Before You Say I DO Again, by Benjamin H. Berkley

A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage!

 

Learning from the mistakes of a failed first marriage and telling yourself you will do better the next time around is like saying if you lose a football game you’ll win the next one.  You will but only if you learn some new plays before you go back on the field.  Presented   by an attorney who has seen all the warning signs, “BEFORE YOU SAY I DO, AGAIN!” will teach those new plays to avoid coming up on the losing side again.

 

Note, book shelves are filled with warm and fuzzy titles authored by psychologists and family counselors.  Their message is to teach how to listen to each other and improve the relationship.  “BEFORE YOU SAY I DO, AGAIN!”is not a how to book to get back together or to stay together.  Instead it takes the gloves off and provides insight as to the issues one must consider before walking down the aisle a second time.  Tackling a serious subject, but presented in a sometimes whimsical fashion, “BEFORE YOU SAY I DO, AGAIN!” puts the brakes on the wedding ceremony and provides the reader with the questions that must be answered before she drives down the path of destruction.

 

In addition,   it provides information regarding the legal consequences of a failed second marriage. “BEFORE YOU SAY I DO, AGAIN!” is a “tell it is like it is guide”   to avoid an impending disaster.

 

 

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Frederick Fell Trade (September 15, 2009)
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars

 

 

Praise for Before You Say I Do Again:

 

“According to Psychology Today, 60% of remarriages fail. What are the reasons? Why do people believe that whatever went wrong the first time won’t happen again?  Have you gone through a divorce, found a new partner and are considering remarrying? Perhaps you’re afraid of making the same mistake twice and are thinking of living together first? Do you wonder if you’re doing the right thing?  Before You Say I Do, Again answers these important questions, and much more. Written by a divorce attorney with over 30 years of experience, the book is filled with insightful information, practical advice and statistics supported by research studies.  Besides being chock-full of information, author/attorney Benjamin Berkley writes in a simple, light, engaging style, making the reading experience enjoyable. The structure is clear and well organized. Best of all, it is written by someone who really knows what he’s talking about. If you or someone in your life is considering remarrying, please do yourself a favour and get a copy of this book. It is definitely an eye opener.” Mayra Calvani, BlogCritic Books

 

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. “Before You Say I Do Again: A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage” is aimed at those who may be taking the dive into marriage the second time and want to be legally prepared this time around. Written from an attorney’s perspective, he offers much advice people should know the second time around to see if you’re truly ready to do it again. “Before You Say I Do Again” is a solid and highly recommended read that’ll educate and make many people reconsider.” Midwest Book Review

 

“Here’s helpful advice from an attorney, packaged in a readable, insightful new book! Even if you’ve already remarried, you may gain valuable tips here that can help you construct, or re-construct, the legal details of your new marriage.  Divorced? Dating? Considering a new marriage? Pick up this book and read it carefully. You’ll be glad you did.” Dr. David Frisbie, The Center for Marriage & Family Studies

 

Benjamin H. Berkley

Image of Benjamin Berkley

Growing up in Long Beach, NY, young Ben Berkley was fascinated by daily black-and-white re-runs of the TV lawyer show Perry Mason. After getting a B.A. in Speech and Hearing from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY, Berkley earned his law degree from Western State University in Fullerton, CA. For the past 34 years he has conducted a busy general practice which includes divorce, estate planning, family law, social security disability appeals and bankruptcy. His books include Before You Say I Do Again, A Buyer’s Beware Guide to Remarriage; My Wishes: Your Plan for Organizing and Communicating Your Family’s Needs; The Complete Executor’s Guide and Winning Your Social Security Disability Case. His debut novel, Against My Will, was published in September, 2012. He also writes a blog for the Huffington Post.

 

My Review

 

(From the Preface)”I just hope I don’t make the same mistake twice.” Believe it or not, this is the phrase most often spoken by a client at the end of a divorce hearing.

(From the Introduction) “WARNING LABEL: This book may cause anxiety. It is best read when consuming ice cream, chocolate, or alcohol. If you are starting a new relationsip, this book should be read once a day. If you are engaged, it should be read four times a day. Regardless, always consult your attorney if you feel an uncontrollable urge to get remarried.”

(From Chapter 1) “A remarriage has one of the same partners who was present in your last marriage.”

Those three statements should give you pause – especially if you are thinking about walking down the aisle a second time – or a third? Before You Say I DO is a book full of valuable information, and I might add – statistics. An alarmingly high number of first marriages end in divorce. That number multiplies tremendously for those willing to take a second shot at happiness. I do not wish to deter you from marrying a second time. I myself was divorced after 18 years of marriage and have been happily married for 15 years to my husband. Not all of us play a part in statistics.

Anyone who is married will tell you that marriage is a like a job. You work hard and the benefits can go beyond your wildest imagination, but, if you do not take your “job” seriously, divorce may be lurking around the corner.

The book is divided into four parts. Part One deals with Navigating the Sea of Divorce with chapter titles such as “Should I open a restaurant or remarry?” and “The legal and nonlegal consequences of divorce” (and other chapters).

Part Two finds you “Getting Ready to Say I Do Again! And has chapter titles such as “Getting emotionally ready to say I do again” “Remarrying for love or money?” “Getting financially ready to say I do, again” and “Are you ready for remarriage?” (and other chapters)

Part Three shows you how to “Kick the tires and check under the hood” with chapters such as “Buyer Beware!” “Sex and Remarriage” and “The Symptoms of Divorce-What you may have missed the first time around” as well as “A blueprint to a successful remarriage” (and other chapters).

Part Four brings us to “Compatibility” and Mr. New vs. Mr. Old – How do they compare?”

The author also includes a sample Prenuptial Agreement, Last Will and Testament with Guardianship, and Asset Organizer.

What this book does is open your eyes with stories and examples that will resonate with any reader who is divorced and contemplating a second marriage. In all of the drama surrounding divorce, we sometimes fail to remember our own part in the demise of the marriage. We find someone new, the sparks are flying, and we once again have stars in our eyes. The chances of those stars blinding you to reality are great. Before you say I DO again gives you a reality check. The author has stuffed the book full of wonderful advice, garnered from over thirty years as a divorce attorney, to help you navigate those unchartered waters with success the second time around.

It is an engaging book with helpful stories and should be required reading for the divorced person wanting to take a second chance. Benjamine Berkley has an engaging style and the book is well organized with self-explanatory titles. He has been a divorce attorney for over thirty years of experience and is using that knowledge to help people before they show up in his office with a second failed marriage.

If you are divorced and hoping to remarry, this is a great guide book and well worth the read. Do yourself a favour and pick it up.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

 

“You choose your actions, not the consequences”

 There is a saying, “You choose your actions, you do not get to choose the consequences”.

 

Never is that more true than in divorce.

 

The reasons, no matter how substantial, cease to matter as time wears on; it is the consequences that live long and prosperous lives.

 

       It no longer matters that there was abuse, infidelity, lack of love, miscommunication; it is the consequences that linger on. And, it is those consequences that affect everyone, from adults to children, grandparents to godparents, cousins to godchildren.

 

       I have not written any personal stories on my blog in a while. When your heart is broken, your mind struggles to be happy and that makes it difficult to write, at least it does for me. What made me sit down to write this morning was something that happened this past weekend.

 

        We attended a family function the other night, and my own deeply guarded pain bubbled to the surface as I watched and listened to the pain of a child, now a grown young man, who was caught up as an extended casualty of a divorce that had nothing to do with him. He didn’t understand when someone he loved dearly suddenly disappeared from his life without a word. The only explanation he was given came from his parents. His anger and hurt got the best of him and he confronted the accused, the one he did not know had been banned from his life due to divorce. As I watched their pain surface, my own pain jerked unchecked from its hiding place once again.

 

       It is human nature to choose sides when there is conflict present, but what so many fail to realize is that the pain and the consequences of anger linger far into the future, where it has no place. There seems to be a demon present in some people that rears its ugly head to cause a normally sane person to loose all perspective, and anyone who will listen to the lamenting is drawn in.

 

       Children are often manipulated and lied to in the name of revenge, as adults circle the wagons and prepare to wage war, a war that will affect a child far into the future. Adults choose the action; the children suffer the consequences, most times needlessly. Divorce is an ugly animal. I myself have witnessed this behaviour on many occasions, as adults choose not to accept their part in the break-up of a marriage – it does take two to make a marriage, just as it takes two to break up a marriage. It seems to be a little remembered fact.

 

       I have seen adults who have finally moved past their pain; neglect to calm the waters (anger) in those around them. Therein lays a huge injustice. I have witnessed this in the lives of people who are close to me repeatedly.

 

       It is no misnomer that divorce brings anger and pain. It is how we as adults, conduct ourselves, that determines the extended consequences to those around us. Children do not need to become the pawns in the ugly game, but they do more often than not. As adults, we transfer our feelings of hurt, abandonment, and anger onto the shoulders of those who are too young to process the emotions. Children are not born hating, we teach them to hate, to hold grudges, to take sides, to mimic our adult behaviors.

 

       Never has it been more evident than in my own life, but also in the life of the young man this weekend, a child who lost someone in his young life due to a family divorce. A child, now a grown young man, who when confronted with the opportunity to speak with the person he lost, did not know how to process his anger and hurt. I stood by and watched the pain of two people who were hurt deeply through no fault of their own, struggle to communicate, one young, one older. Hurt knows no bounds. I can only pray that maybe it is not too late for the two of them to perhaps mend the great divide, a divide caused by hurt, anger, and lies. Who knows? Maybe they can overcome the one major obstacle standing in their way. But, to mend one relationship with the truth may mean destroying a trusted relationship built on lies. It is a difficult decision at any age.

 

       The point of this story – maybe it is to assuage some of my own pain. Maybe it is a plea to others suffering from or causing some of this pain to think twice before they step off into abyss – we, as adults, need to think before we destroy a child’s trust in another human being. I’ll close with this advice: think twice before you circle the wagons and pull out the heavy artillery, there just might not be an enemy.

 

The views expressed here are my own.

 

 

The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly S. Young (Review, Guest Post, Excerpt)

the Eighth WonderA modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-League school until she meets Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered after his daughter’s death from leukemia. A first-generation in her family to go to college,  Nicole is a self-made woman. She put herself through school, sacrificing marriage and children for her career. In the summer of 1997, she finally graduates with a Ph.D. from NYU, but her life is thrust into chaos when her father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Abandoned by her mother as a girl, her father is all she has. After fifteen years in New York City, Nicole leaves everything and everyone she knows to teach for a year in rural Bradford, Pennsylvania to be close to him in nearby Buffalo. Now, trapped in tiny Bradford, she has never felt more alone in her life…until she meets Tom Ryan. At 44, Tom represents what Nicole longs to be: settled, secure, and clear about his purpose and direction in life. Emotionally scarred, he and his wife are empty nesters with an older son away at college and struggle to grieve together after the death of their daughter. Tom and Nicole’s story begins as a journey of self-discovery for both of them but turns to bittersweet romance when their friendship becomes love. Nicole risks offering what she has never given before, her heart; and Tom has never felt happier or more conflicted when he falls in love for the second time in his life. 

 


Dr. Kimberly Young

Image of Kimberly S. YoungDr. Kimberly Young is a psychologist and an internationally known expert on Internet addiction and online behavior. Dr. Young founded the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in 1995 (site at Netaddiction.com) and is a nationally-known speaker on the impact of the Internet. Her work has been featured in hundreds of media outlets such as The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, The London TimesUSA Today, Newsweek, Time, CNN, CBS News, Fox News, Good Morning America, and ABC’s World News Tonight. She has received several awards for her research such as the Psychology in the Media Award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Alumni Ambassador Award for Outstanding Achievement from Indiana University at Pennsylvania. She is an expert on Addicted.com and GoodTherapy.org. She has served as an expert on the Child Online Protection Act Congressional Commission and serves on the editorial board of CyberPsychology & Behavior, the American Journal of Family Therapy, and the International Journal of Cyber Crime and Criminal Justice. She has dabbled in creative writing since she was eight-years-old. THE EIGHTH WONDER is her first novel. To learn more visit her blog at KimberlyYoung.net or on her research at Netaddiction.com

 

From the author (via Amazon)


I started writing The Eighth Wonder while I was recovering from retina re-attachment surgery. This was very serious. I had surgery in both eyes. I was homebound for several months and the surgeon was not sure if I would see again out of my left eye. All he could say was that it was “in God’s hands now”. I was scared. I made an entire career from reading and writing, so the idea of potentially being blind was difficult for me. During my recovery, I could not drive, bend, or even poop too hard for fear of my retinas becoming dislodged. I felt pain in my eyes, something I had never experienced, both were full of blood and I looked like I was punched in the face several times. I felt embarrassed for anyone to see me. 


The first weeks of recovery, I laid on the couch thinking about my life. During those reflections, I remembered how lost I felt when I first moved to Bradford after graduating with my doctorate in clinical psychology. I had moved to Bradford to be near my father who was dying of cancer. Like Nicole, my dad was the only anchor in my life. It was very life-changing when he died. It was only a few weeks before I was diagnosed with retina detachments and had my surgery, so the experience was still fresh in my mind. This began the journey into Nicole’s character. I started making notes, some by hand and some on the computer. My surgeon said that using my eyes was good — they were muscles in need of exercise is how he put it. I had long hours alone after my husband went to work so writing gave me something to do. It took my mind off my eyes.

 

As I wrote more about Nicole, a story popped out, and four months later I had the novel written. It was written in first person, focusing on Nicole. I sent the manuscript out to several agents. Several rejections later, I started to re-examine the novel. I realized that I had not talked about Tom. For him, a devoted family man, I needed to dig into his character much deeper than I had. He was the one making harder choices after all. I remember that the more I wrote about Tom, the more I reflected how different it was to fall in love at mid-life. A pivotal moment in the novel comes when Tom says “falling in love at this age is much deeper”. It is fairly easy to fall in love when we in our 20s with our lives ahead of us. It is a different experience in our 40s or 50s (or beyond). After our expectations for relationships have evolved, falling in love takes on an entirely different meaning. Writing became my therapy during a difficult time in my life, I enjoyed writing the novel. I did not know how much it was impact me personally unlike anything I have written before. I only hope that others enjoy reading it!

 

 

I had an opportunity to ask the author one question. My question was “What drew you to write about this topic and this genre”. Here is what the author had to say.  

 

A modern Bridges of Madison County, Nicole Benson, 35, is an ambitious college professor with dreams of teaching at an Ivy-league university until she falls in love with Tom Ryan, 44, married 23 years and shattered by his daughter’s death from leukemia.

 

As a psychologist, I have counseled men and women struggling with extramarital attractions and understand the emotional conflicts those endure who deeply value fidelity but still feel the pull of falling in love with another, even when one party or the other appears to be happily married. These experiences led me to write The Eighth Wonder.

 

I was homebound for almost five months recovering from retina re-attachment surgery. This was very serious. I had surgery in both eyes.  All the surgeon could say was that it was “in God’s hands now” because my left retina almost completely fell off before it was detected. I was scared. As a professor, I made an entire career from reading and writing, so the idea of potentially being blind was difficult. During my recovery, I could not drive, bend, or even poop too hard for fear of my retinas becoming dislodged. I felt pain in my eyes, something I had never experienced, both were full of blood and I looked like I was punched in the face several times. I felt embarrassed for anyone to see me.

 

I had always wanted to write a novel. During this time, I thought of my father who had just died. This began the journey into Nicole’s character. I started making notes, some by hand and some on the computer.

 

Like Nicole, I was the first generation in my family to go to college and I found Bradford, Pa when I took a faculty position at the local college to be near my father, who lived in Buffalo and was ill with pancreatic cancer.  Using my own experience on how I came to Bradford seemed like a good place to start my novel.

 

As I wrote more about Nicole, a story popped out. As I wrote more about Tom, he reminded me of many men that I met in life, middle-aged, content in their lives and marriages yet longing for something more.

 

 Tom was not looking to have an affair. He loved his wife, Rose, and the life that they made together. When Tom meets Nicole, something very deep stirs within him.

 

He was a devoted family man crushed by the death of his daughter. Nicole was the only person who could heal him from his grief and loss. He becomes whole again and can help her with the loss of her father. In this process, they fall in love and the story becomes bittersweet.

 

Like the Bridges of Madison County, they have a difficult choice to make. I wanted The Eighth Wonder to capture that feeling of how difficult it is to fall in love when you are older. That difference of falling in love at an age when love is much deeper and more difficult to do. It is fairly easy to fall in love in our 20s with our lives ahead of us. It is a different experience in our 40s or 50s (or beyond). After our expectations for relationships have evolved, falling in love takes on an entirely different meaning.

 

EXCERPT:

“He couldn’t remember a time without Rose in his life. He had dated a few women before Rose, but he was young and could hardly remember any of them. He figured the number of women he had been with was low compared to other men, but most men were not married so young. It was just what you did back then, the path he chose. Grow up, go to college, get married, and start a family. It was what everyone did.

 

He felt so young at the time, like a child himself, the first time he held his new son. He was only twenty-one and Rose only twenty. They had no clue how to raise a child, and they lived in a one-bedroom apartment—they had nothing but were happy. Tom was working at his first job out of college, and yet, as he held his son, his whole life seemed to be set, his path predestined.

 

He stacked another layer of wood alongside the porch wall. His gloves were thick and the baseball cap he wore kept his head warm, but he felt the wind pick up and the air turn cold. He grabbed another log to stack and wondered what he should do when Nicole arrived. What would they do to pass the time? This wasn’t like The Friendship Table with other people around and tasks to complete. This wasn’t like being alone when they were at the bridge. 

 

Then he didn’t know Nicole very well and didn’t think about her all the time. Then he didn’t have feelings for her. What was he doing? Like a shot through his heart, he felt fear. Again, the question: what was he doing?

 

The panic bubbled up and he couldn’t stop it. The feelings kept flooding over him. He wasn’t sure if he was infatuated. He hadn’t really felt like this before. Was he falling in love with Nicole?

 

He shuddered at the implications. What about Rose? The guilt swept over him like a tidal wave. How could he even have feelings for another woman? He loved Rose and they had a good life together. They had gone through so much together. What could he possibly be thinking? He could never hurt Rose like that. But he was getting ahead of himself. Nicole could be coming just to get away, just to go on a hike, to get away from the academic grind. 

 

Maybe what he was feeling had nothing to do with her, and yet, he had an intuition that it had everything to do with her. She was beautiful and smart, and she had made him feel alive again.

 

He stacked the last of the wood. He wondered what a young, attractive woman like Nicole could possibly see in him, and he decided it was probably safe to have her come for a hike. They would talk and that would be about all. There was no way anything more could happen. Nicole could never be interested in him, not in any romantic way. She had too many other choices in her life. Yet, for a moment, just a moment, Tom wondered what he would do if she had feelings for him too.”

 

 

 

Book Trailer can be viewed here:

The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly S. Young

 

My Review:


If I were to be honest with myself, I would have to admit that when I first began the book, I was not at all intrigue. I even thought that this was going to be a s-l-o-w read. I quickly had to rethink my position, because the more I read, the more I couldn’t put the book down. As the story unfolded, so did the wonder of life and all of the tricks that it plays on us.


The Eighth Wonder is a quiet love story between a lonely woman (Nicole) searching for a place to belong and a heartbroken man (Tom) looking to feel alive after his young daughter’s death. The Kinzua Bridge in Bradford, Pennsylvania plays a pivotal part in the story and the author included the fascinating history of the bridge in the book. It was this bridge, after seeing it on both the cover of the book, and in the author’s photo, that kept coming to mind as I read the book. 


This book is a story about life, love, loss, heartbreak, and moving forward. How we sometimes sleepwalk through life focused on superficial goals rather than out hearts desire; and how we sometimes find love and comfort in the most unlikeliness of places.


The characters were well developed and the story line was unique. I found no errors and when you finish the very last word on the very last page, you feel as though life has completed its circle.

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. Albert Camus

 

 

We have a giveaway! And, it’s international (e-book)! You can enter here:

The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly S. Young

 

 

Fruit of My Spirit by Deanna Nowadnick

Fruit of My SpiritIn a memoir of missteps and misdeeds, Deanna Nowadnick writes of the hugeness of God’s love and faithfulness. Reframing life in God’s grace, she discovers an indescribable, indefinable, inexplicable love that has encircled her without fail through joyous, sad, cringe-worthy, heartwarming, forgettable, memorable moments in life. Fruit of My Spirit is for anyone who’s ever questioned God‘s ability to love and forgive, who’s ever wondered about their place in God’s family or God’s place in theirs. Nowadnick offers hope for those who dare to question, who secretly wonder, and who fear to ask. Through stories of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you will experience the enormity of God, too.

 

 

The author is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky person!


From the back cover:

 

Is there really a place in God’s heart for a defiant child?
In His divine plans for a self-centered teenager?
In His family for an adult who gets tired and impatient?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23
The Apostle Paul in His Letter to the People of Galatia

In a memoir of missteps and misdeeds, Deanna Nowadnick writes of the hugeness of God’s love and faithfulness.  Reframing life in God’s grace, she discovers an indescribable, indefinable, inexplicable love that has encircled her without fail through joyous, sad, cringe-worthy, heartwarming, forgettable, memorable moments in life.

Fruit of My Spirit is for anyone who’s ever questioned God’s ability to love and forgive, who’s ever wondered about their place in God’s family or God’s place in theirs.  Nowadnick offers hope for those who dare to question, who secretly wonder, and who fear to ask.  Through stories of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, you will experience the enormity of God, too.

 

Deanna Nowadnick

 

Image of Deanna NowadnickDeanna Nowadnick is a native of the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, she serves at the Client Service Coordinator for The Planner’s Edge, an investment advisory firm in Washington State.

Deanna is active in her church, playing the violin and editing the newsletter. She loves to knit, adores chocolate, and most important, enjoys a blessed marriage to Kurt. She’s also the proud mother of two adult sons. Her first book, Fruit of My Spirit, began as a short story for Kyle and Kevin about how she met their father. It quickly became a much larger story about God’s love and faithfulness.

Deanna is currently working on her second book: Signs of Life–Meeting God at the Corner of Grace and Mercy.

 

My Review:


The author’s verbiage grab me right off the bat with “I think I have a pretty good understanding of God’s gift of unmerited love and complete forgiveness intellectually. Like any good Sunday School student, I could put together a well-worded essay on the tenets of faith; my head’s got it. But my heart’s not so sure. I realize now that I’ve rested in my intellect without finding comfort for my soul. I’ve reacted to life with the frustrations of a child, the hurts of a teen, and the failings of an adult.”


“God has offered me errors and omissions insurance and I’m still opting to fight my own battles in court-day after day after day. I’ve not only returned His gift of forgiveness unopened, but I’ve left him waiting in the foyer of my life as I linger endlessly at the pity party for innumerable mistakes.”


I think anyone will agree with me about how powerful those words are and the fact that Deanna had the courage to voice those words is amazing. As I read the stories, it was as though I were reading some of my own history and I laughed at some points until I cried. Deanna writes with more honesty and clarity that I think few of us will ever know. She is able to look back on her life and see God’s guidance along the way. 


I like the way the book was written in that the author intertwined her life stories with scripture, songs, and poetry to show how God’s hands were at work in her life. The culmination of these made reading the book a delightful experience. 


“My whining would have threatened the very livelihood of the determined pioneers and forced them to make the not-so-difficult decision to leave me and my bedroll at the side of the trail. But then God knows that about me. God knows everything about me, how I have to have the same nail polish on my fingers and toes, how I have to wear mascara to get the mail, how I hate to sweat, how I hated camping. In His image He made me, and against the backdrop of all humanity He made me unique and uniquely His. God knew I would try His patience and the patience of my family, teachers, and camp counsellors  God knew He would have to pound out character flaws and recall my attitude. God knew I would be a piece of work.”


We are all on a journey to please God, and some of us fail miserably by the end of each day. But, we get up the next morning and we try all over again. Through her journey, Deanna teaches us about our own journey. Thank you Deanna for such an inspirational book.


“My business is to bring others to Christ. To do that, I’m a wife and a mother.

My business is to bring others to Christ. To do that, I help manage a financial planning practice.

My business is to bring others to Christ. To do that, I live in Monroe.

My business is to bring others to Christ. To do that, I grab a latte every morning. I get my nails done every Tuesday, and I play my violin during worship.

My business is to bring others to Christ. To do that, I write.”

 

Now, I ask YOU. What do you do to bring others to Christ?

 

 

If you found my review helpful, please consider voting “yes” on my review by following the link below. Thanks!!


http://www.amazon.com/review/R5UUPNWXOCL1Y/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0983589720&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=


GIVEAWAY!!


The author has graciously donated a copy of her book to one lucky person. Just leave a comment to the above question “What do you do to bring others to Christ?” Don’t forget to leave your email in case you are that lucky person. AND, of course it goes without saying that I would love it you followed my blog (but not necessary) as I always have a book or two to give away.

Five Years to Live, Frank Zaccari

Five Years to Live

It is the phone call every person lives in fear of receiving. There has been an accident and your loved one is paralyzed. A spinal cord injury is the single most devastating and life altering event. Based on a true story, Michael and Donna were young, successful, in love and planning their life together. That life was radically changed by a tragic car accident. Now a wheelchair user as a quadriplegic, with limited movement, constant infections and multiple surgeries, doctors projected Michael’s best case life expectancy to be five years. See how this young man battles through his injury and spends his five years making a lasting impact on hundreds of people. It will make you realize what can be accomplished when a person does not let circumstances dictate their life.

 

Frank Zaccari

Frank ZaccariFrank Zaccari received his bachelor’s in finance from California State University at Sacramento after serving as a military medic in the United States Air Force. He spent more than two decades in the technology industry, holding various positions from account representative to CEO. He also spent time specializing in turn-around management of companies under $100 million. Zaccari left the industry to provide primary care of his children, purchasing a small business that was more accommodating to his family. 

He presently owns an insurance agency in Sacramento, where he currently resides. “Five Years to Live” is not his only book for sale. He has also written, “When the Wife Cheats, ” “From the Ashes: The Rise of the University of Washington Volleyball Program,” and “Inside the Spaghetti Bowl.”

Get to know Frank Zaccari

Q: Could you please tell us a little about your book?

A: This book is everyone’s worst nightmare because we are just one phone call away from living this nightmare. It is the phone call everyone prays they never receive. There has been an accident and your loved one is paralyzed. A spinal cord injury is the single most devastating and life altering event.  Based on a true story, Michael and Donna were young, successful, in love and planning their life together.  That life was radically changed by a tragic car accident. Now a wheelchair user as a quadriplegic, with limited movement, constant infections and multiple surgeries, doctors projected Michael’s best case life expectancy to be five years. See how this young couple battles through his injury and spends his five years making a lasting impact on hundreds of people. It will make you realize what can be accomplished when a person does not let circumstances dictate their life.

Q: Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

A: This book is very personal to me and my family. My youngest brother Steve was paralyzed in car accident when he was 24 years old. This is an experience I hope and pray no other family endures. Shortly after the accident, my mother gave Steve a cassette recorder and told him to record his thoughts and emotions. Steve’s goal was to write a book from the patient’s perspective. He did record several hours of thoughts, but could never bring himself to write the book. He said reliving those terrible days would be too painful.

Q: Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

A: A mother whose son suffered a serious spinal cord injury told me: “This story needs to be told. This tragedy can happen to everyone without warning. It needs to express what a spinal cord injury does to the life of not only the person involved, but to their entire family as well. For those strong enough to face this overwhelming obstacle, it is a journey of love, endurance, and absolute triumph of the spirit. It will bring so much hope to so many people that find themselves in a nightmare from which they cannot awake. You will speak for all of us.”

 

After my going through this ordeal with my brother and my family, then hearing the heart wrenching story from this mother, I had to write Five Years to Live.

 

Q: Who is your biggest supporter?

A: I am very fortunate to have several wonderful supporters which include my daughters Stephanie and Sara, my brothers Anthony and Steve, my sisters Mary Anne and Annette and my Dad. I also receive support from my Mother and sister Christine in heaven.

Q: Your biggest critic?

A: I am my biggest critic, although my family doesn’t hesitate to keep me humble.

Q: Since your first book three years ago, have you learned or improved on any skills?

A: Wow this is a great question. Well four years ago I became a single custodial parent of two teenage daughters. After a year of counseling and completely restructuring our lives, I discovered there are things I cannot fix or control. To help me cope, I started writing books based on true stories that dealt with life altering events. My books have dealt with infidelity and divorce (When the Wife Cheats); with the death of a parent (Inside the Spaghetti Bowl), and a catastrophic injury to a loved one (Five Years to Live).

I learned that these events can and often will happen to everyone. They will test you in every way imaginable. You will feel you are an emotional train wreck. There will be moments when you believe you cannot survive and don’t want to even try. I want to show my readers that while you may not be able to fix or change the situation there is reason for hope. You will survive and end up in a better place. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do, but you are not alone. You will emerge as a better person and in a better place.

The first book was about infidelity and divorce. Being a man raising teenage daughters, the first thing I had to learn was to listen to my daughters and to validate their feelings. This is particularly difficult for a man since we are taught to fix problems. I had to learn and accept there are some things that cannot be fixed. I could not fix my mother’s heart or the deep hurt my daughters experienced from the divorce or prevent the accident that paralyzed my brother. Once I realized that it is OK that I can’t fix everything, I became much more relaxed and as my daughters tell me – much more pleasant and happy. 

Q: Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

A: I have only been a writer for three years, so I really don’t have many rituals.  As a single custodial parent of two teenage daughters, I had to make time for them. They are and will always be my first priority.  I also own a business which takes up a great deal of my time and energy. I usually write between the hours of 1:00 and 4:00 in the morning when my daughters are asleep. I transformed one of the bedrooms at my house into a make shift office. It is a very Spartan like environment. I have a desk with a PC, a hanging desk lap, a file box with notes and research and several pictures of my two daughters.  I have the basic tools that I need and pictures of the two most important people in my life.

 

Q: Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

A: I love authors who tell great stories. I have read every Sidney Sheldon book.  He was an amazing story teller. I enjoy Jeffrey Archer’s ability to create intrigue and the ability that Mitch Albom, Nicholas Sparks and Tim Russert have to touch the reader’s heart.

 

Q: What is the most important thing in your life right now?

A: Without question, the single most important thing in my life is helping my daughters get through college (one has graduated) and doing whatever I can to help them live a happy and prosperous life.

Q: What are you currently working on?

A: I am just starting a project aimed at men and women over the age of 50 who suddenly find themselves single. At the moment it is called “Now What?”  The idea is to write about the various stages of dating that people who, after 20 plus years of marriage, find themselves single again. I have heard some heart breaking and well as some very funny stories as men and women over 50 try to pick up the pieces and move forward. The goal is to move from the shock and grief toward a new and better life. 

Q: Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

A: Well to readers, I hope everyone buys and enjoys my books since my daughters would like me to buy a villa in Amalfi Coast of Italy…hahaha. To answer your question my advice is to write about things you know, things that are close to your heart, things that make you laugh and cry, things that you are passionate about.

Q: Is there an author that inspired you to write?

A: I really love Tim Russert’s book Wisdom of our Fathers because it is so family focused. I love to hear stories about family traditions, culture and secrets. I hope readers see the strong family connection in my books.

 

Q: What are some of your long term goals?

A: I hope people enjoy my work to the point where I can sell my business and just write books full time. The writing experience has become an escape from the daily grind of owning a business and the day-to-day aggregations of life.

Q: What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

A: I am shocked that I actually wrote a book.  Like most people I often said, “I should write a book about this”, but never really believed I would find the inspiration, or take the time and effort to actual write a book. Once I started to write When the Wife Cheats (my first book) I was hooked. Hopefully, people will enjoy my books and I can become a full time author.

 

Q: What do you feel is your biggest strength and weakness?

A: I love to tell a story so developing a story line is fairly easy. Weeding through what is and is not relevant for the story is a little more difficult, but I completely despise the constant re-reading and proof reading. It seems I see what I wanted to say, not necessarily what is actually written on the page.

 

Q: What do you feel sets Five Years to Live apart from others in the same genre?

A: Most books about catastrophic injuries are very clinical. They discuss insurance, finding good home care, and how to cope with the situation. They tend to be very sad and depressing. This is not a self help book. This book is about the celebration of life, love and family. It is putting family first and living your life with love, faith and integrity.

Q: You know the scenario – you’re stuck on an island.  What book would you bring with you and why?

A: If I am absolutely limited to one book, it would be Tim Russert’s book Wisdom of our Fathers. As I mentioned earlier it is so family focused. I love to hear stories about family traditions, culture and secrets. If I could sneak in another book it would be anything by Sydney Sheldon.

Q: If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

A: Wow, this is another good question. I would go back to August 11, 1985. That was the day my brother Steve was paralyzed in a car accident. If I could I would change that one event in my life.

Q: Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago?  In what way/s?

A: Some friends recently told me they could not get over how much I have changed. I was very Type A former high tech executive who was always on the run, always traveling, always pushing and striving for success. Now I am told, I much more relaxed, calm and happy with my life.

Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

A: I have two important life lessons. The first is to love and cherish your family because in the end all you have is family. The second is the motto on my family crest which reads: Life with Integrity. It is doing the right thing only because it is the right thing to do. No exceptions or excuses.

Q: Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

A: I truly believe that the only regret(s) I have are the opportunities I did not take. I didn’t stop and smell the roses during my 25 year high tech career. That will never happen again.

Q: What is your favorite past-time?

A: I am a major fan and supporter of the University of Washington Women’s Volleyball program. I became involved with this program while living in Seattle and found those young student-athletes got into my heart. They inspired my 2nd book – From the Ashes – The Rise of the University of Washington Volleyball Program.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

A: Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience with your readers. I hope they enjoy Five Years to Live.

You can visit my website at www.frankzaccari.com.

You can follow me on twitter at @FZaccari

 

Excerpt

After the phone call, Michael loaded up his 1982 Ford Mustang, kissed Donna good-bye, and promised to call when he arrived in Delaware. It was a cool night for August, and it had started to rain as Michael headed toward the New Jersey Turnpike. He was thinking about his time with Donna and how great things would be when they moved to Williamsville. His traveling would be reduced, and he would have more time with Donna. That thought made him smile. I have to start pricing engagement rings, he thought.

 

 As he entered the blind cloverleaf leading to the turnpike, he saw a New Jersey Highway Department truck that was stopped and sticking out into the road. “Well this sucks,” he said. “A blind cloverleaf and a parked Highway Department truck making it more difficult to see.” As Michael pulled around the truck, he felt a large jolt. His mind began racing. What the hell just happened? He tried to focus his attention on something, but everything was blurry. All he could hear was Huey Lewis’ song “The Power of Love” coming from the radio. The car was spinning out of control, and the only words he was able to utter were, “Oh God, help me!” The car bounced down the turnpike, going endover-end, and settled on its roof but was still moving. He was starting to think clearer and said, “Please end up on the wheels so I can get out easier.” The car finally stopped but was still on its roof. There was broken glass everywhere. The tiny pieces reflected like jewels. The sun visor had come undone and was hanging in his vision. He could see the toll ticket and his registration card that were clipped to the visor. He tried to turn off the ignition, but he couldn’t move because of the excruciating pain in his arms. He thought, I must have broken my arms. Don’t move or I could cause more damage. He was being held in his seat by the seat belt with his head pressed against the ceiling. Again he tried to move and undo the seat belt, but he still couldn’t move. His mind started racing again, What if the car blows up? I don’t want to die like this. How will they know it’s me? He couldn’t smell any gas, and this calmed him. These few seconds seemed like an eternity.

Suddenly a hand appeared in the window and shut of the ignition. A man’s voice came out of the darkness and asked him if he was alone. “Yes,” Michael answered. He could barely see a stream of tail lights going by as if they were in a funeral procession.

 The voice asked, “What’s your name?”

 “My name is Michael Battaglia.”

 “There’s no gas leak so you’re safe. The ambulance is on its way.”

 Relieved that the car wouldn’t blow up, Michael asked, “Who are you and what happened?”

 “I work for the Turnpike Authority, and you hit a disabled car, but it wasn’t your fault. He didn’t have any lights on. His car had a flat and wasn’t completely off the road. You collided with the left back tail light. That’s why your car bounced instead of folding up like an accordion.”

 Did anyone get hurt?”

 “No.” The masculine voice from the darkness said with a curious inflection. “No one was in the car.” In a passing thought, he speculated on what kind of man in an accident this horrendous stops to ask about other people. “What about you? Do you have any pain?”

 “Yes, my arms hurt like hell, and I can’t move them.”

 “Don’t try to move anything until the paramedics get here. Try to relax.”

Second Excerpt:

 

With terror in his voice, he said, “I’m not going to walk again, am I?”

 

 “We don’t really know yet, like I said…”

 Michael angrily cut her off “Answer the god-damn question. I’m not going to walk again am I?

 “I don’t know Michael.” Tears began to will up in his eyes, and he looked at her, begging for an answer.

 After she wiped the tear from her eyes she said “The odds are not in your favor.”

My Review


I thought the author did an outstanding job with the story. The story was an emotional one, and one that brings the reader into the lives of the characters so deeply, that the emotions transfer from the pages of the book to the reader. You laugh, you cry, you get frustrated, you celebrate. 


The characters in the book were very well developed, so much so, that as you read the story, you can picture the characters in your head. You become part of their lives and part of their conversations. 


Five years to Live gives the reader insight into the daily lives of a spinal injury victim, what it takes to achieve even the most minor of daily activities. The book also makes you wonder how some are so blessed with an inspiring disposition and others seem to be so lost. I have to repeat myself when I say the author did an outstanding job in the development of Michael’s character. He got inside of his character’s head and we had a front row seat to the happiness, the heartache, the tragedy, the setbacks, and the triumphs that was Michael’s.  It was amazing to read how one person took their diagnosis of five years to live and turned it around to live more than twenty-five years full of accomplishments.


Frank Zaccari also did a wonderful job showing the family member’s emotions and coping abilities. This was a family that stood together and did what was needed for each person of their family.


While the storyline is exceptional, there were things about the book that I did not like. I personally do not like the Point of View shift in which the writer chose to write the book. I find this particular style of writing confusing, and feel that it detracts from the story. I also felt parts of the book were too simplistic, as though the writing level had taken drop to an elementary reading level. It was a distraction for me and I felt it took a five star book and dropped it down to a four star.


That being said (and I’m sure there will be controversy there) I think it is a book worth reading, especially if you have a spinal cord injured person in your family, or friend circle. The book is definitely an eye-opener.

 

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