The King of Bones and Ashes – Book Review

The King of Bones and Ashes
By J. D. Horn

This is a wonderful mystery novel that has many different corners and avenues. I absolutely loved the story line and the characters kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

I don’t usually like stories about magic and witches. But this story was surprising in how it captured my attention and swept me right into the plot line of the story.

In the story, magic is seeping out of the world. The witches seem increasingly hopeless. While some of the witches see an inevitable end of their era, others are becoming close to mad. They are willing to sacrifice former allies, friends and family to retain the power they covet. This is not unlike the situation that we face politically and culturally in North America.

While the other witches watch their reality unravel, Alice Marin is using magic’s waning days to delve into the mystery of numerous disappearances in the occult circles of New Orleans. Once Alice disappeared too. She was caged in an asylum by her blood relatives. Recently, she was freed. However, she is afraid that her family may be more involved with the growing crisis than she every dared to imagine.

However, the more she seeks to find out about her family’s history, the more she realizes her already-fragile psyche may be at risk. Will discovering the cause of the vanishing’s be the only wo escape her mother’s reach while determining the future of all witches?

Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth


A Must-Read Book about Elder Abuse

The Family Guide to Preventing Elder Abuse
By Thomas Lee Wright

Elder abuse is becoming a real problem everywhere. And it is something that we must definitely try to deal with as best as we can and as soon as we can.

Given the rapid aging population, we must find a way to eradicate this problem. It seems that retirement homes have become notorious hubs for abuse of the elderly. This is sad given that people are paying many tens of thousands of dollars to live in such places and to think that their last days will be like this is beyond mind-boggling!

In this book, Wright discusses how we can all learn to protect our elders from abuse. The book offers practical tools that everyone can use to ensure that their parents are safe from the abuses of people in retirement homes.

This abuse seems to be occurring at all levels of expertise, from nurse aids to nurse practitioners. This is a troublesome trend. However, after reading Wright’s book, I have become much more positive that we can conquer this problem once and for all. This is really a case of knowledge is power. The more we know about the abuse and how to protect our loved ones and ourselves, the better.

In each chapter, a nationally recognized expert provides specific advice regarding effective actions that can be taken in order to protect loved ones in every area of their lives. They offer practical advice that we can all follow to many questions such as what qualities to look for in a caretaker, the pros and cons of trusts and guardianship, how to report abuse and who to go to and much more.

All in all, this book is a treasure-trove of great tips and advice. I recommend the book to anyone who has aging parents who are about to go into a retirement facility. It may save you and your parents time and misery.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Habit of Mindfulness 1: Eliminate Distractions

It’s easy to become distracted when you start your writing career. Anything can distract you, if you allow it to. It is can take a long time to learn how to focus on your writing in such a way that distractions will be minimized, if not avoided altogether.

Distractions can take many different forms. We could be distracted by our children, spouses, family members or phone and email. Limiting these distractions can be easy, if you take a few steps and follow-through on them. Here are a few to consider.

1. Set an egg-timer

I find that setting a timer helps a lot. I set it for, say, one or two hours, and during that time, I don’t do anything but think about what I am doing. The timer gives me the structure I need to keep my eyes and mind on the manuscript that I am working on.

2. Do nothing but write during your allotted time

Nothing, except an emergency, should move you to do anything else than write during my allotted time. If you are serious about writing, make sure that you actually write during your devoted time.

3. Shut-off all outside distractions before sitting down to write

It is important for writers to shut off the ringer on the phone and don’t answer the door if the doorbell rings during your allotted writing session. Do nothing but write.

4. Tell Family about your Writing Time

It is important for you to tell your family ahead of time what your writing schedule will be for the week. Then when you’re writing time comes, honour it so that your family can honor it too. Don’t be persuaded to do anything but write during those times.

5. Work on one project at a time

Seasoned writers usually finish up all their writing projects. They work diligently through discouragement and rejection. They also find a way to work consistently on a project until it is complete.

Writers will usually hit a lot of distractions when they set out to write. This is to be expected and is very much a part of writing practise. Amateur writers, on the other hand, tend to quit when the going gets tough. Many amateur writers may end up with having one or two filing cabinets of incomplete manuscripts if they are not careful.

And many of them don’t have any inclination to work on them again. Try taking one of these manuscripts out and work on it until it is completed. Then take out the next one and do the same. This practise could be a confidence booster. But more than that, it will definitely help you be much more successful.

So, try and take some time and practice this habit today!

Irene S. Roth

Our Greatest Resources are Inside of Us

Many writers don’t realize that their greatest resources for writing, creativity and motivation lie within them already. We are always searching for something outside. But when we search outside, we only get increasingly disorganized.

By practicing mindfulness, we can inspire our inner artist into action without doing much conscious work at all. We just must let our minds be and let our ideas flow out of the center of our being.

In our world, we are often told to think things through. And in the proper context, we must still think things through. However, when we are writing, we don’t need to think at all. All we have to do is write. The more we can write in flow, the better.

Therefore, since our default position is thinking it can take a lot of conscious effort to not think and to just write. I’ve found that simply still and present in the present moment can result in some of the greatest inspirations for writing.

I realize that this is paradoxical, but please hear me out. When we are mindful, we awaken our inner resources to be creative and authentic. And this is what we need not only to be a mindful writer but to enjoy writing and treat writing as one of these wonderful exercises that will bring us back to who we genuinely are.

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth

I HAVE A NEW BOOK OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Technology has taken over our lives in many ways. There are many benefits of technology. However, technology has also created a robotic, unconsciousness that has taken over our minds. We no longer can think clearly. Instead, we live through our technological gadgets in many ways.

In this e-book, I urge the reader to re-examine her use of technologies. The main premise of this e-book is not that we should stop using technology altogether. However, I do encourage the reader to become more reflective on how much technology she uses and to minimize its use.

In other words, we should only use technology in its rightful place. Only then can we derive all the benefits from technology without experiencing some of the malaise that it has caused because of our unreflective use of it.

For more information on this e-book, please double-click on this link:



We are All Mindless Writers at First

It can take a long time to become a mindful writer. It is antithetical to our culture and especially the writing life as it is laid out now. We are encouraged to write online and to be online and to cruise the internet when we need to do research. But when we are on the internet without any controls put in place, we end up wasting a lot of time while we are writing. So, it is best to separate research from writing as much as this is possible.

Second, we should realize that we are all mindless writers at first. This is our natural default position. Part of it can be blamed on the internet and the ubiquity of information that is available at our fingertips. This can also be blamed on being plugged into the internet even while we are writing. Usually the beeps and flashes will encourage us to be distracted many times while we write.

But our own busy minds can also be blamed. Yes, the internet and being plugged-in won’t help to tame a busy mind. However, our mind is busy regardless of whether we are writing or just sitting and having a cup of tea in our study without any interruptions. This is because our minds are naturally active. There is nothing we can do about this. It is simply natural. However, just because its natural doesn’t mean that we have to acquiesce into mindlessness.

Yes, granted it is far easier to be mindless. But so, what? Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that we can’t achieve it, does it? Aren’t we rational enough to pursue hard things and work to be better versions of ourselves?

Well, the answer to that last question is unfortunately no. Even though we are rational enough to be more mindful, it doesn’t mean that we are. If it did, we would all be mindful writers. But guess what, we aren’t mindful!

So, what does this all mean? Well, I believe it means a few things.

For one thing, it means that we must try hard to be more mindful in our writing lives, and in our ordinary lives as well. In fact, the more mindful we are in our ordinary lives, the more mindful we will be in our writing life. There is a one-to-one relationship.

Secondly, mindfulness will help you be more organized and productive as a writer. The more you can slow things down and unplug so that you are not distracted, the better. So, I will show you how to do so in the next while.

Third, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t become a mindful writer right away. I am still working on being mindful, and every writer who tries to be more mindful struggles for a very long time. So, give yourself a lot of time and patience. You can do it!

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth

The Mindful Writer

When we think of what it means to be a mindful writer, many different images come to mind. Some of us think that we must be life time yogis to be a mindful writer. But this is not the case at all.

Other writers believe that the mindful writer is just a prayer in a sea of loud beeping sounds. How can you possibly be mindful when there are so many distractions and uncertainties for the writer?

Still other writers believe that to be a mindful anything they must be a practising Zen Buddhist. Again, this is not true in the least. Most mindful writers only mediate occasionally. Others try to meditate once a day for 5 to 10 minutes. Now that is hardly being a Zen Buddhist, is it now?

For the next while, I will be exploring what it means to be a mindful writer.  I think it is definitely something that we should all try to practice to be our best.

So, look for most posts about Mindfulness on Wednesday.

In the meantime, think of what it means for YOU to be a mindful writer.  You may want to journal a bit about this.

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth