"Poems usually come to me when I feel deeply moved by the beauty or pain of life. I hear a phrase and it stays with me until I write it down. Sometimes I don’t understand the phrase, but I sense that it has intelligence and power. Once I write it down, the phrase becomes a skeleton key that opens doors into my psyche. I allow the words to flow in the moment and then usually revise, expand, and contract the poem over a period of months or years. Sometimes a poem arrives whole and complete, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. It’s important to me that each word and sentence in my poems convey soul essence."
—Luisa Elena Kolker
Today, Crystal Otto reviews this fantastic book - but before we read her review, let's find out more about the author and this series!
Soleil and Flarence are immortal Genies who can bend the fundamental forces of the universe through willpower alone. For centuries, they have considered themselves the most formidable beings in the world, but some newcomers just might give them a run for their money.
Magic has always been limited to living things. Throughout his life, Soleil has never come across an object with supernatural capabilities. Now, a human has somehow constructed guns with the ability to fire spells. Genies are normally resistant to offensive magic, but Soleil knows from experience that the enchanted revolvers harm all creatures equally.
Resurrection is one of the few limitations to a Genie’s abilities. Not even magic should be able to bring a person back from death. Recently, though, Flarence saw a corpse not only rise but also fight. Endowed with incredible speed and strength, the revived man seeks revenge on his murderers.
To make matters worse, Darren (the third member of the Genie “family”) is still missing. He's been lying low, biding his time, but hasn’t forgotten about Officer Tymbir, and has every intention of settling their score.
Darren, the revived corpse, and the man with the magic guns have a list of people to kill, and are eager to spill blood. With the help of Mohinaux and Claire, Soleil and Flarence rush to locate them, uncover the sources of their powers, and find a way to stop them.
This book is perfect for adults who want to get in touch with their inner child!
Purchase Public Display of Aggression on Amazon, Organic Books, Page One Books and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.
About the Author Hugh Fritz: Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves beings with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild.
Find out more at:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Stories-by-Hugh-Fritz-397896477228957
Today's 5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
Book 1 in the series was said to be: "Fantasy Thriller is the best way to describe Hugh Fritz’s Made to be Broken and the thrill lies in the fantasy to say the least!"
Before I tell you too much about book 2, I must say this: Book 2 was just as wonderfully thrilling as book 1...BUT... you can absolutely read one without the other. Book 2 can stand just beautifully on it's own!
Public Display of Aggression is thrilling and not at all predictable. I wasn’t sure what direction this tale would go in and it is clear that Hugh Fritz is a seasoned reader and talented storyteller. The plot twists were many and well planned out. I enjoyed keeping up with Soleil in this adventure!
Public Display of Aggression is a wonderful blend of thrill and fantasy - a fantastically written story that took me as a reader on a much needed adventure!
About Today's Reviewer:
Crystal is a Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing and a busy mom and dairy farmer from Wisconsin. In her spare time she enjoys riding horses and the smell of fresh cut grass!
--- Upcoming Blog Tour Calendar
July 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith
Readers of Varsha’s blog will hear from Hugh Fritz today in a post about “Fan Fiction” as he takes a break from promoting his latest book Public Display of Aggression. Don’t miss this guest post and opportunity to learn more about the Mystic Rampage Series and the man behind all the excitement!
July 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Carmen Otto
Carmen is an avid reader and soon to be high schooler – she loved Book #1 in the Mystic Rampage series and she joins us today to share her 5 Star Review of Book #2 – Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz. Don’t miss her youthful insight!
July 10th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Readers of Author Anthony Avina’s Blog will hear from Hugh Fritz today as he pens a guest post titled “Preference of Series of Stand Alone Pieces”. This post will delight authors and readers alike – so don’t miss it! This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the Mystic Rampage Series and Book #2, Public Display of Aggression.
July 12th @ Bookish Trischa
Today is the day – Trischa reviews Public Display of Aggression – Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about and hear from Trischa herself as she shares her insight into the writings of Hugh Fritz.
July 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith
Today it’s Varsha’s opportunity to share her review of Public Display of Aggression. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the fast-paced writing of Hugh Fritz and Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage series!
July 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
A few days ago, readers of Author Anthony Avina’s Blog heard from Hugh Fritz in a guest post: “Preference of Series of Stand Alone Pieces”. Now it’s review time – hear what Anthony has to say in his review of Public Display of Aggression, Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series by Hugh Fritz!
"Hugh Fritz's new novel, Public Display of Aggression, the second in the " Mystic Rampage " series, picks up where his 1st book leaves off and takes the reader on a non-stop thrill ride. We become acquainted with Soleil and Florence, brothers possessing super human abilities that allow them to perform feats of apparent magic that they use to do battle with a line-up of similarly empowered villains. The action is fast paced and relentless, ramping up to a crescendo of mayhem. We are confronted with the likes of a sociopathic cop, a deranged scientist from the future packing high tech futuristic heat, an adrenaline-fueled reanimated corpse seeking revenge (and reciting poetry), an enormous kiaju-esque enchanted earthworm, and a Lovecraftian monster composed of random mismatched animal parts running amok. Mr. Fritz has exploited the possibilities brought forth from current ideas in a theoretic physics to conjure an astonishingly unique and entertaining world.
Mr Fritz's novel has been made more complete with the remarkable illustrations and cover art by Lothar Speer. Select scenes have been enhanced with his powerful drawings."
Date: 01/10 Time: 4pm
Michael R. French discusses his latest book.
"Cliff HangerJump Before You Get Pushed"
n 2030, viruses, spy drones, terrorism, and joblessness have eroded American optimism. People want something to believe in. As demonstrated in a Midwest high school election, politics have taken on the inflexibility and dogma of a new religion. Only true believers will survive and prosper. Or so they think.
Michael R. French has authored 23 published titles, including fiction, biographies, adaptations, art criticism and children’s books, over a 30-year career. French’s work has been warmly reviewed in the New York Times and been honored with several literary prizes.
His first love, adult and young adult fiction, tackles diverse subjects from the world of horse racing to politics, focusing on characters as much as a page-turning plot. His novel, Abingdon's, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal. He has also co-written two screenplays for Amazon Prime.
Receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University, he focused on creative writing and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family. Working under his wife, Patricia, ten years ago they created a non-profit foundation, Dollar4Schools, which continues helping support Santa Fe public schools and its teachers.
An avid trekker and traveler to developing countries, French loves diving and snorkeling, and for the last decade began studying endangered marine and land mammals. He believes climate change is currently the world’s greatest long-term problem.
He and Patricia divide their time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1. Most writers begin the writing process by working on plot. While plot is obviously important, I also like to know everything possible about my main characters, even if I never use many of their details in the novels. Whether you take voluminous notes about them, or talk out loud to them (and they talk back to you), it’s rarely enough. You need to imagine what they would do off the page, i.e., if they had to attend your Uncle George’s July fourth barbecue, or somehow landed in another novel altogether. Make them your best friends or worst enemies. Whether they come from your imagination or real life (or a combination thereof), you should be inside your characters a few hours every day—before you write a single word. Think of method acting. Characters aren’t simply pawns in a plot—they transcend it. They are what you remember long after the plot is often forgotten.
2. Great characters, to enhance their arc, should have a fourth or fifth gear that seems to come out of nowhere. For example, villains can turn into heroes with an act of kindness that we would never have anticipated, yet when we read the novel closely, we realize that the seed of kindness was planted by the writer from the beginning. Similarly, characters we start off admiring suddenly disappoint us when they hurt someone they love. If they don’t realize what they’ve done, figuring out the “why” makes them even more interesting. Well-conceived characters can help with plot troubles, too, if the writer wakes one morning and isn’t sure where his or her story is going (happens to most of us). Instead of robbing a bank, for example, your destitute character decides to give away his last fifty dollars to a stranger. The wife who has been cheated on, instead of taking revenge on her husband, is filled with insights about her father. A deeply-felt, richly-imagined character is your writing buddy, your co-conspirator, and their importance to the final product can’t be overstated.
3. It’s great to surprise a reader with the unexpected, helping give a twist to the plot and the character, but whatever transpires, it must have credibility. Unless she’s a prodigy, a twelve year old girl is not going to solve the murder of her parents that happened ten years earlier. A surgeon who graduated from Harvard is not likely to leave a sponge behind in his patient’s abdomen. If you go for low probability events, or extreme twists, you have to back them up with plausible explanations. The “willing suspension of disbelief” only goes so far. Once a reader becomes skeptical that the writer doesn’t know what he or she is talking about, it’s tough to win them back.
4. Most writers are more comfortable delineating one sex (or gender) over another, which often dictates their main characters and the genre a writer chooses. You can still be a male and write fantasy romances, or a female skilled at describing war scenes, but whatever your strength, play to it. Very few writers do everything well. The best write about what they know, and their characters evoke passion, empathy or curiosity in a reader.
5. Building a character arc should be done over the span of the novel. Just like it’s a writing sin to have an information plot dump in the first chapter of your book, likewise your characters shouldn’t reveal themselves right away. One aspect at a time—brought out by action rather than exposition—keeps the reader engaged.
6. Try to have one of your characters do or say something in the course of the narrative that’s totally original…something that’s never been done in another movie or film. This is not easy to achieve, but if you have an imagination, have some fun with it. You’ll go down a lot of dead ends, but if you’re lucky, you’ll end up on a mountain peak. Remember that the event has to be plausible, but originality is usually memorable. No matter how many crime stories we read, for example, the great ones take our thoughts and emotions to unexplored places. It’s what readers talk about in reviews and blogs.
7. All good writing, whether its plot, theme or characters, involves a high degree of problem solving. You start your novel after doing the prep work described above, yet as the words march across the page, something feels a little off. You can’t put your finger on it. What have you forgotten or overlooked? Where is the spontaneity and energy? The pieces fit beautifully when your first imagined them, but suddenly they’re like reading a foreign language. Take a break. Do something else with your life that week, or work on a different part or aspect of the novel. Ultimately, the biggest problem, when you finally solve it, can becomes your best writing.
Because I wrote when the poems came to me in the middle of the night, my sleep pattern was interrupted. I had lots of groggy mornings and afternoon naps. For about a year and a half, I adjusted to the poetry.
Reading my poetry to friends was the greatest joy. Having always been a very private person, I gave voice to myself and my experiences that resonated strongly for others. Knowing that my poetry was meaningful to others was deeply gratifying.
It's the city of my young-adult past. In my early 20s, in the early '80s, I got my BA from the Seminar (now Eugene Lang) College, worked, and lived in an East Village walk-up with my cat Pekoe.
It is the city of my parents' past. Dad arrived here in 1947, a handsome, fresh Syrian émigré by way of Shanghai. Mom was born in Brooklyn, though her parents moved to Washington D.C. when she was a little girl. She came up frequently to see her cousins, and her parents moved to an apartment in the Franconia on W. 72nd Street (just off Central Park, near the Dakota) when Mom was in her early 20s, so she could find a Syrian husband. (There are differing versions of that story.) She found one. Mom and Dad married in 1950 and lived there briefly before moving to Washington.
And it’s the city of my ancestral past. The Syrian-Jewish immigrants began arriving here at the turn of the last century -- my maternal grandfather, Abe Beyda, and his family among them -- and settled in the Lower East Side before moving to Brooklyn.
On this trip, all my pasts are interlacing with one another and with my hopes for the future, and -- since New York never fails to keep us firmly rooted in the present -- with the exquisite now.
Yesterday was Memorial Day, our last day up in Westchester, and Charles's last day before flying home to go back to work. David and Carolyn took us to the beautiful Innisfree Garden in Millbrook ("one of the world's ten best gardens"), then drove Charles to JFK and me to the train station in Hartsdale, where I caught the commuter train to Grand Central, for a taxi down to Soho. Initially sad to be alone in the station Charles and I passed through three separate times in the past few days, my spirits jumped when I checked into my very own room at the Solita Soho Hotel (recommended by a friend from New Mexico who is also here for the Jewish Book Council conference). I unpacked and headed just next door to a French restaurant for a glass of white wine, a bowl of chilled melon-mint soup, and an hour with my journal before going to bed early.
On this Manhattan stage of my trip, I'll be giving a reading tonight at Congregation Edmond J. Safra, the synagogue in Manhattan for the Syrian community. This morning, I'll visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, just a few blocks from my hotel. I read there's a nice tea shop, Harney and Sons, a few blocks away, which I'd love to check out, and this is Soho, on the edge of Chinatown and Little Italy, which means, who knows what else...
First, breakfast: Baz Bagels, a few blocks down Grand Street from my hotel. Eggs (scrambled), tea (English Breakfast), a bagel (“everything”), and cream cheese (“plain”). I don’t know what it is – we can throw rings of dough into boiling water in Santa Fe, too – but there’s nothing like a New York bagel.
The Tenement Museum visitors' center has a fantastic bookstore honoring New York’s many immigrant stories (I hope soon to include Farewell, Aleppo; I sent them a copy.) The museum itself is a restored old tenement at 97 Orchard, built in 1863, home in its time to over 7000 immigrants before being abandoned and shuttered for decades. Today it has been upgraded to modern safety standards as a museum, while stylistically preserved in its earlier state.
On their "Shop Life" tour, our bright young guide tells us about the German, then Jewish, families that ran businesses here from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. In the 1870s a German couple opened a saloon in the basement that served as a restaurant, bar, bank, post office, support center and social hall for the upstairs tenants. In time "Kleindeutschland" spread north to 14th Street, and east all the way to the East River, enticing people down from wealthier uptown neighborhoods for German food, music, dancing and bier.
By the end of the century, the Germans had disbursed and Eastern European Jews took their place. By 1900, our guide explains, the "Jewish East Side" was not only the largest Jewish community in the world but the most crowded place on the planet -- with a higher concentration of Jews even than back in the shtetls in Europe.
Our guide doesn't mention the small subgroup of Middle Eastern Jews. Their far more numerous European Jewish neighbors greeted these swarthy-skinned, Arabic-speaking immigrants with skepticism, sometimes outright disbelief, that they were really even Jewish. My Grandpa Abe was part of this first wave of Syrian Jews, arriving with his mother and three siblings in 1902 as an 8-year-old boy who didn't speak a word of English. His father had come two years earlier, selling dry goods door to door and on the streets with a pushcart, until he saved enough money to send for the family. They lived for a time just a few blocks from here on Hester Street, in a two-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor (because rent was cheaper than on the lower floors), with a potbelly stove for heating and cooking, a sink in the hallway shared all four apartments on that floor, and an outhouse behind the building. Eventually they moved to Brooklyn, to the Syrian-Jewish neighborhood that thrives and expands to this day.
“The end of of a community like Little Italy or Little Germany means its success,” our guide says, "because they've moved up." For most immigrant groups, I can see this is true. The curious thing about the Syrian Jews is that they measure success precisely by their resistance to assimilation. Financial success has made the community more self-sufficient, more contained – more like a hive of bees, functioning together as a unit, than individuals making it on their own.
On the way back to my hotel I call Mom and Dad, who have just arrived in Maryland from Florida for the summer. My family's migration to this country once took them across oceans and continents. At this point in their lives, my parents have the migratory path of birds: south in the winter, north in the summer. This is good. I give Mom as vivid a sense as I can of the sights, sounds and tastes of my trip. To Dad I give a description of the talk I'll be doing tonight at the Safra Synagogue. I'll take him with me in spirit. Wish I could take him physically.
- Francie Healey
This book has been an avenue for all kinds of learning: how to deal with obstacles, how to have a strong voice, how to advocate for what really matters to me, how to compromise, how to relate concepts to readers that educate and empower, how to be brave, which is also, how to be vulnerable.
I couldn’t have persevered and succeeded without my team, my family, and the support of friends and mentors. And even with help, there are some moments that must be walked alone, that really are about the growth we yearn for on a very deep level. I believe any creative project or risk we take, anything that feels like a leap of faith into the life we hope for, will bring about situations where we need to confront our own shadow. In other words, taking action towards a meaningful dream will lead us along a path that must address the inner places that had been previously holding us back. For example, it had been my habit, formed very early on in life, to surrender my voice and defer to another’s authority, even if that other’s viewpoint differed from my perspective or need. When I was faced with the opportunity to go back into this old habit and sacrifice my own vision for the book, for what another proposed it should be, I had the chance to become more conscious of this temptation and to choose differently. I am happy to say that I used that opportunity to speak up and advocate for what I wanted for Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, and was very well received. Of course that scenario had nothing to do with anyone else, and everything to do with me, and what I personally was learning from this creative process.
From my perspective, addressing this level of psychological and spiritual growth was essential for the writing and publishing of Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s to continue moving forward. Even as I was refining my writing, researching and organizational skills, I still needed to address the deeper growth opportunity for this experience to be successful in a way that was aligned with my own vision and needs.
"There were, and are, many levels operating when we pursue a project like a book, and especially I think, a first book. My experience all the way through was a bit like a juggling act, constantly moving parts that needed tracking and attention, while always holding the whole picture in mind."
Researching for Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s opened up so many paths that it was important to stay focused on what needed to be in this book, versus what would overwhelm it. I really wanted to have rich research-based content that would ground the premise of the book for readers; so they would know why I used the ingredients and recipes I did and what was happening in their bodies from the foods they were eating. Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s is based in science and good data. I want my readers to have access to that information so they feel empowered in their decisions around food. As we looked into all the research, it became clear that this is an abundant and emerging field, so it was necessary to contain the information we gathered, and bookmark areas for later research and writing projects. Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s has been an incredible project that has meant a lot to me personally and professionally, and it appears to be just a starting point for more to come. As I continue to learn and grow, I am inspired to continue sharing what I am discovering about healing and wellness.
And now that Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s is published and in the hands of readers, I am really delighted to have made such an accomplishment that will also serve as a stepping stone to even deeper dives into this area of brain health and overall wellness. I couldn’t have sustained such a project if it wasn’t a passion of mine: bringing good information to people and helping clients and readers to awaken to the potential they have, right now, to make significant positive changes in their lives. On the other side of publication, looking back, I am grateful for the process, even the rigorous challenges, which only served to strengthen me as an author. I trust that Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s will offer readers valuable insight and healing because it certainly did that for me in the writing of it.
There is something very powerful about bringing an idea into form. To make a concept, that begins somewhat as a fantasy, into a reality is a birthing process. And like birth, it is hard and messy, and takes a lot longer than we think it is going to take. Moreover, it is transformational and humbling and very tender to put something that is precious to me (like healing with foods and empowerment with education) into form and out into the world. At times the pull to protect my idea and keep it safe appeared to be in conflict with completing the book and getting it out there. So much of the journey has been about surrendering and trusting. I think that is why Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s feels like a beginning to me, rather than the end of a project. Writing it has stirred up so much passion, curiosity, and inspiration to continue learning and writing and being a voice for wellness. I had to constantly surrender any fears that would push me towards perfectionism, control, and worry. Fear does not serve the creative process. Instead, invoking trust in the writing, and my life, helped the book take form and become clear. As much as my vision for Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s was important to me, it was not about controlling the process. Allowing the book to unfold, and using my vision as an anchor point was the way I was able to move along the trajectory and eventually finish the book for publication. Writing, for me, is a dynamic process that synthesizes all the points vying for attention and wanting to be heard. It is important to honor each voice, or each point, allowing room for all, while holding the gestalt so that everything eventually flows within one stream, accentuating the underlying message of the project. For Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s that is a message of hope and empowerment. It is a message that I had to live and breathe as I wrote the book. Infused within the content of Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s, is the grit required to put one’s health as a priority and the courage it takes to awaken to our inner authority, which knows how to take the rein and steer each of us on a path of true vitality and wellness. Ultimately, disease is not inevitable, though death will come. We can all continue to awaken to our innate worthiness for health. Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s offers a lot of tools for turning in this direction, for choosing into life more deeply and honestly, by putting our needs, physiologically and otherwise, first and foremost.
Overall, I think any creative process can be a metaphor for living life. Bringing forward authentic expression about what we care about, what we love, and who we are is indeed, a recipe for health. Eat to Beat Alzheimer’s is infused with the many layers of healing and wellness, from the nutritional basics and biochemistry, to creating a mindset of openness and kindness, to instructions for cooking and creating health with foods. As I move forward as an author and a health and wellness professional I am excited to continue exploring each layer more intimately, and sharing my explorations with the world.
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