Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Book Review : “Twisted Love” by CLR Dougherty

It was clear on the first page that the title was appropriate for the book. I wouldn’t have picked this book to read on the basis of the book cover itself…it just doesn’t do the work inside justice! I will exclude details about the characters and the plot, the synopsis and the other reviews cover that. I liked this twistedlovebkcvrauthor’s writing style, very direct and to the point and he did not overuse adjectives and adverbs as I so often see these days. I floated through the prose and slipped into a comfortable journey filled with the images he painted as if he’d used a paint brush instead of the proverbial pen and ink. The quick pace was also perfect for me, building up to each twist and turn as it went along and keeping me intrigued and interested so that it was difficult to put the book down. By the ninth page, you think you have a serial killer story but don’t settle into that thought process, this book isn’t that simple!

Loved the balance of character, location and time period development in this book. I was imagining the scenes as the characters were introduced and enough shared about the past and present to make them real so that they stepped out from the pages. Then as the story moved on and more information was revealed, more suspense was built and more clues to connections between characters and story lines, the layers and mystery folding in and around the story, I found myself gripping the edge of my kindle for dear life! This book had the elements that I enjoy in a big screen hit movie and as the imagery formed in my mind, I associated characters with actors. As the tension was building for the surprising end, I couldn’t help but feel something for each of the characters.

No spoilers here but suffice it to say that you start out reading with several characters and more are introduced very cleverly and timed perfectly to emphasize the twists and turns of the plot and allow the reader to identify with each person before having to learn about new ones. Interesting to note, each story line is told in their perspective POV’s and the author did an exceptional job of adjusting his writing to the intellectual, educational and occupational levels of each character. I can’t say more without risking ruining some aspect of the surprises in this book. If you are a fan of thrillers and suspense, you’ll love this book and if you’re not already a fan, you will be. This is a must read filled with suspense and mystery and just when you think you have guessed…nope, not yet!

~ This review was written by Debra L Hartmann, professional editor, published author, book reviewer for the fun of it…. and come have an AHA moment with us at

Friday, 3 May 2013

Book Review – “Unexpecting” by Lori Verni-Fogarsi

From a truly talented author, this book does not disappoint! This is Lori’s second published fiction, the first being “Momnesia” that is actually sort of a prequel to this book. However, because of this author’s talent, they are both excellent stand-alone titles, though, I doubt you can actually read one without anxiously awaiting your copy of the other to arrive.

“Unexpecting” is the perfect title for what is a realistic page turner. Shelley and David, having almost completely raised their 4 children and about to enjoy their empty nester years are suddenly surprised to learn that David has a daughter from a brief fling between his first marriage and his second marriage to Shelley. Introduce Alexandra, baby on the way, and Tiny the dog, that is anything but Tiny. Having just lost her mother, she has nowhere to go. As a teenager just experiencing such a great loss, pregnant, forced to leave her home, friends and school and very pregnant, she has a great deal of emotional baggage. The roller coaster that follows is brilliantly woven into, through and around the trials and tribulations of this family as a whole. You can’t help but laugh and cry along as you are so easily and instantly drawn in and along a journey with the Morsony family. A good read will always make the reader feel a range of emotions and this one certainly does, from surprise to anger to joy to sadness to sympathy and beyond, prepare to be up all night as you won’t be able to put this book down.

I was impressed with the variety in personalities from all of the characters and how well every aspect of this story was developed and conveyed, primarily from Shelley’s view point with some well-placed, well written, head hops to Alexandra and David as well. The dialogue was rich and true to each of the characters, the scenes were so crisp that the imagery formed naturally in my mind as I devoured every word! Even the family pets were intricately woven through the story, so that you could almost see the slobbery grooming that Tiny, the huge lap dog, bestowed on Frick, the old house cat. A perfect blend of reality and fiction gives this book everything it needs to be appealing to a wide range of readers and the ending itself will surprise and amaze you while leaving you feeling at peace from your rollercoaster journey through the pages.

~ This review was written by Debra L Hartmann, professional editor, published author, book reviewer for the fun of it…. and come have an AHA moment with us at

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Wolf Tattoo by Kenneth Fore - Book Review

Despite hundreds of sub categories and genres available to the book publisher and author, books generally and inevitably end up being labelled and defined by the more general ones: fiction or non-fiction or even vague sub headings such as horror. Nothing underlines the discrepancies and oddities of this peculiar phenomenon more than ”The Wolf Tattoo” by Kenneth Fore which got categorised under ”Action and Adventure”. Such vague labels do no justice applied to such a truly original and mesmerising piece of work, five years in the making.

Describing this book as action or adventure might win itself a prize for most deceiving and indecent trade description but you certainly can't blame the writer for this as there couldn’t be a harder book to categorise than ”The Wolf Tattoo”. Encompassing fantasy, nature, paranormal and horror, the book starts off a bit like an Alaskan version of Rambo, as we follow Clayton on his trek across the Alaskan wilderness. This is quickly followed up by a bit of the 60’s Bonanza cowboy TV show as the grizzlies and wolves enter the fray and, as Clayton manages to adapt and survive, we suddenly find ourselves in the film ”Born Free”, only not in Kenya but Alaska!

But it's the second half of the book that defies expectation as a weird mix of what can only be described as ”Lord of the Rings" meets "Avatar" meets "The Thing”, as the story goes in completely unexpected directions and encompasses secret forests, a new species called Mueumonds, tropical jungles and miracle medicines. And yet, despite all this, the themes of the book remain simple: the fragility of nature, the evil of humans, human temptation and love.

Despite the danger of so many different themes diluting the experience of reading it, fear not, The Wolf Tattoo is beautifully written - fresh as a cold Alaskan snowball hitting your face, a wakeup call and an entertaining, delightfully mesmerising read. It's a book that's hard to put down as you are taken on a ride through the Alaskan wilderness, all deftly described with great dialogue and haunting scenery. It can be peculiarly bizarre and confusing at times but it's also exhilarating and entertaining as, what starts off as a getaway, ends up as a battle to survive.

Kenneth Fore is certainly the right man to tell this tale. Stationed in rural Alaska during his military service, his knowledge of the area is vast and he skilfully uses his memories to create Clayton Spears, a war veteran, carrier of huge physical and mental scars from war, a man determined to never give up because he believes it's not we who choose the path, but rather, the path that chooses us, to teach us something valuable we would have otherwise not accepted.

Alas, no book is perfect. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but beauty can also be overrated and a double sided coin. Despite its sheer scope and ambition, Clayton seems to end up as a superhuman James bond, irritating in his ability to escape and sometimes kill grizzlies and wolves. You rather get the idea that he is like a Canadian James bond who somehow manages to miraculously survive every bullet aimed at him along the way. By the time the Mueumonds arrive, mythical relentless killing creatures that can smell human blood from miles away, we don't seem to fear them as much as we should because Clayton is such a clever chap, so naturally gifted that perhaps he could beat God up with just his fingernails. Undoubtedly, a bit of the suspense and horror is drained away by stretching the sticky tape of reality a little too much.

Another setback detracting from its perfection was the first part of the book. Possessing such a beautiful talent for writing, Kenneth Fore makes the error of attempting to be too clever with his words, trying too hard to illustrate Clayton's state of mind as the Vietnam veteran who is constantly on the lookout for snipers and other hidden dangers that lurk in the Alaskan wild. These pages are drenched with too much action and not enough contrast.

However, I digress. We all want different things from our entertainment... We all have our trivial hates and idiosyncrasies but without a doubt, this truly is a special and original book that deserves immense praise for its originality, passion and ambition. Books like this don't come along very often and when they do, and you are privileged enough to read it , then you also owe it to yourself , despite those otherwise niggling doubts, to pinch yourself hard in the arm and say ”reading a book is about being entertained, that's what matters in the end.”

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Out Now On Itunes / Ibooks - only 99 cents!

“Redemption” by Joe Prentis - Book Review


This wonderfully crafted novel begins near the end of the Civil War.  With so many historical fiction works on the shelves already, its a breath of fresh air to read this depiction of a time after the war, of rebuilding and of the culture and mindsets that developed in our nation as a result of the war.  The author quickly brings the reader to a time and place made not so distant by his exceptional skill for weaving descriptive imagery.  The politics of this event in American history was quite interesting and seemed very real as if the author had been a fly on the wall at many of the closed door meetings that certainly occurred between military and government leaders.  The characters were fleshed out and realistic.  The sights, sounds and smells you would expect to experience if you were actually there, jumped off the pages.  Aids and bodyguards to General McClellan, Oakley and McCade are very believable, realistic characters that are clearly destined to continue as main characters in the Renegade series and thankfully so.  I am anxious to read more and learn how these men will change and adjust as they put their war torn history behind them.

Overall the reader is destined to go through a range of emotions as they read through this seemingly very accurate depiction of what life at the end of the war must have been like. I was glad to know this was a prequel novel before I started reading or I would have been very disappointed in how “quickly” the book ended.  As a prequel, the ending leaves the reader wanting and anxious for the first edition in the actual series as it should.  The author could have trimmed the book by reducing the number of adjectives he used, significantly, and still given the reader’s imagination what it needed to follow along and bond with the characters.   Joe Prentis has crafted a painstakingly researched, well written manuscript that clearly paves the way for his Renegade series.

Book reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, Owner of The Pro Book Editor and dlhbookreviews 

“Promise of Departure” by L W Montgomery - Book Review

PromiseofDeparture_LW Montgomery

The book begins with a “picture” of a typed letter to Janet from Greg, telling her he is stepping out of the picture as a result of his own inability to deal with their divorce.  I liked this unique start, this presentation of the letter, it made me want to see what other surprises would be included and I wasn’t disappointed.  Chapter 1 begins with Greg fussing over having dropped his motorcycle while off loading from the ship that had only just brought him to Haiti.  Right away this character begins to immerge, flawed and realistic, mentally past his edge that was once sharp and dedicated to his career and his family and clearly battling depression and alcoholism while not falling into any cliché patterns but instead, drawing me along into an intriguing storyline that would not allow me to put this book down.

I appreciated the author’s witty prose as he crafted enlightening yet brief flashbacks to establish the needed history behind Greg’s decision to write the letter and to venture to disaster torn Haiti.  The supporting characters and the very descriptive imagery as the storyline moved through emotional highs and lows, despair, hopelessness and Greg’s search for himself were written with great skill and talent and presented through Greg’s eyes.  The characters were so completely human and realistic that relating and feeling a connection to them was natural.  As the reader, I felt like a passenger on the back of Greg’s motorcycle while he showed me Haiti after the earthquake tragedy of 2010, the people that lived there and some of the volunteers, including Beth and Ben.  Upon meeting Beth, a dialogue that was so natural and realistic occurs between them and Greg is greatly affected by all that he sees and experiences in the company of her and the other members of her volunteer medical unit over the course of just a few days.  True to a well written protagonist, Greg sticks to his original mission and soon meets a colorful character named Ben.  From here the story moves a bit quicker as Greg finds where he is needed most, revisits working on things with Janet and becoming part of his daughter’s life again.  As the last page is turned and you see the back cover art of this wonderful novel, you can’t help but wish for more!

The way this story discusses the profound impacts of career on family life and on an individual struggling to find the right balance in both, the resulting failed marriage that was based not on sensational events but on a slow deterioration and the great love of a father for his daughter was so real, so not dramatic and so refreshingly presented.  The complexities, the reality in the issues and the author’s skill in crafting imagery of places and events was exceptional!  I personally would love to read a sequel to this book just to check in on Greg again.  In the battle to rise above the millions of authors and books vying for number one these days, it was quite courageous to leave out vampires, monsters, psychopaths, elves and the like and write a real story like this!

Book reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, Owner of The Pro Book Editor and dlhbookreviews

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Vidu by Giles Anderson - Book Review

Vidu By: Giles A Anderson

This is clearly a book NOT designed for the squeamish but instead for the readers who love their daily dose of graphic, disturbing, sadistic adult horror, blood and murder, mixed up with a potent syringe of hard drugs and alcohol – handed to them on a tray full of human skulls and gunpowder.

In this gritty dark tale, the main character awakes with a huge hangover, soaked in blood, and holding a gun he doesn’t recognise. We are then taken on a journey of self discovery as, via phone calls, dead bodies and bizarre rendezvous with a stranger, he pieces together a past that he has been trying so hard to suppress.

Indeed, it reminded me of an old James Herbert novel mixed with a bit of early Stephen King. My disappointment was that this plot has been done so many times before and this version didn’t offer anything new to keep me turning the pages. Despite being well written, it suffers from far too many annoying references to hangovers, blood and darkness as if I, the reader was some sort of horror virgin. Perhaps to improve the readers experience, the writer could employ a wider variety of descriptions to avoid tempting the reader to become annoyed with the repetition.

Again, definitely not for the faint of heart, young and squeamish but, if this is your type of book , I personally recommend that instead of purchasing this, you go up into the dark attic with your fading torchlight, walk across those creaky floorboards and get all those old Stephen King novels out you haven’t read for a few decades.

3 Stars out of 5

Review written by Roger Gerald Scott, best-selling novelist, author of 5 short stories, voted “Most Promising New Author 2012″ at EKAP and recently received “Clean Slate’s Most Promising Breakthrough Short Story 2013″ for “The Strange Case of Will Newman”.

Also a team member of, offering formatting and book cover design services for indie eBook publishers and a professional editor.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Release of The Strange Case of Will Newman

Out on Amazon

It's been rewritten, re-edited and repriced !

Will Newman’s mum is convinced that he has a Facebook addiction problem but, naturally, Will doesn’t share this point of view. Afterall, he’s just a normal teenager and everyone he knows is on Facebook, including the girl of his dreams, Rachel. With his mum going off on holiday and leaving him alone in the house for the first time ever, Will finally has a chance to hold that wild party he always wanted and get closer to her. Unfortunately, his obsessions quickly present problem for those around him, in particular his best friend, Pete Barham. If Will doesn't soon acknowledge his problems and addictions soon, his life is going to get very complicated.

Skilfully blending modern day topics into an original short story, Roger Gerald Scott addresses the more serious problems caused by the modern phenomena of social media, blending non-stop action with compassionate characters and a sharp sense of humour.

- founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. On September 2012, Facebook reached the milestone of one billion active users, approximately one seventh of the world's population. More than half of these users access Facebook on a smartphone or other mobile device.

- launched in July 2006 by Jack Dorsey, this service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Book Review – “The Call of Agon” by Dean F Wilson

One of the challenges of writing books is how to approach the ever-present conundrum of originality. Do you attempt to write something completely different and risk the likely low sales forecasts, inviting the scorn of the reading world as they fail miserably to understand all the clever themes and plot twists of your brave new story. Or do you play safe and go for the reader’s jugular vein, writing your book in the familiar and dark style shadows of, for example, Harry Potter and Twilight?
At the end of the day, there is no conundrum if the book itself is badly written. Fortunately, in this case, “The Call of Agon : The children of Telm” and its author, Dean Wilson, need not worry for this is a beautifully written book full of loveable twists and well developed characters. The story revolves around Ifferon and his journey to confront the beast Agon and his mighty forces. Along the way, he has a magic scroll and fellow companions to assist him as fierce battles rage across the land of Iraldas. It’s all written passionately and interspersed with themes of love, bravery and faith.
Did the story sound familiar? However brilliant the writing, I found it hard to escape the feeling that I had read this type of book before. It’s certainly not difficult to guess where all the influences are coming from, intentional or not. Replace the magic scroll in the story with a ring, for example, and you’ll find a lot of glaring similarities with Lord of the Rings. But does it matter? A lot of people out there love stories of this caliber. Wherever your tastes may lie, it’s hard to deny that this is a good read. But don’t expect anything original here, just enjoy the journey!
4 out of 5 stars

Dean F. Wilson was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1987. He started writing at age 11, when he began his first (unpublished) novel, entitled The Power Source. He won a TAP Educational Award from Trinity College Dublin for an early draft of The Call of Agon (then called Protos Mythos) in 2001. He has published a number of poems and short stories over the years, while working on and reworking some of his many novels. The Call of Agon is his first published novel.

Review written by Roger Gerald Scott, best-selling novelist, author of 5 short stories, voted “Most Promising New Author 2012″ at EKAP and recently received “Clean Slate’s Most Promising Breakthrough Short Story 2013″ for “The Strange Case of Will Newman”.

Also a team member of, offering formatting and book cover design services for indie eBook publishers and a professional editor.

Drop a line to to request your book review and/or author interview!

Monday, 11 March 2013



Hope you will have time to take a look at the new "Authors Helping Authors" blog site. If you do, read on to learn what the blog is all about and how you can become a member of the community – no registration required, nobody is going to ask you to spend a ton of time everyday, we just want the site to be there when you need it!


Being an author is much like being a starving artist when you first get started and we are trying to build a community of authors that can offer advice and tips about resources to help each other. The focus is on providing support, information and resources to authors so they don’t have to learn the hard way. The hope is that authors will pitch in by sharing helpful tips and links for others and thus the community will grow.

We have also set up a Facebook page be sure to LIKE the page and let all of your friends know about it – remember friends don’t let friends struggle through the process of being a successful author alone!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Sometimes It Pays To Be A Realist!

Can creative writing be taught? It's complicated. Illustration by Dave Donald. 

So you’ve finished your book that has consumed the last couple of years of your life. From the hatching of the original idea in your brain to the countless drafts, constant rewrites, book cover designing and redesigning, editing followed by more rewriting. Now finally, one beautiful sunny morning, you smile as you look at your tired reflection in your bathroom mirror because you realise that it’s finally done, it’s all over – your book is finished and ready for the world to enjoy and share.

How will all those lucky readers react to that clever plot twist you carefully negotiated in Chapter Seven? Will they laugh when they read that bit near the end that reveals that the killer is not in fact Bill, as they previously assumed, and that the vampire is actually bisexual? How your mind bounces around with enthusiasm and anxious wonder. It’s all so terribly exciting as you wait patiently for all the glowing reviews and sky high sales figures and you greedily clasp your hands together thinking how you will be handsomely rewarded for all that hard work you put into writing your literary masterpiece.

Unfortunately, reality steps in and cruelly stamps on your dream. Noone seems to be remotely interested in buying or even downloading a sample of your work as they hurriedly get on with their own lives. Maybe putting the prices down might help, but no, still nobody seems to care! Eventually you realise that, even if you gave your book away for free, still no one would notice. In fact, you would probably have more success swimming out to sea and trying to sell your book to the hungry shark that swims around you in circles in the sea, waiting patiently for you to drown. “Please don’t eat me Mr. Shark, I’ll give you one of my books for free?”

Ok, that scenario was a bit far-fetched but I’m sure a lot of us can relate to it? We have all been there, struggling to sell our books to a seemingly disinterested crowd. It’s what happens next that counts. We all have a choice. We can either give in and get eaten by the shark or we can decide that our book is still worth fighting for and patiently swim back to the beach shore and try again. Looking at your situation from a different angle might be the answer. Be honest for a second and acknowledge that, in the present climate of eBook publishing, there is a staggering and overwhelming amount of written crap out there, all competing and jostling with your sacred mumblings for the buyer’s attention. It’s time to be realistic and ask yourself : “Why on earth should the buyer waste one cent of their hard earned money on my book? They are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying books?”

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”. Exactly! What you can do is change the things you can change! Think of the advantages ebooks have over printed books and rewrite the book or, as part of the learning process, start writing the next book. If you didn’t already, get a professional editor to work with and keep writing whilst absorbing every piece of criticism you can find out there about your writing. Perhaps the book cover needs more work? If so then do another one. Experiment with the book price, special offers and promotions. Read all the reviews, however terrible, and try and learn from what they say. Change your sampling ratio for free downloads? Change the title even? Above all, learn everything you can along the way. Right now, there are 3 free books written by Mark Coker, over on explaining how to format eBooks properly and how to market your books. Start reading them and you already have an advantage over half your competitors.

Finally, remember there is a lot of bullshit out there. You may know a friend who has fifty 5 star reviews on amazon for his / her book but don’t take that at face value as it’s usually a slightly warped version of the facts. Perhaps most of the reviews were written by their friends, all of whom have been emotionally bribed to purchase and write a glowing review? Who knows, as it recently surfaced in the news last year, perhaps the author is simply buying his or her own books with different accounts and giving themselves great reviews? Even more eye opening, perhaps they are using the services of a third party who they pay to give out numerous reviews. This is now big business in China and India! Some people are willing to do whatever it takes to get noticed and truth is the first casualty. Bottom line, be prepared for rejection, negative results and bad reviews. It’s what you do with it is what matters. You didn’t really think it was going to be easy did you? If so, it’s time to shake hands with Mr Reality and improve your craft to the highest possible grade. Don’t give up, learn and grow and you will find success. It’s going to take a bit of time though!

This is an article written by me for publication on our new website "Authors helping Authors" which you find at 



Being an author is much like being a starving artist when you first get started and we are trying to build a community of authors that can offer advice and tips about resources to help everyone. The focus is on providing support, information and resources to authors so they don’t have to learn the hard way.  The hope is that authors will pitch in by sharing helpful tips and links for others.

We have also set up a Facebook page be sure to LIKE the page and let all of your friends know about it – remember friends don’t let friends struggle through the process of being a successful author alone!

About AHA’s Founders

AHA was started by two professionals and published authors, Debra L Hartmann and Roger Gerald Scott.  Having found a common bond some time ago in helping each other by sharing tips and advise purely by a chance meeting on twitter, they also shared a sense of sorrow and wishes for change in the author’s world as it is today.  Anyone with a passion to write and a talent or potential talent should be able to find success in fulfilling their dreams.  Everyone benefits from that!  The writer is fulfilled and the reader has more great literature to consume.  As it is now, there are so many roadblocks and failures that many give up, many get through by cutting corners and fewer truly find best selling success.  The concept of AHA is based on being able to compile resources, advise and helpful tips in one place so they are easier to find, pulled from all of the wonderful authors that have already found a way through the mire of becoming an author and encouraging a helpful and user friendly environment for everyone to find what they need in order to do better in their craft.

Book Review - "Daughter of Hauk"


Book Review - "Daughter of Hauk" by KateMarie Collins – 5 Stars and a “Magical Read” Shout Out!

As a debut novel, Ms. Collins has definitely showcased her talents as you try to guess ahead what will happen next in each epic scene only to be surprised and then by the end, you just can’t wait to find the next installment of this series!  The characters were very well defined, her use of flashbacks to develop the past while moving through the present was exceptional and as I read I was able to visualize everything as she did such an excellent job of weaving intricate details into fanciful imagery.

Arwenna is the elven main character of this epic fantasy and she is so well defined that she was easily endeared to my heart as I wanted to pick her up and help her along the way in her war against the Corse.  Alas, just as I felt like reaching into the page, she would surprise me with even more strength as she continued on her quest and I was mesmerized again and again by the writer’s talent for portraying the terror and the struggles all the characters faced or caused.

Filled with legends, secrets, epic battles, magic and the age old battle of good versus evil, this author has done an exceptional job with her magical writing talents.  This is a must read for any lover of good books, no matter your genre preference.  If you are a Dungeon’s and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Hobbit / Lord of the Rings fan as I am, you won’t want to miss this great novel!

- reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, Published Author of Fate Series and Professional Editor (

This review also appeared on

Stay tuned for an exclusive Author Interview scheduled for March 11th!

Buy now at Amazon available in Paperback or eBook editions as well as audible book version

Learn more about the author at and visit her blog site at

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

FREE until March 9th !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great news everyone! My latest book "Social Media Anxiety Disorder and the strange case of Will Newman" is now free on until March 9th !!!!!!!

Click on the link and enter the code RW100 at checkoutto get this book for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This offer is only on smashwords !

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Book Review - The Ambassador's Wife

 This is a superbly written novel and a great read. If you are looking for a good healthy dose of crime with no grisly details witheld, look no further. If you are familiar with Jo Nesbø or Michael Connelly, you will find the same expert craftmanship and complex plot twists here.

Living as he does in Signapore, Jake Needham is well suited to provide a good location for the story which takes place in Singapore and Bangkok. You can feel the heat and humidity of Asia rising from the pages as he describes the architecture, people and culture of Signapore and Thailand. The story starts off with the discovery of a woman’s body on a bed in an empty suite in the Marriott Hotel. The second body is discovered in Bangkok, in a seedy apartment close to the American embassy. Both are American women and both have been beaten viciously and shot in the head, their bodies stripped naked and crudely displayed. Yet noone is really sure who or what is behind the killings whether it is international terrorism or the work of a serial killer. Inspector Samuel Tay of Singapore CID is the person assigned to the case because he is the best but Tay soon finds himself in a case that nobody seems to want him to solve , not even his superiors!

This novel is face paced, engaging and an enjoyable read. I did find the main character a bit on the dull side sometimes. Such an unseemingly split character, so apparantly cheerless and drab on one side and yet a woman magnet, wealthy and loved by everyone on the other. But enjoyable is the key word here and this book delivers loads of it.

4 and a half stars out of 5
Reviewed by Roger Gerald Scott, award winning published author, also published on

Drop a line to to get your book on the review list and be sure to ask about the Author Interviews on my Radio Talk Show with NO Radio…you have to read an Author Interview on my blog to understand!

READ AN EBOOK WEEK - My Books 50 - 100% OFF !!!!!!

From today for the next 6 days it's "Read an Ebook Week" over on

To celebrate I am offering 4 of my short stories for FREE and my latest ebook "Social Media Anxiety Disorder" for HALF PRICE ($2,50)

This offer is only valid on

To take advantage of this offer, click on the link and enter the code given ( "REW100" for all books except "Social Media Anxiety Disorder"  which has the code "REW50")

Social Media Anxiety Disorder    

A Drive In A Car                      

The Commuter                        

The Clever Doctor                    

Closed Curtains                         

Monday, 4 March 2013

Author Interview

Author Interview – Roger Gerald Scott

Here's an interview with myself that appeared recently on dhlbookreviews

I talked with Roger a bit before the interview and learned some fun facts:
Roger was born in 1964 in Surrey, England. After his education at Oundle School and Oxford, he embarked on careers in Music Publishing, Songwriting and Software Engineering before becoming a successful piano entertainer. He eventually settled in Norway where he now resides. After only six months, he has already received numerous awards for his short stories, most recently :”Clean Slate’s Most Promising Breakthrough Short Story 2013″ for “Social Media Anxiety Disorder and the Strange Case of Will Newman”.

Now, on to the interview:
Debra: Roger, why did you start writing?
Roger: I felt the time was right with the advent of eBook publishing. Not having to hawk around my work to book publishers was another major turning point; now the consumer gets to decide.

Debra: I couldn’t agree more, I got published the traditional way for my first book and it was brutal and took forever. I will be jumping on the eBook train going forward as well. It seems more readers are turning to Kindle and other such reader applications than they are picking up paper books these days! Let’s give them what they want, right?
Roger: Exactly, Debra, you have to publish where your audience is and they are definitely more tech based these days.

Debra: So, on that note, tell us about your latest book?
Roger: It’s called “Social Media Anxiety Disorder and the Strange Case of Will Newman” – it’s about social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) and it’s growing influence on our lives.

Debra: I was honored to work as your editor on this piece and wrote a review for it as well on Amazon. It was quite moving to read about poor Will Newman and such a shame that his addictive personality wasn’t really dealt with by his family because of the overshadowing issue of social media. I think that’s an important point to expand on from the “growing influence on our lives” that you mentioned.
Roger: Absolutely, Debra and that’s a big point in the story as well, but we have to move on so we don’t spoil it for the readers!

Debra: Ok, ok, it’s just such a cutting edge topic these days! So, here we go, next question is what kind of reader do you think will enjoy your short story?
Roger: Hopefully everyone but especially the younger generation who have grown up in the shadow of social media. This generation won’t remember the days before Facebook and Twitter and text messaging and so on. In the big picture, I think everyone that is on any social media of any kind will be interested in this story.

Debra: I couldn’t agree more, I mentioned the story to some friends and family actually, a very diverse group you could say and they were all interested in reading it. From blue-collar worker that has a Facebook account but rarely uses it, never heard of Twitter to some corporate types that I talk to about editing stuff and they were all excited about reading it (hey do I get a commission for all the ones I sold yesterday bragging about it to friends and colleagues?). So I think diverse audience is really the keyword for potential audience on this piece.
Next question, Roger, is this a Standalone, or will it be part of a series? If it the latter, how long do you think the series will be and the time line for releasing more?

Roger: I will wait to see how it sells and what the demand is for another similar story to decide that I think. I have some ideas but if the demand isn’t there I’ll be less likely to spend time on them of course. I have to wait to answer that question about commission too, didn’t I pay you enough already for editing services? (laughs)

Debra: Understandable but I really think you should get started on part two, I think people are really going to want more after they read this! So, what influenced or inspired you to write this story?
Roger: Well, because I don’t see any stories out there in the market that reflect the influence of social media. If there are, they tend to be medical essays or fact sheets. There are no real to life stories out there that I was able to find.

Debra: What was the hardest part for you working on this one?
Roger: Well, it’s my longest short story so far, 15 thousand words, so I guess it was making it all work together. I always find the beginning and end of the story the hardest.

Debra: It certainly came together nicely, well done! Where can we find more about you and your short stories?
Roger: Well I publish on Smashwords and amazon which means all my 5 books are available on most formats. Most importantly they are on iBooks and Amazon Kindle.

Debra: For our readers, and you Roger, just a quick note here, when I publish this on the blog site, I will list the books as links to where you can read more about them and purchase them. Don’t forget to check out Roger’s author page on Amazon when you get there too. So, any last words for the readers today Roger?
Roger: Don’t become too addicted to your Facebook or twitter status! (laughs) Thank you to everyone that takes a moment to read one my stories, your support is appreciated and thank you Debra for the interview on your site! Have a great day!

Debra: You too, Roger, thanks for joining me. Roger is in Norway and I am in the US so we had a time getting synced up with a time slot that would work for us both with the huge time difference! Glad we could get this done today Roger and best of luck to you and your great stories!

To get on the list for Author Interviews, drop a line to and say hello!

Thanks for joining us today, reader and I look forward to seeing you again! DLH

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Book Review – “Down a Tuscan Alley” by Laura Graham

 5 Stars and a “Must Read” Shout Out!

Down_a_Tuscan_Alley_cover_laura graham
I actually chose this book to read based on the reviews that are already on Amazon.  This is a pleasant and enjoyable read even if its not your normal genre or style, which for me it isn’t.  At first I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it because I don’t even  know where Tuscany is and I have never been out of the United States so I was unsure if I could follow along.  I am pleased to say that none of that mattered because this author very skillfully painted such wonderful images with her writing style and descriptive efforts; I fee like I have visited Italy and walked up and down that alley many times now and without the expensive airfare!
I can’t help but use many of the same words already used to describe this book, creative, humorous, engaging, thought provoking, all very much true of this beautiful creation.  I truly felt like I was watching these wonderful characters and laughing with them, Laura has a great sense of humour!  I was sad to reach the end only because I could not continue to be part of their lives any longer.  I hope Ms. Graham intends a sequel to this book as it would certainly be well received and readers could reunite with the beloved cast of this story.  It was like taking a vacation to Italy but not seeing the tourist side of things and instead experiencing the reality of every day life there which is by far much more interesting!

I had the opportunity to interview Laura Graham a couple of days ago and learned that this book is actually a memoire and these characters and adventures are part of her own personal history.  It was very exciting to learn more about her after reading the book and seeing how truly amazing she is in person!  The way she portrayed her main character, Lorri and allowed us to follow her as she put heartbreak, financial loss and the resulting language difference from the move to Italy behind her was inspiring and truly demonstrated courage on her part.  Through the tale she weaves in her exceptional prose, we watch her grow and become stronger and happier while she adapts and adjusts and makes new friends, ultimately becoming a completely different person for all of the experiences.  Thank you for sharing this personal journey with all of us!

5 stars out of 5

Reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, Published Author, Professional Editor and Daily Blogger

Link to Laura’s Amazon sales page:

About the Author on Amazon:

Laura’s website:

My favorite because it has pictures of Tuscany, this is Laura’s blog site:   and here is a link to that interview I mentioned: Author Interview – Laura Graham

Drop a line to to get your book on the review list and be sure to ask about the Author Interviews on my Radio Talk Show with NO Radio…you have to read an Author Interview on my blog to understand!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How Writing Changes

I am always surprised how words and sentences evolve over time. By time, of course, I mean editing, rephrasing, altering, exchanging words and crossing out. What starts off as an idea can sometimes end up as beautiful prose but, most of the time, it will end being boring or simply not making any sense at all.

So it therefore becomes a question of how much time I am willing to spend repeatedly going over my prose and correcting the mistakes until I am satisfied? Perhaps I will never be satisfied?To invest time requires commitment and a desire to succeed in getting across your idea onto the page but time is always limited and precious so therefore rewriting becomes a juggling act.

Possibly, the above 2 paragraphs don't make much sense. Perhaps my editor is shaking her head in disbelief at my grammar. If so, its most likely to be because I don't have the time to dedicate to it as I need to concentrate my limited time on finishing off other writing maybe?

But sometimes, the hard work pays off. Here is an example :

This foreword is roughly Version 57

My father died in 2006, 78 years old. Despite the huge shock, I remember feeling that I had no right to complain when there were so many other people out there who never knew their father at all. Did I also perhaps not appreciate that the heart attack that killed him within 10 minutes actually spared him from years of mental and physical degeneration? Even if I had been allowed to play God and preside over his mortal fate, what life sentence would I be passing on to him if I let him continue to live? And yet, despite these hidden blessings, I found no comfort in his death, only nagging reminders of my mortality. The footpath of my life would forever remain littered with unanswered questions and deep regret because I never got to say goodbye or tell him how much I loved him.

Here is what it was about a week ago

My father died in 2006, aged 78 years old. Despite the huge shock, I remember thinking that I had no right to complain since there were so many people out there in the world who never knew their father. I was able to appreciate, especially in retrospect, that my dad died a “good death” ; the heart attack that killed him within 10 minutes actually spared him of the likely prospect of years of mental and physical degeneration and all the pain that might entail. Besides, my father, by all accounts, had lived a full and happy life. Even if I got to play God for the day and could preside over his mortal fate, what life sentence would I be passing on to him if I let him continue to live? Whatever the hidden blessings, his death was still a nagging reminder of my mortality. Yes, someone seemed to whisper in my ear as they pinched the skin on my naked arm, you will die one day and your children will grieve for you just as your grandchildren will grieve for them. Here's a hard slap in the face just in case you were ever tempted to forget. There is no comfort to be found in death, only a path littered with unanswered questions. There were so many things I wish I had told him and so many apologies I wish I had made. Most of all, I never got to say goodbye or tell him how much I still miss him.

"The Commuter" Book Review

Here is a review of one of my short stories called "The Commuter"

Review by: Debra L Hartmann

This short story written by Author Roger Gerald Scott, as expected, demonstrates his charming english writing style and clearly exceptional way with words as this time it strives and succeeds to deeply relate to the inner worker bee in all of us. Derek is your typical mid-life executive that resolves to acknowledge the tedium and disappointment of his ever changing working environment as it spans the lifetime of this successful corporate banker and family man. From changes in technology, population and big brother's influence as it creeps further and further into our working world, we all can appreciate Derek's story. The author's prose weaves an idyllic image of the lifestyle Derek had created for his family and how detached and unavailable it is to him as he toils away at his job unhappily for 14 hours a day. Without spoiling the end, I can not say more! True to form and style previously enjoyed in other short stories by this reviewer, the reader's imagination is coaxed easily to follow and expand upon the imagery this author's prose creates for them. This is an exceptionally well written short story as are Roger's other works and a must read!

For more review by Debra, go to

You can find "The Commuter " on sale now for as low as 99c at :


Barnes and Noble



Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Book Review – “Rock Crazy” by Rochelle Weber

4 Stars and a “Strap in for a Journey to the Moon” Shout Out!

Rock Crazy is a science fiction story set in 2065 about a woman called Katie McGowan who suffers from bipolar disorder (rapid cycling). She relies heavily on her medication to survive but recently even that was failing to stop her wild mood swings and blackouts. The only cure involves the implantation of a microchip in her brain to regulate her moods but she has no desire to become, as she construes it, a robotic puppet for the rest of her life. She therefore stubbornly refuses this medical option, especially since the operation can only be performed on the moon.

Things are complicated by the relationship with her husband who, despite years of trying, is unable to cope with her mood swings and violent outbursts. Her refusal to have the microchip operation is the last straw for him. As a last attempt, he takes her to the moon where he works and splits up with her, forcing her to look after herself and contemplate the operation. Unfortunately, she discovers she is pregnant….

Rock Crazy is a well written and entertaining read. Despite not being a big fan of science fiction, I found myself on a pleasant reading journey as Katie tries desperately to deal with her illness. As a bipolar sufferer myself, albeit with far less severity, I was very intrigued by the nature of the story and I related fondly to her well told struggle for survival. As a result, I highly recommend this brave story to anyone who suffers from any kind of mental illness.

If I had to come up with a criticism, it would be that I did find myself wishing often as I read that this story hadn’t been set in such an original setting of the moon. Combining the illness with such an unusual location was no doubt entertaining but I yearned heavily for the more realistic and gritty surroundings that realism provides. I wanted to relate to the circumstances Katie found herself in far more than I was able to. Although, I remain unsure as to whether this was a tribute to the writer’s well woven characters or rather a personal scepticism of science fiction on my part.

4 stars out of 5

Reviewed by Roger Gerald Scott, Award Winning Published Author and Debra L Hartmann, Published Author, Professional Editor and daily Blogger

Link to Rochelle Weber’s sales page:

Rochelle’s About the Author Website (nice site by the way, beautiful graphics!):

Her blog site for book reviews:

And, of course, the amazon link where you can read more reviews of this book and see her author’s page:

This review is also being published on

Drop a line to to get your book on the review list and be sure to ask about the Author Interviews on my Radio Talk Show with NO Radio…you have to read an Author Interview on my blog to understand!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Book Review-”The Old Spook” by Charles Ameringer

4 stars and a “hang onto your seat” Shout Out!

If you like your spy novels and american foreign policy, you will love this spider web of espionage writing. Its defined as fiction but feels like a walkthrough of history as it really happened, thanks to all the well researched details. We follow Tom Miller, CIA Agent through all the events that shaped our not too far off recent history. From Costa Rica and Nicaragua to the Bay of Pigs and Cuban missiles… its all here, as Tom gets to the centre of all the secret wars. Everything and everywhere is touched upon here from Russian agents, Lee Harvey Oswald, Oliver North , and even the plot to assassinate Fidel Castro.

The author couldn’t be more qualified to tell the tale. Charles Ameringer is a Professor emeritus of Latin American history at Penn State University, a former captain in the USAF Reserve and a former Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Department of Defense.

A great read, entertaining and powerful, a story that leaves you constantly on the the edge. Furthermore, all author royalties will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Highly recommended.

4 stars out of five

Reviewed by Roger Gerald Scott, Award Winning Published Author and Debra L Hartmann, Published Author, Professional Editor and daily Blogger

Link to Charles Ameringer’s Amazon page, stop by and check out all of the other books he has published:

Drop a line to to get your book on the review list and be sure to ask about the Author Interviews on my Radio Talk Show with NO Radio…you have to read an Author Interview on my blog to understand!

Out In The USA on Itunes !

Hi everyone - just got the good news that my latest book is out now on Itunes.

Book Review – Hike Up Devil’s Mountain by Penny Estelle

4 Stars and “I wish I was a kid again” Shout Out!

This 26 page novella written for the middle grade reader was so adorable and I am thrilled Penny asked me to review it.  Andy, Jason and Danny are such believable kids, reminding me of my own son at that age and the trouble he would get into.  A lovely switch from the normal reads for me, I have to recommend this for your middle grader or even if you just want to slip into an easy read and a fantastical adventure peaking in on the boys as they adventure their way to the top of Devil’s Mountain.  The author used her wonderfully descriptive writing style to easily draw pictures in my imagination and I followed along as an excited observer!

As you read you can feel each of the characters’ regret for disobeying his mother and their fear at each close call as the elements intervene in a mysterious and exciting way to keep them from making it to their destination.  Along the way the boys learn to help each other and start to turn their rivalry into friendship. Lesson filled with a great surprise ending this read is very age appropriate for kids age 10-14.

Reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, Published Author, Blogger and Professional Editor

Friday, 22 February 2013

New Foreword

Here is a new prologue that I wrote for my short story "A Drive In a Car". I will be including these in my new book "Collection of Short Stories" which comes out next week.

A DRIVE IN A CAR by Roger Gerald Scott

My father died in 2006, aged 78 years old. Despite the huge shock, I remember thinking that I had no right to complain since there were so many people out there in the world who never knew their father. I was able to appreciate, especially in retrospect, that my dad died a “good death” ; the heart attack that killed him within 10 minutes actually spared him of the likely prospect of years of mental and physical degeneration and all the pain that might entail. Besides, my father, by all accounts, had lived a full and happy life. Even if I got to play God for the day and could preside over his mortal fate, what life sentence would I be passing on to him if I let him continue to live?

Whatever the hidden blessings, his death was still a nagging reminder of my mortality. Yes, someone seemed to whisper in my ear as they pinched the skin on my naked arm, you will die one day and your children will grieve for you just as your grandchildren will grieve for them. Here's a hard slap in the face just in case you were ever tempted to forget. There is no comfort to be found in death, only a path littered with unanswered questions. There were so many things I wish I had told him and so many apologies I wish I had made. Most of all, I never got to say goodbye or tell him how much I still miss him.

All these things were in my mind when I wrote this story. How to write and explain my loss and his influence without getting soppy and sentimental was a challenge so I came up with the idea of writing about our relationship in the form of a metaphorical children’s story. Writing this way, I found it easier to accurately illustrate our relationship and depict the empty void that his death left inside of me. I only hope that you may find the same perspective and comfort in reading it as I did when I was writing it.

You can still buy this book at a very low price (99 cents!) at :


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Out of the Blue by Mary H Collins – 3.5 Stars and a “Snuggle up by the Fire and read this Romance Novel” Shout Out!

This very pleasant romantic novel by Mary H Collins makes for a very comfortable and pleasant reading. The story revolves around Erika Thomson, recently divorced and living her life alone for the first time, taking the reader on her journey that centres on her love for Kevin, a relationship that gets off to a bad start when her younger sister unfortunately gets him first. Broken hearted, she starts over again and finds comfort in getting closer to her daughter and becoming friends with her ex-husband and his new wife while they face huge problems after a serious accident.

All the ups and downs of her life are described here as Erika boldly struggles on, always making sacrifices for others but never for herself. It reminded me of an old novel “The Thorn Birds”, with its inherent drama though maybe not quite as dramatic and certainly lacking the romantic geographical setting. Overall, I highly recommend this book if you like romance novels. My only criticism would be that the characters in the book were not developed enough for my tastes. They were always too busy doing things in the book but I never felt that I understood what made them do these things or why they did them. For example, I never felt satisfied with why Kevin, the love of Erika’s life, ended up with her younger sister at the beginning of the story. But perhaps this was a deliberate ploy to get the story moving along and that is not a negative attribute but in this case did make for a good reading experience overall.

Reviewed by Roger Gerald Scott, Award Winning Published Author and Debra L Hartmann, Published Author, Professional Editor and daily Blogger

Link to Mary H Collins website, stop by and check out all of the other books she has published as well!

This review is also being published on

Drop a line to mrsdlhartmann@gmail.comto get your book on the review list and be sure to ask about the Author Interviews on my Radio Talk Show with NO have to read an Author Interview on my blog to understand!

Stephen King Wisdom

Had to share this, and it's too long to tweet. I found this lovely quote from Stephen King :
"The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings - words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out."

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Book Review – “Softly Say Goodbye” by KC Sprayberry

If you are looking for a book to put in the hands of your teenager, this is it. The author successfully brought me back to my own days in high school and though the lingo and terms used have changed a LOT, I was able to quickly learn and follow along. This is important; your teens are more likely to read something written in their language and hip style that they can relate to. There will probably be regional differences, teens seem to be far ahead of the trends and slang and such and it varies school to school and state to state but this author kept it so balanced between the story line and making it teen friendly that it should translate well in any region, any teens hands.

With that technical point aside and more importantly, this book deals with some very serious topics that all parents and kids will face. Tough subjects like drinking, drinking and driving, peer pressure, friends that have parents that drink and peers that are involved with criminal activities are present and the characters demonstrate how to rise above peer pressure, self-esteem issues, when and how to tell the right people when crime is present and the impacts of their parent’s reputations on their own and much more. Don’t let this scare you, parent, put this book in your teen’s hands and read it yourself so you are just as close to what they will learn from it. I talked to my son about it while thinking over what to write for this review; he wants to read it and he was thrilled that I read it and took an interest in something close to his age range, his interests, and his challenges in public school. With teenagers, every little common ground we can find helps keep the lines of communication open and this book is good for that in addition to being very touching and inspiring!

Tough issues aside, you can also count on the story’s characters to encourage our youth to set tough goals and reach beyond what typical public schools offer. I was thrilled with the author’s ability to keep the importance of homework, college planning, open communication and respect for the “rents” and community involvement at the forefront throughout delivering her powerful storyline. So many layers of responsibilities and common teen issues are present while the writer clearly focused her style on keeping it all at a level that our kids will relate to by speaking to them and not at them. The characters have various backgrounds, social status and popularity making them very realistic. It was gripping and I laughed and cried while I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent reading this book. It is clearly easy to recommend it as a must read for today’s youth and young at heart and I look forward to more great novels by K. C. Sprayberry!

The link where Softly Say Goodbye is currently available is:

Some links to learn more about the author, KC Sprayberry:


and stop by her Blog:

Reviewed by Debra L Hartmann, author and editor,

To get on the list for Author Interviews and Book Reviews, drop a line to or and say hello!

Full Prologue !

Here's the whole prologue :) hope you like it! 
 Prologue to S.M.A.D and the Strange Case of Will Newman
Will Newman had lots of friends on Facebook, 679 of them to be more precise. Scrolling down his friends list on his laptop screen, the names resembled an endless array of strange looking thumbnail photos, all individually labelled with jumbled up symbols and characters. Who on earth were all these people, he wondered to himself,embarrassed there were so many he didn’t recognise. It was almost as if he hadspent the last year accumulating fake postage stamps for his precious stamp collection! But how the list had been collected wasn't important - what mattered most was that he was now in possession of a long list of “friends” tohold up high and wave about as if he were competing in a school popularity contest.
His thoughts were interrupted by a high pitched shrill coming from downstairs that caused him to panic. Before he had the chance to log out of Facebook, his mum had rushed up the stairs and entered his bedroom. She stood there, shaking her head pitifully as she began the monotonous delivery of her morning sermon on how he was wasting his life on stupid internet “stuff” like Facebook. Will sighed,suddenly depressed. 
For Will, Facebook was justa hobby but for his mum, Facebook represented the devil himself. It didn’t seem to matter that all Will’s friends were on Facebook or that he was just a normal teenager with appearances to keep up. Only recently, she had dragged him alongto the nearest psychiatrist for a second opinion on his Facebook issues. Evenafter a long two hour session, the psychiatrist had been unwilling to give a diagnosis because his mum was constantly interrupting the proceedings and refused to allow Will to say a single word in his own defence. He could tell that the psychiatrist had a strong urge to strangle someone as he looked so angry! Anyway, based on the limited evidence available, it was the psychiatrist’s opinion that Will was a normal teenager who was experiencing typical teenager issues with his self-esteem. This opinion naturally disgusted Will’s Mum and so, in order to placate her and keep her well away from his medical practice, the psychiatrist had proffered a diagnosis of ‘Social Media Anxiety Disorder’, SMAD for short, despite the fact that it was still not officially recognised by the medical profession.
To be fair to the psychiatrist, even if he had locked Will’s mother in the surgery toilet and had a pleasant one to one chat with Will, he still would have been unable to spot the vital clues needed for a proper diagnosis because Will’s symptoms only manifested themselves in the privacy of his own bedroom, hidden away from the cruel realities of the outside world.
Living with a mum who worked long hours at the family run local restaurant a few miles away, he was often left alone and thus able to devote his life to the fickle world of Facebook notifications: brief messages informing the user of any activity they might be interested in such as replies, feedback to posts, photos, comments, chats,events and so on. Will seemed to be at his happiest when he was excessively checking and posting on his Facebook wall and hungrily examining other peoples’profiles and photos. He spent endless hours counting how many friends and followers he had for particular topics, bookmarking hundreds of links to articles, pictures and videos despite knowing he would never look at them again. Above all, his favourite Facebook pastime habits were ‘liking’ other peoples’ posts and writing infantile and trivial comments on them. Devoting his whole life to Facebook meant everything else in his life became secondary.Every possible spare waking moment of his day was devoted to ‘doing’ his Facebook. 

The trouble with the diagnosis of “Social Media Anxiety Disorder” however, apart from being unofficial, was that the headline grabbing description was inappropriate and inaccurate because social media had nothing to do with Will’s illness. Will was simply a person with a serious addictive personality trait so his illness and symptoms weren’t caused by Facebook at all: Facebook was just a symptom, an innocent catalyst for his addictive behaviour. If Facebook and social media had never existed, Will would have instead become an alcoholic, an online gambler or a ‘WOW’ addict. Facebook’s only crime, if any, was to become popular worldwide at a time when Will reached the most vulnerable period in his life.Will latched on to the grip of Facebook and social media because it was trendy and everyone he knew was doing it.
The reality of the situation was that engaging himself on Facebook helped Will tackle his fragile self-esteem by fabricating everything he wrote into an extroverted version of his introverted self. The initial thrill and self-gratification he received from his activities were always quickly followed by a strong shot of pride and self-admiration. This feeling of euphoria never lasted very long because it always bounced back to him in the form of more events, actions and comments which he was then forced to digest, second guess, ascertain and evaluate. The result was that he became over anxious from all the constant worrying about what other people thought about him, trying to remind himself of his own value and worth, while also at the same, trying desperately to prove it.
Social networks’ seemingly never ending reward system meant he was unable to turn off the need to continue engaging himself because he was fighting an inner battle not with Facebook but with his neuropeptides, small endorphins that affected his brain when it came to pain, reward, learning and memory. Because they provided a vital link to his body’s feelings of excitement, fear and love, his body was overdosed on chemicals that made him feel euphoric and despondent at the same time. The more he relied on Facebook to feel normal, the more pronounced the withdrawal became when he was forced to manage without it, causing him anxiety, irritability,intense cravings, cold sweats and tremors. He simply could no longer function properly unless Facebook was constantly in his life.
In common with other people who suffered some form of addiction, Will refused to believe he had a problem and hence lived his life in a state of constant self-denial. As the long term effects of his addiction took hold of him in the guise of bad school performances, lack of sleep and exercise, it was only his close family and friends who noticed he was in trouble. But, because they didn’t have the means to properly diagnose his condition, they simply blamed all his problems on Facebook, the devil’s incarnate!

Copyright Roger Gerald Scott
 Available now on amazon