• Virtual Book Tour

    No Innocent Affair by Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

  • Science Fiction

    Renegades by Sara Mason

  • Inner City Strength by Dwight Slaughter

    Sometimes the game is all you have to save your life.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Luke's Tale by Carol McKibben


Luke's Tale
by Carol McKibben

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today at our virtual café.



BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

CM: It almost seemed like I did everything in my power to avoid becoming a writer! I taught writing but didn’t really write or publish. I was a magazine publisher, but had to do a little writing in spite of myself. My excuse was always that I had no time. Then, when I couldn’t resist any longer, I sat down, put all those journals and pieces of paper together, and wrote my first book. It turned out to be a memoir, entitled Riding Through It. I consider it an exercise in leaving my past behind me and really becoming a writer.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....

CM: Luke’s Tale is a story of a young couple’s search to find unconditional love, as told through the “eyes” of their blind dog, Luke. Luke, an intelligent, 89-pound yellow Labrador retriever, has an odd ability to understand human conversations and actions. When he discovers that Sara, his owner’s girlfriend, is hiding a secret and soon disappears, the dog uses all of his skills to help reunite them. Through clues that he provides to his master, Ashlundt, Luke is the catalyst bringing the two lovers back together. But this is only the beginning of the challenges the three must face. Ashlundt, who suffers from a tormented past, doesn’t understand how the conditions he places on those around him, prevent him from finding happiness. Luke, knowing how to give unconditional love, is the glue that binds them through a series of life-changing events. In the midst of it all, Luke is spiraling into blindness! 
 
At the heart of Luke’s Tale is the story of two lovers and their struggle with unforeseen disillusionment to build a lasting relationship – as told through the eyes of the loving furry creature who is devoted to them beyond all reason.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

CM: The premise for Luke’s Tale came to me in a dream about a year after I wrote my first book. I told my best friend Debi about it, and she encouraged me. So, I started to write the novel. Around that time, I went for a psychic reading for my birthday. I told the psychic nothing about myself…yet; she told me that the angels around me, my guardians, were urging me to write a book about unconditional love. This freaked me out! Then, afterward, I had the original dream again. 
 
On top of everything, my yellow lab Luke is/was my hero. He was a therapy dog and so dedicated to me. When he was six, he was diagnosed with Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) for which there is no cure. Complete blindness was the result. Even after that, he continued to bravely go everywhere with me, gently feeling his way with his paws and sticking to me like Velcro. He continued his therapy dogging long after he went blind and brought joy to hundreds of hospital and nursing home patients. He was my inspiration.
I made the narrator of Luke’s Tale a dog, because the book’s message is unconditional love. What other creature except a dog exemplifies unconditional love?

BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

CM: The day my father read some of my newspaper articles, looked at me, smiled quietly and said, “Carol, you are a writer.” I simply believed it. I ignored it for a while, but I always knew it was true in my heart. When you can’t resist writing down your ideas and making something out of them for other people to read, you know you’re a writer.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

CM: Oh, wow! William Faulkner said it best: “It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.” For me, that’s the way it works. Once I know my characters, they come alive and are a life of their own. They move through the story and fall out of my mind onto the page.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

CM: I’m fortunate. Not often. When I do, I take a break from it. I’m working on an episodic series for my publisher right now, and I’m half-way through having a first draft. I’m taking a break from it for a couple of weeks so that the characters will show me where we’re going next. But, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing. Just working on other things until I feel inspired to go back to it.

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

CM: I dream on the idea for a while and discuss it with trusted associates. Then, create my characters, outline it and let the characters lead me. I don’t think I have any quirks, except don’t bother me when I’m writing. My husband says I go into a “tunnel” and don’t come out until I’m finished. Oh, and I have to have my dogs next to me. They’re my muses, you know?

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

CM: As far as Luke’s Tale goes, I want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. Not for any other reason than I believe in its message of unconditional love. It’s important to me because too many couples give up on their relationships at the first sign of trouble. We often place expectations on others, and when they can’t live up to them, we give up on them. A dog is the only creature who loves us without question, without conditions, no matter how we feel, look, act…whether we are rich or poor…have a great job or are unemployed. If dogs can love us like that, why can’t we love each other unconditionally? The book lights the way, and that’s why I wrote it. I think in this time and place, it’s important for people to know how to love each other like that.

For the future, I just want to keep evolving as a writer. I want to experiment with different storylines. I hope people will find what I’m writing worthy of reading.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

CM: I want them to be both “touched” and “entertained.” I want them to feel compassion for my characters and be willing to go along with them on their roller coaster rides.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

CM: Practice your craft. As Papa Hemingway advised, write every day. (Even if it’s your grocery list!) Writing is a disciplined art. It takes time and effort to become really good at it.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

CM: Practice your craft – see above.

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

CM: As I mentioned above, I’m writing an episodic series from the point-of-view of yet another dog! It’s called Snow Blood. However, this one must have been inspired by something other than angels, because it’s filled with vampires, demons, magic and mystery!

BK: Where can readers find you?

CM: Visit my Web site at www.carolmckibben.com. Come chat with me on my Blog (www.carolmckibben.com/blog.html.) My books are on Amazon and Amazon Kindle (Click the links). Please “like” me on Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/CarolMckibbenAuthor and follow me on Twitter @carolmckibben. Whew! Hope you can find me!

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
 

Giveaway: One lucky winner will receive a print or e-book copy (Winner’s Choice) of Luke’s Tale: A Story of Unconditional Love FREE! All you have to do is reply to this post and write something about Unconditional Love and what it means to you. Please be sure to include an email address where we can reach you for an address and we will pick one lucky winner at random!


About the Author:


Carol writes from the heart of a dog's eyes. Often telling her stories to LaberDoodles, Basset Hounds and any stray that happens by, it wasn't long before people stopped to have a listen as well. Now Carol writes for people and speaks to large audiences, dogs included.







Genre: Family Drama
Publisher: Troll River Publications
Release Date: January 1, 2013

Book Description:

Luke, an intelligent, 89-pound yellow Labrador retriever, has an odd ability to understand human conversations and actions. When his owner’s girlfriend, Sara Colson, discovers she has breast cancer Luke is the sole secret keeper of her disease. Not knowing if she’ll survive, Sara leaves her boyfriend, Ashlundt Jaynes, to shield him from the pain. Luke, knowing how to give unconditional love, is the catalyst bringing the two lovers back together and helps them stay together while Sara and Ashlundt overcome a series of life-changing events. 

At the heart of Luke’s Tale is the story of two lovers and their struggle with unforeseen disillusionment to build a lasting relationship -- and the loving, furry creature who is devoted to them beyond all reason.


Excerpts:

Prologue

September 15, 2015


The world is darker today. Not because I’m blind. My world is always black. But this day my heart is broken.
I sit for a very long time next to the door. I long for her smell of fresh cut flowers, her touch and her gentle voice. I visualize her face. I see the fullness of her lips and the deep compassion in her dark eyes. She is the most caring human I’ve ever known. I long for her comforting arms around me.
People come up and pet me. One nurse offers me a bowl of water. I remain aloof, not wanting to be distracted in case… in case there’s some word. She couldn’t possibly be capable of being with me now.
Bay leaf and ocean scent assault my nostrils as I feel Ashlundt pass by into the ER. I stretch my nose toward him, searching for some sort of hope. I feel his desperation as he hurries past me with two words, “Stay, Luke.”
My stomach growls. I suppress the hunger. It doesn’t matter now. In trying to push away the anguish, my mind wanders back to when Sara left us. I was younger and not blind. She wanted to protect Ashlundt from the pain of her cancer. She must have known that he wouldn’t be able to cope with her being sick.
I’m not sure what makes him tick. It has to have something to do with his brother’s surfing accident. He blames himself to this day. Maybe that’s why he can’t cope with illness or imperfection in those he’s supposed to love. I once was his golden boy. We went everywhere together. Now, my blindness has pushed him further away from me.
I still feel Ashlundt’s athletic strength every once and a while. He’ll brush his large hands over me, and I can visualize his big frame and angular face bathed in his long, sun-lightened hair. I wish he knew how to cope with my blindness. It’s hard not to take it personally.
I wish I could cope better with my loss of sight. I’d always been a watcher. It must be part of my Lab nature. What scares me the most is that I can’t observe my humans, or help them now. Sara has always depended upon our unspoken bond. Ashlundt is another story. I’ve been through tough times with each of them, and I’ve had to be more like that human detective, Sherlock Holmes, than a dog for them. I am the product of a broken relationship.
It’s long past my evening meal when I feel Sara’s presence. I hear nothing but the despair in her voice. “Come, Luke.” She takes me by the collar and leads me to the car.
I sit in the backseat and slowly lay down. I know what has happened but can’t bare thinking of it. She is silent, but her pain is unbearable and palpable in the air. I think back to how Ashlundt pushed her away, even when he finally discovered she was sick. I fought so hard to help him try and win her back…
I’m jarred back to reality as the car stops. I hear the door open, then the backseat door. Sara whispers, “Let’s go inside, Luke.”
Slowly, I follow Sara into the house.
She says nothing as she fixes my kibble and leftover chicken, then leaves the room. My greatest fear has been realized.
After sating my hunger, I go to find Sara in her bedroom. She is lying across her bed in silence, tortured and bereft. Even though I’m not usually allowed on the bed, she says nothing as I crawl up next to her and place my head on her hip. I give out a whimpered cry of sorrow.
We lie together in silence for a long, long time. I have to go outside so badly that my bladder hurts, but I don’t dare leave Sara. She is so cold. I move closer to her, wanting her to feel my warmth, the warmth that Ashlundt should have offered. Time passes. My stomach begins to growl and adds to my discomfort, but it doesn’t matter. I will not leave her.
Sometime later the phone starts to ring. It must be morning. All those distraught voices leaving messages of sorrow on the answering machine. I crawl up to her face, pressing my nose on her cheek to see if she is asleep. Her hand softly touches the top of my head. “It’s okay, Lukey. Thank you for staying with me.” A ragged sigh escapes from her and is joined by my own.
Still we remain motionless. I think back to the chain of events until I started going blind. But, I’ve gotten way ahead of myself. I need to go back to the beginning so that you understand how we arrived at our darkest moment in time.






Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love In Bloom Blog Hop & Giveaway


Love in Bloom 

Giveaway Hop

Featuring Lighthearted/Contemporary Young Adult Romance

& Sweet, Clean Adult Romance

May 16th to 22nd

Love is in the Air! Welcome to my corner of the blogosphere! It's a blog hop and the rules are simple, fill out the Rafflecopter and enter to win, but first...Check out the book description and enjoy a small excerpt :)

Happy Hopping!

Giveaway:

Beneath Southern Skies by Terra Little 
Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin Kimani
Released on March 19, 2013
Paperback - 224 Pages

Book Description:


A little Southern comfort goes a long way…

To the world she's Vanessa Valentino, the poison-penned gossip columnist and blogger, but back in Georgia, she's just Tressie Valentine. After digging up one scandalous secret too many, she's forced back home to the sleepy town she thought she'd left behind forever. And now she must face Nathaniel Woodberry, who became her sworn enemy when one of her stories hit too close to home. Yet for some reason, Tressie can't turn off her longing for the irresistible investigative journalist.

Nate can't believe Tressie's back to wreak havoc on the close-knit community they both grew up in, and he can't help holding a grudge against her past deeds. But soon the commitment-wary bachelor discovers that the Southern belle is still a compassionate, loving woman. Nate finds himself drawn to her and he can't stop thinking about seducing her with a healthy dose of down-home passion. But can he stop Tressie from making a mistake that could destroy their hometown—and their blossoming love?

Excerpt 

The shower.
It was going full blast and she was singing along with the water’s spray. No, that wasn’t quite right. Actually she was singing—horribly—over and above the water’s spray.
The sound of her voice scraped across his nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard, spiking his irritation level into orbit. Without stopping to think about what he was doing, he barged into the steamy bathroom and snatched the shower curtain back.
What the hell are you doing here?” he bellowed.
She turned just as a blast of cool air slammed into her skin, and then visions of warriors rushing in for battle flashed before her eyes—big, strapping men with bulging muscles, bloodthirsty expressions on their faces, and mighty swords slicing through the air. She saw herself being impaled to death and then buried in a shallow grave deep in the woods, where no one would ever find her. She saw, as plain as day, the likelihood that no one would even bother to look for her because the sad fact was that she wasn’t the most popular person in the world and she had no real friends to speak of. Every questionable deed that she’d ever done played before her eyes like a movie. Her killer would go unpunished and her death would be in vain. The public would probably celebrate once her true identity was revealed. They would—
Oh God. She was going to die.
Partially blinded by soap bubbles and completely on the verge of hysteria, Tressie opened her mouth and did the only thing she could think to do under the circumstances. She screamed at the top of her lungs.
It seemed like an eternity, but it really took only a few seconds to wipe the soap bubbles from her eyes and focus. When she did, the first thing she saw through the steam was a pair of gorgeous hazel eyes staring into hers. Expanding her gaze to a wide-screen view, she took in a pair of perfectly shaped lips and a dimpled chin, thick eyebrows and smooth pecan-brown skin. Something in her brain eventually clicked and she recognized Nate Woodberry, but that didn’t stop her from continuing to scream like a banshee. The only difference was that this time the sounds she made were intelligible. “What the hell,” she shrieked frantically as she snatched the shower curtain from his grasp and wrapped it around her body, “are you doing in here?”
I rang the bell. You didn’t answer.” He was the epitome of calm.
So you just walk right on in and make yourself at home?” She slung her wet hair back and out of her face and shut off the water. “Idiot! Hand me a towel from over there, would you?” She snatched the towel he handed her and only released her death grip on the shower curtain long enough to make the trade. The fact that he had undoubtedly seen more of her naked body in the past thirty seconds than her doctor had in years burned her skin to a cherry-red crisp, especially since he hadn’t so much as given it a second glance in all that time. So much for cutting back on sweets and working out like a demon.





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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Black Lion Tours & Giveaway: Beacon of Love by Allie Boniface





"Beacon of Love" (Hometown Heroes Series)
by Allie Boniface.


​​Quick Facts                                        
                                           
Release Date: May 6, 2013.                                
Genre: Contemporary Romance.                                                    
Formats: All digital formats.   





 Book Synopsis

Welcome to Lindsey Point, Connecticut: suspicious of outsiders, loyal to tradition, and absolutely devoted to its local legends.
Enter Sophie Smithwaite, feisty travel show host, in town to film an episode about Lindsey Point’s haunted lighthouse. But digging into the story of a tragic murder-suicide and love gone wrong reveals startling connections to Sophie’s own past. When a gorgeous local handyman fills in behind the camera, Sophie’s life gets complicated by more than just her family history.
Part-time paramedic, handyman, seasonal Santa-Lucas Oakes does it all–except get attached. He’s still reeling from the death of his best friend ten years ago and the more recent infidelity of his ex-fiancee. Yet despite Sophie’s big-city nosiness and her insistence on chasing long-dead ghosts, he’s drawn to her.
But mixing with an outsider means questioning people and traditions Lucas has always defended. When a series of attacks seem to be connected to Sophie’s investigation, both Sophie and Lucas must decide if they are willing to risk everything to uncover the town’s secrets…and their own.





Excerpt 1
“Wise ass.” Sophie backed into the street before he could grab her. “I’ll see you later!” she called. “I think Lon said something about meeting tomorrow morning and--hey!” She squawked off the last word as Lucas lifted her off the ground and onto his shoulder.
As if she was a bag of flour.
Or a damsel in distress.
Or his damn cavewoman.
About a hundred thoughts raced through her mind, and it took all she had to keep them from coming out in biting words.
“Why do you have to be so stubborn?” he asked as he carried her back to his truck, parked in front of the bar. He wasn’t panting, not out of breath in the least, as if she weighed close to nothing. “If anything happened to you, Lon would kill me.” With one hand he opened the passenger side door. Only then did he lower her to a seat inside the truck. His hands slid down her arms and settled her hips into place.
Oh yum. All her scathing thoughts of thirty seconds earlier vanished. She shifted on the leather. There was room for him on this side of the cab, she was almost positive. If not, she’d make room. In about two seconds.








The Author

Allie Boniface is a small-town girl at heart who's traveled around the world and still finds that the magic and the mystery of small towns make them the best places to fall in love and find adventure. From the New England coast to Rocky Mountain hotels to tiny European bars, she's found more character and plot inspirations than she could ever count. Currently, she's lucky enough to live in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley with her own "Hometown Hero," a guy who can fix, build, drive, and grill anything and is the epitome of the strong and silent type.
When she isn't writing love stories, Allie is a full-time high school English teacher who gets a kick out of helping her teenagers negotiate the ups and downs of writing along with the ups and downs of life (because, really, she's still trying to do the same thing!). And while she'll continue to travel far and wide, Allie knows there's really nothing like coming back to the place where the people who have known you forever welcome you home with open arms.

Find more about her at: 






Twitter: AllieBoniface1

PURCHASE BEACON OF LOVE HERE.






Tour Giveaway
  • $10 Amazon or B&N gift card (winner's choice)
  • winner's choice of any ebook from Allie Boniface's back list




Friday, May 10, 2013

Untangled: Contemplation And Entanglement by Henry J. Sienkiewicz




Untangled: Contemplation And Entanglement
by Henry J. Sienkiewicz

I hope you enjoyed our week with Henry. I think we all need to slow down and "Untangle" our minds from the rush of life :)

In Closing:

Untangled is a book of theory and philosophy. However, one of the concerns that some readers have expresses it that there aren't a tremendous number of concrete examples used to guide thevreader. I wanted the ideas to rest on their own. I’ve been asked if this was this was a consciousvdescription. At one point, I write, "I also do not presume to offer a concrete series of steps.

Our journeys all differ." The fundamental concern is that while there are indeed a multitude of paths, journeys, and many "right" ones, many may want trail markers. The structure of Untangled was very much a concrete decision. The first two sections, which make up the first

half of the book, discuss the topic of entanglement and contemplate. I use the second half of the book to explore some trail markers, and insights. I didn’t want to put forward so many concrete steps that I mentally locked the reader into only thinking that there was one path to take. I fear that many writers offer what they consider definitive, universal steps that lead their readers to a pre-set destination. The world is so large, so beautiful, with so many destinations. We have free will, we need to exercise it.



Henry J. Sienkiewicz has served in multiple positions within the United States Federal Senior Executive Service since 2008. His previous commercial experience was as the founder and chief executive officer for Open Travel Software, an award-winning software developer focused on the global travel community, and in the chief information officer role at three technology companies.  He or his companies have been the recipient of multiple awards for innovations or achievement in the technology industry.  He retired as a United States Army Reserve lieutenant colonel in July 2008.
Henry holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
In 2006, he completed and published his first book, Centerlined, which dealt with interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
Henry resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Website Book Site | Facebook | Twitter

Genre:  Practical Philosophy/Self-help
Publisher:  DogEar Publishing 
Release Date: April 2013

In a  social media-centric, Twitter-driven world we live, the complexity created by the entanglements has caused an overload Called a Walden for the Internet Age, Untangled draws from the rich traditions of both Eastern and Western philosophy to tease apart the hyper-connected web of the modern world and challenges the reader to recognize and embrace contemplation as a way cope. 

Through a highly approachable framework and the imagery of a journey through the heartland of Taiwan, Untangled provides the reader with the background of entanglement and contemplation, and identifies and discusses the three pillars of contemplation - silence, stillness and solitude.  The book closes with a series of actions that allow anyone to untangled through active contemplation in daily life. 


Excerpt:

UNTANGLED

A Big Ball of Twine


We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.
—Jean Toomer
As we reached the first stopping point, we opened our packs and found chaos. The ropes that we had neatly packed were completely jumbled. The gear we had carefully stowed had been shifted around; it was an unrecognizable mess.
The jostling and shifting from the simple movement of the journey caused our coils of rope to transform from a neat roll to an entangled mess. We thought that we had taken care to pack them; the journey ensured that we had a mess to deal with.


Our mental backpacks are similar. Sometimes, regardless of the care we have taken, our world becomes a completely entangled mess in ways that we had not expected. Our journey ensures that we have a mess to deal with.
Many writers have used the terms connected and hyperconnected to describe our current state. I think that the term entanglement is more reflective of the state of our condition.
Connection implies that there has been an encounter but does not imply that the relationship is persistent. As will be discussed later, entanglement means two or more “things” have formed some type of permanent bond. This permanent bond is why I think that the term entanglement is more expressive of our actual condition.
Entanglement has many layers and many textures. It may be accidental or intentional. Entanglement may be in ways that may or may not be are attractive. Entanglement may or may not have relevancy to our lives. Entanglement may or may not have real meaning.
Entanglement may be the vines that catch your feet. Or it may be the limbs that brush your arms. Or it could be the rope that safely holds you onto the mountain.
Contemplation lets us mentally sort through the mess of entanglement that we all carry with us and allows us to repack meaningfully.





Thursday, May 9, 2013

Untangle Your Mind Week - Day 4 with Henry Sienkiewicz - Untangled




Untangled: Contemplation And Entanglement
by Henry J. Sienkiewicz


Classically, it was said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but given the constant flow of entanglements, is it even possible for us to examine life? How much stimuli bombard each of our senses every second from touch to taste, sound to sight.  We can’t cast aside the connectivity and the technology. Today a fifteen year old with a smart phone in Africa has more information at their fingertips than the President of the United States had 15 years ago. The enablement and empowerment that comes with technology has the potential to make the world fundamentally better. However, social media and the like also have given us dozens of new ways to grab our attention. We can barely go a minute without our phone buzzing at least once. We constantly check our Facebook account or Twitter feed. Active contemplation, the type of contemplation I focus on in Untangled, lets you find the distance to focus on the things that ultimately matter. For, we can’t focus on everything at all times. I think that is actually one of the problems we face in our current condition. To use one of the analogies from the book, we are surrounded by many voices. We have to filter and pick one voice to actually listen to. Untangling lets us find the distance in order to understand, to truly engage, and to fully live our lives. The book begins by describing the problem, discusses the attributes of contemplation, and ends with a number of thoughts on how to approach untangling in everyday life. The intent for the book is to be highly, highly approach. While it would be helpful to have some grounding in philosophy, I don’t think that it absolutely necessary. The reader can use the references and citations as a starting point, and as a way that they can explore how to untangle.  


 

Henry J. Sienkiewicz has served in multiple positions within the United States Federal Senior Executive Service since 2008. His previous commercial experience was as the founder and chief executive officer for Open Travel Software, an award-winning software developer focused on the global travel community, and in the chief information officer role at three technology companies.  He or his companies have been the recipient of multiple awards for innovations or achievement in the technology industry.  He retired as a United States Army Reserve lieutenant colonel in July 2008.
Henry holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
In 2006, he completed and published his first book, Centerlined, which dealt with interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
Henry resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Website Book Site | Facebook | Twitter

Genre:  Practical Philosophy/Self-help
Publisher:  DogEar Publishing 
Release Date: April 2013

In a  social media-centric, Twitter-driven world we live, the complexity created by the entanglements has caused an overload Called a Walden for the Internet Age, Untangled draws from the rich traditions of both Eastern and Western philosophy to tease apart the hyper-connected web of the modern world and challenges the reader to recognize and embrace contemplation as a way cope. 

Through a highly approachable framework and the imagery of a journey through the heartland of Taiwan, Untangled provides the reader with the background of entanglement and contemplation, and identifies and discusses the three pillars of contemplation - silence, stillness and solitude.  The book closes with a series of actions that allow anyone to untangled through active contemplation in daily life. 


Excerpt:

UNTANGLED

A Big Ball of Twine


We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.
—Jean Toomer
As we reached the first stopping point, we opened our packs and found chaos. The ropes that we had neatly packed were completely jumbled. The gear we had carefully stowed had been shifted around; it was an unrecognizable mess.
The jostling and shifting from the simple movement of the journey caused our coils of rope to transform from a neat roll to an entangled mess. We thought that we had taken care to pack them; the journey ensured that we had a mess to deal with.


Our mental backpacks are similar. Sometimes, regardless of the care we have taken, our world becomes a completely entangled mess in ways that we had not expected. Our journey ensures that we have a mess to deal with.
Many writers have used the terms connected and hyperconnected to describe our current state. I think that the term entanglement is more reflective of the state of our condition.
Connection implies that there has been an encounter but does not imply that the relationship is persistent. As will be discussed later, entanglement means two or more “things” have formed some type of permanent bond. This permanent bond is why I think that the term entanglement is more expressive of our actual condition.
Entanglement has many layers and many textures. It may be accidental or intentional. Entanglement may be in ways that may or may not be are attractive. Entanglement may or may not have relevancy to our lives. Entanglement may or may not have real meaning.
Entanglement may be the vines that catch your feet. Or it may be the limbs that brush your arms. Or it could be the rope that safely holds you onto the mountain.
Contemplation lets us mentally sort through the mess of entanglement that we all carry with us and allows us to repack meaningfully.





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What did  you untangle from your mind today?