Category: The Cadence Group

Guest Author Jeffrey Blount

Today I am taking a big step, no make that a huge step.  When our friend Rebecca, from The Cadence Group, contacted me about today’s guest, I read the synopsis and thought this sounded like a great read!  Then I realized it was in the genre of YA.  But am thinking you will also agree with me, once you hear from the author.  I ask,  that you help me in welcoming, Jeffrey Blount to our group!


Jeffrey Blount is an Emmy award-winning television director and an award recipient for scriptwriting on multiple documentary projects.  Born and raised in rural Virginia, he now lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Jeanne Meserve. They have two children, Julia and Jake.
Connect with Mr. Blount at his website, Facebook and Twitter.


Shared Emotions

For me, writing is an emotional endeavor.  I don’t see how it could be any other way.   I sit alone with my plot line and my characters and I create a world.   Inside that world are feelings like passion, fear, anger, hurt, love and joy.   I have them, like items in a museum, strategically laid out to create a coherent experience for the reader.  If I do it well, then readers should, as they read, experience emotions similar to those I experienced as I wrote.   I believe I was successful at this with my recent young adult novel, Hating Heidi Foster.

 It is a novel filled with raw ecstasy and despair.   Many times, I found myself overcome with emotion.  Sometimes before I even began writing, knowing in my head what I was about to put my characters through; sometimes as scenes unfolded, the characters growing and reacting in ways that I hadn’t foreseen.   At any rate, when it was done, I was worn out.   I was simply drained.  But it was a good kind of exhaustion.

I am happy to say that readers are feeling the same way.  One reviewer wrote, “Heart wrenching and then heartwarming story.  A good but highly emotional read.”  Others have written, similarly moved.  Others I have spoken to about all the emotion and here’s where I’m going with all of this, the part that really saddens me.  As the author, I am not always able to share in the moment.  Why?  Because I’ve been there already.   Many, many times.

What I would really like is to experience what the reader is feeling as they tell me about a passage or a scene that touched them.  I want to feel what they feel at the moment we are having the discussion.  To share.  But, for the most part, I can’t.  Because I have lived with the characters for so long and altered their journeys so many times, I’ve lost much of the emotion.  This fact leaves me wanting and missing something in these precious moments.   It’s the only part of the writing process that I wish to be different.   However, I still want and really need these shared moments, because every author wants to know, not only that they succeeded in bringing something special to the reader’s life, but how.   If only because it makes us better at our craft.


From the Author:
As Hating Heidi Foster begins, Mae McBride stands by on a riverbed watching as her mother offers up the ashes of her father to the river’s fast moving current. She thinks of the great loss in her life and the cause of that loss. She thinks of Heidi Foster, her best friend since second grade.
Heidi Foster is home alone listening to music through her ear buds when fire sneaks into her bedroom and she has nowhere to run but her closet. There she waits for the painful end she knows is about to happen, but she is saved by Eddie, the father of her best friend. Heidi makes it out of the burning house, but Eddie does not. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi for not being smart enough to get out of the house. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.
At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly. She is wasting away physically and emotionally while waiting for Mae to let her back into the friendship that she misses so dearly.
Mae, consumed by her hatred of Heidi, the confusion regarding her father’s motives, the perceived desertion of her friends and her mother’s grief, loses more and more of herself.
What could possibly bring these two teenagers back to each other? A miracle?
Note: With the holidays coming up, this would be a great gift idea
for teenage daughters and granddaughters.
Purchase Links:   Amazon    B&N    IndieBound



I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or
Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affliate.
I am providing link(s) solely for visitors
that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Guest Author Richard Meibers

I don’t know about you, but I am already tired of the cold here in New England.  So when Rebecca from The Cadence Group contacted me about this book, it was a yes.  Just imagine being transported to the Caribbean.  That’s what today’s guest will do.  So please help me welcome Richard Meibers!!


Richard Meibers is a professional writer living in central Massachusetts. He is the author of two previous novels, STEAL AWAY HOME and TREE RINGS. He has also written two non-fiction books, one on dealing with anger and aggression in psychotherapy, and another on the history of watch-making in the 19th century.




Twenty years ago, the eye of Hurricane Hugo smashed into the tiny Puerto Rican island of Culebra. It ruined a lot of boats that had sailed in there purposefully to avoid the big wind. The deep bay in the center of the island surrounded by low hills had the reputation of being a “hurricane hole,” a place of relative safety. A number of the boats that either sank in the bay or were blown onto shore were not insured and became a total loss.

Why not have insurance on an expensive and vulnerable piece of property? I wondered about this until I talked with several of these owners. My first introduction to a widespread, loose kind of community known as boat bums, people, unplugged from what we think of as normal society, who spend their lives roaming the seas in sail boats.

Some very few of these boat bums have money of their own, but most scratch out a living wherever and however they can, performing menial jobs, crewing on other boats, or doing what in our normal society would not be considered exactly legal. They are not pirates but they might, for example, smuggle computer parts into Cuba. Their preferred choice of boat style is the sailboat because they usually cannot afford the fuel for a motorized vessel.

Boat bums can still be found all over the Caribbean, as well as the islands of the South Pacific, the Mediterranean. Though they range far and wide, they never leave home. The boat is their home. And their community is mainly one of sharing information on subjects like where to find work, where to find an inexpensive shipwright to fix something, where to find a cheap mooring, where to hide from a hurricane, or who might be having a party on some other island.

Getting to know so many boat bums has been fun. They all have their reasons for “dropping out” as they used to say in the Sixties. One woman told me that after her first trip on a sailboat she stopped biting her nails. Another, from Minnesota, said she had gotten sick of snow. A army veteran who acquired a boat after his tour of duty inViet Namsaid the life on a sailboat helped him forget; and it must be working, he said, because after twenty years at sea he did feel a little better. An older man came to theCaribbeanafter selling his small Midwestern electronics firm when his wife died.

The boat bum has a lot in common with the ski bum. Their lifestyles both revolve around an intense and addictive pleasure. But the boat bum, living in a warm climate is not slave to the weather, but merely to his or her own whims, which breeds an independence as intense as the pleasure.

My novel FALLING OFF THE WIND is about a boat bum in the Caribbean..


 Falling off the Wind by Richard Meibers.  This enjoyable adventure novel delves into the lifestyle of a Caribbean sailor and explores the realities of life lived on a boat.  Filled with hurricanes, smugglers, hardship and love, this story will reel you in and keep you hooked to the very end.
Purchase link:  Amazon



No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or
Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affliate.
I am providing link(s) solely for visitors
that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Guest Authors Psychologist Dr. Tony Ferretti and Physician Dr. Peter Weiss

The statistics of marriages and divorce in today’s world are staggering.  The days of  The Cleavers ( a family sitcom in 1957-1963) are gone.  So when Rebecca from The Cadence Groupcontacted me about today’s guests, I thought it would be an interesting visit.  Please help me welcome Dr. Tony Feretti and Dr. Peter Weiss to our group.


                       DR. TONY FERRETTI       and           DR. PETER WEISS

Dr. Peter Weiss is physician and healthcare executive with a passion for helping others to health and wellness. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Weiss currently serves as an executive for the Adventist Health System in Orlando, Florida.

His coauthor, Dr. Tony Ferretti is a licensed psychologist who has helped clients recognize the addictive nature of power, control, and “success” for over twenty years.  A Ph.D. graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, he’s appeared on Dr. Phil and hosted his own popular radio show, “Talk to Tony.”


Change Your Life Not Your Wife

 Peter J. Weiss, MD

Tiger Woods, Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Jack Welch, Arnold Schwarzenegger…  The list goes on and on.  Who will be next?  It’s only a matter of time until the newspapers headline another major public figure who destroys his marriage, family and perhaps his career through self-destructive behaviors.  The world wonders, “What happened?  How could he throw it all away?  What was he thinking?”

Some of us know what he was thinking.  He thought that that the purpose of life is accomplishment or conquest.  Perhaps his greatest drive was achieving more at work, making more money, or having more stuff.  Hey, I’ve been there, and I see it all around me in medicine and business.  Thinking that way can get you far in life, but it’s not a healthy way to live.  Often it destroys marriages and families.

Occasionally a marital crisis may cause one of these high flyers to wake up to life’s bigger questions.  “What’s life all about anyway?  Why am I living like this?  Why do I feel so much pressure?  How do I want to live?  How can I enjoy life more?”  But some never wake up.  They just dig in and work harder.  Achieve more.  Earn more.  Buy more.  Perhaps even get the “trophy wife.”  And then the cycle repeats.  Third or fourth marriages are not uncommon for these folks.

Unfortunately many of the same personality traits that propel us to material success can spell trouble for our relationships. Emotional immaturity, intense ambition, perfectionism, and “control freak” behaviors are common among high-achieving physicians, attorneys, businesspeople, politicians and entrepreneurs, in all communities and of both genders.  We all know these individuals, and we are often witnesses to their crumbling relationships.  I’m sure you can bring some names to mind.

The good news is that people can change.  It takes work but it can be done.  Relationships can be repaired.  Marriages do heal.  When couples are willing to work through their issues dramatic improvement and healing are possible.  That’s why I coauthored Change Your Life, Not Your Wife with Dr. Tony Ferretti.  People need help.

So if you’re the typical Type A personality climbing the ladder of success, my advice is don’t wait for your crisis.  Don’t be next.  Admit your issues and change for the better.  Conceding that you have a problem is the hardest part, but truth is, others around you already know what you’re like.  Many, especially your spouse, would probably be happy to help.

Give some attention to your spiritual and emotional health.  Seek answers to life’s bigger questions.  Make time for your family and friends.  Take it easy on yourself.  Learn about managing your emotions, especially anger, stress and frustration.  Enjoy life more.  This doesn’t mean that you need to be less effective at work, just less consumed by it.  You may even be more effective at your vocation as a more balanced person.

Change your life, not your wife.  You’ll be glad you did!


Are you winning at work but failing at home?

Save your marriage before it’s too late!

Divorce is everywhere. Especially among high-achieving and success-driven professionals-sometimes even those in long-term marriages. Unfortunately, this divorce pattern often repeats itself resulting in more broken relationships. In Change Your Wife Not Your Life, Drs. Ferretti and Weiss demystify this seeming discord – highly successful individuals failing at home and making life-damaging choices. They offer hope through insight and easy-to-understand exercises to improve these most important relationships.

Drs. Ferretti and Weiss explain how the same character traits that propel us to succeed in our careers can bring our family life crashing down. Using true-to-life examples that we all can recognize, they clearly outline the perils posed by being achievement or power oriented in your intimate relationships.

Eschewing the blame game, the authors stress that usually both partners have had a role in arriving at a marital crossroads. It’s not just one person’s fault. Their good news is that relationships can get better. Marriages do heal. When couples are willing to work through their issues, dramatic improvement and healing are possible.

In this book you will:

· Discover the common personality traits behind the succeed at work/fail at home syndrome,

· Understand how your current behavior in relationships has been shaped by your childhood experiences,

· Assess the priorities in your life and the importance of shifting your focus from possessions to people,

· Find simple assessments, and exercises to help you evaluate your marriage,

· Learn through a step-by-step process how to heal, nurture, and grow your marriage with proven and effective tools,

· See how counseling works to help couples heal relationships, or to heal separately when relationships do fail.



No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

Guest Author Andrea Kayne Kaufman

Oh….so many good books….so little time.  That’s why when Rebecca from The Cadence Group contacted me about this author, I had to share it with all of you.  So please help me welcome today’s guest, Ms. Andrea Kayne Kaufman!!


Andrea Kayne Kaufman has guided and mentored hundreds of students as a professor at the DePaul University College of Education, where she serves as Chair of the Department of Leadership, Language and Curriculum. A professor and attorney who earned a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Andrea has students who are primarily teachers, seeking masters and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership to serve as principals and superintendents.

Andrea is an award-winning expert in the area of school law, and has published and spoken widely about special education law, education civil rights, the No Child Left Behind Act, cyber bullying, and other legal and political issues having an impact on students and schools.

In her personal and professional life, Andrea has been involved with issues relating to special needs, in particular Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Her debut novel, Oxford Messed Up, is a literary love story that transports readers on a redemptive and emotional journey, where the academic world of Oxford University serves as a backdrop for true learning, self-discovery, and transcendent love. Andrea’s professional expertise and personal experience have given her the vision to create a novel hailed by experts as one of the first to present the inner workings and treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder accurately, from the inside out.

Andrea is currently working on her next novel, Parent Over Shoulder. In this poignant love story, Andrea brings her education background, sensitivity, insight and articulate writing style to another “hell” found in many school communities – cyber-bullying. You can preview the first sample pages of Parent Over Shoulder here.

Andrea draws inspiration for her writing and life from poetry, Van Morrison’s music and other classic vinyl, her daily walks along Lake Michigan, and her time spent with her husband and two children in their equanimity-filled Chicago home.
You can visit Andrea at her website here.



Oxford is NOT Gloria and Henry’s Kind Of Town
But That’s The Point

My main character, Gloria, is from Chicago. Chicago is a great city (and my home). But the love story for my novel, Oxford Messed Up, unfolds across the pond at Oxford. I’ve had readers ask how I chose that setting. The university, the oldest in the English-speaking world, is steeped in history, culture, and beauty with an impressive and profoundly rich intellectual tradition. I’ve traveled there with my family and as soon as Gloria began developing in my mind, I knew she belonged at Oxford. And I knew Henry belonged there too, even if he didn’t believe me (or Gloria) at first!

Gloria heads to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Being a Rhodes Scholar means you were singled out for your achievement in a particular area. It is considered by many to be the single most prestigious academic award available and Rhodes scholars go on to become leaders in their field. Rachel Maddow? Rhodes Scholar. Bill Clinton, Nick Kristof, and Naomi Wolf, too. She’s in some pretty good company. When we meet “Our Superstar” as Gloria’s father calls her, she is being reminded over and over again on her way to the airport that this is a natural next step for her. Of course she would be receiving the most prestigious award after graduating from Yale and discovering a missing manuscript. It’s only natural that this superstar shines on many continents, even if she can’t use the bathroom on her way there.

But for Gloria, Oxford is many things besides an academic notch on her belt. It is way, way, way outside of her safe, sealed world. Gloria built a controlled and disciplined life, thanks to Oliver, allowing her to navigate relationships and obligations while still being ruled by her OCD. Oxford is, well, going to mess that up. The hallowed halls of learning are also full of risks and dangers for someone like Gloria. Even getting on the plane to go is a huge gamble once her impressive supply of hand sanitizer is confiscated by TSA. She’s attempted to work around it by creating schedules and living a disciplined life in her private quarters, not knowing that private doesn’t mean there won’t be a dashing English boy sitting on her toilet when she arrives.

The world of academics grounds Gloria. The Bodleian Library, for example, is just the kind of place Gloria likes. The Bod, as Oxford students call it, is the second largest library in all of England and one of the oldest in Europe. I liked the idea of Gloria immersing herself in all the old books and documents wearing white gloves to protect the pages and to protect her hands from prying eyes. It makes sense that she would gravitate to places like a silent, hermetically sealed archival library to lose herself in her feminist poetry. She can trust that, there, even the air is clean enough for her tastes.

Gloria thinks she’ll be able to disappear into her work at Oxford. The location is almost irrelevant to her as is blurs by during her car ride to campus. She’s not thinking about all that Oxford is besides a place to study and to achieve. She comes to find that it is a place that offers her escape as much as it offers risks. The music stores, restaurants and pubs, even her favorite bench outside her room are places she can begin to define herself as more than the superstar and as more than her OCD. And for Henry, dear Henry, Oxford’s traditions of excellence are a constant reminder of just how much he’s messed up. Every turned corner presents the possibility of bumping into his legendary father, a professor at Oxford and a pain in his butt. He is convinced that, with his father’s unrelenting help, he doesn’t belong there. Gloria thinks she can escape to Oxford to prove herself worthy. Henry feels like he’ll never escape Oxford and never prove himself worthy of anything.

And so this centuries-old university is a place that two young people discover themselves anew. Henry thrives as a guide to Gloria, taking her to places connected to their musical hero, Van Morrison. He’s able to tap into Gloria’s human side just as she’s able to tap into his scholarly side. Gloria tests out just having some fun now and then while also guiding Henry towards his first tastes of academic success. Oxford is their distant land, their Achilles’ heel, and ultimately their love nest.


Who knew that life in one Oxford dorm, with a shared bathroom, would become the catalyst for self-examination and exploration not only of one’s soul, but ultimately of one’s soulmate? The lyrics of Van Morrison‘s music, the poetry of Sylvia Plath, and an old clawfoot bathtub provoke this unexpected journey where the exotic locale of Oxford University is an engaging backdrop for true learning as Gloria Zimmerman and Henry Young discover the loveliness in their own germs and each other.

Rhodes Scholar Gloria Zimmerman is an academic superstar, who has come to Oxford to study feminist poetry. Yet the rigors of the academy pale in comparison with the untreated Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that she suffers, fueled by her overachieving Chicago parents, and manifested in a deathly aversion to germs and human contact. Her OCD has left her hands rubbed as raw as a burn victim’s and her psyche shattered and in thrall to a possessive and codependent externalized inner voice.

Her dormitory room neighbor (who is also, to her mortification, her loomate) is Henry Young, the appealing but underachieving musician son of an overbearing and disapproving Oxford don. Still mourning the death of his supportive mother while enduring the mockery of his disapproving and merciless father, Henry is haunted by the unexpectedly serious ramifications of a reckless and tragic youth.

Their relationship evolves from a shared obsession with Van Morrison’s music into a desire on the part of each to fill in the gaps in the life of the other. Henry seeks to enable Gloria to conquer her OCD and enter the world of intimacy, while Gloria will help Henry achieve academic success and earn the respect of his implacable father. Yet the constraints of a debilitating illness and the looming revelation of a catastrophic secret conspire to throw their worlds into upheaval, and threaten the possibilities of their unlikely, yet redemptive love.



No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.