Monday, July 27, 2015

OVERCOMING ANXIETY by David Berndt, PhD (Book Blitz plus Excerpt)

Overcoming Anxiety
David Berndt, PhD
Genre: Mental Health, Self-help
Released July 27, 2015; 188 pages

Book Blurb

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for relief for anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style. Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management.

You will learn:
  • A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
  • Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
  • How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
  • How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
  • Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.
Designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.

Author Bio

David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests TheMultiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services. He also contributes to several psychology websites including

Praise for Dr. Berndt’s work

About Overcoming Anxiety

“Dr. Berndt is a creative and forward-thinking psychologist who has contributed to advancing psychology both with his research and clinical practice. He has helped countless patients with their depression and anxiety, and his conversational and accessible style of writing makes Overcoming Anxiety a book you would want for your top shelf."- Charles Kaiser, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the College of Charleston




As a clinical psychologist who works every day with clients to help them find ways to navigate their anxiety, I have had the privilege of teaching, developing, and refining, with the feedback and input of my clients, several useful anxiety management tools. Many of the techniques stand on the shoulders of my peers and mentors. In addition to providing a strategy for anxiety relief, several of the skills introduced in this book also are applicable to managing worries, panic, and dread.

Anxiety medication can sometimes be helpful as well, but medication interventions are not the focus in these pages. Indeed, anxiety medication, while effective in treating anxious feelings, serves as a support in much the way a leg brace can help hold an injured knee steady. The aim of psychotherapy, to continue this metaphor, is more akin to working on stretching and exercising leg muscles so that you can regain balance and walk normally again without external support. The strategies and exercises in Overcoming Anxiety have been very helpful when implemented by my clients, and these tools can help you to deal with anxiety if you adopt and modify some of the ideas.

Of course the support and feedback of a trusted therapist who can fine-tune these and other strategies is a good idea, and a good therapist can see your problems with a fresh set of eyes. A therapist brings the wisdom of practical experience helping people like you, and having one as an ally is nearly always better than going it alone, or relying solely on pills.

The first five chapters explore various techniques from which you can draw, and once you have understood and mastered them, I encourage you to combine, customize, or borrow from the various procedures so they become tailor-made for you, and your unique situation.

For those who want to gain a better grasp of anxiety as a disorder of the brain and body, I have followed these early chapters with some educational material in Chapter Six; if you need to know more about the biological and neurophysiological components of anxiety you might want to skip to those materials, where I discuss these aspects in a way that I hope is accessible. Each chapter can be read independently, however the information may be easier to understand when read in sequence.

The methods discussed in Overcoming Anxiety do not focus exclusively on cognitive behavioral therapies for anxiety. In that distinction, it differs from most of the modern books on anxiety, especially those in the self-help literature. Some useful cognitive techniques are discussed and relied upon throughout the book, especially in Chapter Five, which is drawn, although with some creative license, from the cognitive approaches most commonly recommended to anxious patients, whether in the self-help or mental health literature.

The earlier chapters tend to explore tools drawn from a variety of therapeutic approaches. More than anything, the methods introduced in the first five chapters were selected because I wanted to share with you the approaches that my patients and I have found most helpful in the trenches.

Friday, July 24, 2015

LONE RIDER (The Montana Hamiltons #2) by B.J. Daniels (GIVEAWAY)

We are only few days away from the release of Lone Rider, second book in The Montana Hamiltons series by B.J. Daniels (Harlequin, July 28) and the author is treating her readers to a fantastic giveaway: pre-order Lone Rider and receive  a FREE digital copy of  Outlawed. Plus, the first 200 people to register will also receive an exclusive FREE cowboy bookmark. You can enter the giveaway here.

Harlequin; August 1, 2015; Western Romance
336 pages; $7.99 U.S./ $8.99 CAN.

A cowgirl at heart, Bo Hamilton does her best thinking in wide-open spaces. So when money goes missing from the family foundation, Bo rides into the Crazy Mountains to figure things out. But a killer hiding among the sawtooth ridges takes her captive and isn’t planning on ever letting her go.

Bo’s disappearance gets folks thinking she’s the guilty one who’s run off with the money, but Jace Calder would bet his ranch that she’s innocent. Not that he has any reason to trust the beautiful, spoiled senator’s daughter. Still, Jace is going after Bo and bringing her home to face the truth. But in the wild, rugged Crazy Mountains, he finds Bo at the mercy of a suspected murderer. Jace is her only hope, and he’s about to find out what they’re both made of.
Praise for B.J. Daniels

“B.J. Daniels writes the best western suspense. I love her Montana setting, a state I fell madly in love with the moment I stepped onto its soil. Ms. Daniels’ male characters are real men, strong and protective, with plenty of love to give to the right women.”Romance Junkies

…Daniels’ new Montana Hamiltons series will draw readers in with its genuine characters, multiple storylines and intense conflict set against the beautiful Montana landscapeRT Book Reviews


“B.J. Daniels will absolutely move to the top of your list of must-read authors.”
Fresh Fiction

B.J. DANIELS, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist and author of 37 published short stories. That first book, Odd Man Out, received a four and a half star review from Romantic Times magazine and went on to be nominated for Best Intrigue for that year. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award for romantic suspense and numerous nominations and awards for best book. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and two springer spaniels, Spot and Jem. When she isn’t writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Thriller Writers, Kiss of Death and Romance Writers of America.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Guest Post by Margaret Verble, Author of MAUD'S LINE

Far From The Maddening Crowd, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2015



The Sexy Female Protagonist Problem

If you read my new book, Maud’s Line, you will probably deduce fairly quickly that I like heroines who take things into their own hands and do whatever has to be done. Scarlett O’Hara shaking her fist as she swears, “God as my witness, I’ll never be hungry again,” is one of my favorite fictional images. Likewise, Lila from Elena Ferrante’s, My Brilliant Friend, has a recklessness defiant attitude that I admire in a heroine. And one the most fully rounded characters of this same brand is Bathsheba Everdene, heroine of Thomas Hardy’s, Far from the Maddening Crowd. Bathsheba is head-strong and independent, or, as we would say if she were a man, fully human and yet admirable.

I don’t think it’s coincidental that all three of these characters, developed by novelists in three different centuries, are alluring to men. Sexuality, in my opinion, is a timeless and necessary ingredient for an interesting protagonist. However, in female characters we sometimes still see this as a flaw, whereas in male characters, unless they have a kinky drive they can’t control, we nearly always see it as a strength. So James Bond can bed whoever he wants, but woe be to a fictional female who enjoys her sexuality and gets away with it. Women, most often, have to pay the price -- even if they are relatively innocent. Think about Tess in the eponymous, Tess of the D’Urbervilles or Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter.  Think about Fiona Maye in Ian McEwan’s newest novel, The Children Act.

The other alternative for a novelist who wants to write a strong female character who sticks in the imagination is to make her a child. I don’t think it’s by accident that so many of the females who have stood the test of time, particularly in American literature, are children. Think of Jo March in Little Women, Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Dorothy Gale in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. By creating a girl protagonist, instead of one who is a grown woman, you can avoid the problem of either punishing her for her sexuality or not punishing her for it.

I can speak to this dilemma personally as the creator of Maud in Maud’s Line, a character who some have called a “magnetic,” but who others, in pre-publication reviews, have condemned for her wanton ways. The desire to punish a woman for her sexuality is still as alive and well as it was when Hawthorne made Hester an outcast. Since it is true that in real life women pay more for their sexuality than men pay for theirs, I don’t know that this problem will ever go away. I do hope, though, that novelists will give us more women who know what they want and try their best to get it. I prefer sexy ones, myself. They are more fun to write and, I hope, for most people, more fun to read.
About the book
Margaret Verble is the author of Maud’s Line, a historical novel chronicling the life and loves of a headstrong, earthy, and magnetic heroine (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 14). Eastern Oklahoma, 1928. Eighteen-year-old Maud Nail lives with her rogue father and sensitive brother on one of the allotments parceled out by the U.S. Government to the Cherokees when their land was confiscated for Oklahoma’s statehood. Maud’s days are filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but often marked by violence and tragedy, a fact that she accepts with determined practicality. Her prospects for a better life are slim, but when a newcomer with good looks and books rides down her section line, she takes notice. Soon she finds herself facing a series of high-stakes decisions that will determine her future and those of her loved ones. Maud’s Line is accessible, sensuous, and vivid. It will sit on the bookshelf alongside novels by Jim Harrison, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and other beloved chroniclers of the American West and its people.

About the author
Margaret Verble is an enrolled and voting citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a member of a large Cherokee family that has, through generations, made many contributions to the tribe’s history and survival. Although many of her family have remained in Oklahoma to this day, and some still own and farm the land on which the book is set, Margaret was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and Old Windsor, England. Many of the characters of Maud’s Line are based on people Margaret knew as a child and the setting is land she roamed for many years of her life. In part, Margaret wrote this book to keep those people and that land alive in her heart. Margaret has authored many academic publications and television scripts. Her short stories have appeared in various publications, including The Saturday Evening Post and the Arkansas Review.  
Buy Maud’s Line on Amazon
Visit Margaret Verble’s website


Friday, July 10, 2015

GO SET A WATCHMAN by Harper Lee: Read The First Chapter

A historic literary event

At four days from the release of Go Set A Watchman, Haper Lee’s sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, The Guardian unveils the first chapter of the book with an interactive excerpt read by Reese Witherspoon. The Oscar winning actress is also the official narrator of the audiobook version.

Read Chapter 1 of Go Set A Watchman (24 minutes) here.

Originally written in the mid-1950s and due to be published on July 14 by HarperCollins, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014. Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

Interesting facts about the book

The title comes from Isaiah 21:6: "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth." It alludes to Scout's view of her father, Atticus Finch, as the moral compass (watchman) of Maycomb.

Though the book has been characterized in media reports as a sequel to Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, Go Set a Watchman was written in the mid-1950s, before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960. She set it aside when her editor suggested that she write another novel from the young Scout Finch's perspective. The manuscript was then lost for many years, until being rediscovered by her lawyer in the fall of 2014. It will be published as originally written, with no revisions.

News sources, including NPR and BBC News, have reported that the conditions surrounding the release of the book are unclear and posit that Lee may not have had full control of the decision. Investigators for the state of Alabama interviewed Lee in response to a suspicion of elder abuse in relation to the publication of the book. However, by April 2015 the investigation had found that the claims were unfounded.
Go Set a Watchman: A Novel is the most pre- ordered print title on Amazon since the last book in the "Harry Potter" series.
Harper Lee, 1961

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review of BEN'S SCHOOL DAZE by Robyn Sims & Joanne Larcom: A Story of Being Overwhelmed in A Sensory World


“A story of being overwhelmed in a sensory world.”

As parents we are all too familiar with our children’s fussy behaviors: that little tag in the shirt chafes their skin; the seams in their socks make it impossible for them to walk; the texture and smell of certain foods make them gag; nothing annoys them like a room full of people and sounds. And truth be told, even adults sometimes are oversensitive to certain things in their environment, but when your child is consistently troubled by some information that comes through her five senses and shows discomfort, up to the point of being unable to function and respond adequately to such stimuli, you may be dealing with a case of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

SPD is a condition in which the brain is overly or under responsive to a spectrum of sensory experiences. It is commonly, but not necessarily, linked to some major developmental disorders, such as autism and ADHD. The good news is that therapy (often in the form of play time) can dramatically improve the lives of those children who have troubles processing sensory inputs.
Ben's School Daze is the story of a lively and active boy, who finds the sensory experiences within his day to be overwhelming.  Loud noises vibrate through his body and “shoes and sock bother him.. they never feel just right”.  This can make it hard for Ben to be a good student.  Gladly, his teacher and his mom find ways to calm him to his core and help him cope with his heightened senses: a quiet place, some work for his restless muscles, special jobs to focus his attention, an afternoon treat, little things that soothe his overwhelmed senses and help both child and adults restore balance and harmony within their environment. I would certainly recommend Ben's School Daze to readers who have a direct experience with sensory issues, but not only: the tips, activities, useful websites, classroom and school concepts that enrich the final pages of this rhyming and colorful book provide valuable information to all parents/caregivers who would like to help their little ones master relating and communicating skills. ****4.5 stars
Disclaimer: A copy of the book was graciously offered by the authors in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.
About the Authors

Robyn Sims is a pediatric occupational therapist who works in private practice with many children with sensory processing challenges.  She is co-director of Magnetic Moves and co-presents workshops on SPD.  Joanne Larcom is a mother to four beautiful children, one of whom has sensory processing challenges.  She is co-director of Magnetic Moves and presents workshops on SPD with Robyn. Their latest book is the children’s picture book, Ben’s School Daze (Peence and Rogue Designs Pty Ltd, 28 pages)
For More Information



  • Ben’s School Daze is available at the authors’ website.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.