Lynn McLaughlin – Survivor

Not too long ago the sister of a friend told me she was writing a book and looking for advice on how to publish it. A short time later, in what seems like the flip of a page, Lynn McLaughlin now has her own podcast channel and two books in print.

In her life before becoming a published author and podcast host, Lynn held a few simple titles like Superintendent of Education, School Principal, Executive Officer of H.M.C.S., and Rotarian. A personal crisis changed her life forever and became her muse.

Lynn McLaughlin has two books in print, Steering Through It and Jackson, but I have no doubt there will be more to follow. In the first title, this author shares her personal experiences to help guide others who might find themselves in similar situations. The second takes a close look at mental illness.

Her weekly podcast, Taking the Helm, features other inspirational women authors and speakers. If you want to meet Lynn McLaughlin and purchase one of her books, come visit her at the Essex County Authors Book Show at The City Market, Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm.

Christa Simpson – Dark and Twisted

I’ve heard it said that you should write what you know, to be good at the craft. If we are to believe that then we are left with a serious question to ask local author Christa Simpson. How is it possible that a demure-looking woman like her can write such deep and dark and twisted romance novels?

Whatever her secret is, it has turned Christa Simpson into the bestselling Author of contemporary romances with a twist, and dark psychological thrillers. Her stories are loaded with passion, suspense and sarcasm, much like her own life.

Christa has four books in The Twisted Trilogy, Two in her Destiny Series, and two dark psychological thrillers. And she has another half dozen titles in the works.

If you’d like to meet Christa Simpson and purchase a personally autographed book, come see her at the Essex County Authors Book Show at The City Market on Saturday, December 12th, from 10am to 3pm.

Chris Carter – Digging Up Our Past

Chris Carter is a local historian who writes about the history of Essex and Kent Counties.  He reminds us of times and places long-forgotten, and teaches us about the history of our own communities. His readers re-discover our back roads, 200 year old cemeteries, a ghost town, forts, wineries, vegetable/fruit stands and many other amazing places and facts. 

Chris has at least thirteen different non-fiction titles that have earned him notoriety in local newspapers and gotten him a heritage award from the University of Windsor. Carter works with the Essex Tour Group and Heritage Village, offering tours of our county’s most historical sites.

Besides his self-published works, he does work for other historical groups and presses. If you’d like to meet Chris Carter and buy one of his books, come see him at The City Market, for the Essex County Authors Book Show, Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm.

Robin Martin – Children Matter

Author Robin Martin likes kids. Not only is she an Educational Assistant with the local school board, she has gone above and beyond in creating both fun and informative books for children. Her published work has won several awards and they have been adopted in schools as part of their curriculum.

Robin Martin’s first two books, Zoo On The Moon and June Bug Jamboree are colorful cartoon character books tailor-made for young children. Her third book, Someone You Love Has Cancer – A Child’s Guide To Understanding, draws on her personal experiences as a cancer survivor.

If you’d like to meet Robin Martin and purchase one of her personally autographed books, come visit her at the Essex County Authors Book Show, at The City Market in Windsor, on Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm.

Michael Drakich – Science Fiction & Fantasy Pilot

I’ve known Michael Drakich for years, in our previous lives we played water polo for the City of Windsor team. Beings neither one of us were Olympic material, Michael went on to become one of our city’s most respected Real Estate Agents.

In our present life, I reconnected with Michael Drakich in a local writers group, where he taught me some of the finer points of grammar and prose so that I might become as proficient a writer as him. On his own, Michael has become a prolific science fiction and fantasy author.

He has published eight books to date, titles include I Am, Assassins of Riaz, Vows Above, Demon Stones, The Infinite Within, Lest the Dew Rust Them, Grave is the Day, and The Brotherhood of Piaxia. His book titles are as creative as his fiction.

If you’d like to meet Michael Drakich and purchase one of his personally autographed books, come visit him at the Essex County Authors Book Show at the City Market, on Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm.

Jenn Sadai – Empowering Women

Jenn Sadai has combined her love of writing with her passion for empowering women into three purposeful series. The Self-esteem Series currently contains three non-fiction stories tackling common issues that affect a woman’s self-esteem. (Stolen from her Amazon author page because I couldn’t have said it any better).

She has drawn on her personal life experiences as well as those of other women, in putting together seven different books to date that offer women support, advice, and mutual respect. She covers topics like sexual abuse, bullying, harassment and body image.

Her titles include: Dark Confessions of an Extraordinary-Ordinary Woman, No Kids Required, Women Ready to Rise, Cottage Cheese Thighs, Her Own Hero, Dirty Secrets of the World’s Worst Employee, and Her Beauty Burns. You can read more about Jenn Sadai on her website.

If you’d like to meet Jenn and obtain one of her personally autographed books, come meet her at the Essex County Author’s Book Show, at The City Market on Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm.

Christian Laforet – “The Horror”

Just like the best of serial killers known to man, Author Christian Laforet easily blends in to any crowd, his sick and twisted thoughts safely tucked away from those around him. Simply another working family man you’d think, but he has a hidden dark side.

If horror is your thing, a book by Christian Laforet is something you want to read. Don’t let his Clark Kent appearance fool you, there is a wickedness in this man that oozes from his from his fingertips into the scary stories that he writes. His books, The Space Between Houses and No Light Tomorrow are proof of his sick talent as a horror writer.

The next Stephen King also collaborated with Ben Van Dongen and myself, in putting together a crime anthology called All These Crooked Streets. His most recent work is a short story called Words Gathered, a collection of poetry and prose. You can see all his work at Adventure Worlds Press.

If you’d like to meet the master of disaster in the rotting flesh, come out to the Essex County Author’s Book Show at the City Market in Windsor on Saturday, December 12th, between 10am and 3pm, where you can get a personally autographed copy of one of his books.

Totally Under Control

Totally Under Control is a new documentary and not fake news that follows the Trump administration’s response to the Covid – 19 pandemic in the United States. I don’t usually get too involved in politics, especially those south of the Canadian border, but in considering current world events I’m posting my review of this film.

Having recently finished the book, ‘The Fifth Risk“, about the undoing of democracy in the U.S., I wasn’t too surprised by the Trump administration’s political mishandling of a pandemic, that had they had been warned about and planned for in advance.

We are all aware of Trump’s bold-faced lies and how he bullies his way through every conversation, on or off-camera. Like the book (written separately from the documentary and by a different author), Totally Under Control points out Trump’s basic flaw – that he doesn’t believe in science.

Case in point is global warming, but I won’t go there. When he took over for the Obama administration, he pretended he was back on his television show, and fired all kinds of scientists and experts who were in charge unimportant things like their nuclear arsenal and disease control. Then, for reasons only known to him, he replaced them with family members and rich buddies.

This documentary was secretly made while the pandemic was spreading around the world, and it includes interviews with disease experts and even some of Trump’s own staff. I think it was very well presented, and probably strategically released just before the election. Judge it for yourself.

I watched it on Prime and there are clips on YouTube.

Extended Warranties Yes or No?

Cathryn and I were on a tour of the canals off the Intracoastal waterway in Fort Lauderdale a few years ago, ogling mansions of the rich and shameless, when the guide pointed to the biggest shack on the block. Guess who owns that? he said. The guy who invented the extended warranty.

So, now you know where all that money goes when you never make a claim on the extra cash you pay for anything from a USB cable at The Source, to your new refrigerator. If you’re a wise soul like I think I am, you look at the clerk like he’s got two heads and ask what can go wrong with a simple cable.

But when I buy appliances I think about what moving parts they contain and the chances of something going wrong with them over their lifespan. Common sense, wouldn’t you agree?

The problem these days is that electronics have creeped into everything we own now, from alarm clocks to the cars we drive. And circuit boards run all the fancy do-dads that we like to have. I think you know where I’m going with this, especially if you’ve already fallen victim.

Shit ain’t made to last these days. Cases in point – my brother’s three and a half year old washing machine, and our three and a half year old smart TV, both of which were no longer under warranty. Should we have purchased the extended warranty? I can’t speak for my brother, but I thought, what can go wrong with a brand new television?

So, to skip the whining and complaining part, we decided it wasn’t worthwhile to spend $350 to fix our ‘old’ TV when we could get a ‘newer and better’ one for about a hundred bucks more. Hence the extended warranty dilemma. Add another $150 to the price tag for the four year warranty, guaranteeing a new TV if ours fails. (And btw, you should know extended warranty prices are negotiable)

The bottom line here, my friends, is that almost everything manufactured these days is disposable and not worth fixing. You simply budget and plan on replacing it within five years. And if you’re lucky, and have purchased the extended warranty, you can replace it even sooner at no cost.

Food for thought, ain’t it?

Honest Thief

Do you remember the days, long ago, when you could go to a special place to see movies on a big screen? I’m not talking about your living room to watch Netflix on your sixty inch TV. I mean a real movie theatre with a screen as wide as your house, sound that vibrates your love handles, and freshly buttered popcorn that costs as much as your monthly cable bill.

Well, guess what? If you look up your local theatre you might just find they’ve dusted off their projectors and are actually playing some newly released films. Cathryn and I went to Lakeshore Cinemas last night to see Honest Thief, with Liam Neeson.

The movie is about what the title suggests…a bank robber who’s never hurt anyone, and decides to go straight when he meets a woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. It’s an action movie but not like many of Neeson’s other flicks where the body count is higher than Covid.

Turning himself into the FBI doesn’t go exactly as planned and the retired bank robber has to fall back on his military skills to keep a couple of bad agents from cashing in on his windfall. It’s a thriller kind of love story that both Cathryn and I enjoyed. We both rate it 10 out of 10.

Our only complaint was with Lakeshore Cinemas who obviously didn’t clean or sanitize our seats before the show, popcorn and refuse left behind were big clues. Cathryn also complained the back of her recliner smelled of dirty hair. She complained to one of only two staff working, who did nothing. We will say more later in a written complaint to the company.