A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER by nasSima design WHAT THE MAGAZINE IS ABOUT As much as we authors and bloggers love to talk about politics and other worldwide issues, we at “nasSimadesign”, the publisher of “Read My Mind”, try not to publish anything about negative topics in our magazine. Unfortunately, politics and dirty money are ruling the world and our lives are overshadowed by negativity, terror, and horrible news. We can’t change the world, but at least we can change your mind, for a while.
Summer time is the best time to re-charge your souls desires and your minds energy!
We are here to make you feel good about life and about our beautiful planet Earth. There is so much beauty in the world that we can see and be grateful for. So, be assured, our team will either entertain or educate you. We will either inspire or encourage you, with talented people in literature, entertainment, and with true life stories. We offer several contests and give you the chance to be an active, creative, and productive reader of our magazine, with a prize of global marketing, highlighting you and your work! The fact that we have bloggers from across the globe including artists from several European countries, is our sign of unity. Despite distance, different time zones and continents, age, mother language, level of education, lifestyle, and life stories, we the makers of this magazine and our guests symbolize love, friendship, tolerance, respect, support, and togetherness. The world has become smaller thanks to our passion for writing and living in a decade with all the possibilities of modern technology. 2
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Thanks for joining “Read My Mind”, a collaboration of seasoned writers from across the globe. Please spread your love and make sure that everyone knows about our Spring Edition – hopefully, the first magazine of many more to come. Sima & Lily Amis nasSima-design.com FYI: The language of our magazine is English. But as readers, please keep in mind that our Authors are international. We have bloggers from America, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Every country has its own rules regarding the English Language!
As you know, two of the main themes of this magazine are diversity and tolerance, therefore, we the publishers of Read My Mind, have given our team the freedom to be responsible for their own article’s spelling and orthography. For us, the messages, opinions, and views of the articles are what’s important and not where the commas, dots, quotation marks, capitalized words are, or aren’t! Honestly, life is too short and time is too precious to make a big fuss about it. Read My Mind is a magazine and every Author’s column is respected, in the way it is written. Thank you for respecting and appreciating our Author’s works!
Publisher, Concept, Head Writer, Layout: nasSima-design.com Blogger Team and Columns: The Inspirational Mind, The Educational Mind, The mind-opening Mind & LilyWood: Lily Amis The Historical Mind: Annelisa Christensen The Travel of Mind: Bibiana Krall The Life of My Mind: Angel M. The Empowering Mind: Rick Amitin Trevor’s Mind on Hollywood: Trevor Pacelli Music Judges: Swedish Singer, Carl Lindquist Welsh Singer, James Kennedy British Composer, James Oldrini Magazine Trailer: Bibiana Krall Magazine Editor: Lily Amis & the RMM Blogger Team Sponsoring & Product Placement: nasSima-design.com Contact: info@nasSima-design.com You can also get a PRINT COPY of this magazine here! 3 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
THE IDEA BEHIND THE TITLE “READ MY MIND” AND THE MAGAZINE COVER Our mind is the most personal and private treasure we have. We all have opinions and thoughts based on our life’s experiences. People see us and hear us talk, but they don’t always know what we really think or what we really feel! And yet here we are naming our magazine, “Read My Mind”. Why? Because, we are here to share our honest and most personal thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with our readers.
Summer Cover by nasSima-design.com
Thank you to Bibiana Krall for designing the Magazine Trailer.
The human mind is the body’s hard disk. The human’s heart is the body’s electricity. Unfortunately, most humans take everything for granted. But, think about all the knowledge we treasure in our minds. Day by day we are overdosed with some useful, but mostly useless, information. We don’t even realize how much information collects in our brain. And we wonder why sometimes we don’t remember something. Other times we are surprised about our remarkable ability to find answers or remember stuff that we haven’t thought about for years! Our mind is what makes us who we are. Our mind is what makes us achieve our goals, wishes, and dreams! Our mind is the key to almost everything in life. If we are honest with our mind and our heart which is not always easy - nothing and, I mean nothing and no-one, can stop us from our personal missions. None of us is perfect. We all have our strengths and weakness. 4
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We all should train our minds to focus on our strengths and our passions and not torture our minds with our weakness or things that we don’t like. We shouldn’t listen to other people’s opinions and let them brainwash our minds with negativity. The sooner we learn who we are and what we are good at, the sooner we find the right road to drive. Many of us have lost precious life time, in our twenties or even thirties, because of life’s circumstances and expectations by society. But, it is never too late to turn in the right direction. At the end of the day, we all know that nothing is permanent. And the only thing that really matters is that we have peace of mind. You cannot please everyone and you know what? You shouldn’t even try. The only person who you should please is you! The reason why I chose a globe on the Cover was for two reasons. First, because our blogger team is international. We live in different continents and time zones and yet we are still connected. The second reason I chose the globe, is because life on Earth will go on, with or without us. The world was here before us and the world will be here after us. So, we shouldn’t take anything or anyone too seriously and let meaningless issues toy with our peace of mind and peace of soul. Beauty, youth, fame, fortune, and power will fade. The only thing that stays forever is what we do with our time, what we create with our minds, hearts, and souls. The legacy of creativity, with our talents, whether it is in art, writing, music or entertainment, these are the really precious and timeless treasures that matter! Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
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TEDDY’S Readers Contest! How many Read Samples can you find in this issue? Email us the right answer and win a surprise gift for Christmas by Teddy!
TEDDY’S Readers Contest WINNER! Unfortunately no one sent us the right answer. The correct answer was 18 Kiwis!
TABLE OF MINDS SUMMER A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER THE IDEA BEHIND THE TITLE WHO IS NASSIMA DESIGN? WHO IS WHO LIFE STORIES & HISTORY DESPERATLEY SEEKING INSPIRATION SUMMER OUT OF THE CITY READ SAMPLE DESTINATION: FREEDOM THE OTHER SIDE THE POWER OF AWARENESS IN FAMILY! READ SAMPLE IF ONLY I HAD A DAD READ SAMPLE AMERICAS ROYAL FAMILY SELF-ACCEPTANCE AND SELF-RESPECT! MUSIC INERVIEW WITH ITALIAN SINGER ENRICO COSTA READ SAMPLE BON VOYAGE LIFE STORIES THE VALUE OF PRICELESS! ACTIVATE THE FIVE SENS·ES READ SAMPLE ESCAPE INTO THE BLUE HEALTH SWAPPING ONE BAD HABIT FOR ANOTHER DAMN PHARMACY, DAMN “PAIN” KILLERS! MOVIES FILM REVIEW THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST READ SAMPLE SIX WORD LESSONS… INTERVIEW WITH BRITISH ACTOR KEVIN LESLIE PUBLISHING BEST BLOG POST WINNER FEATURED AUTHOR AND PODCASTER TOM FALLWELL FANTASY FICTION WITH A LASTING IMPRESSION READ SAMPLE PAWPER TO PEDIGREE HISTORY SOLO FUN IN OR OUT OF THE SUN SONG LYRIC CONTEST MEET OUR JUDGE JAMES KENNEDY MEET OUR JUDGE CARL LINDQUIST INTERVIEW with BRITISH COMPOSER JAMES OLDRINI PUBLISHING BOOK COVER CONTEST WINNERS READ MY MINDS AUTHORS
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EDITION 2 4 7 8 Bibiana Krall Annelisa Christensen Lily Amis Lily Amis Rick Amitin Rick Amitin Lily Amis Lily Amis
12 14 22 26 30 33 36 38
Lily Amis Lily Amis
Rick Amitin Bibiana Krall Bibiana Krall
60 63 66
Angel M. Lily Amis
Trevor Pacelli Trevor Pacelli Lily Amis
75 80 81
Lily Amis Lily Amis Angel M. Angel M.
88 92 96 98
Lily Amis Lily Amis Lily Amis
104 105 106 111 120
WHO is “nasSima-design”? We are a mother-daughter duo, loving and living for art. During difficult, lonely, and isolated times in our lives filled with many obstacles, the only thing that kept us going and surviving was our passion for art and creativity.
In the last two decades, we have worked on several different and yet related projects. Sima is the creative mind in our team and has worked as a costume designer for Switzerland’s best-selling music artist. She has created themed costumes for the world tours of The Pop Star and His Eleven Dancers. Sima has also made a name with her gown designs for the famous Black Madonna, in Switzerland’s most visited historical Abbey, with a message of tolerance towards religion and culture.
Lily has worked as a Web Publisher right from the beginning of the Internet and was responsible for worldwide brands, as well as for famous Swiss TV personalities’ and musicians’ official websites. She has also worked for a private Swiss TV station and on film productions, as a producer and director, before she found her passion for writing. ‘Every woman deserves to feel like a QUEEN and every man deserves to feel like a KING’ Since 2011, we have been designing home accessories and offering them globally in our online shop. Inspired by our travels to historical and breathtaking places around the world, we have designed “MY EMPIRE COLLECTION” along with many other collections for the young and adults, at http://www.society6.com/nasSimadesign “Read My Mind” is the latest baby in the history of “nasSima-design”. Combining our love for literature, music, movies, entertainment, art and design, in collaboration with seasoned writers from across the globe, is exciting and refreshing! Summer is the second season of the year and with our passion and commitment, it will hopefully blossom globally for many more seasons to come. 7 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
WHO IS WHO? MEET OUR INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS & BLOGGERS
IRANIAN-SWISS AUTHOR LILY AMIS As a child, my desperate desire for freedom from being a war refugee in the eighties made me become an author. I struggled for almost three decades to be who I am today; a multi-genre author with the goal to entertain and educate readers about important topics in our society. Why? Because I’m sick and tired of superficial and selfish humans. The world is a great place and humans have everything they need to be happy! And yet, many people are sad, lonely, and isolated. Words like devotion, love, loyalty, family, friendship, togetherness, freedom, trust, hope, and selfless support, are my favourite words of all. If there is a will there is a way! Putting this online magazine together, with all these amazingly talented, devoted, and lovely authors and artists from all over the world is my way of bringing awareness to the beauty of life, friendship, and our wonderful planet Earth. With my education in publishing, PR, and marketing, I feel I’m finally on the right road and thrilled to have you join me and my team. After all the struggles I went through to find freedom, I now know the key to personal fulfillment is: Believe in yourself no matter what! Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
BRITISH AUTHOR ANNELISA CHRISTENSEN I live in the heart of Sussex in the UK, passing my time taking photos of beautiful scenery, working as a laboratory technician in a local secondary school and being mother to four now grown-up children. It’s been a tough life but, always, in the background, has been the pleasure of writing as a net to mesh the difficult times with the better times, and to save my sanity when those times were at their worst. Until this last year, apart from blogging, I kept my writing purely for personal enjoyment. But, after winning an auction for a three hundred year old trial transcript of a bold midwife – Elizabeth Cellier – who ably defends herself against a libel charge, I immersed myself into discovering everything I could about this fascinating woman, indulging my enjoyment of deep research. I soon realised I simply had to share this exciting story with the world! Far from ending my research there, whilst digging into Cellier’s life I became compelled to write and share the tales of several other fascinating seventeenth century midwives, whose stories caught my imagination. Seventeenth Century Midwives: Bringing History to Life.
WHO IS WHO? MEET OUR INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS & BLOGGERS
AMERICAN AUTHOR RICK AMITIN Writing has been the best way for me to connect with my authentic self, invite others to experience in my life discoveries, and to give away what is not mine to keep. Some people find their sweet-spot with painting, singing, or acting but for me, itâ€™s writing and public speaking. Although, I think I would like to give acting a test drive. I was born in a small town in north west Indiana, forty miles south of Chicago. The winters were bitter cold and the summers were hot and humid. Iâ€™ve had the opportunity to live in several of our states, and visit most of our major cities, before landing in San Francisco, California. We have two adult kids here and an eight-yearold grandson. I have a daughter, son in-law, four granddaughters, two great grandsons, and one on the way in Louisiana. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from assisting other people to feel the power of their own dreams. I struggled for much of my life with complex issues that I gave too much authority. Finally, taking control, I have moved into a life I cherish. I love seeing others connect the dots for themselves. Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
AMERICAN AUTHOR TREVOR PACELLI My name is Trevor Pacelli. At age 5, I was the first in my extended family to be diagnosed with autism. Growing up autistic has been difficult, not only for me, but for my parents and sister. We've all had to learn about autism, and how to maintain a peaceful household. But now, since graduating high school, I published my first book about growing up on the spectrum, received my BA at Arizona State University, and started my own blog, where I post my own movie reviews with the intention of teaching others about autism. I have spoken at various elementary schools, book stores, and other audiences, which were anxious to hear my story and learn about autism. The reason why I enjoy blogging and want to make my voice heard in this format is because it is much easier for me to make myself heard through writing than through spoken words, and because there are so many topics, such as movies, that I feel very strongly about and feel I need others to understand. I most want readers to feel inspired and motivated through my writing, and have a better perspective of the world we live in.
WHO IS WHO? MEET OUR INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS & BLOGGERS
AMERICAN AUTHOR BIBIANA KRALL My name is Bibiana Krall and I’m a novelist, short story writer, blogger, world traveler and graduate student of creative writing. I write stories highlighting strong female protagonists. I do this because there isn't enough of that going on. It will always be that way, as long as I chose to write. I wish to see the women I have known in real-life portrayed in literature, as they are, empowered, intelligent and amazing. The blogging aspect came about when I began to get so many questions about writing. I wasn’t getting my creative work done. So, I decided to write my blog and answer the questions as they came along, using the blog as a marketing tool. The blog also prompted me to start #IndieSpotlight, which helps promote fellow writers’ work, and helps my growth as well. I have always been a political person and, lately, the stories that are coming to me are more and more about imbalance, crimes against humanity and environmental issues. I feel it is the responsibility and duty of writers to be the voice of their generation. So, in essence, that is what I’m really after. To raise my argument and do it well. Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
AMERICAN AUTHOR ANGEL M. I am Angel M. and, in February 2008, at the age of 46, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am a writer and, most recently, a blogger. I have had numerous stories of various genres fighting for position in my imagination for years. Then, one day, I heard a famous author on one of the morning shows tell the world, “If you write a page a day, by the end of a year you will have a book.” Was he talking to me? Sure, he was, the voice in my head replied. The next day, I invested in a computer and began pouring those stories into the hard drive... with back-ups. Relatively new to the blogging scene, I decided to venture off the beaten path when it came to author interviews. Because we authors tend to be long winded about answering questions, I knew I wanted something geared towards those of us with very short attention spans. My creation? The #SQUIRREL blog series. Here, I challenge my fellow authors to limit their answers to 7 words, or 7 sentences. But they only have to answer 7 questions, so that can’t be too difficult...right?
Read Lilyâ€™s interviews with the British Daily Mirror, Female First and Frost Magazine about Destination:Freedom. 11 Read My Mind - Spring Edition 2017
DESPERATELY SEEKING INSPIRATION By Bibiana Krall This is easily my favorite time of year, water skiing, hikes in the mountains, and a day at the beach, with cherry popsicles, on a hot summer day. As adults, especially, if we are away from children, summer can take on a different and much less playful aspect.
Bibiana Krall The Travel of Mind Column
It’s so hot, I can’t do that! Or, I am so tired from work, I will just curl up and turn on the air conditioning. Maybe tomorrow. Gosh, I would, but my legs don’t look cute in shorts anymore… are you nodding your head? Perhaps the reason we all struggle as adults, with being inspired, is that we care too much about what strangers think, and forget the freedom of childlike wonder. Have you ever skipped a weekend at a cottage just because everyone would be swimming, or wearing revealing clothes? Ah hah! This time of year is incredible in so many ways. No shoes for starters, (YES!) open windows, ceiling fans, and even late night walks outside. As a creative person, you must expose yourself to outside stimuli. No, my little cutie pie, the Internet does NOT count. Rather than this being considered a negative thing… open your mind and let your feet take you wherever they want to go. Don’t drive as much. Ride your bike, take the long way, with the windows down, if you must drive, and go outside late at night just to see the stars. If you live in a big city and cannot see them, get out to the country somewhere and really allow the sky to speak to you.
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By the time this article is published I will have returned from two whole weeks of wilderness camping in the Pacific Northwest with my family. I worry a bit, that lack of WIFI or even the time around the campfire may not be as amazing as I hope, but then I think about the stillness and quiet it 12 brought for me when I was a teenager.
The opportunity to see the Pacific Ocean, the high desert, and the mountains is stoking my wanderlust as I write this. The journey we have mapped out is over one thousand miles. Crazy right? Yes, it is, but what sort of stories or things might we see or share? I am going to need another notebook for this trip, I can feel it! Big nature is a tonic that soothes so effortlessly, so immediately and what happens then? You guessed it. Inspiration, peace, and a sense of belonging that nothing else can bring.
Sure it isnâ€™t easy to make these plans, travel, cook on an open fire, or even deal with weather, but what you get in return is priceless. The real reason you donâ€™t feel inspired is because your mind is filled with noise and your heart needs quiet, simple fun, and joy. So, stop making excuses about it and let the wonder come back, one shooting star at a time. See you out there! Until next time Love, Hustle and then Write xoxo Bibiana
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SUMMER OUT OF THE CITY By Annelisa Christensen Depending where in the world you are, today you might have donned a swimsuit, battled a hurricane or huddled in front of a cosy fire. Summer is here, and it means different things to different people.
The historical Mind Column
www.ScriptAlchemy.com Summer: “A life without love is like a year without summer.” Swedish proverb
In the northern hemisphere, Mother Nature wears her most colourful dress in celebration of warmer weather. She curtsies to her dashing partner, the sun, and they take the floor, as ever, to the delight of all mankind as they dance. The fields turn green, crops of grain and fruit ripen and families are thinking “Yay, vacation is coming!” Some might remember explanations from their childhood why we came to have that hiatus from work and school, and it wasn’t to take trips to the coast, fly to foreign lands or spend time gardening. Nor was it to bury yourself in a pile of books you’ve been dying to read, although a very welcome bonus! No, the reason we were often given was a more mundane one, that the school break originally existed for everyone to pile in and work the land. My own childhood, growing up on a fruit farm, reinforced this idea for me. The long summers were filled with weeding, spreading straw between rows of strawberries, more weeding, scaring birds from fruit and generally working all daylight hours. Also, my dad employed many villagers for seasonal fruit-picking, so it was easy to believe this was what everyone did for their summer break, and why it came into existence. But, turns out, that was wrong. According to historian Kenneth Gold, “What school on the agrarian calendar actually looked like was a short winter term and a short summer term”. Extra hands were not needed in the summer, but in the spring for preparing the land and seed-planting, and in the autumn for harvesting, checking and storing crops, which was historically done manually. 14
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The periods in the middle of the summer and the middle of the winter were in fact the only times children were not needed and could go to school.
If you could afford to get away – financially and circumstantially – you would. So, the wealthiest of society wisely fled the filth and took to the fresh rural air, perhaps opening their country residence for the whole season.
So, why the summer vacation then? Well, we have to turn our thinking on its head, and look to the cities for the answer. Going back to before sewers took away human and animal waste in pipes, the streets were a stinking, rat-infested, fly-ridden cesspool, oozing with foulness and disease. Even in your own home, the air would be ripe with nasty smells. The sun would bake fresh horse or pig dung outside your window, and the summer would dry this muck and fill your nostrils with dust. Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
But townies of the Middle Ages didn’t make excursions to the countryside fashionable. The Romans and Greeks started these trends for enjoyment rather than necessity. The higher echelons of Ancient Greek society would use any excuse to take time away from the city – trips to athletic contests, health spas or religious events. The Romans took it further, and not only had spring cottages by the sea and summer cottages in the mountains, but also spent months, or even years, travelling to broaden their education and understand other cultures. 15
With the long, straight roads they built throughout the areas they had conquered in Europe, they were able to move around with some comfort, with inns and eating places arising to cater for the road weary. Though many of the Roman roads fell into disrepair, making the journeys less comfortable, those very same inns and taverns have since been used by royalty and the privileged classes for pleasure tours. For sure, kings such as Henry VIII would take longer tours in the summer than winter, bringing everything-and-the-kitchensink with him for his own comfort. The court that travelled with him would consist of hundreds – family, aristocrats, servants and his own cook. And what was good enough for royalty was good for the social elite, who wished to emulate royalty. The Industrial revolution brought changes right through all levels of society – better travel and increased mobility with the arrival of steam
trains (for instance, Tom Thumb, the first American steam train in 1830, and the Orient Express, which took passengers across Eurasia), more working rights, better pay and, eventually, more leisure time, opened the door to the middle and lower classes what had been only previously available to the upper classes and their families. Indeed, when tracing my family tree in the mid-nineteenth century, I often found my Scottish ancestor, a potter, at his holiday home on Skye with his family at the time of the census. In 1835, a traveller, Matthew O'Conor, hoped to encourage the ‘richer classes of his countrymen to mix with the enlightened and polished nations of Europe’ by recording his tour of Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland, saying, “In passing from one country to another, whether the boundary be a sea, a river, or a chain of mountains, the difference of religion, language, manners, or dress is at once striking, and you feel you are in the midst of strangers”. 16
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Frankly, his description of the journey between Dublin and Liverpool was not altogether encouraging: "The fore-deck of the vessel, separated from the after-deck by an iron grating, presented a scene of great misery - an image of our native country. Pigs, sheep, horned cattle, horses, women, children half naked, spalpeens (Irish Labourers) in their frieze garments, were so packed together that to move was utterly impossible.” Nevertheless, perhaps it was accounts such as O’Conor’s that encouraged Mary Shelley to take summer trips to Germany and Switzerland, there to be inspired to write ‘Frankenstein’. After WW2, with the increasingly popular holiday packages to the Mediterranean and other hot-spots, vacations became desirable and affordable for everyone else. With airplanes came a whole industry geared up specifically to entice billions of people all over
the planet to become tourists – to travel the world, explore new places, absorb history where it happened. Tans became a desirable mark of those lucky enough to go away. Holiday photos and films were inflicted on those who couldn’t escape, with the naïve idea that watching someone else’s holiday was equivalent to experiencing it oneself! Nowadays, children all over the world still benefit from the traditionally long summer holidays: from 6 to 8 weeks in some countries (e.g. Canada, Germany, the Britain, Australia, Japan, China) to as long as three months (e.g. Ireland, Greece, Russia, Romania), even though the original reasons for escaping, or ‘vacating’ the city are gone. It’s only the time of year that’s different. Whatever the reasons and history behind the summer break, have a good one! 18
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Read sample “Destination: Freedom” During this time, bombs from our enemy kept coming – the war was horrifying. You never know just how scary and horrible war really is until you’ve been in the middle of one. The media show pictures of families and children who lose their existence within seconds and are destroyed by war. But it is very much different when you and your loved ones are directly affected by it. Every day, we saw it. I still remember the war between ASIAcity and our neighbor country and the times of the bombings, very well. We had learned through the media how to behave in the situation and what precautions to take in order to be safe. There were two kinds of sirens keeping track of what was happening before and after an attack. I remember their sounds as if I had heard them yesterday. In the middle of the dark night we were awakened several times by incredibly loud and scary sirens. We constantly lived in fear and felt helpless – it was terrifying! We no longer lived normal lives. To us, every day, every hour, every minute and every second could be the last – and we were oh so conscious of that fact. During the attacks, I used to hold mom’s hand crying: “Mommy, I don’t want to die!” We usually stayed in the living room during the attacks and sat very close to each other. We hardly spoke and each of us prayed silently. Every time a bomb hit the ground, the whole house trembled and we waited for the next, hoping that no one we knew would be hit. The attacks seemed to last forever – they really only lasted a few minutes. We were scared of dying and even more so of having to live the rest of our lives as cripples and in pain. We were even more afraid of losing loved ones, however. I was terribly scared of becoming an orphan and having to live in an orphanage. I was hoping to survive the war or – at least – die together with the rest of my family.
At the beginning, the enemy planes only came in the evening. After a while, they came during the day too. It didn’t bother me as much during the day because the sun was shining and the bombs were less scary. At night, however, when everything was dark and quite, the bombs were terrifying. The enemy’s came up to five times a day, and every time the power was cut for security reasons. That was very tedious and caused even more problems and damage. After every attack, the areas that took direct hits looked horrible. I, personally, never saw it with my own eyes but mom did. She later told me how she saw body parts such as hands and legs hanging from trees. The houses were no longer recognizable as such – it was as if they never existed. Even schools and hospitals were bombed. Because of that, my school was closed most of the time. The whole situation was becoming unbearable. Many families lost children, brothers, fathers, husbands in the war, and the only past-time of many people seemed to be going to funerals. Many times, we were able to see the fire and hear the people’s screams after the attacks. It was alarming because we always knew that it could’ve been us. The only thing left to do was to pray that the horrors would eventually end. Constantly waking up at night slowly became so tiresome that we built a shelter in our cellar and began to sleep there. Actually, we didn’t sleep at all but sat around and waited. The attacks and fear of death reminded us again and again that death was potentially close at hand. We absolutely had to leave! (From chapter 4 - A New Papa and the War)
THE OTHER SIDE By Lily Amis I don’t know about you, but Sima and I, we do believe in an after-life! We both had an unusual experience with death and Angels.
Lily Amis The Inspirational Mind
I remember when we were in Los Angeles back in 2003 and visited the graves of actors Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Billie Wilder, Dean Martin and Walter Matthau who are all buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. We both felt as though a spirit was there watching us when we put flowers on their graves. Call us crazy, but somebody actually tapped on our shoulders and it was for sure not just our imagination. We were the only living people there at the time. We also believe in Angels and have had our own positive experiences. We do believe in spirits, so it is no surprise, we also believe in mediums, such as American TV medium Theresa Caputo on TLC and Hollywood medium Tyler Henry on E. It is understandable that many people think these mediums are nothing but charlatans, making money off people’s grief. I remember years ago, there was another famous American medium and Author Sylvia Browne, who claimed to be a medium and to have psychic abilities. She passed away in 2013. But, during her life, she made a fortune with her “ability” and her books. I, myself, read two of her books. Browne claimed she knew what it was like in Heaven, in one of her books, “The Other Side and Back “. She also declared that she could see Angels. I also read about her work, as a medium and about her experiences with death souls. She was many times on the Larry King Live Show and talked about her work with the Police when searching for missing people - possible victims of crime. And, I remember I was fascinated by her work as a medium. 26
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I totally believed her. Because why would anyone lie about life and death? Why would anyone toy with people‘s minds, feelings, and emotions, with false information? If you lie about death you must be either out of your mind or a professional, godless and fearless charlatan, without respect for God, the Universe, and people’s feelings. After Browne passed away many of her predictions were subsequently proven false. One of the most interesting facts was her own date of death and cause, which she also claimed to know for sure. So, it is understandable that now people who hear about or watch the Show “Long Island Medium” and “Hollywood Medium” have doubts about Theresa and Tyler too. Let’s face it, these two mediums are also making a fortune with their books, with their reality shows and, of course, their live appearances and readings. But! Yes, there comes a HUGE FAT BIG “BUT”, what I love about Theresa’s and Tyler’s work – besides their super bubbly and lovely personalities, positive energy, beautiful blue eyes, recognizable laugh, and don’t forget their unique facial expressions - is that both of them are doing no harm to anyone. All they do is give people, who are in deep grief, some hope, and relief. And these days, giving HOPE to the HOPELESS and emotionally broken people, is priceless. Who else, besides these TV personalities, is giving people hope, love, and laughter? Do you know anyone? Not even the Pope is giving too much hope and comfort like these mediums do. Not even the want-to-be presidents and politicians give hope for a better life and future for the world. No one is giving hope to anyone. Because most people are selfish, self-centered, greedy, narcissistic, and calculating. Because most people are takers and not givers. At least Theresa Caputo and Tyler Henry are not saying they will change the world, with their abilities or that they know more than they do. All these two humans are doing is bringing messages of love and comfort to people who are dealing with emotional pain over the loss of their loved ones. The people on their shows always say after a reading “I have found my peace”, “I feel a weight is off my shoulder”, “I can finally find a closure and live my life without feeling guilty” etc. 27 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Ok, Of course, I have my doubts about these people on the TV shows. They could easily be paid actors. Their stories could be easily researched, in advance, by the TLC and E production team, by professional researchers, behind the camera. Especially, the ones that they seem to meet randomly, in their daily life, like Theresa does while grocery shopping, or during sports activities, vacations, Spa days, etc. BUT, again Theresa is doing no harm. Tyler is doing no harm either. I would actually love to have a reading with both of them to see what my beloved grandparents have to say. I miss them terribly and would like to know that they are looking over my Mum and me. That would be a comforting thought that every one of us needs. We all know that life is short and that none of us will live forever. So, the thought of being reunited with the people we love makes life and the daily struggles a bit more bearable! Also, the thought that there is more to life than just what we see, gives me, personally, hope. I think one has to be extremely narrow-minded, uneducated, and clueless to only believe in things that we actually see and hear. Life is more than physical activities. It’s not only about working, sleeping, eating, and reproduction, making money, fighting for power, and fame. It’s about more than creating wars and destroying other people’s physical and emotional existence. Life is not only about toying with other people’s futures, feelings, emotions, lives, hopes, and dreams. There is more to it, spiritually, as well as emotionally. I have no doubt God has much more to offer than what we see in our reality. There is so much more and I hope that we humans, animals, and plants, on earth, are not the only living creatures on this planet. That would be very sad and disappointing. So all I say to Theresa and Tyler is: Keep up the good work of giving love, hope, and comfort, bringing a smile to people’s faces and warming up their hearts. My heart believes in you, even though my mind has its doubts sometimes! :-) But, as long as you help people, make them happy, and give them HOPE, may God bless your soul and your loved ones. 28 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Giving love, attention, and hope to others, is a precious blessing and a gift from God. Mediums do it in their own way and we should try to do it in our way. We all have it in us. We just have to learn to give more, without jealousy and expecting anything in return. The magic words are; love, caring, giving, sharing, supporting and kindness. My blogger team and I try to bring our reader's hope, comfort, and love, with our books and articles and with hopeful messages of love, honesty, faith, belief, trust, friendship, tolerance, and acceptance. As I like to say: “Try to be kind. It won’t kill you. Try to be loving. It won’t hurt you. Try to be giving. It won’t harm you!” Life is about giving and not only about taking. We don’t have much time in our short lives, so the more we give, the better. At the end, leaving positive and precious memories of kindness, is the best legacy of all.
What Fictional Book Character Lives Here? Can you name the fictional tenants of the following addresses? And do you know the author who created them? You will find the answers here on page 114 of Read My Mind. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
4 Privet Drive Apt 56B, Whitehaven Mansions, Sandhurst Sq. London Blandings Castle, Shropshire Danemead, High Street, St. Mary Mead 32 Windsor Gardens, London 221B Baker Street 12 Grimmauld Place, London, UK 110a Piccadilly, London Ickenham Hall, Ickenham, Hants UK 25 West 68th Street, NY, NY Fosse Manor, Oxfordshire Oxenthorpe Road, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, Slopshire, England 29
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THE POWER OF AWARENESS IN FAMILY! By Rick Amitin
The Empowering Mind Column
Families come in all shapes and sizes. They are established in a wide array of circumstances that defy a one-size-fits all paradigm. One common denominator to appreciate is the importance the role family plays in all our lives…the TIME we spend together, what we FOCUS on, and the MEMORIES we make.
TIME As much as I have tried to control it, time has an attitude. It’s fiercely committed to its nature…sticking to its twenty-four-hour biology without regard for any individual. Managing time is a misnomer. The best manager on the planet must work with the same clock as a slacker. It’s not time that we manage, it’s activity. The use of time is what we can manipulate. As a father and grandfather, I realize how fast time can pass. The pull of personal, professional, and family priorities wages a constant battle for attention. Each have a compelling argument for the place they want to occupy. It takes a great deal of courage and discipline to look down the road to see the end of the day, era, or life. It’s possible to lose and regain many things; but once time is gone, it’s gone forever. I’ve read many surveys on the subject and what tops the list for children is “time.” More than anything else, they want to spend time with their parents. The impact of feeling wanted, important, and loved is immeasurable. The foundation of family time is the springboard for the rest of each member’s life. Time spent wisely pays dividends that cannot be obtained with any other investment.
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FOCUS I was physically active for more than half of my life. I enjoyed playing several sports year around. When I tore the meniscus in my right knee, my activity level went way down. A year or so later, I tore my meniscus in my left knee. Any meaningful exercise diminished to near zero. I focused on what I could no longer do and ignored the things I could do.
Looking back on the times my kids were little, the big things we did together didn’t give me the same satisfaction as the times we were just hanging out loving each other and enjoying each other’s company. Although we took our kids to all the amusement parks here in California, I don’t wish I had taken them more often. However, I do wish I had spent more time just appreciating them.
Like all dimensions of life, what we focus on we manifest. If we surrender to what we don’t have the resources to do, it’s likely we will fail to realize what we can accomplish. The simple things in life often render the greatest joy. Big things offer pleasures, too; but if we are unproductive in between major endeavors, we will lose out on many magical moments.
Whether your family is intact, you have a blended family, or you are a single parent, making the choice to be deliberate and intentional is the ticket to paradise. Now that I have grandkids, it’s much easier to see clearly what matters most. Energy flows where attention goes.
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MAKING MEMORIES If you have a life without regrets, I celebrate you. My journey has its share of things I would do differently. When I was younger, I had a childhood I needed to get over, and family dysfunctions I wanted to escape. I was determined to find a life and provide better for my children. I was so driven to succeed that I often failed to live in the moment. My personal ambitions to slay the dragon and build a life were a bit too consuming. Working long hours meant my family received less of my time. Less of me. When I began to make dates with my wife and each of my children, my life took on greater meaning. Oh, I’m certain if I had failed to provide adequately for them, they would have noticed. But making an extra few dollars would never take the place of showing up just to be with them. Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Some of my fondest reflections are the one-onone times with my wife and kids. I’m maximizing every opportunity with my grand boy. Caring is expensive. Negligence has an even higher price tag. What are we doing, why are we doing it, and who are we doing it for? Family offers us the purest motivation available. I want to contribute to the betterment of the world. I still have mountains I want to climb and challenges I want to subdue. But my family has little, if any, interests in the number of emails, texts, and likes I have across my media outlets. They want to know how much I value them. The question I ask myself every day is: If I gain the whole world and lose the ones I love, what will I have? When I die, the pinnacle for me will be my family saying, “He loved us more than anything in his life.” 32
Read sample “If Only I Had A Dad” I was teary-eyed for my daughter who was in distress. But my tears were also mixed with anxious expectancy for the entrance of my grand boy. I needed to be a calm presence in the room, but I had more adrenaline than blood pumping in my body. I was in the room with Tina for the birth of both of our children. But this was somehow more eerie and majestic at the same time. I was a different man, older, wiser, with more to offer— my greying hair proof of my qualifying credentials. As a young father, I wasn’t capable of the same deliberateness that I now had as grandfather. I perceive what this boy needs from me. And I’m willing and eager to provide for him. Jaden’s father was not in the room. In fact, he decided to not be in Jaden’s life. Now Jaden will deal with the plight of the fatherless. I am aware that all the love and attention that we will provide him will not alleviate the thoughts and feelings associated with not having a dad. My own experience provided this insight. He will have good questions where there are no good answers. When Jaden parted the atmosphere of this world, I had a moment like no other in the totality of my life. I became more aware than I had ever been. Significance was no longer attainable; it just was. The nurse took Jaden to the other end of the room. I left my wife and medical staff to attend to the needs of our daughter, and I followed my boy. As she prepared him, I was right there, hovering, watching every move she made. I wanted to see any flinch of a muscle and hear any sound that might come from his mouth. I was on a mission to give my grand boy a red-carpet reception. Perceiving the creative energy of life, I was standing still but pacing on the inside, waiting for the moment I could introduce Jaden to my love and affection. After she prepared him the nurse wrapped him in a nice, warm, baby blue blanket; and, because they were still dealing with our daughter, she handed him to me. Divine design? I received this living, breathing gift and held him close. As the rush of love meshed the two of us as one, I reflected on what I knew about my own birth. 33 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
COMING SOON... Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Read sample “America’s Royal Family” I really need to get fresh air. I think I should have a walk in Central Park. Maybe someone there knows the address of America’s Royal Family. And if not I know someone reliable. She knows for sure… Lisy thinks positively. After an unsuccessful search throughout entire Central Park, Lisy decides to visit The Statue of Liberty. I hope Miss Liberty is a better source than the Google-Lady, thinks Lisy full of hope. Lisy: “Excuse me Miss Liberty my name is Lisy. What’s up? How are you? I came all the way from Switzerland to visit America’s Royal Family. Can you tell me where they live?” Lady Liberty: “Well hello Lisy. Nice to meet you. Welcome to New York. I’m sorry to say that we don’t have a Royal Family in America. You probably want to meet the President and the first Lady, but they live in Washington D.C. ”
Lisy: “No, I want to meet America’s Royal Family. Why is everybody trying to change my plans? I know why I came to America and who I want to meet.” Lady Liberty: “I didn’t mean to upset you Lisy. But we really don’t have a Royal family in America! No one, not even me can do anything about it. I’m completely helpless and as you see I’m also busy. Nobody ever cares about my feelings. All people do is visiting me and taking pictures without asking for my permission. People take me for granted, as if I have no feelings at all. That’s so disrespectful. And I’m sorry but you came all the way to America for nothing. You do know that Royal families only exist in European Countries such as United Kingdom? ”
Lisy: “Of course I know. But I came to meet Americas Royal Family. Hey I’m very sorry to hear about your sadness and complaints Miss Liberty!” Lady Liberty: “Thank you Lisy. Do you know why I’m opening my heart to you? Because you are the first person, who asked me how I’m doing. No one has ever done that before. Also you are the first visitor who hasn’t taken a picture of me yet. That’s a new experience. The tourists are like vultures. They don’t care about my feelings. I stand here all day, every day, all year long and not one single person ever asks how I am doing or cares about how I feel.
Lisy: “Tell me about it. I know how it feels like to be a foreigner. And I hate my job as well Miss Liberty. People treat me like rubbish and they have no respect for me either. They never care about my feelings. So I know exactly what you are saying. I live it every day. You know what’s interesting? The Google-Lady was also surprised when I didn’t take a selfie with her.”
Lady Liberty: “Who on earth is the GoogleLady?”
Some days I feel so lonely and isolated. Seeing these self-centered and selfish people forces me to question my purpose and my job here. I feel so homeless and I miss my home country France. ”
SELF-ACCEPTANCE AND SELF-RESPECT! by Lily Amis What is Respect? What is Self-respect? What is Tolerance? What is Acceptance? What is Honesty? Lily Amis The mind-opening Mind
Simple and short questions and yet so difficult to answer! Forgotten values in our selfish, judgmental, and superficial elbow-society! Like millions of people around the world I watched the TV Reality show “I’m Cait” in 2016. Watching and listening to the American Sport Legend Bruce Jenner, today Caitlyn Jenner, is still to this date very emotional. I couldn’t stop my tears while I was watching every single episode, and I still can’t hold back my tears when I listen to Caitlyn Jenner’s interviews. Surprisingly, I can feel all her pain and struggle. Not because I feel imprisoned in my body like Bruce did. Gosh, I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been for him to wake up daily in the wrong body. Thank God I never had his problem . But interestingly, when Caitlyn speaks about Bruce’s struggles of feeling displaced, isolated , and incomplete in this world for his entire life (65 years), I understand and feel the pain and struggle.
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«RESPECT YOURSELF, EXPRESS YOURSELF, MAKE A STATEMENT, MAKE A DIFFERENCE!» Lily Amis
I may not be in the wrong body, but according to society and law I was born in the wrong country and had a false nationality for over three decades. Society constantly judged and rejected me because of where I come from. I had to fight against prejudice, intolerance, discrimination, and hate towards foreigners my entire life. Regardless of how hard I tried to fit in, society made me feel unwanted and incomplete ever since I can remember. And that is the worst and most painful torture for the soul! I admire Caitlyn Jenner for her honesty and courage in opening the eyes of our clueless and judgmental world. Her mission is bringing awareness, understanding and compassion for the LGTB community, and I think everyone who fights for other people’s human rights should be appreciated and respected. 40 Read Mind - Summer Edition 2017 Read MyMy Mind - Summer Edition 2017
A similar story that also touched my heart is the Austrian singer Conchita Wurst, the winner of Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. She has become the symbol of tolerance for many people around the globe. Music is THE universal language that not only brings joy and happiness, but also reunites all kinds of people, while politics and religion divide us. Specially these days with all the mess that is going on around the world , I feel that music has become more important than ever before. It is not only about entertainment anymore. Music heals. Music gives hope. Music reunites. Music is Love. Music is a statement. 41 Read MyMy Mind - Summer Edition 2017 Read Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Ever since Conchita made history at the ESC with her winning song, Rise like a Phoenix, the world has found hope for the future and a better world. For me personally, the top priority is freedom and primarily freedom means the ability to exercise free will, when a person can do what they want, and not what society or life’s circumstances make them do . The Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 was an event that the world will remember. The exceptional Austrian talent Conchita Wurst portrayed by Thomas Neuwirth sang into the heart of millions of viewers. She made a statement about tolerance, acceptance, peace, and human rights with a memorable performance like no one ever before. She is called the Queen of Austria and even the Queen of Europe, but she is much more than that: she is the Queen of Hearts. Her brilliant victory was a sign for tolerance and a better and hopefully more positive future where race, gender, religion, or nationalities don’t matter. Where racism doesn’t exist in our vocabulary anymore. Everyone should live as he or she wants to live. That is the definition of freedom! It's not bad to be different, to think differently and to step out of line.
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I have learned so much from these two truly incredible human beings. Listening to their interviews makes one want to be a better person. So, all I can say is thank you, Caitlyn and thank you, Conchita for having the courage to speak out! You are an inspiration for many people around the world! I truly hope that one day soon the entire world will show compassion and respect towards each other, regardless of gender, skin color, age, nationality, and religion. I pray that the next generation will know that there is nothing more important than honesty, self-respect, and self-acceptance towards yourself and towards others.
Respect, honesty, and tolerance are the key to ultimate happiness, inner peace and harmony. ďťżI truly hope that one day soon we donâ€™t have to explain and defend ourselves for what and who we are. We are all flesh and bones, humans - short visitors on planet Earth. We are different individuals and thatâ€™s fine. Being different is not a disease. All of us are human beings with a heart and soul with one desire: living a free and independent life, where society accepts us for who we are, especially in these hard times! So be who you are! Be honest to yourself! Be you!
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nasSima design Collections
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VISIT ITALY NAPOLI
Meet Italian Singer
Enrico Costa 49 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
LILY IN LIVE INTERVIEW WITH ITALIAN SINGER ENRICO COSTA FROM NAPOLI IN ZURICH By Lily Amis I have discovered Enrico Costa thanks to social media. Whether you understand Italian or not, his angels voice touches your heart. I'm very glad that Enrico has taken the time to visit me for a Live-Interview in Zurich for our Read My Mind readers.
Lily Amis The Inspirational Mind
Enrico, you are a shining star from Napoli Italy and about to take over Europe with your beautiful voice. For readers who havenâ€™t been to Napoli yet, what have we missed? What is special about your home town? If I would visit you tomorrow, where would you take me to for sightseeing?
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Well I’m not from Naples but from Caserta, that is about 30km away. My city is also famous because of Reggia. The largest real royal residence in the world that everyone should visit. San Leucio's Belvedere, Vanvitelli's Aqueduct and Casertavecchia borgo.
I love also Salerno and its Penisola Sorrentina/Amalfitan Costier where there is Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento and Pompei with its escavations and Sanctuary and Volcano Vesuvio so c’mon. You should come here for at least one or two weeks to see all these beautiful places!
You should try our wonderful food "Mozzarella di bufala campana". I love my region in Italy called "Campania".
Sounds great! Ok, now we know what is special about your city. But what is special about Enrico? Who is Enrico Costa? What are your strengths and your weakness? For example, are you a patient or impatient person? Are you more rational or emotional? Are you chaotic or disciplined and organized?
Naples is a wonderful metropole where you can eat the best pizza on the planet and some desserts like baba‘ and sfogliatella. It is famous for its Duomo, Capodimonte Museum, Real palace, Napoli Sotterranea, Sansevero chapel, Maschio Angioino, Castel dell'ovo, San Gregorio Armeno and Spaccanapoli and Belvedere where you can see the beautiful gulf of Naples, and much more. There is also an island that you have to visit Ischia, Procida, Capri , also a well-known spot all over the world.
I'm Enrico. I come from Italy and I love music, but also nature and God. Yes, I’m a spiritual guy. I’m a sincerely honest person and I easily trust people. This is my strength and weakness at the same time. I'm a mix of patient and impatient person, emotional and rational and maybe chaotic and disciplined guy, but for sure funny and I hope lovely as well.
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There is a saying: Show me how you live and I tell you who you are. So, if I visit you unannounced and surprise you at home, would I end up in a mess or in a tidy tasteful Italian decorated house? Tidy house except my room hahaha... Well it depends on what Iâ€™m doing, because I have always lots of things going on and thereâ€™s not much time to tidy up. But when I can I like to clean up. Tell me Enrico how old were you when you knew that your passion and talent is music? Are your parents into music as well? I think from very young age when I was a child, because my father is a singer and musician. So, he inspired me to sing too. I was and still am very proud of him. Who is your idol? Who has influence you the most in music and in Life? I don't have an idol. I love Jesus; that changed my life. I have to say that some musicians and singers influenced me but I would rather keep them in my heart. Italian people are famous for many good things. Fashion, interior design, music, art, history, food and much more. But what I personally love about the Italian culture is their value for family. How many siblings do you have? Are they also musically gifted? I have no siblings here. I have one in heaven. He died when he was born and is now my angel. 53 Read Mind - Summer Edition 2017 Read MyMy Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Enrico you are studying music (piano, vocal technique, and composition) since 2011 and have been participating successfully in several National Music Contests in Italy since 2013. What were the most exciting and challenging experiences for you so far? Of course, my first contest Premio Mia Martini, where I performed my first own written song Cercando Amore, and the Voli Festival where I sang my song with live orchestra.
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Enrico what do you enjoy the most? The process of creating songs in the studio or being on stage and performing? It's difficult to answer. I love doing both, but maybe I enjoy performing in front of an audience more.
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You sing in Italian and English. Even though my Italian is poor I love listening to Italian songs, because it is such a romantic and emotional language. Is it a different feeling to sing in English, a foreign language for you, than in your mother language Italian? I like both languages. Maybe when I sing in Italian I can express my feelings and emotions better. But according to my listeners, I sound equally emotional in both languages. Speaking of romance. Are you romantic or an Italian Casanova? How many times have you been in love? Yes, I’m romantic guy and not a Casanova. I think I was in love about three times in my life.
For sure a woman that is cute, but also sweet and sincere. She also has to share my passions. We all have done mistakes and a made wrong decisions in our lives that we regret. If you could turn back the time and make a change, what decisions do you regret the most? What would you do differently? I’m sorry that I didn’t start earlier with making music. Where do you see yourself in music? What are your goals, wishes and dreams? I would like to show the people my heart and my soul that is full of love, passion, and meaningful messages with my songs. It’s hard, but I would like to be a great artist.
I’m sure that you touch many female hearts with your angel’s voice. As far as I know, you are single. What kind of woman touches Enrico’s heart and soul? What should your other half, your soulmate be like?
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There are many cheesy songs in the world. For me as a lyricist it is important to write songs with meaningful messages. You are currently working on your first album. What can we expect? What messages will you share with the world? For sure the messages are love, to live, never give up on hopes and dreams. I have just completed six songs with my producer and teacher Bruno Illiano. I personally love them and I hope to have the chance to show them worldwide because they touch my heart every time I sing them and I believe they will touch yours too. I ask all my inspirational interview partners this question. What is your definition of love in three words? What is your definition of love in one sentence ? In three words: Give, Forgive, Trust. In one sentence: To love is to donate yourself without any conditions. Enrico it was a pleasure interviewing you in Zurich. Many thanks for taking the time to fly over. I wish you all the best for your future and I hope you can achieve all your goals and desires. God bless and best wishes! Lily
57 Enrico Costa Photos taken by Lily & Sima Amis for ÂŠnasSima design
Discover the beauty of the European cities with Monsieur Jac Couture and Little Lily as your personal Tour guide on your Sightseeing Tour. BON VOYAGE is educational and funny. A lovely book for young and young at heart readers. So far Monsieur Jac Couture and little Lily have only seen the dark side of Europe. But on Lilyâ€™s Birthday the two decide to take up a journey and discover the beauty and brightness of the European cities. They travel to exciting countries and take selfies with personalities such as the pope in Vatican City, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the coolest dude and famous cook Jamie Oliver.
As if this is not exciting enough, they also have an afternoon Tea with her majesty Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace on her 90th birthday and do a sightseeing tour throughout entire London with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
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Read sample “Bon Voyage” Lily: “Boy and I thought for a second you were actually out of your mind Monsieur Jac,” says a relieved Lily. Monsieur Jac: “Not yet Cherie. Maybe one day, but not today. I’m old but not lunatic…Ha ha! Our next stop this afternoon will be at the famous Park Güell created by the Spanish Master Antoni Gaudi. It is the most gorgeous park I have ever seen.”
Monsieur Jac: “Around sixty-four million people! Cherie, I think I’m afraid of heights!” Lily: “Sixty-four million? Wow! Listen you don’t have to be afraid, Monsieur Jac. Even Prince George and Princess Charlotte wave from the balcony. Mom must join us too. This will be a memorable moment for all of us. I might even ask the Queen for her blessing!” Monsieur Jac: “What kind of blessing?”
Lily: “What is so gorgeous about it?” Monsieur Jac: “Simply everything. The location is spectacular. Trust me, you will love it.” Lily: “Whatever you say Sir. You’re the tour guide. So where do we go from Barcelona? Please let us go to London, the capital city of United Kingdom.” Monsieur Jac: “Sure! No problem. What is the first thing you would like to do in London?”
Lily: “As you may remember, I’ve always wanted to be a princess or at least have a ‘Lady’ title. Imagine me as Lady Lily and Mom as Lady Sima. You could get a title too. What do you think about Sir Jac Couture instead of Monsieur Jac Couture?” Monsieur Jac: “Lady Lily I would be honored to take the ‘Sir’ title and be officially knighted by the Queen… Ha ha!”
Lily: “You mean except for having a TT with the Queen on her ninetieth birthday celebration?” Monsieur Jac: “What is a TT Cherie?” Lily: “Tea and Toast! Ha ha! I just made that up. You love your CC, your morning Cappuccino and Croissants and I’d love to have an afternoon English tea with her majesty.” Monsieur Jac: “What about the other Royal family members? Don’t you want to meet them too?” Lily: “Sure! You know what I’d really like to experience? I would love to stand out on the Buckingham Palace balcony and look down at Britain’s population from above and wave. How many people live in UK anyway?”
THE VALUE OF PRICELESS! By Rick Amitin Priorities
The Empowering Mind Column
Summer: In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. - Albert Camus
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Just two blocks away from where I live is a display of very expensive antique cars. One of several in our city by the same owner. I often stop by on my early morning walks and spend a few minutes admiring the style and craftsmanship of these automobiles of yesteryear. I also like to ponder about the people and period associated with these vehicles. Who was the first person to buy this car? Was it a man or a woman? What was their profession? Were they happy? Did they live fulfilling lives? Were they selfish or philanthropic? I have asked myself many questions about the history of these cars. From their well-preserved condition, I doubt if these horseless carriages were even driven much. So, I wonder about how many cars this person might have owned. The present owner of this collection is one of the wealthiest people around. I canâ€™t even estimate the dollar value of this one stable of cars. While I have my favorite picked out and I imagine the ride of a lifetime, I think of what I could do with the price of my preferred ride. How far would the money go to helping me realize my present ambitions? I want to be a friend to the world! 'I discovered this could be done better in a garden than a car.
Organic Living in San Francisco offers access to many contemporary and emerging trends with some rich history thrown in. One thing I miss is the vegetable garden I had for many years. During a transitional chapter in my life, I started gardening. Although my mother did a garden for years, Iâ€™d never been much interested. Several neighbors did gardens also, so, I decided to do one too. I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. 60
Taking an uncultivated piece of ground, tilling it up, arranging the rows, planting the seeds, and watching things grow sparked incredible inspiration. Running my fingers through the earth provided a connection with the larger world I had previously not captured. The first buds of life brought deep joy to my soul. Each season I learned something new and applied it the next year.
I learned how to protect and nurture my plants without using harmful pesticides, staying away from modern methods of farming fast. With patience and care, I tended to the potential within each suckling.
The Hope Diamond is the most expensive diamond in the world.
I developed a relationship with the personalities and characteristics of my plants. While each one required specialized attention, they all needed to be kept out of harm’s way. I pulled weeds daily and looked for any signs of blight.
I was investing in things that would give back. The more I paid attention, the better my harvest. There is nothing like that first, ripe tomato. I could hardly wait to take a bite of the fresh and juicy fruit. I realized I couldn’t successfully grow everything. Cantaloupes, for one, never did well. Each year, as I stood in the middle of the nursery and finalized what I would plant, I discovered the importance of choosing wisely. I wasn’t just picking plants, I was making a commitment. I spent equal amounts of energy and effort to everything I planted, but, anything that didn’t reproduce didn’t get replanted the next time around. I couldn’t help but see my labor of love in a broader context. Relationships are the garden of life. Friendships do not grow and produce generically. Different classifications are necessary to properly identify the nature of what is being cultivated.
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Every person who shows up in my life-field fits into one of three categories. They are either; a master, who will teach me; a student, who I can mentor; or, a companion, who will always be there for the ups and downs of life. We all need to give and receive to live balanced lives. Wishful thinking is about as productive as scattering seed on top of unplowed grass and expecting generous results.
The grace of intuition and wisdom politely took my heart in their hands. Class was in session. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is the importance of owning my heart. The more I get in touch with who I am, the more divine intention shows up in my life. I must be the one who defines what success is for me. It is an undeletable responsibility to decide how I will spend my life and who I will spend it with.
The best harvest of relationships are the ones we correctly understand, accept, and work organically.
Destiny is more discovered than shaped. Many things get tolerated rather than directed. Weeds must be pulled. Blight must be cured. Knowing who you are, to yourself, makes you highly desirable to everyone else. We can expend endless energy trying to turn cold steel into a feather bed, or we can live on purpose.
Inventory I am drawn to water. Sometimes it’s the crashing of the waves at the ocean shore. Other times, it’s the glass appearance of a still lake. There are moments when I want to sit quietly, allowing the rhythms of the tide to speak to me. Then, there’s the open desire to walk aimlessly beside liquid calm. Some of my most meaningful contemplations have happened at the water’s edge. This day was no different. Life was out of control. I was worn out with dissatisfaction. Completely drained from living a life I didn’t want. My focus was on what I hated, so what I loved was staying away. My cry was too intense for the luxury of tears. Speechless, all I could do was listen. Clarity is fluent when there’s no interruption.
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When I have one hand stretched forward to someone that is actively instructing me and my other hand extended backward to someone I’m helping along, my heart is full. When I work hard to let things happen, I’m at rest. When I quit striving to get somewhere and release everything, I will ever be right where I am. I’m at home. The ability to be my own best friend allows me to serve others well and that’s, priceless!
«I was investing in things that would give back.» Rick Amitin
ACTIVATE THE FIVE SENSES THE FACULTIES OF SIGHT, SMELL, HEARING, TASTE, AND TOUCH. By Bibiana Krall Bibiana Krall The Travel of Mind Column
Summer time is fun time! Summer time is reading time!
Are we excited about summer? Oh yes! The possibility of a weekend away or even a week-long break somewhere new gets my blood moving. As a writer and creative, the primary effect it has on my senses is total overload; the really fantastic kind. I task you to carry a little notebook with you and to reawaken your senses. Put that phone away darling, we are here to exist. Revel in it and meet your Muse.
SIGHT: The glimmer of salt water in the distance has a special, exciting emotional connection for me. The first time I saw the water in Miami it just about killed me. In ten shades of a blue topaz with the Art Deco District popping out with neon colors beside it; I was hooked. Alternatively, look in your closet. What colors are lined up? Black, white, brights or jewel tones? Touch them and note to yourself what these colors do for you and then write it down. If you really want to have fun with this, look at photos of your family or friends and take notes. Does it stir an emotional response? Take pictures throughout your travels as well, then do the same when you return. Sight is an amazing sense, and we sometimes forget exactly how precious it is. You are a camera, and what you connect with through your eyes is your film. 63
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SMELL: The scent of Café Cubano and the yeasty bread baking in Little Havana is something not to be missed. I closed my eyes and fell in love all over again with the aroma of jambon, rice and beans simmering in a pot. It mixed with the exhaust of the cars and the melting strips of adhesive holding the old street together.
Hearing is a blessing. Without it, could we hear calls of distress, a baby cooing in their crib or a group of football fans singing a bawdy song after a win?
TASTE: At home, what is it that gets you excited? Bacon cooking or a birthday cake baking in the oven? I get up early, so it’s merely some black coffee and multi-grain toast. The mixture of a spice rub and a hearty barbecue sauce on the grill definitely cranks me up too. Are you getting hungry yet? Smell is a gift. It sparks memories, and in my opinion it has a lot to do with the attraction of our mates and friends.
HEARING: Do you enjoy Latin, House or Dance music? SoBe in Miami is nuts at night. The doors are open and the clubs are poppin’. The music spills out into the street and you cannot escape the strains of every flavor of musical style as you walk and enjoy the coolness of the evening. If you need quiet, the ocean is right across the street and it’s magical to listen to how both the waves and the music move together. At home the best sound of all is laughter. I have an amazing family and when we have fun and just laugh, I know that I am the wealthiest person on earth. The sound of happiness bouncing through the kitchen is the finest music. Even the school bus rumbling around the corner and the neighborhood kids tossing a ball against the house has a distinctly delightful sound.
Seafood, exotic spices, Latin flair. I could go on and on about the taste that is Miami. I am jonesing for a coconut ice cream from a sidewalk vendor, or stone crab from Joe’s and buttermilk pancakes after midnight at that retro diner down off Collins. You could literally eat your way through this city. But it is a beach town, so you might want to take it easy on that gorgeous body… You sexy thang! Summer at my house is all about fresh watermelon, grilled chicken with a nice char, a chilled Riesling or sweet tea with lots of sugar. Can you feel your tongue reacting? Yeah… that’s pretty cool isn’t it? Taste is a fantastic sense that helps us know if something is hot, bitter, sour or sweet. It also returns a sense of belonging and home, and the comfort of a place in time.
TOUCH: Let’s talk about culture. In Miami people touch a lot. You will rub noses with strangers and people you barely know might even hug you. This may sound pretty wild right? Eventually you will drop your preconceptions and just join the party.
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It brings you closer to the experience and it’s making me grin right now thinking about it. I live in the Deep South and we don’t show such close affection as much. Children and babies sure, but not so much with adults. If you do touch here it is someone you know well and care about. A handshake is more common, but it better be a decent one or people will talk, ‘Bless your heart!’ Touch is the sense that has saved me more than once. When you feel sad or alone, what is it that really brings you back? It is the touch of someone who cares.
I am grateful for all my senses, but touch is huge and so important to the well being of animals and people alike. After these brief notes on the senses, I task you to go out in the world. Use them, apply them and savor all your senses, and ramp up your life in the process. Until next time, find your peace, love, hustle and then write xoxo Bibiana
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Read sample “Escape into the Blue” Hand painted benches held feral cats stretched out on sun-warmed planks. More truth spilled as the rum bottle grew lighter. Nightmares in daylight cannot inflict the same pain. Sophia’s discomfort was clear when faces turned to her, asking pointed questions. Truth telling takes a deeper bravery than she was willing to risk. People were curious about her deeply scarred legs. “Well, I was swimming in a place just like this and then a huge wave came. A giant shark fin emerged from the surf…” A quiet respect grew in the shade of those palms. The breeze rustling the climbing flowers, reminded them all of their good fortune. Spurred on by the potent beverages, she spun a fine web of her own. Lying came more easily; no one really wanted to hear her truth. Her body exposed in shorts and a tank top showed her physical imperfections. Telling a story was an excuse to bend things, push them away. A shark tale with grave danger brought bewildered nods, with gasps and shocked affirmation. The mottled purplish blood surrounded by a heavy ridge on her knee, showed her great walk with courage. The story spun out of control when milking it became second nature. Three times she retold that same lie, as new groups of avid listeners arrived. Enthralled, they begged her to continue. Unlikely stories are always the best ones, weaving magic to sweep away the heaviness of dreams lost. Conversation trickled to a sleepy camaraderie and the day hovered in place, like a fat honeybee. The only thing that was true was, she had survived. Her eyes stung from thinking about the real reason her legs were like this. She made them all believe, as guilt washed heavily over her. Feeling deep shame for her betrayal, it was already too late to take it back. Jeremy enjoyed this girl. She was so different, so incredibly free. He felt now that fate had propelled him to that bay this morning. Discovering a shipwrecked mermaid resting on a suitcase, only in dreams can this happen… 66 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
SWAPPING ONE BAD HABIT FOR ANOTHER By Angel M. You’ve read the title of this article and you’ve started thinking: “Yepper, we’ve all done it at one time or another; swapping one bad habit for another bad habit…”
Angel M. The Life of My Mind Column
Summer: “Columns of heat Rise from the dried grass The earth bakes.”
• Give up hard liquor and just drink beer • Quit smoking and live inside the refrigerator • No more nail biting...you fill in the blank because I would like, for you, to continue reading my article. Okay, I’ll “fess up”. I tried drinking, but never really acquired a taste for alcohol or beer, so this was an easy one for me to walk away from. Or should I say fall down, get up, stagger, puke, and fall back down, again. Most people have tried the alcohol route and they either continue to drink or have turned away from this habit-forming vice. We few who have walked away unscarred and looking for other forms of entertainment to fill our lives may or may not be the lucky ones. This of course depends on what other bad habit took alcohol’s place.
Next on the list, I tried smoking for about a year and walked away with yellow teeth. However, once I quit, I smelled a whole lot better and food actually tasted good. Whodda thunk! Afterward, I developed a teeth fetish. Just the thought of kissing a mouth full of yellow teeth and ashtray breath makes me want to hurl. And then there was my nail-biting stage. I believe nail-biting begins at an early age, but I have always been a late bloomer. I didn’t take up the challenge until I was in my early twenties. If you visit my column regularly, you will begin to notice a pattern (most of my life experiences began in my twenties). 67
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So, I bit my nails... big deal. And I bit them before the invention of hand sanitizer. Cue in dramatic music, here. The germs! The bleeding fingers! No! I was not a zombie or a cannibal, but if you are a nail-biter, you know we never ask ourselves, “how far should I bite this down to?” Instead, we repeatedly say, “I think I bit too far.” Then we have to go through days of sore fingertips before we can begin to bite again. Then, one day, it hit me. Instead of biting my nails until they bled, why don’t I push my cuticles back? How did I come up with this brilliant idea? I spent three years as a cosmetologist in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, where I experienced many levels of personal hygiene. I am a bit of a germophobe, as a result of this brilliant career decision.
After performing an uncountable number of manicures, I got to thinking, “Yeah, step back, you might get something on you.” Every time I caught myself getting ready to bite my nails, I stopped, looked at my hands and said, “Okay, let’s try something new.” I did not whip out all of the manicure accouterments and make a major production of my new habit. I simply used what little nails I had to push back my cuticles. And guess what happened? Over time, my old, bad habit eventually became a new, good habit. Today, you could not pay me to bite my nails. Weeeell, how much we talkin’? No, never mind, I won’t do it. So take a good long look at your bad habits and consider kicking them to the curb and replacing them with a new good habit. Most importantly, be creative.
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DAMN PHARMACY, DAMN “PAIN” KILLERS! By Lily Amis When we suffer from physical conditions such as migraine, headache, tummy ache, insomnia, etc. the pain is always nothing but a reflection of our soul. Something or somebody in our life is bothering us emotionally, spiritually, or physically.
Lily Amis The Educational Mind
What do most of us do? We go to a doctor or the next pharmacy on the corner! And what do they do? The first thing doctors do is write a prescription for a “healing” medicine. Because it is fast and easy money for them. Although a doctor's duty is to make time and dig deeper to find out what our actual problem is! What do we patients do? We deny the actual problem and are happy and relieved to get rid of the pain as soon as possible, as easy as possible. In the moment of desperation and pain, we don’t think about the long-term consequences of using medicine. We just want to survive the day and move on with our lives and our responsibilities. So we take a pill to function! The KING of Rock & Roll, Elvis Presley, did it. The KING of Pop, Michael Jackson, did it. The Artist Prince did it, and so many more people do it, daily. Elvis did it because that was his way of dealing with anxiety and insomnia. Michael Jackson started to take painkillers after his tragic accident, during the filming of his Pepsi commercial, where his hair caught on fire. Last year the legendary singer Prince died because he was dealing with health issues and thus took painkillers. These celebrity’s fates are just an example and reflection of our society. Helpless and suffering from pain, they choose to take the easy way of dealing with their health issues. History is repeating. Thanks to incapable, uncaring, and greedy doctors, and pharmacists, we keep losing Music Legends. We keep losing our loved ones. We keep poisoning our own bodies. 69
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What these thoughtless doctors and pharmacists are doing, is irresponsible! Using people’s weakness and desperation, for their own financial benefit, is nothing but criminal. Damn them for messing with people’s health and lives. Ever since I was fourteen years old, I’ve suffered from migraines. If you know my life story, from my book, Destination: Freedom, you totally understand why and probably say: “No wonder!” But, I remember when my doctor, back then, asked me if something was bothering me, I always answered, “No, nothing. Everything is fine!” I didn’t lie. I actually believed what I said because that was my way of emotional selfdefense and self-protection. And if you have read my second book, Definition of Freedom, you know that I struggled with depression, back in 2013.
It was such a horrible time that I had no other choice than to take anti-depressants. I was so unhappy and miserable. But, I soon realized I was getting addicted to them and immediately – literarily overnight – I put an end to it. I have to admit it was hard. The process of becoming “clean” after months was challenging. But, I succeeded and I would never ever recommend anyone to take anti-depressants, while you are suffering from depression. Never, ever! There are other ways of healing. I was able to come off from it and I truly encourage everyone else to find alternate ways to deal with life's problems - social, mental and physical issues as well. It goes without saying that you should never come straight off medication, specially if it's been prescribed for you. But the sooner you get clean the better!
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I promised myself not to take medicine anymore, except my migraine pills. Because, unfortunately, there is no healing for migraines till now. It is inevitable for you to have to take medicine, if you want and need to function as a human being, surviving life with migraine attacks!
I guess what I’m trying to say is; when you’re suffering from pain, first find out WHY you are suffering! Figure out WHAT in your life is bothering you and stressing you out. WHO is making you feel miserable? WHAT or WHO is causing your soul grief and sorrow?
But, then I fell for pills yet again, without even realizing it at first. I suffered from insomnia, in 2015 and I couldn’t sleep for months. I felt so restless, that I started to take sleeping pills. But forced sleep is not healthy sleep. It is completely fake. Your body is not relaxed and when you wake up you still feel exhausted and have no energy. I had lost my joy for life and felt miserable. So what did I do? When I realized I was once again becoming addicted to a pill, I put an end to the mess.
Try to find the solution to your problem without making the pharmacy industry richer than they already are, by destroying your body with drugs. And, if there is really absolutely NO solution to your problem, as in my case with my migraines and in my mum’s case with Fibromyalgia, then pay your doctor or the next pharmacy on the corner a visit! Remember, every pill has a side effect and before you realize it, you can end up in a vicious cycle.
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It really makes the whole healing process more difficult when you suffer and struggle with pain that no one else sees. Or, when people underestimate your pain, like in my case and in my mum’s case. When people say, “Oh, you are having a headache”, it drives me crazy. I really get upset, because having a headache has nothing to do with having a migraine attack. When you have a headache, it usually helps to take a light painkiller. You rest for a while and all is gone. But when you’re having a migraine attack, which I have at least three times a week, you are useless. The brain is the hard disk of our body and when your hard disk is damaged, your entire system is inoperative. You are out of order! I have no other choice, then, but to take hard painkillers, which help me to get rid of the pain, BUT the side effects make my life a living hell. I can’t see properly, I can’t concentrate. I keep forgetting things. I can’t focus and I make mistakes, etc. It is a nightmare! I’ve tried everything, starting with chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, healing sessions, different sports activities, and dietary change, but unfortunately, I have to take these damn pills as long as I live. My mum is brave. She took a medicine called “Celebrex”, for decades, to get rid of her chronic rheumatic condition and ongoing cycle of pain. Never knowing that the damn painkillers were damaging her entire body system. She is damaged so much, that now she is suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, internal bleeding, high blood pressure, hair loss, and much more. Therefore, she has decided to survive life with Fibromyalgia, rather than having all of those side effects! She has no other choice. If my Mum had listened to the doctor’s, and pharmacist’s advice, she would literarily have been risking her life by continuing to take Celebrex!
So, always make sure the people working in a pharmacy are experienced and capable employees. Last year we had another incident. My Mother had an infection and was in deep pain. It was a weekend and we couldn’t contact our doctor. That’s why we went to the nearest pharmacy. This incapable Pharmacist advised my mom to take botanical medicine when she actually needed to take an antibiotic, as we found out later. This Pharmacist put my mum’s health at risk and that was absolutely, irresponsible. Someone like her should get fired immediately! And yes, I did report this to her boss because I don’t want anyone else to suffer like my mom did, for over a week, for nothing! If my Mum had taken the antibiotic straight away, she wouldn’t have had to end up in the emergency hospital, in a foreign country! Needless to say, this woman is still working in the same pharmacy! So, for heaven’s sake, take good care of your body and look after yourself. Because your body is the most precious gift you have from God. Also, keep in mind that a healthy body needs a happy soul. Your happiness and inner peace is your key to a painless body. If you are forced to take painkillers, like us, make sure the side effects don’t destroy your health and put your life at risk! Damn the greedy doctors. Damn the pharmacy industry. You are not our guardian Angels. You are greedy devils, toying and risking people’s lives and health! Remember, no one lives forever, not even you! RIP to your conscience!
And keep in mind that for every medication you are taking, millions of animals had to die and suffer. Animal testing by pharmaceutical companies in their quest for profit is a crime. First, they kill animals, then later, us humans!
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TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND
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BEAUTY & THE BEAST FILM REVIEW By Trevor Pacelli Some Improvements Are Not Worth Making
Bill Condon Emma Watson, Dan Stevens Beauty and the Beast Walt Disney Pictures 3/17/2017 2 hr. 9 min. PG, Fantasy/Musical Target Gender: Female Genre: Disney Musical Quality Grade: D+
Summer: Summer: “Hey! What is that big yellow thing in the sky?”- Seattleites
It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme… Beauty and the Beast. It was one of the animated instant classics to trigger the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. It defined an entire generation of Disney fans; set off some of the most iconic songs ever to grace the screen; was honored in several lists by the American Film Institute; was preserved in the National Film Registry the second year it was eligible (which is a huge deal) and was the first animated film in history to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. So no pressure or anything in remaking it, right? Many of us were worried this remake would just be a linefor-line rehash of the original, but thankfully it’s not. Several updates to the story are actually a strong improvement and fill in the problems with the original. The whole village’s memory of the castle is erased by the enchantress, a contrast made much more blaring by a cursed eternal winter in the castle’s borders, even while summer goes on in the village. 75
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Belle’s father, Maurice, also has a more complex subplot that actively engages both Gaston and LeFou, and he is motivated by his collection of homemade paintings and inventions, used to memorialize his family legacy. This includes a backstory on Belle’s mother, even if it adds virtually nothing to the plot. Other minor details are added to motivate Belle further, such as her teaching a younger village girl to read, only to be condemned by others in the village. The parents will also enjoy this little detail: Gaston is a former war hero, which gives his musical number a whole new flavor. They also would find this new take on the Beast somewhat compelling: he doesn’t even try to treat Belle decently when she first comes into the castle. He just keeps her in the prison, and she is moved into an appropriate bedroom without his consent or knowledge. There are plenty of other small plot holes from the original that are explained here, as the characters make blatantly clear.
What I mean is, it’s done like this: one character asks a question we all asked about the original, then another character simply answers the question. Then the plot moves on as if nothing happened. So no high-class writing to be found here. When taking the whole of the product into consideration, the elements that remain the same, compared to the original, fall way, way short. The director of this live action adaptation, Bill Condon, who directed Dreamgirls and wrote the screenplay for Chicago, would presumably know all about how to make a musical properly. Although his skill is screaming to get out this time around, nothing commands our empathy for his re-imagining of the beloved characters. With the exception of ‘Be Our Guest,’ none of the musical numbers or recreated scenes match the energy or creativity of its animated counterpart. I’m not just referring to how almost everyone’s singing voice is hard on the ears, but also to how everything is rushed, especially the scene in the West Wing. 77
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If you think that you would feel charmed and nostalgic while watching this, sorry — not happening. Maybe it works as a plot expansion of a previously established story, but as a standalone you can’t help but see the flaws. Belle even looks at the Beast more like she’s scowling than she’s captivated by him. Then, with Gaston, he doesn’t act like a jerk at all, as in his first meeting with Belle; he doesn’t chuck her book into the mud, but actually hands her flowers! Flowers! From the guy we’re supposed to hate! It’s little details like this that will halt any true joy or tears. But what else would you expect when the remake is produced by a studio that cares more about social correctness than casting actual French actors for a film set in France?
Speaking of which, you may all be wondering at this point, ‘What about the exclusively gay moment with LeFou? Should I worry about it harming my kids?’ Well, I can tell you this: You have absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s a two second moment at the very end that is just as subtle as it is super easy to toss onto the cutting room floor. In fact, Josh Gad puts in just the right dose of humor and charm in his interpretation of LeFou, and he can actually sing pretty darn well! So you’ll end up loving his character by the end, whether or not you agree with his homosexual lifestyle. If you ask me, though, this remake never needed to be made. Yes, it did satisfy many of the problems that people have complained about for twenty-five years about the beloved animated classic, but it’s not like this predictable fantasy is doing anything new or risky. If anything, it reminds us of how much more moving and charming the original is. Nevertheless, we can sleep easy at night now knowing that some plot holes have been filled without the animated film having to explain them for us. Let’s just hope that the live action remake of Aladdin is not a total waste of everything.
Autism Lesson: ‘This is the first Disney film to feature an exclusively gay moment!’ ‘If Emma Watson wants women to have equal choice, freedom, and liberation, why is she wearing barely any clothes in Vanity Fair Magazine?’ We all know of the controversies that Disney triggered to get more people talking about this movie which, if you ask me, are unnecessary when you’re the most successful family entertainment industry in the world. So why do so many businesses and companies want to stir up attention based on sexuality? Well, one thing’s for certain: In today’s age of mobile technology, information can circulate faster than you can take a breath, so talking about something that attracts a plethora of mixed heated opinions guarantees greater attention given to the source. However, just because a business can generate revenue that way doesn’t mean they should. I’ll explain it from the perspective of autism. I have seen plenty of news stories that were circulated because somebody with a disability was discriminated against. Now, at this point, it’s not a heated debate from two sides; most everyone agrees that poor treatment towards somebody with autism or another disability is publicly unacceptable. Yet people still circulate these stories to generate greater attention. You all remember when Donald Trump appeared to mock a man with a limb disability? I don’t know what his specific motives were in doing so, but the attention certainly helped him “trump” over the other Republican candidates, right? On a smaller scale, I recall a story when a boy with autism was beaten by neighbors in their house, and the video was posted online. Again, it’s difficult to pinpoint their exact motives in posting the video online, but my guess would be because they wanted to show the world how stupid mentally disabled people are. 78
People with autism and other disabilities are used as substance to draw attention all the time in the media, and it’s not always in the form of bullying as is commonly expected. A publication could post an article about how they’ve hired somebody with a disability. Although their intentions are good, they ultimately (in several cases, not all) are using it to improve their own public branding. This is not okay. Yes, we should always celebrate whenever somebody on the autism spectrum gets a highpaying job or is honored for their unique skills. But we should also be aware that these are people with thoughts and opinions as strong as anybody else’s. They do not want to be used as a marketing ploy or an attention-grabber. If a headline came up saying ‘Person with autism hired by big business’, wouldn’t you think that it demeans the identity of the person, diminishing them to a label? While Beauty and the Beast may have received more public attention by its controversial marketing, at the end of the day, the way it’s marketed doesn’t matter:
once people actually go see the movie, all that matters is whether or not they had a good time. In the same way, using autism as a means to draw attention to yourself is not going to always make your own productivity any better, all that matters is the services that people receive from what the business has to offer.
3 Takeaways: 1. If you want to market your business or company or corporation, avoid using headlines like, ‘First autistic employee!’ Despite what you may think, this actually suggests that someone with autism is generally less productive than a worker who is not on the spectrum. 2. Stop treating autism like it’s a label you can assign to somebody. They do not like it when somebody sees them as only having autism. They want to be seen as somebody who has all sorts of skills that add value to the world. 3. Please, please, please, please, please do not stoop to the level of demeaning autism. You are not doing any sort of public good by posting anything online that suggests that autism is less than what the common folk have. You may think that saying something out of the ordinary will give you attention, and you’d be right; but be warned: it’s not the attention you’d be hoping you’d get. 79
Read sample “Six Word Lessons” Lesson #1: Other Children Don't Act Like Yours. Some first clues that a child has autism are the differences from other children. A few of these clues are: delayed speech, not understanding what you are communicating, crying when held, advanced abilities and obsession in a specific area, such as, for me, putting together puzzles. Lesson #2: The Doctor Has the Right Voice. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but your child has autism.” It’s scary to hear this coming from the doctor when your child is first diagnosed. Your pediatrician is a good first step for finding specialists who will help with a diagnosis. The doctors should be honest, even if it contradicts what you want to hear, or what your friends are telling you. Lesson #3: Some Don’t Like to be Hugged. Children with autism like to have their space, and that means they sometimes dislike having people in physical contact with them. Although it’s not true in my case, many autistic children feel very strongly about being held, touched, or hugged. Lesson #4: Speech is an Important Early Sign. According to my pediatrician, by age two, a child should be speaking at least two words to form an idea. If not, this is a good reason to suspect autism. This was the case with me, and I immediately began work with a speech and language pathologist, to help me learn to comprehend as well as communicate better. Lesson #5: Do They Ever Make Eye Contact? Children with autism are often more interested in the texture of the furniture than they are in you, so they may not make eye contact with you. However, they are very observant, so they will notice everything, including your attitude toward them. Lesson #6: A Child’s Mannerisms are Quite Distinguishable. Does she sway when she walks? Is her posture leaning a certain direction? An autistic child can have physical habits that make her stand out. These habits can be managed with physical or occupational therapy. I appreciated it when people kept in mind that it was still part of my identity.
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INTERVIEW WITH INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE By Lily Amis MEET AWARD-WINNING BRITISH ACTOR KEVIN LESLIE I want you to meet Award-Winning British Actor Kevin Leslie. Kevin has been involved with various British Film, TV and Theatre projects. His film credits range from small roles in features to the leading role of the internationally shot feature, “Pearls of Africa”.
Lily Amis LilyWood Column
In 2015 Kevin was crowned the Best Actor at the prestigious Marbella International Film Festival and received an award for his portrayal of Reggie Kray. The film “Fall of the Krays” also won best independent movie at the UK National film awards in 2017. Since Kevin’s role as a Kray twin he has been catapulted into the limelight. Kevin’s work reveals that he honors each project (big or small) with the same raw talent and commitment that drives his career to success. In 2016 Kevin shot two beautiful short films that will both do the festival rounds in 2017: “The Doorman,” a spy thriller, and “Finding Hope,” which is about a mother who grieves the loss of her daughter with her husband, then months later is touched by a little boy she meets in the park who gives her future hope. Kevin has also completed a feature film called “The Escort” that will also hit the festival scene. “The Escort” is a film about relationships today and the intimacy which is lost in the social media age.
Kevin, I have discovered you through social media, and I must say that I love the quote on your Twitter account: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” So hand on heart, how many times did you try and fail in life? 83 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Hand on heart, it’s been one of the most challenging things I've had to discover. As I've always been someone that has tried to be the best, succeed and achieve big. So learning that taking risks and perhaps not getting it right is okay as you learn from those experiences. The time when I was truly discovering this was in training, as when we were asked to get up and try out an exercise or technique I would always go around third or fourth to demonstrate, because I'd have learnt from the first couple and seen where they went wrong. So when I got up, I did it correctly but it meant I wasn’t learning for myself and I was just performing things okay, but when I started pushing myself/taking risks and going first that's when I really started to achieve bigger things.
When and why did you feel that acting is your passion and determination? Did any specific film or actor inspire you? To be honest I kind of just fell into acting. I was very sporty as a kid but got involved in school shows, which I really enjoyed. When it came to making a choice about whether to study BTEC Sport or BTEC Performing Arts, I went with my heart and chose to study what I enjoyed doing.
You have a BA in Acting from the Arts University College Bournemouth. What would you say was the most interesting lesson during your study and why? I'd say for me the most interesting moment was in my second year. I was studying Shakespeare and Greek tragedy simultaneously; this was the moment I had a real breakthrough as an actor; it was the moment I realized I was good enough to do this as a career; I discovered my vocal tone and style as an actor. Kevin I imagine being an actor can be extremely difficult, both emotionally and physically, depending on the role that you’re playing. You have to be able to switch on and off your feelings, emotions, life struggles and worries, regardless of how you feel privately. What has been so far the most challenging character for you to play and why?
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Firstly, that is the skill of the actor â€“ you can't allow your own current circumstances to influence your portrayal, i.e. if you are having a bad day but your character is happy, you still need to portray happiness. Dracula is probably my most challenging character as it was both mentally and physically draining, with the added challenge of an accent. I made a decision to portray that character in a very animalistic way, seeing all beings as sustenance or sex objects.
You have been working in several short movies, TV series, and films. What has been so far the most emotionally touching experience for you during a film production and why? It has to be shooting a feature in Kenya, where I grew not only as an actor but as a person due to experiencing many fascinating moments from animals in the wild to people happily living with nothing. Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
This aptly brings me to my point, which was when filming I joined a group of young boys playing football with a homemade ball of plastic bags; we played for hours. I won't ever forget the smiles or enjoyment on their faces. I wanted to do something as it saddened me to see they didnâ€™t even have a real ball to play with, something I took for granted growing up, so I went and bought them a real football. I personally love movies that touch my heart. As I write in my monthly movie review #Lilywood, I love movies that are funny, romantic, inspiring, entertaining, historical, or educational. But most of all, films that are based on true stories. What kind of movie genres do you watch? What is your favourite film of all time and why?
I like all genres of movies as I like to have a diverse knowledge, but I agree that ones 85
which have a really good story stand out most for me. Trying to focus my answer more directly to your question is difficult as I cannot choose one favourite movie of all time.
Way to make me feel like a cliché lol, as yes, James Bond is my dream role. But it looks like Tom Hiddleston is going to pip me to the post this time.
My favourite movie for its story would be a film called 'Pay it Forward'; a young boy comes up with a beautiful concept for a school project, and if people followed it we would live in a much more peaceful world.
What I admire about inspiring people like you is your selfless support for people in need. You’re currently using your popularity and supporting “Haven House Children's Hospice” @HavenHouseCH, which provides care for children with lifelimited and life-threatened conditions. How come you have decided to support this specific charity?
I wonder, can you as an actor ever watch a film and relax? Or do you look at every scene and every detail from a professional point of view? That I imagine must be really annoying. :-) Haha, it is indeed. As soon as you're trained in this art form I don't think you can take a film completely at face value. I think you are always going to look at it and notice a good shot and wonder how they filmed it, or admire the score or filmmaker's work.
Dead or alive, who is your favourite actor/actress off all time and why? Wow, hard question – how long have you got? The female is easy – it has to be the one and only Meryl Streep purely because she is a genius performer; you never see 'Meryl' in the role, you always see the character. For male, I will go with Leonardo DiCaprio as I have always thought he is a phenomenal actor and underrated. P.S. Shout out to Denzel Washington as he's up there.
I have to ask you this question since you’re a British actor. Can you imagine ever playing James Bond? And who is your favourite James Bond and why?
I was introduced to Haven House as they are local to me and it only took me minutes to fall in love with and admire the work that the real people are doing to help these children. Since then, I have done what little I can and hope to continue to do more in the future. It is these real people that offer support, care and raise money 365 days a year – they are the real heroes; the people that should get the accolade for the work they are doing.
Do you have any desire to ever work on a film project in America, or are you happy to be successful in United Kingdom? I was always advised to crack the UK first so that the transition to America would become easier i.e. green card, visas etc., but it is something on my radar. I do want to get involved in the bigger blockbuster movies while also still staying involved with British independent film.
Everything seems to go very well for you at the moment. But if I was an angel and would ask you right now and right here, what is your biggest professional dream, desire, goal or wish, what would it be? 86
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Seeing as James Bond has gone for now :), I would love to be a lead regular in a drama series like Game of Thrones, Narcos, Peaky Blinders. Away from that, I would also love to be cast as a lead in a timeless classic like Gladiator, Goodfellas etc.
Kevin, it was a pleasure to do this interview with you. I have a feeling that you will make it BIG in the international film industry and I wish you the best of luck!
Ever since I’ve worked on my book “Definition of Love”, I ask my inspirational interview partners these two questions: What is your definition of love in three words? What is your definition of love in one sentence?
Some of your answers really touched my heart and inspired me. Keep up the good work and don’t let the movie industry change your caring, loving and down-to-earth personality. Because THIS will be the KEY to your success! My best wishes & God bless. -Lily Amis
Love conquers all and Love knows no boundaries; it's the only thing that makes this life worth living.
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THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOG POSTS WINNER 2017
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The Transformative Potential of a Whisper March 17, 2017 by Bard Azima In a world of perpetual noise, it sometimes feels as if the only way we’ll be heard is by being louder. In this environment, what place is there for a whisper? Try it for yourself and find out. Try it with a loved one, with your child, especially when you are imparting sensitive information that is sure to trigger them. Try it with someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum. They will lean in to hear you. They will be more open to your words because a whisper is much less threatening. Because they will not have the excuse to ignore your words by focusing on your aggressive directness that you justify because you are right and they are wrong.
This will prepare you for the inevitable unconscious attack that will come your way. When that happens, because you have anticipated this, you are prepared to not be triggered. Instead of automatically returning matching fire, choose to lower your voice and be easy. It may take several occasions for this approach to shift a pattern. But often a small, yet profound, shift happens right away because every fibre of the other person is expecting to receive back what they are dishing out. What happens when they get something else? Something more kind, more gentle, more respectful, more caring?
One thing: this whisper must come from a centered place; steeped in compassion and non-judgment, understanding that the recipient’s position is always genuine, despite what we may believe. From this gentle place, it is nothing short of amazing the inroads that can be made, even with the most resistant people.
Try it and find out. At the very least, you will feel better about your own behaviour. It’s personally healing to reduce our contribution to conflict and trauma. Beyond that, you might be amazed when you witness the other person, whose expectations have been turned on their heads, wondering what is going on. Suddenly, their defenses are lowered just a little.
Try it out with someone you always butt heads with. Pretend it’s a game. Refuse to play your usual part in the dysfunctional relationship by tapping into your empathy.
Here lies the opportunity for connection. In this moment, the power of a compassionate whisper will become perfectly evident.
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When things go bad… May 22, 2017 by Bard Azima In those moments when things go bad, really bad, does your mind quickly reach for the worst case scenario? A sense of abandonment, betrayal, rage, injustice, futility, utter loneliness. That is a sign of significant past trauma, likely normalized. It is an indication that those who damaged you, or stood by while it happened, have been unable to acknowledge their roles in your suffering. It is a sign that, understandably, you have been unable in your adult life to reconcile the neglect or abuse. The way forward is a kind of catch 22. It requires the recognition that those who hurt you didn’t do so purposely. Invariably, they were the actions of damaged, unconscious people who did the best they could while trying to make heads and tails of their own lives. In short, our own healing necessitates forgiving others because, despite what you may believe, they knew not what they did. However twisted their actions, they somehow managed to genuinely, rationally, justify their actions in some way. Because, if we truly felt the pain we inflict on others we wouldn’t be able to do it; it would be too devastating to our own hearts; if we actually allowed ourselves to feel it. It is this understanding that opens the door to next level healing; that lays the groundwork for arriving at that seemingly faraway place where when someone hurts you, and when you hurt yourself, that you no longer end up touching into the abyss. From this place, peace and contentment is possible.
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Safeguarding Revelation March 14, 2017 by Bard Azima
Personal evolution, including the dissolving of old blockages, generates excitement and hope, connecting us to who we are. However, it’s good to be careful when sharing these fresh and fragile revelations with others, especially those who ‘know’ us; and who likely still reside in the place you suddenly no longer inhabit. Seldom will you be understood or believed. It’s the rare person close to us who can bypass their own deep-seated biases and opinions of us in order to hear our truth – and vice versa. And that’s okay since we can plainly see from our own lives that outer truth only becomes inner truth when it comes from within. When ego comes into contact with deep truths too early, especially from the outside, the immediate reaction will invariably and unconsciously be to reject it; to protect our unready hearts. It’s understandable and beautiful that we want to share our elation with the world. But it behooves us to respect and safeguard our newly forged and tenuous connections with our hearts. It will take a while for us to integrate these new energies. Until then, if we are careless, we will allow others to unwittingly influence what they don’t see and feel; which may result in us undermining and abandoning that glorious spark from within that helps make sense of our existence; that connects us to peace and joy.
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FEATURED AUTHOR READ MY MIND
Meet American Author and Podcaster Tom Fallwell Tom Fallwell, early in his life, found a love for the wonderful escape into realms undreamed of through books of Fantasy and Science-Fiction. Weaned on some of the greats, like J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert E. Howard, Roger Zelazny, Robert A. Heinlein, Michael Moorcock, just to name a few, Tom's imagination was forever inspired by those marvelous tales. Now retired from his long career as a software developer, Tom writes all the adventures and characters that seem to constantly fill his mind and share them with the world. He has also started a new podcast to help support the Indie Author Community and spread the word about Indie Books. Donâ€™t miss out Toms weekly podcast which is all about Indie Authors and Self Publishing. Each episode is about an hour long and contains news & events, author & character interviews, book reviews, author discussions, and much more.
Discover more Free Read samples from Author Lily Amis!
FANTASY FICTION WITH A LASTING IMPRESSION By Angel M.
Angel M. The Life of My Mind Column
Yep, it’s fantasy time folks, and today I am writing about a book series from one of my favorite authors who, sadly, left this dragonless world on November 21, 2011. If you are a fellow fantasy nerd, like me, (insert secret handshake here) then you have probably heard of Anne McCaffrey. Whether it’s her Dragonriders of Pern Series, The Barque Cat Series, or one of her many other books, then you will know why I’ve chosen this topic. This is not an author biography, nor is it a full-on book review. This is simply my way of sharing my enjoyment over something that might tempt you into exploring it yourself. Here’s a wee bit about the author. American born, Anne McCaffrey immigrated to Ireland. I actually had to read this fact several times, because usually people immigrate to America, not from it. She was the first woman to win a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award for fiction. Many other awards followed throughout her forty-six-year career as a writer. And how cool is this? She named her home in Ireland, Dragonhold because “it was paid for by dragons”. Enough of that, I want to talk about one particular series of her books, the Dragonriders of Pern. I fell in love with this series, back in my thirty’s. I am now in my fifity’s and these books continue to pop into my memories still to this day. For those who don’t know me, I have a very short attention span and a selective memory; so to be able to remember, and still feel the goosebumps on my arms as I recall those magical impression scenes, is a testament to Anne McCaffrey’s remarkable talent. Still today, every time young men and women walked into those hatching grounds, the goosebumps would come. 96
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Knowing that they could be injured, or even die, it held my attention like a vice-grip. Then there were those impressions! The telepathic connection, which only the worthy could have with a newly hatched dragon, produced a stinging sensation through the backs of my eyes and occasionally the tears of wonderment spilled onto my cheeks. I cried for hours over the White Dragon impression scene. Normally, I don’t do heart-warming, tearjerker books, but these books are not like that. However, Anne McCaffrey will make you feel the story. How I longed for a dragon of my own. Yeah, okay, I admit I still want my own dragon even now. I still don’t care that I would have to raise my dragon so that once grown, together we could put our lives on the line, fighting Thread in order to save our world. What is Thread? It is described as a mycorrhizoid spore that periodically rains down on the planet, consuming all things organic: crops, animals, people, and dragons. The only way to stop Thread is for those fearless dragons to kill it, in the air, with dragon fire, whilst also trying not to get themselves and their riders injured, or even killed in the process. Green dragons, blue dragons, bronze dragons, gold dragons, white dragons: there is a dragon hierarchy and I switched up the colors here as it’s a way of enticing you into reading these wonderful books. You won’t be disappointed.
entertainers, and teachers reside and sing the stories of old; the Holders occupy the cities, towns and farms; those Crafters who do not live in Crafthalls are assigned to work in the different Holds where their talent for creating and building are needed; and lastly the Holdless, traders, brigands, and those without a permanent home. However, no one is immune to Thread and all come together to aid the wounded when Thread falls. In my opinion, the world building in this series rivals J.R.R.Tolkien. Anne McCaffrey’s writing style drew me in and won me over with Dragonflight. Sadly, I found her collaboration with other authors, in her later years, lacking her storytelling magic. However, I am looking forward to someday having the time to revisit this entire series in one long reading marathon. I can feel the goosebumps forming already! Until then, I’ll keep dreaming of riding dragons. Thank you Anne McCaffrey for giving this writer the magical gift of flight. Reading these books in order is a good idea and there is some confusion about publication order versus chronological order. Either way works. I’ll leave you to decide. I read the first two books of the Barque Cat Series and found it enjoyable as well, but I did miss the dragons.
Various communities throughout this new world consist of: the Weyrs that are carved out of the cliff heights where the dragons and riders live; the Harpers Hall where musicians,
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Read sample “Pawper to Pedigree” “Is everything okay?” Marnie asked, adding. “It’s so quiet.” Paula chuckled again and waved Marnie and Aaron in. When they reached the living room, the newcomers jerked back from the scene before them. All six kids were sitting, grim faced, around the dog cage that held Winkie. Jipp sat in front of the cage door shaking his head. “What happened?” Marnie asked as eight pairs of sad eyes turned toward her and Aaron. “Winkie doodied under the dinner table,” fouryear old Cayden whined. Her cherubic face was wet with tears and surrounded by a mop of damp, curly red hair. “Mommy put him in jail for a time out,” her twin brother, Camden, added. Winkie peered out from the cage, one oversized ear up, the other down, and his big brown eyes pleading for release. I promise; no more doodies under the dinner table. Marnie quickly covered her mouth with both hands. She could not seem to decide whether to laugh or cry. The usually smiling and happy family appeared miserable, down to the pets. “Has he been in jail long?” Aaron asked. He had a hand to his mouth and kept swiping his thumb and index finger down the corners of his lips as he fought against the smile that threatened to blossom. “Less than ten minutes,” Paula replied, chuckling openly. She then pulled her smart phone from a pocket and took a picture of the tragic scene before them. “Paul is going to love this.” “Ten minutes can seem like an eternity to a puppy and he promises not to doodie under the dinner table again,” Marnie said. Since Aaron had a habit of telling all new customers about Marnie’s dog whispering abilities, she did not have to explain this revelation to Paula. “I suppose he can be let out now.” All six kids lunged for the cage, while Jipp leapt out of the way. The door flew open and Winkie stepped out. “He has to apologize to me first,” Paula said before the kids could pounce on the puppy. They shuffled around forming a gauntlet...
SOLO FUN IN OR OUT OF THE SUN By Annelisa Christensen
The historical Mind Column
Have you played with one of those fidget spinners, or did you ever fiddle with the Rubik’s Cube? What about when you were little, did you always sit in front of the computer, or did you have games you played alone? Keeping our minds clean, there are many pastimes alive today that have survived centuries. In fact, we have always been perfectly capable of entertaining ourselves. Nowadays, people associate toys with children, but toys for adults were invented before Ancient Roman times, before the Egyptian heyday, throughout the Dark Ages and the Age of Enlightenment right up to the present. For instance the yo-yo, the hula hoop, marbles, jacks, cup and ball, solitaire, the skipping rope, solo card games… for many grown men, it was a matter of pride to learn tricks to impress and entertain their social peers, or to while away long evenings (not everyone had a musical ear). The yo-yo was already around in 500 BC. Originally, it was merely a disc of clay or wood, and the string was attached through the axle. Apparently also used as a weapon for 400 years in the Philippines, it was later considered an intelligent man’s toy to demonstrate tricks.
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Surviving time, in the 1800s it became fashionable to quiet the mind for serious thinking, taking the player into gentle meditative state - in the zone – while hypnotically dropping and catching the yo-yo, or bandalore, as it was then called. It wasn’t until the 1900s the yo-yo became more generally popular. One company, run by a man called Donald Duncan, bought the rights to mass produce the yoyo from a small toy company founded by a Philippine immigrant, Pedro Flores, and created a metal yo-yo with the string wrapped around the axel instead of through it. This allowed the yo-yo a variety of new tricks, such as ‘sleep’, ‘walk the dog’ and ‘cradle’. The company soon started making plastic versions and the yoyo became huge. Everybody wanted one. I remember having a yo-yo or two myself hanging around my bedroom, different types at different times. I particularly remember watching in wonderment years later, when they became weighted with ball bearings and my children performed tricks I never even imagined.
Another toy we probably think of as either a toy from the past, or a child’s toy is the hoop. Greeks rolled hoops with sticks long ago, as depicted on ancient Greek urns. Another way they can be used is by twirling the hoops around your body using your body movement. You may well have seen a street artist or fairground entertainer gyrating hula hoops (so called because explorers discovered Hawaiians popularly used them this way, now often called ‘hooping’) around the waist, from wrist to armpits, from toe to hip, even around the neck – in fact, any moving body part capable of acting as an axel. Incidentally, the current records for the most hoops kept moving at once is 200, held by Australian Marawa Ibrahim (2015) and kept going for the longest verified time is Aaron Hibbs (USA) in 2009 with a stonking 74:54 hrs! Whether rolled along with a stick or spun over the hips, fitness is an added bonus of playing with the hoop. This can also be said for the very portable skipping rope.
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Now often seen as either a young girl’s rhyming game toy or as a ‘weapon of choice’ to build a top athlete’s stamina, or even a sport in its own right, girls were once banned from playing with it. Early records around the world show ropejumping may have started in Ancient China and Egypt, where it was thought rope-makers jumped over the ropes as they wound them. Pictures from the 1600s in Amsterdam had boys jumping ropes in cobblestone streets while, conversely, in the 1970s competitive skipping was used to keep girls off drugs and off the streets in New York. What other solo games might one play now that have been around for hundreds of years? Well, there’s the cup and ball game, Jane Austen’s ‘Bilbocatch’, where you catch a ball either in a cup, or on a spike. It’s harder than it looks. The image above shows a 17th century print with men and women of the gentry trying to master the skill. There are also solo card games such as Patience – how easy is it to carry a pack of cards in your pocket! Then there are games using marbles or stones, where smaller round clay or glass balls (the latter became popular in the 1800s, when a tool for cutting glass was invented) were thrown toward a larger stone or ball. Though these games were often played with others, they could still be practiced alone.
What about the classic game of solitaire, a game using a specially laid out board, where you jump stones over other stones to remove them? These days, you can buy small magnetic travel sets, but in Ancient China and Greece, you might only have needed to carry around the board with rounded holes, or dig out holes in the earth with a stick, and pick small stones or seeds off the ground to put in the holes wherever you happened to sit and play. Another game is Jacks, a game once played by throwing a stone in the air and trying to grab as many bones as possible, now replaced by a ball and special five-spiked game pieces. There are so many other solitary games and toys many of us have lost touch with. To name a few: jigsaw puzzles (first known as ‘dissected maps’, as invented around 1760 by engraver, John Spilsbury, who cut round counties of an English map to re-assemble); spinning tops – whip or finger spun – one of the oldest toys we know of, dating back to 35 centuries BC! Then there’s juggling and the related juggling toy, Diabolo (from the Greek 'dia bollo' meaning 'across throw') using two sticks tied together with a string to spin a kind of wooden reel using friction against the string, and do tricks by twisting and untwisting said string. This appears to have survived since it was invented three or four centuries BC in China.
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Isn’t it funny how we have come to spend so much time on the Internet, on social media or gameplaying? Yes, we are absorbed and our time is consumed, but I wonder if, when you turn off the screen, you feel relaxed and ready to socialise or throw yourself into whatever other activity you should be doing, or whether you are left hyped-up, bereft and wanting more. I know I simply feel drained and exhausted if I’ve been on the internet too long. I also know, if I were to fish out a yo-yo just now and practice some of the tricks I saw my children once doing, rather than fill my head with ‘stuff’, my head would soon clear and calm and I would be better able to think of other things. Perhaps the ancients could teach us a thing or two about relaxing, and taking mental space in the day for thinking. Perhaps we should even teach solitary game-playing in schools to encourage children to grow up with meditative and thinking tools used for centuries before the Internet and mobile phones came along. What do you think?
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“Song lyric Contest” by nasSima design This is a fantastic opportunity for solo artists, songwriters, as well as for newcomer bands to shine! Send us your best song lyric and win global marketing, highlighting you and your work, in our magazine. Whether you’re a signed or (yet) undiscovered artist, this is your chance to shine and be seen globally. All music genres are welcome!
Please download the Submission Guidelines for ALL our Writing Contests 2017 CLOSING DATE: September 1. 2017 BEST OF LUCK!
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Meet our Judge
James Kennedy is a singer, songwriter and producer. The welsh rock band Kyshera frontman and owner of his record company Konic Records. James is about to release his brand new solo-album “Home”. “Read My Mind” is thrilled to have James on board as one of the judges in 2017. 104
Meet our Judge The Swedish sunshine Carl Lindquist is a rock/pop singersongwriter. He is an actor and performer in the musical theatre genre in London, and he recently shared the stage together with his friend, musical theatre legend Ramin Karimloo. Carl recently released his second album, entitled 'Everlasting Scars' with his rock band, Coexistence and he's currently working on his debut solo album. â€œRead My Mindâ€? is happy to have a multi-genre talent like Carl on board as one of the judges in 2017.
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Meet our Judge
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MEET BRITISH COMPOSER JAMES OLDRINI By Lily Amis James Oldrini is a contemporary composer and producer from Derbyshire, UK. He has recently started composing for several London based companies with his own publishing label Strophic Music. Oldrini has recently released his debut album “Enlighten” and is currently working on various other projects.
Lily Amis The Inspirational Mind
“Read My Mind” is happy to have a talented composer like him on board as one of our music judges and I had the chance to interview him for our summer issue here. James, like our music judge Carl Lindquist, you are a multi-talented artist. With a background as a signed rock musician touring the UK along with well-known names, to now, a neo-classical contemporary composer for short films and UK theatre productions. What do you like doing the most? Composing for films, theatre or commercial albums? As long as I’m involved in music, I’m happy! I love writing production music for TV. It always gives me a buzz when we get something synced into production (whether it’s my music or one of my composers signed to my own publishing label, Strophic Music). My heart will always be in writing my own contemporary music that I release and occasionally perform live with my string quintet. I’m currently involved in writing songs for commercial artists - something else that I’m really enjoying right now.
As we all know the music industry is not a healthy industry. According to your biography you have known the gifted Amy Winehouse. What kept you on the ground in all these years and what is your advice to young artists who would like to join the industry? Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
Meeting Amy was a special and rather surreal moment. My band, at the time, was playing the famous Hawley Arms in Camden, London, and she turned up! I’m not entirely sure what kept me grounded apart from, to focus on what you really want to do and what makes you happy. To young artists, be yourself as you're unique - what’s the point in copying anyone else? Most of all enjoy what you do otherwise, what’s the point?
You have been influenced by contemporary and cinematic composers such as Ludovico Einaudi, Ólafur Arnalds, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Holst, and Arvo Pärt. I guess every artist likes to be inspirational for the younger generation. How would you describe your music style? How is your music inspiring to people? I’d describe the music that I compose as minimalist and thought provoking; it is music for the soul. I’ve had a few artists contact me telling me that they have created art whilst listening to my music. It’s a good feeling to know that my art has inspired more art!
How would you describe James Oldrini to the public? Who is James? Besides music, what makes James happy and what is James doing in his free time? Ha, ha - nice question! A fantastically, amazing person to be around of course!!! Hopefully an OK guy at the very least, I guess! Being outdoors makes me happy. I’m fortunate enough to live in a beautiful, natural part of the world that’s just outside of the Peak District in Derbyshire, so at any given chance I’ll be on a walk soaking up some inspiration.
You have released your debut album “Enlighten” in 2016. You describe the tracks on your album as truly honest works from the heart. What else makes a James Oldrini album stand out? Why should people listen to your music?
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I think the Enlighten album is lovely to kick back and relax to. We live in such a busy world and one with deep problems, and sometimes we need space to reflect on that and also on the beautiful things in life. That’s a good enough reason to listen to any music. 108
You say that the breathtaking scenery in your hometown is the place where you get your inspiration. What are you working on right now? And what is the message of your work?
Music brings back memories. Good ones and bad ones. What kind of music style makes you joyful and what style makes you really blue?
Yes, as I mentioned earlier, I am lucky to live in a beautiful, interesting place and it does inspire the contemporary music I compose. However, the focus right now is writing great songs for current artists.
For me, some of Ólafur Arnalds tracks are great to be sad too! And the Beatles can put me in a good mood anytime!
I always think that musicians are very romantic, sensitive, deep, and emotional souls. Would you say that’s true? Well, I guess this depends on the musician! I’d like to think so.
People react differently when they listen to music. Some focus mainly on the melody while others like me listen carefully to the lyrics. What is your favourite song of all time lyric wise and why? I’m definitely a melodies man. I just can’t seem to retain lyrics! Although the one song that popped into my head just now is Sting’s Fields of Gold. That’s a beautiful track!
And last but not least, I ask all my inspirational interview partners this question. What is your definition of love in three words? What is your definition of Love in one sentence? This is soooo difficult as love is many things to all of us. I think John Lennon can sum it up better than I could:
“Love is free, free is love, love is living, living love, love is needing to be loved.” -John Lennon: Love 109
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What Fictional Book Character Lives Here ANSWERS! The question was â€œCan you name the fictional tenants of the following addresses? And do you know the author who created them? And here are the answers! 1. Dursley Family (Harry Potter Series) / J.K. Rowling 2. Hercule Poirot / Agatha Christie 3. Lord Emsworth / PG Wodehouse Novels 4. Miss Marple / Agatha Christie 5. Paddington Bear / Michael Bond 6. Sherlock Holmes / Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 7. Sirius Black (Harry Potter Series) / J.K. Rowling 8. Lord Peter Wimsey / Dorothy L. Sayers 9. Uncle Fred, The Earl of Ickenham / PG Wodehouse 10. Hatcher Family / Judy Blume 11. Major-General Sir Richard Hannay / John Buchan 12. Dr. John Dolittle / Hugh Lofting
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THE BEST BOOK COVER CONTEST WINNERS 2017 ARE...
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The Enchanted Swans by Author Christy Nicholas About the Author
About the Book
Christy Nicholas grew up in Dearborn, Michigan. She loves all sorts of things, including photography, jewelry, writing, and doing taxes. Yes, she loves doing tax returns!
In pre-Celtic Ireland, Fionnuala was a fae princess, born to a life of luxury. She knew her duty and loved her family. She missed her mother, who died in childbirth when Fionnuala was but ten years old. Still, she had hopes and dreams of love and a full life.
There is a strong tradition of art in her family, as her mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother were all artists, so she grew up doing crafts, drawing, painting, and all sorts of creative things. She started writing when she decided that her travelogues should be in one place. The Ireland guide was born after much pain and process. The Scotland guide followed. Both have recently attained #1 status on Amazon lists. Then she decided to finally try to write the story of her parents’ 30-year search for love, making it into novel form. She was hooked! Now she thoroughly immersed in the world of historical fantasy novels.
From the Author I love beauty, and think the greatest gift is to share that beauty with others. When I see a serene sunset or a sweet blossom, I want to pass on the wonder and delight I feel, either in my photography or the creation of my jewelry. To allow other people a glimpse into my mind with my art is a wonderful feeling!
All her dreams were stolen from her, ripped away in a torrent of envy and magic. Now she must care for her three brothers while learning to live under an evil curse. Will she find a way to break the spell, or would they remain swans, tethered to three places for nine hundred years?
A 5 Star Readers Review on Amazon «I adored it!» “I was unsure what to expect when I started this but I love tales of old Ireland and this more than lived up to my hopes. I can truly say I enjoyed every minute of this read, even the sad bits, for without those, then how is happiness gauged? The element of tragedy is also very much part of Irish folklore so this did not disappoint in the slightest. I would certainly love to read more from this author and will be looking out for other books, particularly ones like this. “ by Book Lover
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The Hereticâ€™s Child by Author Nyasia A. Maire About the Author Nyasia A. Maire began writing at an early age and has never stopped. Reading is one of her greatest passions, an extension of her love of words. Her favorite genres are science fiction, horror and fantasy (books or movies.) And, as strange as it may seem to some, a love of all things computer. But wait, there's more! (Isn't there always?) The great outdoors is the flip-side to her other rather sedentary pursuits. Hiking, camping and daily exercise are things that are guaranteed to make her smile.
From the Author In a world where everything changes at breakneck speed, people's attention is drawn from one tragic event in the news to the next. This numbed forgetfulness engendered a response in me and I felt a need to express the importance of remembering. In 1984, I lost three members of my family to a drunk driver. Over the intervening years, I have learned one thing: the only way those we love can continue to live on is by sharing our memories of them. This idea became the basis for "The Heretic's Child." A world with the same historical events as our own, but the reasons behind the history have changed. Welcome to the world of the Rememberers.
About the Book No one is forgotten. No life will go unsung. Remember! Throughout history, a long-lived race known as Rememberers have existed alongside the human race. Created to collect the memories of dying humans and preserve them, Rememberers use the information to counsel the human race and help them avoid the mistakes of their past. The Rememberers are divided into Catalogers and Counselors and are overseen by a single woman, the Cybele.
But for the last two thousand years, the Cybeles have been meeting with untimely ends. Without the Cybele, Rememberers can still collect human memories, but are unable to properly use the information to counsel the human race. This has resulted in a horrific increase in chaos and war.
In 1783, a Rememberer named Emma is born. Before dying in child birth, her mother warns her friends, Moira and Samuel, that the child is in danger but she dies before giving a name to the menace. Adopted and raised by the couple, Emma is next in line to become the Cybele for her people. As she grows to adulthood, she must discover who wants her dead--or else become the next fatality! 114
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Eden Forest Part one of the Saskia Trilogy by Author Aoife Marie Sheridan About the Author
About the Book
Award Winning Author Aoife Marie Sheridan is the Author of the Saskia Trilogy and the Hunters Series.
Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty-one year old with family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a parallel world to earth.
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon books given to by her grandmother. Her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them. Aoife has a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Aoife's first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) took first place with Writers Got Talent 2013. Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and romance.
A 5 Star Readers Review on Amazon â€œA truly lovely Irish urban fantasyâ€œ This story hooked me from the beginning. A fascinating setting from the engaging perspective of Marta, where the story started immediately.
When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world that she is stepping into- a world where magical abilities are in everyone's possession. She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief, a guardian who captures her heart; and a darkness that wants to take it. On her journey, Sarajane discovers her magical abilities, and realizes too that they come with a price. She is truly tested as her own loved ones are put at risk- the ultimate question she is forced to ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?
The cross to modern-day Ireland threw me a bit because I hadn't expected it. I admit I didn't read the blurb before I picked up the book. Nevertheless, the transition in time and perspective is almost seamless. A truly lovely Irish urban fantasy, which I hope will shape into an interesting series.â€? by Damelza Carlton
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Mayan Atlantis Returns The Millennia Series by Author Neil Enock About the AUTHOR Canadian Author Neil Enock is an actor, screenwriter, filmmaker and creator/host of the million+ viewed TrainTalk.TV iTunes podcast. Neil tells original stories in everything he does from his written work to his hand-made cribbage boards. When not writing, Neil can be most often found on one side of the camera or the other, filming something around Calgary with some or all of his family in tow.
BOOK REVIEWS “Neil Enock has done a great job of creating a great novel with great characters who manage not to become larger than life. This reminds me of the way J.K. Rowling handled her human characters in the Harry Potter series.” Ray Simmons for Reader’s Favorite “I love this story. I could actually see it playing out in my head. You did a ton of research. Makes you think!” Sarah Burrows, Goodreads.com
About the Book More that 5,000 years after they began planning for their voyage, the Mayan & Minoan ship Atlantis returns to recolonize the world, after skipping ‘the end’ in 2012. There’s just one small problem… … we’re still here! An Amatuer archeologist’s outlandish theory of a Mayan exodus is spectacularly proven correct by the return of the 6-kilometer wide city/ship Atlantis. Working with his teenage daughter, they try to understand the sophisticated Mayan and Minoan cultures on board the giant ship, and help them to understand our world. When Atlantis is revealed to the world it attracts the attention of the elitist Phoenix group, whose offer to help turns out to be less than genuine. Will Atlantis’ 5 millennia journey be brought to an abrupt end? Can the past and the present be united to save the future? Reviews... “Neil’s story telling has a way of ending many chapters that is sure to put a smile on your face as you turn the page.
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Please download the Submission Guidelines for ALL our Writing Contests 2017 If you’d like to book your AD in our next Magazine please Download the price list here! Source & Copyright images in the magazine: Thank you to my blogger team Annelisa Christensen, Bibiana Krall, Angel M., Rick Amitin, Trevor Pacelli and my Music Judges James Kennedy, Carl Lindquist, James Oldrini. A special thank you to my Interview partners Actor Kevin Leslie and Singer Enrico Costa. Free Image Commons Wikimedia, Max Pixel Free Image, Free on royalty free pictures, vimeo.com, metro.co.uk, darkhorizons.com, wikipedia.org, ancientworldalive.com, ancient-origins.net, books.google.co.uk, victorianpicturelibrary.com, yo-yos.net, touregypt.net, apollo-magazine.com, ipfactly.com, amazon.com, dailymail.com, heightceleb.info, caitlyjenner.com , taschen.com, empathyrising.com and google. 123 Read My Mind - Summer Edition 2017
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