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Vampire Chicago #1

Urban Fantasy, Noir, Detective

Date Published: November 25, 2020

Publisher: Indies United Publishing, LLC

 

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Former ADA Alastair Maddox pursues Prohibition Chicago’s most dangerous
monsters after witnessing the deaths of his parents and grandparents as a
boy. When a former colleague in Chicago PD comes to ask Alastair for help,
he comes face to face with the mysterious Alexandra DeLane. But something’s
off. DeLane is way too calm and her eyes are the color of blood. After she
escapes, Alastair goes on the hunt only to find himself the prey of an
ambitious and mysterious mob boss who plots to have him murdered. The
problem? Alastair doesn’t stay dead and comes back as something else.
Something more dangerous and straight out of a horror novel.

About the Author

Blaise started her journey in writing at the age of the fifteen with her
first unfinished urban fantasy novel based on a popular video game series
known as .Hack. From there she moved her journey into designing characters
and doing concept art for various paying clients. In her older career,
Blaise moved into working for the Indie Gaming industry where she did
concept art for the company HollowRobot and their debut game, Johnny Reboot
and various other clients. Sadly, the game didn’t go anywhere and Blaise
found herself losing interest in what she had done for fifteen years.

In 2017, Blaise embarked on her first ever NaNoWriMo challenge where she
finished the Paranormal Shifter Romance, Blessing of Luna which she indie
published. It has then produced a second installation into the Wolfgods
series titled Bane of Tenebris. Both have recently been picked up by
BlackRose Writing.

Both of these books gave birth to the first of Blaise’s three businesses.
The first, FyreSyde Publishing, a small press, has recently opened its doors
to authors and works alongside them in the ever difficult challenge of book
marketing. A running joke is Blaise considers herself an “odd duck” in the
sense that she loves the marketing phase more than the writing phase of
production. Her other two businesses include full-time freelance
ghostwriting and the independent bookstore, GreenWood Grove
Booksellers.

After falling in love with the Dresden files by Jim Butcher and later
Saints & Shadows by Christopher Golden, Blaise found a new love for
Urban Fantasy. Reading the beloved Vampire Files by PN Elrod prompted Blaise
to initiate her next phase and begin producing paranormal detective and noir
novels. Now she combines the two and loves every minute of it.

She currently lives in the hometown of Bonnie & Clyde with her husband,
two adorable kids, two cats and a dog.

 

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The Starmind Alert Blitz

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Thriller, Psychic Thriller, Technothriller

 

Published: October 2020

Publisher: MindStir Media

 

Carrying on the tradition of service as exemplified by his Nisei grandfather, a veteran with the 100th/442nd RCT in WWII, Jim Sato, a dedicated cop, serves as the nerve ending of a Top Secret psychotronic brain wave enhancer, a giant AI super computer, deep the bowels of DIA Headquarters in an attempt to stop and eliminate Abdul Ahmad, the arch terrorist, who sets out to destroy America. Sato is teamed up with Gilda Dobrowski, a small city psychic, and together they track down the whereabouts of the terrorist and lay a trap for him in Tokyo in a dangerous scheme to eliminate him once and for all, using the U.S. Embassy, the nerve center of U.S. power in the Far East, as bait. The plan goes awry, Ahmad escapes and the stage is set for a final showdown taking place on American soil, in an elaborate setup involving erecting a psychic shield covering the entire country. Lured into the United States by a sophisticated stratagem devised by Sato, Ahmad is detected and the chase is on.

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Excerpt

Chapter Two

Introduced first to the Director of DIA, Arthur Donnelly, then summarily dismissed by him with a curt, “Welcome aboard,” Jim and Gilda entered an elevator as the stainless steel doors parted like a mechanical maw with Kosovich in the lead. He ran his finger down a row of buttons and punched “Sub-B 5.” They began the long, slow descent without stopping. “Sub-B 5″ was known as “The StarCenter,” Kosovich informed them. Why? Because it was the lowest level of the entire building housing the headquarters of DIA. In case of nuclear decimation, Kosovich said. Jim couldn’t begin to fathom what that meant. The Cold War was over.

When the elevator jerked to a stop, they stepped out into a shining, polished corridor that reminded Jim of a hospital without the smell of antiseptics. They passed several doors on either side of them with single-digit numbers designating them. At the end of the hallway stood two guards at an entrance, a steel door. They were not Marines. They were special guards wearing blood-red berets and clad in navy-blue uniforms with a gold braid crossing their chests. Over their hearts were sewn an insignia of a mythological creature–an eagle look-alike with ribbed black wings and writhing snakes gripped in its talons. They were armed with automatic rifles that reminded Jim of Heckler & Koch .308’s with 50-round clips. They glanced impassively at Allen Kosovich’s ID and clearance. Jim peeked. Underneath the photo was in bold letters: “UB-X-00-A27.” Kosovich punched in the numbered and lettered code that opened the steel door.

Inside a small antechamber, Kosovich had to submit himself to a further check. He spoke into a meshed microphone, giving his name, ID number and date of birth. “Voice recognition confirmed. Proceed to Step Two,” a voice said out of nowhere. Kosovich placed his face against what looked like penny-arcade peepers. “Retina scan confirmed. Proceed to Step Three.” Kosovich drew his fingertips across his tongue and placed his right hand in a clear, plastic tray with mathematical inscriptions where the palm and fingers fit. A dark purplish ultraviolet light produced a pulsating sound. A few seconds passed. “Fingerprints and DNA confirmed. Cleared to enter.”

The heavy vault-like doors opened inwards, and the three of them quickly stepped through. Jim spun around in surprise, because the thick doors closed as nimbly as the swinging doors of a chef’s lair.

They were standing at the entrance of a large room filled with computer programmers and analysts, dressed in white uniforms, bent over their keyboards. Blue tinged everything. Huge monitors were set into the walls alive with coruscating images of formless shapes and colors that kept shifting in an amorphous mass, each different and distinct and yet the same in their intermingling mixture of hues and tints that resembled a living, phantasmagorical organism. The bluish glow filling the room from the high ceiling was alive with the clicking of the keyboards. At the end of the room sat an enormous machine, its lower panel running a digitalized and variegated painted symphony of flashing numbers, letters and icons. Its upper portion with two rows of tapeless silver disks behind a long window kept the super computer in constant motion. It occupied a greater part of the wall. It produced a hum and a steady whirring and clicking sound as the multi-layered disks whirled in opposing directions, some turning clockwise, others counterclockwise.

Kosovich pointed it out. “The heart of Project StarMind. UB-X-00,” he said proudly. “Doesn’t use old-fashioned tapes that can fade and become demagnetized. Uses a series of countervailing disks in each sprocket to create an electromagnetic field that can be replicated and hooked up to the other apparatus. But I’ll let Wayne Trunnell, Supervisor of Project StarMind, explain it all to you.”

Wayne Trunnell was a tall, slender man in his early seventies. Standing at least 6’4″, he wore a white, loose-fitting smock that hung down to his ankles. His hair, thick and unruly, was white. His eyes were dark blue and twinkled intelligently like glistening opals that were accentuated by his still-black eyebrows. His nose reminded Jim of the beak of the mythological bird on the emblem. Smiling in a casual, friendly fashion, he stuck out his hand.

You must be Detective Jim Sato, whom I’ve been waiting to meet,” he said in a surprisingly young voice. He shook Jim’s hand and turned immediately to Gilda. “And you are Gilda Dobrowski, the famous psychic from Franklin. I’ve been wanting to meet you ever since I heard about you.” He tilted his head slightly as he took Gilda’s hand.

Jim couldn’t quite place the mannerism. It was almost continental–and foreign. Trunnell regarded them both fondly as if they were visiting brethren and knew each other. From another planet? Jim thought. It was as if they were aliens from outer space just dropping in for a visit to a familiar inner sanctum. The huge room with its inset panels of screens holding the twisting images, the hum and whirr of UB-X-00–whatever it was besides a giant brain box–and the clicking of the array of computer keyboards, along with the faint, soft bluish glow reflected off the walls and polished floors, lent an eerie quality to the intense activity in the room. Particularly so, when Jim understood that it all had to do with the control, manipulation and projection of the human mind. And to think that he and Gilda were to be subjected to discovering the mysteries unlocked in their own minds.

Trunnell took them over to the giant machine called UB-X-00 which was all business with its constant humming whirr and flickering lights. He patted it affectionately–paternalistically. It must have been his own design, thought Jim. He had fathered it.

This is UB-X-00,” the supervisor of Project StarMind said proudly. “I named it that, because it has to do with the total dimension of all the imponderables of the human personality: soul, spirit, mind and everything else we know about ourselves. Consider it the Library of Congress of what knowledge we have of ourselves as a species. Otherwise, we refer to it by its nickname, ‘Yuubee’. And this huge stable of computer wizards and the room it is housed in is called ‘The Nexus’.”

What’s it supposed to do?” Jim asked in intimidated awe.

Everything that has to do with developing the potential of the human mind, much of it going beyond the realm of science as we understand it.”

Specifically,” Jim pursued.

Specifically?” Wayne Trunnell pondered the question. “Much of it is in an experimental stage. We are exploring it as it explores itself. But specifically, to boil your question down to a single answer that applies to you and Gilda, it is a psychotronic enhancer of the alpha and theta brain waves that are converted to a kind of bioenergy for the efficient functioning of the brain of a psychic, a person who already has the capabilities of projecting their consciousness.”

Can you explain how that is going to affect us?” Jim thought it was a legitimate, logical question to ask. He wasn’t prepared for the condescending look of amazement that registered in Trunnell’s sngular features, marked by the drawing of his mouth into a thin line and the raising of his dark eyebrows. “Are the effects going to be permanent?” he continued, concerned.

Well, not really…not in so many words,” he said, his dark blue eyes fixed on Jim. “It is nearly impossible to define what goes on in the brain, even at any given isolated moment, and–”

Maybe you can start by telling me how Yuubee works?” Jim said.

Trunnell’s expression turned into one of patient indulgence. “I can try,” he said and ran his hand with long, bony fingers over his hoary hair slowly, as though to collect his thoughts. “It is based on the principle of symbiotic synergism, not only between Yuubee and the other scanning equipment, like the MRI and CAT Scan and others, but also between itself and the reciprocal emanation of the brain waves of the Snoopers…er, psychics. We call them, or they like to refer to themselves as, Snoopers. Otherwise, they’re variously known as seekers, seers, probers, sometimes even worse, depending on who is talking about them.”

That’s not saying very much, Mr. Trunnell. How is it going to affect me and Gilda?” Jim felt he had to get some kind of handle on what to expect before he could even take or understand the first step in the training.

I can only summarize what has been programmed into Yuubee,” the tall man said, drawing his brows together in concentration. “It has been fed a series of random mathematical equations from all the fields of science coupled with the principles of philology, morphology and semantics present in the unpredictable sequences of human thought patterns, including the representation of the REMs of dreams and nightmares, and combined with the phenomenological dichotomies present in all forms of human perceptions.”

And that’s saying a mouthful,” Kosovich commented. With his eyes wide and blank, he gazed at Jim’s face which must have registered total non-comprehension. “I don’t understand what it means, either.”

Can’t you boil it down, Dr. Trunnell,” Jim pleaded. “It is Dr. Trunnell, isn’t it?”

Yes, indeed, it is, and I can’t even begin to describe to you my many fields of specialization,” Dr. Trunnell said, rather pompously thought Jim. “But, nevertheless, let me add that woven into the fabric of the ‘understanding’ programmed into UB-X-00…sounds so awfully formal. Yuubee. Programmed into Yuubee is everything that is known about paranormal psychology from ESP, psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, remote viewing, astral flight, near-death out-of-the-body detachment, the ‘White Light’ syndrome to psychotic and hallucinatory typologies, induced by drugs, electrical charges or electromagnetic emissions.”

Jim glanced at Gilda. She rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. Either she understood what Trunnell was talking about like an ace pitcher or it was over her head, too. Jim wanted to shake his head to rid himself of the confusion.

What you’re saying, Dr. Trunnell,” Jim said, extrapolating from his previous experience in dealing with the superpsychic, Sergei Verenich, “is that UB-X-00, Yuubee, helps us to transmit and receive brain waves.”

Essentially, yes,” Trunnell said. “Alpha and theta brain waves, specifically.”

Then why is it that,” Jim began as the next logical step, “you are located at lowest level of the basement, deep under the headquarters of DIA? How can the brain waves get through all the interference?”

Ah, that’s the beauty of Yuubee,” Trunnell intoned. “It can cut through anything and open a path for reception and transmission. As for being stuck in The StarCenter, it is for national security reasons.”

Which are?” Now Jim wanted to know everything. Was UB-X-00 some sort of death-ray machine that focused laser beams through the psychics to knock down incoming missiles or knock off unwanted undesirables? Dictators, tyrants, key government figures? Terrorists? His imagination ran wild.

I only need to mention one,” Trunnell said importantly. “In case the government and leadership are destroyed in a nuclear war, or by some other means, the psychics of Project StarMind are meant to restart our democracy and restore civilization as we have known it. Such a responsibility for a select few.” The tall, thin scientist ran his hand across his forehead as if to wipe away a heavy concern. “Now let me introduce you to the Snoopers, as they are affectionately known, rather than seekers or seers which have contentious overtones.”

Trunnell led them through the blue-white light that reminded Jim of the ethereal void in which he had done combat mind-to-mind with Sergei Verenich. Stepping past the row of equipment hooked up in tandem with Yuubee, the tall man pushed the button of a double-panel steel door. It hissed open pneumatically and made the same shushing sound as they entered a smaller room and sealed itself behind them.

They were standing in the reflected glow of the same bluish-white light. The walls were painted the same color as the large room–The Nexus–a washed sky-blue that seemed to continue beyond where it ended as though one could stick one’s hand through the solid barrier. On the upper part of the walls were mounted the monitor screens which held a variety of three-dimensional images, more definite in outline and shape than the coruscating and squirming masses of globs in The Nexus that appeared embryonic by comparison. Around a long table in the center of the room gathered lab technicians garbed in white smocks similar to the one Trunnell wore. The table was crowded with lab equipment: beakers, petri dishes, twisted glass tubing, Bunsen burners, measuring tubes, trays, microscopes, ultra-violet lamps, vials and bottles of liquid, just like a well-equipped high school lab, Jim thought, except he was in no high school. Against one wall with the same kind of screens sat six figures–three men and three women–wearing black helmets with extended goggles and a curved mouthpiece they were speaking into. Sitting in front of computers of different designer colors, they moved a mouse on a larger-than-average pad. The movement of their hands and their incessant, chant-like murmuring flowed together as if one guided the other reciprocally.

Welcome to ‘The Twilight Zone’,” Dr. Trunnell said with a hint of triumph in his voice. “This is the control center, and the six psychics wearing the Gehirnphone helmets are controlling the images fabricated by pure thought energy. They are the creme de la creme saviors of Western Civilization, the ones who will regenerate the leadership in the event our government is destroyed.”

Jim looked over the six figures, their heads all but concealed by the black helmets, talking to themselves or into the tiny mike built into the headgear. They were all dressed casually, one man in a red and black flannel shirt, a lady in a dark, blue satiny blouse, another man in a bright yellow long-sleeved shirt. The three-dimensional forms danced and changed with the movement of the mouses and the intonation of their voices. Some of the images looked like the interior of a building, a bird’s-eye screen-skating landscape full of mountains and valleys, a blurred visage that kept fading in and out of focus.

Why are they talking to themselves?” Gilda asked. “It sounds like so much psycho-babble all running together.”

Maybe it’s some sort of chant,” Jim said, wanting to sound half-way knowledgeable, although he was totally mystified. He had read voluminously about matters dealing with psychic phenomena and the training of the mind ever since his ordeal with Sergei Verenich, delving into mythology, religion, psychology, spiritualism, occultism.

Actually, it’s voice-activated commands to control graphic image-making,” Trunnell said.

Why can’t they just image what they are thinking or exercise thought-control?” Gilda queried.

That is precisely what they are doing by ordering their brains to function in a certain, specific way with their own unique voices,” Trunnell explained. “Their brains, in other words, respond more actively and positively when they hear their own voices. It’s like a personal signature endorsing a command to certain brain centers. The brain recognizes its owner as belonging to itself and performs accordingly. I designed the Gehirnphone virtual reality helmets myself.”

So, in other words,” Gilda mused, “instead of feeding them the sensation of virtual reality, they are actually producing virtual reality in three-dimensional graphics by their own brain power.”

Just like you see on the screens,” Kosovich broke in.

And so what powers their brains?” Gilda pursued. “Is the required bioenergy induced?”

Through UB-X-Double Ought,” Kosovich said proprietarily.

Let me explain it with a bit more detail, Gilda,” Trunnell said, ignoring Kosovich. He took her arm and led her to stand behind one of the Snoopers. He pointed to different portions of the helmet. “The Gehirnphone houses a microcomputer. It carries its own titanium power pack and is synchronized with the relay of the pschotronically-transferred bioenergy from Yuubee.”

You make it sound as if there is a clear conduit between the source and the recipient,” Jim observed. “But I’m sure it’s much complex than that.”

It most certainly is,” averred Trunnell. “The source is the brain of the seer. Its power is enhanced by Yuubee by the informed transfer of bioenergy. But the transfer does not take place as with an open pipeline. The programmers and analysts in The Nexus provide the embryonic stimulus of the initial image-formation through Yuubee, while factoring in all the resistance that the Snoopers will conceivably run into before they can successfully sort out the input through enhanced mind-power. When they grapple with the variables and focus the charged bioenergy in their own educated way, they can and do produce the three-dimensional pictures you see on the screens.”

I think I got that,” Jim declared, though his comprehension was edged with doubt and many more questions. “Out of a chaotic mess, they wrestle to create the pictures in their minds with the aid of the Gehirnphones before they project in pure form what we see on the screen.”

Exactly,” said Trunnell delighted.

How does bioenergy translate into three-dimensional colored images and graphics?” asked Jim, with some inkling as to the answer.

Through a combination of telepathy and psychokinesis,” concluded Gilda.

Splendid!” Trunnell cried. “But don’t neglect to add the super-charged ionization of electrical particles. I know you two will make excellent students.” He patted them paternally on their backs.

I have to borrow your two star recruits for a moment.” Kosovich grabbed hold of Jim’s arm eagerly. “Now I have a surprise for you and I’m not thanking you for it. It’s what you left me and the other agents with in Washington, D.C.”

The thin-faced man pulled Jim over to a large double-door compartment which turned out to be a freezer. Kosovich flung open the doors. Chilled vapors of frozen air spill out in a cloud.

There he is. Sergei Verenich. Or what’s left of him. And you didn’t leave much,” Kosovich accused, displaying his anger with a finger jabbed at the remains.

Gilda stifled a scream and stepped back. Jim stiffened and expected the pieces to somehow come together as Sergei’s consciousness had in the ether and attack him. The blasted torso emptied of soft organ tissue with the rib cage spread apart was as he remembered it. The legs had been cut off and lay separately on another shelf, bluish-grey and hairy. Several one-gallon plastic ziplocks contained the soft tissue that the agents had to pick off of them and scoop up off the floor at Hotel George and what was left of the lungs, heart, liver and the rest of the organs that had exploded out of Sergei’s body. The severed arms were tied, and the hands were naturally clasped together as if the previous owner had been converted to religion before his demise. What were obviously his genitals were contained in another ziplock bag. But the head with the thick, brown hair, the short nose, the square jaw. It was gone, not a part of the collection.

Jim swallowed hard and held down a wave of nausea that he knew would be the color of greenish-yellow if he threw up. It had happened at one murder scene where the body had flowers stuck into carved holes.

The head…,” Jim said weakly. Somehow he had to see Sergei’s head to feel convinced that he was indeed dead. “It’s gone. What did you do with it?”

Didn’t need it. Had to cut it up to get at the brain,” Kosovich said and leered at Jim’s discomfort. “Besides you’ll always have access to the head, another surprise for you, Sato.” He took Jim’s arm and pulled him over to the far wall which had a single screen mounted above a lone figure wearing a Gehirnphone.

About the Author

R. H. Kohno has been writing for a number of years now, putting a capstone on a long-held dream of becoming a writer, and has produced a number of works of fiction, the most recent of which include Eye of the Star, The StarMind Alert and Starburst Over China (soon to be published), a trilogy of psychic thrillers, and Westward Lies The Sun, written under his real name. He majored in English at the University of Washington and was the editor-in-chief of the campus literary magazine, Assay. He taught briefly at the university level before embarking on a career in writing. He is currently working on a novel and putting together a collection of short stories.

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The Moreva of Astoreth Reveal

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Science fiction/Romance

Date Published: January 5, 2021

Publisher: Blackrose Press

 

Astoreth, the Devi Goddess of Love, demands complete devotion from her morevs because hearts divided cannot serve.

Moreva Tehi’s hearts aren’t divided. They belong to Laerd Teger.

And the price of her love could be her life.

About the Author

Award-winning author Roxanne Bland was born in the shadows of the rubber factory smokestacks in Akron, Ohio but grew up in Washington, D.C. As a child, she spent an inordinate amount of time prowling the museums of the Smithsonian Institution and also spent an inordinate amount of time reading whatever books she could get her hands on, including the dictionary. A self-described “fugitive from reality,” she has always colored outside the lines and in her early years of writing, saw no reason why a story couldn’t be written combining the genres she loved and did so despite being told it wasn’t possible. Today, she writes stories that are mashups of paranormal urban fantasy, romance, and science fiction, as well as other speculative fiction genres.

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The Empathy Advantage Tour

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Non-Fiction (Parenting/Education)

Date Published:  November 4, 2020

Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield

 

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Bullying and cyberbullying is on the rise.  Face-to-face interpersonal
skills are declining.  Narcissism is increasing.  Not only do
studies show these distressing facts to be true, but we see them in the news
and in our own lives.  Lynne Azarchi, Executive Director of Kidsbridge
Tolerance Center, has the answer to these growing problems:  teaching
our children empathy.  In her new book, THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE:
Coaching Children To Be Kind, Respectful and Successful (Rowman &
Littlefield; November 4, 2020), Azarchi provides the tools and strategies
families can use to give their kids the gift of empathy –
simultaneously setting them on the road for a more successful future and
changing the world for the better.

 

The Empathy Advantage tablet

EXCERPT

Empathy:  The Ability That Enriches a Lifetime

By Lynne Azarchi

Looking back, I guess I was always the Empathy Girl, who grew up into the Empathy Woman. 

My empathy could have gotten me into serious trouble as a kid when my uncle took me to a Yankees game in the Bronx. I was having fun until the crowd started to boo the opposing team. I asked my uncle why the crowd would do that. “There is no reason and it isn’t nice!” I protested. His eyes widened and he gave me a funny look, at which point I realized I may have been just about the only Yankees fan with that line of thought. Fortunately, I didn’t voice my concerns to anyone but my uncle, because other fans might have gone bonkers! 

Then, in my twenties, the movie Halloween (1978) came out. I felt like I was those poor young female victims, and that was just from hearing about the movie from friends and seeing the trailers. A masked slasher hacking teenagers to death and dismembering them, with blood and gore everywhere? Why would anyone want to see such a film? I never did. That was way more than I could take. 

This innate sense of reacting to what others feel and understanding it in my bones isn’t confined to the world of Hollywood make-believe or sporting events. When I get my morning New York Times, I rip out upsetting photos of children in distress and tearful victims of hurricanes and earthquakes so that I don’t have to look at them more than once. I know it sounds like an overreaction, but that’s how I am wired. 

In 2017, I had the opportunity to go to Poland and visit the concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many of my relatives were murdered there by the Nazis, so when I saw the rooms full of hair, thousands of spectacles and suitcases, and other personal items, I took it very personally. I had not expected to look like the photos of many of the female victims, and yet at Auschwitz-Birkenau and all the other museums and exhibits, in my mind, I did. I was overwhelmed by visions of what bystanders could do to other people with wanton cruelty, sadism, and inhumaneness. For two months after I got home, I awoke in the middle of the night with my heart racing and my body shaking from dreams about my visit to a horrific time and place. 

But please don’t get the impression that being the Empathy Woman is all bad. Yes, it can be a curse in some instances, but it is also a blessing. It has made me who I am today, a person who volunteers for numerous organizations and is warmed by the glow that comes from helping others. No amount of money could buy all those smiles. Most significantly, it led me to become executive director of the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center outside Trenton, New Jersey, working full time on a labor of love: teaching children, youth, and educators about empathy and empowerment, respect, and kindness. 

What is empathy? Simply, it is the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” It is the ability to grasp the world from someone else’s point of view. It is the ability to understand what others see and feel. Empathy requires respect for people different from ourselves. 

Granted, I am living proof that people can be hyper hardwired for empathy. (There’s even a technical term for my “condition”; it’s called being an empath.) And yes, I accept that I’m a rarity. Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cambridge University, suggests we place people on an empathy spectrum or quantitative scale. This empathy spectrum or scale would follow a bell curve, meaning that some people have a small amount, some a medium amount, and some a lot.  That’s me—a lot. 

Almost two decades ago, when I started this work, I read that empathy could not be taught. But I heartily object to that assertion: empathy can be taught. I am living proof that it can. I’ve taught it to more than thirty thousand youths and their educators at Kidsbridge, with an average of twenty-three hundred kids and two hundred educators coming through every year. Note the dashed line above the bell curve line in the figure; empathy can be increased at any level. 

And parents, I can teach you

In fact, you can teach empathy to your children, whether you spend just twenty minutes a week or two hours. No, this isn’t a cure-all. But just a little effort, using proven and effective methods, with a dose of fun, can transform your child into a more sensitive, caring human being. I am an empty nester now; my children Rachel and Jake are both out on their own. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have tried to inspire them with empathy more often, more consistently, and more strategically. I would have closely followed the steps, tips, and strategies that you will read in this book. My kids would have more empathy and would have been better prepared for the future to function both as individuals and as part of a team. 

Giving your children the gift of a new video game or smartphone may give them a little enjoyment in the short term—OK, “little” is a big understatement. Seeing a favorite pop star in concert or going to the Super Bowl might be the thrill of a lifetime. Over the years, though, what will that mean to their development as human beings? What do parents really, really want for their children? 

You want them to grow into caring adults who enjoy lasting, loving relationships and close friendships. You want them to be able to support themselves and work well with others. 

You want children who not only run to see what their birthday presents are but also run to the homeless shelter or a children’s hospital because there’s a child somewhere whose parents couldn’t afford toys for the holiday. You want your kid to grow up to be a mensch, a Yiddish word for a good person or a good soul. 

That’s why we need to teach empathy. It’s an ability that enriches an entire lifetime. 

This is an adapted excerpt from THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE:  Coaching Children To Be Kind, Respectful and Successful by Lynne Azarchi, published by Rowman & Littlefield.  © 2020.

About the Author

LYNNE AZARCHI, author of THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE, is Executive Director of
Kidsbridge Tolerance Center outside of Trenton, New Jersey—a nonprofit
organization dedicated to fostering bullying prevention, anti-bias,
diversity appreciation, empathy, and empowerment strategies for youth.
She is a tireless advocate for improving the lives of at-risk youth in
communities across New Jersey. Kidsbridge helps more than 2,500 preschool,
elementary, and middle school students and educators improve their
social-emotional skills each year.  Azarchi has won many awards and her
articles have been published both in newspapers and academic journals.
She is a frequent speaker to parent and teacher groups, corporations and
major educational conferences.

 

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Overland Blitz

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Dramatic Thriller, Romantic Thriller

 

Date Published: November 10, 2020

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Skyla Overland is proud to work for Overland Insurance, the company founded by her grandfather. She enjoys sharing an apartment with her best friend, Pauline, and is in love with Edmond. Besides one nerve-wracking insurance fraud case in the past, her sheltered life is uneventful and just the way she likes it.

Until one day, everything changes…

Skyla and Troy, the manager at Overland Insurance, are the last ones to leave the office. In the empty parking lot, Troy takes her in his arms. Why would he ruin their easy-going friendship by kissing her, especially since he knows she’s dating Edmond?

Left alone, Skyla hurries to her car, puts on her seatbelt, and glances in her rearview mirror.

The face of a stranger grins at her from the backseat. “How nice to see you again,” he hisses close to her ear.

Regaining consciousness, Skyla finds herself on the backseat of her own car, with her hands tied behind her back. Is she getting kidnapped? Who is he? And where is he taking her?

Overland tablet, phone, paperback

 

About the Author

Ramcy Diek fell in love with the United States during her travels with her husband. The Pacific Northwest became their new home, where they built up their RV Park and raised their two sons.

During this time, Ramcy also made a slow transition from reader to multi-genre writer. Her debut novel “Storm at Keizer Manor” received multiple awards. This inspired her to spend more time doing what she loves most: writing stories.

Eagles in Flight, a romantic suspense novel, is her second book. Her third novel “Overland”, a dramatic thriller, followed in November 2020.

Follow her on Social Media to stay informed about the release of her next novels. She loves to hear from you.

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