A Quote from What We Leave Behind by Matthew Alan

This is Jane (Main character’s) journal entry. Chapter 21.

It’s sad really, trying to appreciate all of the great events in our lives and all the amazingly good days. Sometimes it seems like we take them for granted, until something bad comes along to put us back into perspective. Are these bad events catalysts for change, which bring out the resiliency and best in us? A cosmic wakeup call that reminds us to enjoy the good times, because they can be taken away so easily.
How messed up and ironic would that be?
Is it even possible for us to remember what goodness we’re truly capable of on a daily basis, not just when things cause us to react out of necessity. A base line of beautiful acts and thoughts that are not brought out only by holiday music or someone else’s misfortune, but remain at the surface of who we really are. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t that be something to strive for?

About the author:

Matthew Alan is from Canton, Ohio and attended Kenyon College. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he coaches swimming at the collegiate level.

He has written and published his debut novel “One Degree”, a short story “The Hero”, and a second novel, “Cristman”.

Copies of “One Degree”, “The Hero” and “Cristman” are online in e-book and paperback formats at Amazon.com as well as through his blog:



Review of Secret Histories: Stories of Courage, Risk, and Revelation by 25 Writers

Secret Histories is a compilation of short stories written by 25 talented authors from the Pacific Northwest. My initial reaction upon downloading the book is that the stories would be too short due to the fact that there were a lot of contributors. What I realized after reading the entire book is that it was a great blend of life experiences from different topics, backgrounds, experiences, heartaches and triumphs which made me admire this unique way of story telling.

My top 3 favorite stories are:

1. The Last Dance in the Searchlight by Mary Matsuda Gruenwald
It felt like I was transported into her era, Mary has a wonderful way of telling her story and although it seemed short it was complete and I loved every moment of it.

2. First To Let Go by Elizabeth Van Deventer
She left her work behind to take care of her dying brother. She sacrificed a lot for her brother and every moment of being with him was truly valuable.

3. Tell Me A Story by Kathy Opie

A loving tribute to her Nonna which was one of the few most positive memories Kathy had in her childhood. She cherished and clung to her Nonna’s influence, great cooking and wonderful stories (I would have loved to see the painting mentioned) especially during the dark times in her life. I found this story special and admired the author that despite being questioned her uncle – Kathy still had the courage to write this story… it is hers to tell.

Again, Secret Histories are of different stories written by local Salish authors about a memorable part of their life. So take a peek at this very interesting compilation.

The Writing Process of Steven Manchester author of Pressed Pennies

My Writing Process
by Steven Manchester

I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.
I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”
Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience.

Now that I have nearly two decades of writing and getting published under my belt, I enjoy trying to help new writers break in. My advice is always the same:
o Be true to yourself, always.
o Write constantly.
o Keep the faith!!!
o And NEVER, EVER, EVER quit. Most people in this industry would agree that more than talent or skill or even luck, perseverance is the one trait that will always get the job done.
o Knock on every door you can, and keep knocking. I promise that eventually someone will open and the warmth you feel on your face will more than validate every hour spent alone in the darkness.

Author Photo
Cover Photo

Brief Synopsis:
Rick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.

Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

Pressed Pennies is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings. It is the most accomplished and moving novel yet from a truly great storyteller of the heart.

Author Bio: Steven Manchester is the author of The Rockin’ Chair, as well as the #1 best seller, Twelve Months (2013 San Francisco, DIY & New England Book Festivals award winner). He is also the author of A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Goodnight, Brian (2013 Southern California Book Festival award winner), and Pressed Pennies (due out May 2014). His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit: www.StevenManchester.com



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The Evelyn Project by Kfir Luzzatto

What would you do to save your dying daughter’s life? From the first pages of the book I was drawn into their world. I loved that slow revelation of information – it was like I was being drip fed and that I needed to read more. From the religious consequences, the changing of the past to the future repercussions of what this may bring. I truly enjoyed the ride.

I had several questions in my mind and one of them was…who should we (when I say we I mean Franco and me) trust. There was a twist at the end which, well….you have to read this one to find out.

This is solely my opinion and honestly I found The Evelyn Project to be fast paced, quite intriguing and a really good read.

“A Great Book! – Larry King”
Evelyn’s father did everything that was in his power to save his dying daughter, black magic included. But when a century later his plea for help gets into the wrong hands, all hell breaks loose.

Caught in the slippery battlefield between the Vatican and a cult that wants to change the past, a young Italian professor and a beautiful French aspiring actress are too busy running away from murder and conspiracy to let physical attraction develop into love.

And it doesn’t help that Her Majesty’s Secret Service decides to take an interest in what everybody else is doing and to pull some strings of its own. Quite the contrary, in fact…

Meet the Author:


Kfir was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier and WWII veteran, a voracious reader and a prolific writer.

With a PhD in chemical engineering and a long family history that he needs to live up to, Kfir work as a patent attorney and heads the patent law firm that was established by his great-grandfather in Milan, Italy, in 1869. Kfir lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.

Writing has always been Kfir’s passion and for almost four years he wrote a weekly “Patents” column in Globes (Israel’s financial newspaper), which also yielded his only (if he can help it) non-fiction book, THE WORLD OF PATENTS, (a not-so-boring tale of what patents are about, in Hebrew), which was published in 2002 by Globes Press.

Kfir loves writing short stories but has too many novels waiting to be written (and possibly not enough years ahead of him to write them all), so now he mostly writes full-length fiction. His other passion is working with other authors on stories he loves and that’s how he wound up serving on the editorial board of The Harrow Press as Anthology Editor.

You can read about Kfir’s books here. He loves them all, but never had greater fun than when working on “HAVE BOOK WILL TRAVEL”, a YA fantasy that he wrote together with his son, Yonatan.

Follow on Twitter: @KfirLuzzatto

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