Mastodon The Writing Desk: March 2013

30 March 2013

Book Launch Guest Post - Flying Cats and Flip Flops by Paul Johnson

I still can't believe I've written this book.  It wasn't until my late twenties that I so much as even picked up a book. My am/dram fixation back in the nineties fuelled my desire to enrol and commit every Tuesday evening to a spot of adult education. I achieved qualifications in both Economics and English Literature - A proud achievement from someone whose chaotic, unstable childhood overshadowed school and the chance of a decent education.

My early teen years were spent pin-balling between divorced parents in different parts of the country, collecting schools like Panini football stickers. Schooling and its offer to equip me for my working life passed me quietly by, but my dabble in adult education unearthed a belated desire in me - a thirst for knowledge which I found in books.

I started with the classics more out of a sense of duty than anything else. Compelled to find out more, I set about digesting the words of Wilde, Dickens, Steinbeck and Co to see what I'd missed out on at school. I was also part of a community theatre group and felt rewarded when I could relate to my more academically gifted colleagues, expressing my thoughts, putting my opinions forward with a renewed sense of confidence.

Nowadays my choice of reading follows a theme, a criteria, a list of must haves:

It must grab me straight away (That's more to do with my short attention span)

I like a book that takes my emotions on a roller-coaster ride.

I love to be chilled to the bone, unexpectedly. Check out Richard Montanari - Skin Gods and The Rosary Girls.

A believable, unpredictable  plot and characters who hijack your senses, drawing you into their mind, their world. The Millennium Trilogy did this for me. Stieg Larsson is/was a master story teller.

Now reading a book is one thing. But writing one, well you'd have to be a complete genius wouldn't you?  Intellectually gifted, patched-elbow jacket-wearing types with round wire framed glasses - Authors. I guess some fit that stereotype but the basic fact is that authors come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life, but they all have one thing in common - They have a story to tell and that's me, a storyteller, but an extremely fortunate one.  'Flying Cats and Flips Flops' is an incredible true story and personal to me, as it involves my eccentric thrill-seeking father and his surreal, bizarre antics in Kenya.

I've spent forty odd years of my life without the slightest urge to write a book. Patience and perseverance has never been my thing. These attributes are as I have found crucial, not just in the writing or the rewriting, but in completing and actually publishing my ideas and played-out scenarios that have buzzed around in my head for what seems like an eternity.

Over the years my tolerant, extremely understanding wife has seen all my 'fads' crash and burn shortly after they start. The motivation to write and publish my dad's book was more down to my unfortunate situation than anything else. In 2009 I had a car accident, lost the sight in my left eye (a detached retina - inoperable ) and my right eye had developed three different conditions leaving me seeing dark shadows. Doctors couldn't guarantee me ever seeing again - a frightening prospect. I spent six months with my white stick and a wonderfully supportive family facing the unknown - it was a testing, lonely time.

During my blindness I decided to get back in touch with my father after an eight year absence. My wife would play taxi and drop me out to his place in Plymouth, where we would spend the next few hours in his garden, drinking coffee and laughing like we had never been apart. I purposely swung the conversation to his time in Africa and he obliged by filling in the last eight years. He escaped the UK and my overbearing, kleptomaniac step mother to start a new life in Kenya which involved two deaths, a new career as a drug smuggler and a sentence to a prison with one of the worst human rights record in Africa. I couldn't wait for each week to pass and for the next instalment, as bit by bit I painted his incredible journey in my mind.
"Dad, if I get my sight back I'm going to write your story"

June 2010 - The incredibly talented, unassuming doctors and staff at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London did just that. With my life back on track, I had a book to write.

Flying Cats and Flip Flops was published on 22nd January 2013 and is available on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle) and from Daunt Books of London.

Flying Cats and Flip Flops. Surviving a Notorious African Prison

Terry has a plan. Enough is enough....  Leaving a note for his domineering kleptomaniac wife, he swaps his humdrum council  house existence for a new life in Africa. He craves excitement and adventure, and finds both in equal measure.  Determined to know the real side of Kenya, Terry gets involved in many bizarre and dangerous situations, and it isn't long before a new career beckons him -as a drug smuggler. He's a natural.  Razor sharp instinct and a ballsy attitude - until he's caught with three kilos at Nairobi Airport. Sentenced, he is the only white British sixty year old in a prison with one of the worst human rights record in the world. He battles to survive the brutality and overcrowded conditions of a jail controlled by a corrupt regime - unaware his biggest challenge is waiting for him in England.

Flying Cats and Flip Flops is a true story of one man's obsession to live his dream - but at a cost.

Available on Amazon (Paperback and Kindle) and Kobo
Follow on Twitter @FlyingcatsFF 
and Facebook Flying Cats and Flip Flops

29 March 2013

24 March 2013

Guest Post - Making a Mystery By Joyce T. Strand, Author

“The butler did it.” … “Elementary, my dear Watson” … “Little grey cells” I love a good mystery. From Agatha Christie to Stig Larsson, I revel in taking the ride with provocative characters to solve a crime. The puzzle intrigues me. I respect the heroes and hiss at the villains. I care about the characters. I crave travel to interesting settings. And I take on all those red herrings with relish—certain that I can solve the crime and track down the guilty one. Sometimes I even do guess correctly!

What makes a good mystery? At the risk of disturbing the magic of the genre, I’d like to explore the ingredients of a satisfying whodunit.

It all starts with a good puzzle. Whether solving a murder, burglary, or missing necklace, we need pieces of a story to lead us bit by bit to a conclusion. There is always a victim, and we work to understand who or what caused the offense. We gain components of the dilemma as we read on, but a slow, meticulous revelation grabs us the most.

Next, we must care about the characters. We don’t necessarily need to want to invite them for dinner, but we do want to care what they say and do, whether it be the neat-in-appearance Hercule Poirot with the “very stiff and military” moustache or the gothic-like Lisbeth Salander with her unique research skills. 

Authors have provided a variety of sleuths. We can become engaged with the crime-solving efforts of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch—a “hard-boiled” detective. Or we can struggle along with amateur sleuths who have no crime-solving background, but solve the puzzle using other identifiable skills. I tend to like most of them—as long as they solve the puzzle with some cleverness and likeability. Oh, and if there’s a little romance along the way, well, we can take pleasure in that as well, e.g., Nora Roberts.

Characters can be heroes or villains. Typically the sleuth is a hero, and the villain is the perpetrator. But there can be more than one bad guy. Let’s presume for a moment that TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD is a mystery. Atticus Finch is definitely a hero—but there are more villains than just the one who committed the murder—like most of the townspeople.

In addition to compelling characters, I truly appreciate the opportunities offered by a unique setting. The limitations of a train setting in MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS gave Agatha Christie the chance to show off Hercule Poirot’s “little grey cells.” We could always count on some kind of horse racing background and crime in Dick Francis novels. The darkness of long Swedish winters offered a chilling backdrop for the Stig Larsson series.

To solve a puzzle is the objective of a mystery. But it can’t be too easy or we won’t enjoy it. To slow down readers from solving the misdeed, authors mix in red herrings with real clues. To be effective, red herrings are integral to the story. Authors cannot introduce them just for the sake of throwing off readers—well, maybe sometimes.

What makes a page-turner? Whether a story is a spy thriller or a cozy mystery the element of suspense enhances our enjoyment. We want a reason to start the next chapter and stay up all night to solve the crime. Will the heroine be rescued in time? Is the detective going to realize that he is headed into a trap?

As with any story, a mystery should be credible. Crime stories solved with forensic evidence are more convincing if based on the science of forensic evidence. Police procedure should at least approximate how police actually do their job—or any deviation explained. Travel times should be accurate, especially if the solution to the crime relies on timing. Accurate descriptions of setting and back story help draw readers into a story.

Ahhh—all this talk of mysteries makes me want to start reading one. There are so many mysteries still to be pursued. Some of them go beyond these simple ingredients. They engage us with especially memorable characters or complex tricky puzzles. Regardless, what fun to become absorbed in a new puzzle.


Mystery author Joyce T. Strand, much like her fictional character, Jillian Hillcrest, served as head of corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder. Rather, she focused on publicizing her companies and their products. Joyce received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA She currently lives in Southern California with her two cats, a collection of cow statuary and art, and her muse, the roadrunner.


Jillian Hillcrest returns as a PR Executive to join with a local Silicon Valley reporter who is uneasy about the supposed DUI death of an informant. He solicits Jillian’s help along with that of her neighbor, a retired police officer, to look into events in his hometown north of the Napa/Sonoma wine country. Jillian’s ex-husband grows more and more certain he wants to re-marry her.  OPEN MEETINGS was inspired by a network of criminal ex- and current police officers in the broader San Francisco Bay Area.


Murder intrudes on PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest's routine as head communications executive at a small Silicon Valley biotechnology company. She is eagerly staying on message to inform investors, the media and the community about her company and its products. When someone near to her is murdered, a determined San Francisco police inspector involves her in the investigation, convinced she is key to solving the crime. She co-operates fully only to find that solving a murder is more hazardous than writing press releases. On Message is the first in the Jillian Hillcrest mystery series. As with all the novels in this series, it was inspired by a real California case.

Paperback (Amazon):
Ebook (Amazon Kindle):


Book trailer (ON MESSAGE):

20 March 2013

Guest Post - Why I Write by Shannon MacLeod

Sometimes, love lasts lifetimes

The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups on Amazon US and Amazon UK

I thought about writing a piece on how I write, but couldn’t get further than sit down and start typing. With me, the writing is more about the why. I write because I love telling stories and making people laugh. I write because I dig hearing my kids say “My mom’s a writer.” I started writing because I was unhappy. Desperately unhappy. Gnaw your own leg off to escape the trap unhappy and at the time I thought I couldn’t do a thing about it.

I was a solitary kid growing up, so my imagination was my best friend. I never knew the meaning of boredom – still don’t. I’ve got way too much stuff going on in my head to EVER run out of things to think about. In my situation, it all boiled down to a loss of control. I didn’t like the way things were at all. I made Eeyore look positively giddy by comparison and I was convinced the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train. So I did what was second nature – I created a fantasy world with imaginary playmates. I controlled everything right down to where the grass grew and the outcomes were all like I wanted them to be – an unfamiliar yet heady feeling, to be sure.

After a while I started making notes. Those notes turned into chapters and the chapters eventually turned into books. When I wasn’t writing, I was reading about the process, devouring everything I could find on how to write query letters, how to submit manuscripts and how to write more efficiently. I did research to write knowledgeably about things I knew next to nothing about. I used Google Earth to describe places I had never been. I read novels by my favorite authors and started a notebook of things I liked/didn’t like. I knew the layout of my local library better than the librarians did. And as the tiny snowball of my imaginary world started rolling downhill and gaining momentum, an amazing thing happened – I started taking back control of my real world and learned how to be happy again. Now I can’t imagine my world without it.

I write about what I know – growing up in a close knit Scot-Irish neighborhood with magic simmering just below the surface of everyday life. The Arcana Love series is about a large Irish family living in the US. There are four books, each based on a suit of the Tarot. The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups (now available from Lyrical Press) is the story of Ian, the middle son of the Kelly family and how he met his true love Lily…again…and again. The next book in the series is The Gypsy Ribbon: Suit of Wands, arriving sometime in 2014 and that one…well, you’ll just have to wait to see.

In the meantime, my next novel coming out later this year is entitled The Rogue on the Rollaway – a Scottish time travel that goes awry and ends up in Ireland. I’ve also begun outlining The French Twist: Suit of Swords and can’t wait to start the writing process again.

I could be really dramatic and say that writing saved my life, but that is closer to truth than fiction. For me it’s the best therapy ever and costs no more than the price of pen and paper (The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups was first written longhand, in red ink because I thought it more romantic *rolls eyes*).

I received an email a couple months ago with a wonderful question posed by an aspiring writer. She asked “What is the most important thing you can tell me about writing?” I thought about that long and hard before I replied. My answer was simple:

Do it.

Just do it.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before – start now, this minute. Don’t worry about your spelling or if your participles are dangling. Write. Even if you only write three sentences a day, write. Do it on the back of napkins or carry notepads in your pocket. Do it by flashlight after lights out, on the bus, in the bathroom, but do it. Everybody has a story that needs telling - don’t deprive the world of hearing yours.

In between writing and daydreaming about sexy Celts, Shannon MacLeod lives a life of servitude to two spoiled cats. She enjoys pondering the mysteries of Tarot, rainy days, good music, lively craic and spending long hours staring at her beloved ocean. An avid wearer of dangerously high heels, she watches Lord of the Rings more than any sane person should and can, in fact, reenact the battle scenes using interpretive dance.

Shannon is the author of these upcoming paranormal romances from Lyrical Press!

The Celtic Knot: Suit of Cups (available 1/7/13)

The Gypsy Ribbon: Suit of Wands (coming 2014)

The Rogue on the Rollaway (coming 2013)

The ShadowFox Tarot (written under the pen name Jennifer ShadowFox) is available now from Schiffer Books…there are whispered rumors of a new Tarot book due out later this year...

Proud member of Romance Writers of America and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers

Visit Shannon at and at her blog

Find her on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads  

17 March 2013

Fargoer - Fantasy From The Far North

Hear the call and join us as we travel to the Far North. To a time and place that exists only in the depths of our ancient past. To the vast woodlands, their surface unbreached by any plow. These stories wander in the winds of that distant land, in the cold whispers of the ancient forests.

Vierra is a strong-minded girl of the Kainu tribe. When she, along with her cousin, heads for a journey toward her adulthood, the forces that are to direct her life are set in motion.

Can Vierra break her path painted in stone, a path leading her toward a life filled with great turmoil? Can she find her place among her tribe, or will she fulfill her destiny as the Fargoer?

Fargoer begins the series of fantasy novels that draws its power from the harsh, yet beautiful nature and folklore of Finland. Its roots are at the same time in mythology and in the ancient, unwritten history. Fargoer's foundation has been laid on the wonders of the ancient world, and the fast-paced storytelling is colored by poetry, the age-old tradition of self-expression.

Learn more at   Connect on facebook and twitter  

Fargoer is written by Petteri Hannila, illustrated by Anne Petelius
and translated from the original Finnish Kaukamoinen
by Miika Hannila and Peitsa Suoniemi

Preview Fargoer on Amazon US  and Amazon UK

Fledgling, The Shapeshifter Chronicles by Natasha Brown

Set apart from other eighteen year olds, Ana Hughes knows she is different. A life threatening heart condition smothers her future and she yearns to feel normal. Her hopes are pinned on a fresh start in a remote town far from her native Colorado. Among the locker filled hallways in Clark Bend High, Ana keeps to the shadows, not wanting to draw attention to her violet tinged lips and wilted silhouette. And she almost succeeds, until she meets Chance Morgan.

Struggling to keep up appearances, she soon suspects Chance is hiding something as well. His animal-like senses, miraculous healing ability and peculiar reaction to her Thunderbird necklace compels Ana to question if there's more to the stories about his Navajo ancestry. Without any other explanation, she fears he is playing tricks on her. But the truth may prove too much for Ana's delicate heart...

11 March 2013

Book Launch Guest Post The Assassin's Brother: The tragedies of Edwin Booth, by Rebecca Wallace

He was the most famous actor in America. On the streets of New York, people stopped and stared when he walked by. When he toured the South, legislatures changed their meeting times so that everyone could see his performances. And no one played Hamlet like Edwin Booth.

Today, 120 years after his death, most people know Edwin Booth only as the brother of President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, if they know him at all. But he remains an important figure in the American theater, his onstage tragedies as great as his real-life ones. His natural, nuanced acting style was groundbreaking at a time when 19th-century thespians made a noisy career out of melodrama. He set a world record by playing Hamlet 100 nights in a row.

Booth also helped elevate the theatrical profession in the eyes of society, inspiring new respect for actors and creating an elegant gathering place for all artists. The Players, the New York social club that Booth founded in 1888, still hosts events in its Gramercy Park townhouse. And it's an honor to be chosen for the Edwin Booth Lifetime Achievement Award. Winners have included Kevin Spacey, Edward Albee, Jack Lemmon and Angela Lansbury.

The Assassin's Brother: The tragedies of Edwin Booth

Rebecca Wallace

I first heard of Edwin Booth while reading about the culture and arts of the Gold Rush, where he got his start as a young actor. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have spent a lot of time up in the hills and giant redwood trees of the Gold Country in eastern California. Both San Francisco and the Gold Country were rough and wild as the population exploded with hopeful miners in the 1850s – yet both areas swiftly became surprisingly cultured. Miners loved their Shakespeare, especially the tragedies. Up-and-coming actors like Booth, performing in the newly built theaters of San Francisco, saw vast opportunity in the makeshift saloon stages and tents up in the Gold Country.

I'm an arts journalist with a passion for history, so it was a joy to dig through old theater programs, photos, scripts and letters while researching this book. It's tragic that Edwin Booth's accomplishments have been so overshadowed by his brother's act of violence. Several people who have read “The Assassin's Brother” told me that they'd never heard of Edwin before. My main goal in writing the book was to help educate modern audiences about this great 19th-century artist, so that feedback is thrilling.

Now that I've gotten so immersed in the theater of the 19th century, I'm planning to write several more books about the stage stars and powerful theater owners of the time. The material is endless, and endlessly fascinating. 

Follow Rebecca on Twitter

8 March 2013

FRY by Lorna Dounaeva FREE on Amazon Today

What if your new best friend is really a deadly enemy?

When Isabel Anderson nearly runs over mysterious Alicia McBride, she is ridden with guilt. She helps Alicia get a job at the supermarket where she works, and soon, Alicia is acting like her new best friend. But then strange fires start to break out all over the small seaside town of Queensbeach, including at the caravan park where Alicia is staying. Isabel suspects Alicia knows more than she's letting on and grows increasingly nervous when her friend Deacon invites Alicia to stay with him. But it's Isabel the police suspect. 

Determined to confront Alicia, Isabel bursts into her room and sees the word 'FRY' branded across her back in capital letters. From then on, she sees the word "FRY' everywhere she goes; in graffiti, on toilet walls, even on car registration plates. Then her beloved cat, Fluffy disappears and Isabel is convinced Alicia is behind it. She puts up posters all over her neighbourhood, but as fast as she puts them up, someone takes them down. Soon, a whole spate of fires is breaking out and Isabel must stay one step ahead of the flames, and the police. In order to survive, she must question her own innocence, her sanity and the very fabric of her morality. Can she win back Deacon? And will she ever find Fluffy?

Lorna Dounaeva was named after the book, Lorna Doone, so really, she had no choice but to write. She is a politics, social psychology and European studies graduate who worked for the civil service, primarily the British Home Office for a number of years. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband, two active toddlers and a quirky sense of humour. FRY is her debut novel.

FRY will be on Amazon from March 12th

Visit Lorna's website:
Follow her on Twitter   connect on Linkedin and View her Facebook page 

4 March 2013

Guest Post by Tami Kidd Masincupp, Co-Founder of Indie House Books

Road Trip Inspiration

In November of 2011, my husband, Davy and I were on our own road trip.  The trip, a 17 hour trek from Florida to Maryland, afforded us plenty of time to talk and for me, armed with my notebook and pen, the opportunity to write.  Not that I expected a great piece of literary fiction to culminate from our road trip but as a writer I never know when an idea is going to strike and I have to be prepared.
Several poems and a short story later, I sat back and gazed at the passing landscape out my window.  I began to complain about how difficult it is for indie authors to promote their books.  Just a few months prior to our trip I released my debut novel, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords in ebook format and paperback.  I never dreamed that after writing a novel, the real work was ahead of me.

Indie House Books

I knew nothing about promoting my book.  I knew my book wasn’t going to magically end up in the hands of eager readers just by wishing it.  I knew I needed help and I knew if I needed help, there was a strong possibility that other authors on the same road might also need help.
On the internet I found many, many sites that provided advice on how to promote my book, but I didn’t find many places where I could actually promote my book.  I needed a site where I could put my book out there for readers to see, instead of getting lost in a sea of books. Sometimes I felt like the odds of my book being noticed were next to impossible. 
The more my husband and I talked the more we realized there was a true need for a site where indie authors could promote their books; where readers are welcome and encouraged to visit.  I feverishly scribbled down our thoughts in my notebook.  We brainstormed.  What would a site like that offer?  A “one-stop” shop, where authors could promote their books and readers could browse for books by emerging indie authors.  Sure readers can go to one of the large booksellers to find new books by indie authors, but they will be tossed in the mix somewhere on page 400, behind the main-stream authors.  Indie authors need a site with them in mind.  Somewhere they could call home.  They needed a site dedicated to promoting indie authors. 
There on Interstate 95, somewhere between Lumberton, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, an idea was born.  Indie House Books was born.  Well, in the beginning it had many other names.  Some were pretty good, some were downright hilarious.  One option was IndieBay, a play on eBay. It was almost Greatful Read…a play on Greatful Dead and NDZone.  I don’t know where NDZone came from…maybe we had just drove passed an Auto Zone. Even if we didn’t yet have a name, we had a plan and we were excited.  We were going to create a website that indie authors could promote their books for a small fee and in some cases, for free and in exchange we were going to provide a platform for their books.  We wanted a website where readers could come and find books by indie authors.  We wanted to give indie authors a chance to get their books seen and not be hidden among thousands of other books.  We wanted to provide resources for authors.  We envisioned having author interviews, and books reviews and upcoming events, like book-signings and new release announcements and author bios. 

Indie House Books’ First Anniversary

Here is where I must give credit where credit is due.  My husband, Davy created the website all on his own.  With very little prior web design experience he created Indie House Books.  He amazed me.  He took the ideas we came up with on the road trip and ran with them.  It’s easy to come up with ideas; the hard part is putting those ideas into action. 
On March 4th, which happens to be my daughter Jessica’s birthday, we allowed her to push the button on the computer making Indie House Books live.  In less than one hundred days, an idea became a reality. 
Since that day we have made many new friends, and gained tons of experience and we are about to celebrate Indie House Books’ one year anniversary.  We recently had our website re-designed by a professional web developer.  Not that we weren’t happy with the original site, but we feel in order to be the best, we have to grow and evolve.  We feel we provide a great service and we are thrilled when we receive thanks from indie authors for our services. 
Visit our site, if you’re a reader, you will be pleased to find amazing books by talented indie authors.  If you’re an author you will find reasonable promotion options for every pocket book.  Our 17 hour road trip proved to be the most productive 17 hours we have ever spent in a car, perhaps not the most fun *wink wink* but certainly the most productive.  

Tami Masincupp writes under her maiden name, Tami Kidd. Tami was born July 29, 1959 in Riverside, California. At six her family moved to Arkansas. In 2001, she and her two teenagers moved to Navarre, Florida. She is a technical writer for a software development team during the day. In her off hours she writes and enjoys a simple life in Baker, Florida with her husband, Davy. Together they care for their three dogs and flock of chickens. They founded Indie House Books, a website dedicated to helping indie authors and readers connect. Tami has authored one novel, a mystery, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Her award winning poetry has been included in several anthologies. Her goal is to one day retire and write full time, without going broke!

and follow @IHB6 on Twitter.  

1 March 2013

Guest Post - Craving by Omar Manejwala

Why is it that we know what we want but can rarely seem to achieve our goals?  What undermines us every time?  As a psychiatrist who has run several rehabs and an addiction expert who has helped thousands of people change their habits and get back on track, the answer is simple: cravings.  Cravings make us smoke “just one puff” when we’re trying to quit.  Cravings make us “cheat” on our diets.  Cravings lead us back into the casino if we’re gamblers, or back to the bar if we’re alcoholic.  Why do we let that happen?  How can we stop them?

Cravings are intense urges that are very uncomfortable to resist.  They often feel like they are going to last forever unless they are satisfied.  They trick us into believing that “this time will be different”, or “I deserve this”, or even “one time can’t hurt.”  They are powerful thoughts and feelings that drive our behavior in ways that are clearly against our self-interest.  Where do they come from and how can we stop them? 

Well, that’s exactly why I wrote Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough (Hazelden Pub. 2013).   As an addiction psychiatrist I saw heartbreaking examples of people giving up just as they were starting to get successful, families torn apart and jobs lost, all because of cravings and their effects.  I saw people spend thousands of dollars on miracle “cures”, geographic cures (moving away to try and fix the problem), and fads.  Most of these efforts were misguided, although at the time they seemed sensible to the person who was suffering with the cravings.  The people I was helping truly believed their problem was the sugar (or the alcohol, or the gambling, or the smoking) and couldn’t see past that to learn that the craved object was really just a symptom of a deeper need that couldn’t ever be met with “one more donut.”
In Craving, I review the complex causes of cravings (the brain science and psychology behind cravings, the powerful social forces that affect cravings and even the genetics of cravings) and then explore what we really know about what works to kick them.  Strategies that have published, peer-reviewed, scientific support are emphasized, and myths are debunked.  The book contains practical suggestions that a reader could use to immediately begin to gain control over their cravings and achieve their goals.

Many of the suggestions are counterintuitive (did you know that mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce cravings?), but all of the suggestions are grounded in science.   What you won’t find is a suggestion to use this or that supplement, or some piece of fitness equipment or a magic juicer.   As a psychiatrist I have reviewed thousands of articles on addictions and cravings.  In many of the cases, I spoke directly with the researchers who conducted the cravings studies  to clarify what exactly their research showed. In Craving I distill those down to the essential suggestions that can make a difference in your cravings and help you get on your way to recovery.

Omar S. Manejwala, M.D.

Preview Craving on Amazon

Omar Manejwala, M.D., is the senior vice president and chief medical officer of Catasys in Los Angeles, California, and is the former medical director at Hazelden Foundation. Dr. Manejwala is a transformative public speaker and appears frequently in the national media to address the topic of addiction.

Find out more at 
follow on twitter @DrManejwala