Back on Track

New reviews coming soon! I'll be importing my work from the past two years, but in the meantime,
I'm reclaiming my small place on the web.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Children's Book Review

Sara's Moon
By Kent Holsather
ISBN: 978-09729101-3-2
Review by Heather Froeschl

What do you do when all seems lost? Do you give up or reach a hand out to a friend? In Kent Holsather’s latest book, “Sara’s Moon,” Sara and Henry reach out for dear life, and hold fast to hope. It’s 1909; Sara’s father is a participant in the great New York to Seattle Road Race, when his automobile is thrust off a cliff called Trick Notch. Sara refuses to believe that he is dead, but how will she find him in the wilderness? Alone? This isn’t Sara and Henry’s first adventure, but the dangers involved threaten any sort of a future.

While waiting for the race to end, after 23 days of anticipating the triumphant return of her father, Jacob Flint, Sara and Henry take in the sights at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. Seeing the “last mountain man” makes Sara somewhat sad and thoughtful. Appalled at the fake Eskimos and the treatment of people who are in the exhibits, Sara convinces Henry to get his palm read instead of seeing more trickery. What is foretold is daunting, but Henry brushes it off as more fair lore. Maybe he should have paid closer attention. The next morning the news makes its way to Sara’s mother, that Jacob Flint has been lost to the treacherous journey. Sara refuses to believe it.

Taking a walk to gain her composure, in the company of dear Henry, Sara finds herself face to face with the mountain man from the fair. Having faith that there was some truth to his tale, she determinedly asks for his help in finding her father whom she is convinced is out there, somewhere, waiting to be rescued. He agrees, seeing a spark in her eyes that he cannot say no to. Henry, of course, cannot let her go with this stranger alone, so at 4 a.m. the next morning, the group sets out to Trick Notch. What they discover along the way, is the amazing and sad history of their companion and guide. Getting through the harrowing journey, facing death and a mad mother bear, the trio finds that reaching out is all that they can do, what they need to do most of all. Will Jacob Flint be found? Will nature have her way, throwing such as cougars, lightning, and fire at her challengers?

“Sara’s Moon” is a touching tale of bravery, moral values, adventure, family and friendship. Well written and full of historical feel, it makes for a memorable read. For ages 10 and up, reading about Sara and Henry’s escapades is sure to be exciting. I recommend Kent Holsather’s work, every time. A perfect follow up story to the first Sara and Henry tale, “Henry of York,” “Sara’s Moon” can also stand alone. Well done!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fiction Review

A Secret of the Universe
by Stephen L. Gibson
ISBN: 0-9793880-0-7
Publication Date: October 11, 2007
Review by Heather Froeschl

How do we develop our fundamental beliefs? Why do we hold tight to wishes, prayers, karma, holiday traditions, shooting stars, mythologies and faith? Is it because our parents told us to or because we’ve researched for ourselves, because Wikipedia has an article about it or some great scholar has written a book? In Stephen L. Gibson’s novel, “A Secret of the Universe,” readers are welcome to come to understand some of the reasons we have faith, and our ever changing beliefs, hopefully discovering the secret along the way.

Two friends, Ian and Bill, who went to high school together, have their own views of the universe. Their worlds co-exist, mingle throughout life, and affect the others’ in ways only true friends can comprehend. There is intense joy and pain in each character’s life, and such is reflected on the other. Through tragedy, each is brought to a pivotal point where what they believe leads them to the next step on their life’s path; and, their next step in life effectively leads their beliefs. Into each life a little religion, sex and politics must fall, and these two friends address each topic openly. Their discussions and inner revelations surely reflect those of millions of people who will see themselves in black and white. Bill finds great comfort and support in his faith in God and his Christianity. Ian seeks answers through science and reason. Each of the men finds solid “proof” that reaffirms their views. This is no slight undertaking and the revealed secrets will shock the world as one of the men’s beliefs inspires a seven year, intense, study that becomes very public. On the personal front, each of the friends has complex home situations. Emotional and poignant, questionable and tragic, the events in their love lives are often a catalyst for further inspection of their beliefs and the reasons why they hold those beliefs.

What is most interesting is the meticulous amount of research that was done in the writing of this book. Stephen Gibson offers pages of footnotes for readers to further explore his points and this gives each point of view a strong backbone. Did Jesus Christ, the man, truly exist? Or do we just need him to have? At the very least, this book will inspire readers to examine why they believe the things that they do. It condemns none, but rather embraces the positives of various viewpoints and encourages readers to do the same, no matter what your faith.

The writing is tight and brilliantly executed. The characters are downright human with their thought processes and flaws exposed for all to see. The plot reflects extensive planning and encompasses the warmth of home, and the cold reality of terrorism, all at the same time. It is a story about love, life, religion, science, research, goals, death, terrorists, culture, politics, morals, our fundamental beliefs, and the most important secret the world could discover. It is a book about why we believe the things we believe in, why mythology exists, why we need it to, and its very fundamental purpose. I dare readers to pick up this book and read it with an open mind. You won’t be sorry. I wholeheartedly recommend “A Secret of the Universe.”

Gushing Praise from this author:

Dear Ms. Froeschl,
Just wanted to drop you a note of thanks for the rapid review, and for the careful and apt description that perfectly captures the essence of my effort. I've often said that a solid book summary is tougher to write than a book, yet you captured the spirit of A Secret of the Universe brilliantly. Very much appreciate it.

Many thanks for your quick turnaround, and for your time, effort, and kind words.

Stephen L. Gibson
Author, A Secret of the Universe - in bookstores October 11th, 2007!
Latest audiocasts/interviews free at

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Children's Book Review

Henry of York and The Secret of Juan De Vega
by Kent Holsather
ISBN-10: 0972910115
Review by Heather Froeschl

13-year-old Henry Collin watches intently as two men argue with the old man who lives across the street. A short time later he finds himself helping the men to load a very heavy steamer trunk into their wagon. Seemingly the key witness to an undiscovered crime, Henry begins his investigation following the lead of his favorite crime solver, the hero in the detective books he reads.

Bringing on an unlikely partner, the privileged Sara Flint, Henry breaks into the old man’s house to search for clues to his disappearance. What they find is the mummified remains of a 300-year-old man, Juan De Vega. What could this man tell them if he could speak? And why did old man Bill have him stashed in his home?

Sara and Henry come to be close friends and soon find that they compliment each other’s qualities. While Sara is born to class and money she yearns for adventure and excitement. Henry has some fears to overcome and with Sara standing by him he finds the strength to face them. The partners in investigations quickly learn to trust each other. It is this trust that will ultimately save their lives as they learn of Juan De Vega’s secrets.

A treasure in itself, this book is highly recommended. The writing is well done, with dialogue naturally presented. With a bit heroism, childhood fantasy and a few lessons thrown in for good measure, the plot flows easily. An exciting and enthralling adventure story, Henry of York will please readers ages 10 and up, boys and girls alike.

Gushing praise from this author:
A writer's ego can be like an egg in the hands of a running two year old; one minute you're feeling pretty good about your literary effort and in the next moment you're splattered on the floor of self doubt.

Writers reveal their souls to total stangers on a massive scale. They expose their bellies to friend and foe alike in the hope that they can survive whatever fate that might befall them.

Heather Froeschl has walked the writer's walk and knows the commitment that each person must make when they start a journey that 99% of the population might talk about but never complete. Her enthusiasm and expertise has sustained me through my first novel and into my second; I cannot thank her enough.

Kent Holsather
Bellingham, Washington
(Kent also writes for

Friday, June 8, 2007

Interview with the Author of a Non-Fiction/Self Help Book

Heather Froeschl's interview with Dale L. Goldstein,
author of "Heartwork: How to Get What You Really, Really Want"

Heather: First let me say that it was a pleasure to experience Heartwork, and thank you for making it available to the public. Now, let me ask, how important has publishing this book been in your sense of accomplishment?

Dale: Heather, first let me say that I am honored to have you be the first person to review my book. Reading your review was extremely gratifying! In response to your question, I would say that publishing the book has been the apex of my professional life. It is the culmination of my life work – the completion of a particular journey, and the beginning of a new kind of interaction with people with the book as catalyst.

Heather: Do you feel confident that your typical reader can fully grasp the concepts you present? Should this be attempted without an overseeing therapist?

Dale: I did my best to convey both the concepts and the “tools for inner work” as clearly, simply and non-technically as possible. My hope is that, combined with the personal accounts of people’s experiences using the tools, the reader will be able to get a fundamental grasp of the material and incorporate both the understandings and the tools into their daily lives. Ultimately, everyone has to find their own way, and, ultimately, Heartwork is a tool that can help anyone willing to take the journey do just that.

Regarding the issue of having the assistance of a therapist, certainly this work reveals the totality of one’s being, including those aspects that have long been denied. It is always a wise idea when traveling into uncharted territory to have an experienced guide to help one navigate potentially difficult situations that will possibly arise. At some point in one’s journey, one has easy access to one’s own internal guidance – a sense of knowing/rightness. Until this inner guidance opens, it is most helpful to have a human guide. The possible problem with therapists as guides is that they have not personally explored the deeper aspects of their being, and will either not be able to understand where the person doing this work has gotten to and/or will get frightened and try to take the person out of their process. The possible problem with a spiritual teacher is that, if they have not done their own psychological/emotional work, they will not see the value in the spiritual journey of clearing out this layer of the psyche. So it is best if one can find human guides who have done their own inner work on both levels.

Heather: Does a reader of Heartwork need a prerequisite in other meditative or psychoanalytical practices?

Dale: I wrote the book in such a way that it would be accessible to all people: those who have never done any previous inner work, people who have been in therapy and are looking for something more than therapy can provide, and people who have had an active spiritual practice but perceive blocks in their psychological structures that prevent them from being fully present in their everyday lives.

Heather: Are there others who have combined the eastern meditative processes and western psychotherapeutic practices in similar offerings to the public? Are you the first?

Dale: I am by no means the first, although for many years, I searched for, but couldn’t find, anyone else who I felt was working in a similar way. It turns out I was looking in the wrong place – I was looking for a therapist who combined eastern meditative approaches with western psychotherapeutic techniques. One day, a friend told me that she had found a colleague. She had attended a workshop with Stephen Levine – a spiritual teacher whom she felt worked similarly to me. I ran out and bought all of his books and, sure enough, he was coming from the same place as Heartwork. I have long since incorporated much of his teaching into my work, especially some of his meditations, and I felt tremendously gratified that he was willing to write such a beautiful endorsement for my book. A couple of years later, my sister gave me a book by John Welwood, and I felt I had found yet another colleague. Then, a few years after that, another dear friend introduced me to the work of A. H. Almaas, called the Diamond Approach, which also comes from a similar understanding as Heartwork, but is much more thoroughly elaborated and discriminated. I’m sure there are innumerable others who have developed their own unique ways of combining the two approaches, but these are the three people whose work I have most resonated with.

Heather: Did you work closely with Richard Wehrman or did you give him the manuscript and let him create what he envisioned on his own? The work is exquisite.

Dale: Richard is one of my very best friends, whom I have known since 1982, when he came to practice at the Zen Center. We have been in a very small men‘s group together for 21 years. In addition to our close friendship, Richard has experienced Heartwork extensively, so that I gave him free artistic license to create his vision of the book. He clearly understands Heartwork from the inside. I am so grateful to him for the beauty he added to my writing. The book is truly the work of art I had wanted to create because of Richard’s artistry.

Heather: What is your greatest hope for this book?

Dale: That it will serve whomever it speaks to in finding their way home to their true self.

Heather: Do you have other offerings in the works?

Dale: I’m considering writing a book on the Heartwork of relationships. We all want simply to love and be loved, but so few of us know how to have that which we really, really want, even in our most intimate relationships.

Heather: Tell me about the Heartwork Institute.

Dale: The Heartwork Institute, Inc., is a not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1982 to assist people in finding their own paths to wholeness. The Institute offers a broad range of programs from individual, relationship and group counseling to personal (one or two people) and group intensives, retreats and workshops that vary from one to ten days in length. The Institute also offers one- to two-year transformational programs. Clients can do counseling in person or via the telephone.

All Heartwork experiences teach participants how to move through self-created barriers in order to open their hearts and minds. From this openness, each of us can find the peace, joy, freedom, aliveness and compassion that is our deepest truth and indeed our birthright. Ultimately, we become enabled to live deeply in this truth, in our life purpose, while in intimate relationships with others.
In addition to the official events offered by the Institute, a great deal of support is offered unofficially and informally by others in the Heartwork community. These people generously share their support, encouragement and guidance based on their own experience with the Heartwork process.

More information about the Institute and its offerings can be found on our website at

Heather: Tell me about your experiences with the Omega Institute.

Dale: I was invited to teach at the Omega Institute in 1980, when I was practicing and teaching Polarity Therapy. It was at a time when my practice of Polarity Therapy was beginning to open in a way that deviated from the official teaching of that practice. I had found that what felt most “right” for me was to simply sit at the head of the person lying on the massage table, put my hands on their shoulders and simply be with them. (I emphasized the word “simply” because the word has profound implications in that one needs to be totally present with what is happening.) I found I would spend at least the first 10-15 minutes of a Polarity session sitting with a person this way, and sometimes the entire session. In the process, often the client would experience a healing on one or more levels of their being.
When I gave the opening demonstration at my 5-day Advanced Polarity Therapy workshop, a number of people present reflected back to me that when I was simply being with the person at the beginning of the session, they both witnessed in the “client” and experienced in themselves an opening that served them in their inner work. This “external confirmation” helped me trust what was evolving in my work.

As a result of this experience and the subsequent new concepts for the intention of my professional practice, combined with what was unfolding for me in my own inner work, Heartwork was born. The next year, when I returned to Omega to teach Advanced Polarity Therapy, it turned into the first Heartwork Intensive. A participant as a result of her work there wrote the poem, “The Descent,” at the beginning of my book, which so beautifully describes the Heartwork experience.

Heather: Please give us a brief biography.

Dale: I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, psychotherapist and workshop facilitator who has actively explored the uses of meditative and psychotherapeutic tools in the process of helping individuals, groups and organizations to heal since 1966.

I attended the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, where I received a Master of Social Work degree in 1969. In 1971, feeling a deep lack in my life, I moved to Rochester, NY, to practice Zen under the guidance of Roshi Philip Kapleau. In 1980, I changed to a self-inquiry/awareness meditative practice with Toni Packer, with whom I worked for eight more years. Since then, I have worked with various spiritual teachers, including Alia Johnson, a senior teacher in the Diamond Approach, with whom I have been working since 2000. I am currently engaged in the Diamond Approach Teacher Training Program. As a result of my own inner work, which included many years of psychotherapy, I saw a need to combine psychological and spiritual work in one comprehensive system. In 1981, I created Heartwork, a gentle yet powerful path for personal/spiritual transformation. Since that time, I have been the director of the Heartwork Institute, Inc., home to my private counseling practice and a variety of seminars and workshops that I facilitate internationally.

Thank you so much for the interview! I just know Heartwork is going to touch a lot of lives.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Children's Book Review

The Playdate Kids: The I Like Me Dance
by Tim Friedlander
ISBN-10: 1933721073
Review by Heather Froeschl

What is the best message a kid can understand? “The I Like Me Dance” by Tim Friedlander spells it out clearly…to like yourself! Just right for preschools, daycare centers and kindergartens everywhere, this book with accompanying CD is going to be a fun chance for kids to dance!

A visit to the zoo with The Playdate Kids leads readers on a dance through exhibits of EAR-lephants, RhiNOSEros’, T-EYE-Grrs, and ELBOWa Constrictors, as the CD plays a delightful song, “I Like Me.” The song speaks of liking my fingers and toes, ears and nose, liking myself night and day, that we’re all perfect in our own way, and to tell yourself that every day. The beat is just perfect for a zoo setting and will soon have children dancing and singing along. The illustrations, by W.M. Edwards are inviting and fun, showing the familiar Playdate Kids making faces or holding their breath as they groove through the zoo. The youngest readers will delight in pointing out animals and hearing this positive message.

This fun book is a must have for anyone who has young children in their lives. What 3 – 6 year old doesn’t like the zoo, or to dance? The underlying theme, and clear message of self love is most important, and it is done in such a delightful way that kids will be clamoring to hear the song and do the dance every chance they get, reinforcing this significant lesson. It’s a perfect non-quiet time activity for story hour. I am thrilled to see this simple and inspiring set and trust it will fast become a favorite.

Tim Friedlander is a talented author and musician who has training in music and psychology. His work with The Playdate Kids Musical Series shows promise of a bright future, for himself, and his readers. I can’t wait to see what else he does!

Children's Book Review

The Playdate Kids: Island Potty Party
by Tim Friedlander
ISBN-10: 1933721154
Review by Heather Froeschl

Listen to the steel drum band! “Island Potty Party” is perfect for those little ones who want to be like the big kids. Tim Friedlander sings to an island beat so kids can learn the invaluable lessons of potty time. An exciting new twist in toilet training, “Island Potty Party” is going to be a big hit.

Starting out with those delightful Playdate Kids at the beach, a younger brother needs a little help. He has to go and doesn’t know what to do. Big sis shows him where the bathrooms are as the kids conga dance to the accompanying CD. The song explains just what to do from lifting the seat to washing the hands. Each line of lyric is colorfully illustrated in the book by W.M. Edwards. The song and book continue to explain that everyone, everywhere uses the potty, from the fireman to the teacher, to mom and dad and even the cat. At the back of the book there is an age appropriate explanation of what happens to our food and why we all have to go. At the very end of the CD, a toilet flushes, signaling the end. Just another humorous touch to lighten things up.

This is a fun and different approach to something every parent must go through…potty training their young ones. It is much more entertaining than any other similar book I’ve seen. Perfect for the youngest child, parents are sure to be pleased. You could even keep the CD handy to play in the appropriate room of the house at the appropriate time. This is a great tool that I only wish had been available years ago.

Children's Book Review

The Playdate Kids: Booger Boogie
by Tena Fanning
ISBN-10: 1933721138
Review by Heather Froeschl

Perfect for preschool! The Playdate Kids address another real life situation…this time it involves the not so picturesque moments of needing to use a tissue. Yes, “Booger Boogie” by Tena Fanning is sure to be a hit with the youngest of readers.

Told in rhyme, the colorful book explains that “It’s not funny when your nose is runny” and what to do when you have this situation as so many kids do. It’s a fact of life that runny, drippy, boogery noses abound when kids are around. Accompanied by a CD, with music by Tim Friedlander, the middle of the book illustrates the song, “Booger Boogie” where kids will experience the lessons of not wiping it on the couch, not putting it in your mouth, and just blowing it out. At the back of the book readers will learn what mucus is really made of and why it can be so helpful but so gross at the same time.

This is a fantastic book for young children, ages 3 - 6. I’ve had several kids in my life that could have benefited from it years ago. Preschools and kindergarten classes everywhere should have this book and CD at the ready. The gross appeal will grab kids’ attention, the song will get them singing along in fun and maybe, just maybe a lesson will be learned that will help us all stay a little healthier.