Four More Words (Author Interview)

1.     What inspired you to write a love story set against the backdrop of academia and anthropology? How do you think Christine's career shapes her as a character?

-I chose a romance novel with characters that are deeply academic because I wanted their conversations to be wrapped in a shared love for education. It shapes the way they behave and influences the way they speak to each other. Christine’s background in anthropology makes her see the world in a different way than the average person would. She’s more aware of the behaviors and connections between people. She’s better at observing and analyzing her family and friends and even Declan. She sometimes wishes she wasn’t so good at reading people because she is more aware of peoples’ behavior and motives, even when she doesn’t want to know what they’re thinking.

2.      The book starts with Christine slipping on ice. How does this seemingly minor incident act as a catalyst for the story that unfolds?

-Christine slipping and hitting her head on the ice connects her to Declan instantly because not only does he carry her off to safety, but he has experienced similar head injuries in his past. Throughout the story, head injuries seem to pull Christine and Declan toward each other.

3.     Declan Price is introduced as the best friend of Christine's twin brothers. What made you decide on this particular relationship dynamic between him and Christine?

-I chose to have Declan in Christine’s past as her twin brothers’ best friend because I wanted Declan to have reasons to be around Christine even when she doesn’t want to be around him. I also wanted them to have a history that connects their lives.


4.     Your book delves into the conflicts of career vs. love. How did you approach writing about such a deeply personal and often divisive issue?

-It was easy to write about Christine’s determination to focus on her career in anthropology because she’s never been in a relationship before. She doesn’t personally know how impactful a relationship can be. To her, relationships are a complication because that’s all she’s known. Her parents divorced when she was younger, so a relationship seems more like baggage than romance. But Declan inserts himself into her life and relates with her through their similarities. He loves linguistics and culture, just like she is intrigued by cultural anthropology. Their careers bring them together and Declan is able to show her that a relationship can be just as important as a career. And if she lets him in, she’ll see that love can become more important than a career.


Quick Start Guide (Author Interview)

What inspired you to write the "QUICK START GUIDE: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery"? Was there a personal experience or a particular observation that motivated you?

I’ve worked as a holistic coach and YouTuber in the field of narcissistic abuse recovery for several years after I was finally able to crack the code of these experiences in my own life. In 2017, I wrote a comprehensive book on the stages of the recovery process. I recently realized that a mini book for beginners would be really helpful during the early phases of recovery, right after a person discovers that they’re in a psychologically abusive relationship—what we also call narcissistic abuse. Nowadays, there’s a lot of important information out there on narcissistic abuse, and that’s great. However, it’s common to fall into the paralysis of informational overload. Initially, there’s so much confusion and overwhelm, as well as an urgent desire to get better. People can get stuck spinning there without knowing how to begin the process and start taking action forward. In addition, sometimes people think they’re doing the work to get better, but they’re missing a key component so they feel frustrated that they’re stuck where they are. That’s why this mini book contains only what a person most needs during those key, early moments—the three most essential first steps to take in order to start moving forward on the recovery journey.

Why do you believe that many individuals who are aware of narcissistic abuse still fall into repetition cycles of toxic relationships?

It’s very common for people to feel an initial relief upon discovering information about narcissistic abuse and other toxic relational dynamics. That sense of validation is often mistaken as healing or empowerment. We often hear “knowledge is power” but that’s only partly true. Knowledge is important and it is potential power. Yet it only becomes true power when it’s put into action through the choices we make. Many people get stuck in the informational stage without taking new action, so they inevitably end up back with the prior abuser or in another relationship or situation with a new abuser due to the unresolved trauma. The trauma is frozen in the body and subconscious mind, which is why a person can consciously know a lot about narcissistic abuse yet still keep falling into these toxic relationships.

 The "Mental Ninja Mindset" is mentioned as a foundation for success in recovery. Could you elaborate on what this mindset entails and why it's so important?

I call it the Mental Ninja Mindset because it’s a state of mind that is helpful for a person to overcome the intense psychological warfare that they have experienced through narcissistic abuse. The continual abuse over time weakens mental strength, self-discipline, focus, clarity, self-esteem and critical-thinking skills. A person becomes so exhausted and depleted that they can barely get out of bed or function in the world. They no longer believe they have any control over their life. The abuse programming locks a person in lower states of consciousness where they are shut down, dissociated and defensive. Over time, this develops into learned helplessness. In that state, a person believes that there’s no way out of their predicament and they can’t transform their life. They’re unable to process new information or access higher states of consciousness such as insight, intuition, imagination, and creativity. The Mental Ninja Mindset teaches people how to start shifting their mental state—approaching the healing journey one step at a time—in order to get out of the inertia of the learned helplessness.


Indispensable Fundamentals: for building successful startups (Author Interview)

  1. What inspired you to write "Indispensable Fundamentals"? Do you believe there is a gap in the market for this type of guidance?

"In recent years, there's been a surge in efforts to promote entrepreneurship, both by public and private institutions. While these initiatives are excellent for fostering innovation and employment, they often gloss over the gritty realities of the entrepreneurial journey. This can leave new entrepreneurs ill-prepared for the challenges they'll inevitably face.

I wrote 'Indispensable Fundamentals' to bridge this gap. With experience from six start-ups, collaborations with 11 co-founders, and backing from 15 diverse investors, I've navigated the highs and lows of entrepreneurship for over two decades. My book aims to equip first-time entrepreneurs with the practical tools and the right mindset, grounded both in real-world experience and academic theory, to build successful start-ups."

  1. The first chapter discusses the crossroads between entrepreneurship and a traditional career. Can you share a personal experience or observation that led you to start the book with this topic?

"Interestingly, I've only ever been a full-time employee for two months, but that brief experience was enough to give me a firsthand look at the stark differences between entrepreneurship and traditional employment. I quickly realized that neither path is inherently superior; rather, they complement each other, creating a synergy that can benefit an organization as a whole. Each demands a unique set of skills, approaches, and most importantly, mindsets. However, one should know himself/herself first and then find out which choice is best for him/her.

To illuminate these differences, I chose to start the book with an analogy between Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo, the god of reason and logic, represents the structured, predictable world of traditional employment. Dionysus, the god of wine and celebration, embodies the chaotic, creative spirit of entrepreneurship. This analogy serves as a lens through which readers can better understand the distinct challenges and rewards each path offers."

  1. In "Achieving an Entrepreneurial Mindset," what would you say are the top three traits or habits entrepreneurs must cultivate?

I can tell 5 of them. The top habits that entrepreneurs must cultivate are:

1.       Relentless Passion: A fervor for innovative problem-solving.

2.       Team Building: High energy to attract skilled people, inspire and lead a strong team.

3.       Disciplined Perseverance: Consistent focus and effort.

4.       Balanced Optimism: Realistic risk management through proactive planning.

5.       Psychological Mastery: Managing one's own and others' emotional states."


Calculating Your Grit Quotient (GQ): As Reported by Artificial Intelligence (Author Interview)

Tell a little about yourself as the author of Calculating Your Grit Quotient (GQ): As Reported by Artificial Intelligence.

My name is Tom Lough. I was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. After ten years in the US Army, I began a teaching career that spanned high school, college, and university courses, as well as international science teacher workshops. During that time, learned a lot about human nature, picking up a PhD in Educational Psychology along the way.

I have always been intrigued by the ability of one’s attitude to make a difference in one’s achievements. I became aware of this personally in my training for the Olympic trials in modern pentathlon and had been looking for a way to condense this awareness into a single concept or approach. The idea of grit came along at just the right time.

I have also done a bit of writing and learned recently about the availability of artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as ChatGPT to influence, augment, or replace the efforts of writers in many fields. I became curious about AI’s potential and began exploring its abilities. From that effort, the GQ book emerged.

Actually, I’m more of the publisher rather than the author of the GQ book. I leaned heavily on AI to provide most of the content, as I will tell you about in a moment.


What was the inspiration behind using AI to write a book about the Grit Quotient?

For several years, I have followed the grit research and reporting of Angela Duckworth. As a West Point graduate, I was interested to learn that her initial research and findings were developed at the academy. As a member of the 1968 US Olympic Team, I realized the key role that grit played in becoming an Olympian. In short, I became a kind of cheerleader and advocate for her work.

Recently, I had been exploring the potential of the convergence of AI and the just-in-time publishing system of Amazon to transform how the printed/published word could be developed and shared around the world. As part of that exploration, I developed a series of books available on Amazon as examples of how this might come about. See

Then I realized that AI could also serve as a catalyst of sorts to help readers learn about some topics in a more personalized or individualized way. Because the topic of grit was so significant to me, I decided to see how AI would treat it as a book topic. When I saw the various subtopics AI suggested, I got the idea of using them as components of something I ended up calling the GQ or grit quotient.


How does the AI system calculate an individual's Grit Quotient? What parameters or criteria does it consider?

The AI system does not actually calculate an individual’s GQ. Instead, the GQ is based on the self-assigned scores of ten grit-related parameters which were identified by AI. Readers assess the extent to which they are passionate, willing to work, and goal-seeking, as a few examples, and use a scale to develop a score for each parameter. By adding up the ten scores, they arrive at a total, their own GQ.


The Blue Zone (Author Interview)

Your novel, "The Blue Zone," captures the essence of a decaying American city once known for its blues music. What inspired you to set the story against this musical backdrop?

I wanted the reader to feel like the city is a character in the story, a presence that would permeate on each page, and I thought music was a way to bring that out.

Mayor Candace Washington is an intriguing character - young, ambitious, and gifted in so many ways. What were the influences behind crafting such a multi-dimensional protagonist?

The image of a strong, African American woman having to go head-to-head in a world of men pulling the strings was one of the first I had when thinking about the book. I kept picturing someone like Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State. Someone tough as nails, resourceful, and perhaps does not always play by everyone else’s rules.

The idea of creating a ten-block square area, The Blue Zone, where crime is virtually non-existent is an ambitious vision. Is this concept rooted in any real-life initiatives, or is it purely a work of fiction?

It’s loosely based on the campaign to lower crime in New York City in the 1990s. Of course, nothing like the Blue Zone was tried back then, but the idea of trying to deter any and all crimes in a given area was an intriguing one. But the actual concept of the Blue Zone in the book is entirely from my imagination.

Through your book, you touch upon issues of urban decay, racial dynamics, politics, and the healing power of music. What do you hope readers will take away from these intertwined themes?

That there is hope for American cities. The problems in the book can be found in many cities across the United States. So much division. I needed something that could unite people beyond politics and racial issues. Music is something everyone can relate to.


Sins of the Party: Democrats - The Slave Owners Party (Author Interview)

What motivated you to write "Sins of the Party" and shine a spotlight on the Democrats' role as the "Slave Owners Party" in the 1800s? 

I am a big fan of American history and I have seen some videos of interviews of people off the street being asked what political party was behind the slave trade. More people said it was the Republic party that was behind the slave trade. So, I did not want to write something myself, I wanted people who were there in the 1800s to speak to us and show us what really happened. To read of the arguments to and for slavery is to me such an eye opener and shocking on so many levels.

How did you go about selecting and curating the first-hand accounts for the first half of the book? Were there any accounts that were particularly challenging to include or omit? 

My love of stories helps push me to spend a lot of time researching stories from the past from many resources. The American Slave trade is one of the most brutal parts of our history and I can’t believe how one human will treat another.  There were so many brutal arguments for slavery to continue and what amazed me was how many people in the 1800s believed it was their God-given right to own slaves. I omitted many writings and speeches because I wanted to make this book powerful, moving and easy read so it could appeal to as many readers as possible. Unfortunately, this book could have been thousands of pages long.

The title “Sins of the Party” is provocative. Why did you choose it and how do you believe it encapsulates the essence of the book? 

The title actually came from my son, I told him what I was working on and needed a good title, and while we brainstormed as soon as it left his lips we both knew that encapsulated the essence of the book. It was abundantly clear that in the 1800s slavery was not just supported at a Southern state level but was making so many people rich at the top that the Democratic party that made the rule didn’t want the gravy train to end. The Sin part to me is that when a “sin” is committed there is a victim and that victim was the African-American community.

What were some surprising findings or revelations you encountered while compiling these writings from both sides of the aisle? 

I had always known the Civil War was about freeing slaves but to read the fierce fighting for the right to own slaves, to treat them as property, and to even dare say that this was the best for the African American community was astonishing. It really showed me that as humans we really can justify anything if it benefits us enough. Also, when someone stands up in bravery to speak out against evil there will be a fight and that is what the Republican Party did at that time, they stood up.

In the second half of the book, the narrative shifts to a more personal account of a fugitive slave from 1847. How did you come across this account, and what impact do you believe it has on the overall message of the book? 

I compiled another book last year called “American Slave” and I researched writings from former slaves. In that research, I kept some of those writings that I did not put in that book. I specifically chose a story from a fugitive slave because he was at the time of his writing in danger of being captured and brought back down south to his master and most likely would have been killed in a horrific way. I wanted to give this former slave a voice in the future and remind people how awful it was to be a slave and warn us to be careful who we put in power because that has serious consequences if we vote unwisely.


Sammy’s Grand Slam Journey (Author Interview)

What inspired you to write "Sammy's Grand Slam Journey"?

About 2 years ago I had a horrible accident playing baseball. The accident took my eyesight in my left eye and left me kind of depressed. Wondering what life had in store for me in the home stretch of life.  It took the inspiration of helping children and the love of family and friends to get me out of the state I had fallen into.

Sammy's wheelchair is a powerful symbol in the book. How did you come up with the idea to incorporate it in such a significant way?

The wheelchair is a symbol of assistance. No matter who and where you are at some point you will need it. So its ok to receive help sometimes. Society will have you thinking if you receive help you’re not worthy or something is wrong but in essence you’re going to need and want help sometimes in life. Use it just don’t rely on it forever if all possible.  

How did you approach the topic of disability, and why did you choose baseball as the backdrop for this narrative?

As a former D1 player, current high school Coach, and past weekend warrior, it has had a big influence on my life. It is truly Gods game.

The theme of resilience and never giving up is evident throughout the book. Were there any personal experiences that influenced this theme?

Yes from my injury in the sport to my coaching philosophy. Its not over until its over…

Can you discuss the importance of the supportive characters in Sammy's life? How did they evolve as you were writing the story?

Children often thrive off other children. Getting a supportive group around is not only important as adults but extremely important as children and teens

The town of Playville plays a significant role in Sammy's journey. Was it inspired by any real-life places?

Lol, in my experience with children, the things they enjoy doing the most is eating junk and playing with friends, so Playville was only right for a character like Sammy

Why did you decide to make the coach a believer in magic? What does magic represent in the story?

Because Coach Clay is just a representation of myself, and I believe anything is possible as long as you believe.

How did you ensure that Sammy's character was portrayed in an empowering way, emphasizing his abilities rather than his disability?

I wanted you guys to see Sammys struggle first and then the work he had to put into training for the sport. He had to train twice as hard because he had to learn how to play with and without the prosthetic leg.


Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond: THE PURSE DOG CHRONICLES: Book One (Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond THE PURSE DOG CHRONICLES 1)

"Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond: The Purse Dog Chronicles" is a captivating collection that invites you into the enchanting world of Bond, the suave pit bull with a penchant for turning everyday moments into extraordinary escapades.

In these heartwarming tales, Bond takes you on a journey through life with one of his many trusty purses in his mouth and a mischievous glint in his eyes. From hilarious misunderstandings that lead to uproarious laughter, to acts of heroism that remind us of the power of compassion, Bond's stories are a delightful blend of wit, wisdom, and pure canine charm.

In "Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond," you will witness Bond's encounters with a colorful cast of characters, his reflections on life's simple pleasures, and his uncanny ability to find adventure in the everyday. With each tale, Bond offers a unique perspective on the world, reminding us to embrace the magic of the present moment.

Inspired by the timeless wisdom of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "The Little Prince," Bond's stories capture the essence of connection, the significance of cherishing each passing moment, and the joy of sharing life's joys with those we hold dear.

Join Bond as he embarks on journeys that are both epic and endearing, reminding us that even the smallest actions can create ripples of joy, laughter, and love. "Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond: The Purse Dog Chronicles" is a must-read for dog enthusiasts, dreamers, and anyone who seeks a delightful escape into a world where imagination knows no bounds.

Prepare to be captivated by Bond's tales of courage, companionship, and undeniable charm. Order your copy of "Epic Adventures of Bond James Bond: The Purse Dog Chronicles" today and discover the magic that unfolds when a dashing dog named Bond takes center stage in a world brimming with laughter, love, and unforgettable moments.



What inspired you to share your journey and expertise with the public, given your personal experiences in the British Special Forces and battling PTSD?

I am one of the lucky ones. To go through what I have, to be that low, and to turn it around in a natural way like that is almost unheard of. Several close friends were not so lucky and decided this life was not for them. They are my inspiration, and everyone suffering. It's a calling, and I need to expose and inspire my journey to others, to give them drive, give them hope, and show that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"The War Inside" is a powerful title. Can you elaborate on the significance behind it? 

The title came naturally to me. The war only starts on the battlefield, for many there is a never-ending war in the mind. 

How important was it for you to make the content relatable and accessible to readers by intertwining personal stories with advice and strategies? 

It was a necessity, it needed to be an easy read, well-structured and straight to the point. These warriors struggling badly aren't going to read a novel. They need something they can relate to, navigate easily, and get what they need on the spot. This book provides that. 

How has your background in the British Special Forces influenced your approach to healing and dealing with PTSD? 

It has given me a winning mindset, to carry on even when times are tough. ‘If you're going through hell, keep going’ (Churchill). I now use my background as a platform to promote positive mental change and be a visible example of what coming out the other end of the tunnel can be like. 

Why is understanding triggers vital in the realm of mental health, and how can one begin to identify and navigate them? 

Knowing when you are going to snap is vital. You need to leave said environment and enter a safe space. Depending on the circumstance, that place can vary. The book helps guide you on this subject, with identifying what causes you to snap; this is mostly linked to past traumas. Finding the answer for this is often one of the final steps to recovery. Once the answer is found, recovery time increases rapidly.

What advice do you have for those who feel isolated or misunderstood in their struggles with mental health challenges? 

Get outside, Practice breathing techniques. You can change a mood instantly with this. You will be misunderstood, if someone hasn't experienced what you have or suffered from mental health themselves, chances are they can't relate. Seek positivity, search Tony Robbins (he is on YouTube). Keep pushing. 


The Eldridge Pact

When people lose their freedom, humanity will fall. We never anticipated that it could happen, but the second that our technology began to feel-We were already beat. Nobody knows that better than Abigail Harrison- A lower class orphan of Eldridge. People like her are born to serve the higher ups. The androids. Abigail grew up getting used to the idea that nothing could ever change. She made peace with that fact. That is, until everything began to unravel, starting with herself.


Turnaround (Author Interview)

What was your primary inspiration behind writing "Turnaround"?

It has been years since I have been involved in the Angolan conflict. Even though I tried to put some of the events behind me, I struggled with some of the darker chapters and decided I will write this story, based on true events, in an attempt to find closure.

The scene described in your description paints a vivid and emotional picture. How did you approach writing such a gripping opening?

I just closed my eyes and re-lived the event that would haunt me even to this day…

The main theme seems to revolve around the internal battle between good and evil. How do you personally define this dichotomy?

In certain situations, as in an armed conflict, it is not always easy to differentiate between good and bad. I had to create an environment to define the two concepts from my captured perspective in order to regain the balance needed to make the paradigm shift from evil to good.

Joe Zeiler and Sam Haines come together to maintain their faith in life. Can you discuss their dynamic and how it drives the story forward?

Joe brought a sense of adventure and he was a bit of an enigma who longed for normality while Sam provided stability in a world conducive to bring around the repair both sought to stabilise their lives.

Who is the "man who believed that good can conquer evil"? Without giving away too much, can you hint at his role and significance in the story?

If you had no hope at all to conquer evil, what is the purpose of living in a world wrought with evil? The person in Turnaround perpetrated acts of violence and witnessed gross injustices and due to his experiences, he could instill the belief that all is not lost - that love and trust are what is needed to conquer evil.

The book blurb mentions a force that could drive someone to commit a heinous act against their loved ones. How did you research or develop this concept?

You live it - you carry it….

How did you approach writing the emotional and psychological turmoil experienced by the characters, especially in the face of such intense challenges?

Every emotion, every fear, every little victory, all the countless little prayers and every setback contributed to describe a roller-coaster ride of emotions in an effort to successfully cope with every intense challenge and situation. I threw everything together and hoped that the emotional and psychological warfare going on in each besieged mind would level out in order to regain sanity.


BASH: Love, Madness, and Murder

Ashley Roper, Afghanistan War combat veteran, is now a writer and tabloid publisher in Charleston, SC. The nearby Blakemore Anderson State Hospital (BASH) for the criminally insane, is offering up a rich variety of potentially juicy stories including an escaped murderer, a patient released by a jury, the violent murder of a staff member, and illicit drugs finding their way through the barbed wire perimeter of BASH.

Ash decides to investigate from the inside, but through a series of unforeseen circumstances, ends up trapped in the hospital as a patient. Ash's headstrong wife Sally J and her lawyer buddy and former lover Roswell take on the system to try and spring Ash. The romantic and legal sparks fly inside and outside of BASH on a hot July Fourth weekend. A roadside cafe owner, a charming weather forecaster, a meth cooking biker, a crooked cop, a homicide detective, battling lawyers, and a variety of incompetent bureaucrats cross paths in this engaging and dramatic adventure.

Bartos writes with an accomplished flair resulting in a relaxed read, his words flow easily creating memorable and engaging characters. Gritty and very realistic, BASH by Mike Bartos is highly recommended =Artisan Book Reviews

"Bartos' sharp writing is fast-paced and packed with detail..."

"An intriguing premise..." -Kirkus Indie,- a service of Kirkus Reviews

..."with themes that echo One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and quirky, hard-bitten characters reminiscent of Elmore Leonard's." -Blue Ink Review

"BASH is an enthralling read"
"Darkly comic and hair raising..." 
Napa Valley Register

"Bartos maintains a high level of reader interest by introducing numerous intriguing elements."
"Readers will be compelled to read onward and will be rewarded..." 
-Clarion Review

Gloriously satiric while simultaneously real, magnificently written, Bartos turns up the heat in a novel that conflagrates and sparks. 

Bartos surest gift is a Tarantino-esque ability to find abstract humor amidst contextual brutality.
BASH is a strong showing from a new fiction author 
Palmetto Review

“Vivid and immediate writing.”
“I really liked 
BASH; it’s a great story…”
“…hugely exciting…

What if We Don't Really Die?: A curious and rational exploration of the meaning of life and death, using clues and observations from science, technology, and the future.

What if we don’t really die? Could there be more to life than one day becoming bones in a box or ashes in an urn? Surely, you and I have pondered that question many times. Doesn’t it seem incredibly wasteful to accumulate decades of knowledge and wisdom only to be unremarkably extinguished in a mandatory appointment with destiny? There has to be another side to this arrangement. This fascinating book presents a rational, promising, and enthusiastic “what if?” scenario for you to think about. It aims to practically and logically show that there may be much more life beyond death.

From the author’s perspective, death ends only the chapter, not the book! The one thing that makes life such an enduring mystery is that no one ever returns from “the other side” to tell us about that next chapter. But that isn’t proof that another reality doesn’t exist. Many of the world’s organized religions make bold and uncompromising conclusions about what happens after death. Still, without scientific evidence, these fantastical proclamations amount to nothing more than predictions and stories of comfort and hope. To enjoy this book, you’ll need to read it with a mind open to new ideas and perspectives. If your spiritual or religious belief system is locked down tight, this may not be the book for you. This intriguing book is not mystical or religious, nor is it anti-religious. It’s not bogged down with unnecessary jargon, statistics, graphs, catchy acronyms, or other awkward or boring elements that could make reading a less-than-satisfying experience.

This is a book to enjoy reading at the beach, by the fire, in the backyard, or anywhere you may find peace and calm away from the noise of the world. It takes an informal and curious look at past and present science, technology, and innovations. It then looks ahead to ponder the enormous potential waiting in the future. This book offers an opportunity to consider a new way of understanding the purpose and the meaning of life, and it provides comfort in the premise that death is not the end. So, prepare to enjoy what could be one of the most interesting, easy-reading, and thought-provoking books you’ll ever read!
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