Tried and (Still) True: Book Review

Happy New Year.

It’s the time of year for resolutions. And what could be better than taking a few steps toward a happier, healthier, bountiful, and more compassionate life?

Four years ago, I read Erik Tyler’s book, The Best Advice so Far, and reviewed it here. Well, he has a second book out, and I was curious to see what new (or age-old) wisdom this author, mentor, and public-speaker has to offer. As expected, I gobbled it down in a matter of days.

My review is below, but I thought it would be fun to explore this author’s relationship with his advice. I gave him one question, and he was kind enough to reply.

The Question:

In my experience, Erik, sometimes in the process of writing, we aren’t only imparting information, but learning from it. I may be off the mark here, but I’m guessing that you have a favorite expression from your book, one that felt particularly personal or moving or insightful. Care to share what it is and how it’s changed you?

Eriks Reply:

Wow, that’s a tough one.

They all resonate with me personally for different reasons. But a stand-out for me would have to be “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” It’s never been so easy to not only criticize others but to do it publically. And this culture of negativity and ridicule weighs heavily on me.

I mean, we’re living in a strange time where even leaders at the highest level are having “Tweet storms” of petty hate and meanness on a daily basis. Empathy, compassion and respect take a real hit when we give in to this.

In the book, I talk about a tendency I had when I was younger to “people-watch” with friends in public places and to make critical comments about strangers. I included the strategies that helped break that habit. This was about “past me.” Yet as I continued to write this particular chapter, I noticed areas where I’d again allowed myself to pick up new stones in different areas.

It’s one of the great things about writing what I write: it keeps me honest. Being so aware of stones and my own glass house allowed me to once again reevaluate myself and make new choices for change. And that always opens my eyes and heart.

In fact, even in the nitty-gritty process of getting the e-book files for this book prepared, there was a stretch where I needed to interact with customer service people. It was stressful and tedious. And the easiest thing was to reach for those proverbial stones.

But having all of this fresh in my mind, I had this voice saying, “OK, are you going to take the easy route right now and be a hypocrite? Or are you going to put that stone down and treat people with kindness and respect, the way you write about, the way you’d want to be treated?”

So I’m definitely not just writing this stuff. I’m facing it daily, making choices about it myself, just as I hope any other person reading the book will be doing.

Diana‘s Review:

I enjoyed Tyler’s book The Best Advice So Far and looked forward to this new one, curious to see what wisdom this author, mentor, and public-speaker would produce. Tried and (Still) True is a reflection on proverbs of the past (one dating back to Socrates) that have stood the test of time: know thyself, haste makes waste, and a stitch in time saves nine, to name a few.

Most of us have heard these sayings before and know what they mean. But Tyler takes that meaning a step farther and gleans from each expression valuable lessons applicable to life in today’s world. The reader is presented with a deeper perspective, and most importantly, a way to practice that wisdom and become a kinder, happier, and more self-aware person. Who doesn’t need that in the divisive world we find ourselves?

Each chapter includes the history of the particular saying, most of them centuries old. In addition, each chapter ends with three questions for contemplation and a challenge that encourages readers to try something new—or try something old in a new way. The challenges are practice runs at changing our perceptions, getting unstuck, making satisfying choices, being empathetic, or grateful.

This isn’t a particularly short book, and yet I read it in days. Tyler’s writing is well-organized and well-edited, in addition to being peppered with personal anecdotes – most practical, some touching, and some laugh-out-loud hilarious. I found plenty of sensible advice conveyed in a way that I can apply it to my life. Highly recommended to readers of self-help books, and readers who want to learn to live a happier, healthier, bountiful, and more compassionate life.

Amazon Global Link: Tried and (Still) True is only $.99 through January 7th,

Erik’s Blog: The Best Advice So Far

 

Goodreads 2019 Challenge

2019 is old news now and what a crazy, hectic year it was – spending weeks on the road, living in other people’s houses, and sitting in doctor’s offices and emergency rooms. I’m glad it’s over, but there were a few highlights – especially when it came to reading.

My Goodreads reading goal was a whopping 30 books.  I read 100! 

What fun to browse the covers and remember all the books that kept me sane. Do you see yours in there?

If you do, THANK YOU!

 

What’s your reading goal for 2020?

Guest Post: Hannah Blatter – Dreams of a writer/illustrator

Hannah Blatter is beginning her journey as an author of children’s books. I was enamored with her personal story and hope it warms your heart too. Over to Hannah:

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Hannah Blatter

In early 2019, I was diagnosed with panic disorder. It took me 10 years to make that step to seek help and receive an official diagnosis. When this happened, I felt like I was inferior, as a mother, as a wife, as a human being. I had these moments, hours, weeks, when I didn’t think I would ever reach my goals. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Like other people can handle this, but I can’t.

My son was 6 years old at the time, and I did not want to feel like I failed him. I didn’t want him to have high hopes and dreams and not go after them if he ever had a mental or physical illness. I never wanted him to feel like he was not good enough no matter what diagnoses he carried.

“In Colorado, you can ride a dinosaur with a saddle”

 

“You could also raft the Zambezi river with a paddle”

I have always had a background in art, working with design and illustrations. I wanted to give my son something, to show him that if there is something he wants to do, it’s possible. I had this idea stirring in my head from working with young children in my job.

When you ask them what they want to do when they grow up, they always say “a firefighter, doctor, mermaid!” and so on. Well, it’s wonderful that they have headway on their careers, however, what about what they want to see? Where do they want to go? There is so much in this world, why not open up their little minds to how much more there is.

I want my son to get the message that if you want to write a book or direct a movie, you can find resources to help you do that. If you want to drive on the longest bridge on earth, there are things you can do to make it happen. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be scared to do these things. It’s okay to say you’re scared to do these things. And most importantly, it’s okay to ask for help.

“You can go sing on Broadway and learn how to dance”

 

“Or, you can feel like royalty when you stay at a castle in France.”

We all have our limitations, mentally, emotionally, physically. We have limitations in our knowledge, in our relationships, and in our environments. If we all gave in to our limitations, nobody would ever get anything done. It’s okay to accept these things and ask for help to work with them and around them.

So I am asking, graciously, for help to gain access to tools that will give me the ability to show my son that these things I say to him are true. I want to walk into a bookstore with him and see our book. I can say “Look, I get scared, I get upset. I am different. But, I can still do this, and so can you.”

“You could just watch the stars from a Cappadocia hot air balloon”

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A question from Hannah for any children’s authors and illustrators:

What was the most difficult roadblock you overcame in publishing your first children’s book?
I’d love to hear your tips or advice.
Thank you!

Connect with Hannah on Instagram: @blatterhannah

And Merry Christmas!

pixabay

 

Ani’s Advent 2019! Cats, Honey Bear and D. Wallace Peach

My dog, Honey Bear, wrote a poem for Ani’s Advent 2019. Ani is Sue Vincent’s adorable and talented pup. The spelling is atrocious, but there is a translation for those who don’t read “dog.” I hope you get a smile. Happy Holidays from Honey Bear.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Dear Santa,

I’m having an interesting time with the resident cat here… I have to say, it isn’t as difficult to get on with as I thought it would be.

They are weird… but then, so are two-legses and I like them.

I mean, I’ve had a few problems with them before, invading my garden and such…

But maybe it is like she says about two-legses… you just have to get to know them, one at once, and then they seem different.

Mind you, Honey Bear seems to have got to know a bunch of them and the poem she sent me tells me that maybe I should still be a bit wary…

Much love,

Ani xxx


A translation by Diana Wallace peach of Honey Bear’s Poem:

Christmas with Cats

by Honey Bear

*

I don’t like cats

In the Christmas tree

They make a big mess

And blame it…

View original post 2,125 more words

More Indie Book Reviews

It’s time to share a few more reviews. Another eclectic bunch: short stories, a middle-grade gem, and of course, speculative fiction. I have a stack of reading for the holidays. I hope I can add a book or two to yours.

Flights of Fancy

by Sally Cronin

I’ve read several of Cronin’s books of short stories, and this collection of eleven tales is as enjoyable as the others. I inhaled it in a single afternoon, completely immersed. As usual, the author includes a wonderful variety of tales from touching stories of eternal love in The Other Side of Heaven and Curtains, to adorable cuteness in Henry’s Story, and humor in Psychic Parrot. Highly recommended for anyone who loves short stories and well-told tales.

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Talon

by Gigi Sedlmayer

I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. It seems appropriate for middle-grade readers with short chapters and a charming story, but will appeal to younger kids as a chapter book, as well as adults.

Matica is the ten-year-old daughter of missionaries in Peru. She has a disability that leaves her tiny for her age and socially isolated from the indigenous community. She befriends a pair of condors and her adventures begin, changing her life in marvelous ways. Matica is delightful, caring, and undaunted by these giant birds.

The setting adds to the book’s interest as well as the details on the condors. Matica interprets the bird’s “language” which adds a bit of magic to the tale. The pace is just right and the plot wraps up nicely with more to come. A wonderful first book in the series. Highly recommended.

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The Gate

by D. L. Cross

An alien invasion is imminent, and Landon Thorne goes from being a recently fired college professor to a much sought-after expert. His unconventional theories on ancient alien astronauts have caught the attention of top-secret government operatives and a group of mysterious bad guys.

This is classic first-contact sci-fi, and Cross appears to have done her research. Combine fact with a dose of imagination and a bunch of ruthless characters, and this is a story that moves at a fast clip.

And those “ruthless characters” include just about everyone. The main characters are well-rounded, ambitious, competitive, and argumentative. And Cross has no problem letting characters cross the line and/or killing them off.

The Gate, the first book in the Astral Conspiracy series, leaves off with a cliff-hanger, so be prepared to read the next books to reach the conclusion of the tale. Highly recommended for readers of sci-fi thrillers.

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More to come. Have a lovely holiday season and Happy Reading!

 

November Challenge Round Up

Pixabay image, artist unknown.

Oh, my. What amazing stories this month. Somehow, magically, when I thought up the Challenge, I knew I’d be diving into some wonderful creativity. I loved the mystery of the characters, the slow reveals, and how the “show” hooked me. I enjoyed every single one and was sad to see them end. Thank you to all who participated and to all those who stopped by to read. I hope you were as mesmerized as I was.

Here are the stories from November’s Challenge. I hope you enjoy them.

Ederren – Jagen

Cosistories – They

Trent McDonald – Final Battle

Kevin Parish – Satisfy Me

Stephen Tanham – The Unmelt

JP – Sorrow

Audrey Driscoll – The Network

Robbie Cheadle – The Blob

Jen Goldie – Tidbits for Starters

Teagan Geneviene – Untitled Tesla Punk

Sue Vincent – Questing Beast?

Kerfe – Go Away Now

Jane Dougherty – Shade in the Mist

HRR Gorman – Water Striders

Geoff Le Pard – The Triangulation of Superheroes

Len- Infinity

Diana – Dinner