Meet Guest Author Sarah WaterRaven…

This was a pure delight to read. Sarah WaterRaven writes beautifully from a magical perspective that would light the darkest tunnel. I think she very well may be a soul sister. Don’t miss this absorbing post, touched by whimsy, humor, and insight…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

author-avatarHow should I introduce myself? I’m not sure where to start, so how about I start with my indecision? I love sunny days and I love rainy days. I feel young and I feel old and I’ll laugh and laugh, but I too am prone to moments of silence and sadness. I’ll be consumed by waves of creativity, spending weeks as a prisoner of one form of art or another, and then suddenly I’ll drop it and run for the outdoors. I’ll bike or swim, hike, or even camp to feel alive and then slowly make my way back to a more mundane existence. I am a homebody and a traveler; one day I will work tirelessly to make a healthy, raw, vegan meal, and the next day I’ll wash down some greasy fries with a soy latte laced with artificial syrups.

However, my love for life―all life―is absolute…

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BOOK REVIEW – Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure by Andrew Joyce

book-andrew-resolutionI am a big fan of Andrew Joyce’s work, and I’m here to tell you that he’s done it again! Like the author’s first two books – Redemption and Molly Lee – Resolution: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure is packed with excitement, humor, adversarial encounters, treacherous experiences, and yes, exhilarating adventure.

Set in the late eighteen hundreds against the backdrop of the Yukon Territory gold strike, Huck Finn asks Molly Lee to go with him to Alaska.

“I’m not quite sure what will be waiting for us when we get there, but that’s why I want to go; to experience new things, new sensations, in a new land. I want to go to where there isn’t another person for hundreds of miles.”

Little did Huck know that he would soon wish to see a human face – any human face, regardless of persuasion.

************************ Andrew Joyce ************************

Huck and Molly leave Tom Sawyer and his lady friend, Mary, in Redemption and sail up the Pacific coast to Juneau. Wily Huck and beguiling Molly extract all the information they need from unsuspecting locals and set out for what they think might be a little gold panning along the way.

But like a collapsing house of cards, one misadventure leads to another and they find themselves dog-sledding across the Yukon tundra in order to reunite a young and newly three-legged miner with his very pregnant wife hundreds of miles away. Through blinding blizzards and seventy-below-freezing temperatures, they battle the elements and myriad antagonistic life forms – human and otherwise – to make good on their promise.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat. I have a brilliant imagination yet was challenged by anticipating what might come next. I read the 351-page book in one day; couldn’t put it down. And in my neck of the woods, Huck Finn, that’s the mark of an outstanding story.

COMING SOON:

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Andrew lives on a boat with his pal Danny the Dog, who does his best to keep Andrew in line ~ that is, of course, unless turkey slices are on the menu 😊

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew’s links:  Website    Amazon    Twitter    Facebook    LinkedIn

Smorgasbord Health – A close encounter with a silent killer – Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure is the leading cause of poison-related deaths in the U.S. Sally Cronin discusses this silent killer and relates a trying and near fatal personal experience. Here are a few more articles you might find helpful: http://www.bestheating.com/thesilentkiller, https://www.americannursetoday.com/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-silent-killer/, https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2826.pdf.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

smorgasbord healthIn 2009 I was living with my mother full time and whilst I would spend time with her during the day for the odd hour of two when she was awake, I would spend most of my time in the kitchen diner working on my laptop and within earshot if there was a problem.

We had settled into a routine and most days followed the same pattern. Suddenly I began to experience mild headaches on a regular basis. I put it down to stress and would go out for a walk along the seafront and the headache would subside. Then we hit a spell of very wet weather and so I was confined to the house unless I was out doing the shopping or doing my radio shows.

The headaches got worse and after about four weeks I was in constant pain despite taking painkillers. I went to the walk-in…

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Meet Guest Author Olga Kuno…

A delightful guest post on The Story Reading Ape by author Olga Kuno, linguist and professor, who also enjoys animal communication and the cognitive and communicative skills of apes. Interesting that she was drawn to our favorite Ape’s blog🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


avatarkaI started writing poems and short stories soon after having learnt how to write. However, for many years, periods of creative writing were followed by rather long breaks. I suppose there were two reasons for that. First, I just didn’t sufficiently believe in my capacities. A small critical comment was enough to discourage me. Second, I devoted a lot of time and energy to the studies. I am a linguist, currently teaching and doing research at a university, and academic career, at its early stage, didn’t really allow me to concentrate on writing. I started to write regularly only after having completed my Ph.D. dissertation. Then I first concentrated on poems. These were often ironic retellings of old fairy tales. Then I turned to short stories, which, again, involved an interaction of humor and fairy tale motives. Then one of these stories suddenly became the first chapter of a whole…

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EDITING 101: 04 – Character Name Consistency…

In Part 4 of Susan Uttendorfsky’s wonderful series on editing, we learn about Character Name Consistency and the benefit of using spreadsheets to keep track of character names, etc. while we’re writing…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Character Name Consistency

A book I edited had a main character with a name of, say, Paul Charleston, who was a vice president of marketing. Within the first fifty pages, the author had referred to this one character by:

Paul

Paulie

Paulie-Wallie

Mr. Charleston

Paulie C.

Mr. C.

Mr. VP

Mr. Veep

the vice president

the veep

Mr. Marketing

and probably ten others I haven’t remembered. Imagine how confused a reader would have been, as there was no discernible reason for the name changes. In addition, should the author have decided midway to change this character’s name, it would have been impossible to change them all with a simple Find/Replace operation. The risk of missing one—or more than one—was very…

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Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Little Warrior by Tina Frisco

A heartfelt “Thank You” to Sally Cronin for hosting me on her Short Stories blog. If you’re not familiar with Sally, please head over and enjoy her posts on a variety of subjects, including health, humor, animals, music, and authors. She gives generously of her time and is loved and appreciated by many ❤

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

smorgasbord short storiesToday’s short story is by Tina Frisco who very chillingly brings home the fact that childhood is not always joyful and loving.

The Little Warrior

“Mummy, mummy, let me out! Let me out, mummy, let me out!” the little girl screamed as she pounded her tiny fists on the massive coal bin door.  Locked in the chilly dank and dark room, she trembled with panic and terror at the thought of never being found.

She had been grabbed by the wrist, dragged down the cellar steps and across the cement floor to the dreaded dungeon. She fought all the way, little warrior that she was, but this served only to rile the mother even more. Not one part of her tiny body escaped the sharp blows wielded by the crazed, diabolic parent.

The heavy door creaked and moaned as it was pried open. An icy cold draft slapped her across…

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Meet Guest Author Aidan J. Reid…

Some aspiring authors need a little push to get on with writing and publishing that first book. For Aidan J. Reid, it took retreating to the jungles of Peru and trying a hallucinogen called ayahuasca. Hop over to The Story Reading Ape’s blog to read Aidan’s fascinating post…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The final push I needed to take the leap into the unknown and start my writing career came from an unlikely source – my dead father

aidan-j-reidIn April 2014, I found myself in a small cabin on the fringe of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. I was already half-way through a whirlwind South America backpacking trip, when a buddy decided that it would be a good idea to pause what was a hedonistic lifestyle up until that point. His suggestion was that we retreat to the jungle and try a hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca.

Believed by the natives over thousands of years to be a portal to another dimension, as well as a potent medicine to cure a range of ailments from colds to cancer, my own justification for trying the psychedelic potion was to gain some clarity about my life’s path. Thirty-two years old at the time, I had harboured a dream of…

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Co-Housing and Community – Guest Post…

Is co-housing a utopian dream? Felicity Sidnell explores this topic today in her guest post on The Story Reading Ape…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

co-housing

In this age of immediate connections though the ubiquitous i-phone, Facebook and other media, many people still long for “real community”.

A documentary on the radio today investigated co-housing, an experiment in community living. There are hundreds of projects currently up and running in North America. The particular subject of this programme, was the Harbourside Co-housing for Seniors, in Sooke British Columbia. Denmark first developed this concept in the 1960’s, but now there are many projects of different longevities, and more currently in development, in Europe, the UK, New Zealand, USA and Canada, among others.

Are these the descendants of the nineteenth century Utopian dreams that so often ended in disaster if they got beyond the pages of a book? The founders and members of the co-housing movement are careful to address practicalities. So far they seem to be remarkably successful, proceeding through a long and careful preparation period which…

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Conflicted Hearts by D.G. Kaye is free on Amazon until 9/23

Author D.G. Kaye’s memoir, Conflicted Hearts, is free on Amazon Kindle until September 23rd, in honor of the upcoming publication of Book II, P.S. I Forgive You. Debby is very talented and insightful. Anyone challenged by an emotionally abusive relationship will benefit from reading these books…

news-alert-dgkIn honour of my upcoming new release, P.S. I Forgive You, I am putting Conflicted Hearts on FREE PROMO all this week starting today Monday September 19 through the 23rd.
My new book was originally intended as a sequel to Conflicted Hearts, but it is also a standalone because of the content – learning forgiveness for myself as a daughter of a narcissistic mother, for my decision to remain estranged from her as her death was approaching. And also forgiveness for my mother’s sins.
For those of you who would like to get a copy of Conflicted Hearts before my new book comes out in the next few days, I am giving everyone a chance to grab a free copy of the first book.

book-debby-conflicted-heartsBlurb:

A lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free?

‘Somehow I believed it was my obligation to try to do the right thing by her because she had given birth to me. 

Burdened with constant worry for her father and the guilt caused by her mother’s narcissism, D.G. Kaye had a short childhood. When she moved away from home at age eighteen, she began to grow into herself, overcoming her lack of guidance and her insecurities. Her life experiences became her teachers, and she learned from the mistakes and choices she made along the way, plagued by the guilt she carried for her mother.
 Conflicted Hearts is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance, an exploration of the quest for solace from emotional guilt.

Get this book FREE HERE  

Here are a few reviews:
5 Stars Engaging, Emotional Read
on September 10, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is part women’s fiction, part memoir. It chronicles the highlights (and lowlights) of a daughter’s life as she moves from co-dependence to freedom; from duty and obligation to choice; from emotional insecurity to a healthy emotional base; from fractured to wholeness.

If you think back to a sporting event you’ve attended, you may recall sitting on the sidelines cheering, booing, shaking a fist or clapping. If you’re in touch with that experience, then you’ll understand when I say that Conflicted Hearts is that type of read.

You’ll become a fan of Kaye, while sitting on the sidelines, reading her life story. You’ll cheer for her when she makes “good” decisions and boo when she makes “bad” ones. You’ll clap for her when she learns a tough lesson and frown when she cycles through the same issue. You will sigh, displeased when she reaches for familiar, but harmful behavior and rejoice when she demands to be treated as worthy.

One can’t help but become a fan of Kaye because she allows us full access to her experiences, her mind and her emotions. She withholds nothing, which was not only brave of her but also wise. It is her honesty, wisdom and courage that drew me in from page one and kept me invested until the end.

I found this a highly enjoyable read, very insightful, touching and well written with a satisfying ending. I don’t need any other reasons to recommend this book but I will say that I admire the cover. It artistically depicts the content and title. Truly a work of art from cover to cover and in between.

5 Stars A Journey of Personal Growth
on September 4, 2016

D. G. Kaye writes a compelling narrative about her narcissistic mother who whirled through Kaye’s childhood life like a tornado, prone to rages, self-absorbed, and unreliable as a parent. Her father was in and out of the household, his relationship with his wife volatile, and Kaye remembers dreading his next departure and worrying that he might not return at the end of each day.

It wasn’t until she turned 18 and left home that she was able to begin looking back at her life, evaluating the dynamics of her relationship with her mother, and making choices for her own well-being.

Conflicted Hearts doesn’t read as a story as much as it does a reflection on Kaye’s life and emotional growth. For those who grew up in emotionally chaotic households, the dynamics of blame and guilt will sound familiar. The constant worry, the burden of responsibility for siblings, and the desperate need to keep the peace will ring bells.

Kaye’s writing is candid with bits of humor and some light moments of joy in her journey of growth. The message of the book speaks to the strength of a positive attitude and outlook, and the role of forgiveness in moving forward.

If you love memoirs and reflections on personal growth, this book will hit the mark.

5 Stars Read this and then give it to a troubled teen–it’s not their fault
VINE VOICEon July 10, 2016
 The preview for the book reads: A lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free?And that’s exactly what this story is. A young woman’s guilt over parents who couldn’t love her, a childhood that included none of the nurturing events so critical to children, and mistakes made by the child–because she was a child–which she believed caused her parents to be distant and uncaring. Add to this horrible mix heartbreak, abuse, an incurable immune-deficiency disease, and almost losing the love of her life.– thank God children are resilient. You will want to hug this child and tell her it’s just not her fault.

Told with DG Kaye’s typical honesty and openness, and a writing style that draws readers right into the emotion. Plan to give this book to anyone suffering from childhood issues that simply aren’t their fault and they can’t fix.

Conflicted Hearts on Free Promo Amazon – Grab your copy here and prepare for book II

 

Greg Marcus

greg-marcusGreg Marcus, Ph.D. is a practitioner, facilitator, and innovator of American Mussar, a 21st century spiritual practice for an authentic and meaningful life. He has a Ph.D. from MIT,  has worked for ten years as a marketer in the biotech industry, and is the author of The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar.

Welcome, Greg!

Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a regular guy whose life was changed by a spiritual experience 9 years ago. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but it put me on a path to where I’ve evolved from a marketing professional with a Ph.D. to a full-time writer, speaker, and spiritual seeker. What do I seek? A path to be the best person I can be. When I’m not doing those things, I am a stay-at-home dad. I have two teen daughters and two 7-year-old cats who are brothers.

What is the genre of your latest book, and who published it?  It is a book of Jewish spirituality, and the publisher is Llewellyn. Kabbalah, the more widely known branch of Jewish spirituality, is spiritual mystical. Mussar is spiritual practical.

Tell us a little about your book.  Mussar is a 1,000-year-old Jewish book-2-greg-marcusspiritual practice that teaches us how to find those things inside that cause us to get stuck, and it offers a practical step-by-step path towards balance and healing.

We all have what it takes to be a mensch, a person of outstanding character. What we lack is a guidebook, a set of instructions on how to conduct ourselves in everyday life. Mussar teaches us how to balance our soul traits, things like Patience, Humility, Trust, and Truth. Too much of a soul trait is just as bad as not enough. Too little Patience leads to anger and frustration; too much leads to staying in a bad job or relationship.

What inspired you to write it?  The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions grew out of a class that I created and taught for 3 years. Mussar is an amazing practice. It has changed who I am for the better, and I watched as dozens of others became better people.

greg-marcus-soul-trait-patienceIn the book, I share a story of how one person went from being a curse-at-everyone driver to being “the most polite driver in California.” How? When practicing patience, she decided to deliberately let every car marge in front of her. That decision transformed her entire experience of driving. The frustration and impatience were gone. I want to help others have a similar experience.

Would you tell us a little about Mussar?  Mussar is a practice that gives concrete instructions and guidelines to help you live a meaningful and ethical life.

The fact of the matter is that we all have issues, whatever our religion or level of spirituality. Mussar teaches how to find those things inside that cause us to get in the same situation over and over again. And it provides guidance for how we can begin to make small changes in our lives to help bring healing to the Soul through greater balance. Rabbi Elya Lopian (1876-1970) defined Mussar as “making the heart feel what the mind understands.” I love this definition, because so often we know what we should be doing, but we just can’t seem to make ourselves do it.

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When did you first start writing?  I’ve done some work-related writing over the years; I’ve created business plans, marketing plans, strategy documents, and an occasional case study. I started writing my first book in my early 40’s.

What authors have most influenced you? How and why?  Alan Morinis, one of my Mussar teachers, wrote the book Everyday Holiness that served as the foundation of my Mussar practice. Alan personally is an inspiration to me. He, like me, is an ordinary guy who entered on a spiritual journey after a rough time in the business world. Malcolm Gladwell, who writes about complex and counter-intuitive truths with a sense of wonder, has also been a great influence on me. I try to emulate his ability to present information in an accessible way. Also, I love the way Brene Brown shares her personal story in an authentic way that people can relate to.

What was the first book that touched you deeply?  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which I read the summer before my senior year in high school, influenced my evolving sense of identity and sensibilities.  I related to the protagonist’s struggle to be seen; the way the storytelling unfolded just blew me away.

What genres do you like to read?  I almost exclusively read science fiction for fun. I also read a lot of books about Mussar, spirituality, and Jewish wisdom.

How do these books affect your writing?  To me, science fiction is a liberating genre. Science and spirituality both concern a search for answers. When I’m reading Sci-Fi, I never ask, “Is that possible?”  We make assumptions about the universe that the author has created. When I wrote the Spiritual Practice of Good Actions, I offered readers four assumptions that summarize the backstory of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. You may or may not agree with it, but if you assume it is true, the practice holds together. The books on wisdom and Jewish spirituality inform my own Mussar practice, which I in turn offer to my readers in a modern context.

Where do you like to write? Why?  My book exists in part thanks to every barista within 10 miles of San Carlos, CA. I do most of my writing at Philz Coffee. I love the energy, being around people, and the coffee is great!

What time of day do you like to write? Why?  I write in the morning. I drop off my daughter at high school, drive over to Philz, and write for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I write later in the day, but a good focused half hour is much better than 2 hours of stop-and-go writing.

In what genres do you write?  I am a practitioner, facilitator, and innovator of American Mussar. I write non-fiction to help people on a journey of personal transformation. My first book was on work-life balance, and my second is on spiritual balance. Writing fiction is on my bucket list. Someday.

E-books or paper ~ do you have a preference?  I prefer to read paper books, but I read many e-books too, especially when I travel. I own hundreds of books and love seeing them around my house. My wife owns even more.

How and where have you marketed your work?  As someone who spent ten years as a professional marketer, I find book marketing much harder. I do a lot of Facebook marketing. I write blog posts and then boost them to my readers, and sometimes I target certain audiences who I think will like what I have to say.

I have a free quiz on my website that people love – you can get your greg-marcus-soul-trait-profile-quizown personal Soul Trait Profile and see your current balance across 13 soul traits. Most importantly, you get a cool graphic when it is over. Pictures communicate something on an emotional level that we don’t get from words.

 

Do you have other publishing credits?  Yes. In 2013, I self-published Busting Your Corporate Idol: Self Help for the Chronically Overworked. I’ve done a number of guest posts and articles for website publications. One of my more recent works is “Join the Mensch Movement” on Tikkun.org. I wrote about the Democratic sit-in at the House of Representatives, which was led by John Lewis. Lewis is a mensch because his work is about other people, not himself. And he practices so that when the difficult choice arises, he is spiritually ready to do the right thing.

What is your current writing project?  I don’t have a current project. I am starting to teach a class on Mussar parenting, and I  suspect that class will evolve into a book as well. The class is Mussar with a focus on particular soul traits relevant to parenting. There are many books and approaches on how to parent children. The challenge for us is, “How to we parent ourselves? How do we hold it together, to be less stressed and more patient?” I’m teaching this class because there are skills that I need to develop. As I facilitate, I learn. We all learn from each other.

If you have a blog, what subjects do write about?  In my blog, I write about my spiritual journey and the lessons I learn about the real world. Mussar involves everyday life, and when I observe that I am challenged in Humility, Truth, or whatever soul trait I am working on, I write about it. Sometimes it is very unexpected, like when I realized that my book was published on the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. I am a lifelong Trek fan, and I even wrote about Star Trek in the book.

There is one episode in which Kirk is split into a good Kirk and an evil Kirk. The good Kirk is nice, but he can’t make decisions. The evil Kirk is confident and decisive but frequently harmful, because he is driven exclusively by his base and selfish desires. This reflects the conflict that goes on inside each of us. But we can’t get rid of our “evil” side because it is a source of strength. We need to guide it and channel it.

Where can your books be purchased?  You can find my books on Amazon and in bookstores like Barnes and Noble. You can learn much more about The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions on my website, AmericanMussar.com, but the site will send you to Amazon to buy it.

What advice would you give a new writer?  Find a community of other writers. Non-writers may not get why you do what you do, but other writers will. And they can be a great source of feedback and encouragement.

What do you wish to say to your readers?  We all have the capacity to be a Mensch, a person of outstanding character. We just need to learn to get out of our own way and journey towards personal transformation. Real, lasting change happens by a series of small steps. I heartily invite you to visit my website or to delve into my book to learn about Mussar.

*************

A heartfelt “Thank You” to Greg for being a guest on my blog. Learn more about Greg here:  Website   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Twitter  Facebook  LinkedIn

Miami Morning, a Contemporary Novel – Guest Post…

Mary Clark guest posts on The Story Reading Ape and tells us a little about her book, Miami Morning. “Teaching is, as Mary Clark clearly informs us in her novel, not simply a job but a vocation, a calling that requires a special awareness of society and of the community that is required to raise a child. Here is a well-deserved paean to those who make a difference.”

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

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I began writing Miami Morning after a visit to the city, and to Miami Beach, in 2006. The rhythms and pace of life captivated me. It seemed to me to be a good place to set my story of modern urban life. The wide range of income levels and education, the issues of technology and the environment, and mix of cultures and gender identities, are among the current issues in our society. How could this be handled with dignity and fairness? I believe that each of us is seeking the good. My main character, Leila Payson, is a compassionate, thinking woman who takes on these issues. She doesn’t see the world through rose-colored glasses, but she also refuses to give up hope for the good in people.

In her twenties she works as a teacher in South Africa for a year. There she meets the amazing Baruti, an occupational therapist…

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Ride the Waves! – Guest Post…

Authors/Bloggers/Artisans! Annette Rochelle Aben would like to interview YOU on her internet talk radio program. This is a fantastic opportunity for promotion with a fabulous author, host, and all-round lovely person. Hop over to The Story Reading Ape’s blog and ride the waves with Annette🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The internet radio air waves, that is…

31948784 - abstract radio antenna tower icon isolated on white background. wireless communication technology concept.Image Licensed from 123RF Stock Photo Copyright: farakos 

It would be my pleasure to hold space for you on my weekly internet radio talk radio program titled:

Tell Me a Story

This is a half an hour where YOU get to share a story with the audience. Could be that you have a book to promote. Maybe you want to share your blog, which is filled with tips and great information. I’m simply thinking of topics that others have shared but I know that you are already pondering what story you can tell.

Who am I?

I am a broadcast radio professional with over 30 years of experience in radio and television.

It has been my pleasure to hold space for hundreds of people in a wide variety of fields who have shared their stories with people all over the world using various…

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20 Questions with Mira Prabhu

Don Massenzio interviews Mira Prabhu, a brilliant writer and loving friend. Please enjoy learning more about Mira, her life, and her books… ❤

mira prabhu

Don Massenzio’s interview with yours truly…

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Today we sit down with fascinating author Mira Prabhu. She is joining us to tell us about her work, her inspiration and a bit about herself. Please enjoy this edition of 20 Questions: Q1) When did …

Read more here: 20 Questions with Mira Prabhu

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