I’m Serious About Helping You: Tom Ufert Profiled

I wanted to interview Tom Ufert by himself as fan mail told me that his first interview with Cliff Roberts was probably the most successful interview I have ever been a part of. The hits were numerous, and many people thought Tom couldn’t beat that. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to take part in a webinar that took Tom to a brand new audience. Huge audience figures show that Tom is here to stay. A hit book, a hit personality, a bona-fide star of the book world.


Tom Ufert has struggled and beaten several disabilities that people believe should have confined him to a mood of misery. He has suffered with addictions, blown away his problems and is now proudly promoting his self-help guide “Adversity Builds Character”.


Q) Tom, I wanted to ask you, how do your disabilities define your daily routine? How do you manage to get so much done?


A) So much done? (Laughs) That’s a laugh! I don’t feel I get enough done. When I was at the height of my college/political/arts career, I was the editor in chief of my college newspaper, chapter president/state province rep for my fraternity, attended fifteen hours of classes, worked about thirty-five hours a week, was chairman of my College Republican chapter, on the alumni boards for my HS and college, was speakers chairman for college student government, was the youngest member of my state GOP central committee, consulted for political campaigns, raised money for the local summer music festival, and had an active social life. This seems dull in comparison to that!


Q) Your disabilities have caused you to slow down? You seem to get more done now than most people who are fully-bodied.


A) My disabilities definitely have forced me to slow downand many times inflict fatigue on my body. I guess having a pretty set routine has made getting anything done a practical reality. 6-8 hours of sleep is a must, and I have to remind myself to eat. Having a supportive partner, relatively strong upper body strength allowing for independent transfers, a determined will to do as much for myself as possible, and a state-funded home health aide to assist with daily household chores are all God sends.


Q) I’m sure they are! Okay, let me jump in with something I wanted to ask you. You were heavily involved in the ’80s “mad men” era of politics, Reagan and super economics. What is the difference between being involved in the politics game and just watching the politics game?


A) It’s the difference between being inside politics and watching from the side-lines. That’s a huge difference. I have actually run state-wide political youth campaigns for major Senatorial and Gubernatorial candidates where being able to juggle whole legions of volunteers in several locals, going door-to-door soliciting voter support, organizing rallies and candidate appearances, attending major conventions, maintaining huge letter writing efforts and dealing personally with media coverage was a daily routine and had no set time schedule. You could be called on at any time of the day or night!


Q) Do you keep yourself involved in current events through TV? Personal contacts? 


A) I have to settle with keeping myself abreast of current events via the media. I can no longer pick up the phone or leap into a car to deal with the immediate crisis of the day. Many times, I no longer feel the “informed expert” of local, national, or international political events. Sure, my gift of reasonable intelligence and past insider experience provide me with a credible understanding of the political process and its veiled realities. However, like any profession, inactivity results in a loss of connections and relevant facts that are often privy only to a select few.


Q) So, for a million dollars, how have your experiences in the political world helped your writing career?


A) My education provided me with a rather extensive knowledge of reading and writing.


My political experience definitely has made me very much at ease with public speaking, interviews, and the all-important skill of the personal touch that is so valuable in building rapport. This was also the case in approaching my self-publisher, IUniverse, and Barnes and Noble. I’m not intimidated by executive corporate titles or low level functionaries/bureaucrats whose primary responsibility is to protect the corporate structure from relatively unknown entities such as myself. I have no problems looking up the phone number for a corporate HQ, calling in, and working my way thru the bureaucracy until I find the individual empowered to solve my problem. Then, I introduce myself, make my pitch, gain their trust/respect, and ingratiate myself with them to the point where they feel the unquenchable urge to join my cause as a dedicated supporter.


Q) You are quite the troubleshooter…


A) Well, I coined the phrase, “Who you know gets you in the door. What you know keeps you there!” My past experiences in dealing with notable personalities, corporate CEOs, the press, managing large reams of information, and being able to multitask or compartmentalize my activities has greatly aided me in understanding how to market and promote my book.


Q) Your genie pops out of the bottle and asks what you desire as a writer. What do you choose, Tom Ufert?


A) I want to inspire others coping with adversity to the point where they no longer feel helpless. Like me, they too can overcome, rise like a phoenix from the ashes, and become true icons of the human spirit. I want people to scream with all their might that they are never surrendering! In turn, their achievements can be focused outward to help others; and perhaps, over time, an unstoppable movement of noble humanity can reverse the present trends of caustic selfishness and global destruction. I know it sounds naive, but I can’t help striving to march ever onward in my short lifetime down the “road less taken” towards a better world!


Q) You quoted Robert Frost there… What isinspiration to you, Tom?


A) That’s a tough one. I think for everyone inspiration is comes in different forms and appearances. However, regardless of the form it takes or the mode of delivery (music, literature, spoken word, visual art, shared life experiences, etc…), I think inspiration is anything that drives us to be better than what we are and give more than we ever thought we could. Inspiration is that which lifts us to a higher plane of accomplishment. It doesn’t have to be stupendous or even spectacular. It just has to bring us in touch with who we dare to become!


Q) You have a quote book coming out soon. You obviously want to inspire people to do what they can to live their lives. Who inspired you?


A) There are many people who inspire me. Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Popes John Paul II & Francis I, and Jesus Christ are just a few historical figures that inspire me. But the boy who gets up after being bullied and walks away with his head held high and smiling inspires me most of all.


Q) Thank you for your time, Tom.


A) Anytime, Nick. You can count on me—just remember—I don’t stand for handicap jokes.









 Join Tom on a journey through his life right here!


Creepy Writer? Not Alex Laybourne!

What is Horror? Let’s forget about the dictionary definition here. I will ask you again. What is Horror? What makes us scared? What scares you the most? What is your personal horror? Let me ask you this– what would you be most terrified of? It’s a dark nightand you are walking home from work. The wind is shaking the trees, and birds are calling. It is darkening further every second. You feel someone walking behind you; you can hear them breathing in the darkness. You break into a run and turn the street corner. You see your house straight ahead. You see the lights burning out into the darkness. Your chest pounds from the pain of prolonged exercise. You throw yourself through the gate, through the door. You are safe.

Horror could be a fear of the unknown? You will never know what was behind you, what was breathing?

Enter Alex Laybourne, writer. The man who brings horror to your neighbourhood.

Mr Laybourne, or Alex to his friends, at home with the family. Alex likes to relax with his wife and kids as much as he can.

Q) So, Alex, you have written several books most notably “Highway to Hell.” You have also written interviews and promotional materials. What do you think you are achieving as a writer?

A) That is a tough one to start with! I would like to think that I am starting to achieve a base level of understanding with regards to how the industry works. More than that is just wishful thinking. I’m selling a few books, but not enough. I am learning the basics of promotion, but do not do enough for myself. I have ten bodies of work available and would like to bring another few out before the year end, but, titles a writer does not make. I have yet to begin to define myself as a writer or as an artist.

Q) But you are growing as a promoter–you are learning the tricks. Would you saypromotion is important to you?

A) Promotion to me is an extension of being a writer. I think too many people, especially when starting out, think that the two are mutually exclusive, when in reality they are one and the same. Promotion is generating interest in you as an artist and in your work. To increase interest, you need more work. So you see, in my mind, writing is promotion, and promotion is writing. Running a website and blogging comes down to writing.

Q) So, which is more important to you? Writing or promotion? Businessman or artist?

A) Promotion is interest, it is about working for each and every sale. Not a mass spree of purchases or a big campaign that draws a lot of attention, it is about every single sale as a single event. I am of the firm belief that every sale is a triumph, for it only takes one sale to create a groundswell. One person to read or see your book and mention it to a friend and momentum is suddenly gained. I have ten items available for sale–nine of them are short stories, chapter books if you will, that when put together form one novel. I guess I have promoted them the heaviest, but more due to their numbers than anything else. When my novel Highway to Hell came out, I promoted it like crazy. I went a bit tweet-happy for a while. I spammed a little you could say. I learned my lesson and reeled myself in.

Q) Highway to Hell is an important book to you, correct? What’s the deal with that one?

A) Highway to Hell was my debut novel, and the first in a trilogy of novels. It is a good, old-fashioned horror novel. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the writing talents of Stephen King and Clive Barker, it chronicles the journey of six strangers who die at the start of the novel and find themselves unjustly sent to Hell.

The first half of the novel is not for the faint hearted. The novel sets up the story for the second instalment, which actually comes out in the next few weeks; however, when viewed on its own, it is a novel about sin and forgiveness.

Q) Do you think that there’s still a market for the kind of horror you write? Traditional horror?

A) I think there always has been, it’s just rebranded as thriller. Thrillers are easier to sell, and over time, horror,real horror, got edged out by what I call torture porn. It started in movies, thanks to films like Saw, and the reputation of horror soon spread. Horror is the greatest genre, because it gives complete freedom. There are no constraints in horror, or at least, there shouldn’t be. As a writer, I see an image in my head and describe it in words. There are taboos, there are rules and lines drawn in the sand, which I will cross and leave for dust if they help me tell my story. That is the difference between what you call ‘old-fashioned horror’ and the current crop. Torture porn breaks taboos for the sake of it, not because the story or the vision requires it.

Q) You mentioned “Torture Porn” back there in your last answer. Would you ever write that kind of horror fiction?

A) No, I would not. I would write body horror, and I have done so in the Highway to Hell series, but it is all for a point–for a vision other than for the simple need to show naked women and blood.

Clive Barker is my idol when it comes to horror. His visions and the epic scope of his imagination are frightening. He is not afraid. He writes and makes his art. That is what I hope to emulate, but it is a far cry from torture porn.

Q) Many people say that horror is only a small part of the fiction market. What do you think of that statement?

A) Horror is everywhere and can be incorporated into everything. In what other type of fiction can you allow your imagination to run wild. You can create a decadent word filled with romance and lust, and with a few tweaks, turn it into a nightmare, a place of terror. You can utilize everything at any time. Withhorror, the only limit is you, the writer. So, to answer your question, there are limitless forms of horror writing, and at the same time, only one: horror.

Q) Do you think that readers sometimes go for what they can understand, rather than what writers may call “great writing”?

A) Yes, I think that there are some great stories out there that are overlooked because they are too intense. I view writing as art, and art is something that does not need to be explained. It is there to inspire, to captivate and to invoke all manner of feelings and reactions. The artist him or herself are the only ones who ever need to know the true meaning behind their work.

Q) I have one final question. A biggie. What is horror? Can you define it for me?

A) Horror is unique. It is something, some part of us that we all have. It is a memory, a notion, a concept; it is a fear.

The real question is what does horror do?

Whathorror does is capitalize on that specific entity within each person and magnifies it. It twists it and turns it into something bigger and badder. To quantify horror is impossible. The closest I could come would actually be IT by Stephen King. The monster not the book – as great as it is. If you look into it, there is an entire mythos behind IT, and that is what horror is in my book.

It has no form, yet is everything; it is everywherebut we never see it, not truly. Horror is what happens in the corner of our eyes, in that instant when we blink. Horror doesn’t lurk in the shadows as many people think. It is broad daylight, it is all around us, waiting.

Horror is the best thing in the world because deep down, everybody likes to be scared.

Check out “Highway to Hell” by Alex Laybourne today for a creeplicious tale!


Visit Tarkeenia TODAY!

The first extract I ran from “The Unseen Promise” was so popular, I was asked to do it again! So, let me present some brand new Ellen Mae Franklin to you! I hear on the grapevine she might be coming over for an interview, soon, very soon…


We can be heroes,

if just for one day


The happy pair had spent months together, travelling Tarkeenia without any real endpoint. Just wandering from one place to the other, suiting themselves as it pleased. It was an unusual union, but for some strange reason it worked. Well, most days anyway. Today was different, however. It was one of those days, the kind that makes you feel crabby, even though the sun is shining – and grouchy, because you couldn’t find that poking twig that kept you wide awake for most of the night, and testy, because Coal, the fire sprite, just wouldn’t shut his talking hole. Today, Brar just wished the sun would do its business of shining. Quietly mind, for he so desperately needed a full night’s rest. Then maybe after that he could cope with his travelling friend’s incessant whining.

“I told you, we have to go this way.” Child-like in appearance, this tiny man, with his pointy tipped ears, crossed his arms over his thin chest in a sulkiness that most others only dreamed of achieving.

Brar stared at his friend. As silent as a stone, the Jaroona refused to budge. “I’m only going to say this once, Coal. I’m in no mood for a tantrum.”

The fire sprite hung upside down by his knees, swinging back and forth on a skinny tree branch, poking out a long black tongue. The fellow laughed. “My tantrums are spectacular, and you know it. But I tell you, Master Brar, we go no further this day until you agree to disagree.”

Everything about this creature was pointed. His long face with its narrow chin exuded defiance. His bad taste purple pointy shoes, his sharp, pointy nose that stood predominately in the middle of his delicate face. So, it would be only natural that his personality should follow suit. It was sharp and angular like everything else on his tiny body. Mischief ruled even the most sensible of choices, and Coal revelled in delight at his friend’s ill temper.

Brar couldn’t help himself; he changed and by doing so disappeared from sight. It was a coping mechanism, this changing. He could become whatever it was that he stood in front of. Appearing as the same texture, colour and pattern, Brar blended himself perfectly into the background. Only moving brought him back to the familiar form of his teddy bear look. This time he was so angry that his changing shimmered. Trembling with Coal’s sudden stupid demand, Brar couldn’t control his emotions.

“Just look at what you’ve done,” shouted the Jaroona.

Coal squealed with delight. “Oh that’s good! The best yet, I reckon. We could charge money for something like that, Brar.” All of a sudden, he became serious. “Look, I don’t know what to say except that we have to go that way. I’m surprised you didn’t hear it.”

“Hear what, you sun-blessed midget? You keep saying that, and I don’t for the love of me know what you’re talking about.”

Coal cocked his head to the side, lips pursed in that way he had, just before shedding a tear or two.

“Don’t you dare cry.” Brar stamped his foot with as much authority as he could muster. He wasn’t very good at dishing out a ‘say so,’ and feeling the way he did today wasn’t going to help.

Coal’s bottom lip trembled in preparation, and before the Jaroona was able to conjure up a reasonable plea to forestall the fire sprite’s blubbering, the little man began to wail. Tears of molten silver fell from his almond shaped eyes, splashing to the ground in a sizzling hiss. His skin turned from his usual pale pink to a darkening crimson. Hotter and hotter – and the branch he dangled from crackled inred heat.

“STOP!” Brar cried. “I can’t stand it! We’ll go whichever way you want. I don’t know why, and really, at this moment, I don’t care. Just stop your blubbering and don’t talk for the rest of this morning. If you can manage that, then I promise not to kill you.”

It was immediate. As quickly as it had begun, Coal quietened. He grinned, flashing Brar a set of very sharp teeth. “You’ll see. Everything will be fine now. You’ll feel better on the way, I’m sure.”

“Aaargh.” Brar aimed a furry slap at the sprite.

Coal did what he always did when he wanted out, he twinked. Vanishing, he left nothing but a trail of steam to mark his disappearance. Coal’s high pitched, almost hysterical laughter floated overhead. Brar groaned. The day wasn’t going to get any better.


The morning passed, and Coal’s promise fell away with the walking hours.

What was I thinking? Brar silently moaned. Coal’s prattling began as a muffled buzz beneath his furry coat, up against his neck. But as the morning faded, turning the day into a warm afternoon, the sprite’s voice rose to a shrilly banter.

“That voice, Brar – it was truly beautiful. It was like music lilting and soft, like a hot wind. No, more like a lark singing, that is, if you like that kind of thing. Me, I don’t really like the sound of a lark, although if you were to ask another, they might say that it was the nicest thing they had ever heard. I don’t know why she picked me. Have you ever asked yourself a question like that? Why it is that someone so wonderful would pick you, tell you the secrets of the sun? Still, she sure was beautiful…”

He would have gone on if Brar hadn’t stopped him. It was too much, this dribbling of shit, so he plonked down in the dirt and waited – waited for Coal to realise that they weren’t moving anymore.

“Hey! What’s this? Why have you stopped?” Coal left Brar’s shoulder, and floated a foot or so in front of the Jaroona’s face. He was smart enough to know not to get too close, for a swat from Brar usually meant a spell of nothingness for a bit. He didn’t like that kind of sleep, so he kept his distance. “Well, friend why have we stopped?”

“I want to know what this is all about. We’ve changed our course to suit this sudden turn about and I don’t know why. Now it’s my turn not to take another step until you have explained yourself.”

Coal knew when he was defeated, and this was one of those times. Brar could be quite bullheaded at times, so he folded his skinny legs under him, and floating on a cushion of air, did his best to explain what it was that he heard.

“I don’t know who she was ’cause she never told me,” complained the sprite. “But it was truly wonderful. It was as though I could feel the words, each a scorching blast of hot air. Oh, I think I’m in love….” he trailed off with one of his theatrical poses.

Brar growled. He too had a very sharp set of teeth.

“All right, I’ll get on with it. You’re a kill joy when you’re in this mood.” Coal brandished a scowl at Brar. “She told me to find the woods – go past the yellow flower heads – and if I got there, it would be to a hero’s welcome.” He folded his arms over his chest and jutted out his chin.

Oh my! He’s finally had too much sun. The Jaroona lifted his eyebrows so far up his forehead that they were immediately lost in his snow-white fringe. “You’re mad,” he exclaimed. “You actually think that you heard an invisible woman tell you such a thing. Something as absurd as that could set us back weeks.”

Coal twinked and disappeared. The smell of sulphur hung in the air. Brar scratched and picked at a biting gnat. Pinching it between two sharp claws, the Jaroona contemplated eating the twitching insect and as he opened his mouth, the annoying chatter he knew so well began again.

“I found it! I found it!” Coal zipped back and forth across his line of vision like an angry mosquito. He stopped dead in mid-air when he saw the gnat and Brar’s open mouth. “Now that‘s disgusting. Don’t tell me you were going to eat that ’cause if you say yes…. then who knows what I’ll do? Maybe I won’t be able to help myself and sick up on you.”

Brar flicked the tiny insect aside. “Don’t go running your mouth at me, Coal –‘cause I’ve had enough. The only words I want to hear right now are that you’ve repented this sudden madness, in exchange for us going home.” He tried to look dignified by pushing himself up from the dirt, and dusting himself off.

“What…? Oh no, never that. I’m here to say I’ve found it.” Smugness oozed from the cherry fellow, and he practically glowed with satisfaction. “The flowering yellow heads, I found them. They are so beautiful, like the sun – and the woman’s voice…” His own voice trailed off like a lovesick youth.

Brar slapped a pad to his forehead and shook his head. “Alright, alright. We’ll play it your way but only until we get to the edge of the damned woods you keep talking about. But I tell you, sprite, if you don’t become a hero the minute we get there then I’m turning about and going home.” He growled. It was hard not to laugh. Someone had to try and keep the sprite honest.

Coal blanched, his cherry redness fading to a sickly pink, and he covered his black lips with a finely boned hand. “Ok, if you like.” It was meek, and quite out of character.

“Come on then, show me the way.” It was a no-nonsense reply, and Brar, thoroughly fed up, waved the sprite to lead on.


Somewhere between death and life, Roedanth found the middle ground. A sweet, bitter centre which held him tightly bound but not to either world. It was a place where souls rested, sometimes succumbing to a final snuff. It was a place not of evil or good. There were too many shades here.

Roedanth floated, or at least he felt as though he was floating. Everywhere around him was darkness, and of course let’s not forget the pain. Each cough brought a wheezing gasp. It filled his mouth with muck, and so much more – it heightened his panic. Distantly, there was a bird calling, the sound of dried leaves scraping the ground. So, he breathed, in and out. He wondered, was this death? Would he find Peetra hiding in a dark corner somewhere, crying over the memories of Mr. Bicky’s harsh use? Would he, Roedanth, be forgiven for not knowing? His courage slipped in that moment, and he thought he felt the slick sheen of sweat on his body.

Upon his throne, a thing made of death and decay, sat Drakite – soul destroyer and creator of man. It was here that he relished his own dreams – dark desires of madness and murder – bold creations that held bubbling hate and wicked ambitions. If they flourished as quickly as this boy lay dying, he would be well pleased. All was ready. The child would not die this day. He would see to that. He had plans for one such as this young man lying face down in the mud. Those becks – his sisters and brothers – could rot for all he cared. For in the end nothing mattered.

Drakite thrilled at Roedanth’s weakened life. Crepe black skin covered brittle bones, a gaping hole with protruding teeth laughed with hate. Hollow and foul, he gripped the bone trophy, a human skull, with wild abandonment, and drained its contents in a single swallow.

As the last twitching of death released the final tresses of life from Roedanth’s pale body, Drakite took action. Scratching at his desiccated thigh, Drakite peeled off a scrap of dried skin. It flaked into his hand. With dark eagerness, he rubbed it back and forth between his fingers. He kneaded and worked the piece of crust until it was so polished that even in the gloom, it shone. Drakite readjusted his maw and blew. A fetid rasp of unclean air coated the spike he held. Ready with the taint of a god, Drakite whispered a few syllables in a language dead and forgotten. The instrument he had fashioned specifically to influence and control was finished. Seizing Roedanth’s soul, Drakite positioned the spike under the unseen membrane, lodging it with loathing. Then, he rose and left his seat, breaking several of his illusionary bones in the process.

Atheria held her breath. She stood unnoticed, a veiled shadow of herself – an unfettered composition of light, dipped in grief at the devoted corruptness of her sibling. She pitied the boy for what he was to become – and for the mark, which he now carried. Her pain was a heartfelt sorrow, so profound that it left her feeling vulnerable and open to the infectious curse of her brother’s own evil. Despair pushed up behind her eyes and, to her surprise, a singular human tear appeared. It fell without a sound.



Visit Tarkeenia today! Get your ticket here!

Cliff Roberts Meet Tom Ufert!

Cliff Roberts is a man accustomed to the public eye. He was a politician, a CEO, a businessman and a police commissioner. Now, retired, disabled and contented, he writes. He is a novelist.

 Tom Ufert, politician, world traveler, charity fundraiser and writer has met his own struggles with addiction, sexuality, illness and has turned them into strengths.

You don’t need to pity these guys, you can LEARN from them…

Chris Keys1

Cliff Roberts, a man at home with his family.


Nick: Thank you for attending this interview, guys. Cliff Roberts, meet Tom Ufert.


Tom: Thank you, Nick. It’s great to meet you, Cliff.


Cliff: Likewise, thank you for inviting me to be apart of this wonderful summit.


Nick: Now, you are both ex- politicians, correct?


Cliff: I claimed to be reformed.


Tom: Yes, EX. I recovered my brain and conscience.


Nick: Okay- no politics. Let me start with you, Cliff. You were a successful businessman, a wealthy politician, and you have run major companies in your time. Now, you are disabled, living in Tennessee, and you write. How do you feel about that?


Cliff: Being disabled sucks after having been a very active sportsman most my life, but I can’t just sit around whining, so I took up my first lover–writing.


Tom: Amen


Cliff: I know people who have just turned off and now just sit waiting to die, but I ‘ve never been that type.


Nick: Tom, you have a similar outlook. You struggle with several disabilities, and you have never given up. Do you think the time was right for you to write a book?


Tom: Well, I think that with the world in its present state of affairs, people need to be reminded that things can get a lot worse…we all need to be aware that adversity is part of life, and only your will to NEVER SURRENDER will keep one afloat.


Nick: You are a true inspiration, Tom. Cliff, do you think you are defying the way disabled people are usually perceived by many people out there? You seem to be throwing off the pity and striving for greatness, as you always

Tom Ufert, a man in thought.



Cliff: I would like to say that I, like Tom, believe the same. I read the blurb on Tom‘s site about adversity making you stronger and it’s true. Every challenge changes you. It can be for the better or the worse, it’s up to you. That is exactly how I felt when I became disabled. It was just another challenge for me to overcome. I think too many people believe that disabled means unskilled, incompetent and unable to think and do anything. I may need an editor, but I’ll tell you a story you won’t be able to put down or forget easily.




Nick: That was powerful, you really hit home there, Cliff. Tom, as a guy who suffers with HIV and MS, have you been faced with similar prejudices to Cliff?


Tom: Oh, yes! I prefer the PC term ‘physically challenged,’ Nick. I can tell you though one thing is for sure, being in a wheelchair means I don’t have to replace my shoes as often!


Nick: Do you two realise how inspirational you both are? You must realise that people can learn so much from your experiences.


Cliff: I don’t know about myself; he’s in a chair, I’ve hopefully got a few years before I’ll need one most of the time. I just try to do all I can and avoid getting down about it. You just have to keep plodding on and making the best of situations.


Tom: People need to remember we may not have all our physical attributes, but we’ve still got our minds. Take me–I have only use of three fingers on hand, two on the other, but can keep up with most typing fifty words a minute; plus, with modern technology like Dragon voice activated programs I can write damn well. What I do isn’t amazing; it’s just adjusting to what life has thrown at me, and I keep moving on forward. I try to inspire others to live life rather than just survive it! That’s my aim.




Cliff: I never felt that I was anyone special having overcome my challenges until a local newspaper writer interviewed me and he claimed I was the most inspiring person he’d met in twenty years of writing his column. I should have been in a home several times I guess, but I refuse to quit. It’s just as Tom said, people think because your body is broken, your mind doesn’t work. As long as I can think I’ll keep doing all I can to reinvent myself as I need to. But writing is totally freeing. I can do the things that I’ve always wantedbut never was able to even if it’s just in my mind.


“Just remember, I don’t stand for handicap jokes…” Tom explains with a smile.

Nick: I think you are right, Cliff. Okay, Tom, your book “Adversity Builds Character” tells of your life and struggles. What do you think was the hardest obstacle you faced?


Tom: The will to live and make the world a better place is what keeps me going. For me, the greatest obstacle was having all three disabilities—MS, an incomplete spinal fracture, and HIV. Divine inspiration and a whole group of support covering my back kept me going. My ability to inspire others to help the less fortunate is the drive that spurs me on every day.


Nick: So inspiring. Cliff, let me ask, did you ever believe that you would be writing a book, at what could be described as the lowest ebb of  your life?


Cliff: No, I never considered it when I was able to function. I  was always looking for the next business opportunity and trying to build my world financially. I fought the changing of my body as long as I could without even thinking about whether it might be something other than getting old. Then one day, the doctors said I should stop and focus on living because what years I had left were going to be a struggle. To me, writing was just that thing I had tried when I was a kid in college. Now that I’ve got several books done, I can’t imagine not having written all along. I should have, but life got in the way.


Nick: Tom, if you were still fit and healthy, do you think you would have written the book?


Tom: I’m not sure, but writing about the other adversities–struggling with my sexual identity, drug/alcohol/sex addictions, my mother’s tragic death, being sexually abused as a child, being “adopted”,etc…certainly was a cathartic experience, and I can only hope my insights help others. I am enjoying writing, and with three additional books planned, I think it’s become a new niche to mark my place in the tapestry of humanity.


Cliff: Tom, will all the books be in the same vein, the same inspirational memoir genre?


Tom: Actually, no, Cliff. My second will– it’s a sequel to my first book “Adversity Builds Character.” The third book will be a kind of unique travelogue about my year studying in Australia, while the fourth is this a kind of philosophical text utilizing texting acronyms to guide people in our modern age.


Cliff: I’ll look out for them. I am really enjoying this interview, guys.


Tom: I am, too. My memoir was inspired by my godmother/grandmother who suggested my story could really help others. If I could survive all this in just thirty-four years of life, then others can survive their life struggles, too.


Cliff: Your website showed that you’re quite the world traveller with book signings and such all over the Far East. Have you considered motivational speaking?


Tom: Actually, my book is going to the Far East. I’m not. I’ve only travelled to Canada and Australia. I am, however, still young, and I am ready to travel anywhere to get this book to those who need help. I am working with my team to get a speaking career rolling. Do you know, Cliff? When I visited Australia, I gave twenty-six speeches, and I kept on speaking right through my political career. I have always enjoyed speaking in public.


Cliff: I know the feeling. I gave more speeches as a politician than I can even remember. I think it becomes second nature at some point. Your writing is inspiring, and you write very well. Nick, I am sure, is just sitting back relaxing as we do all the conversation.


Tom: Politics, the gift of the gab, not knowing when to keep quiet. Do you think your first book “Reprisal!” is your best?


Cliff:  No, I don’t think it is my best. My style of writing has improved from the blunt force approach that is “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises” into the books that I’ll be releasing as we go forward that are more subtle with better flow in the intrigue; but having said that, I firmly believe that “Reprisal!” is just as good as any action thriller you’ll read by anyone.


Tom: I have added “Reprisal!” to my reading list! They strike me as similar to other action thrillers I like in James Patterson’s style.


Nick: Cliff, do you think people will take to ‘Reprisal!’ in the same way they took to you as a politician?


Cliff: I hope they do. I won my election with a landslide victory!


Nick: Tom, what do you think makes your life fulfilling?


Tom: Community involvement. My adopted family and Jesuit educators stressed that. I have to say that family and friends are vital, but for me, sitting around and being complacent is a sin. I love contributing to my community, my nation, my world, and my species. In my opinion, it’s kind of what God had in mind when he made man in His image. Otherwise we’re just another animal struggling to survive which doesn’t live up to the higher power of human capabilities like Einstein, Motzart, DaVinci, and Christ Himself.




When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When life is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Life is queer with it twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worse,
That you must not quit!




Tom: Beautiful prose, Cliff.



Cliff: Thank you, Tom.




Cliff Roberts first published work is called “Reprisal! The Eagle Rises.” You can get this great book here!

 Tom Ufert‘s first book is called “Adversity Builds Character” and tells an important story. How did Tom overcome the traumas, trials and troubles he faced in life? How did he survive? You can get his book right now, right here!



“A Deal With God,” Author Michael Haden Speaks…

Michael Haden kicked off his brand new blog tour with ONE interview. The interview was, luckily for Novel Ideas, with Nick Wale. What will Michael have to say about his phenomenal success? The businessman from Tampa, Florida who wrote a bestselling book tells all…

Q) Michael, let me ask you to begin with, why did you have to write “A Deal With God”?

A) Chapter 2 of “Deal” is a young woman’s actual biography. What stands out is the biography is so fantastic and near unbelievable. Her life , though cut short, was truly amazing.  It was important to write the story because she was an orphan. This book is a memorialization to her. It gives her a legacy.

Q) You have been described as an outstanding author. How do you feel about that?

A) I don’t know if I am an outstanding writer, but the critics seem to think so. I do think I am a good story teller.

Q) So, at what moment did you decide to write “A Deal With God”? What was the catalyst for you?

A) Every June 4th, the anniversary of her passing, we grieve her loss. The third year anniversary for some reason hit me particularly hard.

Q) Where did you come up with the concept of completing Deana’s life?

A) The idea of completing her life in written form was something I became compelled to do. I wove a fascinating storyline with all her positive attributes and created a great novel.

Q) Do you believe a person could actually make a deal with God? Is that something you think could be a possibility?

A) The only way I think a person can get a second chance at life is via the grace and mercy of God. That is the way I wrote the book.  That is why the book has its title.

Q) How did you approach the “what might have been” questions regarding her life?

A) I took all of Deana’s amazing aptitudes and rolled them into a mission from God mandate. I wanted to show how much she could have accomplished if it were not for someone’s gross negligence. Within ten years, she drastically and positively influences the lives of over 1000 people. She helps an entire town with her faith, devotion, and life skills.

Q) What was the most difficult part of writing a book that really could have gone anywhere and taken her to great heights or great lows– many of which are outside of the reality of her life?

A) The mandates from God were very difficult and complicated. She told God she would do anything if He would send her back. He forewarns her it will be a difficult life in a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. She takes it, not knowing how tough it will actually be.

Q) It must have been tough for you to write this book. I can imagine it being an emotionally draining experience to write the story of someone you knew and respected so much. How did you personally find the process of writing a book with such an emotional attachment to yourself?

A) I lost twenty-five pounds during the actual three months I wrote the crux of the book. I broke down multiple times, especially writing chapters 11 and 13.

It was a really creative experience, though. I remember once, when I was in my truck on a long drive to a job far away, and a cool story line came to me. It was like a movie playing in my head. It was very engrossing and I starting telling the story to my friends and relatives, and they all loved it. I would spend all day thinking about what I would write that night, write all night, then type and edit it in the morning. I’m sorry to cut this one short– can we reconvene at a later time?

Q) Sure thing, Mike.

A) Thanks

With the interview cut short, you can be sure we will have Michael Haden back again. All I can say is, watch this space. Haden is here to stay.


Lloyd Tackitt Says Hi!

We will have the honor of interviewing the delightful Mr Tackitt next… I want to share his first interview over on Novel Ideas with Mr Nick Wale with you… Right now!

The first stop on the Lloyd Tackitt blog tour is… Novel Ideas. I borrowed Lloyd for a few minutes to ask him a few questions. Now, how can you borrow Lloyd? Easy! You just wander up to him and ask nicely if you can talk to him for a few minutes. Lloyd is one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met. A bestseller? Sure! Just don’t expect him to tell you that…

Let’s go and see what Lloyd had to tell me about the ingredients of a bestselling book.


Q) Let me start by asking you, Lloyd, when someone uses the word “bestseller” to describe you, how does that feel?

A) It feels disconnected from me. When I started writing my first book a little over two years ago, I had hopes of selling a couple of thousand books at the most. I thought that was a fantasy, an over the top kind of hope. When I published it I was happy just to see it up for sale. When I got the first paperback in my hands it felt like a dream, and it still does. It’s crazy how the book sold–far, far better than I was ever willing to let myself hope for.

Q) What is the ultimate for you as a writer? The publishing process? The last line? What makes you contented and happy?

A) There are a series of high-points along the trail. Writing the first line, finishing the first draft, finishing the final edit, seeing the final cover art, getting the book published and out in the public. But I think the very best is the first positive review. Then, and only then, can I tell myself that at least one person enjoyed it. If one person enjoyed it, then it’s a success to me. I push myself to write because I enjoy spinning a story out and entertaining readers. I guess that’s because I am such an avid reader myself and enjoy a good book more than just about anything else in the world, so it’s a thrill to be able to give someone else that reading pleasure.

Q) Do you believe all writers can be as successful as you?

A) I would really like to say yes to this, but I’ve read quite a few self-published works that tell me otherwise – at least initially. I believe that with persistence and practice ninety-percent could, even if it comes to them only after writing several books.

Q) Is it a case of practice makes perfect? Can writing be learnt by trial and error?

A) There is quite a bit of scientific study that suggests that it takes ten-thousand hours of practice to become a master at any craft or art. I don’t know how many hours I have in, but it is in the thousands, several thousands. I’ve seen, and the reviews that readers have left for me say, that I’m getting a bit better as I go. I hope to be writing for years to come and hope that I grow as a writer with each step. So, yes, I think most writers can be successful if they persist and grow.

Q) What has been your worst experience as a writer?

A) It’s that period of time when I’m editing…I’ll start getting doubts about the story. It’s a bad feeling. I think it comes from living with the story for so long that it has ceased to hold surprises for me. This is generally after completing the first edit and before the final edit. I’ll have gone over the text dozens of times looking for errors, finding better (hopefully) ways of writing certain passages, then I start to feel a doubt that anyone will find this story interesting. I eventually come out of it again, generally about the time I send it off for professional editing.

Q) You are on a desert island… Which three books do you choose to take with you?

A) What a question! Okay, 1: To Kill A Mockingbird; 2. Simplified Boat building Techniques And Tricks; 3. Astral Navigation For Dummies. Yeah, I think that would work.

Q) Okay, Lloyd for a million dollars answer this one– What do you think is the main ingredient to a bestseller?

A) I have no idea. It’s not like I have a detailed roadmap or game plan. I think all you can do is write to your best ability and put it out there; then immediately start on the next book doing your very best with it. Then repeat, and repeat…

Q) Wise advice!

A) Thank you, I hope I won the million dollars.

Q) Well, let’s see if you get the bonus question correct, first. Why do you think the “Eden” series has been so successful?

A) My guess? My guess is that it’s mostly the niche within which I tell a story. I think that all thinking people give at least a passing thought, every now and then, to what would it be like to live through an apocalyptic event, survive it, and live on in that post-apocalyptic world. I’ve tried to think through, in a logical and consistent way, what that world would be like, what it would take to survive, and how it might turn out – and I try to make it an interesting story along the way. That’s what I think – but I don’t know that for certain.

Q) Thank you for your time, Lloyd.

A) You are most welcome, Nick.

With that last question, Lloyd left with a smile. I think we can all learn from the answers given by a true, bonafide bestselling powerhouse of a writer. Let me know how the answers worked for you…

Get your copy of Lloyd’s latest bestseller “Eden’s Warriors” now!

Tom Ufert Is Building A Future For All

(Taken from http://www.nickwale.org)


Tom Ufert is a disabled guy, and he doesn’t want your pity or your money. He wants you to better yourself and fulfill your potential. His first book “Adversity Builds Character” is a must-read, inspirational story that tells you exactly where Tom comes from, where he has been and why you will want to root for him, forever more. Tom has been everywhere, struggled, succeeded and always helped others.

Adversity Builds Character:

From an early age, author Tom Ufert can remember his grandmother proclaiming that adversity builds character. At the time, he didn’t completely understand what it meant or know that he would actually live it. In Adversity Builds Character, Ufert shares the events that altered and shaped his life and shows how, with God’s help, he was able to survive, thrive, and inspire others. In this memoir, he narrates his life story and tells about the adversity he has faced–his mother’s early divorces; the breakdown of his relationship with his sister; his adoption by family friends; his mother’s illness and murder; his contact with a predatory pedophile; his questioning of his own sexuality, bisexuality, and eventual acceptance of being gay; alcoholism and sexual addiction; diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and HIV; and paralysis from a car accident. Revealing, honest, painful, and tender, Adversity Builds Character communicates the power of the human spirit to overcome the trials of modern life. It shows how Ufert’s suffering paved the way for a deep appreciation for life and God’s role in the world.


“An impressive story about the author’s life.

I felt compelled by the honesty and openly Tom narrates his life an how, from all the adversities and tribulations that came one after another, he was able to learn and to get the necessary strength to continue living with energy and willingness to do more.

I liked the openness and sincerity in touching very personal aspects of his life. It’s very hard to find such a person that, by sharing his experience, may inspire others to appreciate what they have in life.”~ Eduard Lopez

“As an author myself and a radio host who has interviewed many authors, including Tom Ufert, I was thoroughly impressed with the character and resolve of Mr. Ufert.

Adversity Builds Character will take you into the mind and life of Tom Ufert. Through most of the book I noticed my mouth agape in shock, in horror, but mostly with an overwhelming sense of love for Tom and what he has endured.

I look at what he went through and I’m in complete awe of his amazing attitude, maturity, and insight into life itself.
You won’t be disappointed with his personal story and how he has overcome tragedy throughout his career. Nothing is impossible for Tom Ufertand you will understand why when you read his book, Adversity Builds Character: An Inspirational True Life Story of Disability, Addiction, and Acceptance.

A well deserved 5-Stars!”~ Brae Wyckoff

Adversity builds character is the story of a young man’s life struggles to find his way through the trials and tribulations, family turmoil, self-determination and personal judgment.

This transformational life experience, like so many, demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit over the pitfalls in our modern world. From a divorce wrecked family life brought on by that by a disease ridden single mom, he is blessed with the first of many second chances. His godmother and her family, which becomes his stepparents, cause him to overcome personal character flaws. This new home life radically averts potential disaster and leads him to greater heights by redirecting the God-given talents of his character leading to never before realized academic and social achievements. At the height of his newfound career, his world is shattered yet again by the sudden tragic loss of his mother in a bizarre event of a mercy killing and suicide. While attempting to put this catastrophe behind him, drinking and sexual experimentation almost ruin his future hopes of a promising political career.

He decides to study abroad and finds the first real love of his life. Yet short-lived and having to return, divorce of his stepparents again forces a change of direction, ultimately pointing the way to his true self. While postponing his career, he relocates and discovers a world where he finally feels at home and accepted without ridicule. As is so often the case where comfort and overconfidence leads to weakness and self-destruction, it is at this moment that one either succumbs to the burden of outside influence or gathers up all his strength to rise above like a Phoenix.”~ Susan Mahoney

 Get your copy of “Adversity Builds Character” right now!