5 Essential Tips for Hosting the Perfect Wine-Tasting Event

5 Essential Tips for Hosting the Perfect Wine-Tasting Event

Do you want to host a wine-tasting event? With so many people planning similar events, you must find a way to make yours unique and memorable. Your guests will certainly enjoy drinking wine, but you must plan effectively to meet the expectations of the guests you invite to the party. Whether you are a seasoned wine enthusiast or a novice, here are essential tips for hosting a perfect event.


1. Select a Theme


Themed parties are great since they create a unique experience for both hosts and guests. Therefore, planning a themed event is one of the simple tips to make your wine-tasting party stand out. Besides, the overall theme will guide you and other service providers, such as venue decorators, during the planning phase. Therefore, you should not rush when selecting a theme because it is the backbone of the event. A secret to choosing the right theme is making the guests the center of the event, determining what they will likely enjoy, and striving to meet their expectations. With the needs of your guests in mind, you can easily get quality wines that best fit your event.


2. Curate a Diverse Selection of Wines


Wine tasting involves guests sampling diverse wine collections and comparing aroma and taste. Therefore, the event can only be successful if you provide a variety of wines, preferably from different sources. Ideally, you need to have a few bottles of expensive wines so that the guest can have a chance to compare and contrast the affordable alternatives to the premium ones. Besides, you should include white, red, and sparkling options. Remember that some guests attending your event will search for wines they can use at home or for an upcoming party or celebration. It is, therefore, essential to provide diverse wine collections.


3. Provide Adequate Glassware and Accessories


A wine-tasting is an elegant activity that should make guests feel like royalty. However, to achieve this, you must consider the type of glassware and accessories they will use; these will be the first things your guests see. The accessories should ooze elegance and royalty, giving the event a positive vibe. Remember that everything you will be using counts, from the glasses and the corkscrew to the aerator, decanter, and wine stopper. Therefore, consider the quality and visual appeal when choosing these accessories.


4. Offer Guidance and Education


While many people have heard of wine and have tasted it, very few are knowledgeable on this subject. Therefore, you should enlighten your guests about wines and make your event educational. You can provide informative wine-tasting notes briefly describing each wine and its origin. If you are up for it, you can take your event a notch higher by inviting a professional in a live video call to guide you and your guests through the various wine selections. Create an atmosphere where the guests can ask questions without feeling awkward or out of place.


5. Pair With Complementary Foods


A common dilemma people hosting a wine-tasting party face is whether to serve a full-sit-down meal. Most guests at a wine-tasting event do not plan to eat, but the event might seem odd without something for the guests to eat. Consider serving small appetizers or complementary foods such as cheese, charcuterie, deviled eggs, and bruschetta. An important reminder when selecting complementary food is to pick the ones that pair well with the variety of wines you plan to serve.


A perfect wine-tasting party requires you to pay attention to details and plan carefully. You should also consider the needs and expectations of your guests and use these simple tips to improve their experience. A great wine event will make guests appreciate wine and want to explore further.


Meeting Doug Kari, Author of The Berman Murders

Meeting Doug Kari, Author of The Berman Murders

We’re diving into a conversation with the adventurous Doug Kari, a true-crime investigator who doesn’t just stick to the archives. Whether he’s laying in a shallow grave to connect with past tragedies, uncovering clues in Death Valley’s expanses, or navigating Mexico’s tough terrains to tell the stories of migrant refugees, Doug’s method is anything but conventional. Join us as we uncover the stories and motivations of this unique explorer and writer as his new book, The Berman Murders.

If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why? 

Having my book The Berman Murders turned into a film isn’t something I dream about. But if I had to cast the leads, I’d pick Jesse Eisenberg and Jessica Chastain as the victims Barry & Louise Berman; Shia LaBeouf as the suspect Michael Pepe; and Bradley Cooper as the dogged deputy Leon Boyer. Their looks and vibes would fit the parts. 

What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

That sometimes – maybe even most of the time? – justice prevails. 

 What makes your book unputdownable? 

Because the plot twists are fantastical, yet real. 

 When did you decide to write this story and why? 

The case came calling on me in 2014. I was at my desk, thinking about Saline Valley, and how I’d like to write a story in that extraordinary setting. At that precise moment, a bird landed on the window screen, only a couple of feet away, gripping the mesh. As the bird stared in at me, I thought of Barry and Louise, who’d disappeared in Saline Valley many years earlier. 

What is something you learned while writing this book? 

That there are people in this world – Barry Berman being one of them – who have genuine disregard for wealth and its trappings. 

What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book? 

Publisher’s Weekly called the book “a stirring account of [a] nine-year quest to crack an unsolved double murder in California’s Mojave Desert.” 

 If you were given a one-minute ad slot during the Super Bowl, what would you fill it with?  

 Video (G-rated, of course) of the clothing-optional hot springs in Saline Valley – there’s nowhere like it. 

 What would be your superpower?   

The ability to absorb and process information like a super-computer, but with human emotions and sensibilities. 

 If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? 

I wish for outcomes that perhaps I can help achieve, such as: justice for the victims in the cases I write about; meaningful lives for my children; positive outcomes for the people to whom I provide legal advice. 

What is your dream vacation?   

A lonely desert wherein lies a gripping tale of love, adventure, murder, and justice. 

 Rapid Fire Questions 

  1. Long walk or long car ride?
  2. A long walk to saturate my brain with oxygen.


  1. Comedy or Drama?
  2. Drama of course – after all, I’m a true-crime writer.


  1. The city or the country?
  2. The country because I scour the deserts of California and Nevada for stories to tell.


  1. Baking or Cooking?
  2. The elusive quest to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.


  1. Margarita or Cosmo?
  2. A. Margarita, because I became friends with Roy Parodi, the husband of Margarita Henkel, who was the daughter of the German ambassador to Mexico. Roy and Margarita owned Hamilton Ranch, a large guest ranch near Ensenada. In October 1941, Roy and Margarita walked into to Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada. In honor of his VIP guests, the bartender, Don Carlos Orozco, named his new drink after Margarita. Noe: After Roy passed away, his family gifted me some of his vintage clothing, including an embroidered tuxedo that I still wear on special occasions. https://eighteeneight.com/blog/the-tale-of-the-margarita/


  1. Holding a Puppy or Holding a Baby?
  2. A puppy – I’m head-over-heels in love with dogs.


  1. invisibility cloak or sparkling skin?
  2. Invisibility assuming my pad and pen are invisible too, so I can jot notes about what I’m seeing.


  1. Coffee or tea?
  2. Coffee, strong, at least twice a day.


  1. Dinosaurs or princesses? 
  2. Princesses abound, but dinosaurs in real life would be cool.


  1. Laptop or phone?
  2. Phone for photos, laptop for writing.

Make sure to check out The Berman Murders. For another author interview, click here.

Dr. Paul D. Corona with The Corona Protocol

Dr. Paul D. Corona with The Corona Protocol

Join us for an enlightening interview with Dr. Paul D. Corona, a trailblazer in psychiatry and family medicine from Southern California. Dr. Corona introduces “Mind and Body Healing” in his groundbreaking book, “The Corona Protocol,” challenging traditional mental health treatments and offering innovative solutions for complex societal issues.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories in your self-help series? 

I want to convey that there is hope. There is a scientific basis for why people suffer with mental and physical illness. These reasons can be easily diagnosed and treated in safe and effective ways that are holistic and get to the core of the problem and cure the person from within. This leads to the feeling of self and feeling of health and wholeness. 

More information is that I want patients and doctors to read my books and to be able to not only help themselves but also others that they know need help, which is an exponential amount of people. There is so much suffering in our society and in the world that can be relieved by applying The Corona Protocol to their lives. 


Q. What makes your book unique?  

My book is unique because The Corona Protocol is my methods and ways of diagnosing and treating. I learned these methods through years of studying and treating patients in order to develop a protocol that works better than any other methods that I have come across. The Corona Protocol has been developed through over 30 years of practice with well over 50,000 hours and well over 150,000 patients’ visits. 

Expanding on what I said a bit further, what makes my protocol different than other methods is that I learned it differently. I learned it as a family doctor studying psychiatry on my own further than what we learned in training about mental illness. Those trained in psychiatry don’t appreciate the role that the physical body plays, thus the term Mind-Body Medicine. During the first 10 years or so of my practice I realized that I was doing things differently than what I was reading about. I decided that I could make a bigger difference in my patients’ lives by branching into this field of medicine rather than being a typical family doctor. Since I did not see other providers offering the same methods, I knew early on that I not only needed to do it but also to teach it, thus leading to the books. The impact that this protocol has on people’s lives is nothing short of astonishing. I have had many patients over the years who have seen many different providers, including psychiatrists, who never provided the results that I am able to provide within a relatively short period of time such as one to three visits. More complex patients may take 4 to 6 visits but that is still much quicker and with more complete results than with other providers who treat based on old paradigms. I love what I do since I see people’s lives changing dramatically in front of my eyes and many have told me that their lives have been saved because of my treatments. As a doctor there is no greater joy than making a difference in so many people’s lives. 

Q. Who/What is your biggest inspiration in your writing?  

My biggest inspiration is my patients. Seeing them suffer and then helping them to turn their lives around gives me great joy and satisfaction. Being aware that there is so much suffering which can be helped drives me to keep writing and to keep in active practice. Since I have also written two books intended to train doctors and other prescribers my greatest desire after this book is released is to put together a training program and release my next two books which are already written. 


Q. When did you decide to write the book and why?  

I decided to write this sixth book since I had already released my first three books’ series years ago and have finished my to teaching books, but then I realized that I needed to write another book and started about five years ago. I set out to write a book of stories. I love fiction and fantasy novels are my favorite genres. I have always wanted to write fiction, and this was my opportunity to share stories of people who struggle, some of them succeeding and some not. The harsh reality is that not all of the stories in this book and in life in general have a happy ending. 


Q. What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book?  

I have had many positive comments about the book but the one that comes foremost to mind is that this book is a paradigm shift. My book introduces a completely different way of looking at things and doing things. What I write and teach is not found in any other book, whether textbook or otherwise. The paradigm shift introduced in this book is the ability to change the lives of countless people. 


  1. If your book were turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why? 

This is a tough question. Then Affleck or Vince Vaughn for me, Jennifer Lopez, or Phoebe Cates for my wife. 


Q. What is something you learned while writing the book?  

What I learned while writing this book is how much I enjoy writing fiction. I enjoy using my imagination, while also drawing on material from real patients that I have seen. I have continued to learn over the last 20 years of writing how much work goes into writing a book. 


Q. Give us the scoop about your next upcoming book.

After writing six books I don’t see myself writing another medical book for a while. I started writing a fantasy novel when I was in middle school, then several years ago I wrote more of it but then put it aside. I wanted to wait until the other books were written before going back to it. I have thought about the story for many years and know what I want to write but have not found the time and energy to devote to it. It will probably become a trilogy. I would like to ideally write it with another author such as a ghostwriter, someone who is better at writing than I am. 


Rapid Fire Questions 

Running or Hiking? – Hiking 

What is your favorite shower song? – When Doves Cry by Prince 

Red Meat or White Meat? – Tough questions since I love both, but I will have to go with red meat, white meat a close second. On further reflection white meat wins. I love chicken, pork and fish which includes my favorite King crab legs as well as lobster. I love steak and hamburgers, but white meat wins. 

Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts? –   Brussell Sprouts 

Tomatoes or Potatoes? – Potatoes  

Baked or Fried? – Fried 

Wine or Beer? – Beer. Easy answer. I have a.keg in a refrigerator in my backyard at my Tiki Bar 

Sky diving or Scuba diving? – Sky Diving though I have never done it either. I have always wanted to skydive. 

Fame or Fortune? – Fame, since I would be able to reach and affect more people in a positive way if me and my protocol were widely known. I want to make as big of a difference as I can and to help as many people as possible. 

Invisibility cloak or sparkling skin? – Invisibility cloak 

 Check out another author interview here

Why are you so Cranky? Explaining Cranky Superpowers with Steven Joseph

Why are you so Cranky? Explaining Cranky Superpowers with Steven Joseph

In our latest interview, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Steven Joseph, the creative mind behind the engaging and unique Cranky Superpowers. Joseph, known for his distinctive approach to self-help and humor, shares insights into his latest book, which challenges readers to transform their crankiness into a source of personal strength. From the inspiration behind his writing to his thoughts on character adaptations and future projects, here’s what Steven Joseph had to say about his journey as an author and the intriguing concept of embracing our inner crankiness. Make sure to grab your copy now.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories in your self-help series?

A. I think that the principal message is to embrace our crankiness and look closely at it to see how it can be used to foster our own unique powers.

Q. What makes your book unique?

A. This book is different than any other book you will read. That is not what I say. It is what my readers tell me. Every chapter is different than the other. Every chapter will make you laugh out loud. Every chapter will make you reflect and think about your own life. The stories and lessons stay with you long after you finish reading.

Q. Who/What is your biggest inspiration in your writing? 

A. I think it is the odd things that happen in daily life and in my work as a lawyer. An attorney comes into mediation and exclaims it is not his first rodeo, I end up with First Rodeo CrankaTsuris as a chapter. People will always say things that give me a hook into a story, and I go from there.

Q. When did you decide to write the Cranky series and why?

A. My first book was a Children’s book The Last Surviving Dinosaur: The TyrantoCrankaTsuris. It was a story about the smallest but crankiest dinosaur on the planet, and how all humans evolved from that little dinosaur. One reviewer commented that the book did not talk about how to overcome crankiness, and I thought the point was to embrace our crankiness. I started a blog on how to embrace our crankiness, and everything took off from there.

Q. What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book?

A. “Is it genius or madness? I can’t decide!”

Q. Which fictional character would be most exciting to meet in real life?

A. Hagrid from Harry Potter. He reminds me a bit of my amazing illustrator, Andy Case.

Q. If your book were turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why? – Ben Stiller. He plays a lot of characters that fall in line with the characters in my book. He starts out sometimes as a bit of a loser, and somehow, he finds the inner strength that he did not know he had. It is his cranky superpower!

Q What is something you learned while writing the Cranky Superpowers book? 

A. I learned how to look at my own crankiness in a positive way, and how I just barely tapped into crankiness with two books.

Q. Give us the scoop about your next upcoming book in the Snoodles series.

A. I am so excited about this next book “Snoodles in Space, Episode 2: The Zoodles Strike Back”. The idea for the book was a lightning bolt coming out of the sky. It turns the Willie Wonka upside down. The spoiled kids end up being the heroes in the story saving everyone on the planet from becoming Willy Nillys and Dilly Dallys. We are already working on the follow up book “Snoodles in Space: Escape from Zoodletraz!” That promises to be a DooWopadoodle Tale from Outer Space!


Part 2 – Rapid Fire Questions

  1. Running or Hiking? RUNNING
  2. What is your favorite shower song? SOME JEWISH PRAYER. I USED TO BE A CANTOR.
  3. Red Meat or White Meat? RED MEAT
  4. Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts? BRUSSEL SPROUTS
  5. Tomatoes or Potatoes? POTATOES
  6. Baked or Fried? FRIED
  7. Wine or Beer? WINE
  8. Sky diving or Scuba diving? SKY DIVING
  9. Fame or Fortune? FORTUNE
  10. Invisibility cloak or sparkling skin? INVISIBILITY CLOAK

For more author interviews, check out The Amber Menhir here.

4 Splurges You Should Consider for the New Year

4 Splurges You Should Consider for the New Year

As the new year approaches, many people are starting to think about their resolutions. While some may focus on fitness or career goals, others may be looking to indulge in a few splurges. Whether it’s treating yourself to a luxurious vacation or investing in a high-end piece of technology, there are a variety of splurges to consider for the new year.

One splurge to consider is a high-quality piece of furniture. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, investing in a well-made sofa or dining table can actually save money in the long run. Cheaper, lower-quality furniture may need to be replaced more frequently, while a high-quality piece can last for decades. Plus, a beautiful piece of furniture can elevate the look and feel of a home.

Another splurge to consider is a wellness retreat or spa weekend. With the stresses of daily life, taking a break to focus on relaxation and self-care can be incredibly beneficial. Whether it’s a yoga retreat or a weekend at a luxury spa, investing in your mental and physical health can have long-lasting benefits. Plus, it’s a great way to kick off the new year with a fresh mindset.

Investing in Your Success

When it comes to splurging, investing in yourself is always a wise choice. By prioritizing your finances and reducing your debt, you are setting yourself up for financial freedom and success in the new year.

Prioritize Your Finances

One of the best ways to invest in your success is to prioritize your finances. This means creating a budget and sticking to it, as well as setting financial goals for yourself. By keeping track of your income and expenses, you can identify areas where you can cut back and save money. This will not only help you to achieve your financial goals, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are in control of your finances.

Reduce Debt for Financial Freedom

Another important aspect of investing in your success is reducing your debt. High levels of debt can be a major source of stress and can prevent you from achieving your financial goals. By paying off your debts, you can free up more of your income to invest in your future. This can include saving for retirement, building an emergency fund, or investing in a new business venture.

Overall, investing in yourself is one of the best splurges you can make for the new year. By prioritizing your finances and reducing your debt, you can set yourself up for financial freedom and success in the years to come.

Enhancing Daily Life

Making small changes to your daily routine can have a big impact on your overall well-being. Here are three splurges to consider for enhancing your daily life.

Upgrade to a High-Efficiency Dishwasher

A high-efficiency dishwasher can save you time and money in the long run. Not only do they use less water and energy, but they also clean dishes more effectively. Look for models that have an Energy Star rating, which means they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Incorporate Plant-Based Foods into Your Diet

Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet can have numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Start by swapping out meat for plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and tofu. Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and experiment with new recipes to keep things interesting.

High End Commercial Bar Stools

Investing in high-end commercial bar stools can add a touch of sophistication to your home bar or kitchen. Look for stools made from durable materials like metal or wood, with comfortable cushions and a sleek design. Not only will they elevate the look of your space, but they’ll also provide a comfortable place to sit while you enjoy a drink or meal.

Spend on Hobbies You Love

One of the best ways to splurge in the new year is to spend on hobbies that you love. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or cooking, investing in your passions can bring immense joy and fulfillment. Take a look at the best broadhead for crossbow here.

One option is to take a class or workshop to improve your skills and learn new techniques. Many community centers and local colleges offer affordable classes in a variety of hobbies. This can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests and gain a sense of accomplishment.

Another option is to upgrade your equipment or supplies. For example, if you enjoy photography, investing in a new lens or camera can enhance the quality of your photos and inspire you to take your hobby to the next level. It’s important to do research and choose products that are high quality and fit your specific needs.

Lastly, consider attending events or shows related to your hobby. Whether it’s a concert, art exhibit, or cooking demonstration, immersing yourself in the culture and community of your hobby can be a rewarding experience.

Overall, spending on hobbies you love can bring a sense of fulfillment and joy to your life. By investing in your passions, you can improve your skills, connect with others, and create lasting memories.

Invest in Experiences

When it comes to splurging, investing in experiences is a great way to create lasting memories. Instead of buying material possessions, consider spending your money on experiences that will leave you with unforgettable moments.

One experience to consider is a trip to Universal Studios Orlando. With its thrilling rides, live shows, and immersive attractions, Universal Studios Orlando is a must-visit destination for any theme park enthusiast. Plus, there are many hotels near Universal Studios Orlando that offer convenient access to the park.

Another experience to consider is a cooking class. Learning how to cook a new cuisine or perfecting a dish you already love can be a fun and rewarding experience. Plus, you get to enjoy the delicious food you make.

Lastly, consider attending a concert or show of your favorite artist or performer. Seeing them live can be a transformative experience and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Investing in experiences can be a great way to treat yourself and create lasting memories.

One on One with Jonathan N. Pruitt

One on One with Jonathan N. Pruitt

We warmly welcome Jonathan N. Pruitt, a lifelong educator, former scientific researcher, and author of the engaging fantasy novel “The Amber Menhir”. Pruitt is not just a spinner of tales; he is a weaver of deep insights and biting humor, his stories imbued with the rich experiences gleaned from living in diverse global corners, from South Africa and Namibia to Australia and Canada. These experiences are deftly woven into his debut work, offering readers a narrative that is as emotionally true as it is fantastical. Through his writing, Pruitt prompts readers to explore the complexities of good and evil, shedding light on the murky, indistinguishable areas between the two. “The Amber Menhir” is a reflection of its creator: wise, witty, and unafraid to probe into life’s grey areas. Join us for a conversation with a man whose words are spells, casting long, enchanting shadows that linger. We got to know him better, take a look:

  1. One word that describes you?

Impish: inclined to do slightly naughty things for fun; mischievous.

Though I’m a people-pleaser by nature, I do enjoy gallows humor and a dark comedy on film and page. Is there a manic character high on cocaine about to fight a rattlesnake? Well then, sign me up.

  1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part of composing a book is editing. Writing a first draft resonates with my work ethic and drive. I work some amount of time, and I get to watch a story unfurl and a wordcount accumulate. But that story I’m writing isn’t any good. In fact, it’s probably pretty bad. I always have plans for how a story will go. I’ll seed those suspected events, and then… they just won’t happen. Something else more organic in terms of plot will emerge. Subsequent drafts are spent tidying up the mess and slaying superfluous words. It’s like sawing off a literary foot so that I can reach a antidote before the story’s poisoned to death.

  1. Any ritual like a specific scented candle, preferred writing place, or drink that you kept through writing? 

Uh, no. I write everywhere and anywhere. I write at bar tops, restaurants, coffee shops, hiking trails, airplanes, and while Catholics write their biology exams. When I’m not physically writing, I’m still writing, because I mull over plot knots and story arcs, even while dreaming. Maybe one day I’ll only deign to write in a salt cave while receiving a massage and smelling jasmine, but it certainly isn’t today.  Though that does sound nice…

  1. If there is a movie adaptation of your book, who do you think would be perfect for the lead roles? 

Hmm. I think Anya Taylor-Joy would make a superb Tara Langcraw. Frosty, austere, and ready to be laid low, I think Tara resembles many roles Taylor-Joy has brought to life. As for gristly old Ms. Ash, I think maybe Kathy Bates could be fun. Ms. Ash is a cynical aunt who isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, or bloody, for that matter, and expresses an aptitude for chastising foolish behavior. If Ms. Bates can deploy a believable British accent, then I’d love to have her in the role. I’m betting she can. Chesa is an apparently sycophantic servant with a penchant for poisoning her scholars. She possesses a capacity to torture, and even delight in it, but is herself tortured. I think Gong Li would be amazing in such a role. I can already see her drowning some smug scholar that she’d rendered catatonic. Halle Bailey really impressed me in her performance in the reboot of The Little Mermaid. With the weight of so much expectation and acrimony upon her, Bailey succeeded in bringing Ariel to life once more, though admittedly not with either the script or supporting cast I’d have wished for her. That optimistic fervor and wide-eyed hope is something critical for the role of Peony.  The sweet, stammering Roland Ward is harder to dream-cast. He’s hulking, careful, intelligent, and is quick to internalize the stress of others. It might sound off the wall, but I’m sort of allured by the idea of James McAvoy in the role. Gods know he has a considerable acting range, though he would need to put on some weight. I wonder if he’d be willing…

  1. If you weren’t famous, what would you be up to right now?

I think I would enjoy being a therapist. I love people and I enjoy hearing their stories. The real versions, I mean. I would love to be able to help people acknowledge their flaws and strengths, and then leverage them to reach their dreams. I’ve dug myself out of a fair number of pits. I think my toolkit could be generalized to help others too. I hope so, anyone. That might even be a hidden part of my books.

  1. When did you decide to write this story and why?

I’ve always wanted to write a fantasy novel, or three. It was unescapable that, if I did, its plot would occur in an academic setting. It’s all I’ve ever known, really. I know the virtues and vices of the ivory tower and its subjects as well as any. Write what you know, right? Add a cutesy macabre humor, and something like The Amber Menhir was inevitability. I hope that people enjoy reading it at least half as much as I loved writing it.


  1. How did you come up with your title?

For the longest time the working title was “A Sinking Monolith”, but that made my PR and marketing folks spin their heads around and vomit up pea soup. Seems that title registered as a bit too depressing, or so they said. The series isn’t truly depressing at all. It deploys a dark humor and tongue-in-cheek satire, true. But hope and the power of the human spirit shine all the brighter in such a setting. So, as a compromise, we all agreed that the setting, The Amber Menhir, served well enough as a title.

  1. What is your ‘if you don’t like this, you can’t be my friend’ book?

I don’t have such a book. I like a diversity of authors, genres, and perspectives. Jemisin, Mieville, Sanderson, Martin, Maas, Butcher, Rothfuss, and Rowling are all contemporary fantasy authors I love, though each for different reasons. But I can enjoy other fare from Ayn Rand to Gore Vidal. My friends and allies range from animal activists and post-humanists to evangelical objectivists. They’re all welcome on my next hike or camping trip. I accept people as they are and can love the good and bad in them all.

  1. What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book?

“…it is such a hotbed of murderous ambitions and dangerous political scheming that it makes a pit of vipers look like a basket of kittens. With the academic setting and three young student heroes, you could perhaps draw a parallel to Hogwarts, but only if the Harry Potter series had been produced by Hammer Films or penned by Stephen King.” – National World book reviewer.

I mean… what’s not to love about that? All the better, it’s fairly accurate.

  1. Which fictional character would be most exciting to meet in real life?

Ursula the sea witch, naturally. I dig ladies with a plan, a path forward, and who engage in self-love.  All the better if they’ve survived and grown from trauma, like being ostracized from a kingdom of gaunt mermaids, and they’ve learned the ins and outs of a good contract. Ursula, you’re welcome on my adventure any time; we’ll make appropriate accommodations to have you.

Part 2: Are you ready for our rapid-fire questions? Let’s go. 

  1. Sun or Snow?

Sun. I’ve lived in rainforests and tropical deserts for much of my life. Heat doesn’t touch me the way it does normal people, though I suppose that means I’m more likely to die from it. Que sera sera.

  1. Write in silence or write with music?

I usually write in busy public places with earplugs. So… manufactured silence, I guess.

  1. Money or Love?

Love. I mean, I like money too, but I like it for its ability to solve the problems of those I love and enjoy the light of this world, which isn’t always so pleasant.

  1. Cats or Dogs?

Cats. The more floofy and capricious the better. One day, if I go completely round the bend, I’ll have a (rescued) savannah cat in my house.

  1. Beach or Ski Trip?

I’ve seen a lot of rich people in the infirmary at ski lodges and that **** just looks dangerous to me. And cold. Beaches wins by default, though I’m not one for sitting still.

  1. Love Song or Rock?

Get real. Have you seen me? It’s thudding disco anthems for the win.

  1. Formal Dinner Date or Home Cooked Dinner Date?

Let’s just go to dinner. I’ll buy.  I mean, we can cook together as an adventure and all, but Uber Eats is likely in the cards thereafter. I’m a miserable failure as a cook. But it’ll make a good story.

  1. Real Tattoos or Henna?

Real tattoos. I’m not ready to join Kabballah yet. Though I do like the look of that mystical red string…

  1. Work from Home or Office?

I work from the trail best, during a picnic aside a scenic overlook. But I work from anywhere and instinctually must.

  1. Super strength or Invisibility?

Invisibility, of course. I like assessing matters from the shadow, watching, documenting, and biding my time. I’ll only ever confront a matter when the time is right, and under my ideal terms. Is that spidery? Maybe so.

Want more author interviews, check out the next one.

P. L. Hampton: Scribe of Shadows and Secrets!

P. L. Hampton: Scribe of Shadows and Secrets!

Clear some space on your bookshelf and brace yourselves! P. L. Hampton is the literary maverick sending shivers down spines straight from Seattle. A maestro in melding family sagas with ancient enigmas, Hampton’s pen is mightier and murkier than ever. While he educates by day as a college professor and chases that coveted JD, by night, he crafts tales that echo with whispers from the shadows. Dive deep into “Shadowland” and emerge transformed, wondering where fact ends and fiction begins.

Q If you could give your book to one person in the entire world to read, who would it be and why?

I know this question asks what person I would give my book to, but at this current time in America, I would give my book to a library. The reason is so everyone can have the opportunity and access to read it. American history is a rich history made up of so many colorful voices. It is necessary we hear all the voices that come together and make up this beautiful tapestry we call America. 

Q How did you come up with your title?

The title of my novel deals with the gray area the main character, Aaron, finds himself in regarding his familial situation, his inner struggles, and the mystery shrouding the supernatural and spiritual journey he finds himself on. 

Q When did you decide to write this story and why?

I started writing this story roughly a decade ago. The inspiration for this story came from my wife, Tonya. She had awakened me one night professing to have seen the shadow of a man in the living room. Fortunately, there was no man actually in my house. Nevertheless, the thought of a shadowy figure lurking in my home sent my imagination racing. I started writing Shadowland that night.

Q What has been your favorite comment/review so far about your book?

My favorite comment came from my sister. She loved how the novel weaved African, African American history, spirituality, and horror into this enthralling tale.

Q What is something you learned while writing this book?

. I learned about the richness of African history and spirituality. I wanted this novel to be as authentic to African history and spirituality as possible. Thus, the reason it took me some time to write this novel.

Q Who is your celebrity crush?

I would not per se call it a crush. Instead, I would call it admiration. That would be former President Barack and Michelle Obama. They carry themselves with dignity, grace, and yet they are very relatable.

Q Which fictional character would be most exciting to meet in real life?

Urbi Houna. Hands down. I found it very hard to not let this character take over Shadowland. In reading the novel you will find out why. She is such a rich character. That is why I feel compelled to give Urbi, her own story.

Q What is the most useless talent you have?

That’s a good question. I’ll have to think about that one.

Q What got you into writing?

My father recommended I read Watership Down by Richard Adams as a teenager. I was fascinated by the journey of these rabbits to find a home of their own. Octavia Butler also was a huge inspiration in compelling me to put my words and ideas down on paper.

Q. Coffee or tea?

A. Coffee

Q. Dinosaurs or princesses?

A. Dinosaurs

Q. Laptop or phone?

A. Laptop (Old School)

Q. Mountain or Beach?

A. Beach

Q. Beer or Vodka?

A. Neither. I don’t drink.

Q. Fame or Fortune?

A. Neither. I chose happiness.

Q. Love or Money?

A. Love! Every day, all day!

Q. Sky diving or Scuba diving?

A. Scuba diving. The finality of jumping out of a plane and the parachute not working scares you know what out of me.

Q. Scented Candles or Inscense?

A. Scented candles. Candlelight is so serene and peaceful.

Q. Red Meat or White Meat?

A. I don’t eat beef or pork. I’m a chicken and fish guy.

Grab your copy now available on Amazon.

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Susy Smith – Crafting Dystopian Chaos

Susy Smith – Crafting Dystopian Chaos

Attention, bookworms and lovers of all things thrilling! Meet Susy Smith: not just an author, but a veritable scribe of suspense. Our dame of dystopia doesn’t just write stories; she conjures worlds. And with a title like “curriculum specialist for the Kanza Tribe” under her belt, you know she’s packing more than just ink in her quill.

Beneath her writer’s cloak, she’s armed with the resilience of every protagonist, the linguistic sorcery from her English degree, and enough storytelling mojo to leave readers on the edge (or even falling off) their seats!

Her claim to literary fame? “Asylum,” a spellbinding saga that didn’t just win hearts, but the 2020 Writer Con crown too. But she didn’t stop there. Susy’s sequel, “Ascendant,” plunges even deeper into the human psyche, making us question: are we reading the book, or is it reading us? Let’s learn more:

Q. If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why? 

– I would love for my books to be turned into a movie or a Netflix series! I’d pick Tanner Buchanan (He’s all that) or Chase Crawford for Jace Cooper, and Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies) with dark hair for Lacy.

Q. What’s one secret about you that you’ll share with the world?

– I don’t want to get old! Sadly, it’s happening anyway. The older I get the faster time seems to go. I didn’t use to get the old adage, ‘youth is wasted on the young,’ until I turned 50. Then I was like, ‘yeah, I get that.’ My brain still thinks I’m 20. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t agree!

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

– I’d like to see the younger generation think for themselves and not take what they see and hear on social media/TV/news on its face. There’s always more to the story than what’s being told. School is not set up to teach kids to think for themselves and that’s doing them a disservice.

Q What makes your book unputdownable?

  • I think it’s suspenseful enough to keep readers turning the page, at least that’s something for which I strive. I think the characters will stick with the reader as well.

Q Tell us something about you that no one else knows

  • I’m left-handed and proud of it!

Q What book has made you cry, why?

  • When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was Where the Red Fern Grows, and I cried each and every time I read it.

Q What is your dream vacation? 

  • I’d really like to spend some time in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. Some of my ancestors come from those places. I’d like to learn some Gaelic and some of the druid culture while there. After that? I’d love to spend some time on a white sand beach, doesn’t really matter where, Fiji, Maui …

Q If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

  • This is a tough question. I’m not going to go all selfless and say world peace, but I’ll list the first three things that come to mind:
    • For my kids to live happy, prosperous lives.
    • I’d like to live a long time, myself.
    • I’d like to know the secrets to the Keys of Solomon.

Q Who/What is your biggest inspiration in your writing?

  • The biggest inspiration I have when I write is music. One of my favorite quotes is “I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music …” by Albert Einstein. My musical tastes are eclectic. I might get hung up on a folksy song by This Wild Life then turn around and listen to Bad Omens – which is what I’m stuck on now. I enjoy making playlists for my books and characters.

Q If you could give your book to one person in the entire world to read, who would it be and why?

  • If I could give my book to anyone in the world, it would be my Nanny. She walked on long before I published Asylum, but I think she’d like to know I’m writing which is something she always wanted to do. She encouraged my love of reading from a young age, buying me books every time she got the chance. I dedicated Asylum to her.

Rapid Fire Questions and Answers

Q. Movie or TV Series?

A.  TV Series

Q. Long walk or long car ride?

A.  Long Walk

Q. Comedy or Drama?

A.  Comedy

Q. The city or the country?

A.  Duh, Country

Q. Baking or Cooking?

A.  Baking

Q. Margarita or Cosmo?

A.  Neither

Q. Holding a Puppy or Holding a Baby?

A.  Puppy

Q. invisibility cloak or sparking skin?

A.  Invisibility cloak, no question

Q. Coffee or tea?

A.  Tea

Q. Dinosaurs or princesses? 

A.  Dino’s

Q. Laptop or phone?

A.  Laptop

Find a copy now on Amazon!

Want more fun? Take a look at this author interview next.

Worlds Best PopPop? Meet William Stevenson

Worlds Best PopPop? Meet William Stevenson

William “PopPop” Stevenson, Ed. D.
: The Rockstar of Kiddo Lit!

Ladies, gents, and tiny fans with crayons in hand, meet William Stevenson: a former award-winning accountant turned children’s book superstar.

Once elbow-deep in spreadsheets, now he dives into epic time-travel escapades, all inspired by the mischievous glint in his celeb-sidekick grandson. They’ve salsa-danced in Ancient Egypt, jet-packed through Greece, and turned Rome upside down, all before bedtime!

Their hottest release? “Ricky’s Triple-Whammy Dream Trip to Egypt, Greece, & Rome” – a tale that screams Hollywood adaptation. With shades perpetually perched atop his head, and a following that rivals A-listers, William Stevenson is not just telling stories; he’s making history. Catch him at the next red carpet – just follow the trail of glittering picture books and swooning toddler-fans!

Q. Who is your biggest writing inspiration?

Ayn Rand has affected my life more than any other author.  Two of her influential books are THE FOUNTAINHEAD AND ATLAS SHRUGGED.

Q. Give us the scoop about your book.

The stories are based on actual history written on a foundation of love.

Q. Can you tell us three fun facts about you?

– I am responsible for changing how taxpayers pay their income taxes.  The payee was changed from the Internal Revenue Service to the United States Treasury.  I felt Americans would feel more patriotic by sending checks to the United States Treasury.

– Joan, my childhood friend of 60+ years fell in love after we both lost our spouses to Alzheimer’s disease.

 – I was on the planning and implementation teams of two new community colleges: one in New Jersey and the other in New York.

Q. If your book was turned into a film/TV show, who would you tap to play the lead(s)? Why?

For the role of PopPop, I would select Tom Hanks who is known for both his comedic and dramatic roles.  He is very talented and highly respected.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your writing/books/stories?

Life should be lived on a foundation of love, respect, and honesty.

Q What makes your book unputdownable?

The result of the love between a grandfather and grandson is very compelling.

Q Tell us something about you that no one else knows

I believe that the love between Joan and me has been visited upon us from beyond our Earth.

Q What book has made you cry, why?

LOVE STORY crushed me emotionally due to the death of Ali MacGraw’s character.

Q What is your dream vacation?

I am living my dream vacation.

Rapid Fire Questions:

Q. Movie or TV Series?

A. TV series

Q. Long walk or long car ride?

A. Long Car Ride

Q. Comedy or Drama?

A.  Drama

Q. The city or the country?

A.  The Country

Q. Baking or Cooking?

A. Cooking

Q. Margarita or Cosmo?

A. Margarita

Q. Holding a Puppy or Holding a Baby?

A. Holding a Puppy

Q. invisibility cloak or sparking skin?

A. Invisibility Cloak

Q. Coffee or tea?

A. Coffee

Q. Dinosaurs or princesses?

A. Princesses

Grab your copy now on Amazon!

Check out another exciting author interview here.

Is Colorado A Good Place for Outdoor Concerts?

Is Colorado A Good Place for Outdoor Concerts?

Outdoor events have become increasingly popular across the United States, and for good reason. Outdoor event production offers a unique experience that cannot be found in an indoor venue. With the breathtaking views of the mountains and the crisp, fresh air, Colorado has become a go-to location for hosting outdoor concerts. However, is Colorado really a good place for outdoor concerts? Let’s explore the factors that make Colorado a great place to host outdoor concerts.

The Climate

As a prime location for outdoor event production, Colorado’s climate is a key factor. Its mild summer temperatures and cool evening ambiance make it an ideal spot for hosting outdoor concerts. In contrast to other regions, Colorado is relatively unmarred by frequent thunderstorms or rain showers. The reduced likelihood of weather-induced cancellations makes it a more reliable choice. Thus, in terms of climate, Colorado provides one of the most favorable settings in the nation for outdoor musical events. Its unique climatic advantages not only provide a comfortable experience for attendees but also ensure smooth, unhindered event planning and execution. Simply put, Colorado’s climate is one of its greatest assets when it comes to the world of outdoor concerts, reducing weather-related risks and enhancing the overall experience.

Natural Beauty

Another factor that makes Colorado an excellent location for outdoor concerts is its natural beauty. Colorado boasts some of the most striking landscapes in the country, including the Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park. These scenic locations provide a stunning backdrop for outdoor performances, giving an ethereal experience that stays in the visitors’ memories forever.

A Diverse Variety of Venues

Colorado is a prime destination for outdoor concerts due to its range of venues, capable of hosting everything from intimate gatherings to massive festivals. The globally renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre exemplifies the integration of natural beauty into the concert experience. Its unique geological structure in the Rocky Mountain foothills elevates each event into an unforgettable encounter with nature. On the larger end, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre has the capacity to accommodate up to 18,000 attendees, making it an ideal location for grand music festivals. This diversity of venues, combined with Colorado’s stunning landscapes, cements the state’s status as a leading hub for outdoor event production.

The Bottom Line

Colorado, renowned for its exceptional climate and picturesque landscapes, offers a diverse selection of stunning venues for outdoor concert events. Whether you’re orchestrating a small, intimate gathering or a large-scale music festival, Colorado’s venues can cater to events of all sizes. Its perfect blend of natural beauty and versatile, event-friendly infrastructure continually attracts artists, event organizers, and audiences from across the globe. People seeking unique and extraordinary experiences in remarkable settings consistently choose Colorado as their preferred destination. C

onsider exploring the unparalleled beauty and amenities of Colorado as an exceptional location for your next unforgettable outdoor event. Lastly, if you’re planning an outdoor event at any venue in Colorado, consider hiring an A/V service provider in the area too. These experts ensure all of the audio and visual equipment for your event are taken care of.