There are certain topics one tends to avoid in “polite conversation.” Few men are willing to bring up the fact they are battling prostate cancer; the emotional roller coaster that ensues following one’s diagnosis is a difficult path to navigate, and sharing those emotions with others is often traumatic. But retired psychologist R. Steven Heaps addresses the topic head-on with humor, prostate cancer information and even poetry in his new book, “The Rancid Walnut.”
As an ultra-marathon runner (known by the handle “Skookumtumtum”), Heaps was determined to continue his active lifestyle after his diagnosis, despite the compound problem of cardiac arrhythmias and other heart conditions. So he used cognitive-behavioral psychology and therapeutic writing to tackle his fears and, in turn, provide men with a window into the emotional labyrinth he was forced to navigate. The result was “The Rancid Walnut,” which frankly confronts issues such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction with self-deprecating (and often bawdy) humor and keen, first-person insight. Heaps taught at Gonzaga University and the University of Manitoba before spending 28 years in private practice. He has run more than 60 races of 31 to 100 miles in length. “The Rancid Walnut” was sparked by his membership in “Write From the Heart,” a group that uses poetry to deal with life events.
“The Rancid Walnut” is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-994-1) and e-book (ISBN 978-1-62137-008-6) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States and United Kingdom. More information can be found at the author’s website, www.rancidwalnut.com.
“Out of the crowd there came forward, like a young Moses in the midst of his people, the warm and personable Peter Opeka.” So describes Cardinal Franc Rode in the foreword of Jesús María Silveyra’s new book, Padre Pedro: Apostle of Hope, from Virtualbookworm.com Publishing. This work is a tribute to the life and ministry of Father Peter Opeka, known to the people of Madagascar as Padre Pedro.
Silveyra begins by recalling the day he first read the name of Father Opeka in a newspaper article. The priest was being recognized for his efforts to reduce poverty in his country; the headline credited him with “[Rescuing] 17,000 Africans from the streets.” This caught Silveyra’s attention, so he continued to read. Having only recently published a novel about a political figure who endeavored to accomplish a very similar goal, the author was especially excited to read that the priest would be visiting Argentina. He determined to extend Opeka an invitation to be a guest on the weekly radio show hosted by the Silveyra family. At the time, Silveyra had no idea of the impact that this “man with a beard and curly hair” would have upon his own life.
Within 314 pages, Jesús María Silveyra provides a look at the lives of not only Father Opeka, but the priest’s parents as well, detailing a handful of the events that led the man to become called to a life of sacrifice through his ministry. He also shares his firsthand experiences from a visit to Father Opeka’s country in which he was fortunate enough to take part in the priest’s work.
Opeka has received numerous awards from churches, governments and various organizations, including the Kiwanis World Service Medal. Compared with Mother Teresa and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, his nominations are strongly supported by such diverse personalities as Vatican’s Cardinal Franc Rode, Albert II of Monaco and American astronaut and author Dr. Jerry Linenger.
“Padre Pedro: Apostle of Hope” is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-986-6) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at the book’s official U.S. website, www.padrepedro.net.
Jim Novy may not be a familiar name to many, but his story is truly one that surpasses that of most who arrived in the United States during the peak of the Eastern European Jewish immigration wave. The remarkable tale of this formerly unsung figure in Texas history is laid out in great detail in a new book from Virtualbookworm.com Publishing entitled “The First Jew of Texas: The Life of Jim Novy,” edited by David Chapin. Narrowly escaping his small Polish village to land in Galveston, Texas with his brothers in 1913, Jim Novy's first few years in America involved numerous attempts to make a start in the business industry. As a teenage immigrant in a strange new world, one can assume he had no idea as to the outstanding and prosperous future that awaited him on this nation's shores. Ultimately becoming the owner of an Austin-based scrap metal business, which would grow exponentially as the economy called for a higher demand of his product, Novy achieved a wealth greater than he could have imagined upon leaving Europe. Although not literally the first Jew to arrive in the State of Texas, he received the title "First Jew of the State of Texas" from the editors of the Texas Jewish Press in 1942 after they released a series of articles telling his life's story. From here, his success would grow even further, extending to links within the White House and a personal friendship with President Lyndon B. Johnson. David Chapin compiled parts of this work from the archives of Elaine Shapiro, but the text also includes information culled through a wide variety of sources, from the LBJ presidential library to interviews with the Novy family to the oral and written history of the Congregation Agudas Achim (the synagogue to which Jim Novy belonged during his lifetime). These accounts of Novy's life and endeavors come together to form a compelling success story that will leave readers with a desire to strive for excellence in their own lives.
"The First Jew of Texas: The Life of Jim Novy" is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-991-0), hardcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-992-7), and ebook (ISBN 978-1-60264-993-4) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. More information can be found at www.jimnovy.com .
In Lisa Lödy’s new fantasy novel Bringing Avalon Back (set in 1000AD Britain), Sage Uberchat realizes she is a magician when she swears to Morgan of the Faeries that she will bring Avalon back. With the help of a magic deck of cards, which can be entered by uttering the sacred word, Sage is driven by forces from the future and past to bring Avalon back. From the Scottish Highlands to the center of Stonehenge; from castle towers to the inner realm of trees, Sage travels in and out of time and space, guided by goddesses and wizards, drawing cards within which even the air molecules are made of magic. Prepare to burst beyond the glaze of what we thought was real. This is a spell far more than a novel and anyone who reads it becomes part of the unprecedented task of bringing a lost world back into reality. Lisa Lödy was born in upstate New York where as a child she enjoyed nature and spending time in the woods. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in English from Syracuse University. There she learned to hone her craft through writing poetry. This book took her over twenty years to prepare, studying Native American and Druid shamanism and traveling through the United Kingdom. Sage’s magic cards were designed and made by Lödy herself. They helped her write this book, and still exist today.
Bringing Avalon Back is available in softcover (ISBN: 978-1-62137-036-9) and hardcover (ISBN: 978-1- 62137-037-6) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and numerous other online sites. It is also available in ebook format (ISBN: 978-1-62137-038-3)
Barn yard animals demonstrate they have much to teach us about friendship in the innovative children’s book “Friends It Is!” by K.B. Bateman. There are many diverse farm animals living at Skylark Farm, however they live in harmony treating one another with respect and kindness. When a new animal is brought into their lives, they are initially surprised by his unique appearance. Despite their differences, the animals are kind and accepting of him, quickly forming new friendships. K.B. Bateman’s mission is to promote peace in the world. She believes diversity is not something to fear, but rather something to value. In order to depict this viewpoint, Bateman created a story where the characters teach by example by showing respect to those in their world who are different. When Bateman lived at her much loved Skylark Farm, she witnessed this in practice every day between her animals, creating the inspiration for her ground-breaking work. Bateman states, “If only we were all fortunate enough to live in a place like Skylark, where everyone is kind and gets along nicely regardless of their differences. What a marvelous world that would be!”
“Friends It Is!” is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-62137-013-0) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com.
Throughout the course of American history, a great number of Native American traditions have been forgotten. However, there are those who have sought to preserve these belief systems and continue to incorporate them into their everyday lives in modern society. Author Salvatore Gencarelle is one such man, and shares the principles and practices he has learned in his time as the assistant of a Native American medicine man in his new book, A Man Among The Helpers.. The path that led Gencarelle to have such a passion for Native American healing practices was not only a journey of knowledge, but one of intense spirituality. At the age of 15, he began ceremonial training under a Lakota Sioux medicine man who would one day become his father-in-law, and who also happened to be a direct descendent of the medicine man “Chipps,” who served the ever-famous Chief Crazy Horse of the Lakota Tribe. Not your typical learning experience, completion of his goal to become a Native American healer required 17 years, during which time he performed whatever tasks necessary to earn this high honor among the people he had come to love. A paramedic with over 16 years of experience under his belt, Salvatore Gencarelle is also a photographer, artist, freelance writer, and musician. He travels extensively not only across the North American continent, but around the world to share his experiences and wisdom with those who have the desire to glean the rewards of traditional healing practices. He hopes this book will somehow help each and every reader to “find their own Vision.”
“A Man Among The Helpers” is available in softcover (ISBN 978-1-60264-939-2) and e-book (ISBN 978-1-60264-940-8) from Virtualbookworm.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. This book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States and United Kingdom. More information can be found at the author’s website, www.salvatoregencarelle.com.