Friday, August 20, 2021

It's Friday again...and I'm now in a Pensive Mood...

  • I wrote a little bit this week about the Bible story of the Talents. Do you remember what it's about?
  • I feel that God has given talents to doctors, scientists, nurses, and even President Biden and others who are daily placing themselves in danger to stop the spread of Covid...
  • And God, when prayers are sent up by those who had not taken advantage of the talents already provided to fight Covid, must wonder, "Why have you not acted to share in the wealth of the talents I've given to doctors,, to meeting your needs in this time when an enemy has sent a deadly virus... Therefore, I will take the talent I gave you and add it to those of the many who are fighting so hard to save as many lives as possible on my behalf...
  • ~~~
  • Thoughts!?

 I started to read earlier, taking a break, but the new book was about a older woman, facing her death...I was almost immediately pulled back into my own life as I see the years fly by, while, sometimes, the days seem so long...

It's quiet now. My caretaker was here to mow. He has become a friend, who also takes out my garbage as often as he is here...Now, I can feel his frustration, as he stayed away from me, explaining that his sister and other family members have contracted Covid. Thankfully, it is not the Delta strain. This is the first I've seen him in over a week, so it was good to see him even though I didn't have a friend to share a few words with...

He's also been my driver and helper with groceries. But he's had to make adjustments to his schedule to deal with his heavy lawn care jobs as well as the issues for his home and family. I knew it was coming, but have no alternatives to my own needs at this time...

Except, that, this morning, I received my second large delivery order from Walmart through their new program. I had taken the initiative to accept the test trial for it and found myself caught within the "mess" of a new system being implemented without total debugging and testing... I have to chuckle because it reminded me of the "mess" Biden is now dealing with in Afghanistan.  Sure, it, too, is a mess... After all, Trump had signed a deal with having Americans out of Afghan by May and so Biden had early announced that they would be leaving. I was happy and so were many Americans. Now I wonder what Trump and the Taliban leaders said.  I've learned that deals were being made for months... Who really knows... What we do know is that the leader of Afghanistan and its military swiftly left. Now, as iis often the case, the public immediately started to complain when the "mess" started. Yes, Biden is taking responsibility... At least this leader is accepting responsibility and working hard to deal with this along with the other major issues he inherited.

This past week, I also had been active... It was to my benefit to have Walmart succeed--otherwise, I didn't know how I would get my food and other supplies. So, like Biden, I recognized the mess after trying to place my first order... It went fairly well, even though the frozen dinners were soggy... So, I've been spending a lot of time on studying the Walmart system, working with it, and submitting suggestions or problems I've found. You see, after I placed my first order, I placed another one...and it disappeared, along with an e-mail order that had been sent as part of their new pickup-delivery... So during that period, I lost hours of food selection as I had also lost a complete order. Yeah, like me and others, including Biden, I was frustrated...and, in my opinion, Biden is dealing with it well, given all the crap that is happening these days...

So, after several days, I notified a contact at Walmart and shared that the improvements to the computer system was 100%... I offered a few more suggestions about procedure...then I felt like I was part of the process when I received my full order this morning and filled my freezer and refrigerator...dinners, yogurt, cereal...all simple easy-to-fix things that I eat as a single person, now somewhat disabled...

Unfortunately, federal laws prevents delivery of my I have not been able to pick up what is waiting after my last doctor visit... I did check with Walmart about delivery by mail, but the rep was honest and pointed out the potential problems of using that method... In the meantime, I'm grateful that the meds were not those that were necessary to maintain, for instance, my blood pressure, etc.

What has happened is that I find I have had to become more self-dependent than I have ever been before...

Right now, I'm not able to drive and it seems everything I need to do requires visits to this place or that... I got new glasses, but am still not totally satisfactory, even though I had gone in to have them checked twice...more frustration, of course. I cancelled the two other tests they wanted me to have... Also had to tell my primary physician that I couldn't come back to talk more because I didn't have a driver...

Even now as I write, I am beginning to have pain as I am sitting. For those who haven't heard, I learned that my left hip is deteriorating. My new primary doctor mentioned it on my first visit when I talked about the auto accident I had in March last year. When she indicated what my hip looked like, I was shocked...I had never been told before--yes, you guessed it, I had become frustrated with my last doctor's office and had moved because I knew I needed a good doctor's support and wasn't getting it.

Fortunately, I had an excellent doctor for my surgery to remove a brain tumor. At that time, he also order physical therapy to ensure I could regain balance and walking skills. If I had only that issue--brain surgery--I probably would have been fine. But learning about my hip deterioration set off an entirely new issue, in most ways, more difficult to deal with than surgery of the brain.

Right now, I am unable to walk without a walker...Imagine not being able to even go to the bathroom without a walker to ensure that your ankle, your knee, your lower leg, or your hip will not give out as you take a step and cause a fall. I am fine otherwise, but right now and for the last few months, I have been trying to get approval for somebody to help me with driving, and other daily activities. Bureaucracy is alive and well...

And I have encountered many people who do not do the job to meet the needs of me, the customer... Contrary to how I was able to work with Walmart to get my needs attended to, I find I keep being referred from one place or another, or actually firing individuals who were doing more harm to me (mentally and emotionally) than helping...

You know, God gave me over 70 years of relatively good health and I am so grateful. I wonder, sometimes, if he placed me in these situations to reveal and, perhaps, commiserate with others who are struggling to survive within the world we live in today if only by reading about another's experiences...

My doctor asked me recently when I confessed being depressed, whether or not I had considered suicide... My resounding "No" was surely spoken through me from the Holy Spirit that dwells within me... Am I as strong as Job in facing all these issues? Afraid Not! But I don't need to be... God loves me as I am and cares for me, even if my day is so bad that I don't even say good morning to Him... He realizes my pain... And, if I should feel better...but can only get out a few words, it is normally these:

You know, I don't profess to understand what is happening in today's world, but I know He doesn't mind my seeking and asking questions... Sometimes His word comes into my mind to, maybe, even share with others. Sometimes He just makes me wait...and wonder...

But I know He Loves Me. And, even if I no longer sing in public as this elderly lady and her family does...I'll still be singing in my mind:

And if you are feeling old or alone...or like Mary Eddy, when I used to sing this song as a duet when we sang on a local radio station, with Rev. Joe Jordan, in Morgantown, W.V., when her son had died, we knew that, somewhere, somebody was listening who the song had been sent to, especially in response to their pain or fears... So, if the pain and suffering...and the shock of death has toughed you because of one issue or another...just say the words..."Lord, help me today, show me the day at a time!"

God Bless

Thursday, December 24, 2020



If somehow I have made someone, even if only in some small way happy, then it's all been worth it...

Regis is an ongoing contributor to Book Readers Heaven. He can be found mostly at his Den...Authors Den, that is!

The Maid of Winter (haiku)

The Maid of Winter
Arrives with the winter wind

And swirling snowflakes

A Winter’s Dance


A scent in the air

Nature is changing her sheets

The snow is coming


A whisper of wind

Soughs through the boughs of dark trees

As the sky darkens


A splash of siskins

Seeks a haven from the storm

Among the cedars


A few snowflakes fall

Floating on the rising wind

Heralding the storm


In time with the wind

The snow falls more heavily

As darkness deepens


In the wild maelstrom

Of this windy snowy night

The dance continues


Until such a time

As the wind and falling snow

Bow out to the moon


In the bright moonlight

The landscape is magical

White serenity


The storm is over

An owl calls in the distance

One answers nearby


The dawn will witness

Nature’s wonderful artwork

In this snow-clad land


© Regis Auffray


Christmas in 2020 (rhyming acrostic)
Christ is born in Bethlehem
He comes in midst of mayhem
Rejoice for he brings us peace
Ignorance and hatred cease
Sing his praises do not sway
The Lord comes to show the way
Make your enemy a friend
All will be one in the end
Shed your chains and walk away

Copyright © Regis Auffray
December 2004
All Rights Reserved

I Thought of You


I watched a cloud float by in the sky

I saw a bird flying

A butterfly fluttered by

A ladybug landed

A deer came out of the woods

And grazed in the meadow

A breeze came by

And the trees waved

And some leaves wafted

To the ground

The brook giggled

And freshened the air

A feather fell from an eagle above

Rainbow raindrops alit on me

Born of cotton clouds that came and went

Leaving a sky of sapphire


With each marvel

I thought of you

God made me see the loveliness

Of all that you are


© Regis Auffray


Christmas Future    (rhyming acrostic)

Christmas will be all year round
Hope peace and joy will abound
Religions will be as one
Immortal Love will have won
Sorrow will be put to flight
The Light will shine in the night
Mankind will as one unite
And all of the universe
Shall be freed from evil’s curse

Copyright © Regis Auffray
December 2004
All Rights Reserved


Thanks to Regis for Allowing Me to Share!

May the Peace and Love from God's Holy Child Be With Each of You Through the Coming Years!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

2020 Election Day! Sharon Sala Shares Thoughts for America! With Responsive Music...

At first, you're certain you just misunderstood.
Then it happens again and the shock that goes through you is sharp and sudden.
When you realize it is their truth, then comes horror, followed by a seeping fear.
It doesn't make sense to you.
You don't understand... will NEVER your view and their view of the same world can be so different.
And then you remember, we are not cookie cutter people.
We are not cut from the same cloth....nor were we raised the same.
And there's where you stop.
We are not the same. We didn't have to think the same.
But we DO have to treat each other with dignity and respect.
And they didn't.
Before, celebrating differences was beautiful.
Now, some have made it a sin... a be different.
I have no dealings with people like that anymore.
They crossed a moral line with me that I can never unsee...or unhear.
And I am sad.
The world is uglier than I knew.
They kept it hidden... their hate and prejudice.
I let their smiles and laughter...and the familiarity of their faces delude me into believing they didn't mean what they'd just said.
But I was wrong.
They meant it.
And now it shows.
Like a festering sore that won't heal.
The pain of their discontent is unbearable.
I don't know how they walk in the world carrying this kind of hate.
I don't understand them.
I don't know them anymore.
I am a stranger in the place where I was born.
The ultimate irony.

I do not belong here... and yet, here I am. 



Sharon Sala is a long-time member of RWA, as well as a member of OKRWA. She has over 125 books and novellas in print, published in six different genres - Romance, Young Adult, Western, Fiction, and Women's Fiction and Non-Fiction. First published in 1991, she's an eight-time RITA finalist, winner of the Janet Dailey Award, five-time Career Achievement winner from RT Magazine, five time winner of the National Reader's Choice Award, and five time winner of the Colorado Romance Writer's Award of Excellence, winner of the Heart of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Booksellers Best Award. In 2011 she was named RWA's recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 Romance Writers of America presented her with the Centennial Award for recognition of her 100th published novel.
Her books are New York Times , USA Today, Publisher's Weekly best-sellers. Writing changed her life, her world, and her fate.

I Love meeting authors I have not read via their posts on Facebook or elsewhere... So I took the opportunity to learn about Sharon Sala's writing by reading!

But it was the beautiful thought-provoking words that she posted yesterday on Facebook. I immediately asked if I could share it across the world with my blog...And She Agreed! Thank you so much, Sharon!

Election Day 2020 is, perhaps, the most memorable election that America will ever experience. In a Nation divided, each side wondering why... We, the People, have the momentous responsibility to choose who will be our next president.  As written by Sharon, many of us just don't understand WHY? Why is there such a divide...We may never know... All we can do is accept our responsibility and make that choice, on this the final day...Election Day 2020...

I pray that you follow your heart, mind, and God as you accept your responsibility and cast that vote... We are, indeed, fighting a war...God be with All of Us!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Research for Election Year Has Kept This Reader UP-TO-DATE on Issues - Check out Four Books!

Being a constant reader, I found myself turning to some of the books that have been published during the last few months regarding the political environment we are now facing in America... I had already read Mary Trump's outstanding biography which shared her relationship within the Trump family... (See my review). It had provided me with the "why" of Trump and I was better able to deal with his colossal failure as our president.

Nothing prepared me for this book! The name of the author is probably a  pseudonym, but I knew the publisher so bought the book. It is probably too late for many voters, including me. But it is well worth reading to confirm whether or not you voted correctly in this year's election. Where Mary Trump's book left off, the first part of the book took over... It was so realistic that I had a hard time reading and would stop and put it aside for awhile.  Issues that most of us are fully aware of as they have been discussed during the last four years. However, in satire form, coming from the present president, it is mind-blowing. Just as we have come to know the scatterbrain method by which the president speaks, the words, some of which were actually repeated from dialogue of the incumbent, presents an almost maniacal flow of words spewed or twittered in his obsessive and sometimes violent behavior at his rallies, or when he is interviewed by somebody other than Fox staff. We have all seen this at various times...but the full regurgitation from "The Mind of a Dictator..." has to acknowledge in everybody what exactly has been happening in America...

A dictator’s mind that creates a climate of chaos, hate, racism, and division. If these are thoughts of the leaders, you will elect. STOP! You are making the wrong choice. 
MY PREDICTION "I said this once, many years ago before I became president, 'If I were to run, I'd run as a Republican politician. They are the dumbest political party in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie, and they'd still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.' If you don't believe me, read People Magazine of 1998. That was when I said it. I was right then, and I am right now. “Dumb people deserve an authoritarian leader, the kind that leads by leashing a tight rope around their necks and dragging them around. I am that leader. I can say the things Republicans fear to say and do the things they fear to do. That's why the Republicans Party establishment chose me. I do their dirty work, and they get to pretend like they had nothing to do with my choices. This approach makes leading easy as I do not have to assume any responsibility...
I would have much more to say about this book in a full review, but needless to say, I was overwhelmed...and couldn't wait to give you my "My must read" recommendation on this one!

The book that was the most revelatory of new information for me was
HOAX by Brian Stelter who some of your know from watching CNN. His program there, Reliable Sources, is about how news concerns may be considered, handled and possibly changed via research and consideration. I'm a fan... I had heard about "Fox News," but my main reason for not watching was that the head of the network had been fired due to harassment of women. That was bad enough...but what I learned both shocked, dismayed and, frankly, still think is unbelievable in today's world... 

"Everybody can be bought” In 1996, while Donald Trump was buying up buildings and beauty pageants, Rupert Murdoch bought Roger Ailes. Murdoch hired the GOP political operative and gave him a pile of money to build a news channel from scratch in the basement of the News Corp building in New York City. It was one of the most fateful decisions in modern American history. A
iles had both political and personal motivations for partnering with Murdoch. He wanted the Republican Party to win on television the way Rush Limbaugh was winning on radio.  Ailes showed up to the Television Critics Association’s press tour in July 1996 and officially announced the name of his new channel. Before he took the stage, reporters received a handout portraying poor public opinions of the press. It was a “fake news” manifesto twenty years before Trump turned “fake news” into a mantra. The handout cited one poll where only 14 percent of respondents gave journalists positive marks and another where 67 percent said TV news was biased. Ailes said Fox News was the solution: He swore he wanted Fox reporters to “just give the viewers the facts and the information.” He knew exactly what he was really doing, but he insisted, “I’m just announcing balanced and unbiased coverage. If that’s traumatizing some people, so what?” Ailes’s bombastic bromides were irresistible to television critics. He was practically writing their columns for them. “He says rude, obnoxious things that make for more interesting newspaper stories,” one writer admitted after the press tour appearance. Remind you of anyone?
Ailes and Trump ran in the same New York media circles for decades. To hear Ailes tell it, “Donald and I were really quite good friends for more than twenty-five years.” And to hear Trump tell it, “Roger owed me.” The two men had a lot in common: Similar fears of crime. Similarly racist views about immigration. The same generational references, since Ailes was just six years older than Trump. Both men were tail-chasers and wife-cheaters. Both had a taste for conspiracy theories. Both had paranoid streaks. And both ran their businesses as fiefdoms. With Ailes, Fox hosts were reminded to lavish him with credit whenever writing a book or giving a speech. With Trump, lieutenants were reminded that hismind wandered whenever conversations weren’t about Trump. Both men also appreciated the power of public relations—whether they were building up their own brands through puffy magazine profiles or knifing a rival in the back through a well-placed hit piece. Trump never saw any distinction between the press and PR. Whenever he could, he used the press to score points and further his own interests.

Remember, I was reading this book when it was published this year. However, I have been watching and listening about the incitement of all negative things by this administration for four years... What I didn't know was that there was such a close tie to people like Hannity and Trump, that they spent much time talking and it would be hard to say just where each idea or confusion point came from. Specifically, I was not only unaware, I was totally surprised that an information program would be permitted the people.  Perhaps it was what they wanted to hear? I'm not sure. Myself I preferred to hear the truth, discussed and to formulate my own opinion. Not so with Fox... And it has gotten progressively worse during this administration's tenure...

I consider this a must-read book as well! If you have been totally unaware, as I was, that a television station with news reporters can also have "talk" shows that are apparently free to do anything they want, to lie, initiate and perpetuate those lies...Well, I consider reading a book that can specifically document such corruption of the truth is well worth your time...

"I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have. I don’t know if that’s an asset or a liability, but whatever it is, I do.”  Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump in an interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa on March 31, 2016, at the Old Post Office Pavilion, Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C.

I had already heard the news that the president had known about the Coronavirus early in the year... But, for me, I wanted a copy of the latest book by Bob Woodward, an award-winning journalist, on his interviews with the President. The first book had been written with just research but no interviews. This time, Woodward spent hours with the President...And he willingly told Bob Woodward what he would not tell the citizens of the United States... That he knew how deadly the virus was...

About halfway through the lengthy speech (State of the Union), Trump mentioned coronavirus in one short paragraph. “Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China,” Trump said. “My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” That did not, however, include sharing any part of the warning he had received with the public.

Woodward asked the president about an earlier report from his own staff members, he was told by the president that he didn't recall it... Of course it had been part of the daily briefing, with a spotlight, but, as usual, Trump wasn't paying attention... Indeed the president rarely reads what he is provided routinely in daily reports. Only this time, it would lead to the biggest mistake Trump had thus far made. Trump's reasoning was that he didn't want to panic Americans...
“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told me. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Woodward covers the discussions held between he and Bob Woodward in this book. Bob often pointing out or discussing his concern about not sharing with the little avail.   

“And I think he’s going to have it in good shape,” Trump said, “but you know, it’s a very tricky situation.” What made it “tricky”? “It goes through air,” Trump said. “That’s always tougher than the touch. You don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” “Deadly” was a very strong word. Something was obviously going on here that I was not focused on. Over the next month I would make trips to Florida and the West Coast, oblivious to the mounting pandemic.

While discussing Fear on television, I was asked for my bottom-line summary of Trump’s leadership. “Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis,” I said.

And so it was that Bob Woodward, along with most of America, had no idea it was "deadly..." Indeed he has not been willing to speak of this even though the book has been out and thousands have died and millions have been infected in the States...

Much of the book includes interviews with Tillerson, Mattis, Comey, Sessions,  Rosenstein, and other individuals no longer in the administration. They were candid and informative, some of which we had known about but details were important. I had garnered most of the topics covered in this book from my almost obsessive news watching during that time period. Nevertheless there was many background details that I used to fill in earlier accounts which provided a sometimes new perspective. For me, this was well worth reading and I can highly recommend to others interested in this extraordinary administration...

Of the four books, in addition to the one by Mary Trump, I found the book by Michael Cohen to be the most readable and, in turn, the most heartwarming... Once again, most of what was included had been covered on the news. However, I found the personal perspective of this true story, this memoir, the most telling.  The most sympathetic. For instance, Michael shared that none of his family were happy with his working for Donald Trump and were constantly trying to get him to quit or, at least, not be at his beck and call constantly...

Donald Trump’s seduction began the way it would continue for years, with flattery, proximity to celebrity and power, and my own out-of-control ambitions and desires. For me, it started on a nondescript day in the fall of 2006. At the time, I was a successful, if little-known, middle-aged midtown Manhattan attorney and businessman on the make, sitting in a tidy nondescript office with two of everything arranged before me on my desk, a function of my obsessive nature: two staplers, two tape dispensers, two phones, two cups with sharpened pencils. I was thirty-nine and I worked for the mid-sized white-shoe law firm Phillips Nizer. As a lawyer I’d long had a busy practice in personal injury and medical malpractice, but my real passion and talent was in dealmaking, and I had accumulated a multi-million dollar fortune in the rough-and-tumble taxi medallion industry. Wealthy, with a beautiful wife and two healthy, happy young children, I had just purchased an apartment in the Trump Park Avenue building for $4.9 million and I tooled around the city in a Bentley and considered myself semi-retired. I had it made, in other words, but I didn’t know that I was on the precipice of a mid-life crisis that would lead to an all-consuming fixation and my downfall.

Michael willingly shares how he was pulled into the seduction. I found myself comparing him to the many who have become followers and members of the cult in which he surrounds his loyalists... The Power, the celebrity... It was not something that had ever interested me, but I found a certain empathy for Michael and other followers... Michael was willing and able to do anything for Donald. One thing he pointed out in the book and on television is that Donald rarely actually says "Do this" or "Do that." What he does is create scenarios where if you wish to follow him, you must accept as truth, no matter how wrong... Unfortunately, we have all seen in during the last four years. 

Ultimately, something happens that forces the follower to begin to question. This exploration of what happened for Michael is poignant. When that happened, Michael was able to see the lawlessness of his actions and the manipulation used to have him, essentially, leave his family and choose his boss, as the primary person in his life. Thank God that he was able to pull away from this cult and return to his family...and to paying the price, legally, for all that he had done for his boss. If you have a need to learn how to pull yourself out of a destructive relationship, I can highly recommend this as an illustration of how you go where you are and how to find yourself again...


Friday, October 23, 2020

Anonymous Insider Speaks Out Against Author-Amazon Off!


It felt like a bizarre irony when I realized I’d put my novels into the hands of villains virtually identical to those within their pages.

Since the inception of Kindle in 2007, the Amazon Corporation has monopolized the book distribution industry, transforming itself into the only viable option for publishers and self-publishing entrepreneurs, alike. Until 2015, Kindle was a dream for writers like me, who’d spent years under the restrictions of traditional publishers. However, the honeymoon period was not to last.

Writers froze in fear in 2016 when Amazon began terminating the accounts of innocent authors in response to the behavior of third party Kindle Direct Publishing scammers. Amazon offered nothing by way of a fair trial to its victims, who either had to quit writing, or initiate global appeal campaigns through social media and

Their next attack concerned reviews. This all begins with an insane requirement that readers are unaware of: If a book slips below a four-star average – it’s over! No promotion site will even take an author’s money to promote it.

Writers who live in the real world don’t expect every reader to love their books. However, the ‘four-star minimum’ demands that we must rank up there with Hemingway before we can even inform the world of our books’ existence. I find this to be unreasonable and even obscene, despite, by some miracle, having actually hit the proverbial mark.

Reviews are extremely rare. They come in at an average rate of one for every five-hundred readers, and always represent thousands of dollars in promotional expenditure. While there is an epidemic of fake five-star reviews out there, Amazon didn’t spend any time investigating the culprits. They simply blitzed all of us. Any positivity our books had became suspect. In response, Amazon programmed the algorithm to delete many of our perfectly legitimate five-star reviews, which had been posted by complete strangers who had no connection to us. Amazon offered no reasons for these deletions, nor any appeal process.

This was followed by a variation on that theme when they allowed the reviews to appear, but removed stars from them. I had a review that expressly stated, “I give it four stars” . . .  and yet only one star was checked. The very next review that came through was titled ‘Five Star’, yet only three stars showed. After investigating the review histories of these customers, it was abundantly clear that they knew how to use the review system. They showed no confusion about what the stars were. All of my appeals to Amazon were rejected, and all attempts to contact the reviewers through the review comments option were blocked.

Recently, my flagship novel experienced a flood of five-star ratings – only to then get hit with as many one star ratings within five weeks as it had previously received during its entire six-year history. The anonymous nature of these new, silent, one-click ratings makes it impossible to know if it’s a troll attack, or if the algorithm is stripping stars away. I had to temporarily unpublish the book in order to protect it from further harm. 

No book marketing guru will ever address the true dangers of the dreaded ‘one-star’ review. They focus solely on how to deal with the emotional angst it causes. While it’s true that it does cause that ‘sinking in the stomach’ feeling, that’s actually the most irrelevant factor. A one-star review/rating is virtually impossible for the average rating to recover from. Amazon weighs them heavier than five-star reviews, which means it could take up to twenty consecutive ‘fives’ to repair the damage caused by a single ‘one’. Amazon also suppresses the visibility of a book each time a ‘one-star’ appears.

In the meantime, the four-star minimum promotion requirement remains.

It’s a well-established fact that human beings are drawn to negatives, one-hundred times more than they are to positives (which is why bad news sells.) Regardless of how negligible in number an author’s negative reviews might be, Amazon’s ‘Most Helpful’ voting system was always guaranteed to send negative reviews soaring to the top of the list on a book’s product page. My ‘two-star’ reviews make up a mere 5% of my overall review tally. However, they dominate the visible reviews on the product page of my flagship novel, leaving the 65% ‘fives’ mostly hidden in the shadows. This almost certainly deters readers, who would have most likely enjoyed the book.

The algorithm is also programmed to devalue reviews that are over a year old. A book might have a 4.0 average at night, and be a 3.9 by morning – effectively knocking it out of the game.

Amazon seems to accept book promotion grudgingly and goes out of its way, with the most arbitrary measures, to impede an author’s marketing efforts. One of the most effective tools is to have a quality book video trailer on the relevant book’s product page (via the ‘Related Video Shorts’ feature.) But authors aren’t allowed to use it. Rather, Amazon defers us to our Author Central pages to upload videos, knowing very well that this feature is utterly useless. Casual, browsing customers are highly unlikely to go searching through Author Central. If, by chance, they decided to do so, they would only see a row of black video screens with no thumbnail images and no titles. They wouldn’t know what video they had clicked on until it started playing. 

Whenever we seek help from Amazon on any of these issues, their responses are invariably unhelpful, meaningless, and usually show that the operative hasn’t even read our query.

There have been so many other types of rug-pullers enabled by Amazon’s unrepentant policy of zero-accountability. Unfortunately, it would take a book in itself to list them all.

Writers put their hearts, souls, and years of their lives into their books, and that’s before going to the expense of cover design and marketing. But writing has become a no-win venture. Positive reviews are essential for promotion, but if we get them, Amazon will take them away. The abusive treatment this cruel, totalitarian monster inflicts upon us has rendered it a futile proposition, for which enormous monetary losses will be on the horizon.

In retrospect, this was always destined to be the case, since, in Jeff Bezos’ own words: "Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle."


Wow! I've always supported Whistle Blowers!!! Even in these days when they can be fired under an incompetent administration...

However, for as long as I've been reviewing at Amazon, I have tried over and over to have them differentiate books from any other product! Instead, placing them within an entire spectrum of products has resulted in...the above... Ultimately, the value of the work of the creator of a book has become of less value than any movie that might have evolved from that original BOOK!

So...I ask is the above true? Is the Insider right? Can you provide examples, affirmations, or other comments? 

All can remain anonymous... They can be left as a comment on my blog... or sent to me at No names will ever be used, although I would appreciate knowing sources if you trust me enough...


Saturday, September 26, 2020



Michael paused from his efforts to unwrap the bundle. "Yes. Rare traits in anyone," he said thoughtfully. As though peeling off the concentric leaves of an onion bulb made of delicate crystal, Michael carefully removed the layered batting and packing paper from around the object. From the center of the folded back peels of tissue and padding, he removed a beautiful antique clock. Hand painted roman numerals adorned the clock face. The case was made of glass panels on the top and sides supported by brass struts in the corners. The thick glass panels had a greenish tint, but were perfectly clear. The mechanical workings of the clock were visible behind the glass. Michael wound the clock. A tiny three-ball regulator began to spin behind one of the glass panels. 

"Wow, what a lovely clock." Trudy looked closer, admiring the antique. "Just look at the workmanship." Michael tenderly placed the clock on a shelf attached to one of the living room walls as a sort of short mantel. "Yes," he said. "It plays a little music at midnight too." He advanced the clock's hands to demonstrate. The clock began to play an exquisite musical phrase. "It's from the nineteenth century," Michael explained. "The music is from a waltz by Chopin." 

"It's really beautiful. I've never heard that tune before." "Some old friends of mine run an antique shop in Sausalito. They knew I would be interested in it once I heard it play, so they put it aside for me a few weeks ago." Trudy watched Michael's face as he continued listening to the little clock play its music. He was smiling, but she noticed there was also a hint of melancholy in his expression. His eyes focused off in the distance as though he was gazing down a tunnel stretching far into the past. The music finished playing, and Michael returned to the present. 

"Sorry," he said, self-consciously, "that tune takes me back to another time." 

"I completely understand. There are certain songs that remind of a place, or a season, or a special moment in my life too."


She had come into his life like a whirlwind--a beauty that reminded him somewhat of a woman he had loved so many years ago. It had been so long since... he'd been married...

Michael awoke, having another dream of his past life, a dream that reminded him once again just how long he had lived...He could still feel the sword as he plunged it in to his enemy...

This man would have easily lived for at least another two decades had he not been so unlucky as to have encountered me in battle, Michael thought. Michael took a deep breath as he prepared to draw the life force out of the man and into himself. He tightened his grasp on the man's neck and pressed the man harder against the tree to reduce the possibility of any potential commotion. Then he began. He felt the life energy transfer into him like a yellowish-blue light, rejuvenating him, strengthening him. The man's time line continued to shrink end-wise approaching the present as though watching liquid drain through a bottom spigot in a clear glass cistern. Sensing something terribly wrong was happening to him, the man reacted violently by flailing about as best he could. However, escape was impossible...


Centuries had gone by. Michael was able to adjust to keep him looking around the right age in any given time or place. He was now a nurse at a hospital and had been able to help many terminal patients. An older lady for whom he had cared and gotten to know had just died. He normally needed time to adjust to what she'd asked him to do...and move on... He had made it home, but some letter had been placed under his door and he caught and slid and fell.  Thinking it was from a building manager, he got up and went on to fall into bed after a very long day...

But the envelope revealed a different type of note: "I know your secret. I will contact you again. Show this to no one." Shit, Michael had thought, can't anyone around here write a decent haiku?"

For somebody who had lived as long as he had...and had to be constantly on guard, finding the typed letter was more an annoyance than concern, even taking the time to dwell on its being a very poor haiku... I found myself chuckling at this as the writer throws in comments that the reader can smile and enjoy throughout the book...

Especially when Trudy came into his life... A figure had been watching him and possibly even stalking him--maybe a hunchback or bent over man... Actually, Trudy was indeed following him, had textbooks in her backpack and finally had the opportunity to introduce herself as a history student...loving history was why she had begun working on her thesis...and the books were part of that burden.

Except she had noticed something...there were pictures of men in various wars that appeared to be Michael. Actually though, she had been very hungry and had fainted...and Michael had rescued her and took her to his apartment. Well, readers will enjoy how the two manage to get together through the rest of the book... An enjoyable romp that ensures readers get the opportunity to learn more about Michael's earlier lives and how he became immortal...

It's definitely a strange, but wonderful romance...But the more thrilling part was that letter and the fact that a killer was roaming through the halls of the hospital, somehow killing them by creating an embolism in their brains... Obviously, suspicion soon included medical staff, and Michael was one of those who had also caught attention because of his patients dying... Of course, the police recognized that he was assigned to terminally ill patients, but...still...

I enjoyed all of the characters that were uniquely drawn by author Rod Rhimes. Among my favorites are Trudy and the police inspector. The description for the hair of one of the villains is a fun caricature of a balding man, while the goddess of the river and her horse brings a touch of fantasy that is positively brilliant.

This is Rhimes' first book...and could possibly be leading to a series. If not, this first novel is well worth your time. The premise is exciting, including a bit of intrigue about there being more than one kind of immortal! Fascinating! And highly recommended!


Rod Rhimes is a long time human being and debutante writer. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Rod spent over 20 years living in the San Francisco Bay area. "Taking Life" is Rod's first novel.

Great news! "Taking Life" was awarded Indie Book of the Day! I am humbled by the honor.

You may follow Rod on:

Twitter: @rodrhimes
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