Monthly Archives: May 2015

#Read about Guest #Author Craig Boyack

The Great Ape has a good fellow on today. Get to know Craig Boyack and you’ll quickly see how we became friends. He’s a friendly guy.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Craig Boyack 01
Hello, fellow primates, and thanks for reading my post. I’m Craig Boyack, and I write speculative fiction in my spare time.

That isn’t everything I do, however. I hold down a regular job, have a lovely wife, and three adult children. We also have three pretty cool grandchildren. I like to do outdoors things with a more mellow side. I fish, forage, enjoy hunting for cool rocks, that sort of thing. I’ve panned for gold, and it’s nearly morel mushroom season here in Idaho. I grow my own fruit trees, and keep a thirtyish year old sourdough starter named Tituba.

When it comes to city life, my wife and I still do date night every weekend. We enjoy dinner and a movie, and I really like the whole craft beer movement. We save up for something bigger at least once per year, and it may be a play or a…

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Detoxing a Writer’s Brain and Opening Up New Worlds

I am feeling better than I have in a very long time. No cigarettes. Minimal caffeine. Sparkling water all day. Delicious fresh salads for lunch. Minimal carbs. Feel as if I have detoxed my system.

Most significantly, my head has really opened up. My writing has taken off. I may not get thousands of words a day, but what I am writing is really, really good. Yes, I’m impressed with myself.

Clearing the fog and the crashes has allowed my creativity to blossom. My thoughts are better organized. I have focus, clarity, alertness that simply didn’t exist before.

I’m giving my attention to a suspenseful psycho thriller. My main character, Jillian, has clairvoyant nightmares. There’s a serial killer in her past and another in her present. The dreams from the past are in the victims’ POV. I know, I know, it can be hard to be inside a victim’s head, but it’s working…at least for me, now. I may rethink that later.

It’s limited omniscient POV. There’s a therapist and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) liaison. Jillian has an eighteen year old son and a twelve year old daughter. My psych and forensics background makes this writing relatively easy once things gel in my mind.

The dream sequences are written in first person, but the storyline is third. A bit unconventional, but it’s working out so much better than when I had it in all third person. I had to rewrite two chapters.

It’s fast paced and much happens to her that brings everything close to home. I’m excited about how things are coming along.

I still don’t have a title for this new book and it’s killing me!!!

I owe a great big “Thank You” to Sue Coletta, who has posted some very helpful info in the past couple of months. I find myself bookmarking her pages frequently. Pay her a visit, especially if you are looking at mystery/thriller/crime fiction. She’s an awesome thinker and has some really cool contacts who contribute.

I don’t have an outline yet, beyond a fish bones skeleton. I tend to get about half way through, and then need the outline fleshed out to proceed.

I’m also reading and researching much material. So, I’ve had little time online beyond my e-cig forum support group and a bit of FB.

Just thought I should pop in and let you know I am alive and well. I do skim blogs but honestly haven’t done much commenting. I wish I had more time. Don’t know how you folk who work eight hours a day do it. My hat is off to you!

Hoping you all are doing well.

Do you get as excited as I do when you get deep into a new project?

What do you think about first person victims?

Runaway Smile is an Award-Winning Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards

“Runaway Smile is an enchanting tale about a young boy who wakes up one morning to discover that his smile has fled. In his search for his fugitive smile, he encounters many characters whom he discovers have only false smiles. How can he recover his smile? Humorously written and illustrated, this book is great for reading to younger children, or for children who are not yet up to the task of reading chapter books. (Many adults will also find it highly entertaining!)” Quoted from Amazon Reviews. Congratulations Nicholas Rossis!

This book is FREE to read online:

Nicholas C. Rossis

Runaway Smile by fantasy, science fiction and children's books author Nicholas C. Rossis is a Finalist in the 2015 International Book AwardsI got some exciting news yesterday, which I wanted to share with all of you! USA Book News announced the winners and finalists of THE 2015 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (IBA) on May 21, 2015.

Runaway Smile, my children’s book, was an award-winning finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards, in the Children’s Fiction category!

I want to thank my parents, and my wife, Electra, and Dimitris Fousekis, and . Sorry, Electra told me that this is not that kind of post. She promised to listen to my speech as soon as I’m done, though, so I’d better wrap this up and return the shampoo bottle (which doubles as award-accepting-ceremony-microphone in our household) to the bathroom.

Before I go, a big thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read and review the book. If you haven’t done so already, now there’s one more reason to read it…

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A Fellow Blogger Has Died

Sad news on Rara and Grayson Queen. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


Grayson QueenI got a brief message today on my blog from someone whom I don’t know.  This person wanted to tell me that Grayson Queen, a blogger whom I follow, had died. His last two posts told us he had to leave work because he was bleeding from his ears and nose, apparently from an infection. He was given antibiotics and sent home. As an anatomist, I know that any infection in the middle ear and nasal sinuses has a good chance of spreading to the brain. I wasn’t told how he died, but I suspect it might have been that.

Grayson was young, 35, and a remarkable young man. Here is how he describes himself from his blog, Posting Tuesdays:

“Grayson Queen is a full-time novelist and painter located out of Orange County, California. His artistic passions range from deeply philosophical to unusual science fiction and fantasy. In his…

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Vaping and Relative Self-Improvements

Choice between cigarette and e-cigarette
Choice between cigarette and e-cigarette

This post is a bit personal because my writing muse has just come back to visit me. For the last few months, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and there hasn’t been much time for writing.

Things have settled down. Even with my meds cut in half three months ago, I haven’t gone off either deep end and have managed to keep my cool throughout some intense family drama for the past two months. So that’s good news.

First, I’ve stopped smoking. So far, I have 3 days and 19 hours, have avoided 115 cigarettes and saved $34.40, possibly my life. I have no desire or obsession to smoke.

I was up to a pack and a half. It’s only been four days, but with the vaping it has truly made a difference. I know vaping has not been proven to be harmless, but it has been proven to be tremendously less harmful than smoking. It’s satisfying. I have tried cold turkey, gum, lozenges, patches, Wellbutrin, Chantix (three times), and those nasty little electronic cigalikes that you can pick up at the 7-11.

Cold turkey= terrible cravings, substituting with food to get the hand to mouth thing, gaining 70 lbs in six months. (Was only able to lose half of it and slowly gained that back.) And the shortness of breath that goes with being overweight.

Gum=still wanted the analog cigs, hiccoughs, heartburn

Lozenges=Not satisfying at all, hated the chalky consistency and strong mint flavor, heartburn

Patches=Staved off the cravings. Put me in the hospital with cardiac arrhythmias and panic attacks

Wellbutrin=Did not stop cravings and gave me severe diarrhea.

Chantix=Three efforts, prescriptions required, two different doctors and had to call offices every month to get script renewed, I won’t bother you with the severe side effects. Trust me, there were many. And ended up smoking right through all three attempts because it was not satisfying at all.

Electronic Cigalikes= They were awful, both in taste and effect. Most are 100% propylene glycol (a medical antimicrobial liquid used in vaporizers like bronchial inhalers and nebulizers) and smoke very harsh on the throat and lungs. They tasted like medicine and weren’t very satisfying. You also could not control the nicotine.

None of these methods gave me the pleasure I get from separating myself from my anxieties, going off alone to reflect and meditate, like the caterpillar sitting on the mushroom. There is something about exhaling a cloud that I find most relaxing.

Enter vaping.

My half-sister was vaping at my father’s funeral and I talked with her about it. When I got home, I did a few weeks of research. You can get anywhere from 0 mgs nicotine to 24 mgs, if you are over eighteen. Nicotine in and of itself is NOT carcinogenic. It’s the tar of burning something organic, like tobacco, the carbon monoxide, over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing (carcinogenic) compounds and 400 other toxins , including substances to make your body quickly absorb the nic, and flame retardants, and so on, found in cigarettes that are harmful.

Vaping gives you:

  •  Nicotine
  • Propylene glycol (not Ethylene glycol – which is toxic). Used in asthma inhalers and nebulizers.  An experiment using animals determined “air containing these vapors in amounts up to the saturation point is completely harmless”. The USA FDA has classified propylene glycol as “generally recognized as safe”.
  • Vegetable glycerol – low toxicity. Used in respiratory medications, cosmetic and food items.
  • You can get flavorings, which do have TRACE amounts chemicals, but nobody really knows, according to scientific research, if these will be harmful in any way. There simply is not enough data.

The risks are slim. It’s a risk I am willing to take to get off of analog cigarettes. After just four days vaping, I already feel like a new person. I can breathe, taste, and smell with absolutely no side effects whatsoever. Vapor is not smoke.

There’s a lot of propaganda out there, primarily by Big Tobacco and FDA/gov’t. because of their missed opportunity to tax and make money off of vaping. Children will want to vape for the fruity, sweet flavors (not yet happened, but let’s get everybody scared, I mean, after all, it’s not like adults might like watermelon, peaches, custards, and crème brulee).

Exciting flavors and attractive packaging appeal to everyone, regardless of age. The range of age groups who vape crosses the spectrum, but doesn’t include minors. You’d be surprised how many elderly people love vaping, and love the different flavors they have at their choosing.

The trendy packing will attract young people. Maybe that’s true, but it’s a lot less harmful than smoking or getting wasted on booze. Trends come and go. You can get anywhere from 0 mgs nicotine to 24 mgs nicotine. The young people in the RS’s AA group who vape 0 mg have told me they have no desire to add nicotine to their regimen. Most are former smokers who are weaning themselves down and plan to stop vaping altogether at some point, and that is my objective.

My breath, hair, body, clothes, and back porch smells better already. I can actually smell my Shalimar perfume all day with just a tiny dab in the morning J

If you, or someone you love, would like to quit smoking, click the contact button above and I’ll send you some links, get you started in the wonderfully supportive ecf forum where you can ask questions (or simply lurk) and “meet” other more experienced vapers, and use Google Hang Outs, if you choose to, to connect if you find a good support group, like I have.


I cut out the diet cokes. I was drinking six to eight a day. Way too much caffeine, and now that my taste buds are alive, I don’t even like the taste. I get a bit foggy in the late afternoon, but that’s about the only withdrawal symptom I seem to be having. I’m drinking sparkling water with a hint of flavor and no sugars to get my fizz fix.

Finally, eating better:

I had a salad for lunch with mixed greens, golden raisins, apples, watermelon, blueberries, walnuts, a bit of balsamic vinaigrette, and oil. The melding of fresh flavors and crisp, cool deliciousness had me drooling. I topped it off with a peach vape (instead of a nasty cigarette), and I’m in heaven. I’m looking forward to exploring my once dead palate again.


I can breathe. Did I say that already? Where I was SOB just putting on my shoes a week ago, yesterday, I swam 100 laps in a 36 ft. pool, swept, vacuumed and mopped the entire house, and walked two large blocks around the neighborhood late at night without panting. That felt great!


Dumping the emotional garbage of the last few months, engaging in better lifestyle choices, my muse has returned as of last night. I got deep into what is going to be a kick-ass psycho thriller, I’m certain. Nicotine improves concentration, attention and focus enough to qualify as a cognitive enhancer. And, oh yeah, it’s long been associated with weight loss, with few known safety risks.

Have you kicked the habit? Do you want to? Know someone you’d like to see have a better alternative to smoking? Are you making any positive lifestyle changes? Send me a note if you don’t want to comment (

Oh! I forgot to add, I’m getting a lot more French kisses than I used to get 😉

Waking Up

This is where I was this morning. My friend Becky has such a beautiful way with words. I couldn’t help but share it. After I read it, I was feeling so much better.

The Transparent Author


This morning I woke up in a horrible funk…once again angry at myself for all the ways I’ve declared myself a failure. It seems to be a pattern lately, waking up in despair.

So, since it’s Sunday and I don’t have to get the kids off to school I decided to try something different. I slipped on some clothes and walked down to the beach. When I got there the morning sky was glowing, rays of sunlight pouring through the clouds onto the ocean’s surface.

I stepped in the sand and did my morning “yoga” prayer to the sea, then settled myself on a step at the beach walkover. With no particular plan I ripped out half a page out of a notebook I had brought along. I then began scrawling all the things I “hated” about myself—all those things that ran through my head while I laid in bed…

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Cover Reveal: Ichabod Brooks & the City of Beasts by Charles E. Yallowitz #fantasy #adventure

Charles Yallowitz has a cover for a new read that is about as cool as you’ll see anywhere. This totally rocks and the new book sounds like a real winner. I understand it’s a shorter read. Perfect for a rainy afternoon stuck indoors this summer.

Legends of Windemere

Coming on June 1st for 99 cents!

In a time of heroes, a man will take any job to provide for his family.

Ichabod Brooks has earned a reputation for taking the jobs most men and women fear to challenge. This reputation has brought him to the charred remains of a small village nestled within the hills and forest of Ralian. The ruins are a source of strange monsters that terrorize the countryside and repeatedly elude the local guards and hunters. The few brave souls who have entered the creatures’ lair have yet to come out alive or dead.

The chances of survival are slim, but that generous payment is too much for Ichabod to resist. After all, a man and his family have to eat.

Author PhotoAuthor Biography

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear…

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The Boundless Spirit

Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Death does not come when the body is too exhausted to live. Death comes because the brilliance inside of us can only be contained for so long. We do not die. We pass on.

The vessel dies, but the Spirit lives on.

Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain. The next greatest adventure is death. Death is the natural progression of the human spirit. Not the end, but a new beginning in a realm we cannot fathom.

The human body has limitations. The human spirit is boundless.

We fear death so profoundly, not because it means the end of our body, but because it means the end of our consciousness as we know it.

A couple of weeks ago, my father’s spirit passed on into its next adventure. A few days ago my granddaughter’s spirit entered a body that took its first breath and cried its first cry. She began her evolution of consciousness. Into her father’s hands, she felt her first touch, opened her eyes and saw her mother’s face.

When you have lost people like I lost my birth mom at a young age and you remember the whole process of losing her, you want to grab on to something that makes you whole.

My children and career have given me that sense of wholeness, and my husband compliments that. Watching the grandchildren enter this world, looking down at them looking up at me, gives me a sense of continuity that I do not believe I would have achieved had I decided to remain childless.

The God of our understanding has entrusted us to participate in the enlargement of her soul, liberation of her spirit, and the lighting up of her brain. For that and all things, I am grateful.

baby Kira birth pictures 050315 064

Lightning Crashes~ Live

Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes; the confusion sets in
before the doctor can even close the door
Lightning crashes, an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes;
the confusion that was hers
belongs now to the baby down the hall
Oh now feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
Lightning crashes, a new mother cries
This moment she’s been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes –
pale blue coloured iris – presents the circle
and puts the glory out to hide, hide
Oh now feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it – I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it
I can feel it coming back again
like a rolling thunder chasing the wind
forces pulling from the center of the earth again
I can feel it – I can feel it – I can feel it

Indie Novels Are Like Organic Apples

I love my indies and Adrienne has a wonderful analogy I’d like to share. Every indie author or newbie should read this!

Author Adrienne Morris

Wednesdays at the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm where I worked were packing days when no matter the weather or the raspberries left rotting on the bush, we met in the cool, dark room to sort and pack pesticide-free, non-migrant labor harvested produce to be delivered to starry-eyed customersin the morning.

Our Harvard-educated, Russian-Lit major boss told us not to worry too much about dirty garlic as the customers were customers because they wanted to feel part of the farm-to-table process.

new camera 083Some customers visited the 200-year-old farm to see up close the dirty business of nutrition. They gazed in wonder at the strawberry fields alive with jewel-toned fruit only a day or two away from collapse and decay. They enjoyed getting pricked by the thistles as they reached for a berry and tossed the juicy, warm fruit into their mouths. Misshaped berries delighted the customers as much…

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Occasional Soulmates free through Sunday!

Today is the day if you are waiting on Kevin’s FREE book, Occasional Soulmates


Small Soulmates Cover

Right on schedule, the Amazon freebie has kicked in, and you can now download Occasional Soulmates for free. The deal runs through Sunday evening.

If you have a spare mo or two, let your readerly friends know about it via Twitter, Facebook, email, sky writing, semaphore, Morse code, secret languages, or even telephone. They need to read this book! Your mom needs to read this book.

If you never thought a dude could write chick lit, Occasional Soulmates will prove you wrong.

Just sayin’.

Grab your copy today, and help move some virtual paper by spreadin’ the word for me.

As always, much obliged!

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