Aurelia and the Enemies of Pity (Author Interview)

Aurelia and the Enemies of Pity looks like an exciting fantasy story.  Can you tell us a little about Aurelia?

She is smart, curious, and fearless. Aurelia always wears her heart on her sleeve. She will fight and die if it means saving the people she loves. She is a social outcast because she can see through the power structures designed to keep people in line. Aurelia would rather spend her day in a library than go to a party. At the same time, I think she has a lot of character depth that allows various people to connect with her. She can see the world from many points of view and doesn’t judge people for their differences.


How many books do you have planned for the series?

 I am currently working on book two, with hopes for a third book. Everyone loves a good trilogy.

How long did it take you to write Aurelia and the Enemies of Pity?

A little over three years.


What inspired you when writing Aurelia and the Enemies of Pity?

 I wish I had a cool answer for this. The truth is a lot of things inspired me. I spent several months living on Fort Sam in Texas. While I was there, I saw a lot of wounded veterans and watched their struggles and triumphs. Being there will change your view on a lot of things. I also love Historical European Martial Arts. I teach sword fighting and enjoyed incorporating a lot of that into my books.    

What will readers get out of your book?

Hopefully, they will get to go on a fantastic journey. I tried to create a book that is an experience rather than a book you merely read.


How did you come up with the story in Aurelia and the Enemies of Pity?

I don’t know. The story wrote itself. I took a bunch of different things from history and life experiences. Then I combined them into a story that I enjoyed reading.

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing?

 I wanted to create a beautiful piece of art and not just another bland fantasy story about dragons and senile wizards. I reworked the book at least fifteen times in the process.


What do you like to do when not writing?

Sword fighting and spending time with my wife and dogs.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

Please stay up to date by following my author page on Amazon or find me on Facebook.









JAJA: King of Opobo (Nigeria Heritage Series) (Author Interview)

The Nigeria Heritage Series looks like an exciting children’s series.  Can you tell us a little about them?

The Nigeria Heritage Series is a collection of beautifully-illustrated children’s books on Nigerian history, heroes, heritage, myths, legends and folklore. Nigeria is a very ethnically-diverse country so you can imagine we had a treasure trove of characters and subjects to pick from while developing the series. The first 21 books published in the series are culled from various regions of the country. We have legendary Northern heroes like the famous warrior Queen Amina, Bayajidda, Uthman Dan Fodio and others, as well as reverered iconic Southern figures like Jaja of Opobo, Samuel Ajayi Crowther…and the seldom-celebrated anti-slavery hero Olaudah Equiano who worked alongside William Wilberforce to abolish the evil trade in humans.

Though the series delves into fairly serious subject matters at times, all stories are intentionally crafted for the excitement, entertainment and education of a younger audience.


Any more books planned for the series?

We’re currently at 21 stories and we’re just getting warmed up. About two dozen more books are currently at various stages of development and we probably won’t stop till we hit 100. Or maybe more. We’ll see how things progress. All the storybooks also have colouring activity books to complement them.


How were the illustrations done in the Nigeria Heritage Series?

We’re blessed with a very creative team of illustrators led by Adams Gbolahan. They bring the magic to life through vibrant colours and interesting character designs. The project would be nowehere without them.


What inspired you when writing the Nigeria Heritage Series?   

Growing up as kids in Africa, we basically watch the same content as kids in America and elsewhere. Disney cartoons, Cartoon Network and the likes. We didn’t see anything wrong with all the Cindarella stories or Snow White and stuff as kids, but as grown ups we realized rather belatedly that we needed to develop our own stories into globally syndicated formats as well. We have Nigerian and African kids allover the world who can recite the entire Norse mythology around Thor, but can tell you nothing of Sango – a Yoruba god of thunder with a very similar story to Thor’s. Basically, our inspiration was to preserve and celebrate our rich cultural heritage. Cos nobody would do it for us.


What will readers get out of your books?

All our titles are deliberately designed around very lofty themes: integrity, sacrifice, bravery, community, honour, tolerance and selflessness. In a generation where such values and ideals are fast becoming rare, we believe the series is a timely intervention to help shape the characters of Africa’s future leaders.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

All our titles are available across the world through Amazon’s global network.

We have paperbacks, eBooks, and paperback colouring activity books on all Amazon sites.

We also have premium hardcover boxsets available on order through our website


We’d like to specially mention our charity initiative: Reading Against Intolerance. We launched this early in 2021, and it basically entails gifting sponsored copies of the series to school kids across different parts of Nigeria. This project was inspired by a recent wave in hateful ethno-religious politics, which threatened the peaceful development of Nigeria. We figured that if we could get kids learning about heroes and inspirational figures from other parts of the country beyond their regions, we could inplant some seeds of empathy in them; as they learn about the histories and cultures of others. We may have different names, tribes, religions and all, but at our core we all share the same timeless human values. 


My LinkedIn Profile:
Our website:
Amazon link to Series:
Social handles: 234express (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
RAI Project Facebook Page:





Tales From the Bookcase: Constance (Author Interview)

Constance looks like an exciting romance story.  Can you tell us a little about Connie Dalton?

Connie comes from a family where her father was an abuser. When she turned 18, she left home and joined the Australian Arny where she rose to the rank of Warrant Officer. She was in the Middle East as part of an Australian Peace-keeping Force during what became known as the Reprisals. A global holocaust. Country against country. Family against family.

When the Reprisals finally ended in 2036, and Connie had  completed 20 years service all she wanted to do was read books about women like herself. BBW. When she couldn't find any she followed her Army training. If you can't find what you want, build it yourself. And so her bookstore, The Bookcase came into being.

How long did it take you to write Constance?

It's only a fairly short story. It only took about a week to actually write the story. But the planning and creation or visualisation of the Reprisals and what caused them plus doing the same for the concept of (land) Resumes by the Government and Wannon Rise Resune by a friend and fellow writer took months.

I will be ever grateful that my friend allowed me to base my stories in his creation.  It took me quite a while to get my head around what my friend had visualised then plan my own stories to fit into that fictional landscape.


What inspired you when writing Constance?   

It was my writer friend's creation actually. He started creating the fictional world almost a year before most of Australia was locked down when Covid arrived in early 2020.

There was a lot of global unrest beginning at the same time. So for my friend it was an association of ideas. The recent events in Afghanistan has made the concept of the Reprisals more real, I think.


You have an expansive collection of books.  When did you decide to become a writer?

I started reading when I was a young girl. My father was an Engineer who worked on the Australian Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Scheme. Radio reception at that time was patchy where I lived and it was years before TV came to Australia.

When Covid came in 2020,  going to work was impossible so I retired. Because I was an avid reader I joined a small online group to talk about books over virtual coffees. Out of those chats one of us suggested we try writing our own stories. Some us did.


What motivated you to become a writer?

I love to read. Romances mostly. But anything really. Being locked down due to Covid was hard. I looked for something to keep my mind active. I'm not young.  Playing active competitive sport was out of the question. We were only allowed out for an hour a day for exercise so running marathons wasn't an option either. Ha! Me running marathons? Don't make me laugh.

When our online virtual coffee book discussions brought up writing my own stories, I thought why not?


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Constance?

Yes. The length of the books. And writing books in series. Writing my own books started out as a bit of a giggle. Something to do. While I enjoy reading novels, I didn't want to write long books.

When my friend said that I could use his fictional world he told me he was going to stick to writing shorter stories. Novellas probably. He wanted to write lots of books and leave them behind as his legacy.

I liked his idea. So I decided to write shorter stories myself.

As for series, what better place to start than using a bookstore as it's focus.


What do you like to do when not writing?

I like to dabble as a painter. Before Covid I went to art classes. That ended with Covid, but when I can and want to switch off from the world, I do some work on my latest project. Usually landscapes. I did try painting portraits but I need my painting tutor looking over my shoulder for that.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

My books are available on Amazon Kindle and through Draft2Digital to booksellers like Kobo and Barnes & Noble among many. There are even a few libraries that have them.

I do offer a free copy of my first book in my Tales From the Bookcase series on my website:

I also send out short emails telling my subscribers about my books and what I'm thinking of writing next.





Collected Piano Works (Author Interview)


Collected Piano Works looks like a fantastic compilation.  How many volumes are planned?

At the time of this writing, a second 250+ page volume of my compositions for piano is in the works that I plan on releasing for publication sometime in the very near future (most probably in October, 2021). I have written enough solo piano pieces for a third volume but that will take considerably more time to put together, as it will require significant edits and revisions to bring it to full fruition. Before doing that, however, I plan on releasing a sizeable volume of my chamber works for strings and piano that will include works for violin & piano, viola & piano, cello & piano, piano trio, string trio, string duo, and short works for string quartet. Other projects on the horizon include collections of songs (Lieder for voice and piano), a cappella vocal works, and vocal chamber works, a collection of text pieces for narrator and ad hoc variable ensembles, two ginormous string quartets (one of which is among the most ambitious by any composer of my generation), miscellaneous chamber works, orchestral pieces, and graphic scores, among other things.

After having found myself in a level one evacuation zone in the Portland, Oregon metro area last September (in 2020) due to impending conflagrations and dangerously toxic smoke, it hit me hard how important it is as a composer to safely preserve one’s legacy lest all one’s manuscripts be burnt in a firestorm, drowned in a flood, destroyed by an earthquake, hit by a meteorite, or whatever. There is an almost universal fear among composers (especially by freelancers such as myself who have no institutional affiliations) that musically illiterate members of estate committees will, like as not, be singularly predisposed to consign priceless manuscripts to the dust bin for no other reason than their having no immediate discernible monetary value once their artistic creator is deceased (it may not matter whether the composer in question has any next of kin, for it would be preposterous to assume that they would give a flying toss, especially if they’re not musicians themselves). I’ve heard horror stories about monumental masterpieces written by obscure and/or unknown composers being tossed into the garbage once their authors kick the bucket. Yikes!


How long did it take you to write/complete Collected Piano Works?

The works contained in this volume span the last three decades of the twentieth century to the present year (2021), the newest piece having been written in memory of the late composer/pianist Frederic Rzewski (1938-2021) who passed away on June 26, 2021.


Pressurized For Greatness (Author Interview)

Pressurized for Greatness looks like a powerful personal story.  Can you tell us a little about it?

My book is about the truths that I have learned from the pressures of life.  We must Deal to Heal.

God has a plan. God’s Grace is sufficient. Pressure is a part of living. We are responsible for our healing not our trauma.  Everything that happens to us is not our fault but how we respond is our responsibility. Our response is our responsibility.


How long did it take you to write Pressurized for Greatness?

I started writing the book ten years ago.  I wrote the book over the course of a few months.


That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us a little about it?

The cover has a picture of coal and diamonds.  The cover speaks to how pressure applied to coal produces diamonds. Like the diamond, we will face pressure. Pressure is a part of life. It is an essential part of life. The pressure is necessary for greatness to come forth. Diamonds have immense value. We are more valuable to God than those precious gems, and God uses pressure to strengthen, purify, and build us up.


What will readers get out of your book?

1.      Pressure is a part of life, so we will experience pressure just by virtue of being alive (John 16:33)

2.      Greatness resides on the inside of you but it needs to be developed (Matt 23:11)

3.      Your life matters to God and God has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11)


When did you decide to become a writer?

I discovered I had the gift of writing when I shared my story with people and people would tell me “I should write a book”. So I did, I wrote this book.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Pressurized for Greatness?

I had to really dig deep to remember the trauma I went through. But I also had to remember how God delivered me from the pain of the trauma. I wrote this book to not only share my backstory to unlocking my greatness, but also to encourage and empower people to recognize greatness comes from pressure. It is through my faith in Jesus Christ that I realized in pressured times that greatness resided inside of me and the pressure was a part of the process. The grace of God kept me. I want you to know that greatness resides in you. There is grace for tomorrow.

What do you like to do when not writing?

I like to travel, sightseeing, cook, visit new restaurants, and learn new things.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

Readers can find more of my work on


Toltec Lord of Tula (Author Interview)

 Toltec Lord of Tula looks like a great book.  Can you tell us a little about it?

There once was a man, who was considered the wisest, and most heroic figure of the people of the valley of Anahuac, the valley of Mexico. He was known as a Tlamatini, one who knows and teaches, as if a flame of light, but without smoke.

His story was so important, that his teachings were taught in the schools, both the calmecac and telpochcalli, of the ancient city states of Mexico. His life was performed as a play for over three hundred years, before the coming of Cortez. His name IN THE Nahual language was Ce Acatl Topiltzin, or One Reed – Our Dear Prince.

One Reed was the ruler of the Toltec people. He would bring back the ancient wisdom, and crafts of the people of Teotihuacan, after its fall.

If you wish to go on a journey, following in the steps of One Reed, as he leaves Tepotzlan, traveling to the ancient religious center of Xochicalco, then rallying the people of Anahuac, to end the rule of Zoltan, who would enslave and oppress the people, then you may wish to read this story. Read on as One Reed, he sits in mediation, in the mountains of Michoacán, surrounded by butterflies, as he completes his final teachings with the Quetzalcoatl of Xochicalco, by a mind link.

I spent years doing the research, then finally sat down and wrote the play. I wrote the play to be performed in the South West, and in Mexico. The play is available in both English and Spanish. And recently I had it translated to Nauhal, the native language, of the people of Mexico.


How long did it take you to write Toltec Lord of Tula?

Five years of research and one year to write the play, then the noval.


What inspired you when writing Toltec Lord of Tula?  

I realized that is was that One Read was the greatest cultural hero of Mesoamerica, and that this story needed to be told.


Would readers of The Four Agreements enjoy your book?

Yes. The book covers many of the words of wisdom, that came down from the Olmec, to the people of Anahuac, the great valley of Mexico, including the Toltec.


What will readers get out of your book?

A great story. If they open their minds to a new awareness, they will awaken to the true nature of our reality.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Toltec Lord of Tula?

Truly understanding the wisdom, and the truth that there is a certain illusionary nation to what we believe is real.


Can you tell us a little about your background?

Studied ancient beliefs, religions, and years of meditation. In a work a day world, I worked as a tax consultant, real estate and mortgage loan broker. And a whole lot of other things.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

I am building web sites, that are lised in the back of my books. One of the primary web sites will be That site will be changed by early 2021. Now it mostly shows Mexican American medal of honor winners.




Heavy (Author Interview)

Heavy looks like an exciting litRPG fantasy story.  Can you tell us a little about Terrence?

Terrence is the main character throughout the series. He is inexperienced, but open to learning new things and training to reach his goals. He has always wanted to be a Dungeoneer, but his family has sheltered him his whole life so he isn’t 100% sure what that really means until he leaves his small town and starts his adventure.


The Weight of It All series has three complete books.  Any plans for more?     

I’ve just finished the fourth book in the series, which is currently with a new editor and should be releasing October 8th if all goes well! The fourth is what I believe to be the best book in the series and really showcases a lot of what I’ve been setting up for since Book 1. Book 4 ends what I would call the first ‘arc’ in the series. The next arc is just as important, but I plan to finish it within 2 books. As such, the series should end with book 6!


How long did it take you to write Heavy and complete the series?

Heavy was the first story I’d ever written and it came to me rather quickly once I’d started writing. For a long time I’d been thinking about how I might write a story: the theme, the plot, the characters, etc. When I finally came up with something I felt would work, writing itself went rather smoothly. From start to finish, the first book was completed within 6 weeks.

Since I wrote it so quickly, I then made several mistakes in putting it out. I was so excited to have written something (finally!) that I didn’t spend any money to edit it properly or have people provide feedback. I was so anxious to have people read the series, and so worried that I wouldn’t make any money on it, that I didn’t pay an editor for book 1 until I’d finished book 2… Book 1 also ends without any major conflict, so many people felt it ended rather abruptly. Book 2 corrected several of my mistakes, and Book 3 is the best received in the series so far, but it’s been a process.

Despite my own mistakes, I’m still very proud of the series as a whole and people have been enjoying the books.


That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us a little about it?

The series follows two main characters: Terrence, the young boy trying to become a Dungeoneer and Tom, the more experienced Dungeoneer who is on a trip to a Dungeon in the north with his team. Tom is Terrence’s Uncle.

Each cover shows either Tom or Terrence in a scene from the book. Book 1’s cover depicts Tom in his fight with one of the recurring monsters in his storyline, an Alpha Talon.

The covers have been and will all be done by Piere d’Arterie on He has been amazing at translating my ideas into art, so I’m forever grateful to him. He is currently working on the covers for Book 5 and 6, which I am just as excited about.


Bentley Learns to Share

Barnes and Noble

This is Kathy Bryan's first published children's book. She has two grown children that she raised on her own. When her daughter was young, she would make up stories for bed time. This is the first book she wrote down. This story was inspired by her greedy dog, Bentley, she wrote this story for her granddaughter to express the importance of friendship over toys. Kathy is a medical coder, lives and works at home in Riverside, CA. She is currently working on her the sequel to Bentley learns to share.


Bentley Gets Lost

Barnes and Noble

Bentley and his best friend Hachi go to the lake to spend the day. Bentley gets lost and can't find his way to the parking lot. Some friendly animals try to help him, but he is rude to them and refuses to accept their help because they are not dogs. Bentley later reunites with Hachi and learns a valuable lesson on how to treat others. Bentley later says he had a good time at the lake even though he got lost.


Making sense of the future: How to thrive on the trends that transform the world (Author Interview)

Making Sense of the Future looks like a great guide to the ever changing future of business.  What type of reader did you write the book for?      

I wrote the book for anyone who wants to prepare for the future.

Of course, I have no crustal ball, but there are some significant trends, I call them megatrends, that are happening right now. These trends will also define some major events that will take place in the future. Falling cost of renewable energy, aging baby boomers, increasing bandwidth and processing power — these are examples of megatrends. Imperfect as they may be megatrends define some major events that will take place in the future.

The good news is this: if you know the megatrends, you will be in charge. You will be the one to pre-solve problems. You can be the disruptor. My book explain what megatrends are and how to use them to your advantage.

I wrote this book to show how easy it is to prepare for the future. Nothing more, nothing less.

I wanted to share my knowledge on megatrends for two reasons.  One, I know the method works and I want to share with as many as possible. Anyone can learn how to prepare for the future. Second, the world will be a better place if we prepare for what is to come. If you know what is to come, it will be easier to make better decisions. To me this is obvious: you will always want to contribute to improvements for the ones following you. Your kids. The next generations. Preparing for the future is not only about maximizing your own choices. It is as much about doing the things that will benefit the next generation.

I like to think of the book as a hybrid between Hans Rosling, Steven Pinker and Michael Lewis. Making Sense of the Future is a book that combines facts with good stories.

How long did it take you to write Making Sense of the Future?

It took me about a year. I interviewed futurists and experts on the trends that shape the world. I cover lots of trends in the book, and all of them are presented in such a way that anyone would enjoy the book. I spent much time to combine facts with good stories. I wanted to be concrete, so all trends are given a set of recommendations as for how to exploit the trends.

The rise of China and a changing global balance of power. Rapid technology innovation. Climate crisis. Struggling democracies


What will readers get out of your book?

Lots of facts about how the world is changing fast. The reader will earn what thirty-eight global long-term patterns will impact how we live, work, and think over the coming 30 years.

Making Sense of the Future explores such questions: Will the Chinese economy overtake the U.S. and become the world’s largest? Will falling fertility rates lead to the collapse of pension systems? Will robots reduce human employment opportunities? Why is the middle class stagnating in America? How will new technologies affect the social aspects of our lives? And as climate change worsens, how will people cope with rising sea levels and intense drought?

I have also tried to bring out the personal stories of people who have been affected by megatrends. You will hear the personal stories of individuals and how they cope with change. Learn why Indian IT consultant Tanay is so optimistic about the future, while British John is not. And find out why Korean Ye-jun Kim prefers friends and Call of Duty to marriage and kids.


How did you come up with the ideas in Making Sense of the Future?

For the most of my life I have worked as an analyst. And I have loved it. Crunching numbers from big data bases, has in many ways been like Christmas for me. I enjoy gathering critical information from meetings with various stakeholders. I love to produce useful reports for the same stakeholders. The cream of the crop is making presentations to explain difficult concepts. Especially to non-technical users. But there was trouble in paradise.

You see, my impression after those presentations was often one of disappointment. Why were so many managers short-sighted? Why did the longer perspective often seem to lose for short-term benefits? For most, it was always the short-term goals that prevailed. And I mean short time, as in three months. Or a month. It seemed like it was always the next quarterly report that won. A good business case ended in the drawer if it somehow hurt the next quarterly result.  Not only business cases, competitor analysis and trend report went into the drawer. Entire company strategies went into the ever-fuller executive drawer.

Nonetheless, I can understand managers. And I can understand why they rank as they do. It is hard to find the time to work on long-term questions when the house is on fire. When investors focus on the next quarterly results, well, then you focus on what is going on right now. I get it. It is hard to find the time to prepare for the long-term when you are running a business. Still, it is not right. And it is definitely not smart.

So, after 20 years an analyst and manager, I left the corporate world. I started my own business. Today I work with managers, trying to help them take advantage of the trends that will shape the future. Together, we analyze what is coming next. We try to understand and prepare for the future. We take a broad view. We dive into the megatrends that influence the company. We investigate the emerging issues, such as geopolitics, climate change, and energy sources. We find the most relevant trends and analyze how they affect the company’s business model. Through workshops, we help managers look ahead to succeed.

As companies learn to work on trends, so can anyone else. A step-by-step method tested on many companies, will show how to prepare for the future. You see, the same principles that companies use, any person can use. The same goes for organizations, municipalities, cities, and even governments.

The book gives the reader the ability to seeing the future – and to prepare for it.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Making Sense of the Future?

That meant a constant updating of figures used in the book.

Well, there was a constant updating of figures used in the book. Many of the trends I cover in the book were accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. I cover 38 megatrends in the book. The book is full of facts and charts. Of course, in a world that is changing rapidly, providing up to date facts is a constant challenge. Like our adaption of digital technology. Or the growth of e-commerce or flexible working. Or the growth of inequality. When the pandemic hit, many megatrends were accelerated.


Can you tell us a little about your background?

I am a finance manager who have spent the who has spent the last 20 years working on analyzing trends in business and technology. I graduated from St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a major in Political Science. I later took an MBA from HEC in Paris, France. I have lived or studied in 5 countries.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

Visit to learn how you can thrive on the trends that others miss. You will be the first to know when coming books on the trends that shape the future are released. And don’t hesitate to send me an email if there are any trends that you would like to know more about!






The Smartest Person in the Room (Author Interview)

The Smartest Person in the Room looks like an essential guide for modern businesses.  Can you tell us a little about the importance of cybersecurity and what’s covered in the book?

Cybersecurity is one of those things that most of us do not think about until it’s too late. It’s important to understand the true risk with cybersecurity, so leaders can make informed decisions. One of the biggest challenges in cybersecurity is poor communication and egos. The cybersecurity industry attracts highly intelligent people that primarily get their significance from being smarter than other people. This shows up as intellectual bullying, posturing, and kiss-up/kick-down managers. My book addresses this root issue – the real reason why we are losing the cybersecurity war. My book, The Smartest Person in the Room, covers my experience with my own cybersecurity company, Alpine Security, and what I learned and applied with my team. The lessons I learned are centered around removing intellectual bullying and posturing by applying a 7 Step Secure Methodology. This methodology helps improve communication, empathy, teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving.

How long did it take you to write The Smartest Person in the Room?

It took me nearly a year to write the book. I started in February 2020 and finished around December 2020. As I was writing the book, my thoughts on a few topics evolved and I almost got in a trap of wanting to keep updating the book. I avoided this and just figured the new insights I gained could become part of version 2 of The Smartest Person in the Room or a new book.


What inspired you when writing The Smartest Person in the Room?  

I decided in October of 2019 to write the book. I felt like I learned a lot of lessons the hard way and that I had valuable information to contribute. I wanted to help people avoid the same mistakes I made and help us become better leaders of ourselves and others. I also knew that the cybersecurity industry needed to change and rather than sit on the sidelines and complain, I felt it was my duty, as an industry leader, to share my perspective and drive the industry in a positive direction.


What will readers get out of your book?

The book is tangible and practical – not theoretical. The concepts I discuss in the book are things that worked for me and my team. Ultimately, my aim with the book is to shift people from uninformed optimism to informed realism by empowering them with the tools they need to become better human beings. After you read my book, you will be a better human being, so your life will improve in many aspects.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Smartest Person in the Room?

The most challenging part was my realization of how I was a part of the problem in the past – how I was the one intellectually bullying other people and letting my ego get in the way. I also was quite nervous about how the book would be received – I put myself “out there” by being vulnerable, sharing a different perspective, and being authentic. This was challenging for me. The irony is my book is about dissolving your ego, yet my ego was causing me some doubt about the book. Your ego is not your amigo.


Can you tell us a little about your background?

I grew up in poverty in Arkansas. We lived in a small trailer, were on welfare and food stamps, etc. My mother was addicted to prescription medication and eventually overdosed. I worked hard to get out of that environment. My childhood motivated me. I ended up getting a scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy. I graduated from there and did communications and cybersecurity in the military for 6 years. I then separated from active duty military and went on to become a DoD contractor for many years, where I traveled to different military installations to optimize and secure networks. I worked for DHS as well and helped design cyberwarfare scenarios. I then worked in the commercial sector to secure commercial aircraft from hacking – from being hacked while in the air or on the ground. After that, I worked as a freelancer for many years where I traveled the world teaching cybersecurity courses and doing consulting. I started my company, Alpine Security, in 2014 and sold it in 2020. I now work for the parent company, Cerberus Sentinel, as a Managing Director.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

My website:




Pray for Life's Monsters (Author Interview)

How were the illustrations done in Pray for Life’s Monsters?

I collaborated with a phenomenal illustrator. I shared what I envisioned and enabled her to incorporate her creativity with my vision.


What inspired you when writing Pray for Life’s Monsters?   

Life inspired me. We all experienced life on a whole new level during the pandemic. A level that brought on a new set of fears that we all will have to learn how to cope with and overcome to maintain peace, joy, and love.


How did you come up with the story in Pray for Life’s Monsters?

Ever since I was a little girl, I struggled with anxiety. It could have been the most minor thing, but to me, it was huge, and I would worry myself until it went away. One day, Alessa’s story just came to me as I was working through a personal issue. Once the book was published, I was preparing to have surgery. Of course, the anxiety kicked in, but then I remembered the book I just wrote and was reminded to Pray for Life’s Monsters.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Pray for Life’s Monsters?

When you think of a monster, you automatically think of something dark. I did not want my book to be dark. I tried to incorporate comedy within the illustrations, so it was a challenge to create an image that would be both scary and funny simultaneously.


What do you like to do when not writing?

I live in Brooklyn, and I love to pick up my camera, pretend I am a tourist, and take random pictures of people, places, and things.


Where can readers find out more about your work?

The book is available on Amazon right now, and I have another coming out this month. As new stories are published, you will be able to learn about them by following me on Instagram @dr.tarakent or at



He Said It, I Didn’t (Author Interview)

He Said It, I Didnt looks like a great book. Can you tell us a little about it?           

As the subtitle suggests, this is my version of a book report. I read the entire King James Bible, cover to cover, and then wrote my reactions to what I read. I have found in my life that most Christians don’t actually read the Bible. They just read passages and excerpts suggested to them by religious leaders, or what is required by various theological courses. I focussed on the more unknown, unpleasant, and unflattering parts of the Bible. The real ugly stuff. Things that as a person who was raised Catholic, was surprised to see. I should also mention that I am not religious (actually agnostic), and that provided me with the “clarity” to comment honestly about what I was reading. And none of this would be interesting if I didn’t add my secret sauce. Humor. Sarcasm. And irreverence.


How long did it take you to write He Said It, I Didnt?

Well, it took a year for me to read the entire Bible cover to cover. To be honest, I had to take about a three month break because it just really got monotonous at a certain point. But during my break I calculated that if I read just 10 pages a day, I would be finished by the end of the year. And sure enough like a Christmas present, I finished the whole thing on Christmas Day. While I was reading, I would highlight the various passages that I wanted to cover and discuss in my book. Then when I was done I found this website called This site has over 90 “versions” of the Bible available on it, which in and of itself sent quite a message. And it wasn’t just different languages. It was literally some versions said “this” while other versions kind of said “that”.

So once I found the King James Version (which is the most commonly read version in the U.S.) I copied and pasted all the passages that I highlighted into a spreadsheet. I then sorted that sheet in similar themes which became my chapters. Once everything was sorted, I then reread everything I highlighted and just wrote every honest and smart-ass thought that came to my head. That part took about 3-5 months including self editing and things of that nature. The first draft was over 400 pages.


What inspired you when writing He Said It, I Didnt?   

Well, as  mentioned earlier, I’m agnostic. I have no idea how we got here or who put us here, but what I’ve always been sure of is that it’s not that old bearded guy in the Bible. And since most people believe in some sort of higher power, I’ve always had those types of debates/arguments with friends, family, co-workers, etc. And I would usually get the upper hand because logic and reason usually does. One of their normal parting shots would be ask me if I ever read the Bible and I would say no. Then they would say “well if you’ve never actually read it then you can’t really comment on it”. A reasonable position to take, if not a bit thin.

Then one day I came across this “religious group” known as the “Black Israelites” preaching loudly into a megaphone as they normally did at that time on the streets of N.Y. I stopped to listen only because I found them quite entertained with their pseudo Islamic garbs and threats of violence to the nonbelievers who were watching. I found them so entertaining in fact that I decided to film a documentary on them and started shooting some test footage during one of their street rants.

I quickly realized however that while their religious interpretations may sound crazy, they knew their Bible. And I would have to tighten up my biblical knowledge myself to be an adequate documenter of this subject. So I decided to read some of the Bible and I started of course at the beginning, Genesis. Well before I could even finish Genesis I was astounded at what I was reading. Astounded as in, it was so totally unbelievable. I thought to myself, “does anyone else know this is in here?”. And at that moment I decided to put the documentary on the back burner and write my book because I felt that people needed to know what was actually in the book that was governing most of their lives.

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