Shamelessly Promoting a Friends Book (It Deserves Promoting!)

As Time Goes By, we learn to value the gift of each new today.

Inside Mixed Blessings–As Time Goes By, you’ll find one-hundred-and-one perfectly bite-sized stories, articles, devotions, and poems, on these ten time-related topics:

  • Minutes
  • 24-Hours
  • Weeks
  • Seasons
  • Years
  • Centuries
  • Era
  • Time-Consuming
  • Once in a Blue Moon
  • Eternity

There is something for every reader in a Mixed Blessings book, and this volume is no exception. Mixed Blessings–As Time Goes By is filled to the brim with fun, encouragement, food for thought, and inspiration. You may find yourself chuckling one moment and shedding a tear the next. In fact, it is the perfect mix of blessings for your daily reading enjoyment.

Take time out of all the busyness of life to enjoy this variety-packed pick-me-up, but be warned. Reading a Mixed Blessings book is like eating peanuts. You just can’t stop at one.

The Impostor Affect by Andrea Lyn Sims, Ph.D.

You’ve just completed a complex project at work. You nailed the presentation that briefed the company’s executive group. Executive leadership’s praises are echoing in your ears. Your coworkers and team members are dazzled by the fantastic job you did. You learn a significant financial bonus will be on your next paycheck to reward your efforts. By everyone’s standards you are at peak performing and a success yet you wonder if what you did was just a fluke or worse, you don’t even see how marvelous your execution of the project was. You wonder if you could ever pull off anything like this again. You have secret fears that your just a phony.

If most of us are honest we sometimes or almost always feel this way. Andrea Sims brings together a realistic look at the fears most of us face. She pulls back the current curtain on the doubt in our lives. She helped me realize that sometimes I feel like an unworthy or marginally capable and fear others will see how I struggle to accomplish tasks that they somehow seem to think come too easy for me.
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To help us understand and deal with these terrible life challenges Andrea Sims leads us through the published research in the field using a case study approach. She opens up to the reader showing vulnerability by using examples of her own experiences and life. This method makes application of the principles studied to life and business.

The Impostor Affect by Andrea Sims is for people who need to know more about this phenomenon for themselves or for assisting others dealing with it. I believe it will also be helpful for high-achievers who doubt their ability consistently to perform at an above average level.

Well done, Dr. Andrea Lyn Sims.

“Thy Will Be Done” is Now Available

What do you do when the future you had planned for yourself, your child, or with your spouse is suddenly erased? A person confronting a chronic illness may feel uncertain about the future. Their hopes and dreams may be placed on hold or have to be altered. They may feel hopeless and helpless. “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill” is a resource to help persons connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ.


Available today in Print for $7.99


Available for Preorder – Kindle eBook

Delivers 11/1/2017 for $3.99


If you’ve already purchased the print version the Kindle eBook is only $0.99


$0.00 on Kindle Unlimited


Dark Voyage of the Mittie Stephens by Johnny Boggs

A Page Turner

Dark Voyage of the Mittie Stephens is a wonderful book. Warning Spoilers follow – Master storyteller Johnny Boggs had my attention from the shootout in the New Orleans cemetery.

Great Characters

The transient amnesia professional gambler Bobby Randow and southern belle (with a past) Laura Kelley journey from New Orleans to Jefferson, Texas. A great story where Laura runs from her past and the enforcement officers after her. Bobby has ghosts from his past onboard as well. They seek the Mittie Stephens concealed gold payroll.

Engaging Story

It’s a wonderful book that kept me turning the page from my favorite western writer. If you like westerns and thrillers you’ll love Dark Voyage of the Mittie Stephens as much as I do.

41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush

I received 41 as a Christmas present in 2014. I took the time to read slowly and soak in a wonderful little book. Regardless of your politics, you’ll enjoy 41. It is the first time a President told the story of his father, another President. We get a unique picture through the eyes and words of 43, George W. Bush. Warning, spoilers follow in every paragraph!
It is a unique and intimate biography. The book covers the entire scope of the elder President Bush’s life and career. You get some family background. You start back in school with 41. It includes his service in the Pacific during World War II. You learn of his courtship and marriage to Barbara. You learn of his pioneering work in the Texas oil business.
You’ll cry learning of a daughter’s death to leukemia. You will be surprised to learn of The Robin Bush Child and Adolescent Clinic at M.D. Anderson Hospital. It is named for the young daughter whom President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush lost to leukemia in 1953.
You will see 41s political rise as a Congressman, U.S. Representative to China and the United Nations, CIA Director, Vice President, and President. You see how he excelled at personal diplomacy. The book provides new insight on both the accomplished statesman and the warm, decent man known best by his family.
Also, George W. Bush discusses his father’s influence on him throughout his life. This influence covers from his childhood in West Texas to his early campaign trips with his father and from his decision to go into politics to his own two-term Presidency.
A huge surprise for me was to learn that George W. Bush did not use email during his presidency. It is a wonderful book I highly recommend. It is an easy read that will keep you turning the pages.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird
Bird by Bird

Why would I review a twenty years old book? Why select a book that most writers have read? Those are great questions. 

The answer is simple. While first published in 1995, “Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott is as relevant today as the day it was released. The book has become a definitive how-to guide for new

and aspiring writers. The book has been a national best seller. It continues to have excellent sales. As of 3/5/2015, twenty years after publication it still ranks #958 on Amazon.com’s overall best sellers rank. More amazingly it ranks:

#1 in Books > Reference > Words, Language & Grammar > Speech

#1 in Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Writing > Journalism & Nonfiction

#1 in Books > Textbooks > Communication & Journalism > Journalism

I don’t know about you, but I would love to have a book with as consistent a sales history as “Bird by Bird.” Let’s take a more in depth look at this beautiful little book.

An entertaining and helpful guidebook that covers every step of the writing process, the reading of “Bird By Bird” has become something of an initiation for hopeful writers. Anne Lamott drives home the point of the need for regular writing and facing the fact that getting published will almost certainly not make you more contented, wealthier or good-looking. An entertaining and helpful guidebook that covers every step of the writing process, the reading of “Bird By Bird” has become something of an initiation for hopeful writers. Anne drives home the point of the need for regular writing and facing the fact that getting published will almost certainly not make you more contented, wealthier or good-looking.

Her book’s genesis comes from the notes of the lectures Lamott delivers to her writing classes. The book begins the way all writing classes do – sit down and write. Write, write, and write and the revise and rewrite before you worry about agents, book titles, etc. She reminds us to sit at our computer, bring up our word processing program, stare at the screen and write. She gives practical advice on not looking at the size of the task but viewing it as a series of small assignments.

Lamott investigates the depths of the formal elements of writing such as plot, character development, dialog, setting, and point of view. She also examines the infinitely more injurious obstacles facing a writer. That is acceptance the “[expletive deleted] first draft” and killing the perfectionist inside you standing between you and your shitty first draft.

  • She talks in practical terms about defeating writer’s block and what to do when you have crises of faith.
  • She talks about finding a sturdy soul to read your “[expletive deleted]” draft and not being devastated when the reader has more than a few suggestions.
  • She also touches on the subject of learning to deal with professional jealousy, a bound to happen fate “because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know — people, who are, in other words, not you.”

“Bird By Bird” isn’t all that ground-breaking a book. I have read similar works providing insights on the writing life by authors Annie Dillard and Natalie Goldberg. Ask anyone in the position to make a comparison and more likely than not they’ll say “Bird By Bird” surpasses all. “What, then, is it about “Bird By Bird” that strikes a chord with so many readers and writers?” to quote a question asked by reviewer Sarah Brennan.

Anne Lamott’s advice is all harvested from personal experience. Her guidance is caring, keen and so good-naturedly explained it’s readily employable. I agree again with Sarah Brennan that “ultimately, it’s her uncanny and self-effacing humor, natural, unaffected tone and anecdote-as-life-lesson adeptness that make Bird By Bird such a useful teaching device. Hers is a refreshingly conversational, approachable, enjoyable didacticism that leaves you with the feeling that if you were to meet Lamott, you’re pretty sure you would be instantaneous best friends however far you descend into the pits of frustration, self-loathing and despair, the writing life is worth it.”

Anne Lamott gives us all hope as she shares, “Even if you only show the people in your writing group your memoirs or stories or novels, even if you only wrote your story so that one day your children would know what life was like when you were a child, and you knew the name of every dog in town — still, to have written your version is an honorable thing.” It would be fun to sit down for a day and talk and laugh with Anne Lamott.

Maybe if we learn some of the lessons from “Bird By Bird” someone will read or maybe even review our book twenty years after publication. You never know, it just might happen.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s work has appeared in six different Lifeway Christian publications as well as The Baptist Program, Thinking About Suicide.com, Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine and more. His short story stories The Cup, Invasion of the Prairie Dogs, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, and The Paintings as well as Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection are available on Amazon.com.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

“Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S.Elliot is a wonderful politically incorrect book of short poems about cats and their curious natures. I first encountered the book when a college student.

T.S. Elliot, a poet and an author, intriguingly found his supreme accomplishment calling himself “ol’ Possum” in a book written in the 1930’s of short poems about cats and their nosy natures. It is one of the most renowned books of poetry in history. “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is successful because it’s fun. It is pure fun.

Each cat has his or her own behavior and misbehavior. Jenny Anydots, teaches the cockroaches manners and twists curtain strings. Rum Tum Tugger is unhappy with everything. They are an odd yet mysteriously familiar lot. We do not have to have ever been to a train station to know Skimbleshanks the railway cat, a cat whose job it is to watch and keep organized everything going on in his world.

Matched to these fantastic, creative characters is T.S. Elliot’s Nobel Prize winning control of the rhythm flow of the English language. Many of the poems seem to be songs in their own right, jumping lyrically as the cats, frolic, groom and caterwaul.

In case you did not it Andrew Lloyd Webber chose this book to translate into his musical “Cats.” There are a variety of rhyme schemes and literary devices at use making each poem fresh and lively in its own right.

Ol’ Possum’s may leave those unaccustomed with how poetic books work somewhat let down. The book has no central story or point. It is just a fun, playful examination of the lives and natures of cats.

In a note for the culturally sensitive, T.S. Elliot looks somewhat disapprovingly at non-white races particularly Asians. Those considering this book for a classroom or other settings for children should give it a look over first and be ready to explain the “non-politically correct” language.

This is the book that made me fall in love with poetry for life.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

On Writing is Stephen King’s book about his learning and living the craft of writing. It is an enjoyable book. It took me six days to read. He organizes the book in three sections.

The first section is an autobiography. It centers on King’s early exposure to fiction. We learn of his childhood attempts at writing. We learn of his writing for his brother’s newspaper that the published in the basement. We learn he was editor of his high school paper his sophomore year in high school. We learn how he was told to accept a job at the local newspaper by the school faculty after he wrote a satire newsletter about the school faculty. He tells of the nail on his bedroom wall where he placed his rejection slips. He shares how he learned from the rejections. He tells of his early tries to get published. We learn how his teaching high school English and his summer jobs played a role in his breakthrough success with the novel Carrie ($2,500 advance on the hard cover release and $400,000 for the paper back rights), and his later development as an author. King also discusses his problems with drugs and alcohol. He shares how his wife has played a major role in his personal and writing life. From the book you can tell he loves and respects her very much. She plays the key role in his life.

The second section is no-nonsense instruction on writing, from tips on grammar to ideas about developing plot and character. King explains it as a guide for how “a competent writer can become a good one.” He stresses his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details. He also points words ending in “ly”, adverbs, should be avoided with the use of unnecessary adverbs avoided. We learn how he writes first drafts and second drafts.

The third section is autobiographical. It is discusses the 1999 accident where King was struck by the driver of a van. The van driver was trying to keep his Rottweiler dog was getting into an ice chest of raw meat while not paying attention to his driving. King describes his brush with death. We learn about his painful recovery. He tells of his struggle to start writing again.

I highly recommend purchasing and reading the book.

Driving Blind by Ray Bradbury

Driving Blind by Ray Bradbury
Driving Blind by Ray Bradbury

This 1997 short story collection is uneven and at times weak. There is less fantasy or science fiction than in many of Bradbury’s earlier works. All but four of the stories are new. A snapshot of the collection is seen in some of the themes.

  • In the short story “Remember Me?” we find the theme of meeting a familiar face in a distant place.
  • The theme of children’s storytelling and kissing games is found in “House Divided”.
  • The theme of looking up an old flame is in “I Wonder What’s Become of Sally?”.
  • One of my favorite themes, the revenge of the nerd everybody picked on is the theme of “The Highest Branch on the Tree”.

But the book has some terrific moments. Examples are when Bradbury recalls a tiny, dusty, moth-eaten Mexican circus, tells the hilarious story of Irish drinking buddies looking for a safe place in the bogs to take a woman, and yet another tale of perfect love squandered (“Madame et Monsieur Shill”).

If you’re new to Bradbury, this will do nicely, but for veteran readers it’s a bit of same old same old.

Indie Author?

self-publishing
Independent Author

Do you write speculative fiction? Are you an Indie Science Fiction writer? Do you have a short story collection?

I would love to consider reading, reviewing, interviewing, and helping promote your Indie work on my blog.

My fee? There is no fee. I only require a free copy of your work. Private message or email me using the email button on this page.