Friday, December 29, 2023

#AuthorInterview with Chris Baldwin

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kathy Stickles is talking with Chris Baldwin, author of Stand on the Bench, Achilles.

FQ: I would like you to know that, even as one who is not a huge baseball fan, I truly enjoyed reading this book and found it very educational and interesting to read. I have to ask, where did the idea for this story come from?

BALDWIN: Thanks! I’m very happy you enjoyed reading it as I wanted those who were not familiar with baseball to be able to appreciate the story just as much as fans. I have always loved baseball, especially the history of baseball and so much of that history has now taken on mythic qualities and the figures from the past seem larger than life. I was reading some of Elizabeth Vandiver’s work on the classics and thought it would be interesting to tell a sort of mythic story about an old timey baseball team with a bit of Greek tragedy thrown in.

FQ: There is so much information in your story about baseball during the 1920s. While I see from your biography that you are an avid baseball fan, given the time in history that you wrote about, did it require a lot of research to get all the baseball facts correct?

BALDWIN: I did tons of research but honestly still probably not enough and I’m sure expert baseball historians could find flaws. However, while I was researching and writing it my aim was for it to feel authentic. The story and setting are basically my imagination of what baseball was like during that time period. There were a lot of baseball slang terms that I avoided because I felt like readers might be confused but at the same time what I present is a very accurate portrayal of the sport as it would have been played in the early part of the 20th century.

FQ: As a follow-up to my previous question, what surprised you the most about baseball in the 1920s? What one thing would you like to tell the casual fan about that time period in baseball that you think they'd love to learn?

BALDWIN: The cool thing about sports history is that many sports as we recognize them now were so different in the past, particularly baseball. I think that I zeroed in on this time period in the sport’s history because it was undergoing a change the same as the country was undergoing many changes. The strategy was shifting from a sort of small ball game that favored contact hitting and base running to a game more centered on getting home runs or powerful shots deep into the outfield. Baseball is so American and as our country evolved so too did the sport. Here, in my story, it is no longer in its infancy and so it is becoming its own thing and growing and changing with the country. I often wonder if the players changed the game or if the fans did. Those big hits and home runs meant more excitement which meant more tickets sold but at the same time a bit of the original style of play was lost in this process.

FQ: I felt that the characters in the book were very well-developed, and the reader really feels like they get to know each and every one of them. I know that I ended up with a particular favorite in Red. Do you have a favorite among all of them after writing their “story?”

Author Chris Baldwin

BALDWIN: I have a soft spot for Patrick Klee. Here is this talented young man with all the physical gifts required of a great pitcher but he has a flaw in his mind that makes him get anxious and lose focus each time he pitches. He doesn’t enjoy the game but instead plays it out of obligation due to his skill. I think when it comes to sports people often think the great players are great because of their athleticism and natural abilities but many of the greatest athletes, be it Michael Jordan or Tom Brady, become great because of their mindset. I also love George, he is a great comic relief and was very fun to write. Lastly I should mention Williams. After all he is the player this story centers on. It will always be his story and he represents so much about America and about how those who have sacrificed so much for our country can be overlooked because of their social standing or background.

FQ: There are so many very interesting characters in the story. Are there any characters in the story that you based on someone you know, or are they all the inventions of an excellent writer?

BALDWIN: I can’t say for certain that any of the characters are based on people I know. I have met many people in my life partly because I worked as a reporter for a few years after graduating from university. I think the people we meet, especially the really memorable ones, stay with us and as a writer those people have no doubt affected my writing when it comes to characters. How much they have had an effect I cannot say. A lot of the characters are also influenced by baseball archetypes. Slovenly catcher, hotheaded shortstop, aged pitcher past his prime, and even Red the old-fashioned and crusty manager. Red was actually a little bit influenced by Ty Cobb, an old baseball player. There were also some influences from classic literature as well.

FQ: I think that this book is probably just the first of many from you have any idea what you will be writing about next? Will you do another baseball book or maybe tackle a different sport?

BALDWIN: I think I will take a break from writing about sports. I kind of feel like I wrung all the ideas about baseball I could out of this story. Right now I am working on the early stages of writing a western. I like the idea of taking an old genre and infusing it with more modern themes and ideas.

FQ: As a debut author, do you have any advice for other writers out there who are working on their first book and trying to break into the industry? 

BALDWIN: I would say to just keep writing and have confidence. The more you write the better you will get! I wasn’t able to get any major publishers to even read my book but deep down I knew it was worth putting out there so I found an editor and she helped me a lot. I would say that if you have finished a book and you know that it is good just get it out there any way you can because in time it will find readers who appreciate it. And always always write for yourself and no one else. If you like what you’re writing don’t worry about whether or not others will like it. Just put down on the page what you want to put there and the rest will follow.

FQ: Given your interest in baseball, I have to you play the game in your spare time, or do you have any other sports or hobbies that you really enjoy?

BALDWIN: I’m too old (33) to play baseball although I think it would be fun to join an amateur league here in Japan. My hobbies are mostly reading and writing but I also love traveling. However I think sports are important for young people because they help them grow and learn skills like teamwork, the importance of hard work, and they build confidence. There are many types of sports from chess to dancing so I think there is really something for everyone. One thing my story does show is that sports can bring people from all walks of life together.

FQ: I see from your biography that you live in Japan and I know that baseball has a huge following there. Do Japanese fans of the sport closely follow the US game/players or are they solely interested in the Japanese players/games? Do you see differences in the fans and/or sport between the two countries?

BALDWIN: Japanese fans love the MLB and follow Japanese players closely. Shohei Ohtani is a national hero here but so are others like Yu Darvish and Ichiro. However they do have their own league and tend to be more familiar with the players and teams within it. There are definitely differences in the sport and its fans. It’s cool because even if I cannot speak much Japanese or am not so familiar with their popular culture I can still strike up a conversation with Japanese people about baseball or about someone like Ohtani.

FQ: I was a Russian double major in college (language and politics), So I have to ask - you note you have a love of Russian literature and films. Would you share with us your favorite Russian author(s) and films?

BALDWIN: Of course! I love Tarkovsky’s movies especially Andrei Rublev, Mirror, and Stalker. My favorite Russian movie is Konstantine Lopushansky’s Letters from a Deadman (sometimes called Dead Man’s Letters). It’s very bleak like so much Russian cinema but it is also very beautiful and is surprisingly kind of a Christmas movie.

For literature I like The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (sp?), and I love the mystery novels of Boris Akunin. Sometime I would like to try to write a really good mystery.

But my favorite Russian writer is Victor Pelevin, particularly the books Amon Ra, Chapayev and Void, and Generation P.His books are satirical looks at post Soviet Russia and they are very interesting, poignant, and often quite funny. In fact I wrote a manuscript for a sort of American remake of Generation P. Not sure if it will ever see the light of day but that goes to show how much I like his work.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

December's Book Giveaway

Time is running out to enter this month's book giveaway contest - don't wait! It only takes a few seconds to enter, and you could win a brand-new copy of author Miki Taylor's children's book, "Bentley's Fantabulous Idea." The entry form is at the bottom of our main page -

#BookReview of Stand on the Bench, Achilles by Chris Baldwin

Stand on the Bench, Achilles

By: Chris Baldwin
Publication Date: November 1, 2023
ISBN: 979-8864847978
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: December 26, 2023
Stand on the Bench, Achilles is a story that takes readers on a journey into the world of baseball during the 1920s as we follow a nonprofessional baseball team on their quest to win a tournament in the post-season. The book, the debut novel from author Chris Baldwin, is one that will be loved by baseball fans everywhere.
This is the story of Tripp Williams, better known as “Zip” on the baseball diamond, who is picked up by an amateur team to help them win. While Tripp is African American, and that would be a huge no-no in the world of baseball at this time in history, his skin is also very light so the manager and the members of the team attempt to pass him off as a different race in order to keep him on the team. While not everyone on the team is happy about this or the changes that their manager, Red, makes to the team overall, they want to win so they do their best to deal with it. In addition, Tripp has to deal with the prejudices that are rampant in society at this time in his own life as well as on the baseball diamond from people who do not believe the story that he is not an African American.
Stand on the Bench, Achilles includes a cast of characters that form a very diverse group of people on one team attempting to pull together as a group to achieve their common goal...having the best baseball season possible and winning a championship. Throughout their season, the men on the team, as well as their manager, must make a lot of sacrifices in order to win and the book truly shows the drive that they each have as well as the difficulties in making tough decisions as they try to be the best team they can be. Of course, baseball as with most other things in life, is something that cannot always be planned out perfectly. Will this team win or will they eventually, no matter how hard they try, be disappointed at the end?
Stand on the Bench, Achilles is an interesting story to read, especially for those of us out there who do not know as much about the sport, as the author does a great job (his love of the game is very apparent) of explaining what is happening on the field as well as in the world around them. I thought that the explanation of the rules of baseball and the depiction of the developing team spirit and friendships among this group of men was shown very well in the book and the author should commend himself for it; I certainly do.
The best part of the story is definitely the development of the characters from beginning to end. The reader really gets to know each of these men as the book moves forward and we are allowed to get into their minds and understand them; what they believe in and what they are striving for. You can feel the strength that they have as they attempt to achieve their goal as well as the nervousness that comes with their position in the game and the fear that they will fail and let down an entire team. A perfect example of that is watching the anxiety spread through Patrick Klee, who is chosen to pitch and is terrified that he will not do well.
Stand on the Bench, Achilles is an interesting and well-written book that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the game of baseball as well as any reader who enjoys historical fiction. There is so much background given about the time period in the story and that makes it all the more interesting. I think that, for a debut novel, Chris Baldwin has hit it out of the park (pardon the pun) and I look forward to seeing what he writes next.
Quill says: While many fiction novels revolving around sports can be boring and too technical, Stand on the Bench, Achilles is a perfect combination of fictional story and sports fact that will keep the reader interested from beginning to end.

#bookreview of Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication

Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication

By: Ruth Finnegan
Publisher: Routledge; 3rd edition
Publication Date: October 30, 2023
ISBN: 978-1032484143
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: December 26, 2023
Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication by author Ruth Finnegan is an interesting, educational, and well-written book covering the topic of how humans and even animals communicate with each other. After reading the book, I found myself really thinking about how we communicate, and I discovered that it is an extremely fascinating topic.
The author has a background in anthropology and the Classics and, by using that knowledge, she presents a very interesting and instructive array of examples from different historical periods and different parts of the world to make her points. By doing what is obviously a huge amount of research, the author gives so many examples of how humans and animals use a selection of sounds, smells, movements, and objects, to name just a few things, in order to communicate with others. Using research from different cultures, non-verbal as well as verbal communication, the animal community, and computers, she gives the reader an amazing account of how important communication is and how it is used in the world from the past to the present. Most importantly, she does it in a way that keeps it interesting to the reader rather than just writing a bland “textbook” that would bore most people.
Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication is a book that I honestly did not expect to enjoy as much as I did. That comes, simply put, from the author’s wonderful writing style and ability to take the topic and make it interesting. Although it is obvious that the author did impeccable research for the book, it was her gift to take all of that information and put it together in a way that makes it easy to understand and makes the read so enjoyable. This is a topic that could be very difficult for most of us to get into and comprehend, but the author’s passion for the subject matter comes through in the pages and takes challenging material and makes it appealing and easy to absorb. I was quite impressed.
Communicating may not be a book for everyone at first glance, but if you take the time to read it and really reflect on the writing and information that the book contains, you will be extremely impressed. It will allow the reader to obtain a much deeper understanding of how we communicate and therefore connect with others in the world. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to expand their own education on such an intriguing topic.
Quill says: Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication is a book that makes for a fabulous textbook for students studying language, anthropology, sociology, and the list goes on. It is one that will make the topic interesting rather than boring and that is something that cannot be said for most textbooks. The best part is, it is also a book for the curious reader to be used to increase their own understanding of a very complex topic. The best of both worlds is what I would call it, thanks to a great writer's understanding of her topic.
For more information on Communicating: The Multiple Modes of Human Communication, please visit the author's website:

Thursday, December 21, 2023

#Bookreview of The Zombie Philosopher by Richard Wagner

The Zombie Philosopher

By: Richard Wagner
Publisher: Page Publishing
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
ISBN: 978-1662482595
Reviewed By: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: December 20, 2023
Rick Wagner
The Zombie Philosopher, a debut novella by author Richard Wagner, is a quick and entertaining read that will definitely give the reader a lot to think about in terms of the future and what is to come due to technology. I found the book to be not only a lot of fun, but also educational, and I think you will as well.
In The Zombie Philosopher, the reader meets Edward, who, besides being very rich and lacking for nothing, still wants more. Edward decides to purchase a robot to become his valet. This robot, who Edward chooses to call Brent, comes to the home packed with every imaginable bit of technology so that he can take care of the house as well as defend it and Edward against any threats. He can also learn absolutely anything in just a few brief training sessions and keep the knowledge forever in order to do his job perfectly.
As Edward teaches Brent to do things with him such as cook and play chess or tennis, Brent devours the information and begins to change a bit. While Edward is teaching him skills, Brent seems to be teaching Edward quite a bit as well about being human. Brent soon becomes fascinated with the idea of learning about philosophy and decides that he wants to become a famous philosopher who can solve problems. So many adventures seem to await Brent as he progresses in his learning, and he becomes quite a well-known figure. Soon Edward finds himself helping Brent to become even more of a star and seeing him as a bit human in his own right, even though all Edward wanted was a personal valet. As Edward learns about himself, Brent chooses to ask for payment for his work and to become a bit of his own “person.” Throughout, the reader is granted a look at what is a new and interesting friendship between these two characters.
The Zombie Philosopher is filled with appealing characters, great plot twists, and excellent dialogue. While I enjoyed all of the characters in the story, Edward and Brent are just wonderful. Their new friendship and the fun philosophical chatting between them while going through their daily routines is so very entertaining. It also gives the reader a lot to think about in regard to what the future may look like for their own grandchildren, as the possibilities presented in the story seem endless and a bit frightening as well. It is definitely going to be a technological-filled world in the future, and the author does an excellent job of presenting that futuristic world in an entertaining read.
Quill says: The Zombie Philosopher gives the best of both worlds...a fun and enjoyable story that is sheer entertainment while also a thought-provoking look at what the world may be like years from now.

#BookReview of Soar a Burning Sky: Echoes of EonThera, Book One

Soar a Burning Sky: Echoes of EonThera, Book One

By: Steven Michael Beck
Publisher: Zero G Entertainment
Publication Date: October 11, 2023
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: December 19, 2023
Soar a Burning Sky: Echoes of EonThera by author Steven Michael Beck is, first and foremost, a story about the effects of climate change and the indifference of people on the planet Earth regarding what is going to eventually happen to their home. While the book is a fantasy story, I found so much about it that points out the unbelievable foolishness of people and the way they look at the world around them. This is a very good book and one that teaches many lessons that should be, and I truly hope will be, learned by readers.
In Soar a Burning Sky, the reader is introduced to two different worlds. On the one hand, there is Earth itself. A planet that is completely falling apart and headed to its end due to the lack of caring shown to it from its inhabitants. This world is worsening every single day, and no one seems to care enough to do something. On the other hand, there is EonThera, the unspoiled equal to Earth, but one where the planet is flourishing with perfect water, beautiful forests filled with plants and animals, and safe and breathable air. These two worlds, while entirely different, must find a way to survive together, as one will not last without the other.
Soar a Burning Sky tells the story of EonThera’s need for Earth to do something to deal with the imminent threat before there is complete and total destruction. Enter the heroes from Earth; Max, Piper, Wu, and Danny. These are four teenagers, each from a different continent, who end up being pulled into EonThera as the ones who will save the day, so to speak. The four kids end up in EonThera surrounded by strange creatures and even stranger people and have no clue why they are there or how they got there. All they did was find a dragonfly sent by T’Aura, who sent the dragonflies to the four corners of Earth to find the strongest and most likely humans who could save them. As these characters learn more about themselves, they also learn from each other and begin the battle to save both places.
This is a very well-written book that shows the readers the ignorance and indifferent attitudes that abound as people deal with the very real issue of climate change and the toll it is taking on the planet. There is a huge lesson in the story for everyone regarding the effects of human attitude (dare I just call it stupidity) in dealing with issues that are at the forefront of the world and the total destruction that can come from such procrastination.
With Soar a Burning Sky, the author has given readers an enthralling story with extremely creative worlds to visit, as well as very well-developed and interesting characters who are not only likable but very authentic. Beyond a great story, he has given readers so very much to think about. This book is one that teaches a hard lesson wrapped around protecting the environment. The author shows through this fiction that we are the ones who are causing all of the problems, and we are the ones who must stand up to solve them and change the course of what is to come.
Quill says: To be able to take such an important issue, like the environment, and change it into a fantasy story that will be interesting to the reader as well as enjoyable to read is a huge achievement. Soar a Burning Sky is just such a book, and the author has done a great job in giving us the best of both worlds…great fantasy writing with an all too real and actual danger that must be treated as such.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

#bookreview of Adapt: Your First Step Towards Success That Lasts

Adapt: Your First Step Towards Success That Lasts

By: Raghavan Venugopal
Publisher: Leaders Press
Publication Date: November 28, 2023
ISBN: 978-1637352199
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: December 19, 2023
Combining his real-world experience in the vast and rapidly changing realm of engineering technology with a clear gift for engaging storytelling, author Raghavan Venugopal creates an allegorical tapestry of vibrant and vital connections between work life, family scenarios, and inner contemplation in his debut work, Adapt: Your First Step Towards Success That Lasts.
Venugopal’s tale begins when his central character, Ram, working in the lab of InfraT, micromanaging each step of the processes assigned to him, finds himself in a quandary. He has been successful in bringing the latest project to profitable fruition; but should he apply for a management post? Bearing in mind the ambitions he has nursed for some time, to improve life for his family – Gita, who has an important career of her own, and their two children, Keshav, an active-minded schoolboy, and baby daughter Diya, Ram takes on the career challenge. He slowly but surely arrays his group and assigns their tasks to achieve remarkable improvements at InfraT. It isn’t easy – some of those in his charge have scant respect for his visionary ideas, and working almost around the clock can sometimes affect his ability to be with family as much as he would wish – but he still finds time to talk with Keshav, encounters that provide more metaphoric material for Venugopal’s larger picture. Ram is seen as someone coming to know himself more completely as he moves into higher spheres of work and as his devotion to family is also on the increase. Not everything Ram presses for will be met with unquestioning enthusiasm by his cohort, but he knows that if he maintains his resolve, others will follow, and goals hoped for will be met. Importantly, Ram’s father/son relationship gradually builds to a series of profound revelations, leading to an event in Keshav’s educational path that will give Ram reason to more thoroughly question his career trajectory.
As the reader will sense, Ram’s experiences are in some significant ways a shadow of Venugopal’s career trajectory, similar in many details, such as college education and the field of technical IT in which both are immersed. Yet the author has deftly composed his book for any corporate worker, in any field, because the scenarios depicted are widely symbolic, and may appear in almost any workplace grouping. The author carefully avoids describing the tasks assigned to Ram and his cohort as specific to only certain fields of employment, so that anyone may identify with his central character. A helpful Appendix serves to elucidate Venogopal’s management philosophy – Integrated Growth on the path to Unite with a purpose to Serve, or “iGUS”, which bears his trademark.
Quill says: Venogopal’s lively drama pitting complex bureaucracy against human needs and aspirations will appeal to anyone who has ever worked in an office of any kind. It is the first in a series, leaving the reader hoping to learn how the next phase of Ram’s ambitions will play out.
For more information on Adapt: Your First Step Towards Success That Lasts, please visit the author's website at:

#Bookreview of The Pink Crayon by Radhika Nair

The Pink Crayon

By: Radhika Nair
Illustrated by: Noor Alshalabi
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: December 15, 2023
ISBN: 979-8-9878652-2-4
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: December 18, 2023
From author and artist Radhika Nair comes her first children’s book, The Pink Crayon, an adorable story of a young girl who ventures into her backyard to color a picture of a forest scene and the subsequent events that transpire.
Mimi was very excited to color the house in her picture pink, as pink was her favorite color. As she sat down with her picture and her crayons, some unexpected visitors soon showed up at her table. As Mimi colored her picture, five curious pigeons kept flying down next to her. As they approached her, they stared and pecked at her crayons. Mimi kindly offered them all the colors of her crayons until all she had remaining was her favorite pink crayon. Finally, one lone pigeon flew down, landed on her table, and looked at the last lingering pink crayon. Though the bird seemed very sweet, and Mimi had enjoyed sharing her other crayons with him and his friends, she was hesitant to give up her last crayon, and her favorite color at that. This was a dilemma that young Mimi would need to use her problem-solving abilities to resolve.
Nair’s story is a beautiful representation of sharing, empathy, and brainstorming at its best. Our young protagonist, Mimi, loves her colorful crayons, yet she shares them with her new bird friends and even works through a predicament at the end with a successful result that leaves all involved pleased. The story is written using easy-to-understand words that even the youngest of readers will be able to recognize and read themselves. The illustrations are vibrant and colorful, and complement the story perfectly. Another lovely aspect of Nair’s book is that once the story concludes, there is more fun to be had as she includes two activity pages at the end. One page is the picture that Mimi colors in the story, which young artists are sure to appreciate, while the other page is a maze to help Mimi find her pink crayon. These activities are sure to entertain the youngest of children, and parents are sure to value the extra effort Nair took to include these interactive pages in her book.
Quill says: The Pink Crayon is a sweet, simple story with numerous valuable lessons to be imparted to its readers. Nair has crafted an endearing story about a loveable young girl while the illustrator did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life with delightful, bright pictures.
For more information on The Pink Crayon, please visit the author's website at:

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

#AuthorInterview with Kathie Kalafatis, author of Wildflower Wisdom

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Rebecca Jane Johnson is talking with Kathie Kalafatis, author of Wildflower Wisdom: Your Frequency i$ Your Currency.

FQ: Wildflower Wisdom: Your Frequency is Your Currency offers so many gems for us to reflect on. Your insights help us embrace the idea that our perceptions, sense of time, emotions, relationships, frequencies, creativity, and more are all forms of currency. In the book, you say you gained your insights from listening to the teachings of a wisdom being named “Wildflower Princess.” Can you describe a ritual readers might do in her honor, to express gratitude for these teachings through you?

KALAFATIS: A beautiful way to express gratitude and cultivate a sense of connection to “Princess Wildflower” is to plant wildflower seeds, either in your garden or in a pot. Envision each seed as a symbol of the wisdom you've acquired from the book. With the blossoming of each wildflower, perceive it as a mirror reflecting your inner growth and the transformation you're undergoing.

FQ: You are a writer, artist, CEO, mother, and so much more; what is your secret to keeping inspired and energized to accomplish so much? 

KALAFATIS: We are all here for a short visit, so I see each day as an opportunity to pluck at the strings of consciousness and watch the ripple effect expand outward. It's the act of creating that inspires and excites me, driving me to keep pushing forward. I never know what path a new spark of imagination will take me down, but it’s never boring.

FQ: In this book, you mention Kaia Ra’s The Sophia Code; can you describe that book and how it impacted your creative life? 

KALAFATIS: 'The Sophia Code' isn't just a book to read; it's an experiential journey that beckons those prepared for its wisdom. Through Kaia Ra's channeling of divine ascended master teachers, this book unlocks your inner wisdom, awakens your goddess energy, and strengthens your divine connection to ancient teachings. It awakened mine.

FQ: Your book mentions torsion, an idea that time is not linear but that all times are happening all the “time.” What insights arise for you when you consider quantum physics relationship to the human psyche, Cosmic Consciousness, and well-being?

KALAFATIS: I believe quantum physics has opened our eyes to a universe that's bursting with possibilities and connections beyond our wildest dreams. Torsion, in particular, sheds light on how our thoughts and intentions shape this quantum reality, molding potential into actuality. From a psychological standpoint, it underscores the interconnectedness of our past, present, and future experiences, revealing a web of experiences that isn't isolated but beautifully intertwined. This awareness, in turn, fosters a profound sense of unity, purpose, and a deeper connection to the cosmos. Recognizing that time isn't a rigid line and that our consciousness plays a pivotal role in the quantum realm encourages us to be more mindful, intentional, and manifest more positive energies into our lives.

FQ: What are wise emotional investments people can make each day to nurture healthy relationships? 

KALAFATIS: Reach out more. Many people feel isolated and lonely. Most people just want to know they matter. Send a text, make a call, schedule a visit. Engaging more with your community is vital to maintaining and strengthening your emotional connections to one another and to your common purpose. Small gestures make a world of difference. For instance, I deliver coffee to my parents every morning as a way to convey their importance in my life. Be kind and hug more.

FQ: You are also an ecological activist, and your creative work brings awareness to the connection between hope and humanity. What do you see today that gives you hope?

Author Kathie Kalafatis

KALAFATIS: The human spirit gives me hope. I know it's hard when we are inundated with all the tragedies happening around us in the world. There is just a tremendous amount of suffering—war, famine, disease—that can make us feel overwhelmed and bring a sense of hopelessness. But that’s not what I focus on. I focus on our collective humanity. I focus on the potential we have as human beings to love each other, to learn from our past mistakes and to forgive each other. Forgiveness is the greatest gift we can bestow upon ourselves. It allows for growth and change. As long as there is forgiveness there is a path forward to a brighter better future. I believe that darkness cannot exist in the light, so I just keep shining my light bigger and brighter, and I encourage others to do the same. We can’t control what is happening around us, but we can control how we respond to it. Get involved in local activism to make a positive impact and make a difference where you can.

FQ: What are strategies a busy person can use to make space for, and stay committed to, creative projects?

KALAFATIS: I actually schedule an appointment with myself. By doing that I’m telling myself that I’m important. We tend to prioritize showing up for others, but showing up for ourselves is one of the greatest forms of respect there is. My creative time is written in my weekly calendar. I don’t necessarily plan what it is I’m going to do, because I don’t know what I might be in the mood for, but that time is for me, and it gives me the freedom to explore and create in a consistent way.

FQ: In your book, you reference CIA studies of human consciousness that you learned from reading declassified documents. Can you tell us a little bit about your research methods, approaches, and lessons for this book?

KALAFATIS: Researching for this book involved a multifaceted approach that combined various methods and resources. I read a lot, in fact my entire bed is covered with books, notebooks, journals, and other documents that I’ve come across in my quest for higher knowledge. But my research for this book started many years ago, studying existing literature on the topics of consciousness, quantum physics, energy healing, and metaphysics to establish a foundation. I used the internet to access scientific studies, academic papers, and credible articles related to these subjects. To validate metaphysical practices, I examined declassified CIA documents, particularly those related to the Stargate program. However, it’s my firsthand experiences that’s really helped me to relate complex concepts to everyday life and make them more accessible to readers. My exploration through lucid dreaming and astral projections often led me into unexpected realms of discovery, with my spirit guides filling in the gaps. In a remarkable instance, I saw the book's title with my name as the author during an astral projection before I even knew I would write it. Throughout the book, I was guided by my higher self, my primary spirit guide, Princess Wildflower, and exercises I shared with my O.W.L.S Group over the years. These exercises were carefully selected to align with the book's purpose.

FQ: You include breathtaking visual artwork in this book, I especially loved The Lyran Sunkat encounter with Arcturian. Can you talk about yourself as a visionary? How do these visions arise in you? 

KALAFATIS: The idea for the Lyran Sunkat came to me during a profound astral journey back to what I believe is my soul's home planet, Lyra. In that moment, I saw myself in a reflection, and it sparked the vision for this concept. I've always had a habit of recording these experiences right away, so I don't lose the freshness of the imagery and emotions. I use Procreate on my iPad to bring those visions to life, making them tangible for future reference and exploration.

Monday, December 18, 2023

#Bookreview of Wildflower Wisdom: Your Frequency i$ Your Currency

Wildflower Wisdom: Your Frequency i$ Your Currency

By: Kathie Kalafatis
Publication Date: December 12, 2023
ISBN: 979-8866707539
Reviewed by: Rebecca Jane Johnson
Review Date: December 14, 2023

Wildflower Wisdom mixes genres: it is a tender-hearted memoir, a contemplative psychology essay, and a self-help guidebook, all in one. Plus, it includes beautiful visual art.

Kalafatis introduces the reader to insights she has gleaned from her own spiritual awakening, guided by a Native American spirit whom she calls “Princess Wildflower.” Kalafatis and Princess Wildflower encourage us to become more aware of energetic frequencies and vibrational forces that impact our lives every day. This book shows the ways that dream work, astral projection, affirmation, meditation, and music can elevate consciousness to transform our lives. The central insights assert that our energy, health, intentions, dreams, relationships, creativity, etc., are all forms of currency. We are rich with experiential knowledge, and this book helps us learn to invest wisely in the unique assets that adorn our minds, bodies, and spirits.

Appealing to memoir readers, this book offers plenty of personal anecdotes. The author describes her experiences with astral projection and lucid dreaming. These experiences lend to her nuanced understanding of karma, manifestation, joy, resilience, ethics, and compassion. The author lost her father when she was young, and her connection to Princess Wildflower helped her cope with grief. She learned first-hand how to transform sadness, anger, and frustration into productivity that includes writing, art, business, and activism.

When describing a nuanced way to understand past, present, and future, Kalafatis expresses profound wisdom: “When torsion, generated by time energy, ripples through the Aether, it transmits information instantaneously across the entire cosmic fabric.” Time and our thoughts are currency. And this book reads like one is sitting in the presence of a sagacious advisor who reminds us that our thoughts are currency. Spend wisely. If these concepts seem somewhat cryptic, the book includes exercises to bring it down to Earth. For mental well-being, there is an exercise called, “Thought Traveling the Energy Torsion Field.” This exercise embraces the Mirror Theory of Russian astronomer Nikolai Kozyrev. Torsion, as a phenomenon that is faster than the speed of light, helps our consciousness time travel in order to heal old wounds and set up ideal circumstances for the future.

This book is not afraid to bring in CIA studies of young girls from spiritual families and their psychic abilities. It also mentions Kaia Ra's The Sophia Code, which can be considered a companionable read to this book, as both speak to the intersection of quantum physics and human consciousness. But the central thread of this text is to get the reader to accept that various aspects of being human are currency.

“Just as with financial investments, it’s essential to manage emotional capital wisely.” This book contains tips, such as keeping the body healthy by drinking water infused with prayer and positivity. And it explains clearly the physics behind prayer-infused water.

As the author writes, “In the grand economy of life, creativity and passion are currencies that never deplete; but, instead, multiply with use,” which is an inspiring message that conveys the importance of cultivating creativity in our lives.

The lessons she encourages us to learn from wildflowers include rewilding ourselves while reducing the use of pesticides. Embracing our own wildflower nature means realizing our resilience and embracing uniqueness. Ultimately, we can enjoy currency as the state of flow where we are completely immersed in an activity where it feels like time stands still and we feel to be our best selves. This book offers practices for living in flow, including instruction on In-Flow Journaling. Other topics include the fractal patterns of leaves, sacred geometry, and exercises in numerology. This is a thorough journey into the realms of relating to the subtle world.

Quill says: Wildflower Wisdom gives inspiration, true stories, and sagacious advice to raise our consciousness while it opens our sense perception to embrace our richness and value that exists in just being alive and unique.

For more information on Wildflower Wisdom: Your Frequency i$ Your Currency, please visit the author's website at:

Sunday, December 17, 2023

#Bookreview of Hologram by Walker Larson


By: Walker Larson
Publisher: Swallow Hill Press
Publication Date: November 18, 2023
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Review Date: November 24, 2023
A beautiful and captivating read, Hologram is the story of one man's quest to save his captured family from a fate worse than death.
Aaron, a Taurusian, living in one of the nation's outposts known as Fen, finds himself as a lone fugitive when the only family he has ever known is captured by the ruthless Vanguards. The Vanguards are Voturan shock troops that have an eerie ability to vanish into any surroundings. Using the military technology of developing holograms, the Voturan government sends fleets of nonexistent drones and divisions of ghost troopers mixed with their real forces. The hologram forces appear real and thus, their foes are not able to tell the difference. This gives the Voturan an upper hand against all their enemies.
Aaron has no destination set to go seek refuge, only the dogged determination to keep walking. Unfortunately, he is captured by the Voturans with his life taking an unforseen twist when he is promoted to the rank of a colonel once the power-hungry Voturan General, Druxa, discovers that Aaron has the remarkable and unique gift to tell the difference between the holograms and real soldiers. The general considers him a great weapon to help decipher the deceits of their enemies who have resorted to using holograms as well. With the acquired resolve to find his missing family members who had been taken as prisoners of war, and to save his life, Aaron decides to play the long game, by feigning loyalty to Druxa, while all along concealing his unrelenting desire for revenge and growing hatred for this wicked nation. A lot is at stake and time is of the essence...Aaron realizes that his first duty is staying alive and clawing through every day before carrying out his rescue plan.
The book's prose is organic and fresh, and the potent words the author uses evoke the complex relationships among characters and lucid landscapes. This searing story offers concise details - "A snarling blue wolf face was painted on the underside of its wings, and next to it were fixed several small missiles. A little glass dome protruded from its nose — a camera. Wafts of air from the propellers swept over the skiff and awakened the surrounding water into riffles and set the reeds to dancing, frothed in foam..." (pg. 5) - unfolding into unanticipated events that are utterly compelling and gripping.
A study of moral values and ethics gives an unexpected twist to this tale and the cinematic sequence the book builds up to, is not rushed. The author gives readers ample time to connect with the main character, and the secondary ones as well, and this makes them feel part of the story every step of the way. Aaron, the main protagonist, is a flawed character, and some of his decisions are questionable, but it is his character growth along the pages that is most satisfying.
Quill says: A tale that slowly and expertly builds up to a fantastic and satisfying end, Hologram by Walker Larson is a welcome treat for science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts as they await the author's next adventure.
For more information on Hologram, please visit the author's website at:

Thursday, December 14, 2023

#bookreview of The Sellout by Andrew Diamond

The Sellout

By: Andrew Diamond
Publisher: Stolen Time Press
Publication Date: January 16, 2024
ISBN: 978-1734139297
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: December 13, 2023
Mystery and crime author Andrew Diamond is back with his newest book, The Sellout, set to be released next month. The Sellout is the story of a poor, struggling writer whose previous honest literary works have not yielded him any success. Deviating from his norm, he has now written a thriller full of plot holes and stereotypes and to his utter surprise, his newest book has him on the verge of fame and fortune.
Joe McElwee has been writing thoughtful works of fiction for years, and he has nothing to show for it. He has had to make ends meet by teaching creative writing to undergrads, which essentially amounted to reading piles of poorly written papers, while trying to offer constructive feedback without crushing the dreams of hopeful college students. In addition to needing to supplement his writing income, Joe was also still living as a bachelor at age 43, eating beans and ramen noodles and driving his old, barely-running Chevy. Joe’s newest book, Extraordinary Joe, has garnered praise from friends he hadn’t heard from in years, likening him to Niall Turner, a bestselling author who Joe happens to despise for his poorly developed plots and characters in his stories. However, Joe’s good friend, Veronica, who also owns the bookstore at which Joe does his book readings, is not so quick to offer him congratulations. She feels, instead, that he has sold out and written a book without any heart. She is not shy about letting him know how she feels as he leaves her bookstore after his book reading one cold December afternoon.
The next thing Joe remembers is waking up with a pounding headache in an unfamiliar room with his hand clutching a bloody knife. On the floor next to him he sees a pile of cash and jewels. Joe eventually recalls what Veronica called out to him as he was leaving: “I think an author who writes crappy novels should be punished by having to live inside the novel of an even crappier author.” As this memory comes back to him, he realizes that Veronica has put a curse on him and sent him to live in 1940s Los Angeles, complete with poorly developed characters, plot holes and mindless action, all courtesy of the author he loathes, Niall Turner. Judging from how Joe wakes up, he assumes he has just committed a murder, so it is now up to him to figure out who he can trust in this alternate universe and ultimately, to solve this murder and get back to his real life.
The Sellout is truly one of the most unique books I have ever had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. The plot is so quirky and unusual, but Diamond makes it simply work and flow in his story. I felt like I was reading a story within a story, and it was simply intriguing the entire time. I was so curious as to how Joe would solve the mystery and get himself back to his real life, and Diamond does not disappoint with this aspect of the story at all. Diamond truly had a challenge when developing his characters for this book, since essentially several of the main characters had two different roles to play. This seems like it could have been a monumental task, but Diamond handled it flawlessly.
Quill says: With The Sellout, Diamond has crafted a truly unique story that is intriguing, suspenseful, and action-packed, complete with an utterly unpredictable ending that will leave its readers stunned.
To learn more about The Sellout, please visit the author’s website at:

#BookReview of Daughters of Green Mountain Gap by Teri M. Brown

Daughters of Green Mountain Gap

By: Teri M. Brown
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: January 23, 2023
ISBN: 979-8891320567
Reviewed by: Kathy Stickles
Review Date: December 13, 2023
Author Teri M. Brown has given readers an amazing, multi-generational, family story that should not be missed. It is a story that will take readers to another time and place as they watch the McCoury ladies fight with each other as they also fight to survive in the Appalachians while facing many issues, such as racism, unexplainable illnesses, local customs, and family disagreements.
Daughters of Green Mountain Gap follows the lives of three very interesting and very strong female characters. There is Maggie McCoury, the local healer who relies on herbs and flowers and a strong belief in Cherokee medicine. She is known as the town’s granny woman. There is Maggie’s daughter, Carrie Ann, who does not believe in her mother’s method of healing and so she went to school to become a nurse. All Carrie Ann wants is to change the town's view from her mother’s herbs and chanting to one of science. And finally, there is Josie Mae, Carrie Ann’s daughter, who loves her mother but has been raised by her grandmother and believes that Maggie’s way of healing is the right one and she wants to be just like her.
As the reader watches, these three ladies attempt to help the townspeople while they fight amongst themselves about what is really right and wrong. Although the people surrounding them do not like the Indians, nor do they believe in any of their customs and rituals, they do believe in Maggie and prefer calling on her for help even after Carrie Ann comes back as a nurse and brings a real doctor with her for the town. This causes much pain and fighting between Carrie Ann and her mother as Daniel, the new doctor in town, envelops many of Maggie’s beliefs and goes against his own nurse in her opinions, siding with her mother on many occasions. The fights between Carrie Ann and her own daughter are just as severe as Josie Mae believes in her grandmother and, while she also studies the science of medicine that her mother uses, Josie Mae accepts that many times her grandmother is the one on the right side. This in turn leads to bad feelings between this mother and daughter as Josie focuses on the Indian traditions more than her mother’s scientific ways.
Daughters of Green Mountain Gap is a fantastic story that covers such an interesting period of time in our history and shows, in an honest and very well-written way, the huge chasm there is between science and true faith when attempting to help people. Teri M. Brown is a great writer and the pages of this book will just fly by for the reader. With such descriptive writing, the reader can really feel as if they are there in this Appalachian mountain town or in the Cherokee village where Maggie travels once a year to continue learning from the tribe.
The thing that makes this story so mesmerizing, however, are the three ladies of the McCoury family. Each of these women holds so strongly to their beliefs and the family dynamics come across as very authentic. It is apparent to the reader that, even when these women are fighting for their own principles against each other, there is a love between them that comes through on the pages. Everything about the characters makes you care about them for who they are and what they believe.
Daughters of Green Mountain Gap is an outstanding book and I would highly recommend it to all. I was extremely impressed with every aspect of the writing and firmly believe that Ms. Brown has an incredible hit on her hands with this story. I cannot wait to see what she does next as I have become a huge fan.
Quill says: This is a book that is filled with amazing family dynamics covering three generations of women and every bit of it is written perfectly. Daughters of Green Mountain Gap is one that should be on everyone’s must-read list!
For more information on Daughters of Green Mountain Gap, please visit the author's website at:

#AuthorInterview with Brenda Stanley, author of The Still Small Voice

Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kathy Stickles is talking with Brenda Stanley, author of The Still Small Voice.

FQ: I have to say that, while this is the first book of yours that I have read, I am now a huge fan. How long have you been writing, and what made you start?

STANLEY: First, thank you. There is no bigger compliment than hearing that you read and enjoyed my novel. I wrote my first novel when I was a teenage mother living in a very tiny town in Eastern Utah. It was a form of escape for me. I carried that book around with me, rewriting it numerous times until it was published in 2010, almost thirty years later. I've always been a reader, and the idea of having someone enjoy what I write the way I enjoy others' stories is why I started and continue to write to this day.

FQ: I found The Still Small Voice to be an excellent mystery, but there was so much more to it than that with the family dynamics and Madison’s own emotions and confusion about being home. Where did you come up with the idea for the story and why did you want to work the family dynamics into it and make those family issues such a strong part of the novel?

STANLEY: I grew up in the LDS church (Mormon), and even though my family left the church years ago, I use those experiences in many of my novels. All my books are mysteries with twists, and it was the perfect backdrop for the story I wanted to tell.

FQ: Did you have to do a lot of research for the book regarding Mormon beliefs and how they would fit in, or is that something you are familiar with from your own background?

Author Brenda Stanley

STANLEY: It took just over a year to write this because even though I felt I knew my subject matter, I wanted to make sure I was accurate and fair. I took trips back to the area in central Utah where the novel is set to do research. It was a place I had spent quite a bit of time when I was young, and it's changed so much, but the one thing I noticed was the mountains. They were obviously there when I was young, but they seemed so immense from what I remembered. They play a large part in the book- some readers have even said they are like one of the characters in the story.

FQ: Something I am always curious about is the main characters of books. Madison is such a determined and complex protagonist, and I adore the character. Is she based on someone you know or a complete creation?

STANLEY: There are a number of traits and characteristics I've taken from people I know who went into Madison. There are definitely similarities to some of my high school friends and the family dynamics I observed when I was young. I wanted her to be broken but also hopeful. It's amazing how things that happened decades ago still affect you, even when you haven't thought about them in years.

FQ: Is Madison a character who may appear in other books, or are each of your stories a stand-alone and a completely new idea? (Hint: I'd love to see more of Madison!)

STANLEY: All of my books have been stand-alone, but I never say never!

FQ: I love that you were the host of a cooking show - how cool! Would you tell our readers a little about that experience?

STANLEY: I've spent most of my adult life as a journalist, including decades as a television news reporter and anchor. I've always loved to cook, and with having five children and working full time, I became a master of "quick cuisine." That is how the cooking show came about, and it was so much fun. I still do a weekly cooking column and have a recipe website called Tales of the Dinner Belle.

FQ: Speaking of cooking, I see that you're the author of several cookbooks. Were these an outgrowth of your cooking show? 

STANLEY: Actually, my first published book was a cookbook. My agent was in the process of shopping my first novel, I Am Nuchu, to publishers when I told her about a gag gift I was planning to give my family for Christmas. I had planted way too many zucchini plants that spring and was overrun with squash, so I started creating all these recipes so they wouldn't go to waste. I titled the book The Zucchini Houdini. She loved it and sold it to a publisher! That was in 2010, and it still hits the best-seller charts in September, when everyone is looking for things to do with zucchini. My novel was sold to a different publisher about a month later. That was an amazing year!

FQ: You obviously have a passion for creating delicious meals. What inspires you to come up with a new recipe? And any advice for all of us "wannabee chefs" who struggle to come up with something creative for dinner?

STANLEY: I look at cooking like I do writing. I love to create something that feeds others. Creating a delicious meal is very similar to creating an interesting story. My mother and grandmother were both amazing cooks, and I feel it is part of how we express love.

FQ: I see from your website that you have quite a few interests. Gardening, lots of animals, and what many would consider paradise - a small ranch in Idaho. First, how do you find time to write? And second, what is it like living on a ranch? Does the work ever end? 

STANLEY: I am very fortunate because I love where I live and what I do. It is a lot of work, but it's enjoyable being out and amongst the animals and nature. And I do have a partner in it all. My husband is a veterinarian- which comes in handy with all our critters. Finding time to write is a priority for me, and just like other things I want to do, I add it to my schedule so it doesn't get shuffled to the back burner. When I was working, I got up an hour early every morning to write. Now, I do it later, but it's still on my to-do list.

FQ: What is next for you as an author? Can you share with readers what your next book is going to be about? I, for one, would certainly love to know.

STANLEY: My current work in progress is set in Eastern Idaho on an isolated farm along the Snake River. It is a story told from two perspectives and time periods that intertwine and eventually come together. The story is told by two boys. One is alive, and the other is dead. How'd he die, and what is his connection to the boy who is alive? That is the mystery.