With a team of nurses and doctors hovering over me and one wide eyed nurse calling for the paddles, all I could think of saying was “Don’t let me die…”.  But that sounded too cliché, so I settled for silence and hoped that the shock that they were about to give me would bring down a dangerously fast heart rate that was shaking my upper body like an unbalanced out of control washing machine. As I waited for the tech to arrive with the paddles, I was trying to calm my mind, hoping that might help bring down my numbers, which I was later told was close to 260 BPM.

In those frantic moments of activity involving my mortality I was peeking between the white coats that surrounded me hoping to at least glimpse the face of a loved one but I knew, if they had been there, that they had probably been told to move to the hallway to give the team more room to work on me. So, resigned to the tight fitting sights and sounds of the medical staff, I laid there, in my neck brace, propped up on my right side, feeling reasonably calm for a man who felt very very close to death.

It’s amazing how life works. Since 1993 until 2011 my life was as smooth, happy, content and routine as anyone could ever hope for.  Since 2011 I have faced many difficult challenges; from a failed marriage, to work place issues, to health issues.  In fact from December 2013 to present I have had to endure four separate serious medical conditions, along with the death of my father, all of which challenged my faith and left me in a state that had me less than enthusiastic for living life.  But even with all of the adversity that surrounded me I have always held onto the determination to follow through and see my problems to the end, no matter what. 

So, back to the hospital room: The nurse who was still wide eyed and who was still staring at the monitor, which was over my head and in back of me, asked me how I was feeling. The look on her face registered to me her thinking: This man should not be conscious or even alive right now. I answered, “My chest is shaking…” She replied quickly blurting out, “Don’t say anything more!” Apparently my talking had shot my heart rate up even further. The man with the paddles arrived and the nurse was back in my ear telling me, “We’re going to shock you to bring your heart rate down but it might hurt some okay?”  I nodded, “Okay. Do it.” 50 volts were applied. I said, “Ouch.”  I was no longer shaking that much from my heart beat and soon my rate fell to manageable levels. A few weeks later I met the tech with the paddles again and he told me, “You are a very lucky man…”  

So, after having surgery on my cervical spine- to open it up to allow more room for my spinal cord, I also had to deal with a complication from that surgery that could have ended my life. I am now healing and thankful that I am here now blogging about it.

I will now say what I didn’t say while I was laying in that hospital bed: “Don’t let me die.” I have a lot more living to do…. The medical team that worked on me deserves credit for keeping me here to enjoy the ride and so does God but I am reminded that this life we live is just a journey and we never know when it will end. It also reminds me of the lyrics of a song:

“Que sera, sera.  Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera.”

I hope you are enjoying your path in life.  Don’t forget to smile and laugh along the way. It’ll make life easier.


Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/. You can buy his memoir Pieces Of My Path (2009). Information on the site.

By PS Bartlett

Hope From The Ocean was written by PS Bartlett and published by Mythos in 2014. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle. Click book cover to purchase. Visit the author on Facebook.


When Owen Whelan revealed his secret, he was set free from a haunting past and an uncertain future for his son, Ennis. However, in order to know the true depths of his heart, first we must follow him all the way back to a dirt road on a chilly and bitter spring dawn in Ireland. Behind the locked doors of his memories and hidden beneath shame, hunger and eventually escape, we learn the true meaning of the proverb, “There’s hope from the ocean but none from the grave.” Owen’s journey will teach him that sometimes you have to cross that ocean not only to survive but to finally find love, life and become the man worthy of your own admiration and respect.

There are turning points in life you cannot come back from but if you’re brave enough, you can begin again.

As a prequel to the authors first book, Fireflies, this book will give you more than a glimpse into Owen’s past and it will explain a lot about the boy behind the man- as he grew up in Ireland. It gives us insight into the relationships that he had with his brother Dillion and also describes in-depth his relationships with his Uncle Dan and his family.

In order to capture the full story I would suggest reading Fireflies first but it’s not necessary as the story line will flow smoothly in whatever order you read them.

PS Bartlett shines in this book, just as she did when she wrote Fireflies. There are times when we will read books and we’ll look forward to finishing them to see how the story ends. As I read Hope From The Ocean, I found myself so enchanted with the story and its characters that I wanted the story to go on forever. The characters are so well developed it’s hard for me to imagine that they are not real. They literally come off the page and live right there beside you as you read. This is story telling at its ultimate best and this one, along with Fireflies, should not be passed over. Everything from the descriptions and dialect of the historical time period, to the wonderful love story that develops will have you craving more from this author.

I hope we have not heard the end of this story. It should continue…

I give Hope From The Ocean 5 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

PS Bartlett will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday June 23, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.



Life is like a game of chess. You look at a situation in life and hopefully, after some wise and intelligent thought,  you make the right move. Sometimes however you will make the wrong move, allowing your opponent, the dark side, an opening, which can ultimately lead to you being on the wrong side of check mate. And sometimes we decide to quit playing- and we forfeit our game.

This brings the question: Are there people and forces (bad karma) in life hell bent on toppling your king? The simple answer is yes, some people are ruthless in their pursuit of gaining what you have or if they can’t have what you have they become insanely jealous in your comfort and happiness.  And if they see you as some sort of a threat to their happiness and to their end game they will seek to bring your game to a complete and substantial halt. This can be done through words and or actions and with the birth of social media the check mate or the taking away of a piece of your life can sting even more when it’s put out in public.
As we become hunched over the game board of life trying to digest what has just happened to us and how to respond- let’s take a break and let me take you to a moment of my life that resonates greatly to the subject matter of this blog.

It was an early spring day, the sun was shining and people were out and about enjoying the weather.  I was twelve and was standing at a bus stop with my Pop in our small home town of Nedrow, NY. As we waited for the bus to arrive I waved and shouted hello to a few of  the passing kids who I recognized as “friends” and school mates. After my second or third sincere happy hello, my Pop turned to me and sternly said, “Why do you do that?”  I remember feeling confused at Pop’s tone of voice and question. I replied, “What do you mean, Pop?”  He said, “Why do you say hello to people that care little about you and wouldn’t even give you the time of day if you asked? Those kids don’t even like you…”  I was bewildered and hurt by what Pop was implying. I never considered the possibility that I wasn’t liked by some of my “friends” but Pop was a wise and intelligent man so I struggled to do my best to digest this- as we eventually boarded the bus and I went on with my day.  There are times in our lives that impact us in many different ways and this simple memory has huge meaning to me and how I have lived my life since then. It’s a moment in time that I have often thought about.

So here I am 46 years removed from that conversation and if Pop were still alive I would answer his question. I would say to him: “Pop, you were very perceptive on that day way back then. And for the most part, you were right- even today there are people who I have been friendly with and or considered close to me in my life  who for whatever reason have decided that they don’t like me and have turned their backs to me. Some have hurt me badly or caused me much turmoil.   But, to answer your question: I still say hello and will continue to be “friendly” with people who dislike me. It’s who I am but my good intentions and friendliness shouldn’t be confused with my intent to confront bad disrespectful behaviors or cheaters.  I won’t go out of my way to say hello to someone who dislikes me or wants to put me in check mate but I will continue to play the game….”

So I’m hunched over the chess board of life pondering my next move- as the dark opponent watches me from across the board.  It’s not an easy game and there are no guarantees that I will win but I will finish it to the end and I will enjoy the challenge.  Pieces will fall but I will strive to never regret a move- even if it’s a wrong one. We learn from our mistakes and we learn to play a better game next time.  And lately in life I have won more games than I have lost. Check…


Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/


By Dave Moore

Lines Along The Wall- The Beginning  was written by Dave Moore and published by Moore Motivation, LLC in 2014. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle(Click Book Cover to go to Amazon). Visit the author at: http://mooremotivated.com/


Lines Along the Wall is a true story, of a boy finding his way to manhood, as Dave pursues his ultimate dream of becoming a military aviator.
In this inspiring story of perseverance, Dave takes you along on the decisions, or “lines” he has chosen in his life—good or bad—in his many adventures, some hilarious, some serious, some you will question, some you will relate to.
Lines Along the Wall is a feel good story that offers a lot of laughs for all generations to enjoy. From playing sports, to rushing a fraternity, a Coast Guard drill instructor straightening his path, and surviving a plane crash, he will make you laugh, cry, or wonder just how hard did he hit his head!

I have often wondered if you took all of the people in this world “who should have died” in an accident – and asked them how their lives have changed from experiencing that one event- how many of them would say that their lives have become more positive and purposeful? I believe that you would find that a good number of these people have moved on to more fulfilling and richer lives than they ever had before “the event”.  I believe Dave Moore is one of those people who not only has a better life than he did before his plane crash but that he appreciates life a lot more than ever before. By reaching out and telling his story, his life now also has a purpose: To help people find strength and to move on, just as he did.

After the plane crashed into some trees Dave, with broken ribs and skin hanging from his face and skull, literally crawled through the woods with another seriously injured man who was also in the plane. It took them 1.5 hours to finally get back to the airport where they finally found help. It was an amazing story of survival where he was later told by several people, including NTSB officials, that he shouldn’t be alive.

Although the story about the aftermath of the crash is a good one- this book is also about Dave’s earlier life and how he moved through his “lines”.  In the first part of the book we find out how Dave learned about integrity and team work from his elders and peers.  And he takes us through the physically painful process of playing football, his problems with alcohol and describes an incident where he was randomly beaten up and put in the hospital by a group of drunken teenagers.  Through it all he manages as most young people do but his desires in life, regardless of his struggles, keeps him moving forward.

This is the first book in the series and I look forward to learning more about Dave’s life and his future aspirations.

I give Lines Along The Wall- The Beginning 4 stars.


Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Dave Moore will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday April 14, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.

By Samuel Hawley

Bad Elephant Far Stream  was written by Samuel Hawley and published by Conquistador Press in 2013. You may purchase it at Amazon/Kindle (Click Book Cover to go to site). Visit the author on Facebook:


Bad Elephant Far Stream is an animal story for adults, a novel about the odyssey of a circus elephant, told from her own perspective, through her own eyes. Inspired by the true story of the circus elephant Topsy, the subject of the 1903 Thomas Edison film “Electrocution of an Elephant,” it begins in the forests of Ceylon in the late 1860s with the capture of a baby elephant known to her own kind as Far Stream. She is taken to America chained in a ship, a journey of several months, and sent to the Adam Forepaugh Circus in Philadelphia. There, Far Stream embarks on a new life under the big top, appearing first as “Baby Annie,” then, when she grows bigger, as “Topsy,” part of Forepaugh’s famed elephant dancing quadrille. She crisscrosses North America for thirty years with the circus, experiencing hardships, kidnapping, escapes and adventure. But when she comes to outweigh her keepers by a factor of forty—it’s hard not to hurt somebody. It’s hard not to get labeled as “bad.”

This story will shock you from the start.  It will give you pause to think as to why man will go to all lengths to achieve profit and entertainment value; even when it eventually leads to the brutal death of a mammoth of an innocent animal who has endured over thirty years of confinement and pain.

The old saying, “An elephant never forgets” seems appropriate to the central theme of the story as Far Stream tries desperately to remember the happier times of her youth when she was free with her family in the wild.  Clouding and overshadowing those memories are the years and years of captivity while traveling as a circus entertainer- at the hands of her human handlers.   Swept up in the demanding business of the circus, both human and elephant alike encounter the hard life under the big top where behaviors can go from friendly to mean, cruel and deadly in an instant.

Far Stream captured my heart immediately and her remarkable displays of human emotions touched my soul in a way that I will never forget.  An example of this is when, after a horrible incident, she is seen crying- with tears flowing down her cheeks. She also develops a close bonding, long term relationship with one of her handlers and she becomes friends with a dog near the end of her life, which is very touching.  When the end finally comes for this endearing behemoth- it’s because she can’t control her natural responses to protect herself. It’s a testament to what can sometimes happen when humans and wild animals are brought together in the same venue.

The author tells this tale from the perspective of an elephant.  In presenting the story in this way, Samuel Hawley helped to perk my curiosity about a true story that I may have never read.  I enjoyed this book so much that I had to research the story further- which led me to the shocking and disturbing video where we see the final moments of Topsy’s life. I’ve included the video below.

I give Bad Elephant Far Stream 4 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Samuel Hawley will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday March 3, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.

The above story was inspired by the following video, Thomas Edison film “Electrocution of an Elephant :


Talking & Listening- Is It A Dying Art?

Facebook just turned ten years old- so I was wondering: How many of you are ready and willing to parent and feed this child for another ten years or longer? Or the bigger question: Are you content with reading about your friends and loved ones lives- above talking and listening to them?


I know, it’s the sign of the times and times are changing and I too engage in social media and text messaging- probably much more than some others but it’s a question that I am struggling with and it’s a question that I believe a lot of us haven’t really thought much about because we have been so caught up in the many positive aspects of social media. After all, who can deny that we haven’t been brought closer together with friends and family, some of them separated from us by thousands of miles- after seeing pictures and videos that chronicle their every day lives?

When we see a status update we sometimes feel compelled to respond and our message is most of the time met with either a “like” or a nice comment. But… then there’s other times when voice inflection, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, which we receive in a face to face meeting or in part; on the phone, is lost. We lose an important part of that good face to face or ear to ear communication when it is needed most of all: When we are engaged in written messages that can seem more contentious and confrontational than they were really meant to be. When the last word is written in a heated message, many times it will end any further communication between two people; sometimes for months and sometimes forever.  But when you are face to face or on the phone, a patch up or ease in an argument or relationship is much more likely- which is usually prompted by moving onto another subject or activity.  With that being said- it’s during these times when the written word alone fails us and ultimately- it could end a cherished relationship that we have been building for years.

A study that was presented by Ofcom has shown that our long love affair with the phone call has finally gone into reverse as of 2011. Landline usage fell by 10% in 2011 and mobile phone calls fell by 1%. I would also go out on a limb and suggest that face to face interactions are also in decline. 

I would argue that we are no longer talking or listening to each other in the ways that we should be. Myself included. Facebook and social media have enhanced relationships both near and far- but talking and listening have taken a back seat and I think it’s time we pay more attention to that very important part of human interaction.

With this in mind, along with other projects that need to be completed, I have decided to take a leave from Facebook for 2 weeks.  It will be sort of a retreat to re-focus my energies on my life and to decide on where I want to go as I approach my sixth decade.  During this time, I may even pay a visit and or make a phone call or two. I hope you will do the same…



Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/


By Shewanda Pugh

Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings  was written by Shewanda Pugh and published by Delphine Publications in 2013. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle. Visit the author on Facebook:

An eleven-year-old boy hitchhikes 1500 miles from Bismarck to Miami; a prostitute yearns for escape from a prison of her own making, and the horrible secrets of a long-ago murder are unraveled in the shadows of one woman’s dreams. Lizzie Hammond is an ill-fated whore that believes in little, save her own ultimate demise. Kenji Tanaka is a pseudo-architect, content to hide in the shadows of his family’s overwhelming success. Neither can stand the other. But the appearance of a boy only rumored to be true helps them discover that two unlikely halves can fit together as the perfect whole. For Lizzie Hammond and Kenji Tanaka, redemption is found in the most unlikely of places: each other, even as the world around them disintegrates.

This story, as was the case in the first book of this series, points out all of the complexities of life and the conflicts that can arise when people, who have been tossed into a difficult existence, try to mix the extreme pleasures and pains of living- in hopes of coming up with happily ever after. Sometimes it’s like trying to mix oil and water.

When you take the pain and hopelessness of the impoverished and couple it with the comfort and prosperity of the rich, the story which can be told will be one of interest and intrigue. The author measures up to the task and delivers an emotional tale of poverty, wealth, family, love and romance.

Shewanda Pugh brings back many of the same characters we met in her first book and she does it with exceptionally fine tuned writing skills- which is a huge credit to her and her continued success as a writer. She continues to excel as an author and I predict that she will keep climbing up those best seller lists.

I give Crimson Footprints II: New Beginnings 5 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Shewanda Pugh will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday February 17, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.

By- Darlyne Frederick

Queen Of My Immortal Heart was written by Darlyne Frederick and published by Xlibris in 2013. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle (Click on book image to the left). Visit the author on Facebook:


Vampire Princess, Nicoleta Morganthe, has been in love with Luke Sangre for over 300 years. An attack on his pack took him from her side two centuries ago, but she has never forgotten him. On the night of her crowning ceremony, she lays eyes on him once again! However, will he still love her after so much time has passed?

Werewolf, Luke Sangre, is finally back home in Romania after two centuries of being away fighting rogue werewolves and protecting his brothers overseas. His heart is still set on his precious Nicoleta. However, after so much time and no contact, will she still care for him and be the Queen of his Immortal Heart?

Will the deep love shared between Luke, a handsome werewolf and Nicole, a beautiful vampire, stand the test of time after being separated for over three centuries? Will Luke and Nicole be able to defeat the evil ones who are pitted against them- adversaries who are relentless in their attempts at driving them apart? You will find out in this steamy erotic story that has all of the fascination and excitement that is required for a good page turner.

I enjoyed this first book by author Darlyne Frederick. Her expertly detailed descriptions of place and actions are a strong testament to her writing abilities and this enhances and helps the characters personalities to flow nicely in this one. The only ingredient that I see a bit lacking in this story is not enough conflict in the middle of the tale, otherwise this is a good first book by the author and I will definitely look forward to future works by Darlyne Frederick. I give Queen Of My Immortal Heart 4 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Darlyne Frederick will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday February 3, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.

The Storms Of Deliverance  was written by Larry Higdon and published by Tate Publishing in 2011. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle. Visit the author on Facebook:


By Larry Higdon


Johnson was living as an alcoholic in denial. He said he could stop anytime he wanted and this attitude prompted Katy, his ex-wife, who he still had feelings for, to write a letter telling him that she would always love him but their relationship was over because of his drinking. While struggling with the finality of the letter, Johnson is involved in an automobile accident that turns his whole world upside down. He soon experiences, what he believes, is time travel which launches him twenty-seven years into the future. There he deals with an “amnesia” that others have told him accounts for his inability to remember the twenty-seven years he has lost. In this new existence of time and place, Johnson has to work at making some sense of his life- and his past. He is haunted by spirits of his past, but he hopes that he can find a way to find worth and contentment in his life.  Then…another tragedy strikes.

Larry Higdon uses his experience as a grade school councilor to delve into the psychology of children and he also uses his knowledge and his writing tools to take us into the mind of an addict. The story flows along nicely and all of us can relate to the characters  in this book.

This story has an emotional appeal that will jerk your tears and enlighten you. This is a good first book debut for Larry Higdon and I can see more good works from this author in the future.


I give The Storms Of Deliverance 4 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Larry Higdon will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday January 20, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.


The Silent Partner was written by Terrence King and published by Trafford Publishing in 2012. You may purchase it at Amazon.com/Kindle. Visit the author on Facebook.

By Terrence King

Homer, a misbehaving angel, with a tenacious attitude and a mouth that would make Gabriel cringe is sent back to Earth to help a struggling columnist publish a book that will save the world- or so God says. God has removed Homer from nine-hundred years of isolation for her bad behavior and given her this mission of extreme importance so that she may redeem herself but Homer, even after being in isolation for nine-hundred years, is still distrusting of God and she isn’t afraid to let him know it. Yet, it’s her job to find a way to get the book published- but there is one major obstacle: She can’t use her angelic powers to get it done. She has to play by God’s rule of free will which exists in a world of humans- who are seen by her as being violent, self centered brats. Even so, the fate of the world is at stake and Homer is the one who has to save it- and she has very little time to do it.

I enjoyed reading this book. The humor value is good as the interactions between Homer and God gave me more than a few chuckles but it also brings back all of those age old questions of why does a loving, caring God act the way he does? Even Homer, a God sent angel on a mission, has to endure living on the streets and sleeps at night in a cardboard box.

This being the authors first novel- I found it to be easy to read and the characters were likable and interesting. The only thing that kept the star rating hovering between a 3 and 4 was the slowness in developing the plot between a few of the main characters. I really enjoyed Homer a lot and looked forward to the story to swing back to her and her earthly adventures. The book gets better as you turn the pages and it especially delivered it’s best near the end.

I give The Silent Partner 4 stars.

Please visit the author of this post: Tom Riddell: http://www.tomriddell.com/

Terrence King will be our guest on The Writers Lounge Blog Talk Radio Show on Monday January 6, 2014 at 7PM Central Time-USA.