Tranquility by Michael Escoubas, Artist Lisa Maier

by Michael Escoubas
Artist Lisa Maier

It is first light
his favorite time of day
when the world is still
save for a twig-snap
by an awakening deer
or the slap of a beaver’s tail
yonder where the stream
bends and eddies into a pool.

Day emerges softly,
mosses, ferns, and wildflowers
perfume misty air with
breathless spices anointing life
in one unrepeatable moment
when man and Nature become
a single being- a warmth, a light,
a power, wrapped in Nature’s shawl.


Book Review: The Art of Revenge by Joe Giordano

The Art of Revenge, an Anthony Provati Thriller is a riveting chase around the world that will have gritty thriller lovers salivating for more. Action-packed, suspenseful and at times terrifying, a must read for those who like hanging on the edge of the cliff by only their fingers.

The Art of Revenge features two unlikely heroes. Anthony Provati is a jazz pianist, art gallery owner, and sailor, who has a mob boss uncle. Valentina Esposito was orphaned at birth but is rewriting her destiny by becoming a brilliant computer programmer. They undertake a global pursuit of murderous Russian and North Korean operatives to foil a terrorist plot funded by forgeries and the ransom of stolen paintings.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read three of Joe Giordano’s books and was happy to read The Art of Revenge. It is the third book in the Anthony Pravati series, and it begins with Anthony having to deliver cocaine to make money for close friends who are on the verge of losing everything. Talk about a suspenseful beginning!

Valentina is an orphan who ended up as a prostitute until she was “adopted” by Millie. Anthony knows Millie and once he meets Valentina, they end up in a global cat and mouse game involving deadly Russians, North Koreans, and multiple gangs. Being the nephew of Frank Pravati, a mob boss, has its advantages while they are involved in their pursuits.

The action rarely stops. Anthony and Valentina will be lucky to come out of this alive. There are surprises that I actually realized I was gaping at the words I’d just read. There are also some twists, and I liked how the ending was written.

About the Author

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. His father and grandparents immigrated to New York from Italy. He and his wife Jane now live in Texas.

As a former 3M International Executive Vice President, Joe experienced the global cultures and locations he writes about.

Joe’s stories have appeared in more than one hundred magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story (2015), and Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller (2017) were published by Harvard Square Editions. Rogue Phoenix Press published Drone Strike in 2019 and his short story collection, Stories and Places I Remember, in 2020.

Joe was among one hundred Italian American authors honored by Barnes & Noble to march in the 2017 Manhattan, Columbus Day Parade.

Visit Joe’s website at

Book Review & Giveaway: Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing, May 1, 2022
Category: Children’s Graphic Novels, Pirates, Action Adventure, Jewish, Children’s Prejudice and Racism
ISBN: 978-1728420097
Available in Print and ebook, 96 pages
Jose and the Pirate Captain


Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive.

José Alfaro is a cocky, rambunctious teen in the 16th-century colony of Santo Domingo, pulling pranks and dodging the authorities. One day, José’s mischief lands him in serious trouble.

Hoping for a fresh start, he stows away on the Laqish, not knowing that it’s a pirate ship. From his hiding place, he watches the pirates divide their loot and plan their attacks on long days at sea. He also takes note of the respect they have for their captain, the intimidating Toledano.

But the captain has a secret―like José, he is a Jew. For him, piracy is not about the gold; it has a different purpose.

Under the tutelage of the ship’s quartermaster, José learns the intricacies of pirate life. But when he can, the captain finds ways to pull José away from the crew, to teach him about his ancestors.

Guest Review by Sal

“On Sundays, I went to church like everyone else. But late at night, I prayed to our God and studied our holy books. I kept a careful calendar so I would not miss our holidays. And on Friday nights, I lit the candles, and recited the blessing over wine.” – ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

A story about the perseverance of faith and loyalty in an unjust world, ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is a graphic novel for all ages, and one that everyone should read.

In 1547, much of the world was being crushed in the cold grip of the Spanish Inquisition. This graphic novel is set in one such part of the world, San Domingo, a fictional colony in the new world, where a young man named Jose Alfaro resides.

Jose is a wildly intelligent, if a little over-confident young man who has, up until the start of the story, led a pretty easy life. Despite losing his mother at a young age, Jose has had the benefits of an extensive education from his father, the treasurer of the colony.

Of course, this all goes away when a ship bearing several high up members of the Spanish Inquisition washes ashore, having been attacked by pirates. Jose’s father, Señor Alfaro, reveals to him that they are Jewish and that he has hidden this fact for Jose’s entire life.

Terrified that he is going to be arrested, Señor Alfaro tries to entreat Jose to listen so that he can be prepared to evade arrest, but just as he is going to do so their door is kicked in and Señor Alfaro is arrested by the Inquisition.

Jose escapes, but only barely and winds up climbing aboard a pirate ship where he must rely on the captain, the aforementioned Captain Toledano, in order to survive and hopefully return to San Domingo and recue his father.

A compelling story with a lot of heart, expertly written and illustrated! ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is just the story for you if you love historical fiction!

Advance Praise Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano 

Winner of the PJ Our Way Author Incentive Award

Praise The Pirate Captain Toledano Film

“Despite its brevity this movie was extremely well done, emotionally very moving, realistic, and genuine.”-Anne, Amazon

“I’ve definitely never seen this version of pirate storytelling, or even knew about their existence historically until now, but it’s SO fascinating to think about what these pirates could have been like. The score, the acting, and the storyline flows so well and definitely makes you want to keep watching what happens with the stowaway. I’d love to see this made into a feature one day.”-Milagros Ortiz, Amazon

“Filled with suspense and genuine emotion. I was moved by the story and very impressed.”- Philip W, Amazon

IndieFEST Film Awards Winner: Award of Excellence

Near Nazareth Film Festival Winner: Jury Award

About the Author

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrArnon Z. Shorr is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker of character-driven adventures and thrillers, where heroes grapple with the extraordinary, and in doing so, learn important truths about themselves.

Arnon spent most of his childhood between worlds: a Hebrew speaker in America, a private school kid in a rented two-bedroom apartment. Whenever he’d set foot in one world, his other foot would betray him as different. For that reason, he tells stories that embrace the peculiar, where encounters with the unexpected reveal who we are.


About the Illustrator

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrJoshua Edelglass is a freelance illustrator from Massachusetts. He is also the Assistant Director of Camp Ramah New England. At Brown University, Josh wrote and drew the political cartoon, WorldView for The Brown Daily Herald. That experience gave him the bug for cartooning, a passion that has never left him.

Josh’s work has appeared in a variety of exhibitions, including Pow! Jewish Comics Art and Influence that ran at the Brooklyn Jewish Art Museum in Spring 2018. Josh was included in the Jewish Comix Anthology, published in 2014 by Alternative History Press. Josh was also included in SCI: The Jewish Comics Anthology vol. 2, which was published in the fall of 2018.




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Audiobook Review: Silence at the Lock by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd
Narrator: Aven Shore
Length: 5 hours and 14 minutes
Series: Steele Secrets, Book 3
Released: April 29, 2022
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Andilit
Genre: Paranormal; Young Adult

I didn’t expect to meet a grieving ghost or her dead mother.

But then, I didn’t expect to find out my town had been the site of a lynching, a lynching that
had left my friend Sarah motherless and had made her a victim of murder as well.

Their deaths aren’t ancient history, though, not when one man who was a witness still
holds sway in our small town. My friends and I have truth on our side, but will that be
enough to keep us safe?

If only telling the truth didn’t come so hard to so many.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Once again Mary finds herself transported, this time to a lock where a woman had been lynched around 90 years ago. The woman’s daughter, Sarah, was there. She had been killed trying to save her mom. Mary wondered why no one was charged and Sarah explained that lynching wasn’t illegal!

As usual, her team of friends do a lot of research into the people involved and realize that the mayor’s father was the one responsible for Sarah’s mom to be lynched. They find out a lot and share what they learn with Sarah. They also tried to give Sarah closure so that she could move on.

Dealing with white supremacists is the biggest challenge that Mary and her friends have to face. They do a good job at dealing with them. It’s sad that white supremacists are still around. There’s too much hate in our world today.

The narrator did a good job. Her pace is good and the story flows well. Mary is the narrator of the story in the book, and Aven Shore’s voice fit the part well.

Mary’s gift is extraordinary, and it still amazes me how people just accept it. This book is more about racism in the 20th century which continues today. This one did seem to be a little more political than the other two books. Silence at the Lock is young adult paranormal fiction that middle school readers or young adults will enjoy while learning about a terrible part of our history.

Buy on GoogleChirpKobo

Andi Cumbo-Floyd lives in the Southwestern Mountains of Virginia with her young son, an old dog, and a puppy who likes to eat furniture. When she’s not writing she likes to cross-stitch, binge magical shows, and garden.

Aven Shore is an audiobook narrator living in her off-grid tiny house in rural Eastern Canada, surrounded by forest and chicken friends, and honeybees. She loves books so much she’s listening to one almost every minute she’s not narrating one (she narrates romance as Avie Paige). She narrates live on Discord with other romance narrators on the Haven server. She is longing to travel and hike in mountains again, and dreaming of sleep in the lava fields of Iceland under Northern lights again, her favorite place in the world. Her past lives include being a carpenter, firefighter, tax accountant, and competitive snowboarder.

At Audiobook Empire, audio reigns supreme, narrators are hailed as heroes, and headphones are worn with pride.

Marrying pomp and circumstance with quality you can count on, Audiobook Empire is a full-service production house that produces and promotes audiobooks with gusto.

Give your audiobook the imperial treatment by producing it with Audiobook Empire.


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Book Review: Why We Walk by Sienna

Why We Walk

When we walk we see things that we would have missed if we drove. Things like birds, cats, & squirrels. When we walk we have fun spending time together. We talk and learn how walking can help to care for our planet. Join Siena and her dad as they walk to school and discover every little step counts.

This is the second book in the Siena’s Stories series. The first book, The Dance of the Snow Tractors, was named a top book for children in the automobile category by Newsweek magazine.

Purchase Links –

UK –

US –

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Sienna, a girl who lives in Canada, describes her walks to school with her dad every day. She asks why they walk when most kids ride the bus or are brought by car. He explains that it helps the Earth if they don’t drive because of the emissions. Her mom tells her that her dad also likes walking because he gets to spend time with Sienna.

The text is easy to read so it’s a good book for young readers, and the illustrations are colorful. This is a great book for children to read!

About the Author

Siena is a real Canadian kid who likes making up stories with her father. Both of whom choose to create these books somewhat anonymously.

Social Media Links –

New Releases

From a Dormitory Window

A coming-of-age true story about first love during A-levels

About the Book:                         

For the author as a young lad, there was nothing particularly special about growing up abroad. It was rather taken for granted providing numerous benefits: half-day schooling, almost continuous sunshine and sandy beaches. It was an idyll that was to be rudely shattered with the advent of teenage years with an education that could only be continued via a boarding school in the UK. A rude awakening it proved to be, and the author vividly portrays the brutal juxtaposition between the two contrasting lifestyles.

The author then faithfully documents life in the senior boarding house whilst studying for A-levels. A two-year period underscored by a war of attrition with school discipline and tetchy teachers! But then, in the final year of study, a disruption that put all else in the shade. Falling in love with a young lady in the academic year below changed everything.

From that time onwards, priorities were, to paraphrase W. H. Auden, ‘jumbled in one common box…’ What would come out on top? There was surely only one answer! The author takes us through that final year of study during which an increasing love of poetry and literature is more than matched by an obsession with a ‘country girl’. The story, told in conversational style, is a mixture of humour, melancholy and with periods of contemplation and reflection – and, as might be expected, is laced with the arrogance of youth!

Excerpt from Book:

“The inherent interest in this attractive young lady, coupled with a continuing close study of romantic English Literature, is now providing an irresistible combination. It seems logical and common sense to test out the skills one might possess, combined with what one has learnt. However successful or otherwise, the poetry written cannot be handed in to Ducky for evaluation! It will have to stay hidden. A recent study period in the school library had the added and unexpected bonus of Barbara also doing some research and reading. Well, hardly unexpected! Once the knowledge of her study periods had been gleaned, it was odds on that she could be found in the library at specified times. It has been possible to sit at the same table as Barbara whilst in the library but, generally, opposite her so that any interest did not appear too obvious, particularly with others studying in the library. The golden rule of library research and reading – no talking. There has been, however, a mutual acknowledgement of the others presence, with attendant smiles being exchanged. Have you noticed, Barbara, that there has been considerably more interest in you than in the library books detailing, for instance, the events leading up to the end of the French religious wars? The library study periods have spawned the following, scribbled out in this dormitory room at an ungodly hour – but the mind is brimming over – the brain is bursting, in turmoil almost, with the vision of this young lady.

Somehow, it needs to be expressed,

What thoughts surrounded that pretty-head,

Whilst quietly she sat and mused?

Was her heart firmly implanted on future love?

I envy him: to feel that smooth light inviting skin,

Her light brown hair falling far down her back:

Oh creation, what does she lack?

The firm face matches an excellent figure,

A sturdy stance, an upright walk.

Oh, for a small chat, a private talk with her:

Is that calm temperament so real?

Then to touch those smooth rose cheeks,

To feel her charm.

But oh, I am troubled by the most horrible thoughts.

Dear Barbara, are you really as quiet, as tame, as you look?

“From a Dormitory Window:  A Boy’s Life & Love at Boarding School” by Ian McCart is available in hardback from Amazon at:

This book is also available in paperback at:

You can download the e-book version from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956


I Meant No Harm

A real-life account of the challenges of becoming a successful surgeon having learned the skill in turbulent and troubled times

About the Book:                         

What does it take to become a surgeon? There are many prerequisites to be a successful one. Those range from maintaining composure when the unexpected happens. Having the mental and physical endurance that matches the unpredictable nature of surgery. Communication and leadership skills. Above all, the humility of adopting an ongoing strive to learn in order to sharpen one’s skills, such as critical analysis and creativity.

Achieving these goals appears challenging, but for them to be achieved in exceptional circumstances of escaping a war-torn country, traveling between cities, working as a second class citizen and fighting to save patients and loved ones lives is captivating.

“I Meant No Harm” provides a distinctive perception into many turbulent journeys through illness towards cure. Those who succeed in their journey become the lighthouse that guides the surgeon through the dark times. Those who succumb to their illness while battling their disease leave their surgeons scarred for life.

Excerpt from Book:

“It was 6th August 1994. I swore my oath to help people and do no harm the day I graduated from Baghdad Medical School, after surviving the second Gulf War.

Having been through the first Gulf War as a child, you’d think this one would be different. I was wrong. To be told as a third-year medical student, just before the mid-term exams, that there was a good chance we would be hit with chemical weapons, was rather daunting. We were told to expect the worst. Wrap your face with a wet towel, trench through the flood of dead birds, and hope.

Nevertheless, we were still expected to continue our preparation for the mid-term pharmacology exam, which was supposed to take place on 7th January 1991. At the time, my cousin, an officer in the army, managed to get us four chemical masks. We were a family of five, with my father as a retired university professor (being against the principles of the Arab Baath Socialist Party principles), my mother a gynaecologist, and then me and my older two sisters, all medical students – third, fourth and sixth year.

We had an argument between us, with each one declining to get a mask to save the four masks for the other members of the family. We eventually decided to donate all the masks to another family, and I was given the task to prepare a WMD (weapons of mass destruction)-proof of our house!”

“I Meant No Harm:  Sculpted by War, Motivated by Scalpel” by Ali Thwaini is available in hardback from Amazon at:

This book is also available in paperback format from Amazon at:

You can also download the e-book version from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956

New Release: The Essential Heart of a Leader by Anthony Munday

THE ESSENTIAL HEART OF A LEADER is an invaluable guide to becoming an authentic leader. This book will equip you with the mindset and insight to deliver excellent Leadership imbued with the Values and Behaviours that people respect.


Relevant Case Studies that will cause you to reflect and consider the psychology of decision-making leadership at a personal and organisational level. A 12-part programme designed to enable you to adapt and utilise in your own leadership context. You will develop and refine your skillset to face and overcome the challenges of leadership and develop engaged and energised Teams.

This book will help you to reframe and identity the stark difference between management and leadership.

About the Author:

Anthony Munday ‘served and protected’ as a police officer for 34 years with Hertfordshire Constabulary. You can connect with him on LinkedIn; Anthony Munday, Leadership Consultant and Mentor.  He is now the Director of Achieve Success UK

Watch The Video:



“The Essential Heart of a Leader” by Anthony Munday is available in hardback from Amazon at:

This book is also available in paperback at:

You can download the e-book version from:

This book is also available now to download and listen to in audiobook format from 50+ different audio channels including, Spotify, Scribd, Downpour, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Overdrive (libraries), Hoopla (libraries), 3M (libraries), Baker & Taylor (libraries), TuneIn and

Contact Details:

LinkedIn: Anthony MUNDAY, Conflict Resolution
Expert in Delivering Tranquillity from Trauma

Mobile: (44)7905868058