Beyond the Books

The First Page: Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak

friend-of-the-devil-kindleTitle: Friend of the Devil
Author: Mark Spivak
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Pages: 325
Genre: Culinary Thriller

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, sold his soul to the Devil to achieve culinary greatness. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

For More Information

The First Page

“The man’s here.”

The old Black woman delivered her pronouncement into the darkness of a back room—half in amusement, half in disgust. She then walked back across the front room of the cabin, her feet creaking on the wooden floor, to the place where the young man sat. A pot-bellied stove, streaked with soot, crackled in the opposite corner.

“He be wit you in a minute.”

“Thank you.”

The white youth seemed strangely comfortable in this shack outside Clarksdale in rural Mississippi. The year was 1947, at the height of Jim Crow, at a time when the races never mingled.

The young man had concocted an elaborate cover story and, with the confidence of his age, he believed he could explain himself if the wrong people found him here.

“What you say your name is?” the woman asked.


The woman laughed. “You a crazy-assed white boy, Joseph.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied in a deep baritone, guttural and booming. “That may well be.”

The old Black man shuffled out of the back room, moving slowly and deliberately. He was clad in overalls, and his silver hair framed a deeply lined and creased face. He glanced at Joseph and shook his head.

“Let’s go out on the porch, boy.”

They walked outside to the dilapidated wooden deck surrounding the front of the shack, and the old man settled in a rocking chair. He motioned for Joseph to sit beside him and regarded him with the same amusement his wife had displayed.

“You a long way from home, ain’t you?”

“I don’t really have a home, sir.”

“Everybody got a home.” The old man chuckled.


Welcome, Mark. Can you tell us what your book is about?

Friend of the Devil tells the story of Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, America’s most celebrated chef, who has cut a deal with the Devil for fame and fortune.

The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?

There are two narrative lines: the “present day” of the story, which occurs in Palm Beach in 1990, when Avenzano has been America’s most famous chef for 25 years, alternating with a series of flashbacks that tell the reader about the tortured journey he traveled to get there. I decided to start at the beginning, with a teaser set in Mississippi in 1947.

In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?

The entire book went through numerous drafts and changed significantly any number of times. For example, the early drafts didn’t have the flashbacks, which left readers to supply those details from their imagination. Ultimately, that didn’t work.

Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?

No. Friend of the Devil emerged slowly and painfully, but I think I finally did it as well as I was able to.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?

Literature students are trained by reading the classics—books that were written and read before radio, movies, TV, Internet and other electronic devices. Those authors were working in an environment where they could get away with a lot more. Today, the truth is that we’re competing with The Real Housewives of New Jersey. If that first page doesn’t grab people, they’ll wander off and do something else.

About the Author

mark-spivakMark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books:  Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq.

For More Information

Anokhi Dosti Book Blast!

We are excited to be hosting Subhash Kommuru’s ANOKHI DOSTI Book Blast today!
Leave a comment or a question in the comment section of this blog to let her know you stopped by!
About the Book:

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}

Title: Anokhi Dosti (The Magic of Friendship)

Author: Subhash Kommuru

Publisher: Kommuru Books

Pages: 42

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Mom’s Choice Award GOLD Recipient
Does a smile or a laugh have trans-formative power? It does in a special place called Tadoba. Anokhi Dosti is a book written in Hindi and is a remarkable tale of the trans-formative power of companionship, particularly for someone who is lonely and never really had the gift of laughter.
Guaranteed to get a giggle out of kids, Anokhi Dosti also provides plenty of opportunities for readers to connect with the characters in richly detailed, mesmerizing illustrations.
This Award Winning picture book is perfect for read-aloud fun and is also appropriate for beginning readers. This book is written in Hindi using Hindi script.


Annokhi Dosti is available at Amazon or pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble



st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}


About the Author

Subhash and Sujata hail from India. They migrated to the United States along with their memories of childhood and youth. Now that they are parents, just like every immigrant they crave to introduce their child to the culture
and values of their upbringing. Yet it is challenging to teach something while you are in the midst of adjusting to a different culture yourself.


Subhash and Sujata both work in different disciplines and have different styles and backgrounds, but it is the upbringing of their son that brings them on the same page. That exact place where they meet is captured and reflected in their stories, where Subhash can express in words, and Sujata can illustrate them beautifully. Where he puts it in black and white, she adds color to it. You get the idea!

These stories are their attempt to share a glimpse of their childhood days with their son. He is their inspiration to write short stories that have meaning to them and provide teaching in some shape or form.

Shobhan’s latest book is the children’s book, Anokhi Dosti (The Magic of Friendship).

For More Information

Character Interview: Summer Silva from Anna del Mar’s romantic suspense, ‘The Stranger’

character interviews logo

We’re thrilled to have here today Summer Silva from Anna del Mar’s The Stranger, her newest romantic suspense and the second book of her Wounded Warrior Series, following on the heels of the Amazon bestseller, The Asset. Summer is a twenty-nine year old architect living in Miami, Florida.

It is a pleasure to have Summer with us today at Beyond the Books!

Hi. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Thank you so for this interview, Summer. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Well, I’d like to start by saying that my trip to Alaska was sudden and unplanned, which explains why I wasn’t exactly prepared for the Alaskan weather and the Bering Sea superstorm that overtook me after my rental skidded on a patch of ice in the middle of nowhere and tumbled down a ravine. I mean. Black ice. Really? We don’t have that in Miami.

Why did you come to Alaska in the first place?

I would’ve never come to Alaska if my sister hadn’t run away with a guy she met on the Internet. But that’s Tammy for you and it fell on me to find her.

I know that, at first, Seth didn’t know what to make of me. But honestly, I didn’t know what to make of him either. He seemed…grumpy and not exactly friendly. All of that, combined with my…err…little secret, made for a bumpy beginning.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m sensible, dependent, dutiful. I love my family. I’m curious, driven and hard-working. I think I’m pretty smart as well and I’m a very good architect. I design plans, buildings, lives. That’s what I do.

Worse trait?

I can be a little fiery at times. And I have a lot of attitude. I’ve got this little problem that limits me sometimes. I’m what the Athabaskans call a “dream chaser.” But if you want to know more about that, you’ve got to read The Stranger.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Are you kidding me? Yes, yes and yes! That’s really what the novel is all about. In The Stranger I fall for the stranger himself, the enigmatic Seth Erickson. When I first met him, I thought he was the most aggravating man in the world. I also thought he was delicious to the eyes. Come to find out, he had his hands full. He is a powerful Alaskan tycoon, the scion of his family’s extensive fortunes, fighting off a takeover attempt and dealing with his quarreling family.

Seth is also a helicopter pilot, a wounded warrior struggling to recover from injuries he sustained while serving in Afghanistan, a man haunted by his past and fighting his own set of demons. Seth is a total alpha, brilliant, blunt, systematic and precise, always cool and in command, a man who despises emotion and sticks to his icy logic… well, that is, until he met me!

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

The whole time I was in Alaska I was wondering if I would survive. Not only was there someone inexplicably trying to kill me, but the weather was challenging and summer is a rather brief season in Alaska. I’m essentially a tropical being and I didn’t know if I could make it in Alaska. I mean, Not only did I get stuck in a Bering Sea superstorm. I got charged by a bear. A brown bear. That would never, ever happen in Miami. Not even in my wildest dreams—and I have a lot of those. As to the crash, when the plane went down in the middle of the Alaskan Rage I thought I was dead. Finito. Over.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I loved the ending, because I love Seth.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

Give me some good gear from the start, lady, not a fashion coat and a pair of expensive heels, but something warm and heavy. And boots, give me boots that grip the ground so I’m not sliding all over. Tell me who I’m dealing with, a man haunted by his past, a sexy hunk, inside and out, a deliciously passionate soul whose icy exterior challenges the flame that burns in him, a brave, loyal, generous, kickass warrior who needed me as much as I needed him. Did I tell you Seth is sexy and mouthwatering gorgeous? I mean, that part I could see right away. The rest would’ve given me a head start.

Thank you for this interview, Summer. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

If Anna del Mar returns to Alaska, for sure you may catch up with Seth and I. If not, you’re off to Africa with Jade Romo and her scrumptious game warden, Matthias Hawking. Those two, you don’t want to miss.



When her sister runs away with a guy she met on the internet, a warmth-loving Miami architect chases her reckless sibling to Alaska and finds her life in danger from more than the elements. Only a stranger, a wounded warrior who is also Alaskan tycoon with a quarreling family as complicated as her own and no time for a lady in distress—let alone one who walks on her sleep—can save her from disaster. Together, two strangers from different worlds and opposite spectrums of the thermometer must unravel the intrigues that threaten their lives to chase after a new dream, together, in majestic Alaska. 


Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.


Carina Press:

Barnes and Noble:

Kobo Books:

Google Play:


Embedded links:



On the Spotlight: The Moreva of Astoreth, by Roxanne Bland



In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined. It is the story of the priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year to a volatile far corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

Link to Follow Tour:

Goodreads Link:

Buy Links:      Amazon | B&N | Kobo 





I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!

Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries–English cozy mysteries, that is, Agatha Christie, were my favorites. Then I graduated to horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein and authors like him–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy–Lord of the Rings style–in college.

During this time I was still making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would laugh at me. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school.

So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.

Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I absolutely adored writing it. I absolutely adore writing, period. Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook 




Interview with Rosemary and Larry Mild, Authors of ‘Death Steals a Holy Book’

mild5Rosemary and Larry have published award-winning novels, short stories, and essays. They coauthored the popular Paco and Molly Mystery Series and Cry Ohana, a thriller set in Hawaii, as well as stories in anthologies. Members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Hawaii Fiction Writers, they now call Honolulu home. Visit

  1. What is the best thing about a husband and wife writing team?

            Larry: You’re never writing in a vacuum. There’s always someone close by to listen to your story’s direction and your choice of words. The helping hand when you can’t find that ever-so-right word or story twist is a godsend.

Rosemary: Being able to read aloud to each other allows us  to hear how the story really sounds. And we always leave room for playtime!

  1. What is the worst thing about a husband and wife writing team?

            Larry: If you’ll excuse my Latin, there’s this co-writus interruptus thing. Working back-to-back in the same room, it’s too easy to stop her and ask: “Doesadrenaline have an e? rather than look it up myself.

Rosemary: Sometimes I interrupt in a more dramatic way. I was fishing a hammer out of Larry’s tool drawer (he’s a retired engineer) and the conversation went like this:

Larry: “Where are you going with that hammer?”

Me: “I’m going to discipline the vacuum cleaner. It’s stuck on high.”

Larry: “Bring it here.”

So I do, he turns the vac upside down, and in five minutes has it fixed. I asked: “If I had given it a few whacks would I have broken it?” Larry: “Probably.”

There are times when Larry’s pridefully, elegantly written passages don’t work for me; they can stop the action. So I’ll do what I call “judicious pruning,” but Larry calls it “slash and burn.” Then, with sleeves rolled up, we negotiate. I’m a little more diplomatic than I used to be. But not much. Larry’s greatest strength as a writer is his imagination, his inventiveness. He conjures up all our plots and writes the first draft. He’s at the computer for five to six hours of writing on most days. He has a much longer attention span than I have.

cover-art            Larry: She could work a little faster. We’re getting a little behinder by the day.

Her strength as a writer? She has this wonderful feel for people and human nature. So she breathes life into my minimalist characters: physical appearance, sharpening the dialogue, and often adding a defining trait. And Sometimes she adds a scene for more conflict.


    Rosemary: What can get in the way of our working together is my own nonfiction writing life: personal essays and my memoirs. Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother is the newest. Miriam’s World—and Mine is my second memoir of our daughter Miriam Wolfe, whom we lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. She was 20 and my only child. Larry and I had only been married a year when we lost her.

3. What part of the process do you look forward to most?

            Larry: That instant when all the story parts come together. The first draft is an exciting journey, especially when new, unplanned pieces join the trek and fit just so. And it’s no slight pleasure when the finished and bound book arrives from the printer.

  1. In terms of writing, what are you most likely to disagree on?

            Rosemary: When Larry churns out extended poetic passages that slow the action.

            Larry: When Rosemary comes up with her mixed metaphors. And when she edits my stuff ruthlessly! She even tweaks my short business letters.

            Rosemary: You know how it is. Stephen King said, “To write is human. To edit is divine.”

            Larry: Somehow we’ve managed to write seven novels and dozens of short stories and haven’t killed each other yet!

  1. How are you most like your protagonists Dan and Rivka Sherman?

            Larry: We made them like us (I won’t say how long ago): a Jewish couple in their early fifties. Dan and Rivka leave thriving careers as an editor and electronics engineer (which we were) to buy our fictional Olde Victorian Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland.

            Rosemary: Physically, Dan is his own man. Tall and gangly, he sprawls when he sits. He has bushy, black hair and eyebrows. The only thing thin about Larry is          his gray hair. However, Dan is very much like Larry in personality: analytical and practical, yet imaginative. He’s a born problem-solver. He’s also kind and sensitive and an incorrigible punster.

            Larry: Rivka is a lot like Rosemary: feisty, super-smart, affectionate, and addicted to chocolate. She has coffee brown hair and glasses with a slightly pear-shaped figure.

            Rosemary: Larry is too kind to say that I’m also bossy (so is Rivka) and I can get really hyper. I’m a high-energy person. I rush around, bumping into furniture in our little apartment, sometimes bruising my hips, and even stupidly falling. Larry says, “Relax!” He’s right, of course, but I get mad because he’s right. I hate being wrong!

  1. Why do you think bookstore owners make good sleuths?

            Larry: They must be intellectuals and probably also extroverts. Dan and Rivka create an inviting climate so they have a constant flow of interesting characters coming through their front door.

            Rosemary: Books and the world around them possess the potential for many engaging plots.

  1. What is the real-life story behind the plot of Death Steals A Holy Book?

            Rosemary: Here’s Larry’s preface explaining it all.

My Sacred White Elephant

Many of us possess something out of the past for which we have never found a practical or decorative place. Maybe it’s a gilt-framed picture of a great-great uncle, a bewildering trinket, an ugly vase, or a haphazard stamp collection. Or it may be a trunk stuffed with such items…kept in the family, even though no family member recalls exactly why.

My own white elephant is a rare holy book passed down from my maternal grandfather to my mother and then to me. Sefer Menorat ha-maor arrived at our house in a flimsy, white department store gift box nestled in tissue paper. This edition is written in Yiddish, the language that predominated among European Jews at the end of the eighteenth century when it was printed. Sefer means book. The English translation of Menorat ha-maor is The Candlestick of Light. It was originally written in Hebrew in the fourteenth century as a moral and religious household guide for Jews in the Middle Ages. One of the most important books of its time, it is filled with biblical topics and rabbinical interpretations on righteous living; a compilation of sermons, anecdotes, and tales drawn from both written and oral Jewish law and ethical teachings.

I cannot read Yiddish. The Sefer Menorat ha-maor sat in my house year after year deteriorating. In 2008 I opened the gift box, gently lifted the book out, and placed it on the table. Small brownish flecks of the heavy leather cover fell off. Carefully opening the cover, I found neat script on the flyleaf: dates ranging from 1803 through 1836, along with names I did not recognize—births, I presumed. The edges of the yellowed pages had turned brown as well. They were brittle, too brittle to continue in my care. The projected extent and cost of restoration were beyond anything I could manage. Sadly, in its condition, I could not display this fragile holy book in the place of honor it deserved. I sought professional help.

After consulting with a cantor and three rabbis, my Sefer Menorat ha-maorwas carefully packaged and sent on its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, for curator evaluation at the venerated Klau Library of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Dr. Dan Rettberg, of blessed memory, attested to the book’s authenticity. Its permanent home is in the Klau Library’s Rare Books Collection. It was my honor to donate it.

Sefer Menorat ha-maor inspired me to create the basic plot for Death Steals A Holy Book. Forgive me for taking a few literary liberties with its condition, content, and monetary worth for the sake of the story.

—— Larry

  1. Do the two of you read the same books, or the same types of books?

            Larry: Not often. I prefer action/adventures, thrillers, and spy stories: David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, Frederick Forsythe, Robert Ludlum, Robert Ruark, James Clavell, Nelson DeMille, James Michener, Leon Uris, and Wilbur Smith. Add great historical novels to that, like Ken Follett’s two trilogies.

Rosemary: Larry is much tougher than I am. He’s a Navy veteran (Korean War) with a strong stomach . I cannot stand graphic violence—and descriptions of torture. I think they’re disgusting. I really appreciate Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Louise Penny, P.D. James, etc. We’re both crazy about Ken Follett‘s two historical trilogies. I also like really good nonfiction like The Boys in the Boat and Kathryn Graham’s autobiography. I’m a huge fan of Nora Ephron, Heartburn, etc. I totally tune in to her.

  1. What’s next for Dan and Rivka Sherman?

Larry: The Shermans are busy selling books until we come up with a new plot for them. Currently under rejection are the following: A Missing Body at a Nudist Colony; A Vegan Commune in Bhutan; Verbal     Complaints from a Murdered Woman; and If  I Could Do It Over, I’d Still Die.

  1. What’s next for Rosemary and Larry?

            Larry: I just finished the first draft of a big novel tentatively titled Between the Mountains and the Great Sea. It’s a continuing saga of the families in our Hawaiian adventure/thriller Cry Ohana 

            Rosemary: Larry has also finished the first draft of a text, Exploring the Mystery, 18 Valuable Lessons. Both books are waiting for me to work on.

            Larry: We’re publishing our second series of short stories in Mysterical-E,an online mystery magazine. The “Copper and Goldie” stories are lots of fun, about a disabled ex-cop, now a cabbie, and his golden retriever. They drive around Honolulu, Hawaii, together solving crimes.

  1. Also very exciting: we’re panel co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc”—the Left Coast Crime mystery fans’ convention coming in March 2017. Join us for a fabulous four days at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Register now for a discount at

Richard Singer’s Eastern Wisdom Western Soul Book Blast!


We’re happy to be hosting Richard Singer’s EASTERN WISDOM WESTERN SOUL Book Blast today! Please leave a comment or question to let him know you stopped by!

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}

About the Book:
Eastern Wisdom Western Soul
Author: Richard Singer
Publisher: Devorss and Compan
Pages: 200
Genre: Spirituality

Spiritual enlightenment from the Far East has taught the world that true happiness and peace come from within—a wisdom that transcends time and boundaries. As each new generation struggles to find happiness in an ever-changing world overrun by technology and media, few take the inward path to deep, long-lasting peace.

Richard Singer, a psychotherapist, has studied hundreds of Eastern-based writings and given them new life in today’s world for people looking to apply this wisdom to the stressful and frustrating aspects of the 21st century. Based on the words of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Lao-Tzu, and others, Richard Singer has illuminated some of the most profound Eastern quotes with 111 meditations and contemporary applications. Each selection acts as a seed that he expands upon to create a practical meditation for a real-life situation,
enabling you to recognize and accept the inner peace of your true being . . . right here, right now.

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Mindfulness is the secret of life. A life lived mindfully is a life lived
full of peace, tranquility, joy, bliss, ecstasy and compassion. Mindfulness is
our direct link to the Universe. It is the solution that we as human beings
have been seeking outside ourselves since the beginning of modern times. The
simple practice of mindfulness has been around for thousands of years; however most
human beings discard this approach to life and instead search for more complex
and intellectual philosophies or techniques. Unfortunately, this external
journey never resolves itself. There are many individuals and texts available
that also complicate and over analyze mindfulness. It seems that our ego is
programmed to complicate even the simplest solutions. Mindfulness is meant to
be simple, yet a profound way to live. This present centered solution allows us
to live authentic lives.

So, what exactly is mindfulness and how do you
apply it to your life? Mindfulness is a specific form of meditation or simply
put awareness of the moment. There are many different forms of meditation,
however we are going to specifically focus on mindfulness meditation, which
this author believe to be the most practical and pure meditative exercise.
Mindfulness involves directly participating in each moment as it occurs with
complete awareness of your present experience. Life only exists in the Here and
Now when practicing mindfulness. The moment we experience is pure and
unadulterated. Mindfulness is a “living” meditation that you can
practice each second of your precious life. There is no need to escape to a
secluded place, as you can engage in mindfulness anywhere and at anytime, no
matter what is happening around you.

Instead of presenting the reader with one rigid definition of mindfulness, a
few but concise definitions will be presented below drawn from the wisdom of
various experts and practitioners of mindfulness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the best selling author of Wherever You Go There You Are and
the creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, describes mindfulness
meditation as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the
present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Levey and Levey in their magnificent book, Simple Meditation and Relaxation,
state ” Mindfulness liberates us from memories of the past and fantasies
of the future by bringing reality of the present moment clearly into
focus.” They also express that “mindfulness makes us aware of life’s
everyday miracles.”

In one of the ancient Buddhist commentaries, it is stated that mindfulness
is “presence of mind, attentiveness to the present… ”

Stephen Levine, author of A Gradual Awakening, says that mindfulness is a
” moment to moment awareness of whatever arises, whatever

Meditation teacher and author Sylvia Boorstein states that mindfulness is
having ” the aware, balanced acceptance of present experience. It is not
more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment,
pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to or rejecting

These simple yet profound use diverse expression and terminology, but what
they all share in common is that mindfulness is being completely and fully
present for life. It is being aware of what is going on within and around you
in each moment of your miraculous existence. We simply practice awareness
without judgment, accepting our thoughts and emotions exactly as they are.

As you may have noticed mindfulness is a simple
yet, powerful way to live our lives. Its simply being Right Here, Right Now:
immersing your entire being in the present moment and fully experiencing your
life. That’s it! It really is that straight forward. It is not necessary to
over analyze, intellectualize, or complicate what it is to be mindful. Of
course our ego wants to distract us in any way possible, but don’t allow this.
Recognize the presence of your ego, say hello, and then calmly dismiss it. All
there is to being mindful is to Simply Be. While there are plenty more advanced
explanations on this topic available for you to further explore if you desire;
what has been described here is the simple and pure essence of mindfulness

As you leave this article and continue your journey of mindful living or if
you are just beginning, this writer suggests that you dive into the ocean
of Now and intimately acquaint
yourself with the pleasure of what is directly in front of you. As expressed in
the Zen tradition, “When eating, eta and when walking, walk.”

Are you Right Here, Right Now? If not, center yourself and experience the
bliss and ecstasy of the eternal moment. Enjoy your journey!



st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}


About the Author

Richard Singer is first of all a real human being who is quite faulty and still struggles with life on a daily basis. He is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic that once was homeless, hopeless and penniless. However, on a worldly basis, he is an award winning author, trained psychotherapist, adjunct professor, and most importantly a seeker of truth. He continuously searches for wisdom to use in his life, as well as helping other human beings in their precious journey. He has studied Eastern Psychology, Buddhist Healing, and Non-Violence at the Doctoral Level; in addition, he has spent years devoted to the study of wisdom recorded throughout history. He seeks to impart this knowledge to the world through his writing. His primary purpose is to benefit humanity in any way possible.

Richard states that My books are not only for reading, they are meant to be lived. Richard has written two meditation books and co-authored an inspirational children’s book.He consistently supports human beings in their search for purpose and passion in life. Richard passionately believes in equality among all human beings. “After all we only have one race; the Human Race.”

He has been featured in many magazines, on various radio and television shows including BBC News in London and his books have been widely reviewed specifically by Library Journal, Martha Stewart’s Body and Soul Magazine and many other review forums.

Richard has twin boys that reside in the Cayman Islands. Mathew and Alexander are his life. Mr. Singer loves to read, write, travel, and engage in anything spontaneous and adventure filled. He has driven across the United States several times and traveled many places in the world. Cuba remains his favorite country to visit. He continuously strives to embrace each unique moment of life by applying Mindfulness Meditation to all moments. Mindfulness is a “living meditation” that we never stop applying to our lives.

Richard is open to questions, suggestions, or simply having a conversation.

You may contact him at

For More Information


Beautiful Belly Dancers Adult Coloring Book Book Blast!

Beautiful Belly Dancers Coloring Book banner

We invite you to Richard G. Lowe Jr.’s BEAUTIFUL BELLY DANCING COLORING BOOK Book Blast! Leave a comment on this blog with your email address to win a free copy of his adult coloring book! Winner will be selected from comments and will be notified on August 31.

Beautiful Belly Dancers Coloring Book

Inside the Book:

Title: Beautiful Belly Dancer Coloring Book
Author: Richard G. Lowe Jr.
Publisher: The Writing King
Pages: 110
Genre: Adult Coloring Book

What could be better than an adult coloring book of beautiful belly dancers? These gorgeous ladies have performed all over the world, and now their images are presented here for your coloring pleasure. All pages are printed on one side to make your coloring easy.

For More Information

  • Beautiful Belly Dancer Adult Coloring Book is available at Amazon.

Meet the Author

Richard Lowe Jr.

After spending over 33 years in the computer and information technology industry, Richard decided to take an early retirement to pursue his dreams of becoming a professional writer and published author. Richard is a leader in the computer industry, serving as Vice President of Consulting at Software Techniques and Beck Computer Systems before settling down as Director of Computer Operations at Trader Joe’s. During his twenty-year tenure at that esteemed company, he focused on computer security and preparing for the possibility of disaster.

In addition to creating hundreds of articles for the web and blogs, Richard actively works as a professional ghostwriter. In that role, he has completed books on a wide variety of subjects including memoirs, business volumes, and novels. Because of his in-depth background in software management and computer security, Richard has ghostwritten a number of major books in those areas.

Additionally, Richard has published books of his own. His first two volumes, Safe Computing is Like Safe Sex and Real World Survival Tips and Survival Guide, respectively touch on the subjects of computer security and how to survive emergencies and disasters. Richard has also written and published a series of short eBooks on the aspects of freelance writing, including blogging and ghostwriting. Other published books include How to Plan a Party and How to Surround Yourself with Beautiful Women without Being a Sleazeball.

An avid adventurer, Richard has been a photographer for much of his life, with a focus on nature, scenic, performance and event photography. He has done everything from hiking in dozens of national parks throughout the country, to photographing various unique festivals and events, such as the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball and the World Mermaid Awards Convention. He is well known in the Renaissance Festival and Belly Dance communities, having photographed over 1,200 dance events and 400 festivals. For several years, he photographed the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California.

Richard is currently working on a large number of short Kindle eBooks on a wide variety of subjects. Beginning in 2016, the first of a ten volume series of Science Fiction novels will be published.

One of Richard’s passions is to use the power of words to educate people on human rights. He believes the world will be a better place when human beings are treated with the full respect and dignity they are due.

For More Information

%d bloggers like this: