A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear
“Two generations of dementia are enough!”
Robert Glickman declares in his quest to die with dignity and the likelihood he will be next. To that end, he uses his grandson’s sixth grade quiz book, a locked away metal box, and a secret weapon that eventually comes back to haunt him.
In the meantime, he is embroiled in the lives of other residents: his neurotic sister, Essie who plots to steal his secret weapon for herself; beautiful Christina Abernathy, a retired psychotherapist he instantly falls in love with; Hester, a young server at the Fountain who suffers from progressive mutism; Boyle, a man of mystery with a questionable past for good or evil (Glickman isn’t sure which); and Boyle’s grandson, Santini, a troubled young man caught between the dope dealers he runs with and the FBI wanting to use him.
Will Glickman and Essie beat dementia? Can he win over Christina? And what about Hester, Boyle, and Boyle’s grandson?
Book Review: I found The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear most interesting because my grandparents managed a retirement home and nursing home. I grew up around these homes, associating with many of the older people who lived in both. When my father became disabled (car accident, my mother, father and I teenager) we moved into an apartment within the Retirement Home. I lived there until I graduated from high school and left home. This book brought back a lot of wonderful memories of the older people that I associated with in my youth. It also brought back memories of those I saw physically and mentally decline.
I love how the author draws the reader into the daily lives of the people who live at “The Fountain of Youth” and I love the title. As I said, I have already lived in an old folks’ home, so when I get old I want to go to a young folks’ home. The colorful characters who reside at “The Foundation of Youth” bring with them their past experiences, their lifelong stories, their strong personalities, human emotions. They exhibit an ability to adjust to their surroundings as they fight to stay in control of their physical and mental health with full knowledge that the road ahead is not what anyone would want for themselves or anyone else.
Main character Robert Glickman is acutely aware of his genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. He has lost family and friends and he refuses to go quietly into this physical and mental hell. Adding a little romance can’t hurt. Robert did his best to encourage others through reading to them. Here is a good quote from Robert: “As I dropped down to LL2, it occurred to me that I no longer considered the lowest floor as Hades or the River Styx and when the elevator doors opened it didn’t seem as hot and oppressive. It was certainly quiet however. I stepped into the lounge and stared at the couch where O’Reilly and I read Gatsby. I could still see the crowd of patients in wheelchairs, on walkers, and sitting uncomfortably in those same gray folding chairs everyone purchases from Costco… Patients! I referred to them as patients, not residents. The word rolled off my lips without a bit of concern. Maybe I was reconciling myself to the future. Never!”
You probably know someone or even care for a loved one who is struggling with one or more diseases that cause dementia. As researchers work hard to find cures for these diseases, it is our job to stay informed of the latest advances in medications and assistance for end of life. Although fiction, I think this author has addressed these issues well.
I, Theodocia McLean endorse The Fountain Of Youth by Steve Shear. I give the book 5 stars because the author shows great compassion for those afflicted and this book addresses a difficult subject that affects missions of people, their family, friends and caregivers. I purchased this book from Kindle and the review was completed on October 12, 2017.
Message From The Author: When I was growing up, sharing a single bedroom with three brothers in a duplex on Dartmouth Avenue, my maternal grandmother, Mama, lived with us and had her own room. Often, she would babysit when our parents went out and we would play gin rummy, Mama and me. She cheated but I still won. Mama would also buy individual packets of sunflower seeds (we called them 'polly' seeds) from our uncle who lived upstairs. He was a pharmacist and even though she bought them wholesale, she sold them to us boys retail. Of course, we knew where she hid them so I'm afraid to say she got the short end of that deal. At the time I didn't think she knew we were stealing them. At the time I was young and stupid.
When Mama was around nine-two my parents moved her to a nursing home. In those days you really didn't want to visit a nursing home, but we did, every Sunday. During one visit, Mama introduced me to 'Aunt' Charlotte, her next-door neighbor at the home. "Mama," I said, "She's not my aunt." But she stood her ground and insisted Charlotte was my aunt and I should greet her accordingly. Finally, while I was still arguing with her, she said, "Stevie, mit her money and no one to leave it to, she's your aunt." Again, I was young and stupid.
Thank the powers greater than us (if there are any), Mama did not live long in that nursing home (which she hated) and she died with the humor I grew up with. She was one of the reasons I wrote The Fountain of Youth.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Drama
The Trials Of Adrian Wheeler by Steve Shear
Marine Private Adrian Wheeler, accused of murdering Iraqi women and children, arrived home to face nothing less than: An unrelenting father who cajoled him into enlisting, PTSD, sexual Inadequacy, a sensational court-martial trial, a sister with HIV. He returned from Baghdad and the Iraq war disabled and disillusioned an amputee with a bad knee. His brother, John Mike, didn’t return at all. Both participated in a reconnaissance mission seeking proof Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, WMDs, a mission that tragically failed, a mission in which innocent women and children died along with John Mike and other combatants.
As the sole survivor, Adrian carried the details of that trauma deep within his subconscious, and often drank himself unconscious in hopes of hiding from the visitors who came in his sleep; his domineering father, a retired Vietnam veteran, and Rachael, the girl he left behind. In his mental state and physical condition, he did everything he could to avoid her—and the couch they first made love on before he lost his arm. Just when he began taking control of his life, Adrian was charged with the murder of all those women and children. But did he, do it? Could it have been John Mike? Or possibly an insurgent?
Adrian’s only hope was to get beyond his trauma and recall the terrible secret buried deep within the cellar of his psyche. That required Rabinowitz (a psychotherapist specializing in PTSD) and Angelo Benedetti (a renowned court-martial defense lawyer) to help him remember—and to convince the court he was innocent—whether he was or not.
Message From The Author: From the Author: When I started writing Adrian, the only thing I had in mind was a friend from my poetry critique group, a gentle soul with natural artistic creativity, who was 'forced' to join the Marines and fight in Vietnam for his country by his bombastic father. My friend had MS and other bad things after being exposed to Agent Orange. He died last year but not before he published several books of his poetry.
Actually, I had two other things in mind when I began thinking about Adrian. I had been against America invading Iraq and I blamed it on W, our president who made the decision to invade. I had just finished reading Vincent Bugliosi's book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and I wondered how many soldiers regretted their decisions to join up in the first place, like my friend. I'm not talking about those soldiers who died in battle (that's bad enough), but those young men and women who came back (and are continuing to come back) from Iraq and Afghanistan--only to discover a battlefield far more relentless and infinitely more lonely. I am speaking about all those warriors who do battle every day in their mind's eye, seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling the loss of a limb, their own or a buddy's--or who experience the last five minutes of their buddy's life. There's no special day just for them. There is no Veterans with PTSD day.
Its full name is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; at least that's what we call it now. In the past it was battle fatigue and shell shock, but a rose by any other name is just as devastating I learned when I started the research on The Trials of Adrian Wheeler. When George W. Bush dropped his first bomb on Baghdad in March 2003, I was so upset I produced what I still consider my best work of art, a painting I entitled The Sisters of Baghdad which can be seen on my website, steveshear.net. Shortly thereafter I wrote a poem, The Bombing of Baghdad which appears at the beginning of Adrian. Around that time, I remember getting a haircut and ranting to my barber, Harold, about how terrible President Bush was. My barber was ultraconservative, although I didn't know it at the time. His bald head (wouldn't you know it) turned red, his eyes bulged and his lips quivered. My only thought at the time was to blurt out: "HAROLD, PUT DOWN THE SCISSORS!" Fortunately, I am still alive and Harold is still cutting hair, I assume.
By the time I finished writing Adrian and living in the skins of the characters, George Bush became a bit more than a footnote. The characters and the family dynamics took over, Adrian, Pa, Daisy, Esme, Rachael, Rabinowitz, Benedetti, and the others. Actually, characters like these along with what they do and say tend to get under your skin and go where you go whether it's at the computer, on a long walk, brushing your teeth, or in my case playing Pickleball. That's what happens during nineteen drafts and before you ever think about sending out your first query.
Steve is happy to say that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by a production studio in Los Angeles, Filmed Imagination and Daniel Dreifuss (producer of the Academy Award nominated move, NO), and the screenplay has been completed. Steve is also a published playwright, having co-authored with his wife, Susan, The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal, interactive courtroom dramas published by ArtAge Publications. You can learn more about Steve and his other endeavors (as a painter, sculptor, poet, and retired intellectual property attorney) at www.steveshear.net.
Genre: Law, Specialties, Military, Arts and Photography, Theater
Cold Coffee Press Spotlight With Author Steve Shear
The Trials of Adrian Wheeler is author Steve Shear’s first published novel (L&L Dreamspell, 2011). It was awarded runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival 2015.
Steve is happy to announce that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by EVW Entertainment (producer of the movie Break the Stage), and the screenplay has been written by Erik Wolter and Steve. EVWE is now looking for partners to produce the movie. Erik and Steve have collaborated on a sequel to the screenplay.
The Wild Rose Press published The Fountain of Youth, Steve’s second published novel, in May of 2017. It has received exceptional reviews, some of which appear on Amazon and Goodreads.
He and his wife, Susan, collaborated on The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal (published by ArtAge Publications), courtroom plays in which the audience serves as the jury. Both are being produced around the country.
In addition, Steve has four novels that have recently been completed: A trilogy including The First Coming, An Eye for an Eye, and Black Hearts & Hungry Bears and The Click, a Sci-Fi thriller. He has written screenplays on the first two and is presently collaborating with Erik Wolter on a screenplay based on The Click.
Steve also has been writing poetry for over fifteen years (a number of which have been published) and is also a portrait and figure artist and sculptor, having been represented by a number of galleries in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. He is presently represented by the Delta Gallery in Brentwood, California and on line by Vango Art. His work can be seen at his website, www.steveshear.net
What makes you proud to be a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area? I spent most of my career in Silicon Valley and just returned after almost 24 years. It’s great to be back and to be writing in a broadminded, liberal state. We were in Boulder, Colorado the first 12 of those 24 years, another liberal environment, and in Tucson, Arizona the last 12 years ... not so liberal to say the least.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I was a patent attorney for over 40 years which meant I wrote quite a bit, mostly technical garbly-gook and legal mumbo jumbo. Approximately 30 years ago I began painting and sculpting the figure. At some point I decided I would like to write fiction as well as I painted. It’s now been over fifteen years and I enjoy writing more than painting. I thought I’d never say that.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? No. I spent most of my time on the basketball court. But alas I didn’t even make it to 6 feet even though I stretched on a daily basis. Hope springs eternal, I thought. No such luck.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? Ten years ago, when I wrote my first novel. After two or three drafts I gave it to my wife and a friend who taught creative writing at one of the local colleges, all 250,000 words. They told me I was full of myself which when I think back is true. I then spent six months revising it down to 110,000 words While that book has not as yet been published, over the last ten years it as morphed into a trilogy and I believe my best work, but who knows, maybe I’m to close to my first real creation.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? How much I have improved, although that may or may not be saying a lot, but much more important how much I love the process ... writing NOT marketing God help me!!!!!
How many published books do you have? I have two published books and two published plays.
Please list the titles of all your books: The Trials of Adrian Wheeler (originally published by L&L Dreamspell and The Fountain of Youth published by The Wild Rose Press. The two plays are: The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal, published by Artage Publication. They are presently being produced around the country.
Please introduce your main genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I have no main genre, although all my novels (six in all) focus on serious issues within plotlines that are at time quite serious and dramatic and at times humorous. I have dealt with religious bigotry, PTSD and the Iraq war, dying with dignity, overpopulation, and other “simple” subjects.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Love it or leave it!
Who is your favorite author and why? I have no favorite author. If I’m reading a really good book that author at the time is my favorite author. I will say this though. If the writing is not exceptional (like for example the writing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez), I usually never make it very far even if the story is good. On the other hand if the story is slow and stodgy like many of Wallace Stegner’s I don’t get any further. Some of the old science fiction/fantasy authors like Jack Chalker and Stephen McDonald were (possibly still are) amazing.