IATEFL Chile Brings Stephen Krashen to the XIII International Conference IATEFL-Chile 18 & 19 July – Santiago, Chile #IATEFL #ELT #EFL #ELL #TEFL #SLA #ASMSG

Plenary speakers
Read the biography of the Plenary Speakers of our next International Conference.

Stephen Krashen

Stephen Krashen is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California. Dr. Krashen has published more than 350 papers and books, contributing to the fields of second-language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading. He is credited with introducing various influential concepts and terms in the study of second-language acquisition, including the acquisition-learning hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the affective filter, and the natural order hypothesis. Most recently, Krashen promotes the use of free voluntary reading during second-language acquisition, which he says “is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second.

Ema Ushioda

Ema Ushioda is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies. She has been working in language education since 1982 and has taught in Japan, Ireland and the UK. She obtained her PhD in 1996 from Trinity College, Dublin, where she was also involved in developing and coordinating institution-wide language programmes, and in designing and evaluating a version of the Council of Europe’s European Language Portfolio for use in Irish secondary schools. She moved to Warwick in 2002 where she teaches on MA and PhD courses.

Paul Seligson

Paul Seligson has been ‘TEFLing’ worldwide for 35 years and is well-known for lively, highly practical training. A CELTA assessor, his many publications include English File, Helping Students to Speak, Essential English 1-5, Kids’ Web 1-5 and his latest publication English ID, a 4-level course from Richmond, the first specifically written for Romance Language background learners. He works freelance from Brighton and Rio de Janeiro, and is delighted to be returning to Chile for the 4th time!

Jill Hadfield

Jill Hadfield has worked as a teacher trainer in Britain, France and New Zealand and worked on development projects with Ministries of Education and aid agencies in China, Tibet and Madagascar. She has also conducted short courses, seminars and workshops for teachers in many other countries. She is currently Associate Professor on the Language Teacher Education team in the Department of Language Studies at Unitec, New Zealand. She has written over thirty books, including the Communication Games series (Pearson), Excellent!, a 3 level primary course (Pearson), the Oxford Basics series, Classroom Dynamics and An Introduction to Teaching English (OUP). Her latest book, Motivating Learning, co-authored with ZoltanDornyei, was published this year by Routledge in the Research and Resources in Language Teaching series, of which she is also series editor.

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Call for Papers 2014

Dear all,

It is a great pleasure to send you this Call for Papers proposal form for IATEFL Chile’s forthcoming biennial XIII International Conference “Motivation in the 21st Century EFL Classroom” at Universidad San Sebastián (Campus Bellavista) on July 18/19.Please spread the word and forward this on to anyone you think would be interested.



We regret that we cannot accept proposals that are faxed, scanned or incomplete.

Closing date for speaker proposal forms is 15th May 2014. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered.

All presenters whose proposals are accepted will have free access to the two-day Conference, yet must reconfirm attendance.

The Committee’s decision is final. The applicants will be notified of their status in June 2014.


Get more information about the conference here: http://www.iateflchile.cl/international-conference/

Download the Call for Papers format here:

Online Registration Form:

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Meet Boudicca, England’s First Warrior Queen #ASMSG

Boudicca: Her Story

She is England’s Warrior Queen. Her name is Boudicca, a name that resonates with all who read this story. Thanks to the efforts of two Roman historians, Cornelius Tacitus and Dio Cassius, her story has been preserved across the centuries of recorded time. Her story is complex and it challenges its readers to fully understand her.

She defeated and slaughtered a Roman army, the Ninth Legion. She burned London to the ground, leaving a charred layer almost half a meter thick that can still be traced under modern London. According to the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, her army killed as many as 70,000 civilians in Londinium, Verulamium and Camulodunum. Who was Boudicca and why was she so ferocious, so bloodthirsty? What was she angry about?

The two most credible sources on Boudicca are Tacitus and Dio. Both are Roman historians, writing at different times. Neither man ever met her. Tacitus wrote his history only fifty years after the events of 60 CE (her revolt against Rome), and it has been said that his father-in-law, Agricola, was able to give an eyewitness account of the rebellion.

Dio Cassius described Boudicca: “She was huge of frame, terrifying of aspect, and with a harsh voice. A great mass of bright red hair fell to her knees: She wore a great twisted golden necklace, and a tunic of many colors, over which was a thick mantle, fastened by a brooch. Now she grasped a spear, to strike fear into all who watched her……” -Dio Cassius (Dudley and Webster, 54)

This makes it clear why Boudicca is not fully understood. We are told a Roman story. Dio, writing much later than Tacitus, curiously enough is the one who has given us our picture of Boudicca as a red-head. Whether he made this up or not, a fierce red-head is the image we have of Boudicca today.

What is clearly missing is her story. The story we have is too one-sided, heavily weighted by the worldview of Rome. However, in all fairness, this matter of bias, the credibility of the storyteller(s), must be informed by other sources. To withhold our trust in Tacitus and Dio must be tempered by reason. Consider this quote about Tacitus’ approach to writing history:

“Before he entered on his task (writer of history) it is evident that he had well considered the nature and importance of it. He agreed with Cicero, who says:

‘It is the first law of history that the writer should neither dare to advance what is false, nor to suppress what is true; that he should relate the facts with strict impartiality, free from ill-will or favor; that his narrative should distinguish the order of time, and, when necessary, give the description of places; that he should unfold the statesman’s motives, and in his account of the transactions and the events interpose his own judgment; and should not only relate what was done, but how it was done; and what share chance, or rashness, or prudence, had in the issue;—that he should give the characters of the leading men, their weight and influence, their passions, their principles, and their conduct through life.’

There can be no doubt this was our author’s model(Tacitus’ approach to writing history), since we find him in different parts of his work laying down those very rules.” Arthur Murphy, 1830, page xii, “Biographical Sketch of Tacitus“.

Evidently, as historians go, Tacitus is as good as it gets. And Boudicca? I’ve spent the better part of the day re-reading Boudicca. I am interested in what her story is, since nobody has told it adequately. Who was Boudicca?

Boudicca was born around AD 25 to a royal family in Celtic Britain, and as a young woman she married Prasutagus, who later became king of the Iceni tribe. They had two daughters, probably born during the few years immediately after the Roman conquest in AD 43. It is here, where I make the attempt to weave fact and fiction to allow boudicca to tell her story…

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Check Out My New Book: Amazon Book Reviews #ASMSG #T4US #4FTM #AGA3

Book Description

Publication Date: March 22, 2014

Why write a book about writing book reviews? The answer is self-evident. There is no one book that can completely and adequately cover this broad topic, no matter how comprehensive such a book might be. The wide diversity, and individuality, of readers and reviewers alike, make writing book reviews a highly personal activity. Scott Berkun said, “We read for different reasons, but we often write reviews as if everyone in the world is just like us.” This book will take the position that a well-written book review, positive or negative, will ultimately be helpful to a majority of people. The aim of this book is to help readers to write helpful book reviews, using an inductive, analysis-driven approach to get there.

What the First Reviewers Are Saying

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#ASMSG The Basic #Book Review: Who, What & Why

Very soon I will be coming out with a new book about writing book reviews. As is usual with me, it will be more practical than theoretical. It will not be me telling you how to write a book review. I will show you how I write book reviews.

My method is simple, namely, I follow the guidance Amazon gives. When you write a book review, do three things:

1. Tell what you liked or disliked
2. Tell why you rated the book as you did
3. Tell who you recommend the book for

That is a good basic formula for writing book reviews. Who, What & Why makes everything clear for both the reader and the author. Such a review is always going to be respected, by the overwhelming majority of people who read the review.

Below you will see an actual review using Amazon’s “Who, What & Why ” formula for writing a good book review. Again, the idea is to learn from a practical viewpoint, and then modify and adapt the basic approach to fit your own individual writing style…

Review Title:

Not Every Relationship Ends Roughly, or, Should I Go Back To My Ex?

Guide To Being Attractive: What To Do When You Love an Ex Boyfriend and How To Get Ex Husband Back [Kindle Edition]
by Andreas Schneider


Not every relationship ends roughly. Some do, yes, and some don’t. This book is obviously about the relationships that somehow never had that dramatic, hate-your-guts-forever ending. In my case, I have experienced both, a love that ended in a lifetime of hate, and a love, that never ended…If you give this book a chance, it is a very personal read. You have to replay in your mind past moments of joy and happiness, and equally reflect on what it was that caused you to go separate ways. Sometimes, you can backtrack, and return, and other times, it is no longer possible.

As time and distance multiplies, it is most likely true what the great poet Robert Frost had to say, (quote) “Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence…(end of quote)

I recommend this book for anyone who has not “traveled” far away from a lost love, who is close in time and distance, so as to go back, if it is possible. In my case, this book comes much too late…I can no longer go back to my lost love… Instead…I must go forward to where I have found the greatest love of my life…my dear Gaby. This book gets a rating of 4 stars because there are people like myself for whom this book will be useful only as a pretext for a reflection. For others, however, this book is golden. I hope this book is a golden treasure for its readers, but for me, it comes too late, or maybe, it simply tells my story…

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of How to Coach a Debate Team (Volume 1)

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Shane KP O'Neill



The Dracula Chronicles is a new and exciting series adding a fresh dimension to the Dracula legend, which combines the real historical Vlad Dracula with a new and different version of Dracula the vampire. The series has been released in two arcs, one that follows Dracula the man and the other following Dracula the vampire. It is written in a style that is both literary and cinematic, that places you there in the thick of the action always.

The books are historical novels of Gothic horror; religious corruption; political intrigue; tragedy; war; dark paranormal fantasy; and deep romance. The premise is built around Creation and the divide in Heaven that results from Lucifer’s jealousy of the creation of man. This leads to the First Great War of the Angels and Lucifer’s eventual expulsion from Heaven with all those who sided with him. The annihilation of the angels continues, but rather than destroy Lucifer, God agrees to a truce. By its terms, Lucifer can contest the soul of every living being as long as he does not interfere with their free will. Should he control more souls than God at any time, he can ascend again to Heaven and cast God and the angels out. He would then have a free hand to destroy all mankind.

Lucifer turns man against God with ease. God responds by sending his prophets one after another to bring man back to the path of righteousness. It seems to be merely delaying the inevitable and in one last effort to thwart Lucifer, God sends his son made man. In giving his life on the Cross, Jesus wipes away man’s sins. This leaves Lucifer back to where he was at the beginning and means he has to start again. The Catholic Church is born on that fateful day in Jerusalem as Christ’s church on the earth. Lucifer then believes if he can destroy this great icon of God, he can turn man against God once more. He searches for over a millennium for the one who can lead his assault on God.

The Crusades give him renewed hope, and he is sure the conflict between Christian and Moslem will provide the one he seeks. When this does not materialise, he turns his attention to the Balkan region where this conflict is renewed with Ottoman expansion into eastern Europe. He finally identifies the second son of Vlad Dracul as the one he can manipulate into achieving his ends. God has prepared for this event, and in the very moment that Vlad Dracula draws his first breath, so does another child sired by Dracul, though born to a gypsy woman. This child, Andrei, is blessed by the angels and bestowed with great powers as a balance to the evil about to be unleashed upon the world.


The Vlad Dracula arc.. Books #1 to #5. Set in the 15th Century Balkans, this arc brings to life in its entirety the world in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived. It follows his loves; his triumphs; his many great tragedies; the betrayals he endures; and his great struggle to survive his many perils and secure the autonomy of his sovereign nation, Wallachia, which is sandwiched between the mighty Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires.

The books introduce you to all the great players of the period, their political machinations, and their great conflicts set within the battle between Christianity and Islam. They follow Lucifer and his schemes to manipulate the young Vlad Dracula into seeing through his great plan. Replete with references that are Biblical and drawn from the writings of the Kabbalah, The Dracula Chronicles also introduce a new vision of Hell and take you on a journey you will never forget.


The Bound By Blood arc.. Books #6 to #10. This arc begins with Dracula’s last great battle at Snagov in 1476. Despite winning yet another great victory, his enemies mortally wound him with arrows. He orders his men to take him to the chapel at the nearby monastery so he can die on holy ground. To his great chagrin, it is Lucifer who comes to claim his soul.

The Dark One speaks of his great vision, and of how he has chosen Dracula as his instrument to bring down the Catholic Church. He bites into Dracula’s neck and then gives him his own blood to drink. In doing so, he creates a monster, superhuman and immortal, who can live through the ages and help him win the battle for souls.

Into the 16th Century, wherever the Catholic Church is harmed or loses its influence, Dracula is there behind the scenes to propagate it all. He involves himself with Machiavelli; Martin Luther; in the Italian wars between France and Spain; the Borgias; Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty; and many more.

At the same time his brother, Andrei, takes up the fight against him and arms the Church with the knowledge of how to counter him. In resurrecting Dracula’s legitimate brother, Radu, from the dead so as to exact retribution against him, Dracula and Lucifer have unleashed a powerful enemy who has joined the battle against them.


The Lamb Of God - Cover

This is a prequel to For Whom The Bell Tolls and the entire The Dracula Chronicles series. It offers a taste of what is to come, giving the background of the concept, the Crucifixion, and the night of the births of Vlad and Andrei.

If you subscribe to my blog, link below, I will send you a free download of this prequel. You can also hear an audio version, narrated by myself, on my website and on my YouTube channel.


For Whom The Bell Tolls - Cover

“A war rages on around us every day. The struggle to save all mankind. The ultimate evil.”

All is well in Heaven until God creates man. Lucifer’s jealousy leads to the First Great War of the Angels. Hundreds of thousands of years on, the feud simmers beneath the surface. It plots the course of history as we know it today. Both sides manipulate the major players through the centuries to seek an advantage over the other.

The battle for souls has raged since the truce that followed the First Great War. God has struck the ultimate blow and sacrifice to gain the advantage, and defeat Lucifer. As Lucifer stands at the foot of the Cross that drains the last ounce of life from Christ and eradicates man’s sins, he realises that his work must begin anew.

In time, he comes to understand that his only chance to win this battle will be to destroy the institution of the Catholic Church to turn man against God. He searches for more than a millennium for the candidate to see his plan through to an end, and finally discovers the one that can cast that final blow.

On a cold night in December, 1431 in Sighisoara, an old gypsy woman delivers a prophecy to the great Vlad Dracul. She tells him he is about to sire two sons, one an angel and the other a devil.

He returns to his fortress just as his wife bears him a son, whom he names Vlad. In the very same moment across the country on the border between Transylvania and Hungary, a gypsy girl gives birth to another son, Andrei. The die is cast. The twin souls are born. The young Vlad Dracula becomes the instrument of the forces of Darkness. To balance this, the baby Andrei is blessed by the angels and bestowed with awesome powers. This is their story.


“I never thought a man could be capable of writing with such sensitivity and emotion.”

“Beautifully written with great story lines, the author does not hold back in his descriptions of many brutal acts of violence (save for a very long and tastefully done sex scene).”

“The relationships between father and son, the son and his captors and the individual characterisations are way beyond what a fantasy/paranormal book might offer. The writing is of literary class.”

“FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS differs from Shane K.P. O’Neill’s BOUND BY BLOOD sagas in that it takes place years prior to Dracula’s vampiric existence, but this in no way diminishes the power and intensity of its read. Events unfold with the depth of a historical epic.”

(Release date March 20, 2014).


“The path we walk, is the path to decay. The only way to live, is to die.”

The great Vlad Dracul is dead, fallen in battle, and his throne gone. His son, the young Vlad Dracula, is consumed with grief and a need for revenge. All alone in the world, he keeps his promise and returns to Anatolia. There, he takes a commission in the Ottoman army. On the fields outside Kosovo Polje in Serbia, he is handed his first opportunity to strike back against the men who killed his father.

He has grown into the ultimate fighting machine, and is feared by one and all. This path to decay, as described by his father, is the one he chooses to follow. Lucifer guides and watches over Dracula, but also deepens his hold over him. As time passes, though, his enemies build in every quarter, and they strive to bring him down.

With nowhere left to turn, how will Dracula avenge his family? How can he hope to win back his throne? As he faces one tragedy after another, these events mould him into the man who will be spoken of for centuries to come. A man who lets nothing stand in his way in his pursuit for revenge, and the throne that was his father’s.


Birth Of The Monster

This is the prequel to Bound By Blood, and the vampire arc. It takes you to Dracula’s last triumph on the battlefield, and his last moments as a mortal man. While he lies dying in the chapel of the monastery at Snagov, Lucifer comes to claim his soul. The Dark One speaks of his vision in destroying the Catholic Church in his quest to win the battle for souls, and creates Dracula the vampire.


Bound By Blood

A new edition of this and the next book is currently with my copy editors, and will be released and re-launched with new covers in the summer.

“A war rages on around us every day. The struggle to save all mankind. The ultimate evil.”

As his moment of death looms Dracula suffers the ultimate betrayal. The champion of the Catholic faith in Eastern Europe realises it is Lucifer who is coming to claim him. However, Lucifer does not want his soul.

Instead he bites into Dracula’s neck and then offers his own blood to drink. Dracula suffers his mortal death, but he re-awakens. Immortalised with Lucifer’s blood coursing through his veins, the two are bound by blood for eternity. Lucifer has groomed him for this day and lays out the task before him.

Dracula is to destroy the institution of that which he has championed for so long. By bringing down the Catholic Church he can undo the Crucifixion and turn man against God once more. If he succeeds then Lucifer will ascend again to Heaven and signal the end for all mankind.


“This story is a powerful and sweeping epic. The language, the settings, the characters…they all exude Classic.”

“If you are looking for a vampire novel that is rich in detail, with historical facts, legends and folklore weaved in and splashes of gore and a bit of romance, this is for you.”

“This book will stimulate your imagination as it entertains you. Bound By Blood is among the best vampire novels I have read.”


Shane KP O'Neill

The author developed a fascination with Dracula from an early age. Like many others he was enthralled by Christopher Lee’s portrayal of him on the big screen. It was in his late teens that he discovered Dracula the man and the love affair began from there.

An avid lover of history, he studied the period in which the real historical Vlad Dracula lived, 15th Century Balkan, for many years. It followed from there then that with his love of writing he would always choose Dracula as his subject. He built a concept and premise where he could accommodate both Dracula the vampire and Dracula the man.

Away from writing, the author has a wide range of interests. He reads a lot of books from a wide variety of authors, though his main interest lies in the horror genre. His love of books is matched only by his love of the countryside and of course, his family. As an added note, he has lived and travelled all over the world. He has a love for all things historical, with a particular fascination for medieval Europe. Anywhere he travels, he likes to search out locations with an historical interest and will always hunt for the ruins of an old castle before heading to the beach.

Author Links


US – http://ow.ly/qSHx1

UK – http://ow.ly/qSHDH













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#ASMSG Wunderbar! The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy) A Superb Family Saga by Master Story Teller Christoph Fischer #BYNR #IAN1 #T4US

The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy)

Thoughts by author Christoph Fischer on the book:


I was born 25 years after the end of the war. Our history lessons at school ended with the year 1945. One of the most urgent and important questions remained unanswered for me: How did a country with so much shame and horror in its past recover and move forward? How could it? I don’t think anything can ever make up for what has happened and nobody can forgive or atone for the collective guilt. But can the new generation ever deservedly rid itself of the stigma the previous generation has brought to the country?

Only ten years after the end of the war a wave of Italian and Turkish Immigrants filled the hole in the German employment market, ten years after that a new right wing party formed in Germany.
The Sixties brought the Bader Meinhoff Complex, student revolts and family conflicts. Many of the young adults were disillusioned with politics and turned violent. It took a new generation of politicians to instigate a modernisation of German society.
We know about the Nuremberg Trials but what does the little man do with his broken country?


On Goodreads, I saw the author’s book trailer for Black Eagle Inn. It showed images so compelling that I requested a free copy of the book directly from the author to read and give my honest opinion in exchange. After reading Chapter 1, I took the unusual step of contacting Author Christoph Fischer and sharing with him my interpretations of my reading.

Let me explain: I was reading the book from a cultural standpoint, namely, from the personal perspective of actually having lived in various cities, towns and villages in Bavaria over a ten year period as a young adult. Consequently. I knew my reading was a misinterpretation of the author’s intent.

In other words, I wasn’t reading the author, I was reading my own experience, comparing my life to what I found in the book, taking issue with minor language points, finding several cultural artifacts that were inconsistent with my lived experience of Germany in the 80′s and 90′s. For instance, I found several parallels with the autobiographical novel, “Herbstmilch” (Autumn Milk), by Anna Wimschneider (1985), and consciously began using that book as a frame of reference to guide me through Chapter 1. (yes, I’m an old guy if I was a young man in 1985) Anyway, Author Christoph Fischer assured me that he had seen the movie, “Herbstmilch” (it came out in 1988) a long time ago but could scarcely remember it.

In sum, the author confirmed to me what I already knew: I wasn’t reading his book. I was reading something entirely different. It was my personal response to having the opportunity to “return” to Germany through the magic transport medium of this book.

Christoph kindly explained to me that the book was inspired by real people in his life, and specified who these people are and the distant relationship he had with them. It was therefore clear to me how the author had been able to write such convincing characters into this book, namely, they are born from his personal observations of real people, and brought to life powerfully in the roles he has assigned to each.

I am in complete agreement with the author when he states the book is character driven. The characters drive this book forward, relentlessly. The book is not a cultural exposition, though it has cultural artifacts throughout the book. It is not the Munich Oktoberfest,

On the contrary, it is real people, trying desperately to find out who they are, come to grips with the past, do the right things in the present, and somehow find a way to love themselves, with all their imperfections. In my opinion, this is not about redemption, its about loving yourself.

Finally, this is an awesome book, very well written, with dynamic characters who continually surprise the reader. The characters are the key in this book. Stay close to them, and they will provide you with an opportunity to get to know yourself, based on how you react to them, and of course, the way they make you feel.

One last note: Author Christoph Fischer is authentic. In this book you will find, besides memorable characters, the historical backdrop, a well structured plot, topics that make you reflect long after the reading is done, all of this, yes, but also you will find yourself “seeing”, “hearing” and “smelling” the sights, sounds and smells of a bygone era in Germany. Fischer paints pictures in your mind in this book, with such talent and skill, that he is equal to the masters of the writing craft. He is amazing and it is a pleasure to read his author’s “canvas”…

This is a superbly exquisite book that I feel is a must-read. It is my absolute pleasure to give it my highest possible recommendation, 5 stars, and somehow feel sad that I could not give it more stars…

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of Story Tellers: In Pursuit of Happiness

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#ASMSG #Book #Review: Imitation of Life, or, “I Wish Mother Was White”

This is a review of “A Family Divided by Color“, by Amanda Lee. The book is over 200 pages long and being offered for sale on Amazon for only $2.99 (Kindle) or $9.49 (paperback). This is good value, a fair asking price when compared to other books of similar length and genre.

Obviously this book caught my attention because it deals so candidly with race. As an African-American, race will always be an issue that I deal with, be it consciously or subconsciously. It begins early in life, when somewhere, somehow, you learn that it is not enough to just be good at what you do, but to be exceptional, outstanding…in order to recieve an opportunity.

As an adult, I am merely competitive. As an African-American, I am constantly striving to be better, faster, more accomplished. There is an expectation that if I am just as good as my Caucasian counterparts, it won’t be good enough. So yes, race has conditioned me to be competitive. What surprises most people about me is the fact that I seem harmless, just a laid-back, toothless tiger. Until you must compete with me, you have no clue how uncompromising I will be in ensuring you never make the same mistake twice, namely, underestimating my absolute willpower to do whatever is necessary to overcome any obstacle in my path…

Enough about me. My book review is below…


Aristotle wrote that, “art is an “imitation of life, poetry is an imitation of a thought while drama is an imitation of an action.” This powerful, soul-wrenching book by author Amanda Lee confirms every word that Aristotle wrote on this subject. It is artistic, it is poetic, and it is most definitely dramatic. All of this is clearly an imitation of life for the protagonists Abby Brenner and her two sons, Peter and Alex. Surely, if asked, these 3 dynamic characters would say that their lives are unreal to them, an imitation of what their lives truly ought to be…

The imagination of the reader needs little to vividly imagine the difficulty and evidently unsurmountable obstacles to happiness faced by everyone in this story. It is a very deep and profound social commentary on the importance of race, both in the story, and now, in our times. This book is well written, moves swiftly, and above all, is very emotional. This book will touch your human soul. It will make you reflect on how race torments the mind of a child. This profound emotional conflict is clearly evident when Peter (half black and half white) says to his brother Alex (who is all black), “I wish mother was white.” Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg…

This book will make you think about race, even today. Have we moved past racial discrimination? The answer obviously depends on from what perspective you are viewing the question. President Obama, the first African American President of the USA, recently had this to say about race: (quote) “There’s no doubt that there are some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.” (end of quote) As you can see, this book deals with a realistic, contemporary issue. Racial discrimination simply refuses to go away and leave good people alone. Dr. King’s dream of a land where people are judged by their character, and not their skin color, remains only a dream… Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of How to Coach a Debate Team (Volume 1)

Disclaimer: A digital copy of this book was given to me by the author in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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#FREE #Book ► #Review: Who Will Save Ashley? #ASMSG

This is my book review of John Meany’s novel, “Save Me“, which is available for FREE today, no cost, $0.00. Just download the book, read it, and write your own book review.

As you will see, this is a particularly difficult book to read. It deals with the subject of rape, its consequences, and its aftermath. This is the kind of book most people would pass on reading, since we read to relax, to get away from our daily lives. We choose books to read that we will enjoy, that will entertain us.

What drew me to this book, finally, is the author’s attempt to make sense of the real world, by fictionalizing it. I must agree that dealing with a rape that never occurred is much more desirable than dealing with one that did occur. This notion, of making a distasteful topic a work of fiction, tipped the scales for me, and I decided to read this book, and then, write a thoughtful, fair, unbiased book review. My book review follows, and can be seen on line at Amazon. Maybe some of you will even download the book, since it is FREE today.


When dealing with serious fictional literature, there are a number of possible ways of “reading”. The options begin to narrow, however, once we are met with unique circumstances which show humanity at its worst. The willpower must be present to read with critical, yet non-judgmental eyes. The first time I tried to read this book, I was overwhelmed, and wanted nothing to do with the conflicts and drama present in this book. Today, I am here, eager to share what the reading of this book has been like for me. Here are my thoughts:

I feel nothing but pain, empathy, misery, sympathy for the protagonist, Ashley Ferguson. Her life is literally destroyed by circumstances beyond her control. Subsequently, her descent into the living hell in which she seeks refuge is predictable. The destruction of her soul, her self of self, is significant. Only a well-coordinated therapy, extending as soon as possible and lasting across the entire length, breadth, and width of her lifetime would have “saved her” from the emotional and mental aftermath of the rape that she suffered. Author John Meany has tackled this topic head-on, and is to be commended for his effort.

The crime (rape) is one that robs the victim of much more than your physical body, it is much more severe, as this book clearly demonstrates. In sum, this book is not, can not be, for entertainment. It is not escapist literature.

Though you may be willing to dispute anything in this book, there is something much larger at stake. Unless the public at large becomes more sensitised to uncomfortable topics like this one, the victims of violent crime will continue to suffer not only the crime itself, but its aftermath, as our protagonist does. How do we prevent this? I don’t know, but I think this book is a good contribution, in fact, a valuable contribution, as it is educational.

For me, a final reflection is evident when the author asks, quite simply: “Who will save her? Who will save Ashley from the drugs and alcohol that begin to control her life? Who will help her…?” That is a question that our society is called upon to answer…

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of How to Coach A Debate Team

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REVIEW: In Spite of the Dark Silence – Volpi


This book review would make anyone want to read this book, maybe to find out if they agree with the reviewer, maybe to try to understand what happens when human beings fail to achieve (recieve?) recognition for their accomplishments. For some authors and poets, it would never make a difference, for others, it could be harmful. Either way, the review by Rosalind Minett is exquisite, masterfully written. It is a pleasure to read this review, and I will stop by to read more book reviews here in the future.

Originally posted on The characterful writer:

We don’t see enough of Latin American writers in the UK. I am glad to review this literary novel by Jorge Volpi (Mexico) published for Columbia University by Swan Isle Pres s.

Dark Silence

When you know a novel has suicide as a central focus, you wait to find the right – the strongest – frame of mind before reading it. This was true of me, and so it is some months since I received this impressive work for independent review from Swan Isle Press. Fresh from reading the captivating ‘To the Beautiful North’ with its irrepressible characters (by Luis Alberto Urrea, another Mexican), I took up this well-presented volume with its haunting, probably haunted, portrait on its dust cover.

It is a hard read: hard in the sense that it is intellectually challenging; hard emotionally; hard in tone and use of language as opposed to soft and fluid; hard in…

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I Live In #Chile: A #Book Everyone Can Understand #ASMSG #BYNR #IAN1

As the author of “I Live In Chile“, I can tell you that it is an extraordinary book. It is a book everyone can love. One of the many things that makes this book stand out is its unique ability to cross genres. The book can not be neatly classified as a travel book about Chile. “I Live In Chile” is inclusive of such information, however, intentionally, not in any kind of all encompassing fashion. This is, again, by design.

At Wikipedia we find the following definition:

(Quote) “A guide book or travel guide is “a book of information about a place, designed for the use of visitors or tourists”.[ New Oxford American Dictionary] It will usually include full details relating to accommodation, restaurants, transportation, and activities. Maps of varying detail and historical and cultural information are also often included. Different kinds of guide books exist, focusing on different aspects of travel, from adventure travel to relaxation, or aimed at travelers with different incomes…” (end of quote)

As we can see, “I Live In Chile” is covered by this definition. At the same time, the book is not intended to be a guide book for “ExPats”. That notion, that this is a book to help expats live in Chile, must be regarded as a mistake, an error in reading comprehension, a complete misinterpretation of the author’s intent.

The author’s true intent in writing this book is clearly evident from the very moment that the attentive reader reads the following statement in the book description:

(quote) “I Live in Chile. ¡Viva Chile! I am fascinated with, and deeply in love with Chile (encantado & enamorado). That will be the main aim of this book, namely, to share my life in, and my love for, this beautiful country, my beloved Chile. I hope you enjoy the way in which I share the story of what is important for me about my life in Chile.” (end of quote)

From the Collins English Dictionary we find another important characteristic of “I Live In Chile” defined, namely, love. The author plainly and openly states: “I am deeply in love with Chile.” Thus, we understand that “I Live In Chile” is a love story. Let us define “love story” now.

According to the Collins English Dictionary, love story is defined as:(quote) “A story whose central interest is a love relationship.” (end of quote)

Central interest…main aim…

These two terms above, central interest & main aim, help readers to know that what is most important in this book, is love. There can be no doubt about this. The statement leaves no room for misinterpretation. Love is a concept known to every culture and every country on Earth. We experience love, as human beings, from birth to death, across the entire spectrum of humanity.

To understand this book, all you have to do, no, what you must do, is hold this concept foremost in your mind, love.

Everything else, and indeed, anything else, that appears in this book, is of secondary importance. In fact, all else owes its appearance in the book due to its ability to support the main idea, namely, the declared love of a man (Thomas Jerome Baker) for a country (Chile)…

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