The Wrong Side of History

My short crime story set in the future entitled “The Wrong Side of History” came out in the October 2021 issue of After Dinner Conversation. After Dinner Conversation is a magazine that prints short stories that provoke deeper ethical and philosophical discussions. The magazine will provide discussion questions to help promote …

For the Children’s Sake Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think the media or politicians purposely sensationalizes stories to get more attention? Can this sensationalizing contribute to unreasonable fear in the population?
  2. It is often said people fear what they don’t understand. Can you think of something people fear because they don’t understand it? Do you see parallels in the book to current discussions around vaccines and immigration?
  3. Consider the police detective’s response to Fr. Ingall’s death. Is his response understandable? Is it ethically right or wrong?
  4. People sometimes change positions on a topic only when they realize it affects them personally. This happens with the character of Loriana in the book. Do you find that to be true today?
  5. Several of the characters on both sides of the medical issue central to the book are parents trying to protect their families by any means necessary. Examine both sides of the issue. Would you do what these parents are willing to do?
  6. Is it wrong to achieve a social good by illegal means as Mr. Tilitchovski is trying to do?
  7. The teenage character Jeanette is driven to fight against the Allergen Children because of the damage done to her family. Do you think she is entirely responsible for her choices? Should her parents bear some responsibility for the choices she makes?
  8. The character of Karim is portrayed as a hot-headed teenager. Compare the nature of his actions to the actions of Jeanette. Is he just as guilty as she is?
  9. If Jeanette deserves to be charged with her crimes, should Karim also be charged? What is the difference between their actions?
  10. If the events in the book happened today, what is the likelihood that the public at large would accept the ‘treatment’ needed for the Allergen Children to enter society? How do you think the world would respond?
  11. In Depth Question requiring addition reading: The letter from Robert Louis Stevenson quoted at the beginning of the book inspired the book. Read the full letter by Stevenson. How is Fr. Ingall like Fr. Damien? What similarities do you see?

Island Vibes and Other Stories

  The Bad Vibes Removal Services crew returns to solve murders and neutralize unpleasant emotional atmosphere in a second collection of three short stories: Therapeutic Vibes, Repetitive Vibes, and Island Vibes. These stories follow chronologically after the novel “The Walls Can Talk” in the Bad Vibes series. In “Repetitive Vibes,” …

All in Her Head Book Club Questions

  1. Statistically, many people in their mid-twenties are prone to depression, but as a society we don’t handle mental health very well. Do you think the character of Martha handled her mental health issues correctly?
  2. Life changes such as moves, marriages, job changes, births, and deaths in the family are known factors for causing depression. How can we make ourselves more resilient in the face of change?
  3. For centuries people were born and died in the same small communities with family, long term friends and neighbors around them. By those standards, people today have very shallow community roots, frequently moving around the country for employment. How can the lack of deep roots affect an individual and a community?
  4. What positive effects can come from our society’s mobility?
  5. Many people associate post traumatic stress with combat veterans, but others may also experience this sort of stress. Studies have found post traumatic stress in parents whose children were born prematurely and spent time in the NICU. Have you or someone you know ever had flashbacks to a traumatic event, for example a car accident or a medical emergency?
  6. If a family member betrayed you, tried to harm you, stole from you, would you visit that person in jail? Would you help find a lawyer? Could you forgive them?
  7. Discuss introverted versus extroverted people. Introverts find going out into crowds or parties requires an output of energy that can be exhausting. Extroverts are energized by being in crowds and talking to people. Which are you?
  8. Do you think you would like to have Daniel’s special skill? Or would it be too difficult?
  9. Have you ever tried food from different South American countries? Which countries?
  10. The Holliczek family has blended together different cultures into one household which can be seen in their language, customs, foods, and household items. Have you or someone you know done this? Did you or your friend find this to be easy or hard? If you haven’t done this, do you think you could? What would be hard for you to adapt to? What would be easy?

The Walls Can Talk Book Club Questions

The Walls Can Talk Book Club Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you even sensed emotional atmosphere in a building or space? When and where? Was it a calm or happy feeling? Was it a creepy feeling?
  2. Have you ever sensed tension in a room?
  3. Would you like to be able to detect and identify emotion in a room? Do you think it would be more helpful or harmful in the long run?
  4. Would you like to live in a building with a well-known history?
  5. If you lived in an ancient building with a definite sense of history to it, would you eliminate that sense of history if you could?
  6. Do you feel the characters came across as well rounded people with minds of their own? What character did you like the most?
  7. Much of the book centers on betrayal of trust. Have you ever had someone betray your trust? How did you respond?
  8. Can you remain friends with someone after a betrayal of trust?
  9. Would you turn in a relative who criminally betrayed your trust? What factors might stop you, if any?
  10. Do you enjoy a good scare from watching horror movies or telling ghost stories?
  11. Have you or any one you know ever seen a ghost? Explain.
  12. This book mixes genres: mystery, ghost stories, science fiction, and fantasy. Did you enjoy the mix? What other books have you read that mix genres?
  13. Is the world envisioned in the book believable? Were you able to suspend disbelief and fall into the story in spite of the seemingly impossible elements?
  14. Did you think the title fit the book? Can you think of a better title?
  15. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Rate the book.


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