Here, There and Everywhere

Spreading The Word

It takes a lot of time and effort, before and after one’s book is published, to get good reviews and interviews. Of course, it always helps if what you write is good in the first place! Assuming that it is, there are several steps that can be taken. These include: research which blogs review and feature work similar to yours, and contact them about a review and/or interview. Next, do the same thing with magazines, journals and online sites. Find out which ones are related to your topic (or story) and get a hold of the editor with a brief description (short paragraph) about the book, the cover, your publishing history, and contact information. The other folks to get ahold of are book reviewer’s at major newspapers, and producers of radio and TV shows that talk about books, and are looking for guests. These can include a variety of podcasts as well.

Here is a wonderful review I received for The Last Conception from the Extraordinary Bliss Mistress and author, Edie Weinstein.

“The Last Conception” is a bhakti-fest of love and loss, hope and courage that comes in unexpected packages. Take a peek into the lives of an Indian-American family faced with an unusual demand of their medical professional unmarried daughter whose job and personal life intersect in unanticipated ways. Although happy endings are never guaranteed, it seems that one is in the offing for this savory literary masala.
Edie Weinstein, author of The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, here’s a brief description.

LastConception-CoverA successful embryologist (Savarna Sikand) must make difficult and life-changing choices. Should she continue devoting her soul to work and party with her girlfriend Magdalena or settle down with Charlemagne (Charley) and have children? If she decides to have children, how and when will they start the process and what will it take to convince her conservative East Indian mother to stop trying to marry her off to a “good man”? If that isn’t enough pressure, throw in the bomb her parents plant when they tell her she MUST have a baby because she is the last in line of a great spiritual teacher who reportedly never had children!

Available at: Melange Books and Amazon.

Moments Turns Into Years

My “brief” journey from story to screen.

Write down, or have a story idea, or concept, in mind.

Write the story. Rewrite and edit the book at least 10 million times.

Find a publisher who will publish the book, now known as The Last Conception.

Sign contract with Melange Books.

Obtain quotes and advance reviews.

Book published.

Book signings, promotions, connections and marketing for two years (year before and a year after novel is released).

Decide to write screenplay. One of my previous screenplays, Stellina Blue, was made into a film and another, Down On Earth, is optioned by Sybil Danning at Adventuress Films.

Work on screenplay for The Last Conception, continuing to revise and edit.

Workable, moving and entertaining screenplay completed.

Write up logline, summary of film and synopsis.

Research and obtain contact information for those who might be interested in script.

Start approaching executive producers, directors and production companies.

Elapsed time, from books inception to pitching screenplay (so far) is three years.

Presently, an award-winning and innovative director is attached.

Next step will be finding a producer and/or financing for film, and then festivals and/or distribution.

This timeline will be familiar to thousands of novelists, screenwriters and filmmakers. Some take less time, and some take more (from page to screen).

I hope for those just starting out, or venturing to put your toe in the water, this provides a little insight into the amount of patience, persistence and ordered chaos that can await on the journey to bring your story to the screen.


Coming Into Her Own

The Buddha of Lightning Peak: Cycle of the Sky
By Yudron Wangmo
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

A lot of authors, agents and publishers say their story is “unique”, but rarely does the tale turn out to be that different or “special”. The Buddha of Lightning Peak is an exception. The characters in the story are like many people I know, and experiences they have lived, but I’ve never read something that combined them all into one tight, believable and well-crafted novel such as this.

Denise “Dee” is a teenager who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also black, lesbian and part of a meditation group. She has a variety of friends, including Leslie and her BFF, Shanti, as well as her mentor/teacher, Sandy. She isn’t a strong environmental advocate, until she learns of a mining operation about to start up next to her beloved summer camp and mountain.

The author reveals life through Dee’s eyes and perspective, and reveals the thoughts, emotions and experiences that many teens go through, especially teenage girls. The Buddha of Lightning Peak is an insightful and entertaining story that reveals Dee coming into her own strength, realizations, and sense of connection and community. I rarely read stories twice, even good ones. This will be the exception.

(The author provided me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review.)


Greetings from Rwanda!

We hope you are having a great summer! There’s been a lot going on around the Rwandan Orphans Project’s Imizi Children’s Center, so we wanted to tell you what we’ve been up to since our last update.

The biggest and best news is the fact that we have been able to fully pay off our new land. That’s right, back in May we were able to make the final payment on our new home, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the paperwork that will secure the property, and our future, for many years to come. 


When the ROP started out in an abandoned industrial warehouse the idea of having our own permanent home was nothing more than a dream. In 2010 we were able to move to a better location, but there we had to pay rent, which was a significant burden on our budget each and every year. Today we have finally realized our goal of securing a permanent facility for our children’s program, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Another great achievement happened just last Friday when one of our graduates, Jean, graduated from the National University of Rwanda having earned himself a bachelor’s degree. Even more impressive was the fact that he graduated FIRST IN HIS ENTIRE CLASS! That is no small feat at all, especially considering he graduated with nearly 2,000 other students.


Jean is a survivor of the 1994 Genocide, the tragedy that saw approximately 800,000 Rwandans killed, including his own parents and siblings. He is the sole survivor of his family, and the physical and mental scars were never easy for him to overcome. After losing his family he ended up surviving on his own on the streets of Kigali until, at age 12, he found the ROP. No student worked harder in the classroom and when Jean wasn’t in class, washing his clothes or doing other chores his nose would be buried in any book he could get his hands on. The results of his commitment to aspire to a better life combined with the opportunities ROP was able to give him are now celebrated by us all.

When speaking to our boys at his party he told them, “I attended classes with rich kids and kids who had ‘normal’ families. Many of them doubted me and discouraged me because, in their eyes, having been a street boy, I could never hope to achieve anything. First I proved them wrong by being elected class president in my second year. Many still doubted me, so I showed them by becoming the best student in the entire school. Now they can’t doubt me. Never let anyone doubt you because of where you came from. The only one who can stop you doing great things is yourself”.

Please support the Rwandan Orphans Project’s Imizi Children’s Center.


imgresTerror is terror. It is often cloaked in religion, dogma, or nationalism, but at its root it is simply terrorism. There have been terrorists who identified with, or been labeled as, Muslims, Christians, Hindu’s, Jews, and Buddhists. Nobody however is a “Muslim terrorist” or a “Christian terrorist”. None of the major religions, nor the majority of their followers, advocate or condone the taking of innocent and/or civilian lives. People that cloak their feelings of inadequacy and/or desire for power and control, in the name of religion, do not represent that religion. Using religion as a guise to cover up, and justify one’s violent actions towards another, is a con, a rouse, a blasphemy against the religious tenets they claim to follow.

Terrorist’s use violence and terror for a number of reasons. The primary purpose is to spread fear and cause a reaction. People who become terrorists usually do so because of a lack of power, no self-worth, wanting a sense of control, and/or wishing to belong to something, regardless of how hateful or absurd the group is with which they identify. Understanding why someone becomes a terrorist is irrelevant, when trying to stop someone from committing an act of terror in the present tense, but understanding why can be useful to dissuade, and prevent people choosing such a path, in the future.

There are also those who cause suffering because of their own suffering, and wish to externalize that pain on to others, that do not use religion as a scapegoat or justification. These individual’s have experienced pain and loss, and do not know how to live with such grief, and/or experience times of uncontrolled mania, delusion and/or disassociation. These acts are difficult to foresee, but can often be minimized, or removed, with good mental health treatment and support.

Acts of terrorism by nation states, in the name of defense, retribution, and/or security, are also acts of violence and terror, as is rape and abuse, but in this instance I am specking about individuals who act alone towards a group of people, and those who report on their acts. Stop adding religious classification’s to acts of terrorism, and simply call them for what, and who, they are – an act of terror perpetrated by a terrorist. Terror is terror – period.

My words about terrorism, and terrorists, do not derive from any particular religious, political, or personal slant, but are a result of over 40 years of observations, and supporting hundreds of individuals and families who have lost a loved one to violence, murder and/or genocide; and speaking with many people who have committed murder and/or genocide.

Imizi Children’s Center

Hello from Rwanda. We’ve had a great few months at the ROP, and we wanted to share some of our latest news with you. First off, a truly wonderful development – eight of our secondary school graduates performed so well on their national exams that they have been awarded government scholarships to university, bringing the total number of ROP grads who have earned government scholarships in the last five years to thirteen! As you can imagine, all of us at the ROP are extremely proud of their achievement. Our students are making the most of their opportunities, and we are extremely grateful to you for supporting their journey from the streets to higher education. Thank you!

We are also happy to let you know that we are now well settled into our new location in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. We still have much to do to fix up our new home, but we’ve made great strides already. In February, we built a new set of toilets. More recently, with the support of Norwegian charity Metamorfose, we constructed a brand new, open-air kitchen with eco-friendly stoves that reduce our use of firewood and create significantly less pollution than traditional wood-burning stoves.           

Our new kitchen and toilet facilities.

Thanks to a generous grant from the KLM charity Wings of Support, we are also making significant renovations to the children’s dormitory that will provide them with more light, ventilation and comfort than they ever had before.

Renovations are 80% complete


Back in February, we opened our primary school to serve the ROP children and our new community in Rwamagana. In addition to our 70 boys, we have also admitted 70 girls and 50 boys from our local community’s poorest families. This is more students than we have ever had before, and it’s possible thanks to the much larger and improved school facilities we now have. We are also proud to have already developed a good reputation amongst our local community and the local government. Having moved from the city of Kigali to a much more rural area, we quickly realized that our new pupils haven’t had the exposure to lessons on important topics like gender equality that the ROP children have. This gives us the opportunity to educate these children on such things so ROP can have an even broader impact on our community.

ROP boys teaching the outside students to include the girls in sports and activities


All of these achievements are possible thanks to our wonderful supporters – people like you – who generously give throughout the year to help the Rwandan Orphans Project continue our mission of not only caring for former street children, but doing our part to help Rwanda’s vulnerable people in any way we can. From all of us at the ROP, we would like to once again say THANK YOU for your support!

From its creation, our center has been called the Rwandan Orphans Project, Center for Street Children. However, the Rwandan government recently informed all organizations that the words “orphan” and “project” were no longer allowed to be used in titles and instructed all organizations using such words to change their names. We asked the children to choose a new name for their center and after some discussion they came up with the name Imizi Children’s Center. Imizi is a Kinyarwanda word meaning “roots of a tree”, and the children felt like the name was representative of the center’s role in helping them grow. The children also said they sometimes felt embarrassed telling people that they lived at an “Orphans Project” and preferred the term “Children’s Center”. The staff enthusiastically accepted their choice, so that is now the name of our new home here in Rwanda. Don’t worry, the organization you are supporting is still called the Rwandan Orphans Project, both in the US and the UK. Rather, it is just the name of the center in Rwanda that has changed, and we now say that the ROP is supporting the children of the Imizi Children’s Center. 

Our new Imizi sign


We are gearing up for our annual fundraiser in San Diego, which will take place at the beautiful Museum of Photographic Arts on May 13th. It promises to be a great night and we hope to see many of you there. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit

We are also pleased to announce we will be holding our first ROP UK event this June. More details to follow; please email Jenny at for more information. 

Thanks again for everything you do for ROP,

 Sean Jones

Executive Director

Kigali, Rwanda




Welcome to Sortilege Falls by Libby Heily

Coming soon at Fire and Ice YA Publishing

Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn’t right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape’s life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape’s life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy’s friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models’ parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.

Available at Fire and Ice YA Publishing and Amazon.

Connect with Libby at: Good Reads Instagram Twitter Facebook

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