Saturday, August 31, 2019

VBT: Homeschooling and Working While Shaping Amazing Learners by LM Preston

Date Published: Aug 7th 2019
Publisher : Phenomenal One Press

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Homeschooling and Working While Shaping Amazing Learners is a nuts to bolts guide for working parents who want to groom exceptional learners through the flexibility of homeschooling. Learn to juggle working and homeschooling your kids while maintaining your sanity. Also, use aspects of homeschooling for after-schooling when traditional school isn’t working. Single parents are given options for executing homeschooling or after schooling methods that work in practical bits for the busy parent. Learn how to take your child from an average student to an exceptional student by exploring the possibilities shown in the section on acceleration of learning. From pre-K to Homeschooling College, open your eyes to the many options in flexibility this approach to learning can give. You can homeschool and work to shape amazing learners by exploring the possibilities.

 Plus Kickstarting Homeschooling While Working Mini-Course

About the Author

LM Preston is an author, engineer, former college professor, and working mother who's been married for over twenty-five years. She homeschooled 3 of her 4 children from elementary school and beyond while she and her husband worked outside their home. Three of her kids graduated with degrees by the age of 17 years old.

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iTunes: Homeschooling and Working While Raising Amazing Learners

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VBT Present: Jan Steele's Shoes on the Stairs

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Women's Fiction
Date Published: 7/27/2019
Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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Claire Blackwell can’t find that damn white light. Thanks to a mishap at an intersection, she’s dead and stuck somewhere between Heaven and what seems like Hell as she is forced to watch her husband and children unravel without her. While she struggles to find answers for her limbo state, her family begins to see her, offering what she believes, is a gift of second chances.

As she navigates through this new, untouchable world and the challenges it creates, she is forced to face some sad and potentially dangerous truths. Determined, she works to mend her relationship with her family, but her stubborn teenage son refuses to acknowledge her, and when tensions escalate with his long-time bully, her inability to control the physical world around her leaves her fearing for her family’s safety. With her time running out, she must find a way to save them before the progress she has made is lost and she fades from this world forever.

About the Author

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Jan Steele grew up in the burbs of Chicago and after thirty-two years of shoveling snow, moved to Southern California with her husband and children. She has taught everything from Kindergarten through high school but found her passion for writing years later while living as an expat in Asia for four years. She’s a contributing author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Miracles and More (2018), shares a blog with her sister-in-law, and is an MFA student at UC Riverside. In addition to writing, she loves to travel, volunteer, watch college basketball and sunsets. She’s also passionate about shedding light on the lasting effects of bullying.

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

VBT Presents: Pharaoh's Star by Olivia Hardy Ray

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Science Fiction, mystery, fantasy
Date Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Chattercreek

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The mystery that unfolds on a dark, eerie back road in upstate New York sends Nick Dowling on a frantic quest to understand his past. What he discovers about himself slowly drives him toward madness. Where does the truth unfold, in mystery or in the dream? Is truth the illusion he can't embrace? Just who is Nick Dowling?

About the Author

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Olivia Hardy Ray is the pen name for Vera Jane Cook, who is the author of Dancing Backward in Paradise, 2007 winner of the Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction and an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence, also in 2007. Dancing Backward in Paradise received a 5 Star Review from ForeWord Clarion. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater was a finalist for the ForeWord Clarion Book of the Year Award and the recipient of a five star review from ForeWord Clarion. Where the Wildflowers Grow was her third southern fiction novel and is receiving 5 star reviews from Her latest southern fiction novel just released is Pleasant Day. Her woman’s fiction novel is Lies a River Deep and the soon to be released ‘Kismet’. Under her pen name she is also the author of Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem, and Pharaoh's Star. The sequel to Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem is Annabel Horton and the Black Witch of Pau. That novel will be released this summer. Jane, as she is called by friends and family, writes in the genres she loves: southern fiction, women's fiction, mystery and fantasy paranormal fiction. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her spouse, her Basenji/Chihuahua mix, Roxie, her Dachshund, Karly, her Chihuahua, Peanut, and her two pussycats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

VBT: Gavin Goode by David B. Seaburn

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Date Published: 6.27.19
Publisher: Black Rose Writing

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“I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I think I died today.” So begins the complex and mysterious journey of Gavin Goode and his family. What happened to Gavin and why? What secrets will emerge along the way? Frankie, his wife and a dress store owner, feels guilty, but why? His son, Ryan, who owns an ice cream parlor, and daughter-in-law, Jenna, who is a bank manager, are expecting their first baby. How will this trauma affect them? And what of Rosemary, Frankie’s best friend? Or Ben Hillman and eleven-year-old, Christopher? How are they implicated in the events that unfold around Gavin’s misfortune? This is a story of despair and hope, dreams and reality, uncertainty and faith, humor, secrecy, forgiveness and beginnings.

About the Author

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David B. Seaburn’s first novel, Darkness is as Light, was published in 2005. He followed with Pumpkin Hill (2007), Charlie No Face (2011), a Finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award in General Fiction, Chimney Bluffs (2012), More More Time (2015), and Parrot Talk (2017), which placed second in the TAZ Awards for Fiction (2017) and was short listed for the Somerset Award (2018). Seaburn’s upcoming novel, Gavin Goode, will be released in June 2019.

Seaburn is a retired marriage and family therapist, psychologist and Presbyterian minister who lives in Spencerport, NY with his wife, Bonnie. They have two daughters who are married and three wonderful grandchildren. After serving a rural parish for six years, Seaburn entered the mental health field. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for nearly twenty years. There he was Director of the Family Therapy Training Program (Psychiatry) and Coordinator of the Psychosocial Medicine Rotation (Family Medicine). He also taught, practiced and conducted research. He published over sixty academic articles and two books. In 2005, Seaburn left the Medical Center to become Director of the Family Support Center in the Spencerport Central School District, a free counseling center for students and their families. Seaburn is currently a writing instructor at Writers and Books in Rochester, NY.

Visit his website at

Read his Psychology Today magazine blog at

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep is a sequel to the masterpiece The Shining.  The story continues with the adult life of Danny (Dan/Doc) Torrence.  At the beginning of the story, King refreshes our memories about the end of his Shining (not Stanley Kubrick's version).  Danny and his mother, Wendy, drift around throughout his childhood and she dies of lung cancer. Danny is very troubled by the ghosts that still visit him and turns to booze as a means of drowning them out.
Danny lives a transient lifestyle up and down the east coast.  He always finds work at old folks' homes and settlements that take in hospice patients.  Because he has the shining, he knows the moment when one will die. Eventually, he lands in a town called Frazier.  His boss instantly recognizes him as an alcoholic and takes the young man under his wing.  The two attend AA meetings and Danny's life begins to change for the better.  Again, he finds work in a hospice, but this time he gains respect from his patients and co-workers as he leads the almost dead towards their afterlife.

Danny's life is finally somewhat normal until Abra, a girl in the next town over with the same kind of power he has, contacts him telepathically.  The two form a friendship despite never meeting virtually or face-to face.  An evil outside group of monsters called the True Knot want Abra.  Her power can be changed into valuable steam and even cure them of a disease.
Without spoiling the rest of the story, Abra and Dan Torrence eventually meet and take on the True Knot.  Their headquarters are none other than the Overlook Hotel!
The real Overlook Hotel (Stanley Hotel)
My Review:  I love Stephen King, so anything he writes will always entertain me.  This wasn't his most scary or complex story, but I read it quickly and loved every page.  The story was solid and at times predictable, but there were plenty of twists and turns to keep my interest.  I loved the characters more than the story.  They were rich with problems, humor, and raw emotion.  Alcoholism is clearly a theme.  Lots of AA speak and AA scenarios were written into the story.  I've read a lot about King's personal life, and know he is in recovery.  Forgiveness is another theme, but I won't tell you why.  I recommend this tale to anyone who loved The Shining and loves King.  5/5 Stars
On a personal note, I got to go to the real Overlook (Stanley Hotel) last summer and see what inspired King's The Shining.  Great experience and I give the Stanley 5 stars as well!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Netflix's: The Great Hack

The Great Hack is a Netflix original documentary about Cambridge Analytica and their role in the Brexit referendum and the 2016 election.  The documentary follows three stories: 1) the impact and value of our personal data, 2) Brittany Kaiser-the Cambridge whistleblower, and 3) a professor's quest in getting his personal data back. The first storyline begins with one of the Obama elections who first used Cambridge Analytica and their data.  This story continues with the 2016 election. Ted Cruz originally hired Cambridge Analytica, but then (as we all know) lost to Trump and then Trump hired the company for his campaign.  I was not clear on the actual timing.  Was Cambridge working for both Republican candidates at the same time?  Isn't that conflict of interest?  Can an ad agency create ads for two competing companies?  I am not clear on the rules and neither was anyone else.  By the way, Steve Bannon was the VP of Cambridge Analytica AND Trump's campaign manager.  Sounds like Cruz got screwed.

The second part of the story is about the company Cambridge Analytica. One employee (with pink hair) had an ax to grind and claimed that they helped Nigel Farrage and his Brexit win the referendum despite there still being no Brexit.  Brittany Kaiser jumped on the bandwagon as well and claimed to have helped Trump win the 2016 election through slick campaign ads that were meant to influence swing voters in certain districts within swing states.  One of the ads was an ad about Crooked Hillary.  
Brittany has been interviewed by the media and testified before Congress during the Mueller investigations.  Her reasoning is much more cloudy than the other employee.  She claims that she felt guilty about her role in helping Trump win and believes that Cambridge Analytica is out of control.  They apparently used data in other countries such as Trinidad to get certain prime ministers elected.  

Facebook is a big part of Cambridge's success.  Cambridge creates cutesy quizzes for Facebook users that are used to store the user's answers and create a personality profile.  Personalities impact voting behaviors. Cambridge has worked for the British government under a different name, performing online ads and newsfeeds that thwart citizens from joining Al Qaeda.  Now they've expanded into swinging elections.
As far as the professor storyline went, he got a lawyer and Cambridge plead guilty.  Nothing else happened.  He never got his data and never got any damages for the theft.
My Review: This was a very entertaining and informative documentary, however, many questions were not answered.  Are social medias powerful enough to influence elections?  Can someone (like billionaire George Soros) hire them and put whoever they want in power?  Or is something much sadder going on?  Are people really stupid enough to vote for candidate based on a Facebook ad?  I also question Kaiser's "guilt" in helping with these elections.  She supposedly met with Julian Assaunge of Wikileaks.  Why?  After watching this documentary, I definitely will keep my posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram ultra-boring.  However, I am not convinced that this was "cheating" which was what the director intended to prove.  4/5 Stars

The Bifurcation of Dungsten Crease

    Science Fiction Date Published: March 15, 2021 Publisher: Del Sol Press In the course of a morning, Dungsten Crease resurrec...