The Museum of Failure drew international attention and its popularity has seen it make its way in different cities around the world as a pop-up museum.
It provides product flops with the 15 minutes of fame they never got to have in their heyday. The collection includes a fair share of items that were once billed the next big thing, a good deal of them a creation by some of the most recognisable brands in the world.

The Failed Inventions

Anyone remember Google Glass? If you are wondering why it has taken forever to officially be available to the public, well, that’s probably because it got shelved in the Museum of Failure.

Harley Davidson, one of the most iconic motorcycle brands in the world, never thought taking a different turn by launching the Harley Davidson Cologne would be a risk. After all, it’s a famous and well-respected brand so the potential for a company-branded perfume to be a hit among bikers and fans of the brand would be high, right? Wrong.

BiC, the disposable consumer product manufacturer best known for their ball pens and razors, came up with this idea to introduce pink and purple pens for women. They called it BiC for Her. The pen, which you can see on a famous episode on Ellen, proved a marketing faux pas that eventually saw it end up at, yup, the failed museum.

There was also the Rejuvenique Electric Facial Mask, a creepy looking mask that Monat promised would rejuvenate the face by shocking your face to stimulate the muscles. But this belonged more to the Museum of Horror than on dressing tables, so it is no surprise that it has since gone defunct.

There are a myriad items in the collection like these that became major flops. You can find them on the official website which continues to add to the collection with each epic fail.

Green Heinz ketchup, Colgate frozen lasagne, Crystal Pepsi (a clear soda), the BlaK coffee beverage by Coca-Cola, fat-free pringles…the list goes on.

Brilliant Idea

The whole idea behind the creation of the Museum of Failure, according to the website, was to provide insight into the ‘risky business of innovation’, noting that the crazier the idea the better.

Actually when you think about the museum concept, you can’t help but think it was a brilliant idea no matter how you choose to look at it.

The museum not only provides a great reference point for brand marketing and innovation departments, but the products themselves are a paragon of human creativity and ingenuity, their failure notwithstanding.

Some will call it madness. Others see it as creative art. Free thinking.

Whichever side of the divide you stand, one thing that we can all agree on is the fact that the human race has got to the point it is at today through hits and misses.

Never at any one point has it been a smooth curve on the graph. The peaks and troughs are but inevitable, no matter the field, each in all its variants. Science. Medicine. Engineering. Business. Technology. Yada yada yada.
It would be apt at this point to bring up Thomas Edison, but some choice words from Jules Verne, a historical French novelist, would ring true irrespective of field:

‘Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.’

Indeed. It is only through failure that we learn what works and what doesn’t. And that’s how creations get better.

Just the other day, Samsung, through the relentless quest to be the industry benchmark, released a ground-breaking phone aptly christened the Galaxy Fold. The futuristic smartphone has a design that allows you to fold it vertically through the middle.

But just before it was officially launched, the phone was first released to reviewers. And the feedback was anything but glowing. The phone was found to have embarrassing design quirks, leading to its recall. And back to the drawing board again the company went.

Lessons from the Museum of Failure

While it may seem like a depressing idea where the nostalgic go to hang out in melancholy at twilight, the Museum of Failure can actually teach us important lessons at a personal level.

For one, we learn that we cannot gain anything by not exploring our ideas. You need to be willing to take the plunge and get your ideas out there. It is only through trying that we know for sure if that million-dollar idea had potential or not.

What if the Harley Davidson perfume would have proved a major hit with the masses? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

When we fail, it is not like all is lost. There is the knowledge that we gain through failing, as Thomas Edison would categorically tell you. We learn what works and what does not, and how we can make adjustments that help us achieve the success we desire, albeit on a more solid foundation.

Anyone who has failed at some point in life and gone on to rise from the ashes will tell you nothing can replace the lessons learned through failure. Just ask around. Failure allows us to look at things from a different prism, gaining an invaluable experience that we otherwise could miss.

It is painful, but at the same time it provides us with an opportunity to reflect, therefore gaining a deeper understanding of life. Experience is the best teacher, they say.

Failure also teaches us that there is always room for improvement. By confronting our mistakes head on, the insightful feedback we glean from them gives us, like Samsung, a platform through which we can go back to the drawing board and make improvements. Failure isn’t the final nail in the coffin for our ideas, goals or dreams.

As Roy T. Bennett says: ‘Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. Learn from failure and keep moving forward.’

In truth, though, this would not be possible without a positive mindset. It is in our nature to beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. But learn to view them as a lesson and things are bound to change for the better.

As well, owning up to our mistakes is never a bad thing. That’s the only way we can improve. Sometimes, we may clutch on straws when we fail, and come up with all sorts of excuses.

But by acknowledging our mistakes and looking at the situation from a glass-half-full perspective, the insightful feedback helps us highlight the faults in neon yellow, setting us up for success in future.

This too, requires that positive attitude.

Life Goes On

Let’s face it, failure is a tough pill to swallow. It can knock the wind right out of your sails, especially if it is something you really, really yearned for. You feel like the world is crumbling around you. You can’t even fathom how you’ll get past this.

But look, there is always a lesson or two to be learned from these situations that leave you on the floor. And it is up to you to glean what you can from them.

The world does not stop turning if things don’t work out the way you imagined them.

Sometimes, it can be hard to pick ourselves up, true, but at one point or another, we really need to. It is only to our detriment if we keep fixated on the failure.

You might need some time out to recollect yourself. But don’t forget that at the end of the day, life moves on. And so should you.

A Special Note from the Author

“Embrace Adversity, Unleash Greatness!

Once upon a time, in the heart of adversity, there lived a young girl named Jillian Haslam. Born into abject poverty in the city of Kolkata, her life seemed destined for despair. But little did the world know that within those hardships lay the seeds of greatness and resilience.

Jillian’s childhood was filled with struggles, facing hunger, homelessness, and the harsh realities of poverty. However, amidst the gloom, she discovered a glimmer of hope – education. Determined to change her fate, Jillian pursued knowledge with fervor, knowing that education was her ticket to a better life.

Through sheer determination and hard work, Jillian excelled in her studies. She didn’t let her circumstances define her, but instead, she let them fuel her dreams. Every challenge she faced became a stepping stone towards her ultimate goal – to break free from the shackles of poverty and create a life of abundance.

As the years passed, Jillian’s unwavering spirit caught the attention of a kind soul who offered her a chance to work for a prestigious organization. This opportunity opened doors she could only dream of before. With dedication and passion, Jillian climbed the ladder of success, proving that her past could not hold her back.

But Jillian’s journey didn’t stop there. Instead of forgetting her roots, she embraced her past and used it as a powerful tool to drive change. She founded initiatives to help underprivileged children like herself, providing them with the gift of education and hope.

Today, Jillian stands tall as a beacon of inspiration and a symbol of turning adversity into golden opportunities. Her voice echoes through her book, “A Voice Out of Poverty,” touching countless hearts and motivating others to rise above their circumstances.

In the face of challenges, lies the key to your transformation. Embrace your struggles, for they hold the power to unlock your true potential. Rise above adversity and let your resilience shine, turning every experience into a golden opportunity for growth and success!

#EmbraceTheJourney #UnleashYourPotential #TurningStrugglesIntoTriumphs #Adversity

A woman’s ascent from devastating poverty and childhood trauma to international standing as a prominent advocate for the poor and helpless.

As a young girl, Jillian Haslam saved a life. Herself tiny and aching from malnutrition, she stood for hours at a tea shop, begging for a ladle of milk to try and prevent her newborn sister from dying of starvation.

From the slums of Calcutta to the executive floors of a global bank, A Voice out of Poverty offers an unflinching look at one woman’s journey from destitution to success.

Throughout, Haslam demonstrates an inexhaustible drive to rise above adversity and find beacons of positivity in impossible circumstances. But her rise doesn’t stop at the top; she returns to her roots again and again to extend a hand to those left in the impoverished communities that she so narrowly escaped.

British by ancestry and born in India after its independence, Haslam and her family suffered degradation and prejudice. They were forced to live on the streets, flee danger in the middle of the night, and face persistent abuse and starvation.

This treacherous environment is the backdrop of an unlikely story of resilience and an unshakable family bond. From squalor and powerlessness, Haslam finds countless moments of grace, community, gratitude, and love.

A Voice out of Poverty is a raw and inspiring memoir that shows how beauty can be found in improbable places, and how “success” is not just the act of making it through. Rather, it is the act of reaching back to bring others with you.

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“Oh, come on now Jillu, it’s not that bad!” she said. The brusque tone harkened to how she’d counsel us not to yield to emotion. My mother relentlessly stressed that life could always have been harder. Never make a fuss. Be grateful for what you have, however paltry. Things can be worse.

I wasn’t appeased, and my mother could tell.

“We can get it cleaned up when we get back,” she added, wiping tears from my cheeks with a single thumb. Her other hand was trapped inside the hand of my younger sister, four-year-old Vanessa, who held on as if worried she’d fly away like a released balloon if she let go.

“Anyway, we’re leaving in a few days, and where we’re going is better.” More parental reassurance about greener pastures.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“To Mrs. Brown’s. She’s letting us sleep on the floor in her room for a while. It will be crowded but all of us will be together again.”

“You mean Daddy and Donna can go there too?” I asked, my mood brightening. I saw a ghost of a smile emerging on Vanessa’s face as she took it all in. We often lived apart as a family because of our circumstances.

“Yes, but we can only stay for a few weeks, and then we must find somewhere else again. But don’t worry, you know Daddy and I always find us something.”

“Okay,” I said, nodding.

We resumed shuffling down the streets, navigating mass congestion. I turned my head for a long look back at the old woman and her dogs. I felt a surge of empathy for her, alone in wet and dirty clothes, facing each day with the promise of nothing. Soon we’d have a roof over our heads in a family home while she’d continue to fend for herself in the unsympathetic and unforgiving slum streets. She’d continue to get wet and dirty. She’d continue to try to survive each day with no family to love and care for her; I felt grateful for what I had and prayed that someday she might have the same. As those thoughts flooded me, she gingerly placed sheets of old newspaper on the wet ground to sit on.

The rain fell a little harder.

About the Author:

Jillian Haslam is a remarkable individual with expertise in speaking on adversity and Resilience

With a distinguished 23-year career in banking, she brings a wealth of industry knowledge to her engagements. As an acclaimed author, her books A Voice Out of Poverty and 9 Steps to Overcome Adversity-A Handbook for Life have garnered critical acclaim including the prestigious Kirkus Star Review! Her extraordinary journey has earned her accolades, including the prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for her humanitarian contributions.

Jillian’s unique perspective and powerful storytelling have made her a sought-after speaker on the topics of adversity and resilience. She has inspired audiences around the world with her transformative message, helping individuals and organizations overcome challenges and achieve remarkable results. Her insights have been featured in major media outlets, including The Times, The Telegraph, The BBC, and The Week. Through her speaking engagements, Jillian empowers individuals and teams to harness the power of resilience, navigate adversity, and unlock their full potential. Her profound impact continues to resonate with audiences from various backgrounds, fostering a culture of strength, growth, and success.

Jillian Haslam’s expertise as a speaker on adversity and resilience, coupled with her extensive banking experience, has made her a trusted voice in the field. Her ability to inspire and guide others through their own journeys of overcoming obstacles sets her apart, making her a valuable asset to any event or organization seeking to cultivate resilience and achieve exceptional success.

Jillian currently lives in London with her husband.

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Shoebox Baby by Sharon Bruce – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Shoebox Baby is a creative non-fiction story based on the life of Susan Fenton and her family. Sue was born in Nova Scotia on a blustery winter night in a crude weather-worn shack with dirt floors. Although the doctor told Sue’s mother that her baby would be dead before the morning, she made every attempt to keep her infant alive.

Sue and her siblings were born into poverty, survived the Depression and the fall-out of World War II, and contended with tuberculosis, unemployment and polio. This book is filled with family antics, joy, sorrow, laughter, and mystery, covering the trials, triumphs and hilarious exploits of the large and colourful cast of characters that is the Fenton family.

Sue’s courageous determination to live a full life, regardless of the limitations others imposed on her and the circumstances that came her way, made her a remarkably resilient woman.

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There was something about that turbulent winter night that sent a deep chill through Grace like no other. She felt the howling bitter ocean wind coming through the walls of the weather-worn shack she called home. Newspapers stuffed between the boards did little to keep the chill out of the air. Grace hoped that the meagre fire in the wood stove and the few old grey woollen blankets would keep her five children warm enough, and she longed for her husband Marshall.

In May of 1929, at the start of the Great Depression, Marshall and his brother Alexander were laid off from the local mine. They had to leave Pictou and found work in the sawmill in Yarmouth, three hundred miles away on the other side of the province. Poverty became the norm and food was as scarce for the Fenton’s as for most families. Grace was thankful they were still able to pay the rent on the home they lived in, even though it could be considered more of a shack than a house. So many families were homeless, and several of the less fortunate had died on the streets.

In the following three years, Marshall and Alexander could only find short-term, menial jobs that compensated minimal wages. The Fenton family was already impoverished and barely able to survive before the Depression.

About the Author:

Writing has been Sharon’s passion since childhood. At seven years old she won first prize at a local fall fair for her story about a stuffed pink elephant. Since then, she was hooked. Articles, poems and the book Beyond the Forests of Yesteryears are part of her publishing portfolio. Curiosity mixed with a love of hearing and writing unique stories about others is the subject of her work. Some call it being darn right nosey, others call it vivid creativity. During her career she worked in the social services field with individuals, families, groups and organizations to address social and cultural issues. A significant part of her job included inspirational speaking and sharing stories. Sharon was raised in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, where she resides with her husband. Together they enjoy retirement and organizing activities for seniors, which includes writing and acting out comical skits for small audiences.

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Mama Dida by Leonida Teohari – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After experiencing the second world war tragedies and living through the socio political changes in Romania, grand-pa Aurel and grand-ma Dida for the love of their beloved grandchildren Darius and Anna, decided to leave family, friends and everything they built in Romania and start a new life in Canada. Nadia Comaneci incredible gymnastic success at the Olympic games in Montreal was what they knew at the time about Canada. Grand-pa Aurel and grand-ma Dida’s courage and personal sacrifices were the foundation for the education Darius and Anna accessed in Toronto and the life they enjoyed in Canada. The book presents real events and is based on a true story.

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When I was nine years old, I got bone tuberculosis and was hospitalised at Vasile Roaita Sanatorium, closer to Constanta.

I was lucky to be assigned to Dr. Climescu, known as one of the best bone tuberculosis specialists in the country.

While in hospital, I missed my family every day, and at the same time I was suffering for the other children around me, seeing how much they also missed their families. It’s incredible how much sick children support each other in their suffering.

During my stay, they brought in a group of children whose parents were members of the Romanian national party. The doctor in charge with the group was also a member of the national party. I was too young to understand politics, but later I learned that they were in fact Romanian nationalists; the legionaries.

The newly arrived group doctor was an old gentleman who was extremely kind to all the children in our section. Every night in the hospital garden they would light a campfire, and everybody sat around the fire and sang national songs. This was nightly entertainment for the rest of us, looking from our windows to the garden and listening to their songs.

About the Author:Leo Teohari was born in Constanta, Romania. Leo holds both a law degree and a degree in international economics. Leo defected from Communist Romania in 1980, and settled with his family in Toronto, Canada, where he became a businessman. Today he writes about his experiences and runs an international food trade business. In 2004 he published his first book, Hawala, based on a true story about a government cover-up and diversion related to the Romanian revolution in 1989.

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The Script Is Not Enough by Jamison LoCascio – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamison LoCascio will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Script is not Enough takes a unique look at the making of four different independent feature films. The author takes you through every stage in development from writing, to financing, and to distribution and marketing. Find out how you can learn from the hard experiences and challenges that face the filmmaker along the way.

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Life and filmmaking do not often mix well

I offer a detailed look at my journey of making four different feature films for the brand-new filmmaker out there. I am trying to write the book that I could have used in the very beginning. This is a book about what it means to be a filmmaker with little to no industry connections, “ins,” magic tricks, or otherwise.

My “rules,” which are in bold throughout the book, are just some things I keep in mind for myself. Based on my own experience reading books on making films, I want to try to avoid burying what is of value—the information—into a sort of “life story.” That’s boring.

It’s very upsetting to see how many people sit around talking about how they never got a chance to make a film in their life, and now they are married, divorced, single, too old, too young, too poor, too comfortable…too anything besides “ready.” There are so many excuses not to make a film, so it’s best to just make one before your time’s up.

Life and filmmaking do not often mix well; you need to make movies and also live your life. “Life” and “Movies” are two separate and severe challenges. So, make movies and make life, even when everything is against you, and it certainly will be. A poignant moment of “The Empire Strikes Back” comes to mind…

“Are you afraid?” asks Yoda.

“No,” answers Luke Skywalker.

“You will be. You will be,” says Yoda, his eyes widening, in a very creepy way.

Your first feature film is simply a difficult but attainable milestone. I now know now why that is. Lack of experience and opportunity to grow is more harmful to new feature film producers and directors than anything else. When you can try and fail at something, or succeed moderately, you can grow, adapt, and overcome. The problem with making feature films is that many do not get a chance to ever make one or, even worse, they make one and never get a chance to try again.

About the Author:Jamison LoCascio is an award-winning feature film director. In 2012, Jamison LoCascio began to write the screenplay for his first union short, “Midnight Catch,” which garnished much acclaim at the New Jersey International Film Festival and Manhattan Film Festival. LoCascio decided to form his production company, Halcyon Valor Productions Incorporated. Graduated from Montclair State University with honors winning the “Excellence in Filmmaking” award for his numerous successful productions which premiered in film festivals around the world. LoCasio’s short films have since been honored by the Screen Actors Guild and screened at such festivals as the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, and NewFilmmakers New York. LoCascio’s shorts “Track 3,” “A Stranger’s Confession,” and “Powerless” were all official selections of the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner. His films have been anthologized in the prestigious Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, distributed worldwide on DVD, picked up for online distribution by Film Bay. DIRECTV & AT&T distributed 6 of LoCascio’s short films on their new International short film platform. LoCascio’s first feature film, “The Depths,” starring Michael Rispoli and Patch Darragh won Best Feature Film at the 2017 Manhattan Film Festival and had a strong critical reception. The film also won Best Feature Film and Best Director at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Awards and received domestic distribution with Sony Pictures and The Orchard releasing on all major platforms including Amazon, Itunes, DVD and more. LoCascio’s second feature film “Sunset” starring acclaimed actor Austin Pendleton received rave reviews and won multiple awards including Best Dramatic Feature Film at the 2018 Manhattan Film Festival, Best Ensemble at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Leading Actor (David Johnson) International Independent Film Awards. “Sunset” also received domestic distribution with Sony Pictures and The Orchard. LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio have recently launched their latest initiative by filmmakers for filmmakers called Film Valor, a youtube channel with over 3,000 worldwide followers and over 250,000 views, a behind the scenes look at their filmmaking process. “Know Fear,” his latest feature film, received critical acclaim and stars Amy Carlson. The film had a limited theatrical release. His next feature film “How Dark They Prey,” a unique horror anthology, has been released on major streaming platforms including Amazon Prime, Tubi, Plex, Udu, Mometu and many more with critics hailing the film as “Horror at its best”. His latest feature film release “7×7” is a collection of many of LoCascio’s award-winning short films brought together for one viewing experience on major platforms including Tubi and Amazon Prime.


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