For victims of abuse – Immortal Link

Buy at Amazon today!

Buy Immortal Link on Amazon US today!

Fifteen-year-old Catholine Kennan will satisfy your craving for total revenge in this YA paranormal novel, which was written for victims of sexual abuse.

Available on US and UK Amazon for your e-Reader today.  It is also available in Paperback.


How College Students Feel!

Here is a real-life exchange between my daughter “A” and me last year before she graduated from college. I was expecting her to apply to internships and jobs, she was planning a cruise with her friends after graduation (paying from her savings). I said no, because I wanted her to start working and earn her own money once she was done studying. “A” responded with this email:
I let C know I applied but they keep the position open till May 4th so I guess I will hear then? Plus, that internship and also the discovery one (so I’m guessing many others) start June 18th which is after the cruise and I’m not gonna get drunk and fall over the railing. Just cuz you don’t like cruises, you can’t keep everyone else from going on one, plus when I get an internship and a job my life is basically over and I won’t be able to travel or do anything and that’s what people always say to go on crazy adventures and travel when you’re in your twenties when you’re young and have time. And I’m not being overly dramatic; it’s proven science that every year you sit in a tiny cubicle punching numbers and listen to your boring boss talk about boring numbers, mergers, and other crap, more and more of your soul dies till one day you lose your mind and hang yourself from your shower curtain…suicide in adults is increasing because people start hating their routine lives of going to the same boring job everyday coming home to their spouse of 30 plus years and sit in silence with the TV on in the background because they ran out of things to talk about 20 years ago and are only staying together because divorce is expensive and neither has anything the other wants half of anyways. Seriously look at pictures of adults…real adults not models, look how their smiles never reach their eyes, how their eyes are dead inside. Then look at pictures of kids how their eyes shine bright with hopes and dreams and are so full of life. If the eyes are really windows to the soul then looking at the eyes of adults show how dead inside they are, how dead inside we will all become sooner or later. Our imminent death reaches us many years before our bodies actually crap out on us. You see, we die three times: 1 when the soul already gives up and leaves us, 2 when our bodies shut down forever and 3 when the last living person on earth says our name for the last time because we all are insignificant and we will all be forgotten eventually so what is the point? You see we all learn in college about the life that awaits us after, how hell is not a place where bad souls go when they die, it is right here on earth called corporate America and you see why we really never want to graduate. Hence, please let me go on this cruise before death number 1 becomes real. “A”
Mom’s response: Where on earth did you hear that crap?! We just had a group discussion in the hallway debating your argument. My co-workers and even the boss told me to let you go. You should be a lawyer. But you will have to tell Dad when you come home. Mom
Okay cool see ya tomorrow! Thanks :) “A”
(Mom) A few hours later: I thought about your argument some more: First of all, children’s eyes shine bright with hopes and dreams because their bills are still paid for by adults, as were yours up to now. Second, I am deliriously happy with my life, my job, my hobbies and even chores because I do all the things I am passionate about, so my smiles do reach my eyes. Life is not over after you graduate and not all adults feel dead in their jobs. I am thrilled when I wake up in the mornings and can’t wait to start the day. I take classes that challenge and excite me, I work with amazing people, I indulge in my passions – reading, writing, walking, coffee, chocolate – and I expect good news and miracles every day. My life rocks!!!
I haven’t told Dad yet, you can do that when you come home.
Now get busy and keep applying, you will see that earning your own money and paying your bills is awesome and liberating!! Mom
(I am happy to add that the cruise went well, “A” didn’t fall overboard, and afterward landed a good internship in Cambridge, England for six months from which she will be returning next week.

Daughter asks “Helicopter Mom” to back off!

I need you to listen to me and I need you to listen good because I’m really about to lose it and I don’t really know how to say this without it sounding mean and I hope it doesn’t hurt your feelings, that’s not my intention but I’m not one to sugarcoat anything so here it is.
Stop helping me.
I don’t ask for it hardly ever you just always do. And help is good but I don’t want you to help me anymore unless I come to you to for it because I really don’t know what to do like paying taxes or bills or that kind of adult stuff. When I come to you stressing out I just want to vent and I just want your support. I don’t want a life lesson and I don’t actually want help unless I say “Mom idk what I’m doing I need help”. All my life you’ve been doing things for me before I could ever even try to do it myself. I went to college and my suitemate had to teach me how to do laundry…I mean I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t and yes our basement still really creeps me out but still. I like being able to do things for myself like for instance I didn’t tell you about my whole bankcard situation from Germany until about December because for the whole month of November I was trying to fix it myself and then when I was totally out of ideas I came to you. That’s why I get so mad when you have dozens of people changing my resume… I know you show your colleagues because they are intelligent and highly educated but you forget that I am too. I took an interviewing class where we learned fundamental interviewing skills but also how to properly formulate a resume, cover letter and elevator pitch and I got an A in that class and my senior year I took Business and Professional Communications where we polished those skills and I got an A in that, too. But you don’t believe that I am great too, I know you say you do but you constantly doubt my abilities and need to call in your professional friends before I can even try.
But I learned at school, away from home, how truly great I am. I solved so many problems on my own; ones that you never knew and probably never will know about and so I learned new skills and shaped the person I am today that I have come to really like. I know that sounds a bit stuck up but that’s just because we live in a society where if you like yourself and put yourself first you’re a bad person. How dare I look in the mirror and not become horribly depressed by what I see, how dare I walk with my head up and not be afraid of the world…well, oh well.
And maybe you don’t doubt me, not really, but you’re so afraid of me failing that you push any problem I might face out of the way. But I’m not afraid of failing. In fact I know you have to fail in order to succeed. So overall, I’m not living to please you anymore, or Dad or anyone else. I’m living for me and is that selfish? Damn right it is, but it’s my life and I am allowed to be selfish. Just like you should be selfish with your life. Everyone should be selfish with their own life and living for themselves, it’s their life and no one else’s. And that’s okay. It’s good! We just live in a world where we are taught that being selfish is a bad thing but it’s not really if you think about it.
So, I’m probably not going to email that girl from that place you told me about because I’m not interested in that kind of work. In the past I have always done what you wanted me to do and I’ve mostly ended up not liking it (no offense) like I took the first job that hired me in school. I hated it and I was holding out on working at Forever 21 but you told me to take the first job that hired me, so I did. Same with X University. I didn’t really wanna go there but they were the first school that accepted me and were relatively cheap. So there I went and the only reason I didn’t try to transfer was because of my sorority which I did for myself and by myself. I worked hard to get in and I worked hard for the positions I held and I felt really accomplished and that’s part of the reason why I loved it so much. I also took that spa job even though I knew I would hear back from [the internship] soon but there was nothing I could do because you emailed L for me because I wouldn’t answer my phone because I was the game with Dad…of course I wasn’t gonna answer my phone mom! But there I went and then just as I knew would happen I had to get myself out of a situation that I didn’t wanna be in that you put me in. But it wasn’t you that had to make the phone call saying I had to leave and I had wasted both their and my time so I guess your hands are clean.
And this internship…As fantastic as this opportunity is and I love every second of it, you made this happen with M, not me so it’s not really my accomplishment is it? You single handedly paid for my schooling which is seriously the greatest gift I have ever received and I can’t thank you enough for it, but if you paid for it then it’s not really mine is it? I know I put in the work but whose really is it? I mean do I really have a single accomplishment that I can call my own? I guess not yet. You guys own my car and the house I live in, my dog and the cats. You really could just kick me out and leave me nothing if you wanted to. I own nothing yet…am nothing really and I don’t like anyone having that kind of power or control over me, or any kind of power or control, so I will live out my dreams, I will find myself a job in the city that I love and I will do it on my own with my own acquired skills and when I fail a few times that will be on me. I will have no one to blame but myself and I will be okay, and when I succeed and oh, will I succeed, it will be a fabulous day because I know I did it. And of course I know I will need some help along the way, but you have to at least let me try alone first. Does that make sense?
Please don’t think that I think you’re a bad mom, you’re a great mom and pretty cool and I love you, but I just need you to back off with the helping so much. Support and just being there is enough I swear and I will come to you for help when I need it, but I need to try it on my own a bit first. And if all this makes me seem like a bad person or even a bad daughter then sorry, but I’m not sorry. This is just me growing up and that’s a good thing!!
Anyways, sorry to drop all this on you but I’m gonna lose my mind if it stays this way. You don’t have to respond if you don’t want to or you can scream at me I guess, but I won’t see it till tomorrow because I need sleep and morning comes early.
Good night, love you!

Response: This is probably the best letter in history and it makes me feel FREE! I love every word you wrote and I will treasure this letter forever and refer to it when I feel the need to step in.
If it weren’t for Dad always thinking the worst, worrying about you getting a job, I think I would be more relaxed. But I will read it to him and together we will try to back off.
You still need a ride home from the airport, right?
You are awesome, amazing and I am the proudest mama ever. Now I hope I can let you live your life. I never planned on becoming a helicopter mom or to love you too much to let you breathe, but when you were born and they laid you into my arms, and I looked at you and you at me, this is what happened. My life, my being, all evaporated and you became my whole life. That’s the only way I can describe it. Still better than the other way around though, right?
This is incredible, thank you. Love always, your Mama

YOLO – You Only Live Once – Do You?

“If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, it is enough if you prove that one crow is white.” William James

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“These are the kind of data I wouldn’t believe, even if they were true.” (A skeptic, qtd. in Schwartz 122)


YOLO – You Only Live Once – Do You?

People have been searching for answers to immortality since humans exist. As more and more pieces of the puzzle emerge, we come to understand that in this dimension the full picture might remain elusive, so an interpretation of the clues so far available is left to the individual. What the character suffering from an incurable disease in Nadine Gordimer’s essay “Terminal” believes is that once we die, that’s it. There will be nothing, an end of consciousness, not even an awareness of the termination of life. Since she does not want to wait until she turns into a helpless, bedridden object, she attempts suicide but is rescued by her husband. It is clear that she is not afraid of dying, expecting nothing but a black stillness “afterward:”

Ever since she was a child she had understood it as a deep sleep, that’s all. Ever since she saw the first bird, lying under a hedge, whose eyes hadn’t openend when it was poked with a twig. But one can only be aware of a sleep as one awakens from it, and so one will never be aware of that deep sleep – she had no fear of death…( 526)

Since the early 1970s, resuscitation techniques have become so advanced that thousands of people were brought back from the brink of death. Many who were saved reported phenomena known as near death experiences (NDE) and out of body experiences (OBE). NDErs, as the survivors are commonly called, described being in the presence of a bright, peaceful and loving light and of meeting deceased loved ones. Almost all who experienced being in that realm wanted to stay there or cannot wait to go back once they die. Not only do NDErs testify about a life after death, but they comprehended that we all lived multiple lives.

If these experiences are true, the current popular credo, “YOLO” must be false. Backed by mounting research and evidence, scientists can now claim that there is life after death and that we have to come back until we learn the lessons we need to fulfill our purpose on earth – a task for which more than one lifetime is needed. I am saying that YDOLO – You Don’t Only Live Once!

One of the biggest doubters of a continuation of life after death was Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who used scientific evidence as the basis for his understanding of life and death. In 2008 this changed when he was the victim of a rare bacterial meningitis infection that inactivated the neocortex of his brain, putting him into a deep coma. For seven days he experienced “death.” Alexander writes about “flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky…which were quite simply different from anything [he had] known on this planet. They were more advanced. Higher forms” (3). He also talks about a booming, glorious sound like a chant, and a woman accompanying him who had “a look that, if you saw it for five seconds, would make your whole life up to that point worth living” (3). This woman, he found out later, was a deceased sister he never knew he had (he was adopted). Dr. Alexander also received a message consisting of three parts: “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever”, “You have nothing to fear,” and “There is nothing you can do wrong” (4); but the greatest message of all was LOVE. Alexander claims that all his questions were answered, transmitted without words, and with the certainty of knowledge that we will know everything after we die. When he woke up, he knew that he had been in the presence of a Higher Being. Getting a glimpse of continued consciousness after bodily death and discovering the truth had a profound effect on his life, taking away all his fear.

Dr. Alexander’s testimony about what he experienced while he was almost dead is very similar to other NDE survey results. His statement on the aftereffect of his NDE contains proof that his had indeed been a near death experience, not a hallucination, which would not have had a life changing effect.

“Taken together, it is safe to say that between 1975 and 2005, at least 55 researchers or teams in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia published at least 65 research studies involving 3,500 NDEs” (Holden 7). Of the thousands of surveys collected, almost all near death and out of body experiences progressed in a similar order: an out of body sensation, tunnel or bright light experience, overwhelming feeling of peace and love, encountering beings of light, going through a life review, a reluctance to return, and transformation/aftereffects which get stronger as the years pass.

Stafford L. Betty, the author of an article on the topic in a major religious journal, explains that we know a NDE is not a hallucination because NDEs are very similar to each other. If they were hallucinations, they would be very much different from each other (196). A near death experience has lifelong aftereffects such as the NDErs losing their fear of dying. They also reported more happiness, increased intelligence, and heightened psychic abilities. All experienced an awareness of total peace and unconditional love. When they returned to life, they were more empathetic to others’ needs and also more accepting and loving of themselves. Almost none of the NDErs wanted to come back to their lives unless they felt they had unfinished business such as raising their children. They encountered family and friends, but only the ones who had already passed. Throughout an NDE, many people have an out of body experience and correctly report proceedings that were going on around them as well as in other rooms while they were in a death-like coma. During hallucinations, people have no idea what happens around them. Also, their lives are not transformed and they are not healed, as happened in many cases of NDEs.

“Three-quarters of Americans believe in a life after death, but only one-quarter believes in reincarnation” (Weiss 47). All major religions acknowledge the immortality of the consciousness, spirit or soul, yet it depends upon people’s expectations whom they might meet in the afterlife: Jews will not recognize Jesus but Hashem, Catholics might encounter Mary or the archangel Michael, Christians see Jesus, and Muslims Allah, but all meet God. Whatever people’s belief of a Higher Being might be, that’s the entity they translate as seeing. Even atheists described being aware of an intense presence of love and peace.

All major religions accept the possibility of reincarnation, but at least one was forbidden to teach it. Jeanette Dunlap, author of Reincarnation And Survival of Life After Death, informs us that an empirical ruling almost 1500 years ago forbade Christians to believe in reincarnation:

History records that the early Christian Church believed in reincarnation and of the soul’s journey back to oneness to God. An Empirical decree by Emperor Justinian in 545 A.D. forced the ruling cardinals to draft a decree that anyone who believed that souls come from God and return to God would be punished by death. Due to this decree, biblical proof of awareness after death needs to be addressed…there are biblical scriptures illustrating the “awareness of the dead.” (159)

Dunlap explains that many Christian denominations continue teaching that there is no awareness after death. Meanwhile, “there is a contemporary attempt that scientifically studies and verifies reincarnation through past life memories recall, past life regression, meditation and mediumship” (160). One of the most famous regression therapists is Dr. Brian Weiss. Through regression therapy, a hypnosis that leads people into previous lives, Weiss has encountered thousands of cases where individuals reported detailed accounts of their prior lives which were later confirmed. Not only that, but he insists that everyone lived or will live hundreds of lives, and is convinced that we will meet the same people from past lifetimes over and over again! There is a genuine recognizing in people who participate in his regression therapy of seeing their mothers who are now their children or the other way around, people who were lovers in previous lives who recognized each other as soul mates in the present one, and groups of people, such as families, reincarnating together to take on different bodies in the next life, while their souls stay the same. Dr. Weiss uses the example of one of his patients this happened to:

Jenny Cockell, a British woman, discovered the children whom she had born during her previous incarnation as Mary Sutton in Ireland in the early 20th century. Five of Mary’s children were still alive when Jenny found them in the 1990s. They were able to completely confirm Jenny’s past-life recall of even minor events in their childhoods, events that occurred more than 70 years prior to their emotional reunion with Jenny – the reincarnation of their mother, Mary Sutton. (48)

This would also explain déjà vu and have-we-met-before sensations.

Discovering through regression therapy who they were in past life times and how they died has helped many patients in the present life to let go of fears and health problems. Weiss calls these “past-live PTSDs” and points out that the way to validate past-life experiences is through the disappearance of phobias or illnesses. The only way this is possible is through an actual memory, not merely by imagining about being healed (83). Dunlap echoes this assertion as she writes in her article:

Past life regression can untap realms of hidden memories to discover past life. Hypnotic regression and past life therapy studies are often used to prove or verify existence of past lives: 77% of clients’ problems were helped and 23% of clients’ problems were considered cured. (162)

Testimonies exist of scientists who set out to disprove the possibility of life after death and reincarnation. One such scientist, Dr. Helen Wambach, is mentioned in Weiss’s book. As she began her experiments and scientific investigation she realized that the more she uncovered, the more she disproved her own conviction. At the end of her research she admitted in a publication that she “now not only believes in reincarnation but knows it” (222). “Thanks to the tireless efforts of researchers, we can legitimately state now that reincarnation can be accepted on the basis of clinical data and not solely by belief” (Weiss 49).

Another possible way to verify that our consciousness stays intact after our earthly bodies wear out is through the research done by Dr. Gary E. Schwartz on the beliefs of Harvard professor William James. In the early 1900s, James was convinced that our consciousness never dies and continues to attest his hypotheses from the other side! With the help of two certified mediums James was able to ‘work’ with Schwartz on validating this assertion. Schwartz also met with Susy Smith who “had published two books supposedly in collaboration with James since he had passed” (127). Smith claimed that her primary guide from the other side was William James and that he was interested in participating in more research (Schwartz 127). After establishing that the mediums were authentic and validating that everything they related in regard to William James was accurate and impossible to know otherwise, Schwartz concludes that “the totality of the findings appears to have the ‘look and feel’ of consciousness and intention” (144). It is interesting to note that when Smith herself passed away she was able to affirm her own continuing consciousness from the other side. Predictions she had made while still alive were confirmed through a medium who relayed messages from Smith after her death. “The emerging spontaneous evidence appeared to be consistent with the thesis that the survival of consciousness hypothesis…was potentially viable” (Schwartz 146).

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who wrote many books on dying and the afterlife, sat at the deathbed of thousands of patients. Through their accounts, right before they passed, she acquired absolute certainty that nobody ever dies alone, even if a person would die in outer space. Each one of us will be met by deceased loved ones and either sent back if it is not yet our time or be reunited with deceased friends and family until we chose another body to be born into. Dr. Kübler-Ross states that:

What we hear from our friends who have passed over, people who came back to share with us, is that…you will be given an opportunity, not to be judged by a judgmental God, but to judge yourself, by having to review every single action, every word, and every thought of your life. You make your own hell or your own heaven by the way you have lived. (35) Death does not exist. (17)

There is more substantiation for life after death and reincarnation: 1) Our pets will greet us on the other side. “Every research medium the author has worked with has claimed that animal consciousness is no different from human consciousness in its essence; i.e. it continues to survive after physical death” (Schwartz 130), and 2) You will not be punished for committing suicide, but you have to come back to learn the lesson. “There is a commonality among people who take their own lives – as well as among children who die young – in that their souls are returned to earth more quickly, for there is still so much that needs to be learned” (Weiss 223).

After compiling so much evidence on life after death, what proof do we have that we only live once? After thousands of near death experience reports trying to explain the awareness of an indescribable light filled with peace and love many call “God,” the question is: How could there be only a black void that awaits us at the end of our earthly life? Doctors, regression therapists, and mediums have encountered agnostics and atheists who, after coming out of a NDE, admitted they were wrong. We don’t even have to try to wrap our human mind around this phenomenal idea. When Moses asked God at the burning bush, “What is your name, whom shall I tell the people sent me,” knowing it was impossible for them to fully comprehend Him, God replied, “Tell them, I am who I am.” In other words, don’t try to understand. Just look at where the evidence is pointing.

“The history of science reminds us of countless instances where what was once assumed to be science fiction eventually became science fact” (Schwartz 150). We will one day have to accept, with the development of the necessary tools to attest that consciousness persists after physical death, that our spirit exists as never-extinguishable energy. Schwartz emphasizes that the world is at yet another “paradigm shift,” a change in our basic worldview, just as humans once had to accept the fact that “the sun does not spin around the earth,” but vice versa, or that “the earth is round, not flat” (149). We can now add these clues to our findings:

We are all one.

There is nothing to fear.

All is love.

We can never die.

We have many lives.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.” (Richard Bach, qtd. in Tod Kelly)


Works Cited

Dr. Alexander, Eben. “My Proof of Heaven; A neurosurgeon’s journey into the afterlife.” Newsweek, 00289604, 15 Oct. 2012. Vol. 160. Issue 16. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Betty, Stafford L. “Five Reasons That NDEs Point To Life After Death: A Dialogue.” Journal Of Religion & Psychical Research 28.4 (2005): 195-202. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

Dunlap, Jeanetta W. “Reincarnation And Survival Of Life After Death: “Is There Evidence That Past Life Memories Suggest Reincarnation?” Journal Of Spirituality & Paranormal Studies 30.(2007): 157-170. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Gordimer, Nadine. “Terminal.Reading Literature and Writing Argument.  Ed. Missy James and Alan P. Merickel. 4th ed. Boston: Longman. 2011. 524-526. Print.


Holden, Miner Janice, Bruce Greyson, and Debbie James. The Handbook of Near- Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2009. Print.

Kelly, Tod. “The League of Ordinary Gentlemen.” Politics & Foreign Affairs.  September 2, 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Life After Death, revised. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts. 2008. Print. “Leonora Piper by Graham Jennings.” Two World Issue 4419. 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.

Schwartz, Gary E. “William James and the Search for Scientific Evidence of Life After Death  Past, Present, and Possible Future.” Journal of Consciousness Studies.   Vol.: 17.  iss.: 11/12. 2010. Start Page: 121-152. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Feb. 2013.

Weiss, Brian L. M.D. Miracles Happen; The Transformational Healing Power of Past-Life Memories. New York: HarperCollins. 2012. Print.


Facebook friends write book in memory of shooting victim and create scholar ship

Facebook friends dedicate book to Gudrun Johnson

By Jim Carney                                 Beacon Journal staff writer

A book of stories from German women living in America called Good-bye, Germany: Hallo, Amerika! has been dedicated to Gudrun Johnson, one of the victims of last August’s shootings in Copley Township.

The book, written by Uta Burke, of East Brunswick, N.J., and women who are part of the Facebook page “German Girls Living in America,” includes a chapter with photographs on Gudrun Johnson, who was a group member.

Johnson grew up in Wiesbaden-Biebrich.

Annemarie Stockman, another member of the group, said she met Johnson through Facebook more than three years ago.

“We became close personal friends,” Stockman said by email from Postville, Iowa. She said Johnson loved having fun and often played pranks on group members.

“I miss her more than I could tell you,” she wrote. Losing her ripped “a hole in my life … I thank God for the memories I have of the time I was able to know her.”

Marlies Jacobsen, of Englewood, Ohio, said she met her future husband through the Johnsons when Gudrun and her husband, Russell, were stationed with the 81st Airborne in Germany.

“Gudrun was my very best friend,” Jacobsen said of the woman she had known for 52 years.

She brought a heart-shaped wreath — decorated with a ribbon with German colors — on behalf of the Facebook friends to the Johnsons’ funeral last year.

Helga “Gigi” Hudson said she met Johnson when they were teenagers in Wiesbaden-Biebrich and remained friends.

“We spoke the last time on the phone two days before that senseless tragedy,” Hudson wrote by email from Greensboro, N.C.

“For a long time I still had one of Gurdie’s messages on my cellphone,” she wrote. “My friend is in my heart and soul. I will miss her until the day I leave this earth.”

Burke, a writer of young adult fiction, said she joined the Facebook group in the spring of 2011.

“On August 9th, I went on [Facebook], and the first thing I saw was the news about Gudrun being shot,” she wrote. “Our group, which consists of 1,200 members, was beyond shocked. We collected money, part of which was for the wreath.”

In April, Burke said, she got the idea to compile the experiences of the women living in America into a book. She asked the Facebook friends if they would write the book together and dedicate it to Johnson.

“They loved the idea, and three months later, we had 300 pages,” she said.

Burke, a native of Ulm, Germany, said proceeds from the book’s sales will be donated to the Akron Al-Anon Tuesday night group, a gathering Johnson supported. The goal is to establish a scholarship in her name.

The book, written mostly in German, is available from and other sellers for about $16.

Upper Young Adult note passing with Sykosa!

Hi Sykosa,
thanks so much for caring and for keeping my secret. I don’t ever want anybody to know what happened to me, and my two big brothers and I swore an oath to never tell our mother, because it so would kill her. But I really want to talk to you about “IT” because I know you’d understand that it totally wasn’t my fault, that’s why I kinda let you in on this, because you once told me this almost happened to you and now I find out to someone in your school, too. I can’t believe how many people this is happening to and how many of those monsters are getting away with it!! Well, I kinda know, because nobody ever talks about it because we’re so embarrassed, but I already decided that I will not let The Bastard get away with what he did. My brothers, who are always totally protective of me, are falling apart over it and I am so worried about them. That’s why I decided to take revenge on my own. And my new neighbor, Stella, is helping me out. She is sooo awesome, but there is something like mysterious or strange about her, that I just can’t figure out. Yet. But I will, I am sure.
Wish me luck – the night of my revenge is coming soon – I will tell you later how it went, okay?
And you’re right, it’s so great that my brothers are looking out for me, but this is something I have to do for myself. They cannot know what I am about to do, that’s why I will talk to you AFTER…Wish me luck…I feel like I am taking revenge for all the victims out there, so that they can go on with their lives!! That is my biggest hope…Catholine

There is a $50 give-away on Sykosa’s page: Good luck!

Upper Young Adult Note Passing with Sykosa

Today I am taking part in the “Passing notes with Sykosa.” It’s a cool thing where the main character from Justin Ordonez’s book “Sykosa” passes a note to my character Catholine from “Immortal Link” after which I will post their responses.
It’s a fun way to get to know other authors and characters while at the same time having a chance to win $50, a paperback of “Sykosa” or one of 11 ebooks.
Stay tuned, Catholine’s turn is on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

How do you know when your manuscript is ready for (self)-publishing?


That is a good question, because as a self-published author, you don’t have a measuring stick like a traditionally published author has. If his work is accepted, he knows it’s pretty ready. As an indie writer, you need to decide that on your own. How do you know if the manuscript is good enough to be set in print, or if it’s still hovering near the bottom of your learning curve?

If you just started to write a year ago and now got the complete first draft done, think of it as a lump of clay that needs shaping. Rewrite, read the manuscript aloud, make corrections, let others read it, implement the changes you approve of. After all that, it might still only be fit to sit in your desk drawer. Forever.

I have four complete manuscripts in a filing cabinet. That time was not wasted. These are my practice novels that taught me how not to write a novel. I can recycle the characters and any scenes I wish to use in a future novel. Start over. Implement everything you learned so far about writing, character development, story arc, dialogue, show, don’t tell and so forth in a new book.

I am sure you don’t like to hear what I just said. But these are the steps even a traditionally published author has to go through before he can think about querying agents. If you have the patience, put the manuscript aside for awhile, read everything you can about bettering your craft, join a writers’ group, learn from others, and months or years later, look at that manuscript again. I can almost guarantee you will be relieved to call it your practice novel, instead of acting prematurely, turning away readers and ruining your name with a book that was nowhere near ready for print.

One day you will know in your heart that you’re working on a novel that will put you on the map, just like I felt about Immortal Link. After all the above mentioned steps, hire and pay a professional editor to put the final polishes on it. Query a couple agents just to be fair (ړײ), then go ahead and self-publish. Hit the submit button and never look back.

Self-publishing is a trend that was once used mainly by poets, memoir and short-story writers, but has now leveled the playing field for any serious writer. Agents and publishers can be slow in spotting and adapting trends. Well, e-publishing and indie publishing has made the decision for them. So long, Borders, right? And Barnes and Nobles is turning into a toy and game store. But there are still many beginning writers who go ahead and publish their very first work or everything they write without so much as proof reading, thereby giving self-publishing a bad name. Luckily for the diligent of us, cream rises to the top.

So, how do you know your manuscript is ready? You’ll never know for sure, or maybe years after it’s been printed. Or if it won a contest. Or if your readers tell you the manuscript is better than some of the traditionally published books they have read.

In the end, it’s a gut feeling.

Fanmail from an unexpected source

Mrs. Uta Burke
My name is D. and I’m writing to you because I recently finished reading your book “Immortal Link.” I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed it very much. It not only took my mind outside of these walls (he is incarcerated, both letter writers are) but also out of this state. As I continued to read, I could truly see myself walking the streets of a town I never even knew existed. Thanks to the knowledge that you gain through your research and all of the insightful info that you provided about Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, I would like to go there someday. I also like how you incorporated true life events with town legends/history. To have a child dig into her family’s past and learn about the lives of innocent men, taken by the powerful men of that time who feared them…I could keep going but I know that your life is still going on out there. So I’ll say that the best part, or one of them, is to have someone whose family may not have much, uses what little she has to bring to justice a man who thought he could get away with a crime because of who his family is and who hers is not…Once again thank you for taking me on a trip through your pages, and I hope that there will be many more. My best wishes, Quae-D

Hi there, how are you? Good I hope. I’m doing pretty good despite my circumstances. I am writing for two different reasons -
1) IMMORTAL LINK – one word – PHENOMENAL!! I really enjoyed it, and I really really hope that you are composing more writings! By the way, you’re too good-hearted – I would’ve done a lot more personally to Sebastian than what the spirits did – I guess you could say that I have the mind like Charlie, if something like that happened to my sister or any female family member for that matter.
(In part two he goes on about family stuff)
PS: My friend Damian said he loved the book, he’s not much of a writer. My apologies. Yours truly, M

For all the sexual abuse victims out there

I had just turned thirteen when a friend’s uncle made a move on me, and I was in such a state of shock that my period stopped for several months. All I could think about was revenge. I only encountered him a couple times in the years that followed, but every time I did, I, the victim, felt embarrassed and ran the
other way, while he, the attacker, smirked at me. At that age I went through a lot of changes, trying to find out who I was and what I responded to. I acted out, wore weird clothes, made bad choices, and scared my parents. Some of it could be blamed on puberty, some on the rage I felt about the molesting incident. I wanted to do terrible things to him, avenge myself, hurt him in any way possible or at least ruin his life some. I blamed the incident of that afternoon for everything that went wrong during my teenage years. But I was too ashamed to tell or act.

There are children who get raped over and over and have to live with this all their lives. Ten years ago, a mother told me about her daughter who was raped in her bedroom by one of her older brothers’ friends when she was eleven years old. The brothers promised their sister to take care of her and together they kept this
horrible secret from the mother to protect her from a breakdown. Finally, years later, they told her what happened.

In March 2010, this story about rape and sibling bond broke through my subconscious and within four months I wrote the whole first draft of “Immortal Link.” It was written for all sexual abuse victims out there who are incapacitated by shame and hate, and who are plotting revenge instead of concentrating on healing.

Catholine Kennan in this YA novel did the job for you. She felt the same way you feel, watched how PTSD destroyed her brothers’ lives, how the aftermath turned her from a blossoming beauty into a hideous scarecrow, and how she overcame it all by finally breaking through the barrier of shame, finding retribution in a most unexpected place. Catholine took a fulfilling, satisfying mega-revenge, so that you who are still suffering from the effects of rape or molestation can live it through her, share in her victory without putting yourselves in harm’s way, and can step on the road of healing.

After I innocently chose the town of Jim Thorpe, PA for the setting of “Immortal Link,” the story turned paranormal and surprised the heck out of me. Here is what happened… “Immortal Link” is available on and Kindle.