Books, cats and fine wine are the best things in life.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

John Smith Last Known Survivor of the #Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes #Dystopian #Fiction

Introduction from the Cat Man: I am proud to welcome Roland Hughes to my corner of the web today. He'll be sharing an excerpt from his book, "John Smith Last Known Survivor of the #Microsoft Wars"

SK: That still doesn’t explain Earth That Was.
JS:       The seven continents.
SK: What are you talking about? There are twelve continents!
JS:       Today, yes.  Back in the day of Earth That Was, there were only seven continents and that is a map of them.  The picture hanging beside it is a picture of Earth That Was taken from outer space on a clear day.  As you can deduce from the map, it shows much of the North and South American continents.
SK: American?
JS:       <sigh> What is the first continent you encounter today when heading in the direction of where our sun sets?
SK: Dians.
JS:       What is the country we are in right now?
SK: Rica, but shouldn’t you already…
JS:       Back in the day of Earth That Was, Canada was a country occupying the northern portion of the North American continent and the United States of America occupied the lower portion of it before you got to this skinny connecting piece.  The sun traveled from this edge to that edge of the continent each day.
After the events of 2013, or during, depending upon how you look at it, part of Canada became the land mass you now call the Dians continent.  The rest of the North American continent also turned and split up.  Some say it simply had an ocean form over part of it.  The difference between split or sink doesn’t really matter.  Today, you cannot walk from one chunk to the other, so they are considered separate continents.
The country we live in now was once called America.  Several other chunks floating around the globe were also part of America. You are having trouble believing what you have been told because some big pieces that are at the root of the story are under the ocean now.  As a country, we no longer have any means of getting to them or taking pictures for others to see.  At some point, perhaps we will regain that but not at this point.
SK: Do you really expect me to believe that you have hanging on your wall a picture taken from outer space?  A beautiful picture in full color that was somehow taken while someone or something was in outer space and then given to you?
JS:       It wasn’t given, it was downloaded by my grandfather. Many people had them back at that time.
SK: Downloaded?
JS:       Yes.  With a thing called a computer over something called the Internet.  America had some kind of organization known as NASA, which sent ships, satellites and people into outer space.
SK: Internet?  People in outer space?  I don’t know what you’ve been drinking but it would have been polite to share!
JS:       <chuckle> Do you see that black rectangle resembling a book sitting over there?
SK: Yes.
JS:       On the front of it is a little ridge, which you can push to the right, then lift the top portion of it to open it.  Good.  Now near the bend where the two pieces come together is a button with a circle and a line sticking out of the circle.
SK:      I see it.
JS:       Press it.
SK: It is making noises.  There are lights flashing.  Things are appearing and disappearing on the top piece that feels like glass. What is OpenVMS?
JS:       It is the most robust computer operating system ever created by man.  Here, let me log in.
SK: Log in? Computer operating system?

“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.
Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Saturday, June 21, 2014

@LeskoLori's Right Way vs. Wrong Way to Promote Your Book #AmWriting #MondayBlogs #WriteTip

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel , , No comments
Introduction from the Cat Man: I am proud to welcome Lori Lesko to my corner of the web today. Her newest release is Copyright - A Novel and looks to be a fantastic read. 

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Promote Your Book Online

I'm not an expert in marketing or promoting. However, I've been on social media, especially Twitter for 2 years now. I've written and published a novella, a screenplay and soon will be promoting my first novel Copyright. So, yes, I have been planning certain things when the novel comes out. And I definitely have learned from watching other people, especially authors-so here it goes.

Should do: Engage, engage, engage, oh and then engage. Put yourself out there, on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest and yes, Twitter. You could be writing the world's best novel, but if no one has ever heard of you, then how will your book sell? This is especially important when you are at the beginning-just starting to write your novel. Because, you can constantly tell people your progress. 

Ask them their advice in regards to the story (my friend in Barcelona asked how her novel should begin, with a party or a funeral), or have them help chose the book cover, brilliant! What if your novel is done and you're just starting out? First, make sure you have a link to your book that is easily accessible, on your Twitter page, Google +, Facebook and Pinterest. People don't want to have to go searching for your book, trust me. Use or
Should Not Do: Blast people on a daily basis about your book. "They love that!" she said, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. People have to get to know you. You need to get to know yourself. What is your platform? How do you share this with people? Well, for me, I started blogging. People can subscribe and receive an email of the post. This helped me in 2 areas, finding my own voice and building an audience. I have actual fans now-me. It's an astonishing fact. I still shake my head at this notion. I get goose bumps whenever someone subscribes to read what I have to say. It took a while, but with the help of @MondayBlogs on Twitter.

Numbers don't lie. I started blogging in July with @MondayBlogs, right around the time I started writing my novel. I went from 1365 hits (on the right) in May,  to 21488, as of this month. That was 147% increase! Plus you can add your blog feed to your Author Page on Amazon and Goodreads. You have an Author Page on Goodreads, right?

Should do: Goodreads. Get your butt on there and interact. How? Read and review books. Gather friends from Twitter or Facebook, I do this daily. This is a gold mine for Authors and most of them don't take advantage of what it has to offer. I could write a whole blog on Goodreads itself. I have over 30 people who clicked on "Want to Read" my novel COPYRIGHT before it has even published. So I emailed a few of them and gave them the PDF for free. The result, I now have 5 reviews already smiling back at me. People like to see reviews when deciding on whether or not to buy a book. So plan a giveaway party for your novel. Freebees.

Should Not Do: Don't suggest or bother your friends endlessly. Saying, "Hey buy my new'll just love it." Goodreads frowns on that and could get you kicked off the program. Good Luck!


Amber Tyler is living every author’s dream: her books are all best sellers and she writes full time. She has worked hard and is well-accomplished in her career, and she has the support and love of her beautiful children and girlfriend. 

But the dream soon turns into a terrible nightmare when her latest manuscript is stolen. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, only to find that the harder she tries, the easier it all slips through her fingers, putting her career, her family, and her life in jeopardy.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Lori Lesko on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Inside the Mind of John W. Mefford @jwmefford #SummerOfGreed #AmReading #AmWriting

5:30 PM Posted by James Noel , , , 1 comment
Introduction from the Cat Man: I am proud to welcome John W. Mefford to my corner of the web today. His newest release is part of his #SummerOfGreed campaign and from what I have started to read so far, it's out of this world.

How are you wired? Or, better yet, how would those around you believe you are wired? It’s a question, that up to a few years ago, I would have answered in a quick, specific way: ferocious intensity, logical problem solver, gold-medal multi-tasker, strategic thinker, someone who never relaxes his mind. Never.

Everything changed when I started writing. Old components of me are still there, but it’s a much more palatable combination, for me, and everyone around me. Strangely, I wasn’t trying to change my personality, or how I thought. It just happened, somewhat like your body molding the cushions of an over-stuffed chair. My mind took the shape of my new surroundings, and it has fit quite nicely.
I can name hundreds if not thousands of people with whom I’ve interacted over the years, and a majority would be surprised that I’ve morphed into a writer. But they didn’t know the real me. I didn’t either, until I started writing.

When I began to write, my inability to focus on a single task for an extended period of time was magically cured. Why? To live and breathe with my characters, to feel their anxiety, their euphoria, to create humor, to mold the plot, my mind and everything attached to it goes to a place in a mental galaxy far, far away. The trip is time-consuming, but not arduous.

In fact, when I compare a ten-hour work effort in the day gig with the same time and level of effort writing, the result is light years different. My focus comes in handy, but the stress meter hover near zero when I’m writing. I can be tired, especially after a marathon writing session, but it doesn’t take years off my life.

So, was I really born to be a writer, but it took a winding, forty-five year journey to get there? Possibly. But I also believe that had I been younger when I made up my mind to truly dive into my writing, I’m not sure I would have had the patience or openness to change.

Recently, I’ve had to squeeze in physical therapy sessions for a torn rotator cuff. At the end of each session, my PT “manipulates” and stretches my shoulder. As it turns out, my arm is attached to that shoulder, and it doesn’t really care for being treated like Silly Putty. One of my physical therapist’s main goals is to stretch the joint beyond what any person could do on their own. In fact, on my first visit, he said, “I’m made many pro football players cry.” His teethy grin stretched ear to ear. That was comforting.

I realize that the stretching and manipulation sessions are vital to my improvement, and will hopefully help avoid surgery. Yet, I know that before I leave the facility, I’ll endure more pain than I’ve ever endured…which includes broken bones, severe sprains, you name it. When he starts the stretching routine, though, I have to force myself to be calm, to not tense up. It’s counter-productive otherwise. It’s like having your hand held over a flame. You know it’s coming. You just have to tell yourself it must be done and you have to relax to get the benefit from it.

Writing, thankfully, isn’t nearly as painful, although parts of it can sting your psyche. But knowing how I’m put together, where it puts me, tells me that I’ve finally found the right path for me.

And it feels damn good.


Behind the fa├žade of every corporate takeover executives pull levers this way and that, squeezing the last profitable nickel out of the deal. But no one knows the true intent of every so-called merger. 

No one knows the secret bonds that exist. 

An Indian technology giant swallows up another private company that has deep roots in North Texas. For one unassuming man the thought of layoffs, of losing his own job to a bunch of arrogant assholes feels like a kick to the jewels. 

Until the day Michael's life changes forever.   

Perverse alliances. An affair of the heart. A grisly murder. A spiraling string of events thrusts Michael into a life-or-death fight to save a tortured soul and hunt down a brutal who lurks closer than he ever imagined. 

Greed knows no boundaries.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with John W. Mefford on Facebook & Twitter

#Kindle #Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer @toobusyreading #AmReading #Fiction

5:00 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to bloggers who post about this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

 June Kindle Fire  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)


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Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7", $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash. Ends 7/15/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash.  

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

THE WINGS OF DRAGONS (Dragoon Saga) by @JoshVanBrakle #Fantasy #Fiction #BYNR

He was flying.
No, that didn’t make sense, because Iren could feel solid ground beneath his feet. Darkness surrounded him; he fluttered his hand in front of his face but couldn’t see it at all. The floor, if one existed, felt like flat stone. He took a few steps. The hollow ring of each footfall unnerved him. With trepidation he called, “Hello?” but only his nervous breathing replied. He reached for the Muryozaki, but it had disappeared from his hip. Fear took hold. Somehow, he had become lost in an infinite void without even a weapon to protect him.
Just as his desperation grew too great, a faint light appeared in the distance. At first Iren took it for a star, but it grew bigger the longer he stared. It soon took the form of a great undulating serpent with majestic wings, bursts of light erupting in every direction with each wingbeat. The vast majority of the dragon, for it could be nothing else, was of the purest white, with a few sky blue streaks accentuating the lines of its massive yet elegant body. Most impressive of all, however, were its eyes. Even from far away, they shone with a blue that bore through the blackness.
As the dragon flew closer, its light swallowed the shadows so that Iren nearly forgot they had ever engulfed him in the first place. The creature’s glow did not act like a beacon in the night, guiding ships to shore like the lighthouse at Ceere. Rather, it simply made the darkness go away, so that there was no need for such a lantern.
Iren gulped as the beast’s size truly came into perspective. Its eyes alone measured over five feet in diameter. The dragon’s teeth offered no comfort; each was longer than Iren’s entire body and had an edge that made the Muryozaki look like a worn butter knife.
The creature landed on four legs, each with three claws longer and sharper still than its fangs, and came into striking range. Iren expected it to devour him, but instead the dragon lowered its head in a deep bow of respect. The gesture so astonished Iren that he could do nothing but stare and take in the strange beauty of the awe-inspiring reptile. Long blue hair grew all along its spine, and two gigantic blue whiskers, each as thick as Iren’s thigh, adorned its face.
At last the dragon rose and, giving Iren a curious expression, loosed a low grumble, which sounded more like a sigh than anything threatening. Then, with a booming voice that shook the very fabric of the universe, the creature said, “So you are my knight. You are Iren Saitosan.”

From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom’s only known Left, that’s meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It’s harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia’s charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It’s a suicide mission, and Iren’s chances aren’t helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon’s spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren’s team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who – and how – to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
“A fast-paced adventure…led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going.” - ForeWord Reviews
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Josh VanBrakle on Twitter

Friday, June 13, 2014

@PMPillon's Thoughts on Applying Memories To Writing #WriteTip #AmWriting #SciFi

Our writing relies on our perceptions, leading us down a bright or dark path if that’s how we see the world but and are infinite in variety. For instance in Dostoyevsky’s case appreciating and writing about appalling privation because he himself experienced it as a starving writer and Solzhenitsyn also as a state prisoner. Who can fail to be moved by the young man’s utter destitution in Crime And Punishment, or the Gulag convict fussing over his boots without which he would be a dead man walking?

However, there are also cases of a writer’s life being a stark contrast from her or his writing, such as Guy de Maupassant who wrote beautifully and auspiciously even as he lived a life of depression and ultimately wrote as his epitaph: “I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.” 

We are a sum of our parts and at the same time we are a continuum, experiencing myriad states of life most often without even realizing it, with all aspects such as memories morphing into differing levels of appreciation. We forget most events and remember only a fraction, and we sometimes wish the two would transpose and we could forget that pedestrian remark dad made and instead remember something he said about mom when she was ill. If every single memory is still somewhere in our brain, until and unless a method for total recall is discovered we are forced to play with the cards we’re dealt; trudging through life with limited recollections that we can mine for our writing. A week ago I had a dream that I recognized as being a basis for a entire book as my previous books have been, but within seconds I forgot it and it’s clearly gone for good.

If we’re writing about a man whose girl friend has left him or vice versa, it helps to have some memories under our belt about amorous relationships. Writing blind about events with which we have no experience can still work if we have learned about them from observation or stories we heard from others, but it’s more problematic because more care must be taken to attain plausibility.

And ultimately our writing style will likely be the decider, such as the case of William Faulkner who gave up trying to mimic or emulate others and just wrote in his own consciousness stream and prose based on his experiences that eventually earned him universal praise and a Nobel Prize for Literature.

His celestial companion was waiting for him
Precariously climbing a sea-side cliff near Big Sur, ten-year-old Joey Blake was as yet unaware that near his grasp was an object, so odd, mysterious and alien to earth that it would change his life forever and the lives of countless others in the next few astonishing days. Reaching up as far as he could for a handhold it was just there; it had subconsciously lured him, occupied his mind, and made him find it. It was like he was meant to see and discover this object of unimaginable power … the power to change reality.
Time travel and more
This young adult series of sci-fi fantasy novels begins with The Reality Master and continues through four other exciting and amazing stories about time travel and mysterious alien devices. Joey and the reader will face dangerous shadowy criminal organizations, agents of the NSA, bizarre travelers from other times and even renegade California bikers and scar-faced walking dead.
- Vol 1 The Reality Master
- Vol 2 Threat To The World
- Vol 3 Travel Beyond
- Vol 4 Missions Through Time
- Vol 5 The Return Home
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy, Young adult
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with PM Pillon on Facebook & Twitter

"I Was Devastated" - THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ICE by @TheobaldSprague #Memoir #Family

The main purpose of our trip the year before on Akademik Ioff was to find out the physical feasibility of our intended joint expedition and to see what the ice conditions were like in the Northwest Passage. For me, I hoped to gain a good visual sense of what I’d be trying to capture on film. Within the first few days, I knew I would bring back never-before-seen footage from The Passage. From Dan and Jim’s perspective, they grew confident that a Nordhavn boat could take on The Passage and survive. Each morning, the crew of Akademik Ioff provided the ship’s passengers with its own newspaper, giving the latest headlines. Each morning, the three of us would sit and discuss the sorry case of the world in general and feel all the more secure that our intended trip through the Northwest Passage was about as timely as we could hope for.
On September 15, 2008, with a growing sense of accomplishment and anticipation, I sat down for breakfast and opened the ship’s daily newspaper. I stared in abject and total disbelief at the latest headlines noting that Lehman Brothers was crashing, about to be financially erased from the face of the earth, and that the collateral damage was going to be unprecedented.
The collateral damage reached the Far North. As the days continued to roll by, Jim no longer wanted to discuss the trip. In fact, Jim no longer ate
with Dan and me. When the three of us actually were together, the talk was of anything but their $300,000 commitment to the trip and perhaps building a forty-foot boat so they could join in the adventure. By the time the trip aboard Akademik Ioff had ended, there was no $300,000 commitment. I saw it coming a mile away.
Dan Streech was the type of man who, when he told me of the offer’s withdrawal, he did it with tears in his eyes. I was completely in Dan’s corner. I couldn’t in good conscience ask for such a large amount of money while he was looking at having to lay off longtime trusted employees, people he truly loved.
But as much as I appreciated Dan’s position and honesty, I was devastated. Actually, more than devastated. I was completely and decisively screwed.
TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir, adventure, family, climate
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Sprague Theobald on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, June 12, 2014

#Zombie Days, Campfire Nights by Leah Rhyne @Leah_Beth #Horror #MustRead

Near the outskirts of our sprawling town, the mob started to thin. The rain let up, and I began to breathe again. I reached over and took Michael’s hand, and he squeezed it, pulling it to his lap and rubbing my hand with his thumb. We were in this together, whatever this was. We weren’t alone.
But I didn’t have my parents. They’re dead. Mom and Dad are dead. We killed them. My mom and dad.
I hyperventilated. Wheezing, gasping, I tried to calm down but couldn’t catch my breath. “It’s my fault. Our fault. Dammit, Michael, we caused this, and my parents are dead, and now we’re going to die, too.”
He took his eyes off the road momentarily to stare at me. “What are you talking about? How could we have caused this?”
I tried to speak, and cried harder. “We…” gasp, hiccup “had…” sniffle, snarfle “sex.” I took a deep breath, and then said again, “And now we’re going to die. I’m Lynda. I’m Tina. I’m every slutty girl in every single horror movie, and I had sex and now the zombies are going to get me. They’re going togetus.”
I stopped, shocked at the fact that I had just said “zombies” in a non- ironic fashion. Zombies. They were real.
Even though he’d just swerved to avoid another one feasting on a person writhing in the middle of the road, Michael started to laugh, which only made me cry more. He shook his head and said, “You’re crazy, Jen.”

Millions died when the zombie plague swept the country. For the survivors, the journey has just begun. Jenna, Sam, and Lola are still alive. Jenna avoids human contact, traveling East Coast backroads with her boyfriend, a dog named Chicken, and a Louisville Slugger. Sam escapes to the mountains, where he’s conscripted into a zombie-slaying militia sent on nightly raids to kill the undead…and innocent civilians. Lola’s imprisoned in the “safety” of a zombie-free New Orleans hotel, but life grows more dangerous when her brother gets bitten by a zombie. Jenna arrives in the French Quarter, lured by the false promises of New Orleans’ drunken leader. There, she’s ripped away from her boyfriend, drugged, and dumped in a death camp after refusing Franklin’s sexual advances. Jenna and Lola’s lives collide there, where the dead live and the dying are victims of gruesome medical experiments. Escape isn’t easy: release the genetically-enhanced zombies from the lab to create a diversion, slip away, and don’t get eaten. When Sam arrives, will he join the right side of the battle?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – NA-Horror, Sci-fi
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Leah Rhyne on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Inside/Outside by @JennyHayworth1 #Abuse #Women #AmReading

8:30 AM Posted by Mickalia Peck , , , , No comments
Imagine that someone you love dies. You no longer can see them, speak to them, or touch them or have any literal experience with them except within your mind and heart. This is what being disfellowshipped or disassociated from the Jehovah’s Witnesses means to those who are cut off. They are treated as if they are dead to those remaining in it.
When I was an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and believed a hundred percent in it, I had always believed what had been taught to us from the platform by the elders and in The Watchtower magazine (published twice a month by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).
I believed that when baptised Jehovah’s Witnesses decided (because they had bad hearts) that they no longer wished to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, they would say to the elders that they no longer wished to be known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was a totally voluntary process, I was taught, and it occurred because these people wanted to do things that were condemned by Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible and so no longer wanted to continue being known as one. It was a voluntary separation on their part from the organisation even though they would realise it would cause enormous pain for their families.
Since these people knew that by choosing a lifestyle contrary to one Jehovah God wanted them to lead (as set forth by The Watchtower Society), they knew their families would have to cut them off in obedience to the scriptural direction given by the Apostle James on how to treat those who left the fold. This was to treat them as if they were “dog[s] returning to [their] vomit” as the scriptures put it.
The families would not be allowed to speak to them, eat with them, or greet them. In fact they were instructed to treat them as if they were no longer living. If their families did associate with them and didn’t repent for it after being given the opportunity to do so by loving elders who would try to turn their hearts back to obedience to God’s way, they also would be disfellowshipped.
The elders saw disassociation as a choice made by a baptised person even though both—disassociation and disfellowshipping—were treated in exactly the same way. Disfellowshipped ones might have just made a mistake and need to be punished for the behaviour in which they had engaged. So they were often seen as not having badhearts but as having been led astray or needing to be shocked into realising the seriousness of their actions. People could, however, commit any disfellowshipping sins, and if they were expressing enough remorse or contrition they might not be disfellowshipped.
Talks were constantly being given from the platform about all the things one could be disfellowshipped for including fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and any sexual conduct considered “Unclean” or classified as “pornea.” Also idolatry and celebrating worldly holidays (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween) were considered disfellowshipping offences, as they were all pagan in origin.
However, when I asked the elders why witnesses like myself could wear white wedding dresses and wedding rings, both of which were pagan in origin, and asked who picked which historical customs were allowed to be practised and which weren’t, they could not give me an adequate answer.
We just had to be obedient to the direction of The Watchtower, and if they changed their understanding because of a “light” from God in the future, we would be told. But in the meantime, we had to be patient, be obedient, and wait.
My major doubts had surfaced while being reprimanded in New Zealand about going to worldly counsellors for my children when they disclosed their sexual abuse. I had not received counselling from anyone, and this had not helped me. I knew deep inside myself that I had to get help for my children other than just what the elders would provide. I didn’t want my beautiful children to experience the extreme guilt and fear I had experienced because of the abuse by Pop and all that flowed from it.
I could not see how elders who were not trained as counsellors in any way, shape, or form and had no formal education on sexual abuse victims and how to counsel or treat them could have been better than trained professionals. Also I could not see how, if someone broke the law of the land by sexually abusing a child, only the elders and not the judicial system should have dealt with him or her. I had scriptures quoted at me at the time saying God appoints elders, so they are his representatives on earth and not some worldly judging system that does not understand the ways of God’s people.
Again I could not see how, if police were not involved, the guilty person’s just saying sorry to the elders would stop it from happening again or to someone else. Who was accountable? If a member of the congregation murdered someone, he or she had to go to the police and to court. Why not those who committed sexual abuse and rape? Why were these lesser crimes? Why did they not warrant criminal inquires?
When in Wellington, New Zealand, and taking the children to see the counsellor, I had been disturbed by what I had seen happening in our own congregation, where Leonard was involved as one of the elders. A young girl disclosed past sexual abuse that had happened to her, committed by a witness male friend who had worked for her father. She had stated he had come into her room and raped her a few years previously, when she had been about thirteen years old. Now that she was sixteen years old, she had disclosed it.
The accused had previously been married and had two daughters. The daughters had disclosed sexual abuse, but they were still young, only five or six years old. The ex-wife had gone to the police and was taking the children to see the same sexual-abuse counsellor I was taking my children to.
She didn’t know me, but I knew her as the two children had been at the meetings with their abuser on access visits up until the disclosures had been made. His ex-wife had been disfellowshipped, and he had remarried, and his new wife was only seventeen years old and pregnant with their first child. He had apparently written a letter of confession to the elders. The police had requested to interview the head elder, known as the Presiding Overseer of the congregation the accused attended. The Presiding Overseer had come to our house to have an urgent meeting with Leonard, who was then the Secretary of the congregation, and the Treasurer. These were the three main elders in each congregation who dealt with these matters.
As the Presiding Overseer was leaving the house, he said the letter had to be destroyed at all costs, as he had spoken to a solicitor and it was up to the prosecution to prove guilt—he did not have to supply evidence that would incriminate the accused. He also spoke about how he believed that the confidentiality of a confession to elders should be considered the same as the Catholic Church did it, and no elder should therefore have been forced to tell a policeman or court what had been disclosed by a member of the flock to him.
He was saying if the letter was found, the brother would most certainly be found guilty (he had pled not guilty in court) and would spend a long time in prison. As he was very repentant and had promised not to do it again, and had responded to the counselling of the elders, they needed to protect their flock.
It sickened me to listen to them talk. I instinctively thought, but what about protecting his children and his unborn child?  What about the children from the congregation who went to his house? The young girl had been counselled by the elders not to say anything to anyone. She came in distress to see me one day after arguing with her witness mother, with whom she had a volatile relationship, and said he had been made to apologise to her, so it was all meant to be okay now.
I knew from my own experience as an elder’s wife and from visiting other elders and their wives that rarely was anything kept as confidential as the congregation was repeatedly told it was. I knew that within a few days, every one of the elders and their wives would know what had been said and discussed, and all who were close to them as friends would be told. There was no confidentiality, in my experience. I didn’t want what had happened to my children and any disclosures I made to be dinner talk around people’s tables. I couldn’t bear for that to happen. So I just knew I had to go outside the congregation.
The most important reason, though, stemmed back to my childhood fear and memories. Hearing the talk given from the platform when I was a child about the scriptures in the Old Testament that said if a woman was raped in the field and didn’t cry out, she was guilty of adultery and was to be stoned to death, frightened me enormously. I had frozen when Pop abused me. I had been unable to move due to fear at times when I was in the bath, in the cupboard, or under the bed. During what had happened on the tennis court, the leadenness in my legs prevented me from moving, and the fear up tight in my throat and chest meant I was unable to scream or make a sound; I had a total inability to fight back as I was immobilised by fear.
I had spoken to Amy and Ben’s counsellor, and she had been quite forthcoming in explaining that children can fight, flight, or freeze. And abusers often picked those they felt would not fight back but would freeze or comply for many varying reasons, but it certainly did not mean the children wished it to happen.
At the time of Benjamin and Amy’s being abused, there was a case getting media coverage involving a woman in the United States, where a man had been found not guilty of rape due to the fact she had made him use a condom in the middle of raping her. Some of the local elders said this showed willingness and compliance. The woman had awoken to find a man on top of her, who she did not know, with a knife held to her throat. She had condoms in her drawer. When she realised he was going to rape her, she begged him to put on a condom as she was so frightened of getting HIV or another venereal disease. He put it on. Then he left afterward. She went to the police, and it had gone all the way through to trial. He was found not guilty because of the condom use. I was outraged.
I thought, here was a woman having enough wits about her to protect herself in any small way she could, even in the process of being violated by a stranger with a knife, and because she didn’t fight him, as she wished to survive, and he complied and wore a condom, it was taken as consensual? I was horrified. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses I associated with agreed with the court finding as it concurred with the biblical teaching we’d had drummed into us.
Another case was also in the media of a woman who did not scream or resist as the man had broken in and had a knife, but she had a young daughter asleep in the bed next to her. So she lay quietly and did what he said, as she was terrified if her daughter woke up she also would be assaulted or otherwise hurt. The man left, and because the woman had not screamed, the issue of consent arose. I argued vehemently with the elders that surviving was the most important thing, and no one in their right mind could think she gave consent when it was a stranger with a knife held to her. They kept parroting the scripture, though, as if they were unable to think outside the box.
Even when discussing this same issue with my friends, Lisa and Matthew, I would get frustrated. Matthew said if someone broke into his house, and his wife didn’t scream, he would wonder why. Lisa replied instantly that of course she would scream. I put to her that if she were so terrified she couldn’t run or make any noise, would that mean she consented? She couldn’t give an answer except to say she would scream, and it wouldn’t happen that she wouldn’t. And then they said God wouldn’t have put that in the Bible if it were not reasonable.
I was upset and angry, to say the least. I could not believe that, as scientific evidence clearly showed, a person has no control over his or her physical reaction to fear. So why would God punish people for that? I repeatedly said to the elders that I didn’t believe in a God that treated people like that, and that The Watchtower’s interpretation of those scriptures must have been wrong.
One day an elder came to the house and lent me a few books and magazines he had in regard to biblical questions I had raised. I read them, but they gave me no new answers that satisfied me—nothing besides what I had already found out through studying the society’s literature myself. I had them for a while and then one day put them in Leonard’s briefcase for him to give to the elder at the next meeting. I rang the elder to let him know Leonard would be giving them back, as I was not attending many meetings at that stage. I felt like I would be a hypocrite if I continued to go door to door, trying to convert people to a faith with some doctrines I no longer accepted. I also was spending my time trying to cope with my marriage issues and my own emotional state.
The elder asked me if I had found the magazines useful, and when I thanked him for giving them to me but stated they had not answered my queries, he enquired if he would see me at the field service group that Saturday. I said no and said that as I no longer went witnessing, I no longer considered myself to be a witness. He went quiet and asked me to repeat that statement. As we were repeatedly told from the platform, if we did not go door to door then we were not witnesses for Jehovah. I again stated to the elder that as it had been months since I had been in field service, I did not consider myself a witness anymore.
The conversation ended pleasantly enough, and I thought no more of it. At the time I didn’t realise this innocent phone conversation, which had taken only two minutes, would alter the course of my whole life.
If I had known, I might have paid more attention.

***Award winning book (finalist) in 2014 Beverley Hills International Book Awards***
Jenny Hayworth grew up within the construct of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which she describes as a fundamentalist cult-like religion. She devoted her life to it for over thirty years. Then she left it. The church “unfellowshipped” her-rendering her dead to those family and friends still committed to the church.Hayworth is a sexual abuse survivor. The trauma changed her self-perception, emotional development, trust, and every interaction with the world.
Inside/Outside is her exploration of sexual abuse, religious fundamentalism, and recovery. Her childhood circumstances and tragedies forced her to live “inside.” This memoir chronicles her journey from experiencing comfort and emotional satisfaction only within her fantasy world to developing the ability to feel and express real life emotion on the “outside.”
It is a story that begins with tragic multigenerational abuse, within an oppressive society, and ends with hope and rebirth into a life where she experiences real connections and satisfaction with the outside world.
Those who have ever felt trapped by trauma or circumstances will find Inside/Outside a dramatic reassurance that they are not alone in the world, and they have the ability to have a fulfilling life, both inside and out.
Foreward Clarion Review – “What keeps the pages of Hayworth’s life story turning is her honesty, tenacity, and sheer will to survive through an astounding number of setbacks. Inside/Outside proves the resilience of the human spirit and shows that the cycle of abuse can indeed be broken”
Kirkus Review – “A harrowing memoir of one woman’s struggle to cope with sexual abuse and depression while living in – and eventually leaving – the Jehovah’s Witnesses”
Readers Favourite 5 Star Review – “The book is an inspiring story for those who are going through traumatic times…”
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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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