Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Title:                              ALL STORMS PASS: The Anti-Meditations
Author:                          Luke Benoit
Date published:            2012 by CreateSpace
ISBN-10:                         0615520138
ISBN-13:                         978-0615520131
Author’s Web Site:       All Storms Pass
Available on Amazon:  Amazon: All Storms Pass

SUMMARY: Author and Life Coach Luke Benoit knows from personal experience what it feels like to rise up from the ashes like the mythical Phoenix, and lives to help others do the same. His book has helped me in my own dark times.

all storms pass

 and happiness will always be a decision
even when I feel like I can’t make it.

 I can learn to stay out of my own way
no matter what has happened to me
or where I’ve come from
or what I’ve done or not done
in the past.

 and I can let the good inside me
take and carry me

and let that shape be
to me

    - All Storms Pass:  The Anti-Meditations by Luke Benoit

“You’re not going to get this book if you’re stupid,” said author and Life Coach Luke Benoit during a chat about his new book All Storms Pass: The Anti-Meditations. “You’re just not.”

I would love that on a t-shirt. Hope they come out soon.

Taken out of context, this statement may sound a tad arrogant, but what author hasn’t thought that about their book and kept it private? In context, Benoit was saying different people will get different things out of his book and some may never get it. The way he said it is typical of his straight-from-the-heart / take-it-or-leave-it style that forms the spine of All Storms Pass which opens with this “Statement of Self-Esteem”:

 “If anyone ever told you that you were less than wonderful…they lied.”

Okay, so what about Hitler? Shouldn’t he have listened to people who said he was less than wonderful? But this proves Benoit’s point. The stout-hearted narcissistic sociopaths (aka “stupids”) of this world will never seek wisdom, humility and healthy self-esteem. You won’t find them searching their souls in a 12-Step or hiring therapists or “life coaches.”

Benoit has alchemized tried-and-true “recovery” maxims, pop culture sayings and lyrics, and a dollop of his own raw honesty to create a series of healing “poems” that move the reader and stimulate contemplation. On the back cover, he acknowledges the book's similarities with classic meditation books such as Melody Beattie’s The Language of Letting Go, but advises his meditations are “very different.”

All Storms Pass has only been out a few weeks, and is already gaining popularity as it garners great reviews, including one Midwesterner who admitted Fear of Californian Superficiality before actually reading it and finding resonance.

I also reviewed the book favorably, so it was a pleasure to be able to pick Luke Benoit’s brain about the book’s process and publication. Before we launch into the interview, Benoit expresses happy exhaustion: “It’s like having a baby!”

Q:  Are you from the West Coast originally?

A:   I was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Prep School educated. Escaped at 18 to be as far away from every part of my life as possible. I came to Los Angeles to go to USC Film School and study screenwriting. But as the B-52's said, "Remember, wherever you go there you are..."

Q:  Where do you live now?

A:   Orange County, California.

Q:  Tell me about the Anti-Meditations.

A:   They are called the Anti-Meditations because they are very different from meditations that you would read in traditional meditation books.  A lot of them are dark or challenging, and some of them are like poems.  But they're never simple and they don't necessarily give you a simple answer or tool for a "one day at a time" solution.  Because sometimes I think life just isn't like that.

Q:  How did you come to write this book?

A:   Well,  All Storms Pass is me.  It just came out of me.  It has my personality.

I had a lot of different trainings in Recovery and the 12-Step Program, and in mental health and personal therapy and reading and reading and lots and lots of work on myself. I suppose it sounds big-headed but it just truly a reflection of who I am.

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: "JITTERBUG LIFT"- Food not bombs rebuild Berlin in this taut thriller

Her whole person had a fire, a hunger.  It never crossed his mind 
that it was for anything but him.
                                                                                                                      --JITTERBUG LIFT by Oliver Flynn

Title: Jitterbug Lift
Author: Oliver Flynn
Published 2013 by CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 978-1479259137
Author's Website: Oliver Flynn Web Site
Available on Amazon: Amazon: Jitterbug Lift


Reading “Jitterbug Lift” was like watching a great movie in Smell-A-Vision on a roller coaster while trying to balance a bucket of popcorn on my knees.  It had me at page 1.  

A riveting page-turner, its themes of forgiveness and solidarity resonate in our 21st Century as ever more lines in the sand are drawn politically, globally, sexually, and racially.   These days when someone can lose their life for wearing a “hoodie” or a turban, it’s important to remember the Berlin Airlift—when the same pilots who dropped bombs over Berlin volunteered to save Berliners from starving at the hands of the occupying Soviets three years later. 

Jesus advised us to turn the other cheek.  But just how challenging is that really? The answer fuels “Jitterbug Lift.”

As a baby boomer, I knew about the Cold War, but not what started it.  Despite my Southern teachers’ insistence that Communism was a “Red Menace,” I was not sure if that was entirely true. I don’t know why I remained ignorant of the sadistic “Berlin Blockade” engineered by the Soviets to force post-war Berliners into submission through deprivation. 

Oliver Flynn (actually 3 authors) has crafted a masterpiece that boldly tackles an aspect of Western Allies’ involvement in the Cold War that goes beyond spy vs. spy.  Not only is “Jitterbug Lift” historically accurate, it offers a fun read with delicious writing.  

Some of my favorite lines include:


Title: Jitterbug Lift
Author: Oliver Flynn
Published 2013 by CreateSpace
ISBN-13: 978-1479259137
Author's Website: Oliver Flynn Web Site
Available on Amazon: Amazon: Jitterbug Lift

When a fire has blazed so hot,
one can be burned by even the ashes for a long time.
--Jitterbug Lift by Oliver Flynn

What does it take to work together successfully? 

Collaborative authors Jay Flynn, Kaenan Oliver and Dominic Oliver know the answer so well they could probably write a book about it. The Los Angeles writing team recently paused their busy screenwriting careers to produce "Jitterbug Lift," their first novel by "Oliver Flynn."

"We check our egos at the door," Dominic Oliver said. Kaenan Oliver agreed, "Whatever's best for the story makes for the best collaboration." Having worked together for years, Jay Flynn added, "It's about the relationship. We have spent weeks non-stop polishing a draft and other times had to sneak our writing in like alcoholics."

Jitterbug Lift takes off with the opening shot of the Cold War in 1948, when the Soviet Union deprived Berliners of supplies, and blockaded access to the city. The Allies flew thousands of air-drops into Berlin for a year. "The Airlift was the right thing to do," said Dominic about the controversial aid. "And Truman did it-in the middle of an election.”

Like post-World War II comic book heroes, each writer brought a special skill to the mission: Jay is a college professor and electrical engineer; Kaenan is a script consultant; and Dominic is an actor and acting coach. Together they crafted an historical thriller fueled by desire, revenge, romance and forgiveness. Here's the scoop: