Monday, May 27, 2013


Richard Godwin's latest thriller, One Lost Summer, is out June 14, 2013. Here is a little teaser...
"Rex Allen loves star quality in women. He moves into a new house in a heat wave with few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass invites him to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster."
Richard recently interviewed with Nick Wallis of BBC Radio... here is the link to his interview...
Click here for the Advance Information Sheet for One Lost Summer.
You can pre-order the book - US and UK -on Richard's media page.
I am honoured to help my friend and mentor promote his latest novel.
Thank you.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
27 May 2013
Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

Sunday, May 26, 2013


By Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw


They shall not grow old,
As we that are left, grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We shall remember them.
~ Robert Laurence Binyon


Since the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775, to the present occupation in Afghanistan, more than a million and a half men and women have died in combat.  That number does not include the nearly 40,000 servicemen and women missing in action.  Over a million and a half sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends… who defended more than just an ideal.

Today is not about our own personal beliefs on war or politics, or whether we are a “hawk” or “dove”, whether we believe that we should have entered into conflict with Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan… or not.  Today is not a day to debate the ‘rightness’ of war, American politics, or America’s presence around the globe… superpower or ‘bully’.  There are enough other days on the calendar for such debates. 

Today we honor our dead.  Today is about the men and women who did what they were called to do… who had the courage to sacrifice all… and who paid the ultimate price.

Today is a day to remember and honor those brave souls.  It is a day to set aside our own differences, and memorialize the honor, duty, and sacrifice of these men and women.

I find a sad irony in the word “freedom”.  Freedom means “to be free”, yet freedom is not “free”.  A price is always paid, often; a horrible price.  The cost of freedom for all is the sacrifice of life for many.  That is a terrible, crushing truth.  I am unbearably saddened by the knowledge that this truth is something that we, mankind, must be constantly reminded of, because – another terrible truth – there will always be evil in the world.

Wherever there is evil in men’s hearts, tyranny will breed.  Wherever there is tyranny, there will be cries for freedom.  And wherever there are cries for freedom, selfless men and women will rise up and answer those cries.  Many will make the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, so that you and I and others may live and be free.  Free to live our lives as we  want; free to be whoever or whatever we want to be; free to breathe and speak our own minds; free to laugh… to love… to live!  And… free to rise up with others and fight oppression and tyranny wherever it exists in the world… because until all are free, none are truly free.

As we commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that you and I may live our lives as free men and women, I sincerely hope we will all spend a few moments in silence and remember the sacrifices of so many this Memorial Day, and maybe say a little prayer of thanks, if you are so inclined.  Those who sacrificed so that I am free to be the person who I am will always be in my prayers.  I also pray for the day when man will no longer take up arms against man.


“The rest of those who have gone before us...cannot steady the unrest of those who follow.” ~ Unknown


© 2013 – Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw.  All Rights Reserved. 
May be reprinted with permission of the author.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

BOOK REVIEW - LAUREN KESSLER: COUNTER CLOCKWISE - My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging

Counterclockwise: One Midlife Woman's Quest to Turn Back the Hands of TimeCounterclockwise: One Midlife Woman's Quest to Turn Back the Hands of Time by Lauren Kessler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Reviewer’s note – I am an independent writer.  I am also a freelance reviewer.  On occasion, I receive advance copies of books from publishers, for review.  My reviews are based solely on the merits of the book, and I receive no remuneration from the publisher or author, other than a copy of the book, in exchange for posting a review on my blogs.  Through a contest sponsored on, I recently ‘won’ an ARC of Lauren Kessler’s latest non-fiction book, COUNTER CLOCKWISE.  The following is my review.  Disclaimer:  I have taken care to not, with a couple of minor exceptions, directly quote from the book.  Please note that the opinions and any 'claims' the reader may infer from this review are mine, and not necessarily those of the author.  Thank you – vmls)

“If I could turn back time… if I could find a way…”

In Diane Warren’s “If I Could Turn Back Time”, Cher sings of love and of regret over things said and things done… wishing to turn back time and take away the hurt.  But as we all know, time moves in one direction.

Or, does it…?

In Lauren Kessler’s Counter Clockwise, the author writes of ‘turning back time’ in a more literal and profound sense… in a way that will change your life… in a way that will improve the quality of your life, not just now, but as one grows older… chronologically, that is.  With solid research and testimony from experts in their respective fields behind her, Lauren explains that while ‘age’ may be something measured by passing of years on a calendar, how we age… the speed at which we ‘grow older’ is something that we have much, much more control over than one might think.

Lauren’s “Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging”, as Counter Clockwise is subtitled, is an odyssey of discovery… and a search for the truth behind the hype… through the anti-aging ‘realm’.  A market that some estimate, in the next couple of years, will exceed $200 billion in revenue.

Lauren explores the pills, supplements, creams, lotions and assorted devices pushed on a largely unsuspecting public that is in search of the fountain of youth.  She tackles fitness and exercise regimens that would make even the most hardcore Marine boot camp drill sergeant toss in the towel and head for the lockers.  The lure of cosmetic surgery, guaranteed to take years off your body (if not your mind), along with thousands of your hard-earned dollars, sings its siren song to Lauren.  Does she succumb?  Ha!  If you’re expecting spoilers from me, you haven’t been reading my reviews.

Diet.  When we hear that word, most of us think in terms of losing weight, but remember this… ‘diet’ is not just a verb.  Diet, in the noun form, is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and if your quest is to ‘turn back the hands of time’, what, when and how you eat is even more important.  Lauren’s research - I would have loved to be her research assistant, at least for this part - takes her through the science of food and nutrition in search of the right foods and combinations of foods that will promote optimal health and get those narrow black hands winding backward around the clock face.  Think you know what a superfood is?  Want the real lowdown on dark chocolate and red wine?  Pay particular attention to that chapter.

Even a good diet doesn’t mean your body, and mind, can’t use a little help from the supplement market.  Lauren has done a great deal of research in the area of supplements and come up with her own list.  I think this is a list worth paying attention to.

Exercise… how important is it?  Lauren gives us the ‘sweaty truth’.  After reading Chapter Eleven, I am rethinking my current exercise regimen… which presently consists of a daily five-mile run - more if my stress level is up.  Deadlines and commitments; what are you gonna do? - and thrice-weekly visits to the gym.  Yeah, yeah, I know… there are seven days in a week.  But, I’m young.  I’ve got plenty of time, right?  Hmmm… might want to be re-thinking that ‘philosophy’, Veronica.

There is a philosophy, a sound one, by the way… unlike some of the hoke and hype surrounding some diet, exercise, and supplement ‘stay young’  regimens… that explores how the mind contributes to whether we age well, at a ‘normal’ pace, or age quickly.

Lifestyle, diet, attitude… the wrong combination of these can give a thirty-year old the body – inside and out – of a sixty year old.  And vice-versa… the right combination… well, imagine being 60 in calendar years but with the outside body of a 50 year old - without the benefit of cosmetic surgery - and the inside body of a 40 year-old?  (My words, not Lauren’s – vmls)

In Counterclockwise, Lauren shows us how we can not only slow down the march of time, but even reverse it, to some degree.  Has she found the fountain of youth?  No… there is no such thing.  Forget all those infomercials and so-called ‘experts’ on ‘midnight’ television, hawking the latest ‘key to eternal youth’… it is for the most part little more than ‘snake oil’.

Want to know a secret?  You have the key… not to eternal youth, but to living longer… to living younger than the age on your driver’s license.

I hesitate to say that there is one single thing that will ‘turn back time’, that will slow down that clock and turn you into an ‘anti-ager’… but in a very real sense there is.

One thing, from which everything else flows…

Attitude.  As is pointed out in the book… “expectation rules outcome”.  This is a simple, yet deeply profound truth that it seems, humans need constant reminding of.  What we think… how we think… is what we become.


Getting into the proper mindset.  Why does anything fail?  Diets… exercise… jobs…. relationships… all have one thing in common for not succeeding.  Our attitude.  If you don’t ‘expect’ to meet that weight goal… if you don’t ‘expect’ to finish that marathon or 10K race… if you don’t ‘expect’ to get that job you want… you won’t!  It’s that simple.  You can’t just want something to happen… you have to make it happen.  All of the research and advice Lauren offers in Counter Clockwise will help you make things happen.

My wife, Christina, has on more than one occasion remarked that I “act like a twelve year-old.”  Well, pardon me for not always acting my age, but as Chapter Twelve - unless they get renumbered; I am reading an advance reader copy, not the final ‘to-market’ book – points out, that may not always be a bad thing.  If I had only five seconds to summarize the ‘message’ in Chapter Twelve, it would be this…

Think young… live young… be young.

Fortunately, I don’t have only five seconds…

In the 21st century job market, more so than at any other time perhaps, youth… the perception of youth, that is… ‘rules’.  Wisdom, experience and knowledge take second place to a pretty face and a ‘fit and trim’ body.  You can take the band aid approach to ‘youth’… cosmetic surgery and the latest fad diet, but if what you really want is to look, feel and live not just younger, but longer… with a better quality of life….

Read Counter Clockwise.  This book is not 230 pages of opinion and conjecture.  The author has, through exhaustive research and at times, incredible self-sacrifice, written a roadmap, if you will, to a happier, healthier and longer life… a life “increasingly disease-resistant and increasingly energetic”.  Lauren has consulted with some of the top experts in their respective fields, subjecting her body and mind at times to total strangers, and come away with some very good news.

We can ‘turn back time’.  But remember…

You can’t just want something to happen… you have to make it happen.

I’ve read a book or two on self-help, diet and exercise… and wasn’t terribly impressed.  I’ve listened to a spiel or two at conventions, fairs and such… and was more impressed with the free water bottles and key fobs than the product or the pitchman’s speech.  After reading Counter Clockwise, however… I recommend it without hesitation.  I don’t say this about a lot of books I read, but this one… it will be life-changing.  Lauren covers all the bases here with good solid advice, as well as some resources, to set you on the path to a more fulfilling life.

Lauren's keen sense of humour, and occasional snarkiness - gotta love it! - made this a thoroughly enjoyable read, as well as being very informative and educational.

There was one thing missing from the book, though.

I didn’t see the chapter on the health benefits of Sonic’s Texas Toast Breakfast Sandwich or Five Guys’ Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseburger (yes, with the cajun fries!)… I’m sure they will be in the final version of Counter Clockwise.  Right, Lauren?

One final thought…

“Lauren, I have to side with your daughter on this… don’t mess with my smoothies!”

Thank you,

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
12 May 2013
(Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)

View all my reviews