Monday, April 28, 2014

Camille Matthews, author of Quincy and Buck

Author Bio:
I live in Reading PA along with the real Quincy. I am a clinical social worker and equine assisted growth and learning specialist. The real Quincy, who inspired the Quincy the Horse books when he was 7 is now 24 years old. He is an American quarter horse who was a trail riding horse for many years and is a mainstay of my equine therapy program.

Title: Quincy and Buck
Author: Camille Matthews illustrator: Michelle Black
ISBN: 9780981924045
Page count: 40
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Price: Hardcover $15.95, eBook $8.99

Tell us about your book:
 It is the third book in the Quincy the Horse series. The story is about overcoming fear and dealing with a bully. Quincy dreams of trail riding in the desert near his home but he is afraid of meeting wild animals out in the desert. His friend, Beau, an old horse who has done everything, explains to him that he will never become brave if he stays home, so he goes on his first trail ride. He hopes to find a trail buddy who will guide him but the horse he chooses turns out to be a bully. Over the course of the ride, he discovers that he is more confident than he imagined and that Buck is afraid underneath his fa├žade of strength. The story of the day’s ride is set in the desert of the Southwest which has breathtaking scenery.

How long did it take to write the book?
The book took several years including the completion of the text and the illustrations.

What inspired you to write the book?
The year before I wrote the first of the Quincy Books I participated in a training to learn how to do Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. EAP works because the client observes, interacts and empathizes with the horse/s. In the midst of the training program I had the idea of creating a series of books for children about Quincy’s adventures because the things he experienced were things that children also face. I thought they would be able to identify with Quincy and therefore learn more about the world of relationships and their own feelings and problems.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I had a study in my home in New Mexico with a picture window that looked out into the yard and the pasture where the horses were. I had my computer and also an old photo printer. As Michelle Black would send me photos of the paintings, I would print them out and then cut and tape them together with the printed text to make a mock up of the finished book.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
First of all, I hope they love going on a day’s trail ride and learning about the desert because it is one of the most amazing places in the world. Next I hope they are encouraged to face fears head on and to see that the things we fear most often do not even happen. Last I hope Quincy and Buck will help kids understand more about bullies and get them talking about this with each other, parents, teachers, classmates. Hopefully developing openness about the topic now can help when and if they face the problem in the later grades and in high school.

Excerpt from book:
“Buck turned from the road into the sand wash that twisted around like a big snake. Quincy did not have time to worry. He was busy trying to keep up. His hooves sank deep in the sand. Walking in a sand wash is hard work. Soon they reached the Mushroom People. The Mushroom People were huge, fat rocks that towered over the desert. They looked like a mushroom family standing along the trail.”

Where can we go to buy your book?
Quincy and Buck is available in hardcover and all eBook formats wherever books are sold and in public libraries.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Yes. Our website is and my blog is We also have a great Facebook community at I can be reached directly through the contact form on our website if anyone has specific questions or requests.

Book Trailer Link:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bruce Atchison, author of How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity

Author Bio:
Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with articles published in a variety of magazines. He has also authored three paperbacks. "When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies" is a memoir of the surprising facts he discovered about house rabbits."Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School" is his recollection of being sent five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. "How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity" shows how God led Atchison out of a legalistic house church. Contact him at or via Facebook or Twitter. He also posts regularly on his and blogs. Atchison lives in a tiny Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

Title: How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity
Author: Bruce Atchison
ISBN: 978-0-9780273-3-9  (e-book) 978-0-9780273-2-2  (paperback)
Page count: 216
Genre: Christian, memoir
Price: $2.99 (e-book) $15.00 (paperback)

Tell us about your book:
I joined a house church in 1971, not realizing that it was a cult. I struggled for fifteen years to remain a loyal member as its controlling elders taught me many groundless notions and chided me relentlessly for lacking faith to receive full eyesight. After storming out of the house church's door and turning my back on God for nine years, I realized that the church elders were at fault for teaching me falsehoods, particularly regarding what faith is. I'm a much happier man now that I'm free from those cultic lies.

How long did it take to write the book?
It took four-and-a-half years to write, edit, and publish How I Was Razed.

What inspired you to write the book?
After many people expressed amazement that I had been in a cultic house church, I decided I needed to write about my experiences as well as what I had learned from them.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I wrote the draft in a linear fashion using a computer running MS DOS and WordPerfect 5.1. Thanks to a friend's gift of a Bible CD-ROM and a free Bible program, I did my scripture searches on my Windows XP machine. Then I transferred the verses with a floppy disk to my old PC. I also did research with Google on various topics. As for my routine, I answered e-mail messages in the weekday mornings and wrote in the afternoons. I did the same when I edited the book. Once the manuscript was as good as I could make it, I transferred it to my new computer and e-mailed it to the editor that I had hired. We eventually polished the text to where no further edits were necessary. Then I converted my book into PDF and uploaded it to my publisher's site. Virtual Bookworm Publishers converted my manuscript into Kindle and Nook formats as well as shipping 100 paper copies to me.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I want Christians, especially pastors, to realize that new disciples need mentoring. I didn't receive any so I was vulnerable to that rogue congregation and its leader. I also want ex-members of abusive organizations to take comfort in my experiences. They would be most likely to understand the seductive lure of preachers promising deeper knowledge and power over life's difficulties.

Excerpt from book:
                I had never stormed out of any church in such a rage as on a Sunday in late June of 1987. Sister Roberta had the nerve to indirectly condemn me in front of the congregation for such pseudo sins as listening to rock music and lacking the faith to be healed of my poor vision. The chief minister taught that whoever preached from the pulpit spoke as Christ, lending divine authority to whatever he or she proclaimed. As this elderly woman ranted in front of the congregation, my long-suffering patience snapped.
                Once the final hymn ended, I strode up the stairs to one of the kitchens and put my shoes on.
                "Aren't you staying for lunch?" Sister Roberta asked as she stood between me and the back door.
                "No," I snapped as I stooped to tie my laces.
                "What's the matter?"
                "You used the pulpit against me."
                "I did no such thing."
                "You did."
                "Come on, sit down and have something to eat," she ordered.
                I straightened up and said with all the calmness I could muster, "No. I'm going home."
                Sister Roberta's face reddened with anger. "I was preaching to the whole congregation. You're being too sensitive about this. Sit down now and have lunch."
                When I stepped around her and reached for the door knob, she peered up into my face. "Fifteen years I've tried to help you and you jump at me every time," she sobbed.
                I stood with my hand gripping the door knob, speechless with fury at her asinine statement. Pushing past her, I strode down the back sidewalk.
                While I rode Edmonton's Light Rail Transit and the bus home, my mind churned with memories of how certain members of the house church I faithfully attended for more than fifteen years condemned me. When I joined it in November of 1971, I knew nothing about toxic congregations and the danger of false gospels.
                At that time, I boarded with a Christian family in Edmonton. Since my vision was poor, I attended a junior high school with counselors tasked to assist students such as myself with reading assignments and writing tests. I stayed with my parents on the weekends in Fort Saskatchewan, a city twenty miles north of Edmonton.
                Following supper one evening, Jay casually asked, "Bruce, Linda and I belong to a house church. Would you like to come to our Wednesday night meeting?"
                "What's a house church?"
                "It's like the kind that the first-century Christians had. Instead of worshipping in a church building, we meet in a house like the early Christians did. So, do you want to come?"
                "Yeah, that sounds cool. What denomination is it?"
                "We're not actually part of any denomination. We believe in Jesus Christ and want to serve him."
                "All right, I'll go with you. It's been a long time since I went to church."
                "Good. We'll drive you there on Wednesday night and you can decide for yourself if you like it."
                The following week, Jay drove me to a large, white, two-storey house overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. I followed him across the covered porch and through the front door. Once we removed our coats and shoes in a small living room, he walked down the hallway and through a kitchen. Then we descended a flight of well-worn, wooden steps to a laundry room. Jay led the way as we strolled into the sanctuary.
                I glanced around the long, rectangular room at the seven rows of grey metal folding chairs. I noted the turquoise walls, unfinished ceiling, and low-pile red carpet. A large unvarnished plywood lid covered a cement baptismal tank. It stood, tucked into a nook in the right hand wall near the back of the room. On the front wall, behind the varnished pine pulpit, hung a deep blue banner with a red cross and yellow lettering.
                Three people looked me over as they sat at a rickety, brown card table in front of the pulpit.
                "This is Sister Roberta and Sister Eileen," Jay said as he gestured toward a silver-haired woman wearing a floral print dress and her brunette daughter in a beige blouse and slacks. "And this is our minister, Brother Herald," he gestured toward a short, bullet-shaped man at the head of the table who sat with his back to the pulpit. He wore gold wire-rimmed glasses, a brown dress shirt, and grey suspenders with matching dress pants. His greyish-brown hair and moustache made him appear younger than his sixty-six years.
                "We're about to start the meeting," Sister Roberta announced. "You better pull up a chair and sit down."
                At first, Brother Herald's teaching style perturbed me. He spoke in a low monotonous rumble for many minutes, and then his voice abruptly rose in volume and pitch as he pounded the table for effect. Having startled us all, his voice dropped back to its normal level. This, and his laboured breathing, made listening a challenge in the beginning. Nevertheless, I soon adjusted to his mannerisms.
                By the end of the meeting, this man's preaching captivated me. I can't remember the subject of that particular lesson, but I recall thinking he explained arcane mysteries which ordinary ministers never preached. Only Garner Ted and Herbert W. Armstrong taught such revelatory doctrines on The World Tomorrow radio and television programs. Like Christ's audience when he finished preaching the "Sermon on the Mount" in Matthew 7:28 and 29, a sense of awe gripped me.
                Though I gave my life to Christ at a vacation Bible school in 1969, nobody discipled me until that evening. This was Thee Church, and my spiritual home, as I came to think of it.

Where can we go to buy your book?
How I Was Razed is available at the following links:

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
How I Was Razed can also be purchased through these sites:

Here are the links to my blogs:

My first two books are featured as well on this Blogspot link:

Book Trailer Link:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joan Heartwell, author of Hamster Island

Author Bio:
Joan Heartwell is a ghostwriter, writer and editor working for private and corporate clients. She is the author of four novels under another name.

Title: Hamster Island
Author: Joan Heartwell
ISBN: (978-1-60619-068-5
Page count: 227
Genre: memoir
Price: $17.95

Tell us about your book:
Hamster Island is my story of growing up in a poor, super-dysfunctional family that included a kleptomaniac grandmother and two special needs siblings, all of us residing more or less in the middle of a parking lot. There’s lots of humor, and lots of heartbreak, and anyone who has ever found themselves a caretaker will appreciate the unorthodox measures I took to find the balance between my siblings’ needs and my own. As Rachel Simon says, “This tale of caregiving and self-actualization is unique, but it abounds with insights for us all.”

How long did it take to write the book?
About three years, working on and off.

What inspired you to write the book?
I had always felt shame about the circumstances of my youth, and I almost never talked about it. I must have projected an aura of secrecy because people didn’t ask me about it either. They somehow knew intuitively that it was off limits. But when I got older, a few writer friends suggested I write a memoir. I sat with that seed for a long time. By then I had had four novels published (under another name) and I had made a career of writing and editing for other people. It sort of felt like cheating that here I had this unique story about my own life that I was sitting on. So I decided to take the plunge.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Because I write for a living, I didn’t have the option of writing daily. I have two friends who are great writers, one of them a multi-published, award-winning author and the other a really excellent novelist who just hasn’t gotten around to sending any of her work out yet. The three of us were in a writing group together during the time I was working on Hamster Island, so I got to read chapters aloud as I completed them, and that was very helpful. If you have good people who are willing to be honest about their reactions, being in a writing group can be a great experience.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope readers will laugh and cry as they read Hamster Island and find it really entertaining. I hope those who happen to be siblings of persons with special needs will come to feel that their conflicted feelings, especially those they had as children, are totally understandable and acceptable. I hope readers who have never given much thought to individuals with special needs will start thinking about them and feel more compassion for them. I hope to start a conversation. I have so many questions, philosophical questions that arise from the mysteries that I came across in my life; I hope readers will help me to answer them.

Excerpt from book:
I ring the doorbell. The middle-aged man who answers is bald, mustached, wearing thick glasses, smiling a thin-lipped smile. He must think I’m there to sell him Girl Scout cookies. He looks like a gentle soul, and I’m sure that if I were selling cookies, he would buy several boxes. “Do you have a son who works at Bamberger’s?” I ask. My voice is the voice of a mouse, not the lioness protecting her cub that I feel myself to be on the inside. He continues to smile, but the corners of his mouth droop. His smile has gone sad. “Are you a friend of his?” he asks hopefully. “No,” I say. “He stole some money from my brother…who’s got like stuff wrong with him. He’s like…not normal.” I want to define his condition more accurately but the right words won’t drop from my tongue.
His smile retreats altogether and he hangs his head. The grief and hopelessness I see in his expression when he finally lifts his face again confirm that this is not the first time his son has been in trouble. He asks me to come in. I step inside and look around; I take in that the house is beautiful, tidy and well-decorated, but I don’t actually see any one thing. I can hear “19th Nervous Breakdown” playing from a record player on the second floor. I pray the thief will not come down while I am there. I don’t want to see his face. I don’t want to have to confront a criminal with a mouse voice.
Mr. Barney invites me into his office. As I follow him, I glance over my shoulder, up toward the stairs. Mr. Barney asks me how much his son stole. I tell him I think it was about nine hundred and fifty dollars, though I can’t be sure. He sits down at his desk and removes a checkbook from a drawer. While he writes out a check, I stare at a family photograph on the wall; the man, his wife and three sons—all of them nice-looking boys, all of them smiling. They are standing against a background that includes blue sky, green-brown water, and an overturned canoe. I wonder if the evil son stayed home that day and thus didn’t make it into the picture. Surely none of the boys in the photo could be him. Mr. Barney hands me the check. He’s made it out for a thousand dollars even, to cash. I’ve never seen a check for so much money in my life. I can’t help but take a moment from the high drama I am enacting to be tickled to have so much money in my hand. I stand there for a full minute, watching Mr. Barney put his checkbook back in the drawer, his pen back in its holder with the others, expecting him to ask for the details of the story now. But when he finally looks up at me, I can tell he wants me to leave.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Hamster Island is available now in electronic format. The paperback release date is May 15. It will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., and it can be ordered from any bookstore.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?