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BOOK AND GAME REVIEWS

WRITING TIPS AND ARTICLES

INSIDE:

An Interview With Supernatural Thriller Author, Sire Cedric Badredhead Says... How Much Can Indie Authors Realistically Make? Interview with Matthew Krajewski, author of Modern Magic: Reclaiming Your Magical Heritage

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 COVER PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOEL ROBISON

AUTHOR INTERVIEWS


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Masthead San Francisco EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Ross Rojek ASSOCIATE EDITOR: James Rasmussen EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Christopher Hayden

WEBSITE: SanFranciscoBookReview.com Heidi Komlofske

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Joseph Arellano David Marshall William Hazelgrove Rachel Thompson, BadRedhead Media

CORPORATE: Heidi Komlofske President & CEO, 1776 Productions

PUBLICATION DESIGN/LAYOUT: Heidi Komlofske James Rasmussen COPY EDITORS: Holly Scudero Cathy Lim Audrey Curtis Annie Peters Amy Simko Alex Masri Christie Spurlock Gretchen Wagner

ADVERTISING & SALES: Ross Rojek - 877-913-1776 x 1

SUBSCRIPTION ALERTS: http://bit.ly/xgwFI9 WANT TO BECOME A REVIEWER? Email us at Reviews@1776productions.com

EDITORIAL INTERNS: Audrey Curtis The San Francisco Book Review is published bi-monthly by 1776 Productions, LLC. The opinions expressed in these pages are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the San Francisco Book Review advertisers. All images are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders. All words Š 2009-2014, City Book Review

City Book Review | 1722 J Street, Suite 9 | Sacramento, CA 95811 | Ph. 855-741-8810


From the

Editor...

We made it through the holidays and are excited to begin our second year of creating the most comprehensive book review magazine app in the U.S. We have some neat things planned for 2014 and are glad to have you along for the ride. If you’ve been a regular reader of our magazine, you will have noticed that we featured an insert called Kids’ Book Review in each issue. We began this program nearly a year ago, and it has grown to more than 80 children and teenagers reviewing for us . It became so popular that we decided it was time to break it out into its own magazine. So, look for Kids’ Book Review magazine’s debut issue in March. Did you know that we review around 600 books a month in 40 different categories? In this issue, we’re providing 119 reviews. Because it’s impossible to fit all of the reviews in a single magazine issue, if you want even more recommendations, be sure to visit our website citybookreview.com. Inside this issue, we have an interview with supernatural thriller author Sire Cèdric, an Audible Authors interview with Ark’s Cargo author William W. Buisch, and something for indie authors from Bad Redhead Says, called “How Much Can Indie Authors Realistically Make?” Lots here for everyone! Settle in and enjoy the issue. Hope to see you in March for the launch of Kids’ Book Review. Otherwise, we’ll see you back here in April.

Heidi Komlofske, President & CEO

CONTACT ME

Follow us on Email: Twitter heidi.@ @ 1776productions. SFBookReview com


About Our Cover Artist

Joel Robison Photo by Whitney Justesen

Joel Robison lives in Cranbrook, British Columbia, a small town tucked in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Growing up, he was often found with empty paper, pencils and crayons in hand covering every available surface in drawings and designs. Throughout his adolescence he tried his hand in many mediums before falling in love with photography and digital manipulations. During the last 5 years, Joel has completed several photo-a-day projects and has shown his work in galleries and in print around the world. Find Joel’s work at joelrobisonphoto.wordpress.com.


Biographies & Memoirs

Jim Henson: The Biography By Brian Jay Jones Ballantine, $35.00, 585 pages, Format: Hard

««««« When it comes to legacies in entertainment, there are few as beloved, as cherished, as wholesome, and as influential as that of Jim Henson. A creator who championed technological breakthroughs and family values alike, Henson left an indelible mark on television, cinema, and the art of puppetry by dedicating himself to brightening the world with his stories. Jim Henson: The Biography charts the life of Jim Henson in affectionate detail, from his humble roots to the staggering fame and influence he would accrue in his all-too-short time on Earth. Jones manages to make even the stuff you know engaging, including an impressive opening chapter tracing Henson’s lineage that is as charming as it is informative. But this is no whitewashing; Jones is unflinching in his portrayal of Henson and company’s less flattering


moments, offering the full three hundred sixty degrees on the legend and those who populated his life and work. That willingness to tell the whole story doesn’t make the book any less enchanting or enjoyable. With insights from family, friends, coworkers, and admirers, Jim Henson: The Biography is a worthy tribute and a thoroughly entertaining read. I am more humbled and appreciative of Henson’s work than I began. Reviewed by Glenn Dallas

Talk About a Dream: The Essential Interviews of Bruce Springsteen By Christopher Phillips, Louis P. Masur Bloomsbury Press, $20.00, 464 pages, Format: Trade

Biographies & Memoirs

«««« Talk About A Dream, which collects interviews of Bruce Springsteen, is a long and fascinating chronicle of the development of one of the most famous and influential musical artists of contemporary times. In thirty-two interviews from 1973, when Greeting From Asbury Park, N.J., debuted, to February 2013, Springsteen reflects on his life, the artistic process, music, and politics. One gets here a fuller and more complete sense of this artist who represented the times for more than forty years. He is still going strong and has survived the deaths of some of his famous band members, including Saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

“YOU’VE TAKEN SOMETHING, YOU’VE LITERALLY, BOOM, YOU KNOW, ZOOM, THERE IT IS. ABRACADABRA. BUT IT BEGINS IN THE AIR.” In interviews the book captures the big change that happened in his music from his early rockout music to solo projects, and his later country or folk sound. Springsteen went from being influenced by Elvis and Dylan to appreciate the likes of Roy Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Woodie Guthrie. He was inspired by folk music and has been a musical activist who has played a part in presidential campaigns. Springsteen did not reinvent himself, but he expanded his audience and concerns since Born in the USA. For some this was a turn for the worse, but as shown here he never forgot his struggling American fans. Reviewed by Ryder Miller


Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography, Volume 1 By Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood Da Capo Press, $27.99, 416 pages, Format: Hard

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Biographies & Memoirs

With only eight pages of black and white low quality pictures, this book is written more like a chronicling of Metallica, packing every sentence with filler details so thick and mundane it causes the book to almost read as a scholarly historical review, minus footnotes. Initially, I was ecstatic to be reading a biography of one of metal’s most influential bands and one I myself grew up head banging to. However, the excitement was quickly lost with the lack of emotion emanating from this book.

‘”SOMEBODY’S BEEN BAD” AND “WE DON’T TOLERATE THIS HERE”’ As this is apparently conceived as a multi-volume book, the authors were smart to stop this volume at the band’s peak rise to fame, with The Black Album. What this book does deliver is a wealth of history on the band members, the world of rock, and their rise to the top. It provides a behind-the-scenes picture for those unfamiliar with the music world of the struggles most musicians come up against and often continue to battle. While I wouldn’t recommend buying this book if you are after a pleasurable read, it wouldn’t hurt checking it out from the library and giving it a thumb through.

Reviewed by Kim Heimbuch

Buck: A Memoir By MK Asante Spiegel & Grau, $25.00, 252 pages, Format: Hard

««««« Every fifty years or so, a book is written with the power to change lives and reveal a totally new way of looking at the world. Buck is a work of genius and is such a book. To such writers as Dickens, Twain, Douglas, Lee, Angelou and Kerouac we now add the name Asante. The rhetorical resonance of the writing is simply astounding. The author can be as funny as Robbins or Sedaris, but also relates such dark stories as to make the reader feel deep sadness at the way of the world. Sometimes the reader feels both emotions simultaneously. Asante writes “the thermostat changes the temperature; the thermometer just reflects it. I want my writing to be like a thermostat.” He succeeds.


“THE BLANK PAGE BEGS ME TO TELL A STORY — DARES ME TO TELL ONE — ONE THAT’S NEVER BEEN TOLD BEFORE, AND TO TELL IT LIKE IT WILL NEVER BE TOLD AGAIN.” In this memoir, the first word the main character and narrator, Mala, writes rhymes with Buck, but he transforms that disgust with the world and himself into embracing that pejorative epithet, Buck, in its best sense; coming against the world’s oppression into an authentic sense of self and one’s gifts, truly opposing and challenging the status quo and, in a sense, beating the system. It is a full circle story as Mala returns to the land of his birth in a literal and figurative sense. The prudish reader must be warned that the language is graphic. Rap is graphic and so are the Philadelphia streets. This reviewer is so happy to have read this wonderful book.

Biographies & Memoirs

Reviewed by Julia McMichael


Gabriele d’Annunzio: Poet, Seducer, and Preacher of War By Lucy Hughes-Hallett Knopf, $35.00, 608 pages, Format: Hard

Biographies & Memoirs

«««« He is not well known to people who live outside of Italy, or professors of modern Italian history. At one point his words were able to move people to action; from participating in government change, to entering in World War I. He was able to captivate an audience, even though he was small of stature. His theatrics, use of public relations and media, and his ability to remake traditions and culture were all used by Mussolini; while many refer to him as the father of Italian Fascism, the picture is many shades of grey. His name is Gabriele d’Annunzio and this is his story. In this work we get to live through the first few years of a unified Italy, as it struggled to place itself in the modern world and take center stage. It was waiting for a national hero and d’Annunzio was waiting to take that mantle. Mrs. Hughes-Hallett takes us into the world he grew up in, and the Italy that was changing. He did many things, and he conquered many ills, but his words brought action and eventually his downfall. The author does not do strict chronology, but instead focuses on events of both his life and what was happening in Italy; it was hit or miss. Reviewed by Kevin Winter

A true story about chronic illness, addiction and redemption. "There are real life stories of redemption, recovery, love and support in this story. But success was a hard won battle that Sacchet had to fight for everyday. If he didn’t fight, he wouldn’t be here to tell his story and it is one that needs to be told." —Portland Book Review

om gregsacchet.c "He powerfully tells of the havoc that cocaine addiction created in his life and his eventual recovery." —Kirkus Review

Available on


This interview is in celebration of the publication in English of two sensationally good supernatural thrillers by French author, Sire Cédric. He’s as good as the early Clive Barker, and deserves to be read by everyone who enjoys slightly bloodthirsty horror. It’s been a joy to meet with him.

By David Marshall

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hanks for agreeing to this interview. When I was young, I thought European authors like Thomas Owen wrote wonderful short stories and novels. I was sad to see the blurb on your paperback editions describe you as, “the French Stephen King.” When selling you to the French market, why do the marketers not compare you to some of the great French writers of supernatural and horror? You know, the artist never really has a say in the publicity and marketing! The quote comparing me to Stephen King comes from a French TV host and probably the most famous bookseller in France, Gérard Collard. I, personally, would never, ever, compare myself to such a genius as King. But I’m not going to complain if it helps sell more books in these rather troubled times! Besides, truth be told, Stephen King was one of the very few writers—I could name Clive Barker and Dean Koontz, too—who taught me how to write back when I was a teenager. No doubt about that. If I’m a writer today, it’s largely thanks to their inspiration. My role models were almost always English or American writers except for the French author, Serge Brussolo, whose vision and sense of style were also huge influences in my earlier work. I’ve seen you compared to Clive Barker and Graham Masterton. Surely you work to develop your own style rather than modeling your writing style on the work of others? I do, of course. When I started writing as a teenager, I did what most teens do. I imitated the masters. It was fun and the best way to learn the craft. Then, with time, I started to develop my own voice. Writing is a very private activity after all. You spend hours alone with your thoughts, dreams, and feelings, and in some organic way, that all ends up in the pages you write. Since I’m from France—and very proud of this great country—the soul of France and its culture permeates my vision of things. The natural rhythms and articulations of French as a language also

influence me. I’m aware of this and try to be as universal as possible in the way I write and when I think of plot ideas. What attracts you to the supernatural and dark fantasy? It’s simple. I love it. The fantastique is a wonderful sea of symbols and we all swim in that sea whether we’re awake or asleep and dreaming. It’s all about the collective soul and our individual heritage. When you think about it, this makes my job quite simple. I’m paid to make up stories. So I take a swim in that sea and come back with new ideas—big fishes, like the movie director David Lynch often said. I aim for stories people will come to love. I’m not saying I succeed all the time! But that’s what I’m trying to do. Ever since I was a little boy, the stories I love, the stories that frighten me, the stories that make me think, always use some kind of supernatural or folklore element. That’s what the supernatural is to me. It projects ideas in the flesh, makes sparks of collective dreams. Your characters have to face extreme dangers. Do you see danger as a way in which they can seek redemption for past sins, real or imagined? I love to put my characters in very hard situations. I want to grip the reader’s attention from the very first page and I don’t want to lose it until the last word! There’s no better dynamic than danger and action. I also think a hero’s soul and fate can only truly appear when facing a life and death situation involving something “bigger”


Modern Literature

If I Never Went Home By Ingrid Persaud Blue China Press, $19.95, 304 pages, Format: eBook

««««« Wow, this novel by first-time author Persaud is phenomenal. It has three different narratives woven together to tell the story of a family and of a place. The first plotline follows Bea, a successful psychologist in Boston, as she receives a letter from her mom and deals with visiting home for the first time in a long time. The second follows Bea ten years earlier when, suffering from crippling depression, she is checked into a hospital against her will and gradually faces her demons. These chapters include a lot of flashbacks, through which we get the entire story of Bea’s life. The third story follows Tina, a ten-year-old living in Trinidad (where Bea was born and raised) as she deals with her mother’s death and growing up feeling like she doesn’t belong. All three of these stories are fascinating on their own, and Persaud slowly brings them together in a


Modern Literature

way that is subtle and brilliant, creating a beautifully cohesive tale. One of my favorite things about this book is how wonderfully real Persaud makes everything. Having suffered from depression myself, she perfectly captures the horrible thoughts and feelings that it evokes. Bea’s memories are presented through the lens of her younger self, just as memories are in real life. The narrative voice telling Tina’s story matures with the character, so we always see things from her perspective. This makes the reader feel totally connected to these characters and their stories. Adding another layer of authenticity is the Trinidadian dialect. Bea, having attended college and graduate school in America, has lost the dialect, but the characters still living in Trinidad, obviously, have not. This adds to the sense of place and helps the reader distinguish between Bea and Tina’s chapters right away. Despite the varying storylines that all take place in different times, you never feel lost. It is always very clear what is happening. Switching between plots creates intrigue, not confusion. Persaud does an excellent job of giving you bits and pieces of information, enough to both guide you through the story and pull you through the pages, but never more than you need. There is mystery and surprise until the very last page. Altogether, If I Never Went Home is fantastic. The story is fascinating, the characters are real, the emotions are strong, and the writing is beautiful. I simply cannot recommend this enough. Sponsored Review by Audrey Curts

Sense & Sensibility By Joanna Trollope Harper, $25.99, 368 pages, Format: Hard

«««« Jane Austen fans will recognize the plot of Trollope’s Sense & Sensibility. Romantic, utterly impractical Belle and her three beautiful daughters are soon to be homeless after the death of the family’s patriarch. Belle’s stepson John and his horrible wife have inherited Norland, and John, ignoring his deathbed promise to take care of the women, has asked them to leave. Luckily, a distant relation hears of the family’s plight and offers them a cottage in the country. The three sisters – practical Elinor, impetuous Marianne, and teenaged Margaret – find themselves beholden to their benefactor and struggling to adapt to the family’s reduced circumstances. In the meantime, the older sisters navigate complicated romances and nurse broken hearts. The blurb by Sophie Kinsella on the book’s cover describes my sentiments exactly: “Jane Austen’s story and Joanna Trollope’s voice make the perfect marriage.” Trollope has managed to modernize the plot without losing any of its power. In fact, the present-day setting makes it more relevant, provoking intense emotions in this avid


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Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mage’s Blood By David Hair Jo Fletcher Books, $26.95, 704 pages, Format: Hard

««««« Mage’s Blood is the first in a new high fantasy series by an author who has already made a name for himself in writing YA fiction. Indeed, this book shows David Hair as a very assured author who has produced one of the best fantasy books of the year so far. The result on the page is all the more remarkable when you consider the lack of originality in the bulk of the plot elements on display. We have different factions of magicians disputing the right to rule the world. To explain how the magic system works, there’s a Harry Potter- type school thread plus what happens to him and his two friends when they graduate. One elderly magician buys a wife because he sees the future will turn out better if he sires children.


And there’s a pair of ex-lovers working as spies to destabilize a state in a key geographical position if the planned invasion is to succeed. Yet the quality of the characterization and the pleasingly unsentimental development of the three plot threads make the book a joy to read. Even though it’s long, it’s a must-read for all those who enjoy intelligent fantasy.

Reviewed by David Marshall

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream By Hank Davis, editor Baen, $15.00, 336 pages, Format: Trade ««««.5 From editor Hank Davis, this is a fascinating and dark collection of stories which feature elements of both science fiction and horror. This is not the first attempt to do such and these stories could be considered “hybrids”. The book pays tribute to H.P. Lovecraft who was famous for his cosmic horror stories, but he did not set his stories on other planets or celestial bodies. Some of the assembled writers, both old and new, pay tribute, and some of those places out there in the galaxy can be scary.

“...THE HELLS OF THE HUMAN MIND ARE VASTER THAN SPACE, DARKER THAN THE NIGHT BETWEEN THE WORLDS...” The stories themselves are here for fun, being a little nebulous rather than sharply drawn. There are a number of those ‘monsters out there in space’ stories. Some are military. Some alone on other planets wonder if their minds are playing tricks with them, but almost anything is possible in this vast arena. It is a pleasure to read these famous writers, who will draw one to this anthology. The introduction is also interesting, giving one a trip down science fiction’s memory lane. Most of these situations are far away from us in place and time, with us still being sometimes the scariest thing out there. Reviewed by Ryder Miller


Sequential Art

Hagar the Horrible: The Epic Chronicles: 1979 to 1980 By Dik Browne Titan Books, $19.95, 224 pages, Format: Hard

««««« Growing up, every morning brought a rush to beat my siblings to Dad’s newspaper. I would only take the most important parts: the horoscopes and the funnies. I think this scenario is pretty familiar to many people. I had my favorites, of course: Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Garfield, and Hagar the Horrible. Hmm, all comics featuring lazy characters who want nothing more than a nap or maybe a snack… Regardless, Hagar has long been a favorite of mine. I’d laugh at Lucky Eddie’s misfortune, cheer on Helga’s sarcastic wit, giggle at Honi’s man vs. career dilemma, and empathize with the studious Hamlet.


“’WHAT’S THAT?’ ’HOT LEMONADE.’ ’WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BOILING OIL?’ ’HAVE YOU PRICED OIL LATELY?’” This collection of Hagar dailies was a welcome blast from my past, though the 1979-1980 timeframe predates my own readings, since I was an infant at the time. It begins with Jan 1, 1979 and ends (puzzlingly) on July 5, 1980. There’s no storyline to follow; each day stands alone. The characters are so real, they lend a sense of unity to the whole. Reading as an adult gives a whole new perspective on the issues presented (I now relate more to Helga than young Hamlet), but they’re still just as funny. Great fun for Hagar fans young and old. Reviewed by Randy-Lynne Wach

Snoopy: Cowabunga!: A Peanuts Collection (amp! Comics for Kids) By Charles M. Schulz Andrews McMeel Publishing, $9.99, 224 pages, Format: Trade

«««« Snoopy is a timeless comic strip by the late and great Charles Schulz that went on to entertain many children and adults for decades. In fact, many of those children who become adults continued to read the comic strip series, and continue to do so to this day with its reprints in the Sunday editions of newspapers. Snoopy: Cowabunga is a great sample collection of why this is such a timeless and entertaining comic strip, featuring in addition to Snoopy and Woodchuck, well known characters like Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus. This volume features the series of Snoopy as a beagle scout who soon gets lost in the woods and needs to get rescued, as well as addressing his questionable abilities at tennis, his participation in the Daisy Hill Puppy Cup, and many strips on Snoopy’s talent as a writer with his desire to get published. Whether you’re a Snoopy-reading veteran, or you’re trying the comic strip for the first time with this volume, it will delight you with the highs and lows, bringing a laugh at every page, as well as imparting some useful life lessons. Reviewed by Alex Telander


Tweens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck, Book 8 By Jeff Kinney Amulet Books, $13.95, 224 pages, Format: Hard

««««« Greg has a lot going on in his life. His best friend, Rowley, has a new girlfriend and suddenly has no time at all for Greg. That means Greg has to deal with a lot that Rowley used to take care of for him: the Rottweiler Rebel on the way to and from school, carrying all those heavy textbooks that Rowley used to carry for him, and getting past the Mingo clan without Rowley’s protection. Rowley even deserted the boys’ table in the cafeteria for the couples’ table. It’s just as well. Greg doesn’t like seeing Rowley and his girlfriend together anyway. Besides school/friend issues, Greg finds out his mother’s family is coming for Easter. There goes a stress-free spring break. Greg’s relatives are a pretty strange bunch. It’s going to be a long week, but Greg deals with it by spending all his time in the bathroom. Things get out of hand, and Greg’s father sends the


relatives packing. Greg finds a Magic 8 Ball in his brother’s room and uses it to make his decisions.

“MOST OF THE RELATIVES ON MOM’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY LIVE PRETTY FAR AWAY, SO WE DON’T SEE THEM THAT OFTEN. I’M OK WITH THAT BECAUSE WHENEVER WE DO SEE THEM, I NEED PLENTY OF TIME TO RECOVER.” This is the eighth book in the series, but Jeff Kinney has kept it fresh and fun. Kids will love this latest addition. Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck

The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective) By Octavia Spencer Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 224 pages, Format: Hard

Tweens

«««« Still coming to terms with her mother’s death, young Randi Rhodes throws herself into her amateur detective work, defending her neighborhood from flower thieves and other petty criminals. But when she and her father move to the sleepy mountain town of Deer Creek, Randi is despondent. That is, until the town’s time capsule is stolen just days before an important town event. Can Randi recover the time capsule and save the day? A feisty and immensely capable young woman in the vein of Nancy Drew, Randi Rhodes is a terrific, believable character, biased and enthusiastic as only a tween can be. Between her rougher edges and her lovable spirit, Randi proves an amiable centerpiece for a two-fold small-town mystery. Spencer populates the story with the usual cast of country onlookers and idiosyncratic ne’er-do-wells, but manages to ground many of them in very real-world problems and stories, adding a rich sense of tension to the mystery. There are major consequences looming, and the reader never forgets that, even while having fun. The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, complete with ninja missions for readers to complete, is a marvelous launchpad for enjoyable, worthwhile stories to come. Reviewed by Glenn Dallas


Young Adult

Season of the Witch By Mariah Fredericks Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 256 pages, Format: Hard

«««« Season of the Witch really surprised me, even before I had gotten past the first few pages of chapter one. I connected with the characters easily, and by then the story was already beginning to come together clearly. Throughout the whole book that was the norm: easy to understand, yet deep in its implications of life and friendship. The main character, Toni, is bullied by the most popular girl in school for “stealing” her boyfriend. One of Toni’s friends, Cassandra, has been experimenting with witchcraft and asks her to check it out. So Toni fights back, but her defensive fire may be devastating for everyone involved. Meanwhile, Cassandra is taking her power too far and turning the tide on Toni… and Toni only hopes she can quell the fire before it burns out of control.


Business & Investing

FEATURED REVIEW

Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service By Kirt Manecke Solid Press, LLC, $15.99, 106 pages, Format: Trade ««««« Sponsored Review by Randy-Lynne Wach

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Kirt Manecke’s crash course in customer service practices what it preaches. It greets you with bright colors and a warm, friendly smile right on the cover. It provides just enough information and examples -not enough to be overwhelming, but plenty to provide encouragement. For readers in a hurry, essential information is in large, bold print. Brief inspirational quotes from leaders in business authoritatively affirm the importance of each major point. Motivating statistics are set off in shaded textboxes. It even closes with a friendly invitation to visit the website for more information. Everything about the book’s content and design shows that Manecke knows what he’s talking about with regards to customer service, because he treats his own customers (readers) with exactly the friendliness and respect that he teaches us to provide. This is teaching by example in the very best way. I will admit to having selfish motives when I selected this book to review. After years of being a stay-at-home mom, where the nickname “Hermit” is not a misnomer, I am entering the workforce in customer service, of all things. I want to do the best work I can, but dealing with the public is just not something I’ve ever been comfortable with. What to do? Enter Smile. This brief guide includes specific information such as what to do when you’re helping a customer and the phone rings so that both customers feel valued. Little details that most people never think about, but yet make such an impact. Reading through, I remembered examples of customer service that I’ve experienced. I’ve avoided stores where the employees were too


Cooking, Food & Wine

Gluten-Free Entertaining: More than 100 Naturally Wheat-Free Recipes for Parties and Special Occasions By Olivia Dupin Fair Winds Press, $19.99, 176 pages, Format: Trade

««««« So many people have issues with gluten in their diets that it would seem to be something that could put a real crimp in party planning. No anymore. Olivia Dupin has put together a book that could well become a bible for party planning without issues. The book opens with some information on what gluten-free really means and continues with a good section on how to plan the perfect party. There are two major sections: Celebrating the Holidays and Special Occasions. The first has plans for a New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party, Passover Seder, Easter Brunch, Giving Thanks Celebration, Christmas Cookie Exchange, and Christmas Dinner. The second covers Kid’s Birthday Party, Game Night, Impress a Date Night, Summertime


Picnic, and others. Each plan has a time line of things to do ahead, a menu, and recipes for everything on the menu.

“WHETHER YOU’RE WATCHING THE FOOTBALL GAME ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON OR GETTING FRIENDS TOGETHER FOR CARDS OR BOARD GAMES, THIS MENU IS PACKED WITH FUN, FLAVORFUL FINGER FOODS EVERYONE WILL ENJOY.” Each recipe has an ingredients list, easy-to-follow directions, and a Chef’s Tip. There are over 100 recipes and many have beautiful photos to get your juices flowing. Anyone who enjoys entertaining will enjoy this book, and now with all these gluten-free recipes, everyone will enjoy being part of the party.

Cooking, Food & Wine

Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck

The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook: More than 400 Healthy, Delicious Recipes By Diabetic Living Editors Better Homes and Gardens, $19.99, 480 pages, Format: Trade

««««« Diabetes and its forerunner, prediabetes, have become increasingly common in our society. The good news is that diet can go a long way to help both conditions. The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook makes that diet not only easy, but wonderfully delicious and varied. On first thumbing through this cookbook, the pictures immediately catch the reader’s attention. Gorgeous color photos immediately leave the reader with the impression that these recipes will leave no one feeling deprived. On the contrary, recipes like Italian Sausage and Zucchini Quiche, Lamb Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Lemon Couscous with Asparagus, and Mocha Shortcakes with White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse can only make one look forward to improving his or her diet. Furthermore, this cookbook has over four hundred recipes divided into sections including: breakfasts, homebaked breads, soups and stews, sandwiches and wraps, grilled favorites, slow cooker suppers, entrees for company, snacks and desserts. Furthermore, each recipe not only contains nutritional and exchange information, but also states the carbohydrates per serving at the top of each page. Whether you are prediabetic or diabetic, looking to avoid those conditions, or cooking for someone who has one of them, The Ultimate Diabetes Cookbook will quickly become one of your favorite cookbooks. Reviewed by Annie Peters


Cooking, Food & Wine

FEATURED REVIEW

Better Homes and Gardens Baking: More than 350 Recipes Plus Tips and Techniques By Better Homes and Gardens Better Homes & Gardens, $29.99, 528 pages, Format: Hard ««««« Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck

“CAPTURE THE WARM AND COMFORTING FEELING THAT COMES WITH HOMESPUN DESSERTS SUCH AS CREAMY BAKED CUSTARDS, RICH BREAD PUDDINGS, SWEET COBBLERS AND CRISPS, SHORTCAKES AND MORE.”

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Nothing says comfort food like home-baked goods. But many people find the idea of trying to bake pretty daunting. It doesn’t need to be that way. This book will take the fear out of baking for anyone. A twenty-onepage section at the beginning covers baking basics more completely than one can imagine. It covers everything from what tools and ingredients will be necessary to how to prepare the pans or make substitutions when one runs out of something. All kinds of cookies, bars, brownies, cakes, cupcakes, pies and tarts, cheesecakes, and other desserts can be found here. The section on decorated cakes is worth the price of the book on its own. In addition it has an excellent section on yeast and artisan breads, quick breads, and morning favorites. Top that off with holiday baking and everyday baking, and you have a book that leaves no kind of baking uncovered. The photographs are close-up and beautiful and instructive. Several places in the book have a series of small photos that instruct a particular skill in the baking process. This would be a welcome addition to any kitchen no matter how much or how little experience one has.


Health, Fitness & Dieting

The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery By George Johnson Knopf, $27.95, 304 pages, Format: Hard

«««« Each of the thirteen chapters included in this chronicle could stand alone as a magazine piece on some aspect of this relentless affliction. Delving into the historical evidence of cancer’s presence in dinosaur fossils and well as historic and prehistoric primates, it’s shown that this disease has had a long history and continues to evolve. Reports on the current research into the roots of tumor formation evoke topics on gene malfunction, mitochondrial disarray, epigenetic triggers, carcinogenic agents, the process of cell suicide or apoptosis, and other abnormal workings within the enigmatic cells. Much is made of false hopes creating myths regarding causes of this malady and of practices to avoid its development.


“THERE IS SOMETHING COMFORTING ABOUT KNOWING THAT CANCER HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, THAT IT IS NOT ALL OUR FAULT, THAT YOU CAN TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION AND STILL SOMETHING IN THE GENETIC COILS CAN BECOME UNSPRUNG.”

Health, Fitness & Dieting

The effect of this dire disease on humans is poignantly described in the diagnosis and treatment of the author’s wife for pelvic cancer and his brother suffering from mouth cancer. Novel treatments are constantly emerging but the therapies, while they offer hope, too frequently lead the afflicted through a purgatory of pain and disappointment. The longer one lives, the greater the odds of succumbing to pathologies resulting from aberrant, uncontrolled cell multiplication. Cancer hits home to too many of us; this is a book that cogently examines and explains its many aspects. Reviewed by Aron Row

Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby: Ayurveda and Yoga for a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth By Margo Shapiro Bachman Sounds True, $18.95, 280 pages, Format: Trade

««««« Prenatal yoga has become a very popular practice in recent years, and with good reason. Practicing yoga postures help moms-to-be stretch, get gentle exercise, and prepare for labor. But yoga, and its complimentary science Ayurveda, have so much more to offer! Enter Yoga Mama, Yoga Baby, in which author Margo Bachman shows expectant readers how to further integrate these practices into their lives. Bachman offers an introductory course in Ayurveda, with basic self-assessments that can help you subtly alter your diet to be more effective for your particular body type. The heart of the book is a month-by-month breakdown of your pregnancy, with very basic information on your baby’s development as well as ideas for appropriate asana practice, breathing techniques, guided meditations, and chants. There is also a chapter on labor and birth: asanas, marma points, aromatherapy, and more. Bachman delves briefly into the postpartum period as well. There are natural remedies for the discomforts of pregnancy, delicious-sounding recipes scattered throughout (and a short appendix full of them), and even ideas for journal topics, if you are so inclined. No matter what your interest level is, there are sections in this book that will appeal to anyone interested in a mindful pregnancy! Reviewed by Holly Scudero


There is a God!: 1,001 Heartwarming (and Hilarious) Reasons to Believe By Richard Smith, Maureen McElheron Tarcher, $14.95, 192 pages, Format: Trade

Humor - Nonfiction

«««« There’s (supposedly) nothing more comforting or faith-affirming than pithy little nuggets explaining the many MANY ways that God’s hand, love, and influence are all around us. I invariably find books collecting those nuggets cloying, patronizing, and immensely ineffective. Thankfully, There is a God! has a much loftier goal in mind: ditching the mollycoddling saccharine sentimentality and going with more accessible (and entertaining) reasons to believe in a benevolent creator. From the mundane (“an orchard”) and the miraculous (“a shark nibbling your flippers, then swimming away”) to the patently impossible (“a seashell with iTunes”) and the just plain sad (“your husband’s too lazy to cheat”), these reasons are not only more compelling than the average life-affirming drek, but they possess a tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that makes them much easier to swallow. There is a God! does have its sentimental moments – though by not wallowing in wholesale sugary tripe, they have much more impact here – but there’s also a dark bite to a few of the suggestions (“the levee held” is unabashedly ballsy) that allows the collection as a whole to offer more than a few funny surprises. Reviewed by Glenn Dallas


INTERVIEW With William W. Buisch Author of

The Ark’s Cargo Tap to Play / Pause

ABOUT WILLIAM W. BUISCH: Inspired by biblical passages and teachings, the author cherished his work as an international veterinarian. His passion for improving the health and welfare of domesticated and wild animals is most noteworthy. Working within diverse cultures, he observed vast health improvements in animals and, as a result, in people living nearby. Interviewed by Erienne Rojas


BadRedhead says..

How Much Can Indie Authors Realistically Make?


A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. ~ Plato Two friends have told me this week that they’re disappointed in the sales of their first book, because it’s not enough for them to quit their jobs and write full time. I also read articles on Writer’s Digest and another one by David Vinjamuri (IndieReader) about the success of indie authors. And because we met with our accountant today, I have some hard numbers I wanted to share because, well, I truly don’t pay attention beyond my daily sales and it’s a good reality check. Over the past eighteen months, I’ve made $36,000 in books sales (that’s gross, not net). That seems like a pretty good number (to me, anyway), and something I never thought I’d see. (2012: $14,000; 2013: $22,000 thru August). Yet, is it, really? Let’s deconstruct.

BOOKS I have three books out (A Walk In The Snark, Mancode: Exposed, and Broken Pieces), eBooks only at this point, though Booktrope signed me for print so I look forward to having that out soon. I’m also finishing up my social media for authors book and working on Broken Places, the ‘sequel’ to Broken Pieces. Pieces sells more by far than any of my other books; it’s also the best reviewed and winner of five awards. That helps.* *Note: All three of my books have been edited, proofed, formatted and designed by professionals.

GUESTIMATED BREAKDOWN I tell you this NOT to sound like I’m bragging, because, to be honest, there are many authors out there making way more than me. However, it’s worth breaking it down to look at the reality of that amount: • $36,000 divided by 18 months = $2,000/month. That is my monthly rent. Nothing else, just rent. • $2,000/month divided by 4.16 (my 70% royalty from Amazon) = sales of approximately 480.7 books monthly, which is right on target. • I still have to pay taxes on that, so say for the heck of it since I have no idea, let’s deduct 20%. That’s down to $28,000.


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San Francisco Book Review - January/February 2014