Friday, December 28, 2018

How to Save to Put Your Child Through College

December 28, 2018

The new year is fast approaching which brings us to the point of making New Year's Resolutions. In my previous post, I hinted to the fact that I intended on concentrating on eating better and exercising to improve my health. In fact, those two things are among the top resolutions made. Others include improving family relationships and saving money. How could you go wrong with any of those four? By not doing them. So, I challenge you this year to make a resolution and keep it. I personally think I have it in the bag for eating, exercising and family relationships. Not so much in saving money. The fact is, I'm horrible at it just like more than 83 percent of the population.

I can't sit here and tell you how to save money, I just know we all should. Like I always do in any of my writing, I go the extra mile and ask the experts. Then, I received a phone call from the government concerning one of my daughter's student loans. Yikes! No, it's not my responsibility to pay it off, but it did make me wonder how many parents are faced with the same situation or how many parents have high school students who will one day go to college. Tragically there is an enormous amount of college tuition debt. This is something that is costly and parents should save for or find other means to pay for their children's college education. So, I did a little research and came across Daniel Evertsz, author of 20 Stupid Mistakes Parents Make When Applying for College Funding and decided to include his interview below. He makes some very good points and offers sage advice and here is his interview.

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

My name is Dan Evertsz. I was born and raised in the City of San Francisco. I went to George Washington High school which happens to be the same high school that my mom attended. I excelled in basketball and was voted first-team All-City which led me to San Jose State which I absolutely loved but didn’t get much playing time.

So, I transferred to California State University at Northridge where I was able to continue my academic and athletic prowess. As a result of attending two colleges, I have many friends who I’m still in contact with to this day. College was the best time of my life.

What inspired you to write this book?

In 2005, I was a parent of a high school senior, I was totally uneducated about the college admission and college funding process. My daughter was constantly requesting more and more task I needed to be involved in this complicated process. My daughter got accepted to a couple of schools, but I wasn’t offered any financial help other than loans. That was September 2005. In October I attended a college planning workshop hosted by a CPA. He provided a ton of information that the high school guidance did not. I didn’t realize all the different strategies that parents can employ that would result in a ton of free money which would have lowered my out of pocket cost of college.

I was so taken by the information that I joined the coaching program that the CPA was offering. His story was like mine when he was trying to get funding for college. Fast forward 13 years later, I’ve been able to educate thousands of parents struggling and help them get all their children through college in a comfortable manner without pillaging their savings or retirement.

Your book talks about many things that impacts the future of college students and their ability to finance. What other types of topics do you discuss and why?

Strategies to lower a family’s out of pocket cost of college is number one. I also talk about choosing the correct major and career as well. Student & parent college loan debt is approaching a trillion dollars. By understanding how the process really works, a college student can substantially reduce the amount of debt they will incur after college. In addition, how choosing the wrong college can cost your family thousands of dollars.

Name at least two things readers will learn from reading your book or if it is a program what information it will provide?

As a parent and professional in this industry, the book will provide common mistakes parents make which in turn can cost the parents thousands of dollars. The cost of a college education can average $100,000.00 per kid. Many parents are sacrificing their retirement to pay for college. The average American family has less than $10,000.00 saved by the time their kid reaches high school. We borrow but we don’t save. If you start the process early enough (9th/10th grade), your kid may be able to go to college for free. You don’t know what you don’t know.

What barriers do your readers face in obtaining and financing their college education?

Knowledge is the key to lowering the cost of a college education. Annually there is over 1 Billion dollars of free money to pay for college. Most parents don’t have the slightest idea how to access their share. Loans should be the last option when paying for college. If you start early and position your students’ academic/SAT& ACT test prep, understand how to calculate Expected Family Contribution per the Dept. of Education guidelines, prior to applying to different schools that alone can save you thousands. Knowing the school’s history of helping families with free money will provide a constructive approach to paying for college. After these steps are exhausted, then look to parent loans to fund the balance of your student’s education.

Who is your target audience and why?

My target audience are parents with students in high school with kids that will be attend collegein the near future. The middle-class family is the families that makes just enough not to qualify for financial aid or have the resources to write a check to pay for college. The book can help families from all backgrounds, from low income to high six figure income. However, the middle-class families need the education the most.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

If you are the parent of a future college bound student, paying for college will be the largest financial output other than the purchase of their home. Knowing this information like having a flashlight in a dark cave while the other parents stumble around in the dark cave.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success in life is being Blessed with a wonderful family. I have the support of my wife and have raised two wonderful kids. In the business world, operating my business with integrity and helping families with financial literacy has been my greatest success.

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what would you tell your younger self about obtaining a college or higher education?

This is an easy one, save a portion of the money I’ve earned in my lifetime. I’ve made many financial mistakes in my younger years due to lack of financial literacy. Fast forward 30 years later, I’ve done well but could have been positioned much better if I would have learned what I preach now.

What advice can you give about saving for financial success?

Start the process of saving early. Your first bucket should be an emergency fund of at least six months of all your monthly outlay. Then start using the rule of 72 to invest in different investment vehicles that will compound.

The "Rule of 72" is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of interest. By dividing 72 by the annual rate of return (8% into 72 + 9 years), investors can get a rough estimate of how many years it will take for the initial investment to double itself.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the who you are today.

After years of working in two different industries (mortgage & college planning), working with integrity and maintaining relationships is more important than cashing a check. Our industry is now growing rapidly. More than 50% of newcomers (Financial Planners & Insurance Agents) enter the industry and see big dollar signs. They learn very quickly that people can sense very quickly your level of caring. When I was in my 30 and early 40’s, I was just like them.

Fast forward to college planning. My first five families that hired me became more than dollar signs. I was super surprised when a few of them sent notes or had conversations thanking me profusely with now a common phrase, “we don’t know how we could have done this without you”. In my 27 years in the mortgage business, I had good clients but never bonded like the relationships college planners develop with families once you help them get their kids into college at an affordable price. I still receive referrals from clients from over 10 years ago.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre? In other words, what makes you the expert?

What makes me unique from other experts in this arena is I provide insight from a parent and professional perspective. Although there are many excellent authors in this  niche, most Americans are not aware that consultants such as myself exist. You have no idea how many times I hear “I wish I would have known you a couple of years ago”. I’ve been in the trenches working with families one on one. Most of the expert authors I’ve come across come from an academic background, admissions officer, counselor, etc. Relationships are everything in this business and I have tons of families that start off as clients but end up being friends long after their kids have gone to college.

You are also a consultant and speaker, tell us a little about that and how to reach you if they are interested.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have spoken to families across the country as well as being featured on many radio and television shows. Again, people with kids are in for a huge surprise when they go through this process. Many parents think the process is the same as when they went to college. Boy are they in for a rude awakening
I’ve prepared a link for parents to view a short 10-minute video that will lead to my contact information and a free 30 minuteonline assessment.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I have a friend who is a sales coach. He had been pushing me to write a book that can really help people comfortably get their kids through college. He was always pushing me to put it on paper and share my knowledge with others.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Please don’t wait until your kids reach their senior year in high school to start this process. Procrastination or simply ignoring this ticking time bomb is a huge mistake. Please reach out to a professional College Planner and have a conversation. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Author Name: Daniel Evertsz
Name of Book: 20 Stupid Mistakes Parents Make When Applying for College Funding
Year Published: 2018
Publisher: Amazon

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Roll in the New Year

December 26, 2018

Bringing in the New Year

I don't know about you, but after eating Christmas dinner, cake and pie, I might not have to eat for at least a week. There was plenty to go around as I celebrated with my family, but we all know what is headed for us around the corner - New Year's Eve. I'm not sorry to see 2018 end, but I am ready for 2019.

This last year I celebrated a major milestone with the publication of "The Keystroke Killer: Transcendence," both in paperback and E-book. I also listened to hundreds of narrators for the audible version and I'm getting close to selecting the one voice.

Also, last year I went on three camping trips, each with my daughters and got to spend valuable time with them. I traveled plenty by ship on a cruise, by car to camping and by plane to Oregon and to see the Saints defeat the Vikings. The beach held its romance for me as my husband and I went there too. So, why am I excited about 2019? Because I foresee lots of great things in my future. No, I'm not a psychic, but I feel it in my bones. With that said, it never hurts to have luck on my side.

Luck can be tricky. It can go either way. For me, I prefer the gook luck kind so I did a little research and discovered things that can bring you luck heading into the new year.


Now I'm back to eating. I discovered that there are plenty of traditions around the world that if you eat certain foods, they will bring you luck.

  1. Black-eyed peas, cabbage, and cornbread. It's not just a southern thing, it's everywhere. The tradition has it that for every pea you each you get a penny, every time you eat a bite of cabbage it will bring you a dollar and the cornbread is for gold.
  2. You have to have some sort of pork with the above. Why? Pork represents progress.
  3. Now if you want twelve months of good fortune, in Spain and in Mexico they eat twelve grapes exactly at midnight on New Year's Eve.
  4. In Greece, they hurl pomegranates to the floor to disperse the seeds which represent fruitfulness I am told.
  5. A ring bunt cake is to be eaten after your meal as it serves as unity and prosperity.
  6. Fish.... Fish... Especially whole fish. No reason, in particular, it's what Asian and European countries do.
  7. Noodles, especially long rice noodles which represents wealth. The goal is to eat the noodles without breaking it.


So, now I think I've helped you plan your New Year's meal, let's talk about some superstitions that will also bring good fortune or good luck.

  1. I think we have all heard of kissing the one you love at midnight. Failure to do so may cause a string of bad luck.
  2. Be happy in everything, but above all do not cry on New Year's day. Word has it, if you do, your sadness will continue throughout the year.
  3. Make sure you have cash in your purse, pocket or wallet to grant prosperity for the next year.
  4. Get ahead of your monthly bills and pay them before they are due to start the New Year without debt.
  5. Remember who the first person is who enters your home after Midnight as they will impact your life for the rest of the year.
  6. Do something productive to start the year off correctly, but don't go to your place of employment.
  7. Avoid laundry. In some cultures, if you do, you might wash away someone you love out of your life.
  8. You might think red is the color of Christmas, but it also should be worn on New Year's Day for good luck.


What is a new year without a resolution? If you truly want something positive to happen in your life in 2019, take control and make a resolution. I think mine will be around taking better care of myself by exercising and eating healthier.


Everyone loves a good story or two to read to children and have I discovered a gem just in time for the new year. Carey V. Azzara, and his new book "Ready or Not, Here We Come!" is a children's book about a baby girl and her dogs who are her playmates. It is very entertaining and brings a sense of warmth as you read it. I highly recommend it.

Over the holidays, Azzara answered several questions for me. It is a very interesting interview and I hope you enjoy getting to know the man behind the book “Ready or Not, Here We Come! Published by Glass Spider Publishing in 2018.

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school, etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

New Jersey was my home until the age of 29 when I moved to Massachusetts to pursue a graduate degree. Never left and have lived in Newton, MA for over 22 years. I have had several careers including business owner, healthcare researcher, high-tech market researcher, and marketing VP. Now with time to do things I enjoy most, I spend time with my family and my dog Mato. That is, when I am not writing my next novel or children’s book.

So many ideas and so little time! My next project, which is well on the way is an eight-part series titled “Heidi’s Hounds.” I think kids will truly love these books and parents will too. Each has a life lesson woven into the stories about Heidi.

How old were you when you started writing?

I started in sixth grade. But much of my adult writing was of a technical nature. That changed in 2014 when I published my first fiction book a collection of short stories titled “Uncommon Heroes and Cars.” I have published four more books since –with more on the way!

What inspired you to write this book?

My darling new grandchild was the motivation in her honor. Then, I got the bug and started writing more kid’s stories. It’s fun and from the reaction of children so far, and very rewarding.

What and who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

Mark Twain. But I draw inspiration from many sources: My life experiences, the people I have known, the dogs I have had as companions, and the world around me. It can be as simple as a casual talk with a parent at the supermarket or in the midst of an author event. You never know when the muse will lay a helping hand on your shoulder.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Finding a good illustrator was one hurdle, but this book was the easiest one I have published to date. It’s short and fun. As I say on the back cover, my hope is that it brings joy to your little ones.

Tell your readers about your book.

Gee, it’s so simple it would be a shame to tell you too much and ruin the surprise. This is a baby girl still crawling who has four dogs, her friends. They are bored and decide to play Hide and Seek, the rest is an adventure.

What will your readers learn from this book?

The love between our animal friends and ourselves is to be cherished.

Who is your target audience and why?

Well since children are not able to buy the book for themselves parents [and grandparents] with young children are the obvious target. Interestingly, several adults have told me they enjoyed the story too. One woman came to a reading I did recently. She had no kids in tow but sat very attentively while I read the story and showed everyone the pictures. She seemed as engaged as the kids!

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read why should they buy it?

Buy it because you want to give a child the gift of wonder. No, I am not a child-story-telling Hemmingway, but the story has a good plot and a happy ending what more does a kid’s book have to be?

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My children, who are all smarter and more successful than I am, are the success that gives me the most joy. They and perhaps my writing will be my legacy–that makes me a happy man.

Do you have any other books?

Oh yes. I am the author of “Kaitlin’s Mooring” a story that spans five generations of the Deveau family. I have also authored of “The Lottery Curse” and two collections of stories:” Uncommon Heroes and Cars,” plus the first and second editions of “Halley’s Gift and Eight Other Extraordinary Tales.”
I have authored short stories published in Storyacious and the anthology “Swallowed by the Beast.” And of course, the kid’s book titled “Ready or Not, Here We Come!”
The first book in the series titled Heidi’s Hounds, an eight-part series, will be offered in late spring 2019. And I am working on two other projects TBA later in 2019.
Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

My lesson is not novel [no pun intended] but it is a lesson that I think is worth noting and it goes something like this. There is no shame in failure or being knocked down, only in staying down. When you get knocked down by life, sit for a few minutes, then find your courage and get up, dust yourself off, and move forward. We all get knocked around a bit, but those who give up miss out on the opportunity to succeed. Those who try again will find success.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I make no claim of being special. I tell my stories in as honest a way as I can and hope to write better each time I try. My stories often have a lesson or two for those who care to hear them – I don’t like preachiness, so I try to make the story the lesson. Sometimes I think I have succeeded, but only time will tell.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

It wasn’t too hard. A new baby girl in the family and a love of dogs – put those together, add a whiff of help from my muse – And ta dah!

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

While I am proud of this children’s book, I think a greater achievement this year was the publication of my novel “Kaitlin’s Mooring.” Read about it on Amazon.


Carey V. Azzara Author's Page:

Publisher's page:


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Season Greetings

December 22, 2018

Season Greetings!

This time of year is my favorite. I get to put up the Christmas tree and wrap presents. Then, days before the big day my husband and I play tourists in the French Quarter, stay at a hotel, eat at the best restaurants, listen to jazz, visit art galleries and so much more. I highly recommend a visit to New Orleans, LA during Christmas.

Tomorrow we will be at the Superdome with 77,000 of our closest friends and watch the Saints. Can I have a Who Dat? I can't wait and I'm very excited because when we win we secure home field advantage through the playoffs and a bye week. Now that's a Christmas present.

Lastly, I want to wish each of you a very special holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Holiday Traditions

Traditions are important in every family and in my family, we have lots of them. I just want to share a couple that my family shares.

1. We all have a Christmas stocking and a special Nutcracker on the fireplace mantel.

2. I always match my wrapping paper to the color of the tree trimmings.

3. I make stackers out of presents. Actually, that started because I always made my bows and one year, I got tired or lazy and I decided to stack presents and tie them together. What I didn't know was my girls loved it.

4. We have the grandchildren each read a short Bible story before we open presents.

5. A family talent show of some sort always takes place. Here is one of my favorites from my Dad from the 1980s.. He passed in 2009, so I cherish this and many others.

So, as we enter the next few days, please cherish your family and either continue with your traditions or form new ones.


Now I want to introduce you to Hope Davis and her book Deceptive Perfection. She has a very interesting background.

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born in Denver, Colorado where I subsequently spent the first 21 years of my life. I graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2015 with a degree in Aviation Technology and a minor in Spanish. Directly after graduation, I moved to my current hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada. I currently work as a Flight Attendant, using my layovers in colder destinations to work on my novels. I love to travel and I enjoy learning new things. I’m currently fluent in Spanish and English and I am working towards fluency in French. In my free time (when I’m not writing, traveling, or doing any of the things listed above) I also am an avid runner and I am taking a class in computer programming.

How has your childhood impacted your writing?

As a child, my family moved a lot, and therefore, I switched schools thirteen times. I was always the new girl, which often led to me spending a lot of time in my own head. When I didn’t have friends at a new school, I would invent imaginary characters who had lives and stories of their own. This eventually led to a passion for storytelling and writing.

What inspired you to write this book?

I started out with ideas two characters that led completely separate lives but whom I felt needed to meet and fall in love. I just started writing their stories of their everyday lives, and honestly, they took over from there! This book does contain many scenes from/inspired by my childhood, but I’m not at liberty to say which ones! 

It is my understanding that you like to travel, how did your travels influence your writing?

Seeing new places and meeting new people in and of itself is awe-inspiring. I often take knowledge from the people I meet or the places I see and incorporate them into my novels. Traveling also keeps my eyes open to other ways of life that could put a different perspective on my novels that I wasn’t aware of before.

What and who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

Honestly, when I started writing, had you asked me this question, I wouldn’t have known what to say. I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drum. However, recently, as I’ve worked on my second novel and continuously been hit with writer's block or plot issues, I’ve turned to the books of Mark Edwards. Every time I get stuck, I read one of his novels and I magically think of a solution or become unstuck, it’s amazing. Mark Edwards is an author so unlike any, I’ve read before and he inspires me to keep writing and to retain my individuality!

 What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book published?

Finances of course are an issue for any writer. Most people don’t understand how difficult it is to be picked up by a publisher. And hiring an editor without a publisher is not cheap. Obviously, I’ve had to maintain a job outside of writing, and this as often led to those “aha” moments, where I desperately want to jot down an idea but I am on a plane traveling at 39,000ft. I’ve learned to write notes in my phone, but often times they are too brief and leave me wondering later.
Tell your readers about your book.

My book is the story of two people, from completely different backgrounds, who meet in a park late one night. They make plans to meet again, but she doesn’t show. Mystery follows as Joshua, the young man, tries to discover why Eldalyn never came back. As more information is uncovered, it becomes clear that she may not be safe. This is a tale of intrigue, kidnapping, and romance—but not necessarily in that order.

Do you have plans on translating your book into another language? If so, which language and why.

As of right now, I do not. While I do speak Spanish, not well enough to translate a book and I don’t foresee myself hiring someone to do so in the near future.

Who is your target audience and why?

While I try not to gender my readers, I do acknowledge my largest audience is women between the ages of 18 and 60. My book contains some mature content that is not suitable for young readers. My book does contain a bit of romance, which lends it to being liked by the female reader. However, I’ve had plenty of men read it and tell me that the romance wasn’t overpowering and they did enjoy it in the end.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

Everyone has those moments where life gets tough, and they want to give up. We all have our backstories and baggage. While my book is fiction, the characters I feature overcome astounding issues, and I promise it’ll leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling that tells you not to give up and that you can face anything.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success in life is that I know I can do anything. A lot of people feel trapped by their family, upbringing, or education. But I have learned to overcome the thought that my history defines me—and that has led to me accomplishing my dreams. From traveling the world to publishing this book, I know nothing can stop me from success at something I put my mind to.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

One of the hardest feats as a human being is learning to be comfortable in your own skin. And I must confess that while I’ve learned to be confident in myself, there are some days where I still falter. Switching schools as a child meant there were always rumors about me and people were always going to talk behind my back, after all, I was the new girl. But I learned to not let this bother me. And honestly, if I hadn’t learned to be myself no matter what, this book wouldn’t be published today because I would be too worried of what other people would think of me after reading it.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

One thing that definitely makes me stand out as an author is the authenticity of my books. I like to take my readers to another place, but I like to keep them firmly grounded and “in this realm” so to speak. I feel that many romance/mystery books end too perfectly or execute too smoothly, I like to include some real life bumps along the way. I also don’t try to make my characters perfect; they all have flaws, even my villains. I know everyone gets tired of reading those romance novels about the “gorgeous girl with the perfect hair and hourglass figure” but who does that really describe? Certainly no one, I know.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I know someone is going to hate me for saying this, but this book started out as a fanfiction I wrote when I was 13. Now, I’m not going to tell you what novel, because I don’t want anyone going to find my middle school angst writings. The fanfiction is nothing like my finished novel, but they both center around the same thing, two people who must learn to go beyond their upbringing and families to find their spot in society—and that’s the tale I really wanted to tell, everything else came after.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

I know there are a lot of people out there who dream of writing and publishing their own novel—but don’t have any idea how to go about the process themselves. I want people to know they can always contact me with questions regarding how to hire and editor and what platforms are good for self-publishing. The questions I wish someone would have been able to answer two years ago when I was trying to navigate the world of writing a book on my own.

The best way to find out information about my upcoming novels is via twitter @thehopeopera, for people who have questions regarding self-publishing I welcome messages on instagram also @thehopeopera.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Are Books Better Than Films?

Written by Carol Michaels and Dr. Melissa Caudle

December 15, 2018


Dr. Melissa Caudle - Author
Carol Michaels, my publisher, and CEO of Absolute Author and I recently had a texted conversation I wanted to share with my readers. It governs our topic on whether books are better as a form of entertainment than films.  Carol is very much a book lover and book reader. To her, there isn't anything better than sitting and reading an enthralling book. For me, I love a good film. I know many actors and work in the film industry as a screenwriter and producer. It was only after the encouragement of a television executive did I turn into a novelist. So, my love of films stays with me. She's determined that watching a film is not equal to reading a book. I'm here to prove her wrong.


Dr. Carol: I love to cuddle up on a rainy day, get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine depending on the time of the day and read a good book. The journey inside takes me to wonderful places and I meet new characters and get involved. I can read in my pajamas if I want too.

Dr. Mel: You can do exactly the same thing with a film. You can watch any genre you want and visually see the places and meet the characters.

Dr. Carol: I understand that, but you are letting someone else's imagination dictate what you see and not your own as their characters are brought to life through words.

Dr. Mel: What is wrong with that? Sometimes even I need a break and I'm a novelist. I am also a filmmaker so I love to see what I wrote on the big screen.

Dr. Carol: Me too. Now you have a  point. Now that I think about it, I would love for The Keystroke Killer to become a film or television series. When I read it, it was so intriguing I remember saying this would make a powerful film.

Dr. Mel: Does this mean I won round one?

Dr. Carol: No, I say a tie, because in order for any film to be made it has to be written first.

Dr. Mel: I'll give that one to you.


Dr. Carol: I love to creep up on a good plot in a book. I can take my time and enjoy the story as it develops.

Dr. Mel: Seriously, that's all you got. That's exactly how a film unfolds. The only difference is you are watching and not reading.

Dr. Carol: You can't stop a film, walk away, then come back to it like you do a good book.

Dr. Mel: That's not entirely accurate. If you're at home, you control the remote control. Have you ever heard of a rewind button?

Dr. Carol: What do you do if you're in a movie theater?

Dr. Mel: You go there with the intention of watching the movie.

Dr. Carol: I really have to think about that one. Well, you can't lay back and get comfortable in a movie theater.

Dr. Mel: When was the last time you went to see a movie? Nowadays, they have recliners and you can get very comfy. I even bring a small lap blanket and cuddled up. It's awesome.

Dr. Carol: Really? They have reclining chairs in movie theaters?

Dr. Mel: I promise, how about let's go see one.

Dr. Carol: I think I'd like that.

Dr. Mel: Does this mean I won round two?

Dr. Carol: Not at all, I'm expanding my horizons.

Dr. Mel: Now that you think about it, a good book does expand a person's horizon.

Dr. Carol: Does this mean I won round two?

Dr. Mel: I'd call it a draw.

Dr. Carol: Agreed. Now let me tell you about this latest book I'm editing.

Dr. Mel: It can't be any better than the one I'm writing.

Dr. Carol: Silly, it's yours, Never Stop Running.

Dr. Mel: Okay, you won both battles. Books are better than films.


I recently came across Skylerr Darren, a young writer who like myself can get pretty gruesome in our writing. For those of you who have read my latest novel THE KEYSTROKE KILLER: TRANSCENDENCE you know it is dark, twisted and takes you on a psychological thrill ride. The author I am going to introduce to you writes in the horror genre if that tells you anything. Get to know him and check out his books.

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I was born in Upland, California on August 18, 1998, and I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California. A quiet suburban area is what I can recall as my earliest memories living in my hometown, and I usually kept to myself as a small child and found entertainment in drawing and writing small stories for the amusement of both myself and my family.

I attended Bear Gulch elementary school and my mother home-schooled me during my middle school years. At the age of sixteen, I graduated from Mojave River Academy, a charter school located in Victorville, California.

A few months after graduation, I moved to Las Vegas Nevada at the age of seventeen in order to be closer to my uncle before his death.

You bring a psychological twist to your writing. How did your educational background help you with this?

Surprisingly enough, my education actually didn't have anything to do with my choice of book genre. I have always been fascinated with the extremely morbid incidents that have plagued the human race since the beginning of time. I like eccentricity, most likely because I used to be the kid that didn't have a lot of friends growing up, so I kind of developed my own interests and kept myself busy. I decided to take a psychology course in college, and I didn't enjoy it.

What inspired you to write this book?

At the time, I was fifteen in a half, and I got into watching a lot of gruesome body horror movies on Netflix. Those types of films bring out a lot of creativity in me as I think about how the movie could've ended or what plot twist should've been used. I bottled all of these ideas and decided to write something of my own.

You’re very young for a novelist? When did you begin writing?

At about seven years old. I published two books in my elementary school library about a rabbit with super-powers which originated from a comic strip that I would draw during recess.

Are there any authors who inspired you growing up or who inspires you now?

I can name two actually. Dav Pilkey, for his “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” books, and Alvin Schwartz for his retelling of historic folklore and scary stories. I loved the illustrations in his books.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Maintaining the willpower to write, come up with new outlandish material, and keep my ideas fresh and amusing.

Tell your readers about your book.

Interview with The Devil Part 1 is about a young man named Victor Florence who recounts his troubled childhood full of disturbed family members, mental abuse, and overall dysfunction and misery on his part. Determined to leave this life behind him and understand the mentally ill, now as a young adult, he attempts to become a psychologist before being referred to an asylum by his professor to interview a patient that has been there before Victor was even born. Part 2 focuses on Victor interviewing the patient Lanza, which Victor calls the Devil, hence the title. Both books come together as one, and reading them will even help you learn something about yourself.

Who is your target audience and why?

The target audience I would say is people in their mid-thirties to early sixties. I've come to this conclusion because these are the age groups that I usually sell my books to in person. As well as people who have an interest in body horror, psychological thrillers, and or have a degree or education in the field of psychology.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Although many may interpret this to be a negative trait, but I have no boundary as to what it is that I will cover. Some subjects even creep me out once I'm done writing it and I read over it. But in my mind, the weirder, the better. Not a lot of writers will do that.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I thought it would be interesting to see a stable minded young man interview a psychopath in an attempt to fix him. I thought that I would have a lot of fun coming up with disturbing things that the mental patient did leading to his being admitted.

What is your next book? Tell us a little about it.

I enjoy comedy as much as I do horror, and I think the combination is good.

Interview with The Devil Part I was originally going to have a few jokes in it.

My next book is going to be a dark comedy called “The Life and Times of Clementine Nevada.”

It will focus on a washed-up author attempting to regain a fan base and produce new material.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Interview with The Devil Parts 1 & 2 are both available for purchase on I believe that they would be great gifts for book readers, as well as if you enjoy dark suspenseful thrillers that would relate to something that you would read about on the dark web for example.


I recently came across another author, Xu Xue Chun and his book Century Sentence: A Diary Written to God Accusing Against All of the World. I was so excited to read and learn about it and found his book so intriguing I have chosen it to be The Book of the Month. You can read his complete interview over on the page Dr. Mel's Book Club. But first, I wanted to introduce him.

Xu Xue Chun was born in Xinjiang, a province of China in 1972. It's in the northwest of China. It is very cold in winter and very hot in summer and is near Russia. His family came back to Shanghai one after another in accordance with Chinese policies when he was in college. He graduated from Shanghai University in 1995 and majored in electronic technology. In his interview, he said, "I feel like I've spent most of my life writing Century Sentence. I go to study, work, fall in love and get married all in order to understand the society, analyze and study the society, and earn money to support myself. What I've been doing with my heart and soul all my life is writing this book, Century Sentence."

In 2004, when the Chinese government was on the verge of collapse, he wrote five articles that were adopted by the Chinese government as a basic state policy. It helped the Chinese government get through the crisis and put China on the right track. At present, China is enjoying sound development in all aspects. Its people are prosperous, its society is stable, and it is recognized by all countries in the world. All this is because Xu Xue Chun gave the Chinese government correct guiding ideology. They have developed China with my wisdom.