Archive for May, 2013

A Personal, Paranormal Journey

Friday, May 31st, 2013


Guest Author : Mark Spencer

How often have we said, “I would never do that . . . or say that . . . or believe that,” and then we find ourselves doing, saying, believing? 

My nonfiction book A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House evokes the history of the rundown 1906 Victorian mansion I bought in 2007, a history fraught with the poignant mystery of a previous occupant’s suicide.  On Christmas night 1948, Ladell Allen, a daughter of the wealthy entrepreneur who built the house, excused herself from her mother’s annual Christmas party, went upstairs to her bedroom, and consumed mercury cyanide.   No one could understand why.  After all, she had friends, money, leisure time—and at least publicly, a cheerful disposition.

In the wake of Ladell’s suicide, reports of paranormal activity on the property became common.  Ladell hovered about, sometimes a dark shadow figure, sometimes a woman in white, opening doors, closing doors, crying out in the night, her footsteps ringing clearly on the hardwood floors.  Such were the stories. 

When my wife and I moved to town and started expressing an interest in buying the Allen House, many long-time locals advised us not to—because it was haunted.  I was flabbergasted that so many people seemed serious about something I thought absurd.  Ghosts? Don’t be silly. I would never believe in ghosts.

But I did become a believer, and my journey toward belief is, in large part, the subject of my book, as is the intertwining of that journey with my solving of the mystery behind Ladell’s suicide, the pivotal event occurring one Saturday morning when I awoke feeling compelled to go to the attic.  At first, I resisted the compulsion, but then following it, I found myself kneeling before a small opening in the attic floor, from which I retrieved approximately 90 love letters written in 1948. 

For three decades I had been writing and publishing fiction.  The day I discovered those letters I knew that I would be writing my first nonfiction book, that I had no choice.  Ironically, my fiction had always been grounded in everyday “reality” with no hint of the paranormal, but now here I am with a nonfiction book full of ghosts and in which I describe my awe at having this new dimension opened up to me in such an intimate way by a spirit bent on finally having her story told. 

Still, my aim in A Haunted Love Story is not necessarily to persuade anyone that ghosts float, tread, or hover among us.  I am convinced they do, but I know that many or most people are unlikely to believe in ghosts until they experience them—see them, hear them, feel them—for themselves.  A Haunted Love Story is not just a real-life ghost story but also a history of the Allen family, the story of a mystery that engaged the imagination of a town for six decades, a portrait of my own family and our uncanny experiences in a new home, and ultimately the story of a tragic love affair that reflects the poignant divide separating private lives from public facades and the demands of society in conflict with personal desire.  

Browse the book ” A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen Houseat   (USA) (UK)   (JAPAN)


Author bio :

In addition to A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House, Mark Spencer is the author of the novels The Masked Demon, The Weary Motel, Love and Reruns in Adams County, two collections of short stories, and a history book. Over 100 of his novellas, short stories, and articles have appeared in a wide variety of national and international magazines.  His work has received the Faulkner Society Faulkner Award, the Omaha Prize for the Novel, The Bradshaw Book Award, the St. Andrews Press Short Fiction Prize, and four Special Mentions in Pushcart Prize. A Haunted Love Story is the basis for episodes of the TV shows My Ghost Story (Biography Channel) and A Haunting (Discovery Network) and will be the focus of two shows on SyFy later this year. He has been Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Arkansas at Monticello since 2005.

Love Online: Emotions on the Internet

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

 Guest Author : Aaron Ben-Ze’ev

Nowadays, one of the most exciting social, as well as romantic, sites to visit is cyberspace. At any moment, millions of people are surfing that space, socializing with each other or having romantic affairs. Their number is growing by the minute. Why do people feel compelled to leave the comfortable surroundings of their actual world and immerse themselves in this seductive space? Why are emotions so intense in this seemingly imaginary world? What is the future of romantic relationships and prevailing bonds such as marriage?

            “Love Online” examines the nature of romantic love in cyberspace and compares it to love in offline circumstances. The Internet has a profound impact upon the extent and nature of romantic and sexual relationships. Describing this impact may be helpful in coping with the online romantic and sexual revolution and in predicting the future development of these relationships.

In this post, I discuss a central issue concerning online romantic relationship: Why the Net is so seductive?

The major features responsible for the great romantic seductiveness of cyberspace are imagination, interactivity, availability, and anonymity.

Love Online: Emotions on the Internet

Interactivity is what distinguishes cyberspace from other imaginative realities. In cyberspace people are not merely imagining themselves to be with an attractive person, they are actually interacting with such a person. Indeed, the reported actions are sexually more daring and exciting. You can do things in cyberspace that you would never do in real offline circumstances. The interactivity of cyberspace fosters a crucial aspect of romantic relationships: reciprocity. Mutual attraction is the most highly valued characteristic in a potential mate—this is true for both sexes. It is easier to express reciprocity in cyberspace, as it requires fewer resources or real actions, and self-disclosure is greater.

Cyberspace is an alternative, available environment providing people with easy access to many available and desired options. It is easy and not costly to reach desired partners and easy to perform desired actions. It is easier to find romantic partners in cyberspace than at bars, shopping malls, or supermarkets. Cyberspace is also highly available in the sense that it is highly accessible. One does not have to do much or invest significant resources in order to step into this imaginative paradise. Millions of people are eagerly waiting for you on the Net every moment of the day. They are available and it is easy to find them. (You must remember, however, that, as is true in offline life, most of those people will not suit or interest you.) Cyberspace is more dynamic, unstable, and exciting than offline circumstances.

The anonymity and distance associated with online relationship reduce the risks of such activities; accordingly, people feel safer and freer to act according to their desires. In offline circumstances, the fear of harmful consequences is one of the major obstacles to conducting many romantic affairs and to significant self-disclosure in those that are conducted. Because of the greater sense of security, self-disclosure is also more prevalent in cyberspace—this in turn increases intimacy and, accordingly, the seductiveness of online relationships is further enhanced.

The above features of cyberspace increase the lure of the Net and make people feel more excited, comfortable, free, and safe while engaging in an online romantic affair. A woman notes: “I experienced cybersex for the first time and I have never been so turned on in my life! It gave birth to and brought out my ‘animal.’ We reveled in fantasyland. It was a constant daily fever—what a rush (cited in the book). It has been claimed that cyberspace enables one to have more sex, better sex, and different sex. Since many moral and practical constraints are lifted in the Net, people can more easily make sexual contacts when and with whom they want. Cybersex can be more intense, relaxed, and satisfactory—it may also be conducted with people who are not available for offline sexual activities.

A significant advantage of cyberspace is that it is different: it provides desirable situations over and above those found in offline circumstances. It is not an advantage however, if people are unable to draw the lines between online and offline worlds. Blurring the lines is dangerous as it abolishes the advantages of each world. Learning to live within two worlds is difficult as well. The price of the greater freedom available online is the risk of being captured by your own desire. As the Eagles put it in their “Hotel California”: “we are all just prisoners here of our own device.” Cyberspace should complement, rather than substitute for, offline life. Accordingly, people should be moderate in their use of the Internet; thus, they might limit the amount of time they spend online. In light of the great lure of cyberspace, such limitation is hard to achieve as the risk of sliding down the slippery slope is so high.

Author Bio

Aaron Ben-Zeév is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Haifa and former President of the University (2004 – 2012). He is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the study of emotions and romantic love. He is completing now a book on Romantic Compromises. His major books are The Subtlety of Emotions (MIT, 2000), Love Online: Emotions on the Internet (Cambridge UP, 2004), In The Name of Love: Romantic ideology and its victims (With R. Goussinsky, Oxford UP, 2008).

He has a blog on love in Psychology Today:

Aaron Ben-Zeév‘s Books Cover  :



Guest Post by Stephen Wetta: How I Came To Write If Jack’s in Love

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013


Guest Post by Stephen Wetta

Many have asked me how I came to write If Jack’s in Love. The truth is, I can’t remember. My usual practice, when I am not at work on a new novel, is to sit in front of a blank screen, write a sentence or two and hope something will develop. Most often nothing comes of it: an uninspiring character, a scene that flares and dies, a belabored attempt at wit and voice. One day in 2005, while I was living in Astoria (NYC), I typed out, “I think I belonged to the last generation of kids to play outside.” I don’t remember the day but I do remember the sentence. I had an idea, I believe, of evoking the enticements of a southern boyhood in 1967—Otis Redding and pot smoke and desegregation.

I was feeling nostalgic, although it’s not typical of me. Childhood is a wretched time. Childhood is a jailhouse of being young and dependent. If childhood is paradisal, it’s a paradise built on the dream of escape. The evocative associations we carry into our adult lives, the sweet smells, songs and love-feelings that torment us with loss and dashed hopes, are based on the romantic excitement we had, as children, every time we dreamed of not being children.


I’m not immune to the longing for a time and place I couldn’t wait to get away from. In memory the sunshine in 1967 was brighter and trippier, the people more loving, the music more momentous. That doesn’t mean the social world I lived in was one jot less brutal than now. I was a cracker. My family was on the poor side. My parents worried about paying the bills. And yet my father, having been successfully indoctrinated by Louisiana seminarians, insisted on sending me to a relatively expensive Catholic grade school. That was good. I never realized, hanging around with the sons and daughters of doctors and attorneys, that we were poor. We just lived in a small house.

Not everyone was so lucky. I knew kids who were reminded every day of their lives that they were trash. It wasn’t upper-class people who reminded them. People who are well off can afford liberality and kindness. Tolerance is easy when you’re insulated from the scorn that comes of not having money and social status. The worst tormentors of the poor are those who are slightly less poor. The slightly less poor are compelled to distance themselves from the poor and to reinforce it on a daily basis. Woe to the trash family in a lower-middle-class neighborhood.


That is Jack’s situation. Poor Jack. He’s a sweet, smart kid but he’s trash. Old friends I grew up with, looking back through their own nostalgic haze of memory, have told me that I am Jack, that Jack is I. I bristle at the suggestion. To this day I don’t want anyone assuming that I was trash. Sweet and smart, fine. I really did have that side to me. But I was a mean little bastard. If you subtract my meanness, you might get Jack. Still, I wasn’t any less ruthless to Jack’s real-life counterparts than any of the others.


1967 was an egalitarian time for kids of my generation. All you had to do was grow your hair and you belonged. The barriers of race and class were blown away by Jimi Hendrix’s guitar. We were all on the same bus. Going to the same park. Dancing the same dance. What a sweet and powerful dream. And what a dream.


Author Bio:

Stephen Wetta has a Ph.D. from New York University and teaches at Hunter College in Manhattan. If Jack’s in Love, his first novel, won the 2011 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction.


Groundbreaking Books Written By Popular Celebrities

Friday, May 17th, 2013

 Author : Sherry Helms

It’s human nature to be curious about something which is unrevealed, concealed or not so known. And when it comes to the lifestyle, behind the scene stories and incidents involving a celebrity, it definitely sparks curiosity in most of us. In the dusk of their career, many celebrities resort to penning down the chronology of important, not so important, private, controversial, unrevealed episodes of their lives. Some of these novels or autobiographies are lost in obscurity while some of these become bestsellers.

Here is a list of a few popular autobiographies of celebrities, you may consider reading:

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

By Barrack Obama

One of the most influential and compelling voices in American Politics, Barack Obama wrote an impressible and unsentimental autobiography. This powerfully affecting memoir is a refreshing, revealing portrait of the son of a black African father and a white American mother asking the major questions about identity and belonging. A major political leader retraces the struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the small African village of Alego, departure of his father from Hawaii when he was just two, and his own awakening to the uncertainties and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Few men could compare to Benjamin Franklin. Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history. Written initially to guide his son, Franklin’s autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life. Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature, one to inspire and delight readers everywhere.


Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?

by Steven Tyler

This is a refreshing, never-before-told memoir of a prolific frontman, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and all around megastar legend Steve Tyler. In this addictively readable memoir, told in the sharp-edged, poetic voice that is uniquely his own, the son of a classical pianist- Tyler unabashedly recounts the unimaginable highs and unbelievable lows of Aerosmith over the last three decades and riffs on the music that gives it all meaning. This most outrageous rock n’ roll autobiography comprises all the unexpurgated, head-spinning tales of debauchery, sex and drugs and chemical dependence you will ever want to hear.


Miles to Go

by Miley Cyrus

New York Times Children’s bestselling book, Miles to go is the autobiography of a nutty-sex-crazed-teenager- Miley Cyrus in which she discusses her relationship with her parents, classmates, friends, her future aims,  her love life, and milestones she still to reach in her life.  This is a truly inspiring story of a girl who was a virtual unknown three years ago and how she grew up to superstardom. As such, the memoir is little more than a couple hundred pages of how hard she has had to work and how cooperative her family members have been, with the real truth about rumors in her life thrown in to validate the paper the contract was written on. 


A Journey: My Political Life

by Tony Blair

A journey is a remarkably gripping political memoir by one of the most dynamic and controversial leaders of modern times- Tony Blair providing an unprecedented glimpse into his life experiences as Prime minister. Here, for the first time, young, charismatic and complex Prime Minister Tony Blair recounts his role in shaping the nation, from the repercussions of the death of Princess Diana to the war on terror. Grippingly candid and deeply intimate, A Journey is filled with amazing revelations about Blair’s close friendship with world leaders, including George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.


Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson

This is a riveting autobiography of a polymath- Thomas Jefferson. In this fascinating autobiography, he details many of the events that shaped Jefferson’s personal philosophy and would intimately define his political career. This book allows the readers to step into the shoes of the author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States and is a great pick for anyone interested in the life and ideals of one of America s most influential Founding Fathers.


First Step 2 Forever: My Story

by Justin Bieber

In this autobiography book, world’s hottest Pop Star- Justin Bieber tells the story of his amazing journey from small-town schoolboy to global superstar. Gorgeously designed and full up of exclusive unseen pictures of Justin on and off stage, information about his connection with Usher and the My World Tour, plus private captured moments, the amazing story of Justin’s phenomenal rise to superstardom is a must-have for any true fan.


Browse through for getting all the above mentioned autobiography books, and to search for more Books on this genre.


Historical Fictions Recommended By Bibliophiles

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Author : Sherry Helms

If anyone is interested to learn about history in an enjoyable way, historical fiction novel may be just a right choice.  It is true that a deftly written historical novel along with humor herein is sure to be a big hit with historical fiction fans. Yesterday, we asked our readers to nominate their favorite historical fiction novel through a question we posted on our Facebook Page Wall and we got about some really good titles. Have a look:


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This is really a great historical masterpiece by Ken Follett set in medieval England. This mammoth novel tells the story of a pious and resourceful monk- Father Philip, determined to construct the greatest Gothic Cathedral the earth has known, allied with architect Tom. It is really a spellbinding epic tale that depicts the life and times of the set against the sprawling medieval canvas of 21th century England in a very genuine way, nothing is romanticised. This historical novel was nominated into the top 100 of Britain’s best-loved books in the BBC’s the Big Read.


11/22/63 A Novel by Stephen King

The master of Pen Stephen King has written such an extraordinary novel that is built around a well-used SF trope, the portal to the past that Jake Epping- a high school English teacher- is shown in the back of an aluminum diner is only the launch mechanism for this fantastic journey. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a horrible and enchanting piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Heresy by S.J. Parris

Set in 1583 against a background of religious-political intrigue and barbaric judicial retaliations, Parris’s gripping historical debut novel centers on fugitive Italian monk Giordano Bruno who arrives in London by the inquisition of his belief in a Copernican theory of infinite universe. Assisted by the charismatic soldier and English Courtier, Sir Philip Sidney, the determined Bruno runs away to more tolerant Protestant England, Where Queen Elizabeth I and her spymaster provides added protection. But when his undercover mission is dramatically thrown off course by a series of gruesome homicide and the charms of a strange but gorgeous young lady, he realizes that somewhere within Oxford’s private chambers lurks a cruel murderer.


The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl. In this one, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.  This is a truly exciting and spellbinding story of the daughters of the man known as the Kingmaker, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most influential magnate in 15th century England. In the absence of a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel, as pawns in his political games. And they grow up to be influential players in their own right. This piece of historical fiction by Philippa Gregory is written beautifully, and the characters are so well structured, it feels like you are watching a film as you read it. Moreover, the family relationships, issues, court intrigue, politics and fallacy weaved in magically is the perfect mixture for this novel.

We wish to intensify this list, so readers, please do share and comment your favorite historical fiction in the comment section below. Also, if you are among those who are in need of these types of books, you can have copies of them from  

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