5-Star Book Review of Sammy: Hero At Age Five


The Celebration of Life!

5-Star Book Review

by Beem Weeks

Sammy: Hero at Age Five

by M. Schmidt

& Gene D. Donley

 Blurb: “Kids can get hungry sometimes while on chemo,” says five-year-old Sammy, having a good day despite the malignant tumor invading his brain. Based on true events from the 1980s, Sammy’s story is imagined by his mother and brother as if the young boy might tell it himself. The result is gripping. Told in two parts, Sammy’s account first invites us into the everyday middle-American lives of a mom and her two boys. Sammy is a sweet, good-hearted kid, even as he faces the most difficult challenges in Part 2: “Cancer Arrived.” Here Sammy talks us through hospital trips and procedures, the hardest parts as well as moments of simple joy. It is not always possible to survive such a grim diagnosis, so Sammy and his family must embrace the smaller victories from one day to the next. Finally, our young hero is given one last opportunity to find his own unique path toward triumph. Listen closely as Sammy tells us all what matters most.

Beem Weeks Review:

This is the true story of a five-year-old boy named Sammy. Though Sammy is the story’s narrator, it is told through the eyes of his mother and older brother. Sammy had cancer, the disease he succumbed to at age five.

The first part of the story shares insight into the daily life of a typical American family, detailing the goings-on with Sammy, his brother, and his mother. Readers get to know Sammy and his budding personality. Most American boys will recognize the activities of riding Big Wheels, messing with snakes, and sneaking off to forbidden areas. There are some humorous stories here, like the older brother, Gene, accidentally locking Mom out of the house. A neighbor had to bring a ladder, allowing Mom to climb in through the attic to unlock the door. 

The second part is entitled Cancer Arrived. Sammy began to be sick—all the time. Sinus infections, inner and middle ear infections, mononucleosis, and upper respiratory disease took over Sammy’s body. Doctors couldn’t pinpoint a cause and medicines didn’t clear things up. A radiologist even misread the x-ray. Because of this, he missed the tumor mass in Sammy’s neck and head. The cancer diagnosis left the family reeling. No parent wants to hear that awful disease pronounced on their child. The battle against Rhabdomyosarcoma became a family fight. 

To a young boy, this would be a scary situation to be in. Sammy certainly had those moments. But what we learn from this personal story is the wisdom and courage this boy gained in his all-too-brief time in this world. While cancer is a dark subject, this book is anything but dark. I found in these pages a celebration of a life that is still touching others, even nearly thirty years after his departure. As long as his mother, brother, family, and friends are here in this world, Sammy will be here too.   


Cover Reveal: Whatever it Takes by S. Burke #Pre-Order #PsychologicalThriller #Suspense

Renowned Australian author Suzanne Burke again astonishes us with the storytelling prowess of a true thriller author. Please take a moment to learn about her newest offering. Reblogged at StephenGeez.WordPress.com

From the Pen of Mae Clair

I’m delighted to be able to take part in the cover reveal blog splash for Whatever it Takes by my good friend Suzanne Burke. I was a beta reader on this book and am thrilled others will soon be able to enjoy it. Once you read this post, I recommend hopping over to Amazon for a one-click pre-order.

But first, here’s Suzanne to tell you about the latest dark and twisty psychological suspense novel she’s crafted…
Whatever It Takes cover reveal banner with curtain

Whatever It Takes

by S.Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW. At the special Pre-order price of $0.99c
Release Date: May 8th, 2019
>Psychological > Thriller & Suspense >.

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously…

View original post 577 more words

Welcome to the “PREY FOR THE DEAD” Blog Tour! @SusanneLeist @4WillsPub #RRBC

On day 4 of her tour,

say hello to my guest blogger,

author Susanne Leist!


A little about me:

When someone asked me to contribute an article on my life to an author’s blog, I panicked. What should I write? I’m a listener. I listen to other people’s problems and stories. I’m a good listener. But I don’t enjoy speaking about myself. But now I’m a writer, and I must move into the spotlight.

I’ve done a few interviews on fellow authors’ blogs. Their questions served as guidelines. Now I have a blank page in front of me. Should I delve into why I became a writer? People have done this. Instead, I’ll write who inspired me. The person who I loved and admired most and then lost too soon: my brother, Neil Leist.

Neil lit up a room when he entered it. He was six feet two inches, but it wasn’t his height that drew others’ eyes. It was his dynamic personality and his intelligence. Those gray eyes mirrored his capacity for greatness. He acted as my father when my father wasn’t home but worked days and nights as a taxi driver. Only eleven years older than me, Neil took care of my blind mother and helped raise me. He shouldered heavy burdens early in his life.

My brother did well in college but flourished in the business world. He traded on the Commodity Exchange until he earned enough money to take over a Fortune 500 company. With a majority share in its stock, he became the CEO of American Bakeries. Neil brought me with him on his rise to stardom. I worked for him on the Exchange and at his offices on Madison Ave. I majored in Finance at New York University, prepared to join him. My parents were proud of him. Life was perfect until the phone call in the middle of the night.

The light in my life dimmed as I fell into darkness as dark as my mother’s. My brother had been in a car accident in the Hamptons. His red Porsche hydroplaned on the wet road. Neil was a good driver with quick reflexes. He drove the car off the road and onto the grass. Luck wasn’t with him that night. Someone had parked a truck in the grass, and the Porsche crashed beneath it.

Neil lingered in a coma for two years before he died. Meanwhile, his so-called friends at American Bakeries undermined his position at the company by causing the stock price to plummet. We sold his investment in the company in one big chunk and at a significant loss. We made the company’s executives pay for what they did. I spent eight long years dealing with finance people and lawyers.

After this experience, I lost my taste for high Finance. I received an M.B.A. in Finance. But I couldn’t return to the markets. Instead, I turned to the one passion in life I had never explored: my love for reading and writing stories. And The Dead Game was born. I used poetry to promote my book. Now I’m hooked on poetry. My stories and poetry are dark and twisted. This year I released the second book in The Dead Game Series, Prey for the Dead. It is just as twisted and intense as the first book.

My life has taken unexpected twists and turns. I wasnt happy with Finance, even in the beginning. I did it as a challenge. I wanted to do well in a male-dominated field. And now I have a new mission. I want to prove to myself I could become a good author. And I believe I’m well on my way.

Thank you for listening,

Susanne Leist

This picture was taken when Neil met with Mayor Koch concerning the opening of additional American Bakeries’ factories in New York.




I have always loved to read. Agatha Christie, Alistair Maclean, Robert Ludlum, and many other authors filled my young imagination with intrigue and mystery. When I wasn’t reading late into the night, the TV shows—Murder, She Wrote and Columbo—entertained me with tales of murder and suspense.

Over the years, my taste in TV expanded to include such shows as Supernatural and The Originals. I searched for paranormal murder mysteries but found few at the library or bookstore. So, I wrote one.

A career in writing has been a big leap for me. Accustomed to the number-crunching field of budgeting and the hectic commodity markets, I left my first career and M.B.A. in Finance behind to pursue my dream. I do not regret my foray into literature for one moment. Fellow authors helped me make my way through the competitive field. I write every day and even tried my hand at poetry. If someone tells you it’s too late in life to try something different, they are wrong. It is never too late to follow your heart.

The Dead Game is the first book in The Dead Game Series. It brings fantasy and the surreal to the classic murder mystery with dead bodies, suspects, and clues. It offers vampires, vampire derivatives, and a touch of romance to give spice to the mix. Once you read The Dead Game, you will never look at a dead body the same way.

In Book Two, Prey for The Dead, the suspense continues as The Dead use an exclusive club in Disney World and infiltrate the rich and famous. The Dead grow in power, and not even the sun or the swamps of Florida can weaken them. Lindamy main characterand her friends join with the human vampires or hybrids to defeat the evil forces threatening to control their town.

I hope you enjoy my books. The third book of The Dead Game Series is waiting for me to write.




Book trailer:



















To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  

Lastly, Susanne is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB #RRBC! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you!

Thanks for supporting

this author and her work!  

Be sure to click the title to open comments,

then tell us what you think!


Launch day!!

Congratulations, Mare L. Schmidt, on the launch of your heartful tribute to Sammy. Reblogged at StephenGeez.com and the one with dot WordPress in the middle, too.

When Angels Fly


It’s launch day  for Sammy: Hero at Age Five!! 

Some review snippets below: 

“Sammy was a feisty little thing with a huge heart and desire to achieve his goals, and his relationship with Jesus was incredible for someone so little.”

“Sammy: Hero at Age Five had me hooked from page one, and I found myself trying to put my own person into the shoes of a five year old boy who became a hero.”

“He was a hero since his conception.”

“I highly recommend this book to families facing such trials. I know they would gather
courage and inspiration along with an appreciation of life on earth and what awaits them in heaven with Jesus by reading Sammy’s story.”

Grab your copy via one of the links below. 

AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINK: smarturl.it/SammyHeroAtAgeFive
AMAZON UK LINK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PP95MSZ
AMAZON .COM LINK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PP95MSZ
NOOK https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130900239?ean=9781947867314

View original post

Wham! Review by Mark Allen North

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps’s Wham! gets a five-star review! Reblogged at StephenGeez.com.

Book Bytes by Borel

Borel Guest Review, Mark Allen NorthWham! Timewalker Book 1 (Carol Marrs. Phipps) CoverWham! Is the first book I’ve read by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps. At first, the story moved so fast I felt a bit disjointed with so many characters requiring attention. However, reflecting on how I might relate to the reader if my parents and sister were bludgeoned by “Children and Family Assistance,” as was the case with Tess, I too would find it hard to grasp the fantasy. Describing the experiences suffered under the corruption, power, greed, and sexual proclivity of the police forces leaves the reader to forge on to see how much worse the dystopian fantasy will develop. The additions of Drake and Bart (the Skinwalker) and, finally, Maxi the troll provide further examples of the ruthlessness of their horrible quandary. Readers seeking stories with darkness and evil plots aligned with the fantasy of love will be gripped by the terrible experiences of both Tess and…

View original post 90 more words

Getting to Know Author Larry Landgraf! @riverrmann #RRBC

Meet Larry Landgraf, author from the Texas Gulf swamps, and be sure to leave a comment at the original post on Beem Weeks’s The Indie Spot!

The Indie Spot!

Greetings, readers! Today, I am introducing you to Larry Landgraf, author of Tales from the Riverside, The Four Seasons Series, and many other great books. Larry writes in both fiction and non-fiction genres. So, without further ado, here’s Larry. . .



Larry Landgraf is a rough and tough swamp dweller who lives along the middle Texas Gulf Coast. In seventy years, he has moved two miles to the other end of the same property. He can be found barefoot most of the time. Larry has nearly died so many times, he’s lost count. You’ll find some of the death-defying stories in Tales from the Riverside.

Larry is the father of three grown children who have given him eight grandchildren. Larry divorced in 2008 and brought his new love, Ellen, to the swamp to live in 2016. He teaches her the ways of the swamp while she teaches…

View original post 369 more words

Welcome to “FINDING BILLY BATTLES TRILOGY” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to


Blog Tour!

@JHawker69 @4WillsPub



Today, Guest Blogger Ronald E. Yates has some valuable how-to for writers!


Journalistic Method:

A Technique for Authors

(Part 1)


Without a doubt, one of the best places to learn the craft of writing is in the professional newsroom.

The number of successful authors of fiction and non-fiction books, who began their careers as journalists, is remarkable. Here is a list of 10 (It could be 50 or 100):


  • Charles Dickens

  • Samuel Clements (Mark Twain)

  • Ken Follett

  • Thomas Thompson

  • Ernest Hemingway

  • Edna Buchanan

  • George Orwell

  • Graham Greene

  • PG Wodehouse

  • Tom Wolfe

Ernest Hemingway


Someone once asked Ernest Hemingway where he learned to write. His answer: working as a general assignment reporter for the Kansas City Star from 1917 to 1918.

“Everything I needed to know about writing I learned from the Kansas City Star style sheet,” Hemingway once said.

The first paragraph of that stylesheet reflects Hemingway’s writing style. It begins: “Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative.”

The advice may seem simplistic, but it is far from it. One of the first things I learned as a young journalist (coincidentally, at the Kansas City Star) was how to write succinctly and clearly and how to gather information accurately.

Hemingway did all of those things–and he did them well, both as a journalist and later as a Nobel Prize-winning novelist.

Not far behind those skills is something called Journalistic Method. That is a fancy phrase for how a journalist works.

That is what I want to talk about today. In parts 2 and 3 of my blog on Journalistic Method, I will get into some of the other skill sets such as the aforementioned ability to write succinctly and clearly, how to gather information accurately, and how to organize it and present it compellingly. Those who write novels can learn a lot from the skills required to produce excellent journalism.

Journalism is an empirical discipline. What do I mean by that?

It means, like science, it is a search for truth. It means you use trial and error, observation and analysis to find the truth.

The Dictionary defines empiricism it this way: Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis. b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws. Guided by practical experience and not theory.

It’s also how journalists go about finding stories.

For the scientist, empiricism means arriving at truth via observation and experimentation. For the journalist, the empirical tools are: Observation and Interviewing.

The best writers, whether they are journalists, novelists or authors of non-fiction books, are the best observers.

Observation is the basis of everything.

Take this story from Asia about a Buddhist sage walking with two students through the forest. He stops suddenly and looks up at a tree.

“What do you observe in the tree?” He asks the first student. The first student’s eyes lock on the tree. Suddenly his face lights up.

“I see a bird in the tree, master,” he says, sure his powers of observation in finding the small bird in the tree’s thick green foliage will please his religious teacher.

“What do you see?” the aged priest asks the other student.

The second student pauses, his eyes fixed on the tree for several moments.

Finally, the second student speaks: “I see a bird with red, yellow and black feathers sitting on a dead limb. A green tree snake is crawling on a limb just behind the bird.”

That is observation. Observation is an active, not a passive process.

Legend has it that the ancient Druids forced candidates for the priesthood to study an oak tree and capture its every feature. Then the candidate would be questioned about the tree. If the candidate failed to describe the tree accurately, he would be nailed to it.

Druidic discipline is not practiced in newsrooms, but the precision of observation it was intended to encourage should. Not every good reporter is a good writer, but every good writer is a good reporter. Reporting IS observation.

Of the qualities that distinguish good from poor writing, three depend directly on observation. They are clarity, precision, and appeal to the senses. The others—pacing and transition—lend grace and power to the expression of what you have observed.

Clarity, precision, and appeal to the senses seldom are achieved just by looking or listening. You usually have to seek out information that is not readily apparent.

The reporter’s primary research tool is interviewing. All reporters interview; but few interview as well as they might. Fewer still get beyond the interview to other sources of information and understanding.

Documents, the records of business, government and personal life, can be invaluable in answering questions and providing detail. Even the methods of social science offer help for the writer who would be a better observer.

A keen observer understands the importance of detail and texture, as well as the use of precise language. That means fewer adjectives, but heavy on action verbs—fueled by detailed observation.

My advice: To write well, first see well.

Good observation depends on two things: concentration and analysis. As a writer, you must be an observer by occupation. That means you’re always on the job. Everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is potentially material you can use in a story.

Flies take off backward. So to swat one, you must strike slightly behind it. That’s a detail a writer should be able to see. Other people see flies; a writer sees how they move.

No two people, no two situations, no two oak trees are identical. Your job is to sort out the essential differences. You must get in the habit of concentrating on what is going on around you. It is hard work. How do you do it?

  • Look for the significant detail.

  • Look for the revealing anecdote.

  • Look with your mind, as well as your eyes, open.

  • Prepare before you start to look.

Henry James once said: “Be one on whom nothing is lost.”

Listen to people talk. Listen to what they say and how they say it. Most of us don’t listen. Most of us are busy thinking about what WE want to say while someone else is talking. As a result, we misunderstand, misinterpret and worse, misquote.

Note things that others take for granted. For example, the excessive neatness of a bureaucrat’s desk may reveal not efficiency, but the fact that he or she has nothing to do! A pretentious private library may contain books with uncut pages!

So what’s the difference between a novelist and a reporter?  Besides the fact that one writes fiction and the other doesn’t (or shouldn’t), their goals are similar: to create compelling stories that people will want to read, learn from or be entertained by.

You must describe! You cannot rely on imagination to give you the crusty feel of crisp frozen ground underfoot or the razor-drag of chill air across your face. You must see these things; know them, before you can communicate them.

Writers are verbal creatures. But they must observe vividly. Good writers write after the fact, not from inspiration. They write what they have seen—and what they have seen well!




Ronald E. Yates is an award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media. His award-winning book, “The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles,” is the second in his Finding Billy Battles trilogy of novels and was published in June 2016. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014. Book #3 of the trilogy (The Lost Years of Billy Battles) was published in June 2018.

As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work resulted in multiple journalism awards, including three Pulitzer nominations and awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Inter-American Press Association, to name a few.























To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  

Lastly, Ron is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB {#RRBC}! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you!

Thanks for supporting

this author and his work!